The Repopulation will announce new development plans this month

    
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The Repopulation is making plans, and they aren’t plans to shut down.

The sandbox studio Above and Beyond became ensnared in HeroEngine’s financial problems last fall and was forced to halt development last month. But the studio’s J.C. Smith told fans over the weekend that the game is very much not canceled and that the team will announce its plans later in January:

[W]e will have an announcement later this month which will outline our plans moving forward. Wheels are already in motion but it’s just not ready to be revealed yet. We don’t want to leak out information on these forums before we are prepared for the full press release and such, because it would leak to the news sites once it is here. But to quell any panic, the game is not cancelled so that is not what the announcement will be.

Aw nuts, he’s onto us!

Smith also opened up a bit about the studio’s financial outlook.

I was speaking with Idea Fabrik on the notion of a buyout recently. There is a buyout option available, which may or may not (conflicting reports) include an additional kicker (we were originally told it would, but recently told it may not). However, since we have already launched outside of the platform (on Steam) there is a lock in period at 30% royalties even without hosting for I believe three years. They may be willing to negotiate to a lower number, or consider a larger flat fee without royalties, though at this point there are no solid numbers on what we’d be looking at there yet, only some feeler out conversations. This also does not include licenses for numerous other things (middleware, database) + the need for a new host. There are options there, though they are not cheap.

With regards to financials, we still have money in the bank, but it’s not cheap to develop an MMO. Staff size (and thus overhead) steadily increases the closer you get to launch and ours had more or less doubled in the past year. On months where there was not a sale we were typically losing money, though we had built an early reserve from the initial Steam launch which caused that to not be much of an issue. Of course once sales get taken offline and additional charges get tacked on, it affects you a lot more and we faced a situation where we could run out of money in a few months if we left the alpha servers online with the way things were. Which is what led to the decision to take alpha servers offline during this ordeal.

As to the team’s spirits, Smith says everyone’s hanging in there. “I think we all feel the crunch here because nobody is getting paid at this point and many people just don’t have anything to do right now. But we know there some light at the end of the tunnel in the not too distant future.”

Source: Official forums #1, #2, #3
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jonny_sage
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jonny_sage

I still say if its a money issue, they should just create a sub for the minimum amount required just to run the server, and let people donate that way. It allows the players to keep playing until the situation is resolved.

misterMa
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misterMa

from steam, an angry HE developer?

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198013738830

http://steamcommunity.com/app/322300/discussions/0/451850849183226973/#c451850849185103874:Did
you sign up for your Hero Cloud during that silly Free Lifetime
License/ 99 seat deal that Idea Fabrik tossed up to earn media attention
where whoever applied was given their own world, again, for FREE?
No,
we licensed Hero Engine when it was $5k up front. We were one of their
first indie licensees. They later added the deal you are referencing,
but we already had a license.
]You
do? Maybe you aren’t Lifetime sub, then. Or you are buying more servers
than Idea Fabirk’s 30% would have alloted for? I think I read on the
Hero Engine Forums that there was a disagreement where Repopulation
refused to pay for the royalty which lead to the debacle we have online.
This was posted by “AlexSH” but the post was edited. [/b]
Sales
were taken offline after they hit their financial difficulties. So they
would have gotten 30% of nothing. At that point with no money incoming
they asked games which were in alpha testing to start paying for their
own server fees. Alex’s post has been addressed several times on these
forums, but to quickly summarize: We refused to continue paying on
November 8th, which was weeks after the problems (inability to sell
game, inability to patch, no techs, uncertainty of their future) had
already occurred. We were paid in full up until that point. But informed
them that we would not continue paying until services could be restored
to normal, and that we would not pay for alpha servers moving forward
until the above could also be resolved. That was not the cause of their
problem, it was a byproduct of it. We had to make this decision to
protect ourselves. If we had elected to keep alpha running, we’d be in
danger of facing financial difficulties due to three months of no sales
while we had ongoing expenses. Given the circumstances, we had to do
what was best for the game and our user base, we couldn’t take a risk on
them.
WRONG. This is the
Source License which such professional developers owned by major
corporations like EA (SWTOR) and Bethsheba (ESO) purchased so that they
could base their prototype engines on Hero Engine code and then rewrite
everything from scratch where they saw fit.
The option
is certainly targeted at larger studios due to the price tag, however it
is available to anyone initially. I believe (and could be wrong) that
until the point that you start selling the game you can upgrade to that
license without any additional costs. But once you sell outside of the
platform some things change. I think what they wanted to prevent there
was indies going into alpha, and then right before launch raising money
and buying a source license so they could reduce their royalties before
Idea Fabrik ever receives a large chunk.
Of course many things
changed in the years since the license agreements were created.
Kickstarter was not viewed as a viable option when they started having
indie licenses, nor was early access. The traditional route at that
point was still to develop a prototype, pitch it to a publisher for an
up front advance, and then launch the game. So under those circumstances
it would have been a worse situation for Idea Fabrik than it is today
when they can take a percentage out of the Kickstarter, and Early
Access.

