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Everything posted by blundertwink

  1. I'm not so sure it's so simple...it's one thing to "heal" vertex data back to an original seed -- doing it conditionally is very different. That's far more difficult than healing terrain data to a seed because you need to delete a large amount of vertices without breaking the terrain. They would need to algorithmically "fill" terrain tunnels, constantly checking to be sure there's no player bases in range and that they haven't created holes in the terrain. Those checks aren't cheap, and filling terrain to delete vertices without breaking it can become complex. There's probably some smart ways to do something sort of like this efficiently, but I wouldn't classify it as being especially simple.
  2. I don't think this will ever be completely fixed. IMO, massive battles in this game will never be possible...it struggles to scale even with a low player count on a platform famous for on demand hardware -- if they can't make the stack work even with so few players, it doesn't work. Unfortunately, very early on they believed they had invented groundbreaking tech that would make the game scale...but this was also from someone that hadn't worked in gaming before... The academic theories about how it "should" scale in the real world were never challenged, tested, or fully understood. Their early prototyping was not done correctly -- someone with experience in gaming (or tech in general!) would have known to challenge the many absurd ideas or assumptions about this product that never were never realistic, especially around scalability. The technical core of this game was based on foundations of sand, which makes the game's many design issues even harder to solve...but also means that issues with lag will never likely be solved, even and especially if they somehow manage to attract more players.
  3. Just like their survey about what features to implement was never actually real...sometimes NQ has put effort forward to collect ideas or feedback, but then they get mad about the feedback they do get and shut it all down. Frankly...I'm not convinced development on DU will continue in any meaningful way. Their CEO is at a metaverse conference right now talking about other products NQ has been working on...let's not pretend DU is doing oh so well that NQ's higher ups are "all in". NQ might have issues....but even they surely see that this product is deeply flawed to the point where more dev won't make a difference. There's very, very, very little chance they can fix in the next 3-4 months what took them 8+ years to break. Why should they continue development of DU?! What's in it for them? The chance they can save DU through development changes alone is so abysmally low it's hard to argue it's worth the development cost. The opportunity to fix DU through development alone came and went years ago. I wouldn't be shocked if an announcement comes sometime after the CEO is done trying to hawk whatever scammy metaverse / web3 project they have been cooking up (e.g. "3d blogging stack") and are only keeping DU online until they can sink their hooks into some desperate vestige of business opportunity elsewhere.
  4. This description is hilariously inaccurate in my opinion -- it's very kind to use NQ's description of what DU is... Wrong on two counts -- it isn't "massively" multiplayer. That applies to games with a massive audience -- when there's more people playing games with small-scale basic multiplayer than DU, that's not massive. When I can log into NMS and interact with dozens of more players by happenstance compared when I try to seek out crowds in this "MMO"...that's not "massively multiplayer". DU is a persistent multiplayer game, but at this point I don't agree that it is an "MMORPG". Obviously there's no "vast procedurally generated universe", there's a single solar system and no evidence they will ever add another system...and the procgen that does exist is boring and lifeless. Real-time? Even that is arguable with how much time gating there is. Emergent gameplay...? That fled the game long ago because they couldn't develop the tools to support this. Gameplay is "emergent" today not because the game offers so many wonderful tools...but because NQ doesn't even test gameplay, so everything people do is "emergent" in some fashion. The only "emergent" politics is people stealing stuff from orgs thanks to a permission system even the devs couldn't work properly then screaming about it on the forums or Reddit. The only other "politics" in DU now is in arguing about how long the game will stay online, lol. Forget the economy...we all knew DU's economy would never work as NQ wanted and I can't help but roll my eyes and the idea that players "drive" the economy when players can't even build their own markets. Also who thinks it's a good idea for players to "drive" anything...? It's a game and needs actual game designers to balance it -- putting players "in control" does not make a good game even if that was how DU worked.
