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Serellan

A message to the Serellan community...

23 posts in this topic

Dear Friends,
 

As you know, I have been working for years to bring the concept of a tactical CQB shooter to life.  Whether it was Kickstarter campaigns, publisher deals, or taking out loans to self-finance a project, I have been in this space since 2012.  I have worked long hours, worked without pay, and put my own financials up for risk.  I have had crowdfunding deals, publishing deals, and even tried our hand at Early Access.


While we have had varied measures of success, ultimately, none of these ventures have proven a sustainable business model.  I have dedicated myself to the genre, having taken personal hits to try and make things work, but it just seems that despite my best intentions, either because of my failings or the lack of interest for the tac shooter genre, I need to move on.  

I have put my life into this genre.  I have sacrificed career, health, and family to try and make this work, but after years of input, it hasn't worked out.   You could call this a failure on my execution, and it may be. 
 

I tried to bring back CQB Tac Shooters.  I was hopeful.  I failed.  I am sorry.  I have been mostly offline for the past year as I tried to close business deals and dealt with personal health issues, but unfortunately on both counts, I have been unsuccessful. I am thankful for your support, but at this point, I need to look after my health, try and deal with my major financial loss, and move on.  Thank you.

 

Serellan LLC will continue as an entity and I hope to update Epsilon again in the future, but it will be as I can set time aside for it, not as a major focus.

To all the fans, I am sorry, and, as always, you rock.

 

Sincerely,


Christian Allen

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No worries Christian.

Sad to hear this. I had hoped things would start looking up for you.

You have to do whats best for yourself and your family. Hopefully you can return to Epsilon further down the line.

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Sucks to hear but at the end of the day got to take care of yourself first.

If you decide never to work on Epsilon again, I'd be curious if you can Open Source it? at this point Unreal Engine is free and since you didn't have a Publisher this time you own all the content? unless there is some third-party stuff you wouldn't be able to distribute like UE4 Marketplace content and such.

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15 hours ago, DarkSynopsis said:

Sucks to hear but at the end of the day got to take care of yourself first.

If you decide never to work on Epsilon again, I'd be curious if you can Open Source it? at this point Unreal Engine is free and since you didn't have a Publisher this time you own all the content? unless there is some third-party stuff you wouldn't be able to distribute like UE4 Marketplace content and such.

Dark, I will look into that.  There is some third party content, but I may be able to cut that out or work around it.

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39 minutes ago, Serellan said:

Dark, I will look into that.  There is some third party content, but I may be able to cut that out or work around it.

Cool, would love to toy with the game :)

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If the game was to be made an open source project, would you still charge for it in the store? How would that work? 

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Just now, spikemtz said:

If the game was to be made an open source project, would you still charge for it in the store? How would that work? 

If it was open source, I would release the whole project for free...

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2 hours ago, Serellan said:

If it was open source, I would release the whole project for free...

That would be kinda cool. Epsilon could potentially become the Project Reality of CQC tactical shooters! 

Edited by spikemtz

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This might sound silly (I'm in the compsec field, not gamedev) , but what about releasing the source code for anyone who has purchased the game?

If you open source Epsilon then that's it. The balls in our court, and you can just move on with life.

If you might be coming back to update the game in the future, it might be better to make it so that people who buy the game can then have free reign with the source code, which potentially could lead to some sales, perhaps a revival further down the line?

OpenMW and Call of Chernobyl both check to see if you've got the game installed before you can use them, to ensure people have purchased the game beforehand. This is sort of where my idea came from.

Edited by Tom
Another thought.

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I'm sorry Christian.  I don't really know what else to say.  Just, I'm sorry.  And Tom, thanks for doing all you could to support Epsilon.  DarkSynopsis too.  Thanks.  I'll stick around in these forums though.  See what happens as time passes.

I'm also sorry to hear about the heart attack.  That...  Is pretty damn scary.  As for my thoughts on Open Source, who will actually be able to figure out what to do with it (especially since it's existing materials to figure out)?  Will it be an annual updates with minor changes and additions because people will work on it on and off?  I mean, I doubt it'll be developed as quickly as the new Unreal Tournament.  How many cheats will be online?  And the most important question, how will Serellan profit off of this if the game becomes fleshed out enough to have an established community?  I know the answer is "they wouldn't, and they haven't anyway" but it doesn't feel right to me that IF on the chance that somebody does figure out how to work with Epsilon's source materials, and fleshes out online features and a full campaign and whatnot in 5 years from now, Serellan gets nothing out of giving us the foundation.  At the same time, if they choose to revoke the open source and take it all back and sell it, how many torches and pitchforks will come out from the community?  I'm feeling ambivalent regarding open source.

