Space is big, like really big, and Limit Theory planned to procedurally generate all of it. Developer, Josh Parnell, received $187,865 to fund his infinite algorithm space exploration game, but it’s over three years later and backers are still waiting to see results.
Limit Theory had an extremely positive reception back in 2012, when it far exceeded it’s Kickstarter goal of $50,000. The game engine was being built from scratch with a projected release in the, at the time, far off future of early 2014. As with most extraordinarily (overly) ambitious projects being run by single person development teams, this one seemed destined to fall off the rails.
A year after backing, it became obvious that such a large project was not going to be ready by early anything, so the release was pushed back for a tentative midyear 2014. Then it was pushed back again for 2015. Throughout it all Parnell kept backers updated semi-regularly. He recognized that the project was a massive undertaking, and not wanting to cut corners, he asked backers to be patient while he kept working on the game. Then after a typical update in January 2015, Parnell went silent.
Understandably there was some fury from backers, who felt they had been kept waiting long enough already. Having the dev go silent is never a good sign in crowdfunding, and they didn’t hesitate to let Parnell know this in their comments.
Parnell made a final Kickstarter update in September of 2015 where he had an honest and frank discussion of the mental health issues he’d been enduring, preventing him from progressing on Limit Theory. Again, while most backers remained supportive, there were those who couldn’t be pacified by more of the same old promises.
Limit Theory seemed to be slowly spiraling out of control, and despite his assurances that he was in a better place again, the community around the game still seems to be treating Parnell with kid-gloves after his last departure. Updates are now only made over on the Limit Theory Forums and even there it can be difficult to figure out the current status of the project.
A forum moderator has been helpfully compiling Parnell’s sporadic responses and updates into a single thread, where as recently as March 9th, Limit Theory was still a work in progress with no hint at a final release. According to the update, “details are intentionally withheld until all is ready to be revealed.” These details include any visual progress as the update focuses exclusively on coding and development issues which mean nothing to those of us outside the world of gamemaking.
I have no doubt that Parnell is deeply passionate about Limit Theory, but I don’t know if passion alone is going to be enough to keep backers satisfied. Indeed there have already been some dissenters in the Kickstarter comments and it’s difficult to get a feel for where the community as a whole stands on this project from moderated forum posts alone. At this point, the argument against rushing the game is long since moot since almost four years of development is hardly ‘rushing’. Even if Limit Theory isn’t ready for a final release, backers should be shown something for all their money and good faith. They deserve some hint that Limit Theory hasn’t fallen into the infinite void of projects that are always promised, but never completed.