Author Topic: It's August - Hurry up and take my money  (Read 11139 times)

Offline Wingsofdomain

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #45 on: August 17, 2011, 08:49:18 PM »
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.
O.o o.O Is this a respond to me post?

No, in the demo/trial of AI war you could only use simple shiptypes and only easy AI types.... ?!...

ofc we will be able to buy the game in 2011 since it will be out around october (correct me if I am wrong at the month) and before that the beta will be realesed and you'll have to pre-oder the game to play the beta. :S

Offline realcoolguy

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #46 on: August 17, 2011, 09:06:36 PM »
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.
O.o o.O Is this a respond to me post?

No, in the demo/trial of AI war you could only use simple shiptypes and only easy AI types.... ?!...

ofc we will be able to buy the game in 2011 since it will be out around october (correct me if I am wrong at the month) and before that the beta will be realesed and you'll have to pre-oder the game to play the beta. :S

Oh wow, my memory must be fuzzy.  I remember you got to play most of the full game, either way it was good enough to get me to buy based on reviews written by other people.  Seems I miss-spoke.  Spent all day taking apart my car and putting it back together.  I think I might have gotten some extra fumes.

Offline x4000

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2011, 09:26:07 PM »
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.

This is actually pretty much entirely correct (and thanks for the kind words).  It's true that on the AI War demo it also limits what AI types and ship types you can use, down to about a third of what you can use in the full game, but I don't think that's the sort of thing that particularly impacts anyone's ability to demo the game.  Beyond that, it's just the game with a time limit of 3 hours per campaign, with no other changes.  And the demo and the full game are identical files, it's just adding in those tiny limitations and then the more relevant time limit when you haven't entered a license key.

When it comes to AVWW, that's pretty well the same thing we'll be doing.  I'm not sure if we'll be putting in functionality limitations or not, but there will definitely be a time limit again.  Most likely less than 3 hours, as -- unlike AI War -- I don't really think that quite that long is needed in order to demo the game.  But, that said, we'll probably tweak and tune exactly how the demo functions based on feedback from players.  Originally AI War only gave 1 hour of trial time, but it was noted that players needed more and so we increased it to 3.  What we want is that sweet spot where players are able to fully grasp and understand the game, and try it and come back later if they're wanting to wait and see, but where they are also left really wanting more. 

If players can play the demo and be fully satisfied (as in not wanting more), then we've shot ourselves in the foot.  Obviously Bejeweled has sold a hojillion copies, but I also felt like -- for me, at least -- their free version did everything I wanted from the game and so I've never bought it.  That's really a side note, and I'm clearly not in their target audience for that specific game (though I love and own Peggle and PvZ), but it's that basic thing that we're trying to avoid with a demo.  As long as we can avoid that, I'm happy to share as much as possible with players so that they can really know what they are getting and feel confident in a purchase.  And like with AI War, "demo" worlds can be continued past the time limit once the game is bought.




In terms of the original question, as to when the beta (demo and full) can be expected, it should be about 2 weeks into September.  More likely than not the full 1.0 will be coming out in November at the earliest, though we might push it back to January depending on how it does in beta.  One way or the other we're going to be keeping on developing this post-1.0, same as with AI War, but the question is really when we have the big "it's now 1.0!" event, and that's more a question of when we have to for financial reasons, mixed with when makes marketing sense to do so, mixed with how feature-packed and polished the game is in each month.  Either way, come January this will be a bigger game than in November.  And two years from now I hope the game similarly dwarfs itself like AI War 5.0 does to AI War 1.0.

Either way, the goal for beta is to have that pretty well finished by the end of this month in terms of the core features minus fully functional multiplayer, and then to spend the first two weeks of September working on multiplayer, last polish, last pre-beta content, marketing materials and discussions with distribution partners, private playtesting and balance tweaks, and so on.  Then when we officially announce that it's beta in mid-September, we'll have the demo for free plus the full version for those that preorder, and then we expect to have daily-or-nearly-so updates to the game starting from then forward and running until whenever we announce 1.0 (and really, beyond that even).  Basically the same pattern that an AI War expansion release has had, past that point.

