With Michi back from parental leave, some new fixes are about to hit the live version and the account management system. The week has also been full of planning and plotting, as the team is slowly designing the first big balancing and feature update.
Even though we launched into First Access last month, there aren’t many of the perks available yet. I set out to change this this week by implementing one more: Friend keys!
At the moment, anyone interested in the game has to at least buy the Asteroid tier since we’re still only one step above a closed alpha test. But all tiers include the ability to generate First Access keys for friends so they can join for free. And that’s exactly what I added to our account management page (“The Hub”) this week. It’s not deployed yet (because deploying stuff on a week-end is typically a bad idea), but once it is, you will be able to find it here.
Besides this, the first full week of the year was dominated by lots of meetings, calls and organizational stuff.
Hey everyone, I am back from my parental leave! To warm up I fixed a lot of smaller issues that have been piling up over the holidays. They will be deployed with our next update (not sure when yet, though). Here are a few examples:
- Fixed the naming of quite a few materials. Unfortunately the technical names have been exported during world creation. For example Pioneer Clothing has now become Basic Overall and Sealant is now called Poly-Sulfite Sealant.
- A successful company liquidation will now remove any sites owned by the liquidated company. This is quite important for the starting worlds, since the liquidated companies would block too many otherwise available site plots.
- Cargo can now be exchanged between ships that are at the same space station
Besides these issues I worked on two more things, but I haven’t gotten very far yet. We want to change how players get into the game, i.e. the company registration and company setup at the very beginning. We want it to make easier for new players to choose a starting profile and planet by showing more information about the game at these steps. More on that in the future!
The last thing is an internal one: We are already collecting several game-relevant statistics, but to make better game design choices in the future we need a more versatile system. I am currently looking into that topic.
I spent most of my time this week following up on our First Access press release in early December. Many sites and people didn’t react to it or write about it, and I figured I’d leave them alone during the holiday season and wait another week until everybody’s settled into the new year. Our freelance game designer Alex also helped me out; having made an indie MMO himself, he still knew some journalist he introduced me to. Some of my efforts have already been fruitful, as it seems like more big sites are going to cover Prosperous Universe in the near future.
Something I learned this week: If people don’t respond to your e-mails (even three or four of them), try tweeting at them. Tag individual journalists rather than (or alongside) the website they write for. It might turn out that your e-mails slipped through the cracks because they were sent to a generic address, and that the journalists themselves will jump on your game once they are made aware of it on Twitter. Happened to us this week!
Another marketing measure I took this week was publishing an article on Gamasutra, which was an updated version of our recent post on 80.lv. It was picked to be featured on the front page, which is pretty exciting. Last but not least, we discussed which game design additions and balancing changes are the most important for the next version. Nothing is set in stone yet, but you’re going to learn more about that in due time. (:
As always: we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!