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Let's Talk about Issue #0

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Weylor
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Let's Talk about Issue #0

If for no other reason than it hasn't been talked about by devs or community members. It's close...has to be. I don't post a lot but I've been scouring the forums for information and I feel like it really can't be much further out.

Reading the End of Year update again, I noticed some things I didn't before.

Per Tannim, as of 12/21, "The island is our issue-0 char zone. It is ready. The avatar creator is fully prototyped for costumes." Comment #57. So whatever behind-the-scenes-tech issues there are causing the delay, it's not the chat zone or the chargen. They are both ready to go.

I mean, the devs were convinced it was ready up until the week before the Fall 2018 goal, apparently.

I'm sure after the update letting us know the Fall 2018 goal fell-through they took some much needed R&R so I doubt anyone would have expected anything from them for at least a few weeks after the Fall 2018 goal. A few different times I think different devs mentioned a 3 month delay figure (in the End of Year post) and we are just about there. They haven't shared any updates but I wouldn't expect them to...I honestly just expect them to drop the release on us unexpectedly with no hint that it is coming.

Everyone is ansy but unless they are playing us like a fiddle and great con-artists, it really can't be long. Which is exciting.

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Given what they've said, they

Given what they've said, they NEED to get the game out the door in the next few months, or they'll run out of what little money they have. They've wanted to get second chance going for a good while, but haven't had the opportunity to, because of the promise to only give us Second Chance when they have something substantial to hand us.

They're on a time crunch, and not just from player impatience.

An infinite number of tries doesn't mean that any one of those tries will succeed. I could flip an infinite number of pennies an infinite number of times and, barring genuine randomness, they will never come up "Waffles".

Dark Cleric
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Well, they need to get the

Well, they need to get the chargen* out the door in the next few months....though, I'm sure that's what you meant. We all WISH the game was ready to drop in the next few months XD I think someone on the dev team had said they could technically last into 2020 if they had to...?

Compulsively clicking the refresh button until the next update.

desviper
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Let's talk about Issue 0

Let's talk about Issue 0 after Second Chance, and let's talk about that when it's announced, eh ;)

"A delayed game is eventually good, a rushed game is forever bad"

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Weylor
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desviper wrote:
desviper wrote:

Let's talk about Issue 0 after Second Chance, and let's talk about that when it's announced, eh ;)

So, don't talk about anything until its announced and/or released? No sense in commenting anywhere on these forums I guess.

Also, Issue #0 will drop before Second Chance. Wouldn't make sense to open Second Chance without Issue #0...there would be nothing new to get people to donate.

desviper
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My understanding is that

My understanding is that Second Chance is to get to Issue 0, which is more than Chargen.

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warlocc
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Rough estimate for something

Rough estimate for something to be released, from what little info I have, is six months. Maybe less. They're understandably afraid of hard dates right now.

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Dark Cleric wrote:
Dark Cleric wrote:

Well, they need to get the chargen* out the door in the next few months....though, I'm sure that's what you meant. We all WISH the game was ready to drop in the next few months XD I think someone on the dev team had said they could technically last into 2020 if they had to...?

Technically speaking, the Issue 0 charge will be The Game, just in a very cut down version. The intent by MWM is to add on (or enable) more and more systems and features as time goes on until they reach the what is needed for Issue 1.

avelworldcreator
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blacke4dawn has the right of

blacke4dawn has the right of it.
Right now our necessary release goals for issue #0 are:
* A player login system for online play. We could punt on this one and let people just create and save characters (for now) locally. You can already run around the island (not much to do there yet, but still...)
* Some UI tweaks.
* Set up some kind of character select/lobby/etc. stage.
* Chat. A server design is in the works. This connects to the login stuff of course.We might get something basic here until we get the one with the features we desire in place.
* And a basic installer to get things started, at least at the play-tester stage.

This is what I know off of my head ,and there may be things I'm missing, but that's the gist of things right now for Issue #0. Hope this helps.

