The time is finally here! Arms of Telos has been in semi-closed playtesting for a while now, but I’m ready to open that up to the public. You can now buy Arms of Telos on itch.io!
“So the game is done?” Nope.
This is an early access style release, which means parts of the game are rough but I'll continue to improve things and add new content while it's available to the public — I consider this a new beginning. I want the game to beat expectations when it hits a larger audience on Steam Early Access, so this soft launch on itch.io will help me get to that point. Arms of Telos will start small, both in terms of content and community, but I hope you will help grow it into something truly special with me. I think what is in the game so far is already a lot of fun, but nothing in Arms of Telos is “done” — you can expect big improvements to the visuals, lots of new weapons and equipment, major features, and more in future updates. But even after it eventually hits Steam Early Access and then full release on Steam, I’d like to continue working on the game for years to come. The full vision I have for the game is huge and I really hope I can make it all a reality, but I’ll need your help.
This soft launch is releasing on itch.io Refinery. “We think early access is broken, and this is our solution.” is their tagline. One of the nice features in Refinery is the ability to have limited keys. Arms of Telos will be released in waves — the first batch will be limited to 100 copies. With a limited release, if something is very broken with the game, I can fix it before too many people have spent their hard earned money — once fixed, I can open it back up. If there’s no major problems with the game after that first batch is sold out, I’ll expand it immediately with a larger wave and continue to play it by ear. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list to be notified when new waves are announced.
I’ve started a new blog post series called Advancing Telos, which will basically be “state of the game” posts where I discuss some of what’s new, what’s planned next, etc. The first one is up already and you can read it here.
This means that the community will definitely be small, especially at first. For a multiplayer game, that’s a big challenge because there won't be enough players to fill servers 24/7. I have some ideas I want to experiment with to address this — for example, already the game’s challenge mode can be played online between matches so you have something to do while waiting for more people to join a server — but I’ll also need help from the community to overcome this obstacle. Using our forums and Discord server, players can organize play sessions and come up with regular play times for particular days where players can expect there to be more activity — this should help make a small community feel a bit bigger by compressing the playerbase into more focused time slots until the community is big enough to support it 24/7.
Let’s Talk Money
Right now it’s priced at $4.99. The plan is to raise that to $9.99 in the future and maybe eventually have it at $15-20, but I don’t imagine going higher than that. Arms of Telos will also, in the future, have other monetization streams. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises (I think I’ve come up with some really special ideas), but I’ll say that the closest model is CS:GO — small upfront cost with premium cosmetics etc (CS:GO uses crate drops, but I have something different planned). Arms of Telos isn’t “pay 2 win” and it’s not even “grind 2 win.” All players have access to all maps, all weapons, all equipment, and anything else that can impair/improve chances to win a match from the very start. New weapons and equipment will be unlocked for everyone as soon as they’re released. Same goes for new maps. Unlockables might go beyond cosmetics (think StatTrak guns in CS:GO), but they’ll never impair/improve your chances of winning a match.
I don’t expect to make much money during this soft launch — I’ll still be doing freelance work to pay rent/bills. The goal is to get the game to a point where the community can grow. So why charge at all? Even if the community is small, a growing playerbase will let me know if the game is at a point where it’s worth paying for and if it’s compelling enough for people to stick around — if it were free, that feedback would be distorted. This will help inform me when the game is ready for a larger audience, at which time I’ll pursue Steam Early Access where the hope is to make enough money to fully support me. Being a solo dev is a ton of work, but a big part of why I’ve stuck with it is that I want to keep the sustainability bar as low as possible — the sales target for a small indie game can be a lot more feasible when it only has to support one person. If I can sell enough copies a month to pay my bills, I’ll be able to devote more of my time to it and increase the speed of development — if I can then keep growing the community, I’ll hopefully be able to hire some help and really get things moving fast. I’ll also be accepting donations from those that have some extra cash and want to show extra support.
And Finally, Thanks
It’s been a long road getting here. There’s still a long ways to go, but it’s really exciting getting to finally release this to the public and I couldn’t have gotten this far without a lot of help. Family and friends have had to put up with me being AWOL and stressed out of my mind, yet they’ve still been incredibly supportive. Playtesters have poured in countless hours into putting the game through its paces — seriously, without them, it would have been impossible for me to make this. This is a multiplayer game — I design it, but a multiplayer game is only as good as its playerbase — I’m thankful to have a small but awesome group of playtesters and I can’t wait to see that seed grow into something even better. Clanwarz has been a godsend with my game server needs for playtesting and they’ll also be hosting the official servers (if you want to have your own Arms of Telos server, they’ll be able to hook you up — I’ll also be releasing the server builds so you can host it wherever). So again, thank you so much.