8/9/2021 in devlog
A whirlwind of new players has just entered APEX, Fabian is on a quest, and Nick wants your own devblog entries.
What a week! On Wednesday I realized that the new Kyle Hill video with our ad would come out on Friday, and after checking the current plot utilization of the starter planets, I knew we had to make room for new players to join.
After a chat with Fabian, we decided that we wanted to take a different route than we did in the last universe. Back then, we doubled the available plots on the hub worlds (Promitor, Katoa, Montem). While that worked well, it felt a bit artificial.
Instead, this time we opted to introduce new starting locations. We asked our community in Discord what they thought would be good candidates. In good old shared-spreadsheet-fashion, we had a long list in no time. Thanks to everyone involved, it was much appreciated! After some refinement by Fabian, I started adding the new locations to the game. Please note that some of the new starter planets are not aligned to any faction, and we didn't change the faction alignment in the process.
The changes went live on Friday morning and shortly after that, I left the office for a short weekend vacation with no access to a development machine. Luckily, everything worked as intended, and I watched new players joining in droves over the course of the weekend using my mobile phone.
Obviously there have been problems with a large player influx like this. Perhaps the most obvious one is that the popular starting planets end up having no available plots left. While this sounds dramatic at first, remember that not everyone who started a company on the weekend will continue playing the game. We do have a mechanism that liquidates inactive companies. With so many new pioneers in the game, the prices for basic consumables have skyrocketed and in some markets, have run out of these consumables entirely. We will watch the development closely.
So far, the servers hold from a technical perspective. We do see an increased amount of reboots, which manifest in a red error screen, but the game is still playable. We'll look into improving the performance next week.
After the coding weeks before, I went back to game design last week and came up with a list of new medium- to high-tier market makers that we'll add with the next maintenance release. Yes, we ideally want to get rid of market makers in the long-term, but currently they're still the best solution to combat a deflationary economy and also provide some tangible goals to players when moving up the tech tree. We'll announce the new marker makers in the patch notes 1-2 weeks before release. But don't fret, we won't take any existing ones away this time.
The other big topic I started on is the "quest" system, which is meant to help deal with the exact issues those market makers are supposed to tackle, but will take a while to develop. In the long-term, this system should inject additional currency into the game, provide new players with more stuff to do early on when there's not too much going on in their day-to-day business yet, and also give veterans new tasks and challenges to take on, in case they're looking for some side activities besides growing further. As usual, more details will come later as things become more concrete!
As Michi mentioned earlier, at the end of last week we had a big YouTuber, Kyle Hill, come out with a video ad for us on his channel. It was quite the success with 1.6K new registrations for those of you interested in the numbers :) It is also our best video yet in terms of registrations, and I'm interested to see how many of these players stick around for the long haul. There will be another video coming out this week, so stay tuned for even more new players, fingers crossed.
I also wanted to bring the 300 Devblog up again, since we are getting VERY close. Please email (email@example.com) or send me a message on Discord with your own devblog entry. This should detail what game feature you would like to add to the game and how it would be implemented using every day language (this is not a coding journal). Please limit your entry to 500 words and I will select the best ones to appear in devlog 300!