Hey everybody, Keeko here. That's... quite a scary title to write, and I imagine to read. This is not easy for me to announce. This was after a lot of internal deliberation, assessing our problems, and coming to terms with the realities of game development for a volunteer project. You've heard all of this before in our second delay announcement, but I urge you to stay and read this article. Myself and the team want to be as open and honest as possible about why 2.2 has faced three separate delays. We will be going over what we have done, what we have left, showing off some of the update's more difficult to develop features, and some of the challenges that set us back. It should shed some light on the scale of the project and hopefully maintain your trust.
WHAT PARTS OF 2.2 ARE DONE?
BUILDING - Virtually all of the building is complete. There are A LOT of new structures, locations, and dungeons in 2.2, many of them being massive in scale, requiring months of dedicated work from all of our builders. There's only one build project left and it's nowhere near the scope of some of our largest constructions, such as the new Burnt Palace or the new story location in the demo, and we recently had a build night where we finished the bulk of it. I cannot even begin to describe how Herculean an effort the building side of 2.2 was, but it is done.
PLANNING - All of the planning is done. Nothing else is being added to 2.2 - we are only finishing what we started. We know our scope, we know what needs to be finished, and we know how to get to that point.
WRITING - Almost all of the writing is done. The amount of lore books has been more than doubled - perhaps even tripled - from 2.1, and they're all done. The new 'holotext terminals' you see in the demo have some more work that needs to be done, but I'd say they're at 80% completion.
PUZZLES - All of the puzzles are done and implemented, only needing playtesting. The puzzle you saw in the demo is by far the most simple of these - they get more elaborate and complex.
ARTIFACTS - All of the Artifacts are done and implemented. I can't say how many there are in total, but it's probably more than you think.
RUNIC CATALYSTS - All of the Runic Catalysts are done and have structures.
MUSIC - There are over 40 completely original songs created by our wonderful composer Chris Nesja. Only 3 have yet to be made.
I hope this doesn't come across as bragging or overhyping 2.2 - I just can't think of any better way to express that the majority of the update is complete.
WHAT PARTS OF 2.2 ARE NOT DONE?
CODING - There is still a fair amount of coding work left to do. While I'd estimate that the bulk of it is complete and there's only a few systems that have yet to be started, the majority of the work is fully written out and complete. It just needs to be implemented and wrapped together for the full release. For example, a lot of the in-between story stuff still needs to be worked out, but we do know how it will work and have plans outlining the player experience all the way to the credits. Our new coder, Electro, has made great strides here in just the few weeks he's been on the team.
DEVOTION - So far, only Drehmal's Devotion system has been implemented, but the framework is very simple and easy to work with, so a single Devotion system takes only an afternoon to complete.
ARTISANS - A solid half of these are done in only a month's time. Like Devotion, these are easy to set up, just a bit tedious.
TEXTURES - The vast majority of these are done, but there’s still some more complex textures that need to be made and some that need some touch-ups.
POLISHING, BUGFIXING, AND PLAYTESTING - We want 2.2 to be in as good a state it can be for a Beta, as we know that will be a lot of players' first experience with the update. We already have a dedicated playtest server and have conducted a few playtests already.
As you can see, the bulk of the work is on the coding and implementation side of things. Now, let me get DomeMaster and Balderich in here to talk about the issues we faced during development and a big new feature coming in 2.2.
MANAGEMENT, SCOPE CREEP, & GROWING PAINS
Hey all, DomeMaster here. Over the course of making 2.2, we have learned a lot about how a development team should function, and I’d like to share some of those lessons with you today.
One important moment for us was in realizing that motivation flows in waves. It is not always possible to sit down and summon up creativity in an endeavor like this, and the team necessarily goes through periods of high and low activity. Rather than being a concern, it is actually a strength. Too often in the video game industry, workers are pushed to burnout in huge crunches in order to meet deadlines. For our current unpaid team, and for all future endeavors as a game studio, we want to avoid this at all costs. Good art is made by careful thought and extensive revision, not stress. I feel that as long as our team is full of self-motivated, passionate individuals (which it is), we have nothing to worry about. Since deadlines are still an effective motivational tool for some, we will continue to use them internally only when they can act as a positive source of competition. But they will never be mandatory.
Another discovery we have made is in how authority flows through the team. Our project began as a collaboration in every sense of the word. Everything was up for discussion or debate, which sometimes led to a great deal of frustration when an unpopular option was chosen. We learned that sometimes a firm voice is needed to make sure that the final product is as consistent and streamlined as possible. This dovetailed with our thinking on scope creep in the context of 2.2. At first, everyone was free to add anything that they thought was cool, so long as it added something to the map. But at some point, it became necessary to create a more solid plan and framework for the update, past which additional projects were disallowed by the project leads. That decision has paid off massively, and for future updates, more work will be done up-front by leadership to make sure that we are using our time efficiently.
