A lot has been happening recently: I haven't posted enough. Firstly, we put out our initial press release announcing the game. Response was fairly lukewarm to begin with- it's hard to get coverage before you even have a gameplay trailer - but things soon picked up and we got some nice placements.
My favourite was from Brandon at Offworld: a great supporter of the indie games community. You can read his post about Synapse here. We also started a new advertising campaign for Visiting the Village and recorded a special edition episode to mark the occasion.
In conjunction with a few other indie devs, I put together an article on PR and marketing which I'm hoping to get finished soon. It may be suitable for inclusion on one of the bigger game dev sites, so I'm talking to people about that currently - in any case the content will be available here and via our blog if that doesn't come about. There are a lot of things that we're learning about marketing that I think will be useful for new devs.
One thing we're planning is to get to some of the games events coming up in the UK and do some flyering. This is a very lo-fi technique but I want to push the word out about this game absolutely as much as I possibly can.
Today we had a big session of playing single player. We're having to make some very tough decisions at the moment: we might need to compromise on exactly how much special SP-only content we have, as we need to return to polishing, balancing and tweaking the UI and multiplayer part of the game. This is predominantly a multiplayer game: although we're having SP content, the focus is on the one-on-one side of things.
As all you small teams out there know, it's really really important to keep things moving, avoid feature creep and make sure you spend time refining rather than chasing cool new features. Today was the first time I played 3 SP missions in a row - a defensive mission, and two very different "escape" type missions - and it feels good. I'm confident that even if we can't go beyond what we have now, there will be something worth playing in there.
It's good to make some decisions and move forward towards a beta, which we're desperately hoping will be ready for September. Keeping motivation up through this tough period, while we also have a big contract project on is paramount. Ian is taking a short holiday soon which should give him a chance to chill out a bit and step back from the intensity of designing the game: always a good thing to get some perspective.
I have been working on the first part of the soundtrack and it's going well. I'm not ready to release anything yet but the music will be up here as soon as it's ready for your ears! On a slight musical tangent, I returned to gigging for the first time in a few years yesterday - here's a silly video of the crowd behaving in a daft manner while I play one of my tunes...
You can find out more about my music here if you're interested. I record and perform uplifting and progressive trance as nervous_testpilot. Much less excitingly, we did a bit of work on the menu UI flow: I think so many developers mess this up because it is possibly the most boring thing in the world. We HATE bad menu design, though, so effort has to be put in to allow the player to get to the juicy fun bits inside. Watch out for that marketing article coming soon - I'll keep you posted.