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.

Business Outlook

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.

Ministry of Records

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.

Transcendence 1.7 and Beyond

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:

  • Controls: For 1.7 I'd like to experiment with different controls. At minimum we need to implement a UI for changing the keyboard layout. But I would also like to experiment with mouse controls and game controller support. Transcendence is partly an action game, and I want the controls to be as fluid and fun as possible.
  • Missions and Sub-Plots: The Transcendence universe should be rich and interesting. There should be many more opportunities to interact with the varied sovereigns in the game. Some of this should be through mission arcs, but we should also have procedural missions that emerge as appropriate. For example, freighters in trouble should contact the player to ask for help (possibly offering a reward or maybe an entry into a new mission arc).
  • Gameplay Improvements: There are many ways, small and large, to improve gameplay (without necessarily making it too easy). For example, whenever the player is tempted to write something down ("what system was that Commonwealth metropolis at?") we should think of it as a failure of the UI. We should consider improvements to the Galactic Map to remind the player of what they've encountered. Similarly, we could improve the system map to remind the player of what they've explored and what they haven't.
  • Steam Features: Of course, we must support key Steam features like the Workshop and Achievements. Those two would significantly improve the game for Steam players.

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.

The Vault of the Galaxy

I'm making good progress on Part II. I have three major goals for The Vault of the Galaxy:

  1. Continue the storyline of the Pilgrim: As in Eternity Port, I expect a series of missions to unravel the mysteries of Domina and Oracus introduced in Part I. Though the saga will continue (and conclude) in Part III, you will at least reach Domina and the Galactic Core in Part II.
  2. Introduce dozens of new sovereigns and environments: Once outside the Human Quarantine Zone, you'll meet many new friends and enemies. The galaxy is teaming with life, and you'll see many more dangerous beasts like the pteravores. And you'll finally meet more of the Ancient Races who populate the galaxy.
  3. Introduce new game mechanics: The standard devices and upgrades of human space won't work on the new alien starships you'll pilot. Instead, there will be three different kinds of ship technology: The mechanist path allows you to upgrade your ship by crafting new devices out of simpler components. In contrast, the biotech path lets you grow and mutate a biomechanical ship. Lastly, the archeotech path requires you to understand and tame the ancient technologies of long-dead civilizations.

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!