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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more
So, it's definitely time for some news from us. I feel like I've repeated myself with this many times over so to summarise (please don't take this as any sort of a rant- I'm just outlining what's going on to try and better explain why everything is taking so long):
At this point, we're still not ready, but the rebuild is coming together now. We are still very much here, and working 7 days a week as we have been for several months now, and will continue to do so until the game is ready. All of our future plans are still on the table, and will be relatively easy to put into place once the framework is finished. All I can say now is that it's going well, and will take as long as it takes, and I personally guarantee that work will continue at this rate until the first true beta is out for you guys to explore. The first full release will be followed by intense change cycles- back to daily-or-so updates as we first provided (the reason we're unable to do this right now is that due to the amount of work involved, we have to finish the full rebuild before we can release the base version, but then we can get back to intense update cycles as we had initially, with constant improvements- only on a solid base this time around). Once we have all of the feedback in and polishes made, we'll move onto new features and begin the real Early Access cycle.
We've been hearing a few comments about us not understanding the resources required, and even points about us not knowing what we're doing based on an unfinished product, which I believe is down to the fact that we're yet to publish our first true build. At the same time, we appreciate this of course, because we can see that we still have a very interested community which wants to see the project completed! I'm still glad with our decision to go down the EA route so early, as it's allowed us to gather a lot of feedback with the initial builds and take these thoughts into consideration with the rebuild. The main time constraint right now is multiplayer, which I'm building in response to lots of requests for online gameplay, which is going extremely well. There is an enormous amount of work involved with every system due to security, because cheating has to be prevented for all features. In short, each system means that I have to consider offline gameplay, online gameplay (i.e. how things sync up, how people could try to exploit the system, and how things can be handled and compressed to cut down on bandwidth usage), and then of course we have to finish it off with all of the artwork.
To try and better explain this, take something as simple as picking fruit from a cactus. In singleplayer, it's pretty simple- add the fruit to the player's inventory, hide the fruit on the cactus model, and tell the framework to keep an eye on the cactus and regrow it's fruit over time. With multiplayer, it's a lot more complicated. If somebody wants to pick the fruit, they need to tell the server what they want to do, and simulate all of this locally with temporary data (Frontier's lag compensation system, so you don't notice any delay between asking the server and waiting for it to reply, which is included with every single networked system). The server then needs to check that the data they sent is valid, whether the cactus is ready for harvesting or not, and also that the player is close enough to be able to pick that fruit. If it's allowed, the server needs to reply to the player with their temporary data and the real data to replace it with, and also tell everybody else that the cactus was harvested. If any of the checks fail, then we know that the player was cheating, and the server then kicks them automatically. Likewise, when the cactus regrows, everybody needs to be notified that it's once again ready to be harvested, and they need to update their local knowledge of that cactus. This is all done with a heuristic LOD system, which basically means that updates are calculated based on time, and objects are only processed when players are nearby.
That's for something as simple as harvesting a plant- you can imagine how complicated things get when for systems such as framework security, identity verification, item syncing, etc. It will all be worth it in the end, allowing us to build a secure and efficient multiplayer environment to expand on.
Now, with all that out of the way, let's take a look at what's been going on!
Time for some news!
We're making great strides now and are at a point where we can show off what's been going on. Lots of the main systems have been wrapped up and polished, and everything is starting to take shape!
©Lacuna Corporation 2015-2016
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