2/14/2022 in devlog
The team chronicles the release of ATLAS, and Fabian details the conclusion of the Faction Expansion Challenge.
Atlas has now been released, and I am really happy that it finally happened. The new maps have been in development for almost a year now! There have been many other projects in the pipeline that were prioritized higher than the maps, so the development dragged on and on. And yet here we are, the maps are released, along with a handful of other great features. As usual, we have a release notes topic in the forums detailing the changes.
The release went well, from a technical point of view, although it showed (again) that we are slowly but surely running into performance problems. Restarting the servers or just a single node, after a failure, takes longer and longer since the game's entities (think companies, user, commodity exchanges, stations, planets, …) grow larger and larger. Right now, the average loading time for a company is around 22 seconds, a user 11 seconds. Given that there are many companies, these numbers add up fast. Anyway, there is an easy, albeit labor-intensive, fix for the problem: snapshotting the entities. Instead of keeping all the events of an entity, we can store (and load) a snapshot every x events to reduce the loading times by a factor of 100 or even more. In fact, we already started that process to see how well it goes: systems are now restored from snapshots. We will get started on other types of entities as soon as possible.
Of course there is no release without bugs! We were able to fix the first few bugs right after the release, but there are a few more. I will look into them starting today!
Last week I compiled the data on all the participants of the Faction Expansion Challenge. It's quite impressive how far they managed to take some of their focus systems and planets in the more outer regions of the universe! We discussed the results of the contest already, and once a few technical prerequisites are taken care of, we'll announce them on our forums and blog very soon.
Other than that, I worked on some last-minute release tweaks and feedback monitoring, and also some design work on future topics, one of which is our upcoming achievement system that we plan to introduce as soon as possible after the launch of the Steam version. The plan is to integrate it with the existing in-game badges, so that you can show off your favorite accomplishments on your in-game profile.
Since last week was the launch of Atlas, a lot of my time was spent getting the website ready. I was able to get the release page up and going as well as updating the Roadmap and Release Overview pages. Some of them still need a bit of work since this was my first time adding some much information after the webiste redesign. All in all, I think things turned out well and all of the new elements look good.
I was also able to get started with a few new influencers that responded to my emails, so look forward to even more videos coming soon. I also contacted quite a bit of press in regard to Atlas, so keep your fingers crossed that we get a bit of coverage from the release.