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General Category => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on March 10, 2015, 08:13:45 PM

Title: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 10, 2015, 08:13:45 PM
Okay, I'm pretty much going to snip bits of an email I sent out to staff:

[snip]

Here's the TLDR:

1. The game is feature-complete, and the testing is going well.  There's a lot still to do, but it's definitely a fun game!

2. That said, there are a lot of ongoing balance, graphical, and interface things going on that simply just take time.  I'm not really referring to anything that the artists are doing (though that does also take a lot of time), I'm referring here to things like the animations for attacks, etc.

3. There are a number of interface fluidity and clarity things that are really bothering me, and it's something I want to work out before I get into having other players touch this at all.  They'll be a distraction, not a help, at this point.  I want to be whiz-bang  good at playing this before I really get other people into it, which is a big departure from all our past games except AI War.  I feel it's important.

4. The art is still, frankly, ongoing.  Not that anyone is running late or anything like that, but it's just an absolutely huge amount of art.  And to really show this well in videos, there's a variety of things that have to be done.  The buildings are coming along famously, and the particle effects and other animations are in progress, but it's just a case where I'd rather have our first showing of this look amazing rather than show something sooner than later.

5. Once we do get players involved, I want to really have a goodly long bit with them really beating the heck out of it, and then later a goodly while where we can have this in the hands of press prior to this going to 1.0.  There's a vague chance we could still pull that off by May... but it would be a major crunch if everything went perfectly, and it would be a fumble at the 1 yard line if things went anything less than perfectly.

What this means:

A. [snip] We'll reach out to the various other indies and find out what we can about releases in June.  Hopefully if the game is awesome then it won't matter what time of year we're releasing in, but [snip]

B. We aren't bleeding cash per se, but our reserve is continually dripping away at varying rates.  The discount promotions that we've done with our existing games, even TLF, have been less than stellar.  Possibly it's partly the time of year, but part of it is probably also that Steam is just so saturated now.  In the past if we put the Valley games on sale, we'd get a certain amount of income because people would see them and try them out.  Now in a crowd of 100+ games each week being on sale, it seems like most of our serious income except for AI War and TLF is disappearing.  Which in some respects is fine, but it does mean that we can't drag this out indefinitely.

C. I'm not keen to do a public beta, I'd like to keep this closed.  I think that doing it publicly would be something that removes some excitement and urgency from people.  We only get one launch.

D. I do plan on asking the testers to feel free to make donations to us for the game via Paypal if they want to help support us.  They aren't buying the game by doing that -- [snip] -- but it might give us a little bump in revenue there.  Those who can and wish to contribute can do so, those who can't or don't want to or who feel they are already doing enough with their time can not.  If we want to think of some Kickstarter-like rewards for people who donate a certain amount, then I suppose that might be interesting so long as it doesn't take a huge amount of work to do those rewards.  But I don't want to go too far down that path, anyway.

E. For the art schedule, mostly this won't affect a lot, although this will give Blue and Cath some more breathing room for extended polish, things like vehicles, marketing images, etc.  The buildings are still the top priority, but [snip]

F. Ideally we wind up with the artists being done at least a month in advance of the game being released, which actually seems feasible with this revised schedule.  That way we have time for proper trailers, press builds without any temp graphics, and so on.  During that time, we can also have Blue and Cath starting on the next title's art, which is great to get ahead on.  I'm super excited about that next title and don't feel like that one will be such a time hog to create, incidentally.

G. Overall we will continue as planned for the most part, with the exceptions of not trying to put out a gameplay video this week and [snip].  And then beyond that, we'll see how things feel.  If we hit sometime in April and are thinking "wow, we totally could release this in May," then, well, we will.  But right now I want to be planning for the realistic case, and then if something changes then we can be pleasantly surprised.  There's a lot to do, though, and I'd rather do it right than release in May, all told.  As much as releasing in June is a scary prospect, it's definitely better to Do It Right (tm). ;)

[snip]
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: mrhanman on March 10, 2015, 09:30:53 PM
Do what you've got to do, guys.  I, for one, can wait.  :D

I'm just glad you're in a position to be able to work on it for a while longer.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Aklyon on March 10, 2015, 09:45:44 PM
Take your time if you need to, guys. I'm in agreement with mrhanman.

Bit sad about how my birthday month sounds like it isn't that great for releases, but thats beside the point. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 10, 2015, 10:21:12 PM
Thanks guys. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Meph on March 10, 2015, 10:54:45 PM
Yeah, it's worth pushing release back a bit if it means putting out an even better final product. And if you do need more beta testers I'd definitely be keen. This is one of the games I'm most looking forward to this year.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Captain Jack on March 11, 2015, 12:04:22 AM
Glad to hear the game is fun Chris, that's was my biggest fear. I expected it to be interesting of course, but genre mashes are touchy.  :-X

As for delaying, do what you think is right. It's not quite a case of "Delayed game is eventually good, a rushed game bad forever", but it might feel that way on your end. Like you said you've got one release, so it has to count.

If you do decide to have donation rewards, I'd suggest immortalizing them in the game: something like their name on a relic of a lost civilization you find while surveying, or a reference to The Gods Must Be Crazy. If you've got an equivalent to TLF's galactic twitter feed, you might put them in that. You don't want to spend time or resources that should be going into the game.

Out of curiosity, is the next game Airship Eternal?
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Misery on March 11, 2015, 01:48:52 AM
I'll start by giving my obligatory "argh", as per standard protocol, and then ask, what IS the schedule for the beta/whatever at this point?

As the others have said though I'd rather see the proper amount of time put into it, rather than having it rushed to meet some arbitrary date.  I hate when that happens.  It never ends well, for most developers.

Here's hoping though that this one wont be another "releasing at the same time as Diablo" thing.  There's been alot of overhyped releases lately that inevitably always dig into the potential profits for the smaller guys.  Even when said game turns out to actually not be very good.  Like that "Order" game or whatever it is that came out recently and caused a barrage of complaints.  Apparently it's pretty bad, but that didn't stop people from spending money on it that they could have used for something better.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Mal on March 11, 2015, 02:27:27 AM
Arcen Games does games right. I have bought your titles on multiple platforms ( steam and gog) because I love them so much. Take your time.

