Developer Update #4 – The Roadmap

Welcome back to more frequent developer updates! Rather than go over specific game features, I want to take this opportunity to lay out a more detailed roadmap and path to the full release. I know this is highly appreciated by many, so I have spent some time detailing a schedule of game additions and releases.

The schedule is quite generous in terms of time since this is a one-man project and I’ll want to account for a variety of unexpected delays, but even so: any dates here are very much subject to change, and things may arrive later or earlier depending on external factors.

Fall 2019: Public Mobile Alpha

For the next several months, the main focus lies on finishing a playable mobile demo, with the primary purpose of gathering public feedback. This demo will feature two levels, a handful of enemies and weapons, and a vertical slice of the gameplay experience.

This demo will initially be available to Patreon backers – natively on Android, and on PC as a port of the mobile version (the full PC version will be available later during the beta stage.) A much as I would like to provide an iOS alpha as well, I currently lack the resources for this – definitely aiming to be able to do so for the beta though.

August

The remaining half of August will primarily focus on adding two additional weapons, both of which use all-new ammo types and will add some much-needed variety to combat:

  • The Coil Shotgun fires electric pellets and is highly effective at shorter ranges. While each individual pellet deals fairly low damage, the electric charge damages enemies over time as they are hit. It can be upgraded to make its pellets bounce off walls, or to fire a single electric arc turning it into a sustained fire weapon.
  • The Mine Layer fires small explosive charges that stick to enemies or solid surfaces. When hitting an enemy, they explode after a short delay. When hitting a solid surface they turn into proximity charges which explode once an enemy gets nearby. It can be upgraded to use EMP charges which has no area damage but disables enemies, or to turn the charges into tripwire emitters that link together – they cannot hit enemies directly but deal massive damage when used as a trap.

September

September is focusing almost entirely on new enemies. The floating Probe that has been shown in footage so far – while adequate for its role as cannon fodder – is definitely a fairly static and boring enemy to fight. This month will see the addition of a number of enemies of various behavior and engagement ranges for much more interesting combat. Here are a few examples – not all of these will be added by the alpha release:

  • The Compressor is a repurposed mining bot which uses its front-mounted mandibles as a powerful melee tool. While slow to move and turn, they can activate a movement boost to rapidly close up on an unsuspecting player.
  • The Mite is a small ground-based enemy that acts as a small mine on legs. It is the only enemy type that can follow the player into smaller ventilation ducts, and can crawl on walls and ceilings. A characteristic ticking sound makes it easier to tell they are nearby.
  • The Mite Nest is a slow-walking construct that periodically spawns enemy mites. Its own weapons are weak so it generally makes sense to prioritize it as soon as possible to avoid being overrun. When defeated it consumes itself in a powerful explosion.
  • The Immolator is a powerful enemy you will want to flank – in the front the Immolator is equipped with a powerful blast shield which has to be destroyed before it can take damage, whereas at the back it features an exposed fuel tank making it an easy target. Its armament is no less impressive: It features twin-mounted kerosene cannons that covers the player in a flammable material, followed by a smaller top-mounted igniter that sets the kerosene on fire and causes massive damage over time. Strategic players can trick the Immolator into covering other enemies in kerosene, and then ignite it with one of their own weapons.
  • The Drone is fast and airborne, and features a single-use missile launcher capable of dealing a moderate amount of damage. Each Drone is coupled with a rearming station, and after firing it has to return to be able to launch another missile. While fast, small and agile, a player can pursue it to its rearming station where it is vulnerable.

October

October is dedicated to finalizing two fully featured levels for inclusion in the playable alpha. With this there will also be a number of new environment props added, such as billboards and unique props. The following levels are planned for inclusion:

  • AR-1 Cryogenics– cybernetic experiments were undertaken in this Antarctic facility serving as the introductory level of the game.
  • Axiom Hub – this installation, alongside 47 others of the same design, was part of a massive project aiming at draining Earth’s oceans. It features underwater sections and some other unique design features.

November

This is where the first playable version of the game is made available! I am currently looking at releasing the playable alpha at some point in November – the weeks leading up to this will mostly consist of bug fixing, optimization, and refining existing features.

Winter 2019/2020: Feature Complete

The following months will focus on getting all the game features fully implemented. Many are in already, but some remain and will be added here:

  • A weapon upgrade system which lets you find Upgrade Kits and specialize your weapons with upgrades of your choosing.
  • Environment hazards: Acid (damages armor heavily, health somewhat), lava (damages armor somewhat, health heavily), poisonous gas (damages health directly, ignoring armor), and electricity (highly damaging but only if armor is empty).
  • Many more cybernetic upgrades! The game currently features about 30, but tons more are being planned.
  • Computer terminals – find story and lore datalogs, and disable/control enemies with the Hacking cybernetic module.
  • More enemies, weapons, and levels.

Spring 2020: Public Multiplatform Beta

At this stage I aim to roll out a public beta on all 3 target platforms (Android, iOS, PC) – still with only a handful of levels, but with the core mechanics and content much more fleshed out since the alpha version.

The public beta will be open to everyone, although Patreon supporters will get earlier access.

Late 2020: Content Complete & Release

The final release is currently being planned for late 2020 as a pay-once title without any in-game microtransactions. Any Patreon supporters of $5 or more will receive the game for free on all platforms!

Beyond: Post-launch support, expansion packs

Post-launch updates will be grouped into two categories – smaller patches and larger expansion packs. The former focus on bug fixes, balance changes, and quality-of-life improvements and will roll out as free updates, whereas expansion packs will be paid and provide a larger amount of new content. There are no concrete plans for exactly what these expansions will contain as I’m focusing on making the release version of the game everything I have envisioned.

Hopefully this provides some insight into the development schedule and process. As mentioned above these dates are still very much in fluctuation and with a one-person development process there are a lot of things that can cause delays, but nonetheless it’s a schedule to try to stick to!

Next week’s development update will detail the XP and leveling system, and the cybernetics/perks the player gain as they level up.