Author Topic: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.  (Read 4104 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,710
Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« on: April 23, 2015, 10:52:10 AM »
Original: http://arcengames.com/stars-beyond-reach-release-pushed-to-early-july/

STARS-BEYOND-REACH-cropped

First off, the news: the release date for the game is shifting to early July rather than early June. Why? More time for polish, mainly. Our first wave of beta testers (the redshirts) have been awesome, but there have been enough things going on that we haven't even brought in the next round of testers (the blueshirts) yet.

The difference between a touchdown and fumbling the ball at the 1 yard line is pretty small, and in this case ultimately shooting for a June release would almost certainly be a fumble. I'm super excited about this game, and our testers seem to be as well (always a good sign when their excitement remains after getting their hands on even a really rough early version), but we all agree that there's a lot more to be done in the polish and balance department.

Screenshot_2015_04_23_10_40_29

A lot of great things have already happened since the redshirts came in, including the implementation of our new HUD (see above), and getting crime and pollution and disease under control. For a while there, cities would reach a certain size and then a death spiral was all but guaranteed. There were mass mall shootings, citizens with like 5 terminal diseases at once, trash piled to the rooftops and bodies littering the streets, and so on.

A lot of it was actually really amusing, but it's one of those things that just needs polish and time. It's also the sort of thing that just needs to have enough testers, frankly, as we continue to bring in people in waves. A lot of those things weren't biting me, for instance, since I play a certain way. But get a larger group of people in, and suddenly different things bite different people in different ways. It just takes time to polish all that out, and we want to make sure and give this game its due in that department.

So that's what's up! Things will be speeding up substantially on Monday the 27th in terms of our ability to fix bugs and balance and so forth, by the way. So there will be more frequent beta updates, and we'll move closer to getting the blueshirts in sometime in the middle or late next week. And then more groups of testers in waves after that.

Beta Reminders

The beta is absolutely free (though tips are appreciated if you want to give them), and we are taking people in groups. The game is already at a point where it is feature complete, and has been for a bit. The last few weeks I've been going through and wrecking stuff and figuring out balance and so on, but the game is huge and there's a lot of that sort of thing to do. This is a closed beta, which is basically saying that it's invite-only. That said, we don't have a specific cap on the number of people that we'll let in, so if you want to be added to the list of future beta players, please feel free to post on the forums here.

We've got essentially three groups of beta players:

1. Redshirts. These folks were thrown into the game right at the start, when documentation is the most-poor and so is the balance. These guys jump on the early confusion-grenades so that later waves of beta testers don't get hit by that particular brand of shrapnel. ;)

2. Blueshirts. These folks will come in probably about a week from now. The worst things will have been taken care of, and the blueshirts can clamber over the dead bodies of the redshirts to have a better first experience. But it's still a lot of live fire going on down there, if you know what I mean.

3. Everybody else. I'll be bringing in people in in batches every week or half week or so. I want to space this out some, because we only get your first impression once, and as we polish the balance and documentation that is something I'd like to see the results of (is that clearer or not? etc.).

Help Us With Procedural Market Item Names! (If You Want)

If you want to help us with the components for procedural market item names, that would be awesome. It's a big task, but if a lot of us do just a bit on there, we'll have two big nice things. Firstly, nobody goes brain-dead from trying to fill out the whole thing. And secondly, we get a wider variety of creativity from a larger group.

 

Why Am I So Quiet Lately?

Sorry about that, folks. I know that I've been absent in a ton of forum threads, and there are probably a ton of questions, comments, beta requests, and so on. I will get to those! They're all stacked up in my inbox, waiting for me when I get a chance. Right now I've been focusing on just plowing through some latent feature shifts and the GUI stuff, and some of the nastier bugs and balance issues. I've been focused on mantis more than the forums in terms of trying to keep things on track.

Keith has had very limited time for the last couple of weeks, but he'll be back in full force on Monday, as well. So that will ease things off of me, and give me more time to respond on the forums, do my own testing, organize, etc. Anyway, thanks again for your patience with my "on again off again" presence in the forums in particular. It's not something that I'm trying to do, I'm just really trying to keep a lot of plates spinning at once and feeling short a few hands right now. That will change before too long, knock on wood. :)

 

Until next time!
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Captain Jack

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 808
  • Just lucky
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 11:27:27 AM »
Probably for the best. Too bad about delay #2, but this'll takes the time it takes. Plus July's pretty much dead release-wise, so more chance to stand out.

Best of luck Chris.

EDIT: Actually wait, Chris I want to know what in Hugo's name you were doing to avoid the death spiral.

Offline crazyroosterman

  • Master Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,551
  • Cluck.
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 11:49:35 AM »
fair enough honestly I feel the later a game comes out the better I don't think there's really a negative to being able to refine tweak ecetra ecetra ecetra also thanks letting us know.
c.r

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,710
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 12:41:56 PM »
Cheers guys.

