It’s time that I started making these blog posts super casual. As it turns out, making a game and marketing a game require two separate brains, so I’m just going to go ahead and stop treating these blog posts as “marketing” things and just… write. I guess seven years of games journalism has taught me to question every single thing that I put to paper, and place the quality of that writing at the forefront. So let’s get sloppy, shall we?

The last time I posted was in May. Wow. A lot has happened, updated, and improved since then. Let’s run through a quick list for those who haven’t been glued to my Twitter account for the past three months:

I’ve totally overhauled the lighting system. This means better quality lighting at an overall smaller performance hit. And that means Among the Innocent looks prettier and runs better than the last time you saw it.

I’ve segmented the game into three “acts”. They’re not acts in the purest sense, but they’re gateway points in the game through which you must pass to get to the next bunch of game content. There’s still an open world, and as an adventure game Among the Innocent encourages you to explore it at your own pace, but some locations or interactions won’t be accessible until you’ve done a couple of key things. Trying to stitch together a fun and sensible story is difficult with a mostly open world, and after a lot of trial and error, I’m very happy with where the pace of the game is right now. (Apparently this is “how it’s always done” in adventure game design – it took me actually doing it to realise that. The last thing I want is a Sierra classic situation of sticking the player somewhere without the thing they neglected to pick up earlier in the game).

Almost all of the soundtrack is complete. Richard Braum and I have been getting together every week to work on the game’s soundtrack (and chat about general stuff with regards to the game, life, and everything in-between (these days there’s not much in-between)), and we’ve finalised most of the music tracks. We’re about to start work on the intro track, then we’ll tackle the outro. If there’s any time left before launch we’ll spend that tweaking some older tracks to bring them up to the level of the newer content.

We’ll be at rAge Expo! I’ve booked a double booth at the NAG home_coded stand at rAge JHB. Twice the space I had last year means I can fit in a table with two PCs to run the latest version of the demo (I’ll release an updated version just before rAge), and I can set up another table to sell physical copies of the game. Yes, that means a couple of things: 1) Among the Innocent: A Stricken Tale is launching at rAge JHB on the 7th of October 2016, and 2) You’ll be able to buy a very limited edition physical version of the game. This will be a relatively simple boxed copy with a game disc inside. It’ll be DRM-free – you can take it home, pop in the disc, install and play. I intend to set up an online updating system to help you keep this version of the game up-to-date with any digital versions, but an Internet connection won’t be required to play the DRM-free version. (I haven’t actually finalised these arrangements so on the off chance the boxed copies don’t happen, please forgive me.)

I’ve decided to avoid the hassle of running a credit card machine and all that associated nonsense during the expo, but I’ve set up a SnapScan merchant account so I can accept card payments through that (it uses your phone), and obviously cash money is always accepted. The game will cost just R150, so come and buy one for yourself, and a few extras for friends and family!

There’ll be a beta very soon. This is initially going to be a closed beta program for friends and other cool insiders, and very soon after I intend to extend it to press so they can get a hands-on impression of the first chunk of the game (the first “act” as mentioned above), including the demo’s “cabin escape” sequence and being able to freely explore and interact with most of the surrounding game world. If you’re interested in being part of the beta, use the contact form or drop me a Tweet to let me know (please specify if you’re a member of the press)!

Among the Innocent will be on Steam Greenlight soon. Details on that when they’re ready!

I’ll post some updated screenshots and some detailed gameplay videos within the next week. Please stay tuned for those! Until then, have a wonderful week.

Update: By request, here is a small pack of unwatermarked screenshots for your perusal or games journalism use.