Along with getting to know our personnel better and their approaches to work, these two revelations were perhaps the most important steps that Keeko, Balderich, and myself have taken over the long development cycle so far. Before signing off, I want to make note of one more thing for you all. With our new datapack coder fully integrated, we have made absolutely massive progress over the last two weeks. There is a real sense of optimism on the dev server, and I think it will lead to a better, more polished, and sooner 2.2! Please don’t lose faith in this team. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else in the world. We will make you proud!
Hey folks, Balderich here. I know a lot of you are probably disappointed, but allow me a moment to ease some of that and show you something big we've been working on. I wouldn't want to leave you guys empty handed after this rather depressing post. With our expanded skill set in Minecraft programming thanks to the works of the incredibly talented Zerdguyyy and our lovingly nicknamed 'Numbers', we've managed to incorporate something really cool into 2.2.
Custom mobs! Custom mobs in the sense that these are enemies and creatures with their own unique textures (and sometimes models!) that feature new combat mechanics or ones iterated off their base mob. With the talents of our programmers, we've managed to implement mobs that one wouldn't find out of place in a mod - completely in vanilla! I recorded demonstrations for three mobs, so let's take a moment to look at them.
First, enjoy a look at a volcanic new enemy with a fun little mechanic.
And now here's an arguably more dangerous variant of the creeper, shields won't save you!
An elusive endercat! Watch as I chase it down for an embarrassingly long time to show off its mechanic.
These are only a taste of what new creatures you might encounter in 2.2, and I'm really excited to see community reactions to some of the more surprising things we've created. And, no, these will not appear where you think they'll appear ;)
Game development is hard. This is our first real go at it, and I'm incredibly thankful to all of you for bearing with us as we go through these growing pains and make these mistakes before they have real consequences. We're still learning, and we'll only get better as time goes on. 2.2 will be worth the wait, and it will release. Dome and Keeko already said pretty much everything I wanted to say above, so I'll just leave you all with this. We'll see you in Apotheosis.
I wonder what shot him?
THE FUTURE OF SPOILER IMAGES
Hi, Keeko here again. Before I conclude this blog, I'd like to touch on one thing - spoiler images and how we'll be handling them in the future.
With 2.2 having taken so long, much longer than we originally anticipated, we've had to put out almost twice as many spoiler images as we would've wanted to. This has resulted in lower quality images showcasing mundane things and the dev team struggling to find new stuff to show off that doesn't spoil anything. Now, this doesn't mean that we've run out of content to show off, we've just run out of content that we want to show off. Well, not entirely - there's still some cool, not super spoilery things that we can put out. But if we were to keep putting out a new image, lore book, or item every week on top of weekly Patreon posts, all the way until release, we would be showing off more than what we're comfortable with.
So, what's the plan? We still want to put out spoiler images. We love the discussions they create and they maintain some level of community engagement. So, now we will be putting out new spoiler images once every two weeks, and Patreon content will also slow down to once every two weeks, alternating between public images and Patreon-exclusive ones. If you're a Patron, that means you'll still be getting weekly slices of 2.2.
In addition to this, on the off weeks where there's no new images, we'll be re-releasing old spoiler images, starting from the first one ever shown off for 2.2 - but now, they'll have a small lore excerpt accompanying them that gives some hints as to what this location could be for. It's been almost 2 years since the very first image for 2.2 was shown. Some people could use a refresher, or maybe some just haven't seen it before. It'll be fun to look back on these older images with some of the new insight the community has gained!
I hope you understand why we are now taking this approach - we want 2.2 to be experienced with minimal spoilers, and there's so much cool stuff that needs to remain secret.
Soon, I assure you - and that's all we're willing to say for now. We will no longer be giving out concrete deadlines and dates for 2.2 or any future update. We don't want to set another deadline, only to delay for the fourth time. Instead, it'll just be 'soon'. It will be done when it is done.
Now, that does not mean that 2.2 is delayed indefinitely... well, technically it does, but you know what I mean. There's still a possibility we could be done by the end of the year, or it could take until 2090. It's just that this current phase of development is uncertain. Combined with our past growing pains and some unexpected absences (who will be back soon!), our estimated timeframe is way out of whack.
I hope you are all not too disappointed and that this post offers some insight into why we've delayed yet again. If you are still disappointed, sad, or even angry, I get it. We just believe this is what's best for development and our team's health. We only ask that you trust us to deliver 2.2 and meet your expectations.
We'll be sure to let you know when it's ready. Thank you for your time.