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Julian Bull

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  1. This is a great update! I love these in-depth technical updates, partially because I just like them and partially because they reconfirm my suspicion that this game as originally built is weirder than anyone really knows. There's a preservation and digital archaeology angle to this where you're reverse-engineering how the game is built that I think is rally valuable. Hopefully it also shows people the kind of difficulties that come up during this kind of process so they adjust their expectations about how quickly this is going to come together. Looking forward to more updates coming up, and for things to pick up a little more momentum in the fall. @MattScott, one of the things I'm noticing here is that the texture you shared is pretty rudimentary. I feel like many of the textures in FE are that way, some end up looking pretty OK once they've got all the maps applied but in general the original art itself is a little... I dunno, amateurish? Is there any plan to remaster or remake the art assets so they're a little slicker and hold up better to 2020's expectations about what game assets should look like?
  2. I hit Matt Scott with a question about this on Twitter recently (basically asked "Any updates? Would love to follow along, even if it's just 'wow we're taking this thing apart and it's so weird'") and his response was this: Which is exactly where I'd expect them to be at this stage, honestly. Again, I think people underestimate how significant porting to a new engine is and how hard it is to get oriented to someone else's code - especially code that's a decade old.
  3. Nah, there are no contradictions in what I said. 1. a) First off, the idea of a "factory reset" of the game is total nonsense on its own, and as I said, wouldn't solve the problem that LO is trying to solve. Let's just forget this as an idea, because it doesn't help. I explained this in my last post. The problem isn't gameplay. The problem is cost vs. revenue and how difficult and expensive it is to maintain old servers. 1. b) Why have they waited 17 months? I can only speculate, but imagine two lines on a graph. One is labelled "cost." One is labelled "revenue." I can see a situation where they say "if the revenue line is below the spending line for X number of months, we need to pull the plug." At some point it just costs too much money. They also said that there's a very small team working on FE. That includes both FE and FE2. If I was looking at two projects (FE and FE2 are distinct projects and we should treat them as such), one that's losing a bunch of money every month and one that will make some money (that I'm spending money to develop anyway), there's no way I as a manager am going to continue shoveling money into the losing project. Take the people off the money-losing project and put them on the one that's an investment in future income. 2. The problem isn't really about passing data from one side to another. I'll paint you a picture about how I interpret what LO has said about the project, and maybe help you understand some of the work that goes into a development project. (I don't do game development, but I do a lot of sort of similar projects in my day job, with more daily active users on a slow day than FE had monthly in 2012). Imagine the game servers like a fleet of delivery vans, like for Amazon or UPS. The vans are designed to deliver one product (the game). They are old. They need maintenance. It's difficult to find mechanics to maintain them and expensive to service once they find someone. They take specific fuel that's more and more expensive to buy, because only the old vans use it in 2019. It's hard and expensive to find parts. And nobody thinks the vans run well anyway. It was just what they bought ten years ago, and the product they were designed to deliver isn't even that popular anyway. So you buy a new fleet of vans. The vans run so much better, so much cleaner, so much cheaper. They're easy to service and easy to upgrade. But now the product's box (the game engine) doesn't fit in the van, so you have to get a new box to make it fit. You can't just put the product (the game) into the new box. The parts don't fit the way they were put together before. You need to dismantle the product into its component parts. There are no instructions because the product is so old. So you need to figure out a way to put the pieces back together in a way that fits in the new box. The good news is that the rebuilt product is way better and putting it back together made it harder to break, and the new box is lighter and cheaper, and the delivery vans are way more efficient. You can serve more customers with fewer vans. The whole product is easier to improve over time and much, much cheaper to get to the customer. I don't know what you mean by "sold from minute 1" but I definitely don't think there's been any dishonesty from the part of LO. I just think that people don't understand how hard development is and why things take time. No. The game needs new server architecture. They said as much. They said the old servers are too expensive and too hard to maintain. That's the old busted delivery vans. There's no added money if the game is losing money because it's too expensive to run the servers and not enough people are paying for it. I get that, but the current community with the game as it is vs. the potential community for a relaunch... it's not even a contest. The buzz you could generate from "What if Fallout 76, but actually an MMO, F2P, and not Bethesda" seems like it sells itself. So from a marketing perspective, I wouldn't be worried if I was LO. This move makes perfect sense if you think about the entire project and not just the game. The part of the game you play is just the tip of the iceberg - only a tiny part of the decision to shut it down while they work on the conversion to a new engine. Hope this helps clarify.
