It was November 2011. I backed Voxatron on Humble Bundle. I was really excited. It looked so promising. I was looking forward to playing all what was promised.
Time and time again promises were broken. The release next week would be the month after next one, the release next month would be next year.
Pointless percentages on "Development" page. One man army adding unnecessary features nobody asked for never mentioned in the first pitch. Overambitious"console" design of Voxatron. For one man. And development plan straight out of Oracle or SAP; poor fit for a one person hobby project.
What ticked me off to write this post was Hololens presentation of Minecraft on E3. It's almost everything that Voxatron aspired to have. It does not have story mode, but neither Voxatron will have; and probably will not have in this decade. Voxatron is getting irrelevant really fast.
I feel that I got good fun for the money I invested in Voxatron. But I cannot help but feeling lied to when I look what all has been promised and when it was promised and what we have right now.
I have lost any illusion that Voxatron will be finished with current effort. The best thing that can happen to Voxatron right now is to get opensourced or to have a team of people take it over and work on it for few months seriously. Community may or may not recover but the game would be in finished state.
'Betrayed' is kind of strong, don't you think? o_O
Different people want different things from Voxatron. If you're not keen on the fantasy console thing, no problem. However, claiming that the project is taking too long because I'm working on components you're not interested in seems a little unfair. Almost every feature I've added to the engine and toolset has been driven by user requests and feedback.
I've tried to make these two points clear on the website from the first day of release:
- Voxatron has a strong emphasis on creating and sharing content with other players.
- The designer will be updated during alpha but the main game world ('Voxatron Story') won't be available until 1.0
The FAQ has hardly changed since 2011, because it is still mostly true. The console idea happened halfway through, and I search-replaced 'level' with 'cart'. Here's the blog post explaining the motivation that led to the fantasy console concept.
If you weren't aware of any of this, and you didn't know there was a Story mode coming in 1.0, what are the promised features you think are missing? And what do they have to do with Minecraft?
I only mention in passing that Voxatron will take a long time to finish. I felt that adding progress bars on the development map was sufficient, but I think the effect is that some people just get more freaked out visualizing how much more work it will take. This week I'm doing a Lua scripting interface for Voxatron and several rooms for the 'Lantern' level in Voxatron Story, and might get one measly pink block off each of them. It's going to take time.
You might want to try to forget about Voxatron for now, and then one brisk autumn morning it will show up on your doorstep by surprise, like a long-lost puppy.
hey zep let us calm down.
while it is true all that you said (you are adding features that the comunnity wish to) it is also true that the time for updates seem to take longer and longer, what I suggest is a shorter (weekly? monthly?) blog post about how the things are going.
we understand the difficulties of adding a feature to the console brings bugs and fixing a bug bring other bugs and fixing those bugs bring even more bugs!
what we crave for, however, is a sense of advance on the development of this console, because when 4 months or so have past between updates the game begins to feel... abandoned, like cube world, whose developers have abandoned for years with a promisse of a huge update(of course that is not the case of voxatron)
feeling betrayed is a strong sentence, but he has a point. Unlike pico-8 whose comunnity seem to be pretty active(yes it has recently launched and will probably be meager in the future, but still), voxatron is deserted most of the time, maybe it's the complexity the editor gained over the years, maybe the time in between the launch of cartridges or even the absence of the feature to export a cartridge, but I believe this lost puppy deserver attention.
Yep! Here's a screenshot of script editing running in Voxatron (still early -- might change a bit): https://twitter.com/lexaloffle/status/610467973115936769
The console thing started by presenting user-made levels as cartridges in order to make them feel more like separate stand-alone works with their own identities rather than as levels for an existing game. That naturally evolved into the fantasy console concept, and fused with PICO-8 (which was initially more of a virtual home computer thing called LEX500 with no tools built-in). Voxatron will probably feel a little more like a console by 1.0, but they will be mostly aesthetic changes.
I agree, there should be more blog posts and it would certainly do something to reassure returning users. There is a balance between investing in presenting an engaging development process vs. developing towards 1.0, and I tend to overly favour the later. That's not what the OP is about though -- it just comes across to me like an abrasive rant about wanting more stuff sooner.
Incidentally, I suspect PICO-8 is more closely tied to Voxatron development than you might imagine. It shares music, sound, text editing tools and the backends for Lua scripting and web sharing. One of the aims of PICO-8 is to offer a simpler environment to learn scripting and audio creation that can be used in Voxatron, and I'm counting on there being a good amount of cross-over between communities in the future.
