Imagine a world where the villages of humans were scattered along mountaintops, and the world below was completely blocked off by an impassible wall of clouds. In a world like that, advancements in air travel would precede both land and sea. This is the kind of world that Aero Empire is set in. In this world, the player can rise through the ranks, from a lowly gunner manning a turret aboard an airship to the commander of several airships, ordering the crew of your own airship and the captains of the airships in your squad. Aero Empire is a cross-genre game, incorporating elements of role-playing games, shooters, flight simulators, and squad combat. Production on the game started November 25th, 2008, and is scheduled to release by the end of 2010, and a potential sequel focusing on nation management may come later. The single player version will be free to download and play, with no restrictions.

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Results from the writing contest are in, however, we have some bad news to go along with it.

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Aero Empire has now been put on hold, and it is unclear when or even if the project will be revived. Honestly, this has been coming for a while now - there were many problems with the project, going all the way down to the game's design. We didn't have a very clear description of what we were making, and while we had a lot of ideas, none of them were really hammered out. Because of this, the team did not share a common vision, as only the core members had a clear idea what the game was. Additionally, since we didn't hammer out the details, we added more features than we could actually produce given that we were just an indie team. As we began to figure out the details for each part we were working on, we realized just how much work was involved that we hadn't even realized before, and not only did this mean we took on more than we could handle, it also hit motivation big time, as the team realized that making the game would take a lot longer and a lot more work than they had expected.

Another big problem that came up was organization and communication, and lack of a leader in general. The team was originally democratic, where every team member took charge of their own piece. However, as the team grew, many leadership, organization and communication tasks became essential. Several team members took up those responsibilities, however, leadership skills were out of our area of expertise, and so a lot of team remained confused as to what was going on, and what needed to be done next. The lack of leadership also caused a lack of foresight, causing many changes, scrapped work, and even a rewrite of the entire game engine - all of which did not help team motivation.

Because of this, the team started falling apart, whether by members officially resigning, or members just disappearing or becoming inactive. While I tried to keep the project together by starting team discussions, and even starting the writing contest in an attempt to increase the interest and motivation on the project (and recruit a new lead writer), it turns out these efforts were not effective, and too late. Critical members of the team have resigned, motivation has almost completely disappeared, and the project cannot be salvaged without being completely revived, reorganized and re-designed. Because this may take a long time, or perhaps never happen, Aero Empire has been put on an indefinite hold.

I am telling you this for two reasons - one so you know what has happened to the project, and two so you can perhaps learn from our mistakes. While there were many things that went wrong in this project, that also means that there were many things to learn from. In both programming and leadership, Aero Empire was a big learning experience for me. There are many things I know now that I didn't before, and many things I would change about the project if I were to revive it or do it again. My hope is that perhaps other developers can read this as a cautionary tale, and learn from it just as I did.


As for the writing contest, the team fell apart when we were in the final stage of judging between the top two submissions, so I decided to finish the judging, as the authors who submitted work deserve at least that.

We had many great submissions, and the two finalists were very hard to choose between, as they were both so good. However, after reading through the top two submissions several times, we have chosen Marius Masalar as the winner of the contest, with Preston Thomas being a close second.

Congratulations to Marius and Preston, and I am sorry the team fell apart right as the contest ended. Good luck with your future writing, and you are welcome to stay in touch with us, as we could always use the help of talented writers for future projects or for when Aero Empire is revived.


Well, it's been great, but for now Aero Empire must say goodbye. Feel free to contact us though with any questions, comments, or support - as if we do try to revive the project, we will need lots of support and new talent.

- David

Comments
Mr.Walrus
Mr.Walrus

Aw man :( I really hope it will someday return! This was a truly magical mod.

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blackmodeler
blackmodeler

this is a pity, been following you for quiet a while, since the beginning I believe, it seemed like some really good stuff was going on behind the scenes.
May luck follow you from now on ^__^

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aloha2436
aloha2436

Good luck!

:(

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andrenilsen
andrenilsen

Awww :(, I really looked forward to this game.

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archkyrie
archkyrie

I was really looking forward to this. I'm sorry it didn't work out.

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n0way
n0way

Same here. Still, its not the end of the world.. Hope I will be able to play a game made under your banner one day.

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terra0nova Author
terra0nova

Definitely. Whether a resurrection of Aero Empire or some other game, I definitely plan to continue making games.

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tschery Creator
tschery

mate I hope so cause I also do =)

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booman
booman

thank you for your honesty and wisdom. It is never easy for a group of people to work together on EVERY level. It takes a lot of communication and commitment. Its definitely hard when people have jobs, family and other commitments.
I am glad you learned from your mistakes! That alone is a huge step in development.
I really enjoyed the work you guys put into this project. Its never too late to revive it once a united team is back together.
We look forward to seeing Aero Empire completed one day.

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Cjslayer16
Cjslayer16

Dang I really thought you guys were going places with this :(

Well good luck to anything you may or may not do involving this ! :) You guys always have any support I could ever give .

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