The Repopulation: ‘The risk of downtime is very real’

Throughout November, we’ve been covering The Repopulation’s troubles with Idea Fabrik, the company that runs Hero Engine, on which The Repopulation was built. Idea Fabrik admitted to its community that its funding was at issue and that it was expecting service blackouts as a result. Above and Beyond halted The Repopulation’s updates while it worked with Hero Engine to keep the game’s hosting up, saying it was in a “holding pattern” but “still [had] outs” in the event of catastrophe.

Might one of those “outs” be a new engine? New comments from A&B’s J.C. Smith lean against it. On the game’s official forums, he wrote,

“We’d prefer to get Repop out, finish up things (15.10.1 and 15.10.2 are huge updates in terms of stability and features) and ship the game rather than starting completely fresh in a new engine (though you can never say never). Because if we went to a new engine we’d basically be rebuilding the game from scratch code wise, though some things would convert over (art, data). There are options if they fold or if they do not fold but hosting is no longer viable. Neither is particularly attractive, and the latter would require us to seek outside investment or partnerships. But there are quite a few different possibilities depending on how things play out.”

Over the weekend, he clarified the engine situation, told players the downtime risk is “very real,” and spoke of progress on a contingency plan:

“Unfortunately at the time when we started out here the only viable options were Hero, Bigworld, or Torque 3D, with the first of those two having restrictive license agreements, and the third being a good renderering engine that lacked in MMO specific features. We weren’t ever to fully be able to get out of the agreement.

“The risk of downtime is very real at this point, though there is still also some reason for hope that this will resolve itself in a positive way. We have already begun some early work on the most likely contingency plan, so that we aren’t just sitting idly. But we are limited still in what we can do as a result of being in money preservation mode while this plays out, so currently it’s mostly prep work and experimentation.”

Source: Official forums, more. With thanks to Sethman.
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41 Comments on "The Repopulation: ‘The risk of downtime is very real’"

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Jacra
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Jacra

I’m SO sorry to read about their worsening situation. Haven’t bought the game, wasn’t a big fan of SWG (duck, sorry), more a fantasy person for sure – but I’m tempted to buy it now if only to support them. From what I’ve heard they’ve done an impressive job, especially for an indie and with such an ambitious project. They didn’t earn this at all. :(

HolyAvengerOne
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HolyAvengerOne

ChristopherPierce That’s not gonna happen. IF and their HeroCloud engine need TR to succeed/be viable.. plus other customers. They can’t do that, unless they go under… and even then, they’ll have to fight for it in the liquidation of the assets.

HolyAvengerOne
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HolyAvengerOne

HolyAvengerOne I know, that’s what I said responding to @DemonicPossession. Repop wasn’t Hero’s biggest POC, it was HeroCloud’s. TESO and SWTOR were the biggest POCs.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

HolyAvengerOne The problem there is HeroCloud. The other things you mentioned regardless were using the source code version of Hero Engine which is a different product and avoided some of these shenanigans that popped up cuz of HeroCloud. HeroCloud was a good idea early on to an extent, but you then end up relying on their back end and them staying in business to keep your own product up

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

AlexanderDeLarge I have to disagree on one point to an extent at least. It was a little bit of mismanagement when they opted to use Hero’s cloud services to host things instead of their other option getting the source and doing servers themselves which would of prevented them from being in this position at the moment.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

nshelton The problem stems more from the product that they chose to use from hero engine… As the company behind hero engine is having financial issues the things using their cloud services are having issues… They offer a general license more akin to what you’d normally get as well but Repop wasn’t based off this. So yes while it could happen with anything cloud related it was their choice to use that model to save money, i’d of transitioned off of it though for fear of that happening

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

ChristopherPierce I think at this point their engine partner should just hand them a full license for hero engine the ability to make their own servers and the code for where it is housed directly and then let them get it hosted wherever they want at the moment or they are able to buy it somehow and get the same… However this would require downtime just a lot less than other stuff. I think part of the problem was as far as their solutions went when looking is that they were looking more for what was labeled as something for an MMORPG specifically, many middleware game engines can work for an mmorpg (unreal engine comes to mind, as does cryengine, and a few others), but they require more work and more development time.

MrEllis
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MrEllis

Don’t take the art assets over…

Alf Igel
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Alf Igel

Lateris 
Problems are easy to solve.
Offer new funding to Idea Fabrik.
Their greatest client could be a part of problem and solution

Bluetouchpaper
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Bluetouchpaper

I’m sometimes tempted by early access but things like this make me glad I never give in to those temptations .