  5. That also depends on what you mean by "signficant user" -- I'm skeptical NQ is actually big enough to leverage much of a break. For example, an adtech company I worked for had well over $50,000 a month in AWS usage. The only break they gave was in flexibility of payment terms...that was helpful, but hardly game changing. The only other discount they pointed us to was in reserved instances, which is very significant but also comes with very significant up-front costs. Other services (like bandwidth charges for CF) have built-in discounts that scale based on usage, already. I can't emphasize enough the world of difference between on-demand and reserved instance pricing -- the more you can afford to pay up-front, the more affordable (and less flexible) AWS is. Otherwise, the only other discount I know of is for their enterprise level plans -- e.g. companies with more than $5 million in spend per year start to get discounts, with more committed spend leading to more discounts. Honestly, I was under the impression that it's really rare for Amazon to give special pricing, except through very high levels of enterprise spend or existing discount programs -- that's the experience I've had with firms that likely outspend NQ, but I'm hardly an expert with the biz side of AWS. Either way, with the list of the top AWS customers being mostly billion-dollar entities, I don't think NQ would be a "significant user", relatively speaking. Also...I wouldn't underestimate their CPU usage! CF might push huge loads of voxel data, but there's still plenty of server-side processing that relies on traditional infra, likely including RDS as well. We can only guess on their usage, but I wouldn't lay a bunch of bets on their stack being efficient.
  6. I think I mentioned this somewhere before, but after Squenix decided to mulligan FF14, the producer/director in charge of the successful rebuild commented about the early project's failures in a postmortem. Three main issues were identified: NQ certainly fits the latter two like a glove -- team members with actual MMO experience are either not in leadership roles or moved on a long long time ago. Their insistence that they can patch the game into health post-release was similarly naive and arrogant...they wouldn't have fallen into such a trap if more of their leadership had experience with MMOs. Hell, maybe they'd have realized the flaw with that sort of thinking if their leadership had experience with large projects in general, but that isn't the case. Again, the CTO's only non-internship job is working at NQ. The design lead's last job as a designer was a Trivial Pursuit game adaptation that's so bad it isn't even on the mobile stores anymore. I'm not seeing that these are "bad" or incompetent people, I have no clue about their competence nor does it really matter...the point is that NQ's decision to make these people leaders is puzzling. Experience really matters, especially for a product where you don't have another shot at a release.
  7. Why do you think your data is being processed by Prismic...? The actual login API points to DU's servers (a POST to https://www.dualuniverse.game/api/auth/login specifically). The API endpoints to access user data all appear to point to DU's API and have nothing to do with Prismic....from my limited sleuthing, API calls to Prismic are not user-specific and fetch general site information and images from a CDN. There's no specific evidence I could see to suggest they have shared user data with this third party in violation of EU law.
  8. Unfortunately, linkedIn is obnoxious in requiring a login. I'll post a screenshot of the post to avoid direct linking to LinkedIn -- if any mods have issues with this, I apologize in advance. I'm only sharing because it's from a public post and the direction of NQ as a company is 100% relevant to DU:
  9. It was posted by the CEO himself (in English) on their LinkedIn. I don't want to link to it directly for fear that this is against some TOU somewhere -- but it isn't hard to find. It's still his most recent post, and is public. On a lighter note, the screenshot of this metaverse conference is funny to me....it's maybe 20 people in that room? Unsure what entity in the "metaverse" space is thriving...hard to imagine that this conference will be some hugely popular avenue for NQ to pitch whatever product they had in mind, DU or not.
  10. I don't think this will be in DU at all...I personally think it will be a stand-alone product (if it ever actually materializes). He specifically said "3d blogging stack". Usually when you're pitching a "stack", it's to developers / businesses, not consumers...That makes me think this is more than some stupid module added to DU. It's a stupid stand-alone product, instead. Unfortunately, web3/metaverse/crypto people tend to be rather absolute in their insistence that these technologies are the future... This isn't a CEO that is just trying to position NQ to be trendy, he really does believe in web3 and the metaverse, even as these concepts have massively imploded in popularity, especially among the investment establishment. He will continue to drive the company in this direction...like it or not, NQ is truly not a game studio and really is "The Metaverse Company". It's working for Meta, right...? Surely this direction will work even better for a company with about 0.2% as much money backing it...
  11. This came from the CEO's latest public LinkedIn posts -- I won't link it here, but it should be very easy to find. Honestly, I think NQ isn't doing paid ads because they know it won't have positive ROI. They tried it in beta and people just churned right away... NQ is competing with AAA subscription MMOs that have the same sub price, except that many also have an initial purchase price. That radically changes the math around ROI with paid adverts and means the competition can vastly outbid NQ, especially since competitors probably have better retention. Also...if you acquire some "average gamer" with a flashy trailer advert that doesn't match the reality of the game, of course they will churn. Even free to play MMOs can probably outcompete DU when it comes to paid marketing...and with NQ not trying to cultivate any social media (having ignored it for years) and the game being essentially unwatchable on Twitch...there's not many marketing avenues available.
