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!