Steam

Update #15: April 20

We're wrapping up development! We're looking to publish the full-release game on Steam sometime within the next week or so, so be ready. We've been hard at work cramming-in as much polish and juice as we can before we all graduate and go our separate directions (more on that later). Also, a fun side-note, it's officially been 1 year since our first blog post! 

Game updates:

We have begun the achievement implementation process, so for our full release players will be able to earn a variety of cool game achievements for their feats of strength and stupidity. Dylan made some really cool UI symbols that Hayden re-purposed into achievement icons. Below is a sneak peek at just a few. 

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We've also made small changes to balance, created a save system to keep track of your progress, and have done a lot of work the game's UI. Below is a tiny taste of the UI that we've been improving over the last few weeks. Dylan's been doing some great concepts and Ben has been turning those concepts into reality. 

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Jeremy's been helping us fix bugs, but has also been going real hard at making some super cool VFX. Projectiles and explosions mostly... And a bunch of really juicy stuff that you can find by playing the game!

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And Our 3D artists (Bryan, Nate, Tyrone, and Ruohan) have been hard at work finishing up the assets in our game. These are a few object from what we call the Mining Kit. These items will be scattered around the planet's surface telling stories of the old civilizations that used to mine there. 

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In addition to all this visually beautiful work, the engineers have been hard at work fixing bugs, tweaking AI, and optimizing our game. The designers have been occupied with game testing, level polish, gun balancing, and making the experience rewarding in single-player. We've reduced enemy health and added a few more tweaks that makes the game 1. beatable, and 2. fun for those playing solo. 

We're also working to add more scenes that will bring the player further into the universe we've created for them, as well as give players clearer instructions on how to play the game now that we have the full game loop implemented. We've also created Steam Trading Cards, but need to hit a certain threshold of sales before they enable us to implement them. 

We also added a neat little feature where dead players can now move their spawn beacons. This gives players something to do while deceased, and can create some pretty funny griefing opportunities. 

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We've done a whole lot more on the game over the last few weeks, so please go check out our game, it's only $1 on Steam and the price will raise once we fully release so we'd recommend getting it sooner rather than later. 

Team updates:

Some of you might be wondering where we're all going after we graduate in two weeks. Stephen, Eric, Isaac, Ben, and Bryan are working/ will be working - for WB Avalanche here in SLC on a new, amazing game that will be announced later this year. Karan will be moving from WB Avalanche to Wargaming (World of Tanks) in Chicago. Jeremy will continue working at Rockwell Collins making some phenomenal war vehicle simulations. Hayden is headed to Austin, TX to be a Program Management Intern for Blizzard Web & Mobile. Dylan is heading over to local indie studio Parallel Plaid. That's all for now, but many others will be getting jobs as we go along, so we will report more in our next, and last Update. 

Update #14: March 29th

So if you follow us on Social Media, are part of our mailing list, wish-listed ORE on Steam, or are generally in the loop of things you should already know that ORE is in Early Access on Steam! We released it a week or so ago and you can go download it for just $1.

In other news, the team spent last week in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference meeting people, learning new things, and generally returning exhausted and sick. We also showed ORE at the BYOIndie party and supported some fellow classmates that showcased their game Logout at the Intel University Showcase. We teamed up with a local media group and played some ORE, so check that out here as well as a short podcast interview. We also have new videos up on our Video page, so check those out.

That's about it... except for...

Warning: since this is a dev blog, I'm about to dig into some Steam publishing details that might be boring to many of you "creative types," but we learned a lot recently in the Early Access-publishing process so I'm going to mention a few things to clear the air. 

If you've followed our Steam page since release, you might have noticed that the pricing has been a roller coaster of weirdness. And that's because we made a few newbie mistakes. First, since we believe our game is fun and polished enough to be worth money (known as "Premium"), we registered our game as non-F2P (Free to Play), since F2P games typically can never charge money after initially being released (which is why you'll see plenty of games move from Premium to F2P, but no games move from F2P to Premium). Secondly, we made the assumption that we could change the price of the game at any point to whatever we price wanted (such as $0 or $1000 if we were sadistic). And we also thought that we could apply a discount to the game at any time we want for any amount of the total price (anywhere from 1-100%). We initially wanted to do these things so that we could release the Early Access version of the game for free to incentivize downloading the game sooner rather than later. After releasing and learning the hard way that none of our backup plans for making this work-worked, the only thing we could do was drop the price to the lowest value we could, which is why it is currently $0.99 and why we currently don't have plans to make it any lower than 99 cents. Figuring all of this out was a nightmare and was especially an un-fun thing to deal with on the eve of GDC, but hey, that's game development!

Lastly, if you haven't already, please be active on our Steam discussion forums! We're looking to have conversations with people and create communities of passionate players. We want you to be involved! Help us find bugs, share what you love and what you hate, help us out! We'd really appreciate it :) We'll be wrapping up development on the game shortly, so the next Update we post will be close to our last. 

Update #12: February 3rd

Let's get the big news out of the way quick: we're on Steam! It's our official storefront where you'll be able to buy the game once we release it here in a few months. You should especially check it out if you've been curious about the backdrop of the game's narrative.

Otherwise, we recently put out a new trailer, too. After hitting Alpha, we made a quick trailer to tease the game with some of the more recent gameplay we've been working on.

Watching trailer, you probably saw a glimpse of the game's boss there at the end. Jeremy, one of our phenomenal technical artists, took a sprint to prototype our game's boss encounter and came up with a really, really cool fight. We can't wait for you guys to see it once you get your hands on the game. Also huge thanks to Isaac, our character artist for designing a beautiful boss in less than four (very stressful) days. 