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Thank you avelworldcreator

Thank you avelworldcreator for not hinting at when Issue 0 might release. Let it be ambiguous for now so that people don't flip out if it doesn't come out when they expect it to. :)

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All I have to say about this

All I have to say about this is:

https://youtu.be/Zhw0eBCVXR4

Weylor
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Atama wrote:
Atama wrote:

Thank you avelworldcreator for not hinting at when Issue 0 might release. Let it be ambiguous for now so that people don't flip out if it doesn't come out when they expect it to. :)

I agree with this...but there are some nagging things that bother me. In multiple posts this year people have been praising the devs for the increased communication we asked for. But I'm over here wondering what they are talking about because there hasn't been a single peep about it since December. Literally zero communicstion about it. Not to mention they said they were delayed 3 months by the repository failure (whether that 3 months meant from the time of the crash or from the time of the post we dont know) and it's been 3 months, or more, and not a peep. So, sadly, no...their communication hasn't, of yet, improved.

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Weylor wrote:
Weylor wrote:
Atama wrote:

Thank you avelworldcreator for not hinting at when Issue 0 might release. Let it be ambiguous for now so that people don't flip out if it doesn't come out when they expect it to. :)

I agree with this...but there are some nagging things that bother me. In multiple posts this year people have been praising the devs for the increased communication we asked for. But I'm over here wondering what they are talking about because there hasn't been a single peep about it since December. Literally zero communicstion about it. Not to mention they said they were delayed 3 months by the repository failure (whether that 3 months meant from the time of the crash or from the time of the post we dont know) and it's been 3 months, or more, and not a peep. So, sadly, no...their communication hasn't, of yet, improved.

If you look above to Avel’s post, you will see what is being worked on right now for Issue 0.


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warlocc
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Weylor wrote:
Weylor wrote:
Atama wrote:

Thank you avelworldcreator for not hinting at when Issue 0 might release. Let it be ambiguous for now so that people don't flip out if it doesn't come out when they expect it to. :)

I agree with this...but there are some nagging things that bother me. In multiple posts this year people have been praising the devs for the increased communication we asked for. But I'm over here wondering what they are talking about because there hasn't been a single peep about it since December. Literally zero communicstion about it. Not to mention they said they were delayed 3 months by the repository failure (whether that 3 months meant from the time of the crash or from the time of the post we dont know) and it's been 3 months, or more, and not a peep. So, sadly, no...their communication hasn't, of yet, improved.

It has, quite a bit. Granted we're not seeing that info we want in the weekly updates, you kind of have to search the forums a bit for replies, but it's there.
I've also been working with Zack to get more organization of resources and PR materials in the background, so hopefully we'll see more interesting stuff as a result of that too.

Bottom line is, this year is gonna be a much better year overall.

Dark Cleric
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warlocc wrote:
warlocc wrote:
Weylor wrote:
Atama wrote:

Thank you avelworldcreator for not hinting at when Issue 0 might release. Let it be ambiguous for now so that people don't flip out if it doesn't come out when they expect it to. :)

I agree with this...but there are some nagging things that bother me. In multiple posts this year people have been praising the devs for the increased communication we asked for. But I'm over here wondering what they are talking about because there hasn't been a single peep about it since December. Literally zero communicstion about it. Not to mention they said they were delayed 3 months by the repository failure (whether that 3 months meant from the time of the crash or from the time of the post we dont know) and it's been 3 months, or more, and not a peep. So, sadly, no...their communication hasn't, of yet, improved.

It has, quite a bit. Granted we're not seeing that info we want in the weekly updates, you kind of have to search the forums a bit for replies, but it's there.
I've also been working with Zack to get more organization of resources and PR materials in the background, so hopefully we'll see more interesting stuff as a result of that too.

Bottom line is, this year is gonna be a much better year overall.

If you cant find current info on where MWM stands within a minute or two of searching then there is a disconnect. No new fan is going to be able to read through every post and all the comments/discussions to every post and piece together the details to understand where CoT is currently at. That's a problem. That kind of information shouldn't be a scavenger hunt.

I hope this year will prove to be better than last year; from a fan's perspective that's a low bar.

Compulsively clicking the refresh button until the next update.

warlocc
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Dark Cleric wrote:
Dark Cleric wrote:

If you cant find current info on where MWM stands within a minute or two of searching then there is a disconnect. No new fan is going to be able to read through every post and all the comments/discussions to every post and piece together the details to understand where CoT is currently at. That's a problem. That kind of information shouldn't be a scavenger hunt.

I hope this year will prove to be better than last year; from a fan's perspective that's a low bar.

I absolutely agree. That's why I pointed out specifically that I'm working with Zack on that, it's gonna be my thing. It's slower going than I'd like, my schedule makes it tough to be around while the bulk of the others are. After next week I'm switching to days and should be able to touch base with everyone a whole lot more. I'm hoping to get a good FAQ or something put together; something presentable and in one centralized location.

