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In 2011 I decided to start this project. Before that I was into mapping and modding on Source engine.
When I first had an interest in game development, there were few options.
I've witnessed great improvements in game development for the little guy.
That is good news for us devs, the rest of what I have to say is the bitter truth that still remains.
In the beginning I was still learning how to be a good leader to make sure my project went well.
As a 3D artist, I sought to contribute to my own project and not just be one of these ideas guys bossing people around, but I realised that wouldn't be enough to be a good leader.
I created a lengthy design document and mediawiki with documentation for all major aspects of the development, and as requested by members I also did project management like Trello, setup and hosted the SVN on my own computer. I've increasingly been there to hold the hand of my team mates through any issues they have. I've listened to every criticism and evolved to maximise motivation, organisation, and communication.
And in the end these effort have done very little for productivity.
Why? Getting a successful team together without any money is like playing the lottery.
There are fantastic programmers and artists, but they tend to be too busy to make a dent.
There are individuals who have the free-time and motivation, but lack even the basic skills.
Then there are the applicants who never start.
And lastly, the biggest time wasters of all, the unmotivated and lazy failures that will likely never do anything professional in either coding or graphics because of that. They make up a disturbing portion of recruits/applicants.
What it comes down to in the end is either luck or money. Reliable and skilled people are too busy to join a project like this. My project is also not a very popular genre like WW2 and Zombie games, so that contributes to lack of decent help as well. People tend to want to help projects they are interested in, and so if my game is a niche genre, I can expect to see less interest in development.
I had the idea in my head that I could atleast get an alpha out of volunteer-labour, and then get a kick-starter going so I could pay for work with whatever we got until we had a finished sell-able product. We've all seen a handful of projects go this route and end up alright. Unfortunately in 4 years time, its been mostly development hell. I assumed most projects failed because of other reasons, but after exhausting all options except for money and 'doing it all myself/learning coding', it is clear to me now that it is the average indie/mod applicant that kills projects. The disappointment and negativity I've endured is toxic and will kill any project.
My leadership efforts in the end, became what they needed to be. In retrospect and in the absence of money, my focus should have been doing everything entirely myself, especially learning programming. It is the one area where I'm weakest and have had to rely on others for.
I have to decide now what I am going to do. If anyone is considering doing their own game, let this be a warning. If you cannot do everything yourself, if you have to rely on someone and you have no guaranteed way of funding the project, I wouldn't start.
I have enough negative experiences that it is hard to be anything but cynical of people.
I've already started learning programming this year, but it will be quite some time before I'm decent enough, so the only options I'm really left with if I want to keep this particular project going any time soon is to dump my own money into it. I am a freelance 3D artist, and it pays incredibly well, but its not a steady flow of money since its based on contracts. I have to make sure that I stash away certain amounts as security before I spend money, and the kind of money I'd have to dump into this project to get it where it needs to be is in the thousands. I will be in the position to do this in the not too distant future if some calamity in my life doesn't occur anytime soon.
Latest tweets from @miriscus
Updated images on our IndieDB and site. Game is in a playable state, high focus on code these days. Video demonstration very soon :)
Apr 29 2014, 3:54am
Checkout our IndieDB page, tons of renders since last update. Two female pirates, finished male pirate #1, and more weapons.
Jan 26 2014, 9:11pm
Pulled through a tough month in Dec. Have a coding team of 4 now and were preparing our Steam Greenlight content :)
Jan 26 2014, 9:10pm
New renders on IndieDB -French Pistol -Updated Brown Bess musket -Zbrush sculpt of Character base mesh -Updated Galleon
Jan 2 2014, 12:59pm
New musket in progress - The Brown Bess model 1720. T.co Also the new Pirate is rigged and fabulous.
Dec 28 2013, 10:53am
New male pirate mesh in the works. Day 1 of progress: T.co
Dec 23 2013, 12:39am
If wondering what were up to: -Cleaned up our animations & added more actions w/ sound -Improving characters for photo-realism Update soon.
Dec 20 2013, 5:36pm
Final day to cast your votes for Pirates; just 4 hours left. T.co
Dec 20 2013, 2:05pm