And in terms of the death spiral, I was basically:
1. Get CDC quick.
2. Build up population slowly, don't really try for extended goals.
3. Tons of trash and cemetary capacity, and hazmat.  Again keeping the producers on the low end.
4. Oh, and police.
5. Accept the fact that my population of about 800 would frequently drop to around 300 before building back up.  Sometimes I'd get killed all the way, but I had adjusted out most of those before I think you would have seen it.
6. Now that I have basically "turtled" against diseases and pollution and crime, start inching my way outward to actually accomplish something.

Overall the savegames that you guys had were on turn 80 or so when I'd see you starting to death spiral.  From what I could tell.  I'd be on closer to turn 200 when I was actually starting to do anything post-turtle.  Overall I think I was spending about 15-20 minutes to get to turn 200 in that fashion, and I'd have a ton of techs and SP stored up by then, ready to boom.  My real limiter was population growth, though, because I would keep losing that periodically even so.  It would always recover, but it was at a point where I knew that it would be really slow going to expand.

So I knew there was a balance problem in essence, but I wasn't sure if I was playing badly and others would blow past this, or exactly where the problem lay.  So I wanted to see what would happen to you redshirts.  Everyone unanimously hitting the death spiral was not something I expected, but in retrospect I'm not surprised in the least.  My ultra-conservative strategy of just dealing with the issues right in front of me and not worrying about the rest of the game at all until those were handled was probably the only viable strategy in the end, which is of course a lame way to play. ;)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,194
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 01:09:18 PM »
So I knew there was a balance problem in essence, but I wasn't sure if I was playing badly and others would blow past this, or exactly where the problem lay.  So I wanted to see what would happen to you redshirts.  Everyone unanimously hitting the death spiral was not something I expected, but in retrospect I'm not surprised in the least.
Hey, that's why we are redshirts!
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline Aklyon

  • Core Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,089
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2015, 01:14:03 PM »
So I knew there was a balance problem in essence, but I wasn't sure if I was playing badly and others would blow past this, or exactly where the problem lay.  So I wanted to see what would happen to you redshirts.  Everyone unanimously hitting the death spiral was not something I expected, but in retrospect I'm not surprised in the least.
Hey, that's why we are redshirts!
Redshirts: There to point out the dev is turtling too much to get hit with the problem :P

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,710
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2015, 01:24:54 PM »
Indeed.  ;D
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline topper

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 307
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2015, 01:46:36 PM »
Good stuff. I'm glad to see you guys have the luxury of taking the the time you need to do it on your own timeline this time.

On the other hand, can I please get in to the beta a bit earlier than the other blueshirts? I have time this weekend to dig in to it and would be happy to begin sooner.  :D

Looking forward to it whenever I get in!

Offline UsF

  • Newbie Mark II
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2015, 04:12:14 PM »
How are all the redshirts still alive?  :o
Ah another week to wait. I guess it will be for the best to stretch out the testers and not have everyone go in as a redshirt. I am really excited to try it out, but will try to be patient.  :D The delay is also unfortunate, but it is better to now have the alpha/beta phase and potentially if needed extend it with paid early access. Just don't release it broken. :)

Offline TheVampire100

  • Master Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,261
  • Ordinary Vampire
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2015, 04:20:41 PM »
So I knew there was a balance problem in essence, but I wasn't sure if I was playing badly and others would blow past this, or exactly where the problem lay.  So I wanted to see what would happen to you redshirts.  Everyone unanimously hitting the death spiral was not something I expected, but in retrospect I'm not surprised in the least.
Hey, that's why we are redshirts!
I think with the Quarantine System alone the game got a lot more balanced. There is still some stuff to work on but I think the wors death sceanrio is gone now. At least for me it is.

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,710
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2015, 08:59:22 PM »
Good stuff. I'm glad to see you guys have the luxury of taking the the time you need to do it on your own timeline this time.

On the other hand, can I please get in to the beta a bit earlier than the other blueshirts? I have time this weekend to dig in to it and would be happy to begin sooner.  :D

Looking forward to it whenever I get in!

Thanks!  And I just PMed you a key and the instructions.

If anyone else has time constraints of whatever sort, always feel free to mention that!

How are all the redshirts still alive?  :o
Ah another week to wait. I guess it will be for the best to stretch out the testers and not have everyone go in as a redshirt. I am really excited to try it out, but will try to be patient.  :D The delay is also unfortunate, but it is better to now have the alpha/beta phase and potentially if needed extend it with paid early access. Just don't release it broken. :)

Thanks very much!  And yeah, stretching out the testers is definitely one of my goals, because I want people going in with fresh eyes and going "that's good or bad" instead of "that's better or worse than it was," if that makes sense.  At this point I think the redshirts are just so relieved that certain monsters have departed that they don't really notice the acid burns eating through their suits, etc. ;)

We definitely won't release it broken!  We should have plenty of time to resolve stuff in this time period, knock on wood.

I think with the Quarantine System alone the game got a lot more balanced. There is still some stuff to work on but I think the wors death sceanrio is gone now. At least for me it is.

