When the machines rule with an iron fist, it's time to unleash the raptors!
User reviews:
Overall:
Mixed (27 reviews) - 66% of the 27 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 29, 2016

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Play In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor

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August 29, 2016

Release Raptor is now free, and freely refund-available.

Okay, wow.  It's been a busy couple of days figuring some things out.  Thanks for your patience during this time.  Things are slightly different than I had expected, but the current setup should let people get the exact result they want.

You will need to request the refund yourself, though, which is different from what I originally said -- I do apologize about that, but see below for the skinny on why that is.

Quick History
  • First up we had the announcement that In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor was being pulled from Early Access and everyone would be refunded.
  • To clarify some points, I explained further why it was not crazy for us to pull it so early.
  • Then we had a snafu based on the fact that I did this late on a Friday, so the game was able to remain up and available for several days.
  • Suddenly a bunch of people wanted the game, either for free (aka paying for it and then getting a refund) or with us actually getting the money for it.  And other people asking not to be refunded.
  • We had a bajillion questions, and I answered those in one central thread that people could easily peruse.
  • I was mean and showed people what might have been with regard to some of the robots.
  • Finally today I was able to have full conversations with Valve and Humble, we got things taken down, and I finally have some concrete answers for you on exactly what is planned next.  Valve had some great suggestions based around the multitude of various requests that people have had during this period.  I wasn't sure exactly what to do, so I was very glad for the guidance there.


The Plan: Short-Term
  1. In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor has been taken out of Early Access and out of paid status and is now a simple free 2 play game on Steam.  This is provided AS-IS, with no support, simply because folks wanted it.
  2. Unlike most F2P games, this has no form of monetization at all.  Various people wanted to play the game, and we spent a lot of time making it, so this was better than just taking it off the face of the earth.  This was a really good suggestion from Valve, I thought.
  3. Since there are such varying degrees of desire from folks on whether or not they want a refund, we're making this a process you can control.  If you want a refund, just go through the normal refund process and it will accept your request for a refund regardless of playtime or purchase date.


A Point Of Clarification

If you take the refund option, the game will be removed from your account.  However, given that the game is now Free 2 Play, you can just install it again directly.  If you ever uninstall it again it will again disappear from your account when it is in F2P status, though.

If you have the game and did not refund it, it stays in your account and will count toward your total number of games.  If you have it via the F2P form, it won't count toward your number of games.

This is... unintended on my part.  However, it's how F2P games work on Steam, and this is definitely better than nobody having access to it.  We're not ever going to take this game out of free status, so there's no real worry if you don't have access to the game in your account while it is not installed.  It will still be there when you get back.

Also, protip: this game is not linked to Steam in any way, so you can just copy the contents of the game folder onto a thumb drive if you're worried about losing it.  Burn it to a DVD if you like.  Easy peasy!



The Plan: Long Term
  1. I hope that in some future year that this game becomes viable.  If that's the case, then we will likely start working on this again under the banner of In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor 2.
  2. In other words, that new project would not affect this one, and this one would stay free and untouched.  Essentially I guess you could consider this one a demo for the theoretical sequel that we would potentially do a year, two, or three from now.
  3. A sequel is in no way being announced, and I have no immediate plans to work on one.  It's something I would like to do, but that's about it.
Should You Request A Refund?

If you want one, then absolutely: yes!  I don't want to take your money if you don't want to give it to us.  If you like the game and want us to keep the $4.50 or so you spent on it, then we're obviously grateful.  But please in no way feel guilted into it or anything like that.

If you get the F2P version of the game and want to throw some change our way, we do have a tip jar, but we'd be just as happy to see you try out one of our other titles.



Possible Monetization?

I created some trading cards for the game, and they look really cool I think, but games with absolutely no monetization cannot have them.  Some folks have suggested that they want a hat or something anyhow, so I guess we could do something like provide one or two of those at the minimum possible price.  Then the trading cards could come out, and so on.

I'm a little wary of doing that, though, because then I feel like that creates some degree of obligation for support.  For now, I've included the images for some of the cards in this post.



What's Next?

