Montag, 11. Januar 2021

Devlog #17: The Aftermath of 2020

Hi, hackers,
hi, friends,
hi, fans,

What's happening? When is episode 4 coming out? IS THE GAME DEAD?!

Valid questions! Yes! We hear them a lot. And the answer is:

NO. The game is NOT dead!

It is complicated, though. First of all, we'd like to apologize for the long radio silence. 2020 has taken its toll on us, like for many others, and also on the development of Episode 4: Permutation. So let's start with the TLDR: development of episode 4 is currently put on hold and will continue in March 2021.
I will explain why in the following.

Code 7 has been an ongoing project for us since 2015. That's five years. That's a long time. We have gotten to a point of creative fatigue that made it harder and harder to work productively on it and with having a grand finale with multiple storylines, it was difficult not to think that it wasn't good enough. We kept pushing, because we wanted to finish the story and give backers and fans what they wanted and deserved, but it got harder and harder to keep a positive attitude while doing it.

Covid didn't help. We had to give up our office and move to home-office, which was something we had to accustom to, while juggling two projects (Shadows over Selenia) as we didn't anticipate that long delay of Code 7.

Why not pause SoS and finish Code 7, you ask? Not that easy, unfortunately. We received funding from the state to develop a prototype and have to deliver it by March 2021, so we had to work on it. Additionally, we hired Lea, our super talented, kick-ass artist, and she needed us to be around for the project to work efficiently.
The financial factor, of course, is important as well. If we had pushed Code 7 through, Goodwolf probably wouldn't exist anymore now as we were running on fumes financially and the hacking adventure doesn't perform well enough to carry the company yet. The Shadows prototype is what secures an ongoing future for the studio.

The whole Covid situation, the elections and the general state in the USA, and many other things going on in the world had a big impact as well. I (Zein) was struggling with Depression and ADHD which made it increasingly harder to work. I finally made the step to get help and I am doing much better, so please do not worry, lovely friends!

All these reasons led Kevin and me to the decision to put Code 7 on hold in November, get some distance to it, finish the prototype of SoS, and then pick it back up in March with a fresh mind and heart, hopefully recharged and more positively. 

We know that this is frustrating to hear after waiting so long but I also know that a lot of you will understand, because we have a wonderful community and we love and cherish you all. Thank you for being part of the journey and your patience. We appreciate everyone who plays the game, every memeber of the Discord (even if you just lurk ;) ), and anyone who supports us in any way possible. You rock!

Code 7 is coming and nobody can stop it.


Zein & Kevin

Mittwoch, 12. Dezember 2018

Devlog #16: Double Release

Hello there, hackers!
You've been probably wondering what we've been up to and how's the project going, right? Ususally, it's a good sign when you don't hear from us... it means we're deep in the development tunnel, which we were!
You've been waiting a long time and we need you to be patient a little bit longer, but... you'll get TWO NEW EPISODES in Q1 2019! 
The reason why it's taking so long is that the Episode 2: Memory and Episode 3: Backdoor are very intertwined, both in story and gameplay. There were many things that we shifted between episodes to make a better experience out of it. So by the time we entered testing phase for Ep 2, we already had so much stuff for Episode 3 done, that we decided it makes more sense to launch both of them together.
For us this makes also more sense from a financial standpoint, since we can record the voices in one go. 
That means we'll be delivering around 10 hours of play time by the time of March!

Gameplay (Ep. 2)

Sneak around with Agent Bear and plot navigation routes past hostiles. Give him commands to start and stop in realtime and distract enemies with different methods to bring your partner safely to your destination.

plotting navigational route and sneak past enemies
plotting navigational route and sneak past enemies
Help Raven infiltrate locations by finding information about personnel and files regarding their appearance to construct a disguise file and gain access to restricted areas.

gather disguise intel and help Raven pose as someone else
gather disguise intel and help Raven pose as someone else
That's it for now! We hope you'll have wonderful holidays! Don't forget to join our Discord channel to stay updated about development:
Kevin & Zein

Mittwoch, 20. Juni 2018

Devlog #15: Facing Episode 2

Hey there, hackers! It's time for another update.
The Steam Summer Sale is near and Code 7 will be part of it, so if you have friends or family waiting for an opportunity to become a world-saving... nay, universe-saving hacker: this is it!
We try to keep you updated on a regular basis but the further we dive into the episode's development the less spoiler-free content we have to share. We still try our best to give you tidbits of news now and then!

