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A classic real-time strategy game with an epic single player campaign, multiplayer & coop, set in the alternate reality of 1920+
A classic real-time strategy game with an epic single player campaign, multiplayer & coop, set in the alternate reality of 1920+
A classic real-time strategy game with an epic single player campaign, multiplayer & coop, set in the alternate reality of 1920+
16,607 backers pledged $1,298,726 to help bring this project to life.

One Million! Multiplayer!

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Multiplayer Funding Goal Reached

When we launched the Kickstarter campaign, there was the dream of making a Million Dollars. It was somewhat presumptuous because it had been a while since a video game had received that level of support via crowdfunding.

Well… you did it! You believed in us and we’re forever grateful. We’ll pay you back by continuing to work our asses off to make Iron Harvest the best game it can be.

THANK YOU!

(Including PayPal payments)
(Including PayPal payments)


As always, you can find the current total of all pledges (including PayPal) here: http://www.iron-harvest.com


Multiplayer Goals

In the last update, we talked about our goals and philosophies when it comes to UI, controls and gameplay. The post sparked a lively discussion and you seem to enjoy it. So, to celebrate today’s milestone, here are some of our goals and thoughts about multiplayer.

  • Anti-snowballing: If you are behind in a game, you should have several options and a little assistance to get back on track. If you are winning, it should get harder and harder to keep the lead and close the deal. In any case, a small mistake early on should not seal you fate.
  • Strong incentives to finish matches: It should be possible to quit a match honorably early on, but we want to give players little reason to do so and want to encourage them to keep playing (see “anti snowballing”).
  • No dominant strategies: The "usual suspects" like Turtleing/Steamrolling, Base Rush or Spamming should not work. Ideally, on each map there are multiple valid strategies and counter strategies.
  • Balanced factions and units: It's great when players have to evolve their tactics and it's fine if one faction plays simpler than another. But in the end, faction/unit choice should be a question of taste/playstyle for high-end players. There shouldn’t be factions that are objectively better.
  • Variable match duration/size: There will be modes with short matches (~15m), but if you want, you can also play a match that lasts for an hour.
  • Keeping the player pool (potential opponents) as big as possible: We will prevent fragmentation of our online community, in order to keep match making wait times as short as possible. To help with that, there will be a handicap system, where better players will have additional tasks in a match and/or weaker players will get some bonuses.
  • Incentives to play regularly / keep playing: Mid- and long-term goals, seasons.
  • Easing in newbies: The learning curve should not be too steep and you have to feel like you are making progress, even when you are losing. Losing should not be a reason to quit playing altogether. It’s okay to lose the first couple of matches, you still learn and get stuff. Eventually, you’ll win.

One of our goals is to keep matches exciting for as long as possible. If you make a mistake or are behind, it won’t be a death sentence. Players won’t leave matches if they think they still have a chance and even if you are ahead, you have to stay vigilant.

These are some of the systems that will help us keeping matches exciting and undecided for as long as possible:

  • In many maps, you‘ll have to conquer flag-poles to earn victory points. Naturally, the more of the three flags are in your possession, the harder it is to defend all of them.
  • When you hold a victory point (flag), you earn points steadily, but slowly. When you CONQUER a point from an enemy, you‘ll get a big one-time payment. Thus, if the enemy possesses all three victory points on a map, there is a huge potential for you to earn a lot of points quickly!
  • Whenever a unit dies in a multiplayer match, you‘ll get back some of the resource cost of this unit. The amount of the "refund" depends on your and your opponents‘ skill levels (handicap system), as well as on the match phase. At the beginning of a match you might get 100% back, so a lost unit "only" means lost time. Later on, you might get 50% back and at some point 0% (to ramp up the pressure and to make sure games won’t take forever).
  • Before a match, players can spend a certain amount of points to spawn units. Based on their handicap, better players get to spend fewer points. Therefore, they are at a disadvantage and have to fight harder. Maybe there will even be an option not to spend some of these points and get more XP out of the match.

Our goal is to make multiplayer matches fun and worthwhile for each player. If you are a really good player, occasionally, you might not have enough competitors. However, instead of slaying newbies and getting nothing out of it (XP-wise), you can play a handicap match and make it harder for you (in exchange for XP). At the same time, weaker players can play against better players regularly and learn from them.

These are our thoughts regarding multiplayer at the moment.

What do you think? Also, what games are doing multiplayer leagues, ranks, seasons and so on just right and what makes them work in your opinion? Let us know in the comments.


Jakub Rozalski, Bram Vanroy, and 137 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. KING Art Games 4-time creator
      Superbacker
      on

      @gingerchris86 (matchmaking): Of course you can make private matches if you want.

