Poll

Is VoidExpanse ready for "gold" release?

Yes
6 (40%)
No
5 (33.3%)
Other (comment)
4 (26.7%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: January 23, 2015, 02:15:45 am

Author Topic: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?  (Read 9509 times)

Lurler

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Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« on: December 24, 2014, 02:15:45 am »
Hello everyone.

There is a very important question we would like to ask you.

Seeing that many people in other communities feel betrayed by the developers when they (developers) "release" their game or move them out of early access to "gold", we felt it is something worth discussing with you first.

One recent example that I came across is this and I really don't want for anyone to feel that way. Which is why we discussed that point inside our team and decided to ask you directly.

For VoidExpanse we were considering both options: releasing it as a finished product or to early access, but in the end we feel that the game is ready. So, if you feel the same way we would like to release it on Steam early next year as a "gold copy", i.e. a finished product.

Does that mean we will stop developing it? We REALLY hope not! There are still a lot of features we planned to implement from the very beginning of this undertaking. It includes, for example upgrades and crafting, among other things, so there is really a lot more we can do with the game. If people on Steam, and the press can support us enough it would enable us to fund further development, which is what we ultimately want.

So, the bottom line:

Do you feel that VoidExpanse is ready to be released as a finished product ("gold copy") to Steam?

If not - what do we have to do to make it ready?

Note: There are a few things we will do before the release, naturally:
* Fix English (currently working on it).
* Fix all remaining bugs (currently working on it).
* Finish Russian translation (currently working on it).
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 02:20:06 am by Lurler »

FlessenGreendart

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 04:07:50 am »
I think that's a yes from me. While there's still a lot that can be added to the game, and a few things I'd like to see (particularly crafing and debris looting), it is ultimately in a state where you can get a good few hours logged in to it before even getting to the Xengatarn space, and it plays really well and fairly stably (any ways that it doesn't, you guys are already working on fixing). You won't see any response like that guys from me.

Excalibur

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 05:17:57 am »
I think the game is ready. Additional features can be added later, such as crafting and so. Fixing all remaining bugs is a must. Maybe Early Access for a month or two, then release the full version. Given the full feature set, and all the gameplay you can currently get out of it, I'd say applying a $19.99 price tag would probably be reasonable. Not sure what kind of price tag you guys are considering. That's my feelings anyway. :)

kyokei

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 05:51:55 am »
I think I need to split this response in 2 parts.

1) Looking at Single Player I can say that yes, this game is ready to be released as "Gold" although I would still suggest running as Early Access for 1-3 months MAX to get more feedback. You've had feedback from the forums on the story line, etc but when you release the game in Early Access then you will get just a bit more feedback. I also think that 1-3 months of Early Access is very acceptable, even more so with the game in this state and nearly done Single Player wise.
And then once it's released you can think of expanding Single Player with crafting, more quests/stories. One thing I miss from Single Player is more life in the game. More NPC's that are actually randomly doing things. Some police ships fighting some Pirates. Random ships asking for help or just hailing you, more radio chatter etc...

2) Looking at Multiplayer I can say no. The game is not ready when it comes to Multiplayer. Taken from the site:
"Multiplayer
Singleplayer is not enough for you? Multiplayer in VoidExpanse features fully persistent worlds, turning each server into a mini MMO. Create your own galaxy to discover with custom mods installed, or play on any existing servers that other people have created. Ally with other players or destroy them! "
When I look at Multiplayer now it does not feel like a mini MMO.
In my opinion to make the game Multiplayer ready you need some kind of grouping mechanism. When you talk about Multiplayer and certainly MMO then people think of playing together with friends.
So for this you need:
- Group system
- Quest sharing objectives (like kill pirate X and when he is dead the kill is rewarded to the whole group)
Once this is there then the game is ready to be released as Gold. After that you can work on stuff like bosses, instance like sectors (by this I mean quest = kill boss X, warp to sector X, clear through mobs to get to boss). And then you can think of Player guilds, crafting, etc as crazy as you want to make it.