  4. This isn't how software development works, friend. It's also not why they're shutting down the game while they work on the new version. The servers are too old, too complicated, too custom, and too expensive to maintain - Matt Scott said as much a while back. Doing a "factory reset" does nothing to solve that core problem. Porting a game to a new engine isn't trivial either. Especially since the Icarus engine is so WEIRD to begin with. It's not just opening Unity and going File > Open > FallenEarthprogram. I think you might be thinking of it like ripping a DVD to a video file, or converting a photo from JPG to PNG. Think of it more like translating a novel from Mandarin to French. It's involved, there are nuances, there will be mistakes, part of it will have to be totally rebuilt to get the same effect. I short I get what you're saying but you're really, REALLY underestimating how involved this project is going to be. They're rebuilding all of the back-end (server) stuff AND all of the front-end (client) stuff as well. It's gonna take time. 9 months until alpha? A year? More? Yeah, I believe it. 100%.
  5. I'm a little surprised by how much withdrawal I'm having with FE shut down and things so quiet on the update front. It got me thinking about what I'd really like between now and the relaunch, and what I'd be willing to do to support the project. What would you want to see from LO while they develop the new game? And more to the point, is LO looking for ways to generate some revenue to put towards development? If so would you/what would you contribute? Personally I'm super curious about development. I would definitely be interested in a Patreon or similar subscription where we could see: A Double Fine Adventure-style documentary (that's a pipe dream for this project, I know) Dev streams or videos of art assets being worked on Dev streams where we could see builds of the game being tested or inspected and chat with devs Just general Q&A about the technical stuff. This is such a weird and unique project I feel like it deserves some kind of documentation I think having paywalled content like that would be great for the really invested fans, could support development a little, would create accountability around the project, and would feed the hunger for FE content and updates.
  6. Loved jumping in and running the 10th anniversary event with people. What a blast to have a reliable (if small) population in the same place at the same time. I'm a little surprised how much I miss this game already. Over the past few days logging in regularly for the event, I really got into it. It really is a unique game and one that really deserves another lease on life. Can't wait to start hearing updates about the reboot.
  7. @Lukasocz Man, I did not do a good job reading, clearly. Thanks for this.
  8. @MattScott, I don't think I've seen answers to these questions - please forgive me if I've just missed them. Will the forums stay open in the interim? Will there continue to be progress updates in the forums and in the #thisoldgame hashtag on Twitter? Thanks for your dedication to the project.
  9. I've definitely noticed more lag of late, but type 2 - specifically where a node's popup won't pop - has been significantly improved for me since LO's server move.
  10. I find the "reworks of past MMOs never work" to be a little strange. If they're half-hearted attempts to con a new playerbase (lookin' at you, Defiance) then sure, they're going to be bad. But plenty of MMOs have had work done that bring mostly-dead games back to profitability and make them sustainable again. Look at how Star Trek Online has become a content machine - that's not because that game floundered and never came back. Anyway, I'm not super surprised LO hasn't devoted more than one person's staff time to the project until they sort through the code base and assets. You can't jump into a big project before you do a needs assessment and I don't know that you'd get better results with more people on it at this early stage. Gotta see what's still viable and what's not first.
  11. Thanks for the feedback. Appreciate it. Surprises me a little that there's toxicity left in a community for a 10-year-old game... although maybe the fact that some people have been around for so long contributes.
  12. I played FE first during the beta, bounced out after launch, came back after F2P, and have jumped in again. For the first time I think I'm getting a handle on the game and think it's so fascinating that LO is exploring how to modernize the game. I'm so charmed by the game world and the fact that a decade later there's still a small fan base in the game. All in all, it feels good to be back. What should someone coming in know about the game, the community, and how best to support the game? Cheers everyone, see you in the wasteland.
  13. This is a cool idea and would contribute a lot to the feeling of the world being alive. NPC traffic probably doesn't have to be simulated or have them actually move along paths, though. Defiance does this thing where it spawns in NPCs, mobs, and minor events along the roads when players are in the area. That would give the impression that the roads are being traveled, without having to create nav paths and mobile NPCs and things between settlements.
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