As an added note, Keith will be joining Arcen fulltime on September 1, so that's really going to be an enormous help to our productivity, too.  Our combined programmer manhours will grow by about 25% there, and the full effect will also be that Keith's attention won't be oscillating between his other job and Arcen.  I am super, super excited that we're finally hitting the point where we can do that.
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Offline realcoolguy

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #48 on: August 17, 2011, 10:58:46 PM »
The way AI War worked (and it worked great) was you get the full game with a time limit.  This let the developer just focus on making the game and not cutting up some sort of demo.  By developing everything at the same time, it's efficient and it's not wasting time on developing a demo.  As far as I can tell the moment everything is playable enough, they're going to open up the demo and allow people to buy the beta.  This is a great service to us as players, since we can keep trying it, and when we think it's looking good enough to keep playing we can put down the cash for the full game.  Then we own it, even if it's in beta.  I think this system is very flexible and generous to the consumer.

The 'feeling' I'm getting is that we may have to be a little patient (I suggest putting money in the freezer) but I'm sure we'll be able to buy it in 2011 - but trying it out, we'll have to wait for them to say they're ready.  I've mentally prepared for 2 weeks into September.  Anything beyond that may result in mental instability  :o.

This is actually pretty much entirely correct (and thanks for the kind words).  It's true that on the AI War demo it also limits what AI types and ship types you can use, down to about a third of what you can use in the full game, but I don't think that's the sort of thing that particularly impacts anyone's ability to demo the game.  Beyond that, it's just the game with a time limit of 3 hours per campaign, with no other changes.  And the demo and the full game are identical files, it's just adding in those tiny limitations and then the more relevant time limit when you haven't entered a license key.

When it comes to AVWW, that's pretty well the same thing we'll be doing.  I'm not sure if we'll be putting in functionality limitations or not, but there will definitely be a time limit again.  Most likely less than 3 hours, as -- unlike AI War -- I don't really think that quite that long is needed in order to demo the game.  But, that said, we'll probably tweak and tune exactly how the demo functions based on feedback from players.  Originally AI War only gave 1 hour of trial time, but it was noted that players needed more and so we increased it to 3.  What we want is that sweet spot where players are able to fully grasp and understand the game, and try it and come back later if they're wanting to wait and see, but where they are also left really wanting more. 

If players can play the demo and be fully satisfied (as in not wanting more), then we've shot ourselves in the foot.  Obviously Bejeweled has sold a hojillion copies, but I also felt like -- for me, at least -- their free version did everything I wanted from the game and so I've never bought it.  That's really a side note, and I'm clearly not in their target audience for that specific game (though I love and own Peggle and PvZ), but it's that basic thing that we're trying to avoid with a demo.  As long as we can avoid that, I'm happy to share as much as possible with players so that they can really know what they are getting and feel confident in a purchase.  And like with AI War, "demo" worlds can be continued past the time limit once the game is bought.




In terms of the original question, as to when the beta (demo and full) can be expected, it should be about 2 weeks into September.  More likely than not the full 1.0 will be coming out in November at the earliest, though we might push it back to January depending on how it does in beta.  One way or the other we're going to be keeping on developing this post-1.0, same as with AI War, but the question is really when we have the big "it's now 1.0!" event, and that's more a question of when we have to for financial reasons, mixed with when makes marketing sense to do so, mixed with how feature-packed and polished the game is in each month.  Either way, come January this will be a bigger game than in November.  And two years from now I hope the game similarly dwarfs itself like AI War 5.0 does to AI War 1.0.

Either way, the goal for beta is to have that pretty well finished by the end of this month in terms of the core features minus fully functional multiplayer, and then to spend the first two weeks of September working on multiplayer, last polish, last pre-beta content, marketing materials and discussions with distribution partners, private playtesting and balance tweaks, and so on.  Then when we officially announce that it's beta in mid-September, we'll have the demo for free plus the full version for those that preorder, and then we expect to have daily-or-nearly-so updates to the game starting from then forward and running until whenever we announce 1.0 (and really, beyond that even).  Basically the same pattern that an AI War expansion release has had, past that point.

As an added note, Keith will be joining Arcen fulltime on September 1, so that's really going to be an enormous help to our productivity, too.  Our combined programmer manhours will grow by about 25% there, and the full effect will also be that Keith's attention won't be oscillating between his other job and Arcen.  I am super, super excited that we're finally hitting the point where we can do that.

