Dual Universe today etched a date on its pre-alpha launch: September 30th. “Access to this first playable version of Dual Universe will be limited to Kickstarter and crowdfunding backers that have pledged at Gold Founder level and above, prior September 7th,” says Novaquark’s press release today, which characterizes the sci-fi sandbox as a “highly anticipated disruptive MMO.” The forums further explain that the originally planned alpha is in fact not actually ready, hence the pre-alpha label.
“You probably noticed that we’re calling this first public access Pre-Alpha and not Alpha, as originally intended. Why? Because we are not quite ready yet to switch the game into Alpha, but we still wanted to honor our commitment to our backers. This first public glimpse of the game won’t feature a proper game loop as we originally wanted but, after postponing the release a few months ago, we felt like a new delay was not appropriate. We think any additional delays, even though the game is not in the true Alpha state we had anticipated, would not be in keeping with the spirit of our commitments to our community and backers.
“We decided it would be better to give you access to the game at an even earlier state than to delay again. That it would be better to give you a look at where we are, rather than wait again for where we had hoped to be at this stage.”
Well this is a boon to the City of Titans project.
The development team behind the superhero MMORPG was fiddling about with some of its character tools and experimented with switching the model from male to female to see what would happen with animations. It turns out that both genders animated just fine, which means that it might be easier than expected to create attacks and abilities for characters without having to animate two sets of motions.
“Since the male and female models are not the same, it was not a given that animations would be able to do this. Also the female’s hair has physics. Somewhat unpolished, but it’s there,” the team said. You can view the animation examples after the break.
Don’t call them “tiny,” not unless you want your Achilles heel slashed and your hair set on fire while screaming laughter fills your ears. Crowfall’s Fae might be the second-smallest race to come to the game, but the species packs quite a lot into its small package.
Today, ArtCraft revealed details about this race that’s coming soon to the test servers. The Fae are the first race in the game that will boast wings, and their bloodline passive grants them increased stealth movement speed, the ability to double-jump, and the ability to glide. Additionally, Fae can dodge past foes and perform higher crits with a special debuff.
The Fae were originally female-only, but thanks to a Kickstarter stretch goal, they will offer a male counterpart as well. The team said that the race can be paired with the Assassin, Druid, or Frostweaver class: “The Fae will add an interesting new element to Crowfall combat thanks to their natural affinity for stealth and the added mobility of their wings.”
A few weeks back, we reported on the City of Heroes-themed panel coming to PAX West in Seattle at the beginning of September. With the release of the PAX schedule on Friday, we can confirm that it is indeed happening on Sunday, September 3rd, at 8 p.m. in the Cat theater, with reps from City of Titans and Ship of Heroes [update: and Valiance Online] in attendance.
“When the venerable MMORPG City of Heroes shut down in 2012, it gave rise to several projects often called spiritual successors. Each of these efforts took the same inspiration, yet have developed very different titles. Join Casey McGeever of Heroic Games, Chad Dulac of Silver Helm and Nathaniel Downes of Missing Worlds Media for a conversation a conversation about the challenges in making the game, the progress so far, and how these games will build on and stand apart from City of Heroes as something different and new while serving the great gameplay and positive gaming community that has been looking for a home.”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen surprised backers by removing all “aim dates” from its weekly production schedule, which is intended to provide a roadmap toward the (very delayed) 3.0 alpha release. CIG instead provided two graphs it says will give a “more accurate look at where [it is] trending” – check those out down below. (Cheers, Cotic!)
In more meta news, Fig announced that a game promoted through its equity crowdfunding platform actually generated profit for investors, a first for the company. That game would be Kingdoms and Castles, which according to Polygon netted $1M in sales and consequently provided a 100% return to investors through Fig (double their money). It’s not an MMO, of course, but several MMORPGs have turned to this type of equity crowdfunding since it became legal last autumn, including Crowfall and Shroud of the Avatar.
Meanwhile, Albion Online continued suffering from extortionists’ DDOS attacks, we kicked off a month-long deep-dive into Shroud of the Avatar, Dual Universe scored a huge chunk o’ change in its run up to alpha, Pantheon published its monthly newsletter, and we got the details on the superhero MMO panel at PAX, which we’ll be attending in person (thanks, cyanpill!).
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
Dual Universe just snagged a positively massive cash injection. According to a press release posted today, private investors have poured $3.7 million in funding into the sci-fi sandbox MMORPG. That’s in addition to the more than $630,000 the game raised on Kickstarter less than a year ago (a haul that at the time earned the game the title of third most funded video game on Kickstarter that year). Napkin math says the game picked up another $3M in between through on-site fundraising and possibly earlier investment.
Oh, and unlike a lot of games that snap up the “MMO” label, this one actually deserves it.
“Dual Universe is a new type of massively-multiplayer online experience: it takes place in a vast Sci-Fi universe, focusing on emergent gameplay and content building, with player-driven in-game economy, politics, trade and warfare. The vision for Dual Universe is to create the first virtual online civilization. At the heart of Dual Universe is a truly innovative proprietary technology, which was developed to lay the foundations of the game. The CSSC (continuous single-shard cluster) manages one single universe with potentially millions of people interacting in it at the same time. A multi-scale voxel engine enables players to physically modify the world; dig a hole, carve up a mountain or build anything they want, from space ships to orbital stations, at any scale they desire. Novaquark is building a virtual world environment where they hope millions of people will be able to live exciting collective adventures within a vibrant and emergent universe where everything is possible. The company aims at creating a new form of entertainment, where participants are free to create their own stories and environment.”