I still remember the things we talked about while being on the server Lurler so I see where this is coming from. I would fix the bugs, polish the languages, implement Grouping + shared XP/kills and then fling this game on Early Access. Once it's there polish it a bit more and after 1-3 months release it as a full game.

Zer0Glitch

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2014, 07:42:26 am »
I want to +1 kyokei's post. He/she did a great job of going over some of the issues I also feel might need to be addressed first.

But to answer the question, is it ready for Gold?

I think by today's standard of games, yes. You could release it now, patch it a few times and move on to a new project and most people would be very happy with their purchase.

However I think a few more months (no more than 3) of improving the gameplay, the atmosphere, and adding more content might go a long ways towards putting this game on the map. Along with releasing more detailed tutorials and documentation on modding (more on that later).

My biggest "issue" with the game is a very subjective feeling I get while playing. And please understand, all of this is said with love.

The universe feels lifeless. I don't mean there aren't enough NPC's to shoot, because Lord knows there are PLENTY of them in every sector. But that too is part of the problem. Every sector I go into, I know I'm going to have a 80/20 ratio of Pirates to NPCs. The NPCs do absolutely nothing it seems. The few skirmishes I do see end up ending it the NPC being overrun by Pirates. It all feels very static. Like every system is a new arena for to shoot pirates in. There's no story, no struggle, no, well, life. I suppose the universe doesn't feel real, or the universe is inhabited by far more pirates than not.

Suggestions on how to fix this:
1) Have the amount of pirates in a system vary based on proximity to factions. For example, while flying in the capital system I would expect to find very few pirates. In fact I would only expect pirates if they were trying to take out a NPC Hauler, Bounty Hunting, or sending a huge force in to attack the base (which, btw destructible bases would be awesome. Also deployable bases too :) ). Between faction sectors I would expect the pirate count to increase, especially when getting closer to Pirate faction territory. This, of course, could be a very fluid thing based on any number of factors, but you get the idea.

2) More dynamic NPC interaction. Being able to hire NPCs for various jobs would be great. Being able to talk to or scan an NPC ship to see where it's headed and where it's coming from and be able to follow it to it's destination between sectors. Random events that you get "called in for help", such as random pirate attack on convoy, save crew from broken down ship, get lured into a trap or set a trap up. The mission board is nice, but "stumbling" across such events, I think, would help add to the living universe immersion.

3) Better trading UI/Info. As it stands right now trading is difficult and not very fun. I don't mind the difficult part, in fact I think it should be a challenge. But not being able to see prices (even stale) or get trade data other than through a broker seems a little restrictive. I've never gotten the impression that the trading aspect of this game was anything other than static, unless modified by the trade broker for trade routes. What I would enjoy is the ability to take an item and see what it's highest/lowest buy and sell price is for it and on which system. Also being able to affect the economy in a system would be nice too. Like being able to buy a lot of a particular item to cause it's price to skyrocket. Or tell a lot of one item to a base to cause it's price to bottom out.

4) More modding documentation/tutorials/guides/examples. As a developer, I was able to see just how far you've opened up the modding capabilities with the API. It's very impressive. However I think to really give this game a boost, adding more documentation for the modding would help give this game some real momentum. Showing how easy it is to create a simple mod for all the basic things someone might want to do (add a ship, add/modify weapon, at a system, etc.), I believe, would increase its chances of being recognized in the long run. All it takes is one Counter-Strike mod to change everything (dating myself with that reference).

Having said ALL of that, I love this game! Truly, I've been waiting for this type of game since Stellar Frontier (look it up :P). I have had an absolute blast playing it, and honestly if you guys stopped developing it today, I would still feel like I got more than my monies worth. I have no regrets purchasing this game and would do so again in a heartbeat. But because I am so enamored with this game, I want to be sure it's as good as it possibly can be. Thus, all the above.

Best of luck guys! :)


Hammish

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2014, 08:40:22 am »
I can agree with a lot of the above, but I still voted yes and feel justified in doing so.  In terms of technical stability and content I really feel that you guys are at a release state once the final round of bugs is quashed.