In the meantime, I would love to be able to buy Arcen style swag - IE AI War/TLF/Bionic Dues shirts, pins, stickers ( Who would not love a sticker with this on it :


(http://i.imgur.com/aSprmht.jpg)



(http://i.imgur.com/gBTf6Y4.jpg)



(http://i.imgur.com/EJjGFXK.png)


Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 11, 2015, 09:19:11 AM
Glad to hear the game is fun Chris, that's was my biggest fear. I expected it to be interesting of course, but genre mashes are touchy.  :-X

Genre mashes are definitely touchy, but in a lot of respects this is less of one than most of our titles.  AI War is kind of like that: yeah it has aspects of 4X and tower defense and grand strategy, but it's taking those ideas and putting them into what it squarely knows it is: an RTS.  It uses those to enrich the core RTS, not to be a halfling.  Valley 2 is a good example of a halfling that you have to like both halves of in order to enjoy fully.

With this one, it's squarely a 4X, but it's taking the citybuilding elements to go "why can't we just build with more buildings, directly on the map, and have more challenges come from within our civilization rather than always from external sources?"

As for delaying, do what you think is right. It's not quite a case of "Delayed game is eventually good, a rushed game bad forever", but it might feel that way on your end. Like you said you've got one release, so it has to count.

If you do decide to have donation rewards, I'd suggest immortalizing them in the game: something like their name on a relic of a lost civilization you find while surveying, or a reference to The Gods Must Be Crazy. If you've got an equivalent to TLF's galactic twitter feed, you might put them in that. You don't want to spend time or resources that should be going into the game.

That is a fantastic idea!  Yeah, we still have more natural wonders that we plan on doing, too, so that would work out perfectly.

Out of curiosity, is the next game Airship Eternal?

More or less, yes.  What Airship Eternal is morphing into.  I'm not quite keen to say what that is just yet, but I'm excited. :)

I'll start by giving my obligatory "argh", as per standard protocol, and then ask, what IS the schedule for the beta/whatever at this point?

It's kind of a "when I'm ready" thing for the most part, but I'm hoping that it will be no later than the first of April (insert jokes here).  That would give us a solid two months until the very start of June for a release of 1.0, which would be ideal.  That would also give me a solid 3 more weeks by myself as the only tester to beat this thing into submission prior to you guys seeing it. ;)

It's been a little under a week and a half since we hit feature-completion, and I'm really pleased with how things have progressed thus far since then.  With that rate of refinement keeping up, 3 weeks should fit well.

Here's hoping though that this one wont be another "releasing at the same time as Diablo" thing.  There's been alot of overhyped releases lately that inevitably always dig into the potential profits for the smaller guys.  Even when said game turns out to actually not be very good.  Like that "Order" game or whatever it is that came out recently and caused a barrage of complaints.  Apparently it's pretty bad, but that didn't stop people from spending money on it that they could have used for something better.

Urgh, yeah, hopefully that won't happen again.  Somehow I missed Order, but I caught all the stuff with H1Z1, mainly because I follow that genre more.  Incidentally, I'm in love with Dying Light these days since I can't get my 7 Days to Die fix given how that's in the middle of a revamp.

Arcen Games does games right. I have bought your titles on multiple platforms ( steam and gog) because I love them so much. Take your time.

Thank you so much!  It really does mean so much to all of us, and certainly me. :)

In the meantime, I would love to be able to buy Arcen style swag - IE AI War/TLF/Bionic Dues shirts, pins, stickers ( Who would not love a sticker with this on it :

Those are hilarious!  Wow, I love them.  I'd love to do some Arcen style swag as well, and we've experimented with that in the past.  The main problems are:

1. It's a big question as to who would buy them -- if the market for that is large enough.

2. The margins for that sort of thing are incredibly tiny.

3. Given the tiny margins, when people spend money on the swag instead of our games, that's actually a loss for us.  Not sure how much that would happen, arguably "not at all" to "very little," but it still makes me worry.

4. Really making a shirt or similar that catches people's eyes and is pleasing requires a very specific sort of artist, and being funny requires a specific sort of humorist.  I'm not sure that we have the requisite folks on staff.

5. That said, we have made buttons and stickers in the past -- PAX 2012!  There were a limited run of 1000 Valley buttons that you could get, in a variety of I think 5 or 6 kinds.  You know, I'm not sure I even have any now.  I do have the giant banners from that event, though.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Shrugging Khan on March 11, 2015, 10:10:32 AM
I don't know about the rest of the world, but as far as I'm concerned you can release it whenever you see fit. If it's early and buggy, I don't mind. If it takes another half-year and it's flawless, that's just as good. Arcen knows what's best, and I'm gonna buy it either way.

Just make sure it's a good game  :D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 11, 2015, 10:11:16 AM
Cheers.  :D
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Captain Jack on March 11, 2015, 12:54:21 PM
*releasing at the same time as Diablo snip*

Did that actually happen? That can't have been fun.

If you're aiming for June you should be careful of E3. Given the anemic upcoming lineups for all three consoles the press is going to hype up announcements harder than usual, meaning indie games that aren't coming to the trio won't have much play. You ought to aim for the start or end of the month, keeping in mind E3 could snip off any launch enthusiasm that survives to the week of should you release early-but-not-early-enough.

And ooh, changes to Airship. This should be interesting.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 11, 2015, 02:21:05 PM
Hmm, really good point on E3, thanks for that.

And with Diablo 3, we actually had Valley 1 out for something like a month and a half prior to Diablo 3.  It was selling like crazy.  Then Diablo 3 came out and sales the next day were 1/10th what they had been the day before... and they never recovered.  From other indies I heard that sales on mobile devices were down right after Diablo 3 came out.  That's kind of an unprecedented thing before or since to my knowledge.  Pick your major release of an anticipated product, and it apparently pales in comparison to Diablo 3.

That said, it doesn't take a Diablo 3 to smash individual titles that are at all in their genre range, so we're still super careful.  Diablo 3 wasn't unique in that it had a major effect on any particular game or group of games, but rather that it seemed to affect ALL games, or nearly so.  Crazy stuff.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Captain Jack on March 11, 2015, 03:13:13 PM
You could almost make that into a marketing blurb. "So good it took Diablo 3 to distract from it!"

But it's interesting that D3 was that much of an event, particularly given the post-release consternation, are other Blizzard games similarly disruptive? Would you count 4X as its own genre, or under a broader strategy umbrella? City builders are almost an open field (RIP Maxis), but strategy is only slightly more crowded. Aside from Starcraft 2's last expansion, I think your only notable upcoming competition is Hearts of Iron 3.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Castruccio on March 11, 2015, 03:23:24 PM
Watch out for Batman: Arkham Knight.  It is Rocksteady's latest Batman game (they developed the massively successful Akham City and Arkham Asylum, and they have been working on this one for years).  It launches in June on PC and Console.

Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 11, 2015, 03:24:27 PM
I'm not too worried about that one, although perhaps I should be.  It's going to be a great game from the looks of it (it's on my own wishlist as well), but I don't see it being a stomper of strategy games.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Captain Jack on March 11, 2015, 08:23:40 PM
You could almost make that into a marketing blurb. "So good it took Diablo 3 to distract from it!"

