Hello my amazing Alpha Force testers and lurkers who care about what's happening!
tl;dr Here's a wordy update... we are progressing (we have good days, we have bad days). Phase 1 will start as soon as it's possible.
I am going to keep this one short
(LIES! ;) no I am not, I think am not capable of that. I want to tell you all the things!) We've had several rougher weeks back to back on the latest Phase 1 dev work, but we didn't lose a lot of ground, we simply didn't gain as much as we wanted as fast as we want it.
Phase 0 testing is providing us tons of info. Thank you all for continued testing.
Phase 1 ongoing dev update: The exciting piece here is the movement of logic to the server and the new design is starting to show signs of working. This work is a lot of up front effort, and this is the perfect time to take this long refactor to the whole client server game logic and processing elements. It's not fun work, but we're doing it (its a real slog at times.) We are cheered on by the glimmers that shine through in the new models and when the design just 'works'. We get to see how its going together, and we are pleased. Its still a fight worth fighting.
Thank you all for the critical AND loving feedback. We know we're sitting on gold, we just need to make sure it shines to the stars and back when we launch. It pains me (most days) I can't spend the time to respond to everyone's questions, so I will try in this email to hit some of the more frequently asked questions. We will make an effort to answer some of these, we will *probably* post a FAQ.
Next Release's Release Date... NO SOONER THAN NEXT WEEK, POSSIBLY WEEK AFTER NEXT, BUT MAYBE LONGER (you see where this is going, its 100% dictated by work that is already 250% beyond our initial effort estimate. The work is done when its done. We're already four plus weeks beyond where we wanted to be. It slips too quickly. I don't see us being ready to release this with as much work that remains this week or next. I could be wrong. I don't think I will be. We're already weeks past where we wanted to enter Phase 1 (even if for good reasons, but it still stings!)
What's in the next release... Ready for more stings? But this sting is important, like a vaccine shot. :P This next release will *likely* have very little or nothing new in the way of 'player experience', probably adding some new bugs and we have a few fixes waiting to be to be squashed. These Phase 1 dev changes WILL affect all aspects of gameplay. We aimed to add scoring back in, that requires tracking kills, which requires tracking all ways that damage can happen... which is dependent on maps which uses the physics engine to check to make sure the shot was even possible... all on the server. So what was to be several small back to back releases so we could test each piece is now going to be one giant release. ALL OF THESE CHANGES ALL AT ONCE...No peer to peer agreements (or arguments) to negotiate... its way cleaner, more technically involved. The end goal is that the new changes should play as close to the way it is playing right now!
This is a HUGE foundational architecture change... and its affects will be felt in every aspect of the game (except the menus... but does lead to the need to add more things to the menu... like scores and leaderboards.) We gain a little less frequent on the number of network messages, but a little larger (everything is a tradeoff but in the end this is still less data usage.) Frame rates might go up (faster) a wee bit as we move more processing to the server. We can spend that on other features later. ;) Your network lag is going to REALLY affect your game more than it has in the past. Low pings will be most accurate, High pings will have the most frustration as your going to not be able to affect people as much as you used too when lagging (being the source of the lag.) We're going to do our best to smooth that all out with several prediction methods so we can have the gameplay experience we have now.
Now I will speculate a bit... What this does for us is worth the slow down. It makes it easier for us to optimize the net messages, maybe to the point we can keep performance AND increase player counts to levels seen in larger battle royale games... (We can dream a little dream can't we?) The other thing that we will see happen SOONER is game modes and when we do a new game mode, it will be on local as well as online. We eventually won't have separate custom servers for different game modes (its just a selection) and quick play COULD have some other games in the vote... or am I putting too much of your chocolate in your peanut butter? We'll talk more about these 'ideas' later. That's all they are at this point... Vapor Ware. I.e., Work yet to be done.
Pounding the keys nonstop till we release,
Hunter (and Chad) aka Appsomniacs