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  • NS site update 6-8-06:

    [June 8th, 2006 ] :: The deal (Flayra)

    I guess after answering dozens of "why haven't you fixed the site, released NS:Source and btw NS is dying" e-mails this week, I think it's going to be more efficient to post here. It's a bit of a dump, but here goes.

    It has been a pretty rough year. As most of you are painfully aware, this web site got hacked almost a year ago. With that, went the Constellation/donation system, which was the main source of income for Unknown Worlds (me). If you're thinking that we should've taken donations "manually" without the site working, I can tell you that I did that for years and it was a such a time-suck processing and changing SteamIDs and e-mail addresses that it almost wasn't worth the time. So we needed the automation to work, and that meant our player profiles and site had to work.

    That was also the point where we were trying to get investor interest, do contract work and also continue to improve NS. We didn't have the resources to make NS:Source, no money was coming in, yet our expenses had increased a lot because we were spending a lot of time working on Nexus (sorry, not yet) and getting a core team together. So it was a tough situation.

    We probably could've deleted over a million forum posts and 30,000 user accounts, but there's too much history for that. Many of you have been with us since BEFORE v1.0, which has been around four years. I refused to try to "reset" our community and I didn't want to just patch the site, as that wouldn't have fixed the core problems with it. After going through quite a handful of programmers for the web-site, none of which seemed quite up to the task to actually finish it (it's a surprisingly sophisticated piece of custom software, but that's a topic for another day). So the site has been rewritten, and it in major testing right now. I expect we'll open it up to the Constellation members for larger testing very shortly.

    In the meantime, it's been difficult even paying rent. I would have loved to be working on NS:Source, but it deserves a nice treatment, not a quick port-and-release, so I've taken on some other work to keep the landlord at bay. I'm also about to release a small non-NS "casual" game that I hope will make enough money (without any further maintenance or time investment) to fund NS:S. I fully realize that some NS community members will think we've abandoned them by doing this, which is why this may very well be the only mention you'll ever hear of this game. Ironically, if we released this game on the Unknown Worlds site, or at least with the full knowledge and blessing of the NS community, we would probably all be playing NS:Source much sooner. :) I want to stress that this game was purely a way to make enough money and I do not intend it to be a long-term focus, or for us to stop working on NS-like games. Got to pay the bills before making the dream game.

    On the positive side, all the talking with investors looks like it finally might pay off. We have two standing offers for decent "seed" funding (think thousands of dollars, not millions), though the price we pay long-term is relatively high, so we want to take as little of this as possible. I also think some good money is about to come in from this new small game, which will make life a whole lot easier.

    Finally, I just got back from VALVe and saw some amazing things and got some great offers of help. I'm more convinced than ever that NS:Source will become a reality, that we'll be working on it full blast soon, and that it will exceed our wildest dreams. It's my hope that we'll have something more tangible to announce soon about this, but things do often take longer than you think...

    So we've had to regroup and change the way we're doing things and we had to spend a lot of money we didn't have along the way, but for the first time in many months, I'm more confident than ever that we're about to get back on the desired path. Thanks for sticking with us through our darker times.
    Interesting stuff about valve. I wonder if he's thinking of selling this small game on steam, as I'm sure that'll help out a lot (seeing as how its worked so well for other indie developers).

    http://www.unknownworlds.com/ns/

    EDIT: Come to think of it, I got a feeling it's going to be another long wait for the next update. I wish we could get something concrete. I'm glad that he has updated the site with information, but its almost annoying that we don't get more info about stuff like the valve visit, even if nothing comes of it in the end. I'd be interesting to see a article written up about the valve visit and some of the things he did\saw that he's allowed to talk about.
    Last edited by aeroripper; 06-08-2006, 07:46 PM.
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  • #2
    Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

    Flayra has so effectively reinforced the mindset of appreciating what I have and wasting no time anticipating what I'm promised.

    My enthusiasm for what comes will be genuine when it arrives, and not before.

    In the meantime, I continue to support NS by playing it daily (my role) and trust that he's supporting it by working daily (his role).

    I continue to wish him and his the best of luck.
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    Darkilla: In short, NS is pretty much really fast chess. With guns. Apophis: I haven't seen anyone say that SM's are better than non-SMs. Nordbomber: This is THE first server I've seen where either side can comeback from out of seemingly nowhere with the right teamwork. en4rcment: I have NEVER experienced the type of gameplay that I have found here. Nightly I am amazed at the personalities and gaming talent. Zephyr: Apophis is clearly a highly sophisticated self-aware AI construct that runs on a highly modified toaster oven in Wyzcrak's basement.

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    • #3
      Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

      I personally think that Flayra is just rationalizing. I'm not confident in NS:S release at all, especially with his list of investors. Investors do not want to release a free mod, they want to be compensated finanicially. Constellation donations really don't pay for, certainly not the millions that would be required to develop a retail product.

      After reading Flayra's business plan, I am really surprised that anyone would want to invest in NS:S or any of unknownworlds products simply because they cannot even recover from a probable script kiddie (or genuine hacker) from damn near a year ago.

      That and his "if you want more updates you can read me bloggie" attitude is a load of garbage.

      Flayra is a talented coder, but not a very good game designer, unfortunately however, he should be working under someone, not calling the shots himself.

