Thursday, November 24, 2011

Getting a 1 mil EUR investment was super-simple! (part 1)

Last weekend we had Game Developers Session 2011 here in Prague. My company Keen Software House was the general partner of the conference. We were showing Miner Wars, people enjoyed it and they were surprised by Miner Wars 2.5D (which we haven't officially announced yet) - and they seemed to be really interested in it. It seems to be a good concept!

Miner Wars 2.5D
I had a presentation and its topic was: Getting a 1 mil EUR investment was super-simple!

10 months ago I signed an investment deal with my investors. They have put 1 mil EUR into Keen Software House / Miner Wars. I spent only 3 months in the investor searching phase and at the end there were 3 different companies wanting to invest. Then it took only 1.5 month to finish legal papers and get the first money.

It was that simple! Super-simple.

Of course, it was that simple only because I did my homework and spent 2 years working on the prototype, released the pre-alpha and most importantly: sold a couple of thousands of preorders.

In the following blog posts I am going to recapitulate everything, from making the prototype to getting investors, to creating a dream team, to making an AAA game...

Upcoming chapters:
  • History of Miner Wars
  • How did I convince the investors?
  • What wouldn't convince the investors?
  • Relationship with my investors
  • How we operate in a "lean startup" mode
  • Changing role from programmer to enterpreneur
  • How to pick the right developers and "fire" the others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gameplay programming notes

Last Friday we had an internal meeting on this topic: all engine features are already 99% done, so now we are focusing entirely on the gameplay. These are our notes for the next month of development:

Top priorities:
  • Harvesting ore
  • Building, protecting and upgrading space stations
  • Fighting
  • Traveling the solar system
  • Inventory
Solar system and all its sectors will be procedurally generated

Small ship parameters – health, armor, ammo, inventory/cargo, radar, credits/money, etc...

Persistent world

Schedule solar wind

Dying, re-spawn, checkpoint

Factions – friend, enemy, neutral

Simulating actions and interactions on higher level (above real-time sector level) – e.g. faction A attacked factions B, hero X goes to kill enemy Y.

Mother ship
  • If you own the mother ship
    • Move stuff between your small ship and mother ship cargo – foundation factory, ammo, weapons, tools, etc.
    • Traveling the solar system
  • If you don’t own it
    • Buy or sell stuff: prefabs (or maybe only the foundation factory), blueprints, ammo, weapons, ore, etc
  • In both types
    • Recharge small ship fuel, oxygen, etc. - Maybe automatic and free of charge?
Building your station and mother ship (in the editor "builder mode" – not the editor "god mode")
  • Place a foundation factory somewhere and that is going to be the center of your container
    • Foundation factory = current green cube in the center of a prefab container – but we will make some pretty prefab for that soon
  • For all other prefabs you need to purchase their blueprints and also deliver required ore
  • Creating prefabs requires time - first you place an order to your foundation factory, then it’s created and you can use it
  • You can own more foundation factories
Later: transferring stuff between foundation factory and your small ship (e.g. if some prefab created new ammo for you or other stuff)

Basic “mission scripting” – the player needs to be pushed to actions
  • You start the game and you will appear in some sector – as it’s right now
  • Your mother ship will be somewhere close
  • The enemy will attack you and your mother ship – you have to guard yourself
  • After you kill them, new mission pops up – travel to some other sector and buy foundation factory
  • You travel, buy, etc.
  • You come back, place factory at desired location
  • Start building your base, build prefabs if you have their blueprints and after you have collected required ore
  • If you need better prefabs (e.g. more advanced ore refinery) – you can travel to other sectors and purchase blueprints from some other mothership
Later we will find a way how to add building into our MW1 story – because story doesn’t need it and we can’t just throw it out.

Default weapons needs to be user friendly
  • Problematic aiming with auto canon
  • Guided missile as default one? Make better HUD for it?
Try to make every in-game interaction generic – we never know if we decide to allow player to sell or buy a new mothership, whole prefab container ... and crazy stuff like that.

Inventory screen
  • Buying and selling with other mothership or players
  • Looting other players
  • Transfer between the mothership or foundation factory and your ship
Finishing weapons and tools

Radar and HUD – ore locations, custom position marks

AI / bots
  • Investigate current AI status, what’s wrong, what’s not finished
  • Factions
  • Spawn points
  • Aiming, fighting, shooting
  • Movement
Multi-player / networking

Destructible prefabs