state of the game

Starfighter Inc expands its alpha test and overhauls its ship systems

Remember Starfighter Inc? This crowdfunded title was aiming to be a multiplayer spiritual successor to the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games of the 1990s. It kind of dropped right off our radar following the title’s successful $170,000 Kickstarter in spring 2017 (after a failed 2015 bid), but it’s still been space truckin’ along in its development since then.

According to this month’s state of the game report, Starfighter Inc continues to press forward through development and alpha testing, with an overhaul to the “efficiency, functionality, and flexibility” of the game’s ships coming soon. Additional maps and game modes are also in the works.

The alpha was recently expanded in May to include more testers, and the team reiterated that the space shooter was going to get a different (and more official) name at some point in the future. Founders will receive the game before the public release, so if you didn’t back it, you are in for a longer wait to get your hands on this title.

Get a feel for some of the pilot progression and ship customization options in the video below!

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Star Citizen’s 3.2 alpha contains utter rubbish, literally – and Squadron 42 won’t make 2018

This week’s edition of Star Citizen’s Around the Verse is taking a detour into a recap of Squadron 42. CIG says it’s been working on combat, animations, the NPC idle system, procedural tech for the actors, object examination and manipulation, weapons tech, destruction assets (I’m here for this), the Vanduul, and utter rubbish. No really, somebody’s gotta build scrap piles and space detritus! That’s going on somebody’s resume! Love it.

It’s another really short episode, but that’s likely because the team is trying to crank out the final version of the 3.2 alpha, which was reportedly supposed to launch in some sort of official capacity yesterday. (It did not.) The same VentureBeat article mentions that the current state of the game allows for 50 players per instance.

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Fallen Earth’s new owners try to sort out a messy situation but aren’t discouraged

It’s one thing to say that you’d like to rebuild an aging MMORPG that you just purchased. It’s another thing entirely to figure out how you’re going to accomplish that.

This is the situation that Little Orbit finds itself in as it attempts to figure out a path forward for the post-apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth. In the first state of the game report that the community has seen in many years, the new owner explained that it is still investigating what it has on its hands and what can be done for this game. The short version: It’s a mess, and it’s going to take a while even to figure out a roadmap going forward.

The company said that it’s attempted to reach out to the former developers, but in the meanwhile it’s going to have to figure things out on its own: “We have all the code, and it is theoretically possible for us to patch the game or the updater. However this code is significantly old. It requires tools that are more than a decade in age, installations of old libraries, and very customized windows installs to even build everything.”

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The Survivalist: ARK Survival Evolved’s early early access vs. launch

When a game is being created, you usually expect that development to move the title in a positive direction and make it better, right? The state of the game when it launches should be much better than when it started. Well, sometimes that doesn’t quite happen. In ARK: Survival Evolved’s case, I think there are instances when it did just the opposite; certain aspects of the launched game were worse than the earlier versions. However, that’s not the case for everything: There were also a number of ways the game was definitely improved. Does one outweigh the other? Is the game better, or is it worse? It might depend on which features you feel are more important for the game and the side that they fall on.

While not exhaustive in either case, here’s a list of four ways that early early access ARK was better than the launch and four ways the launch version is better. Then tune in next week for four hopes for a better future.

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PAX East 2018: Guild Wars 2 game director Mike Zadorojny on Path of Fire, monetization, and more

It’s not every day that you walk into a building dominated by an enormous griffon, the enormous statue replicating the mount in Guild Wars 2: Path of Fire. You could, of course, argue that the griffon is functionally an upgraded version of the glider from Heart of Thorns, but that just brings you back to the idea that Path of Fire is closer to what people wanted from Heart of Thorns in the first place. It’s a bigger expansion for people not interested in the rather narrow focus of the jungle.

Which makes sense, since according to the game director, Mike Zadorojny, the focus of what the expansion was meant to be about was radically different between the two expansions, and Path of Fire was closer to an expansion of the base game.

I had the chance to sit with Zadorojny and chat about various issues of both current development ant future direction, although we did not have that chat on the back of the griffon. (There were people waiting in line.) But considering the nature of the griffon and the talk, it might have been appropriate.

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Worlds Adrift adds 300 brand-new player-made islands to its early access build

Last week, the Worlds Adrift team asked you to break its servers. You didn’t. But you did give them a thorough test, which pushes Bossa Studios along to the next leg of development. And that means… a whole new world. A lot of new worlds, in fact, all of them built by players with the free creator tool.

Worlds Adrift is a Community-Crafted MMO, but what exactly does that mean? Yes, ‘crafting’ plays a key element in the game, whether that’s building a better ship, forging a new alliance, or plotting out your next adventure, but it actually goes a lot deeper than that. In fact, look out to the horizon, and each and every island that scatters the skyline was crafted by a player, such as yourself, using our free Island Creator tool… and we just dropped another 300 of your amazing creations into game, with the recent release of 0.1.9.”

We’ve included the thank-you fly-through video below, along with the explainer video, which features a “burger-eating sasquatch and a frail-looking Japanese woman with a goatee” discussing the state of the game. Not really though.

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Star Citizen brings back old ships for sale, asks backers to vote on alpha 3.2’s priority projects

Do you have too much money? Awesome. Star Citizen has some ideas for where you can spend it – say, on some new ships? Some old ships? Some reskinned ships? Some ships you missed the first time ’round? Some ships you want to upgrade to? Some ships you could’ve gotten cheaper if you’d done it ages ago?

