Friday, 6 July 2018

Official Trailer, New Screenshots and More

Offical Trailer Released
I'm happy to report that the trailer for Dead Frontier 2 is now complete and can be seen here:
https://youtu.be/pBr2Mt-fbtE

Hope you like it!

Development News
To be perfectly honest there hasn't been a whole lot more to report from the past month or so. I've basically had my head down, fixing bugs and polishing like crazy for the last few weeks. It's not very exciting, but it's very necessary!

I still have a few features left to complete for the EA release, but these are all non-essential items to the core gameplay, such as payments, support system, DF1 reward system, name reservation, achievements etc. Therefore I intend to start closed alpha testing without these implemented. This should be in just a few days time, and I plan to start contacting people tomorrow. 

Overall I think the game is shaping up REALLY nicely, and I'm now pretty confident that most of you will like it (if not love it) =D

Marketing Time
Originally I had planned that by now the EA version of the game would be totally finished, and I'd be able to focus 100% of my attention on to marketing and hyping up the game. Unfortunately I still have a fair bit left to do including: last minute features, bug fixes, balancing & responding to alpha testing feedback. This means that my marketing efforts are going to take a bit of a hit. I'll still do my best, but it's not quite the ideal situation.

Luckily there is something you guys can do to help. There are a lot of places on the internet with people who might be interested in DF2, such as discords, sub-reddits, forums etc. Unfortunately it's normally not allowed for developers to self-promote in these locations, but in most cases fans posting about upcoming games is fine as long as they are real members of that community (not just dropping in to post a link).

If just 10% of you posted the DF2 trailer link in one location each, that would probably result in a huge number of new Steam wishlists, and would get us over that 50k threshold in no time at all. And as I promised before, once we hit that target I'll post a full 20 minute long video of unedited gameplay footage (which should then boost wishlists 100k =D )

For the record I am not suggesting you all become a bunch of spammers. The last thing I want is for anyone to get into to trouble. So please make sure  that you only post in places where people might actually be interested in DF2 (places dedicated to gaming, zombies, horror etc), follow the rules of your community and (where necessary) get permission from the moderators first.

Thanks a ton in advance for any of you that do decide to do this. And remember sharing on facebook or even just telling your friends directly about the game will also be a massive help.

New Screenshots
In addition to the trailer I've also updated our screenshots and Steam page. 














If you haven't already, please do add DF2 to your Steam wishlist, that way you'll be notified the moment the game is launched:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/744900/Dead_Frontier_2/

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Gameplay Footage, Rewards, Release Day & More!

Gameplay Footage
Right now the number of people who have added Dead Frontier 2 to their Steam wishlist stands at just under 20,000. A Steam employee recently said that in order to receive front page promotion from them, games would generally need around 50,000 wishlists just prior to their launch. I would of course *really* like to hit this target but we're going to need some serious help in order to hit that before the end of August. We really need everyone to tell their friends (both IRL and social media) about the game, and try to convince them to add it to their wishlist.

As a small incentive, I have decided to release a raw, 20 minute long, unedited video of DF2 gameplay footage for you all as soon as we reach 50,000 wishlists. The sooner we hit the goal, the sooner I'll release the video. So if you haven't already, please tell all your friends about DF2 and encourage them to add it to their wishlists :-)

Our Steam page:
https://store.steampowered.com/app/744900/Dead_Frontier_2/

Honestly this is not something I'd ideally like to do, as I don't think the game is quite ready show yet. However if it helps us get to 50k wishlists I think it'll be worth it.

Don't worry though, even if we don't hit the target there will still be a trailer and some shorter gameplay clips released once we get closer to the release date.


Release Date
After a lot of contemplation I have decided that now is the time to announce the final, fixed release date for Dead Frontier 2 EA. That date is (drumroll please)...

10am GMT on August 31st 2018

I know a lot of you were hoping for July or even June, but unfortunately that is just not possible. I strongly feel that if I were to release the game in the middle of summer that it would be a bit of a disaster. It still needs a lot of polish, balancing and most importantly bug fixing before I would consider it ready for launch.

For those of you who are hoping to beat me with the "neil time" stick, remember that August 31st is still summer so this is not *technically* a delay! =D


Alpha Testing

Previously I said that I would be accepting applications for people who'd like to be alpha testers soon. The plan was that everyone would fill out a questionnaire and I'd review them and pick the best. Unfortunately I've come to realise that this method would just not be practical.

The writing competition had over 1,000 entries and it took Ian and I a long time to go through them all and pick the best. Alpha Testing applications would likely have 10x the amount of entrants and the amount of time we'd need to pick people would be simply unmanageable. So we have decided to scrap the idea of accepting applications all-together.

