Weekly Update #55

#1

Hey everyone time for a slightly late weekly update. I (Keith) am back writing the weekly update - I was out of town visiting family for ~2.5 weeks and Flavien had taken over in my absence. Most notable for this week we’ve released a new video showing off a networking simulation with 300 players in a “massive space battle” firing streams of blue bullets. It may not look like much but the simulation represents the culmination of Flavien’s work on the new networking code, particularly latency compensation with physics simulation, and he’s now going to begin merging the new code into the game.

Pre-rendered image of a factory

Now that I’m back I’m resuming my work on the UI. The core path rendering R&D is nearly finished however there’s a lot of work remaining on font rendering, text layout, styling, keyboard/mouse input, animation, and optimization. On the art side Jan and Dan are still working on the geometry pass for the first capital ship to be integrated into the game - the destroyer. Kristian has started on the materials for the factory and we hope to have some pretty new screen shots of that sometime in the near future.

WIP engine prototype for the destroyer

The big task over the next week we’ll be addressing is updating our scheduling. Needless to say the networking and UI systems have taken much longer than we initially anticipated for a variety of reasons that will probably be a blog post for another day. This means at a minimum we’re looking at another 2-3 months before we can ship the Alpha. The good news is that these 2 systems are the last major R&D unknowns we have scheduled and once completed we’ll be getting back to focusing purely on gameplay with the occasional diversion for art team internal tools. To make up for the additional delay we’re considering the possibility of having 1 or more Alpha player weekends like we did in January.

That’s all for this update. I’ll talk more about the next patch and scheduling next week after I have more time to finish getting reacquainted with life.

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Pre-alpha test week-end FAQ
Weekly Update #71
#2

Welcome back :wink:

Sarcasm ON
Yay! Another delay! :laughing: NVM, now it’s a possibility that Star Citizen will be released before I:B… :joy:
Sarcasm OFF

Just joking, keep the good work on!

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#3

Great works as always and thanks for the awesome weekly updates!!
I still think you should grant alpha backers permanent access right now to the prototype even though alpha isn’t reached yet. I think they deserve something to play with, I don’t think any alpha backer would object to that. I know this has been discussed before and a decision has already been made, but I think now that alpha is likely to release in summer or later this year maybe you should reconsider. I think it would do more good than harm (if any).

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#4

This:

conflicts with this:

Where several alpha backers objected …


Anyway …

Good to see that the update hasn’t been droped. Welcome back Keith. :slight_smile:

I’m a little suprised that the Destroyer gets more engines … in retrospect I saw it with more engines though … must be my memory. Considering it should be a relatively nimble big ship I think it’s apropriate. I just quite like the idea of a ship that didn’t have the engines all the way at the back …

#5

For reference: Year-old sketchfab model.

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#6

@Playbenni nice from you thinking about others, thanks!
That would be nice and welcome. What ever devs decide i support them.
@INovaeKeith thanks for keeping in mind another pre-alpha weekend, it’s nice to see CEO taking in consideration customer wishes and realising them.
I’m proud to be part of this community!

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#7

Only developer access+ backers were asked. Alpha backers couldn’t even see the thread. Of the hundreds of dev+ backers only 30something backers took part in the poll. The poll was split relatively evenly between 3 solutions.
And even if some objected, it is only natural that some people want to have it remain exclusive for them longer because they pledged more or they thought that people confuse the early prototype with an alpha release and are dissapointed (which I think is not a problem, you can also write a fat note into the loadscreen).

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#8

I would like to participate in pre alpha but if dev+ backers would be ofended i have no problem waiting few more months.

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#9

Hmm, I stand corrected. I just received the terminology as a bit bold. But you are of course free to think what you like.

My problem with releasing earlier to Alpha Backers is the very real potential to complete destroy the critical mass needed for the game and thus threaten the success of the whole game.

This danger is not bearable in my opinion and is a much bigger concern than the enjoyment Alpha players could get from the non-game the prototype is now.

I plead to not endanger the future success and enjoyment of the game.

I don’t care for any of the argumentation about “payed more … yada yada” … I payed more, yes, but in order to make this game a success. Not to gain access to the prototype.

Alpha Test Weekends are an acceptable compromise. They allow a glimpse to the current experience. It’s a good gesture for the patience of the fans. Giving full access would only serve to lose those fans as they lose interest by experiencing features (and people) tickle in, instead of a cohesive game experience.

Battlescape, as a game, can only work as a cohesive experience for most people.

This includes a (reasonably) complete game as well as critical mass of players filling servers for this multiplayer game. If either is not present, it won’t be perceived as a good game by most people, will not be played and will fail …

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#10

Thats a very strong arguement, but on the other hand people are at best annoyed that they still can’t even play the prototype even though the alpha should already be on their harddrives for months, at worst the cry scam and vaporware and feel ‘ripped-off’ because they don’t care for all the very valid and acceptable reasons why the alpha isn’t out yet.
The question is: are people that pay 150 dollars for an alpha of an indie space game made by a handful of people going to abandon the game once they try the prototype because of a lack of content? I must have spend hours in this nongame already and look forward to every update. One could also argue that with each passing months a semi-invested alpha backer could completely lose interest in the game.
In my opinion we will see a very dramatic uptick in sales once it will hopefully be on steam, I wouldn’t count on a huge boost in sales before that.

