Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you all!
In this update we will wrap up what have been going on during the last few months, and celebrate the new 1.1 release. But I also want to take some of your time to give you a status from me personally.
As we mentioned back at release time, we wanted to pledge towards adding some new features. This grew fast into a “lets give everyone a small xmas gift as well”.
Our level designers took it upon themselves to create some new sectors, more story and more quests. Russian and Polish localization has been added, and the public level editor is updated with the latest content. They also added the new lighthouse mechanics which is pretty cool.
To show our good will and commitment, we decided to give this all away for free to all of you. So not only did we add all the pledged new content and features, but also more cool gameplay.
Take a look at the changelog here to see all the features, content and other details of what has been added since launch:
Launch and Reception
As most of you by now have discovered, JAF launched end of October. The reception has been all over the board ranging from “Absolutely love it” to extreme hatred by a small rabid core group.
While we do love the positive feedback, it is the negative one that has taken up most bandwidth online and internally at our end.
The entire situation simply makes me sad beyond words. Not only for us and our own future, but also for you and the future of Jagged Alliance.
Besides some rough edges in the game where most of those have been fixed by now, the major feedback issue really stems from expectations. And I think expectations from “outsiders” that have not been following JAF development as a Kickstarter project on a small budget, but expectations from hardcore JA fans expecting JAF to be the next JA3.
As you and we know, this project was never meant to be a replacement for JA2. It was a project where we as a fan community could in unity get JA back to its core roots of great TBS combat, modding and create a foundation for keeping the brand alive. It was deliberately set as a prequel, but it is measured as a sequel.
Stepping back and looking at JAF as a game, I think it’s a great little JA game. Its not a 9/10 – not a 8/10 either. But it has a good solid combat system that screams JA, and an ok story that has good elements. Modding wise it is miles ahead of where JA2 was when it was released. From a full blown level editor to external accessible dialogs, quests, access to LUA scripting etc we really think there is a great basis for lots of content updates in the future through community efforts.
But – we failed to do expectation management towards people expecting JA3. And there is nothing we can do at this point to please those guys.
What we can do and what we have done over the last months since release is to do our best to address whatever else has been coming up as negative feedback.
There is now improved stealth, more weapons, weapon attachments, better initial levels, a nice shop interface, improved AI and lots of smaller bugfixes and improvements.
Looking down the list of issues brought up and improvement suggestions, we have been able to improve on almost everything in the last months.
But at the same time, the gamers or even you as backers have not yet given us credit for this work by revising your reviews on Steam. We still have user reviews that are at this point hurting sales – and thus the possibility of doing future updates. Things hang in a thin thread due to bad sales with bad user review. Heck – I would not buy a game myself that has 40% positive on Steam.
If you really think JAF is only worth 40% positive, then so be it. I cannot change your mind then, and we will be forced to stop here. But with only a few changed reviews or a good handful of more positive reviews, the new gamer perception would improve a lot and possibly gamers will give the game another chance. And with improved sales, we can again do more updates and features.
Give the game a fresh look and a positive review if you like it!
Digital and Physical Rewards
The rewards are the next thing on our list now.
For digital we will get those up for you on Humble as they get produced and finalized. That will happen ASAP.
Physical is as always more tricky. Read on.
As we are getting ready to put in the remaining orders for the manufacturing, we have been working hard on the logistics of quantities, production of goods, getting quotes and finding cheapest shipping options.
Let me just say, that this is utter nightmare to go through. And if we ever do another Kickstarter, we will keep it extremely simple and preferably digital only.
As mentioned in the last newsletter/update, we have to lock down production of goods and shipping.
This means that the 81 people NOT having responded yet with their address, and who were given a deadline back a month ago for this, will forfeit their physical rewards if they don’t reply NOW. We cannot produce and ship stuff individually in the future no matter your backer level or the reason for you not responding!
Together with this update we are turning off the option to change physical address. This means there is now a 48 hour window to still give us your address. We have tried contacting you through these updates, through emails and now this final message.
We also give a 48 hour notice for credit list updates in the game or on the website. If you haven’t responded there to the last deadline, here is the last call also for you! See how to enter that in update 48
Don't mind the deadline set, if you follow the link for the credit list sign-up form.
With production of the goods starting up, we plan to start shipping early this new year. Due to shipping costs, everything has to be produced first before we can package and ship, and it will still take weeks of producing the last items before we are at that point.
