Hi everyone, we’ve been following several interesting discussions across the community recently and thought we should put a post together for you all. It’s a bit long, but hopefully if you’ve been wondering why we’ve been spending time on one task, or not enough on another, it’ll go some way to explaining the reasoning. Let us know here if you have any questions, thanks.
Thanks Joe, the community needed that…
“I’m not afraid of launching an update…” (Joe)
Huge pat on the back for Loopzilla and colleague (sorry not sure I recall the other dev’s name)
Thanks to MeL and everyone else at IDA not mentioned.
Thanks Mystery Investor…
I haven’t even read the post yet, but I wanted to thank you for putting this out!
Now that I’ve read it I appreciate it even more. I am a data person, so the graphs and details on active players is extremely helpful. Anecdotally, I know that a lot of players quit. I’m surrounded by inactives. However, seeing the data makes me feel better.
@joe One thing that I am forced to wonder after looking at the stats. How many of the early quitters really understood what “alpha” means? I’ve been through other alpha/beta games, and it’s pretty common to expect a very rough start. Usually tutorials aren’t made until the game is near completion because a change in the game or UI could invalidate a tutorial.
Is there a way to better communicate that this is an alpha, and participation in the community is extremely important?
Another question would be is there anything we can do to help? I know there’s a push to update the wiki. There’s a lot of chatter on the forums. There’s a small group of people that are really excited about Outscape, and given the opportunity would love to help more.
Thanks again for the post!
Thank you @joe and the other developers, this is exactly the type of feedback, we as a community, needed right now! Sorry to hear it’s been difficult to obtain and retain qualified assistance and I’m with @Archo let us all know if there is anything that we can do to assist the development team.
Despite our occasional grumblings, you are all doing a fantastic job!
Excellent post and thank you for the explanation! Greatly appreciated and helps clear the air for many of us I hope! I cannot WAIT until this game is ready for us to ante up our cash to get involved even more… bring on the early release!
Thankful beyond belief you are sticking to your ideals and not going the whole pay to win route… I do not support any of them and will not support any in the future… glad we will have a game that skips this crap… and it is crap…
Thanks so much for the post. It helps a lot to understand where some of the challenges have come from. You guys have done a lot of great things and I am glad you guys do care about our feedback. You guys really have done a lot and some things have been great and the things not going so well I am glad will be reviewed. It is kind of funny you put some things in game to see the reactions to decide disagreements among yourselves.
Excellent post, well done and appreciated. This is what I had hoped.
This was much much needed. This helps explain a lot. In the future, things like this would go a long way in helping us understand what is happening, why it is happening, and when we can expect changes.
This was really appreciated.
I want to bring this back up again, have you all thought of doing a kickstarter, indiegogo, or maybe taking time to launch a feature on your main servers for crowdfunding?
I know A LOT of people right now that would chip in 5$ to 40$ or more in a crowdsourced situation so that you don’t have pay to win down the line.
You can also sell stuff like Dark Orbs for later use, cosmetics, naming schemes, getting our names in the game some how, helping with some of the back story elements of the game, etc.
So many games are using this method to infuse new cash into their games. It would probably only be the more hardcore of us, but it could help make a difference, and most likely not hurt your bottom line later on to a wide audience.
@mel @joe thanks for this extremely informative and useful update. I am pretty certain most people will have appreciated it even if they dont say so here. Once I study the post a bit more I will make further (positive) comments later (got work!)
You pulled no punches there did you? Well I appreciate the candour, the feeling of putting long hours in and having somebody (like me) crap over it is pretty soul destroying.
Ask me how I know this…
OK it is enough: very sad to hear its the dynamic duo ploughing on alone into the dark once more. But its been clear the game is by enthusiasts for enthusiasts so be it! If money was all the others cared for they were not gonna be able to fit the vision here. Can anyone remember the quote “Give me one volunteer over ten pressed men?” No, me neither, but it is apposite.
Fire up your crowd funder solution, said it before I’ll subscribe.
OK, lot to ponder here but one tings sticks out for now:
Our experience shows that a tutorial will only be used by up to 1/3rd of players, and even if they read and follow it in detail, it usually isn’t enough on its own.