    2. Missing avatar

      Mads Diemer Wartho Pedersen on

      Where's the reward then? when playing a game and you're doing great you'll like to feel like you're doing great, if you have your legs sawed off because you run too fast for the new people to catch up you'll stop feeling rewarded, and suddenly the multiplayer will feel a lot different and probably not as fun. I'm however fine with you being "limited" in how you can spiral out of control.

      Still I'm hoping in a change to the "capture and hold these 3 points, and then win" since I feel they've been done to death by Company of Heroes and Down of War 2, and I don't think they're really popular. Especially if you want some kind of base building, because what point does base-building serve if it's just going to be some optional thing that, sure you can do, but that's not how you're going to win, unless one of the points is the base. But you can easily ignore building up a strong base etc. if there's going to be no interaction with it, no use, it'll just be pointless. No game with "hold these two points" unless you build bases around those two points, have ever had any good base building.

      Are we going for a re-skin of Company of heroes/Down of war 2, or is this going to be something new.
      It could be really cool to have like a mini-risk (very very small) where you can choose your fights somewhat like Down of War 1, Dark crusade or LoTR The Battle for Middle Earth 2 did with the war of the ring thing. Or something somewhat "new" to the multiplayer scene, something that opens up more strategies.

    3. KING Art Games 4-time creator
      Superbacker
      on

      @Eric (DLC): Our focus is the main game. But if the game is successful, we'd love to do addons dealing with other factions. There are a lot of cool factions to chose from, an Asian faction is certainly one option.

    4. tytus on

      I'd like to suggest a Surrender/Concede option. All too often I played games that did drag and were a waste of time in the end. I did not want to quite due to quit ban/punishment. Option to Concede, triggered by a unanimous team vote, only allowed a certain amount of time into the game, is a great idea.

    5. KING Art Games 4-time creator
      Superbacker
      on

      A really big THANKS to all backers for the incredible support. We are very grateful to get the $1 Million. Keep it up :-)

    6. Missing avatar

      Josh on

      Personally, no handicap system unless all players agree to it in the match. Ladder systems are in place to help prevent amazing players from stomping new or not so amazing players. As you improve, you climb to fight better players. I am all for highly skilled players limiting themselves to teach others but only if both players agree to the handicap.

    7. Missing avatar

      Ryan on

      Most of this sounds great, No handicap system please, better options for newer players to practice and improve rather than handicaps.

    8. Missing avatar

      bart
      Superbacker
      on

      Great idea about the ai. I wish more games would use a handicap system. It is about having fun in the game. This looks like everyone will have fun.

    9. Blake Canham-Bennett on

      Sounds brilliant! I've never felt more confident about a game release, and I don't think there's ever been a time when a video game Kickstarter has been more deserving of support.

    10. Andrew Galan on

      I like the idea of the handicap system. I don't view such things as punishment.

    11. Daniel H on

      Can't find a way to edit comments, but I would just like to add to my previous comment about the handicap system. I'm skeptical but I'm not bashing the idea, it could work if properly implemented. But it will definitely be a huge challenge for you guys to design the system. I think it's very important for the system to be completely transparent about the handicaps.

    12. Sorenius on

      I am in favour of a handicap system. Never played RTS online because I am to bad. I do not like getting totally destroyed quickly. It would be neither fun for me to destroy another player within no time. I think it is much more fun to have a thrilling game to the end. Handicaps should be visible to every player and the players which had to play with handycaps could be rewarded with a special award or something. This way players which had to play with handycap get fame to feel good instead of making bad players like me cry.

    13. Daniel H on

      I'm a bit skeptical about the handicap system, it's not fun to get punished for being good at the game...

      Will there be a ranked matchmaking system and will we be able to host custom games? What modes will be available? 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 and free for all modes?

    14. Seleck on

      no handicap system please, on interest of fairness, games should always be won or lost on the ability of the players. That's what all successful competitive games get right

    15. Seleck on

      Are you planning on adding cosmetic options as rewards for playing multiplayer? that's always another reason to keep coming back

    16. Missing avatar

      Ivan Rios on

      Not going to lie, the thought of a handicap system turned me off SO hard to the multi-player aspect of this game (this coming from a mostly single player gamer whose steam and xbox library is 95% single player games), I have played 2 other RTS in my life Warcraft 3 and Halo Wars never once did I want to play the online aspect of either game, when I saw this game I was not only looking forward to the campaign and skirmish maps/games but I was actually excited and intrigued in hopping onto matchmaking, and I know for a fact the handicap system was not only going to be beneficial for me but was also built for people like me, BUT dear god does this ruin the excitement and curiosity I had for the multi-player. Please reconsider adding this feature and IF you do please make it visible and fair. Don't cheapen then experience of both the noob (me) and the expert (hard core RTS gamers) by giving noobs the feeling of a pity win, feeling like there was no chance in hell we could have won on a neutral battlefield, and giving the expert the feeling of bringing a knife to a gun and mech fight.

