Game development for 7 years. Loans, car sale, 4 investors. Part 2

First part — https://demonskin.medium.com/the-developer-who-survived-the-demon-skin-game-7-years-f4f43c9cfe28
And now the continuation …

I immediately decided to write the next chapter.

Next plan.

I just started to think about a plan of action as a guy wrote to me and offered to finance the project. He had his own business, which over the past year was in a good shape. Now he was looking for where he could invest some money.

As a result, crowdfunding did not raise the necessary amount, but with the help of this platform, the project was noticed.

Agreed on $ 5,700– $ 7,100 Without a contract. I would just tell what was done and how much money to transfer. I did not take anything for myself from this budget. On the contrary, I even added some of my own.

I suggested the following plan. For half a year we make the alpha version of the game and go to Kickstarter. If we succeed, then we sign a contract and start full-fledged development. After evaluating the budget, I decided to make the game even 20% better from what I had planned and distributed the finances among the tasks. Finally, I decide to switch to a three-level defense and attack system. This is the idea that made me start the development.

The Forging Destiny HROFT was a long title. I decided to rename the game. I came up with A. S. H. (About Savior Hunter)

Again, I had to search for a team from scratch. Those who helped were already busy on other projects or engaged in their own. Many test tasks, conversation and … the team was assembled. It was hard, because you needed people with good skills for a small salary. I didn’t devalue the work in any way, but I needed to meet the budget.

I decided to find a way to make animations faster. After learning about the Perception neuron mock-up suit, after reviewing a lot of information, I thought this was a good idea. I could create animations myself, I would be able to animate all the characters. We decided to take it.

Found on avito in Moscow for about $1 500. (I live in Arkhangelsk). I had a video call with the seller. He showed me how to connect the suit, how the character moves on the monitor. Everything was normal and a week later I had the costume.

The animations were recorded, but they were very difficult “to clean”, so that the movements were smooth and on the right trajectory. The suit’s sensors were constantly messed up, legs and arms were breaking.

I wrote to the technical support of Perception neuron, agreed to call on Skype.

I don’t know English, so I asked for the help of one of my subscribers — Valera, who was doing translations. There were three of us during the Skype call. I spoke and showed through the webcam, Valera translated. I was told how and what needs to be connected. They saw that some sensors were not working properly and agreed that they would send them free of charge.

After getting the new sensors, the suit still didn’t work very well. Maybe it needed to be configured somehow, but our knowledge was probably not enough and the result was…. long, longer than if the animations were prepared manually.

The development process was underway. But it will be more interesting to tell more about the animation.

I was already absorbed in the idea of mockup animations, as I saw it as a way for fast production.

I decided to find a studio in Russia with professional equipment for motion capture.

Such a company was in Moscow. I called and agreed on a certain list of animations. I also asked for a discount. The investor transferred the money. I recorded all the movements of the characters on a mobile phone video, described their character and sent them to the studio. On the appointed day we had a Skype call. I was shown how the actor and the character move at the same time

After a few animations I began to understand … they did not prepare for the recording at all, did not read or watch the video, how exactly the characters should move. I turn on my webcam and start showing them the movements, but without training the actor does not nail it, especially with the blows. They seemed very comical. After several hours of recording we were sent animations, but we could not make anything sensible out of them.

Many people recommended taking animations from assets, but for our combat mechanics we needed certain animations that were only partially available and were not enough for a full combat system.

After analyzing the situation I understand that the motion capture did not work badly, the actors did. I made a decision to sell my car (VAZ 2115) and rent a studio, come and record the movements myself. In 2017, all this costed me $1 000 along with the road and accommodation.

Before the trip I try again to rehearse all the movements and … I sprained my leg. I’m going to the hospital and the doctors say I will recover only after two weeks. The train is in 2 days. The recording is in 3 days. Tickets are non-refundable, the hostel is booked, the studio is booked (we found a window on one of the days when the studio is free, the next one is only a month later). Animations are needed urgently in order to have time to prepare everything for crowdfunding.

Well, let’s go. My wife bought some ointments, and we start to rub them in every two hours. I barely got to the hostel. I was limping, my leg was very sore. On the morning of the day of filming, I feel better. I take more painkillers and start recording. That day I had to walk for 5 hours and at the end of the recording I just fell off my feet from the pain, but it didn’t matter, the main thing was that all the characters got animated.

As a result, the animations were much better than during the previous attempts, but it took a lot of work from the animator to bring everything to a more or less presentable state. In conclusion, it is better to use the services of professionals and actors when the budget allows.

The investor found a friend in the United States, who registered a crowdfunding company.

We couldn’t make a normal build, there were a lot of bugs. My coworkers could not fully work because of the low salary. I decided to record only cutscenes on Unity in which we will show the future gameplay. The code for this was not required. The pieces of the location were prepared, the effects were bought in the Asset Store, the characters and animations were already there, the plot of the cut scenes was painted. Then joined a cool designer, Micah. He helped a lot in the game and designed the page on Kickstarter. This was a colossal work, I am very grateful for that.

It was necessary to gather an audience for the Kickstarter launch.

I saw that on this website many developers published their projects and found many subscribers.

Here is the plan: I upload the project and the audience votes whether they like it or not. They took only 4 projects per month. 3 months before crowdfunding I began to negotiate with this platform. I was rejected every month in a row for completely different reasons and was never allowed (Instead of A. S. H they accepted much lower-quality projects, but maybe this is just my opinion). In short, this plan failed.

I wrote to many game journalists with a link to the press kit.

На этом сайте — https://www.thunderclap.it/

It was possible to gain subscribers and on the day of crowdfunding there was a mass mailing. Now, for some reason, the site doesn’t work.

There were also accounts for my game:

Twitter (800 followers)

Vkontakte (3,000)

Facebook (600)

Instagram (4500)

YouTube (200)

And with new hope, I launched crowdfunding in 2018.

Link to Kickstarter

This was the second failure, which I also took personally. One of my mistakes was that I was super engaged in terms of emotions and I always waited for something big to happen.

If you are interested in what was and how exactly it was possible to find an investment (it will be the final one), let me know with likes and comments.

You can also support the project by following the link, for which I am particularly grateful

Steam game page:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1522140/Demon_Skin

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1522140/Demon_Skin/ Indie Game - Demon skin. Single Player - Hack ‘n’ Slash - Fighting - platformer with RPG elements