Enjoy a 15% release discount between Dec 11th – 18th! https://store.steampowered.com/app/2232040/Exalted_Seracthon/ The game has been tested as extensively as could be expected for a weary dev, emerging from this 5 year journey. If there is sufficient interest, Part 2 will completed, and further dev notes will appear here . Happy holidays from Ravenheim Labs!
11/24/2022 All extended beta testing and prep is complete, and Ravenheim Labs has onboarded to Steamworks. Exalted Seracthon is currently being uploaded, and will be tested and rated by Steam prior to its release date. The Steam page has been published with a Coming Soon status:https://store.steampowered.com/app/2232040/Exalted_Seracthon/?beta=0 You can watch the official trailer on the YT site, or here in the Media section.On Dec 12th 2022, the game will be available for purchase.
Currently working on the Steamworks side now, setting things up for the Exalted Seracthon page on Steam. I’m not going to be implementing most of the special features from their SDK, as I do not feel they are appropriate. There is no need for online chat, or leaderboards. The demand for trophies seems to have spilled over from the console world, it’s never been a native aspect of PC single-player games. There also won’t be any achievement lists, as ES is simply not a competitive or even combat-focused game. By adding these things, I would only be setting players up for aggravation. After a certain level of popularity, Steam does suggest that the trading cards feature be added. If ES does reach this level, I can certainly create a series of collectables. Periodic Steam sales are part of every game’s lifecycle there, and I’ll be participating in that too, starting with a release discount. The media that governs gaming news has moved itself into specialized communities, so I will be reaching out to other groups of people who traditionally have little to do with Steam, but do have interests in sci-fi and esoteric subjects. This was a very early expectation for this project, as I did not foresee the perception of this game to ever be appealing to the vocal 15% of the PC gaming community’s established preferences. We’ll see how it goes, but I am not counting on traditional venues for exposure 🙂
Hardware and cross-platform testing are nearing completion. Due to unfortunate limitations with Linux video drivers, the shader technology used to render volumetrics over distance just aren’t working in the Linux test builds, making interplanetary and orbital environments look terrible. I’m not equipped to do the necessary development to create a driver plugin, so a Linux release is regrettably not possible at this time. The windows version is still tentatively scheduled for a release on Steam this month – possibly early November if something comes up on that end.
[Click title to open article/images] The final test runs are underway, as I add in a few quality of life adjustments. The game is going to branch at this point, into separate builds that contain publisher code such as the Steam API (not that I’ll use most of it, but some of it’s necessary). I’ll be submitting the game to both Steam and GoG, and if one or both accept it, then the last stage will be testing their service to ensure its handling the game files properly. I can’t say there will be zero issues with this game. When you’ve got limited number of test machines and people to test, you can’t foresee everything a player will try to do. But we are doing our best to make sure ES releases with as few issues as possible. More to come..
Beta testing has resumed after some physical changes to the studio location, and taking a month of downtime. During that period, I wrote and published a book which is a sort of companion volume to this game (in spirit). It is a non-fiction work titled Underworld: Esoteric Reality, which goes into some detail on various esoteric subjects, some of which actually inspired the writing and design of Exalted Seracthon. Voice tracks and some details for wrapping up Part 1 are complete, and I am currently focusing on some further play testing to discover any lurking bugs, and polish the overall experience. Some of this time will be spent gathering and editing gameplay video for promotion, and we will engage in some actual advertisement/promotion.
[Click the title of these Dev Log titles to see the full version with images]This is just a status report: still very busy with testing and final details. After a full round of fixes, optimization, and polish, I’ve generated a second beta test build, which will undergo a new round of player testing. Voice tracks are still underway, and will be included in the final test build, as they do not impact gameplay. However, that will be the version I use to record videos for advertisement, and to send to play testers on YT or elsewhere. A Linux test machine has been set up at the studio to test the game. So far the early tests have been running very smoothly, and I think releasing on that platform as well as Windows will get locked in as long as testing is finished, and there are no serious issues. Both versions would be released on Steam and Gog.
[Click the title of these Dev Log titles to see the full version with images] Development has been slow through the beginning of this year due to other work that has required time and resources, however testing and final details are still underway. One of the issues with end to end testing is that every change to the code requires another test run, as things that affect movement, combat, the flight model, etc are affected by various unique conditions in different scenes, which can often impact how that change needs to be implemented. This is normal development stuff, but it is actually a weak spot for a single developer scenario, because you can only be looking at one thing at a time. Release strategy for ES will be an ongoing effort. A compelling preview video can only get so much exposure, and even getting featured on a YT gamer channel is a limited audience. Time has shown that word of mouth is actually the best type of promotion that exists for an indy game, and that largely depends on whether people like the game or not. So for this reason, I’m focusing more on creating a quality game experience than I am on generating a temporary bubble of popularity. In terms of time frame, my soft target for release has moved out to April/May. Things will take as long as they need to, so I won’t be locking down any dates until a solid release candidate is ready to go.
[Click the title of these Dev Log titles to see the full version with images] Play testing is underway, and things are getting rather exciting. There are plenty of small bugs and annoyances to find and plenty of polishing to do, but this also provides an opportunity to tune thing like plotline, dialogs, levels of difficulty, general player experience, and other things that are hard to see from inside an intense building process. This log entry is mainly just to stay in touch and let anyone know that things are still on schedule. I hope you all have a Glorious Pagan Yuletide Celebration, and (lets just say a ‘better’) new year.
[Click the title of these Dev Log titles to see the full version with images] The first test build of Exalted Seracthon Part 1 has been completed. All areas, missions, characters and dialogs are in place, and can be played through entirely. This month will consist of adding in a few non-crucial features and details that will make the experience more enjoyable, and of course, the dreaded sound studio work begins now. All actors will be given voices, and music and sound effects will be give a second pass. Dedicated playtesting will begin when this is done, so that the game can be optimized wherever needed, and any bugs fixed. During this phase I will be recording gameplay for use in advertising, so promotional videos will start appearing probably after December. The goal of releasing by March is still on track, but things will become more publicly visible a while before that. There is not much to rant about with regard to development at this point, and this log really should be converted to an Announcements page. I just wanted to make a progress update – finally approaching this gate is pretty exciting.