State of the Union, 2016

January 1, 2016

So I turned my calendar page this morning to discover there were no more calendar pages. I guess that means it’s time once again for a new year! And with a new year come new creative goals and plans. Let’s take a look ahead at some of the projects that are in the works for SeaLeft Studios through 2016.

The Final Frontier

2016 marks the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek and while I’m not doing anything Star Trek related (other than embarking on a journey to watch an episode a day through The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, and the movies) I have long been a Trekker and inspired by those tales. I’ve also been a fan of the classic Wing Commander and X-Wing computer game series.

This year I’ll be tackling the development of a different type of computer game from my two Sleuthhounds adventures of 2015. I’ll be working my own space combat game. Set in a future where the planets of the solar system have become the homes for different governmental branches, the Terran society is set to expand into space where unknown wonders and dangers await. Players will take on the roles of starfighter pilots escorting and defending the great space explorers of the age.

Traditionally, space combat games have had a really high learning curve. They have many keyboard and game controller controls to learn in order for players to get to an even basic level of proficiency. I’m planning to streamline those controls to make this fun game type accessible to more people.

I’ve started basic research and development into the game using the Unity game framework, which is new for me but not completely unfamiliar. In addition to offering a single player experience through an evolving narrative, the game will also support cooperative split screen and LAN multiplayer. You’ll even be able to mix n’ match split screen players and LAN players. I’m as yet undecided on internet multiplay and player versus player modes. But we’ll see!

Satin and Sutherland

In November 2015 I participated in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, where the personal challenge is to write a novel of fifty thousand words in a month. I took that opportunity to start work on the next Satin and Sutherland novel.

I got a fair ways into the novel and have a rudimentary first draft. I say rudimentary, because it’s full of plot holes and things I know I want to change. However, getting the story to a good state requires I do more historical research on several subjects including the Fenians, the city of Ottawa, weather in 1880, and, oh yes, dinosaurs.

Once that research is complete, I’ll be looking to complete the first draft and then begin the process of refining it into as good a story as I can make it. At this point I don’t have even tentative plans for a release date but I think it would be great if it could be out sometime in 2016.


2015 was a productive year for the Sleuthhounds computer games. I built the basic game engine and used it to develop two games to work out the kinks. This was laying the groundwork for a lengthier Sleuthhounds adventure, set to become a commercial product (hey, even creative people have to pay bills). I’m presently working on the design for this larger game, although it’s currently taking a back seat to the space combat game described above.

I’ve also been revisiting the first Sleuthhounds game, The Unlocked Room, to fix up a few minor bugs and pull some of the gameplay improvements from the second game back into it. It’s not really a “remastered” edition so much as a polished version of what’s already out there.

Additionally, I’ve been looking into several options to get the Sleuthhounds games on more platforms, most notably Mac and Linux but possibly iDevices and Android as well. There are no concrete plans around this at this point, but I am doing some basic investigation of the effort that would be needed here.

Happy New Year!

So that’s what’s in the hopper for 2016. At least, that’s what I’m prepared to reveal at this time. Life should have some surprises in it and I have one or two other things bubbling away on the back burner. They may come to fruition, they may not. We’ll see.

All my best to everyone in the new year and good luck with your own undertakings!