Robot Champions - Pre-Alpha Plans
Welcome to the first Robot Champions Friday Update and thanks for dropping by our fancy new site. Like what we've done with the place? May has already been a hectic month for Prospect as we rapidly build content, attend events and prepare for distributing RC to our playtesters. To kick things off, here's gameplay footage from our latest build of RC, completely with tasty new robot redesigns and arenas!
Alongside this we also revealed the improved Gigahurtz, one of the heaviest robots in RC that packs a mean punch with it's mighty hammer!
So how do you get your hands on this tasty content? Simple, signup to this playtester form and you might get access to the Pre-Alpha through Steam. We'll start distributing keys to players within May but make sure to join our Discord first to be eligible!
Please note that signing up doesn't guarantee a space in the Pre-Alpha. Due to our small team size we can't handle hundreds of concurrent playtesters - yet!
Rebuilding Online & Menu systems
We started rebuilding RC at the beginning of 2019 (this video explains why) and a big part of that workload was creating a new system to manage how online works. We have gameplay replication working, but unfortunately we've had some bad luck (again!) with the 3rd party solution for connecting to matches.The company providing us several online tools is going through major changes and we don't feel confident in continuing to use their services. If we suddenly and unexpectedly lose big chunks of online functionality - that's bad for all of us!
The bad news is this impacted our plans for launching the Pre-Alpha. The good news (plus silver lining) is that we're now developing our own AWS based system that's super cheap, extremely flexible and opens up all sorts of crazy possibilities for the down the line.
This means the Pre-Alpha will launch in May with just local multiplayer and soon afterwards online will be activated. We'll likely start by putting the online functionality in an "unstable" branch via Steam until we've worked out all the bugs.
What about menus? Well that's also had a big impact on our timelines. The current menus are hard to navigate for new players and that's no good. So we went and played a bunch of multiplayer games and prototyped something much better. Our lead artist Jesse Squire will have some nifty mockups to show next week - tell us if they rule / suck!
Developing RC costs a lot of money and Prospect is an indiedev based in Eccles, so we're not exactly dosh rich right now. That means we've got to make calculated decisions with our finances while also navigating the hellscape that is the games industry in 2019. We'd love a publisher (and lord knows we're trying to get one) but we're running on the assumption that if you want something doing right, do it yourself.
Alongside distributing more keys we're going to add more content (new robots, arenas, features etc) and fix problems the community flags up. We might include prototype features such as the robot and arena builders to determine how they'll work in the RC infrastructure. If we have a stable and enjoyable game we might even release RC as a demo through Steam so everyone can try it!
We're planning to attend numerous events throughout Summer in the UK, Europe and America. Our goal is to get valuable playtest feedback and of course grow the RC Army! Scroll down to the next section to see which events we're doing in the next few weeks.
If we nail our community building efforts with events and the Pre-Alpha then expect to see us launching a crowdfund around September 2019. So far RC has been a self-funded venture and we believe raising funds to finish PC and Console development from the community is the most sensible way forward. We're currently constructing our plan and I'll be asking our Discord community questions to ensure find success. Do you have experience with crowdfunding? Please drop us a line if you have advice!
None of this is set in stone and as curveballs impact us in the head we'll adapt our approach accordingly.
We have Plan A - Z for October onward to ensure that RC is finished no matter what. If you want to support us, make sure to follow our pages, wishlist on Steam and share our posts with everyone you know and love.
.. actually that's a bit spammy, just share RC with people you reckon like fighting robots.
We love doing events, even when they destroy your legs from standing up 10 hours a day! They're a great opportunity to improve RC, make connections and meet with fans so make sure you get down to one of these!
Play Expo Manchester: 4th - 5th May
We heard variants of "THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER!" throughout Play Expo, which we think is a good sign!
We're going to try exhibit at Play Expo Blackpool, follow Replay Events for details.
Bugglebots: 25th - 26th May
The 2nd season of webseries Bugglebots is filming at the end of May and we'll be setup with Robot Champions all Saturday - Sunday. Since losing Robot Wars we need to support shows like Bugglebots, they're keeping the robot fighting spirit alive in the UK!
We have our eyes set on numerous gaming events such as Insomnia and PAX West, funds are being raised and emails hurriedly sent to secure slots. On the robot front there's a lot going on and we're figuring out the logistics of getting to some of these. Can you help us? Let us know!
We'll have an events page on the site in the next couple of weeks so you can see what we're planning and make suggestions for places we should exhibit at.
Prospect Playtests: 16th May
We also run regular playtest events at the Prospect office in Eccles. There is limited space so if you're in the North-West and want to help out, grab a ticket before they're all gone!
That was a lot of information right!? Hopefully you feel much more informed on all things RC and positive for the future - Have a great weekend and come back next Friday for more Robot Champions updates :)