So why is the tutorial optional? Many many browser games require you to complete the mission tutorial before they release into their wider universe? Why cant that be tried here? Oh sure us old blowhards may groan that “do we really need to do this…” but I’ll suck it up and I’d bet every other person posting on this forum would as well.
I think it was @Cheatle who suggested Gated progression for Techs. Extending that thought Do a an episodic game guide maybe? Before you can access the solar system view you have to master the Planetary view, before you get details on the galaxy map you are walked through the Solar system and so on. Eventually you can tie in the Badges/medals/achievement concept here as well. Humans nature loves its shineys there are folks that will do it just to get the badge mark my words…
Well written post, deeply appreciated. Was it a joint effort or was that Mel’s work may I ask? Only reason I care to know is I want to know whose doing what I want to be able to praise a job well done I sense a collaboration myself though with one editor. Am I right?
Once more unto the breach dear friends…
Thank you @joe and co for the post.
Honestly, I had a feeling you guys had dropped back to the original two engineers soon after Alpha 3 launched. Not sure how I figured it out, but I had a feeling. I am sorry to hear about that, though.
That said, there is only one slight issue I see in this post, and that is the line about the time it would take to explain things is sometimes not worth it. We definitely need explanations even if that explanation is “Uh… it’s extremely complicated, so it’s sort of impossible to explain clearly”
Anyway, in regards to the team, as the others above me have noted; the community is eager to help! We forum users may only represent some 5% or so of the community, but we have a wide assortment of folks here. There’s coders, artists, sound engineers, business folks, and more. We all have a passion for this game and want it to succeed, so I implore you to let us help.
The guys who’ve been putting time into the wiki (@psychosis66, @Zathabar, and a couple others, I think) are a great example. I know Psychosis had never touched a wiki before, but he figured it out specifically for this game!
If you put up a post asking for artwork, or ship models or skins, I guarantee you someone, maybe multiple someones, will come up with something. Even if you don’t end up using community-created assets in-game, they can be a source of ideas, or even used for marketing purposes.
Even if you’re not willing to let us help at this stage, please keep it up. The majority of us vocal minority will be here patiently waiting.
Thank you guys.
Just know your minority will be here with you through thick and thin.
I feel that alot of players come to an alpha and expect full game features. Hense why you say most of them dont even bother writing a review, or getting involved with the community, they think this game is bad because its not done yet.
As long as ive been here, i dont think i would leave just over a bad update. I will continue to support and provide feebdack, no matter what (unless you guys literally go crazy).
Got to have a really strong will for the game through all the negativity from certain updates, but thats just apart of the process. Every game has bad updates, some die off from said updates, but for one time im finally involved in a gaming company that listens. Believe it or not the reason alot of us stay is because you listen.
Its got to be tough for the devs, but think, what would we be without you guys? This community has a good influence on my life, i met people i might know for years from now. Cant just throw the game away now.
I admit i was a bit confused when i first started in alpha 2, but i along with many others saw the potential and stayed, with that in mind i figured out hos to play the game. The game is confusing at the start, and thats why some quit early, with a simple tutorial it wouldnt be so high.
I thank all of the team for staying strong through these years, providing us with a game to test, so we can provide you feedback to make it better, so you guys can make some money in the end. Let us keep going and going until release, this game will be so much better the quitters will have to come back, and they will enjoy the game more, we all will. Soon this game will be on the home page of steam, i know it. We will make a better game, together.
Thank you @Joe and everybody, for making Outscape the game that all enthusiasts like us have been waiting for.
Kudos for IDA’s investor and Dev team not to get intertwined with those “Pay-to-win, Coin-operators” minded Investors and Publishers.
As mentioned, Outscape is a very expensive game to run, please try to get some sort of Crowdfunding up soon, alot of us want to help !! All we ask for, is to get a shiny badge for contributing.
Good job again everybody !
