Post news RSS The PONH prototype turns one! \o/

Epic long blog post including a brand new wallpaper, responses to user feedback and a small tribute to a great visionary and industry icon.

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October 6th marks a special day for us, because it is exactly one year ago that we released the prototype for PONH. A lot has happened since then. We formally founded a company and kicked the game’s development into full production. For the ongoing support we’d like to say ‘thank you’, so we’ve prepared a small treat for you. It’s a new wallpaper and I don’t think it’s presumptuous when I say it’s one of our finest ones yet! The image may or may not also include a special type of Alien which hasn’t been shown before – can you spot it? Pick your resolution below:

Volcano Island Wallpaper

Inside your volcano, looting your golds ^_^

On this subject, I came to realise that we shared data taken from the prototype survey 2 weeks after the release but we never went into detail on the criticial comments and most mentioned requests that we received. So here we go, the most reoccuring comments on what to add/change/improve (in descending order) along with our responses (better late than never right?):

  • Improve the animations

Comments on the quality of the animations easily came out at the top. This issue is being adressed by the recruitment of a dedicated 3D Animator.

  • The grappling hook is too floaty/imprecise

It became very apparent to us that the grappling hook needed more work. This is why it has been redone. We’re currently debating when to show you the new hook in addition to the new movement related features. We might wait until we’ve got new animations… ;)

  • Enhance the combat

We’ve added a “ground stomp” and a “kick” to Annha’s repertoire of combat moves. We have got plans to spice it up further with weapon and combo upgrades, new gadgets and different types of enemies of course.

  • Fix the scale of objects or Annha

Apparently a lot of players were creeped out by the big town inhabitants or the sizes of chairs, tables and so forth. This was actually intended, because the fiction behind Annha is that she is a teenager and not a grown up. We believe that this didn’t translate well, because she has the looks of a young adult. We adjusted her age accordingly to her looks and will fix the scale of other characters and objects.

  • There is no saving/loading

Considering the short length of the prototype, we didn’t deem saving/loading to be that important (to evaluate the game’s concept). The full game will of course have a save/load system.

  • I would like to choose between a male and a female character

Some players seemed to have a problem with playing as a girl :) or at least would “prefer” to have the choice between male/female. This would create quite a lot of work just to have that option, so we will probably not be able to give you that choice (sorry).

  • I would like to customize the ship

Even if this is not at the very top of our priorities list we would love to give you the ability to change the appearance of your ship’s sail, swap the figurehead etc.

  • Selecting items on the PC is too hard

Noted. We’ll figure out a way to make that easier for users who play the game on their computer.

  • Auto adjustment of camera

Implemented. The camera now automatically adjusts to the direction that you are running.

  • I’d like the characters to have voices

The game won’t have proper voice acting (as in the characters read out the dialogues), but every character will make distinctive sounds when speaking.

  • I’d like to have a crew

Who needs a crew when you can operate your ship by yourself like Annha? She does have some company though. Henceworth will be with her throughout the adventure and we are toying with the idea to add a robot to the ship who is controlled with the universal remote. He might have something to say, too! :)

  • More humor/jokes

More humor is in the works!

  • I’d like to control/fly the ship


  • Localisation

We will cover German, Danish and Norwegian internally. When time comes we will ask for your support to translate the game’s dialogue into more languages!

  • Mouse and keyboard icons for tutorial prompts

Already up and running!

  • Get a native English speaking writer

You caught us there! None of the core team members is a native English speaker. We could use a little help in that department. If you have experience in writing and English is your mother tongue – let us know!

  • I want boss fights!

We want boss fights, too! And we’re going to have them! :)

  • Less liniarity in dungeons

Some dungeons will be more linear than others, but overall we take this feedback very seriously and will try to design our levels as open as possible.

  • Too much motion in the opening cutscene

Bloody landlubbers…always getting seasick. Fine then, we’ll slow down on the camera pans in the full game! ;)

That’s about it for the top mentioned comments! There are still submissions trickling in actually. Many of those are quite flattering, so every time we need a motivational boost, we just visit the survey results page! It still amazes me to see from where people send in feedback. From Ontario, to the Caribbean Sea, to Nigeria and Malaysia…

In other news, this day also marks the passing of Apple CEO & founder Steve Jobs (sadly). As Ken Levine of Irrational Games said “there’s a hole in every geek’s heart today”. All of us at Exit Strategy feel humbled by Steve Jobs’ achievements. His advice not to waste your time and live someone else’s life, to listen to your inner voice and follow your heart, because it already knows what you truly want to become are words that we try to live by every day. In fact they are the very reasons why we decided to found our own studio and got into games in the first place. For all his contributions to technology and the world we live in today we’d like to say: thank you and you will be missed, Steve.

Sph!nx - - 722 comments

Hot stuff, mates. Love what you're doing with the project!

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Frie Author
Frie - - 51 comments

Happy to hear that! :)

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Theon - - 712 comments

Uh, seriously?
Who gives a **** about Steve?
It's not like he even engineered anything Apple made...
And that said...Apple. Guys, what the ****?

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Açaí - - 26 comments

Steve Jobs wasn't an engineer, sure, but your laptop? iPod? Tablet?
Thanks, Mr. Jobs.

He was a great guy and he will be missed.

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Frie Author
Frie - - 51 comments

Jobs and Apple revolutionized and dominate the market for mp3 players, smartphones, tablet computers and they are having a huge impact on the handheld games market as well. You can argue whether that is a good or a bad thing, but it is obvious that the world has lost a great visionary and tech entrepreneur. Not even taking anything before the introduction of the first iPod into account...

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