  12. Their CEO is in London right now at a metaverse convention. His last public post mentioned the "Novaquark stack for 3D blogging", which seems to be the first time they've actually announced one of their other products (albeit without any other details). So...it's likely that the days of DU being NQ's only way to showcase their tech are nearing an end and he will announce more details at this convention. My guess is that it will be tools aimed at other developers. Only guessing based on him labelling it as a "stack" (implying developer to developer business) and likely pitching it at the metaverse convention. I'm not optimistic that their continued all-in bets on the metaverse as a concept will pay off, but this is where the CEO is continuing to drive the company... Honestly I don't know why any company would target web3 / blockchain / metaverse mavens as a customer base considering how quickly these scammy concepts have fallen out of favor, but that's just me.
  13. From NQ's CEO (recent public post): What is "The Novaquark stack for 3d blogging"...? NQ must have some belief in this new product for their CEO to take time during the initial launch of their game to promote it...? I'm curious what "big picture" he is even talking about...? IMO, this obsession with the metaverse is detrimental to NQ being able to survive as a game studio. If 3d blogging software is really the business he wants to be in, more power to him...but it feels like a lack of focus, especially for a company that's so small.
  14. No man's Sky and similar games have an ocean of difference with DU...they had initial hype. That's more than just marketing or ads, it was a momentum of popular interest that led to a huge initial release and enough gravity to re-engage customers years later. The closest DU came to this was early, early in its life (just scroll to the very start of this forum and you'll see what I mean)...whatever hype that existed was sapped by long periods of dev with little to show in early playable versions. Also, let's be fair about what "small team" means for an MMO. A typical "theme park" MMO might have a budget of ~$200 million, easily (compared to NQ's ~$22 million). It isn't so crazy to have budgets in the range of $500+ million for a modern MMO... Sure, NQ isn't "indie" compared to single player games, but for the MMO genre...? They really are. Building a persistent MMO technically is vastly different than what Hello Games did with NMS -- there are many layers in NMS with absurd levels of complexity (that makes NQ's proc-gen look childish), but making a persistent, single shard MMO builder...? It's so hard to scale something like this, it doesn't even make sense absent some "game changer" technology (which NQ asserted they had). My point is that DU has more than just a few problems with polish or gameplay...fixing those problems in an MMO is far harder, and earning back players is harder without an initial wave of popularity (and in general, because sub-based games require far more commitment to reengage).
  15. Even if they threw in TW tomorrow, it wouldn't be enough to turn things around. We're beyond the point where one big change alone would be impactful enough to make the game work. Consider that a vast majority of the new players that quickly churned in month 1 or 2 never tried PvP -- hell, most of them probably never made it to space. Introducing a new PvP feature isn't going to magically make them come back...nor will it change the realities around new player engagement. With NQ's track record, TW as a fresh feature will likely be horrible -- I can see it working against them for engagement until they slowly get around to patching, and that's assuming their brittle stack can even handle it at scale. As for NPCs....it just isn't possible. It takes them months to push out stupid features no one cares about like skins...it would take them years to refactor the game to the point where NPCs could work. I can't emphasize enough how slow their dev is and always has been, and this won't change. It won't change because the entirety of their Steam subscriber base is likely not even enough to pay one person a decent wage...long term, churn will only get worse, here. There's no evidence that they can or will scale the game outside of Steam -- either organically or with paid ads. The game has too many weaknesses for one thing to magically reverse its fate. If NQ really wants to fix things, it needs a series of radical extremely risky ideas...because honestly things are bad enough that they've very little to lose. Playing it safe with small updates in the hopes that fixing tiny bugs or pushing more marketing will change things is not going to work. Meanwhile, the CEO is off to London to talk about the metaverse...so I'm sure NQ will remain focused and do what it needs to do! /s
  16. You're likely right, but unfortunately I expect NQ's support team will eventually dismiss this as theft or improper RDBMS and not help you. I could be wrong, but they don't have a reputation for helping players swiftly or digging deep when they do eventually open your ticket. The game has mountains of bugs to work through still, but knowing NQ...I'm skeptical that they will even look into it really...and if they do, prepare to wait a long time before they get around to opening that ticket.
