We’re one week into the final playtests of Solstice and it seems like a good moment to close pre-orders for the game. Thanks to everyone who supported us by getting the game early! We hope it’ll be worth the wait!
The tests are going well though it’s a lot of hard work still. So far, we’ve got over 100 reports with bugs, feedback, and general impressions. Compared to Cinders, we’re seeing far less language issues (hiring Cara as our editor was a great idea!), but the game is still pretty buggy, especially towards the end.
General feedback is overwhelmingly positive, though, which is frankly something our entire team really needed after those three years. Thanks, guys!
We’re still undecided on the official release date, but pre-order owners can expect to get their copy soon.
Hold on to your seats, guys! We’ve finally finished Solstice and are ready to start that one last round of play testing! It honestly feels quite… unreal.
If you volunteered to be one of the testers, you should get an email with download links and some instructions soon. And yes, we’re still looking for more help, so drop me a line if you pre-ordered the game and would like to give it a spin.
As for the launch date, we frankly walked ourselves into a corner of end-of-the-year major sales and releases, and we’re not sure what to do about it yet. One thing is certain, however: pre-order owners will get their copy as soon as possible, regardless of our final decision on this. We may also have another nice surprise coming for you along the way, so watch this space!
So hey! That Solstice! It’s almost out. Some crazy three years this was, eh?
We can hardly believe it ourselves! It’s been three years! Three. Years.
So what exactly does “content complete” mean? Basically, it’s a stage where the entire game is done and can be played from start to finish, even if it’s still going to be a somewhat bumpy ride.
As we have a habit of doing playtesting runs as we go, and started working with an amazing editor during this project, that “bumpiness” is limited to the final two chapters. Still, it’s there and has to be ironed out before the release.
Here’s the roadmap for now:
- We’ll be doing some internal tests first. Fix already known issues, make sure the game doesn’t crash, generally polish it up.
- Along the way, we’ll be closing pre-orders. It’s the last chance to get one, if you want to access the game earlier.
- Then we’ll have one last round of closed testing. We’re counting on you here!
- After it’s done, the game becomes available to pre-order owners!
- The official launch happens around two weeks later!
- We get very, very drunk!
For the closed playtesting, we’ll be once again enlisting your help! If you want to take a part, please drop me an email at email@example.com Especially if you tested Solstice during the earlier stages!
That’s it for now! Thanks again for your patience and continued support, guys!
And while we were busy with Solstice, Kate finished re-doing Bonfire‘s artwork. All of it!
So yes, the game is very much alive despite the lack of public updates. We realized we’ve made a mistake by focusing on small incremental improvements, while much more drastic changes are necessary to finally leave the alpha stage and reach anyone outside of the few dedicated playtesters.
As we chipped at the sheer amount of Solstice’s content, Kate patiently experimented with different art styles and re-drew the entire game sprite by sprite, preparing it for the new design direction we have in mind.
When I’m more free to work on it (that is: once our monster-of-a-VN is out), we plan to release a new public demo, to see if the changes we’ve planned are on the right track. Expect more news on what’s going to be different as we go, but we can already tell you we’re very excited about how it’s shaping up!
Yup, stretches. Like, we’re on the last one!
And yes, I know we kinda are since 3000 BC, when we started doing Solstice pre-orders. But this time for reals, and I’m counting down remaining scenes (21 at the moment of writing this) on my twitter.
Once it’s done, I have some effect and features coding left to do, and then we can move to final playtesting and editing. If it goes well, I’d say early Summer release is pretty likely (would be awesome to launch on actual monthly gift box subscriptions!).
Speaking of editing…
Meet Cara “Cheratomo” Hillstock. She’s our editor for Solstice and she’s super-awesome!
She already went through half of the game’s script and what can we say — it’s all so much better now! We know Cinders was a little rough around the edges language-wise when it first launched. Solstice should be way more polished from the get go thanks to her invaluable help.
Cara also works on her own successfully kickstarted visual novel Asagao Academy. It involves dating competitive gamers and a pink-haired protagonist’s journey through romance and friendship. Check it out!
It’s this time of the year again, and boy what a crazy year it was!
Solstice is still in development. The delay nearly killed our young studio!
But then Cinders landed on Steam thanks to your insane support on Greenlight! But then it did worse than expected on launch. But then not that bad in the long run. And then we were in the Humble Weekly! And then the playtests happen and prove that wait on Solstice was worth it! And then it’s like: Woah, 2014 is already over!
It’s all ups and downs with indie game development. Never steady. Never boring.
