Decide the fate of FortressCraft!

By Lo-Ping - Tue Mar 08, 5:20 pm

In a move that you don’t often see from developers, let alone one that has come under as much flak as this guy, DjArcas is letting the community vote on a big issue that has arisen very close to the completion of the game.

Up until now FC’s publicity has been proclaiming that the game will have multiplayer lobbies that can contain up to 32 players at one time. To many the premise of a block-building game,  let alone a $3 XBL Indie Game, having 32 person lobbies is preposterous.

Earlier today n the FortressCraft Developer Forum DjArcas posted this:

See, I get alot of message.


And most of them right now are ‘when is it out when is it out when is it out’. Which I don’t mind, as people want to know. (hence my repeated linking of the ‘When is it out?’ thread)

So this might give you a little insight into why it’s not as simple as ‘GIVE ME A DATE!’

Anyways. We did some network testing last night, and had a successful 8 player game without any unexpected hiccups or crashes.


Oh and this is a BUT.

The performance isn’t linear. 8 players is a noticeably worse experience than 7, which is noticably worse than 6… etc.

Not framerate, that seems to be pretty good, but the responsiveness of the world to your actions. So you build a cube, and instead of the 30-ish milliseconds it takes in single player, it can be taking 5-8 seconds. You don’t need to WAIT, tho, it just queues them all up, so you carry on building, and the Xbox does the work as fast as it can.

Can I fix this? Certainly! There’s plenty of things that can be done, optimising memory footprint, improving thread usage, making the node regeneration logic more efficient.

On any other site the obvious next paragraph in the article would read something like “So I’m sorry to say the game will take about a month longer than expected”

Not with Dj! He gives the community a poll with three choices:

1) I can continue to work on improving the network performance. Each day I do so is a day longer to wait to play it.
2) I can release it as it is, and say ‘Recommended max, 4 players, performance may be degraded if you go beyond this’
3) Limit the servers to 4 players, and uncap that in future patches.

Ouch. None of those are particularly brilliant-looking. But I MIGHT fix it in 5 mins tonight. But I might be scratching my head and end up with a 2-week rewrite of the entire system.

If I choose

1) People will complain that they have to wait.
2) People will complain that it runs badly with lots of player in the server
3) People will complain that they can’t have one-more-than-what-I-decide-the-cap-is players.

The internet-at-large’s level of patience is showing in the current vote with over 70% choosing option 3.

While it is a shame that the game is hitting such a big snag when it was looking as though it was almost finished, the fact that the battle-hardened fans that have both defended the game from blatantly Minecraft comparisons and given one cool suggestion after the other can help influence something about the game overall is pretty damned cool.

Of course I voted #3 ‘cus I can’t wait to review “the little game that could” 


Comments -49 - 0 of 8First« PrevNext »Last
  1. 0

    "Doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that the “chapters” idea will pan out. You’re already hitting walls and you barely have any actual gameplay in the game."

    These things happen. If you read the article, you'll see that I *can* get around these issues, but that requires 'x' time. I assume you're aware that the networking is a fundamental engine issue, whereas 'Adding in exploding sheep' is a trivial task.

    "Delay the whole thing and release something more complete and smoothed out."

    If you don't want to get the game in it's early stages, then don't. Simply buy it in 18 months time, when it's more complete. That does, ofc, mean you need to wait 18 months… that's your choice tho!

  2. 0

    I say 3.

  3. 0

    DJ, i know you have to go through alot and the game is just starting to become an object of discussion.. i think releasing the game as-is and then making changes to it in the next couple weeks… will be a huge advantage to Fortresscraft. People will start to play and the word willl spread to people and to their friends, and then to their friends.

    to add, personally i have been dying for the game(:

  4. 0

    choice one!

  5. 0

    You have had my support from the moment I heard of this game. I think that a cap at 4 players that can be patched at a later date is the best option. I will be happy with whatever you decide, but that is my suggestion.

  6. 0

    Doesn't inspire a lot of confidence that the "chapters" idea will pan out. You're already hitting walls and you barely have any actual gameplay in the game.

    Delay the whole thing and release something more complete and smoothed out.

  7. 0

    You could try to fix and optimize it some more before you release it without the issues besides the networking ones that are related tot this topic. But on the other hand I think you should go for Option 2.. why? I myself usually play with 4 people at maximum anyways. More than that usually leads to hectic proportions.

    You can fix all of these issues in Chapter 1.5

    I still think 32 players is abusrd.. have you considered moving down the cap a little maybe.. 28?

  8. 0

    choice one!

Comments -49 - 0 of 8First« PrevNext »Last

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