Chris's Release 4 Ramblings!

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Chris, Apr 3, 2014.

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  1. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord Moderator SOTA Developer Ambassador

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    As always, I’ll start my R4 retrospective with some totally unrelated blathering that I’ll then tie into my thoughts on R4!

    Nine pregnant women can’t have a baby in one month. This is something that people around here have heard me say many times over the past year. It’s a truism in its literal meaning but also something that all project managers should keep in mind as well. The project manager meaning is that there are many things that just can’t be rushed by throwing more and more bodies at the problems.

    This has been a mantra for Starr, Richard, and myself as we focus on making the best and biggest game possible for the budget. So for the past year, we’ve been making sure not to try and throw bodies at problems due to the inevitable problem of diminishing returns. The good news is that we’re now slowly ramping up as we become more confident in systems thanks to these public releases!

    So R4 for me was an absolute blur because my wife and I proved that one pregnant woman can have a baby in 9 months and that patience always pays off as we welcomed our first child, Maxine, a healthy little girl into the world. I can now confirm that having a newborn is a lot like being a lead engineer in game development. You don’t get to sleep much, it’s a LOT of work, but it’s super satisfying and you see visual progress on pretty much a daily basis if you pay attention closely.

    Overall I would give R4 a B+. I think due to some last moment reworking of a few things, combat was a bit rougher than expected, and we introduced a few server issues that required some patching. The new scenes we added varied greatly in polish, but overall showed lots of potential. Performance was mostly positive, but still a mixed bag as the mean frame rate was up over 10fps from R3. But our memory use was also up enough that it blocked some people.

    I think the biggest shock to us were the reactions to the overworld map were either super positive or super negative. We were actually really happy with the look of the map simulating the cloth map that some players will receive, but I think we stumbled due to its very static nature and not doing a better job of tying it into the game scenes for better immersion. We’ll continue to evaluate options on this and see if we can make some more fans with a better execution and polish for R5.

    Time for some stats!

    The number of players was up again, this time to over 8000 with around 80% returning players and 20% new players. Also as expected, total play time was way up with more than half of the players having a single session longer than an hour in length. Also, 87.5% of the people who played on the first day, came back for at least one more day and just over 40% logged in each and every day of the session. Total number of play sessions was up as well, but unfortunately that appears to be due to some crashing issues from some memory leaks that snuck in, but overall mean playtime continues to climb each release.

    In terms of country of origin, the order stayed the same with the US making up about 55%. Germany, Canada, UK, NULL, Australia, France, Sweden, Italy, and Finland filled out the rest of the top 10 in descending order.

    This release also included the first release of a Linux and Mac patcher. In terms of operating systems, 66% used Windows 7.x - 64 bit, 25% used Windows 8 - 64 bit, 3% were on a 32 bit version of Windows, 4% were on Mac, and 2% were on Linux with Linux 3.11 Ubuntu 13.10 64 bit being the most popular of over 40 Linux flavors.

    Thanks again for all the help and patience with the release 4 weekend. We continue to be humbled by the amount of support and maturity that the vast majority of the players demonstrate while we continue our little experiment in changing how games are developed. See you guys online and in R5!
     
    lemonkey, Dame Lori, Eriador and 39 others like this.
  2. vjek

    vjek Avatar

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    Any chance you have a peak concurrency figure, across all hexes/scenes?

    Separately, 8000+ overall unique players is awesome, congratulations on that!
     
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  3. Lord_Darkmoon

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    First, congratulations on becoming a father! I myself know that it is a lot of work raising children, but it is also very satisfying.

    As for the overland map: so there is no chance of returning to the 3D living world view?
     
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  4. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord Moderator SOTA Developer Ambassador

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    There is a chance we'll return to the other but we want to give the new version a bit more love first to see if we can win people over.
     
  5. Lord_Darkmoon

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  6. G Din

    G Din Avatar

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    Is it possible to push back the release a yr to Fall 2015? I just don't see how you guys are gonna get everything done properly in time for release later this yr.

    If u have to return to the 1st map, won't that then need more time to perfect that?

    Wish we could be confident about a game mechanic, stick to it and finish it properly. Instead of going back and forth.

    You even stated if the combat didn't work, you had a plan B. Back and forth, back and forth. I don't have an issue with testing and fixing and changing directions, but how in the hell are you gonna have enough time to do things properly by the end of this year?
     
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  7. Fredrick FlameGrinder

    Fredrick FlameGrinder Avatar

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    NULL was that a cut and paste error from a program or does it mean something other than programming?
     
  8. Umbrae

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    I am sure NULL means it was an unknown country. NULL normally means no entry was placed in the database, which is different than empty meaning a blank value was written.
     
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  9. NRaas

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    Miracle Dragon and smack like this.
  10. High Baron O`Sullivan

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    Glad to hear the 3-D map is not off the table.
     
  11. By Tor

    By Tor Avatar

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    Congratulations on your baby.

    Thank you and the devs for listening to the backers about the overhead map. The fact that you hear us and listen is one of the things that makes SotA so special.
     
  12. By Tor

    By Tor Avatar

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    A lot of us are!
     
  13. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord Moderator SOTA Developer Ambassador

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    If we push anything back, it would not be due to the overhead map. The only thing we're really changing up is the visual representation, which makes up only a fraction of the logic.
     
  14. High Baron O`Sullivan

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    Anything is possible. Hopefully everything is good to go for the October 2014 release.
     
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  15. Lord Viator

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    Chris, were memory leaks part of the issues experienced while transitioning between scenes? Or was that a separate issue?
     
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  16. Sinclair

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    Congratulations on your Baby @Chris! As two times father i know what you are talking about :)

    I am wondering why you are going on so much risk and invest time with that new style of the overland map design. Also a poll with some people here in the forum was showing that the most prefer the 3D overland map style and not the cartoonish / paper style. I never understood this design decision and see this really as a dangerous point presenting SotA in the public. For me, thats really the opposite what i was expecting as i pledged Kickstarter and as i saw the previous/first pictures of the overland map...i don't want to play a board game / tabletop game :-(
    But you are the experienced developers and game designers....i am just a simple gamer thinking as a little child and with the desire playing the coming spiritual successor of the Ultima series


    P.S: The link to the poll:
    https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/f...d-map-poll-unofficial.8630/page-9#post-154866
    43,6 % currently voted for the kickstarter overland map style
     
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  17. Chris

    Chris Tech Lord Moderator SOTA Developer Ambassador

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    Yah, memory leaks were between scenes. Depending on your configuration and zones involved, people could zone between 10 and 50 times before going BOOM!
     
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  18. Lained

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    Could you share some stats on the number of players that stared & completed each quest?
     
  19. rune_74

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    Polls on the forums have very limited value. It is too small a base to form any conclusions off.

    I haven't seen the new map(damn you work computers...I'm on deployment not on mars). So I can't say if I like it or not...any one have a link to a pic of it off this site?

    Being involved with other games being made I can tell you it is very common place to try different ideas instead of staying with one throughout. It happens all the time, people have an idea with what they want to do and find that it just doesn't work.
     
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  20. NRaas

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