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 FortressCraft.com 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”