After just over a year of frantic development, I’m proud to say that Darknet is complete! I’ve locked down the features, polished it, and uploaded it to the store for launch. It won’t actually be released to players until the Gear VR is out, but my part is finished.
Except, I’m not really done, of course. They say that works of art are never finished, only abandoned, and in my case, I’m not even close to abandoning it. I already have extensive plans for how to update and expand the game. Initially, Darknet will be released for free, and I plan to have a significant update ready once it’s time to start charging for the game. While it’s out on mobile, I’ll be listening to feedback and designing new features. Then, whenever the consumer version of the Oculus Rift is released, I plan to release a bigger and better version of Darknet for PCs. The upcoming launch for the Gear VR is just the first of many.
This seems to be pretty common nowadays. Lots of games have multiple “launches” for Early Access, Steam, console ports, mobile versions, etc. One of my models is Towerfall, which first released exclusively for the OUYA and then later released an expanded version (Towerfall: Ascension) for consoles and PCs. “Vanilla” Darknet is a full game in its own right, but whenever Darknet: Ascension (not the real title) comes out, I expect it will be seen as the more final, official version.
Still, even if it’s common to have multiple launches, it feels a little weird to me. When I release a game, I tend to feel a certain emotional distance from it, and it’s uncomfortable for me to continue tweaking it. (I wrote a whole post about this before.) On top of that, I’ve fallen in love with ideas for several new games over the past year, all of which I want to explore. I’m going to have to find some new balance of priorities, and I don’t quite know how to ration my time. I know I want to expand Darknet, but how much? Do I have any obligation to prioritize my existing games over potential new ones? What’s the smarter choice from a business perspective?
But that’s enough hand-wringing for now. This finished Gear VR version will be the first full publicly-available version of the game, and that’s cause for celebration. I’ve occasionally done a poor job managing my time, and now that the game is done (in some sense), I can stop working on nights and weekends, and maybe I can even start actually playing games again!
Darknet involved over a year of work on my part, plus plenty more from a small group of collaborators. It includes over 28,000 lines of code, almost 2 hours of music, over 60 sound effects, over 300 art assets, and over 12,000 words of story text. It’s going to keep growing for a while yet, but I’m proud of how far it’s come!