As mentioned earlier, the next alpha for this game is starting on June 1st – mostly because I have run out of things to do on the pre-Beta plan and am chomping at the bit to start tactical ship combat. So the next few weeks are going to be mostly polish, bug-stomping and performance enhancements. Also, the final three Galactic Council screens should be done — for the Silicoids (almost done), the Bulrathi and the Meklar.
I do think it’s reasonable to expect some considerable slipping of the hoped-for first full release in early 2017. Many projects slip because of feature creep — that is not the case here as I am firmly locked into the MOO1 feature set in the first release and nothing else. Other projects slip because the technical difficulties are greater than expected. Once again, that is not the case here — I feel like I am almost twiddling my programming thumbs waiting to start the next big task. And many, many projects slip simply because the developer loses interest and moves on to other things. That is most definitely not the case here as I am as fired up about this project as I was a year ago when I started!
In my case, the problem is that Petar (my illustrator) is just so. damn. good. His artistic interpretations of my descriptions of what I want are just so mind-blowing to me that I keep finding more and more places in the game to add artwork. This project is suffering from some serious, calendar-crippling artwork creep and I couldn’t be more excited about it. There is already more artwork in ROTP than in the original MOO1 and it’s probably not even halfway done.
Fortunately, this is not a commercial, for-profit project so I don’t have to make unpleasant decisions regarding features vs. profitability vs. schedules. I’ve waited 20 years for someone to remake this game (MOO1, not MOO2) with updated graphics so I am willing to wait a few extra months to make sure that I do proper credit to the original game.
I now foresee trying to make the early-2017 date by pushing the last 5 races until the end (Humans, Sakkra, Klackon, Mrrshan & Darloks) after all of the other features are done. Then I could conceivably release the game and then add any missing races as they are finished. At this point, I expect each race to take about 6-8 weeks to finish, so you can calculate that 5 races is about 7-9 months of calendar time for the project.