Entering 2018 (Week "39")

Mat's picture
Happy New Year!
 

First thing first: the project is still alive. And so am I.

As for the past several months... one of my returning concerns was how much I should share from my personal life with you. I mean, you're interested in the project, not the guys behind it. (For the rest of the team this question is much simpler. They're not blogging.)

Still, the project is heavily affected by all kind of stuff that hits us during our journey. Indies are most vulnerable to ... real life.

So for the sake of transparency, I figured I would briefly explain what happened to me, and subsequently, the project.

Personal Report
(skip to the Status Report if you're  not interested in the personal aspect)

In short: my immune system pretty much collapsed in late October.

First I got eczema on my hands - annoying if you spend your days in front of a keyboard, but not a showstopper -, then I got the flu too. Things went south from there. Mistreated with flu, I developed a couple bacterial and virus infections, spreading from my tongue to my lungs, which led to pneumonia. I couldn't sleep for weeks due to unstoppable coughing bursts.

When finally treated with strong antibiotics by specialist doctors, side effects forced me to bed rest for weeks. Then I spent the night of December 22nd in the Emergency Department, and at first and for awhile it seemed I was to spend Christmas in the hospital, but fortunately I didn't have to!  (luckily, the kids were at the grandparents). First set of probiotics were also ineffective, so imagine a two month diet, spanning through Christmas and New Year's Eve ... on fresh water and soup. What an untasteful joke.

Also in late October, doctors found a tumor, which, just this January, turned out to be benign (waiting lists for biopsy are long). More exactly, they say "there is no obvious sign of malignity". However, they still have to find the origin of this issue to treat it (and to have it safely removed).

So at the moment, I'm recovering from the first batch of issues and have scheduled examinations & (for periodic control) biopsies for the latter.

Still, I'm finally able and want to work on Feudums, albeit with limitations; with said interruptions for medical treatment and not 10-12 hours a day. Also, please bear in mind that I didn't tell you this for sympathy.  I told it so you can see what had to happen to keep me away from the project. Hopefully, something  like that won't happen again anytime soon.

Status Report

Since The Last Weekly Report

From early November till the last week, the project lacked efficient management. I always thought I'll be fine in a couple weeks, and was communicating this way, so we tried to find temporary solutions and tasks for everyone. Not as working priorities would say, but what others could do without my presence and won't last longer than a week. In retrospect, of course it wasn't the best idea... but neither the worst.

So Steve was working on bug lists and internal optimizations, instead of working on the Game World management (which would require me). Then, as my situation deteriorated, we released him, starting at the second part of December and lasting until this week. So he could work on Instait's own projects and we spared about a month of his presence for this year.

Sándor also ended up spending all but the last half of December working on art for what we call in-game story events. These events would each present a situation and a couple ways to handle them, each with it's own in-game result. This wasn't on our priority list, and is not intended to be part of the next release. But he could do it with the available documents and with minimal support.

We had plans for Mark testing the admin features (and setting up the CoA elements' unlock rules and groups), but that yet to happen due to my unavailability in the timespan he would have been able to do these.

I barely did any coding stuff - whenever I had a moment, I spent it making sure the guys were not stuck on anything. 

All of this means, of course, is that we're short 2 - 2.5 months of coding work on both the client and server functionality from our original schedule. So in the current quarteryear, most efforts will go to remedy this situation.

What Lies Ahead

Steve is going to finish all bug fixing on this and the coming week, then we'll once again discuss the next milestones with Instait members. The current preference is to put everything aside until the Game World management, and a multi-player demo is ready. Another option is a single-player demo, in which case, more efforts can be put into the client-side & the presentation of the game.

Sándor will make his finishing touches on art and resources for a public demo, then he'll take his long-planned break to help another indie team catch their dreams. They are working on a different kind of game but they'll surely benefit from Sándor's beautiful 2D art skills. Other than occasional fixes (which he'll remain accessible for), he has created everything we are going to need for months. This will help me to spend more time on coding and he also won't be working on things that might change a couple times before we actually reach them. He is scheduled to return a few weeks prior the GUI works for the demo would start, just in case we need some extra work here or there.

There will be other changes to buy us more time for coding, and to reduce task switching (which is a real efficiency killer).

  1. We're most likely skip the public, online CoA demo, as it does not sound interesting alone. Especially after a nearly three months hiatus. Since we want to release a playable demo, the online CoA can also debut right there. It would feel more natural that way - and keep us focused on a single goal. Vanguards might still get an online CoA demo as "early access" (a private, as-is release).
  2. All but the most important demos will target Windows only. This is based on your feedback about platform preferences (we'll reiterate the question if preferences change in the meantime). At some point it'll likely include Steam integration... if our Greenlit (since the feature has been since retired by Valve) still permits us to release a game in early access there. This means we won't need to hunt platform-specific issues, nor we need to create workarounds for platform-specific Unity bugs. We can just wait till they fix their product as it won't be so time sensitive, or can fix everything in a batch if they won't do it in time.
  3. There will also be some changes in reporting. Though it's a hard choice and kind of a setback, we'll try running bi-weekly or monthly reports instead of weekly - as coding time permits. Providing weekly insights required a lot of effort from me, something I'd rather spend on coding until we're back on track again. We'll keep Vanguards updated more regularly, posting through the Vanguard Area, as it requires less effort to post short updates on a forum. Those updates will be then assembled into bi-weekly or monthly reports by Mark or me (hopefully by Mark, as then again it would spare some coding time and task switching losses).

At least this is the plan. If you really don't like it; or on the contrary, you think this might actually work... share your thoughts! 

Some people say 2017 was the year of bringing things to a close, and 2018 is the year of new creation. I'm not fond of such thoughts, but if we play along, in 2017 we settled all disputes, acquired the necessary resources, support and re-established Feudums development. So if 2018 is about creating new things... well, my hopes are that I won't need to find similar references for 2019. (small letters: and definitely not because either I or the project is dead by that time)

 

Take Care!

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Comments

Mat,

just a quick note to say thanks for the update.

I'm sorry to hear about all the issues you've faced both personally and as a feudums team.

I'm still around and hanging in here waiting to see how this progresses. Still with you mate and still rooting for you all.

T

Mat's picture

Thank you Thraxas, it is much appreciated! 

By the way, internal progress reports are still available for all Vanguards. These will be then eventually compiled into the public status reports.

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