Make My MMO: Star Citizen’s spaceports and alpha 3.5, Spycursion’s Kickstarter

    
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This week week in MMO crowdfunding, Star Citizen dropped a nifty Around the Verse that focuses on the Area18 spaceport. Remember the demo video CIG floated a few years ago that everyone said made the game look like Coruscant Online? These cityscapes look more like Corellia now, with tracked transit systems to go along with the aerial movement. Good news too if you’re an elite tester: Alpha 3.5 dropped for the Evocati this week! (Thanks, DK!)

We also got our first new MMO on Kickstarter of the year: Spycursion, an indie cyberespionage title. It’s off to a bit of a slow start, with only around $4000 of its $100,000 goal so far in the bag, but it’s got most of March to catch up.

Meanwhile, Ashes of Creation is planning a state of the game stream next week (thanks, Pseudophonia!), Temtem updated backers on physical rewards, Saga of Lucimia set its next tester release for early April, Camelot Unchained counted 5100 humans and bots in its latest test, and Elite Dangerous dropped a bombshell: It’s moved most of the team to a major paid expansion coming in 2020.

Read on for more on what’s been up with MMO crowdfunding over the last few weeks and our roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’re following!

Spycursion’s Kickstarter

Recent MMO crowdfunding news

Star Citizen ATV

Campaigns and crowdfunded MMOs we’re watching

3001SQ (Société des Mondes Virtuels) – Kickstarter unsuccessful, dev halted in 2018.
AdventureQuest 3D (Artix Entertainment) – Raised 368k; beta began Oct 2016.
Albion Online (Sandbox) – Launched July 2017, hit Steam May 2018.
Antraxx (Team Antraxx) – Kickstarter canceled.
Ascent: The Space Game (Fluffy Kitten Studios) – Successful KS. Fully launched 2016.
Ashes of Creation (Intrepid Studios) – Successful KS. Alpha zero.
Broke Protocol (Cylinder) – Unsuccessful KS. In free early access.
Camelot Unchained
(City State) – Kickstarter successful; open donations/packages.
Caribbean Conquest (Invenio) – First KS canceled, second ended unsuccessfully.
Codename Reality (Orode) – Kickstarter unsuccessful.
Contested Space (Zon)
Crowfall (ArtCraft) – Kickstarter win, open packages, Indiegogo crowdfunding ongoing.
Chronicles of Elyria (Soulbound) – Kickstarter successful, open packages.
Citadel of Sorcery (MMO Magic, Inc.) – Open donations.
City of Titans (Missing Worlds Media) – Successful KS; Issue 0 delayed into 2019.
Descent Underground (Descendent Studios) – Successful KS.
Divergence Online (Stained Glass Llama) – Three campaigns; now in KS early access.
Dogma: Eternal Night
(Prelude Games Factory): Kickstarter. Probably dead.
Dragon of Legends (Thrive Games) – Successful Kickstarter.
Dual Universe (Novaquark) – Kickstarter funded, donor platform. Backer alpha.
Eco (Strange Loop Games) – Funded, now in alpha.
Edengrad (Huckleberry Games) – Kickstarter funded; in early access.
Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments) – Funded and fully launched.
Empyrion Online (Eleon) – Kickstarter canceled; launched on Steam early access.
Endless Trials (Fire Hurts) – Kickstarter canceled.
Epic Space (EpicSpace.net)
EverFeud (PSB) – Kickstarter canceled.
Ever, Jane (3 Turn Productions) – Now in open beta.
Fractured (Dynamight) – Kickstarter successful. Pre-alpha.
Global Adventures (SubaGames) – Kickstarter funded.
Gloria Victis (Black Eye Games) – Open donations, no end date; in early access.
Greed Monger (Greed Monger) – Abandoned, now allegedly in refund process.
Grim Dawn (Crate Entertainment) – Funded and launched.
Guardians of Ember (Runewaker) – Funded and launched.
Guns of Icarus (Muse) – Funded and launched.
Hero’s Song (Pixelmage) – KS canceled; Indiegogo. Canceled w/ refunds.
Infinity: Battlescape (I-Novae Studios)
HEX (HEX Entertainment) – Funded and launched.
Legends of Aria (Citadel Studios) – Kickstarted as Shards Online. Early access.
Life is Feudal (Bitbox): Indiegogo ended. Currently in beta.
LUX (Chimera) – Kickstarter canceled.
Maestros of the Anthymn (String Theory) – Kickstarter canceled.
Maguss (Maguss) – Indiegogo successful; open beta.
Mekria (Infinity Online Studios) – Kickstarter canceled.
Midair (Archetype Studios) – Kickstarter successful.
Nebula Online (Mizar Games) Kickstarter canceled; launched in November.
Neo’s Land (NeoJac Entertainment) – Open donations, no end date.
Novus AEterno (Taitale Studios)
OrbusVR (Ad Alternum) – KS funded March 2017. In early access.
Overpower (Hydrant Games) – Kickstarter unfunded; heading to early access.
Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen (Visionary Realms) – Open donations. Pre-alpha.
Pantropy (Brain Stone GmbH): First Kickstarter canceled, second funded.
Pathfinder Online (GoblinWorks) – Doom, mostly.
Planet Nomads (Craneballs) – Kickstarted, early access launched sans multiplayer.
Pixel Starships (SavySoda)
Project Gorgon (Elder Game) – Kickstarted in three tries + Indiegogo. Early access.
Project Oasis World (POW) – Kickstarter unsuccessful.
Pumpkin Online (Monique) – Downgrading from MMORPG.
Temtem (Crema) – Kickstarter fully funded; now in alpha.
The Exiled (Fairytale Distillery) – fka Das Tal; KS unsuccessful. Early access.
The Flower of KnighthoodKickstarter canceled.
The Realm: Reawakened (Stephen Nichols) – Ongoing GoFundMe.
The Repopulation (Idea Fabrik) – Kickstarted twice by A&B. Back in alpha.
ROKH (Darewise) – Kickstarter canceled; in  early access but not active dev.
RUiN (Tarhead Studio) – Kickstarter successful.
The Stomping Land (Alex Fundora) – Abandoned.
Sacrament (Ferocity Unbound) – Kickstarter failed; Patreon ongoing.
Saga of Lucimia (Stormhaven) – Indiegogo. Intermittent pre-alphas.
Shadow’s Kiss (Clockwork Throne) – Ongoing Patreon, Kickstarter funded.
Shroud of the Avatar (Portalarium) – Soft launch July 2016. Launch March 2018.
Squadron 42 (Cloud Imperium) – Beta delayed until at least 2020.
Star Citizen (Cloud Imperium) – Ongoing donations/packages. Backer alpha.
TUG (Nerd Kingdom) – Totally abandoned without a word. Now considered a scam.
Vigor Roads (NeuronHaze) – Kickstarter unsuccessful; early access planned for 2017.
War of Rights (Campfire Games) – Successful Kickstarter; in early access.

