TIME LINE OF EVENTS:
A lot of people want full transparency to see what it’s really like to make a game like this. So this is a way I can articulate the daily adventures of building Police 1013. I hope you enjoy the read.
- During 2014 I started development of the game Police 1013. This development took on several parts as I wasn’t completely trained enough to be proficient in model making, coding or the game engine (Cryengine), so I started a University Degree in Game Development.
- I brought on board two guys, Developer 1 and Programmer 1 I had met on forums from Germany. One of which actually worked for Crytek (Cryengine) and another was his friend who both believed in this game enough to work for nothing. Developer 1 was a modeller and game designer and Developer 2 was a programmer.
- Through-out 2014 we started what was then known as the “Think Tank”. It was literally a crowd ideas campaign. Using social media, the webpage and forum to get ideas that people had, to make the game that people wanted to play. This took up a lot of time socially. All the while my two developers started building a small trailer to promote what we were doing.
- At this early stage I brought on partner 1 who had no idea about Game development but was a good person to get involved for the business side of the venture. It was agreed that to do this right we needed to find investors with which he had some people he’d known for a while who invested in new ideas etc. So our meetings started with Investor 1 and Investor 2.
- During 2014 we started building up our social members on twitter, facebook and Steam. We also applied for Steam Greenlight (early) to get the concept known by the public and to also use the greenlight experience to gain support for the game itself so that we could highlight its popularity to our investors. Within 9 days we hit number 1 on steam greenlight which was a record. It was obvious that people wanted a game like this.
- Investor 1 and Investor 2 also saw that this was becoming popular so we began discussions with Financial advisors, lawyers, accountants and had several Investor showcase forums that showed off all the work we had done to date and to get further support with funding. These meetings started requiring large amounts of money because to do what we wanted to do our investors required certain steps to be taken to allow us to make investments flow through a financial model. Including but not limited to:
- Starting a company
- Financial plans
- Legal contracts for the business, the company and the investors.
- Financial planning
- Adding three separate companies for investors to put investment into including Police 1013 Trust accounts/companies, Wingman Games Trust Accounts/company, personal trust accounts/company and investor trust accounts/company.
- With so many things being required and so much being invested into just building our business structure ready to take on actual investors that Investor 1 and Investor 2 were going to bring in, the costs started pilling up.
- Most of this year was literally meeting after meeting, presentation after presentation to investors. We aren’t talking one or two potential investors, we’re talking 60+ investors. From major football stars to large multi-million dollar companies, to even American TV Networks. I was literally spending my days preparing to showcase the business model and the game to all these people. Every couple of nights i’d be off to do another presentation. I worked really hard and spent a lot of time travelling to and from the city.
- One stage we were in negotiations with a huge American games company who loved everything that we were doing but just wouldn’t commit. The numbers all added up, the steam success and social campaigns proved we were doing everything right but they just wouldn’t commit. In hindsight those constant phone meetings, emails and discussions wasted a lot of our time. Things got put on hold as we were working toward building the business in the United States. The issue we faced with this company is that during these negotiations, a game they had spent nearly $50,000,000 on died. This obviously put us at the end of the cue. Over several months the people that we were negotiating with moved on to other ventures. Leaving us at the beginning.
- During this time our lead developer left because he was given a leading position within Crytek to build one of their games. He obviously needed to do that so he said he’d stay around and help us where he could. Cryengine was slowly going down hill at that stage and we were introduced to Unreal Engine. At that stage we had to pay to use it so the more developers we got on the more expensive it was becoming. Not only was it costing us to use this new engine but it was costing to get all the software etc that we needed to move forward. Thousands of dollars was spent on developers who needed, new computers, new software, sound equipment for our sound designer and the costs continued to become too hard for me to pay for. So I started “Project Blue Line”. A crowd funding campaign to help with the ongoing costs of development.
- The learning curve to move engine from Cryengine to Unreal 4 was a pretty steep one. Even with some experienced devs on board we still needed to learn how to use it. The biggest thing about Unreal 4 was that it was being developed constantly while we were learning how to use it so there was updates to it all the time. Every time an update happened we’d need to learn more.
- We then brought on Programmer 2. He had started on a UK Emergency Services style game but didn’t have anywhere near the social connection or business approval we had so I approached him to join us. For the next few years he would drop in to do something but then we’d never get it handed over to put into game. This was very frustrating for all of us as communication wasn’t his best feature. Later we found that he was also working on his own game and putting more time into that than Police 1013. In 2017 he was released to do his own thing.
- Money started coming in very slowly which was being used to build a demo of the game. A lot of assets were being made by me personally as my skill level became much stronger. However, the money issue was a big one as our overheads were stretched with all the business dealings we were doing and continually doing contracts, or share financials, book keeping, accounting fees as well as the annual bill to have all these companies sitting their for when our investors brought on the finances. At this stage the deal was that our investors would bring other investors with a combined total of $2,000,000.
- We started bringing on new developers who didn’t have the experience but wanted to work with us to build up their portfolios. Business bills were becoming high but we were able to fly people in from different states around Australia to come to meetings etc. We started dealing with a major software development company who would join us for a certain percentage of the game in exchange for the use of their building software. They are a huge global company so we thought that we’d get more professional people involved this way. Again, many meetings were had and literally by the end of the year things fell through because the percentages they wanted would completely rob us of any way of continuing on the way forward.
- By 2016 we had several amateur developers who were all looking for the same thing. To work in a company, get experience and use the assets they would create to build a professional portfolio. Obviously, our goal was to have these same people join us on a paid fulltime basis once financing was approved and we were in a position to move into a studio that we’d been working towards.
- Assets were being made but not to the standards I really hoped for. Most of the guys working on the game were students or had other jobs so we weren’t really getting much done. Again, I was working my ass off and becoming much more proficient at model making so found myself finishing off a lot of the things that were being started myself.
