Goodbye, Volo

Hello Pilots,

For the past six years, Volo Airsport has been our lives. We’ve thought about it long into the night when we should’ve been sleeping, worked on it weekends and holidays… We love this game, and still find ourselves amazed by the number of players who have come to love it as well.

When we released Volo Airsport on Steam Early Access in late 2014, we intended for its development to be a journey – and it certainly has been. We added features that allowed you to choose the way you fly, whether in our signature wingsuit, or the new, customizable parachute. We improved the game’s graphics and upgraded the engine several times over, adding day/night cycles, a weather system, and more. We started a semi-weekly show to catalogue improvements made, future plans, and discuss our approach to game development. And all the while, we were able to rely on you – our community – to guide and support us. Whether you ‘liked’ one of our videos, covered the game, or simply took the time to play it, we can’t thank you enough for your support of Volo Airsport, and our team.

As we’ve continued to try bringing Volo Airsport to a point of completion, we’ve begun to hit one roadblock after another. Right now, we’re a team of three, and we simply can’t continue to work on this project we love so much with the revenue it currently generates. We’ve run out of money, and with it, the time we hoped we might have to bring this project to a fitting conclusion.

As of today, development of Volo Airsport is on a permanent hiatus. Today’s new branch containing the seeds of the next steps we hoped to take with the game is the last addition Volo Airsport will see.




We thank you wholeheartedly for your support, encouragement, and feedback over the course of Volo’s development. We’ve built a game that we’re still quite proud of, and we couldn’t have done any of it without you. We also hope to see you again in our next journey – whatever that might be.

Goodbye, Pilots.

Sincerely,
Ramjet Anvil

  • Thanks for allowing us to participate in your journey. It’s been lovely. I wish you all the best with future endeavors and think that you’ve done good work here.

  • Steve Smuts

    OK now wait. How much do you need to be able to finish it? Surely donations would help?

  • Tom Blankenship

    such a high potential game. now i will never experience a multiplayer wingsuit race 🙁
    or a hike and fly option. please make a multiplayer mode! 🙂 How much money do you need?

    • To finish it properly we would need quite a bunch. More the scale of a kickstarter than a couple of individual donations. We invested some 5 months on multiplayer before we realised it would take yet more time to even get a solid proof of concept, which is when we switched to parachute development. I appreciate the sentiment, and I still share your enthusiasm over the possibly great multiplayer sports game that could be, but it doesn’t seem feasible at the moment.

      That said, never say never.

  • Sebastian Baars

    Is there a possibility that you would start a kickstarter or even possibly make the game open source so we as the community could finish the game.

  • Zach

    I realize it’s unfortunate that you didn’t get to bring this game to it’s ultimate form. But from one of the very early versions, Volo has given me the sensation of flying unlike anything else. And that is an exceptional success. You’ve created something that I can forever jump into and feel a special kind of freedom. So, well done. And thank you.

  • Adam Cadogan

    Damn, took me a while to notice this had finally been abandoned officially. Honestly for 6 years of Volo being your lives what were you doing all that time? I’m guessing out in the real world diving out of planes for research purposes 😉

    It’s a shame, this has the framework of something really special.

    • Hey Adam, thanks for playing, and for leaving a note!

      Those 6 years were spent learning everything about game and simulation development as we went. When I started the project I don’t think I had ever written a program of more than a hundred lines of simple code, and I certainly knew very little about physics, aerodynamics, controls systems, mathematics, graphics, and whatnot. Lots of studying, tons of trial and error.

      We internally hit a lot of dead ends too, trying ambitious ideas and then having to can them. For example, we spent huge resources on implementing multiplayer (which no one has done succesfully for a game with this type of simulation before, it’s incredibly difficult), but couldn’t get it done within constraints.

      We tended to underestimate risks, not plan things in detail, and shoot for the stars. I think we were responding to the generally very risk-averse development strategies used a lot in practice. It shows, for example, in the quality of the parachute simulation (I think it’s the only thing of its kind in existence). But it also shows in the sheer amount of features that didn’t see the light of day, or that went underutilised. And those things don’t translate to revenue.

      Beyond working on the game itself, we each had to maintain freelancing gigs as the revenue from early access never got close to paying the bills.

      My own mental health had a bunch of ups and downs over the project. You know the drill: impostor syndrome, stress of having promised something you’re not sure you can deliver, financial worries, and so on. By the end of it, I was so strung out that anything remotely to do with the game set off a strong fight-or-flight response, which I would then carry through the day as I worked on the game. After a while, the only thing I could think to do was just: “ok, cancel it then, I really cannot do this anymore”. Close friends can attest I was a wreck.

      6 years is a long time to work on a single concept. As I studied and learned, other things besides wingsuiting started taking my interested, as I guess is only natural. I’d feel very guilty ‘indulging’ in such things as Einstein’s special relativity, because none of it would improve the game.

      It’s now a year later, and only now can I look back on the game and not feel my brain contort into painful shapes, but instead see the splendid work we’ve done.

      —-

      So yeah, far from a typical dev cycle. There’s more to say, since it certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom. We had a blast, we’ve learned and grown a lot through it. I hope this explains where we’re coming from, and how it ended up the way it did.

      Again, thanks for playing, and for getting in touch. 🙂

      • Johnatan Blogins

        Dear Martijn,
        As a happy volo player, Who was lucky enough to feel the thrill of playing it in VR! I wish you the best of luck, and I must admit it’s great to hear you can talk about Volo again with no pain. I feel like I shouldn’t go there, but if you ever feel like giving us the chance to have a simple “walking” avatar, to climb a mountain, jump, and land from parachute, I think the game would be actually “complete” only thing holding me from playing it as a quick run, is that I know I’ll end up wriggling on the floor at the end of a beautiful run! Thanks again for all your effort, and apologies for being a pain!

        • Hey Jonathan, thanks for your message!

          No apologies needed, players being happy with the game and being eager to see it grow is hardly something I can fault. 🙂

          I’ll keep the landing thing in mind, maybe some time this year if the opportunity is there and the mood strikes.