December 3rd bC filed for insolvency procedure and that is very unfortunate. For JAF as a game it has no immediate consequences, as our license agreement covers this scenario. JAF will live on and be available for sale.
What happens with the Jagged Alliance IP itself is up in the air, and we have no idea ourselves.
On the physical rewards side it puts us in a bit of a troubled spot, as we had a deal with them helping on the merchandise production. They have much more experience in DVD production etc, and thus it made sense to have them help us do it.
That part now falls on us, but as written above we are trucking along on a early 2015 manufacturing/shipping. It all just takes more time to process, finding vendors, making orders, collecting it all, shipping it etc. So thank you for your patience!
On the development side of JAF, we are forced into a skeleton crew situation for now until we hopefully see improved user ratings of the game on Steam. Will the last months effort pay off in better reviews or not? If not, then we cannot commit to anything. If yes, then we can take another look at plans.
Short term though we are fixing some bugs and updating some of the documentation. Version 1.1 will also be put on Humble in DRM free version.
CEO, Full Control
We’re happy to announce that Jagged Alliance: Flashback is now live on Steam, info on DRM-free below. The team has pushed forward these last weeks to polish, fix bugs and balance the game. This last week we've made major leaps and with the help of the very dedicated community testers, we have been able to crush some of the nastier bugs. BIG THANK YOU!!, we needed your support.
We thought the game deserved a proper trailer for the release, it turned out pretty damn awesome, so let’s kick off this update with a bang.
Words from our CEO, Thomas Lund
A lot of people have asked us what happens on the other side of the release. The answer is "it depends". It depends on sales really. We have to feed our families and pay the bills like everyone else, and only if the game sells will we be able to do bigger expansions.
BUT - we have a track record of post-launch support, and we are dedicated to that for JAF as well. So coming up in some weeks from now will be a free upgrade with some of the content that didn’t get into the 1.0 release.
The first 2 things are features we really really would have loved to have in 1.0, but that didn't make the deadline.
- Weapon attachments
Scopes, silencers, ammo extenders and more!!
- Ammo types
Armor piercing, hollowpoint and other nasty pieces of lead
Additionally we want to add more content to the game. So
- Soviet weapon pack
As pointed out by the community, we added a lot of western weapons to the game. Its time to look at the old Soviet weapons and get a batch of them into the drop tables.
And lastly 2 features that didn’t turn out as great as they could have. So we will fix them up and polish:
Making shotguns look and feel more "blasty" - make them shoot multiple projectiles at once, so you get that great “buckshot” feel.
- Better shop interface:
A proper shop with images, stats and also ability to sell your items again
What is on the horizon past that is a big unknown. Bugfixes are a given, but content wise we don’t want to promise something we can’t deliver. So let’s see what happens over the next weeks.
Kickstarter related info
Skin packs + Special Merc
We’ve had to move some elements such as the skin packs and the special Merc from the Dog Tag to post release. We need to set up a proper system for them to unlock, so once that’s in place, we’ll be able make them available. We may have to make some changes to the various packs and possibly bundle them up, but more on that later.
Modding button has been grayed out because we need to hook in the new UI to support it, but don’t worry it will be added to the game, once we get past initial issues that spawn from release.
Simply letting you know now so you don’t think it won’t be part of JAF :)
Digital Rewards and Humble Bundle Info
For release day you’ll only have access to the digital version of the game. All other digital rewards will be uploaded to Humble Bundle once they’re ready and we’ll let you know through Kickstarter Updates. Most should be available at the same time we have produced the physical goods.
We’re still getting a few reports about people not being in the right tier. The spreadsheet Humble Bundle had set up needed to be completely redone, but it is a lot better now. There could be some issues when people change their email address and such, we don’t get any information about that unless you tell us or if we re-export the tiers.
On Humble Bundle we’ve used the email you pledged with, be it on PayPal or via Kickstarter. If you create an account on HB with that email and claim past purchases you should be able to see what you have access to.
Otherwise try to use the resender that we posted about in the last update. https://www.humblebundle.com/?s=resender
If everything fails, contact us via kickstarter (please send us messages directly, it’s easy to miss comments.) or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will sort it out. Mostly been $25 backers having this issue.
We are creating and uploading the DRM-free version to Humble Bundle now, but please keep in mind that Humble Bundle are based in the US, so the DRM-free version most likely won’t be available before sometime later today or tomorrow.
