First, let me open with an apology. a rightly deserved apology.
We have been too quiet for too long, to the point where the notion of the game being dead was becoming the logical conclusion new and old players should have come to. we are very sorry for that and i think you guys deserved better.
before any one jumps into conclusions, let me emphasis that Towns is very much alive and kicking
So, what happend: no way around it, as some of you have probably guessed, we got burnt out. we came to a point where we mindlessly worked like crazy on some features (Gods and Events) and in the middle of it all, the steam sale happend, not the summer sale, but the one before it. it drove around a large quantity of new players and with those new players, came the realization that our game is completely and utterly unfriendly to newcomers, to the point it tries to drive them away. that some of our base mechanics are not complete and that we need to stop everything and like a painter that takes a step back to look at his painting, we need to refresh our perspective. we have been playing and developing the game for so long now (two years and two months, this week) that we have lost track of what we wanted from the first place and just jumped from feature to feature, and while that brought up one of the features i am most proud of, the bury system, it also caused us to neglect some of the game's basic issues.
Now, i want to explain a bit what does it mean to get "slightly burnt out". it doesn't mean we completely put the game aside and just had fun doing nothing. on the contrary, being burnt out (perhaps exausted is a more proper word) is the most horrible feeling we had since working on towns. its a state where you wake up early in the morning and just mindlessly create stuff that later at the night you delete or roll back. its a state where you are completely power less to do anything valuable. this kind of state bring about huge amount of pressure, and can cause severe pains, both physically and mentally.
So, what we did was that at some point, we had to take a vacation from towns. the best vacation we could take was to start developing a new game. something fresh that would bring the joy of creation back. in the last few weeks we have been exploring several ideas and about last week we have found that one idea we want to take further, we have created a very simple framework and put it aside
. let me be as clear as possible about this: We are not working on a new game right now, not until we are fully satisfied with Towns
. but by having the clear vision of the future, it finally allowed us to breath a little fresh air and come back to looking at towns with a clearer perspective.
What we are doing now, is completely setting aside the gods and events feature and come back to the roots.*
The things we started to work on and plan to work on the near future are:
Tutorials - proper ones.
Heroes - fully healing before returning to the dungeon. equipping and trading. rebalancing the dungeons and the monsters. have a way to influece which hero you want to attract (the dwarves and highlanders are easy, but we are thinking of items that attract certain heroes, so if you don't want to have barbarians, you wont have to)
AI - few improvements to the ai in several aspects. after crafting, situations when the citizen should run away. situations when the citizen should not go to some restricted places. reconsidering some pathfinding constraints.
Interface - we are pretty content with the panels and how they look, but not so much with how the mouse interact with the world in regards to the levels (the issue with trying to do something on the ground while the camera is on a higher level).
*Since the event system is fully in place, we will probably keep that in for the next patch, in some way. (we will probably just keep minor random events and the day/night / seasons cycle. no volcano disasters sadly
, well, if anyone wanna risk a random volcano, we could keep that in as a mod)
Aside from those, we are now starting to play the game from start to finish several times and try to accumulate as much basic problems as we can so we could fix them before moving on.
When? - We really do not want to give false dates. we want to get a patch out as soon as possible, but we also want that patch to be somewhat meaningful, so it might take just a little bit more.
Last thing, Lets talk about numbers so far, since we know a lot have been asking us how towns did so far. we always wanted to keep the numbers to ourselves and we were pretty hesitant in sharing them, but now we came to a point where we just want to develop a good game, for a good community and be open about the whole process.
So so far Towns has sold more than 200k units and generated a gross revenue of more than 2M usd. and although we are pretty sure we can and will sell a lot more, we still see it as a huge success.