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I've just realized one of our

I've just realized one of our reporting problems is that we often just report what we have done, what we plan to do, and even our failures, but not what currently needs to be done. So far I think I'm the only one who's actually done that recently. One of the issues is it is often difficult to get a definite time frame on how long a given necessary task will take to be completed. Each step requires deliberation as to the requirements and sometimes those requirements aren't accurately evaluated so "back to the drawing board" we go. This makes estimating a release date difficult, if not impossible, at this time.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

I've just realized one of our reporting problems is that we often just report what we have done, what we plan to do, and even our failures, but not what currently needs to be done. So far I think I'm the only one who's actually done that recently. One of the issues is it is often difficult to get a definite time frame on how long a given necessary task will take to be completed. Each step requires deliberation as to the requirements and sometimes those requirements aren't accurately evaluated so "back to the drawing board" we go. This makes estimating a release date difficult, if not impossible, at this time.

That's completely understandable. Not to mention having an all-volunteer workforce who can be interrupted by real life matters at any time.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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The post by AWC was the first

The post by AWC was the first I'd seen of those next steps / remaining work toward Issue 0, and it was very helpful. Whenever "trust us, we're working on it"-types of comments get substituted for "trust us & verify" project status updates, public disappointment is likely coming at the next release date. That, I think, was the main reason for the collective sad surprise at the end of last year.

If warlocc's efforts help give the community a better sense of such things, in a more official place, and in a more ongoing manner, then the general opinion will almost certainly shift heavily positive. Delays don't hurt so much when they're predictable. Successes get more credit when they are, too.

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One of the hallmarks of

One of the hallmarks of professional software development is defining a release date.
Then you identify all of the components that you want to be included in the release.
Then you identify which of those components are critical to a successful release.
Then you walk everything backwards from that release date to see what is reasonably achievable (cutting features from the release that are not critical).
Then you step back and look at what is scheduled and evaluate what will be delivered. Can you live with the plan? Does it still meet your original concept? Do you have to shift the release date or change the concept?

The fact that AWC's depiction of the process does not or has not followed what I have described above should frame people's expectations here. CoT is a passion project fueled by people that want to work on it (and not necessarily people that must work on it). There is a difference between working towards an ideal concept and working towards a deadline. MWM is a volunteer organization and not a professional (in the sense that they are not paid to do it) endeavor, so that means they do not behave in a traditional manner. It essentially boils down to us (the fans) having to accept that we can only patiently wait for them to release something.

Sometimes not knowing what questions you need to ask is more damaging than not asking the question.

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There are a million of those

There are a million of those "cost, time, quality - pick two" diagrams out there but the following one probably best fits with MWM's current scenario:

In our case we're in a weird situation where "time" is a sort of non-factor. On the given triangle we'd be positioned squarely at the center of the bottom line of the triangle.

In the real world corporate backers would demand a tighter schedule with more deterministic release dates (the "time" part of the triangle). But because MWM is an all-volunteer group with no hardwired release date requirements they are basically open-ended and could theoretically keep tinkering at their "game" forever without releasing anything. Sure that would suck for all involved, but again they are far less restricted by any "time factor" than most normal real world projects.

This may seem like an "ideal situation" from a creative Dev point of view but the fact that there's very little pushing MWM from the time direction makes it very hard to motivate them to make benchmarkable progress. I'm not faulting the MWM Devs uniquely here - the lack of hard deadlines would make ANY set of Devs become "demotivated" to actually finish projects in a timely manner.

So we can all say "we want to wait until MWM has everything perfect" before they release anything but the real problem becomes finding anything to adequately "force" them to release anything in the first place. Time will eventually NOT be on MWM's side here.

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I'm aware of that process,

I'm not trying to be snide or argumentative here, but I suspect something I said has been misinterpreted or misunderstood.

I was simplifying and I was focusing on the issue of our communications process and not our development process
* We HAVE set internal release dates.
* We HAVE set definite release goals.
* We HAVE set the components we want in the release.
* We HAVE identified critical release components.
* We HAVE evaluated what components we can live without to meet our release goals.
* And we HAVE adjusted dates based on the information gathered.

