I’ve got some news…good or bad, it really depends on your perspective I suppose. To be completely upfront about it, Infernal Dead will not continue in its current form. What do I mean by this? There are several factors involved.
I’m just out of juice. I’m out of motivation. I’m frustrated and I no longer believe in the lasting potential of the game in its current form. It’s been no secret that I’ve been fighting with this engine (UDK) for a long, LONG time and it has taken its toll. Several problems arose when I set out building Infernal Dead (then Daemonicon) in the way that I had envisioned it. As the days go by, I’m still fighting with this thing and new problems are uncovered the more I progress with this engine.
I had envisioned Infernal Dead to be somewhat non-linear and vast with room for exploration and several mechanics that would enhance the immersion. This includes having a day to night cycle with dynamic lighting which UDK is capable of…but just barely.
It gets technical so I’ll avoid ranting too much about what the UDK can and can’t do well but you really have to spend a lot of time working with these features, with your hands in its guts to really understand what I mean when I say that the UDK was simply not built to handle large, open playable environments. It is very, very difficult to have large environments with really good-looking dynamic lighting and shadows within an acceptable framerate. I don’t give a damn what anyone says, it was built with one type of game in mind and we all know what that is.
What I have so far is acceptable but only because of a ton of visual hackery and tricks. I’ve struggled for a long time, have little to show for it and I still can’t get the ‘look‘ that I want out of it. There is just no shaking that ‘Unreal‘ look. Fellow developers and gamers with a keen eye will know exactly what I’m talking about.
My next concern is time. How little of it we have but how much of it passes. Other responsibilities cut into development time but during development time, I spend most of it fighting with the engine! FUN! Since it seems that most of the effort is going into building UE4, the updates and improvements to the UE3/UDK engine have become sparse at best. I don’t think these issues will be resolved anytime soon.
I break down what I need to do and how much of it is left and I still have a long way to go. At this rate, it will be several years before I finish and that to me, is not acceptable this time around. I am not interested in recruiting a team with promises of royalties because I just don’t like how that system works. People need to eat, people need to pay bills and if they are to devote a large chunk of time to working on a project like this, they need to be compensated. The project is too wide in scope, too ambitious and without proper funding, it can’t be done in a timely manner.
Altering the way this game is played and presented will shave a ridiculous amount of time and work off. Maybe, just maybe, instead of waiting 3 or 4 years for this game, it might come down to much less.
This came as a result of many different events in my life and this decision was not made lightly. I spent a great deal of time soul-searching, prioritizing my goals in regards to this project and in regards to life and I think this is my only choice.
Infernal Dead is not abandoned, but will undergo a transformation. It will continue on but in another form as another type of game with the same art direction, the same assets and the same storyline. It will be a more entertaining game, will stick around longer and offer more replayabilty than its current form. Most important to me at this point, it is something which I can believe in.