 :'(  Look at all that typing!  We're pushing back AVWW - by at least 5 minutes there alone!  That could have been some fancy new armor - or some new spell.  /hopefully kidding

[aiwar]
We look forward to Keith joining the team, and can't wait until he re-re-re-renames the Antimatter starship.  Now that he's on full-time - no more of this waiting 2 months between names.   8)
[/aiwar]

Offline BobTheJanitor

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #49 on: August 18, 2011, 01:11:29 AM »
A good demo can really make or break a sale. I've been hearing a fair bit of hype about Bastion lately. So when it finally showed up on Steam, I tried the demo. It was... OK? It has some neat graphical tweaks, and it has a great thing going for it with that narrator. But beyond that, it seems like a really basic run around, kill monsters game. I've had some people tell me that it gets much better later, but the demo didn't give me any indication of that. Maybe it had been over hyped for me, but that demo ultimately felt like a letdown. Also it seems like all they did was chop off the first level of the game and call it the demo. I don't know, maybe that was a mistake. All I know is I went into that demo fully expecting to eventually purchase the game at full price, but afterwards I felt like I could wait until it goes on sale 6 month or a year down the line.

Seems like developers don't always remember that a demo is their big chance to make their best sales pitch. (Admittedly, a lot of indie devs don't know sales, they know game coding, and more power to them) A person who went to the trouble of downloading and playing your demo is going to have at least some interest in giving you money for your work. It's terrible to waste that chance!

Shifting gears, glad to hear that Keith is coming on full time! I don't know what else he was doing, but I'll just imagine that it was some terrible dead-end job categorizing metal filings at the widget factory, and now he can instead live the dream of being an indie developer, where every day is sunshine and rainbows and you have a cadre of servants to tend to your every whim. (That's just what it's like, right?)

Offline zebramatt

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2011, 06:09:16 AM »
A good demo can really make or break a sale. I've been hearing a fair bit of hype about Bastion lately. So when it finally showed up on Steam, I tried the demo. It was... OK? It has some neat graphical tweaks, and it has a great thing going for it with that narrator. But beyond that, it seems like a really basic run around, kill monsters game. I've had some people tell me that it gets much better later, but the demo didn't give me any indication of that. Maybe it had been over hyped for me, but that demo ultimately felt like a letdown. Also it seems like all they did was chop off the first level of the game and call it the demo. I don't know, maybe that was a mistake. All I know is I went into that demo fully expecting to eventually purchase the game at full price, but afterwards I felt like I could wait until it goes on sale 6 month or a year down the line.

Seems like developers don't always remember that a demo is their big chance to make their best sales pitch. (Admittedly, a lot of indie devs don't know sales, they know game coding, and more power to them) A person who went to the trouble of downloading and playing your demo is going to have at least some interest in giving you money for your work. It's terrible to waste that chance!

Actually, I think you hit the nail on the head. Bastion is pretty much a very finely polished run and gun with some lovely graphical touches and a unique plot conveyed through wonderfully off the wall narration. So the demo did a damn fine job of conveying the game to you - it just turns out the game isn't all you'd hoped for.


Offline x4000

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2011, 09:02:37 AM »
Heh, I prefer not to have misinformation or misunderstandings floating around out there, so it's worth taking a bit of time now and then.  But I'm definitely posting less these days for a reason while we get beta ready. :)
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Offline superking

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #52 on: August 18, 2011, 02:48:52 PM »
cool, my money is waiting

Offline mrhanman

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #53 on: August 23, 2011, 09:35:50 PM »
I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to purchase this game.  I recently bought Tidalis solely because I was so impressed with AI War.  Turns out, it's an excellent game in its own right.  The AI War purchase was on a whim - I had no prior expectations what so ever.  I was soundly rewarded for my impulsiveness.  My only regret is that I only discovered it fairly recently.  Very likely, any game I see in the future with your name on it will result in an instant buy (providing it's not about grooming ponies, or some such (I'd still give the demo a shot)).  Thank you for your vision, and for your desire and talent to share it with us.

Offline x4000

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #54 on: August 23, 2011, 09:52:33 PM »
Thank you so much for the kind words!  It's always rewarding to see Tidalis in particular getting some love. :)
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Offline Dan_Cilantro

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #55 on: August 27, 2011, 04:51:20 AM »
Chris and co- just wanted to pitch in some words of encouragement because I know you're diligent about reading feedback- you're one of the most interesting and industrious indie devs I've encountered (your updates are novel-length, but I wouldn't' have it any other way). Sure, I'm reluctant to play it because I feel it's beyond my admittedly feeble RTS skill/patience level, but I recognize AI war for its genius concept and great space-grognard appeal-that's apparent at a glance. AVWOW looks a lot more approachable yet appears to contain considerable depth, for which I applaud you. Side-scrolling POV was a surprise but I'm coming around. Here's wishing you Notch-level success. I particularly like how you leverage procedural gen towards content in a way that doesn't seem (obviously) transparent. Because that's the trick, isn't it?