The reasons other organizations set specific dates is a budgetary one and has nothing to do with actual production. They have to consider salary matters; we do not. Our budgetary considerations consist of funding for specific tools (and most of that is paid for out of the various team member's own pockets) and certain necessary services such internet and server availability. We DO have time limit on our present funds though and we are continuously evaluating our position. Many of the members of our team, despite working as volunteers, have professional backgrounds. We are aware of the various methods of production available (and there quite a few models that can be considered) and we are continuously evaluating them for applicability. To make matters even more complicated we are also having to consider changing technologies. We've had to change our target engine several times because of either necessary critical features or because of serious engine bugs. This creates a dependency on an outside organization for scheduling as we have to go through an evaluation period when this happens. No organization is able to set all target dates with absolute certainty.

You are aware that we work under an NDA and what can be disclosed is limited don't you? Anyways, I know what's going on because I'm the guy in charge of the final release product and its composition. But so does our project lead. Don't assume that just because we aren't disclosing some piece of information that something doesn't exit. We have a definite project roadmap.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

I'm not trying to be snide or argumentative here, but I suspect something I said has been misinterpreted or misunderstood.

I was simplifying and I was focusing on the issue of our communications process and not our development process
* We HAVE set internal release dates.
* We HAVE set definite release goals.
* We HAVE set the components we want in the release.
* We HAVE identified critical release components.
* We HAVE evaluated what components we can live without to meet our release goals.
* And we HAVE adjusted dates based on the information gathered.

The reasons other organizations set specific dates is a budgetary one and has nothing to do with actual production. They have to consider salary matters; we do not. Our budgetary considerations consist of funding for specific tools (and most of that is paid for out of the various team member's own pockets) and certain necessary services such internet and server availability. We DO have time limit on our present funds though and we are continuously evaluating our position. Many of the members of our team, despite working as volunteers, have professional backgrounds. We are aware of the various methods of production available (and there quite a few models that can be considered) and we are continuously evaluating them for applicability. To make matters even more complicated we are also having to consider changing technologies. We've had to change our target engine several times because of either necessary critical features or because of serious engine bugs. This creates a dependency on an outside organization for scheduling as we have to go through an evaluation period when this happens. No organization is able to set all target dates with absolute certainty.

You are aware that we work under an NDA and what can be disclosed is limited don't you? Anyways, I know what's going on because I'm the guy in charge of the final release product and its composition. But so does our project lead. Don't assume that just because we aren't disclosing some piece of information that something doesn't exit. We have a definite project roadmap.

I never actually doubted that MWM has its own internal schedules and plans. I'm simply pointing out you're not really beholden to anyone to actually MEET any of it. Who's going to shut you down if you don't release anything tomorrow or a year from now? That's the issue here.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Oh, that wasn't directed at

Oh, that wasn't directed at you. We do have time constraints though based on our remaining funds. We are under pressure to get an Issue #0 out before our funds are exhausted. We do have some additional sources of revenue but they aren't sufficient for the long term.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Oh, that wasn't directed at you. We do have time constraints though based on our remaining funds. We are under pressure to get an Issue #0 out before our funds are exhausted. We do have some additional sources of revenue but they aren't sufficient for the long term.

Again I'm aware you have been "masterfully juggling" the initial lump of money you got from the Kickstarter for over 5 years now. Well over four figures of that lump was my contribution to the effort.

I will again simply contend that the "outside time factors" that would normally drive many (most?) software development efforts is, for better or worse, absent from this scenario with MWM. Yes, again I assume you have internal schedules and budget plans - I'd be shocked if you didn't. And I'm not even necessarily asking MWM to "tell us everything" about that because I realize things simply don't/can't work that way. Beyond all that you still technically have a huge amount of flexibility in being able to release "whenever you basically want to" which is something most game developers do NOT get to do.

While that sounds like a gigantic advantage the DOWNSIDE to that is that it'll justify your ability to DELAY the release of anything for whatever reason good or bad. Without outside motivation to make you commit you can in essence stall forever. I'm simply pointing out that you will never get to a point where everything is "PERFECT" so your toughest managerial task is going to be making the decision to release something when no one is FORCING you to. I frankly don't envy you that decision at all.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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You understand us very well.

You understand us very well. The thing that is forcing us is pride and the desire to play the game ASAP! The last is a pretty strong motivator, IMHO.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

You understand us very well. The thing that is forcing us is pride and the desire to play the game ASAP! The last is a pretty strong motivator, IMHO.

