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    Technical Director John's Avatar
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    Technical Blog #12

    2015/12/16

    PlayStation Vita

    Hello, followers of the Banner Saga!

    Many of you have been asking for status updates on the Playstation Vita port of the Banner Saga. Now that we've completed porting and the certification process for Playstation 4, I thought I'd take a moment to bring my head above water and provide some information.

    Our console and Vita porting has been more expensive and time consuming than we had originally expected. We started the porting process only a few months after the initial launch of Banner Saga on PC. In fact, we started console port development work at the same time we started iOS and Android development. I performed the initial proof-of-concept porting myself, to determine what our technological approach should be. Once this was complete, I hired 3 different porting companies to do a 1 week prototype for a fixed price. Of the 3, one of the companies exceed the others in performance by a wide margin. As a result, I decided to hire them to work on the PS4, Xbox One, and Linux ports, and they got underway. Their deadline for completion was November 2014.

    The porting company made good progress at first, but suffered some internal personnel turnover which slowed the project. The first deadline was missed, but progress steadily continued. We were able to show a hand-on playable demo of the Banner Saga running on PS4 at the Playstation Experience in Las Vegas, December 2014.

    In January, the porting company hired additional programmers and took on the contract for performing the Playstation Vita port. The deadline for completion was July 2015. Over the subsequent months, the porting company suffered more personnel turnover, and the project limped along. Finally, in May 2015, the company folded, went out of business, and failed to complete the project. All of the expenses sunk into that project were lost, with no realistic way for us to recover them.

    Over the next few months, we scrambled to find another porting company that was able to pick up the porting where it was left off. Fortunately, we found a great company who has been able to exceed our expectations in every way. They started work in August, and now, 4 months later, we have the Playstation 4 and Xbox One ports completed and ready to launch.

    The side effect of this is that we have had to put the Playstation Vita port on the back burner. I have been excited about the Vita port since day one, and I would love to see the Banner Saga running on my own Vita. The realities, however, of a very small team and a limited budget, put an immutable check on the speed of our progress. Stoic is composed of only 4 full time internal team members, all of which are currently working 100% on Banner Saga 2. Our initial budget for porting to Vita has been burned by essentially having to pay twice for the console ports. Once we can recover the substantial costs of initial console porting, we can consider our strategy to move forward with Vita.

    One of the most positive results of all this, is that since the Banner Saga 2 shares the same engine with Banner Saga (albeit an upgraded, enhanced, and more featureful version of the engine), all of the porting work so far is directly applicable to our next game. This means that porting should be much, much faster than initially.

    Thank you very for your patience and support!

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    TBS addict / Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Oh, I didn't know you had so many "stormy seas" with porting TBS1 You mentioned that a single company was hired to do the PS4, XB1 and the Linux port as well, but the latter was released months ago. Did you eventually hire a different company for Linux, or it's just that PS4/XB1 releases are more demanding?

    What aspects of the full game did that "one-week prototype" competition actually comprise? I am curious...

    Also, you mentioned Stoic is a team of 4. That's you, Arnie, Drew and Igor?

    Finally, how did that poll about the PS Vita you did on Twitter go? It was ~66% "Yes" last time I checked, with several thousand votes. Nice In my opinion, you should give players who already own your game in one platform (e.g. Steam, AppStore, GooglePlay) an "incentive" --read: discount/coupon etc-- to purchase it on another platform. I know it's complicated and all, but it would make sense, right?
    Together we stand, divided we fall.

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