City of Titans

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Bývörðæįr mòr Vas´Ðrakken

the thing that startup find out the hard way is that to create enough content to last six months you have to spend two months making concept art or pieces to layer together.

Then you have to have a complete working engine with procedural or height map based variation. I prefer starting with an interesting piece of ground some where in the world and treating it like a depth map paint for 3d conversion. So I down load the one meter height map of an area. Then I take it into Krita or Nuke and paint in the elements I need like lakes or inland seas. That can then be converted to something revit can see as terrain. Note at this point there are no plants, animals, or buildings. Caves have to be sculpted afterwards but some companies zone those as only an entrance. Speed tree procedural generates floilage and flora to create tree, shrubs, plants and tree leaf coverage. At this point for one ten miles area by ten miles, you have spent two months of concepting sketches, about a week generating the base terrain mesh, and two months filling in the trees to give areas of dense foliage and areas that are glades. Then you spend another month figuring out if the rivers in the heightmap work in an appealing way. The speed most player move through an MMO is about ten miles per hour or a fast walk. Running is twice to four times that. So your zone takes about an hour to cross walking and a half an hour to fifteen minutes to cross running. Mounts that are ground based start out four times walking speed to flight mounts that move at ten times as fast. Anything faster makes the world feel too small. So your concept artist likely keep working on concepts and finding height map data, while you have one to six artists in cubical with their backs to each other so when they get up they see what everyone else is working on their screen, per fifteen minutes of ground.

Think about that in one year you get 2 1×1 mile zones per team done. so that means if you have a team of twenty environment guys and gals in four person teams with one of them working with the 3D modelling team building your environment animals and monsters while the environment team builds behaviors and pathing, that means five time two 1×1 mile zones per year. That is ten by ten miles of environment per year. That is what most companies try to launch with after two years of building and engine and then only bringing a handful of people on to build over two years the entire game. Big studios use procedural generation and heightmaps to build far more than they can edit or build because if one of the meshes turns out to be problematic or they need to add far more zones because the way the content was placed everything felt like you had been to that area a dozen times that day already.