The dwindling number of active Voxatron cartridge creators is a little disappointing, but I think a large part of that is (like you said) because tools have become quite complex and useability and documentation have not caught up yet. Along with sporadic updates, it caused numbers to drop below critical mass, and v0.3 didn't produce the results I hoped for. There is still plenty of opportunity to rectify that though! Better supporting material, useability, tutorials, cart labels, the improved BBS & sharing, Lua scripting and possibly an influx of PICO-8 users, are all arrive arriving in 0.3.* and will dramatically improve the climate for cultivating new cartridges :)
|"possibly an influx of PICO-8 users..."|
I can say that I knew about Voxatron before PICO-8, but what got me involved with it was PICO-8. Now, I plan on exploring both. (And I love the "fantasy console" approach, especially with PICO-8. It's so cozy! :) )
I don't feel this way . Voxatron isn't something that needs to be updated constantly. It's not a game.
I like voxatron for the way it is. Everything is changeable and editable, That is the reason this exists. There really isn't anything that needs to be added. I've shown here and there what Voxatron can do. I purposefully try to make things normal people wouldn't think would work in Voxatron. "Two Nights in Voxatron" was a take on a FNAF clone that, to my own surprise, worked outstandingly. As well as the "Point Crash" series, which showed how to make a character selection screen. I am planning to release some more cartridges soon. I am just a little distracted by other things at the moment.
It's not a game. and I will say it again Its not a game. It is a Tool. and my definition of a tool is: something you use to build something else. In other words you use Voxatron to build other games. It's not about Voxatron's own creator. Its about what it Creates!
I bought Pico-8 last month and Voxatron this month. I did notice already the extended timeframe in which development of Voxatron is taking place. But somehow I'm confident that a surprise lies ahead for all Voxatron users, considering that Voxatron is a pet project. I do understand that 7 years is a long wait, but then again: a rushed final product is something nobody is waiting for.
Meanwhile I'm having a blast with Pico-8:)
The only thing I'm seriously missing from Voxatron is Scripting... dunno why is taking so long when there was a GIF post several months ago showing that scripting in Voxatron is actually working and it's able to do... stuff!
I'm still waiting patiently just for that feature alone... not asking much else... I just don't understand why is taking too long for an update because, seriously, script capability alone is more than worth a major number in the version in my opinion.
Voxatron as is now feels very limited to me ... but with scripting the sky will be the limit! (well, CPU % too... heh)
I've not used Voxatron, only PICO-8 (I stupidly bought PICO-8 before I discovered I could get it with Voxatron) but presumably Voxatron is more of a construction set / level editor than a full IDE like PICO-8. Would the addition of scripting essentially make it like PICO-8 for a voxel engine?
@arashi256 You bet! But scripting in here will most likely be used for adding complex elements or actions into your voxel game.
There's already some configurations in objects, triggers and events to allow doing some small things but they are either too confusing or very limited for my taste, for what is now is only possible to create a mindless platform shooter without much goal... sure that there's some exceptions but is rare to find good card which looks more like an actual game instead of a demo, most likely due to the complexity to setup something simple, let alone something good or awesome.
... with scripting, the designer can implement any kind of genre too, not just limited to platforming.
And really hope so! I'll be expecting some complex puzzle, RPGs or adventure games in the future once that feature is released ;)
PICO-8 was my draw too; and it's probably very important in developing the community for Voxatron. Eventually I did an upgrade to the combo package, and what I noticed that differenciated the two was pretty big:
Voxatron, at it's core, is a 3D take of a 2D arena shooter (plus some verticality/jumping), through and through. You can edit enemies, sprites, etc; but the player behaviors themselves seem to be pretty much set, as is the scene-to-scene transitions (IE: one screen at a time, ala TLoZ). You can make characters, and stories that fit the motif better than you can full-blown gameplay experiences; although I'm sure it's possible, it's just very streamlined for a specific type of gameplay.
PICO-8 is much more of a "blank slate" where you can craft just about any kind of game you can crunch within it's tight parameters. And while its limits may appear more constrained than Voxatron's; that "blank slate" approach actually results in more of a creative space that the audience is actually more drawn to and involved in; because there's such a great variety of games that can be made in this framework compared to Vox.
Now, the ability to render PICO-8 cartridges in Voxatron to play "voxel versions" of P8 games is probably, to be honest, one of the biggest draws it can have once that finally gets ironed out.
The fact that there's a Pi version of these makes them very hardware-project friendly; and I really hope that RetroPie can (and are willing to) incorporate PICO-8 support into their setup eventually too - because nothing rocks harder than a desktop arcade machine or rechargable handheld that can use an internet connection for immediate access to all of these games!
...but yes, I can see how a lot of this juggling between PICO-8 and Voxatron; coupled with the fact that there's easily 25x the amount of P8 dev going on than Vox dev; might make the Vox people feel left out in the cold right now.
Thanks for the explanation @JustBurner and @TonyTheTGR. Sounds like Voxatron (in it's current form) is not for me. I'd be all over it if it were more like PICO-8 for voxels :) So, is this scripting functionality going to happen then? Because I'd be tempted to pick up Voxatron if it had that.
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