We're going to be putting all our efforts into AI War 2: Rise from Ashes, which will be a kickstarter project that then comes over to Steam.  If you want to be emailed about that when the time comes, then feel free to email us at arcengames at gmail dot com noting that you'd like to get a notice when that project goes live.

Thank you very much to everyone for your support (of so many kinds) during this trying time.  It means a lot to myself and the rest of the team.

Best,
Chris

45 comments Read more

August 26, 2016

Time for some straight talk: Release Raptor is being pulled and refunded.

First up: as promised, Alpha 16 is now out.  This includes fixes, improved and extended AI, a new robot, and a minimap.



In A Nutshell, What's Up?

I'm going to give all the customers of In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor a full refund and let them keep the game, then take the game off sale.  The game is selling extremely poorly, even below what happened with Starward Rogue.

Isn't Part Of Early Access "Don't Make A Game You Rely On EA Sales For?"

Yes, this is very true.  However, I stated upfront that our reason for doing EA with this game was partly as a market survey of sorts.  I felt like that would be a way of determining how big this game could get.  With Starward Rogue, and indeed some of our other past commercial failures, we put in everything and the kitchen sink and then there wasn't a market there.

I never expected that one option even on the table with this one would be "actually don't do it at all," because the premise is incredibly exciting to me and seemed like something other people would also be very interested in.  But just from the concept alone, we have a lot of pushback from press; and despite some quite positive coverage from some reasonably biggish youtubers, that isn't moving the needle at all.

We don't need Release Raptor to be our sole source of income, or even our largest one.  However, if it's going to be our largest expense it also has to vaguely earn its keep or at least show the promise that it will someday do so.  That's what is missing here.



Why Not Just Build Out A Stripped-Down Version 1.0 That Is Worth $5?

I honestly don't think there's any way that a lot of people wouldn't be left grumbling at that.  I personally will also lose far more money trying to do that than I already am, and probably some of what little staff we have left would have to be released.  It's just far, far too risky.  I'd rather be known for honorably pulling a game than slapping a 1.0 sticker on something -- whether or not that experience is worth $5 or not, we both know the perception would be there.

So Are You Untrustworthy, Or What?

The immediate idea is probably to think "wow they delayed it a ton and then are possibly canceling it right after it comes into EA?"

My response to that is that this is exactly how you want a game company to comport itself.  I held back the game while I didn't feel like there was enough there for other people to catch the vision I have for what it would turn into.  I'm not going to take anybody's money and run; in fact, I'm going to eat a big fat loss out of it and you get a free game if you bought it.

You can certainly argue that I have overreached or have at least misjudged the market in several instances, but I'm not going to sell you a turd and call it ice cream.



Is Release Raptor A Bad Game?

I certainly don't think so, in any form.  I play it, and it gives me a feeling of joy.  I just love going through and doing things with the raptor.  It has an elemental fun factor to it that myself and a number of other people have reacted well to.  I thought that it would be enough to provide this, and then the promise of more enemies and tactics and whatnot (sheesh that's what we're known for, people ought to have some faith in THAT bit if nothing else).

That said, people have different degrees of warm feelings toward the controls.  That doesn't help.  People have different reactions to the environments.  Etc.



Was This Just Youtuber Bait?

No.  This is a project that I freaking love, and that is based around my favorite animal (velociraptors).  It's something I very, very much wanted to see happen.

That said, I won't deny that the idea of a game that appealed to a larger audience and more easily picked up video views was an attractive one.  I even considered calling this "Raptor Simulator," to the dismay of my staff.

This was never intended to be like Goat Simulator (which I've never played, but my understanding is that it's a silly bug-fest just centered around messing about and not doing anything).  I figured we might be able to pick up some of the Goat Simulator crowd since you CAN come in here and just mess about, but what I didn't realize was that this would create a stigma that would lead people to then to think it's more vapid than it is.

Which, launching with less content in terms of enemies and tactical situations than I would like, only reinforced that perception I suppose.  "There's not enough to do" is probably the number one complaint, and I thought I had made that clear enough from the start.  And we've been managing daily updates with substantial new content, which I think is pretty darn impressive.

