Dear Creatures of the Night,
As you may have guessed by now, the release date for Prowling has been pushed to 2016.
To help answer the questions as to why, we thought it would be easier to give you an overview of how Prowling has transformed during development.
Through the Process
The original concept for Prowling was very simple: You choose a location in the human realm, press Prowl, and are returned a positive (reward) outcome or a negative (penalty) outcome, all accompanied with relative artwork and a few lines of descriptive text. The rewards would be whatever is currently on-hand in VDS.
However during the early building stages, we began to see larger potentials for the feature. As we explored these potentials we understood Prowling was capable of much more than that first concept.
The system we built was able to cater for more locations than we planned - so we couldn't resist the decision to offer locations on the Darkside. The system was also flexible enough to give you spiraling, interactive text-based adventures. We couldn't say no to that. With this amount of text-based material, we needed to break up the monotony for you, so we added difficulty-scaled boss fights galore.
In building the structures for all of this, it became obvious to us that we were going to need more feature-specific rewards. So on the table came a slew of new powers, Sanctums, trophies, a new legendary power system, and other never-before-seen reward ideas. Our excitement said yes, so we had to build competent systems to be able to deliver these items.
Where We Are Now
By today we've long since finished with the system-building. We've planned, designed, and actualized the structures necessary to deliver all of it. But this skeleton requires muscle, and that's all about the content creation.
Keep in mind that there are only four people working to bring Prowling to you. While we are all extremely creative, we are not all writers by nature. We also have to write these portions of story in a way where our technical data and rewards data can meet to be accurately captured to our systems. The capturing is a manual process.
While it will be simple for you to play and enjoy, it's extremely complex for us to create. So it's these portions of spiraling, interactive adventures that have accounted for running passed our goal for a 2015 launch. It's been months of writing!
The other item holding us up is that the writing section will be followed up by the artwork. Muscle needs skin! With our creative director helping us write, the feature's artwork is still yet to be fully completed. In that every scenario captured requires an image, that's hundreds upon hundreds of images. The new rewards also require images, as will all of the new Sanctums, and so on with the many boss heads you'll be stacking up.
Thankfully, some testing has already been done, and we don't require all of the art to make final tests. So once the writing is complete we can begin testing each scenario to make sure there aren't any glaring errors in the data capturing.
Due to the complex nature of the feature, we don't want to give all of this information to our volunteer testers. Pulling back the curtains would ruin the feature for them... and we want it to be fun for everyone. That, however, means testing is 80% on us devs. But once that body has been exercised, we'll be ready to unleash Prowling to everyone.
What We're Planning
With offering Topside and Darkside locations, and being only half-way through the writing, we're in a bind for time. If our current content-creation timeline is accurate, it could be very long time to bring the entire feature to you.
So instead of making you wait even longer, we intend to launch Prowling with only the Topside available. While you're enjoying that we'll be working our bats off to complete the Darkside portion.
Because we have no idea how long this last end of the feature will take, we're having a very difficult time trying to put a date on it. However, once we're at that point we're going to do something a little different.
We're going to launch a Community Day Event on Facebook, where we and you can hang out for a day, have some cool contests, and talk about Prowling! For now, expect more announcements as we get closer to tying up this feature for you.
Thanks to all of you, and we hope to see you all Prowling sometime soon!
-The VDS Dev Team
We've pinched some mock-ups from our graphics guru that show off the feel of Prowling. These are taken from the original Photoshop designs used for the building stages, and are very close to the final build. Enjoy!