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#11

Great works. Continue to make it better :slight_smile:

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#12

Thanks for the update as always! I’m really looking forward to seeing that destroyer :blush:

As for Alpha backers having to wait, yes it’s a long time, but they paid for Alpha access (and haven’t upgraded) for a reason. Probably means they don’t mind the wait too much, or maybe find it mildly frustrating. INovae can pretty easily dismiss any claims of “scam” through the regular updates and dev backers.

They will have to wait.

Having said that, the Alpha weekends are a really nice way to keep their appetites sharp and tease what is to come, hopefully without losing the surge of players at full Alpha. Hopefully I might actually be around for the next one(s)!

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#13

Mild annoyance vs losing a very needed player-base, I would go with mild annoyance, @lomsor pretty much nailed that aspect of the risks with his post. There is at most a few hours of possible interest in the current prototype, I would say gameplay, but there is basically none.

People generally understand that KS dates get delayed, it happens to nearly every KS/EA game out there. I’m not sure how you behave towards EA games in general. I have given up on 90% of them after playing the alpha builds, there are just so many games out there and if the alpha doesn’t induce the want for more, it’s as good as the game not existing.

IBS will need to be good at every major release like alpha and beta to attract the numbers needed to sustain a healthy server population, there is really not much but ‘pretty planets’ in the current build that a player can remember about the game and tell his friends.

It’s just not worth the risk to throw the ‘pre-alpha prototype’ to people that are not as invested as majority of us here on this forum. Also, if the delay was such a problem, we would see people come here, be hostile, troll… Nothing like that is happening, we get a curious wanderer from time to time and that’s it.

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#14

There is also the fact that the prototype has very little content/gameplay currently. We wouldn’t want to give a false impression to Alpha backers.

#15

Maybe i can be some kind of example for alpha backers;
I would probably spend dozen of hours wondering and exploring planets since i’m pure simmer and my biggest wish is atmo entry, after that i would rarely play game until more content is added.
There is also small fear to try it now and ruin better experience later to be honest, that’s why i have no problem with waiting not to mention delays which i find normal in game development cos i have rough picture how things work (i’m modder in some other games like arma and backer for SC).
Regarding that i can’t provide full comitment to this game and making it better like many of dev+access backers who have development experience.
Moment when i could provide help to make things better and give suggestions in IBS is when modding tools and (i hope) mission editor hits development, and maybe some knowledge and experience by being aircraft engineer(i find it not neccessary since all literature is available and doesn’t require depth for futuristic games).
So when i think better maybe it is favor to me if there is no prealpha access to alpha backers cos later first time experience with IBS will be more tasty.
Writing this i come to conclusion that pre alpha weekend is best solution for me. Maybe it is selfish from me but that’s how it is.
Cheers!

#16

I agree with Lomsor and critic - It’s imperative that we have a large player base populating the servers when the alpha launches.

I totally sympathise with committed alpha backers like @redribbon and wish they could be given access, but the reality is that not all alpha backers share his/her enthusiasm and some will be turned off by the current state of the ‘game’ and not bother trying it out again once the game hits alpha.

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#17

This is ultimately our big conundrum. It’s very difficult for us to estimate exactly what the impact would be. Based on our research and prior experiences we reached the conclusion that most users will form an immediate opinion of the game regardless of how many Alpha/Beta stickers we plaster on it and if that opinion is negative it will be difficult to convince them to give it another shot later on. In fact we’ve already had a lot of problems with this because of our prior reputation regarding the MMO Infinity: Quest for Earth. If you looked at our coverage by more mainstream gaming press during the Kickstarter campaign most of it was not only negative but grossly misinformed without even bothering to check with us.

We’re trying to address this problem by releasing a quality product and being as transparent as we can with everyone about what we’re doing and the challenges we’re facing as we do it. We want to start ramping up our marketing after we release the Alpha but there has to be enough game available to give people a reasonable idea of what the finished product will look like.

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#18

Well said!

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#19

That’s how you build a game engine, not a game. For a game, you have it backwards. The marketing sets expectations, then the Alpha is used to establish ground truth (what concrete form the ideas will take). Doing things the way you plan, people will see the Alpha, misunderstand things because it’s going to be incomplete, and then you’re going to step in and explain things - after they’ve already decided how it works.

So set the expectations first. Their thinking will be shaped from the outset to think of your product in a specific way. Then the Alpha shows up and they can see how it will become that complete product.

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#20

I would agree with you, but doesn’t setting expectations require CGI gameplay?
INS doesn’t have the resource to produce that.

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