The Future of Violet

It’s been a while since we shared our plans about Violet from a logistical front.  Obviously we’ve been making a lot of progress with art and functionality, but there’s been a lingering question: “when are we going to do Kickstarter”?  We haven’t revealed the when for a while in case what we shared was premature and then to go back with our tail between our legs.  However, in 2019 we wrote a post attempting to explain the current plan at that point in time, and we believe we’re long overdue to share an update.

This past year, Tony and I have been trying to shoot for a date of February 2023. Recently though, after realizing just how much art and animations we still need to do to make the demo “the best it can be”, we decided to move that back to an April 2023 window.  This gave me some time to reflect on what all need to actually get done before then.

Meanwhile, the adviser I met with back in 2019 just so happened to reach out to me to see how the game was coming.  It was crazy as I was considering reaching out as well to get some feedback and opinions.  We setup a time to meet and during that week of prep, I had this uneasy feeling about all the work that still needed to be done if attempting to do a Kickstarter by April, 2023.

There’s a long list of improvements, features, lore implementations, demo direction, among other things that need to be done.  If this project was a full time job, this list would be a piece of cake to complete.  However, this game is a project that I do on nights and weekends which makes this deadline seem daunting.  Therefore, I started having an uneasy feeling about the April 2023 deadline. As I was struggling with that uneasy feeling, I kept dreaming of the opportunity where I could do this project full time, as that has been the long term goal.  As the game and its systems continue to grow and become more complex, it gets harder to revisit those systems to fix bugs / make improvements / etc.  And I know that eventually, nights and weekends just won’t cut it.

Nevertheless, the adviser and I had our meeting.  The first half of the meeting was showing the progress of Violet since 2019, which if you have been following along, you’ll know it’s been night and day.  The second half of the meeting was to get some advice and opinions on what to do next on the logistical front.  The main information I was hoping to obtain was three things: “when is a good time to do a Kickstarter”, “what should I prioritize before then” and “what is a reasonable goal number to reach”.

The when to do a Kickstarter for the first question aligned with what I had originally thought:  sometime in the months of February – April.  “So far so good” I thought.  The advice I received for the second question wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be.  There were several tips and tricks we could do to pull off a April 2023 window.  This had me excited as the fantasy was starting to become a reality.  However, when I had mentioned my goal amount versus the expectation, the actuality set in.

With the uneasy feeling I was already having about trying to meet the April 2023 window, and then the news about how much to money to statistically expect to receive, I unofficially decided to pivot from the April 2023 window.  This was not an easy decision, especially because doing this project full time is something I have been hoping to do for a while now.  However, even though the systems of the game continue to get more complex, I still am able to make progress during nights and weekends — even if it’s not at the pace I always want.

As I have been writing these posts, it’s been awesome to go back to previous posts whenever I feel discouraged to see the progress the game has made. Back in 2019 we wrote a post attempting to explain the current plan at that point in time.  I actually reread this post and this quote still can’t be more true:

…If the game became a “chore” or another “job” at this point in time, I would not have the motivation to fight for this project like I want to.  I do eventually want to make this something I do full time, but not by sacrificing myself mentally in the meantime.

The biggest thing, even now in 2022, is making sure that the game doesn’t become a chore or a job while I have a full time job.  If I knew pushing for a year meant getting to a point where I could do this full time, then I would definitely go for it.  However, pushing to get this game across a finish line to only receive a fraction of the amount I would really need to fund this project full time is not worth it to me.  And as it currently stands, I am able to fund different aspects of the game (art, sound, etc.) out of my own pocket, albeit at a much slower pace.

As I was accepting this decision, Nintendo announced that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Sequel had been pushed back to spring 2023.  If the signs weren’t already clear to me to wait on doing a Kickstarter, this was the final confirmation I needed.  Even though Violet would “compete” in a much different way than one of the most anticipated AAA sequels by Nintendo, running a Kickstarter for a game with many similarities would be foolish, let alone, most likely getting absorbed by the hype surrounding Zelda.

So if not 2023, then when?  And if I can continue the fund the game out of my own pocket, why do a Kickstarter at all?  Those are very good questions and I am glad you asked. 😀

I do think it is wise in setting some “target date” as otherwise, iteration of Violet will go on forever.  At some point, we need to show the game to the general public to get some reception and feedback — and what better way to do it than a Kickstarter where we can hopefully get future fans invested in the project.  After all, we’re not just making this game for ourselves.  And we are not Nintendo, where we can drop a trailer, and that alone can drive buzz and hype for months.  Therefore, we are now targeting a date of February 2024.

Meanwhile, another two years “cooking in the oven” is a lot of time to make progress on the development front, as well as the art and sound.  With more of the game complete and polished, we’ll hopefully be in a better spot where that fractional amount can be doubled or maybe even tripled.  To summarize, here’s something from the same post in 2019:

…I think it is wise to continue being patient, and slowly building out concepts and features at a pace that is fun and rewarding, rather than something that feels like “work”.

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