In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor

In Case of Emergency, Release Raptor

 This topic has been pinned, so it's probably important
x-4000 (Chris Park)  [developer] Aug 28, 2016 @ 5:45pm
Answering questions from the other threads.
I figure it's easier for people to find these things in a new thread. I'm going to lock this thread so that people can find the answers all in one place, but this is not an attempt to stifle discussion. Please continue to ask questions in the other threads, and I'll update there and here.

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There were lots of things to respond to! I'm going to try to hit it all, and if I miss your question it's simply a function of too many comments at once; feel free to ping me again about it in whichever thread (or this one) and I will answer it to the best of my ability.

How will the refunds work regarding also keeping the game?
That is a good question! It is something I still have to work out with Valve on the details. I caught them too late on a Friday and have not been able to speak with them since making this decision, which was my mistake for sure.

In the absolute WORST case, I'll set up a dropbox for you and let you download it that way. Obviously I know you'd rather have a Steam copy, and I hope to work that out (and think I can). But I know for certain that (a) I can get you your money back and (b) I have a game that I can easily get you in some form, so it's down to details.

Other questions about refunds
I mentioned this in another thread, but I really need to defer answering these questions since the game is still on sale. I hate dodging a question, and I will come back to this, but the game needs to be taken down from sale first for... reasons I'll explain after that. Sorry about not being able to answer this one.

Why is this still on sale??
Valve is the only one who can disable it, and I can't do anything like change the price or whatever else without approval on their end. I did this right before the weekend, like an idiot, and so here we are. It has been taken down on Humble, though.

Why no achievements or trading cards?
All of our other games have achievements, and almost all of them have trading cards (all of them that came out after trading cards were a thing have them, and most of them that came out prior to it got them retroactively). At the very first we did see a bump in sales of other games of ours from trading cards when hardly any games in the store had trading cards, but then that tapered off a lot.

I fully intended to have both things, but I did not feel they were needed upon EA release and I didn't have time for them. It's possible that was a mistake based on what you're saying about showing up in more search lists, but honestly I don't think it would have made a material difference.

Just keep making this slowly!
I feel like if I did this while still selling the game, that I'd really be letting down players. I hate EA games that string players along for months with minor updates, and I just can't in good conscience do that to people. Arcen has a reputation for fast and furious updates, and I'm not going to wreck that over any one game.

The other thing is that doing proper game development requires FOCUS. I've tried working on two projects at once in the past, and I find it degrades my performance on both projects. There is so much to think about on any project, even one that is "simple" for players, and I can only hold so much in my head at once. The amount that I've forgotten about past projects at this point is frankly shocking. ;)

Make what you want to make!
Make no mistake, I DO want to make AI War 2, but it's not ALL I want to do. I'm actually excited about the prospect now that I have some separation from the shock and disappointment of what is happening with Raptor. But I don't want to just be "the strategy guy" forever.

Will this game be back in the future?
With a vengeance, hopefully. ;) This time around there's been a lot of issues with messaging and visibility. Hopefully in a half year or a year or two years we can have a better run at this with a more mature build of the game. Hopefully a lot of things will be different then, and ideally we'd even be able to skip EA and just go straight to a full release -- thus avoiding all that uncertainty that hit this time with EA having a stigma in general.

I don't want a refund!
I will let Valve know about that, and see if they can send a request. Probably that can't be done, though, I don't know. We do have a tips jar on the Arcen website, which I'll not link to here out of courtesy to Valve. I'd hold off on that for now, though, and let's see how the refunds thing plays out exactly first.

Where was your website today? Offline?
The hardware hosting our VPS had a failure that should not have affected our VPS, but as it turns out it caused the VPS software to rewrite its boot order and fail. Took Hostwinds a while to figure out what was up, but it's back now. Of all the times for a random issue like that, I swear...

From Urisk:
Originally posted by Urisk:
Or to phrase it differently: AI War may be your "best" (whatever that means) game, but the sum of all those other titles you made are what IMHO make you one of the best independent developers out there!

This one makes me so incredibly happy, I have to say. :) I really appreciate that.

