They say hubris leads to nemesis. Icarus thought he could fly high and paid with his life. Only a slightly better fate awaits those, like me, who try to predict the future: we get to admit we're wrong.
Last year I predicted we would release CSC America and a beta version of The Vault of the Galaxy (plus updates to Anacreon!) in 2015. In the event, 2016 rolled around without either in sight. 365 days just aren't enough sometimes.
Nevertheless, 2015 was still a pretty good year for us. The biggest news, of course, was the release of Transcendence on Steam. That alone reached ten times as many people as previous releases, and led to a huge increase in sales. The reception has been great and it currently enjoys a 93% positive review score.
And while no new products were released in 2015, lots of work behind the scenes did get done. I made good progress on both CSC America and The Vault of the Galaxy.
What will 2016 bring? At the risk of courting nemesis, I will make some predictions below.
We ended 2015 with about $20,000 in gross sales; a little more than $2,000 came from the Multiverse and the rest was from Steam. Though still far from having a sustainable business, that's still 10 times better than 2014. The Multiverse alone had about 20% more sales than 2014, which is very good considering no new products were released.
Running a video game business is all about increasing two numbers: (1) how many people find out about the game, and (2) how many of those like the game enough to buy it. Steam helps us with the first number. We can do more, of course, but in 2016 I think we need to concentrate on the second number.
In particular, I think we can continue to improve the playing experience, especially for the first few hours of play. More mission arcs, usability fixes, and general quality improvements will make the game more fun for all players. Fun enough, not just to buy it, but to tell their friends about it.
Another accomplishment for 2015 was the introduction of the Ministry of Records. For me it has been an invaluable resource for tracking the issues that players and modders are having.
Of course, the site is ripe for improvements. I'd love to add a better system of notifications so that we can see when people comment and respond to comments. Adding more interactivity to the Ministry is one of my goals for 2016.
I'm very happy with the graphics improvements in version 1.6. The new space backgrounds and updated graphics have, I hope, added a touch of beauty and awe to this space exploration game. I expect to continue to improve the graphics in the 1.7 release. So far I've worked on better weapon effects (particularly for plasma and antimatter damage) and I've also worked on new explosion effects. I would also like to re-render (or re-create) some older station graphics, such as the St. Katharine's Star arcology.
But the bulk of the 1.7 work will be about improving the playing experience. In no particular order, these are some enhancement I'm envisioning:
All of these features won't make it into 1.7, but I hope we'll implement many of these (and many others) in 2016.
I expect to have an early alpha version of 1.7 sometime in January, and have regular updates throughout the first half of the year.
I'm making good progress on Part II. I have three major goals for The Vault of the Galaxy:
My current plan is to release a beta version in 2016 with #2 and #3, but we'll keep #1 under wraps until closer to the final release.
As you can see, Part II is going to be an ambitious release. It needs almost as much content as vanilla Part I. I can't and shouldn't promise exactly when Part II will be released, but I'm excited for you all to play it, so all of us a Kronosaur Productions will work hard to get it done!
Matteson Claus is our creative developer, helping on script and character ideas.
Music Director Michael Tangent is busily composing new themes for The Vault of the Galaxy.
Brian Merchant added floating point support to TLisp in 2015.
Thanks to everyone contributing bugs and suggestions to the Ministry of Records. I specially want to thank AssumedPseudonym, JohnBWatson, Megas, and NMS.
A special thanks to The Shrike who has been single-handedly supporting the Steam forums with much needed player guides and general advice.
And of course, thanks to all the patient players who have once again spent a full Earth orbit without a chance to see the Galactic Core.