Ostravia’s been forging ahead, so I figure I should give people an idea of what to expect in terms of it and my other projects. Obviously, since it is now my honors thesis, it’s grown to be both much larger (no longer merely serving as the testing ground for ABACUS but instead becoming its own full-grown game), and a lot more personally important, so it’s sort of rearranged my schedule.
First, and most importantly, is the pre-release of Ostravia. This will focus on the core ABACUS gameplay elements, but will not be feature, setting, or even design complete. It’ll give a good idea of where I plan to take ABACUS, and will provide an idea of why it stands out from the competition in both being historically rooted but also in the game design elements that ABACUS is built around. Needless to say, Ostravia is a mighty large project, and I feel that it’s important (particularly given my proven past of delaying my own deadlines) to provide a solid portfolio of what it is and how it will be a good game when it finally releases in full. I’m hoping to have this done in late December, and it’ll be about fifty to eighty pages, all things considered. This is more of a guideline than an ideal, though fifty’s likely the minimum.
Once the pre-release is made, I’ll move on to Kickstarter to raise funds for Ostravia. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve found an artist who I think can bring a lot of life and vivacity to the project, and who will make it really stand out. Ostravia’s not going to exist in print, however, so a major part of this will be setting goals and deadlines that are going to work within the context of something that will wind up being free and open with a PDF being pretty much the exclusive reward. This should run from January to February, and will feature rewards at multiple tiers ranging from $3 (I deliver the game to you when it’s done) to $25+ (get a copy of the game with a numbered title page). I may include a print option, but it’d be on the expensive side because of the fact that I have to worry about printing and shipping a final product. Should the Kickstarter fail, this is not necessarily the end of the project, it just means that Ostravia would change scale dramatically from being a fully illustrated, impressive AAA-worthy book to becoming a modest but still high-quality game that relies on preexisting public domain and CC assets.
In the summer, we’d likely see the “full” release of Ostravia. This would be the first art-complete and mostly game-complete version of the game, and would be available only to backers (not released under a CC license at this point). The point of this is to give me some time to fix any errors in the work, but also to provide a legitimate incentive for people to Kickstart the game; they get to see it first and earliest, and enjoy Ostravia without as much waiting. In addition, this means that the (if it pans out) print and CC versions are mostly corrected, made accurate, and polished before they are released for consumption.
Following the summer release, the game continues to be released with a new version monthly, which will add in any remaining features, tweaks, and fixes. There would only be two or three editions of this until the final release in October.
October is the tentative “final release” of Ostravia. It coincides with the thesis defense time, so I felt it would be appropriate to have the final game done here. This isn’t to say that the game will necessarily print and ship, even if it does reach that level, by this point, but it’ll certainly be available to the public in a Creative Commons license at this point.