SXSW 2023 and other happenings

SXSW 2023 and other happenings

Hey there, it’s been a while!

Having just returned home from SXSW Sydney, I figured it’d be a good time to give an update on the state of the game and everything that’s happening. But first… SXSW itself.

Sydney 2023 SXSW Games Showcase
Sydney 2023 SXSW Games Showcase

For the first time, SXSW came to Australia, and Repella Fella was invited to attend the games showcase. While not quite on the level of PAX (yet), SXSW was a great way to get the game’s name out there. We gave away ~250 Steam keys, cards, magnets, stickers, and information flyers.

Sydney SXSW 2023
Sydney SXSW 2023

A huge thanks to Luella Moore for organizing the entire thing – it did NOT look easy!

How’s Repella Fella Doing?

I never expected it to sell crazy amounts, but I had hoped to earn enough to fund a sequel. Earnings per month have been pretty nice for a solo developer, and I’ve been able to reinvest some of that money into things that will benefit a sequel. But can I actually fund a sequel at the moment? No, not really.

However, my publisher and I still have a few things up our sleeves. We currently have a console version in the works. We have approval from Microsoft to put it on Xbox, so it’s now down to getting something that can run on consoles, which has been fairly… enlightening.

Sydney SXSW 2023
Sydney SXSW 2023

During the process, we’ve already figured out a few areas that can be improved on all platforms. For example, the game now starts instantly as we aren’t preloading a bunch of data that isn’t needed. RAM usage for the PC/Mac/Linux versions can be cut down considerably, and hopefully, this will result in fewer issues for people with low-end hardware.

If all else fails, the game will go free, and I’ll continue to make bite-sized episodes when time allows. It’s hard to stop thinking about how a new game could work, what will happen, how old choices can affect the future… and so on. I already have many ideas written down that I’m genuinely excited about.

If there is a sequel, how will it work?

The scale will be much smaller. When I made Repella Fella, I went all in and added a crazy amount of detail, subplots, and cause and effect (even if much of it went unnoticed!). For a sequel, the only way I can see a path forward would be to focus more on gameplay and episodic installments. There’s no way I can put in another 5 – 6 years of work.

What would a sequel be called?

Not Repella Fella. Each game/episode will have its own name.

Any changes to the gameplay?

The game would be far more interactive. It’s important to note that when I started Repella Fella, it was going to simply work like old Ray games – you make choices. In the end, I added the ability to walk around, complete quests, read, watch, etc. I’d build on that so that there’s more to do and interact with, all wrapped around a decent challenge.

I’ll reiterate something I’ve touched on before – Repella Fella wasn’t the game I wanted to make; it was the only game I could make with limited knowledge and resources. I’m much better equipped to tackle game development after 6 years of creating one almost non-stop.

Will you use Construct 3 again?

Nah. But maybe.

Ideally, Unity or Godot would be the engine for a sequel, but Construct remains as a fallback. Though, I’d likely steer clear of Unity after recent controversies.

While I adore Construct, the problems are random, hard to reproduce, and things break all the time. Not only that, but official support is minimal (sometimes non-existent), and I have spent an incredible amount of time and money debugging problems.

Sydney SXSW 2023
Sydney SXSW 2023

One of the most reported bugs is that patrolling guards break (e.g., Shambles). For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why. They’re on a simple predetermined path that loops, but it continued to break. After ~5 months of prodding, Stan and I finally figured out what was happening. It turns out when you enter an area, save and then enter another area, sprites (the patrolling guards) become detached from their timelines.

Why does this happen? Couldn’t tell you. Worse than that, I don’t have access to change the code on an engine level. There are workarounds, but they are hacky, inefficient, and not as useful as timelines.

Link to GitHub issue

Each ‘stable’ update tends to introduce new issues, and so the game must be tested each time. At 5 – 6 hours each, that’s a lot of testing. At the end of the day, I’d simply love to be able to rely on tools that are a little more robust.

What else?

Since the game initially went live on Steam, I’ve built a GOG version:

Repella Fella on GOG
Repella Fella on GOG

That’s It?

That’s it! Once I have more news on the console version(s), I’ll do another write-up letting you know what to expect.