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Hi,

I’m working on a thing! It’s a Captain Forever thing! The Dawn Star was unwell, with the renderer failing on many machines, the design disappearing into the wilderness, and a secret new Blue Manchu project dominating my schedule. I decided to scale my CF ambitions down to something I could finish, and now it’s done! Almost. It’s 90% done, and I’m working hard on the other 90%. The new project is Captain Forever Trilogy, a re-release of the first three games (Forever, Successor, and Impostor) in glorious full screen, high framerate, GPU accelerated glory. The flash software renderer behind the original games is too slow to run fullscreen, which is why the GFX have been redone in this mode. They looks a little different, but I still like ’em.

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Tonight I’m working on the ?????????? part which unlocks after you complete the three games, then it’s on to options menus, polish, packaging, and release. Woo!

Speaking of release… I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. These days a downloadable game is either Minecraft, on Steam, or dead in the water. So I’ll aim for Steam. But even then, I can’t just leave the supporter program running and give out steam keys to all new supporters. If you do that people buy copies with stolen credit cards, sell the keys on G2A or similar, and leave it up to the real card holder to reverse the transaction. I’d not only lose a sale, but I could end up paying a fee for credit card chargebacks. Multiply this by a few thousand and you can see why it’s not my preferred option. This is why we can’t have nice things. It’s also why my options are limited to:

1) Try to release Trilogy on Steam, but only give supporters access to a non-Steam download.
2) Try to release Trilogy on Steam, give existing supporters steam download codes, and rework the supporter system so new supporters pay less but don’t get Trilogy.
2a) The same as 2), but shut down new purchases into the supporter system. Of which there are now very few.

Thoughts?

<3
Farbs


34 Comments » for Captain Forever Trilogy
  1. Ryan S. says:

    2a seems like the cleanest route to go unless overhauling the supporter system is beneficial for other projects going forward.

    Excited to see the trilogy come together.

  2. Jiggens says:

    Thanks for coming back and posting this, Obviously life is busy and not everything works out, but it’s really nice to have closure on DS/CF, even if there wasn’t a new release to go with that news. Looking forward to this and your next super secrit thing.

  3. ChrisK says:

    I think I’ve gotten plenty for the $15 I paid to be a supporter something like eight years ago. I’d be more than happy to buy up the steam version.

    Also, it seems like the supporter system becomes a bit unnecessary once this is out. All it gives access to is Captain Foraxian EX (which I would love to see on Steam as well) and The Dawn Star’s alpha builds (which I’m guessing is dead in the water at this point).

    If I had to choose I’d pick 2a, I guess.

    By the way, any of the changes from The Dawn Star making their way back down to Captain Successor?

  4. Grash says:

    2a seems your best option if you’re putting it on Steam.

    It’s not worth the potential hassle to deal with fraudulent purchases on the supporter system cause you’re on Steam now.

  5. Farbs says:

    Hey! Thanks for the replies. I wasn’t sure anyone was still here :)

    I’m in two minds about 2 or 2a – on the one hand 2 keeps things tidy and simple, and I’m barely earning anything from the supporter program these days anyway. On the other hand, 2a means people can still get their hands on TDS and Foraxian EX. TDS may never be finished, but I still think it’s pretty fun. I guess I can just pick one option and change my mind later.

    ChrisK: I’m planning to rework Impostor a bit, but I didn’t have any plans for Successor. That said, I’m v happy to take suggestions. Are there particular things about TDS you’d like to see in Successor? eg: Planck shields, shield pooling, modified sprint booster behaviour..?

  6. Chris K says:

    All of the above. I liked that you made blurst shields a bit more balanced as well. It was a little too easy to construct invulnerable death machines in Successor.

    Also, I really hated Successor’s sprint boosters. If I was unlucky enough to be stuck using them on my ship they made it virtually uncontrollable.

    Plank shields are a nice addition as well. They really round out the defensive options.

    I just like the revised art for Captain Jameson/TDS as well.

  7. Allen says:

    I’d do 2a personally. If there aren’t many supporter system customers incoming, there’s not much reason to keep it going. Shut it down, go for the trilogy with a traditional digital release via Steam and the rest, which is where you’ll see the real numbers anyway.

    As a supporter I’d feel kinda miffed if I didn’t get a Steam key; so Option 1 isn’t appealing at all, though I would appreciate the download at least. Not that I feel entitled to a Steam key, but it would be a nice gesture. Personally, if it were me, I’d feel like I’d at least owe my early supporters that much (especially since it costs nothing, Steam keys cost you nothing).

    Option 2 seems like less of a value even though the price is lower. New supporters would have to buy into the supporter system, and then buy the trilogy on top- not a totally exciting deal. And makes little sense considering the support system isn’t bringing in much anyways. Might as well drop the supporter system completely. Release the trilogy, and all future titles independent from it. It’s been almost 9? years now. I don’t think anyone will miss the supporter system.

  8. Farbs says:

    Thanks!

    To be clear, I’m not talking about shutting down the supporter system as a whole. People are still playing the Jameson/TDS alpha builds, and some folks (especially those with systems that can’t run Trilogy) will want to keep access to the first three games via browser. I’m only talking about shutting down the purchase system, so nobody else can buy in.

    ChrisK: I’m not sure about changing the art style, I feel like that’s too much of a departure. Some of the gameplay tweaks could come across though. I hated the sprint boosters too, unless they were used exclusively for non-rotational motion.

  9. ChrisK says:

    Even in that case they felt too limited in their usefulness for my tastes. They ran out of juice really quickly and just left me as a sitting duck too often for me to ever use them willingly. They are one of the things that if I spawned with them I’d just reset. Those and missile launchers because when enemies have missile launchers it becomes really hard to make surgical strikes and preserve the parts you need for your own ship. Not to mention they tear you apart if you get anywhere near a ship that has them.

    Also, question: Do certain parts not spawn in every game or do they just get weighted really low? I’ve noticed sometimes I can’t find rare parts like a Chrono Gear or Blurst Shields in some games no matter how long I search around. I guess that’s not bad at first, but when I’ve beaten the game several times and am just trying to experiment with different ship designs it can be frustrating.

  10. Farbs says:

    Not all parts are guaranteed to be available on every Successor playthrough. The game works by choosing a couple of modules and a ship construction algorithm for each level (Alpha, Beta etc) which is why if you see a Charlie station in one game, all Charlie enemies in that game will be stations.

  11. Chris K says:

    Okay, that makes sense. I’d like some kind of post game content to make building specific ships easier, but understand if that never happens.

    In any case, I do have a specific gameplay change to request. Although I’d like to hear if other people feel the same way.

    I’ve noticed that sometimes the game spawns enemies with nothing but boosters/translocators or weapons but no locomotion outside of the command module. Could you do this intentionally to a small fraction of ships when you spawn in with missile launchers? Like I said before, they are really not fun to start with

  12. David McGrath says:

    Little disappointed about Dawn Star (has been pretty obvious for a while though), but just a slightly improved downloadable version of the other games would be amazing. Never found another game that scratched that itch in quite the same way, but having it browser based made it a bit of a hassle.

    I’d prefer a way to run it without Steam. Don’t mind it on my desktop (most the other games I have are on Steam), but it’d be nice to not have to install Steam on my Windows tablet. Doesn’t really matter much at the end of the day though.

  13. Raphael says:

    first of all i just wanted to say that whilst Dawn Star was a little dissapointing (me blaming my bad aim on the game most likely) i still enjoyed it, and am still enjoying dying over and over… and over again.

    second of all about the steam release… is the captain forever remix part of the re release of the trilogy? anyway i think either 2 or 2a, a way you could rework it is as a package system so if you pay the full supporter fee ($20) then you get your full trilogy or whatever, or you can pay less for just the new game.

    I think that honestly at this point the supporter fee should taken away, people who have already supported should keep the supporter thingy of getting stuff before others and all that fun stuff but to be perfectly honest people buying the trilogy and the new game shouldnt be counted as a supporter fee anymore, they’re buying the game.

    whilst i dont care about a non steam downloadable option from what i gather david would prefer to have a non steam download and to be fair it would be great to have a way to download the trilogy without going through steam.

    all in all i think 2a would be the best option for you, us, everybody and more especially for the poor AI i leave with no weapons.

  14. Farbs says:

    Remix isn’t part of the Trilogy or supporter package sorry, but it is rather fun.

    I’m not sure if it’s possible to create a Steam bundle incorporating games from different accounts, but if it is I’ll definitely talk to Dean and bchan about it. I reckon they’d be keen. Oh also I still need to actually get Trilogy approved for steam. So there’s still that hurdle to go.

  15. Raphael says:

    there’s probably a way, not that i can help you with that at all.

    i should probably go around and find the proper thread for this but whilst i’m here i might as well…

    how do i finish any three of the games? i’ve managed to get to the point where i’ve destroyed the peacekeepers on forever but i’m unsure what to do after that…

    oh and i have no idea how to get better in imposter, the clone power thing is difficult to manage and i have yet to survive a single game to get past bravo cloning level

    and i actually really like Dawn star, i just find that more often than not once i’m given the (approaching) signal for a station i never actually know where it is.

    still love your games!!!!!!

  16. Chris K says:

    I too find Impostor a little frustrating to play. Partly because the controls feel a little too twitchy for whatever reason and partly because you are really at the mercy of the RNG. I once scored a Foxtrot level ship with bubble shields and made it all the way to India level before taking any major damage (since a bubble shield gives you one free hit no matter how outgunned you are). Usually I am not so lucky and am stuck with something I don’t enjoy flying.

