Demigod: Staging updates – v1.01 talk

By on June 2, 2009 12:35:49 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1484

It’s hard to believe that the updates we’ve done so far have all been on the v1.0 series.  v1.01 is the first update that GPG and Stardock consider significant enough to give a new version number.

Of course, that means testing and testing and testing and if we’ve learned anything in the past month is that the on-line testing procedures were inadequate.  So on the one hand, we want to get these updates out quickly because there are so many important improvements and on the other hand, we don’t want to put something out that has glaring problems for some people.

For example, one of the things we’re struggling with today is that occasionally Skirmish won’t start games. That is, the players will be connected and it’ll send the message to start the game but it won’t.  So we are trying to figure out what causes that.

On the other hand, other key things are working so much better. In-game connectivity is vastly improved. The handling if quitters and disconnects is improved. The stats are far more robust. The AI is noticeably better. A lot of command queuing issues are resolved. The bandwidth use is significantly reduced which should have a pretty big impact. So we have all those things nailed down and yet, we have the issue where skirmish games just get stuck about 25% of the time which is simply a show stopper.

Last night I played a game with just AI. It was the first time I’ve played against AI since shortly after release that was “fun” since before, the AI’s were just cannon fodder – throwing themselves at towers and just being ridiculously easy to manipulate.  I can still see areas for improvement with it but kudos to GPG for taking this stuff seriously.

Now all that said, we have a list of things that we think need to be focused on in the coming weeks – both from a business point of view and from a game play point of view.

  1. Finding ways for friends to get into skirmish games on the same team. 
  2. Dealing with “rage quitting”.  v1.1 (not v1.01) will have a concede option so hopefully that will help.
  3. Finding ways to provide more free maps and Demigods that doesn’t break the bank.
  4. Coming up with new powers that are fun and increase strategic depth.
  5. Finding ways to keep retail sales up.  Sales are good now but let’s be real here, updates are fueled by new sales. If you guys have ideas on what it would take to get more of your friends to buy copies at retail and on Impulse let us know.
  6. Building a system where we just host the games. Demigod would think it’s “peer to peer” but we would actually make it client server with Stardock hosting all the games ala Elemental. 

But right now, we’re working on the skirmish issue still. I’ll keep you guys up to date on where that is. I’ll be on the chat area too today.

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June 2, 2009 12:46:08 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

good and bad news i guess.

keep going lads & ladettes, as a QA guy myself i'll just say "you tried turning it off and on?"

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June 2, 2009 12:47:10 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sounds great. Looking forward to 1.01

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June 2, 2009 12:48:03 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the update! As far as getting more sales... At this point, I think releasing a demo would be huge. In addition, discounts always help. When valve had a 50% discount on L4D, sales increased something rediculous like 3000%

 

See: http://kotaku.com/5156238/gabe-newells-dice-keynote-left-4-dead-sales-tf2-comic-books

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June 2, 2009 12:50:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Thanks for the update.

As for the sales, having conection fixed and having the "skill sometime not working" + the concede option, people will really enjoy the game and be more tempted to buy it.

If people like the game, they will tell their friend and so on.

 

When you have all (or mostly) issue fixed, this will be the time to send another batch of coupon.

When you sent those 50% coupon, I think it was a bit too soon since the game was not yet what people would expect it to be.

But  with the above bug I mention fixed and having more people happy with the game, Im sure youll have more sell with another batch of coupons.

And of course a demo will be great but WAIT FOR THE RIGHT MOMENT. connection must be working correctly and get the skill bug fixed and concede option in before getting this demo out.

 

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June 2, 2009 12:58:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Would something similar to fallout3 / fable 2's DLC system work for you guys?

 

Maybe a first round of free updates to include DG's and maps and then perhaps later on down the road a DLC pack with say 4 new DG's and 4 new maps or something along those lines?