Awesome!  Glad to hear it -- yeah, that was something that for me really lets me have control and not feel helpless when disease strikes.  That plus the hospitals doing some cures, plus diseases not causing trash and thus disease, etc.  We have cities into the 5 figures of population now without dying out, woohoo! :D

Of course, in 0.800 the crime waves at five figures of population meant that you wouldn't last long there.  But that's resolve in 0.801, so possibly people might be able to make it to six figures of population now, not sure.  Crime and disease and so forth will remain a problem then, and the planet will also start being an even bigger problem.  But it will be really interesting to see how that progresses. :)
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline Captain Jack

  • Hero Member Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 808
  • Just lucky
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2015, 10:02:11 PM »
I'm going to break Chris's heart by disagreeing re:disease; quarantine options have gone a long way toward improving the disease experience (things I'll never say offline #5239) but it's not quite there yet. The current flow of the game is to do whatever you want until you overreach and get hit by a disease, wait for it to finish cutting your population down, then pressing enter until you're back up to strength. Initial infections still hit nearly your entire population every time, getting that down to where it's possible to stymie major outbreaks if you're fast or lucky should be the next step.

Still a long way to go. Glad you've got the extra month!

Offline Pumpkin

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,194
  • Neinzul Gardener Enclave
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2015, 08:29:08 AM »
At this point I think the redshirts are just so relieved that certain monsters have departed that they don't really notice the acid burns eating through their suits, etc. ;)
Yeah... I think I'll take a little break, go back home get a new acid-proof suit. I read the 0.801 patchnote; many new things are now in reach (new city*, better fighting thanks to range, ...) Maybe I'll be able to recycle into a blueshirt if I let pass some patches without testing them...

However, as a final (maybe) redshirt duty, I'll agree out and loud with Watashiwa. The big point with disease it that it seems to get out of nowhere (when pollution cross an invisible threshold), and that the player doesn't feel in control.

* Yeah, I know, it was functional before, but confusion didn't helped, and with disease explosions, it wasn't easy to reach a state were one got stable enough to think about a second mes... I mean, city.
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Administrator
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,710
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2015, 09:30:12 AM »
I'm going to break Chris's heart by disagreeing re:disease; quarantine options have gone a long way toward improving the disease experience (things I'll never say offline #5239) but it's not quite there yet. The current flow of the game is to do whatever you want until you overreach and get hit by a disease, wait for it to finish cutting your population down, then pressing enter until you're back up to strength. Initial infections still hit nearly your entire population every time, getting that down to where it's possible to stymie major outbreaks if you're fast or lucky should be the next step.

Still a long way to go. Glad you've got the extra month!

This actually doesn't really break my heart or anything so dramatic.  I probably overstated my feelings on the shift.  My feeling is that, during the early game when you're supposed to be weak and struggling, I feel like the diseases are balanced reasonably well.  There's no reason to just hit enter a bunch of times, because despite the diseases you can be pursuing other things at the same time.

I could be wrong, but my expectation i that the real problems here come into play once you start hitting the midgame and the endgame, and I'm not even going to pretend like those are remotely balanced yet. ;)

At this point I think the redshirts are just so relieved that certain monsters have departed that they don't really notice the acid burns eating through their suits, etc. ;)
Yeah... I think I'll take a little break, go back home get a new acid-proof suit. I read the 0.801 patchnote; many new things are now in reach (new city*, better fighting thanks to range, ...) Maybe I'll be able to recycle into a blueshirt if I let pass some patches without testing them...

However, as a final (maybe) redshirt duty, I'll agree out and loud with Watashiwa. The big point with disease it that it seems to get out of nowhere (when pollution cross an invisible threshold), and that the player doesn't feel in control.

* Yeah, I know, it was functional before, but confusion didn't helped, and with disease explosions, it wasn't easy to reach a state were one got stable enough to think about a second mes... I mean, city.

Absolutely, I think that folks setting it aside for a while and then coming back actually can be equally helpful both to your sanity and to us getting a better view of how things are progressing over time, too.

It's a very good point about the player not feeling in control.  During the very early part of the game, I'd argue that that's part of the general 4X experience: the world is big and scary, and you are in danger from threats that come out of nowhere.  Then you establish a foothold, and you expect for the threats to come out of nowhere but for you to be able to ward them off with great success if you've prepared well enough.  Then by the middle game, your sphere of influence expands outward more, you start really seeing more of the map, and things stop surprising you quite so much.  You struggle with neighbors and other problems, but it's no longer you in the wilderness.  Then finally you hit the point where you are jockeying for some sort of supremacy, and it should still be very dangerous, but your main risk of losing it all is if you overplay your hand.

To me, that's the arc.  Right now I think that diseases fit with the point up until you've established a foothold but you are not yet expanding your sphere of influence.  There need to be more tools and safeguards and so forth past that point.
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline ptarth

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,127
  • I'm probably joking.
Re: Stars Beyond Reach Release Pushed To Early July.
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2015, 09:44:09 AM »
I'm not really too bothered by disease. Although to be fair, my current game is late game, and I'm just messing around with it.
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.