Release plan


#1

Hi everyone

I have been thinking about how I might release Ambience, and it’s probably quite different to how many developers approach things these days. It seems like something worth bringing up here, I’d like to try to be fairly open about my plans for the game. Also, the release plan actually impacts how I design the game, so it needs to be locked in soon.

My current plan is to do a small, private alpha/beta test release cycle. It would be invite only, probably less than 100-200 testers. That will start when the game has enough content to actually be fun to play, will slowly roll out to more and more testers, and go on for quite some time, until I feel that it is a complete and relatively bug free game.

From there it might spend a very short time in Steam Early Access to iron out any final bugs, or it might go straight to full release on Steam as version 1.0.

Either way, from that point on, I will not be adding any new features to that release, but will only fix bugs, and add support for any new hardware or third party functionality that makes sense down the track. But no content will be added in any further updates to that released version of the game.

Then, if/when I do feel it could do with more content and major improvements, I will start working on 2.0, or maybe even a different game using the Ambience engine. That will be a separate application, world saves will be incompatible with 1.0, and you will need to pay to buy this totally new game.

What’s your immediate reaction to this plan? I’ve got lots of really great reasons for doing it this way, but I’d like to hear your thoughts before I explain. Thanks!


#2

I find this to be a great plan! I have a lot of time for this kind of stuff, so at some point I’d like to help with anything I can. :slight_smile:

I do have the question if the version numbers will be like Blockheads: 1.0, 1.1 (so on), or it’ll be different, like Minecraft being pre versions, Alpha, Beta, Official Versions so on from 1.0 all the way to 1.11.2 (and from then on).

Might be a little confusing there, but I think the question is fair.


#3

I think since the game will be capable of handling mods, it might not be a terrible idea. Otherwise, I’d recommend that you include some new small features after the first initial release of the game to attract new/existing customers.

But that is all up to you. :slight_smile:


#4

Interesting plan, I have nothing against it. Sounds good to me. :slightly_smiling_face:


#5

This sounds like a pretty good plan. It is actually similar to Transcendence in that the early release and initial game are free, although he keeps updating the initial game, and that subsequent games (like your 2.0) are at a cost but using the same engine.

Modding has been mentioned for this game. How would that work with multiple versions and would you continually release new versions as you expand the game and what the engine can do?

Also I suggest the debug/log file for the game for at least your initial releases so that testers have a file they can send you to debug any problems. It’s super useful.

Again, check out Transcendence by Kronosaur Productions. They’ve been doing something very similar for over a decade.

Still excited to see where this goes. Initial previews look promising.


#6

Thanks for the replies :slight_smile: it sounds like you aren’t totally against the idea, which is a great sign.

It works quite well with the mod support I think, because it means the game isn’t going to be constantly changing, and mod creators won’t have to keep fixing their mods as a result. I will probably put out minor updates that improve support for mods along the way. But if I’m not fundamentally changing the game to add big new content updates, then it should make things a lot easier, and increase the number of mods available as a result.


#7

I guess you have this plan for a reason. I would like to know your motives if its ok.

About my feelings, new stuff in a game you love and play for a long time is always great. Make it with from developer or mod community, it doesnt matter much. But i guess at the end of the day how i feel this kind of development strategy highly depends if i feel the game is complete (even if with mods) or not.

Nevertheless, i have great confidence in you, since been playing bh and following you on twitter for a long time. Whatever you do it will be good, whether i choose to play or not.


#8

I’m still confused as to what the version numbers will be like.

I’m asking if they go in order like Minecraft, basically like Beta then Alpha, then the “official” versions, or like Blockheads just 1.0, 1.0.1, 1.1 (so on).


#9

For testing it’ll be called alpha/beta, then when it gets released it’ll start at 1.0 and go much the same as Blockheads with minor releases being 1.0.x and any more major releases being 1.x.


#10

Okay, that makes sense. Thanks! :slight_smile:


#11

I think this sounds like a great plan. I’d be happy to test on Mac whenever it’s ready.


#12

Sounds like a plan


#13

I was just curious about Mac support. I recall you weren’t sure if it would support Mac computers because Apple was moving developers towards their Metal Kit, and you thought that when you released the game, Apple would only be supporting Metal. Since you are starting to think about releasing the game, will you be making any changes to make it more compatible with Mac computers?

Sorry if you already mentioned this somewhere recently. I haven’t really been following along much recently after 1.7 of The Blockheads. :slightly_smiling_face:


#14

Right now I’m still using a Mac to develop and test it, so it still supports Mac better than Windows even. But for release, all I can promise is Windows support, because it is the largest part of the market, and I have to release it on Windows to get the most players. I’d like to have Mac support, but it depends on where the Mac is at when I launch (which is still more than a year away at least). So nothing has really changed from my original post.


Is ambience available to people yet?
#15

Maybe I didn’t see this somewhere, but how will you determine who the 100-200 testers are? First come first serve sign up? Just curious.


#16

Not sure yet on that. I might go with some kind of invite system where the initial testers get a link or two to share with others, which I’ll do at various points along the way. I’ll probably also just ask for volunteers.


#17

I’m not sure about the platform. Is it going to be downloadable? Or an a website like steam?
I think the plan will work great!


#18

Yep, I’m planning to release it through Steam.


#19

I’m glad you’re releasing it to Steam, I will definitely be able to play it when it comes out. Happy to see you have great plans for Ambience! :smile:


#20

I definitely agree with this plan.
(ps. im on a brand new chromebook.)