  17. Honestly, I'm not sure if it matters what NQ does at this point. Their CEO certainly doesn't care. His priority right now as the game just launched and is failing to retain subscribers...? He's going to London to speak at Tech Circus metaverse event so he can "bring my take on how to build the metaverse". If the company's leadership actually believed in the game, maybe they'd be spending time improving it, working on building a subscriber base, or communicating with customers...instead he's speaking at an event, likely to keep trying to pitch NQ for acquisition or investors. His priority is anything but the product itself because he knows the product doesn't work.
  18. There's nothing wrong with liking this game -- games are even more subjective than movies or books, and people have wildly different opinions on those, usually without it becoming personal or hostile. So...having a different opinion doesn't automatically make someone all about "FUD" or "entitlement gaming". That makes your post sound a lot less "objective". Also, let's be real about what "objective data" means when we're talking about this game, because it's a fact that the Steam launch has gone very poorly. On one hand, you say it's unfair to judge it so soon after release....but that's like saying it's unfair to judge a movie based on its release. Release time is when they should be getting a huge influx of players! Release is when Valve gives every new product guaranteed impressions on their store (it used to be at least 1 million, unsure if that's still true) -- Steam watches the metrics and gives new products more and more visibility if they have better sales. Release is the most critical time for any game, but especially for an MMO. You seem to acknowledge that by pointing out that it's normal for MMOs to have large churn in month 1 or 2. This isn't actually the case with DU. With DU, there hasn't been a massive churn because there never was a big launch -- going from ~800 active players to <~400 is not a huge drop in absolute numbers. There's a world of difference between that and something like New World going from ~800k to ~80k DAUs...yes, people talk a lot about how MMOs are dying all the time and certainly a lot of that is exaggerated BS, but that doesn't mean every claim of it is automatically wrong. Beyond Steam stats (literally the only objective data we have on player numbers), look at actual reviews -- the few gaming media outlets that bothered to review tend to give it around 60%. User reviews are similar. To me, this means plenty of people do enjoy the game and plenty of people can see at least some positive elements of the game....but not in enough numbers to keep things moving forward, and not with enough month-to-month retention considering NQ's pace of updates. Of course that doesn't mean that anyone can know for sure that the servers will go offline, nevermind when...but trying to claim that the game is doing well and that Steam means nothing is really not a helpful or realistic perspective. You certainly haven't presented any objective data to suggest that the game is growing outside of the largest PC gaming platform in the world. Nothing wrong with liking the game and wishing more players would give it a chance...but let's not pretend that DU will magically turn itself around by NQ staying the course and doing exactly what they are doing.
  19. After all this time, I'm not sure that DU actually ever had "potential"...never in its history was there ever a real design plan. They never knew how to translate a vague collection of ideas into concrete game design. "JC's DU" is one reason why the game never materialized -- it was never real. It was always just illusion and fantasy conjured by someone that had never touched game development before. NQ has made a lot of bad choices since JC left, but if they'd tried to adhere to "JC's vision" (whatever the heck that actually was), the game wouldn't have even made it to this sad state of release. It'd have never escaped beta. If his vision and leadership was really so clear and great, the project would have moved forward and he wouldn't have gotten the boot. JC's inexperience is what set the foundation for the game's enduring problems. By the time they booted him, it was already too late to make up for wasted time and horrible foundations. In my opinion, fantasy and ambition are not the same as potential...for a product to have potential, it has to be grounded in reality. Teleporting people across the planet isn't an idea with "potential", it's absurd and stupid because it isn't plausible. It's an idea without substance or detail on how that idea will actually work, conjured by someone with no technical experience in any relevant field. DU has always been the same way. It was a random collection of ideas from someone with no game development experience that was designed to "sound good", but was never grounded in reality. "Be whatever you want and build without limits in a single shard persistent online system" is not a real idea by itself. It's fantasy. They sold people on it because they claimed to have cutting-edge tech that would somehow make it all work...I believed it in the start as many others did, but it's been apparent for a while now that this was not scalable tech -- it was something a smart but inexperienced PhD cooked up not understanding how to make things scale in the real world. Does the idea of DU still have merit? No...I'm not convinced it does, because I still don't know what that idea really means in the form of a detailed, cohesive, practical, and plausible design.
  20. Yep...NQ made a choice many years ago that player feedback was worthless and that they'd be better off developing the game in a hole where only their "expert" opinions matter. I can understand that sentiment, honestly...but it's a fact that devs aren't objective after working on a product for so damn long. It just isn't possible for them to view the game as players do. That's why feedback is so critical, especially for an MMO. They somehow thought they could just keep doing business as usual come release -- and they've no one to blame for the implosion that followed but themselves.
