Wondering when you’ll be able to play Beyond Dark, what’s going on, or where the latest roadmap is? Then this post is for you. If not, ummmm, keep reading and we’ll tell you anyway… And we’ll also throw in some behind-the-scenes details for good measure!
Before we get to when Beta will start and when you’ll be able to play – there’s a couple of things we wanted to share with you first…
Growing the team
Until very recently, the game was entirely built and maintained by just two developers! But over the last couple of months, we’ve added two more and are still actively hiring.
The Before image on the left shows our two original devs:
- The grey fill and cleaning utensils represents that most of their time is taken up with fixing bugs and maintaining the game’s infrastructure
- The green fill represents the remaining time available for working on new features – which clearly wasn’t enough
The Now image on the right shows our current dev team:
- Don’t tell them, but yeah, the original devs are still going to have to spend a good deal of time bug fixing and keeping the game ticking over – but not as much as before (we’ll get to why in a bit)
- But the two new devs are completely dedicated to working on new features for the game – hurrah!
A new community manager
Other areas of the team have also been bolstered – there’s a new dedicated community manager, Mel, who some of you have already met. We’ve been too quiet lately and wanted to change that. Having a dedicated community manager also frees up Joe more for his other roles – including writing code!
Whoooooooosh: moving faster!
The larger team isn’t the only reason we can move faster now. We’ve invested a lot of developer time into an internal project, Titan, which focussed on scalability and performance and getting the servers battle-ready for what’s to come. With Titan completed, the focus is now entirely on gameplay and cranking out new features 🙂
The team are also (mostly) all in one location now and working side by side in our office in Kiev to make collaboration
and stealing another teammate’s delicious snacks easier.
What we’ve learned along the way
Scaling isn’t easy (doh!)
A typical MMO only has to process a single character – and only when that player is online. With the game that we’re building, each player has multiple units which are always in-play whether the player is online or offline. And making a space game as realistic as possible means our game has to be BIG!
We had to build our own server-side engine from scratch, figure out a lot of stuff that we didn’t originally anticipate, and couldn’t rely on traditional methods as they wouldn’t scale. This all contributed to a longer timeline in getting the engine built and game eventually launched.
Sandbox doesn’t work well for many players
We ran a survey a couple of months ago for Alpha players and had a huge number of responses. Thanks again for that everyone 🙂 A small part of what we learned from that survey, and from discussions we’ve seen across the forums and chat, is that a sandbox doesn’t work well for many players.
There needs to be more of a clear sense of purpose available for players – but it can vary per player. For example, being able to win the galaxy, win awards, unlock achievements, improve stats, etc. (we address this in our roadmap).
Balancing a long-running game is the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do
The above scribbly graph is related to weather forecasting, where various models are combined to derive an average. To begin with, most models closely agree on the likely temperature over the coming days. But as time passes, the predictions differ to the extent that the temperature on a day only 2 weeks away could be anywhere between 0c and 20c!
It’s the same with trying to balance a long-running game, where players can forge such wildly different paths for themselves from other players.
Other games get to cheat a little, dialling the aggressiveness of the AI up or down based on player performance. But we can’t do that with real players.
We don’t have all the answers yet, but our roadmap does contain new gameplay changes and features which we believe are a step in the right direction 😉
Supporting a game like this is a massive amount of work
Having so many possibilities and ways to play is tremendous fun, but is also creates many scenarios which can be hard to diagnose when something doesn’t work right.
And because the game is continuously running over long periods with players never really going ‘offline’, changes and fixes have to be done in a way that doesn’t interfere with your existing game.
There were other lessons we learned along the way – but can’t remember them right now. And anyway…
WHEN CAN I PLAY?
Signed up for Beta?
If you’ve already signed up for the Beta, the latest you’ll be invited to join the galaxy is November 2018. However, there is a good chance you could be playing even sooner! There are currently over 1,800 players in the Alpha galaxy and more are randomly invited from time to time to help us out with testing (priority given to those that have unlocked Early Beta access via Call to Arms).
Not Signed up for Beta??
If you are reading this and haven’t already signed up for Beta – why not??? Beta access will be a free opportunity to play the game, otherwise you’ll have to wait and purchase either an Early Access or Full Steam Release to be able to play!
|Early Access||$$ (TBD)||December 2018|
|Full Steam Release||$$$ (TBD)||TBD 2019|
No eggy faces this time
In the past, any announcement predicting a Beta release date from us has been way off the mark and left us with egg on our face (to avoid any possible confusion: figurative egg, not real eggs thrown at us by angry players)! We haven’t announced even a hint of a release date since.
Until now. Which we hope will reassure those of you that have been patiently waiting for the Beta for so long, that the wait it almost over 🙂
The roadmap reveal IS coming!
We’ve been saying this for a few weeks now – so it’s existence for some of you has possibly passed into the realm of mythology – i.e. not real – but we are on the brink of posting it.
What I can tell you about our roadmap right now is that it will focus on content: more things in the game and more stuff to do. There will be other things in there of course, but you’ll have to wait just a few more days for the coming roadmap post which will reveal all…
Thanks for reading, see you soon 🙂