DEV BLOG Leaving Alpha & Early Access: some clarifications. :)

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Hummel-o-War, Jul 22, 2020.

  1. Hummel-o-War

    Hummel-o-War Administrator
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    Dear Galactic Survivalists.

    We would like to address some of the concerns we have seen in the comments on our initial ‘leaving Early Access/Alpha’ announcement.

    20200721214645_1.jpg

    The reasons?

    Plain and simply: We want to leave Early Access on our 5th anniversary release, because we are confident that the game is now in a shape, where it no longer needs that supporting wheels tag. We are not running out of money (most read concern) and there are no dark entities that are forcing us to do that (lots of funny theories :D) .

    On the contrary, we are sure the game is playable in quality, although not free of issues, that is simply not reflected anymore by how the meaning of an Early Access tag is understood or talked about even nowadays.

    As a consequence, leaving Early Access also means to remove the “Alpha” tags, as they are somehow tied to this stage. But there needs to be some sort of new versioning. While we did not want to proceed with simply counting further up or adding fancy letters, the version counter had no other choice as to being reset to 1.

    Why no Beta?

    For us, the “Alpha” tag is THE visual statement of the Early Access stage of the game. So it has to go, because we are leaving Early Access. Simple as that.

    Of course, in the classic software development, there is a definitive meaning for Alpha, Beta, Full Release, where you put in features in Alpha, fix bugs in Beta and do not change anything relevant (because it might again break your stuff) and then go to a full release. But this is not “classic software development” for cars, medical equipment, elevators or else. And even in the so called A+ Game development, there are literally only very, very few games that let all interested players play a “Game in development”. At least if it’s not 80-90% done already, although those stages are called Alpha or Beta often as well.

    We also do not have an investor we need to “develop for” or which pushes us to a certain stage. Eleon Games has successfully bootstrapped the game 100% on its own up to this point, while working with and for the community that helped to actually shape the game a lot. And we possibly could go on like this for years.

    That being said, and because we realized that putting in Beta or Dev or Post-Alpha or any other term would in no way have avoided any discussion on that, but also leading to the same expectation discussions, strange reasoning (no, we do not simply want to avoid the 13!) or even conspiracy theories. So we simply have chosen to go with a plain number and deal with the resulting feedback by simply addressing your concerns.

    As we always do.

    Missing features.. ?

    Leaving Early Access DOES NOT mean this is the “final release” or finished by any means, because, as detailed above and in the initial announcement, everything else will literally not change a lot.

    In our definition of the Alpha stage, it has had the purpose of bringing in all the features that define the basics and primarily the larger technical basis of the game. Starting from the Database, large planets up to the galaxy addition in Alpha 12.

    This type or ‘grade’ of complex, code-breaking features is now completed, which contributed to the decision of leaving Early Access as well.

    We are aware that there are dozens of features that are not yet added. All those left out features will be the main context of the upcoming “Post Alpha” content releases.

    In the rare case we discuss a feature of the grade and technical complexity of the galaxy for being included in the game, we hope you bear with us adding additional fun to the game on a larger scale even AFTER the version change. ;)

    ..via paid-DLC?

    Because we are reading this quite frequently: There are no current plans to release additional DLC packs anytime soon or in the near future.

    We also do not have plans to dive into the Cosmetic-Micotransactions topic of crazy dragon helmets and unicorn suits. If we get to know that there would be a common agreement on the possibility of having that, with the context of supporting the development, we might consider that. If you want to support the game development right at the moment, simply gift some game copies to your friends and help them to make their first steps in Empyrion. ;)

    Also: if you bought the game at any stage, you will not have to re-purchase it for any of the upcoming releases. This has always been the case, and this will not change as well.

    Roadmap?

    This is possibly one of the toughest topics to deal with.

    We have always tried to approach an open development policy, which means developing for the community. Being the small team that we are, it is also extremely risky to lay down a roadmap, which promises features in a timed manner we then might not be able to deliver at that point in time. And this is more likely than the other way round. But we are not alone in that struggle. Even game companies in our genre with several times the amount of programmers in one team alone, have had to scrap their public schedules or do not give any new ones anymore.

    But we of course know that giving no info is as bad as giving false leading info. So we are currently trying hard to carve out a development plan and a rough “feature list” for the next content update after the version change - as the anniversary release, being so close to Alpha 12, will be merely gadgets and fixing stuff.

    There are a few topics floating around already, and we hope to be able to release some of the info just after the version change in early August.

    Make good use of the forum topics and suggestion areas, as these often help us to find interesting ideas and of course your opinion on possible features!

    Until then, we hope we could ease some of your sorrows and explain the reasoning of the move we made.

    Best,
    Empyrion Dev Team
    Eleon Games
     

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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  2. ravien_ff

    ravien_ff Rear Admiral

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    Thank you for the update! Hopefully this helps some feel a little better about this move.
     
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  3. Germanicus

    Germanicus Rear Admiral

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    ...and soften up the hardened Shells of those who feared all is going "to Hell" with the release of V 1.0

    Btw., any chance of a Certain Astro Mech - Companion?;):p
     
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  4. RazzleWin

    RazzleWin Rear Admiral

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    Thank you that helped a lot. You answered many questions I hadn't even asked yet in my head.

    I still want a trading station with a front door it does sound like you can afford one. ;):p
     
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  5. mr_road

    mr_road Lieutenant

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    Thanks for the update!

    For me a raod map does not promise things, it suggests a priority. But, some people will always take it as a promise and although I am frustrated by the lack of one, I understand why there is not one. Even if you just said what 3 things you are wokring on now would be nice. No release dates just what is in progress.