But it's interesting that D3 was that much of an event, particularly given the post-release consternation, are other Blizzard games similarly disruptive? Would you count 4X as its own genre, or under a broader strategy umbrella? City builders are almost an open field (RIP Maxis), but strategy is only slightly more crowded. Aside from Starcraft 2's last expansion, I think your only notable upcoming competition is Hearts of Iron 3.
GoogledLegacy of the Void, according to wiki it's releasing in the first half of 2015, which is ominous.

Unrelated, I was wondering if religion is planned for SBR. A race on an unexplored planet with alien memories in their heads and computers, an actual transcendent entity speaking to them, and their own religious traditions lost sounds like fertile ground for revelation and conversion, especially given the other races presumably still have their religions intact.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 11, 2015, 08:25:25 PM
Cheers. :)

Religion isn't explicitly in here per se... but in some respects your dealings with the planet are sort of like dealing with a rogue deity.  Part of dealing with it involves building shrines to appease it, and in general following some of its rules, etc.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: crazyroosterman on March 11, 2015, 09:00:25 PM
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Aklyon on March 11, 2015, 10:34:23 PM
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...
Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Sounds on March 11, 2015, 11:41:36 PM

[snip]

Here's the TLDR:

...

3. There are a number of interface fluidity and clarity things that are really bothering me, and it's something I want to work out before I get into having other players touch this at all.  They'll be a distraction, not a help, at this point.  I want to be whiz-bang  good at playing this before I really get other people into it, which is a big departure from all our past games except AI War.  I feel it's important.

[snip]

Yeah this is one area that needs a lot TLC.

Good interface design is an art form and difficult to get it 'just right' without sufficient time.

My first impression of TLF was that the UI buried the detail and hindered the fun. From what you've describe here and previous messages, SBR has a lot of moving parts. The more time you can devote to making the UI intuitive is quite understandable.

However I suspect that if you didn't need to pay the bills, you might keep tweaking and tuning indefinitely. :P
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Histidine on March 12, 2015, 07:54:59 AM
NOOOO THIS IS TLF ALL OVER AGAIN WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Well, take your time. Late may not be nice but it's a lot better than broken or never, as my ma used to say*  :D Especially when you're banking large amounts of sales revenue and a good chunk of reputation on it.

*not actually said by my ma
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Pumpkin on March 12, 2015, 08:29:14 AM
Some weeks I didn't come for news about SBR; just having a daily glance on the front page (still stuck on the funny "Incident on the previous Thursday"). I'm just out from the reading of what I missed on this part of the forum. And I saw so many "Added you to the list!" in the "Specs are finally feature-complete" thread. So, is it as simple as that? I just ask and I'm "in the list" too? Can I? Really? If so, yes, I want, I wish to be in the list! You, Chris, talked about donation... and that testers get the game for free?!? I want to buy the game! I want to give you money, because it's the normal way: you all work and have bills, and you make "delicious" games for us to eat, to feed our imagination and enjoy our lives! I'll buy the game twice its price! A restaurant cost about the price of a game, and it feed so few...

What? Game/Restaurant? I guess I was carried away by my own enthusiasm. Well, you see what I mean.

Out of curiosity, is the next game Airship Eternal?
More or less, yes.  What Airship Eternal is morphing into.  I'm not quite keen to say what that is just yet, but I'm excited. :)
SBR, then Airship Eternal (or any morphing of it, never mind), and then maybe an AI War new expansion, not counting the TLF expansion I haven't unpacked yet!!! So many presents and so few birthdays to fit them all! I'll never age fast enough if you guys keep going that way!

Pushed into June? Peh! Push it next years if you think it's better. I trust you. I trust you all for making the best game.
Thank you for being awesome.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 12, 2015, 09:27:23 AM
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...

We're not really working on the next game after this one yet, but I have to always be planning one game ahead so that when development wraps on one we are ready to move the artists to that one.  Art is always the first thing to wrap up for one of our titles, and I wouldn't want people to just be sitting around for a period and then being bored later.

Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.

Yep, this new game is just monster huge and we haven't had time for anything other than critical fixes on the others.  A project of this scope... well, it just sucks in everyone and all the time availability.  TLF took slightly less time to make, and that was really split between two different games that we had to build separately: the solar map and then the battles.  And there was so so so much redoing of the battles, and that was individually very complicated.  And still it took less time than this game, which is just one game rather than two mashed together.  That gives some indication of the scale here, heh.

Not that I want to oversell this either and have people expecting AI War + 6 Expansions level of content from day 1 here, but -- AI and networking aside -- a 4X title is inherently a lot more complicated to create than an RTS one.

Yeah this is one area that needs a lot TLC.

Good interface design is an art form and difficult to get it 'just right' without sufficient time.

My first impression of TLF was that the UI buried the detail and hindered the fun.

Yep, for sure on how important this is.  And yes, I agree on TLF.  That went through a lot of iterations and ultimately it was as good as we could make it UI-wise -- I'm not sure if a generally-better design is around for the underlying gameplay there -- but ultimately it left me with a lot of lessons on what I wanted to do differently this next time.

From what you've describe here and previous messages, SBR has a lot of moving parts. The more time you can devote to making the UI intuitive is quite understandable.

Yep, for sure.  Some of it comes down to actually altering the game itself to make the UI more possible, though, so it's a bit more than that.  Which is part of why I don't want anyone else but me in there yet, because it would just confuse things.

As one example, there was a given stat that was city-wide and very important relating to your efficiency.  It's a key thing, and I was constantly having to look to the upper left corner of the screen to find out what it was.  This was no good at all, it was very distracting how my eyeballs were having to move the more I played.

Eventually I figured out that that simply doesn't work as a city-wide stat, because you have to check it too frequently.  And... hang on a minute... actually I can do some cool things with it if it's building-based instead, but calculated at the start of each turn based on the central city stuff, I realized.  So instead that is moving to buildings, where for the most part the answer is "I'm fine so I'm invisible," which was already the case, and then it's "something is going on so I'm showing a progress bar on this specific building right now" for the ones in question. 

That keeps my eyeballs on my buildings themselves, without adding clutter to the majority of the town, and actually improving a gameplay mechanic without being a complete overhaul of the concept (well -- in my opinion.  Opinions on how much of an overhaul that is may differ, which again is part of why no other players yet.)

So it's things like that.  I play and every time I get annoyed, I try to figure out why.  Every time I feel tripped up or slow moving between turns, I look at why.  Every time I'm groaning at trying to figure out some stats that are buried, I look to see if they need to be simplified, altered, or exposed in the interface better.  And so on.

