TLDR: We have been bad at telling you what's happening with the game, this post explains what's been going on. We're still developing it, but it has changed A LOT. La version française de ce poste arrivera la semaine prochaine. 18 months ago I posted something ridiculously hopeful about how Dead Cells would be available at the end of 2014… If only I had have know about Valve Time when I was spouting that crap! A year and-a-freaking-half later and I’m here scratching my head trying to work out how the hell this happened and how to explain to you what we’ve been up to, so here goes.
Since my last post (so much rubbish about a playtest…) a LOT of things have gone down. From the reorganisation of MT, to the development of Monster Hotel, we haven’t been idle. So let’s go back to just before that last post I made and work through the main events regarding Dead Cells one by one.
So what the hell have we been doing anyway!?!
In June 2014 Motion Twin made a great decision in hiring me mouhahah! No no no, in June 2014 MT finished and released Uppercup Football, a game developed by deepnight and Carduus. This super duo then decided to unearth an old project called Hordes Zero, which they started working on straight away.
Somewhere during July 2014deepnight, suffering from a good old case of “wtf am I doing with this game!?!” pulled out a machete and hacked Hordes Zero into Dead Cells. This was largely regarded as a ‘good move’.
In August 2014 we created a stand alone, single player version of this new Dead Cells to enter into the Independent Games Festival (IGF). You can check out the entry here, and I’ll try and get that version up online for you to play. We didn't win any prizes, unfortunately.
At the same time we decided to take the game to Gamescom in Germany and show some peeps. This was a great confidence boost for us, because a lot of people really did like the game. We won a few little prizes, which was nice and were approached by a whole bunch of publishers and people who were very interested in partnering with us.
From September to December 2014 we ran some Alpha tests (hark back to the previous blog post) and had a lot of positive feedback from the testers. There was just one little problem... The coopetition that we had envisaged was only fun if everyone was playing online at the same time. This is an important point and I’ll come back to it.
In December 2014, we looked for alternate fundings possibilities to cover part of the development cost of Dead Cells.
During the alpha testing we realised that the only way to effectively implement the coopetition that we wanted to create, was to accept the demands of a 100% real time multiplayer game... This posed enormous technical problems that we hadn’t taken into consideration and ultimately led to the restructuring of Motion Twin.
Given the burden and the financial risk posed by the enormous amount of time already spent on Hordes Zero, we decided to wait and see if we could obtain fundings for our project. We knew that if they didn’t finance the project we would have to kill it, anything else would have been reckless and actually endangered the survival of Motion Twin.
The application and selection process (as with everything that involves the French government) was looooong! The application itself involved about 15 Kg of paperwork... A provisional response was due in July/August 2015, but the official ok wouldn’t come until October of 2015.
While we waited for a response from the fundings, we started work on Monster Hotel, which was to be a short game finished in 2 months and released on the web and mobile. As you may have noticed, the development of the game ended up taking around 11 calendar months. This is when I discovered Valve time and the specific demands of video game development and project management in the digital economy...
In October of 2015 we received official confirmation that we would receive funding and signed the relevant paperwork (woot woot)! We were all super excited to get back to work on Dead Cells.
However, right at that moment, Apple and Google decided that they quite liked Monster Hotel and wanted to feature it on their app stores, on the condition that we added features XY and Z... Of course we jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately as the lead developer for Monster Hotel and Dead Cells was the one and only deepnight, that meant that we again pushed back the production of DC.
Fast forward to the end of December 2015 and Monster Hotel has been launched with a certain amount of success. The catch being, deepnight and Carduus have had enough of the game and were considering a murder suicide pact if they had to spend one more minute on it… They wanted to be working on Dead Cells. So we halted official development of MH and the guys dug up the DC files.
So this means that the beginning of 2016 has been entirely devoted to Dead Cells. We’ve now got a team of 5 people working on the game. Numerous publishers are waiting to see what we’ve come up with and many people are super happy with what we’ve done.
BUT you wouldn’t recognise the game.
So what’s changed?
Well given that this post is already waaaaay too long and the fact that the list of changes would be even longer… I’ll post another update next week with all of the things that we have changed.
Not to leave you hanging too much though, here’s a few BIG things that have changed:
The game is now single player.
Dead Cells will be released on PC through Steam.
The game will be buy to play, with a fixed one off price.
The chicken is dead.
I’ll be responding to questions on the forum, but I’ll post a detailed log of what has changed from one version to another as soon as have the list.
The Mountains of Putrefaction citizens were brutally murdered by a horde of zombies... But now, they are the horde, they are the vilains, they are the zombies. Their goal, your goal, is to slaughter as many villages as possible. The best human killers will receive rewards from the Animaction Guild.
The survival game is based on a dice system, which can be great for zombies, or great for humans, only the number of players will change the result! Get ready for a massive carnage, that you are the author... Join the horde!
- Following an incident with one of hosts, our sites were out of action this morning for about 3 hours (as you probably noticed!)
- What happened? Giant mutant rodents chewed threw our server cables injuring several brave system admins who sprang to their defence... (reality: a routine maintenance operation somehow cut the power to a large part of our servers and hardware.)
We're currently working with our host to identify how the beasts gained access to our secret lab and how we can keep them at bay in the future. (reality: basically making sure we know how and why it happened so we can avoid it in the future.)
We beg your forgiveness and ask for a moment of silence to honour those injured in battle...
So here we are... just look how far we've come: 1524 days... it's been a hell of a journey! I really want to thank all of you for playing, and making this an incredibly enjoyable and rewarding experience, and I mean it when I say I'll miss you all. You've already met your new resident anglophone, Buzzard! I hope he has as much fun with you all as I've had these last 4 years, from square one of Die2Nite to the launch of Motion Twin mobile.
To the mentors, the moderators, the realists, the idealists, the knowlegable, the incorrigible, the game-enhancers, the brazen chancers, you're the best! Don't go changing... you're what makes the Motion Twin gaming community great.
We'd like to apologise for the recent slowdown and lag some of you have experienced. We originally thought this problem could have been with out servers but it turned out that this was due to issues experienced by telecoms providers in certain areas and was outwith our control. Thank you for bearing with us, we thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.
By way of apology from all the Twinoid team, here's a picture of a perpetually angry man.
- Hey guys, I've got an idea! What if we did this for our next games too? Make them playable on the web AND on mobile devices? That'd be sweet, wouldn't it? - Meh, forget it. Mobiles and tablets are so has-been, a year from now people won't even talk any more. - Although, it could be handy for playing... erm... in the shower, for example.
There will be an extended period of maintenance tomorrow morning which will begin at 08h30 and could last until 12h00 at the outside. We will do everything possible to have the good ship Twinoid and all those who sail in her back up and running as early as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and understanding in this matter.