Then plan was to put out more content in a month than most other EA games put out in a year, and just keep on trucking with it.  We've done it before with other games, multiple times, and it's something we were well geared-up to do this time, too.



What Went Wrong?

I... am not entirely sure, honestly.  People's perception of this was not matching up to what it was, partly.  Also I suppose I should have made more grandiose claims and been mysterious and vague instead of transparent and clear.  It's way more exciting when you don't know what's going on and "it could be anything -- it could be EVERYTHING!!"

I'm all for enthusiasm, but hype is not something I really like.  We had a lot of hype for A Valley Without Wind, and that burned the company and myself in some fairly profound ways.  So I'm really wary of hype; that was our one game that had it, and it was distinctly unpleasant.  Well, okay: I guess there's also hype around Stars Beyond Reach at the moment, which is another project of ours that I refuse to release yet because I don't think it's good enough yet.

Ultimately I don't think it can be blamed on any one thing.  I do know that in the past -- going back to 2014 with the release of The Last Federation, and then everything before it -- we made almost all of our sales via Steam and people finding our stuff on Steam.  We'd see a bump in sales for a few hours after a Kotaku piece or a Total Biscuit video, and literally no other website or youtuber made any bump that we could discern.

Being on the front page of Steam was the big thing.  We've had one title in the past that have reached the #6 top seller spot on Steam as a whole (IIRC it was The Last Federation), and multiple titles that have hit the top 10 sellers on Steam as a whole (even A Valley Without Wind).

It used to be super concerning if we weren't in the top 20 bestsellers on Steam for at least a day or two, and when we dropped down into the 60s on overall game sales it was basically game over until the next discount promotion.  Discount promotions, even as recently as 2015, had more weight behind them, too.  The lack of gamification of recent seasonal sales has been bad for the small developers, in my opinion.



Overall the market is more crowded now, and gaining visibility is harder.  We tried advertising this time, but we literally spent more money today on advertising than the game made.  Win!!  So this is some sort of New Market now, anyhow, with something approaching the App Store effect that we've seen on Apple devices.  I was incredibly paranoid that would happen going all the way back to 2009, and then I gradually got less worried about it, and now here we are.  How many indie developers do you know of who have made more than one or two games at this point?  That's a bit scary to think about.

It's not all doom and gloom in the market, obviously: in some ways, opportunities are larger now than they ever were.  And it's certainly a better market now than in mid-2009 when I first started out with AI War.  So it's certainly not all market forces, and I don't mean to imply that.

At the end of the day, for whatever combination of reasons, this doesn't seem to be the right game at the right time.  Might we pick this project back up in the future?  I'd like to think so.  As I said, this is a personal passion of mine (raptors), not some Goat Simulator knockoff to me.  But such is life.



What Next, Then?

One of my core conclusions from this, despite how much I have tried to defy this my entire career as a game developer, is that folks pretty much just want strategy games from me/us.  This is not all I want to do!  I want to make games where you shoot things, and games where you're a raptor, and all sorts of other things!  I have varied interests and tastes, and I don't want to do one thing for the rest of my life.

That said, given the choice between leaving the industry and making strategy games, the choice there is freaking obvious.  I absolutely love making games, despite the many negative sides to it.  So that's what we'll do: we'll make you another strategy game.



Specifically, we'll go back to the game that is still our top seller, AI War: Fleet Command, and we're going to do a proper updated sequel.  But at this point I can't afford to do half a year or a year of development "on spec" to then find out if you're interested or not.  So we'll likely run a Kickstarter for this, as much as I've avoided Kickstarters and never wanted to do one.  And if that doesn't work out in a way that feels financially safe, then there are some other options on the table, too.

At any rate, people have been clamoring for this for years: an AI War sequel with a better UI, better performance, better networking, better graphics, moddability, and so on.  We're now in a position where we know how to do all those things, and goodness knows we know how to make AI War better than we know how to make anything else under the sun.  That's our freaking bread and butter right there.