In a lot of respects it's not really the interface itself that is my focus, but rather how I move and flow through the game myself.  It's a process that definitely takes time, but it's so rewarding and it's crazy to see how different the game is after just a week and a half of that.  I'm playing for longer and longer stretches without getting frustrated, the game puts up the right amount of resistance to me doing things rather than too much or too little more of the time, etc, etc.  Another couple of weeks of this and it's going to be quite slick, I think. :)

However I suspect that if you didn't need to pay the bills, you might keep tweaking and tuning indefinitely. :P

I'm actually pretty good at knowing when to stop, which I can say with some certainty given this was my lifelong hobby before I ever had to pay the bills, heh.  Some people are consumed with endless polish, but I try and get to a reasonable place and then recognize the diminishing returns.  Sometimes I (ahem) don't quite make it to that place, and other times I push way past that place and just burn money, but overall I'm pretty decent at it.  When I push way too far and burn money, it's usually because of an underlying problem in the game itself, which I don't have the faintest sense of here.  Thankfully!

NOOOO THIS IS TLF ALL OVER AGAIN WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Well, take your time. Late may not be nice but it's a lot better than broken or never, as my ma used to say*  :D Especially when you're banking large amounts of sales revenue and a good chunk of reputation on it.

*not actually said by my ma

Haha.  Indeed.  Your ma is smart. ;)

Some weeks I didn't come for news about SBR; just having a daily glance on the front page (still stuck on the funny "Incident on the previous Thursday").

Yeah, I really need to do another post soon -- and I have some content queued up to show -- but I really don't want to push things further on the main side until I can show gameplay video.  I feel like I'm passing the point where I can talk too publicly about this for very long without showing some actual in-game footage.  I don't know why I have that feeling, but it's why I've been posting on the forums instead of the blog.  That will change!

I'm just out from the reading of what I missed on this part of the forum. And I saw so many "Added you to the list!" in the "Specs are finally feature-complete" thread. So, is it as simple as that? I just ask and I'm "in the list" too? Can I? Really? If so, yes, I want, I wish to be in the list!

You are in the list! :D

You, Chris, talked about donation... and that testers get the game for free?!? I want to buy the game! I want to give you money, because it's the normal way: you all work and have bills, and you make "delicious" games for us to eat, to feed our imagination and enjoy our lives! I'll buy the game twice its price! A restaurant cost about the price of a game, and it feed so few...

What? Game/Restaurant? I guess I was carried away by my own enthusiasm. Well, you see what I mean.

You are extremely kind. :)  Yes, as part of the beta process, we send you a steam key, and you register that and get updates through Steam.  You can't buy a game on Steam that you already have in your library (well, except to gift), and at any rate we're grateful for the feedback and feel like a free copy is the least we can do.

But, recognizing that some folks do want to contribute more, and admitting to the fact that we can use that given the nature of the market at the moment and the length of development, etc, etc, I did mention the donations thing.  It also has the lowest cut out of all the ways of giving us money -- 0%, IIRC.  2% at most.  On our site the cut for buying it outright is 8%, whereas usually in the industry it's 30%.

Anyway, PLEASE do not send us any money related to this game until you actually have it in hand, because I don't want anyone having buyer's remorse after getting something sight-unseen when it's in an early state, etc.  If you are in the beta and feel like you want to throw in a tip, we do have a page for that on the main site navigation area, and we'll link to that.

But seeing as you guys are doing us a service by testing and giving feedback, a free copy of the game is the least we can do, so don't feel obligated.  We'll be fine even without any tips/donations, don't worry.

SBR, then Airship Eternal (or any morphing of it, never mind), and then maybe an AI War new expansion, not counting the TLF expansion I haven't unpacked yet!!! So many presents and so few birthdays to fit them all! I'll never age fast enough if you guys keep going that way!

Pushed into June? Peh! Push it next years if you think it's better. I trust you. I trust you all for making the best game.
Thank you for being awesome.

Thank you so much!  It really means a huge amount. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Cinth on March 13, 2015, 04:48:53 AM
Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.

Yep, this new game is just monster huge and we haven't had time for anything other than critical fixes on the others.  A project of this scope... well, it just sucks in everyone and all the time availability.  TLF took slightly less time to make, and that was really split between two different games that we had to build separately: the solar map and then the battles.  And there was so so so much redoing of the battles, and that was individually very complicated.  And still it took less time than this game, which is just one game rather than two mashed together.  That gives some indication of the scale here, heh.

Not that I want to oversell this either and have people expecting AI War + 6 Expansions level of content from day 1 here, but -- AI and networking aside -- a 4X title is inherently a lot more complicated to create than an RTS one.

Heh, I answered a question like this over on the TLF sub a few weeks ago.  Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: GarathJJ on March 13, 2015, 03:55:42 PM
This game sounds... utterly fascinating. I will, if you're still looking for more testers, gladly serve as one. Otherwise I, too, think it's far more important that you make the game done, than that you feed our impatience to be allowed to play it.

JJ
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 13, 2015, 05:24:27 PM
Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.

Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.

This game sounds... utterly fascinating. I will, if you're still looking for more testers, gladly serve as one. Otherwise I, too, think it's far more important that you make the game done, than that you feed our impatience to be allowed to play it.

Thanks for the kind words!  I've added you to the list. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Cinth on March 13, 2015, 06:41:53 PM
Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.

Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.
Isn't there almost always an exception?  It seems to be that way.  I think I remember why he doesn't do it as often anymore too.

Ya know, this kind of thing might make a good blog entry (the cycle itself and how it impacts other supported titles). 
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Tridus on March 13, 2015, 07:02:00 PM
D. I do plan on asking the testers to feel free to make donations to us for the game via Paypal if they want to help support us.  They aren't buying the game by doing that -- [snip] -- but it might give us a little bump in revenue there.  Those who can and wish to contribute can do so, those who can't or don't want to or who feel they are already doing enough with their time can not.  If we want to think of some Kickstarter-like rewards for people who donate a certain amount, then I suppose that might be interesting so long as it doesn't take a huge amount of work to do those rewards.  But I don't want to go too far down that path, anyway.

Considering they (hopefully we) are getting the game free, that seems pretty reasonable. I know I could throw a few bucks in.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 13, 2015, 07:33:04 PM
Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.
Isn't there almost always an exception?  It seems to be that way.  I think I remember why he doesn't do it as often anymore too.