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June 2, 2009 12:59:40 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Frogboy,

Thank you so much for the update. I just want to quickly get a word in and respond to this point:

5. Finding ways to keep retail sales up.  Sales are good now but let’s be real here, updates are fueled by new sales. If you guys have ideas on what it would take to get more of your friends to buy copies at retail and on Impulse let us know.

In reality, I think your sales will be fueled by the updates. This game is part of a unique genre, so it is often being compared to other games. There is a huge community of people out there ready to jump on a next-gen game such as this. First and foremost, you have to fix and provide all the things you mention in points 1-4. If you had done this already, your sales would have probably doubled or tripled. I personally have brought friends to this game which have not been satisfied due to mainly bugs and issues with multiplayer connectivity. Once this is truly solved, you will have a large boost to sales. The only other factor is the number of demigods. Add 8 more Demigods and you will see a MASSIVE increase in sales, I promise this. You say that updates are fueled by sales... but in reality sales will be massively boosted and fueled by potentional updates. Especially more Demigods. I understand how much work is involved in this game.. but do not forget that the game feels very empty right now. 8 Demigods is far too few... its more like a tease rather than a full game. Another 8 demigods with the depth of the first 8 would really add something to this game but ideally there should be much more.

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June 2, 2009 1:04:51 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Dear Frog,

Most of the people I talked to that wanted to try out the game were afraid to blow cash on a game that doesn't work. I gave a friend a coupon and he bought the game - but needless to say, he still gets angry at it and says it's in beta stage due to the fact that he has connectivity issues + crashes to desktop constantly. I have tried to help him and setup his rig, but to no avail (he himself knows a lot about setting up networks. It's his job).

With that being said, I think the best thing to do is:

Fix connectivity/crashes > Demo ASAP > Coupons

Handing out coupons just doesnt help if the game is nowhere near stable. You have to REALLY like the game in order to want to suffer all the connectivity turmoils and crashes, the ragequitting, the stacked teams, etc.

It would be a lot easier to convince friends to fork over cash for a game (and it is a GOOD game, I really like it) if they know that they can play it 95% of the time. Given the current status, it is more around the 80% mark and that is unacceptable.

Regards

 

PS:

You guys really need to get your act together when it comes to dump files and debugging information. Your log file is really sparse and I'm sure you can use minidumps to help you locate bugs. People are WILLING to mail/post in the forums the logs and the files. Just learn to use it!

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June 2, 2009 1:13:33 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

More coupons FTW! Neither I nor my brother ever got our 50% off coupons, luckily I was able to get two coupons off these forums and two of my friends have since purchased the game.

Thanks for the updates, I am looking forward to them!

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June 2, 2009 1:16:24 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Love the game--hate the multiplayer setup.

 

I am quite bored with the game to be honest. I can't bring myself to recommend the game until there is some sort of ranked searching of teams. I really think WC3 + Halo matchmaking systems should be looked at. Competition keeps players in the game and keeps word of mouth spreading. Just my 2 cents.

 

Ryan

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June 2, 2009 1:17:43 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Give the players the tools to make maps, it will save you money and you can pick which maps the players have made that you want to use in demigod.

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June 2, 2009 1:23:50 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

First, Thanks for the update Frogboy!

I take it the patch wont come out today then?

All these fixes you mention seem great and is really what we need right now. Also, if its hinging on the 25% of skirmish games that wont start after the patch, and you want this fixed before releasing the patch... well, even if its 25% of games that wont start post-patch, its still  better then the 80% of skirmish and pantheon games that wont launch right now in the current patch... (at least for us in europe its like this, im in ireland by the way) so either way it will be massive improvements, so i say just release it already. Custom games seem to be largely fixed right now, but in the current patch you really have to "work" and be patient to get either a skirmish or pantheon game going... which detracts alot... from the enjoyment factor...

Please release the patch as soon as possible! 

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June 2, 2009 1:24:25 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Not sure a map editor is possible. Those map have nothing to do like Wc3. those are modelled in a 3d program imo.