I've also never doubted you've wanted the game released ASAP. You'll just need to get to a point where you know it's "not perfect" but merely "good enough" and then have to accept that you'll be able to fix/add things after launch. Knowing at what point to "pull that trigger" is usually the hardest part of any software project and (counter-intuitively) having outside corporate masters dictate release dates actually tends to HELP with that.

Freedom from control also means you can't blame anyone else for your mistakes. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I assume that there’s a

I assume that there’s a deadline for Issue 0 release, though that deadline hasn’t been announced and is probably a dynamic one, not a hard date. But development can’t go forever, because...

1) Despite volunteer efforts there are costs. Software tools to buy, equipment to maintain and replace when it malfunctions, ISP fees, licensing fees to renew, etc.

2) There is a finite pool of money that won’t last forever. There is income through donations and store sales but I imagine that’s not a lot. Volunteers spend pocket money but these aren’t eccentric billionaires bringing a project to life with vast sums to play with.

3) A real influx of cash won’t come until the second crowd funding drive, and MWM will not do that until Issue 0 is released and people can see they’re pledging money to a real thing that exists and not just a dream.

So based on all that, I imagine there is a real “release or bust” deadline, even if it’s a nebulous one.

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Atama wrote:
Atama wrote:

I assume that there’s a deadline for Issue 0 release, though that deadline hasn’t been announced and is probably a dynamic one, not a hard date. But development can’t go forever, because...

1) Despite volunteer efforts there are costs. Software tools to buy, equipment to maintain and replace when it malfunctions, ISP fees, licensing fees to renew, etc.

2) There is a finite pool of money that won’t last forever. There is income through donations and store sales but I imagine that’s not a lot. Volunteers spend pocket money but these aren’t eccentric billionaires bringing a project to life with vast sums to play with.

3) A real influx of cash won’t come until the second crowd funding drive, and MWM will not do that until Issue 0 is released and people can see they’re pledging money to a real thing that exists and not just a dream.

So based on all that, I imagine there is a real “release or bust” deadline, even if it’s a nebulous one.

Again I've never doubted MWM has "plans" but they've also been shoe-stringing things along for years as well. I'm just saying even at this late date if the "final release date" of Issue 0 slips a few weeks or even a few months it probably wouldn't be absolutely catastrophic. They've go no third-party retail entanglements other than the possible use of game cards which sounds like something they might organize AFTER Issue 0 launches regardless.

Bottomline I'm sure they've already given themselves plenty of room to remain "nebulous" and still plan to release Issue 0 with at least a few months to spare before any serious "drop-dead" date would actually stop them cold. Remember we were -supposed- to have gotten Issue 0 months ago and yet MWM still seems to be inching forward. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I for one, appreciate that

I for one, appreciate that there's no oligarch breathing down MWMs throat to make Q2 divident whatnots :p

I mean there's 100s to 1000s of fans breathing down but since we can't pull the plug....yeah

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It would wind up as some

It would wind up as some early access bullshit if they had one, no doubt.

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The frequent venom thrown

The frequent venom thrown around this forum for early access while simultaneously praising a kickstarter project is a bit hilarious.

They are both tools to try to circumvent the traditional publisher overlord funding model, and have a ton of similarity. They both have had high profile bad apples that didn't deliver on promises.

They've both had their share of impressive success stories as well. Steam EA and kickstarter open up opportunities for dev studios but can't really be blamed if the studios act shady or fall apart for various reasons.

Some games are released half baked but that isn't due to early access itself. AAA publisher funded titles have notoriously been doing that for some time, and have had some major titles doing that recently.

Atama
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TheInternetJanitor wrote:
TheInternetJanitor wrote:

The frequent venom thrown around this forum for early access while simultaneously praising a kickstarter project is a bit hilarious.

They are both tools to try to circumvent the traditional publisher overlord funding model, and have a ton of similarity. They both have had high profile bad apples that didn't deliver on promises.

They've both had their share of impressive success stories as well. Steam EA and kickstarter open up opportunities for dev studios but can't really be blamed if the studios act shady or fall apart for various reasons.

Some games are released half baked but that isn't due to early access itself. AAA publisher funded titles have notoriously been doing that for some time, and have had some major titles doing that recently.

Agreed. There’s nothing inherently wrong with either one. It’s all about implementation and execution. Either can screw up or succeed, it’s all in how you do it.

Early access has been getting a lot of flak lately but it can work.

Brutum
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It's because of the metric

It's because of the metric ass tons of garbage that has been flooding into the market lately. Half of my favorite games were early access at some point.