From Jon Rose:
So please, make AI War II. And then make something new, but make it as deep, expandable, unfathomable and unpredictable as AI War and Last Fed, even if it is a side project.

Because it isn’t strategy that is the reason your games are successful. Your games scratch the same itch as Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft. Emergent game play and experience based on complex, underlying mechanics that work together and make unforgettable experiences that often surprise and amaze the player, even after months of play.

This is one of the most insightful things I've read in a while (quoted from here[arcengames.com]. This really made me look at things differently, for which I'm grateful.
Last edited by x-4000 (Chris Park); Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:07am
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x-4000 (Chris Park)  [developer] Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:44am 
Didn't We See The Connection To Goat Simulator Coming?
Yes, it was something that we definitely knew would be possible. However, we (or at least I) thought it would be a way to have our cake and eat it too, so to speak.

1. I thought that we could appeal to the younger crowd on youtube who just wanted to mess around and do silly things and have fun. In other words, "YES, youtube fodder." From that perspective that's what it would be, ideally, more or less.

2. I thought that our existing audience would have a better understanding that we were trying to make a tactical game that was sort of an action game Bionic Dues sequel in some respects. The idea of a lot of puzzle-like robot situations being in the game and there being a lot of depth and replayability. I think I vastly underestimated how clear I needed to be on this point, though, because clearly the message didn't get through.

I also very much missed the point that #1 -- the fact that it could be youtube fodder -- would be a huge turnoff and make people think that it was ONLY youtube fodder.

I also never expected for people to think that something more complicated like a 3D game with all of the cool features and technical advances we spent a lot of time developing custom was a "cash in."

In general I suppose I thought people had enough of opinion of Arcen and what sort of games we make that they wouldn't leap to the conclusion that we were making something super shallow. This plus misunderstanding how much those people dislike Goat Sim (since I pay little attention to Goat Sim) were the two key missing things.

How Did The Game Sell In The Early Days?
I'm just going to go on the Steam store data. There were also Humble Store sales, but they were less and you can get the idea from the Steam data alone. Easier for me to tabulate. ;)

Wed 8/24: 103 units
Thu 8/25: 56 units
Fri 8/26: 364 units (261 from China, hmm)
Sat 8/27: 762 units (323 from China)
Sun 8/28: 132 units

Please note that on Friday prior to the announcement of the cancellation and refund, there had been under 30 units sold. I believe it was 22 or 24. Then things exploded once people (apparently mostly in China??) discovered they could get something for free, or collect something that was going to disappear (I've recently learned of this subgroup) or whatever the motivation was.

Overall the gross revenue -- not remotely all we could keep -- on Friday was less than $110. This is before sales tax is removed and before Steam's cut comes out. Ouch.

Please make sure that the game is not taken away without asking us.
I will do my very best on that. I understand that would be a different kind of breach of trust. If that should happen, then please know that I'll be working to get that fixed in whatever fashion I best can. I apologize for the mess there.
Last edited by x-4000 (Chris Park); Aug 29, 2016 @ 6:47am
x-4000 (Chris Park)  [developer] Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:06am 
What happens to this game now?
For now it is going to stay as-is, since we're not taking anyone's money unless they happen to want to give it to us (either via our website's tip jar or not accepting a refund). So Alpha 16 is the last release that this game will likely see.

What happens to this game in the future?
I still want to make a raptor game, and more specifically I still want to make THIS raptor game. So it's possible that this game will resurface in some form in 2017 or 2018 or some other time. How will that happen: via Kickstarter, a more matured version of the Steam store, via better communication in advance from us and better general awareness? That I have no idea.

In the general sense, this is not the Right Game at the Right Time. However, that doesn't mean it's not the Right Game Ever. We've been in this industry for 7 years now, and the market has been dramatically different every one of those years.

Right now is a particularly hard year, from what I can gather. Candid discussions with some other indies that I would not have expected to share that feeling have also expressed the same. Hopefully we ride this out and future years are more hospitable to a lot of us.
Last edited by x-4000 (Chris Park); Aug 29, 2016 @ 7:06am
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