Ya know, this kind of thing might make a good blog entry (the cycle itself and how it impacts other supported titles).
[/quote]

Yeah, it is something I should definitely post on at some point.  Not sure if I have already or not, actually.  But anyhow, there are always exceptions, as you say. :)

D. I do plan on asking the testers to feel free to make donations to us for the game via Paypal if they want to help support us.  They aren't buying the game by doing that -- [snip] -- but it might give us a little bump in revenue there.  Those who can and wish to contribute can do so, those who can't or don't want to or who feel they are already doing enough with their time can not.  If we want to think of some Kickstarter-like rewards for people who donate a certain amount, then I suppose that might be interesting so long as it doesn't take a huge amount of work to do those rewards.  But I don't want to go too far down that path, anyway.

Considering they (hopefully we) are getting the game free, that seems pretty reasonable. I know I could throw a few bucks in.

Yep, free copies -- really we owe you guys at that point, goodness it's helpful with the community on the case. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Captain Jack on March 13, 2015, 09:51:11 PM
Hey Chris, I'm curious about the returns percentages you posted further up in the thread. You mentioned 8% and 0-2% returns for your site; is that in the sense that you only GET that much of the sale or you LOSE that much off the sale? I'm certain it's the latter but I admit I don't know gaming economics half as well as I like to say.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Pumpkin on March 14, 2015, 04:45:11 AM
On the same topic as Watashiwa, I too have a question about numbers and money.
For instance, Tidalis (I got hooked by the demo yesterday, anyway, that's another story). On Steam's store, it's 4.99€ (Yep, €. I guess it's the same calculation with $) and on Arcen's store it's 4.51€. As far as I understand it, you get a higher percentage from the 4.99€ on Arcen's store than from the Steam's 4.99€.

Admitting percentages are very different, for example you get 100% of my money from Arcen's store, and only 50% of my money from Steam's. In that case, it's more interesting for both you and me if I buy from Arcen's. But if percentages are 100% from Arcen's and 98% from Steam's, you get more money if I buy from Steam's.
So, is there a global rule? Arcen's store alway gives you more money? Or Steam's? Or is each product (game) different?

And a last side question: do I get a steam key if I buy from Arcen's store? I don't remember. In this case, the answer to the previous question can be very interesting (I would get the exact same product with two different prices and final-money-to-Acren).
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Gwmngilfen on March 14, 2015, 02:10:59 PM
I could write pages on how excited I am by SBR, how much value I place on Arcen's games in general (Steam says I've sunk 134 hours into TLF; those one-race wins are hard :p) and how I'm confident you'll release it when it's ready. But others have beaten me to it, because I don't check the forums half as often as I should.

So, I'll restrict myself to this: if you want a specifically-Linux tester (I have both a low-powered Intel laptop and an Dell nVidia Optimus laptop) to check for any Linux issues, then I'm happy to assist. I love it when a game launches cleanly on multiple platforms. I can see me sinking a lot of hours into this anyway, regardless of exactly *when* I get my hands on it ;)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Tridus on March 14, 2015, 06:31:19 PM
On the same topic as Watashiwa, I too have a question about numbers and money.
For instance, Tidalis (I got hooked by the demo yesterday, anyway, that's another story). On Steam's store, it's 4.99€ (Yep, €. I guess it's the same calculation with $) and on Arcen's store it's 4.51€. As far as I understand it, you get a higher percentage from the 4.99€ on Arcen's store than from the Steam's 4.99€.

Admitting percentages are very different, for example you get 100% of my money from Arcen's store, and only 50% of my money from Steam's. In that case, it's more interesting for both you and me if I buy from Arcen's. But if percentages are 100% from Arcen's and 98% from Steam's, you get more money if I buy from Steam's.
So, is there a global rule? Arcen's store alway gives you more money? Or Steam's? Or is each product (game) different?

And a last side question: do I get a steam key if I buy from Arcen's store? I don't remember. In this case, the answer to the previous question can be very interesting (I would get the exact same product with two different prices and final-money-to-Acren).

The Steam number is usually 70% (AFAIK), that is if a game costs you $10 on Steam, the publisher gets $7 and Steam gets $3. That's not an absolute rule of course, as there's always exceptions, especially when the contracts are mostly secret. It's not a bad deal considering Steam handles the transaction fees, game install bandwidth, and all the stuff Steamworks does. (The numbers were retail were a fraction of this, and people often don't realize that this number was a huge improvement when it was new.)

Arcen's store will be a higher percentage, but they still have to pay credit card transaction fees and such, so it's never 100%. Chris has said in the past that they get the most money if you buy from them directly, but he's also said that if you like Steam then it's good to buy from them. The most important thing is to buy it. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Cyborg on March 14, 2015, 10:10:57 PM
What about paying for early access for your beta testers?


I'm more than willing to compensate you for the hard work you put in to this title. I would enjoy that arrangement much more than a "donation." Or, if I was going to donate, I would rather do it buying license keys to arcen titles and giving them out to friends.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: tbrass on March 15, 2015, 01:33:47 PM
Anyway, PLEASE do not send us any money related to this game until you actually have it in hand, because I don't want anyone having buyer's remorse after getting something sight-unseen when it's in an early state, etc.  If you are in the beta and feel like you want to throw in a tip, we do have a page for that on the main site navigation area, and we'll link to that.

But seeing as you guys are doing us a service by testing and giving feedback, a free copy of the game is the least we can do, so don't feel obligated.  We'll be fine even without any tips/donations, don't worry.

Class act, Chris, class act. I still long for the day when you open some of your titles up to modding (yes, I know, we can just request features here and they automagically appear, but sometimes I want to make the sausage myself,) but you do run a fine shop. And I think that your customer-focus is reflected in the quality of interactions on these here forums.

Glad to hear that you can push the release to improve the quality.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: P3X-639 on March 15, 2015, 10:00:10 PM
Well, I had planed on waiting for 1.0 but waiting till June to get my hands on this sounds just to cruel :'(. If you'd be so kind, I'd love to be on the test list. I'll do my best to turn my feedback brain on. I personally love messing with diplomacy in these games so I'm sure I'll bang on that for awhile. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Pumpkin on March 16, 2015, 04:37:09 AM
Or, if I was going to donate, I would rather do it buying license keys to arcen titles and giving them out to friends.
I think this is an excellent idea! It gives money to Arcen and makes new pal discover it. And testers still have a free game as thanks for helping. I'll do that!

The most important thing is to buy it. :)
Thank you for your explanation. You're right, the essential is to buy it. (Well, the true essential is to enjoy it; I was speaking in terms of money.)