    17. Missing avatar

      Ivan Rios on

      Not going to lie, the thought of a handicap system turned me off SO hard to the multiplay aspect of this game (this coming from a single player mostly gamer whose steam library is

    18. Muhammad Syahmi on

      TIME TO KICK ASS AND CHEW BUBBLEGUM!!!

    19. Missing avatar

      Greg Trone on

      No handicap systems, people always break them or the revs spend all their time balancing the handicaps instead of the maps for all. Have everything level and have multi-commander maps so that each team's sum of commander level is equal. When it comes to the opposing teams wanting the same class, you could have there be a rebel or deserter variant. That way you could have a 3v3 with army a and deserter b and c. Against rebels from team a along with armies b and c. Also, when it comes to the fallen I don't think one should be auto refunded a portion of lost units upon their demise. I think that destroyed vehicles should be moving cover when alive and stationary cover when defeated. Also, defeated squads could be used as hiding spots for stealth units like snipers and sabatures. A salvage unit could be made to reclaim the fallen from both sides and bring them back to base for a resource amount. This will reward players who don't unit spam to annoy the enemy since they could easily convert the corpses to credits. It would also reward a player who can use ambushes well since a player can make a comeback against an overextended foe by using a combo of sneak attacks to take out units and recycle them for resources needed to get back into the game. My greatest concerns are that the statement about giving skilled players more required obstacles and victory conditions makes the game feel as if it is punishing you for your succsus. Along with the fact that you don't want us to use tactics like turtleing and blitzcreging since they are valid ways of winning a battle. It is up to the game designers to make units that are able to pester a turtle enemy with ranged and gorilla tactics, along with well developed defensive units and quick and long construction defensive items that allow one to either build a quick light defense line or a concrete bunker that takes a while to build but will keep a key area well defended. Some people like to do a blitzcreeg, fortify strategy while others prefer zerg gorilla warfare with few key buildings as to outmaneuver and cut off one's supply lines and eliminate slow low health ranges units.

    20. Missing avatar

      Daniel Seth on

      "Maybe there will even be an option not to spend some of these points and get more XP out of the match. "
      Of all the listed options this one sounds the best to me. Having the system itself punish a player for being too good sounds annoying rather than challenging but choosing to handicap your starting forces as a self imposed challenge with an xp reward sounds good. if the player loses as a result it was there own overconfidence that cost them the match. it could even make sense from a lore perspective. One general winning against overwhelming odds with a smaller force increasing his honor among his peers immesurably. depending on if the starter forces are revealed or not could add a level of hesitation too, if you dont know if the enemy bought extra forces or what they are, do you rush them? scout it out first? could work out well with proper implementation.

    21. Missing avatar

      Aaron Garrad on

      I’m not a fan of the handicap system. If I am winning and detect that the system has started working against me, I’m sorry but I will get very annoyed and terminate the game.

    22. Missing avatar

      Eglab on

      I am opponent of handicap system. If I am worse player, it is fair I am completely destroyed. If I am better, I want to destroy. All it counts I want game to be transparent and fair. Solution shown here will most likely not hold the less skilled player. It will most likely push back better ones.
      Refund system is ridiculous. It pushes the "comeback" system way too far and makes early decision making less important. It, as others said, seems to promote early rushes. I am really not sure if the dev team really though that out or tried to predict consequences.

    23. Missing avatar

      Towarzysz on

      Make it visible to everybody or everyone will complain about it. Make the handicapped visible to all players.

    24. Missing avatar

      Wilson on

      I really like the sound of the handicap system, and it will be cool if you can pull it off in a way which feels fair, so best of luck!

    25. gingerchris86 on

      One thing i am concerned with here is it sounds like most of this is on a matchmaking system. Will there be the ability to make private games? I have people who i play with regularly and we would generally play with eachother rather than matchmake and hope we get matched...

    26. Missing avatar

      Alex Collazo on

      I'm unsure of handicap...but I'll reserve judgement until I see it. I'm not sure such a thing should be on by default in matchmaking.

