idea fabrik

The Repopulation is back, but major bugs ensure the next patch is a ways off

Idea Fabrik's internal dev team published a dev update on The Repopulation this morning, following the game's relaunch last week. The studio says it's still working on verifying old backer accounts and reminds players that the game hasn't been updated yet -- this is just a copy of the game from fall 2015 when it all came down. Expect wipes to correct the economy at some point as well.

The really bad news is that the new team has discovered a slew of existing problems it needs to fix before it can move on with new content.

"We have been digging in to the zoning/transition issues, which have provided an insight to many other issues, this includes but is not limited to a lot of information that is being replicated which doesn't need to be, and some major issues with server drops, memory leaks and performance are being extrapolated by this. What this means for us is... We have to go over all replicated information, sort out what should be server side and client side, then apply all of the fixes without borking up other interconnected systems at the same time. As example of this is when players go over zone lines: ALL of your Account information is replicated from one area to the next, this includes for example, your inventory. So the more information on your character, the longer it will take to transition. This is not a straight forward and easy changing a 1 to a 0."

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The Repopulation will be playable Sunday, back on Steam later in March

The Repopulation is indeed on track to resume early access later this month as planned.

"Servers will be opening up to all current players on the 12th of this month," Idea Fabrik COO Sarrene' Grant told forumgoers this afternoon.

"All backers and current players of The Repopulation can enter the game starting at midnight EST on Sunday. Downloads are open, as some of you already know. Your game account login will be exactly the same. Nothing has changed there. We wanted to make sure that everyone that bought and supported the game had the same access as before. If you forgot your password you can use the link provided on the launcher to reset your password. If you have any problems logging in please feel free to post that up. A ticket system will be in place after the transfer is complete. We will be turning The Repopulation sales on at Steam between the 19th and the 26th of this month depending on how the servers hold up to the Alpha testing."

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Idea Fabrik will have The Repopulation back online in the next few weeks

Idea Fabrik is forging onward in its plan to re-start The Repopulation game servers, forum posts from the last couple of weeks suggest. The company told fans that it's been working on transferring data to Steam.

"Once the transfers are complete, we're still going to have the usual spin-up time and make sure that there isn't any data/bit-rot, making sure that everything is working correctly, etc.," Community Manager Christopher Riley told backers a week ago in response to questions about when the test server would resume service. "So as of this post it should be about 2 weeks after the transfers."

Another post indicates that "a few" of the 10-man team in fact worked on The Repopulation prior to its ownership transfer.

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The Repopulation's new owners say pay-to-win is off the table

Still reeling over the news that The Repopulation has been acquired by Idea Fabrik and will launch in Hero Engine later this quarter after all? Or more inclined to join our commenters who say they won't give the new owners another chance, given their history with the original studio?

Maybe Idea Fabrik can change your mind. The newly installed developer team -- which isn't the same sub-team that works on the engine itself and is in fact partly made up of Triad Game Studios developers -- began introducing itself on The Repopulation forums over the weekend, including COO Sarrene' Grant, Tehnical Director "Hobble," and Writer/Community Rep Christopher Riley. Grant tackles the pay-to-win concerns straightaway.

"Our aim is NOT to turn this into a Pay to Win game. Again, we are gamers as well. We have not gotten to that point yet, but the goal will be to follow the same plans that ABT had. [...] This is a re-release of the Alpha version, least to start. This is not a full or post release."

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The Daily Grind: Will you give The Repopulation another chance?

The after-hours Friday revelation that The Repopulation is relaunching early this year took a lot of our readers by surprise. The much-wanted sandbox MMORPG had been offline for over a year, and though updates had been scarce, we'd been told Above & Beyond was using Fragmented's profits to re-home Repop in its new engine, so there was grumbling at the lack of transparent progress, but not panic.

Now we know more of the story: that Fragmented wasn't making enough to make Unreal-based Repop a reality, and in order to get the MMORPG to market and make original backers happy, A&B says the clear choice was to offload the game to Idea Fabrik, the maker of Hero Engine.

Some folks seem OK with this unusual turn of events; they wanted the game either way, and Idea Fabrik does have a vested interest in seeing a solid game come of its engine (and is apparently in good financial health now). Other readers? Let's just say that there's been a lot of ranting from all corners -- people who feel they were lied to about the nature of the games, people who don't believe Idea Fabrik can finish the game properly, and people who are just soured on the whole experience of watching A&B give up its dream.

Where do you stand on it, once Idea Fabrik actually gets it out the door? Will you give The Repopulation another chance under its new owners?