 
http://steamcommunity.com/app/322300/discussions/0/451850849183226973/#c451850849186098204

http://steamcommunity.com/profiles/76561198009555226 

I have to say, some of things being said here by the Repop
developers are utter lies to cover their own asses. Spreading false
information to make themselves look blameless seems to be the way of
ABT.
First off, ABT refused to pay royalties owed to IF long
before IF came into difficulty. At which point the ABT servers were
taken down. Keep in mind this is AFTER ABT refused to pay what was
legally owed by them to Hero Engine.
Next ill quote a few things and give the actual answer to the public that ABT are trying so hard to hide. –
1 – ” In our case we had a pretty hefty set up of multiple server locations, each consisting of numerous high end machines.”
Because ABT demanded they have these servers.
2
– “such as a Kickstarter or Steam) however that license then requires
an additional Kicker and the royalties gets locked in for a period of
three years if memory serves correct in which case your royalties would
remain the same but without hosting (30% on a standard license). ”
Bull, It is 2 years not 3.
3
– “However, due to the issues here and sales being taken offline they
began asking licensees to begin covering the server fees on their own in
order if they wanted to keep them operational. ”
This is the
BIGGEST lie that JC has just posted. IF have NOT asked any other HE
groups/lincesees including my own, for money to cover server fees. Not a
single one. Utter lie.
Also prepare for this post to be deleted by JC. Just another obvious attempt to cover it up.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

Damonvile They’d be better off with some other options simply because of rates. As a for instance while Epic may have hands in pockets with how UE4 is it  is 10% vs 30% for hero engine stuff…

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

direpath Art assets would never be replaced with an engine swap. It would be asinine to think that as it would involve literally rebuilding every single art asset. The only thing a game engine would change is shaders and lighting potentially not much else. if you ported WoW to UE4 it’d still look exactly like WoW other than lighting and shaders being slightly diff… Nothing will change graphically and this is a small studio it’s not like they have a ton of money to go out and spend massive amounts of time for super high end art assets between models and textures it’d be too costly and massively time consuming. 

Also this kind of shit needs to stop. A game can be fun without looking graphically amazing. Graphics mean jack all if the rest of the experience is some dumbed down idiocy designed to sell the masses a new expansion that further dumbs it down year after year. The game isn’t the best looking game in the world no, but that isn’t where their focus is nor is it where it should be.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

Avarius DugFromTheEarth Animation is always on the creator no matter what engine you use unless they are using purely stock animations..

Avarius
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Avarius

DugFromTheEarth Amen. I wanted to like the game. The concept was sound, the gameplay was fun. But good lord, the Hero engine just sucks. Sluggish animations, clipping everywhere on everything, and all kinds of texture popping issues. I hope they go with Unreal, or at least something less riddled with performance problems.

DugFromTheEarth
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DugFromTheEarth

If its a successful switch to the latest unreal engine, id bite.

Dystopiq
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Dystopiq

Tamanous ddocentral Dystopiq I’d hire Raph Koster fulltime.

Tamanous
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Tamanous

ddocentral Dystopiq You guys should just commission the mmo of your dreams with a known professional development group.

ddocentral
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ddocentral

Dystopiq I bought my Powerball ticket today. If I win the $1.4 billion jackpot, I will pay off all of Funcom’s debt.