New demo coming soon, participating in Game Devs of Color Expo and SHMUP Fest, and development postponed indefinitely

· 1182 words · 6 minute read

Phew, quite a mouthful title, eh?

So for the demo, which is largely the same as the last one but with QoL updates and bugfixes, will be permanently available soon. I will be participating in two Steam event: Game Devs of Color Expo (Sep. 20th - 30th) and SHMUP Fest (Sep. 25th - Oct. 2nd) to test another weird idea I had for a while, let’s hope it works.

Also Autopanic and Autopanic Zero’s development will be postponed indefinitely, let’s talk about that, long story ahead but the TL;DR is:

I’m still fixated to release Autopanic some day, but I will stop targeting random meaningless date before the game is fully finished.

Now if you’re interested in what happened, here’s the full story.

The making of Autopanic 🔗

This is going to sound super weird, but I’m actually perfectly fine for not releasing Autopanic.

I set out to make Autopanic in May 2020 as sort of a way to cope with the most difficult period in my life. To me, it is more of a research project to see whether or not I can:

  • learn to make a game from scratch with zero knowledge
  • actually build my weird idea into a enjoyable product

It has since been proven by playtesters months ago that albeit flawed, what I set out to do with this project is achieved.

With that, comes a difficult problem to actually releasing it.

To release Autopanic 🔗

To release Autopanic, multitude of extra works are still required:

  • Some design flaws had to be fixed
  • All potential bugs had to be fixed to prevent immersion breaking
  • More artworks had to be added, and the existing one has to be retouched to be commercially viable (as in I won’t cringe when I make a trailer with it)
  • The music had to be improved, somehow
  • The writing had to go through extra passes to be actually enjoyable

Which is a ton of work for a fully solo project, though I’m really fixated to release it within 2023, so I can finally move on.

This is when the cracks started to show.

Stress beyond control 🔗

I showed symptom of physical urticaria since March 2023, which is a physical condition normally associated with stress. I considered myself to be fairly well trained in this department, which has proven to be the case for how I survived the ordeal. But at long last, the symptom proved that I’m already overloaded, and I know I had to race to the end before I’m consumed.

My condition got worse as my attempt at securing government funding was deemed unworthy. To be fair, Autopanic can be finished regardless of funding, but the whole process costs me time and a small sum of money which is really frustrating.

Then Tiny Teams happened. Which is normally a good thing, and I’m really felt privileged to be invited. But I never thought I’d be accepted and haven’t had enough time to prepare for better promotion materials. And since Tiny Teams is such a big opportunity, I feel obligated to release a demo at the very least. Which in the end gathered me so many more followings, wishlists, and more importantly more feedbacks, and I’m really glad that I did release this demo.

Though as glad as I am, my stress related symptom only increases as time goes on. Which forced me to reevaluate what I really want with this project, which I don’t really have.

To delay indefinitely 🔗

I don’t really care if the game actually releases or not, I’ve already reached my goal. Which is why Autopanic is set to be released for free all this time, I mean I do intend to have a supporter’s pack DLC of sorts for those who really wanted to show support, but I don’t really intend to make a living with my game.

I cannot pretend that I really care about something I don’t, and it is exactly that which leads to my stress.

With that settled finally, I’m ready to announce the indefinite delay of Autopanic’s development, and start treating myself better by playing all the games I arbitrary prevents myself from playing until I finished Autopanic: Final Fantasy 14 6.0 expansion, Tears of the Kingdom, Inscryption, Disco Elysium, Hitman 3, Balder’s Gate 3. Also Cyberpunk 2077 when they released the expansion and had the game all patched up.

I haven’t felt so excited for a while, I have so many games in my backlog, and it’ll take me months to finish them all. Apparently just the thought of this had my physical urticaria cured and I cannot take an example picture for this post.

So the date I decided to delay is September 12th, which is days before

Unity happened 🔗

Autopanic was made with Unity Engine.

I don’t have many grudge with Unity. Sure, I haven’t seen a single quality of life improvement during my three years of development, most new features meaningless to Autopanic. But beyond frustrations here and there, I can always bypass Unity itself and write my own solution that fits my need perfectly and the engine won’t fight back that hard.

ECS is broken for years but Autopanic doesn’t really need it (Autopanic Zero on the other hand, well), HDRP/URP is feature incomplete but I just revert back to Built-in RP when I figured out URP is a mess. But then IronSource merger, the promotion of meaningless AI tools, and having Gigaya team fired bring more questions than answer as to what Unity wants to be as a company.

Then comes the pricing change and per install fee. I don’t really have issue with loyalties as I don’t even know how well Autopanic will fare on Steam, but if I somehow managed, my plan with Autopanic to be released for free with supporter’s pack is the exact pricing scheme that suffers the most with low income per sale.

And with more major issues detailed by Rami Ismail, I feel like the trust with Unity has broken so badly that I’m incentivized to explore alternative options.

What now? 🔗

What better way of taking a vacation from game development, than to make more games!

So I’ll be checking out both Bevy and Godot and release a game with each to see how the workflow fares. Autopanic mostly consists of my custom solution with little dependency to Unity itself, so if any of these is good enough, I’ll be interested in doing a full port of Autopanic and leave Unity behind.

Sure, console porting will be a problem in the future, but Autopanic will have to be successful enough on Steam alone to deemed worthy of a console port anyways. And if it is really financially successful somehow, I could always hire a porting studio for that.

Of course, if the workflow is not good enough, I’ll probably continue to develop and release Autopanic with Unity. But even if that’s the case, I’m fairly sure Autopanic will be my first and the last game using Unity.

That’s it!

Thank you for reading this lengthy post, and hope you have a nice day!