Instead he took every penny that he had invested from the bank account. This led to his removal and us losing 1/5 of the investment which equated to 4-6 months of development at the current rates. Around this time at PAX Prime 2011 we had a handful of other freelancers that attempted theft of hardware. Because of this they were also removed from the company, their work was not used and not paid for as a result.
I take full responsibility for all of these occurrences. I am responsible for the company, I handle all hiring advertisements and I personally handle all integration of new employees. No one can join the company without my say and because of this I am fully responsible. It’s hard to hire personnel for any company, but even more so when these screenings are done remotely and online. Sometimes it pays off greatly and other times it doesn't. Some contractors work out for a week others last for a decade.
Because of these events ‘ORION: Prelude’, an arena-based PvP-only shooter wasn’t a feasible first release option. Instead we had to find a new experience that we could create with the already-existing assets and this is when ORION: Dino Beatdown was formed. Dino Beatdown was a PvE experience and focused on cooperative and expansive world gameplay.
Approaching the release of ORION: Dino Beatdown was one of the most stressful points of my life, only surpassed by what would come shortly after. By December 2011 we were running out money fast. In January 2012 we were out of money entirely. I sold my car at the time in order to get whatever money I could to funnel back into the development of the game. We originally had planned seed release of March 2012 but it wasn’t ready and we had to extend this all the way back to May 4, 2012. From February 2012 to May 2012 no developers were paid and they all continued to stick around and work whether it was based on the promise of being paid after release, their belief in me or their belief in the game itself.
There was no Early Access program on Steam at this point. Which was a shame as this was the one true game that not only needed it but could have benefited it and from it. We came from a modding background so regularly supporting our games for free and our community was just our default.
As the story goes, the release went horribly awful. The press hated it, half of the people couldn’t run it properly and the other half that could didn’t seem too fond of it. In addition to this, some of the removed developers were scorned and used this opportunity to further slam the game/team. This was unfortunate as it affected the great people who actually were doing great work. It also in return became a witch hunt. In a weird sense this was very admirable to me because if it WAS true, the way that the community and internet banded together in cooperation and support was really something incredible and powerful. Unfortunately that crazy crap wasn’t true and we instead had to simply use it as fuel to do complete what we wanted to: make games we love, support our fans and improve the industry that we work in.
The times we did try to address the community ended in fueled discussions and any time we were approached by the press our words or stories were construed. So for the next 4-6 months we went quiet. Our time was best spent focused on fixing the actual game and bringing it to not only where it needed to be but to surpass that. In September 2012 we released Dino Beatdown’s first major Title Update which completely restored the game to working order. From here we continued doing technical work of fixing, repairing and improving any aspects possible.
Once that was accomplished we began work on growing the content significantly. No area was left untouched and we worked on this for another 6 months until it finally became something so much more. In the end we added the following content:
- New Artificial Intelligence
- New Lighting & Particles
- New Animations
- New Dedicated Servers & Updated Tools
- New Netcode
- Updated Game Engine & Graphics
- New Audio System
- New Weapon Mechanics
- New Player Movement
- New Game Mechanics (Slomo, Revive, Second Chance, Objectives, Lockdown)
- 20 New Weapons
- 5 New Game Modes
- 4 New Vehicles
- 6 New Dinosaurs
- 7 New Levels
- Lobbies, Matchmaking, Server Browser
- 100 Steam Achievements
- Spiral Store (Premium Content - Hats, Taunts, Char Packs)
- 30 Augmentations (Mutators)
At this point we were very proud of the game and the work we had completed. We updated the game name to flick off the current broken review system that couldn’t update itself as quick as modern video games could. There was no incentive for a developer to improve or add anything to a game because the press and review systems would never reward them or encourage them to. But the most important aspect as to why we did this was because we wanted to let players know that things were different. That things don’t need to be the way they are used to, that they don’t need to pay $60 every year to receive the game updates they could and should expect to either be freely added (or premium) to their already-existing games.
Every owner of ORION: Dino Beatdown upgraded into ORION: Dino Horde for FREE.
With the success of ORION: Dino Horde we were finally were able to deliver the experience originally promised back in 2010. And then some! The original ‘ORION: Prelude’ was to be strictly PvP and only have three game modes (CTF, Vital, Deathmatch) compared to its modern day predecessor which features 15 game modes and a variety of play styles including Open World, Duel, Cooperative, Competitive and Playable Dinosaurs. It is now called ORION: Prelude because it *finally* is ORION: Prelude.