    Successor works the same way as Forever: You need to kill a peacekeeper to “win”. However, the game doesn’t actually end here. Instead it will go into a sort of postgame mode the periodically throws more peacekeepers at you. This is probably the best time to design something really crazy.

    The Dawn Star? I dunno, I’ve never beaten it on any of the builds. I always lost interest.

  17. Dave says:

    Are you stopping development for TDS altogether? It was certainly my favorite game of the series — being able to revisit my designs and explore the various stations and asteroid fields out, I felt it was the capstone of the Forever series.

    Is there a chance it will ever see completion?… even a glimmer of hope?

  18. Dave says:

    *out there.

  19. Edward says:

    Another vote for 2a. I don’t imagine there being much traffic on the CP website until something super new and super cool and super exciting appears… or is finished ;P But I don’t blame you with Dawnstar, I’m sure it was a serious undertaking especially with a lot of other work going on for you. And even if it wasn’t that big, seriously I understand. Sometimes I don’t realize it, but I do use up a lot of energy and don’t feel ready to pursue projects.

    Anyway, 2a would mean supporters on the website was limited thing, right? We get to feel special for supporting you and loving you for so long! Haha, regardless of your choice, I really appreciate the effort you put into your work and your followers!

    P.S. For this special “????????” I might suggest an alternative route to achieving it. I don’t think my aching fingers will be able to beat Imposter (so hard xD)

  20. Farbs says:

    Cheers!

    The Trilogy version of Impostor will be, uh, not so hard.

  21. David McGrath says:

    Maybe have the current difficulty as an unlockable option?

  22. James says:

    Any chance you would consider site unlocking the original CF, possibly with creds at startup?

  23. Raphael says:

    What david said is a good point… i’ve been playing alot of imposter recently and i’ve been getting alright, to a point where i’m not dying as much and not losing all my clone power… if you do make changes then you should keep the current version as an unlock once you beat the game.

    i think my one problem with cpt imposter is that its difficult to get going due to lack of enemies, also once your weapons are destroyed it doesnt matter how good the rest of your ship is, you suddenly have to waste however long it just took you to save up your clone power because someone managed to take out the most vulnerable part of your ship, maybe when you kill an enemy your original blueprint gets regenerated at quarter health? so if something was destroyed it gets 1/4 health back, if you have something that’s just damaged it gets 1/4 of its total health back… some sort of balance would be required but it would make things easier but still keeping the premise of you having to change your play style for the ship you’re flying.

  24. Raphael says:

    oh and i totally forgot whilst i’m on the subject, it is jawdroppingly annoying that once i have saved a ship as an export, i cant keep saving my progress… so i cant save my progress and keep changing my ship…

  25. CptQuarks says:

    Sad to hear TDS is finally dead, but on the other hand I really like the Triology idea. Would be really great to have a steamless version though…

    About the supporter status: What about doing it the other way round: Give everybody who buys the Triology supporter status on the website in the future, and disable becoming a supporter without?

  26. Chris K says:

    I don’t think that would solve the problem of people being able to sell off one of the two.

    Although I have to wonder how many people would actually do that. These are pretty niche games. Still, better to avoid the possibility.

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  28. Kevin says:

    Hope I’m not too late to pitch in, but I’m also voting for 2a (like most people here?).
    I’m planning to buy several gift copies when this comes out; I need to share the joy that is Captain Forever with more humans.

  29. Arilou Lalee'lay says:

    ohgodyayhe’sstillalive

  30. Serrara Fluttershy says:

    2a is the best option., but….I need to transfer a support account between email addresses.

  31. RossZ says:

    I think whatever you choose to do with subscribers and steam will work out; I, for one, got way way more than my money’s worth over the years.

    Feel like there’s still so much more that could be done with Dawn Star, like it still hasn’t reached a large enough audience to explode, maybe steam will help with that…who knows. And I’m also still curious as to how much multiplayer would have expanded things.

    What do you think you’d need to continue development on it or try to port it to a console? Probably good object oriented programmers?

  32. Aklyon says:

    TDS had all that interesting stuff, sad to see it collapse.

  33. Thomas says:

    how would sending out the steam keys to existing supporters work please feel free to let me know

  34. Farbs says:

    Thanks again everyone!

    @RossZ Mostly I’d need confidence that there was a market for the game. Space games sell pretty poorly these days, and when I started on CJ/TDS there was pretty much no interest at all for it. That’s not reflected here of course because the group of people commenting on this post are self selected. So, if Trilogy is a huge success I’d definitely look at returning to CJ/TDS/Whatever, but unfortunately I don’t expect that to happen.

    @Thomas Sorry, but I won’t be releasing details of that until it’s underway. There are a lot of people looking to scam keys these days, and the less they know about how to access them the safer I’ll be. If you’re wondering whether to purchase a supporter membership, please keep in mind that publishing Trilogy and making it available to supporters is an intention, not a promise. I’m pretty sure it’ll happen, but please don’t let it affect your purchasing decisions. Ta.

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