The new plan is simply that I will be picking people semi-randomly from those active on our discord server when the time comes. If you haven't already you can join our discord server here:
https://discordapp.com/invite/deadfrontier2

I now expect that the alpha testing will begin in mid to late June (yes I know, *another* delay!)


DF1 > DF2 Cosmetic Rewards
As you may already know we are offering rewards in DF2 for people who play DF1. Basically any credits you bought (including via GM) in DF1 from 2017 onwards will be duplicated in DF2 for you to spend there. In addition we are offering cosmetic rewards for reaching certain milestones in DF1. I am please to say that we can finally show you exactly what you'll be getting for each:


Nomad Armour Set



Level 20 or higher:
Nomad Boots
Nomad Gloves

Level 50 or higher:
Nomad Legs

Level 100 or higher:
Nomad Body

Level 200 or higher:
Nomad Mask







Level 325:


Dusk Enforcer

Owning any of the Dusk items:
Dusk Mesh Set

Owning a UWC or UGAU:
(all of the following)

Hammerhead

Painshot

Longshot
Doubleshot


Nine Cutter


Owning a WC or GAU: (both of the following)

Desert Rat
Uziel


Owning a Vengeance Guard:

Vengeance Guard Set


Owning Ghost Ammo: (both of the following)
Corpse Shooter

Ironsight

Owning an Ultra Boost:
Pumpkin Mask

Hope you like them! =D

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here:
https://deadfrontier2.com

Thanks for reading!
-Neil

Friday, 11 May 2018

Writing Competition Winners

As you may remember we held a writing competition last month. We had a huge number of entries (well over 1,000) so it took us a bit longer than we had planned to go through them all.

The vast majority of the entries were really good and it was incredibly tough deciding on the winners.  However Ian (Xaelath) and I have finally managed to decide on the winning submissions.

The winners and their entries are:

Armand H,  Police Transcript & DOD Letter

Tsvetoslav S, Horologist

Oliver C, Diary of Tim Newman 1-3

Jesus K, To Maria Santos

Joule P C, Newborn Baby

Vincent N, I told Bill not to bring the .22. 1-4

"Lucian", Flight Transcript & An Essay on the Degree of Consciousness

"BrightsideGuy", Necrophilliac's Note

"Jack", 3 Entries: Notes from Jack/Elizabeth

Abel O, Chili Con Canine

Nadera M, The Stew

Jordan B, Filth outside my door again

Stephanie H, Photographer's Diary

T.S. Eleanore, My Sweet Little Child

"ClockworkCookie", The Beasts 1-4

S. D. Kang, Because she was Penny to me

Jessica N, Mary-Ann


Well done to you all! I really can't wait to put these pieces into the game.

If you are one of the winners you should already have received an email from us detailing the next steps. Unfortunately, if your name doesn't appear above, and you haven't already received an email then that means you were unsuccessful. Even so, thank you very much for taking part and don't give up on the writing! We may very well hold another one of these competitions soon :)

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Tendril Boss, Concept Art & More!

Boss Teaser
So today I was messing around with some ideas for segments we could use in the Dead Frontier 2 trailer, and this was one of the first things I came up with. I thought it looked fairly neat on it's own so figured I'd post it up here for you guys:




If you're unfamiliar with DF1, this is a Tendril; the second most hated of all enemies due to her rapid speed and hard hitting tentacles. I'm pleased to say that we're bringing back this loathsome creature as a boss in DF2. She is pretty much finished and ready to go into the game. I must admit I'm not looking forward to actually fighting her though!

Release Woes
So I know back in January I gave you guys a bunch of options on what we should do with the planned release date. You wanted me to delay the game until it was properly finished, and not launch as an Early Access title. Giving myself the extra time was a *huge* help, and the game is definitely a lot better for it. However I still don't believe it will now be fully feature complete by our Summer deadline. 

I've weighed up the options and I've decided that I don't want to delay the game any further. The truth is I work so much faster when I have a bit of pressure, and another extension might just allow me to slip back into my usual, slower pace. Not to mention, I'm so hyped about the game that *I* can't wait to let you guys in so I've got someone to play with :-)

So the release will be Early Access on Steam. However that doesn't mean it'll be a broken buggy mess either. We will still have gone through an alpha testing period to iron out most of the problems first. My goal is to have a nice, polished core game game loop for everyone to enjoy at launch. I will then get to work on the less critical features such as clan systems, competitions etc.

Writing Competition Update
A big thanks to everyone who submitted an entry for the writing competition. Unfortunately because we've had so many entries (well over 1000) it's taking Ian (Xaelath) and I longer than expected to go through them all and do the judging. I suspect we'll probably need another week or so to pick the final winners. If you're one of the lucky ones you will receive an email from me with details on how to go about getting your prize.

