Here's the latest HAWKEN Development Update from Producer Jason Hughes!
So here I sit on a Saturday afternoon at home, putting the finishing touches on a Development Update since it wasn't something I was able to finish before I went home last night. Granted at about 8:30pm I went out for wings and beer with some team members but I decided at that point in the evening, I had put in a decent day and could finish up what was needed on Saturday. I know all of you would have loved to have something up yesterday instead but well... here we are today.
I tend to take time on such postings, going over them again and again because that's just how I function by default. This Development Update in particular has proven tricky for me and I have stared at a blinking cursor perhaps more than I have in the past. Why is that? I think it's pretty clear that expectations become increasingly higher as time passes regardless of what daily level of communication we have with everyone. People want the meat, the future, a glimpse into what's coming and not a lot of concrete details have been shared recently.
It's funny because as I type this I'm wondering how much will remain after ZC reads it and offers his feedback on what should be changed... There's a reason why people like me aren't community managers and why I have someone like ZC to protect me from myself.
Something that's happening with the project right now is a bit of incurred technical debt that continues to surface and impacts the goals of the company as a whole, not just HAWKEN. We have contracted an external strike team to resolve some of this technical debt and even for them, it takes time. I'll dive into a little more detail on what's going on with this in a below section but it won't change the fact that you, the dedicated players want to know what's coming up.
The forums these days are a rainbow of fruit flavors which include speculation, hunger, love, anger, frustration, apathy and passion. Some will be satisfied with this Development Update, some won't. I'll refrain from giving my prediction on what those percentages will be but regardless of your reaction, I want to make sure that something is clear.
HAWKEN represents years of dedication from some talented people and if you think anyone has stopped caring about what happens with the game, well... that's just crazy talk! It's a true passion for many of you and for those working on the project it means also our livelihood, careers and families. Now ultimately, all of that doesn't matter. It doesn't. If you come into our restaurant and an oil fire erupts in the kitchen, it has zero bearing on your desire as a customer to have a nice meal and share a romantic candlelit evening with your loved one. It's our responsibility to put the fire out and move forward with remodeling and sharing the wine list at the same time. Just because you smell smoke in the dining room though, that doesn't mean the kitchen doesn't know there's a fire.
Nobody has forgotten about the community either, but sometimes there just aren't new and exciting things to talk about. Add this to being constantly reminded of things we're also frustrated with, the more destructive tones that have surfaced recently and it becomes a less and less attractive place to spend your time. I mention this purely to remind everyone of the human aspect of our jobs, we are only human after all. You will see plenty of postings, but they aren't always obvious and sometimes get buried. I'll ask people here to make some more noise.
MIGRATION STATUS / STABILITY
As discussed in the last Development Update, we are in the process of migrating databases which includes new software and new hardware. This is still ongoing but has also continued to cause some hiccups in services recently. We had a failing on the new database hardware on Monday and that took HAWKEN down for a while as a more recent example. The further down the rabbit hole we go with this migration, the more issues that tend to surface. It impacts stability in live without question, sometimes taking the service down completely for small chunks of time. It goes without saying this isn't a desired result but the strike team is working on this every day. We have a room in our company wide IM service that's an ongoing conversation on the status of services, servers and automated alarms. I assure you it's a non-stop topic. We are however starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and we're really looking forward to that time!
The forums are sometimes ablaze with the discussion of new potential hackers and we continue to take the matter seriously. We look into the reports generated for us, review reports by players and don’t rely on automatic banning. There are too many events that can cause false positives, so it’s something we look into on a case by case basis. We do not share the outcomes of any investigations and ask that you please continue to refrain from calling out specific targets in the forums. It’s done with good intentions to be sure but can also unintentionally backfire on us in our attempts to keep HAWKEN a game for fair players!
In the last month we've banned or suspended approximately 150 accounts and have banned IPs as needed too. We may not comment on every single report submitted but that doesn't mean we aren't investigating. It's an ongoing process and always will be, so if someone posts asking for a status, please feel free to point them to one of the posts where we've discussed the topic. It would be a big help!
We are also aware of the strangeness that has taken place with Test Drives over the past couple of weeks. What's been happening is the rotation for the week is unknowingly being reverted to the previous week when certain platform changes are rolled out. It's not intended but rather a side effect of the migration work being done. Unfortunately there's no automatic way to be notified of this and we just have to wait until the migration process is complete but we'll keep our eyes open. Please don't hesitate to use the Test Drive thread for that particular week to let us know if something looks amiss.
Outside of the above there isn't more information that can be shared at this time. We must take the coming weeks one step at a time while some of this necessary work is accomplished first. Anything else shared regarding ongoing development would be something I'd be discussing without a high level of confidence. I do wish I could open the floodgates and share some specific details, but I assure you it's not the right time yet, not even for a hint.
We will have another Development Update in a couple of weeks and will provide a status update on not only what was discussed above, but also the current state of actual HAWKEN development. I do really hope to have some great things to share because who doesn't like sharing positive news and updates?! Sharing little or neutral news is not why I wake up in the morning. The passion is always appreciated and means a lot, just please try to keep the conversations positive. We all care about HAWKEN but it's also a game and is out there for people to have fun with.
Me? I'm going to go and have dinner with my loved one over a take out pizza and hope I don't smell smoke coming from the kitchen...
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