Alright, humans. We’ve been super busy here at GoE HQ, and I’m excited to share some of our latest updates with you this week! I’m titling this post “The Next Level”, because, as we sit here on the precipice of our free Alpha 2 release, there are so many things we are doing to make significant strides forward with our little space robot game. Let’s start with some of the in-game updates and branch out from there!
I’m very happy to announce that, for the first time ever, Gears of Eden has persistence! We’re working hard to include as much persistence as possible in our Alpha 2 release, but already we can now store and retrieve the rover position as well as the battery charge level! This is the first time that playing Gears of Eden hasn’t meant starting over from scratch! Next up on our list of things to add to the persistence system are player inventory and equipped parts. At the very least, we’d love to get those two items added to the save system prior to launching Alpha 2, so stay tuned for more news on this soon.
Another thing we are polishing up for the Alpha 2 release is the environment in Gears. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going in and adding areas of interest to the game. These areas serve to break up the monotony of the asteroid and provide unique features and geology. We’ve even introduced our first area that contains an environment effect mechanic: a vapor field of toxic gas venting from the surface that damages your components! Rumors say there may even be an important item in this dangerous area… so bring some repair kits!
In our internal testing builds, we also have recently introduced two new items to the game: sand and glass. Sand introduces our first RNG-based resource. As you drill and collect other elements, such as iron or cobalt, you now have a chance to also collect silicate-rich sand. Each time you do not collect sand, the chance goes up. This small introduction has a number of immediate effects on gameplay. First of all, if you are trying to mine sand, you can’t just go out and get what you need. You must mine another element, and pick up sand as a crit drop. Secondly, if you don’t want sand, it acts as a filler for your cargo space. This means you have to manage your inventory more carefully, and provides an early incentive to upgrade your cargo hold (something that was previously sorely lacking).
The sand is used to build our first second-level crafting resource in the game, glass. In turn, glass is now used in the recipes for solar panels and spectrometers. These changes make the crafting chains a little more challenging and rewarding. We will be looking for feedback on these system during our Alpha 2 testing window, but if you want to get a sneak peek and provide early feedback, be sure to join our gamedev streams on Twitch.
The UI upgrade we’ve been working on is completely done, and we’re really down to filling out the persistence system and squashing bugs. We should be announcing a release window for Alpha 2 very soon, so please continue to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for the latest information (and be sure you have signed up for a free alpha key on our website).
As for our larger next steps, I would really appreciate your attention here on the state of the game. With Alpha 2, we really need to make some leaps forward in growing our audience and gaining support. We’ve done just about as much as we can as a team of decentralized indie developers without funding. We’re all working on this project in our spare time, and that means develop can be slow and painstaking. We’ll be launching a fundraising campaign to correspond with Alpha 2 to help us develop more quickly. We are also trying to exhibit our game at PAX East in late March. If you’re unfamiliar with PAX, it is a large gaming convention that draws over 80,000 fans and is held in Boston. It’s not cheap to go as an exhibitor. It will cost us several thousand dollars to attend. Money we do not have. So, this is really a make or break moment for us as a development team. I’m leaning toward putting up the money personally to go and see if this can help provide the exponential growth we need – but it also means if we aren’t successful, we might be too far in the hole to keep going. We’ve raised less than a thousand dollars (without a dedicated campaign) in the 2+ years we’ve been actively developing, and spent many times that already. So, unfortunately, money is a barrier moving forward. That said, I am exploring the idea of having our booth sponsored – so if you know of any business owners that might be interested, please help us get in touch. If you’re interested in helping support our booth personally, let us know as well. You can find us on our Discord server, or reach out to us on social media. Otherwise, we would appreciate the support of all of you when we’re ready to roll out our fundraising campaign and Alpha 2 launch to help us spread the word!
Thank you so much for reading. That’s going to do it for this update! In case you missed it, we have some brand new robot-themed shirts and mugs available on our DesignByHumans store! And, as a reminder, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you get a free Twitch subscription to use every month. We’d appreciate you using that sub over on our Twitch channel if you aren’t already using it! Thank you so much for being part of this journey with us! I’m really excited about Alpha 2, PAX, and am hopeful for the opportunity to take Gears of Eden to new heights in 2019 with all of you!