Story Progress (Spoiler-free)

The last couple of weeks we have been finalizing and tweaking the story for episode 2. We want it to be exciting, dramatic and suspenseful but also tying into the previous narrative. Even though we know what we want from each episode's story, there are so many fine nuances of how to get there. What are the character's desires? Their fears? How does everything play together? How does Episode 2 develop its own story while still feeding into the main story? 
At this state, we're very happy with the story of Bear and Raven and we hope you will be, too! We have started to think about the key art and Paul has already worked on a composition and color draft of it that we really like and we'd like to share with you!
Three characters standing in a futuristic city alley, a menacing giant overshadowing the skyline
Three characters standing in a futuristic city alley, a menacing giant overshadowing the skyline

A while ago we announced that we combined two episodes in order to have a better story flow. This also led to a little change in the main characters. The agent Bear / Berhanu who was initially planned to be portrayed by Zein is being portrayed by the main character from the episode that got fused with the current one. We also now have a face for Raven. So meet our heroes for episode 2 (portraits not final):

Programming Hacking Game

A new mini game will be introduced in the next episode in which you will be able to program a cute little robot named Muffin in order to cross air shafts and reach rooms you otherwise couldn't. Don't worry! You don't need knowledge in programming in order to control Muffin. With simple lines of code you'll make the little robot move in different directions, push buttons and find the way out.

This mechanic ties together with Bear's stealth mechanic. You need to send Muffin through air shafts to reach rooms in which you can distract enemies. Sometimes you need to "park" Muffin in another room to access it without your partner being there. 
Alex distracts a guard with sounds of a printer
Alex distracts a guard with sounds of a printer

Also the MiM hacking game gets expanded with switches and buttons. The message will sometimes only be triggered manually by the player so they have to time it right. This way the hacking games get a little trickier and tactical.

Event: Open Squares

We'll be on the Open Source Festival on July 14th in Düsseldorf, showcasing the game and the escape room hacking game that we showed at gamescom. A lot of people enjoyed it, so if you missed it: here's another chance to be a real-world hacker!

That's all for now! Don't hesitate to shoot us a question if you want to know anything about the game and don't forget to join our Discord Channel to get more frequent, little updates.
Your Kevin & Zein

Montag, 26. März 2018

Devlog #14: Breathing life into New Berlin

Glowing lights of a lively part of New Berlin

Glowing lights of a lively part of New Berlin

Hello, hackers! How have you been? I hope you're having fun. We're busy working on Episode 2 and wanted to give you some peaks into development. In case you missed it, we're streaming a lot of it live on Twitch! You can watch all the archived videos on Youtube.

We have settled into our new office in Cologne, from which we can even see the Dome! With a bunch of other cool devs we're part of the so called Cologne Game Haus, some sort of shared office space with game developers in the heart of Cologne. 

Not fully done yet, but this is our new cozy wolf's lair
Not fully done yet, but this is our new cozy wolf's lair

We plan to invite other developers over into our stream and talk with them about their games and indiedev life. Our first guest was Utz Stauder from Ludopium, you can watch the full stream here

Zein, Utz, Kevin: The highly serious people of the Game Haus Talk
Zein, Utz, Kevin: The highly serious people of the Game Haus Talk


We've been working on the finer details of Episode 2's story and we're making good progress. You'll follow the adventures of the agents Bear, Raven (some of you might know one or two things about them from the gamescom booth!) and Geron. 

We're working on a lot of gameplay mechanics, that evolve the ones from episode 2. They should feel new but also familiar at the same time. We've been prototyping a so called Binary Logic puzzle and tested around with it. In the end we decided to scrap it again, because it was too limited in terms of complexity and too easily solved by just trying (you can watch the progress in the twitch archive). Prototyping and scrapping mechanics is part of game development and very normal. It's good to know early if something just doesn't work the way you want it and stop working on it. Instead we will tweak gameplay with other means.