The one bit I would add is the vast majority of games that end up with bad press coming back from an EA program, like the link mentioned above, is typically due to a wealth of factors but one really stands out: lack of developer transparency.  In this department I really think AT stands out from a lot of others, so I would say if you're going to go for full release... keep that up.  Be very, very clear with people what is already included with the game, what you intend/promise to add in the near future, and what you'd eventually like to get around to adding.  Cleaning up the server software/options, as a recent example, is something I'd put under 'intended', whereas stuff like crafting would probably go under 'hope to'.  Point is, if you sit down and define all that for people looking to pick up the software, they're far less likely to end up grumpy. :)

Heck, even setting some stretch goals despite not being crowdfunded might be a cool thing.  Ultimately everyone understands (or should) that features take work, and work will only continue if there is compensation for the developers.  Might be good for people to know what you consider to be good milestones.

Victus

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2014, 09:50:36 am »
Personally I've greatly enjoyed this game so far but it does have some quirks that need to be worked out before any kind of major release. +1 to Zer0Glitch and kyokei's posts, they touched on a lot of what I feel as well.

You probably could release it within the next year but not too soon and not without better multiplayer and modding API. Modding can make or break games nowadays, look at how Starbound went when the devs didn't release any new content for a year, the community took over and made the content they wanted because the game was easy to mod. While I'm not saying you should do with VoidExpanse what they did with their game (it angered a LOT of people) but having a game that is easy to mod means that years after you complete the game it may still have a dedicated community of modders adding more content and keeping it relevant to the users.

Lurler

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 12:44:23 am »
Thank you everyone for taking time to write your opinions. We really appreciate that.
We will take your comments in consideration before making any decisions! And it gives us a better idea where you/we stand.

Now, there are a few points in particular I would like to address.

The game is not ready when it comes to Multiplayer.
...
So for this you need:
- Group system
- Quest sharing objectives (like kill pirate X and when he is dead the kill is rewarded to the whole group)
I have to agree with you here.
We really need to make multiplayer experience more meaningful. We will make all efforts to make it happen as soon as possible.

Zer0Glitch, about your suggestions. I will be completely honest here. Even though all of them sounds great they are simply beyond the scope of what we can do now. It is simply not possible with the things as they are now. We would need at least 2 new people (developer and artist) on the team and MASSIVE funding to make this happen. Especially the first two points, as that would require major changes to the core game. So, I have to say - no. It is, unfortunately, not possible, not unless we have massive sales on Steam that would enable us to continue working on the game for another half a year.

You probably could release it within the next year but not too soon and not without better multiplayer and modding API.
Frankly, I don't see what else can be done in terms of modding. The game is completely and totally geared towards it from the very beginning making it extremely easy and without any limitations. You can change literally anything. And all resources are completely open. There is also a wiki with detailed API instructions and examples. So, there is really nothing more we can do in terms of modding that isn't already done. On the other hand we definitely need more tutorials on how to mod, guides, examples, etc. But that is not directly related to the game itself. And frankly, we simply can't do it by ourselves. We are hoping that the players can help us with that. Basic information is already available, but to make it easier and with more detailed instructions - we need your help!

So, again, thank you very much to everyone who expressed their opinion and I hope we can fully meet your expectations when we release the game! :)

kyokei

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 01:47:14 am »
Welcome Lurler, I'd also want to mention that SPAZ2 is coming out early 2015 so you might want to release before they release or you might have issues with your sales.
I would say no matter what go on Early Access in January and post the few improvement points you are still working it before release, and put goals for if your sales are crazy awesome high!

Or release the game after the christmas sale as Single Player focused and put as your goal that you will move out of early access after adding the multiplayer things

SpaceButler

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 10:54:30 am »
Is it ready for Gold? 

Yes, by today's standard.

Is today's standard Good?

NO

It's not good.  Too many  games are getting released too early, and that promising feeling you use to get with a completed game no longer  exists.

