Under the Ocean

Under the Ocean

 This topic has been pinned, so it's probably important
paulbbg  [developer] Feb 3, 2015 @ 2:59am
Mike has left the party.
So this has been quite awhile coming it seems, progress has been crawling of late (as you well have might noticed) since we ran out of money at the end of last year, will cut to the chase...

Michael Reitzenstein (the projects programmer) has left the project. Circumstances have changed for Mike and it was really great working with him but he has decided to move on, due to differences in opinion about the future direction of the game.

So where does this leave the project without a programmer? Well, it leaves just me left, out of money and maybe against better judgement and out of sheer stubbornness, I am not quitting, I will not declare this project dead. I don't care how long this takes, I don't care how hard, I WILL finish this project, by myself if that's what it takes. I made a promise to finish this project and that is exactly what I plan to do, against all odds.

This news will obviously come as a huge blow to everyone awaiting alpha 9, as it means what we know as alpha 9 today will have to be shelved and completely rebuild with my (limited) programming ability. Before you descend into nasty remarks or anything of that nature, know Mike and I have been trying for the longest time to try and get this thing out, and this has been one of the hardest posts Ive had to make in my life, whatever emotion you feel for this, multiply that by a year of work for a missed goal.

So lets talk financials, but I will be doing something that I have wanted to do for some time while working on alpha 9, I will be de-listing the game from Steam until a decent build is available, I think this makes the most sense as I don't want to deceive people into thinking the game is one thing when it is not. So as soon as I can hook it up, this game will be de-listed. As far as refunds, as I mentioned before I don't have enough money to pay them at the moment, so when/if sales start to happen again, I can start offering them again, but right now refunds are coming out of my (non existent) bank balance, I may need to work part-time to keep the dream alive, but more importantly feed my son. I will make a post when the project starts making money again so you can start asking again.

EDIT: The games store-page has been de-listed, thanks Jason/Steam.

IMPORTANT:

I will no longer be responding to people in this thread, I am too emotional over the events to really have a level conversation about it at this point, and I only have so much time to devote to this game per day, so I have decided to focus completely on development at the link below rather than descending into debates about what went wrong and reading negativity, I can't remain productive to the level where this will get finished otherwise. Contact me here but keep it about development:

http://steamcommunity.com/app/227720/discussions/0/606068060818398271/

Thanks
Last edited by paulbbg; Feb 8, 2015 @ 9:41pm
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Showing 1-15 of 119 comments
fluxtorrent Feb 3, 2015 @ 3:01am 
Sad to hear we lost a developer but glad to hear you intend to keep going. I look forward to what comes from your efforts!
I was not expecting news like that. I sincerly wish you the best of luck in what ever endeavors you may be facing in the near future.
Last edited by Overweight Bald Guy; Feb 3, 2015 @ 3:08am
Sorry to hear sad news like that Paul, I hope this doesnt affect your personal life too much. Still no need for a refund, I've enjoyed the game sofar and it was worth its price. I respect your honesty and i guess most people here will. Good luck Paul and take your time.


beefplay Feb 3, 2015 @ 5:13am 
Composer/sound designer of UTO here:

Paul has shared some great ideas and plans with me, and I share the same sentiments as Paul, we're not backing out!

The patience and understanding of people on this forum is really astounding, and the honesty too is really refreshing. I think that support is going to help us push through and bring out the next update of UTO, and I don't want to say much else, since that's Pauls job ;) but keep the faith, good things will come in time! <3
Etreegan Feb 3, 2015 @ 7:12am 
I have been following this project/game for the longest while, enjoying the development process and watching behind the scenes when trello went live. It is an amazing opportunity that we gamers don't see often and gives us an appreciation of what game devs go through from the beginning to a final polished product.

As much as this is sad news and I feel for you and Mike, I myself won't give up on you and your future endeavors. I will stand beside you as a supporter and keep faith that things will become better.

You guys deserve the upmost respect with how the internet can be so cruel at times.

Thanks to the team for their committment, their passion and for them not giving up when the situation felt like they should.

Keep strong and your head held up high.
CupcakeCult Feb 3, 2015 @ 9:00am 
Very sad news indeed. I hope you're doing okay, this must be pretty hard for you
Still, I wish you the best of luck, and hope that you guys can move forward. I'm glad to hear you're not quitting, it gives me faith that despite this, you're going to keep pushing. :)

In terms of refunds, I agree that you should stop for a while. You have a family - a very young child, and they come first, always. If you're struggling, then the money you have should definitely go towards keeping yourself and your family afloat.
Feb 3, 2015 @ 9:19am 
This is probably the only early access game I regulary check the forums of hoping for a new update. I'd much rather hear such sad news about DayZ and other scams while games like Under the Ocean get the support they deserve.

I really hope you get financially better and get more people on this project because honestly I've yet to find such a peaceful and charming game despite its alpha state.

Refunds are stupid since the game is utterly cheap and alpha 8 is VERY playable and worth 10x the price.

One possibility would be to release alpha 9 as it was before Mike left, like bonus content for buyers and to lure in more players, at least until the game gets going again? I'm sure everyone would love to try it out no matter the state it is in.
Hanomaly Feb 3, 2015 @ 9:46am 
Originally posted by Amarganth:
One possibility would be to release alpha 9 as it was before Mike left, like bonus content for buyers and to lure in more players, at least until the game gets going again? I'm sure everyone would love to try it out no matter the state it is in.
It's possible Paul cannot do that without Mike's permission.