From the video you also get a glimpse into two of the game's three environments: lava and swamp. Well, some of you might remember that before those two even existed, we had an ice environment that we used for all of our public demos. Well, there were a ton of problems with that kit when dealing with readability, visual variance, etc., so we put it on hiatus. We had an idea for another environment kit (well, we've had tons of ideas) that was more industrial kit that we used in our internal testing space environment, which you can see it in some gifs posted in previous updates. This kit also had similar problems, so we're planning on combining the two into an industrialized tundra with lots of massive canyons and crevasses. Should be way cool. Dylan has done some concept art for this new environment posted below.

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Sorry this post is a little short, but more information to come soon, we promise. Keep updated here, or by signing up for our mailing list!

Update #4: May 12th

So as you probably already know, this week we've been busy putting the game up on Steam Greenlight and managing all of the resulting consequences. If you haven't yet voted please do so here. Since last week, we've made a new trailer for the game specifically for Steam Greenlight, recorded our first video dev blog (these will improve over time), and will be working on more video content for the future including brief insights into weapons, enemies, and more. We also pushed our first Facebook ad that's been generating some good traffic.

Isaac made the Rover move independently of the characters, which might become core to the gameplay in later iterations. Ben hooked up his awesome main menu to the game build, so players are first presented with a legit main menu before entering the game. Jeremy has been looking into creating exaggerated readability techniques for the game so that certain actions or elements that are currently difficult to see are modified in a way that makes them more apparent. Jeff has been working on refining small bits of our latest build to send off to notable Twitch streamers so we can get the game in the eyes of more people. More on that coming soon. Darrell and a few others have been refining design ideas of how our game could evolve further, taking inspirations from other twin stick shooters like Livelock and Helldivers, as well as from multiplayer co-op games like Overwatch and Magicka. Hayden's been busy updating the Crew page of our website so if you'd like to get to know the staff better feel free to read a bit about us and gander at the overwhelming beauty of our faces. He also slightly changed the Images & Video page of this site to be more organized. 

And lastly a quick update on our Greenlight campaign. We're currently sitting at almost 550 Yes votes in just 4 days - exceeding our expectations. Talking with some other EAE games that have been published on Steam, they were been able to be approved from less votes over a longer period of time, so at this point we are pretty sure that we'll be Greenlit here in the next few weeks. 

For the most part, though, this week has been somewhat of a working-break with most of our crew being out of the office recovering after finals and initiating summer plans. Thanks for reading!

The Day After...

So it's been a full day since launching our game on Steam Greenlight, and so far we're doing really, REALLY well. A big thanks to everyone who up-voted, commented, and sent the word around to friends. We love you all. One thing we haven't seen too often from Greenlight projects are the actual statistics of how those projects are doing, so we're going to actually share that information with you all. 

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First of all we've reached nearly 400 Yes votes and are almost 20% of the way making it into the top 100 games currently on Steam Greenlight. For those not quite knowledgeable about the Greenlight process, we don't have to be in the top 100 to be published but it's a really good sign nonetheless. So far these numbers are great and we're on track to making it into the top 100 by the end of the month. 

Another note about this info is the ratio of Yes/No votes. We're currently sitting pretty close to the Greenlight average of 2:1 Yes/No votes, but there have been many games in the past that have been Greenlit while having a worse ratio. Check out this page on the game, Subaeria whose ratio was 1:1 and still got Greenlit in less than a week!

To conclude, we here at Couch Cosmonauts HQ thought it would be cool to show all of you the Greenlight progress in real-time. Big thanks again for helping us out and feel free to spread the word! 

Update #2: April 28th

So this week--as you might know if you've been keeping up with our social media stuff--we demoed our game at the EAE Launch Party held on Wednesday. We had somewhere near one hundred people over three hours come and play our game and we got a ton of really, really rewarding feedback. The team is extremely excited to incorporate the feedback we got and create something even better than we already have. 

BUT as you all may also know, we here at Couch Cosmonauts are Masters students, and Summer cometh soon. Because much of the team will be busy with internships and new job opportunities over the summer, we will not be making game-changing progress on the game over the next few months and will probably not be posting as many Facebook posts and updates. Yet many of us still in town will still be working on improving the game. Two handfuls of our designers, artists, and tech artists will be in town over the summer and will independently develop features towards the improvement of our game. We'll certainly update everyone with a few of those as they come along. 

Now to the demo feedback. Generally everyone who played the game had fun and would comment on how beautiful the game visually looked. But because we didn't make explicit tutorial levels the learning curve of our game was set pretty high in order to understand all of our game's mechanics. In the future we will work on creating better ways to teach the game to new players and slowly build their shared understanding of the game's systems. 

We also learned that some of the game systems just aren't very fun in the current iteration. For instance, having to go to the rover and drop your weapon in the right spot and then wait for it to refill just isn't rewarding for the player and doesn't create the sense of suspense that we intended. So we'll be seriously evaluating many of the core systems of our game and possibly doing some trimming and tweaking. 

While we learned a lot of how we could improve, we were also overwhelmed with positive feedback and excitement. We have been considering it for a few weeks now, but after receiving the demo feedback we are now pushing to get our game Greenlit on Steam ASAP. It's not up on Greenlight yet, we'll let you know when it goes live, but we're in the prep stages of getting publishing on PC sorted early so we aren't scrambling later. We also want to do this prior to Steam changing their publishing process since we have no real clue as to what it will entail in the future.