Thanks to you both. I feel more comfortable with this part of the tester's deal.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 16, 2015, 02:20:16 PM
Hey Chris, I'm curious about the returns percentages you posted further up in the thread. You mentioned 8% and 0-2% returns for your site; is that in the sense that you only GET that much of the sale or you LOSE that much off the sale? I'm certain it's the latter but I admit I don't know gaming economics half as well as I like to say.

How much is lost!  Goodness, that would be a terrible amount to get.  A retail developer selling physical games might only get 30% or so due to all the manufacturing costs, wholesalers, retailers, etc -- but for digital the developer+publisher cut is almost always 70%.  For indies we are both the developer and publisher, so that's our cut.  With ecommerce sites, they charge X amount for their service that covers their fees plus the cost of the underlying transaction costs.  FastSpring is one of the very best at 8%.  Most others are closer to 15%, though it varies.  Raw paypal can either be free or 2% depending on the context.

So, is there a global rule? Arcen's store alway gives you more money? Or Steam's? Or is each product (game) different?

We always get the most money if you buy through our store, with the exception of the humble widget, which gives us an even better percentage than FastSpring.  That's the widget on our site for TLF and a couple other games, NOT the humble store, which is a different thing.

All that said, when you buy a game of ours on a platform of your choice and push our sales numbers up, that's always a positive thing for us when dealing with that vendor in the future, plus it can raise visibility for us on that platform with that game, and thus lead to extra sales.  When a game is already unpopular that doesn't have much of an effect because it's kind of an aggregate thing, but still.

And a last side question: do I get a steam key if I buy from Arcen's store? I don't remember. In this case, the answer to the previous question can be very interesting (I would get the exact same product with two different prices and final-money-to-Acren).

Yep, you do get a Steam key!  On the store page for us it shows what you get with each product you buy.  It used to be that steam keys were not universal, nor were DRM-free builds, but we gradually built to that and now that is the case.  And they all support linux now, which wasn't always the case, either.

In terms of the percentages to us, and the price to you, yes that can vary based on where you buy it.  Steam and other online sellers have their own specific currency conversions that they use in order to set the prices for games based on the USD intended cost of them.  We always go with the store default, which is recommended in general.  With an ecommerce platform like FastSpring, though, it's doing the conversion to other prices closer to realtime.  So if you come back two weeks from now and the international currency valuations have shifted, then the price here might be somewhat different.  There are pros and cons to that approach, too.

I could write pages on how excited I am by SBR, how much value I place on Arcen's games in general (Steam says I've sunk 134 hours into TLF; those one-race wins are hard :p) and how I'm confident you'll release it when it's ready. But others have beaten me to it, because I don't check the forums half as often as I should.

So, I'll restrict myself to this: if you want a specifically-Linux tester (I have both a low-powered Intel laptop and an Dell nVidia Optimus laptop) to check for any Linux issues, then I'm happy to assist. I love it when a game launches cleanly on multiple platforms. I can see me sinking a lot of hours into this anyway, regardless of exactly *when* I get my hands on it ;)

Thank you so much for the kind words!  And I've added you to the list as well as making a note of your hardware and linux machine.  Definitely I'd like to have testers from all three platforms in there early.

Arcen's store will be a higher percentage, but they still have to pay credit card transaction fees and such, so it's never 100%. Chris has said in the past that they get the most money if you buy from them directly, but he's also said that if you like Steam then it's good to buy from them. The most important thing is to buy it. :)

Bingo! :)

What about paying for early access for your beta testers?

I'm more than willing to compensate you for the hard work you put in to this title. I would enjoy that arrangement much more than a "donation." Or, if I was going to donate, I would rather do it buying license keys to arcen titles and giving them out to friends.

Couple of funny things here.  Firstly, due to arrangements... hmm.  How can I put this without getting into NDA trouble anywhere?  Ahem.  Basically if we wanted to do a DRM-free version that we charged you guys for, then nothing's stopping us.  That's between us and you, and that's the end of it.  If we want to use someone else's platform to distribute updates and whatnot, they have exceedingly valid reasons to expect us not to be selling something that isn't in their actual storefront.

Even more than that, Tridus was actually technically incorrect when he said that the transaction cost is never 0%.  Donations through paypal are an exception.  Those go 100% to us in most cases, with the exception being sometimes if you are out of the US or most European countries there might be some fee.  But technically if you do a "donation" in the amount of X dollars, versus paying us through FastSpring for the same X dollars, then we get more via the "donation." 

And it doesn't break any agreements since we are not selling the game.  And that's not just lip service to the agreements on our part, either; we literally do believe that the beta testers very much earn the games that we give them for free in exchange for their testing.  So if they want to take the game and there's no money involved, I'll still call that a win and something I'm grateful for from my end.  A "donation" is probably better phrased as a "tip," if that sits better.  Maybe I should actually rename that on the site, even.

Basically we're not selling the beta to the game, but if folks in the beta want to give us a tip for it, they can choose to do so or choose not to.  Donation has the wrong connotations to it, but that's just what paypal calls that type of transaction.  I should change it to tip on the site, though.

Class act, Chris, class act. I still long for the day when you open some of your titles up to modding (yes, I know, we can just request features here and they automagically appear, but sometimes I want to make the sausage myself,) but you do run a fine shop. And I think that your customer-focus is reflected in the quality of interactions on these here forums.

Glad to hear that you can push the release to improve the quality.

Thanks much. :)

Well, I had planed on waiting for 1.0 but waiting till June to get my hands on this sounds just to cruel :'(. If you'd be so kind, I'd love to be on the test list. I'll do my best to turn my feedback brain on. I personally love messing with diplomacy in these games so I'm sure I'll bang on that for awhile. :)

I've added you!  And always good to see someone who will focus specifically on diplomacy. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Pumpkin on March 16, 2015, 02:50:12 PM
if you want a specifically-Linux tester (...) to check for any Linux issues, then I'm happy to assist.
(...) I've added you to the list as well as making a note of your hardware and linux machine.  Definitely I'd like to have testers from all three platforms in there early.
Oh! I forgot to mention that: I have a linux too (and a windows, but no mac, sorry). Ya can edit tha list, captain!

And thanks for the money explanation, by the way. (Wanting to be a game dez' one day, this sort of details are important to understand.)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Gwmngilfen on March 16, 2015, 03:28:59 PM
And they all support linux now, which wasn't always the case, either.

I'm in danger of derailing the topic even further, but since you mentioned it... this is one of my many reasons for having a great love of Arcen. Not only do your new games have Linux support (something that is becoming increasingly common, thankfully), but you've actually gone to the effort of returned to older titles and adding support there. While I was happy to play TLF on Linux, I never expected to get AI:War as well (or the rest). It's a trend I'd love to see more of :)

Thank you so much for the kind words!  And I've added you to the list as well as making a note of your hardware and linux machine.  Definitely I'd like to have testers from all three platforms in there early.

