State of the Union

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I’m writing this week’s post over 1000 miles away from my normal coffee shops and bus routes.

Never fear, I haven’t been exiled by the team. I’m just on vacation, traveling through the awesome national parks of the Southwestern United States. Currently, I’m working on this post a couple hundred yards from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, which incidentally reminds me of some of the more austere terrains from planets that Austin has written into AOTW.

I’ve heard that one is supposed to step back and take stock of one’s life on vacations. As AOTW is increasingly becoming a big part of my life, I wanted to take this week’s post to look at our progress so far, as well as our upcoming goals.

We’ve been officially working on Armour On The Wastes for almost 6 months now, and we have some great progress to show for it (beyond the team bonding and IPA consumption). On the business side, we’ve completed 12 blog posts, cultivated a small but growing social media following, filed for a real life LLC, and have an artist starting with us very soon. Then, on the development side, we’ve finished a tech demo with most of the basic gameplay concepts implemented, developed an AI system that is of at least marginal intelligence, and survived one instance of computer hardware failure. Finally, on the story and design side, we have a huge backstory written out with incidental details for dozens of planets and important characters, as well as the majority of our levels sketched out and ready to go plot-wise.

It almost doesn’t seem right to summarize the work everyone has done in this way. After all, I don’t think this brief summary can even come close to capturing all of the work that has gone into this process so far.  Nonetheless, it is nice to see it written for all to see.

That said, what we’ve done so far undoubtedly pales in comparison to the work that still needs to be done. On the story and design side, we have an intricate branching storyline script to write, and extensive collaboration required with our new artist in order to get him up to speed. On the development side we have an “advanced” feature list that’s several pages long, and we still have to complete repairs on Richard’s computer so that his girlfriend can have her laptop back. On the business side, we have to develop a more comprehensive marketing plan, up the quality of the blog by incorporating art, get any coverage we can from indie media outlets, and figure out exactly what tax and regulatory requirements come along with that cool LLC paperwork.

Needless to say, this is a lot of work, especially when you consider that almost every task I’ve listed consists of like 50 subtasks.

As I’ve touched on in previous posts, this amount of work can be overwhelming, and I’ve thought about this project indirectly across my vacation over the last few days. Looking at all the beautiful landscapes in places like the Grand Canyon or Arches National Park, I am awestruck both by the scale and longevity of these places. They were formed hundreds of millions of years before humans even existed, and they will likely be around millions of years after I’m gone. On this scale, my lifespan seems absolutely miniscule, which is good and bad. On the one hand, this realization is humbling and it makes me appreciate every moment I have. On the other hand, it makes me terribly afraid of wasting any time in my life. With so few years available to me, I have this sense that I don’t want to lose time by doing things that I’m not meant to do or that could fail.

AOTW does not feel like one of those things — regardless of how much or how little time I have left in this world, I don’t regret one minute of the time that I’ve spent on this game project. I can honestly say that every minute so far has been worth it.

I can’t promise to still be writing this blog in a million years, but I do look forward to writing another team “State of the Union” address with more exciting updates in a few months!

-Mike

 

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