After crushing the last bug almost two months ago with the help of a friend (a shader bug) the game has been sitting almost untouched on my hard drive. I couldn't seem to find one free week-end. That was especially frustrating since the game's pretty much done.
I spend the last two weeks going through the game folders, cleaning up unused content, temporary files and all sorts of embarassing things. Then I tried (and am still trying) to find the best way to release the game, hopefully before Christmas. The thing that's been bugging me most is that I feel that there should be another small PR push before I release it. I haven't decided yet. See... the game is rather short. If I'll release more screenshots or a trailer I'll probably show too much. Nobody likes to see spoilers. (Hi, Terminator 5)
I started doing a pre-release test. I bugged friends and testers to download and run the game for the first time on their machines at home, making sure the installation instructions are easy to understand and that it actually runs. It took some balls to do this, I'll tell you. There was no more excuse. I couldn't stand in the back as usual and say things such as: 'Ah... yes, that part sucks. I'll fix that later.'
The feedback I got so far is very encouraging. Maybe the damn thing turns out to be good after all.
And here's some good news for you: I decided to release the game for free!
Update: Rats! I should have known, being part of the industry for so long now. The pre-release test didn't go as smooth as I was hoping. Some major issues popped up. The game doesn't run on all hardware. At this point I got an idea what's going on but it's too early to tell. I don't have the manpower to do proper Q&A and I certainly don't have a testlab where I can run Tenebra on different machines with different specs. But there are things I can do.
Here's my plan:
- Try and track down the issue and fix it. It might have to do with Tenebra's heavy reliance on HDR. Annoying, but certainly not the end of the world. I might have to go back and re-light the entire game and tweak the post-processing effect filters.
- Do another pre-release test with people who're willing to help.
Someone I admire once said: Whenever you feel like giving up all you need is one person who's close to you to encourage you. Might be your partner, a friend, a relative...
Luckily I got more than one. So here's a big 'Thanks' to you! You know who you are.