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      • #4
        Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

        I'm not happy with the site outage, or any kind of withering of the game. But even if NS were to stop working completely right this instant, I'd be thankful to Flayra for his vision in creating the game so that I could experience it. If NS had never been created I'd have spent countless hours twiddling my thumbs and I never would have found TG.
        With any luck they recover from their fall. Otherwise, thanks for the good times, I'm playing till there's no-one to play with.

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        • #5
          Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

          I'm also about to release a small non-NS "casual" game that I hope will make enough money (without any further maintenance or time investment) to fund NS:S.
          Keep the above snippet in mind when reading a post in Flayra's blog from earlier this year: http://www.charliecleveland.com/arch...to_make_a.html

          It gives an idea of the kind of game he is talking about.
          Steam Community: | |

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          • #6
            Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

            I'm happy, he designed Natural Selection and thus gave us this community (I think that counts for something). NS:Source or not, I feel it is my responsibility to support him even with his flaws. He's only human.
            -Zephyr
            You were once like the newbie who needed a hand from above and TacticalGamer gave you it.

            You owe the newbie who comes after you that same outstretched hand from above on your honor as a Tactical Gamer.

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            Everyone should be assumed mature until proven otherwise.

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            • #7
              Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

              Originally posted by Zephyr
              I'm happy, he designed Natural Selection and thus gave us this community (I think that counts for something). NS:Source or not, I feel it is my responsibility to support him even with his flaws. He's only human.
              -Zephyr

              Yes he did give us NS, but that is not a reason to support him. His maintenance of the mod has been unacceptable since the release.

              He released a totally unbalanced first version, where the playtesters were more focused on having fun rather than taking an intelligent approach to the game (i.e. testing the "extreme" strategies such as marine rushing) It took 6 months after the first playable version to get a balanced one. It seems that he and his group of devs are more focused on the community aspect of the game, rather than the game itsself.

              His patch releasing is also a problem, with often basing balance decisions based off little or no empirical evidence. Not only that he addresses several aspects within the patch that can radically effect gameplay.

              His long string of yes men who dare not have an independent thought of their own simply justify whatever random things he decides to add into the game. Anyone who speaks against him, is often said to have an attitude problem, or no idea what they are talking about.

              Like I said Flayra is talented coder, but it really stops there. He refuses to acknowledge the fundamental flaws within his game, and at the same time, base balance decision off of very poor "playtesting". I have no faith that NS:S will be out, and I have even little more faith that he will create a retail product worth playing.

              I am waiting for Nuclear dawn, which seems to have much promise.

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              • #8
                Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                I am waiting for Nuclear dawn, which seems to have much promise.
                Eh, I know they photoshopped their progress in a magazine that interviewed them a while ago. I don't think their very far along and I heard the lead guy isn't very nice.

                /end rumors (minus the photochop part, that's true)
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                • #9
                  Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                  I wasn't aware that an unlikeable person was incapable of putting out a quality mod.

                  If you read their website they just hired another coder, and another artist so they can make the screenshots close to a reality.

                  They started developing the game when the SDK was released.

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                  • #10
                    Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                    Originally posted by FireWater
                    I wasn't aware that an unlikeable person was incapable of putting out a quality mod.

                    If you read their website they just hired another coder, and another artist so they can make the screenshots close to a reality.

                    They started developing the game when the SDK was released.
                    True. It will be interesting to see how they incorporate their commander mode when they get it coded in.
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                    • #11
                      Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                      main question for me.....what is this causal game he speaks of?

                      do you serve a purpose or do you purposely serve

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                        Originally posted by Warmonger
                        main question for me.....what is this causal game he speaks of?
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                        • #13
                          Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                          I find it remarkable that we have one or two people in this thread who apparently have inside information into the daily workings of the NS development cycle.

                          Hell, people, it's a free game. Maintenance of the mod is unacceptable?! Look, the guy may be a total ass and a complete goob when it comes to business decisions (I have no idea), but the acceptability ranking for FREE mod maintenance is pretty much in the hands of the maintainer.

                          But then some people expect the world to operate on their own schedule.

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                          • #14
                            Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                            Originally posted by Rampage
                            I find it remarkable that we have one or two people in this thread who apparently have inside information into the daily workings of the NS development cycle.

                            Hell, people, it's a free game. Maintenance of the mod is unacceptable?! Look, the guy may be a total ass and a complete goob when it comes to business decisions (I have no idea), but the acceptability ranking for FREE mod maintenance is pretty much in the hands of the maintainer.

                            But then some people expect the world to operate on their own schedule.

                            Agreed, I don't expect a thing from him/his team. Iv'e gotten countless hours of fun out of NS, for nothing. I'm more then satisfied with that.


                            I love gaming, mmmmmmmm

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                            • #15
                              Re: NS site update 6-8-06:

                              Originally posted by Rampage
                              I find it remarkable that we have one or two people in this thread who apparently have inside information into the daily workings of the NS development cycle.

                              Hell, people, it's a free game. Maintenance of the mod is unacceptable?! Look, the guy may be a total ass and a complete goob when it comes to business decisions (I have no idea), but the acceptability ranking for FREE mod maintenance is pretty much in the hands of the maintainer.

                              But then some people expect the world to operate on their own schedule.
                              I think your comment is out of line.

                              If his mod was not the basis for a future commericial product, then I might agree with you. But the fact that he is using the NS universe as a guise to propel his next product (most likely a retail one), can't even make a few simple patch changes once and a while to the loyal fan base? Sorry sir, that is unacceptable. I'm surprised he has any investors, I personally would want to see a prototype of the product I am investing in first.

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