I'd rather let this be on Serellan's hands, but with some parts released so anybody can attempt to contribute to development.  Problem behind that is of course, that this isn't a pie you can cut.  HOW do you have time and resources to put together some kind of dev kit?  The answer is Serellan probably doesn't have that time.  I guess what I'm saying is, I'd prefer to have the community provide maps, models, animations, etc. but Serellan owns the game and not release it open source and lose any chance of ANY profits from working so hard on the Early Access development of Epsilon.  That said, the concept is impractical to execute.  So...  I guess open source would be great?  But it hurts to think that Serellan gets nothing out of this.  I'm not entirely okay with that in mind.  I don't know, I'm ambivalent right now, and still grieving over the tactical shooter genre, and Christian's no BS development attitude getting him this conclusion.  This is reverse karma...

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Cheers mate. Though I think it was too little, too late on my part. I should have rallied my friends early on and spread the word more.

From my point of view I think the best middle ground would be to provide the source code to anyone who purchased the game. I realise many people could get the game without purchasing it once it's released, but at least there's still a chance of people buying the game. The community could work on whatever they wanted in Christian's absence, and then if he ever wanted to continue development later on he could.

Anyone more informed have any input?

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Honestly. unless you know 100,000 people who all want this exact game, I doubt it was too little, too late.  You'd pretty much have to sell your car and donate the proceeds to give Serellan another month or two of development.  If the entire community (including the backers who got the game for free) did what you did at any time (including now), Epsilon would've remained on life support.  Slow development, but strong enough focus to continue say, once every three months?  And I only say this because the Early Access price is cheap.  If people agreed to a $30 Early Access (which I wouldn't to be honest), then if everybody did what you did at any time, then Epsilon would've continued as normal, with an update every month, and a staff that can be retained.  You, DarkSynopsis, and k3nny1550 already went above and beyond what a fan was "expected" to do.  Nobody would ever ask for that much diligence in spreading the word.  Usually a person tweeting is the extent.  But you bought multiple copies and passed them out like Halloween candy.  I didn't gift anywhere near as much as you did.

 

Anyway, I did see the part about owners of Epsilon would gain access to the source materials, but I do wonder (assuming there's enough people who figure out how to work with said source materials) how this will segment the community?  You'll have clones so some will be on Epsilon and others will be on the other games.  Of course, this is assuming that many people are interested in doing game development with this source material on their off-time.  If it's anything like the new Unreal Tournament, that'd be great because there'll at least be a strong enough cult following to continue development (but that requires developer supervision which is the complete opposite of what this announcement is about).  If it's like Xonotic (open source FPS similar to Unreal Tournament/Quake), then development will continue at an annual pace, but the community did segment between that and the now defunct Nexuiz.  Thing is, devs of Xonotic are already considering a retail price because donationware isn't getting them anywhere, and working for free hurts, even as a hobby.

 

My thoughts are this.  Will open source segment the community?  Will Serellan have time and resources to supervise any of this development in the long-term?  How will Serellan profit from this when people can clone the game?  How feasible is it to release it as a limited SDK where all you can do is basically mod Epsilon?  Some of these answers seem obvious to me.  No Serellan doesn't have time and resources to supervise a community developed project on a genre that people seem to ignore.  Segmenting the community isn't an issue when say, three people know how to work with the source materials.  And a limited SDK is a ton of work, otherwise everyone would've had mod tools as an option for every single game in existence.  I guess those who bought the game having access to the source materials is the best idea we have.  I just don't know how well that'll work in the long-run given the source code will be shared around the internet.  It'll end up being a moot point as you mentioned Tom.  At the same time, all I have are worries and not alternative suggestions, so...  Who am I to judge?

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Didn't expect the whole open source thing to spark such conversation, at the end of the day in my eyes if there is no plans to do any more work on the game I don't see the harm of having it out there for anyone to toy with, sure there won't be any profit to be had for Serellan but at the end of the day that is pretty much what this post is saying, I'm sure the details get a bit blurred if someone re-works the game into something that takes off among the tactical community and it could cause hassle down the line but it seems a shame to let the code sit on some HDD with no one being able to do anything with it, I know the SWAT 3 community would love to get there hands on the code for that game and make improvements, guess with it being on GoG though its a tough sell, if the source is out there you can't really keep the game up for sale.

Whole idea was selfish on my part :P I like to mess with UE4 from time to time and I've thrown some Proof of Concept stuff together when it comes to the tactical genre but I always get held up on AI, not having my own assets and just generally lose any motivation, would be nice to have a base to work with.

