New demo coming up!

Next Sapu demo

Finally, we established the date for the long-awaited new version of Sapu demo! Other than features described in the previous post like energy-based Save Game and new camera, you’ll be able to check a new combat system, with 2 new spells! πŸ™‚ The build will be sent to all of you subscribers on 28th of January, 2018!

If you did not join us yet, subscribe to our mailing list – don’t miss the opportunity to play demo!

Combat system

One of the issues that we discovered, was that players tend to run away from enemies too much. Especially when fighting Larissa, the common tactic was to just run away from her and wait for all the cooldowns with almost no risk. Now, when the fight will begin, Sapu will have to go into combat state. This will slow him down and you’ll need to manage cooldowns more wisely, which should be much more fun than simple running around. In order to implement this system we still need to:

● Create new Sapu animations when going into “combat state”
● Implement adaptive music. Whenever fight begins, the tone and tempo of music will smoothly be changed to match what’s going on in the game.

New spells

To recompensate slowed down movement speed while in combat, we’ll introduce two new utility spells. Performing variety of combos using all the spells will be so fun and rewarding – can’t wait! Also, we are working on more powerful spells such as Icewall (this won’t be included in demo though). Take a look:

New monsters

While improving overall gameplay for the demo, we’re still working on Cave locations. Here’s the progress of work on another enemy that you’ll have to face – a big Magma Golem:

Damn, fighting with him will be so challenging. Can’t wait to see him in action!

Indie Games Contest

We are participating in FreeGalaktus Indie Contest for the best Indie Game. Your votes will be much appreciated! Also, tell your friends about it!

How to vote?
1. Go to http://freegalaktus.pl/sapu/
2. Click “VOTE FOR THIS GAME!” (button below screenshots and info)
3. You’ll be redirected to the new voting page, go to the bottom and make sure that Sapu is checked
4. Click “I’m not a robot” and vote!

Thank you! This can boost up our development tremendously.

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Sapu – dark cave, save game and aesthetics

Hi!
It’s been a while since our last post and few things have changed from that time. Let’s summarize what happened with the development of Sapu lately!

Cave, a new location

We’re building a set of levels which will occur in dark cave. Here, we want to play around with the lightning as there will be very dark and you as a player will have to be smart about it. Not going too manly, lightning up torches and piles or predicting enemies behavior. The levels are still in development.
A Toxic Bug will remain as one of your enemies in this environment. You can see how the process of creating this monster looked like:

Aesthetics changes

As Unity introduces new features related to rendering and post-processing effects, we decided to create unique visuals for the game. We want the world to be more grim and sad to set up the mood, but stay with effective spells performed by Sapu, as he brings the light in those hard times…

The style is not yet finally defined so check it out here and let us know if that’s a good direction:

Energy-based Save Game mechanism

Finally, we’ll introduce the save game mechanism. I say mechanism because we think it is not a common setup. You can save the game if you have enough energy. You gain energy by exploring or killing monsters. One save game takes 50% of full energy, so basically you can have max 2 of them and you need to think twice whether you should save it now, or save it for later.

Feedback adjustments

You guys requested, we will deliver. Here are some of the things that repeated in your feedback and we already implemented:
● Isometric view
● Keyboard movement
● Settings (controls and video)

Team growth

Our team has expanded with few more teammates! We’re very happy to have them on the board as they help us tremendously to make the best game possible for you! I think I’ll introduce new additions in one of next posts πŸ™‚

What’s next?

The plan is to finish the demo till 22th of October and send it to internal testers to check whether there are some blocking bugs etc. Then it will be sent to all of you who have subscribed to our newsletter here:

At the same time, we’ll work towards improving cave locations. Other than that we still have other tasks to do like:
● Storyline
● Character development (with sort of “soul itemization”)
● Spell upgrades and balance

Thanks for reading!
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Sapu demo announcement and quick report

Pyrkon attendance

Shortly after Greenlight success, we attended to Pyrkon 2017. We had our own little Indie Game box where many gamers could check out Sapu. The whole Pyrkon experience was great, the response was incredible, people were awesome giving us feedback and having positive attitude towards us and our game. See this short video from this journey πŸ™‚

Post Greenlight reality

As the dust settled down… a pretty quiet period came by. We had to do some dirty work in terms of code refactoring to be able to move on without a lot of bumps on the road. Also, some private life issues (2 of us changed day job) and Unity update (some strange bugs) happenned that slowed us down. But it’s all behind us and we’re ready to accelerate development! Right now we are focusing on:
● Implementation of (tricky/hopefully enjoyable) save game mechanism
● Cave scene with filthy monsters
● Acquisition of new team members (developers and 3D artists)
● Building the best strategy to interact with you guys (players), mostly because there will be…

Sapu demo premiere in a week!


