"Final Outpost was an idea I had whilst sleeping in June 2018. I wrote down everything that came to me and decided to begin working on the game full-time at the beginning of July.
I tend to get carried away with all sorts of projects from video editing and film making to programming. I rarely finished an app I came up with, so naturally I was sceptical of this one at first.
Each time I built a feature from the original plan, I would have an urge to add something new to the game. Slowly the initial idea evolved from a simple town-building game into a simulation game.
Inspired by both The Walking Dead comics and video games I played as a child - ranging from Caesar III to Don't Starve - Final Outpost turned out to be a mashup of my favourites."
Sam in Paddington Station. He goes to university in London.
The original idea I had was a sort of spin on those games where the objective is to increase numbers exponentially. The player would be able to construct buildings and recruit people to automate processes while they aren't using the app. Hence the portrait mode. I couldn't decide in the first month or so if this would be a game where the player is even present.
In August it went landscape mode and I had added a few different job roles like workers (who repair the wall) and lumberjacks (strangely named scavengers at the time). Around this time I realised I could turn this base-defence game into a retro simulation of the post-apocalyptic scenario.
I started releasing beta builds to some of my friends and family (to their annoyance) for them to test. The game was so incomplete that they didn't understand what to do without an explanation of it. Beta testing at this stage ended up being useful for fixing the occasional bug but not much more than that.
By September I was frantically adding features to the game, such as a side on view of the combat between the zombies and guards, because I knew I was starting university by the end of the month. Focusing my time on the first year, I would leave the game almost untouched until June 2019.
By this point, private beta testing was starting to become more useful as I had made a primitive tutorial and the user interface became more understandable. I had hoped to have some more people to test the game and give feedback but it turned out to be one or two at any one time. This was nonetheless invaluable to me as they had ideas for improvements I had not thought of.
I spent the next couple of months making the game more dynamic by adding features like starvation, births, job swapping, full day/night cycles, metal scraps, crafting and more unpredictable zombies. While the game functioned as a simulation, it still looked like a few coloured boxes on a screen. It was time to bring in some pixel artwork to the game.
My brother, Ben, had some experience before with art and graphic design so he joined the development process making graphics for the game world and user interface. I clearly should have got him on board earlier because, as would be expected, this instantly made the game much more engaging. We completed the graphics for the game world and after more changes to the user interface, it was ready to be tested by new people.
In September 2019 I released the public beta. I thought I would have the time to work on the game this time around, but that proved challenging at university. So, driven by your feedback, development continued through the winter of 2019. During this phase, the last couple of menus were designed and added to the game. This included optional in-app purchases and statistics about your Outpost. In-app purchases were made to be completely non-intrusive to the game itself and should only help people who choose to support future development of the game. This was something I was very clear to myself on because I've always felt that the mobile pay-to-win model ruins whatever game it's been attached to. Sound effects and ambient music were also added during the public beta.
More than 250 of you tested Final Outpost over the following months leading up to version 1.0! All your feedback and ideas are also being used to inform future updates to the game. Thank you to everyone who participated.
There are still so many other features I want to add to the game but there is only so much work you can do as one developer. So I don't think I will ever call Final Outpost 'complete'. But by the end of January 2020, the game was up to a standard I was happy to call version 1.0.
I made Final Outpost available for pre-order on the App Store before its release on Friday 28th February. My hope is that this will allow me to ensure the release goes smoothly as well as building up a user-base before release.
We've come a long way from some coloured boxes on a screen in a game called Zombie Fort. I really hope you enjoy the game.