Offline x4000

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #56 on: August 27, 2011, 10:07:03 AM »
Welcome to the forums, and thanks for the kind words! We're definitely excited about the blend of depth and approachability with AVWW, that's for sure. It's been an interesting project to work on, because it blends so many things that you don't normally see blended. Some of that is still secret, but as soon as it's presentable we can't wait to show in the next 2-3 weeks.

I think with the procedural content stuff, we really learned a lot about that with ai war. The problem with things seeming too obviously procedural is when you don't have enough levels of procedural elements. If it's just building floorplans, or weapons, for instance, that only goes so far. But what we've got is instead procedural elements at half a dozen or more levels of granularity, and I think that's what really helps. With ai war I kept feeling limited by that fact that most of space is just... empty space. So we got used to having to be really tricky to make things feel varied and interesting under those conditions; by comparison, working on a terrestrial game has been a cornucopia of possibilities for us to explore.

Anyhow, thanks very much for the kind words, and we look forward to sharing more -- and beta in just a few weeks! :)

P.S. Writing from my phone, so apologies for any typos.
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Offline realcoolguy

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2011, 09:22:58 PM »
Quote
It's been an interesting project to work on, because it blends so many things that you don't normally see blended.

I'm excited to see the 'list' of things that inspired both the game & the story.  I have my suspicions as to what some of the elements were, plus the fact that the developers ARE enormous nerds (I mean this in the best possible way  :D) means that there are probably a huge list of items that ended up falling into the enormous melting pot that is AVWW.  I'm curious in terms of both game play and story.  The story I'm probably just going to have wait for, but if it's half of what I'm hoping for it's going to be great!

Offline x4000

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #58 on: August 28, 2011, 11:11:00 PM »
We're definitely huge geeks, and in good company in these parts. :) And proud of it! For the story, this is one of those big things that is larger than just one story. This is about a whole world, so it's not intended to just be one linear tale about some specific hero. This is a tale of a whole civilization (actually, multiple civilizations and time periods) and what happens to them after their world breaks and reforms.

Anyway, I came up with probably the larger part of the premise, but Keith came up with most of the intricacies of the history and lore (a lot of which is still thought of as "present day" for many of the characters in the game, so it's not just useless backstory). And then many other elements we came up with together as we've been working on it. Some things come out of necessity for some game mechanics that we wanted (as with ai war), others were because we like th idea of this or that thing, or just had these bits of story floating around in us. Keith, Erik, and myself are all fiction writers, and we're all having a hand in the story, setting, and/or dialogue. Keith is definitely the king on the story/history, though.

In terms of the other elements... well, it's all a matter of what fits in the world. Keith and I really wanted to focus on making an interesting, infinite, procedural world where you could feel like you were really there doing... whatever interesting thing you wanted to do. Not a sandbox game, not really, but a game where you could play a variety of different kinds of games in one world -- even a variety of different roles in one world -- and see it all contribute into the progression of that single world.

So far we're just scratching the surface of what our real ambitions are for the game, but what's already there is really fun and cool. It's exciting times for us, as all the core subsystems are finally coming together and now I'm getting to focus more on things like new enemies and bosses, and Keith is getting to focus more on the macro-game elements.
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Offline realcoolguy

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Re: It's August - Hurry up and take my money
« Reply #59 on: August 30, 2011, 08:10:17 PM »
For the story, this is one of those big things that is larger than just one story. This is about a whole world, so it's not intended to just be one linear tale about some specific hero. This is a tale of a whole civilization (actually, multiple civilizations and time periods) and what happens to them after their world breaks and reforms.

I should probably mention that by story I merely mean the reason/purpose behind the multiple time periods existing.  I know you guys are trying to really make every experience unique, so I'm not looking for a 'linear story' - I think I'm going to find mostly what I want based on the tidbits I have heard.  Keep up all the great work!  Your first gameplay video completely sold me, I would buy the game with a blindfold at this point.