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Founders' Update: Soft launch strategy

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I have always been taught that you never do anything on the client-side and to have everything server side.  Server side prediction helps to lessen the load; but I hope they don't push any critical & game changing checks to the client because it would be way to easy to hack.  Basically never trust the player; verify everything.  The question is when do you have to verify.  It is one of the challenges for combat in large scale MMOs, compared to a 5v5, 10v10 arena style game.

 

EvE slows down "time" when they have large fights, so that all the player data can be checked and verified by the server.

Obviously anything that can be done server side should be, but I thought that MMOs typically do movement and powers client side with server side validation. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Are there MMOs that handle these things on the server side?

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Obviously anything that can be done server side should be, but I thought that MMOs typically do movement and powers client side with server side validation. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Are there MMOs that handle these things on the server side?

All MMOs handle that server side most games use forms of prediction so even if you are slightly off on your client it still shows as if its moving fine. This works most of the time smoothing out the bumps from a pure server side movement the only issue is if the server lags you can end up with rubber banding as the sync moves too far away. In the end if you want a good experience run as if on client but check with server constantly too.


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- powers animating the second you press the key

- proper mass to mass interactions

- great fps

- no more hitching

- solid server perf when lots of players in area

- hit events in the animations

- sound hit events based on material types

- counter slash hit fx

- region based clients so we can turn the blood fx back on

 

Will this stuff be worked on in total before Throne War Module, or piece meal as you work through the rest of the game?

Edited by Ziz

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Bound to be a hot topic, but this is a vocalization of the standard process imo. The only difference being that usually right before release there's a wipe, so the only really big thing of note (and it really is a big one) is that you aren't wiping on "full release".

 

So long as the game continues to make steady progress and improve I've no complaints, especially if I get to keep what I sow while it happens. There will only be problems if it slowly becomes apparent that Crowfall is doing nothing more than splashing in the water before puffing out and drowning. Right now that doesn't seem to be the case, but a year from now when you're getting ready to "soft release" that's what a lot of people are going to be judging you on.

 

For those of us already in the hole we're just twiddling our thumbs wondering if two years from now Crowfall will be yet another unfulfilled dream that ate our money or if we'll find ourselves drawing tactical maps at work instead of, well, working.

Edited by Cerulean Shaman

Wearily do I sleep eternity away.

Without fear or haste, on bedding made of solitude and silence.

 

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Somewhat tangentially, I believe combat doesn't have to be this complex to be engaging.  I feel like CF combat is solidly inside the typical MMO box when it comes to combat.  Does it differentiate itself from other games?  Yes, subtly.  Is it revolutionary?  No, not really.

 

The go-to MMO template is overly complex and involves dozens of skills and endless combat interactions.  I'm convinced that the overly-complex systems (designed originally to compensate for lack of real-time interaction) are the biggest reasons that MMO combat takes so long to develop and is so hard to get right.

 

Some of the best combat I have played has been outside of the MMO sphere.  Look at your typical FPS:  you have a relatively small handful of weapons and interactions that can engage players for thousands of hours with no reward except more combat.  Heck, if you want an extreme case, look at agar.io and their extremely simple 2-3 interactions.  It's as simple as it gets, but it's still a rich interactive experience.

 

Crowfall is, thus far, marching down a well-worn (expensive!) path of overly complicated combat.  Many other studios have crashed on these rocks.  This isn't Crowfall's competitive differentiation, but it certainly dominates the conversation.  Yes, combat is crucially central and important.  It can't be ignored.  However, it isn't what makes the Crowfall vision special.

 

I wonder if the minimum viable product would benefit from a much simpler set of combat interactions than are currently planned.  I'd still play.

 

As it is CF feels fun and plays well but in a crowded market I think they need one more layer of ingredients to take this thing from Applebees Generican Quisine to something really memorable. In a game so heavily based on fighting, I think they need that. After that I think its how the make the world feel that is most important. 


I role play a wordsmith.

 

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It's always the right call to not push launch, how many games have done this and failed because of it over the years? More then I can remember, One suggestion I would make and some may not like it but, hold off on some of the Archetypes, I'd say shoot for 8 playable, and then work on the other 4-5 after launch. It will give you a better idea in terms of balancing, what players are enjoying most about classes, and what players are disliking about classes. It's also good for retention, while some might be upset because the Archetype they were most looking forward to is not there at launch it's a small price to pay for a great game. I'm excitedly awaiting the Myrmidon which I know will probably be one of the last classes out, but if you announced it would have to wait until 1-2 months after launch, I might be a bit disappointed but I would be understanding.

 

Just my 2 cents.

 

Also combat MUST be enjoyable, without good combat you have set yourselves up for failure, I'm extremely happy your team see's this and acknowledges it.

 

I also just caught up on more replies, if Archetpyes are not going to be an issue ignore what i said but if it does alleviate some time constraints i stand by holding some back.