As nice as Mod Tools/Limited SDK would be its "limited" would something like that allow someone to go in and get Multiplayer working? seems unlikely.

Sometimes I still wish Takedown was more moddable, got maps kinda working in the end but it was a little too late, there was a nice base game there and with a bit more work maybe it could have done better, people are still modding SWAT 4 to this day adding in new features and such that I almost want to go back and play it with said mods but I never did get into SWAT 4.

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12 hours ago, DarkSynopsis said:

Whole idea was selfish on my part :P I like to mess with UE4 from time to time and I've thrown some Proof of Concept stuff together when it comes to the tactical genre but I always get held up on AI, not having my own assets and just generally lose any motivation, would be nice to have a base to work with.

As nice as Mod Tools/Limited SDK would be its "limited" would something like that allow someone to go in and get Multiplayer working? seems unlikely.

No no no!  Not selfish at all!  You are one of the people we NEED to check out the source materials and see if anything is feasible to work with and understand how it's made (I keep saying materials because I'm assuming it's not limited to code, such as models, maps, skins, textures, etc.).  You're someone who is giving the idea that the community can be more hands on in keeping Epsilon alive.  I LIKE the idea of having the community step in.  I mean, Unreal Tournament, Xonotic, and Natural-Selection 2 is community developed and while slow in updates, it still works and hasn't gone inactive.  Even Team Fortress 2 has a chunk that's community developed.  The only real worry is if there's nobody willing to work with the source materials.  Serellan releases it, and either the handful of us gives up on it and nobody else touches it out of disinterest.  You do raise a good point that making new features is nigh impossible without the source code, such as something as brutally painful as online networking.  With the "limited SDK" I was implying Serellan would still need to be involved in some capacity for any features the community can't contribute to, which is probably the polar opposite of what Christian wants, at least for the time being.

6 hours ago, spikemtz said:

Not true! There are many examples.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercial_video_games_with_available_source_code

A lot of these games are still available on Steam and GOG. 

From what I could tell, those are older games regardless of them still being on sale.  I know John Carmack is a strong believer in open source and encouraged the release of Doom's and Quake's source codes (including Doom 3), but I think it took a while before it actually happened.  I also have no idea what Epic's policy is on open sourcing games using their engine (though I don't really see any issues, given their engine is provided for free).  I am curious about the possibility of an agreement the community developers can sign being a variation of open-source, but the rights still belong to Serellan, and any sales proceeds goes directly to Serellan, or rather rights to sell the game are exclusive to Serellan.  Hmm...  Then I wonder if any pitchforks and torches will come out.  Actually...  How many people familiar with Unreal Engine 4 are interested in tinkering with Epsilon?  I guess that's kind of/sort of/actually totally is/obviously the original question Christian was asking since it's the most important one.  Derp.

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"Will open source segment the community?"  

I doubt it. I think it's more likely that the community would be united by the common goal completing Epsilon. 

"Will Serellan have time and resources to supervise any of this development in the long-term?"

All Serellan would have to do is create a list of tasks that need to be completed, and leave it to the community to tackle them. Check the link I posted regarding Running With Scissors and Postal. 

"How will Serellan profit from this when people can clone the game?"

It would be no different than it is now. People who wish to work on, or play, the game would still have to purchase a copy, unless Serellan decided to give the game away.

"How feasible is it to release it as a limited SDK where all you can do is basically mod Epsilon?"

Serellan wouldn't need to develop or release any sort of SDK for this project. The Unreal Engine SDK from Epic Games is what the community devs would use. Serellan would only need to grant access to the code they've written so far. The community devs would be required to own a copy of the game for access to models, textures, animations, sounds, etc. The point of releasing the source code would not be to mod the game. The point would be to build upon, and improve, the code that is already written. 

"I just don't know how well that'll work in the long-run given the source code will be shared around the internet."

Look at Postal, Space Engineers, id Software's games, and any game, that is still available for purchase, from the Wikipedia entry that I linked. Just because you have access to a game's source code doesn't mean you have access to the entire game itself. I could go and download DOOM 3's source code, but that doesn't mean I'd be able to compile and play it with the code alone.

"From what I could tell, those are older games regardless of them still being on sale."

Age is irrelevant.

"I also have no idea what Epic's policy is on open sourcing games using their engine (though I don't really see any issues, given their engine is provided for free)."

This would be a non-issue, as Serellan would only be providing Serellan's code. Nothing from Epic would be provided by Serellan.

"I am curious about the possibility of an agreement the community developers can sign being a variation of open-source, but the rights still belong to Serellan, and any sales proceeds goes directly to Serellan, or rather rights to sell the game are exclusive to Serellan."

