[009] End of Q1 2019 Update

So... it's been 77 days since the last post, huh...

A lot has happened in 77 days. For one, 11 weeks have passed.

Other than that, most visual updates are all on my twitter account, so go there and scroll through if you're curious! https://twitter.com/sean_htch


Let's focus on the development side, first.

Chart time!

Please note that I measure time in 'production months', which I picked as starting June 1. We were working part-time (from just a few e-mail exhanges to a few days a week) on tech, art style, story drafting and and other pre-production tasks as early as December 2017. I can go into heavy detail some other time about exactly how pre-production went, but you can think of the time we were spending on Anodyne 2 as an upwards slope that reached its asymptote around September of last year. (I was travelling for a lot of July and August, Marina also didn't come on full time till September-ish. I was handling All Our Asias stuff through February last year, too.). Technically I'm not totally full time - I spend about 1.5 days a week with teaching obligations, but those are ending in a month.

Pre-production is usually things like trying to figure out the art style to use, figuring out how the game works at a high-level outline, figuring out the musical style, as well as getting early tech working like cameras, etc.

As always, there's a bit of 'light' spoilers below (if you consider knowing the abstract structure of the game). The completion stats were taken from my November chart in 2018.

PartCompletion Rate (10 mo.)
Completion Rate (5 mo.)
Infrastructure99% (Something will come up again. I just know it.)
Act 1
Act 2
Act 3
Act 490%6%
Act 5
Act Z (Short)
Act A (Shorter)

So, you can see we've been making steady progress. Significant to the past few months was: we released an exclusive preview of Anodyne 2 for select press and streamers. This allowed us to collect bug reports and make Act 1 and 2 quite stable. We probably won't be doing a similar preview for any more of the game (outside of social media promotion). I was sort of surprised by how many random little bugs there were with those Acts, but they've been fixed and a lot of them were infrastructural, so there shouldn't be similar time costs for the other Acts.

We actually worked on Act 4 before Act 3, for Reasons I can't go into yet, but that's pretty much done. I think you'll enjoy it!

Recently we've been working on Act 3, which is in part the blue 3D area I've been showing. Can't say much more... ho ho.

We've finally started concretely thinking about levels and stuff for Act 5, which is fun! I think it will have a lot of exciting things in it.

I won't explain what "Act Z" and "Act A" mean, but they are shorter. Probably less effort combined than Act 3 or 2 alone.

If you're wondering about the random small numbers in the right column, that's because we've known the overall structure of the game for a while, and Marina's had drafts for the main connective story sections as well. Structure generally doesn't change that much (the game structure has been fixed since spring of 2018), but writing often does undergo revisions and cuts, which is why I set the number so low there for the rightmost column.

Now, the main story is more or less done - there may be some wording or flow revisions but it's all rather minor. We're in 'skeletal cutscene implementation ready' stage for the later main story scenes.

This means it's safe for me to make event triggers and import dialogue into the game without having to waste time at a later date changing too much stuff.

However, we're not in 'final cutscene implementation' stage yet. Until we have all models/sprites/animations/art finished, I won't bother roughing out camera angles, sprite movement, animation cues, etc. If I rough drafted those things now, that means I'd have to revise the current rough draft, and usually that ends up costing more time than if I just wait till the art is there. Better to consolidate work when possible.

Getting the skeleton there, though, is useful, as I can iron out bugs related to game progression and the like.

Annnyways, that's probably enough about game production for now. Phew!


We did release that exclusive preview on January 22nd-ish, and many people played and loved it! They also streamed it or wrote about it. I'm super fortunate for this. Here's a selection of coverage:

Kotaku https://kotaku.com/anodyne-2-gets-playstation-era-nostalgia-right-1832797345 

Video - Video Game Autopsy (nice video!) . CW: the channel has some gore in the intro of its videos

IndieBytes interview - http://www.indie-bytes.com/articles/anodyne-2-interview 

Let's Play: Alex Zandra

Game Wisdom Interview - Here

Other stuff

We announced a 1-month exclusivity with Kartridge!  You can wishlist the game there if you want: https://www.kartridge.com/games/SeanHanTani/anodyne-2-return-to-dust . I wrote about why here: https://seanhantani.wordpress.com/2019/03/06/anodyne-2-on-kartridge/ .

There's also been a lot of developments in ports of our previous games, Anodyne 1 and Even the Ocean. Anodyne 1 came out on Switch at the end of February! We received some great coverage for that, including a video from Nitro Rad.

Switch has done well for us so far, and in conjunction with PS4/XB1 sales it's helping a lot. We're still hoping for news related to an ETO port, maybe more on that in a few months...

To be honest, for a 2-human studio we're doing pretty well. Thanks to the console ports and continued support of Anodyne 1/Even the Ocean I've been dealing with, we really only need to net $20,000 on Anodyne 2 sales within the first year for Marina and I to be in a good place in terms of living wage. That's about 1500-2000 full price copies priced from $15-$20. 

I think we'll definitely achieve that: Even the Ocean netted around $20,000 in its first year, and that game was extremely poorly marketed, heh heh heh (my fault...)... it had around 4000 Steam wishlists on release day. (Note, usually you gain many wishlists in the week prior to release. Before that week, ETO had around 2400. For reference, Anodyne 2 already has nearly 10,000!)

So... we should be fine, in theory. Even moreso if we figure out something with Anodyne 2 on console (too early to promise anything!).

I hope we can make a decent salary this year... though my goal as a game developer isn't to make millions...  though I wouldn't mind... eh heh heh... I love boats... just kidding, no I don't. I love a well-seasoned wok.

I don't think we'll really become 'rich' but if we do I have a few plans, but it's better to just not talk about it till it happens...

Ok, bye for now.

LINKS (Copied wholesale from last month.

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