A lot of you have subscribed to our newsletter to get access to demo. Now, it’s the time to release it publicly for the first time. The demo will be sent to all our subscribers in 17th of June, 2017! For this occasion we’ll set up a discord channel to get the most out of this demo in terms of feedback – looking forward to it! So, make sure to check your e-mail inbox next Saturday!

We are very excited about your first reaction on the game! So if you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter to check out Sapu demo!

Also, it has to be mentioned that we still need to add a lot of features/improvements to make the full version, these include:

● Full story introduction
● Character development (with sort of “soul itemization”)
● Spell upgrades and balance
● Other “friendly” characters to interact
● Save game mechanism
● Optimization (so it could be played on older/weaker graphic cards)

We focused heavily on the “gameplay” perspective, as you could read on this blog the entire 2016 year. We assume that action game should have polished gameplay to bring the most fun for player.

Tell your friends about demo

If you have some friends that are Dark/RPG maniacs, please do not hesitate and tell them about Sapu. Players feedback is invaluable to us! Thanks!

Also follow Facebook and Twitter accounts to get recent updates!

Sapu has been greenlit!

We’ve made it

Wow… Can’t express my feelings when I saw this first time!

We want to thank all of you who voted for Sapu – it is incredibly underwhelming that the project that we’ve put so much time and heart on has received so many positive comments. Getting greenlit before Steam Direct means so much for us. It was not only “financial” success as we won’t have to pay bigger fee, but also we’ve gathered much valuable comments and feedback during the campaign.

Steam Greenlight results


The trailer above was made in a little bit hurry, but we’ve set a minimum expectation level so that the game would generally be met with a good reception. As votes started coming, we were very happy with the results. At the beginning the percentage was VERY good due to the traffic gained from our friends and followers, just to get a little worse when other voters came by. At the end, I think the ratio remains pretty good due to some marketing efforts which gathered rather positive votes:

As for the traffic stats, the most viewers visited our page directly from Steam Greenlight queues. It shows us that before Kickstarter campaign we have to do much better job acquiring new followers, connecting with them and creating bigger community around Sapu. Currently we’re preparing for that by polishing out demo which will be sent to everyone who have subscribed to our newsletter. Here’s the Top 10 sources heading to our greenlight page:

As you can see our effort to inform gaming community about Sapu sums up to 33% of votes. A huge chunk of reddit visits came from Linux community which I didn’t even considered as a “marketing” as I wanted to ask if it is really worth porting the game for Linux. We’ve got very positive response from this awesome community and we’d like to include Linux version as well now. My “bigest dissapointment” award goes to Twitter, even though we had tweets mentioning our Greenlight with 7 thousands of impressions, almost no-one clicked the link. I need to study this social media platform more…

That’s it – a quick summary of our Steam Greenlight journey. I will cover our plans for near future in the next post. Once again THANKS A LOT for voting – you’re awesome!

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2017 plan: goals and milestones

Big year

Let’s face it. This year we’ll either make it or break it. We’re not really considering the latter because this would mean we would not get through Steam Greenlight. And honestly, seeing how bad titles get greenlit nowadays we’re pretty sure we’ll make it aswell. But you know, we don’t want to underestimate this campaign – better safe than sorry! Successful year needs a plan, so take a look at our vision for 2017:

Going public

First official teaser of Sapu will go public on March. We’ll sort of introduce Sapu to the media. We hope we’ll get some attention with this short teaser video. And of course – we hope you’ll like it!

Crowdfunding campaign


This is a big monster, and great unknown. That’s why we want to prepare solid ground for the campaign and our first goal is to carry out sort of preliminary campaign on Square Enix Collective to get much valuable feedback. This will take place around June/July.

