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Topics - Brendan

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Extrasolar / Season 2 Kickstarter is NOW LIVE.
« on: September 08, 2014, 11:48:08 AM »

This is it folks.  If you'd like to play Season 2, now is the time to make it happen!

Please feel free to forward all of your friends this finely crafted link:

Thank you all for supporting us this far!

Extrasolar / Video Testimonials for Season 2 Kickstarter
« on: September 03, 2014, 11:01:22 AM »
Hello all,

The decision has come down the wire and we are in full swing -- we're planning to launch the Kickstarter for Season 2 next week.

We would love to include your voices in the Kickstarter video.  If you have five minutes and a webcam and want to send us a short blurb, that would be totally awesome.  The focus should be on why you think people who haven't played Extrasolar should give it a try.  If you can't or rather wouldn't do video, audio would also be fine, just send us a photo or avatar image to use as a stand-in.  And like in the previous testimonial thread, give us a way to credit you - first name, twitter handle, etc, and your permission for us, aka Lazy 8 Studios, to use your words and likeness for the purpose of promoting Extrasolar.

Thank you!  And thanks for playing and supporting us this far.  We are on a short schedule, but hopefully we can get these in.  Also, if you'd like to give feedback on the Kickstarter page send me a PM and I'll send you a preview link later this week.

Extrasolar / We need your help: Testimonials!
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:18:18 PM »
Hey folks,

As mentioned in our July update we're looking at ways of improving Extrasolar's outreach.  We're working on a new landing page and we'd like to add some player testimonials mixed in with press quotes.  So, if you'd like to be featured on the first page everyone who plays the game will see, post a response in this thread with:
  • Your first name, or handle, twitter, etc. that you'd like to be identified with.
  • A link to a photo of your face.
  • A few sentences describing your experience playing Extrasolar and why you'd recommend it to new people.
  • Your permission for us, aka Lazy 8 Studios, to use your words and likeness for the purpose of promoting Extrasolar.
We'll pick our favorites and use them in the rotation.

Thanks all, we really appreciate it!

Extrasolar / Development Update: July 2014
« on: July 15, 2014, 04:14:02 PM »
Hello all!

I believe we are long overdue for a development update, so here's what's currently going on with us and Extrasolar.  Mainly:

Season 2 (and 3)

After launch the majority of our efforts were focused on promotion and fixes, but in the last couple months we've started to get serious about Seasons 2 and 3.  Pre-production is just about finished for Season 2, and we'll be moving into full-on production very soon.  Rob and I have been working closely with Lucas and Andrew on nailing down the story for both seasons and it's really coming together.  Even more exciting to me is the new locations; as was hinted at if you finished Season 1, Season 2 will be taking place on an entirely new island and it will be very different from Artocos.  I've already started roughing out the basic terrain and will be finalizing it with Andrew later this week.  That's only the beginning of a very long process, but it's an exciting start that gives us a big idea of what to expect going forward.

Speaking of a long process...

Timing and budget

It's going to be a while before Season 2 is done and launched.  We are for sure committed, but as things stand Season 2 is going to be no small amount of work and will have a much smaller budget than Season 1.  This is somewhat ok because a lot of the budget for Season 1 went toward developing tech which we won't need to do again, but it is still a much lower budget than we would like.  The hard truth is that it's been difficult for us to build an audience for Extrasolar so far.  Funds are coming in at a rate that is enough to sustain the game's operating costs, but little beyond that.  The hope was that income from Season 1 would pay for the next 2 seasons, but unless we grow our player base by an order of 50 that's just not going to happen, and that's not even considering recouping the money we put in to produce Season 1.  We're managing to stay afloat off of money that still comes in from Cogs, but the real Season 2 budget is probably going to need to come from somewhere else, which brings us to...


We're only just beginning to consider the thought of Kickstarter as an option, but unless we suddenly get an endorsement from Notch or one of our other current pursuits unexpectedly pays out big (we are, for instance, working on getting Extrasolar into classrooms) we might be turning to crowdfunding to try and get Season 2 out the door.  We know Kickstarter is no guarantee for success and if we go that route we'll be carefully considering what the best approach is, and how best to not alienate the users who have essentially already pledged by becoming Pioneer level supporters.  Kickstarter does open up some fun opportunities though.  How would you like to skype with someone on the team or meet us in person?  XRI branded swag, physical prints of photos, and having new photobionts named after you would almost certainly be on the docket.

If we go the Kickstarter route we will definitely need all the help you can give us, of course.  Apart from helping us spread the word it would be great to include things like video clips from players talking about their experience playing through Season 1.

Other things

There are still fixes and updates that will be affecting Season 1 as well as 2 and 3.  Brian got terrain decals working which allowed us to add rover tracks and will help give the Season 2 terrain a more detailed, unique look.  Keith has been spending some time on a version of the interface that works way better for small mobile screens, something that's been on our todo list forever. 

