Author Topic: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0  (Read 8337 times)

Offline x4000

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Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« on: February 09, 2012, 12:34:35 PM »
So, there's various features that we'd all like to see added to the game at this point.  Looking at this thread got me thinking that I really needed to explain what our goals for 1.0 are.  Of course we'd love to do all sorts of crazy things, but there just isn't time to do everything if we hope to hit a mid-March 1.0 release.

The problem is, the more mechanics we try to introduce, the more complex this becomes to really get polished to perfection before that deadline.  1.0 isn't the end for this game, but we are coming to the end of what we can afford do without getting this into the hands of a wider audience, to be frank.  Right now AVWW earns about... let's say 1/20th of what we need per month in order to keep Arcen going at current staffing levels.  Since AI War hasn't had anything new in a while, it's also fallen down so that it earns... let's say 1/4th what we need to keep Arcen going at current staffing levels.  Tidalis earns next to nothing at the moment.

Thanks to daily deals and the holiday promotions and such, we have reserves that have let us weather this.  That said, if nothing changes, then those reserves are going to run out somewhere between April and June most likely (depending on some things coming up and what happens there), and that would mean we'd have to let some staff go.  Arcen wouldn't collapse, but I wouldn't want to have to lay off staff just because we wanted to pack in features prior to 1.0 that could just as easily wait until after 1.0 while still giving players the value they expect at 1.0.

The other factor for hitting March in particular is the fact that we're going to be showing at PAX East.  We view that as a chance to really reach a wider audience, but having to say "it's in beta," and "it's not on Steam yet," really doesn't go over as well with conference attendees (based on our experiences at Minecon -- players really loved the game there, but the message of "can I get this right now, or not?" was really confusing to many of them, apparently).

For me, being able to truly develop out the full potential of AVWW means having an audience that will let us sustain that -- that's what happened with AI War in its post-release support, for instance.  And we'd expected to do the same with Tidalis, but the support wasn't there and so the game just kind of didn't progress much past 1.0, which was a shame but unavoidable when player interest wasn't high enough.

So, What Are The Goals, Then?
From where I sit, our main goals for 1.0 are making sure that the players and the press are able to have an awesome experience that is a suitable value for their money.  But at the same time not to try and creep the scope to such a degree that we wind up delivering 10 partially-polished features rather than 6 fully-polished features, for instance.

Right now we have 5-6 working weeks left prior to 1.0 at most, not counting this week, and that's not a lot of time.  So what I'm trying to figure out, continually, is what to do during that timeframe that will lead to the best experience for the most players.  Both in terms of first impressions (to draw in new players, and the press) and in terms of ongoing play (to keep players hooked and invested longer-term in the game, as with AI War, so that they are incentive to help us develop out free DLC and so that they are interested in paid expansions that keep the game going even longer).

Specific items we want to hit in the next week are things like secret missions, the new warp mechanics, polishing the co-op support and getting that out of alpha, and the mysteries-to-solve feature.  And that's pretty much it as far as core features, I think, unless we find some other core features that are both quick to implement and low-risk in terms of destabilizing the rest of the game.  Anything else would have to wait until after 1.0.

The remainder of our time in beta would thus then be spent on adding more content in the form of things like monsters, spells, enchants, guardian powers, mission types, and so on.  And also on polishing what is already there: making sure that things are as clear as possible to players, tuning the text, making sure the game is as easy and smooth as possible to get into, and fixing bugs and balance issues.  Also adding in incremental features as needed, such as anti-griefing options or whatnot -- small little features like that, which improve the experience in measurable ways for specific players, but which don't fundamentally change the nature of the game.

If there are any questions, please let us know -- just wanted to get this out there!
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Offline Souls-Stream

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2012, 12:59:27 PM »
I wish the best to arcen games, you are a fantastic team that deserves much praise !
I hope nobody will be laid off, it would be really sad in those times where the economy is so hard on everybody !

But I think AVWW is going pretty well, the new graphisms and new HUD are fantastic and will help a lot to sell the game.

Now everything is going fine with every ideas and I think he press will already like it, the only thing where I will see them criticizing the game and putting it down right now are (and I talk because I know what press generally says about games, I saw the press putting down some fantastic indie games for some stupid reasons)
1.the tutorial that should be more complete and explain more mechanisms
2.the story which is still blury and could be introduced in the tutorial
3.graphism in buildings that are too much the same and sometimes feel empty (I can already read their comments putting down the game for those stupid reasons :(

I think if you can already reach those 3 goals + what you are going to finish with missions and enchants... You can present a solid project to the press and will attract more players.

Now I'm already happy with how the game is but I know how the press just praise call of duty like games only and put down any other kind of games :(
I just wish you the best and wish you way lot of success to keep your team and keep creating amazing games like we don't see anymore nowadays.

It always makes me sad when a studio doesn't receive the praise it deserves when it works so hard and listen so much to every words of players... But other big studio who don't listen, makes just 3d games full of special effects and using the last technologies because they have the means and in the end make a game that kind of sucks, them, they receive the best reviews ever !
There's something wrong !