And during this crazy roller coaster ride, you guys have been there for us with your incredible patience, support, and words of encouragement! So please, allow me to thank you on behalf of the entire MoaCube team. We wish you the happiest and warmest Holidays ever!
Just like the last year, we’re also running a special sale on Solstice pre-orders and Cinders. Both are 40% off till January 7!
Steam keys are included (in case of Solstice, obviously only once it’s out on the service) and the purchase can be made as a gift for a friend.
(The promotion is now over. Thanks!)
Buy for Windows + Mac + Steam | More info »
Cinders is a mature retelling of Cinderella, ditching the passive protagonist and banal morals of the original story in sake of a more serious approach.
Independent scientific study proved Cinder to be the raddest gift this holiday season!
Pre-order for Windows | Pre-order for Mac | More info »
Solstice is a mystery thriller about small personal disasters that can turn into great catastrophes. And a clear conscience that is as rare as pure snow.
The game is in pre-orders. Purchasers receive a lengthy preview build.
Happy Holidays, folks! Here’s hoping 2015 will be less of a bumpy ride!
The new Solstice preview build is now available to all pre-order owners!
By pre-ordering it now, you:
- Gain access to the playable preview version right away
- Get the game cheaper ($19.95 from $22.95)
- Can affect the development by posting feedback on our forums
- Will receive the final game two weeks before its official launch
- Get a Steam key when the game lands on the service
- Support a small indie studio and are an overall awesome person
If you bought the game earlier, you can simply re-download it from the same purchase email (contact me if you lost it).
This new preview build contains the same portion of the game as the last one (first two chapters), but is much more polished and includes most of the improvements you guys requested. As always, if you encounter any problems or would like to share your thoughts after playing, we have a forum board dedicated to that.
We’re also still looking for closed testers, if you’d like to see more of the game and help us with your feedback. Just drop me an email and I’ll send you the extended preview version.
Have fun and thanks again for your patience and support!
If you’ve been following my twitter, you probably know that our internal testing & improvements run took way longer than expected, due to a decision to rework a significant portion of the story. Because dumb perfectionism.
But we’re finally done and nearly ready to start some proper playtesting!
To cover as much of the text base as possible, and get a good general vibe of what people think of Solstice, we’re breaking it all into three tiers:
- Open testers: all pre-order owners will get access to a new preview build. It contains the same portion of the game as the last one (first two chapters), but is much more polished and includes numerous improvements requested during the last testing run. After giving it a try, you can simply email me your feedback or leave it on the forums. We’d like to know what was your general impression and if there are any significant bugs left.
- Closed testers: a group of volunteers will receive an extended test build containing the first four chapters of the game (out of six total). They’ll help us with hunting bugs and typos, as well as offer feedback on the general flow of the story. The most dedicated testers may get access to the game’s text, if they’d like to help us more directly.
- Editors: we’re also looking for professional editors who would work with us directly on the text base, after the main bulk of testing is done. If that’s interesting for you, please send us a brief summary of your experience as well as sample rates.
When contacting us with feedback or to volunteer for closed tests, please include something like “Solstice testing” or “Solstice editing” in the email’s subject. Makes it so much easier to sort.
The plan is to start next week, but we’ve received a lot of emails during our last call for testers and we’ll likely contact all these fine folk a bit earlier. If we talked before and somehow I forget you now, please don’t hesitate to ping me.
Also, wish us luck because hot damn! 🙂
Lotta things are happening with Solstice and they are all good things!
First of all, we’ve been greenlit before we could say: “Thank you for all your support, you’re the best!” It means that all pre-orders owners will get a free Steam key when the game lands on the service!
Secondly, we just finished an extensive internal playtesting and polishing session. We approached the game as players for the first time, looking for potential pacing issues, plot holes, or general problems. It gave us a lot of cool ideas for improvements (like the new intro scene, seen on the GIF above).
Once we’re done with them, the game will be handed to volunteer proofreaders and editors, to make sure the main chunk of it gets as polished as possible while we’re busy implementing the grand finale (its’s HUGE!). There will also be a new public build for all the pre-order owners.
Also, we gotta say we’re really happy with how the game is shaping up and can’t wait to share it with you! Which hopefully should happen soon-ish.
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Solstice is nearing completion (we promise!), so it’s time to secure it a nice and cozy spot on Steam.
Greenlight is almost purely fan-driven these days, even more so in case of games like ours, so our fate is in your hands :).
Every vote counts, but even just spreading the word is a huge help for us. Thanks!