We also made this video that managed to briefly find its way onto the front page of Reddit:

Wrapping it up

Even though we're not seeing player numbers as high as we'd like we're quite proud of what we've accomplished in the last four years.  We knew going in that there was a high chance Extrasolar would never recover the costs put into it, and I'm pretty sure the team as a whole is just happy to have had the chance to work on such a unique, crazy project.  Thousands of pictures are taken every day by players and it's a joy to see every one of them and pick ones to hilight.  Plus you can't help but feel like your whole life has been validated when someone sends you pictures like this:

Keep dreaming,


Extrasolar / What made you want to play Extrasolar?
« on: May 20, 2014, 10:59:42 AM »
Hi all,

We are working to put together some new promo campaigns for the game, and I thought I'd take a poll to maybe get some ideas for good angles to pursue.  So if you have a moment to comment on the following, please do!

1. What was it that most caused you to want to give Extrasolar a try when you first heard about it?

2. Having played the game, is there something that you would have found even more compelling than your answer to #1 had you known about it beforehand?

Extrasolar / Rover tracks are now in
« on: May 09, 2014, 11:27:11 AM »
Take a photo facing backwards and you just might see where you came from.

Extrasolar / What do you think of the new IR thumbnails?
« on: April 01, 2014, 11:04:07 AM »
Hey all, last week we made a change to the thumbnails for infrared photos that shows both the normal photo and the infrared. 

We're not totally sure we like them and could use some feedback.  Love em?  Hate em?  We already have the little infrared icon on these thumbs, is this over-doing it?

Also rest assured that Keith is adding a loader animation when you click the IR button so it's more obvious that something is happening when you click it.

Extrasolar / IGF audience choice voting
« on: February 24, 2014, 12:35:51 PM »
Well I hate doing this and we're up against some pretty stiff competition, but just thought I'd mention that "Audience Choice" voting for this year's Independent Games Festival just went live:

If you like Extrasolar and want to see us win an award, here's a chance to make that happen.  ;)

If you like the science stuff from Jane, you might like this recent article she wrote for  Unbelievable as it may seem, this one is about real Earth biology and not about hypothetical biology in a far-off solar system.

(I should mention that all of Jane's blog links in the game now point to full articles, if you encountered placeholder content in the past.)

Extrasolar / IGF nomination and expanding beta
« on: January 07, 2014, 06:06:34 PM »
Hey everyone, if you haven't already heard today we secured a nomination for the 2014 IGF in the Nuovo category.  IGF nominations are somewhat coveted among the indie community so we're rather excited.

In celebration (and also because we were planning to soon anyway) we just added ~250 new testers that have signed up to the mailing list since the last round of invites went out.  We'll also be adding invites to the profiles of all existing testers soon so you can finally show some friends and family what they've been missing. :)

Cheers all, and welcome new testers!

Extrasolar / Extrasolar interview on Gamasutra
« on: December 09, 2013, 08:05:14 PM »
Last week Rob and I did an interview with Mike Rose on Gamasutra, which you can view here.

We discuss Extrasolar in general, and talk a bit about the inspirations and motivations behind some of the development decisions we made over the last few years.

Extrasolar / Poll: How did you find this forum?
« on: November 05, 2013, 04:35:19 PM »
When I've directed some players to this forum they're sometimes surprised to discover it exists, so I'm just curious what routes people have been taking to get here.

Extrasolar / Welcome new testers! (Oct. 31, 2013)
« on: October 31, 2013, 06:15:41 PM »
We're expanding the pool of testers to about 1,000 people tonight, sending an invite to anyone who's ever signed up to the XRI mailing list.

For the new peeps, welcome!  I'm Brendan Mauro, lead artist at Lazy 8.  Admin is Rob Jagnow, CEO and project lead.  The rest of the team reads this board regularly as well.

Extrasolar / Known issues, latest changes
« on: October 08, 2013, 09:54:28 PM »
    This will (hopefully) get updated as changes go out:

Current known issues: last updated 10-9-2013
  • Internet explorer has issues with the game.  The experience should be much improved now.
  • Opera has issues with vimeo's security settings and may not play videos.
  • Proper mobile / touch support is still in development.  Should be much improved but we have yet to do any formatting for smaller screens.
  • Large rock formations may seem to be floating when photographed from a distance.
  • If you find a rock that is still floating up close, however, please report it in this thread.
  • Sometimes an object or a wave will seem disconnected in panoramas.
  • Jane occasionally refers to blog posts that haven't been written yet.
  • Some placeholder descriptions still exist in the species catalog.

Planned features / UI updates
  • Cancellation of targets (aka "undo")
  • Auto checklist for missions that require you to find multiple objects, like 2 of 3 plant species, etc

Extrasolar / Before you post about the program being full...
« on: October 02, 2013, 11:13:12 AM »
...please wait at least 5 minutes and check your email again, possibly your spam box.  ;)

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