How big actually is our game? Posted by Fiola on January 20, 2015 20:00 PM

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That’s a very good question which we’d asked yesterday. We stood still for a moment. Took a breath. You know, it’s the 20th of January. The day our game was originally supposed to have come out. And to be honest, as things are now, we’re glad to have some extra time for all the brushing up that needs to be done. There are still things that are missing in the game. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

Planning is terrifying

First of all, keep your fingers crossed for Vojta (Seeker), our programmer, this is his last finals week. If all goes well and he passes all his exams tomorrow and the day after, we’ll be almost there, because Seeker will come back to working full-time on the game. That’s exactly what we need.

As you can see, bugs have been popping up a lot in Seeker’s reports. So far, we’re not able to fix them. So hopefully Friday will be the day when the development moves forward again.

But worry not! The development isn’t paused. Levels are being finished and designed constantly, audio / soundtrack are being prepared, everything is being scripted and put together. While I was going through a lang file for BLACKHOLE, I realized something interesting.

This game will take 5+ hours to play out

I stood, amazed, looking at the entire game production. It is only now that all is being completed that I can see it. It is only now that I can see how much have we taken up. And what an extensive game we’re making. Don’t take me wrong, we more or less knew that: the player can go wherever he wants, here he’s got a quest to do, some place else he’s got to find something for the ship, and so on.

But we couldn’t see the final product. And now that everything is coming together… I was always afraid to say that the game will be 5 hours long. We want to be honest, and even though it’s a big game for an indie studio, 5 hours is ‘just’ 5 hours. But that was a very rough estimate. 

Whichever way I count it, only the dialogues are 1 hour 30 minutes long. Without cutscenes and pauses. The soundtrack went up to 90 minutes. And there’s over 70 levels.

That. Is. Crazy. It wasn’t supposed to be so huge. I began searching for a mistake. Something, something we added or something I oversaw during the production, something that caused the game to be much bigger, in both the story, the content and challenges.

I found no mistake. Everything follows the design concepts. And that, my friends, is what gets me every time when it comes to making games.

You can be a pro, but you won’t guess the length of the game based on papers and the script. You can count it, imagine it, reduce it, scratch things out – but all together you’ll get just a mean.

The combination of all elements balances the game length

So something incredible happened. By accident. Entirely by accident, we thought up a free level selection system, where you can explore the world almost non-linearly. You can talk to the characters, discover easter eggs, or see how you’ll do in a challenge. If you want to continue, you go to the particular level and solve problems and selfburns. When you manage, you get to the story section of each Entity, and also you get to find a component. Then the mysterious black boxes. Lost crew name tags…

If we leave our the first few levels on each Entity that teach you the mechanics of the place given, and the speed-run levels; before a regular player figures out how to deal with a certain level, many hours will pass.

In the end, you can finish the game just by clicking on the dialogues and flying through the levels without dying in more or less one hour and half. But players that’ll be exploring our world for the first time and will want to enjoy it… I wonder what you will say about the length.

So, what about the release?

I promised that you’ll get information about this on the 20th of January. Instead of that, I’ll ask you to hang on for a few more days. Because I’d like to say the final-final date. A date that won’t be changed again.

We’re still working hard on the game. We’re doing everything we can, and we can’t wait for your opinions after the release. We’re hoping you’re keeping your fingers crossed for us, and understand the occasional postponing.

The final release date will be announced by this week.