    27. Missing avatar

      francisco Viruez on

      wow,,,,, please only use the handicap mode when there is a huge diference in lvls........ please.
      if not a pro player will feel tooo much underpowered and no one will want to play with them.
      maybe you can do a really good matchmaking and if there is no other options rather to match a low lvl vs a high lvl put them the handicap

    28. Fab on

      After some thinking and reading (I posted a thread on reddit r/games), I'm still excited about the idea but I would encourage you on one thing : make the handicap factor visible for all players (to not make them feel cheated).

    29. Awheat on

      I agree with what's been said about the handicap mode - it's a cool idea that should be a separate game mode from regular matches.
      As for lost unit refunds, what if there was an "attrition meter" that started at 0% at the beginning of the match and ticked up to 100% after 10 minutes. Your lost units are refunded for 100% of their cost minus the attrition rate when they died. It would roughly simulate the grinding-down of each side as "the war" drags on, making it harder to replace men and materiel.
      Alternatively, both sides could have separate attrition rates that are slowly increased as they lose units and are refunded for their cost. Thus, if you lose a battle early on you still have a mechanic to help you stay in the game, but it's not an endless resource. Your opponent still scored a victory by not only taking control of the field, but also by driving up your attrition faster than theirs.

    30. Missing avatar

      Rory Gracey on

      I am cautiously optimistic about the whole buff debuff thing, I like it because it encourages people to continuously play the game even if there's a skill gap but it can also lead to some near unplayable mechanics if not handled correctly.

      I trust the developers, but I just hope the debuffs and buffs aren't too insane.

    31. Missing avatar

      Danny on

      Make multiplayer like company of hero's online as in the one that relic scrapped the multiplay on that was amazing liked the rewards you got for winning matches.

      Please make it so as you gain xp you can use it to unlock new hero's, troops, skins and abilities.

    32. Missing avatar

      RoadblockXL on

      Another idea to impose a handicap on the player who is ahead is unit upkeep. Player's with bigger armies would collect resources slower while players with smaller armies benefit from being able to stockpile more resources. Also, if you're army gets destroyed, you would essentially have your resource gathering increase so you can get back into the fight faster rather than being completely screwed after a single lost fight. Differences in upkeep could also be used to handicap higher-skill players in matchmaking, if that's the route you plan to go.

      One thing I would like to see is a mechanic that encourages preserving units. In Dawn or War 2, units gained experience and leveled up as they killed other units, giving them bonuses. I'd like to see a system like that so that players are encouraged to keep their guys alive so that they can level-up and discouraged from sending units on suicide attacks that would give experience to their enemies.

      Also, I don't know if it is already planned, but I would like to see melee. I know there are videos of a lighter mech charging a bigger mech with a bayonet but I also think it would be cool to have infantry be able to grapple with other infantry while mechs could slug each other, tear apart buildings, or stomp on infantry.

    33. YeTing on

      For multiplayer, the handicap system should be opt-in. A top level player might not always want to play in handicap games over and over, and some days might just take the hit of a long queue time instead.

    34. Kyle Strauts on

      I think the concept is awesome. If this is implemented in a way where players wont purposely cheat the system to gain bonuses, this will be a step forward for RTS genre.

    35. Rafi on

      The overall ideas sound really good!

      I hope we will be able to choose if we want to play with or without handicap, making it compulsory could hinder competitive enjoyment or make people lower their rank intentionally.

      The "refund" mechanic is something that could be great if it's not too exploitable. It reminds me of Battleforge, a (no longer playable) card-based RTS by EA Phenomic, where destroyed units filled a pool from which resources slowly trickled back to the player.
      I think a "slow trickle" is a good way to handle resource refunds, as it doesn't encourage blindly throwing units away to get their resources back quickly and build new ones instantly.

      But I'm sure there are a number of ways to handle this in a balanced manner and I trust you guys to figure out what works best with your vision of what this game should be.

    36. Missing avatar

      Brandon Cockrill on

      My only gripe is that a skill-based system. like the idea of bonusing weeker players and making it increasingly difficult for stronger players can go quite wrong if not done extremely well, You could simply find strong players quitting early games to purposely hamper their stats in order to gain the bonuses of weaker players.

    37. Missing avatar

      Jared Renfro on

      I don't play multilayer alot. Generally it's with friends, or as a lan party, (I am old enough that Warcraft II lan parties were a big part of my developing a taste for RTS games, I mean, I played dune when it released) so a lan option would still be very welcome to me.

      One of my favorite RTS games is Total Annhilation, and I very much like how they handled recovering "credit" from a unit that was killed. You sent another unit out to reclaim the resources. And either side could do it, no matter who's unit it was. So, in this case you could very easily have a mechanic (a single person or team who's title is mechanic) who can repair damaged units, as well as scrap units that have been destroyed. Have an upgrade tier that is a mechanized version that can repair/scrap faster and for more resources.

