I have mixed feelings about this post.
But first I want to tell you more about Project M.
The true name of Project M is... Mars Corp: Landing Party
(The "Mars Corp:" bit is hinting that Landing Party is just one part of something larger)
It's a 2-5 player party game where you build a habitat on Mars and try to survive by driving a rover and playing minigames together.
The minigames range from tracking satellites using the gyroscope, looking for hidden patterns in DNA, answering obscure trivia questions, to smashing rocks by swinging your phone like a hammer. Mostly you all work together but occasionally you get split up to work on independent tasks.
Driving the rover is a team effort as each player is assigned one or two driving controls (eg. forward, reverse, left, right, drill) and you jointly control the rover's movements.
As you progress through the mission you upgrade your habitat by building new modules, each of which gives a bonus like a rover upgrade, weather protection, or more time in the minigames.
And when you inevitably succumb to the harsh Martian weather and your funding runs out, you have to start again but you unlock mission badges for your character so you start the next session with a slight advantage, getting you a bit closer to finishing your ultimate mission.
Here are some screenshots to give you an idea:
Leaving the Party
Landing Party has been a big part of my life for the last few years. It's "close" to being ready for beta-testing. But there's still some design work needed to make it more fun and flow more smoothly. And then preparing it for launch involves:
- A final audio pass
- Final cinematics
- Localization (French at the very least, because we're in Quebec!)
- Accessibility pass
- UI Polish
- Optimization (memory & performance)
- QA (with up to 5 players concurrently)
- Bug fixing
- App Store promotional assets (for both platforms)
- Launch trailer
- Pre-release marketing
- ...probably lots of things I'm forgetting
HOWEVER... I'm now in the position of needing a reliable source of income in order to stop slowly draining my life savings.
So, I started applying to industry jobs again.
I was nervous preparing for interviews because I've been out of the AAA industry for 10 years now (even longer since I've interviewed!). Lots of things have changed, including the languages themselves. I've been using Unity and C# for most of my indie projects, but AAA studios invariably use C++, which I haven't touched for some time. I knew it well 10 years ago, but we didn't have lambda functions, type inference with 'auto', and we were only just starting to use smart pointers, so I have a bit to brush up on!
(Realistically though, I've been using these features for years now in C# so it's just a question of learning the C++ syntax and best practices.)
I ended up doing maybe a dozen hours of interviews and several hours of coding tests. It was tiring, but I actually had a lot of fun.
I got two offers. And a few weeks ago I accepted one. As of writing this post I've only just started so I won't share the details yet, but it's a big company.
(And I'm confident it will be a stable job although what with all the studio closures and layoffs at large companies, who knows anymore?? 🤷♀️)
So what does this mean for Landing Party and my other indie work?
First of all, and this is relevant to many of you, I will pause my Patreon campaign until I can focus on my indie projects again. You will probably get a message from Patreon about this soon. As always, thank you so much for your support and encouragement. Spaceteam, all of its many spin-offs and variants, the Admiral's Club, the Lexicogulator, Blabyrinth, Landing Party, Large Hadron Party, and everything in between would not be the same without you.
More specific fates are as follows:
Landing Party: My producer will continue in his role, and we will try to get the game some final design love before we prepare for launch. Unlike my personal projects, Landing Party has the benefit of other people who can carry the torch and keep the momentum going.
Spaceteam and friends: I can (and will) keep maintaining the games and fixing critical bugs. No new features or big changes though.
Blabyrinth: I'm quite constrained with what I can do so it will have to stay mostly "on hold" unfortunately. But I do miss working on it so I'd like to get it up and running again to show it off to more people.
I'm feeling an extra sting from this decision because I'm acutely aware that Blabyrinth was left in cryostasis in a partially-complete state (when I started Landing Party), and now it feels like I'm doing it with another project. I keep telling myself that the games will still be there, a ton of valuable work has been done, a wealth of experience gained, nothing is wasted. But it's still a painful decision to make.
And for a while at least I will no longer be an "indie"... 😢
I may still have reasons to occasionally post here but most of my updates will probably be on other networks. Given that Twitter has gone down the toilet and is being destroyed by an evil billionaire, I am relocating here for now:
- Mastodon: @email@example.com
- Bluesky: @hengineer.bsky.social (I have invites if you want to join!)
As is tradition, here are some free Steam codes. First come, first served, just send me an email:
- 🎁 SUPERHOT
LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
- 🎁 Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered
Frog Detective The Gardens Between
- 🎁 Back 4 Blood
Hollow Knight Duck Game
- 🎁 Paperbark
- 🎁 Machinarium
- 🎁 Fable Anniversary
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
- 🎁 Starbound
- 🎁 Wizard of Legend
Yoku's Island Express
- 🎁 Legend of Grimrock 2
- 🎁 Saints Row IV
Gotham Knights XCOM 2 Summer in Mara
See you out there, spacefriends! 🚀
~ Henry (aka Captain Spaceteam)