The nodes and circuits of the Binary Logic puzzle
The nodes and circuits of the Binary Logic puzzle
(minor gameplay spoilers ahead)

There will be different missions that you can do with each character and every character will have their own little addition to the gameplay. Following Bear will mean stealth levels in which you can distract guards with sounds (prototyped with flushing a toilet!), Raven is the mistress of disguise and if you give her enough information about a person she can turn into them. Geron will be able to use simulations to interrogate people, very similar to the Life is Strange dialogues in which you can rewind time after learning something.
(minor spoilers end)

Research Art: Cyberpunk City by artursadlos
Research Art: Cyberpunk City by artursadlos

The Vibe of Episode 2

With this episode we want Code 7 to feel a lot more cyberpunk-y. With New Berlin you'll be visiting a crowded location for the first time with lots of interesting and weird places, like anon-clubs in which you enter with a holographic costume to keep your identity hidden.
We've researched a lot of art and music and even though Code 7 will not show most of it, we can still recreate the vibe and atmosphere of a cyberpunk hotspot through maps, animations and sound. Expect obnoxious advertisements to ring through your headphones... do you want to buy the new HexLab ImproVein Implant to run 25% faster? Probably not. It's experimental...

Antibiotics Challenge

If you have missed it on Twitter: We're doing a special challenge! The first 10 to complete the Antibiotic achievement in Code 7 - Episode 1 will be able to name a computer in Episode 2 after them and maybe also have some references in emails. Seven brave hackers have already completed the challenge, three more chances are there! Send us a screenshot of the achievement with the unlock date, like this:

Don't forget to join us on Discord to stay in touch
and please follow us on Twitch to follow live-development!

Kevin & Zein

Mittwoch, 13. Dezember 2017

Winter Update & Charity Sale

Hi everyone,
we hope you're all doing well and are prepared for Christmas and the end of the year! We've been busy improving Episode 1 and adding features and are launching the big winter update, before logging off for the holidays.

 German Version

We're happy to announce that with today's update the German translation is available. You can change the language in the main menu. Note, that the audio is still English, but all texts are now available in German.

Accessible Version

The accessible mode for blind and visually impaired players is now available and can be activated with CTRL + V. We hope you enjoy the game! We love to make games more accessible for everyone and are learning with every step. We're happy and thankful to have your support and feedback, it helped a lot!

On Steam, the update will download automatically. You'll have to re-download the DRM-free version. The update also contains minor tweaks and bug fixes. The Antibiotic achievement is now finally achievable!


Charity Sale

To celebrate the accessible version, between Dec 13th and Dec 26th, we are donating 10% of Code 7's revenue to blista. blista is a competence center for blind and visually-impaired people and at the same time an open and lively education and meeting site for all ages.
Help us share this event and create awareness for accessibility in gaming. Spread the hashtag #gamingwithoutbarriers!
Thank you all for your support and patience. Have a wonderful Christmas and a great start into the year!
Kevin and Zein

Dienstag, 2. Mai 2017

Devlog #13: It's not all fun, but there are games

Hello, everyone!

It's been a while since our last update. Apologies! We have dived down the mysterious and dark "tunnel" of development. We coded, wrote, discussed, decided, fixed, tested and so on and so on... and now you're probably wondering "what are those guys up to?!"

We've made good progress with Episode 1 and we're really happy with the depth it reached but we also realized that we will not be able to do the ship in May. We're truly sorry about that. We really try hard (as in working day and night, which we did for several weeks...) to keep our promises but unfortunately this one we can't keep. This has two reasons:

1.) We underestimated the content of Episode 1. This is one of the "better" problems to have, because it means that the game is longer and richer than anticipated but it also means we need more time to make it right, fix the bugs, polish. There would be some publishers who'd force us to still release in May, but we don't want to launch an unfinished game.