For the main campaign, which will take place between August and October, right now I see 3 options:
● Kickstarter
● Indiegogo
● Fig

Kickstarter is the most popular and we would get most chances there, but it is not available in our Country (Poland). So to perform campaign on Kickstarter we would have to start company abroad most likely. Indiegogo however, is available in Poland, but it seems that the number of successful video games campaigns there is decreasing. Third option would be Fig which is rapidly gaining attention (saw Pillars of Eternity II hitting their goal on first day?), but its a combination of crowdfunding and standard investment/publishing deal. Which means that investors take a share after game launch. I’m not sure what percentages they take – let’s say 30%, in addition to around 30% of steam cut we would get 20-25% net out of the gross price. It’s not a lot.

Tough decision to make, right now we’re not sure which platform to choose. Do you have some advice? The result of this campaign will determine the final look of Sapu. Based on how successful we’ll execute it, we’ll decide how complex world we’ll create.

Steam Greenlight

Simultaneously to the crowdfunding campaign, we’ll make a push through Steam Greenlight. We hope that cross-linking strategy will help us reach crowdfunding goal as well as get greenlit. So there you go, creating breath-taking trailer for those two events is our one of the biggest task of 2017!

Indie game conferences and competitions


2017 is the year that we want to connect with community more and go out of the basement with our demo version that we’ll finish mid February. We’ll try to be on at least 4 conferences this year. This number will of course increase if crowdfunding will be successful. The main conferences that we would like to attend this year include:
● A Maze. or Pyrkon in April
● PixelHeaven in May
● Gamescom in August
● PoznaΕ„ Game Arena in October

New team members

As the game and core mechanics are shaping up, we have much more knowledge of how much work is left to be done. The ship is heading the right direction. It’s accelarating. We’ll try to reach young talents that would be willing to create Sapu with us. Don’t get me wrong, we won’t hire 15 people now, but we’ll seek to connect with three candidates at maximum. Folks that are willing to gain knowledge, love games and who will love Sapu, as we do. We’d like to have these three additions before crowdfunding, but we’ll see.

Lately we’ve been contacted from one of such young and talented folks, Szymon Kusior – a composer that has shown interest to cooperate with us. After exchanging few emails we agreed that we’ll try to do something special together. Currently we are trying to get along with Szymon as he tries to meet our expectations, which to be honest – are pretty big. We all know how music can affect emotions in the game. We want players to feel strong emotions playing Sapu.

So there you have it, a quick look at our plans for 2017. It is very ambitious but we are very motivated to make it big! Stay with us – we need you!

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Monthly Report #12 – Annual Summary

What a year it was. I remember this post from one year ago, when we struggled with how the gameplay should look like. Do we want to keep movement on WASD? Or by mouse clicks? Back then, we were not sure about many things, both gameplay and technical wise. I am very happy that we picked up a methodology of creating Minimum Viable Product and then enhancing it into prototype iteration. With proper feedback and open mind, and of course more experience we progressed tremendously this year comparing it to 2015. A long road still ahead of us, but this was a very good year of learning gamedev.

2016 in a nutshell

Graphical improvement during the year

Instead of tens of words, just watch this video!

Commits over the year

1049 commits overall! Although there is no direct connection between the number of commits and how much work was put into, it is a pretty good indicator of it. And certainly, we can see when we had some internal deadlines. As trendline shows – our work has intensified during the year (and still is I think). As we get closer to finally show the game to the open public, we tend to care much more. Also, our workflow is much more efficient then it was earlier. Now we have clear milestones to achieve in agreed time periods. We’re not lost in the fog as it might seemed at the beginning of our journey.

Followers over the year

Honestly, when we started this blog I thought we’ll have more followers by this time. Of course, Sapu is still in development stage and for the first half of 2016 we were still searching for the right gameplay, so it was hard to get any atention. I’m sure that this year is gonna be much better in terms of building a little community around the game out of some action RPG lovers. We’ll have a pretty polished demo version with which we’ll try to connect with them. Keep your fingers crossed! As you can see we have our first subscriber on newsletter πŸ™‚ Thank you Hijo!

