SHIP of HEROES DEVELOPMENT SCHEDULE
Six months ago, we announced Ship of Heroes to the world. We’ve now been working on the project for just over a year. In that time, we’ve showed off our concept art, revealed the backstory and setting for the game, built and revealed the first version of Apotheosis City, introduced four signature heroes, demonstrated a world-class character creation system, added powers, animations, and FX, and most of all, we’ve integrated these pieces into a first prototype of the game.
We’ve done everything we promised, and more. After all, if a developer doesn’t deliver on their promises, how can you trust that they’re actually going to produce a working game?
So what’s coming up? The technical milestone schedule for the rest of 2017 is shown below, with an approximate month in which we expect to deliver each feature. Three of these are particularly important: refining the scope, which we have already done. Allowing the first non-dev community members to test our character creator, which we’ll do in September, and allowing the first non-dev community members to join us in escorted Alpha tests in Apotheosis City, which we’ll do at the end of the year.
Between now and the end of the 2017, we plan to make very significant progress. We’ll be adding custom art assets to the character creator, and coding the core powersets for ranged and melee characters. We’ll be expanding and enhancing the environment, revealing more game lore and enemy groups, and testing and upgrading our client/server architecture. All of this builds towards having escorted Alpha tests in December. We’ll finalize our plans for the first half of 2018 based on the results from real testing with real players selected from our community.
Building an MMO is a big undertaking. A persistent level, a superb character creator, real variety in powers and powersets, plus unique art assets, animations, and code are all required. All of these need to fit the story and the setting. Integration of these pieces of the game is the first key measure of progress. The second key is iteration – once a good prototype is developed, and we have shown one, the next step is to continuously improve it through revisions, upgrades and expansions, without losing control of the scope for the project.
In November of 2016 we are announcing our project to build a spiritual successor to City of Heroes, and we are opening our forums and polling to the community. We’re also showing some of our concept art, our plans for the game, and the schedule for development of the game. The game will be built using the Unreal Engine® because of the power of the engine and because of the well-developed community of vendors, artists, programmers and others who already work within the Unreal ecosystem.
Ship of Heroes has big goals for development. Our intent is to build our game by scheduling milestones and then achieving them. But we are conscious that big goals can be a barrier to success and so we plan to build the game in modular steps, expanding and upgrading until the game is ready to launch. We’ve started by building the first ship level, which has over three square miles of surface area. Future levels will be built once we have the first level polished because we don’t give up until the job’s done – you deserve better than that.
We’re also building our character creator and beginning the long process of stocking it with art assets. We will show a working character creator and at least a couple of key NPC heroes made in that character creator in January of 2017. The character creator will receive more polishing over time, but that’s because we want to deliver the best work that we can possibly create.
We intend to be able to show character creation, most of the first ship level, player animations, and characters in combat with FX and other cool features such as APEX physics, before we begin a Kickstarter in April or May of 2017. This will allow our community to experience two things: first that we are actually making a high-quality game that can be shown off in controlled stages, and second, some clear indications of how the game will look and play. The Kickstarter will take us from the clear beginning of the game through the next stage of development.