Hi folks, I thought it was the time we posted an update to let you know what has actually been happening with Dream & HyperSloth.
Quite a few of you have been mentioning that I am active on Social Media which is true, but not on the HyperSloth page or forums. The reason for this is that we purely don't check those pages as much as we should do; same with the contact email.
I do most of my main admin work via my own email/twitter etc and it took us a while to realise that in fact if we had looked at these more often that you folks were calling out to us.
I’ll be working on keeping a closer eye on social media.
Lack of Updates
This somewhat correlated to the section above in that we were browsing the steam forums but there was very little we could actually do about it.
A few months before Dream was officially released we all moved out of the office back to our homes for many reasons as explained later. Doing this broke our SVN (we used a local SVN network with Lewis' machine as the host) and I did the last sprint on Dream to release (Which is probably why the launch was so rocky too!)
Because of our incompetence in backing up the source, lack of funds and experience, most of the source code was now all over the place. (Garys machine, Sams work machine, Lewis' work machine, mine and my home machine)
These machines have been broken / wiped since so we no longer have the source code.
Publisher and QA
Our publisher was great to us personally and especially because we were all fresh 20-year-old faces with no experience. They really helped us get off the ground running with Dream and provided help and funds to get us out of our rough patch starting out (I have written about this area many times in previous blogs).
Unfortunately what we didn't realise is that there were some serious money problems within the publisher which only became clearer down the line and resulted them failing to pay dev fees on time & failure to deliver us some of our royalties.
Then the costs for QA and Localisation alone were insane. About 40K. We unfortunately had no choice in the matter as this was paid and recouped before we even knew about it.
I had a friend play through an early build and found more bugs than the QA company did.
You folks and Greenlight also found most of the bugs!
Eventually after much stress(on both parts I'm sure), the publisher went bust which unfortunately really did a number on us as they owed quite a hefty amount of 1) 'Sales' and 2) 'Development costs' - Development costs which were already recouped long before paid.
As a team of 3 who had opened personal loans and invested our small savings, it hurt us quite a bit. We also had lots of overhead going on (Software, Outsourcing work, Engine Fees to name a few).
We lost around £40,000.
All in all, we had seen a profit of around £70,000, before tax, which was poured into wages, clearing our starting debt, trips, marketing and other bits and bats throughout the 3-4 year dev cycle; but in return we gained a ton of experience.
Even though we were quite on the Dream forums we were actively looking at porting and releasing free DLC.
Dream is built with UDK which is now an old engine. Many of the bugs in engine directly correlate to the bugs in Dream so the plan was to try and get funding to port Dream to UE4.
UE4 offers VR support as well, which was the main reason we ventured on the development of Dream. (VR was initially supported with UDK but epic dropped all support and went onto UE4 More here http://www.ashstancill.net/?p=36
The funding would be to let a publisher outsource the porting work / data mine the game in order to port due to the lack of source code, rebuild in UE4 and release for free with VR and free DLC. We even offered 80% revenue to the publishers because it was a big job.
Again, unfortunately, we missed out on a few publishing deals by a hair!
We are still actively looking, however.
We can't port Dream ourselves due to new commitments and lack of funding for it ( We've been quoted around 80,000 ).
Team now and Personal Notes.
Which brings us to now.
HyperSloth is currently running by Myself and Lewis now. We do have a new IP in the works which is funded by another party.
Sam left the company back in May 2015 and launched his first game (http://store.steampowered.com/app/454950/Mainlining/)
Gary left employment back in September 2014 and has been doing very well running his company with the launch of his game, Sublevel Zero (http://store.steampowered.com/app/327880/Sublevel_Zero/)
It really does upset me that we failed to make the game we wanted to make and the way we handled post-launch.
I was unsure whether to write this too; it's been so long it might mainly come across as being rude and looking for an excuse but that really isn't the case. I thought we should explain ourselves.
I think we handled Greenlight quite well, in fact, I was told a few teams had used us as a base example of how to Greenlight, but post-release has been an embarrassment by the lack of communication and respect to you.
Thanks for taking the time to read. I hope one day we can deliver an iterated version of Dream. Dream was our first game and it was very difficult to get as far as we did with it and we know it has been left in a less than ideal state.
Thanks, and Sorry TL:DR -
With Dream our publisher went out of business whilst holding a large cut of the games sales which impacted the amount of time and effort we could spend on post release updates before money ran out. Their financial situation is also what pushed us to release earlier than intended and why the initial version had as many bugs as it did have.