Interested in hearing how industry veterans approach pre-production after a successful Kickstarter campaign? Perihelion Interactive recently sent out a newsletter with updates on their recently funded game, The Mandate, which is currently in pre-production. The newsletter provides great educational material for both designers and producers. Their team has to be commended for sharing light and answering forum questions with such detailed responses. Some questions remain unanswered, but in most cases they acknowledge that these particular problems are still being addressed. The condensed status update includes:
- More programmers have been added but the rest of the team have not been finalized due to legal obstacles and holding out for potential key players
- Their character artist broke his Wacom tablet and is focusing on creating concept art for NPC units and other side tasks until his replacement arrives
- Funding has reached $725,000, and the project is still scheduled for release in early 2015
The more interesting revelations from the newsletter include producer-level insight into adding mod support, their depiction of features in a two-by-two matrix of risk versus value, and how development is being staged during preproduction for both art and gameplay elements.
These are some of the promised features for The Mandate
If you haven’t heard of The Mandate or aren’t one of the 15000+ people who funded it, then you should take a look at its Kickstarter page. This Unity3D science fiction role playing game is being made by a team of industry veterans, and their campaign has been tremendously successful – resulting in funding for more than $650,000 of their project costs. Their campaign is also one of the best documented, most transparent, and has been amazingly responsive to backer requests for more rewards and more ways to get involved. What happens after the campaign though? As for my perspective and biases, you should know I am an excited backer who upgraded my pledge on the last day because they gave me tons of incentives to do so. Now, I will try to examine and summarize the information they provide on their Kickstarter page and try to poke holes in their project plan and objectives as an exercise in game design pre-production. Hopefully, this article can serve as a starting point for a continued description as their production continues, but that depends entirely on their willingness to keep being as transparent as they have been.
The man-months by specialty required for the upcoming development of this game
Pitch & Play is an event held every term during which student teams present their final projects to an audience from the game industry. As students currently in the pre-production phase of our final projects, we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to attend this event and cover the games on show.
Senior Instructor Andrew Laing was the host of the evening, and kept the audience entertained throughout the night with his funny, and somewhat corny, jokes.
Hi I am Jim, the Level Designer for STARSTRUCK, and this is a summary of one day on the production floor: November 5th, 2013. The level design problem I am addressing today is a severe dip in the intensity of gameplay after our second encounter. Our game, STARSTRUCK, is a 3D twin-stick beat-em-up which demands high intensity encounters throughout the gameplay experience. The player controls Dr. Box, and he has just fought the final boss for the first time before watching him escape. The downhill interlude is immediately after this first major challenge of the game, and the beat chart shows that a slight dip in intensity is desired. However, the intensity dips too much right now, and playtesters complain that this section “feels too long,” which is the polite way of saying that it is boring.