Hello, guys! After the launch of Strategic Mind: Spectre of Communism last month, we can finally tell you a bit more about the whole process. Recently, many companies started to attribute various delays and issues to the pandemics. We will do another thing: tell you how we managed to release the game on time, despite a number of setbacks along the road.
Strategic Mind: Blitzkrieg release
The lockdown reached Kyiv in early April. We were working from the office up until the subway and other public transport ceased to function. Then we set up remote work tools and started working from home.
One of the issues was that part of Halder’s VO was unfinished, the actor doing his part lived in another city, and all trains between our cities were canceled. So, we had to ask him to record remotely and the sound was different from our usual setup.
Working from home was quite challenging, especially for people on the team who have children asking their Papa to “play with them, not do some stupid work”. So, our CEO and Lead Programmer at once Ihor Tymoshenko kept working from the office all along during this time to avoid family distractions and focus on the work.
Other people had troubles with working hours – at home, you just sleep, eat, and work, there is no boundary between “workplace” and “home”, especially prior to release. Yet we have managed to overcome all of these issues and deliver the game on schedule.
Back to office
The release of the Strategic Mind: Blitzkrieg on 22 May coincided with public transport being available again, so on the 25th of May, we again started to work from the office. It is really convenient in terms of communication and coordination of actions. It does consume some time to get to the office, but at least you have some boundaries between work and home environments. Also, there is no better time to think about the project than on your way to the office, or back home.
Getting back to the office was far from the end of our adventures. Working together meant following all the safety procedures, like wearing masks in public places and transport, making sure to use antiseptics, etc. We still follow all the rules and try to do whatever we can to minimize the risk of catching a virus or spreading it to our colleagues. That worked well enough throughout the summer.
Autumn comes, people get ill
In October one of the guys on our team caught the virus, so we immediately offered all the team to work remotely until things settle. Several other people on the team have also gotten ill but with some regular illnesses, and our marketing manager even had to go through an appendectomy. All of that came at about the same time, which was highly unfortunate.
Additionally, the person in charge of the VO organization and supervision got ill right during the VO period. Fortunately, this was not COVID, but it was one more setback for our VO production.
Later, the actress doing the female units voices also got ill, so we had to record a week before release in the end. Fortunately, all the cinematics VO sessions were finished during the summer.
By the skin of our teeth
By the end of October, we finally got back to the office, and fortunately had no more serious illnesses on the team. Yet, the time was short, and making all the recently recorded VO game-ready, delivering all localizations and lots of other things was really hard to do in time for the planned 13 November release. We were able to provide the press with early access to the game only 5 days before the release, which is certainly not enough. Yet, during the release itself, we managed to deliver all the core content. Overall, we are happy with the result and that we were able to keep our promise and deliver a solid game on time.
Better quality at Spectre of Communism release
Despite all the adversities, Spectre of Communism was running quite smoothly at release. While there were some issues, and some minor problems are still getting fixed, judging by your feedback and by the amount of post-release patches, it seems that the game was much more solid at release this time around. There seem to be many more problems during the Blitzkrieg launch. We quickly addressed those issues, and are thankful to you for supporting us and reporting all the problems, allowing us to timely fix them.
The work continues
We have fixed most of the issues you have reported in Spectre of Communism, and have already started working on the upcoming Strategic Mind: Fight for Freedom title, which is scheduled for Q2 2020. We keep working from the office, however, the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated threateningly over the course of autumn, and there are talks about some form of lockdown in January. So, we consider the possibility of going remote once again for some time, if such need arises.
If you want to support our indie studio, please add our upcoming project to wishlist on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1381850/Strategic_Mind_Fight_for_Freedom/
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