Current plans for development are as follows:
|Month||Phase||Tools & Tech.||Demo #1||Game #1|
|Jan 2017||Release prep.||Development|
|Mar 2017||Closed/Open Beta||
||Job / Dev mix||
Codebase reorg to
Obviously this is a volatile and exciting time. People will be starting to get their hands on Apparance, I can begin conversations with people about collaborations, involvement, and potential funding scenarios. It is also the time when the money is getting tight and I have started contract work so I can continue to support my family. I would like to be able to continue to work on the project full time, but this is a luxury at this stage and a mixture of contracting and development will hopefully be possible and keep development ticking along in the absense of full funding.
Update: I have landed a long term near-fulltime role that allows me to also spend some time working on Apparance. This will hopefully be a happy medium between income and project, and who knows what working at this new company will turn up...
The first public release of the tools are out for people to play with which hopefully will generate more interest and ultimately build a community around the project. See the release page for more.
A small scale focused evaluation of the plugin for Unity is currently under-way. This will provide valuable feedback to help prepare the technology for game-readyness as well as provide some validation to the project in actual game development scenarios.
I've got a collection of ideas and plands for the first game I'd ideally like to make with Apparance, as a showcase of the tech and it's unique features. I don't know if I'll have the luxury of spending much time on them at the moment though.
Apparance has so far been a solo project, in part-time development since 2012 (with 10 months full-time in 2016). Going forward it will need to become bigger than just myself, it's going to need you to fully realise the vision. There are a variety of ways this can happen, and I'm not ruling any out at this stage, some thoughts are:
- Beta testers - I'm keen to get as many people on board, trying out the tools and tech, as possible. To see what it can do, stretch it, and help define goals and plan features.
- Game developers - From individuals who want to dabble in some procedural generation to people and small teams with a game or two under their belt, Apparance could be a way to expand your vision, and explore the exciting possibilities procedural generation offers.
- Collaboration - Working with other people would help a lot, particularly in disciplines that aren't my forté such as rendering, design, and art.
- Funding - Raising money to continue development of the engine and first game by direct investor funding, or even crowd-funding.
- Publisher - A publishing deal to develop and release a game using the technology.
- Donation - Patreon or other direct support could help prolong development of the project.
- Commission - Funding by companies or teams to develop Apparance technology in a direction needed specifically for their project (included licensing).
- Consultation - Helping a company or team develop Apparance based proc-gen systems for their project needs (implied licensing).
- Licensing - As a game authoring system for use (for free) by other people, a profit-share licensing model would be needed to support continued development.
- Productisation - Producing plugins for other engines (Unreal and Unity for example), a short-cut route to some of the game creation features Apparance currently lacks, yet still allowing the procedural and detail handling techniques to be used.
If you'd like to get involved, have thoughts about the project, or are interesting in funding it's development, please give it a try and then drop me a line.
To get a better picture of where I see the technology going, here is a list of high-level technical features that have been implemented so far, and what lies on the horizon.
This list illustrates how far I've come and what I have achieved:
- Unity and Unreal plug-in integration
- Asset placement support (placement of conventional assets)
- Procedure persistence
- Operator library
- Procedure synthesis engine
- Geometry synthesis
- Basic 3D rendering engine
- Node-graph based editing system
- Property editing system
- Scene management octree
- Detail refinement/reduction system
- Procedure analysis and capture
- Resource procedures (deferred synth)
- Procedural shader support
- Detail tiers and blending
- Standalone player application
- Gamepad input support
- Command-line processor application
- Dynamic lists
- Basic editor analytics
- Web-site generation system
- Large amount of Future City demo
There is still a lot to do though, being barely half-way towards the vision of a fully data-driven, hugely detailed, procedurally authored videogame:
- Static/baked Lighting
- Dynamic Lighting
- Image synthesis
- Texture & UV support
- Bodies and entities
- Rigid-body linkage
- Body skinning & management
- Behaviour and control system
- Physics engine integration
- General user input
- UI suport (2D geometry)
- Scale support
- Particle system
- Sound engine integration
- Audio synthesis