Depression, recession and frustration... but hope!

Hello everyone. It's been a long time since our last post so I would like to get you updated on how HE2 development is coming along. I also have some news about HE1.

I don't have great news, though. Our last post was three months ago, and the lack of activity on this blog is mostly my fault. Let me explain.

Some news about HE2

The lack of posts and news about HE2 development brought some questions to light. Players were wondering if we were still working on it, or if we had any information about release dates.

Well, the good news is: yes, we are working very hard on HE2. We completely redesigned the game mechanics, now with a complete new focus on user interaction with the world surrounding us. Another example of how things changed is that the new version of the game won't have round resets, a massive improvement.

These changes on directions did not affect our back-end (core) systems design, but it did delay our user interfaces considerably. We are getting to a decent state now, but we can't get any "interesting" screenshots yet.

However, the biggest delay we've faced isn't technical.

Depression

On my previous post I stated that I'm not really good at social interactions. Well, that's ok. Most people have trouble expressing themselves. We call them "introverts", or simply "being shy".

My case is a little more extreme, though. On this post I talk at lengthy about being a startup solo founder with social anxiety. I recommend you read it to understand better about HE1 story and why we've been having such delays with HE2 development.

In short, my lack of ability to handle social and business-related tasks got me overwhelmed to the point I could not work at all. I'm happy this has changed for the past couple weeks - I'm still bad at it, but at least I'm being able to work a lot.

It made us miss a lot of good opportunities, though. And we are paying for it now.

Recession

Brazil is undergoing a heavy financial and political crisis, and this has affected us. Our initial development team, which comprised core, web, mobile app and terminal development, plus quality assurance, design and game design, has now been cut down to two teams, totaling 3 developers (a 75% reduction!).

I've been bootstrapping HE2 development since the beginning of the year, and now we've run out of money. I can still keep the other 2 developers for a few months, but if things do not change, soon I'll be the only one working on the game.

It was not easy to lay off 75% of the initial team, but I'm afraid I had no choice. At least their help won't go unnoticed - they contributed to game mechanics changes, base mobile apps, an awesome terminal interface and lots of meaningful advances to HE2 development.

That does not mean HE2 won't be released. That also does not mean HE2 will come out without a terminal interface or native mobile apps, as promised. It does means that it will take longer to finish it.

How longer is hard to tell. We do not expect to have an alpha-test by 2015, as it was announced previously. I personally expect to have HE2 released by Q1 2016, and this has been set as my personal goal.

Frustration

This part is specially dedicated to HE1 players. I can understand how frustrated you are with the lack of support, improvements, bug-fixes and overall attention by my part.

It is completely my fault and I do feel bad about it - to the point that it affects my work on HE2, as I explained on the Medium post.

I can only apologize and ask for (even more) patience. For a greater good I've been focusing on working on HE2 instead of HE1, as I explained before. But that doesn't mean I should simply forget about it.

As many have requested, Doom (round reset) will be enabled this weekend. I'm not sure about when, but sometime after Friday and before Sunday. Get ready!

Hope

As I said, these are not great news. But we share the hope that things will change and that we will be able to deliver an awesome game to you, even if it takes longer than expected.

Given our financial status, we've decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon. We still need to straighten some legal stuff, but as soon as it's done we will let you know.

It might work, it might not. If it does, we expect to be able to deliver the game we've been dreaming about by Q1 2016. If it doesn't, however, there still is hope. I, Renato, will be working on HE2 ruthlessly, even if alone. Even if it means finishing the game by 2017. HE1 took almost three years to build and I did not give up, right? :)

Open source

As you might know, HE2 will be completely open source. However up until now the development has been privately done. That's for two main reasons:

  • Things change very fast. It breaks. We can't guarantee backwards-compatibility at this pace.
  • We can't yet guarantee a proper support/communication with developers.

We want to start changing this, moving to a more open development process, where you can help us, even if you are not a programmer.

The first step is to open our decision making process. Since most of us live together, it's easy and fast to discuss features or game mechanics in person. However, that's not good from a community point of view, since no one outside us can share their thoughts, so we plan to change that.

It might take a while for us to get used to this new process (and it requires a social improvement on my part), but that's something we are looking forward to.

Another good news is that very soon I'll be open sourcing one of the frameworks that powers HE2. It was built with the intention to ease API and microservices development on Python with native concurrent support using the asyncio library. If you are a Python developer, stay tuned. I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

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São Carlos, Brazil Website
Former PHP victim, currently working with Elixir, Elm, distributed systems and some hardcore systems administration.