  21. Yet again, NQ is hopelessly naive in conflating a balanced economy with a fun game...that's easy to do when you refuse to engage with player feedback. Churn rates would not magically reverse if NQ somehow conjured a "perfect" economy...which seems to be its only priority even as users keep churning (hard). At its core, the game still isn't engaging enough to grow or retain new players. NQ doesn't want to focus on that, they want to pretend that the issue is an economy that everyone predicted would not work in part because it wasn't really tested in beta. They want to pretend that fixing this is the key to making the game work...an idea that's not grounded in reality at all. Feature depth will never come because NQ will always find an excuse to work on something else -- inevitably it isn't something new, it's something they've already iterated on a dozen times. Without more feature depth and engagement, it really doesn't matter what price ore is. It could be free, it could be 1 billion quanta per unit. It truly doesn't matter if players keep churning, and players will keep churning even more if they make the early game more of a grind than it is already. NQ has no perspective because they decided years ago that every piece of player feedback was worthless and that they were better equipped to understand their players than their players. That sort of arrogance...well, it tends to be rewarded with failure. It isn't too late for NQ to make some drastic changes and start fixing things...but it's almost too late and I have no belief they have enough humility to actually accept that changes are needed.
  22. The game's downward pointing charts continue to point to a future where the game may not even survive 2022, never mind 2023. There's currently more people playing "Coin Flipper" -- a single player game about flipping coins. Flipping coins is more engaging than every game concept DU has struggled to implement...it has better reviews and literally has more people playing it right now than a new MMO that took 8 years to build. There's over twice as many people playing "PC Building Simulator" right now. I'm not (just) saying this to be mean...but to drive home the point that NQ needs to be making drastic changes. They need to actually engage with the players that are leaving and fire the devs or managers that insist that player feedback is useless. Their CEO needs to actually seem like they are doing something other than posting about web3 and crypto on LinkedIn and talking about NQ's other projects... Yet...I think it'll be business as usual up until the end. So much for NQ's post-update cycle fixing oh so many things and adding all the many things that are missing. At this rate, I truly would not be shocked if the game didn't make it past 2022.
  23. I'm not convinced that this cash injection was significant enough to really make a difference...I'm not convinced any revenue has been enough to cover payroll and infrastructure since public beta first dropped (where they likely had a few good months before churn kicked in). I think NQ will cut staff and costs to the point where it's close to breaking even, then milk their remaining subs for as long as they possibly can. They have no vested interest in being honest and won't tell people the game is dead if there's any chance they can milk out some revenue. About those other projects...NQ currently has a freelancer on payroll whose title is "Gaming NFT Advisor". They've been around for a couple of years now...and while maybe they are just doing marketing for NQ, it makes me think that these "other projects" are going to be far too late to the scam party and implode even harder than DU. Also...some employees have the "open for work" tag on their LinkedIn -- which is a pretty clear signal to their current employer that they are looking to leave (or that they already put their notice in).
  24. Some of these points have been brought up many, many, many times through the game's long dev history. NQ decided that they would build a game with no NPCs, and even during beta people (more than a few times) brought up how awkward it made the game. They wanted to be novel for novelty's sake in declaring that DU would be a game with only players. They never had a detailed, cohesive plan to design the game such that the role of NPCs was actually replaced by player-driven mechanics. People talk about JC's leadership as if it was so much better, but there was never a detailed, realistic design plan for DU. There's been a ton of discussion about PvP balance and alts with mission running -- these issues won't ever be resolved, IMO. It's an open-world PvP game, so if people expect structured "fair" PvP, they will never find it in this style of game. The game has no NPCs and never will (per their own insistence), so these "missions" are the only type of quest NQ could come up with... Based on NQ's current dev velocity, fixing these issues would take them years -- that's if they even wanted to make changes along these lines, which...they've made it clear many times across many years that they aren't actually interested in feedback and that they, the "professionals", know what they are doing far more than us know-it-all idiot customers.
  25. As I've mentioned before, Abboud has been explicit in hist posts in saying that NQ is working on more than one project. Because that's good leadership, splitting the team up to deal with likely NFT/Crypto BS even as the metaverse concept crumbles while your only other product that's been baking 8 years is dying.
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