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen posted its monthly studio report along with its updated 3.0 production report as it works on the “User Experience Polish Pass.” Players tracked only two delays in this report: the UI and the mission system AI. Cross your fingers that the Evocati test access begins next week as planned (it’s actually looking pretty good).
Elsewhere, Albion Online was slammed with a DDOS attack yesterday, which the devs say was “most likely in response to [SI’s] recent actions against gold sellers to coerce [SI] to not interfere with their illegal business.”
Meanwhile, Camelot Unchained teased testing for beta 1 backers, Path of Exile launched its latest expansion, Crowfall profiled a dev, Dogma Eternal Night tinkered with its mission system, Descent Underground released a demo on BrightLocker, City of Titans returned to Twitch, and Global Adventures successfully funded on Kickstarter.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following.
In the future, alpha testers (and everyone else) will all be fully replaced by robots, no doubt. But right now, Camelot Unchained is putting bots to work alongside their human compatriots in the form of big bot battles. This week, City State says, it ran two tests with the bots in prep for beta 1.
“We brought in 250 Bots and went up to over 1200 Bots, which ran around LIVE with our Alpha and IT Backers. The majority of these headless clients were ‘melee’ and the rest were ‘archery’ Bots. In some tests, we were able to handle about 2K Bots total (most of the Bots were fighters, the rest were archers), which is twice the number we set out as a goal during the Kickstarter. While we have hit 2K before, these were the first LIVE tests with our Backers using the new animation system and the heavily modified VFX system.”
Even better? Beta 1 backers will be invited to these tests next week.
The studio has likewise been working on client stability, siege engine tech, item damage, and enviroment and item art and effects. Check out the new images and recap vid below!
Earlier this week, we got SuperData’s mid-year report on the booming video game industry, the enormous multinational congloms rolling around in piles of cash-shop money. But that’s just one side of the story. ICO Partners released its mid-year report on Kickstarter video games, and whether it’s good news depends on your view of Kickstarter on the whole.
Essentially, the biannual metrics show that Kickstarter’s total amount pledged peak — at least for successful video game projects — was back in early 2013. The market plummeted in 2014, resurged in 2015 (but not back to peak), and collapsed again in 2016. The pattern isn’t repeating, however. While the first half of 2017 was ever so slightly higher than the datapoints from last year, it’s still far lower than any half-year period prior to 2016.
“The Video Games subcategory is very dependent on hits when looking at the total amount of money raised,” ICO says. “In that sense, the first half of 2017 has been the best semester since 2015. And yet, this is a far cry from the best semesters in that subcategory.”
A little under a year ago, the sci-fi sandbox Dual Universe successfully funded its Kickstarter campaign to the tune of $630,000 and officially put this game on the radar for many fans. But how did a game without any recognizable IP, studio, or developers become the third-highest grossing video game project on the crowdfunding site in 2016?
This question is at the center of a new developer post-mortem over at Gamasutra. The team said that it saw Kickstarter as the apex of its marketing effort and not the beginning and thus poured a lot of effort into getting ready for the campaign.
“In all our community engagement, we tried to stack the deck in our favor, giving our fans reasons to tell their friends, families and the whole galaxy that Dual Universe was worth their attention, time and commitment,” the team said.
Of more recent interest is the continued efforts of the team and the progress of the game as it heads toward launch next year. The following dev diary update video looks back at July and talks about ship damage, shows off some new concept art, and more.
A spot of good news for those who wouldn’t mind taking a world-spanning vacation this fall: Global Adventures well exceeded its minuscule $170 Kickstarter goal in July, taking in a little under $1,500 from fans.
The game, which bills itself as “Diablo meets Borderlands,” is looking at some kind of release on Steam in September. It’s an action MMO that sends players all across the globe looking for treasure, fighting ninjas, and taking on increasingly ludicrous bosses.
“In Global Adventures, your life gets turned upside down after you join the adventurous Treasure Hunters’ Association (THA) and head out to explore the Mayan ruins,” the team said. “But what starts as a treasure hunt quickly turns into something more, as your expeditions reveal bits and pieces of information that could unravel the mysteries of history.”
Take a look at some of the classes after the break!
This week in MMO crowdfunding, Valiance Online took everyone by surprise by announcing the launch of its investor alpha on PC for Friday, though it didn’t actually launch until today thanks to some unforeseen tech issues. “If you donated to our old website campaign or Kickstarter, you might not be in Alpha today,” Silverhelm tweeted. “We’ll be working over the weekend to get you in!” Folks who donate right now through the official site should also have immediate access.
Over in the newly launched Albion Online, developers calmly responded to criticism of its large-scale battle system, explaining the upsides and downsides of diminishing returns from zergs. (Thanks, David!)
Meanwhile, Project Gorgon promised tweaks to its Poetry Appreciation skill (<3), Saga of Lucimia demoed its Pyrography skill, OrbusVR welcomed more players to its open alpha, Shroud of the Avatar rolled out R44 and cracked down on insider trading exploits, Chronicles of Elyria posted a whopper of a roadmap, Global Adventures’ Kickstarter ends tomorrow, and Star Citizen clarified (sort of?) the number of planets it will launch with and effectively announced another 3.0 delay.
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding over the last week and the regular roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on.
There will be a City of Heroes panel at PAX West… after a fashion. The game may be gone, but the City of Titans development team will be there to talk about carrying on after the game’s closure and making a spiritual successor. They’ll be joined by representatives of the team
s behind Valiance Online and Ship of Heroes, as well, talking about keeping a strong community going between divergent teams with similar goals.
This panel will be in the Werecat theater in the evening of Sunday, September 3rd, so it’s going to require you to stick out most of the convention if you want to see it. On the other hand, it also features three community-led movements to resurrect the spirit of a beloved game, so that may be motivation enough right there.