Latest news

December was almost all about adding new stuff to the game, including:
● few skills for enemies to make fighting with them more fun
● brand new scene and enemies on it, which will serve as a first (tutorial-ish) scene for the game
● new Sapu skills. Those are being continued in January

Make sure to read next post (will be online in few days) to read about our plans for 2017, which we hope will be big for us. Thanks for reading, the whole Ende Games team wishes you absolutely amazing year!

If you don’t want to miss any big news about Sapu subscribe to our newsletter! Also check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts to get recent updates!

PS. In case you missed our Chrismas wishes, here you have it πŸ™‚

Monthly Report #11 – November 2016

Dust after contest submission

Sapu vs Larissa
Let’s face it, meeting up deadline in a hurry makes mess. Concepts, notes, code blocks, ideas, design docs, repositories and other files – all that have specific place. Such place has to be well-structurized and easily accessible. Not much was “easily accessible” at the end of October when we were trying to ship as polished build as possible for the FreeGalaktus Contest. Although we didn’t win the contest, we are very happy how the game is shaping up right now. Thank you all who voted for Sapu!

November was the month when we did cleanup. The project is refreshed so much, that it feels a bit like a new beginning. Maybe it is some kind of a sign? Frankly, we have almost 2 years of experience now. We learned so much during this time that sooner or later such cleanup had to be done. Now we can focus on further content.

No screenshots lately

One thing that you might noticed lately is that we didn’t post any screenshots on social media. Don’t worry, we’re still in business working hard. But one thing I’ve learned, is that we went public with Sapu too quick. To market the product properly, you need to have nice content to show it. As Sapu is our first title, A LOT of screenshots, gifs and other media are required to gain exposure. However, with the methodology of creating Minimum Viable Product and then creating further prototypes iterating and improving the gameplay, the source of this content is very limited. Basically we had one level that was being changed/improved over and over again. After several similar screenshots I felt that it started to feel boring. Also, we didn’t really wanted to show the gameplay (in the form of gifs) yet, as we knew that it may change a lot.

Qra is doing a really good job creating new locations, spells and other visuals right now. I just don’t want to do the same mistake, putting all new stuff out and then having no assets to show at a constant rate.

What’s next

How we want to end the 2016

New milestones have been set, others were adjusted. We have clear goals now. 2017 is gonna be huge for us. Basically we divided the whole big Sapu project into 2 sub-projects for near milestones:
● “Ideal demo” – our nearest milestone. Ideal demo means that everything is gonna be polished, tested and will showcase Sapu’s potential on various game conferences and contests we’d like to take part in 2017.
● “Ideal trailer” – create assets for the rest of the game and create ideal trailer from it.

Although these sub-projects have some common goals (tasks are interrelated), for now we are more focused on making ideal demo. And we want to have a majority of it done by the end of this year.

The importance of year summary

Almost full year of (part-time) development. So many things happened this year. Make sure to read the next report when I’ll sum up this entire year – prepare for much longer post. Also, I’ll go full transparent as of our plans for 2017 too!

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Followers

When twitter stays silent, you’re not gaining new followers and follow-for-follow account types are giving up their hope…
november-stats

Monthly Report #10 – October 2016

Sapu at FreeGalaktus 2016 Indie Game Contest

burn
243 commits in October. This is our record. I am happy to announce that we’ve managed to finish the build and were able to attend in The FreeGalaktus 2016 contest. It gathered 76 participants (games) from 17 countries – wow! I honestly didn’t expect such numbers. We are very excited to see which game will win the People’s Choice award, and which game will be Jury’s favorite. By the way – you can still vote for Sapu until 10th of November!

As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t expect such a high level in the contest. There are several finished products that had been launched already. Also, there are many games with great potential. You can see the whole list here. It just shows that not everybody believes in Indiepocalypse πŸ™‚ The build that we have sent is still far from finished and polished content, but hopefully Jury will see the huge potential in Sapu, just as we see it. Check our Social Media channels later on to see how we did in the contest!

Double-staged deadline – key to success?

Watebb presentation
When I’ve read about the contest the first time, I thought that 31st of October might be too short of a period to come up with semi-polished version of Sapu. Mostly because back then we still struggled with technical side of transition to 3D. With such tight deadline, I wanted to have more control over what’s going on everyday and what is left to do. That’s why I have planned our first deadline for 21.10 to send the build to playtesters, to check if there were any blocking bugs (not mentioning me testing almost every day every commit). Although some minor bugs have been reported (that we knew about anyways), there were no big ones.

