We've catalogued the games assets and we're in good shape.
We have most of the components we need to rescue the project and the opportunity now to learn from the previous failures and adapt.
There will be some challenges - multiplayer will need to be baked in from the start and it was incredibly difficult to tame those free moving ships into something that was actually purposeful and strategical.
Then there's the fact that the Shallow Space project is huge.
There is so much lore it's hard to put it into words (excuse the pun!)
Detailed specs of each system, each faction, how they operate / co-operate. Much of it was on the old website which sadly got shuttered, We're excited to come across this treasure trove and are even much excited to get that stuff back online.
Then there are the assets.
We're by no means complete there - i'd say we were about 65-70% of the way, but we have enough of them to recreate Shallow Space as a more fun game using more modern tech.
But hold on; one doesn't just make a multiplayer game.
So why would we bother with it? Because multiplayer is important, but not to everyone. But something like Shallow Space could really shine if we could have hundreds of players working together (or against each other) somehow competing for control of space or resources. We need to lay that groundwork from the start.
The current alpha shows a bit of the intention with having multiple zones with background traffic, we're just going to scale that up quite a bit to accommodate multiplayer and make those environments richer with localized events, random encounters and plenty of opportunity to team up with your mates for big-ass fleet battles or go at it alone if you prefer.
OK ... so yeah that sounds good - but how?
Technical speak: In the background we'll run a number cruncher as a highly efficient micro-service based platform that is designed to scale when Players join and be the brains of the universe, we'll call this the backend which is the hard part of the project. Now that sounds complex, but in our 3.5 year absence we have gathered experience developing such systems.
This backend is the part we're currently working on and it's coming along nicely. We're using test driven development to ensure it's as stable as possible. We have working integration, so we're able to push out updates quickly and safely, as we develop them.
All that jargon is important, because it means more time delivering the goods and what we deliver will work better with far fewer crashes. This was a major failing of the project previously.
Good news, but the game client also needs to benefit from this streamline integration also.
Shallow Space has been going for a long time and if you look back at the Youtube videos we spent a lot of time playing with the art of space battle and working out what looks right, some might say too much time.
It's so easy to get distracted with details, we've got to make a game out of this and we've got to be ruthless to get there. Expect some changes; some loss of detail, some improved controls - it's all in the name of making it more fun, and feel more like a game. We obviously want some opinions on that so we're aiming to get something out ASAP.
The project is huge and the bulk of the work lies in the backend, we're making good progress but we're still at the start of it. The game client should come together quickly and we don't have to wait for artwork because we have enough of it already - massive time saver, then we'll start seeing Steam updates on the client again.
But when will that be?
Shallow Space has always been a labour of love, born from a love of the genre. We're not going to get stressed about delivering it again, better to enjoy the journey and the positive community spirit the project has always seemed to attract. We'll get back on our feet first, make the game free and get it into a state we can play together and then look at how we'll get the funds to finish it.
We're amazed and grateful to read the comments of support, it's very encouraging and really makes us work harder. It's been a productive couple of months of cataloguing assets, planning and coding and we'll have something to show for that soon, in the meantime, look forward to some of that lore reappearing on the web.
Thanks to everyone, we'll be in touch regularly with updates!