But I wish I was wrong....

 

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June 2, 2009 1:24:33 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I always thought updates = new sales, not the other way around... look at tf2 , every update for it is a sales extravaganza.

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June 2, 2009 1:31:48 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting lordkosc,
I always thought updates = new sales, not the other way around... look at tf2 , every update for it is a sales extravaganza.

TF2 also has a free weekend every new update, lol

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June 2, 2009 1:40:01 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Quoting Wagnard,
Not sure a map editor is possible. Those map have nothing to do like Wc3. those are modelled in a 3d program imo.

But I wish I was wrong....

 

Well, they could create a "tile" based map editor that saves or compiles the tile map into an appropriate 3d model.

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June 2, 2009 1:40:29 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting lordkosc,
I always thought updates = new sales, not the other way around... look at tf2 , every update for it is a sales extravaganza.

 

I agree. When the community sees that you're still providing quality updates after the initial release cycle, you're likely to generate new sales via word of mouth and other avenues.

Reputation definately matters.

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June 2, 2009 1:42:57 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Agreed - everytime an update is posted it will raise the interest in the game.

I also agree - get stable 1.01 out the door, if it is good then produce a demo and possibly a discount offer at that point.

After each 'major' update give out offers and you should see the interest build. The game is a real goer but only if we get these issues out of the way.

Any ETA for 1.01 - some of the stuff at the moment like the lag/ai quitting (30 sec delay) are so critical that I wonder if the fact skirmish doesn't work as well afterwards would be so bad if all the other areas were better.

Pantheon - I don't see any mention of that? Any update on when that will also handle proxy and maybe 3v3?

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June 2, 2009 1:53:46 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting Talsworthy,


Any ETA for 1.01 - some of the stuff at the moment like the lag/ai quitting (30 sec delay) are so critical that I wonder if the fact skirmish doesn't work as well afterwards would be so bad if all the other areas were better.

 

and even more importantly the 'sedna bug' fix!

 

In regards to marketing, many of my friends have been turned off by the 50% of my friends who do own the game but dont have the patience to play it in its current condition. Granted I realize how improved the connectivity is, but alot of gamers are incredibly impatient and waiting more than 5 minutes in a lobby induces rage. Thus I was unable to find a home for my 50% off coupon before the expiration date. The bad word of mouth reputation from the intitial connectivity will take time to recover from. Having a demo when the game is performing optimally will quiet alot of peoples fears. 

 

 

 

 

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June 2, 2009 2:08:52 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Finding ways to keep retail sales up.  Sales are good now but let’s be real here, updates are fueled by new sales. If you guys have ideas on what it would take to get more of your friends to buy copies at retail and on Impulse let us know.

 

Frogboy,

Three thoughts on the matter:

1. Replays! Replays! Replays! This is a feature that will really shine in reviews, and will really create some bonus points on forums. Replays that work will *rock* in terms of generating sales.

2. Cross-platform via Transgaming/Wine. Games that go Cedega, or are "known wine compatible", tend to get some favorable press. This will generate a second round of reviews, and will probably help the game sell well. It doesn't hurt that Demigod actually runs well under Wine right now, with the only issue being something with the Impulse Reactor multiplayer net-stuff. I've already been pushing hard for my friends to buy Demigod (I'm at 7 referrals and counting!), but I'll push a great deal harder when I know that I can get it working on OS X without any problems. Wolfire Games found that Lugaru sales on OS X actually exceeded sales on Windows; this is because there really is a dearth of good Linux/OS X games. Certainly top-tier titles like Demigod.

