Early Access

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Re: Early Access

Post by Nokzen » Sat Apr 26, 2014 4:54 am

Im really looking forward to trying this early access out, and im sure its gonna be a success.

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Re: Early Access

Post by Sunday » Fri May 02, 2014 4:27 pm

After many debacles with games like WarZ and projects which have outright failed, it’s understandable that people are more wary about Early Access than they were a couple of years back. But it’s a popular means of getting many projects up and running and even Steam has backed this form of retail not only because its popular, but because they can sell a product and get people playing before it even hits the stores. Giving them a major edge over their competition. (That’s something to also consider before making a decision on any EA purchase.)

Steam's EA programme takes little to no responsibility for the outcome of a customer's desire to purchase an unfinished product. This is something that EVERYONE should be aware of by now.
And Developers who release a project on Early Access should also be aware of this if they want to distribute their project and make additional funding.

Since there are no real guidelines chiselled in stone by Steam as to how long a project can remain in EA, or what the refund policy is (LOL) should a project run out of funding, buyers are more aware than ever these days that they run a huge risk with their money should they back a project. So if a Dev wants to sell on EA they should be willing to at least do the following for a customer’s reassurance.

A clear description of the gameplay and content included in its current build.
A list of content still to be included or polished at a later date.
A rough estimate or schedule when work is likely to be completed.

The last part is something which is quite difficult to accomplish and so far the only Early Access title to do this well has been “Don't Starve” by Klei Entertainment. Their initial sales followed by subsequent sales as updates rolled in proved they had the right idea in building customer relations and that their project could be trusted.
But none the less, there should be some form of limitation as to how long a game CAN stay under the EA programme, but that's another topic for another day.

In terms to what the Acid Wizards have explained on their Steam Page, we’re getting EA to the First Chapter of the game, which is pretty good for the folks who don’t want the horror spoiled. This will ensure that should the game be released in its full glory, players will jump at the chance to see the rest of the story.
So my initial concern quoted on the first page is put to rest.

I’ll always still have that concern that the project itself could topple financially at the drop of a hat, which will also be a thought on the minds of a LOT of potential customers who see this game on Steam’s front page in the coming months. So if Acid Wizards can deliver updates and deliver them reliably I can easily see a snowballing success as folks start to participate in the EA programme with them, and if certain Youtubers get a hold of the title, popularity will only increase further.
However, if you guys feel like you’d struggle in any way with schedules, I’d recommend postponing EA until you can deliver updates or “chapters” more smoothly.


There is such a thing as going on Early Access, too Early…

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Re: Early Access

Post by XGCForsakend » Tue May 06, 2014 7:36 pm

This will be a long and multiple quoted post in response mostly to Nhoise.
Nhoise wrote: Now we all know; Early Acces = basically the same as Beta Testing
Incorrect. There are two main phases in game development not including the brainstorming and pre-alpha/prototype work: Alpha and Beta. More phases can of course be added such as Charlie or even Gama at the studio's leisure, but we will stick to the 2 biggest known phases. Yet it is necessary to say that Early Access is not Beta. There are plenty of games in Early Access that are nowhere near the beta phase.

Reading over the store page, this seems like it will actually be an 'Late Alpha' as the planned features are 'World Creation Overhaul' and 'Crafting Overhaul'. Meaning the systems are there but they want to re-create them more efficiently and with more polish. Also, the chapter that can be considered done is Ch1 and the others still need to be created.
Nhoise wrote:Most people on Steam don't read the store page, they don't care about why a game is on Early Access and for how long it's going to be.
They play the game, see it's not complete and has plenty bugs so they are gonna wine on the forums... a lot
Incorrect. Most people POUR themselves over the steam store page to see if the studio or developers are organized enough to support in Early Access. If they have a dedicated site or page, they will pour over that as well and scavenge for information. Smart consumers read the item and the item description to make an informative choice over the one who simply looks at the front picture/label of the product and immediately throws it into the purchase cart. Those are the ones whom complain loudly over Early Access and Kickstarter projects as they expect a product instead of seeing it as a donation towards an idea in hopes of turning into a product.

