Hofstadter's law says that a project always takes longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's law. That's certainly been true for Part II, which was supposed to be released in 2017 and then in 2018. Now it looks like 2019 is more likely, though I hesitate to be definitive for fear of invoking Hofstadter's law.
Still, much of the delay in Part II was due to me spending time on 1.8 features. I think the core game is much better for it, and it will set us up nicely for the future. All in all, I'm happy with the work we did in 2018.
Once again we did not release any new products, but due to better use of Steam promotions the game grossed around $10,000 for the year—more than 10% higher than last year. I'm not sure if we'll be able to sustain that sales rate, but it bodes well that an old title can continue to find new customers.
Part II and future expansions are critical to our business success. Ultimately, we need to spend money on advertising and promotion to attract new customers. But right now the cost of attracting a new player via ads exceeds the total price of the game ($9). Once we have more expansions, the arithmetic will flip in our favor and we'll be able to grow the business.
Anacreon made incremental progress in 2018. There are about 20 people playing Anacreon regularly, which is enough to deserve attention and effort. Last year I worked on adding siege mechanics to the game, which I hope will add strategic depth to the game (at least once the bugs are worked out).
Beyond that, I hope to explore different scenarios:
I don't know how far I'll get with any of these in 2019, but I will definitely carve out dedicated time to work on Anacreon.
Version 1.8 has taken longer than expected, but I think for good reason. 1.8 introduces probably the largest set of changes to Transcendence in many years. From buying ships at shipyards to armor mechanics changes, this version feels like a major change. But all that change requires lots of time to fix the inevitable bugs, not to mention all the time spent testing and balancing the new systems.
The end result is worth it, I believe:
In 2019 we'll release one more beta version of 1.8 and the do a final release. After that, it's on to 1.9.
I made major progress on Part II and I'm more confident about a 2019 release. I spent a lot of time on the mythology arc for Part II. I think players will enjoy the epic storyline: from the Pilgrim's first meeting with Domina, to the end-game confrontation with Oracus, and all the twists and turns in between.
There will definitely be a Part III, but I believe The Vault of the Galaxy will resolve the major questions from Part I.
Of course, there's still a lot of work to do between now and then. My plan for 2019 is to finish up the various side-missions and then release Beta 1. This will be the first version with a complete main story arc. After Beta 1, I'll spend time on polish and game balance, and with a little luck, we'll release version 1.0 in 2019.
We'll talk more about the post-Part II future in 2019, but for now I've got a few ideas:
Without a new official release, the Transcendence community has stepped in to fill in the gap. Archcannon released a Halloween pack and Shrike/Song has been working on Elemental Shift. And of course, the titanic projects from AssumedPseudonym and Wolfy/Aury continue to improve.
I'm grateful to everyone's contributions in 2018, and I'm excited to see what 2019 brings!
Matteson Claus is our creative developer, helping with planning and marketing ideas.
Music Director Michael Tangent is composing and recording new tracks for The Vault of the Galaxy.
Thanks to Archcannon, giantcabbage, heliogenesis, NMS, and SiegeLord for their code contributions.
Thanks to everyone contributing bugs and suggestions to the Ministry of Records. I specially thank AssumedPseudonym, Derakon, erwgd, PM, Relanat, The Shrike, and WolfWalker Prime.