Development, New Years, and The Future
Hey everybody. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the holidays and have taken time to relax off of work and school. To those who still get big wrapped presents - I hope you got what you wanted, and know that I am jealous.
Before I continue, I want to say that I don’t have a Q&A to show you. We’ve all been very busy with friends, family, and school and might have to release it in early January. We have all the questions and their answers written, but we need to wrap up filming (and editing, obviously!). Sorry about that, but I wanted to have something out in December… even though we said that the previous blog would be the last one of the 2.2 development cycle… so, enjoy this little write up.
As you all may know, development for 2.2 has been very different from 2.0, when it was just Balderich and I. Since then, we’ve been collecting a team of passionate builders, datapack coders, and writers that have allowed us to broaden our scope and deepen our content. Of course, with a larger team have come obstacles such as management, organization, and trying to fight back against the desire to expand our scope even further. Luckily, we’ve been able to iron out those issues after some trial and error. DomeMaster has taken the role of the ‘team manager’. He’s been making weekly schedules, assigning people projects, and ensuring we’re all on track to deliver on 2.2.
But… wow. The benefits of a larger team - 14 members! - are innumerable. The obvious one is scope, but one that’s less apparent is how much deeper and polished everything can be. There’s more people to check things, more ideas, ways to make said ideas even better, more detail, broader lore… there’s just so much. All the new content in 2.2 is on a different quality level, really (which is something we are contending with, we don’t want old content to look worse, but we also don’t want to spend too much time improving the old when we have so much new stuff to make). Hopefully it doesn’t end up being too obvious. If so, that’s something for future updates to fix.
For the patrons who have playtested the Burnt Palace, I think they can attest how much of that is true. There’s so much more detail. So many more secrets. It’s a full fledged dungeon now! This is an entire deadly fortress, this is the citadel of the Burnt God, this is where so much of the world’s misery and suffering originated. And the music! Our composer Chris’ contributions to the team cannot be understated. Before, when we borrowed music from other media, we made sure they fit but they could never fit exactly. Now, the music is tailor made for the location, and amplifies its mood and atmosphere to heights it never could before.
And that’s just for the Burnt Palace, which is definitely one of my favorite things we’ve put together for 2.2, but it’s not the pinnacle. Obviously, I don’t want to spoil anything, but rest assured that we’ve saved the best for the full release. There’s a certain section that encapsulates everything this team is now capable of and what 2.2 is all about. The reactions from new devs are always such a delight.
Back to having a larger team - There’s other benefits that specifically help me as well. Before, I had my hand in almost everything. I would do most of the building. I would do most of the WorldEdit shenanigans. I would do all the textures. All the writing. But now with a larger team, I can delegate those tasks to others, and focus on more things I like doing… which happens to be all of the above, but I can ignore more specific things. Though I still do most, if not all of the level design, mostly because I enjoy it so much and I think I’m good at it. People wouldn’t like Yavhlix so much if my level design failed.
Some of you may worry that because there’s so many cooks in the kitchen, our vision can be blurred, and our focus weakened. I believe that may be true in some parts of 2.2, but I think the overall package has a much stronger design philosophy and singular vision. Even though everything still goes through Balderich and I, we've rarely had to turn down any ideas, because everyone on the team knows what Drehmal is all about. We’ve become very collaborative, and while Balderich and I are still the people ‘in charge’, we all feel very equal.
However, because the scope of 2.2 is so large, it has led to many difficulties, such as time spent in development. It has taken a toll on us, and no doubt the hype has worn off for many of you, but that is natural. I’m still hyped as hell to see what everybody thinks. Whenever the Beta drops, the whole dev team will be eagerly watching the Discord to see everyone’s reactions.
For those of you who have lost some interest in Drehmal because of how long it’s taken, yeah, I get it. I’m sorry we can’t have this out sooner, but as I’ve said before, the wait will be worth it.
About the Q&A - at the time of our previous announcement, it was absolutely possible to have it out in December, but DomeMaster - who definitely needs to be in the Q&A - has been extremely busy with law school. Along with holiday events, it was just very unfortunate timing.
But… we have something else to show off. Balderich has been working on this for a few weeks now, and it looks pretty awesome.
Our own website! We’re really excited to finally have one. Presentation is key when trying to expand our audience, and this will certainly help. If you're reading this now, then... well, this isn't much of a surprise to you, is it?
You may notice a few interesting tabs up top, such as Merch and Press. Yes, we’re planning on having merchandise, and have already commissioned a few pieces for use in posters and t-shirts. Unfortunately, these will not be available when the website goes live. We’re hoping to have them purchasable shortly after the full release of 2.2.
Even though you can’t buy it yet, we wanted to show off one of the pieces. Illustrated by Circlejourney (www.twitter.com/circlejourney), this piece depicts a never-before-seen moment in the history of Drehmal, in which Maelihs stormed the Kiln and defeated Virtuo in single combat.
As for the press tab, we’ll be including a press kit that’ll include all sorts of useful assets for journalists and content creators. For anyone looking to make a cool thumbnail, you’ll just have to download the press kit to find PNGs of the title text, Primordial logo, pretty screenshots, and more.
This, along with the Q&A, will mark the start of a new year for Drehmal.
So… what next? Of course, 2.2 is on the horizon, but… where will Drehmal go after? Well, we have plans for both a 2.3 and 2.4, which will hopefully not be as large as 2.2. 2.3 will bring all of the old content up to the new standard, and as for 2.4… that will most likely be our final update. We want to send Drehmal off with a bang, and what we have outlined for 2.4 will absolutely hit that mark.
But then what? We all love game development. We all love working together. After Drehmal the Minecraft map is done, we’ll hopefully form a proper game development studio and start making cool indie projects with the dev team members that want to tag along. Balderich has some cool ideas floating in his head separate from Drehmal, and I have some ideas, like turning the Drehmal D&D sessions I wrote into small video games. Tetra has her own crazy ideas; games set in the larger Primordial multiverse, unconstrained by the specific trappings of Drehmal. Lots of exciting stuff all around!
Of course, there’s the elephant in the room. A looming, ever-present concept that you no doubt have imagined yourselves.
For those who don’t know me very well or don’t meticulously browse the Discord, you should know that one day, there will be a full Primordial game. A completely standalone experience. It’s my primary goal in life - nearly everything I do is to make sure that this beautiful world we’ve created is translated into an independent video game, unrestrained by Minecraft’s limitations. And it’s not like this is a new idea. I’ve always wanted to turn this into a video game. Even before we considered turning this into a Minecraft map, I wanted it to be a game.
It’ll happen. As long as I’m capable, I can guarantee you it’ll happen. It’s an inevitability at this point, but the question is… when? The answer is decades. I want to ensure that every single aspect of that game is perfect. I want to perfect our game development skills before we even consider tackling it. It’s an enormous undertaking. One that few would be ambitious enough to try.
I’m more confident than ever before that I will achieve this dream. Really, I’m already living it, just inside of Minecraft. I am so happy that my hard work has paid off. I’m so happy that Drehmal is loved by so many. Even though it’s been a year and a half since release, it’s still getting attention.
I hope you all have faith in us to deliver on 2.2 and beyond. Happy holidays.