Since it's been a couple weeks since I've written a formal update post, I figured it was about time. A lot has happened in the past two weeks, and there is a lot coming in the very near future. It's an exciting time for In Vivo, but more so it's an exciting time for Electric Horse. On with the update!
The first week of April saw In Vivo launched on Desura, and the end of the initial release sale. My sales numbers haven't exactly been stellar up to this point, but Desura has brought me a fair number of sales so far, and now that the Linux version is up on Desura, hopefully that number will continue to grow. The mac version is on its way, but it might be a little while longer. I'm not really upset or disappointed by these numbers, I know I did a lot wrong, and I'm taking this as a learning experience. Mostly I'm just happy to have it out there. As of right now, In Vivo is available for purchase on four different platforms, and a fifth should be coming shortly pending a bit of paperwork. I'm spreading the good word of In Vivo as far and wide as I can.
It doesn't matter how few copies it sells, I can always point people who mock my indie games to this store front, stick my thumbs in my ears and blow raspberries at them.
Other exciting news on the In Vivo release front is that the game was featured on both Indie Love and Gaming On Linux. It's hard to describe the feeling the first time you are reviewed. It was a roller coaster. For the most part it was very positive. Having done all of the graphics and sound myself, I was worried those aspects would be heavily criticized, but they were not. That elation only lasted a few minutes though, as the gameplay critiques started rolling in. Much of what was said negative about the game, the lack of puzzle diversity and the lack of good atmosphere after the first few minutes, are things I had identified and would have loved to fix, but I ran out of time. I read those lines over and over, thinking to myself "I know! Ugh, it's not like I wanted it to be like that."
In the past I have always had the luxury of saying "good point, I'll get to that in a future patch," but here I don't have that luxury. The game is out there, and major changes like that are not on the schedule. It was very refreshing to see someone understand what I was trying to do with the game, though, and Will from Indie Love really got it. For how much I was frustrated by the fair critiques he made, I would much rather have them come from someone who sees the point of the game than someone who just writes it off without taking the time to get to know it. It hurts, but in the best way possible.
Yeah there's this new game mode with 20 levels to try and get gold on, but who cares. Now the game has vertical laser walls. Pretty...Challenge mode is still on the horizon, and it's getting very close to being done.
All that's left now is putting together three more maps and then playtesting them. Everything is coming together quite nicely on that front, I'm really kind of sad I didn't include this mode in the initial release. While these maps don't really add to the narrative of the campaign mode, they do reinforce the gameplay in new and interesting ways, and having them in there now makes the game feel complete. It's not that it felt incomplete before, but seeing them in there makes going back to the old version really feel like it isn't done. I guess this is a good thing, it means the new game mode fits, but I'm eager to get it into your hands.
If everything lines up right, the challenge mode update should release just in time for me to catch my breath before diving into the Ludum Dare 29 48-hour competition. Right on the heels of that I will start work on the next Electric Horse game, though what that game will be is still up in the air. In Vivo was created from my last Ludum Dare entry, and if the theme and my take on it are as compelling this time as I felt they were last time, that may trump my current plan. Either way, the goal is to do another short-term project, hopefully taking it from concept to release in about four months. In Vivo took about six and a half months, but right in the middle there I moved across an ocean, and this time I'm planning on putting a bit of money into buying art assets so I don't have to spend time creating them. Four months seems about right, so I'm gearing up for a September release. More info on all of that coming soon though. For now, go play In Vivo. It may not be the best game out there, but if you take the to give it a chance, I'm sure you'll find that it's actually kinda fun.