Looks like it’s time for a another round of news. So let’s do this!
Still operating in full creative mode. I’ve got over 60 renders ready for the next chapter, and that’s just one scene! I should have the first scene ready for play testing later this week. My hope is that this marks the kick off of regular content play tests that will snowball into regular releases.
So for you $10+ patrons, look for some small content coming out soon for you to try and break.
Previously my scenes were complex, had a lot of moving parts and angles, and render time was maxed at 30 minutes. Sometimes this left darker scenes a bit grainy and reflective surfaces suffered considerably.
I was trying to cut corners by rendering at a high resolution and then downsizing to remove some of the grain, but that only goes so far.
But now I’m being realistic and working around the fact that my abnormally dynamic art wasn’t necessary to tell my story. Previously I mentioned a shift to simpler art of higher quality and that’s what you see attached to this post.
By rendering out at the required resolution and allowing the render to processes as close to 95% conversion as possible, we end up with a much better image. This has however added significantly to the render time for each image, but the reward is worth it.
But the extended render time has created a bottleneck in the process and I’m creating scenes a lot faster than I can render them (Currently I have over 120 images in the queue) at forty-five minutes to an hour per render, and only rendering for about eight hours a night, it’s going to take me two weeks to get it rendered, and that’s only for two scenes of a 10 scene chapter.
No worries though, help is on the way.
I’m about 50% complete with acquiring the parts for a second high end rig to do just renders. That will help cut our time in half. Once that one built and up and running, my goal is to have a third machine built April 2021 for a total of three machines dedicated to rendering out the art for this game.
Without having to code and just writing and rendering, three machines should be sufficient to keep up with the workload and allow me to work on multiple characters simultaneously. Then we can finally realize the goal of putting multiple character updates in each new release.
Thinking about the Future
I’ve made no secret about the fact I’d like to quite my full time job and just work on the game forever and always. But recent events have really had me questioning the best way to go about this.
For a long time creators like myself have relied on platforms like Patreon and others to provide a method of funding for their projects. It’s a simple turn-key solution that can get a new developer off and running very quickly and without little hassle.
But with pending lawsuits, changing policies and random bans, there is a large degree of uncertainty about the future. The idea that if I were working on this game full time, and Patreon suddenly decided to not allow my content, or ban me for a month, that’s a heavy blow and a huge burden on my family.
And to be fair, it’s not just Patreon, it’s any platform that I might use as a source of revenue for this game. This has put me on the path of thinking long and hard about the future of the project and the organization of the business in the long term.
If I’m going to do this full time and without fear of random pitfalls and obstacles, I need to retain more control of the whole process from creation, distribution and most notably, billing.
So over the next few months I’m going to start working on putting together a private platform to host my content and bill my patrons. By having my own site from which people can subscribe and donate money to the project while receiving all kinds of rewards and benefits will help us out in a number of ways.
The upsides are:
1. No one can shut me down without a lawsuit or a court order.
2. I won’t have to abide by anyone’s absurd terms and conditions. This means I can include whatever content I want as long as it’s legal, no more silly restrictions.
3. I can safely work on transitioning to full time development without fear of being shit canned over someone’s complaint.
4. I can offer additional incentives and promotions inside of my own site.
The Downsides are:
1. Higher fees for payment processing (I’d be looking at about 15% as opposed to Patreon’s approximate 10%)
2. Higher setup cost. (Average set up for a “High Risk Billing” platform is $500 to $1,000)
3. Have to set up an LLC. (This isn’t a real downside, it just requires more paperwork than I currently have to do.)
Since I’m not in any immediate danger of closure, this is something I’ll work on slowly over the next six months or so. It won’t detract from the current content creation or delay any releases.
But Noah was smart enough to build the ark before the storm, and that’s the mindset I need to adopt right now.
I want this to be a viable business going forward, so I need to start thinking long term and laying the groundwork to avoid potential interruptions.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now.
I have a few more topics to touch on, but I’ll dig into that just as soon as I get this testable content out to you all!