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Hello from NY
#1 Posted : Friday, May 23, 2014 3:44:45 PM(UTC)
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Came across your game on the forums when I was doing a google search for Gemfire style games. I have to say that Gemfire was probably my brother's and my favorite game of all time. We had it for the Sega Genesis and we must have played hundreds of hours on it. I've been shocked that someone has yet to recreate a style of game like that with improvements to the base game that Gemfire was. I'm not just talking about graphical enhancements, but also game depth.

It seems like your failed kickstarter campaign was about a year ago. How far have you come since then? What does the game look like at this stage of development? What has been your biggest hurdle (If money is the biggest what is the second biggest hurdle)? Is it just the two of you working on this project? How do you keep motivated to continue without the financial support and the lack of visibility?

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear back. I also look forward to seeing this project succeed.
#2 Posted : Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:51:48 PM(UTC)
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Hi Sniglefritz,

Sorry for the delayed response, there isn't much activity on the forum yet (I do expect that to change eventually) so I forget to check back here sometimes. It's always great to hear from a fan of Gemfire and your experience mirrors mine quite closely. My brother and I played Gemfire so many times when we were kids. Once and a while even now we will boot it up and play it for hours straight. I was also appalled that KOEI (or anyone else for that matter) have never revisited this time of game. It's a game style that I love yet is no where to be found, which is why I wanted to make Sunset Over Lievnos. So, thanks for taking interest in our game!

Thanks for the questions too. The Kickstarter ended at the end of November of 2013, so it has been about 7 months since it completed. Since then we have had several challenges but also made some really exciting developments. Right after the end of the Kickstarter we had to make a few decisions. Firstly, without funding we had to decide whether we were going to limp along with our current hardware to continue to make the iPad version or if we were going to take a step backward to move it to PC. We decided on the latter which means I had to redo quite a lot of code. On the plus side, the move to PC means we can add a few more features. Now, I'm still working on making these happen so I can't guarantee anything, but the most notable additions are multiplayer and the creation of tools to allow player customization of SoL scenarios. Right now the game doesn't look like anything because I have been working on the engine and the network code.

Of course, without funding it means we have to pay our bills in other ways. For me it meant taking on some software contracts. I had two major contracts in the last few months and I am nearing completion on both of them. My current schedule on these project frees up next week actually and at that point I am moving my full attention back to SoL. Erika has had to create a portfolio of art on a gallery contract. She should have more time for game art now though. And yes, it is just Erika and I working on this game.

Another pretty neat thing we are working on during all of this is a comprehensive back story that leads up to the beginning of SoL. Erika and I are working on it together and at this point it looks like it is taking the shape of a novella and we are going to release it chapter by chapter leading up to the release of the game. We have a few other fun things planned to release to promote the game. We are going to start releasing that stuff once we get rolling again with the game. One thing I learned from the Kickstarter was that you really need more from the game itself to show before you can really start plugging it.

Motivation is definitely a tough one. I actually get quite motivated from people like you who take the time to message us and ask us questions about the project. I'm very excited about this game and when I see there are other people who want to play a game like this is really gets me going. I do love making games though and I am motivated to get something out the door in an effort to move to making games full time. Lack of visibility is definitely a frustrating factor though. I KNOW there must be people out there who would enjoy playing this game but its very difficult to find them. It is a niche game and finding an audience is proving difficult. Once we have more of the game to show I'm hoping that word of mouth will eventually get us to a critical mass. I'm going to do everything I can to get the word out but ultimately there is a bit of luck involved. If the game is something people are interested in I think it'll find a home. I definitely realize that there is a chance this type of niche game just doesn't have a market anymore, which is why we haven't seen a game like this in so long.

So right now, this is the timeline. I have another week of work on a contract job that I need to finish up. After that, I expect it will take a month to get the engine to a point where I can start working on actual content for the game. There are some decisions that need to be made there too like what resolutions we should support. Do I have numerous resolutions? Do I have multiple copies of the art at different sizes? Do I keep the game low resolution like the iPad? If I change resolution I have to change the interface around. The higher resolution means I can do some nicer art on borders and buttons so we need to redo those. I expect it will be a month after we start working on content before we'll have some new screenshots to show. That would put us at late August for new screenshots. Saying that, I haven't decided whether I want to work on the game first or the content creation tools first, so new screenshots of the game may be a bit further off. We don't have a final release window decided upon yet though. We need to get a bit further into the game again in order to make some guesses on that.

Thanks again for the questions! Do you (or anyone else) have any more?
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