I am aware that you had plans to have this game require a monthly subscription fee, and I can guarantee you this is a huge mistake. I have been following the development of this game since 2006 (yes 7 years) and I believe it would be a tremendous disappointment to utilize this unfavorable business practice, especially when your competition (Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous) does not.
Though we can all see that Infinity is clearly better than the aforementioned games, those games have received more attention and will earn higher profits because they are constantly advertising and releasing new content and footage. This multitude of content has gained them both a very large following in comparison to Infinity’s somewhat scant community involvement and meager fan following. You must advertise your product and make it known to others, and minimal effort in the community management aspects of marketing will not generate the funds you need to maximize this game’s potential. I am aware that all of you have jobs, and are currently occupied with other things, but part of the reason for your game’s small fan base is your own fault. Regularly release content on your channel, and regularly release new screenshots or dev diaries (no, Twitter does not count). Not only will you have a higher chance of success on Kickstarter, but you will also generate more funds for the game, and earn higher profits as more people purchase the game.
If you do this properly, you will not have to muddle the splendor of your game with a rather deplorable and appalling business model. I desperately want this game to succeed, but I worry that it may be too late. You had the head start on both Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous, a seven year head start in fact, and I can’t help but wonder how so much time that you could have taken advantage of, was wasted.
Kickstarter has only recently become a viable option, and before that they were looking for an investor, which they couldn’t find for a number of reasons.
As for the business model, I doubt they will release Infinity: Battlescape on a subscription basis. And as for the mmo itself, we are quite too far in time from it to be able to argue what business model would be best for it.
But I agree that this lack of forums and concrete news for so many months has damaged an already too small community. Something must be done about it sooner rather than later. And by sooner I mean as soon as the forums and website are stable enough to support content release.
There’s nothing deplorable about the subscription model. You are paying for a service that has been provided. It’s no different from paying for a Netflix subscription, a gym membership, or your internet connection. The service is either good enough to justify paying for it, or you shouldn’t use it. It’s that simple.
But other than that little point of disagreement, your post is well written and quite right when it comes to the issue of communication. We need more info, and we need it as soon as it can be reasonably delivered. (At least let them get the site up and running first.)
Like @AngryMarine mentioned Battlescape will not be subscription based. The exact business model used by the MMO will be determined once we get there. As for releasing more content this is certainly something we’re aware of and it frustrates us just as much as you guys that we don’t release content more often. Content releases take a ton of work and we frequently choose to use that time for making continued progress on the product. Does this hurt our ability to build and maintain community? Yes. However I’m not personally too worried about that as I think that the most important thing is the content release that occurs immediately prior to launching our Kickstarter. If we try to build up a ton of hype right now and then maintain it for a long period of time that’s going to be extremely difficult. We release content in tidbits for you die-hards that hang out here so that we can keep most of our time focused on getting the product out the door sooner. I believe that once we go for the big push and launch our Kickstarter those who’ve drifted will come back - even if for no other reason then to hate on us ;).
Our last big content release was scheduled to be on the same day our previous website was hacked and unfortunately that prevented the release from occurring. We’re still going to release that content I just need to finish polishing up the forums so I can focus on building the rest of the website. A whole helluva lot more content is coming very soon, we just have to finish up a few things =).
As for Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous they were both created using well established technology bases. Specifically SC is using CryEngine and ED is using their own in-house tech they’ve had for quite some time. That 7 year head start we had was spent building our own, very unique game engine. We did this because it was a requirement for achieving our vision: To build the games we’ve been dreaming of since we were kids. If we had no desire to stay true to that vision we could’ve easily used Unity or CryEngine or UDK and built the exact same game those guys are building. We wanted to do something different, something beautiful and unique. We want you to not only play our games but to experience them with a sense of awe and wonderment. That’s why this has taken so long.
Tell me, can CryEngine create these planets to scale:
Or how about this view after flying into an alien atmosphere:
Nope, they can’t… but we can and it’s coming soon…
Something regular would definetly boost the confidence in the continous progress you make.
A thing that irregular news (though the last half year wasn’t that bad actually), a hacked website and missed dates don’t really strengthen. The contrary actually.
