It has been a few months since we published our very first post here on Medium. Last time we talked about what we achieved in 2017 and what we wanted to accomplish in 2018.
In this post I want to give you an overview about our current situation, new decisions we made, our plans on releasing the beta version of Renegade Line and what we have achieved so far in 2018 and talk about what went wrong and what went right.
What went wrong?
‘’Our development progress is slow”
Thanks Chrizko aka Cpt. Obvious, for confirming what everyone here already knows.
I assume that you — who is reading this — already know that developing a game takes a lot of time, money and effort. Even big game studios struggle sometimes (…sometimes? Often!) to release a game on time and without bugs. But I’m already pointing fingers onto other developers. What’s really important here is why it takes that much time for us and how we will change that!
In 2017 we had a successful Kickstarter campaign for Renegade Line. After the first closed alpha test we collected the feedback, discussed it within the team and decided to almost completely rework what we had in mind. It was clear to us that the game at that point was not up to our and your expectations and standards. We didn’t see it like something that could compete well with other shooter games. We had to change that, so we did (and still are)!
Now, more than one year after Kickstarter we are still reworking Renegade Line completely, we are implementing new characters with a brand new animation system so the movements feel more natural and dynamic, new environments, new maps, a new user interface, a new main menu and a new website. Basically everything is new when we will release the Beta version. In other words: We went back to the drawing board and started from scratch to re-build the game from the ground up (with of course the same vision and the same idea of creating a Third Person Cartoon Shooter as before!).
We had a lot of problems finding the right developers.
Game developers that are experienced, affordable (according to our budget) and fluent in English can be hard to find. For example, it took us more than 5 frustrating months to find an animator who was able to meet our requirements. I believe we had more than 15 animators in total trying out before we found the right guys.
We were also not prepared for the departure of some of our developers, making us struggle to fill those gaps and find new developers to replace the important parts they had in many aspects of our development. With the funds we earned through Kickstarter and our donation page it was not possible for us to have a lot of developers working full time or part time on Renegade Line.
Our budget allowed us to hire additional developers to add to our team, such as a 3D animator to bring our characters to life or an environment artist to create beautiful and performant maps, but it hardly allowed us to change our core team. The fact that almost all of our developers currently study or work on other projects while working on Renegade Line in their free time makes it hard to accurately estimate and set realistic deadlines that fit to other developers’ often busy schedules and leads to a slower development process. We were too optimistic and set unrealistic deadlines we were not able to meet.
We also had trouble at times staying on schedule for Newsposts, Alpha weekends earlier during the Alpha and this very blog post, for example.
At the beginning we struggled with finding the perfect way to organize our whole development process within the team, but we steadily improved ourselves and our ways to work and communicate. Back then we started with using Skype, Teamspeak and Excel Sheets, went over to Slack and Trello and found the perfect solution for us by using Trello combined with Scrum (project management), Roadmunk (roadmap tool) and Discord (like Teamspeak3 and Skype, but way better (we were not paid to say this)).
We also want to provide you with a diagram on what we have spent our budget so far during the development:
Our (near) future plans regarding Renegade Line
Since we want and need to release the beta soon (because of our current budget) we are currently actively contacting publishers and investors to bring you the game you deserve this year. We always wanted to develop and publish Renegade Line by ourselves without additional help from a publisher or investor but we have to admit that this turned out to not be a financially viable option for us. Continuing this way it would simply take too much time to release the beta of Renegade Line on Steam. We will make sure that we don’t sell ourselves and our full rights on Renegade Line so we can release a game the way WE and YOU want it to be and we can fully stand behind.
What about the Beta release?
We want to release the beta version of Renegade Line on Steam to make it easily accessible to every PC player. The first step for a release on Steam release is already done and we are already using parts of the Steam platform for internal testing. After we have a stable beta version available we will apply at Valve for releasing Renegade Line on Steam open to the public.
Until the beta release the most effort will go into fully implementing the new characters as well as developing the new main menu and it’s core features . Besides these two big goals we have various smaller goals we are already working on like fully implementing the classes Sniper and Thief, improving different talents and their visual effects, improving the existing game modes (Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Conquest), developing another game mode (King of the Hill) and saving all game stats so players can level up in the game.
Being clean, direct and transparent with our community is part of our commitment with you and the project.
More frequent Alpha tests
We have accomplished this by having tighter schedules. We are now providing Alpha tests every second weekend. This allows us to bring the necessary changes to the game while leaving time for the players with an Early Access key to test the game. A too slow development process, a lot of core features missing as well as a lot of core in-game goals missing like unlocking weapons, leveling up, unlocking and improving talents lead to a lot of players losing interest in playing the closed Alpha overtime. We can understand everyone of them, and we believe that the Beta we will release will attract them again to the game.
New character models
Even if the new characters are not completely finished, we improved the animations again to add a little more bouncing for both characters while running around as well as adding that your character leans into the direction he moves. We have implemented the movement animations for the Spotter and Tank classes and will now continue by adding the animations that are specific to weapons like throwing a grenade, shooting with a rocket launcher and so on. Looking up, down, right and left with your character is now implemented as well! Movement speed, acceleration and gravity is also something we have worked on to improve the overall gameplay.
Maps and Game Modes
We have made a lot of good progress on our new map and have already prepared many blockouts for upcoming maps that will be tested after the new characters are playable.
King of the Hill is the next game mode on our list, after we’ve improved the existing game modes Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch and Conquest.
We will improve those game modes by showing more and clear feedback on the user interface, fixing some bugs and improving parts of the spawn system.
Better communication with the community
Progress was made here, but we’re not done improving this part! We have already organized several live streams where we showed in-game footage and the overall progress of the game, talked about important topics regarding Renegade Line and answered your many questions.
With our Friday Newsposts and Teaser Tuesdays we have given insights about what we are working on as well as information on our successes and setbacks during the development.
Also, did we mention we have a Discord server? Join-in on the fun now! We love to chat with you and answer your questions there!
- We have implemented an emote wheel in-game so players can select the emote they want to play while or after a fight,
- We reworked the whole weapon system to improve performance,
- We have added recoil to weapons,
- We have improved and added clearer information to the user interface (added clearer low-health and damage effects, changed the deathcam, added an ammo bar next to the crosshair, visual effects for talents, hitmarkers, etc.),
- We are reworking sounds using the FMOD plugin,
- We changed our lighting system to further improve performance,
- We have added a playercount in the server browser so you can show many players of each faction are on every servers,
- Added a round-end screen.
Don’t forget to join us on the 28th at 6PM CEST to test out the new character models with us!
The next Alpha test will be on Steam. For this reason, we will hand out Steam keys to our backers!
As always, feel free to leave a comment and tell us your opinions and thoughts. We really hope we can release Renegade Line as fast as possible on Steam as a stable game, and that the long waiting time finally ends. Thank you all so much for the support and patience! ❤