This kind of communication does in fact do wonders for settling down the confused masses
I’ve always known that folks visiting, let alone posting on, forums were a relativly small group but didn’t figure it to be THAT low. I may have fallen off on logon time abit, other games to play too doncha know, so just gotta recharge that fervor to explore and fill the spreadsheet. And it doesn’t hurt that i’m waiting on alot of deep mines to come online so i have a good steady stream of resources which will simply my logistics to a LARGE degree. Then time to swap out yet more planets once i’ve sifted through more exploration options…At some point maybe i’ll even stumble upon someone who want’s to tustle abit. And so long as my systems are still standing, i’ll do it some more. My suspicion is i’ll have to get a number of fleets together all on free warp drives and go on a long random voyage in search of some inhabited area and plunk down a base of operations. At that point i doubt my planets would be found anytime soon. I really do suspect i’m gonna end up being that far removed from anyone really activly playing. We shall see
very pleased to read the post and really happy there is communication across developers/players.
its good to “see” what your thinking and planning.
@joe @devs, just a thought regarding your concerns over losing players, one thing i noticed in the tutorials was a lack of combat “training”
perhaps in the tutorial you could add in a section that goes something like “upgrade weapon technology”, this then leads to “design or upgrade a fighter”, then it makes you “Build a fleet of 4 fighters” which helps them form a fleet, then add the code to spawn a single pirate scout ship in the system and add the tutorial mission to “kill the pirate spy”
my thoughts behind this are the tutorial is linear and logical, it adds a flow to the game, also 4-1 odds means even the weakest fighter should win and shows off the benefits of the wreckage and proves it isnt “all” PVP
(side note for future planning perhaps a side story for pirate killing/endgame mega battles/strategic locations rather than just random Farsu deliveries"
I dont pay money into pay to win games. I dont normally spend money on games that require a monthly charge, but ill take the monthly charge 10 times before i spend money just to compete against a wallet warrior.
I am enjoying this game, not as much as some others, but i see where its headed (even just vaguely) and i like it. I will continue to play even when its not fun in hopes to help make it into the game it could be.
I personally hate tutorials even though ive written a few (i didnt much like them either). I would prefer popups, click here to start building your fleets! Your citizens have started rioting, click here to find out why. Sometimes people prefer voice instead of text, maybe do both? Awards have never done much for me, but ill go the extra mile for 1 part of the 100 part project to build that really awesome thing. All food for thought.
Keep up the great work!
To Seek out new Boldly Goers
To Seek out new Boldly Goers
A lot of games have training missions, and in many cases you can’t actually see the full UI until you “unlock” it through a sort of tutorial.
I think a guided walk through like that would help. However, there are a couple disadvantages with that. The first being that it would add more dev time when changes were made since the training would need to be done. The second disadvantage is that a big tutorial might put off people that would rather learn it on their own. (or veteran Outscape players that already know the UI)
Now, here’s what I would do for the training mission:
Mission 1) When the game loads you see two fleets and a planet. The first fleet is 4 scouts, and the second is a SEED ship (yes, I intentionally made the seed ship part of this ) . The first task is move the scout into planet orbit to scan the planet. The second task is to send the seed ship to colonize the planet. This mission shows basic fleet movement and colonization. There should be pop-ups explaining planet temp, landmass, mineral densities etc. All the info you’d need to know before attempting to colonize.
Mission 2) When the colony is created it doesn’t build any of the initial structures (aside from base farm and power). Instead, the player has to construct those things. The seed ship would deposit enough minerals, and the player starts with enough credits for the construction. The initial construction should complete nearly instantly. Mission 2 shows basic construction. During construction there pop-ups explaining power, population, happiness, and taxes. It should also show how to use automation.
Mission 3) This mission should be a simple overview of how to use the tech tree, and how to use the research automation. The objective should be to get the first colonizer. Mission 3 shows how to use the tech tree to queue research. There should be pop ups explaining how the different branches work.
Mission 4) Build a colonizer. This should really just be a walk through of basic ship design.
Mission 5) The player should now be able to see the full system. The first task would be to split the scout fleets. The second task would be to scan all planets in system. The third task would be to colonize a planet. Mission 5 should show splitting fleets, and review movement and colonization. (This does require there to be a decent planet worth colonizing in system)
Mission 6) Attack a pirate fleet. The first task would be to merge the initial 4 scouts into a fleet. Then it should go through a walk through of fleet design and targeting. The third task would be to attack a (weak) pirate fleet. Then it should show the player how to loot the wreckage, and finally have the fleet return home to transfer loot to planet and reload ordnance.
Mission 7) Mine an asteroid field, collect resources from planets, and deliver resources. This should revisit the tech tree to get a player to get the asteroid mining module, then create a blueprint for a mining scout. The player then would need to build a miner and send it to mine an asteroid.
