Back in September of 2014 SLaVE, a Dreamcast game by indie developer Isotope and GOAT Store Publishing, was announced. The game was to combine the game design sensibilities and aesthetics of 80s arcade shooters with old school first person shooters like Doom and Wolfenstein. At the time of the games announcement, it looked as though the release was just around the corner with Goat Store taking pre-orders for a Limited Edition and a Limited Limited Edition. Since then, however, little has been said about the game aside from a mention in April 2015 of a “final bug test” and the cover art reveal.
And then? Nothing, at least until this week when Isotope developer Coraline released the following statement.
It was not so much the game, that part was finished. What mostly killed our ambitions of a quick port was KallistiOS and KallistiGL completely changing (as it happens with software evolution, nowhere near their fault), and our own engine changing over the past few years.
If you remember, Chui and myself, many years ago, got EDGE running on the Dreamcast with no issues. SLaVE was developed with a newer version of my engine, but it wasn’t so new that we didn’t expect the time to take to port would be so long.Rather, it has evolved into us submitting patches to KOS, and several work-arounds to get the hardware and toolchain “talking” to an extent. There were many things that we had to reduce and completely refactor (it was not as easy as we had initially hoped) and, finally, we are on the last leg — flushing out Video RAM; which also changed with KOS 2.0.
Combine that with an army of programmers, myself included, getting the thing to run without overflowing became a nightmare. We are finally at the point where we just need to handle VRAM auto-flushing, and the game will be ready.It was either that, or ship it in a very unreliable state. We are sorry to have stayed silent for so long, but with many of us encountering life-changing situations the last two years, it seemed we could only work on it here-and-there while real life took utmost priority. Luckily, things have became a bit more sane, and now we are hoping to get it done with the level of quality you would expect for a commercial release.
We could have done this much sooner, sure, but we wanted to do what we could to prevent random (sometimes, it wouldn’t even happen) video RAM overflows and other potential issues our customers could have faced.So please, be patient — we are gearing up to get it done, and once it does our engine will surely become a viable platform for other DC developers, and SLaVE itself will be more than worth the wait.
So, we hope that clears up the confusion about SLaVE’s prolonged porting time. It has indeed taken much longer than anticipated. I will be more forthcoming to issues that plague us in the future.
The “army of programmers” I speak of was the regular 3DGE team (which permanently and prominently features Chilly Willy), but Josh “PH3NOM” Pearson, who was also part of the crew tasked to port it, before he left and started his great-looking project “In the Line of Fire“. So, with people coming and going, especially since we relied so heavily on PH3NOM to help fix-up our KGL issues, things just naturally took much longer. But he’s still our buddy, and I hope he brings that project to my team after SLaVE is finished and gone Gold so we can help him finish it up, without the hassles of a Kickstarter! 😉
For now, check out our Facebook here really soon for a collection of new Hypertension development shots, as well as an eventual video of SLaVE running on real hardware, on a VHS TV combo. I lost my AV cables and can’t find my VGA one either (my daughter probably ran off with it), so just stay tuned!
We also have an interview coming soon that is more of a “Tell-All” — you won’t want to miss it, and we’ll post it here first when it comes up! xD
Take care, love you all! <3 p=””>
While the statement doesn’t assuage fears that the game is going to take even longer, it is nice to finally hear from Isotope. Hopefully they stick to their promise of continuing updates and that the wait is shorter than it has been between the game’s announcement and now.
Indie Dreamcast developers are some of the most inventive and ambitious members of the development scene. We’ve seen some great games, such as Sturmwind, Wind & Water Puzzle Battles and Pier Solar. However, we have seen an increasing trend of teams biting off more than they can chew and over promising. Games like SLaVE and Elysian Shadows have taken far longer than expected, and with pre-order customers and Kickstarter backers getting restless I can only imagine future indie Dreamcast projects will be met with much more hesitation. I’ll admit, I’ve stopped backing indie Dreamcast projects on the basis that I still have a backlog of incomplete projects and simply cannot justify another $30-$60 towards something that may or may not happen.Ad: