“The first 90% of a game takes the first 90% of the time. The last 10% of a game takes the second 90% of the time.”
This is a truism that my programmer Evan shared with me just a few weeks ago as I was bemoaning how long it’s taking to finish the game. Making a video game is hard. It’s really hard. It’s a lot harder than I thought, going into the project! One of the most common questions I’m asked by backers is “when will it be out?” so I want to take a moment to describe where we’re at and where we’re going:
Step 1: Polish.
Almost all of the content is in place. The game works phenomenally well. But those last little details that make the experience feel seamless from launching the program to closing it take a lot of attention to detail, and they’re important to making the player feel held and safe as they step into an unusual experience.
Here’s a sample of our to-do list:
- Integrate Oculus and Steam VR API
- Implement Vive
- Implement introductory meditation and instruction
- Finish designing and implementing menu graphics
- Implement two 3D shaders that are awesome but have given us some trouble.
- Fix some of the shaders that give trouble in VR
- Replace the strobe-effect shader
- Implement IR reverb
- Implement positional head tracking into existing rotational head tracking system
- Multi-stream graphics and audio processing
- Optimize from 60fps to 90fps
- Make improvements to pitch-tracking
- Fix a few dozen known bugs
- Playtest the crap out of it to find and fix unknown bugs
- Once we’ve checked all of those things off of our to-do list….
Step 2: Business!
Our initial plan was to launch SoundSelf at the same time as the Oculus Rift and roll the project into stories about VR, helping our audience find the game that way. Unfortunately we have missed that boat! Which is fine, but it means that once the game is ready, we are going to take time to strategize releasing the project in such a way that helps people find it.
Fortunately, we’re already ahead of the curve on some of the more complicated Things To Do. Our trailer has been shot and edited, for example. It’s really cool.
When can I play it?
Well… now if you’d like! The alpha is relatively up to date, and can be bought from www.soundselfgame.com
What do I need to run it?
Right now, SoundSelf runs best on PCs – we’re working out some kinks in Mac OS that’ll be resolved by launch (would love to get your error reports, for those of you on a Mac). Here are the min specs for PC:
Windows 7 SP1 or higher
Nvidia GTX 970 GPU or equivalent
Intel i5-4590 or better CPU
8GB of ram
Headphones you like (you must use headphones)
I recommend playing in VR (we will be supporting Oculus, Vive, PSVR, and potentially the other lower-spec VR headsets) or with a projector in a dark room.
What happened to Gear VR support?
We are no longer attempting to port SoundSelf to mobile for Gear VR. It’s just too much of a headache to get it to a reasonable framerate.