Follow the link I shared regarding Running With Scissors and Postal, and have a look at how they're handling things. Another example of community driven game development, though not open source, is H-Hour: World's Elite. The team working on H-Hour is currently made up of volunteers from the game's community.

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Cool.  Very very cool.  I like these answers a lot.  That's a lot more assuring and promising.  I took a look at the link today for the community developed Postal 1 project (and apparently several tasks are done!...  Why was the demo feature removed to begin with?), and that looks like a very interesting idea.  Christian will probably have to make a fancy post to entice people to join in the development, and maybe offer public access to Trello as a helpful detailed To-Do list.  But I do like this idea a lot, and the worries I had doesn't look it'll have much of an impact.  I only mentioned older games, because I don't know if Unreal Engine 4 games can go open source, but you made another explanation that makes that other concern irrelevant.

So then back to Christian's question.  How many people who are interested know what to do with it?  I hope a lot.  Crowd-development could be a bit of a challenge with the whole too many cooks thing.  But Trello might mitigate that.  Then again, that's assuming there's a lot of "cooks" to begin with.

Edit: Also I think he did mention attempting to integrate certain tech features that aren't gameplay content, but rather to improve the foundation of the game (engine maybe?  I forgot), and it took forever because of compatibility issues.  I wonder if those will be stripped off, or if it'll need to be included in order for the Unreal Engine SDK to be compatible with whatever build Serellan has for Epsilon?  Either that or the community continues straight from the Early Access build and scrap everything that was done since the EA build.  I can't even remember if those were "tech features" or just an engine update...  Dang it, my memory's foggy.

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Awesome posts guys.

I'm incredibly keen to help with EPSILON, but the only thing I could bring to the table at the moment is voice-acting, writing and bug testing.

As a university student I do have access to resources necessary to learn UE4, but my field is computer security, and my knowledge of programming languages is limited to Bash and Python. I know a couple of game developers and designers who I'd try and recruit to the cause, but that would be a long shot. I'd certainly be committed to learning how to use the Unreal SDK and contributing to EPSILON, but obviously my studies would be my main priority.

I'm incredibly excited for this.

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On February 9, 2017 at 11:46 PM, Serellan said:

Dear Friends,
 

As you know, I have been working for years to bring the concept of a tactical CQB shooter to life.  Whether it was Kickstarter campaigns, publisher deals, or taking out loans to self-finance a project, I have been in this space since 2012.  I have worked long hours, worked without pay, and put my own financials up for risk.  I have had crowdfunding deals, publishing deals, and even tried our hand at Early Access.


While we have had varied measures of success, ultimately, none of these ventures have proven a sustainable business model.  I have dedicated myself to the genre, having taken personal hits to try and make things work, but it just seems that despite my best intentions, either because of my failings or the lack of interest for the tac shooter genre, I need to move on.  

I have put my life into this genre.  I have sacrificed career, health, and family to try and make this work, but after years of input, it hasn't worked out.   You could call this a failure on my execution, and it may be. 
 

I tried to bring back CQB Tac Shooters.  I was hopeful.  I failed.  I am sorry.  I have been mostly offline for the past year as I tried to close business deals and dealt with personal health issues, but unfortunately on both counts, I have been unsuccessful. I am thankful for your support, but at this point, I need to look after my health, try and deal with my major financial loss, and move on.  Thank you.

 

Serellan LLC will continue as an entity and I hope to update Epsilon again in the future, but it will be as I can set time aside for it, not as a major focus.

To all the fans, I am sorry, and, as always, you rock.

 

Sincerely,


Christian Allen

Stick it out and stop acting like a cupcake.

Seriously Christian" getting focused is important" wish ya well...

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Sounds like a suicide letter. That kind of upsets me to be honest.

I don't like being an "idea" guy but... certain titles have been doing real well. As "supposed to be" tactical shooters. 

 

AAA Though. You cant match that on a small staff, small budget, big expectation title.

 

I think I have a solution though.

 

All that aside. If you got some real crap to deal with. Do take care of it. If that debt is the issue, go bankrupt, Start fresh.

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How's life Christian?

I hope things are looking up. Would be good to hear how things are going.

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Christian come back to lead Ubisoft. 

 

Wildlands is is a disaster. Only one mode. No m107 one shot lol. ######ty huge bush maps. Only 4 by 4. You should’ve been there to make GRAW 3 man. You and tha graw 2 team knew what you were doing. 

 

Get well soon. Make a 3rd person game in spirit of graw 2. I know you will be super successful with that project 

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