Project Note Hitter

Dev Blog #2: Where's the news!?

Matt Sitton • August 16, 2018

As you are aware, it has certainly been quite a while since the last blog post where we announced our intentions of starting a new project and moving towards something better. Since then, both a lot has happened, and not a lot has happened. We know we have been very quiet about things, and, to be truthful, we don’t have a ton to show everyone at this point. We certainly don’t want to reveal all of our cards at this point, as we think there will be some fierce competition out there :)

Nevertheless, that isn’t an excuse for keeping everyone in the dark for so long; we wouldn’t be here without the community, and for that we thank everyone! This development update should hopefully be a step towards something better.

How We Got Here

To start, I’d like to highlight our most recent update to Clone Hero: V.21. We put a lot of work into polishing up Clone Hero and adding many requested features, improvements, and polish.

In addition, there are a lot more changes we wanted to implement, but because of codebase issues, time constraints, and the like, we took them off the table.

However, in spite of this, we also now have a website, https://clonehero.net, thanks to GNiK, Goulart, and Profit for contributing to the website. The current iteration was, to be frank, put together from a much larger website project that has been put off for the new project. We will hopefully have more news about that in the future.

What Has Happened

Essentially, we have not done much work on the new project yet; there have been a ton of great ideas during brainstorming sessions and even overall implementation plans and documentation written.

Regretfully, looking back at the last 5 months, we have certainly not been doing our best to say the least. We have had communication issues, misunderstandings, as well as time and commitment issues. With all of us being volunteers, some of that is to be expected, but we certainly need to do a better job here.

On a better note, we have a MUCH better idea of the game we want to make, so it’s not as if all of this time has gone to complete waste. We did turn back to Clone Hero and got Clone Hero v.21 released after all. However, after that huge push to get v.21 released, everyone just needed a bit of a break, with many of us becoming busy with different personal issues.

To add to that, Oscar has had seemingly non-stop computer issues (he just got a new pc, woo!), Exile has had some personal issues and has withdrawn from the community for the time being, Srylain has been mainly focusing on his work for the Tap Tap game during all of this.

Whereas for myself, I’ve been trying to balance my time between my full-time job, my girlfriend, sleep, and contributing to this game. I do feel like I’ve let everyone down, but, regardless, I’ve been trying to push things forwards.

Other issues were trying to keep meetings and decisions to a tiny group of people in preparation for setting up a company and then never telling anyone else, leaving many wondering what happened. Then when the talks to setup a company (LLC) stalled due to bad communication, we still never told anyone about this.

We’ve started bringing people back into the loop, while making this clearer to everyone. For those curious, the main reason for setting up a company at this point was to get a legal framework for proper music licensing and removing any ambiguity in copyright for the project, as well as opening doors for people to donate to the project. Setting up a company has been put on the back-burner for now until we get farther along into the project.

Current Direction

Initially, we wanted to start 100% from scratch, which, as of today, we are moving away from. The main problem is that no singular person has had enough solid time to sit down and start building up a good base project to the point where multiple people can easily jump in and contribute. We tried multiple times, and they each kind of fell on their face with different people. We have planned out a couple new directions.

Namely, one option is starting from a fairly barebones project that Oscar had built up shortly before joining the Clone Hero team. This project has basic MIDI loading, audio playback, and track rendering already implemented.

Knowing that, another option was stripping out all of the problematic assets from Clone Hero and launching a major refactoring effort in order to strip the game down and fix many of its core architectural issues.

While both of these options are centered around the idea of giving us an existing codebase to start shaping it into the new game, we have started focusing on the first option centered around Oscar’s codebase.

Looking Ahead

In light of all this, we are certainly trying to work through our issues, with us already trying to have meetings more often with notes available for those unable to attend. We’ve also opened back up discussion with everyone we had once excluded due to the company talks. We don’t really have a 100% solid timeline for when this project will be completed, as it will mainly depend on how much time everyone can commit to the project.

Now, the short term roadmap for development is working on stuff such as the .chart parser, integrating the new unity input system (framerate independent input!), laying the foundations for online, and a menu system. There is a lot of work to do, and we’ll try to be better about posting updates from here on out with hopefully lots of pre-release development goodies to show.

Keenly aware of our team communication problems, we would like to welcome aboard our newest community manager, Roy. He brings with him some well-needed project management and artistry experience to the team. We are very happy to have him join us and assist us with his expertise.

Wrap-Up

On the subject of keeping you all in the loop, we are launching a FAQ page! This currently lives in a Google Doc, but we will eventually move this onto an official website that is still in the works. While plans can always change, we have answered these questions as honestly as possible and represent what we are planning for the game to be. You can find that here: PNH FAQ

We will eventually need music for the official setlist so stay tuned for more information. We want to make sure our process is correct here before we start getting music readied for the game.

Of course, thanks everyone for reading, until next time!

- Matt