Hello everyone! Given that it's been a year since our Patreon started and the game is close to completion, we felt compelled to give you some kind of a bigger update...
It's been a very busy year for us - or rather, over 7 years!
We started working on Chaosrise early 2009 - we were studying, we were young and very enthusiastic, thinking "what can be so hard about making a shooter? You move around and shit shoots at you". Since we had so much time on our hands back then, we worked day and night, created the game's engine from scratch and very quickly turned some initial concepts into something that looked like an actual game.
Wow, check out that ancient main menu
We didn't really want to sell the game or achieve anything special with it back then - we were just Touhou fans and wanted to create something of the sort, with ours and our friends' OCs and world, most likely distribute it for free - and worked on it just for the sake of fun and experience.
The project soon turned into a... bigger project (that's now over 55k lines of code) which, over time, we scrapped, as all of us entered fully adult real life: got married, started working, moved to other countries... every now and then some of us (or our friends) would bring the game up, but there was never any real intent to finish it.
The project was fully abandoned early 2012... and then brought back to life in 2014, with a whole new plan - to actually try and sell the game. This was mostly because we needed some incentive to actually commit our time to it - or maybe an excuse to finally finish it for good.
We added the hentai element mostly because we felt that the game itself wasn't high quality enough to sell just as a shmup alone - and on the other hand it was already much more of a complete product than 90% of random crap people throw for faps on DLSite. Back then we were already in love with some of the (actually good) NSFW games so, inspired by that, we decided to give it a shot.
This may be a niche market, but because the audience is smaller, and because there are so few decent action H-games, anything even remotely up to par is pretty much guaranteed a lot of attention. (...) To make as much money as I do with H-games, I think a mainstream game would demand higher standards, simply because there's more competition.
We started polishing the game in our free time, re-doing most of the old stuff (especially graphics) all over, adding new functionality, nerfing the gameplay - and at the same time looking for some sort of crowdfunding platform. Initially we considered Offbeatr but we noticed the rising popularity of Patreon among adult game developers and decided to go with it (and thank heavens, because Offbeatr died pretty soon after).
After that, we joined the community, started the Patreon - and here we are, you know the rest of the story.
Except, you don't know all the backstory.
Some old, scrapped sprites that never made it into the final game
Even despite the great aid from the community and our Patrons (which made us realise that there are people who actually enjoy what we do - a reward much greater than any sort of financial aid), running this circus has been... exhausting, truly. While we enjoyed all the support and feedback we got, most of the days of this past year we lived with those ugly thoughts in the back of our heads:
"There's still so much shit left to be done."
"Need to prepare all those prizes by the end of the month."
"Need to get that demo ready."
"Need to finally code that feature."
"Need to finish that picture at last."
We set ourselves a strict deadline not just for the sake of it, but to finally be done with it, really. Chaosrise has been a part of our lives for way too long and hopefully you can understand how pushing a thing you started 7 years ago can get tiring over time. Patreon and the need to keep all those new features, images and other rewards ready for you has served as a perfect catalyst for pushing onward - but it also made us realise how hard it is to commit to stuff when you have full-time jobs, family, friends, dogs and overall life going on at the same time.
As a side note, we're not trying to sound salty at all here - developing videogames is what we love doing, but managing such side project is a challenge nonetheless. To get an overall idea, have a look at how sometimes indie developers struggle even if they commit to their projects fully - and then consider that we can only do this in the evenings :)
We're still on track. Chaosrise will soon be ready, and we will be free. What will we do with that freedom?
We have a lot of ideas for new games in our heads.
We've been planning to release some short VNs that would eventually lead to something much, much bigger, maybe with a strategy twist (talk Sunrider, or even better, Sengoku Rance). VN only feels natural, considering we currently don't have (and may not be able to easily afford) an animator; on the other hand, the amount of resources it would consume (characters, CGs, BGs) is a considerable obstacle, not to mention the fact that none of us is native in English. May be that we're thinking too big right off the bat though ;)
An alternative is to think small. We're more than capable of creating some simple 2D clones of games like Pac Man (you know what happens when those ghosts catch you), Five Nights at Freddie's (this could work with porn, right?), Professor Layton (because there are more satisfying ways of congratulating you for solving that puzzle) or some tower defense stuff... but so far none of that really appeals to all of us and it feels like those gameplay formulas could easily and quickly wear out.
One of the more unique ideas that we're currently entertaining is to try and use some board game mechanics, especially the co-op ones - you know, the ones where you play against the board. Ever tried Ghost Stories?
We never had a chance to really expand on any of our new concepts though, mainly due to how much time Chaosrise consumes. Which (with a simple summary of "we have shit queued") leads to another point...
Patreon will continue for about 1 - 2 months after Chaosrise release.
It will be mostly so that we can provide our Patrons with prizes (CGs, PSDs, process videos and so on) up to the very last stage (as these are clearly a little bit behind). Think of it as supporting us while we deal with final release stuff, bugfixing and other teething issues, as well as work on preparing digital + physical (assuming there will be any) versions of the artwork album and the game CDs.
After that, we will stop charging on regular basis and will move to "per update" system - where "update" will always mean a considerable, substantial thing that we can show, i.e. a playable demo.
This is due to the fact that:
- We won't be able to offer new features so easily with a completely fresh project. We had a lot ready with Chaosrise so we could afford (still barely!) releasing it with new things little by little regularly.
- We don't want to take your money without providing you with something meaningful, which is bound to happen in early phases of development.
- We need a break :=] Both to take a breather and to decide on our next course. We're all going on a lifetime trip to Japan in March/April, by the way - should give us some time to regenerate and plan together ^o^
As promised, after the full game is released, our Patrons will be able to "use" the total sum they pledged to "purchase" it. Which essentially means that if your total lifetime support is 10$ or more, you will get the game (and all future updates and fixes) for free; lower sums can be subtracted when purchasing (so, for example, if your total support is 3$, give us a shout and you can get the game for 7$).
What else is there to say? Well, even if you don't wish to continue your support after the release (which is totally understandable), please at least keep following us. This way you won't miss a thing when we emerge from the depths of the internet again...