Offline Gallant Dragon

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2012, 01:37:32 PM »
The goals sound good!  Gallant Dragon approves! :)

...
Now I'm already happy with how the game is but I know how the press just praise call of duty like games only and put down any other kind of games :(
...

Actually, that reminds me: when I saw that MW3 didn't make it onto gamespot's list of top shooters of 2011 I cheered.  :D  About damn time!
It's just carriers all the way down!

Offline Armanant

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 02:01:21 PM »
After playing the latest patch a good while last night, the main thing I currently find lacking is monster and spell variety. As you say you say though more will be added once the main systems are in place, so figured there wasn't much point in mentioning. However, a lot of the spell ideas I had sounded like things that would be added with what I thought would be glyphs at the time, but I don't see mention of that here? Things like cone spells, exploding spells, homing spells, beam spells, ground only spells (like a wave of flame), more variety in shield spells etc etc.

If you've played a game called Magicka - it has a wide variety of spells and it allows for many different approaches to every situation, which stopped it from getting boring quickly and left a lot of things to discover. Combinations of spells that work well together (especially synergize well or literally combine) made co-op especially good too  :)

Offline Gallant Dragon

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2012, 02:06:41 PM »
One must remember though that healing does not go well with arcane.  Ever.
It's just carriers all the way down!

Offline x4000

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2012, 02:47:39 PM »
Armanant: when in doubt, definitely submit on mantis.  I'd absolutely love to have a lot of those sorts of suggestions on there.  Some of them will be actually enchant modifiers (like homing, probably, or charge shots probably), and some will be distinct spells.  We might even do some of each, I dunno; that's more of a balance question than a "should there be any homing spells at all" kind of question.  So we absolutely want to build the biggest list possible of types of spell behaviors -- there's never to many of those sitting in mantis, and at the moment there are too few.

Keith and I come up with our own ideas as well, but if there's one thing that the suggested ship types/mechanics in AI War has shown me, it's the power of hundreds of brains all thinking up cool things at once (or thinking of cool things that other game designers thought of, as the case may be).  Many are better than two!
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Offline KDR_11k

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2012, 03:19:01 PM »
We view that as a chance to really reach a wider audience, but having to say "it's in beta," and "it's not on Steam yet," really doesn't go over as well with conference attendees (based on our experiences at Minecon -- players really loved the game there, but the message of "can I get this right now, or not?" was really confusing to many of them, apparently).

You'd think the Minecon audience would be used to those answers.

Offline x4000

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2012, 03:20:20 PM »
You'd think so -- but apparently Erik kept having to explain what beta was.
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2012, 10:28:12 PM »
Personally, I'd really like to see more kinds of missions, in the sense of more things to do in a mission rather than more goals.  I'm sure this is high on your priority list, but for me that's the main thing lacking.  I'm pretty happy with the amount of content for most other areas of the game and feel like there's enough to get as much play out of the game as you expect from a new title.

I'd really like to see some kinds of mission/exploration hybrids taking place in ordinary regions --- maybe having to search through a cave system for an NPC rescue or having to travel across a few especially nasty overland chunks to reach a boss.  I imagine those wouldn't be too much work.  Escort missions would also be cool.

Offline x4000

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2012, 10:29:23 PM »
New things to do in missions is really what I meant by mission goals -- "new kinds of missions" would have been a better way to describe it.  And a lot of what you described in your second paragraph is basically what secret missions are. :)
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Offline Martyn van Buren

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2012, 10:48:49 PM »
Excellent!  I didn't think there was any chance you weren't working on that.  Anyway, the game is shaping up beautifully!

While I'm thinking of it, it's been a fantastic experience taking part in an Arcen beta --- it feels like an extended field trip to the game developers'.  It's really interesting, being outside the game world, to see how a game comes into being, and to take a small, gadfly-like role in making decisions and see how they shape gameplay.  That alone has been worth the $10 price of admission.

Offline x4000

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2012, 10:56:34 PM »
Cheers, thanks for that -- Keith and I both have really enjoyed working with all of you guys on this, too.  There's nothing small about the role everyone here has played: this game is very much different thanks to everyone here, and that's very much for the better than it would have been if we were working in isolation. :)
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Offline Hearteater

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2012, 11:08:12 PM »
Hey, it is pretty amazing to see you guys work!  I'm actually quite surprised you guys bother making games.  You could make a lot more money if you sold that Time Compressor that is giving you 32 hour days.

Offline Armanant

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2012, 04:17:54 AM »
During the crunch they activated the TURBO BOOSTtm feature. Peaked at 84 hours and 12 minutes to the day before the air compressor blew. Thankfully they fixed it rather quick!

Offline Dizzard

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Re: Our Remaining Goals For 1.0
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2012, 02:59:46 PM »
It'll be really nice to see it all coming together for 1.0.

This is the first time I've ever felt I had any meaningful influence on how a game was made. Thank you for letting us be a part of the development process. :D