2.) Bureaucracy. Don't we all love it? We're still waiting for our European tax number which we applied for several weeks ago, which we need to apply for a U.S. tax number, which then again takes weeks for approval, which we need to set up our stores and, and, and, and...AND!!!
You know that office scene in Asterix and Obelix? That's us now (we let you debate who is Asterix and who Obelix... don't be mean!)

Actual footage of Goodwolf Studio applying for a tax number

So without further ado, here's our announcement:

The Release of Episode 1 is planned to be end of July.

Yep. It's going to be three more months. We're sorry about that but this is going to be the best for the game, the soundtrack, the voices, the Kickstarter Rewards and so on (we're still only two guys doing all this... can we make cloning happen? No? Ok...)


So now that we got that out we can talk about some good news! Hey, look, we won an award! Code 7 - Episode 0: Allocation was awarded Best Youth Game at the "Deutscher Computerspielpreis 2017". This is a huge deal for us and we're super happy. We're receiving 75.000€ for a "future project." Whether this includes the following episodes of Code 7 or not, has yet to be found out. We will keep you posted. But one way or the other, we will probably not get the financial support before next year, so there will be no impact on current development.

If you're interested, you can watch us on stage here, and below a short interview by our national TV channel ARD. It's in German, but we've added English subtitles. Congratulations to all the other winners!

Our redesigned website is up and running, including a new press kit. You can check it out here:
Along with the redesign, we also added new screenshots from Episode 1, which we want to share with you here as well:

We know, delays suck and we'd love to release the game as much as you do (and also to start earning money so we can kinda live normally and stuff...), but we're taking the time we need for this. We want it to be the best game it can be and we're working hard to achieve this. Because you deserve nothing less.

Zein & Kevin

Mittwoch, 15. Februar 2017

Devlog #12: Less is More... Literally!

Hello, everyone!

How is the development of Code 7 going, you ask? Well, it's going great! We have finished our first alpha test and learned a lot from it. Features and plot are getting even juicier and the best part is: people had fun playing it! We gathered a lot of feedback and would like to show you our decisions and some of the features.

Less is More... no, really!

We have fleshed out the overall plot and also the story arcs of the episodes; together with the fact that Episode 1 is around 3 hours long (in contrast to our 1.5 hours estimate), we have decided to reshape our episode plan. In order to avoid filler plot (hi there, One Piece!) and also add more gameplay, we decided to tell the story in four episodes instead of five. But don't fear, fellow hackers! At the end of the day the game will still be longer than originally planned. Feast your eyes upon this comparison:

Even though we will have one less episode, the fact that we can crank up the gameplay to 3 hours per chapter will result in almost 5 hours of additional content. This will give us the opportunity to tell the story in a more thrilling way and additionally reduces the time until the full game is released (meaning all episodes). With the current development plan, Episode 1 will hopefully launch early to mid May.

New Features

You want to know what will be new in the Episode 1? No problem, we'll tell you right away:

Utilities: You can find utility software on computers and download them to your systems. You can also install them on different computers and use them to help you solve puzzles.

Network Jammer (Utility): Install Network Jammers on computers to help you during Man-in-the-Middle Attacks (Hacking Game). Deploy them to stun a security node for a short time. Knowing the map and where computers are is even more important, now!

Brute Force: Your new Intelligence App will gather contextual data about various persons of interest and store it. You can always look up what you have found out about a person, like their date of birth or names of family members. Use this data to generate possible passwords through a Brute Force Attack.

Network Movement: You can access the Network and freely move between connected computers or other hardware. Forgot to get a software on a computer you have passed earlier? Move back over the network and get it from there, or reach systems that are locked behind doors.

Advanced Feedback: We worked on giving the player more feedback about what options are immediately available. The portrait will now show the number of available places, inspectable objects, and dialogue lines.

We have compiled a little sneak peek video of the current version, so you can get a glimpse on how things are evolving. Enjoy here, or watch it on Youtube.

What are your thoughts about the episode changes? And what are you looking forward to most? Tell us your thoughts and as always, thank you for your support!