Patreon
Since I've been bombarded with so many messages from people wanting to support DF2 financially, I've setup a Patreon page here:

I don't want you guys to feel obliged to do this, honestly we do already have enough money to complete the game and the most important thing you can do to help us is: play it, write a nice review on Steam, tell your friends about it etc. But if you're still feeling the urge to send us some pennies it would allow us to spend a bit more on launch advertising (which can make a big difference).

Discord
We've recently setup a Discord server for Dead Frontier 2. This is quickly becoming my favourite social platform as it allows me to communicate with players/fans in the most convenient fashion. If you haven't already joined please follow this invite link. I'm online a fair bit there so if you have any questions feel free to drop in and ask.

https://discordapp.com/invite/QwvjvQW

Other Development News

- After making some optimizations to the multiplayer system I've decided to increase the player limit per instance to 8. This should help to make the game feel a bit more like an MMO.

- Our server company recently had a sale at their Singapore data-center,  so I went ahead and snapped up one of their machines. Now anyone from East Asia or Australia should be able to get a decent ping.

- I'm SUPER HYPED about this game now. It's gotten to the point where it's hard to get any actual work done because all I want to do is run around with a shotgun and blow zombie heads off. I can't imagine how awesome this game is going to feel once I've got some of you guys to play with. 


Concept Art
Here is some of our enemy concept art. These pieces were made by Greg Taylor and Milen Kalachev. Please note that not *all* of these designs will be in the the final game. Can you guess which ones will make the cut?














If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: http://deadfrontier2.com :)

Thanks for reading!
-Neil

Friday, 30 March 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Potato Mode, Servers & More

Potato Mode
Ever since I posted up the first screenshots of Dead Frontier 2, one of the most common questions I've been asked is "will my PC be able to run this?". Since the screenshots are fairly modern and shiny (in my opinion anyway) it would be easy to think that DF2 is only going to work on rigs sporting the latest graphics cards, and that people with laptops or slightly older hardware would be left out.

However one thing I've always insisted on throughout my 15 year indie game development career is that my games should run on the most machines possible. So in the last week I've been working on providing as many graphics settings options as I can. You can now literally enable/disable just about every feature of the 3D engine. If you're not well versed on all the different technical details, I've also added some general profiles for different types of hardware.

One of those profiles is "Potato Mode" which pretty much disables everything. I'll warn you, it doesn't look pretty, but I think it's an option worth having for those with weaker PCs.


Based on my recent testing with these different modes, I've now lowered the minimum system requirements to:

OS: 64-bit Windows
Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD FX
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon HD 8550 or equivalent
DirectX: Version 9.0
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 5 GB available space

These are pretty much the exact specs on my own budget laptop that I bought almost 5 years ago. To be honest, while running in potato mode I suspect that game might even run on something much weaker, but I'm loathed to suggest lower requirements than this until I've been able to verify them first hand. I'm hoping that during alpha testing we'll get an idea how it works on some truly awful hardware =D

Servers
Another big thing I've done since the last report is setup all the final servers for the game. The DF1 open beta launch was a huge disaster, and that is something I'm hoping to avoid this time around. I am expecting there to be up to 20,000 players online in the first day DF2 is on Steam, and I need to make sure we can accommodate all of them.

Using locust.io and 13 different cloud instances (virtual machines) I simulated over 40,000 concurrent players on the servers. And whilst the loading times did increase slightly, I'm pleased to report that the game was still very much playable and fun. This is honestly a huge win for me, as it was something I was really worried about. It's good to know that if necessary, we can handle 10 times the load that we had for DF1.

For multiplayer, we currently have servers in North America, UK and Poland. I am eventually hoping to add more in South America and Singapore so that everyone can have a nice low ping. However the reality is that bandwidth costs are something like 15 times higher in those areas, so it's only something we can afford to do if the game proves popular in those locations.

General Progress Info
I'm happy to report that my motivation to work hard on DF2 is sky high. One reason why I've been taking so long to get this report written is that I've just been so focused on getting the game done ASAP. At this point all I do breath, eat and sleep DF2.

Just to make you all aware, these features are still missing from the game:
- Clan System
- Competitions
- Item > Item Trade
- Outpost Attacks
- Barricading

My plan is still to complete them all by summer, but for now I am focusing on making the core game (looting, hunting zombies, boss fights, missions, leveling etc) as fun and addictive as possible. If it comes to it, I would much rather release a fun and polished core game, with some features missing, than a boring feature complete game.

That's pretty much it for now, but figured I'd leave you with a couple more random screenshots I took over the last week:







If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: http://deadfrontier2.com :)

Thanks for reading!
-Neil

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Writing Competition

One thing I've always liked in games is the ability to find various notes, journals and books scattered around which contribute towards the atmosphere and develops the lore.