Whats missing in this game?

Better Multiplayer aspects.

You could do a whole lot with this game in terms of MP.  Not just what Kyokei stated about group systems and quest sharing, but beyond that.  If you can fit a 64 player servers, there's enough there to claim territories, win over factions to assist you against other player factions, constructing bases (trading, storage, etc) and so much more.  There's a lot already going on in Void Expanse, but as the word suggest, Expand. 

More Hull and Hull Customization.

I think what we have right now is pretty swell.  But the more ships I see on the screen, the more I'd want to collect.  I mean it's a big galaxy.  We should have more ships I think.  And we should be able to do more with the colors of the ships.  Even the energy that emits from it should be colorful I think :P

I mean it might seem like a lot to ask, but it makes it that much more worth it.


On he subject of SPAZ2.  I'm going to get it.  But that doesn't mean I wont stop playing Void Expanse.  People who liked SPAZ will see Void Expanse.  They'll see SPAZ2 as well, but for me I'm going to own all of it because I grew up playing Armada on Dreamcast.  I don't think it'll effect your sales as much as you think.

Honestly, you fix the multiplayer up a bit more, and I'd say it's good to go.

(Btw, did you fix some of the text issues in the narratives?)

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, New Years, etc etc!

Tchey

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2014, 02:39:53 pm »
I would say "yes but...".

- Don't release an early access. It has became a standard, and lots of games are unfinished after 3, 6, 12, 24... months or early and some without more than one tiny update every 3 months ! Even if you give your word you will finish it in 3 months. People are losing faith in early, you can feel it if you read some big websites, even on Steam's forum.

- Clean the bugs. You are one of the most reactive team i've seen, and i feel i can trust you. You are listening, talking, active but still keep a goal, not just follow the big guy yelling on the forum.

- The game seems "complete" but...

There is still a lot do add, crafting, scavenging debris, etc, but mostly, i also feel the univers is dead. I don't know what is it, it's not so funny to play more than several hours. All seems to be "cold". So because i can't find the "why and how" of this last point, i have to say "yes but...".

In my opinion, the way to go is not to release "Early Access", but to realease a full release bug free and feature complete, and then, continue to support your game. Look at http://arcengames.com/ for me this team is amazing, they keep supporting the main games for month, years, with patch to fix but also to add, all for free, with some low cost expansion sometime. Another amazing team is from http://www.starwraith.com/ (Evochron)

Voted "Yes".

Hammish

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2014, 11:17:14 pm »
This seems like a good place to toss out an idea I had once upon a time: I see a lot of calls for new added hulls and equipment... and you have a highly customizable game...

Have you considered doing something along the lines of Official AT-Approved Mods?  A bit above and beyond the mod spotlight, it'll really help sell the game and make it seem more alive/full if you find a way to stress them even more.  The best mods, that have a lot of polish tossed on them and a lot of work done, are really going to shine and help the core game look good as well.  Steam Workshop will help a lot with that, you could also give the option to have mods downloaded via the AT launcher; I don't know what your data rates are like but honestly unless mods have a ton of art assets they are going to be teensy, and since you'd have control over what shows via the launcher you can restrict it to a certain file size so things don't get out of hand on said data rates.

The idea about ship colorization is a good one, though.  I remember once upon a time there was talk about separating the ship skin from the hull model; is this still a possibility or moved backburner?  Seems like it'd be more of a UI issue than anything to me, since the skin is already separately defined in the hull XML; changing that could be as easy as finding a spot in the UI for a Ship Skin item and then having the ship stats compilation routine look there instead of the hull XML. :)

kyokei

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2014, 01:44:40 am »
This seems like a good place to toss out an idea I had once upon a time: I see a lot of calls for new added hulls and equipment... and you have a highly customizable game...

