Tuesday, March 15, 2016

At last! Catyph is finished!!

In March 2013, ASA: A Space Adventure first released on Desura.
In March 2014, I officially started the development of Catyph.
In March 2015, I released ASA Remastered Edition on Steam...

And in March 2016, you ask?
Well, I thought it would be the month of the release of Catyph, and I tried my best, but as you can guess: you will have to wait a little longer. No, Catyph won't release this month, but for the first time I am happy to say that the game is finished. I could play it from the beginning to the end several times, in each level of difficulty, and it worked. It might just be a small news, written on a small blog, but for me it's a huge step forward.

The development of Catyph began in the beginning of 2014, and was first planned to last 6 months, just like ASA - no more no less. But the more I was preparing the project, the more I thought I had to do more. A lot of First Person Adventure games are now in realtime 3D with incredible graphics, and are just great. I think that Catyph won't be able to compete with them and, in fact, I'm not going to try. You shouldn't think of Catyph as another one of these games. It's not a game like Dear Esther or The Witness, or even Obduction. Catyph is a very personal project, and I assume my choices, which include working with pre-rendered background again.
I'm happy with the result. It's far from perfect (the gameplay was hard to balance because of the use of static pictures), but I know that I couldn't have done a better project on my own, in the current circumstances, working at home with my own money.
So if you ask me: I am proud of my game and I really hope that you'll share this feeling with me. Today I think I am ready to show it to everyone, as it is a worthy successor to ASA. Just don't expect Catyph to be similar on each point with its predecessor. Some things have changed!

Does it mean that it is ready for a public release now? Unfortunately not! Now will begin the private Beta Tests and it will take about 2 months. Catyph should release around May 15th, and will probably not be very followed by the press (I'll do my best however), so if you are looking forward to play it, please keep this date in mind: Catyph, May 15th on Steam. Of course I will update this blog, and an announcement will be posted on The Icehouse collective sites as soon as the game is officially available.

About this release:
It will only be for Windows, and in English and French.
And probably on Steam only... I wanted to release it on the Adventure Gamers shop, but it is now closed. I don't know yet if other interesting stores will accept the game.
Regarding the localization, the team with whom I worked on ASA (moonplanet) doesn't exist anymore, and it was a sad news. So I had 2 possibilities left:
- release Catyph with also Spanish, Italian and German languages as planned, but it would mean a release much later this year.
- or release only in French and English, and see later what I can do with other languages.
I chose this second option, and Catyph will be localized in more languages *only* if the sales allow it.
I also chose not to release Catyph on Linux and Mac. It was possible with Visionaire Studio, but I think it would be a mistake (not that I don't want to do it!). It would seem that there are still issues with ASA Remastered for Linux and Mac, and I am unable to fix them. I could only release ASA-R on these platforms because it was developed by Andrea Rinaldi, and not me alone. But here with Catyph it's different: I'm on my own, and I don't have a Mac or a Linux PC to make tests (and i don't even know how to use these OS). So I don't want to take the risk. Maybe later with some help?

Now I will just focus on making the Windows version as stable as possible, and fix as many bugs as possible. That's the most important. I confirm that the game is quite big for an indie/solo project, and you should expect at the very least 10 hours of gameplay in Normal mode (probably less in the 2 easiest modes). If you want to find everything and unlock all bonuses, all diary pages and take the time to read them, 15 hours is a minimum I think, and it will certainly be even more if you choose the Classic mode and play in the old-school Myst way, with a pen and a paper (anyway they're necessary).
This consequent lifetime, coming along with HD pre-rendered backgrounds and video transitions, also implies that the game will be heavy to download. You should expect it to be around 5GB, and that's quite a lot compared to ASA (1GB). After all, the game already weighs 15GB before it is built and compressed, and the whole work folder exceeds 100GB on my hard drive!!
It also means that you'll need a more powerful computer for Catyph than to play ASA. Of course you don't need a modern PC (there's no realtime 3D after all), but it will be better with some memory and a good video card, in order to preload all the animations and videos. The requirements will be given as soon as possible.

More news should come soon. I will try to prepare a new trailer. The Beta Test will probably be an opportunity to work (and maybe re-think) everything that was said above. For now, please just keep in mind the release date, OS and languages. A bientôt !