By Dave Pottinger  

bxptshirts2014 was an interesting year at BonusXP. We hired some really great folks to grow our team. We partnered with some top notch studios. We finally moved into our official office space. Ice Cream Wednesdays were in full swing all year. Many boardgames were played. We even finally got some BonusXP shirts made!

Yet, we didn’t launch a game. We were supposed to, but things just didn’t quite come together. A bit of wheel-spinning on the business side of things gave us the time to step back and re-evaluate Longbow (the mobile RTS). After some thought, we decided that it just wasn’t where we wanted it to be. The core RTS has always been fun. We’ve had a hard time getting the surrounding pieces to feel ‘right’ next to that RTS game. Most of that is due to Longbow’s free-to-play nature. It’s a non-trivial problem getting free-to-play to work well with a strategy game. You’re supposed to win strategy games because you’re smarter or faster than your opponent, not because you’ve paid $1 to try again. Happily, it looks like we’re ending 2014 with a high note for Longbow. We have a metagame structure that doesn’t break those rules and feels natural. Time will tell how it pans out, but this is definitely the best version of Longbow we’ve ever had.

Our other project is Servo. It’s a desktop strategy game that we’re partnering with Stardock to make. I can’t say much about it right now, though that’ll be changing in the near future. I do tweet about some of the various systems I’m working on with Servo, so follow me (@dcpottinger) if you want to conspiracy-theorize about some of the features. I can say that Servo is rocketing along. We’ve been doing our daily playtests with Servo for the last two months. With a big push this month, we’ve also got all the major pieces in the game now. That’s key; we can finally evaluate how everything feels with the right context. But, the best indicator about Servo is the arguing and trash talking that goes on during playtest. When players are doing that on a regular, you know you’ve got something good cooking.

2015… We should launch a game or two. We’ll grow some more. Additional ice cream will almost certainly factor in. We can’t always predict how the ride will go, but it should be a fun one nonetheless. Stay tuned!

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