Of course i don't know what their agreement was with each other and i don't know if they had signed contracts and things, but it's possible if Mike "owns" half the Alpha 9 build then no one can release that build without his agreement to do so.

~
To Paul, Thanks for keeping us updated, even about this painful news. i really like the new "open" direction you plan to go in, allowing supporters to sort of see the game "grow" with you in what sounds like a more candid way than before. Good luck.
paulbbg  [developer] Feb 3, 2015 @ 9:52am 
Thanks guys, I was really happy to hear Chris still being keen to do the music even though its going to be a massive change in direction (again) and starting from scratch. First build is going up shortly, ill get something basic up before I sleep as a general rule.
Last edited by paulbbg; Feb 3, 2015 @ 9:53am
Feb 3, 2015 @ 11:51am 
Originally posted by paulbbg:
Thanks guys, I was really happy to hear Chris still being keen to do the music even though its going to be a massive change in direction (again) and starting from scratch. First build is going up shortly, ill get something basic up before I sleep as a general rule.

Why do you have to start from scratch? I'd understand you being unable to continue on alpha 9, but why not go with alpha 8? Starting from the very beginning as if the game hasn't been a single day in development, and being just a single guy...I don't know...sounds daunting.
paulbbg  [developer] Feb 3, 2015 @ 11:56am 
Long story short, lots of stuff can be reused, the code side can't due to the languages I know well enough to write something this scale in, I am the projects artist :)

But desperate times, desperate measures, and all that. Ive uploaded 5 builds tonight so I don't think it will be too long before its floating. And yeh, alpha 8 might actually be better to lift graphics etc from as it is considerably simpler, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
Feb 3, 2015 @ 12:06pm 
Originally posted by paulbbg:
Long story short, lots of stuff can be reused, the code side can't due to the languages I know well enough to write something this scale in, I am the projects artist :)

But desperate times, desperate measures, and all that. Ive uploaded 5 builds tonight so I don't think it will be too long before its floating. And yeh, alpha 8 might actually be better to lift graphics etc from as it is considerably simpler, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

To be honest I much prefered the 2D aspect of the game. It was mysterious in a way no 3D game ever could be. Alpha 8 with its perfect melancholic piano tune really could be considered a final version of the game. While I was more than happy to play the 3D version I secretly always kept a copy of alpha 8.

If you'd just iron out a few minor bugs in alpha 8 all you'd need to do is add content. I always thought multiplayer would ruin this game and would never play it since I love the escapism, the solitude, the lost in the middle of nowhere atmosphere only the single player part has. More people would ruin that just like people tend to ruin everything. :D

I have no knowleding of coding whatsoever, but if you need any help at all with anything else (story perhaps?) I'd be more than glad to give you a hand.
Last edited by ; Feb 3, 2015 @ 12:07pm
Oscar Feb 3, 2015 @ 4:40pm 
I totally concur with the above. I thought Alpha 8 was one of the most beautifull games I'd ever played, no joking <.<. The atmosphere, the ambience, the mysteriousness, the charm, it is almost inexplicable for me to define what I love about it, never have I ever felt this way about a game. Under the Garden was the same for me as well.

And I too would have been happy to try out and and support the 3D direction of the game, but I would be even happier with the focus on 2D =p. And by all means, if it makes it easier for you, that's even better.

I am in awe of how much incredible passion and commitment for game development a person can have. Despite everything, Mike leaving, no money, people wanting refunds, a family to feed, you still press foward and not let any of that get in the way of your goal.

I have faith in you, and the project, I am in this to the end, and I think the game is going to be wonderfull once it's finished =).
paulbbg  [developer] Feb 3, 2015 @ 6:23pm 
Its not the money or even the sales that I worry about, its making something awesome, hopefully I can reach that goal solo. Thanks guys hopefully today I have the item system blocked out.
Michael  [developer] Feb 3, 2015 @ 6:34pm 
It's Mike here, and I'm just writing to say that there are no hard feeling and the split was amicable.

It's not to do with the money; the cash from UTO dried up a while ago, and we both have figured out alternate sources of income. We both take our obligation to finish the game very seriously, and it's not the first time we've spend thousands of hours finishing up a project with no expectation of future sales.

Ultimately, though, we fundamentally disagreed on the best path to take the game, and it was seriously slowing down progress. So it became clear that one of us was going to have to take over the project fully. I was (and am still) willing to do so, but since the game is a sequel to one of Paul's, he has the first right of refusal, and ultimately wanted to be the one to take over.

I expect Paul to make progress much more quickly on his own than we were doing together, especially with a clean slate approach. Fistful of Gun is a great game, and it's clear that his style of development works for him; low fi focus and changing direction frequently to find the best path through (the 2D->3D update would be an example of direction changing).

When we tried to do that with a larger, polished 3D environment, changing directions becomes much more expensive, and in my opinion there's a complexity level past which you really have to solidly plan and commit to a direction.

So with Paul wanting to not plan and do things on the fly, and with me wanting to plan and reluctant to work on what was likely to be thrown out, we just ended up with a big mess, getting none of the benefits of either approach and all of the downsides.

I'd be more than happy to put the hours in to finish the project - I take pride in finishing what I start - but I think my involvement at this point will hurt more than it will help. Which is why we made this tough decision together.

I'll be moving on to other projects, and anyone that has purchased a copy of UTO is welcome to a Steam key of whatever that might be (unfortunately there's no way to easily give them out en masse), which hopefully in addition to a freshly completed UTO will make up for the mess Paul and I have caused here.
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