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THE FUTURE OF DU: COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Q&A


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THE FUTURE OF DU

We’ve seen a lot of positive feedback following the release of our devblog series on the future of DU. We’re  thankful to our community for the great feedback and encouragement. We’ve collected what seem to be the most burning questions following the publication of the blogs and wanted to do a follow-up to address them the best we can. Not all questions have an answer at this point, and we’ll try to fill in the gaps as we’re able in future communications. 

 

Are you going to launch the game in 2021? 
Realistically speaking, we have too much to do with the time that’s left  this year to get to a state where we feel the game is ready for launch. Our current plan is “at some point in 2022”, and we’re targeting mid-year. That projection is tentative, depending largely on our progress and  the feedback we get from our community, so please don’t hold this as a commitment. It could be sooner, it could be a bit later. The state of the game will dictate the date.

 

Why is the game not working on Shadow (cloud gaming platform) and do you plan to support it?
We believe cloud gaming platforms are a great way to enjoy DU if you want to play the game but don’t meet the proper PC specs or want to benefit from the latest hardware improvements without investing in upgrades for your gaming rig; however, we need to clarify that we are not yet officially supporting cloud gaming platforms, including Shadow. Our releases are not tested on these platforms or Windows emulations on Mac and Linux, and we can’t guarantee compatibility at this point. The game is still in beta, and we are focusing our efforts on native Windows PC support.

 

We plan to officially support these platforms at some point, and would like to ensure that when we do we are able to offer ongoing compatibility with adequate testing and collaboration with the platform holders to make a long-term commitment. 

 

We recently started working with a cloud gaming platform in an official manner, and we are hopeful to announce our official support of that platform soon. In the meantime, compatibility with cloud gaming platforms can’t be guaranteed. We log bugs and look at potential quick wins, but we can’t commit to a timeframe for fixing them. Please also note that there is a waiting list of one year to have access to one of the machines of Shadow, which makes debugging all the more difficult.

 

Will there be an updated roadmap?
At the moment, there is no plan to release an official roadmap with dates. We tried to explain why in the three devblogs. We’re changing many things in the way we develop DU, and it’s hard right now to have a clear idea of our future velocity. We don’t want to give you dates that we might not hold. We think it’s more important to have the freedom to adapt to your feedback rather than trying to hit the dates on a public roadmap. We hope you will see this as a sign that things are changing for the better and that we’re being more realistic in our approach.

 

Why don’t we have more frequent releases?
Dual Universe is an extremely complex game to develop. Many of the systems we have already in place are interdependent, and changing or adding a feature has ripple effects on other features and systems both in terms of code and in terms of feature design. For example, RDMS has to be carefully considered in many things we do, as does  the role of organizations in the introduction of new features, etc. Most of the tech we use is custom and not off-the-shelf. It’s one of the secret sauces of the game, and it also makes features much more difficult to work on because we develop the tech AND the features at the same time.

 

Now, with the introduction of the PTS, we hope to make more frequent releases, including releases of prototypes, such as the Lua technology for screen units. How frequently will depend on what goes in these releases and how much work needs to be done after we receive feedback from the PTS. We estimate that you can expect three to four additional major releases in 2021, and smaller releases in-between, but that’s only a ballpark estimate for now.

 

What’s going on with long-standing beta bugs? Are you going to fix them?
Yes we will fix them as quickly as possible although we aren’t able to pinpoint an exact date. Some bugs are easier to squash than others, and some even require a rework of an entire complete backend system to resolve. These processes need to be scheduled accordingly, also taking into account that we want to avoid reworking the same thing multiple times if we suspect that the development of an upcoming feature will force us to rework the same system again. The more critical the bug, the higher the priority. When we’re focused on fixing bugs,  that means we’re not working on the plan we presented to you, so it’s a balancing act. We wish we could give you a list of bugs and a timeframe for each one, but that would be highly unrealistic. These bugs are not being forgotten, that’s the best we can tell you right now.

 

Can we expect a more frequent communication from Novaquark?
We’d love to, just understand that the frequency of our communications really depends on the cadence of the game releases. The way it works is that as soon as the content of a new release is established (at least a content draft), we sit down and make a plan for how and when we’re going to talk about these features/this content. Often we have to wait until a feature is stable enough in terms of game design and/or coding to be able to talk about it or show it, as a feature can evolve a lot along the development process and the unfolding of our sprints. We simply want to ensure that the information we give you isn't misleading, as early communication means the end result may differ significantly once development is complete and the feature is released.
So between releases, there is indeed a communication gap. 

 

There are different general topics we could discuss between releases, but they wouldn’t really bring anything concrete to the table and that communication could be seen as shallow and vague. It’s actually an interesting topic we’d like to explore with you: what is it exactly that you expect in terms of communication? How can we balance having meaningful content to present with what seems to be the need of our players to see ongoing communication? Based on reactions we’ve seen in the past, we  believe that communicating simply for the sake of it when we have nothing really new to talk about is never well-received.

 

What about PvE? Are you planning to add PvE features to make the game more varied?
Our current focus is on enabling emergent content between players. PvE is not one of our priorities at the moment. This doesn’t mean that it won’t ever come to the game, but it is not going to be added before the official release of the game. That said, one could potentially consider the challenges that we’re currently working on as some form of PvE, though not in the sense that you’ll be shooting NPCs or wildlife.

 

Will we see a return of NQ employee Interviews and AMAs?
We would love to do things like livestreams and AMAs again when the time is right. We feel like these formats are better suited when there is a clearly defined topic to focus the discussion, such as a major release for instance. It is duly noted that these interactions with the community are appreciated, and we will include them whenever possible.

 

You mentioned the changes in the industry gameplay, but it wasn’t clear if schematics will stay or go?
The honest answer is that we don’t know yet. When we introduced schematics, it was a major disturbance in the forc… in the economy of the game.  We don’t want to rush into more changes after that, especially given that players invested a lot of hard-earned quanta in buying them. Removing schematics is ONE of the options we’re looking at, as well as changing their prices or adding more recipes. Reverting to the way it was before the introduction of schematics is also on the table. We know we want to do something with the current state of the industry to add back some of the fun that was taken away with 0.23, but how exactly we’ll do it is yet to be decided.  

 

Is there going to be a wipe?
We see that the debate on the topic has been pretty hot in the community for a while, and it’s about the same at Novaquark. We’re uncertain if the changes we are planning to introduce will require a wipe or not, and we’ve started (intense) internal discussions on the topic. Our priority is to try to preserve the time and effort that our players have put in the game since the beta started. Once we’ve got a better idea of how much the changes we discussed in the third  “Future of DU” devblog will impact the game’s economy, we’ll make a decision. If there is a wipe (and it’s a big IF), it may be a partial one only affecting certain aspects of the universe. Our  priority will be to mitigate the impact for long-time players.

Join us in our feedback thread here!
 

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