2017 Year in Review

December 29, 2017
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Happy New Year from Soverance Studios!

As the year comes to a close, I figured it was as good as time as any to take a moment and step back to look at everything we accomplished in the past twelve months.  It’s been a long time since our last public update, but I didn’t want to let such a great year end without at least looking back on how we got here, and where we’re headed in the future.

2017 was my best year in a long time!

Soverance Studios was always just a dream – for years it’s been little more than a name, barely existing on paper.  After I founded Soverance in 2012, I built a number of prototypes and even added two “employees” to the studio’s roster, but I was struggling to keep the lights on.  In 2016 the “employees” left and the company lost it’s office space, major setbacks that I thought might spell doom for Soverance.

I refused to let my dream die, so I kept at it alone.  Everything changed in February 2017 when I released my first major video game, Ethereal Legends, under the Soverance name.  Having a real commercial product generating income via sales really made it feel like Soverance Studios was an actual business and more than just a name on paper.  To me, that was a huge deal.  Unfortunately, Ethereal didn’t do so well, and I was forced to get a real job around May 2017.

Luckily I found a great job as a systems administrator at my sister’s company, BKV, a position which I love.  They had recently gone through a merger/acquisition process, and needed someone to perform their network migration and consolidation.  My experience building Soverance Studios makes me ideal for projects like these, so I was glad to find a place where my skills could have an impact.  The pay is pretty good too, and this year I was finally able to pick up a hobby I’ve always wanted to be a part of – motorcycles!  Got myself these two sportbikes this year, and considering the amount of fun I’ve had with them, it’s easily the best money I’ve spent in a long time… maybe ever.

about-bikes

Scott and his Honda sportbikes – a 2009 CBR600RA, and a 2012 CBR250R.

Ethereal did not perform as well as I’d hoped!

Ethereal Legends was a true labor of love – a game type that I loved to play and always wanted to make.  Unfortunately, passion isn’t always enough.  Ethereal Legends shipped with numerous bugs and design flaws which, in addition to poor visibility, affected it’s sales.  I had a lot of great interactions with the players, and I learned a lot about software development and the games business.  Overall, making the game was a great experience with little in the way of monetary reward.  I plan to have a more in-depth postmortem around the game’s anniversary, but until then, lets look at a few of the game’s milestones:

  • To date, Ethereal Legends has sold more than 1250 copies.
  • Released on three stores – Steam, Humble Bundle, and Green Man Gaming.
  • Taco Bell “Feed the Beta” winner.
  • Featured on numerous YouTube and Twitch channels

Not a huge list of major milestones, but I’m still pretty happy with it.  The video game business is extremely difficult to navigate, and building a good game is far more difficult than I could have imagined when I first started out in 2012.  But five years later, passion and persistence are why I’m able to write this list at all.  Either way, 1250 sales isn’t all bad, and I’d like to thank each and every one of you who purchased or played the game!  It really means a lot to me that you’d spend your time and money on something I created.

This is apparently a pretty average result for a first-time developer.  Many game developers don’t make it as far as I have with Ethereal Legends, so I suppose I’ve accomplished something here.

Sky Dragon – one of the “Signet Notorious Monsters” found in Ethereal Legends.

New things on the horizon!

2018 promises to be an interesting year for Soverance Studios.  In my spare time this year while working my new job, I’ve built a couple of new UE4 prototypes that could turn into something greater.  I’ve also been keeping an eye on the discussion around Ethereal Legends, and while I haven’t put out a public update since April 2017, I’ve been keeping the Ethereal code up to date and making small fixes where I can when I hear about an issue from a player or experience bugs myself.  I’ve also got a few new armor costumes ready to bring into the game, along with some new weapons, spells, and items.  I’m saving all of that for an “Anniversary” update, I think.

I’ve already prepared Soverance Studio’s infrastructure for the coming year, reducing the number of physical servers we’re dependent on and moving some of our services into Azure.  I’ve also improved our backup procedures, and greatly improved the performance and efficiency of the company’s computer environment by adding new features and improving security.  It’s a little weird running an enterprise-grade network at home, for one person’s “business use”… but it also functions as a pretty great home-lab to try stuff out in before I deploy it at my day job.

Either way, I hope to start talking more about my next big project starting early next year, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!  It’s definitely a new game, and has nothing at all to do with Ethereal Legends.  If you have any ideas you want to see made, now is the time to let me know via @Soverance!

See you all in 2018!  Happy New Year!

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