Dead Frontier 1 did have a handful of books you could find with neat little stories in them. However I regret that we didn't have more of them. For Dead Frontier 2 I'd like to change this, and have a far greater variety of these. Whilst I enjoy writing things like this, the truth is I won't have time to make many of these on top of my other programming and design work.


So this is where you come in! 
We're looking original pieces of creative writing set in the Dead Frontier world. We'll be accepting submissions until the end of April. We'll then choose 10 pieces to be put into the final game (or more if there are a lot of really good ones!). Those pieces will be immortalised forever in Dead Frontier 2, the writer will get their name in the credits and they will receive $50 USD via PayPal for each piece we accept.

Rules:
  1. The piece must be set in the Dead Frontier universe IE the zombie apocalypse. Please no flying unicorns or star destroyers etc. We're not going to nitpick over small details though, and we can always edit out little things that don't quite fit. DF2 is not set in Fairview, but it's fairly close so you're welcome to reference things from DF1 if you wish. The general backstory can be found here if you need a refresher:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR2KKJ4jw34
  2. It should be in the form of a journal, report, set of notes, book, or something a player might realistically find lying around. Don't write it in the form of an actual story/novel :) If you need some examples take look at these:
    http://deadfrontier.wikia.com/wiki/Diaries
    http://residentevil.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Diaries
  3. Don't make the piece too long, otherwise players probably won't read it. We're probably talking about 150-300 words each.
  4. You can submit as many entries as you like. You can make each entry a separate piece of work or you can chain them together to make a series for the player to collect. You will receive $50 USD for each piece we accept.
  5. Please write in English with good grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  6. Try to be creative! The more unique your piece the more chance we'll choose it. We don't want to end up with 100s of "oh no I'm a zombie, itchy scratchy" pieces :)
  7. Keep the tone dark and serious as much as possible.
  8. It must be your own, brand new, 100% original work (although you are of course allowed to use other things for inspiration etc)
  9. If you win you must sign a short contract with us, which basically allows us to use the work in the game.
  10. You must be 18 or over to enter.
  11. We're just looking for simple pieces of text to add atmosphere. Please don't plan out complex missions or cut scenes etc to go with them

Email all entries to [email protected] with the writing directly in the email as we may not be able to open some types of attachment. Please be sure to include your full name, address (for the contract), PayPal email and name you want to use for the credits (either your actual name, a nickname or a username). If you are accepted your name/nickname will be published in the game credits, but we of course won't publish any other details about you. If you do not have a PayPal account we can always give you Dead Frontier credits instead.

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: https://deadfrontier2.com :)

Thanks for reading!
-Neil

Sunday, 18 February 2018

DF2 Gameplay Video, Steam Page & Release News

Steam Page
I'm pleased to report that our Steam page is now live:
http://store.steampowered.com/app/744900/Dead_Frontier_2/

The main reason we've done this early is that it's important for us to get a lot of follows & wishlists on Steam, as this helps to make the game more popular once it's released. So if you could log into your Steam account, view the above link and then click "Add to wishlist" that would be really helpful. It's probably a good idea to do this even if you are already signed up to the mailing list, or are following us on social media, because unfortunately there is no guarantee you'll always see our news (due to spam filters etc). The Steam system is much more reliable at reaching players.


Gameplay Video
As a requirement for making our Steam page live I had to post a game-play video, so I've made a very quick sneak peek. Hopefully this will give you guys some idea of how the final game will look and feel. As always though please remember this is not final, and I do expect that the actual game will be even better than this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlWqkzsM20o&feature=youtu.be


Release Date Change
If you remember last month I asked the community about the best course of action going forward. I was slipping behind schedule and the April 2018 release date started to look a little hard to hit. I got an overwhelming response, and by far the most popular option was to delay the release and try to have a much more complete game on launch. So that's exactly what I'm doing.

The new target date is Summer 2018, ideally July. That should give me plenty of time to complete all the core mechanics. I apologise to all those who were really looking forward to playing in April, but I really think that waiting a bit longer will be well worth it in the long run.


Progress Report
Since the last post I've made a lot of improvements to the game. Combat, especially melee is feeling much nicer and I've added a lot of active abilities such as dodging, kicking, sneaking etc. In terms of features the missions, boss & NPC systems are now complete. I've also pretty much finished the UI and menu designs.

It was actually quite a relief to know that you guys weren't going to rage about a delayed release, and as a result I'm no longer "rushing" which I feel has meant that the quality of my work has improved.

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: http://deadfrontier2.com :)

Thanks for reading!
-Neil