I suppose there will be some people who are thinking "yay, end of the stupid raptor game, and we get the AI War sequel that has been quietly talked about for a year or so now!"  And if that's how you feel, fine.  But you were going to get that anyway, and I just wish that I also got to make this raptor game to go along with it.



Be Wary Of Knee-Jerk Reactions

It's very tempting for me to blame the state of the market, or whatever other external forces.  Really it was a combination of things.  So I have to be pretty careful of not giving in to negative emotions on my side.

On the other end, as an outside observer I hope that you also look at this for what it really is, and not the knee-jerk reaction that you might have.  I am the Anti-Sean (cough).  I will treat you fairly, communicate clearly and often, release frequent substantial updates (just look at our history), and try to over-deliver.  This is what you want.

In an ideal world nobody ever makes a mistake.  In the actual world, we have to think about how we want people to behave when mistakes inevitably do happen.  I am sorry this had to happen, though.  I wish it would magically change, but we're well past that point I think.  I want to take a moment to thank everyone that did support the project, though -- it really meant a heck of a lot to me.

Very Best,

Chris



Click here for the official forum thread on this post.

52 comments Read more

Reviews

“This is so cool.”
AaronSayWhat

“Being a raptor and doing raptor stuff, always a good time.”
DemoStorm

About This Game

  • Be a raptor, feel like one, and smash robots to bits.
  • Procedurally-assembled 3D environments set in a scenic futuristic dystopia.
  • Free release of an aborted Early Access title. We hope you enjoy it! Note that this is an AS-IS release, based on popular demand, rather than us taking it down completely.

Sell Me The Idea In One Sentence


If I have to convince you why being any form of dromaeosaurid is freaking awesome, then I'm not sure we can be friends. This game is carefully crafted to give you the closest possible feeling of being one of these glorious monsters -- then turning you loose to do fun stuff.

What’s The Point?


  • 1. For the pure fun of the thing. In 1993, a certain game let you be a raptor. The controls were iffy. The levels were short and static. It's very dated. Yet many of us still dust it off periodically -- just to be a raptor. Release Raptor gives you a far more satisfying, modern, dynamic experience.

  • 2. For a power trip. For speedrunning and finesse, you're on an invincible rampage. It's not about IF you can do it, but how WELL you do it. Your performance is evaluated, so mistakes still have consequences without interrupting the flow of the game.

  • 3. To play with kids. I want to be able to play this with my 5 year old son, but still have dismemberment (because that's cool). How to do that without blood or gore? Robots! Little robots = pouncing targets; giant mechs = dismemberment targets.

    Procedural Assembly

    What on earth do we mean by "procedurally-assembled?" Basically, we're using a very heavy mix of handcrafted content with procedural bits making it fresh each time.

    Creating unique and recognizable areas is a huge focus, because otherwise you get unimaginative "procgen blandness." Yuck! But we still wanted that sense of exploration, and so not chunk of level is present in every run, the layouts of the overall level (and where enemies are as well) varies quite a bit.

    NB: Yes, we know that’s not a velociraptor (and there should be feathers).

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, or 10 64bit
    • Processor: Dual Core 64bit CPU (2.2+ GHz Dual Core CPU or better)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 8xxx+, Radeon X2400+, or Intel G45+
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
    Recommended:
    • Processor: Any Quad Core or 3.0+ GHz Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 5 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OSX Intel CPU and "Leopard" 10.5 or later.
    • Processor: Dual Core 64bit CPU (2.2+ GHz Dual Core CPU or better)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 8xxx+, Radeon X2400+, or Intel G45+
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
    Recommended:
    • Processor: Any Quad Core or 3.0+ GHz Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 5 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 10.10 or later, although other unsupported distros may work
    • Processor: Dual Core 64bit CPU (2.2+ GHz Dual Core CPU or better)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: GeForce 8xxx+, Radeon X2400+, or Intel G45+
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
    Recommended:
    • Processor: Any Quad Core or 3.0+ GHz Dual Core CPU
    • Memory: 5 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD 7870 2GB
    • Additional Notes: Important: final specs may substantially differ, but this is our best guess for now.
Customer reviews Learn More
Overall:
Mixed (27 reviews)
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