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Make My MMO: The Repopulation's new owner, Shards Online's alpha (January 14, 2017)

This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Above & Beyond announced that Hero Engine company Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to its indie sci-fi sandbox MMORPG The Repopulation and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. The game had originally raised $230,000 in Kickstarter funds in 2012 and 2014 and made it to early access in 2014, only to become entangled in a financial drama with Idea Fabrik over a year ago, which kept the game offline for a year while A&B built Fragmented with the goal of porting Repop to Unreal. The port will no longer be happening, but A&B is still working on Fragmented's console version. Definitely check out our whole article on what's up -- we've got an exclusive interview with A&B there as well.


Read on for more on what's up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we've got our eye on!

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The Repopulation will relaunch in Q1 2017, now owned by Idea Fabrik

"Great News! The Repopulation is coming back!" -- or so said a hastily deleted tweet from Idea Fabrik last night, which you might have missed since the blog post titled Idea Fabrik Acquires The Repopulation was also pulled down.

Now, that announcement has been confirmed: Idea Fabrik has acquired all rights to The Repopulation from Above & Beyond and will be relaunching the game -- in the Hero Engine -- with a new content patch sometime in Q1 2017. A&B will continue work on Fragmented as it rolls toward a console release.

Let me give you a little backstory on the whole Repopulation saga.

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The Repopulation remains skeptical about HeroEngine's latest announcement

HeroEngine owner Idea Fabrik announced yesterday that it has made "several positive adjustments" in regard to its ongoing financial situation - namely, "reducing server costs, finish[ing] R&D and [its]development plan, complet[ing] some very important testing and code review, and continu[ing] to work on several other special things behind the scenes." These new changes apparently include the resumption of HeroCloud subscription sales ("[w]e will be completing a special Thank You to our community, then normal sales will return on 31 January"), a new website design, DirectX 11 support, and a new "market" to vend assets.

Idea Fabrik did not allude to The Repopulation's Above and Beyond, which it had obliquely and seemingly unjustly accused of failing to pay royalties last month, except to say, "Not all of these have been resolved and the primary cause of the partial shutdown is still being worked on." The concomitant financial issues and server outages drove The Repopulation offline in December and caused serious concerns about its future.

The Repopulation's JC Smith told forumgoers that HeroEngine's announcement had "nothing to do with" A&B's.

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The Repopulation rejects blame for Hero Engine's financial struggles

The Repopulation's struggles with the money-troubled Hero Engine service have led to game delays, server downtime, and suspended development, and the drama continues today.

Earlier this week, an Idea Fabrik Hero Engine rep seemingly defied confidentiality agreements by telling its community that its revenue problems are the result of a single client refusing to pay royalties for two months.

"Starting in September 2015, one of our clients has refused to pay our royalties amounting to 30% of their revenues. Idea Fabrik/IFS is a small company, and our funding relies on those royalties and our VC's. After two months of not getting our royalties paid, we were faced with difficult decisions. And after additional two months without being able to find a solution, we had to shut down their live game servers. Please note that we still hope for a positive outcome for all the players and fans of the game - that's why their development servers have always been and are still up and running, so they can continue to work on their game."

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The Repopulation temporarily suspends development

The unfortunate saga of The Repopulation continues this week, as Above & Beyond Technologies announced that it was pulling the plug on the alpha servers -- at least for the time being.

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce today that development The Repopulation has been temporarily suspended and alpha servers are expected to go offline on Wednesday, December 23rd," the game's lead developer posted. "As most of you are already aware, Idea Fabrik (the creators of Hero Engine) has been going through some turmoil over the past month which has caused us to temporarily suspend sales of the game. Servers have remained online, but their ongoing costs are preventing us from keeping them online indefinitely. As a result, The Repopulation’s alpha servers will be going offline on Wednesday until this situation is resolved."

Above & Beyond said that this did not signal the end of the game but admitted that it might be a while before everything gets sorted out. The idea is to save money by shutting the servers down while Hero Engine hopefully gets fixed, then bringing The Repopulation back online once that happens.

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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."

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The Repopulation is 'in a holding pattern' thanks to Hero Engine woes

Last week, we reported that The Repopulation had suffered a patch delay as a result of contract and financial renegotiation on the part of Hero Engine. While Above & Beyond was reluctant to discuss the matter in depth due to confidentiality agreements, studio co-owner Joshua Halls did say that the team was "blindsided" and was working with Hero Engine to "minimize its impact."

This weekend, Hero Engine owner Idea Fabrik PLC gave more information on its internal problems. As the company's chairman explained to its community, it's about money.

As some of you have learned already, we are facing difficult times at Idea Fabrik PLC. Because of outside 3rd party related issues, we may be facing some down time to all our HeroEngine and HeroCloud services.

Though we are confident that Idea Fabrik is not going out of business and the HeroEngine and HeroCloud services will be restored, the issues we face right now mean a possible black out (or interruption) of all services. This will include all HeroBlade services as well as all web services.

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