    Just gifted the game to two friends last week, getting them on board ready for release. :)

    Thanks you again for the clarification!
     
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  6. elmo

    elmo Captain

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    Thank you for clarifying things. Looking forward to more years playing this game.
     
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  7. sulferon

    sulferon Lieutenant

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    The road map doesn't have to be linked to dates. It doesn't even have to contain everything. Only something like - we are now considering such and such functions, not the fact that they will turn out - but we are looking at them in the current process.

    However, perhaps then it will not be a road map... well, it's just curiosity.
     
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  8. Gordholm

    Gordholm Moderator

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    but - but i am a "dark entitie" look at my Avatar ;P

    joke beside :
    Thank you very much for clarification i hope it will be read and understood by alot of people. One of the Concerns from actuall Players is, that new buyer will think this is a final finished and polished game. You might should do a statement from 5 of August on the Shopsite so also new buyer will be informed that this game will still get frequent updates.

    congrats btw

    Patrick
     
    #8
  9. jlego

    jlego Captain

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    I wasn’t worried that development would cease or that the game would descend into DLC-hell, but I’m still concerned about the perception of potential purchasers on Steam (as I mentioned in the other thread). I think that, to avoid large. numbers of refunds and bad reviews, then in lieu of a beta tag, it’ll have to be clear at the top of the store page that it’s still in development.
     
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  10. Germanicus

    Germanicus Rear Admiral

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    You are aware that there are Game-Companies out there, who have Employees who have nothing else to do but scour the I-net for open laid Development Plans of other Gaming Companies? Only to Steal Ideas. Therefore not showing a Roadmap is a wise decision IMO.
     
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  11. Germanicus

    Germanicus Rear Admiral

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    Not DARK enough;):D
     
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  12. sulferon

    sulferon Lieutenant

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    The modern game industry is characterized primarily by a crisis of ideas. Because everything was stolen before us. Half of my wishes for "wanted features" are honestly taken straight from KSP, the second from the crowd of shooters, the third... Yes, I don't even remember how many games to list that have them.

    We must be talking about very different things.
     
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  13. Germanicus

    Germanicus Rear Admiral

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    No. Not Really. I stated just my Opinion. No underlying other reasons.
     
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  14. Moobear

    Moobear Ensign

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    I was not to worried about this step but I noticed alot of people did get concerned, this post alone clarifies alot for them I thank you for that.

    greetings Moobear.
     
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  15. nottrox ¯\ (ツ) /¯

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    I just hope that you do not plan to go to V1 without adding this block that should have been added hundred of years ago.o_O (Actually Alpha 10)
    As long as this block is missing this game will always be an Alpha!;)
    I
    mage of the gap:
    https://empyriononline.com/threads/blockshapes-menu-and-new-shapes.49013/#post-307456

    3D model:
    https://empyriononline.com/threads/blockshapes-menu-and-new-shapes.49013/page-7#post-311737


    For the protocol: https://empyriononline.com/threads/game-survey-2020.92226/page-3#post-385886
    Protocol is kinda long by now.
     
    #15
  16. Pear78

    Pear78 Commander

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    "We want to leave Early Access on our 5th anniversary release, because we are confident that the game is now in a shape, where it no longer needs that supporting wheels tag."
    it's a disclaiming tag. people will expect a finished product when it's released.

    I urge you guys to reconsider naming it anything else than released, because I would hate to see this game fail, like many other great ideas failed in this exact same way before. Epectations is the key word. People expect something else when a game is released than you can offer at the moment (or fix in a few weeks).
     
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  17. eLLe

    eLLe Captain

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    Whenever you are afraid of something it happens to you. My PC died three days ago. The chance to fix it or buy another one is 5%. Someone will say enough and I realistically, no way.

    What saddens me the most is that all this time I spent in this game (2300 hours) will be just one nice memory of something I’ve been waiting for my entire player life. Sadness grips me when I remember that I will not be able to enjoy everything that Eleon has in store for us in the future but such is life. They will always have my support and as I sometimes get some money that will not endanger my normal life, I will give others a few copies of this game. Just to see what I enjoyed for so many hours.

    Good luck to you all in real life as well as within this game.
    Emyprion, the best game of all time.
     
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  18. Kassonnade

    Kassonnade Rear Admiral

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    Now just be afraid of becoming very rich suddenly? Who knows...

    On the topic : instead of statements, why not release mystery pictures from time to time, to have players try to guess what is being worked on ?
     
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  19. Ganelon

    Ganelon Commander

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    I'm cool with whatever you call it. Release... ver. 1.0... or some obscure sitcom character name from the 80's. Empyrion ver. Les Nessman.

    This is an indie game. People that buy indie games have an expectation for both intriguing gameplay designs that do not fall into more mainstream offerings, as well as being rough around some of the edges.

    I bought this game a couple of months out of the gate. I dug where it was going and set it aside for a year. Coming back then, I was blown away by the progress. So, the name means nothing to me. EGS is in short list of games I just keep playing. As long as you keep adding cool stuff to it, I'll be here.

    How you carry out the marketing and sale of the product to new players is just YOUR business, and I am not going to armchair quarterback when I don't have your analytics and balance sheet.
     
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  20. Brimstone

    Brimstone Rear Admiral

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    This. My concern always wasn't so much that Eleon was abandoning the game, as that future sales loss due to expectations might impact the ability to continue long-term. You need to be very clear on the store page that the game is functional but still in active development. Some kind of general roadmap- not specific dates or details- of intended additions there would probably be good. I totally get not being specific, I've seen other indie devs get burned with that.. but as you've just seen with this announcement, too little information may be worse than too much ;)
     
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