Filling in the gap

by | Apr 21, 2020 | Dev Blog

The last blog post was published on 4th October 2018; it’s been a little while since then, let me fill you in.

Stefan started full time development of Deepfield early 2018.

I joined him in making games in April 2018; I didn’t work on Deepfield though, I started working on a smaller project, a simulation/strategy game, Crypto Crisis.

We continued to work on our separate projects for the better part of 2018.

At some stage Stefan stopped working on Deepfield to help me push Crypto Crisis over the line.

In February 2019, Crypto Crisis (and it’s Education Edition) were fully released.

Following the release of Crypto Crisis, we decided to start another small project instead of going back to Deepfield. Road Rage was a simple top down, shoot em up, vehicular combat game.

During pre-production, the scope of Road Rage grew; what started off small turned into a story driven, 3D, vehicular combat, looter-shooter starring your crazy, but awesome grandma.

A few months down the track we realised we didn’t have the resources and skill sets to execute on Road Rage. We lacked the art, 3D modelling/animation and story writing/telling skills to pull the game off. When we took a few steps back, we could see that we were trying to create a game which didn’t play very well to our strengths.

So back to Deepfield right? Not quite yet.

We decided to start another small project, Hatches.

Hatches was a game I originally wanted to build. It was a top down, 3rd person, grid based, hide and run roguelike. Up to 4 players enter a procedurally generated labyrinth which has multiple levels. Each level contains an entrance hatch, exit hatch, monster lair and an overpowered monster.

Hatches wasn’t built completely from scratch, it was built on a modified version of the Deepfield engine. We got a prototype out in a few months and did 2 rounds of in-person testing. The feedback was mixed; some parts were fun, some were tedious and boring.

It was November 2019. At this point, as a business, we had no idea what we were doing; we weren’t making enough money to support ourselves, the runway was getting short and we had no idea what was on the horizon.

I decided to take a step back from game development to work on the business side while Stefan made some core changes to Hatches.

The next 3-4 months were very startup life (for me anyways); we put ourselves, our ideas and products out there. We learnt an absolute crapton while simultaneously getting bitch slapped by reality over and over again.

I’m not going to go too much into detail here, however, there was one big shift in development that came out of this process that I would like to mention: Fractal.

Fractal is the game engine powering Deepfield. Before Fractal was Fractal, we thought of the Deepfield engine and Deepfield as one in the same thing; the engine enabled Deepfield and was built specifically for it.

When we started thinking about our vision for the future and strengths as a business, we realised that the technology powering Deepfield is our secret sauce and should therefore be our core product. This shift fundementally changed how Deepfield is being built.

I really want to talk more about Fractal but I’m going to save it for future posts.

After the whole startup life episode (and a short recovery period), we knew that in order to get anywhere we needed to create something of value. To create something of true value we would need to focus on one thing.

We had to decide which project to focus on for the next few years, it was time for Deepfield to make it’s return.

Hooray! Deepfield is back in development with some pretty big changes versus the 2018 version. I’ll go over what’s different and what you can look forward in our next post.