We haven’t heard too much about Jay Townsend’s SlaVE project for the Dreamcast for what seems like an age now, sure we’ve had GOAT keeping us informed here and there with the pitfalls in the project and one would assume that Dan Loosen’s latest email would be filled with a similar deflating feel. It turns out that SlaVE is actually now up and running on stock retail Dreamcast hardware meaning that the bugs preventing progress are near enough gone and the game is pushing forward for release soon, albeit still unannounced.
It would appear from the communication by Loosen’s publishing house that the game has also been improved here and there, namely the frame rate and graphical touches. Below is the full email sent to all those that pre-ordered the game.
Hey everyone, We have a major update for Jay Townsend's SLaVE today, followed by a more in depth history of what happened. But first, the major update... Jay Townsend's SLaVE is officially up and running on Dreamcast hardware without giving any errors! This is a huge milestone, as we are now moving into final bug testing and production. Please do not misunderstand this announcement to be that the game has officially gone "gold" and is being actively produced, although we expect that these next steps will happen quickly, barring any other discovered problems. If you want to hear more of what has happened and the benefit this gives to the game, read on! When we announced Jay Townsend's SLaVE, we were under the belief that the game was at the same point as it is now as it was running properly in emulation. In our rush to announce the game on 9/9, we ran out of time to do physical tests. Unfortunately, emulated hardware and regular hardware are a little bit different, and it was discovered that the game had a memory overflow problem which crashed it at the menu. Obviously, unacceptable. Originally, we figured that a few small fixes to the game engine would be enough to solve the overflow issue, and we would still move into production quickly. It was discovered that the bugs were more difficult than we expected. At the same time, the lead programmer left the project for personal reasons. We immediately brought in a new programmer who started to dive into the code, and due to how it was written he found it very difficult to fix the problem. After attempting different things with the code for a couple months, it was determined to rewrite the engine, thus the longer delay. The good news is that the rewrite of the engine allowed us to go back through and make a number of upgrades to it - the game displays more frames per second making the experience smoother. We were able to eliminate some sprites and make them into 3D models. The new engine is a considerable step up that improves what we already felt was great gameplay by adding another coat of polish to it. I can say without any hesitation that you will be getting a better game due to this delay, which is a nice bonus. I expect to be putting the coin for the LLE version of the game into production later this week, and we will move toward full production as quickly as possible. Due to the uncertainty of the final bug test, we still are going to wait to make an announcement about when we expect to put the game into production. Please do not make any projections about the final shipping date for the game until we have updated you. I cannot wait to get this amazing game into your hands, and we remain committed to developing outstanding products for the Dreamcast and other systems like it! -- Dan Loosen