Mission 8) The player is now able to see the galaxy. The final tutorial mission would be to send a scout outside your system. The first task should be to edit a scout blueprint to include fuel tanks. Then the scout should be upgraded to the new model with fuel tanks. The third task would be to load fuel onto a scout. Next should be moving the scout outside of the system, and the final step would be toggling warp boost. This should also show the range limits of fuel use.
There should be a few ad-hoc missions too. How to upgrade structures would be one that might not happen right away in game, but it would be good to see. I’d also add tutorials (or maybe in-game links to wiki and/or videos) on things like mines, cloak, mine detection, invasion, etc. Each training should conclude with a link to the wiki page for that topic.
I have been following this game for a while, I’m not an alpha tester, so I can’t comment on the game-play, as for funding, I think the dev team can set up a Patreon for donation, people can donates whatever amount their want, I know this won’t help much, but I’m happy to donate.
Hey @joe, do you have any plans on telling us more about blueprint automation? A simple queue would do. I hate that i need to use a piece of paper to design out the fleet i want then wait for the process of researching the blueprints one by one.
Thank you everyone for your support it means a lot to all of us! Thank you also for your very useful comments, they are all noted. To answer the specific questions raised:
Good point, there probably is a better way to communicate how alpha the game has been. However, going forward we do want to start measuring how well it would fair with paying players, so we don’t mind being held to a higher bar. It means people raise a wider set of issues which we may not otherwise have visibility of.
We have a number of thoughts on how the community could help in the game’s development, to not only accelerate certain things but to also give an overall better outcome. Let us put up a post once we have collated our ideas.
One thing that is worth putting out there now: we would be very happy if the community would help create more ‘purpose’ in the current Alpha 3 galaxy. If the community could settle on a few ‘missions’ or ‘awards’, we’d be happy to make them official and track them. We could also help by doing some simple things on our side. For example, we could rename 5 uncolonized systems to a special name, the player that finds and colonizes them all wins that award. Once a system has been colonized we could publish the co-ords to give other players the chance to fight for it. This is just a simple idea. We’d like to avoid doing things which need specific engineering work so we focus on keeping our promises with the roadmap. Our ‘ask’ would be that the community settle on a few ideas here, really whatever excites you the most.
We talked about this a lot in the past. If we had crowdfunded a few years ago, we’d have an angry mob with pitchforks because this took longer than hoped. Yes there would be some speed improvement due to the extra resources, but we’d also have built more on top of the ‘old’(pre-titan) engine which ultimately didn’t scale well for us. When people part with hard-earned cash and they feel they don’t like the direction or the time something is taking it can have a pretty negative impact on the community. Let’s face it, a large part of Outscape needs to be and is about community. We’re pretty protective of the community and don’t want to do anything to risk a negative dynamic, or to feel compelled to rush something which then falls well below expectations.
Today we are probably in a different position, as the tech kinks have been largely ironed out. However we really want to focus all our energy on getting the game out for Early Access Purchase on Steam. Running a great kickstarter campaign does take quite a lot of energy and time and we worry about slowing things down elsewhere.
This is a great point. We are in the middle of configuring a new tutorial experience as the current one is more a ‘tech demo’ than a properly thought through tutorial. The new experience will track player engagement and satisfaction (it has like and dislike buttons). If enough new players engage well and like the tutorial we should definitely consider making it mandatory. If we force people to use a tutorial they don’t like, they will quit early.
Once the game has stabilized we’d love to do voice, at least for the major languages.
The post was a joint effort, we spent a bit more time crafting this one because we had a number of complex thoughts to structure. We’re glad you don’t mind long-form posts and are glad you found it useful!
This is an interesting one. We’d like to get to at least offering a queue here. A number of decisions were made here to ensure a player didn’t create a new blueprint for every new ship. We wanted certain blueprints (or ship types) to be respected and feared by other players. There is a bit of friction in the game to ensure players would be thoughtful when designing blueprints and also not introduce 100’s which would then need more UI to search to find and manage them all. The amount of friction probably isn’t quite right. You are probably aware, but you can today speed up blueprint research times by increasing your science output.
The Outscape Dev Team