We are conducting a Closed Beta Test via Steam’s Early Access program in order to make the game available to the general public for ongoing testing and tweaking leading up to the final release. For more info, read the START entry.
WHY EARLY ACCESS?
The game has been in development by a small team since it went into development back in 2010. It is fully self-funded by our small studio. As such, we don’t have the benefit of the team size required to playtest a game of this scope; an MMO no less.
Further, we simply do not have the resources required to host servers for everybody and thus make it a PBT (Public Beta Test).
So, we decided to use a combination of Steam’s backend services as well as our own custom ones, to host and deploy the game to a select group of people who are interested in helping us make the game the best that it can be.
You – in the targeted select group – are probably interested in this sort of game, especially now that you have the chance to shape the final stages of such a massive game, rather than just running around and shooting things.
HOW LONG WILL THIS GAME BE IN EARLY ACCESS?
It’s ready when it’s ready. Right now it ain’t ready.
Like you, we love Valve, so what other way to honor their awesomeness than to officially support Valve Time?
We’re looking to run the Early Access program until we determine when the game is ready to be flagged as ready for final release. Remember, Early Access games, by Valve’s own EA guidelines, don’t need a release date. It’s up to the developer to determine that.
Of course, this being game development, delays can and most likely will happen. However, we’ll keep you informed every step of the way. Besides, with regular updates, you probably won’t even care when the final version is released since you will be part of the on-going development process and thus have access to our builds. Remember, the game is not just going into development; it has been in development for over four years now and we’re just racing through that last mile.
HOW IS THE FULL VERSION PLANNED TO DIFFER FROM THE EARLY ACCESS VERSION?
Aside from bug fixes and playtesting tweaks and improvements, the core gameplay, world, assets (items, weapons etc) etc will remain relatively unchanged since the game is in early Beta now and is content complete, feature locked etc.
So in all respects, the full version will just be a polished version of the EA version and with all features, levels, weapons, inventory items etc enabled and fully functional.
Once the game is completed, we will decide whether or not it is suited for full F2P. If so, then everyone can join for free and be given a free Starter Kit.
You also have the option to buy a Tactical Advancement Kit tier at any time.
Regardless of whether or not it ends up being F2P, the game will NOT have a monthly subscription.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT STATE OF THE EARLY ACCESS VERSION?
An early Beta of the full game which will be “stagger” released in order to facilitate focused testing.
A staggered release is one in which not the entire world, features, items etc are enabled. Instead, depending on what we need tested, those aspects will be enabled in subsequent builds.
For example, the first Early Access Build (internal: EAB01) unlocks one planetary scene (Heatwave) and all three decks of the GCV-Starguard carrier. Since this is a world testing build, no weapons, vehicles, aircrafts, inventory items etc are player usable. You will be able to explore both of these massive areas and carry out various actions. So we would be looking for feedback such as player movement speed, found a hole in the game world, I went swimming – and drowned, I moved from Starguard deck 1 to deck 2 and the game froze etc
Then with EAB02 and subsequent builds, we will fix bugs, make tweaks and suggestions based on feedback from EAB01, enable new scenes, features, enable weapon classes, items etc.
By the end of the Early Access period, we hope to have covered all aspects of the game, the world, fixed bugs (fatal and otherwise), tweaked weapons and items, tweaked flight and vehicular dynamics etc.
Doing it this way allows us to “focus test” each aspect of such a massive game, rather than unlocking everything at once and then not getting quality feedback because everyone is running around with weapons of mass destruction and waiting for someone else to do the play testing. 🙂
WILL THE GAME BE PRICED DIFFERENTLY DURING AND AFTER EARLY ACCESS?
- For a limited time (Sept 2014 – Mar 2015), we are offering three special Early Access tiers (Ambassador, Commander, Emissary) which contain a Tactical Advancement Kit, commander perk, free games and physical goods.
Once the limited time period expires, access to the game while in Early Access can be achieved in one of two ways: 1) a free Starter Kit key which we give away periodically via our Closed Beta Test site or 2) by purchasing either of the game’s Tactical Advancement Kit tiers.
- For testing purposes, some (e.g. weapons, inventory items, vehicles, aircraft etc) items available during the Early Access will be made available for free and available via Combat Experience Points (CEP) accumulation, free server loot drops etc.
When the in-game cash shop is enabled, anything that you purchase there will be yours to keep.
- Aside from all the items which you will receive when you purchase an Early Access tier or which you will be able to buy once the in-game shop is enabled, everything else accumulated during this phase for testing purposes will be removed and reset in the full version of the game. Similarly, all consumables (ammo, grenades, energy cells) used up will not be replenished and their counts will remain unaffected.
Examples of what happens to your stuff after Early Access period is over and the final version is released:
If you got a machine gun as part of your Early Access tier purchase, you get to keep it.
If you bought a sniper rifle and ammo in the cash shop, you get to keep them (aside from whatever ammo you used up).
If you gained or purchased Combat Experience Points and Combat Training Certificates, you get to keep them.
If you have in-game currency (GALCREDS) in your account, you get to keep them.
If you got a free item (e.g. jetpack, vehicle, aircraft etc) for testing purposes – and which you didn’t purchase or got via an Early Access tier, it will be removed.
HOW ARE YOU PLANNING ON INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY IN YOUR DEVELOPMENT PROCESS?
Throughout his game development history, over twenty-five years now, Derek Smart has always valued the feedback from gamers who play his games; whether they like them or not. This is what shaped the future of all the games released by 3000AD since 1996. So rest assured, this game will be no different. In fact, we will be setting up a roadmap website where everyone can pitch in and vote on issues which can help make the game even better for everyone.
This new game is no different in terms of community involvement and feedback. However, this is our first foray into the world of massive scale MMO game development.
While our previous niche games have been massive, they were not designed to support so many players nor MMO gameplay. As a result of this, now more than ever, we need community involvement to help us test, tweak and fine tune this game so that we can make it the best that it can be for all those who play and will play it in the years to come.
This is a very complex multiplayer game that features a very large and detailed game world. As such, it is going to take a LOT of people a LOT of time to help us get it where it needs to be.
In addition to the game’s Steam discussion forums, our own discussion forums as well as a dedicated issue tracking website, we hope that you will participate in constructive feedback with us as we work hard on the game’s completion.
WILL THERE BEEN AN OPEN PUBLIC BETA TEST?
There are currently no plans to have a public beta test.
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