Post news RSS Brink of Extinction, where it's been and where it's going. Part III

The future of BoE and some experiences I've gained about being an indiedev having released my first game.

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This is going to be a somewhat different post about the game, as it will involve a lot more reflection on what I think many indie devs forget about when working away on their games, letting their passion lead the way. But first I would like to mention briefly the plans I have for the game going forward.

The next Update (Version Blitz Ant)

I've written before that there would be another type of endless mode level - The Hexagon - implemented in the next update. I have yet to start working on this, but the general idea is this:


In this level, only survival time will matter and starting credits will be locked at 20-25k. No yields from enemy kills will be awarded and recycling turrets will come with no penalty except the cost of the damage the turret has taken. The enemies will spawn in one direction at a time with a warning before each spawn sequence allowing the player to make the necessary adjustments to the defense.

Another thing planned for the next update is the addition of localisation. The game is being translated into Russian, Swedish and Romanian. I might also be able to add Chinese. Currently looking for people willing to translate to German, French and Spanish (send a message if you are interested). Here's a test with Swedish in the loading screen:


One thing that has plagued me for a long time, is how the end game of the endless mode always ends up being about spamming mines and how it basically becomes a game of attrition. So I've decided that there will be further adjustments to the balancing of the game. One such thing will be the addition of damage modifiers. Enemies will now be given weaknesses and strengths which affect which weapons are useful against them. These modifiers will affect the damage inflicted, so no weapon will become useless or so. On top of this I will attempt to rebalance the game a bit more with the goal of making things more challenging while also adding more player engagement. A change I've thought about and will implement, is changing how enemies level up. Currently they level up in general, all stats up - what I would like to change is to make each spawn point grant a level up to either of damage, yield or hp, but allow for leveling to occur faster. Essentially this would be the system (the rate of level ups has a random element, which is why the cycles are different lengths):


This will add more randomness into the game, so I will need to counter this to allow players a way out in very tricky situations. I will therefore be adding a special attack for each turret when maxing out one of either hp, damage, range or speed. This special attack will be unlocked every 90s, similar to how the Tesla tower works.

Lastly, I will be optimizing the scenes and trying to add more build locations on some levels to add not only difficulty, but also variation in terms of how you can finish levels. The update, because of the relative size of it, will probably release around mid to late march or in two portions, starting in late Feb, then the other part late March (not sure yet!).

Experiences after releasing the game

So, for the more reflective part of this update. I think I have mentioned previously that BoE was developed over the course of roughly 2.5 years. The total dev time, I've estimated to between 25-35 full time weeks (40h weeks). The main reason it has taken so long is, like most devs, I have a normal day job and cannot dedicate more than 20-30h of effective development time per week at best. On top of that I work on a lot of projects at the same time, which would seem to be bad for dev time, but I have always assumed I can only get so much effective and inspired time into a game that it's better work when I feel I can actually work efficiently. Most developers I've talked to seem to function in a similar manner to this and having a normal 40h + day job while also spending another 20-30 or even 40 hours working on games is in no way unusual.

It's so easy to get caught up in the project you are making that you just give it your everything. Which is what I've done with Brink of Extinction. So much so that I've pretty much forgotten that making a solid game is simply not enough. I kid you not, BoE has been a massive commercial failure. More so than I could have ever expected, and my expectations were pretty low to begin with. Obviously, this game is not a Game of the Year contender, but making a good game is also not enough. I was working so hard that I forgot to build a community, I didn't get enough feedback from players and I didn't market it properly. But if I am anything, I am stubborn, which is why I haven't just dropped it and moved on. I will continue to improve the game until I feel that it is all that it can be. I hope that the update detailed above will get it closer to that goal.

All things considered, I don't think making this game has been a waste. I have learnt a great many things. I would just want to give a word of caution, when you get very passionate about the game you are making and it fails - which unfortunately it is likely to do, just going by the large amount of great games released - it really does hit you hard. The time following the release of the game has been a real roller coaster, and I would advice to take that into account and be prepared for it. It can be a hell of a ride. ;)

Concluding remarks

I hope that sharing some of my experiences is of value to some of you out there. I know these are not unique experiences, so they really are worth taking into consideration. I also hope to hear about your experiences and what you think!

/ Dispersing Minds

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