I realize it’s been over a full month since the last post, so it’s time for an update for our fans, Kickstarter supporters, and anyone else who might be interested in our progress. In short, things are going well, but we have suffered some delays over the past month, which have now been resolved.
For a number of reasons which we won’t get into here, we had no choice but to part ways with our previous programmer, Andrew Furst. The first week or two of August was spent looking for a replacement, and then once we found our replacement, it took another couple of weeks to get him acquainted with our game and codebase.
The new programmer’s name is Michael Helms, and he’s actually a personal friend of mine (we’ve been playing boardgames together for years). He’s a total professional who does programming for a living, and quite frankly, he’s so experienced that he sort of makes us feel a bit bush-league in comparison, which is of course a good thing. We’re super happy to have him on board.
We’re also getting some additional programming help from one of AURO’s most helpful and prolific beta testers: Daniil “Dasick” Golubev. You can hear him with us on the Game Design Theory Podcast, episode 7, by the way.
Finally, we just hired another person to help with a variety of tasks. Benjamin “blox” Loxley will be helping us with QA, marketing, and some web administrative duties. In general, Ben is a super smart guy who has been helping me as a beta tester for awhile, so he’s sure to help move us along even faster. Oh, and he can also be found on a number of GDT podcasts, too.
How much time did we lose exactly, and where are we in the process? Well, I can tell you exactly what needs to be done still:
- Match Mode, our online play mode, needs probably 2-3 weeks of work.
- Story Mode needs further playtesting and polish, but probably not more than another week or so of work.
- Various bugs and polish will probably take another week.
So, given the fact that things generally take longer than you think they will, I’m thinking that we should be able to make a November 1st release. That’s what we’re gunning for.
As usual, no one is more let down that we didn’t make our August release than we are. We are seriously so proud of this game, and we know everyone’s going to love it. I can’t wait to get it in the hands of people. But with that said, we’re not going to rush it. When you pay us money for our game, you can be damn sure that you’re getting a product of the highest quality possible.
Trials Mode – the basic single player mode that we’ve been most focused on for the past two years – is very well balanced so far. One of the good things about this delay is that we got some time to “mull it over”, to see how the game holds up after many, many plays. I can tell you that it’s holding up extremely well, and I’m still excited about playing it.
While this past month was a little bit scary – changing key personnel always is – it has worked out, and I’m feeling extremely optimistic about where things are going. I should also mention that Blake, having finished basically all of his art duties, has now switched over to doing his half of the music (I’m doing the other half). I’ve heard some early mixes, and it is some top-tier orchestral music. He’s been working on these melodies for years, and I think that when people see our opening cutscene and hear this music, it will be abundantly clear that AURO is something special.
To anyone who read through this – thanks for sticking with us all this time. Game development is hard. It would be much easier if we didn’t really care that much about what we were making. But we’re almost there. Expect another update in the next few weeks.