      I also like the thought brought up in a previous post about having a way to capture an enemy mech, or to repair an abandoned one and use it.

    38. Missing avatar

      AndTaxes on

      I like the concepts but I would have to see how they are implemented. I have to agree with the other posters in so far as I would like an "opt in" handicap system. I'd rather wait a little longer to have a fair fight than to have my left knee broken to fight some one significantly worse than I am.

      I feel like refund on death is generally a "bad" mechanic (to me) because it makes you feel very much like the early game is relatively trivial. It's not, ofcourse; you are losing map control, EXP/VET (or whatever) as well just a general number of units so it's not trivial at all...but it "feels" trivial depending on how heavy handed it is.

      I really like the idea of being able to spend resources before the match starts to vary openings and strategies. You will still see pre-canned openings but it allows for some meta-shifting flexibility.

      I think that the Devs are going to be fighting ALOT of the same battles as the COH franchise and having a very clear, well defined goal of what the intended multiplayer experience is will serve them well. Specifically things like the division of player base between 1v1 and 3v3, people who prefer "cinematic game play experiences" vs people who prefer competitive, balanced multiplayer. I hold no ill-will towards the BGH 20MIN NO RUSH crowd but it's not really my taste.

    39. Fab on

      Your ideas are very ambitious, I'm very impressed! I don't know how you will find the right balance in all of this but if you manage to do, it might the most attractive multiplayer RTS experience out there. Good luck.

    40. Mihail Kochanov on

      Questions

      1. What is your plan for competitive play and e-sports. Do you aim for this field?
      2. Will you allow mirror matches?
      3. What is your opinion on competitive 2 vs 2 multiplayer?

    41. Mihail Kochanov on

      "Keeping the player pool (potential opponents) as big as possible: We will prevent fragmentation of our online community, in order to keep match making wait times as short as possible. To help with that, there will be a handicap system, where better players will have additional tasks in a match and/or weaker players will get some bonuses."

      Terrible idea (unless it is completely optional and not on the ladder)

    42. Andrea Scattolin
      Superbacker
      on

      Never cared about MP. Hope for the DLC.

    43. Sam on

      Great news - well done!

      Most of these suggestions look great. I like the idea of handicaps (as long as it's optional) - great way to make every game challenging.

      I also like the idea of big points for conquering a VP. Will encourage a trade-off between capping VPs early, or grabbing resources instead for a big counter-attack later. Nice strategic dilemma.

      I don't agree with unit refunds though. It will encourage reckless rushes in the early game: grab a resource point, leave the unit there until it's overrun, profit. Instead of a refund, maybe give the player with fewer units a small boost to resource income.

      I had a few ideas in the last post that were mostly intended for multiplayer, and feed into the idea of rewarding tactics rather than clicks and micro. Here in case anyone wants to read: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1637276942/comments

    44. Avery B Allen on

      I just wanted to put in a good word. Glad this game is doing so well. I would also love to see map hazards in different sizes. In halo wars 2, there is a high tech map where there is one of those holo bridges ( one that turns off and on). Stuff like that would be awesome. Maybe some artillery cannons that can be manned and repaired if destroyed. Or like underground tunnels that pop you up in random spots on the map. That would add challenge and creativity to many different styles of play!

    45. Missing avatar

      DTOX on

      When you say 'handicap', I hope you mean these are optional ways to play, and that handicaps based on level disparity between players aren't automatically assigned?

      Take SC2's leagues/season/ELO system, (except actually listen to balance concerns from the active community) - apply to COH style RTS game mechanics with alterations as we play and develop + Mechs - SUCCEED.

      If selecting a handicap is an optional tool for match-making to increase game finding and challenge, then that's a cool approach to things.

    46. Missing avatar

      Dieter Voth on

      As for the unit death refund, I would caution that it will incentivize rushing because you will get the full cost of a failed rush back. My solution would be to base the refund on the distance from your start point, up to a maximum based on time.
      This way you get refunded for defending initially, but the benefit is reduced over time, ideally in such a way that a player that turtles up at the beginning and allows their opponent control of the whole map has to work hard to gain control during the mid game.

    47. Jean-Luc Picard on

      Nice, glad things are going well.

    48. Missing avatar

      Alexey on

      So, what's XP for?

    49. Missing avatar

      Darren Izzard on

      Personally I'm tired of multiplayer games, largely because other players are a pain to deal with.

    50. Missing avatar

      Eric on

      I'm really excited, as I know more than a few of my friends are looking forward to this (as well as me). I haven't been keeping up much but what would the DLC goal entail? I know I saw some comments of people proposing a new (possibly Asian) faction