Have you considered doing something along the lines of Official AT-Approved Mods?  A bit above and beyond the mod spotlight, it'll really help sell the game and make it seem more alive/full if you find a way to stress them even more.  The best mods, that have a lot of polish tossed on them and a lot of work done, are really going to shine and help the core game look good as well.  Steam Workshop will help a lot with that, you could also give the option to have mods downloaded via the AT launcher; I don't know what your data rates are like but honestly unless mods have a ton of art assets they are going to be teensy, and since you'd have control over what shows via the launcher you can restrict it to a certain file size so things don't get out of hand on said data rates.

The idea about ship colorization is a good one, though.  I remember once upon a time there was talk about separating the ship skin from the hull model; is this still a possibility or moved backburner?  Seems like it'd be more of a UI issue than anything to me, since the skin is already separately defined in the hull XML; changing that could be as easy as finding a spot in the UI for a Ship Skin item and then having the ship stats compilation routine look there instead of the hull XML. :)

This makes me think of what the devs of Starbound did. They ended up integrating some of the community mods into the game.

xDmDx

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2014, 02:32:54 am »
 Game is very good,but I would like to see more life in space (for example: police,military force,npc-traders,dynamic NPC interaction) like a Space Rangers.

Zer0Glitch

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Re: Is VoidExpanse ready for gold?
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2014, 07:06:22 am »

Zer0Glitch, about your suggestions. I will be completely honest here. Even though all of them sounds great they are simply beyond the scope of what we can do now. It is simply not possible with the things as they are now. We would need at least 2 new people (developer and artist) on the team and MASSIVE funding to make this happen. Especially the first two points, as that would require major changes to the core game. So, I have to say - no. It is, unfortunately, not possible, not unless we have massive sales on Steam that would enable us to continue working on the game for another half a year.

I totally understand and respect the fact that you can only do what you can do based on the funding and time you have. And perhaps my suggestions were a little too ambitious for the game this late in the development cycle (where I'm sure you're far more interested in bug squashing and mechanics tuning).

While I stand by my comments and opinions maybe I can lay out a more realistic suggestion that might be better suited for the game and for your development time and budget.

Bare Bones Road:
You guys have already done an absolutely amazing job opening up the API to the game for modding. Seriously impressed. So, to utilize this, I would suggest (as I did above) to spend some time documenting (improve on the wiki), writing guides and tutorials on how to do some of the basic things, and perhaps offer a way to host "Authorized" mods from your site.

The logic behind this:
Since your time and money are limited but most of the players of the game won't be, giving them to tools to create things is by far your greatest asset. So empowering and encouraging them to create mods and giving them the guidance to ensure they don't get frustrated during the process will be a tremendous boon for the life of the game. And giving them the knowledge in an easy to understand format will give people the courage to try new things.

Middle of the Road:
I don't know what else you have hidden behind the curtain of the engine (if anything), but exposing more of the underlying game logic would also be a good way of helping it along (for the reasons stated above). Past that, since a galaxy wide simulation is out of the question (understandable), then perhaps a more system local way of approaching it would be easier? I haven't toyed that much with the API (though I plan to shortly) but I think I remember it being possible to spawn things on a timer. Would local "events" be a tough thing to add before release? Doesn't have to be grand scale. Maybe just skirmishes between pirates and local enforcements. Random asteroids flying through the system (if you can stop it, you can mine it, o r you can get crushed by it.) . Really anything that can happen in a system other than the 3 patrols of Pirates and the 30 others just chilling across the system waiting for you to wander by. I'm not talking fancy here, just more movement. Again, I understand if this is not feasible. Just trying to help! 

Unicorn Road (it's a real thing, shut up):
I suppose everything else I stated in my previous post. Though understandably not realistic this late in the cycle.

Understanding that adding more developers/artists/designers/etc is out of the question at this point, really just supporting mod development  going forward will be the biggest thing (not that I think you won't, just saying).

In conclusion (you seriously read this, all the way to here? give yourself a cookie!), thank you so much for taking the time to seriously consider our thoughts and opinions about this game, even when they are wildly unrealistic. ;) I will do what I can to help you guys make this game a raging success! Which I know it will be! :)