What happened with the GDC Playtest, etc

BioXide

Founder

Staff member
Lead Developer
Management
Jun 1, 2017
498
Beaverton, Oregon
Guns of the Conclave
Rank: Princeps (R7)
Service Points: 999999
Hey guys,

As you may know, we originally had a playtest planned out for the GDC week but sadly we couldn't get it to work in time, I apologize for the inconveniences, let me detail below what happened exactly and what to expect (Nothing has been canceled, just delayed).


New Playtest Pricing
Lemme do this first as I'm sure we'll get a lot of shit because of this, due to Gamesparks pulling a ninja update on the pricing, we had to increase the pay entry of our pre-alpha playtests to $35 (You'll get access to all playtests with $35+ plus the game when it launches), back then you only had to pay $5 to play during the pre-alpha stage, since we didn't have to pay anything to Gamesparks until we reached a high amount of concurrent players that automatically upgraded us to the paid tier.

Evidence:
https://www.gamesparks.com/pricing/


https://www.gamesparks.com/pricing/faqs/

Our costs have increased from $100 monthly (Our server box) to $400 monthly ($300 a month to use GS Live), this has substantially increased our running costs to around $5000+ a year, when you factor in the server box, GS live service, website, forums, company yearly registrations, contractor fees, etc.

We had two options, either stay on development tier and not run playtests, keeping costs low but not having the community play the game till who knows when, or switch to the live service, allow our community to play and have them help cover the costs.

We will be working hard to make sure we can launch the new donation system as soon as possible so you guys can help us cover the running costs, if we run short on donation money, sadly we'll have to switch to development and keep the playtests for staff only till we have the money to cover the GS live service.

I understand that this might seem a bit pushy, but we're just adapting to the new GS pricing which literally came out of nowhere and has pissed off pretty much every developer using the platform. We're too deep into GS to consider switching to another backend provider, that will eventually happen, but not now as it will delay our progress by some months.

We'll continue to develop on GS and once we're funded we'll figure out what BaaS to switch to, if required I can cover some months to allow you guys to playtest once the time is right.


What happened to the GDC playtest?
It was canceled, or better said, delayed. I'll explain in details what happened.

As you might or might not know, I do remote work fulltime for 8 Circuit Studios, I'm working on building Project Genesis, I'm the only game programmer there, so I'm literally building two games at the same time. I had to prepare a GDC demo as well for 8CS, I've been crunching my ass off since February to get both games ready for the GDC and prior to GDC, I literally worked 3 weeks or even more without a single break, all I did was wake up, work 8 hours or even more on Project Genesis and then switch to Mankind Reborn and work 8-12 hours till I crashed and repeated that nonstop without breaks.

I thought everything was fine with Mankind Reborn, we've been testing extensively on the dev branch and everything played nice, no crashes, no issues with the backend, so I decided to make the bold decision of giving the playtest a specific date.

We switched to GS Live and started our preparations for the High Command playtest the week before, our web systems weren't ready so we had to do some hacky procedures to start allowing HC into the game. By this time, the team member who was working on the web systems with a contractor was going through some really rough time IRL and I felt like shit having to pressure him into working harder, so I decided to let him breathe and delay the web systems.

Rest of the staff was also binging on The Division 2 launch and I didn't want to interrupt their fun, since this is mainly a hobby for the team (I'm the only full-time guy here), I've been too much of a dick to the staff in past occasions, so I just decided to let everyone chill and I just focused on doing everything myself in the meantime.

HC started playing the game and everything seemed fine until..

- Server crashes
- Backend issues
- Dupes
- And other critical issues


None of these issues ever appeared during our dev playtests, we did extensive testing on multiple cases for days prior to any of this, but usually, any launch or when you open the servers to the community these things are bound to happen.

I played everyday with the HC pre-GDC, we managed to track and fix most server crashes, dupes and critical issues, but we found a nasty surprise with GS Live which is the main reason why we had to delay the playtest.

Players outside of the US are having issues communicating with GS, sometimes their requests were not getting processed, which meant that your data gets nuked and/or your storages switch from worlds, this is an issue with GS itself and not our game.

This is an issue that literally no one in the staff ever had (Most of the staff is from EU or outside US) and I've spent days trying to replicate it on my end but I can't make it happen, I literally don't have any crashes or shit happening on my end. I will be focusing on fixing that in the upcoming days and once that's fixed, then we can safely give out a strong date for the upcoming playtest.

I went radio silent during GDC as I really needed a week-long break from everything, my head was about to explode and I wanted to be on my best senses since I did a lot of Bizdev during GDC week, a lot of good things came from my meetings there, so we just need to sit down, start quantifying numbers and building a proper pitch deck to follow up the meetings and start scaling things.

On the behalf of the team, I apologize for the delays, I understand people were hyped to play and were disappointed, I was disappointed in myself as well for not being able to deliver on time, but at the same time we all did what was possible and shit was simply out of our control. We'll be working hard to ensure we get to deliver the upcoming playtest and try not to put dates on things from now on unless we're 100% sure it's possible.

We appreciate the community's patience and we hope you guys understand this from our point of view, game development is rough and shit always doesn't go the way you plan it, we're a small team with a very limited budget and doing this on our free time, let us push through the initial parts, build a proper MVP and then start scaling up once we bring in that investment money.

Let's keep it going!

- BioXide
 
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