Thus, we had one more week to add new features. As we didn’t want to risk any major flaws by adding game-changing skills/enemies, we have implemented Passive Skill Tree to make sure that Jury will see why we even call Sapu an RPG game… The results of our work were great – we did everything what I’ve wanted to achieve for this build. Having two deadlines one after another:

● Enabled “safety” of finishing project If things would go really badly, we still would have over a week make things right.
● Accelerated our work as we had a clear vision of what needs to be done on a daily basis

But this approach has its flaws also. For me and Sarseth, almost the whole month looked like this: Day job -> Sapu -> Sleep -> Repeat. Qra had also full hands of work especially when creating visuals for intro and outro movies. Its exhausting. It is not healthy. Productivity decrease over time. Sooner or later your body (or your Woman :D) will tell you “Enough man, get some rest”. That’s why we’ll chill out a bit with deadlines and will just create Sapu further at our own pace. But I won’t lie myself – such schedule will come back some time… more than once.

What’s next

Sapu vs Larissa

Transition from Trello to HacknPlan

During the intense work schedule in October, we almost fully resigned from Trello to Slack conversations by listing bullet points as tasks to do. As the project expands, we have started to feel that Trello is becoming too limited for our needs. Don’t get me wrong, it is a great tool to manage Kanban projects – but it lacks few features when dealing with bigger projects. I don’t want write too long post, so if you are curious what in our opinion Trello lacks, comment below or contact us directly – I’ll write another, dedicated blog post about it. So this month we’ll transition from Trello to HacknPlan which after first analysis, might be pretty great (and yet free to use) tool.

Scripts refactoring and files clean up

Creating prototypes and iterating further demos, especially when there is no much time, can cause some mess (either in code or files). We’ve started cleaning up this mess, refactoring code and also adjusting game’s files structure. Boring stuff for gamers, hugely important stuff for gamedevs with medium to big size projects πŸ™‚

New locations, new enemies, new skills

After several prototyping trials, rebuildings and polishing for demo, we feel that we are closer and closer to the gameplay we want to have eventually. And that means that we can finally generate more content to the game! Can’t wait for upcoming locations, monsters and skills – this will be so much fun! But I’ll hold details to myself for now πŸ™‚

The 2017 is coming – the plans are huge and ambitious. We plan to have a crowdfunding campaign to be able to create as enjoyable experience for players as possible, boost the production stage and assess the potential of commercial success of Sapu. Stay with us to see if we’ll be able to make it!

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Followers

followers-october

Monthly Report #9 – September 2016

How’s your day going? Things are pretty intense here mates! We’ve done the rebuilding process from graphical perspective. Now we’re trying to finish the technical side of it. Due to full hands of work and limited (as always) free time – this post will be a short one. The most important change achieved this month was…

Huge graphical improvement!

Transition to almost full 3D is doing wonders! Every day Qra surprises us with new visuals that he can create using lightning effects, textures and (especially) Unity 5’s particle system. Just check out those screenshots!
Loneliness
Island
We’re still working on smoothing animations of Sapu to feel his movements and actions more natural and its a lot better now. Also, all Sapu skills have been polished and improved. Considering pretty nice comments about visual effects of our previous version, we’re very excited about these opinions now!

What’s next?

Indie Game Contest

Yep, that’s right – we want to attend in the FreeGalaktus2016 contest. That’s big for us. We want to present Sapu to the group of experts that specialize in marketing side of gamedev. So as games can be submitted till the end of October, we have almost one month to “finish” the v.02 prototype. And thats pretty tight. We have a lot to do… Hopefully we won’t encounter any blocking bugs in the meantime. As for the features that I would really like to add from the previous version (other than improved graphics and gameplay tweaks that we’ve done so far) is:

● a “path pointing system” for those who don’t like being lost
● some story glimpses to get players more into Sapu’s ruined world
● (optional) selection of one of the two additional skills (or providing some passive skills) as a tiny representation of this whole RPG that we’re talking about and is yet to be implemented

Rocks

Even though the game is still much in the production stage and is far from polished version, we are looking forward to this contest. Sapu is slowly going out from the basement πŸ™‚ So let’s go work!

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Followers

socialmedia-stats-september