Edited by Apok

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Is there going to be anything to differentiate between "Soft Launch" and "Hard Launch" other than the name and the state of the game? For example, will everyone have access to it? Will everything in the cash shop cost the same? Will VIP subscriptions elapse regularly or at a slower rate? If there's no difference between a soft launch and a hard launch, then it's just a name slapped on an unfinished game in order to make money off of it early.


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Is there going to be anything to differentiate between "Soft Launch" and "Hard Launch" other than the name and the state of the game? For example, will everyone have access to it? Will everything in the cash shop cost the same? Will VIP subscriptions elapse regularly or at a slower rate? If there's no difference between a soft launch and a hard launch, then it's just a name slapped on an unfinished game in order to make money off of it early.

 

I bet the difference will be in how aggressively they market the game. When they are ready for "hard launch" they will market it more heavily, and declare more loudly that it is "Live."

 

When implementing a soft launch strategy, a company releases a product with little or no marketing. A soft launch permits a company to react to customer demands quickly and effectively, introducing new features which will ultimately make the product successful. For companies with a limited marketing budget, a soft launch can allow them to focus on product development rather than marketing.
Edited by Jah

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We may never do a "retail" release (meaning that you can walk into gamestop and find a copy of Crowfall on the shelves.)  We aren't opposed to the idea, in theory, but right now we don't any way to get the product into retail; even the collector's edition is something that we are planning to handle ourselves.

 

Basically the idea of a soft launch is that we treat the game as a service and keep making it better over time.  We already think of it that way -- we have customers (you guys) and our job is to make you a great product.  Right now we are offering limited functionality and limited testing windows.  Over time, we will add MORE functionality and MORE windows until, at some point, we will be running tests 24 by 7 with a critical mass of content, features and (hopefully) players.  

 

At some point we will call it "done", but even then it won't be.  Not much will change from a day-to-day standpoint: we come in every day and make the game better, trying to keep you guys happy and to grow the community.   hopefully those efforts will make us enough money to keep improving the game for a decade or longer.  

 

At some point, we can call it "live", but that's not my priority.  My priority is to make you guys happy, and to be able to sustain the team financially.  "Live" is just a marketing announcement.

 

Todd

ACE - Crowfall

Is this something akin to Warframe? Where to the average gamer, the game is a finished product. But after installing it and agreeing to the game's ToS, you'll notice there is also a "Beta" agreement - claiming that the game is still unfinished. Even though you can play fully through all it's chapters and so forth. 

 

If it does come to that, I assume we get our backer rewards when you all decide you're ready for persistence and no more wipes. Just looking for some clarifications. I'm ok with the idea. I kind of assumed that's how it would be anyhow with all the promises of different Alpha and Beta stages. You keep doing your jobs as devs, and focus on making the best game possible with your ideas that we all love. And we as the community will keep doing our jobs and spread the word for you. Team effort!


 

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Not joking, KS changed how MMOs are made, many of those MMOs are challenging what a MMO is, maybe its time the idea of launch is changed as well. Ive never seen a MMO as done, they are always evolving, which is one of the things that makes them so much more interesting and retentive. Never stop learning, never stop changing. I love it. 


I role play a wordsmith.

 

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Is this something akin to Warframe? Where to the average gamer, the game is a finished product. But after installing it and agreeing to the game's ToS, you'll notice there is also a "Beta" agreement - claiming that the game is still unfinished. Even though you can play fully through all it's chapters and so forth.

 

Warframe will likely never be "finished" in the traditional sense. It's more like a complete game with free and substantial DLC forever, which I believe contributes heavily to its success. It's not even that great of a game, but the fact that there's always something new means I keep picking it up. I hope that ACE stays engaged with Crowfall in a similar manner. Iterative additions over time add up and keep players engaged. It's the best option for a small team working on a big game.

 

The alternative is for ACE to "finish" Crowfall in a couple years and then sit back, fix bugs here and there, and talk to people on the forums some. I don't think that's sufficient these days. If you want sustained growth then your game also needs to keep growing.

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We had to decide whether we could call combat and movement "done", and move on.

 

The answer is: they aren't, and we can't.  The ripple effect is that we need to spend more time on them, and that means NOT moving on to the other stuff.  The other stuff will come in later as a result.

 

Todd

ACE

Good, cause I agree with you, combat is not even close to being where I feel it needs to be.....I am glad you guys are delaying release to get this right.

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Good, cause I agree with you, combat is not even close to being where I feel it needs to be.....I am glad you guys are delaying release to get this right.

 

Yep, if it came out as is people would likely be like "thats it". It needs that extra something to elevate. Its good, but its not there yet. Glad they recognize this.


I role play a wordsmith.

 

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ACE needs to team up with Bernie Sanders. Keep throwing money guys, this sinking ship may float.

If they tried floating it for real sure, but truth is this thing is still is dry dock.

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