We have better technology companies starting out could plan around but most fail because they start as corporations working off the books and do not plan for ten years of income required by federal law for companies to have set aside to pay employees if the company is not making any money. They have to either plan to create ten thousand unique layers that can be swapped in with color variation being up to the player base after the assets are final. They need to plan for licensing something like vray for their high end graphics and their low end should be a middle of the road pc two years before launch. the low end should be aimed at the current high end since in four years there are going to be advances and down rezing is easier than trying to add detail that was not there from the start. So small indy studio with practically no money and no business plan, competing with a studio full of full time paid employees, they are going to have to accept that they are fighting for gamerʻs twenty dollars a month to two hundred dollars a month and either add two years time for every year they are working on the game to pay for development costs, or get everything else but the visuals almost perfect and still see more people playing the games where the writing is appealing and fun to the playerʻs perspective that have the visual eye candy looking better.

There is plenty of room for different types of MMO but when the value is lacking there is plenty of places to spend it when you are unhappy with what one studio or another is producing. Frost byte and Unreal are great starting points for building the actual game in. Excel is great for taking the heightmaps as jpg or png images and zooming the view down to create a world layout one tile at a time.

Teams just starting out should try to build their world as an excel spreed sheet image with the grids on and off based on how much time they think it is going to take and print them out on a blotter and put miniatures on the table with the map until they think they have the scale correct. Laptop screen work as well. Then ask if they have enough environments. If every quest needs itʻs own space then it might end up sparse or the player might wonder why they spent two hours walking some where only to have to go back through all those areas later and do quests they could have done at the same time. Most of the MMO that failed in the last five years looked at the past MMO and said someone else built the same type of MMORPG a certain way and failed because of that they must not have been talented enough.

The truth is it usually is not working enough hours or lack of talent. What kills most is failing at understanding what players what to do with their fun time is what they are paying for. Players want to hang out with their friends, chat about what is going on in their lives, while playing through quests that a mix of really important and something just to pass the time while they talk about the stuff going on in their lives with their friends. They want to look appealing, and appealing to what they think is appealing. They want to be rewarded for content that is hard enough it is not a cake walk but not some thing where they are fighting the controls to be and do what they want but something that is a challenge because of tight timing not perfect timing of counters, that happen often and the cool down is the enemy but more of a tempo. What people want is to live in a series of sparing matches that result in better loot especially when everything goes right, so when you get that perfect run by accident you get a legendary reward instead of what ever was planned. That area that was right next to the low level area because instead of ripples of harder areas like stones skipped across a pond, the areas are built then built on top of, that the player wanders into and survives and gets rewarded for surviving by wits alone or even dumb luck, while dead is a spirit walk to the other side of the area.

It is planning and funding that needs to exceed what the middle of the road or better. Unless your audience targets stick figures and college humor the fight to make say never winter level graphics stand up to the other mmo is always going to be hard up hill battle. PW have ten professional writers to offset the graphics and the humor carries them, even still chult nearly killed them and the dinos did not offset the low rz nature of the gear. People wanting to start a new MMO should build the concept art of the first five years of gear, the first five years of heightmaps and ten different story boarded out movies that the players would want to invest their time and more importantly the want to be the character their avatar represents in game. Too many MMOs the player char is the butt of too many jokes and not appealing.

deekay_000
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deekay_000

looking forward to sc ptu. i did submit some bug reports in the last ptu but i doubt i’ll get an invite nonetheless. still i’ll be peakin at dem leaks ya know?

Godnaz
Reader
Godnaz

QoL improvements have been a focus based on PTU feedback. Its nice to know they are listening to players, getting a general consensus of how to make their systems and mechanics more simplified and better overall. This type of stuff is worth the wait and with literally nothing in development worth mentioning to compete in the MMO market, even though we may not like it, I feel the gamble of a lengthy development is paying off.

deekay_000
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Patreon Donor
deekay_000

i watched a leak video with narration about the new flight controls. sounds and looks pretty solid to me. i’ll have to get my hands on it myself to get a feel for it myself. but i’m looking forward to using the mouse wheel on my tartarus for that limiter.

unfortunately the leak people are being threatened with doxxing or something by one of the more active orgs in the game rn so the leaks have dried up for the moment. but the testing afaik is just limited to ac rn?

but ye, i have high hopes for this patch, and i feel those hopes are built on a solid foundation for the past year – keeping in mind the rule of 3.x is – dont count on a b c or d feature being in the milestone. but i admit i’ll be dissapointed if female avatars aren’t in and ship ai isn’t working again.

but ye seems their development cycle madness is actually coming to paydirt. the game certainly holds my attention now and the incoming patch if most of it is delivered as anticipated will be a nice meaty one.

Reader
angrakhan

I guess my question about Spycursion is if it’s supposed to be edutainment why did they create their own proprietary scripting language instead of using something industry standard like ECMAScript 6 which someone could actually go get a job with? Personally, I’d love something like that even if the graphics were dated.