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Risks and Challenges
Our staff understands our budget limitations and the implications for roadmaps and scheduling. We will only hire for position X when it is necessary - not before, and since we have access to a large network of game industry professionals this simplifies the recruitment process. Because we have a clear focus we do not need to give people a task to do merely because they are sitting around. This would be inefficient and wasteful. We will not have Day1 DLCs for the Mandate, and our focus is on delivering the best possible experience at launch to everybody who buys the game. Proper content updates and expansion packs will be planned before launch but developed after based on input from the community, particularly the Kickstarter donors who are our bosses.
On the technological side, Unity3D (the game’s engine) comes with a working world editor, a build system for creating versions of the game, and the ability to deploy to multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac. It has its own eco-system with 3rd party plugins which we purchase for a reasonable price and can use in our project. This saves us time and allows us to do things like push the visual fidelity.
Our team has half a century of game development experience between us, including major MMOs. This is a much smaller project than an MMO, which traditionally demands very capable content production tools. We are taking our combined knowledge and experience to setup and structure efficient workflows and production pipelines. This includes decoupling dependencies between art, code and design to minimize the amount of wait-time and avoid blockers.
Middleware is the key and we would prefer to license something which has been tried and tested rather than reinventing the wheel. This frees us up to focus on the game and avoid unnecessary distractions. At the moment, we are evaluating several character creation middleware tools which will make the process of setting up characters a breeze for the artists. At the same time players will have access to extensive character customization options.
A common theme for both art and game design is to apply a modular and reusable approach. On the art side the procedural textures are an excellent example and if you have tested our ship designer, you will appreciate the versatility it provides even at this early stage. On the design side we are heavily data-driven: our tools must support major changes to content without requiring the involvement of programmers, which would create unwanted dependencies and blockers.
To summarize: We have the necessary know-how, experience and technology, and our overhead is minimal. The Mandate is the love child of some very experienced game developers who all want to see this project succeed. We are doing smart things with smart technology and will pick the right tools for the job to optimize the work-load and streamline our production pipelines and workflows. This allows us to produce content in modular blocks which is more efficient and allows us to reuse, thereby saving time.