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December 16 - et1337
The big announcement since the last update is that Lemma now supports Oculus Rift! I showed the game with it at the Ohio Game Developer Expo and it was a huge hit.
Lemma has also grown a time trial mode. I've built three small challenge levels for it so far. The good news is, Lemma now has an extremely powerful level editor, so you can make your own challenge levels and share them via Steam Workshop.
Right now I spend most of my time building new levels and tweaking existing ones. Here's a sneak peek:
My current goal is to release around April. If you can't wait until then, I made another game to tide you over! Level design is hard work, so last month I took a week-long break to participate in 7DFPS, an annual global challenge to create a first-person shooter in 7 days. My entry is called grepr.
Play grepr here.
If all goes well, I won't be posting another update until the game is complete. Scary thought.
As always, check the (newly re-designed!) development blog for more frequent updates.
Thanks for reading!
July 9 - et1337
Hello Steam denizens! I just wanted to stop by and let you know that Lemma is still alive and making significant progress. Since the last public demo, Lemma has received a total engine overhaul, a brand new player character with new, high-quality animations, some major level design improvements, and a redesigned level editor that's almost ready for public consumption.
And now, it has a new trailer!
We are still a ways out from any solid announcements, but if you'd like to see more frequent updates, I've been posting weekly(ish) over on my development blog.
April 16 - et1337
Here we are folks, counting down the last remaining Kickstarter hours!
I'm happy to announce that regardless of the Kickstarter outcome, production of Lemma will continue.
To be honest, I originally planned to cancel everything if the campaign failed. I figured a failed Kickstarter would be a sign that people aren't interested, and that I should cut my losses (nearly 4 years of work) and move on. But in the past month I realized a few things:
- I was kind of shocked at first to find out that people love the game. I'm continually surprised and delighted that people can look past all the flaws and garner an enjoyable experience out of something I've created.
- I overestimated the amount of work ahead of me. I thought people would blow through the demo in no time and complain about how short it was. The reality is, not a single Let's Player has finished the demo in one video without a lot of editing. Some of that is due to frustrations with level design and controls, but a lot of it is just that people like to explore the world and figure things out for themselves, which is amazing. Armed with that knowledge, I'm much more confident that I can create the experience I want in a reasonable amount of time.
- Running a successful Kickstarter takes a lot more than just a great vision with a solid prototype. I failed big-time in the PR department, partly due to lack of experience, and partly because I'm just bad at it. I make games, I don't sell them.
- With that in mind, I realize now that if a Kickstarter fails, it doesn't necessarily mean the idea is not worth pursuing. Many failed campaigns later re-launch and go on to exceed their goals. (I won't be doing that because I don't want to take any more time away from development.)
Knowing all that, I'm confident that I can find the necessary resources to make this game happen even if we don't reach our Kickstarter goal. It may take more time and money on my part, but it will happen!
In fact, it's happening right now. I better get back to coding!
April 12 - et1337
We are now in the midst of the final week of Kickstarter funding! With the campaign nearing the end, I thought I would give you another development update.
First, I spent a few days completely rewriting every bit of text in the game to support multiple languages. You can now change the language from this nifty selector on the main menu, and the whole game instantly switches:
Now all we have to do is translate ALL the things!
Next: I've been thinking hard about the phone mechanic, which is one of my favorite features in Lemma. I'm not aware of another game that does something similar. However, the execution leaves something to be desired. The phone conversations can not be skipped, and they can pop up right in the middle of your parkour flow, which gets old fast.
I've decided to add a new twist to the phone: signal towers. You will not be able to send or receive text messages unless you are near a signal tower, which means you could technically skip every phone conversation just by avoiding them.
Here's a look at one of the signal towers, suitably abstracted to fit within the aesthetic of the world:
This also opens up new writing possibilities for me, because now the player can actually initiate the conversation instead of only responding. Making the conversations skippable also improves the experience for speedrunners, which is good for a parkour game!
More features are in the pipeline as well. I collected some reference images and did a rough sketch of the player for a character artist to get an idea of what she looks like.
As I've said before, redesigning the player character and animations is the primary purpose of this Kickstarter. So hopefully an artist will be able to take my very rough ideas and turn them into an awesome model.
Lastly, some good news for audiophiles! AudioKinetic, the company that makes the industry-standard Wwise audio engine, recently announced that their product is free to use for projects with under 200 assets, which fits Lemma nicely. This engine should dramatically improve the audio quality in Lemma. Switching to Wwise is also a necessary step for a possible Mac and Linux port. Here's a screenshot of the Wwise content editor in action:
So that's what I've been working on. Now you're up to date! Thanks again for all your great support. Let's keep this going and get it funded in the last week!
April 7 - et1337
The big news is that Michael from Primescribe stepped up and offered the services of his team for free to translate Lemma into Russian! It's clear to me that the translation is badly needed, because Russia is our second largest source of traffic on Greenlight. So thank you to Michael and the rest of the team! I'll be spending some time in the coming weeks implementing localization, which hopefully can be used to bring in more translations later on.
We got some wonderful coverage today from Strategy Informer! A nice well-written article with lots of info about the game. Ignideus also posted a great video of Lemma yesterday with nice editing and insightful commentary.
That's it for now. Thank you to everyone who tried out the latest Build 353, lots of great feedback flowing in. Stay tuned for more updates!