- During this year I made some connections with a company based in India. Their portfolio looked amazing and the pricing to have them build assets wasn’t as high as in Western Countries so I paid them to start building our vehicles. Unfortunately I learnt the hard way that what they showed and what they produced were two different things. I also learnt never to pay upfront. Unfortunately when they sent me what I had paid for it was very sub-par. I ended up literally doing all of them again from scratch.
- After literally hundreds of meetings over the phone, in person and via email etc, our investors weren’t able to come up with the $2,000,000 that was promised so I made the decision to move on without them. This meant that the nearly $100,000 invested was wasted for no real result. At this stage we were getting small amounts of funding from Project Blue line to continue with development while we looked for other avenues to open up for us.
- This year was a pretty big year for building assets.
- In April of 2017 I decided that I might as well start moving toward an Alpha build so that we could run the model of getting an alpha out earlier and hopefully with the funds from that complete the game through the Alpha, Beta and full version. My hope was to get us to a playable alpha, smaller map, but playable by mid 2018.
- We again lost a few developers to schooling and or jobs taking over any spare time they had. This was unfortunate at the time as the group was becoming really focused. I continued building a lot of assets on my own with the occasional help from the other devs but started getting a lot done. Working mostly 16 hour days, 6 days a week.
- 2018 I felt was going to be a good year. Things were actually moving along really well. I was becoming a pro model maker and was really pushing out the assets we needed to build onto the map.
- This year we also started building the map. Obviously with a map size of 65km Square for the alpha, it was going to be a huge undertaking but I’ve managed to keep on track with building that, thanks mainly due to a great procedural generation asset to help generate our foliage and trees etc. It was exactly what we needed to quicken the pace in bringing the massive task of our map together.
- Then at the start of the year I was diagnosed with a large Brain Tumour. This came after several months of continued headaches on a daily basis and dizziness. It was horrible. I literally found it hard to walk in a straight line. It took three MRI’s to find it and it was only found because I persisted with the dr’s that something was wrong. They pumped me with radiation during my MRI scan and it lit up like a Christmas tree. I was put on an emergency waiting list as category 3 which meant my surgery to attempt to remove it would happen within 90 days.
- On 24th May 2018 I went in for brain surgery. From all the reading I was doing I thought I’d be able to chill out after the surgery and just work on the game as I couldn’t drive for 8 weeks after it so knew I had heaps of time. Unfortunately everyone is different when it comes to brain surgery. I continued to get 24/7 headaches for 6 weeks after surgery which literally had me in bed all day every day. Then in July I tasted a salty substance dripping down the back of my throat. IT was brain fluid leaking out of the skull. I went straight to emergency and was out the following day.
- We’re now in August and i’m starting to feel so much better. I’m still really tired but the headaches have literally gone. I know my recovery was going to take a while but just didn’t expect it to take this long. So this is where we are up to now.
- We continue to promote Project Blue line as that is the best way we have right now to continue development. I’m also in the process of closing down all those extra companies that have literally gone to waste and will open them up again when we get into investors.
- Currently I’m working on a way for me to invest some money I receive from other work I’ve been doing which could possibly see us get through to fulltime paid development with several fulltime devs. I just need a few things to fall into place for that to happen but I’m more than happy to keep investing my own money to move this along.
- The process is a long one but we’re getting there and things are starting to really take shape. Developer diaries are coming back as are more updates to the process. We’ll update this timeline too as we go through the process just to keep everything very transparent.
MAKING POLICE 1013 A REALITY:
Making a game like this takes a massive effort and there are many things that are needed to make the game successful. It is essential during the development process that certain criteria are met to help drive the project forward. From the very beginning of Police 1013’s development, a lot has happened. We’ve gained investors, lost investors, gained staff, lost staff and so on. It’s a huge task to keep on track with a game like this so to help alleviate any confusion I will add a rundown of all our developmental requirements to complete this game. As you will see, its a lot of work and will take some time to complete. Along the way there will be cutbacks, changes and different directions that we’ll take. This is expected in a game like this because without financial support there are things that just aren’t possible at the beginning. Please understand that we are taking every step to make the game we started out making but realistically we have to follow a path so that we don’t hit a brick wall.
Please note: We are not a billion dollar company that can do everything from the start. We have to be realistic and grow. Our time line and roadmap below should give you a better understanding of the work required but more importantly the goals we set and the difficulty we will face achieving those goals.
Please don’t expect everything to be in the game straight away. That would be impossible. We will implement certain things when funding/investment goals are met. We also have a great team involved in our Community Developer Branch which are doing everything possible to help push the game forward. Without these people the process would be much slower. Remember, these people are the ultimate fans. They are people with incredible skill and they are people who are doing their part to get this game made. Please respect the amount of work they’re putting in.
MODULE / DLC / FUTURE UPDATES:
With the limited budget currently available to us and future funding still required, we can not put a time frame on our full release strategy to console. It’s very important that gamers understand that there are still a few hoops to jump through to get it to console. We first must meet certain goals during the Steam Release to then foresee our proposed console release strategies. We are being very realistic now that we have started building the game officially. We know what gamers want now which is great, we also understand the enormous task to get all things completed. From this point on we will not predict release dates, nor will we add to our already massive list of proposed vehicles, gear and support for the game. Doing that may make things impossible to get done in a reasonable time frame. Our budget has changed due to unforeseen circumstances so our approach has to change with it. An important note is that everything we do as independent developers will change. Don’t EXPECT anything. It’s more important to us that we take our time in doing this right. It will then all depend on the community as to which direction we take.
Thank you all for your continued support and thank you for your input to-date. The following Roadmaps should give you enough information to know what stage we’re at. I will continue to update each section as time permits.