My name is Josh Lee . I am an UK-based programmer and game developer. I am, at this time, the only developer for Platinos. I'm writing today to explain where Platinos is today, where I expect it to be soon, updates to come, etc.
Current status of the game
First of all, Platinos is still is very early development. I've been working on the game itself for about three months now, only recently I have been introducing the game to the world by buying a website, setting up this page, etc.
The actual game engine is still under heavy development, I'm working on graphics, GUI, lighting, networking, etc. When the engine is usable, I will begin to add playable content. At the present moment that this post is being posted, I am still properly implementing texturing and point light shadow maps (I do have directional shadow maps implemented but they are not as useful as point lights). Once shadows, lighting and texturing is complete, I believe that the game will start to look good. Good enough for more screenshots that show the game for what it is, instead of the ugly flying cube that I have as the current screenshots (they were only for testing).
Estimated time to complete
Because of the nature of this situation (The only developer, me, must attend school still so is unable to dedicate 100% time to the game), I would not typically place an estimated release date for the game because it is so early in development, but the way I am releasing the game warrants one, I think. I have analysed the current production rate and I think I may be able to get a very basic, but playable version of the game out on Feburary/March 2013. This may include multiplayer, or it may be just a tech demo. The lighting has taken the longest to implement so I hope that once I've completed that, production speeds will quicken.
The release system for Platinos
The release system I will be adapting is similar to the release system of the popular sandbox game, Minecraft. It will involve pushing out an alpha version of the game as soon as possible, selling the game for half the normal retail price and granting buyers of the pre-alpha a discounted full price. (I will also request active testers that get the game for 15% the normal price). I will then continuously push out updates to the game while people are playing it and giving feedback, once I have deemed it complete for retail, I will release the game fully (also I'll still push updates after this, they'll be called patches).
Retailing the game
I feel that this is an important topic to cover.
As of current decisions, I will be selling the game for PC, Mac and Linux only for a full retail price of $12. During the alpha/beta/nonreleased versions of the game, it will sell for half the full price at $6. Once the game has released, the buyers of the prereleased version will have to pay half the price again, as well as getting some VIP stuff like special guns or decal or something.
Depending on the success of the game, it may be worth porting the game to Xbox. It would be a huge effort to do so because of the way the game is written, but if the game is really popular, it'll probably be worth it ;)
Assets (models, music, art) and job requests
I may be the only developer, but I'm not the only one working on the game. I have hired a music artist (a guy that creates music for the game), who is a friend of mine.
Modelling is an important subject (the guy who creates the 3D art for the game, all models, like guns, ships, players, etc), and I may have a potential modeller. I haven't asked him yet, so that outcome depends on his reply. If he declines the job, I may have to put out job requests for the game. The difficulty is, I can't pay anyone until the game sells out because I don't have a job (I'm sixteen and still attend school), and I can't 100% certainly say I will finish the game, so hopefully I will be able to find a modeller that is happy to dedicate time for the game without guarantee of completion (but if the game does end up being sold, I do promise to pay then). If it counts, I'm pretty dedicated to the game (see section below) If you are a 3D modeller that meets this criteria and you are interested in working on Platinos, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be considered if the potential modeller rejects my offer.
You may be reading about this game and think "Wow, this is hugely ambitious, there is no way a single developer can do all this". If you are, you're right, this is very ambitious, however, I will list some nice valid reasons that motivate me to continue the game.
For one, this game will include all the game mechanics that I have always wanted to see in space games. I don't know about anyone else, but there is nothing more that delights me than the idea of being able to wander around my spaceship, as it glides through space, glancing at the windows as beautiful, huge, procedurally generated planets that I would be able to land on if I so wished as I communicated to another crew member (who is a real life player) in another portion of the ship.
The second reason is I'm still attending school, but I'm in my last year and that means I have begun to think about college and university. If I am able to complete the game by the time I apply for university, showing them a hopefully successful 3D game that I worked on mostly myself is going to give a great first impression when I interview for my games development course.
Thirdly, I've been a programmer for a few years and quite a few of my friends and parents have that the impression that it is a stupid, nerdy hobby that will come of nothing. Platinos will prove them wrong :)
And lastly, income from the game selling while I lack a job is always nice. ;)
For those other nerd/tech-savvy/game developers/curious people out there, here is the technical information for Platinos.
The game is being written in purely C++ (well, C++11 which is a modernized version of C++). It uses OpenGL for 3D graphics, SFML for 2D graphics and input/networking (uses OpenGL underneath) (SFML is awesome!), Assimp for model loading (which is amazingly robust), GLM for mathematics, GLEW for OpenGL extension loading, Boost for filesystem access and probably other stuff too.
That's about everything I use right now. If you'd like to ask a question, please contact me at email@example.com.
I will be accepting monetary donations for the game while it is in development. The reason being, because as I keep stressing, I do not have a job, I live with my parents and still attend school at the age of sixteen. My parents won't let me get a job because I need time to study, I've also never had an allowance so essentially I am barely able to pay for what holds up the game. Donations to the game will cover the cost of keeping the www.platinos.co.uk domain up, the cost of any third party tools such as professional modellers (apart from Blender, which is awesome by the way), contributing to the family electricity costs for the long times at which my computer is left on, and once multiplayer has been worked on, the prices of keeping the server for the game up (which will probably be a VPS). Donators will get in-game rewards (perhaps a specially designed gun to your specifications?), and maybe a personal thank you email. Donations aren't set up just yet, but should be soon!
Anyway, I think that's about all for now. Stay tuned, don't forget to track the game! :)
-- Josh Lee, lead developer of Platinos