Also, do you expect Early Access games NOT to have bugs? Those consumers whom don't expect bugs in their early access titles are surely shopping for games in the completely wrong category and should not be in the early access section at all.
Nhoise wrote: Also it looks like my main guess was correct; they ran out of money.
but this was the last time i gave money to a game before it's even remotely done.
For me it's proven again there is nothing positive about Kickstarting/Early Acces existing in the gaming scene.
Whether they ran out of money or not, we won't know unless you become a wizard yourself or they openly tell us 'Hey, we are out of money'. I will add that developing games IS expensive and a time consuming task.
$60,000 is also not that much money to be honest. Simply take that 60K, take out the mandatory taxes, the legal fees needed for the documentation to actually establish yourself as a business (studio), money to hire and pay for the employees (all three of them) and their weekly/bi-weekly pay.

Then imagine needing to buy the flat for themselves to work in and buy any needed software or hardware to actually work on. This can include their art software, any compiler fee's they may need to pay, if they used any 3rd party software engines (example: SpeedTrees) which I don't think they did, but they will need a commercial license... it adds up VERY quickly.

Nhoise wrote: There are multiple problems i'm having with Early Access, while both sound like a really great idea in theory; the way they turned out to be is really not positive in any way imo.
You need to either speak out about these multiple problems or accept that it is really a problem with you somehow. You stated that it is your opinion, but your stating there is multiple problems without listing them.
Nhoise wrote: I don't feel like going into explaining every detail of my opinion because there really is no reason to, it's already integrated into gaming and i don't see it leaving it for a long time either.
If this was the case, this post should not have existed to begin with. Please go into detail.
Nhoise wrote: But what you mentioned is part of the problem really, it's way too easy to ask for money from people; and for what? The chance to play something which isn't finished at all and ruin the magic of the full game for yourself.
I will now assume this one of the problems, too easy to ask customers for money and that you do not want to be spoiled and prefer the finished product instead of chapter by chapter.

It is easy to ask people for money anywhere. It doesn't mean you will get any just for asking though. People are free to create whatever it is that they want and turn around and ask for money. I can start teaching myself how to craft home-made jewelry (will probably turn out like crap) and sell it online for whatever price I believe is right. It is up to the consumers to decide if they want to give or 'pay' for that or not.

It touches on an earlier quote from you regarding the 'reading the store page' and what early access and kickstarter really is. It is a known risk for Kickstarter that the project you are funding may NEVER come into fruition. It can fail despite beating the goals completely. In kickstarters, you should never get into it without realizing this risk and not seeing your investment anything more than a 'donation'. That is what you really are doing, donating to an idea. If you see it the other way and purchasing a future product, you are already setting yourself up for disappointment and contradicting yourself for the same reason why you dislike Early Access... purchasing something that isn't finished. Kickstarter projects (specifically games) show off nothing more than prototypes.

Nhoise wrote: One of the major risks i hope you thought about is what Sunday perfectly described in his quote i put up there. I've seen it happening multiple times and with the example of 'Under The Ocean' (among several) i even experienced it myself and it really is a shame.
Burnout is totally possible and tends to happen quite a bit with games. I played Rust religiously for two weeks straight during a vacation period... nearly 170 hours into it in those two weeks. I burned out hard and only recently have I started playing it again. Is it really the developers fault for me playing the game so much that I got bored?

Well, I guess it is. Shouldn't have made it so much fun :3

I will bring up another Early Access game, Kenshi, which I am loving. This game has been in development for 7-8 years. It wasn't until the last 8-10 months that the sole developer hired more people and started to crank out more updates in a quicker pace. This game fits more along the lines of what that other guy and you are apparently worried about. Play it until you burnout and forget about it waiting for that new content update to lure you back in.

In all honesty, content updates isn't what should lure you back in at all. It should be something that extends your own enjoyment of the game. It really does fall to the players own preferences and attention span whether the game will keep them content or not. I have Battlefield 4, yet I burned out on it 3 months after it released and haven't touched it since. Once you 'truly' burn out, then there isn't fixing that except to take a long break and pick it up at a much later time.