As per the above, helping to ensure the trend continues is the least I can do - thanks for adding me :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 16, 2015, 03:37:29 PM
if you want a specifically-Linux tester (...) to check for any Linux issues, then I'm happy to assist.
(...) I've added you to the list as well as making a note of your hardware and linux machine.  Definitely I'd like to have testers from all three platforms in there early.
Oh! I forgot to mention that: I have a linux too (and a windows, but no mac, sorry). Ya can edit tha list, captain!

And thanks for the money explanation, by the way. (Wanting to be a game dez' one day, this sort of details are important to understand.)

I've edited the list, thanks!  And my pleasure on the money explanation -- hope it turns out useful some day. :)

I'm in danger of derailing the topic even further, but since you mentioned it... this is one of my many reasons for having a great love of Arcen. Not only do your new games have Linux support (something that is becoming increasingly common, thankfully), but you've actually gone to the effort of returned to older titles and adding support there. While I was happy to play TLF on Linux, I never expected to get AI:War as well (or the rest). It's a trend I'd love to see more of :)

Thank you so much for the kind words!  And I've added you to the list as well as making a note of your hardware and linux machine.  Definitely I'd like to have testers from all three platforms in there early.

As per the above, helping to ensure the trend continues is the least I can do - thanks for adding me :)

My pleasure on adding you, and again thanks very much, it means a lot. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: screamingpalm on March 16, 2015, 05:36:12 PM
Hey Chris, I'm a huge fan of your games and would be happy to help out in any way I can. If that means helping test the game, I'd be really happy to do so. This is the only game I'm really excited about and have plenty of free time on my hands. Cheers!

(If you already have enough testers, I'm also happy to help donate to a kickstart etc)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Misery on March 16, 2015, 09:53:03 PM
You guys, always handing these games over for free to testers... you dont HAVE to do that, you know.  I feel kinda bad about it, I have pretty much everything you've made but I think I've actually PAID for... uhhhh.... AI War (and expansions) and Tidalis. 

I'll throw some money at you via donation though, with this one. 




And always good to see someone who will focus specifically on diplomacy. :)

I actually often do this as well in those games.   Believe it or not, but there are occaisional games where my first solution ISNT just exploding everything.   

Of course, the diplomacy stuff in many 4X games can be a bit.... lacking.   That's been my experience with them so far and one of the reasons I"m so interested in this one.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: P3X-639 on March 17, 2015, 01:00:14 AM
Of course, the diplomacy stuff in many 4X games can be a bit.... lacking.   That's been my experience with them so far and one of the reasons I"m so interested in this one.

That's exactly how I feel. I tend to feel it's normally one of the most often undercooked aspect in 4x's which is a shame. I've had a thing for messing with and watching AI play against each other since I was young. Drox Operative is pretty fun for AI shenanigans. I'm looking forward to see what Arcen can whip up! Man, now I'm thinking of how SotS2 wrote up how Diplomacy would work in the manual... Shame that never actually came to pass >.>

And thanks a bunch Chris for putting me on the list! Aside from a few mods, this is pretty much the only strategy game I'm excited for right now :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 17, 2015, 09:17:12 AM
Hey Chris, I'm a huge fan of your games and would be happy to help out in any way I can. If that means helping test the game, I'd be really happy to do so. This is the only game I'm really excited about and have plenty of free time on my hands. Cheers!

(If you already have enough testers, I'm also happy to help donate to a kickstart etc)

Cheers, thanks a lot!  I've added you to the list. :)

Believe it or not, but there are occaisional games where my first solution ISNT just exploding everything.

Who are you and what did you do with Misery!?!? ;)

Of course, the diplomacy stuff in many 4X games can be a bit.... lacking.   That's been my experience with them so far and one of the reasons I"m so interested in this one.

That's exactly how I feel. I tend to feel it's normally one of the most often undercooked aspect in 4x's which is a shame. I've had a thing for messing with and watching AI play against each other since I was young. Drox Operative is pretty fun for AI shenanigans.

It's a tricky sort of a thing, because diplomacy isn't something that I want to be super-duper central in the sense that it is in some of the Paradox games.  I don't want to spend a whole heck of a lot of time as a player having to slog through menus for diplomacy, for instance.  But at the same time, there's a lot of powerful stuff that you can only access via diplomacy in this game, so depending on who you make friends with that determines your "extended skillset," as it were.  In a nonliteral sense, of course.

Testing diplomacy hasn't been my big focus personally yet with this game, although it got a lot of love and time in design and implementation.  I've been focused mainly on the citybuilding first, and am getting into the military more now alongside that.  As those are falling into line, and a bunch of GUI work related to them gets completed, then that feeds into diplomacy more.  Diplomacy is one of those things in this game that doesn't hit you from turn 1, because you have to have linguistic ability to talk to those you want to do diplomacy with, and that takes a while.  So it's more of a mid-game thing if you focus on it, or a late-game thing if you're focused less on it.

But one thing that I've been doing with the citybuilding is trying to make it so that there are better incentives for doing diplomacy earlier, too.  There's a fair bit of infrastructure required for getting a really good resource pipeline going, which is often important to long-term diplomacy.

This is kind of a funny game, because I'm not sure how many turns a given game will take... but it seems to be a lot.  I've played a hundred or two turns at a time, and with the way the balance is right now that's barely scratching the surface.  One of my foci has been making turns less granular, so I can get more done per turn and so that combat is resolved over fewer turns, but it's a matter of twisting dials and so forth until that feels right.  Still, the old tradition of ~200 turns for an average game is out the window here for sure, I think.

Take all of those last few paragraphs with a grain of salt, because they likely won't be completely true by the time we start beta testing with you guys.  That's a big part of what I'm balancing right now, is what feels the best in terms of speed of turns, how long x and y take, etc, etc.  I want all that stuff sorted out before you get in there, so something that was taking 10 turns isn't suddenly taking 1 and your strategies are all out the window.  Not that we won't make substantial shifts once there are testers around, but I'd rather start with something that I feel is stable and then polish from there, rather than still be in the midst of actively turning dials, heh.

And thanks a bunch Chris for putting me on the list! Aside from a few mods, this is pretty much the only strategy game I'm excited for right now :)

My pleasure!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Mal on March 18, 2015, 08:52:20 PM
It's a tricky sort of a thing, because diplomacy isn't something that I want to be super-duper central in the sense that it is in some of the Paradox games.  I don't want to spend a whole heck of a lot of time as a player having to slog through menus for diplomacy, for instance.  But at the same time, there's a lot of powerful stuff that you can only access via diplomacy in this game, so depending on who you make friends with that determines your "extended skillset," as it were.  In a nonliteral sense, of course.