Linux Version issues
We’ll have wait to send out the Linux version as we’re working on clearing up some issues that are only specific to Linux. We will do our best to get the Linux version out either later today or sometime tomorrow.
The team has been running on full steam the last month or so, with a programmer clocking in 80 hours last week. We are a passionate bunch and will continue to do our best to support you and Jagged Alliance: Flashback. What the future holds, is still not set in stone, but for now we’ll have a piece of cake and a glass of champagne and then get back to work :)
Until next time!
The Full Control JAF Team
We are closing in on the release of Jagged Alliance: Flashback, which is why this will be our last big update before the release. There is a lot of new content in the new update and still more to come. This last week will surely be intense, as we will be working full throttle to get the game polished up with as many features as possible.
Here’s a quick overview of the Final Countdown update:
- Energy System: The energy system aims to create the feeling of exhaustion or vigoration at appropriate times. A unit will run low on energy after, for example, sprinting for several consecutive turns. This simulates being out of breath, exhaustion or even unconsciousness.
- Morale System: Every mercenary has their own morale rating. If a unit is shot or due to loss of a friendly Unit, the morale goes down. That can cause both the enemy and the player to panic, run away or make deadly mistakes.
- Drop & Loot system has been revised substantially, making containers accessible throughout the game.
- New enemy spawn system creates enemies more varied equipment according to their experience level and assigns them to unique squads.
- Improved enemy AI - enemies will now go into cover, move or change stance and use their equipment to the best of their ability
- 15 new iconic weapons: New handguns, SMGs, assault- and sniper rifles
- Strategic Map UI Overhaul
- All Sectors unlocked: All Sectors from the final game can now be accessed and explored!
We felt that the developer diary was a cool and simple way to show off new content and features from the game, so we pushed forward to get one ready for this update as well:
You can find a change log for 0.9.0 version and the versions that have been on the alpha branch since the last EA update below:
Armor, Portraits and Equipment
One of our artists, Christian, is a bit camera shy, but that doesn't mean his work shouldn't be shared with the community. He’s primarily been working on the portraits for the game, the trash items and the different equipment.
A selection of the above can be found below:
Credit list (Important)
We still haven’t added names to the credit list for both the website and inside the actual game. A lot people don’t want us to use their real name, which is why we’ve held back. The best option is simply to say: If you want your name on the website/inside the game (depends on which tier you opted for), you need to follow the link below and fill out the form. This way only people who want to be on the list will get there instead of i us having to handle it manually.
We are using a sign up form from Mail Chimp for this, so once you have filled out the survey YOU MUST CONFIRM BEING ADDED TO THE LIST. Functions like any other newsletter sign up, so you will get a confirmation email, remember to check your spam folders.
Deadline is October 16th, 2014, 12:00 CET.
DRM + DRM-Free Changes
For a long time, we have been discussing whether or not we should simplify the whole approach to DRM and DRM-Free copies and we’ve finally reached a decision. We’ll make the game available in both versions at no extra cost, meaning you can download both a steam version and a DRM-Free version via Humble Bundle. It makes it a lot easier for us to handle and also makes for a happier collection of Backers :)
The DRM-free version won’t be available before the game is released on the 21st of October.
Keys For $25 Backers
With this final update we’ll be sending out the remaining keys for backers in $25, we'll start as soon as the update is live.
You can also retrieve the key yourself through Humble Bundle, if you use the same email as on Kickstarter/Paypal. However, we have been getting some reports from backers about not ending up in the correct tier ranges. We think it's a general setup issue and are already in talks with Humble Bundle to get it fixed. Therefore please don't "panic" if you're not in the right tier range and send us lots of messages and emails, we're on it :)
To get it, enter your backer email into the key re-sender here: https://www.humblebundle.com/?s=resender and then you’ll receive it via email.
The $5 Tier won't update automatically, so you have to pick the correct tier in list after using the key re-sender.
Backer Addresses (important)
As we are getting closer and closer to release we are also getting closer to sending out physical rewards. As mentioned in Update 46, it won't happen on release day and to avoid as many errors with the shipping as possible, we ask that you make sure your address is up to date and that you leave us a message on Kickstarter or email@example.com, if you make changes or need it to be updated.
Deadline for this is on the 20th of October 2014, and backers who have not submitted their address by October 20th, 2014, 12:00 CET will NOT receive any physical items
Until Next Time!
The Full Control JAF Team