Nhoise wrote: And my views on EA might be distorted as well because i've seen some bad examples (and participated in 3 as well), but over time they have been only increasing in numbers and with Steam's plan to allow self publishing for Indies it's only going to get worse.
I see Steam allowing for self-publishing as a good thing. Granted, there will be more shovelware from studios whom will simply port their old iPhone games from years past just to continue making money off existing projects... but nothing can defend your wallet than your own researching abilities. Look at the store page, read about it. See when the game actually released and look at the screenshots. Look at the studio and who they are and possible look up what other titles they have worked on and published. Research!

Steam isn't this storefront which sells only 'good' games. It is a store now more than ever, meaning there is just as much crap as their is good stuff. What some people call 'crap' is other peoples enjoyment.

Example: I have a little girl whom enjoys certain phone games. Because I want her to leave my phone alone yet allow her to play something she truly enjoys, I would buy her certain phone ported games on steam just so she can play on there and not drain my battery, stay away from my phone, avoid 'accidentally' purchasing something (micro-transactions) or installing something on accident via ads in-game. Works out for me.
Nhoise wrote: ...it shouldn't be 'normal' to receive ~60k, run out after a couple of months because you adjust your goals and then; because of how easy it is to gain additional funds, ask for more.
I feel like I answered this one before already.
Nhoise wrote: I think you can say i just prefer the time of buying a game which isn't buggy/unfinished and play that until you beat it and/or become bored of it.
This one as well. Depending on your view point on the kickstarter, you either donated to an idea and are simply receiving a game as a thank you, or you bought the game and you bought it completely unfinished and buggy as heck... which contradicts your statement.
UndeadGuru wrote:I understand your criticism Nhoise. However I also see the positive things about Early Access. State of Decay, Arma 3 and Contagion are one of my favourite Early Access games...
State of Decay was not a true Early Access title as it was a feature complete game that was simply ported to PC. The Early Access release date was either August or September, but the game released finished on Xbox around June of that year (2013).

The early access was simply allow for bug testing and to add keyboard controls. Still a great game, bought it on console and on PC. Waiting for Lifeline :3

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Re: Early Access

Post by Gustaw » Wed May 07, 2014 6:00 pm

I pretty much agree wih XGCForsakend on this.

EA gets a bad rep because some developers do it wrong (Earth 2066, Towns), and a lot of people don't understand the concept of early access. But there's also a lot of developers that do it right: Project Zomboid, Broforce, Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound...

Early access is definately not for everyone. If you buy a game in an unfinished state (or just an idea, like with most crowdfunded projects), you need to accept the dangers: a project might change it's direction over time, constantly have tons of bugs, abandon features, have long delays etc. If these things sound like horror to you, then alphafunding is not for you, simple as that.

But everyone is different, and to someone else these issues are very minor. For example having a impact on a game he likes very much may offset all of these annoyances. Or he's just dying in anticipation to play a game for 15 minutes which will make him happy. And I know there are tons of people like this from the mails we get ;)
it shouldn't be 'normal' to receive ~60k, run out after a couple of months because you adjust your goals and then; because of how easy it is to gain additional funds, ask for more.
I'm not going to go into detail, but unfortunately it's not as good as it sounds on paper:
Cut the 60k in half, because that's the amount of tax we paid to our goverment, Indiegogo and Paypal. That has to provide for rent and food for 3 people for 12 months (and a additional person for three months, who actually earned more than we did), all legal fees, software licences, studio rent, hardware. Trust me, the only money I spend that is not meant for food or rent is for games that are similar to Darkwood in some way, so I can keep up with the industry.

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Re: Early Access

Post by UndeadGuru » Thu May 08, 2014 5:36 am

State of Decay was not a true Early Access title as it was a feature complete game that was simply ported to PC. The Early Access release date was either August or September, but the game released finished on Xbox around June of that year (2013).

The early access was simply allow for bug testing and to add keyboard controls. Still a great game, bought it on console and on PC. Waiting for Lifeline :3
But it was officially listed as an Early Access title, so my argument still stands. ;)

Btw +1 for your post XCGForsakend
No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness.

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Re: Early Access

Post by Nokzen » Thu May 08, 2014 8:52 pm

"Coming soon" it says... Coming soon! arghhh give a hint? this month?

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