Testing diplomacy hasn't been my big focus personally yet with this game, although it got a lot of love and time in design and implementation.  I've been focused mainly on the citybuilding first, and am getting into the military more now alongside that.  As those are falling into line, and a bunch of GUI work related to them gets completed, then that feeds into diplomacy more.  Diplomacy is one of those things in this game that doesn't hit you from turn 1, because you have to have linguistic ability to talk to those you want to do diplomacy with, and that takes a while.  So it's more of a mid-game thing if you focus on it, or a late-game thing if you're focused less on it.

But one thing that I've been doing with the citybuilding is trying to make it so that there are better incentives for doing diplomacy earlier, too.  There's a fair bit of infrastructure required for getting a really good resource pipeline going, which is often important to long-term diplomacy.

This is kind of a funny game, because I'm not sure how many turns a given game will take... but it seems to be a lot.  I've played a hundred or two turns at a time, and with the way the balance is right now that's barely scratching the surface.  One of my foci has been making turns less granular, so I can get more done per turn and so that combat is resolved over fewer turns, but it's a matter of twisting dials and so forth until that feels right.  Still, the old tradition of ~200 turns for an average game is out the window here for sure, I think.

Take all of those last few paragraphs with a grain of salt, because they likely won't be completely true by the time we start beta testing with you guys.  That's a big part of what I'm balancing right now, is what feels the best in terms of speed of turns, how long x and y take, etc, etc.  I want all that stuff sorted out before you get in there, so something that was taking 10 turns isn't suddenly taking 1 and your strategies are all out the window.  Not that we won't make substantial shifts once there are testers around, but I'd rather start with something that I feel is stable and then polish from there, rather than still be in the midst of actively turning dials, heh.

And thanks a bunch Chris for putting me on the list! Aside from a few mods, this is pretty much the only strategy game I'm excited for right now :)

My pleasure!

I rather like the diplomacy and how it functioned in The Last Federation. I know that this game will be different in that you are not relying solely on it.

As far as strategy and tactics goes, I have always seen your games live up to define them both very well - Strategy is the overall playstyle and how it unfolds for the early, middle, and late game(hours of play and planning)...while your tactics is your short term advantages(couple of minutes of play) that play-out well for you...or at least do good at controlling the damage that your opponents are doing.

I am excited for this game! May the dialing go well and fall into place like a perfect domino array!

Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Zebeast46 on March 18, 2015, 09:44:17 PM
Really excited!!!

Personally, I will probably donate if arcen decides to go down that path, mostly because arcen is one of those "good guy" companies (it even feels weird to call it a company because company sounds corporate and corporate is bad)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 19, 2015, 08:16:02 AM
Cheers guys, thanks. :)

In a lot of respects, the diplomacy system here does share some inspirations with TLF for sure, although as you say it's less central.  In some ways it is also less complicated, but in others it's more complicated -- really the dynamic changes some because you're on a different level as a player than in TLF.  Here's your a full government, but also a new one -- whereas in the other you're not a full government... or when you are, you're implicitly hostile.

The simulations within each race are also more detailed in SBR than they are in TLF, but the simulations of interactions between races are in some respects less detailed because the races aren't so focused on trying to interact.  In TLF you were constantly trying to manage that and you had visibility into all of that.  Here that would be pretty invisible, so largely pointless; the parts that are visible and have a point are simulated, but the parts that would be invisible anyway are skipped.

It's funny, because they're like cousins, but at the same time fairly different. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: crazyroosterman on March 20, 2015, 11:40:33 AM
I'm glad your not ignoring diplomacy since the diplomacy is what makes games like civ5 interesting to me. ps could you put me on the list please id love to help test this game?.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 20, 2015, 12:04:49 PM
I'm glad your not ignoring diplomacy since the diplomacy is what makes games like civ5 interesting to me. ps could you put me on the list please id love to help test this game?.

Added!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Shrugging Khan on March 20, 2015, 12:20:51 PM
Me too! Me too!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on March 20, 2015, 12:52:54 PM
Me too! Me too!

Gotcha on there!  I had to do a bit of a double take, I figured you would already be on there!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: crazyroosterman on March 20, 2015, 01:45:29 PM
I'm glad your not ignoring diplomacy since the diplomacy is what makes games like civ5 interesting to me. ps could you put me on the list please id love to help test this game?.

Added!
awesome sauce!
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: tbrass on April 01, 2015, 01:46:27 PM
but I'm hoping that it will be no later than the first of April (insert jokes here). 

We're switching to Hostgator!

AAA Devs are The Awesome!

Burlust warlords are misunderstood and cuddly (cold planets = warm hearts)

/insert
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: TheVampire100 on April 02, 2015, 01:40:30 PM
I cannot wait until this game is released. I'm a huge fan of the civilization-type of games and I think this will be an excellent game for me. Plus, it has AI War/Last Federation content in it, it MUST be good.
Are there any news on the final price of the game? i just want to know so I can put that much money aside for release.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: x4000 on April 03, 2015, 05:03:10 PM
Thanks for the kind words!  The final price for the game will be $20.  But if you get into the beta, you get a copy of the game for free.  Though if you do participate in the beta and feel like you want to give a tip (AFTER you're in the beta), that is always appreciated and we do have a way for you to do that.  http://arcengames.com/tips/

But please no tips sight-unseen, anybody who is reading.  Giving us a tip in advance is not a way to get yourself into the beta, and at any rate there should be no problem getting into the beta if you're interested, anyway. :)
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: TheVampire100 on April 03, 2015, 05:31:59 PM
20$ sound pretty much fine for me. That's a lot cheaper than similiar games (namely Civilization Beyond Earth).

I would really like to be in the beta but either way I would still pay the 20$. I think you deserve this (the creenshots I've seen so far look amazing. I like the more comic-like style compared to Civilization).
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Pumpkin on April 03, 2015, 07:53:56 PM
20$ sound pretty much fine for me. That's a lot cheaper than similiar games (namely Civilization Beyond Earth).

I would really like to be in the beta but either way I would still pay the 20$. I think you deserve this (the creenshots I've seen so far look amazing. I like the more comic-like style compared to Civilization).
Go beta, then buy a copy and offer it to a friend. I'll do that; I owe him one, anyway.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: Zebeast46 on April 03, 2015, 10:15:13 PM
Pumpkin, that was actually exactly what I was planning on doing.
Title: Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
Post by: GiantPotato on April 04, 2015, 10:30:10 PM
Cool, new Arcen game coming up! Looking forward to it!