“To commemorate the incoming 3.1 patch, we are offering a War Bond option to give you all one final chance to pledge for this selection of flyable ships at their original concept prices,” says CIG. The roster includes versions of the Anvil Terrapin, Tumbril Cyclone, MISC Razor, Aegis Reclaimer, Aopoa Nox Kue, RSI Constellation Aquila, MISC Prospector, and Drake Dragonfly.

Meanwhile, Chris Roberts dropped by the live Reverse the Verse yesterday to discuss the state of the game, compare it to Sea of Thieves (he says SC has more content but is less polished, which sounds about right), and ponder a minimum viable product for the masses who evidently prefer playing video games to testing them (crazy, huh?). To that end, CIG has posted what it’s calling the Alpha 3.2 Feature Survey for backers to essentially allow them to vote on which features the team focuses on for the next-next update.

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Pantheon’s State of the Game touts pre-alpha and Elves

Pre-alpha.”

By far, this is the focus of Pantheon’s February state of the game post by Creative Director Chris Perkins, who reports that the testing has resulted in “overwhelmingly positive and constructive” feedback for the team. The development team is hard at work on the perception system, combat, class design (in particular, the Ranger and Dire Lord), NPC AI and dispositions, and game balancing.

While there are only a few hundred checking out a limited slice of the game at this point, the pre-alpha will be expanding soon as it heads into its second phase next month. Pre-Alpha 2 will open up to include Halnir Cave for gameplay, with additional zones to follow.

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Neverwinter talks about game fixes, puts the final touches on the Cradle of the Death God

Cryptic’s state of the game livestream came out earlier this week for Neverwinter… and it was not quite as groundbreaking as you might have hoped.

The studio admitted that random queues still aren’t working well and require more adjustments, such as possible level scaling tech. They also discussed the foundry on the PlayStation 4, fixes for the Throne of the Nine Gods challenge, love for PvP, and answered questions from the community.

Meanwhile, Cryptic continues to prepare the community for the Lost City of Omu module. Part of that content update will be the Cradle of the Death God epic trial, which as its name may suggest, is not going to be a walk in the park. “This time around the battle won’t be taking place in a single room,” the studio said. “Instead, your adventuring party will be descending even further into Acererak’s Tomb, with the encounter taking place in three major acts.”

This month, the MMO Bookclub has elected to play through Neverwinter. Check out the subreddit for more info if you want to join the community.

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PWE will sunset MOBA Gigantic in July because it couldn’t ‘break through in a crowded market’

Gigantic is on the short road to sunset, I’m sorry to report.

The move by publisher PWE won’t surprise many players, as the development studio behind the game, Motiga, was shuttered back in November. At the time, PWE said it would keep the game itself online; it even pushed out a patch a few weeks atfer that.

But today, PWE has called it quits. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the January Update is the final content update for Gigantic, and the game servers will be discontinued on July 31, 2018,” says the company, thanking players for giving the game a chance.

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RIFT lead systems designer Andy ‘Vladd’ Kirton steps down

According to a thread on RIFT’s official forums today, a new lead systems designer is apparently on order in the flagship Trion MMORPG as Andy “Vladd” Kirton has left his post. Vladd is still at Trion “working on another title that needed his expertise,” Archonix posts, in coordination with Trion’s usual method of “rotating people to different projects.”

It is not immediately clear who at Trion will be filling Vladd’s shoes on RIFT, which is currently in the midst of controversial plans for a progression server. In response to player questions about the state of the game’s staff, Linda “Brasse” Carlson said Trion wasn’t going to grant a “full-on employee list and flow chart” and had no wish to spread “undue panic.”

“In this case, as Vladd was such a high-profile fellow, we needed to explain that he was not just swallowed up by the earth. The earth is not match for our golden viking demigod,” Brasse writes. “In a Dev studio, game needs and assignments change over time. If you check the Trion careers page, you’ll see that we have several jobs posted… movement is good.”

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Neverwinter hosts a stream on the state of the game

So, how are things going for Neverwinter? Probably all right? It’s hard to be sure without an actual state of the game dispatch from the development team. You know, like the one that’s going to be integrated with a developer stream happening in just 30 minutes, right here. (Well, all right, happening with Twitch but embedded here.) Hear about how the game did last year and where it’s headed in 2018 direct from lead designer Thomas Ross and community manager Julia Fredrickson.

In addition to the overarching “state of the game” discussion, the team on-screen will also be answering old community questions and taking some questions live, so if you can make it for the actual stream you may well be rewarded for your patience. We’re not going to be liveblogging this particular one, but if there are enterprising viewers in the comments, you may feel free to be our guests.

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Wall Street firm sees Destiny 2 ‘struggling with player engagement’

Destiny 2 is definitely not riding high in its first year of live operation. Warning signs started to appear late last year, as datamining pointed to a large player slump. Bungie hasn’t been helping its own cause despite a 2018 roadmap, as Destiny 2 has struggled with throttling bugs and poor communication in the past month.

Now one Wall Street firm has analyzed the state of the game and predicted a not-so-rosy future.

Destiny 2 is struggling right now with player engagement appearing to be on the wane,” wrote Cowen analyst Doug Creutz to the firm’s clients. “We do think Bungie still has some opportunity to fix the game’s problems over the next year and recapture engagement, but we’re not sure they have the ability to pull it off at this point. We also note that Destiny currently has more serious competition in its genre from a refurbished Division (Ubisoft) and the indie title Warframe than it did three years ago, when Destiny had its own share of player dissatisfaction.”

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