It essentially started as a hobby project for me, on which I worked on in my spare time during my week-ends around 2004. I built the engine until 2010 when I met Keith and together we founded “I-Novae Studios”. We continued to work on the technology for a few years, sometimes part-time, sometimes full-time ( funded on our own savings - both Keith and I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own into this company so far ), until 2015 when we went to Kickstarter for our game “Infinity: Battlescape”, which is our first funded professionnal project.
The confusion often comes from people uninformed about history of our company and projects and who bundle together Battlescape with my previous hobby project, which is kind of mixing apples and oranges ( hobby vs built as a company ). The engine DID take 10+ years to get to this stage, that is truth, but it’s not like it got a full funded team of dozens of programmers working on it during all this time, if you see what I mean It was just a one-man’s week-end effort until INS was founded.
That being said, I also totally understand your frustration about delays. Though I must say, we’ve not promised anything. Verbiage is quite important if you re-read the weekly updates from earlier this year, it was always saying “our goal is…”, “we are hoping to…”, “it’ll take X months at minimum” etc… We’ve never announced a firm date for the alpha, and the few times we did give a date for something, like for this latest patch ( or the alpha week-end in last january ), they were pretty much respected.
Something everybody must realize is that:
Not giving time estimations at all is impossible: people are constantly asking, even roughly, a timeframe. They need answers. People get impatient and that’s understandable, ignoring them is not gonna do us any good either.
When we give an estimation, it’s based on our current knowledge / situation at the time we’re giving it. As others mentionned, we’re a very small team, and we’re doing things that even AAA games are staying away from. Look at Star Citizen struggling on technical issues that we’ve essentially solved. A lot of the work needs strong R&D, which is very difficult / if not impossible to evaluate precisely. Things can happen IRL too - Keith had a baby a few days ago, and on my side I relocated in June, which wasted far more time & energy than I anticipated - mostly thanks to various third-parties messing up, and me getting in conflict with my Internet provider ( who was still billing me at the old address ) and a furniture provider which scammed me and had to be legally threatened. Well, that’s getting into my personnal life here so I won’t enter into more details, but in summary: things happen, and with only a handful of developers, this impacts our schedule quite a bit
That’s it for now - hope it helped to qualm some of your concerns. As for the ambiguity of the alpha release, that’s exactly because we don’t have a date in mind yet. We want it to be as early as possible, but it realistically won’t be before the end of this year, so we’ll probably get into 2018 before it happens. But who knows; most of the technical issues have been solved now and iteration on gameplay could go faster than anticipated, even though experience tells us the opposite usually happens. Meanwhile, we’re going to do more alpha-test week-ends which will give you a chance to experience the game and give feedback about it. We’ll continue to expand the gameplay so that it can turn into a “real” game by the time alpha is out.