V0.04 Announcement and Progress Update
The next release of Malise and the Machine will be on May 1! Pledges should be made on Patreon before April 29 to guarantee that your pledge is processed and that you receive your rewards.
The release will include but not be limited to the following features and content updates:
- A continuation of the main story featuring a new area and the addition of Malise to the party.
- New story H content
- A new enemy that is fully H-compatible with both characters
- A new boss encounter
- Enemy armor damage
- Animated battle backgrounds
- Side-scrolling maps
It's been a little while, so I'm sure you all are interested to hear what we've been up to and what's in store, so get ready for one of those lovely wall of text posts!
So, the public demo was a pretty huge success in that we received a lot of attention as well as an influx of new patrons. So much attention in fact that it completely paralyzed us for a couple of weeks while we responded to emails and addressed comments, requests, bugs, and so on. By the end of February we were back to full steam ahead on V0.04 and have been since.
Amidst the dozens of bug fixes, database improvements, and random tasks to accommodate my goofy artwork ambitions, AltairPL completed his overhaul of the menu interface system for the public demo and has since begun preparations for the map overhaul. We expect to see really significant performance improvements with this overhaul, but unfortunately it won't be ready until V0.05 at the earliest.
Since I finished work on the story at the end of December I had been multitasking on artwork for both the public demo as well as for V0.04. Around that time it became difficult to convey everything we'd been working on in terms of content since we didn't want to mix up expectations for the public demo with content for V0.04. Now that we're past the public demo I can go into more detail on the things we've had cooking for V0.04.
With the map improvements first shown in V0.03 in became apparent to me that if we stretched our ambition a bit more we could pull off some other cool things with the map system. With that in mind, we set out and successfully managed to get multi layer side-scrolling maps functioning. While the maps mainly exist for flashiness in V0.04, they are fully functional and allow for interaction with objects/doors/etc. in the foreground and background.
Both of the new enemies in V0.04 break the mold from what's been seen in the past. As such, we've had to find solutions for a lot of issues to fully realize what we were going for with them. Luckily, the solutions to these issues will thoroughly improve the possibilities for future enemies and H-attacks as well. I think you'll find these new ones to be really dynamic, and will especially enjoy the fact that one of them is the first female enemy we've added to the game. And yep, there is indeed a correlation between that fact and the "Enemy armor damage" bullet in the list of features above.
TK Joins the Team Full Time
Well, technically he joins full time beginning in May when we officially start on V0.05.
For the uninitiated, TK is our extremely part time secondary artist who helps me with certain 3D related stuff. Up till now, TK has had a full time job and has only been able to help out in his free time. Thanks to your guys' contributions I dropped the hammer and convinced him to abandon his responsibilities as an adult and come on full time starting in May.
When Were Patrons Charged Last?
A loooong time ago. November, actually. I wanted to address this for a few reasons.
Firstly, some patrons pledged as far back as December and haven't been charged, thus they haven't seen rewards yet. I definitely want to apologize to these guys and say that we're making a real effort to reduce the cycle time between paid releases.
It's kind of funny that as of late I've been defending the reasons why we haven't taken funds, but ultimately it's because we want to make sure patrons receive a solid content update each time they're charged. We've come a long way since V0.03, but it's sort of like an iceberg in that what you see is just the tip (insert dick jokes). There are a whole lot of accomplishments in the background that just don't constitute an update. Between the responsibilities of writing the (quite lengthy) story and overseeing the public demo release it's been difficult for me (the only full time artist) to knock out the art content needed for a solid paid release. That's of course why it hurts all the more to have to release V0.04 in May instead of April, which I know some of you were hoping for. Admittedly, it was a really narrow margin, and I held off as long as I could before making the call.
Anyways, part of our plan to ensure a development cycle doesn't go this long again is to clear the bottleneck in the art department. This is the reason I've hired TK on full time. We now number three full time members, and while growing the team has been part of the plan all along this is the first time I've felt we have the funding potential to handle it. We will likely need even more help, so it's imperative that you know how much we appreciate our patrons' pledges and how important they are to helping us finish the project in a timely manner.
This leads me to my final point. There's been an increasing amount of comments on various boards and messages I've received that lead me to believe the misconception exists that we're making a lot of money (and subsequently that we don't need new pledges). I can guarantee this is largely because of that huge number at the top of the Patreon page, and also because the vast majority of Patreon campaigns now charge on a monthly basis.
The fact of the matter is that this is far from the truth, and for the sake of transparency I'd like to dispel that myth by sharing some of our financial figures I had to compile for taxes. Note these figures are for 2015, and comprise almost completely the funding we've received for the game:
Gross Funding: $29,630
Net Income: $19,105
Note we've only had a full time programmer since June, so most of those expenses were accumulated in the latter part of the year. Considering the average game developer salary (for a single developer) in the US in 2013 was $83,060 (according to Gamasutra), it's safe to say that we can still really, really use the help! Especially if we have a shot at growing the team further.
Got it, nudez plz!
Expect to see some artwork from V0.04 soon! I apologize for not posting any sooner, but as mentioned above there was some method to the madness.
As always, thanks for all your support! Also, thank you for a great public demo release and for all help you offered in nailing bugs and making the game better in general. Carry on!