I really, truly think that the amount of effort needed to get Demigod up and running on OS X or Linux would be surprisngly small; all that would be really needed would be a few wine specific patches for the Impulse Reactor stuff, and then a GTK GUI for downloading Demigod directly from anywhere.impulse.com ; plus perhaps a place to pull down in-between patches. It would obviously be more work getting the rest of Impulse working (though Steam works really well on both OS X and Linux), but you really shouldn't have much trouble getting Demigod working, cross-platform, using a custom wine branch tailored for the game (look at Google Earth for Linux, or any of the EA games shipped by Transgaming using Cider). This would generate a lot of press, immediately, and probably get a fair number of geeks like myself to buy up rapidly.

3. This one is risky, but I think that Stardock has been willing to push boundries with business models, so I'd think it might be a good idea. I think that it could really generate a huge sales volume to allow some amount of "free" gameplay. Once a demo is released, AND you have created a system whereby friends can join Skirmish games together, I would allow for demo users to play online multiplayer under 1 specific circumstance; 2v2 Skirmish games where the demo user is invited by a paid user. This is *exactly* the sort of "first hit free" scenario which will get people hooked on multiplayer gameplay.

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June 2, 2009 2:11:28 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ,

If you guys have ideas on what it would take to get more of your friends to buy copies at retail and on Impulse let us know.

 

I think offering periodic 50% discount codes would be a good way to do it.  Maybe toss out a 50% off offer when you release a substantial update?

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June 2, 2009 2:16:16 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I only ask one thing.  If you go with DLC to increase revenue be careful not to fragment the community.  Maps should always be free, so anyone can join any game.  Additional demigods, if balanced, could be DLC without forcing players to upgrade.

Also, the note about a free weekend is smart.  Once the build is stable a free weekend is just enough to hook everyone.  Don't limit it to multiplayer though.  New players will have an easier time with AI and ultimately you want them to have fun.  A double benefit to Stardock is that many people who try the free weekend will be installing Impulse for the first time.  And finally, if you wait a few weeks after E3 this could be just the news you need for a new Gamespot article.

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June 2, 2009 2:20:39 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Hey Frogboy.

Before focusing on sales, the main bugs and connectivity-issues should be sorted.
Happy customers produce more happy customers
Also, tailoring it more to the competative side, with ability to make demos and have spectators and such, will help open up a market to a new audience.
Making a demo-version, or a 'free weekend', will probably be the best way to market it. That way more peope will get to try it out, and more people will get to know about the game.
Also, new content (maps, DGs) will let you get an 'excuse' to get some more hype around the product, and let you 're-advertise' it.

...as these are things you probably all already know, I didn't really help you out with anything, but anyways, that's my thoughts about it=P

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June 2, 2009 2:24:56 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

So long as your updates are better than horse armor, people will see you're supporting the game and take an interest through that. There's nothing more I can add since I've already made all my mates buy this game so I have no further need of incentives lol.

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June 2, 2009 2:25:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

5. Finding ways to keep retail sales up.  Sales are good now but let’s be real here, updates are fueled by new sales. If you guys have ideas on what it would take to get more of your friends to buy copies at retail and on Impulse let us know.

 

I'm pretty sure you should follow in the footsteps of Valve's Team Fortress 2. When a massive patch is released (new class weapons, unlocks, maps), they ALWAYS have a weekend free trial, plus a drop in price for that weekend as well.

Demigod has potential to be a great game, but at its current stage - the network problems (#1 issue), lack of maps, demigods - it wouldn't be very effective to be marketing the product right now. Assuming patch 1.01 fixes the network connectivity issues, I have several friends who will buy this game. Most of them were warded off because of the persistant lag and disconnects.

And if you look at the posts for coupon hunters (last week), for when Stardock or whatever sent 50% off coupons, there were a lot of people looking.

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June 2, 2009 2:26:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I'm going to guess that the 'free weekend' idea that steam has going for some of its games is a big sales driver, especially when it coincides with new content (like maps/items) and/or game sale, maybe something like that would be handy?

I do see why its still 1.01... aside from connectivity fixes, the game hasn't really been updated at all since release.  Erebus's bite fix is the only balance change that I can remember.

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