State of the Universe – Development Log #215

Another year has passed. With the team on holidays and the development efforts of the past week focusing primarily on the build-up of personal fat reserves, I'm taking the opportunity to take a brief look at 2019 and 2020. A "State of the Universe", so-to-speak.

A year in releases

Pretty exactly a year ago, Prosperous Universe launched into First Access. Since then, we've switched into almost classic MMOG development mode with more or less frequent content updates. The objective: Expanding on the basic tools PrUn has to offer (production, transport, trade) to make the game an enjoyable long-term experience.

The results are a mixed bag: On the one hand, Alpha 7 has been running since early this year and as such a lot longer than we had planned. We have a great community with lots of very dedicated players, helping each other out and playing the game pretty much exactly in the way we intended, namely on a meta-level, setting higher-level economic goals to be reached by working together in a Corporation (or outside of one). We have launched into Free-2-Play, giving more people easier access to the game. And we have added quite a few mid-level features, like the Local Markets and recently the Admin Center with the new political features it brings.

On the other hand, our conversion rates still leave a lot to be desired, meaning we get quite a few new players, but only few of them actually stick around. This translates into very slow growth of the game. Combined with the fact that you can play for free and PRO access only requires a single payment at the moment, the overall revenue generated by the game is almost symbolic in nature.

But all in all, we are confident by now that we have a game at our hands that will work as intended eventually…we just need to find the final missing pieces. A year ago, we weren't as certain of this as we are now.

Going on hard burn

When 2019 was a 0.3g gentle coast, 2020 will be a 5g hard burn!

Sadly, Julian will be disembarking before we drop the first pellet into the reactor. If you want to take his post on the crew: We still have the position listed on our website!

But the team will grow nonetheless: The funding we applied for mid-2019 has been granted only a few days ago, meaning two new team members will be joining us starting January. One is a game designer, tasked with finding that missing piece I mentioned above, the other is a web frontend developer who'll be working on bringing the APEX UI to a totally new level and - as one of the primary goals of the project we got funding for - to make it work on small screens and mobile devices.

What this means is that the team that's actually involved in developing Prosperous Universe will jump from "a little more than one" (Michi and myself, with my own development time very much consumed by admin and backend tasks) to "more than three". For the first time, we will have a dedicated game designer on board, so we don't have to half-ass it ourselves or rely on external volunteers (thanks bunches, Alex!) anymore to get the job done. And making the game more visually pleasing as well as more accessible on more platforms should help with those conversation rates, all while making the job of Julian 2.0 a bit easier!

It's hard to tell just how big of a leap Prosperous Universe will make next year, but my gut tells me that it is going to be substantial!

Closing on this positive note, I wish you all a happy new year 2020.

A big thank you goes out to each and everyone who helped us in keeping this project going throughout 2020, especially Alex, who helped us out a lot in terms of game design and even project management, as well as our high-tier supporters who invested an incredible amount of trust in us. Believe me when I say that the amount of excitement on the team is incredible when someone actually pushes the "buy" button on a Cluster Tier!

Last but not least a thing I want to repeat: A huge thanks to our extremely civilized, friendly and helpful community! We all know how toxic and unpleasant communities on the internet can be and I speak for everyone on the team when I say that we are incredibly thankful that our community is pretty much the direct opposite! It's a pleasure to make a game for a crowd like this!

Stay tuned for more details as things unfold and as always: Happy trading!