A word of advice though @INovaeKeith . I’m sure it will come the time where you won’t have the time to post a screenshot. So I advice you setting up a twitter bot or something that is prefed with images and that post them automatically on certain times of the week. Regularity is the keyword here. Something people will wan’t to look forward to. Even if the screenshots look similar I wouldn’t care.
I like the idea of more updates, but most of us know about IA tactic. He is waiting for the moment when they are about to launch their kickstarter. So the hype is generated at proper time when kickstarter is launched, or slightly ahead of its launch. That is smart.
But about subscription fee… well, for the batlescape obviously not.
But for the main mmo i say YES its money for better development why not. I will gladly pay few bucks every month. If it makes the game better.
And i am not rich person i work with my hands. And pay my mortgage.
In my opinion, its about choices. You can splash your money down your throat in a pub every week, or you can save one week and pay for the game you love.
Some weeks we don’t really have anything new to show however we could certainly still post a screen shot. It’s the blog posts that are far more problematic as a good blog post really does take a big chunk of time.
There is also the problem that, for a kickstarter, you need to have enough content piled up for regular updates during the campaign. If previous runners’ accounts are to be believed, you simply don’t have time to produce those during the campaign itself. So spending more time on development and less on comm before the campaign makes a lot of sense for that.
That said, yeah, a daily weekly screenshot would be great, and could be automated to some extent for when time is short.
I think that’s a good idea, keep a build of the game to one side that’s purely used for creating beauty shots and then once a week find an interesting subject and take a photo. Even if it’s old content, displaying it in a new way will make the image feel new and fresh.
Psychologically it will suggest to the community that progress is continuing even if you’re not showing the things you’re actively working on.
The pictures wouldn’t even need to have been taken that week. Fly around and snap 30 pictures, and release them five per week (one every M/T/W/T/F). So long as the images cover a wide enough array of objects, no one will care, or even notice, and you’ll have 6 weeks worth of images to be posted by the twitter bot. They won’t even need captions, because they’re “raw”.
I do appreciate the response and am slightly reassured by what you have stated. I have indeed overlooked the effort put in to developing the engine over the past seven years, and I believe that you have a chance to steal the show from your competition. However, I am far younger than most of you (only sixteen) and the past seven years have plodded along very slowly, especially when you consider that I have been following this game’s development for nearly half of my entire life. I never thought I would see the day the game would actually release, and now it’s tantalizingly close!
Don’t worry, I am still perfectly mentally stable and will not fall into a state of depression if Infinity does not succeed. However, it had better succeed!!!
You know, when blogging first started out, I thought it was supposed to be more like a public “Dear Diary” kind of thing. Then people were hanging onto these things like they were supposed to be professional publications.
I never envisioned regular communication as something that required an official feel to it, or even a completely professional appearance.
For me its the difference between something and nothing. If you even released something that was sub-blog this whole time, its more than nothing. At work, our boss requires us to write a weekly report on our activities with the full understanding that not every week is productive. I add just about anything to this report, including non-work stuff that tells him how my time was spent, like if I had to take some time to get my car fixed or something. It also helps me sit back at the end of the week and take stock of exactly what I had accomplished.
I can understand if you feel like you are being judged on every word that you say. That tends to happen when you are in the public eye. Again though, something is more than nothing.
Fair enough, that’s good feedback and we appreciate it. Once I finish getting blogs properly connected to the main site we do have plans to get our artists involved with blogging so that should help with the frequency of updates.
@INovaeKeith You could also solicit guest blogs from active community members, if you were feeling really squeezed for content. That might be harder to do right now, as the community’s suffered significant atrophy, but if it ever returns to form then high profile community members might end up being a good resource for you.
Admittedly, this might make more sense after Battlescape launches and you guys are gearing up for the MMO, but given that INovae would still retain editorial control over whatever was published, it’d leave you skimming over posts making sure there’s no business-unfriendly comments in there rather than having to write about what you’re doing as a developer or as a company.
Having testers blog would also be a great idea. This project started out with a strong community focus, and drawing prominent community members into the marketing machine (i.e. the blog) would go a long ways toward re-establishing that, I think.