It’s no secret that the disruption brought upon PixelFoundry by the unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign has slowed things down a good deal for us. It’s also understandable that our recent lack of updates might seem out of the ordinary. Since then, we have been reflecting on what we have achieved thus far while figuring out what the future holds for Blackspace. With our timeline in major flux, any “announcement” that is not set immediately in motion would prove to be problematic.
With all that said, we are still dedicated to bringing Blackspace to our fans who have supported and followed us thus far as well as those that have not had the chance to even hear about us. Along those lines, we are working on putting together the “Mechanically Challenged” pre-alpha demo which we had originally promised during our Kickstarter campaign. This has meant that we had to hammer out some of the rough edges (in some cases literally) that did not get featured in our previous media showcases, as well as removing the reliance on dev-only debug functionality that we use on a day-to-day basis. So things like input control assignments along with gamepad support and graphics settings are now properly customizable via the front-end UI. There is still much to expose to the end-user UI however, not to mention that the UI system overall itself is still in need of a decent facelift. The good part about this effort will be that there will be little-to-no lost work that we would not have had to do for the final version anyway.
As part of the demo, we will provide a series of gameplay mechanics challenges that will help the player get familiar with and ultimately master a particular mechanic of the game while keeping it fun and competitive. It will be through these challenges that the player gets a chance to experience these features before they are made available in the proper full-fledged scenarios.
As an example, below is a shot of the path required to complete one of the slalom challenges.
Note: The cropped parts of the “expected path” (red line) are there because the players need to decide if they should navigate over the terrain, or around it.
Since we are striving to make sure everything is as data-driven as necessary, who knows… We might eventually release level/challenge editors once we lock down the low-level features.
It is still too early to give a definitive date for when we would expect to release the demo, but we will communicate that when we are are nearing completion. Even though the demo itself will only show a mere slice of what the final game is going to offer, we hope to that the feedback from our supporters (be it gameplay bugs, technical bugs, performance issues etc.) will prove to be invaluable as we are working towards our alpha.