What's the deal with stretch goals?
Hello, everyone! First off, welcome to all our new backers, including our third and final STARWALKER!
New rewards coming soon...
Egads, all our top rewards have been depleted! The good news is that puts us really darn close to our next stretch goal! And the great news is I've got a few (highly limited) heavy-hitting rewards in the works. Here's a sneak peek of one of the rewards I have lined up:
More details soon...
What's the deal with stretch goals?
Warning: Massive blocks of text ahead, proceed at your own risk!
There's been some grumbling about the choice to put co-op multiplayer near the end of our stretch goals, instead of right up front. The choice to put Oculus support so early has also ruffled a few feathers. So today I'll go over why I made those choices and what that means for you guys. (If you don't care about any of this, here's a cat getting freaked out by musical beans, and I'll see you next time.)
I'd be lying if I said I didn't put the Oculus so early in part because I'm passionate about the technology. But that aside, the order of stretch goals is very deliberate. It follows a technique I use in VFX that I've come to call subsidizing.
In VFX I'll often have to start working on a shot without knowing what the final requirements will be. If I choose a 2D method and days later they tell me by the way, it's a 3D move now! I've got to start over from scratch. This has happened more times than I can count.
On really big jobs where starting over from scratch isn't an option I try to make the earlier work subsidize a worst case scenario. The first features I add are the ones that won't change no matter what the final requirements are. Then to avoid painting myself into a corner, I continue to add features in an order that lays the foundation for the most complex option while still not committing to that option until I'm certain it's necessary.
Get to the point already!
Point is, the stretch goals subsidize one another in the same way (at least in theory). The only difference is we're talking about a best case scenario instead of a worst case.
Part of the Animal Pack includes an AI overhaul - this lays the groundwork for server-controlled AI. Part of the Content Bonanza includes an overhaul of the content system - this lays the groundwork for mod support. Full Mod Support will include a client / server overhaul - this lays the groundwork for Co-op Multiplayer.
In other words if I removed the Content Bonanza from the list, Full Mod Support wouldn't suddenly become 5k less. It might be a tad less since I wouldn't be creating art assets, but I'd still feel uncomfortable with Mod Support at anything less than 90-100k.
(I know this is dry but hey, you asked! Here's another cat video if you need a break.)
How does this justify putting the Oculus ahead of multiplayer when the Oculus is just a niche peripheral and multiplayer is a popular (even expected) feature?
Well it doesn't totally justify it. Like I said, I'm supporting the Oculus because I'm passionate about it, not because I think it'll move units.
That said, Co-op Multiplayer is going to cost roughly the same amount whether the Oculus is in there or not. Multiplayer is very complex and difficult to do right. I could maaaaaybe bump it down to 115k by axing the Oculus stretch goal, but I'd be sweating bullets. Even if you made mutiplayer the VERY FIRST stretch goal it would still cost no less than 100k, and you'd miss out on a ton of cool stuff along the way.
As someone who'll never use the Oculus, what specifically do I get out of the Oculus stretch goal?
Lots. The Oculus stretch goal includes an interface overhaul - that's where the bulk of that money is going. That overhaul is partly intended to make the interface more usable for Oculus users, but the best way to achieve that is by making the interface customizable and XML-driven - this will lay the groundwork for interface modding and language packs, on top of making it easier to customize your interface in general. Plus the art will suck less.
What happens if you don't hit the co-op stretch goal? Could the game still have multiplier someday?
In a word, yes. Especially if we manage to hit the Full Mod Support goal. I can't guarantee anything - any multiplayer patch would be a ways out and a lot can happen between now and then. But since I'll be laying down the foundation for multiplayer as I work, it'll hopefully be a matter of picking up wherever I left off when I have the time & money.
Okay, but why is the Armor System in such a weird place?
Ah yes. I agree it's weird. But that's the spot where armor can build on what came before while laying down foundations for what comes after (namely equipment mods for Full Mod Support). A lot of you have been pointing out that armor is standard in RPGs and I get where you're coming from. But FRONTIERS is an exploration game first, and an RPG second, so I'm OK with not including armor if it comes down to it. (Though it looks like we'll make the armor goal easily.)
TL;DR: No worries, the Oculus isn't stealing our multiplayer.
*Whew!* Lots of text! Here's a palate cleansing screenshot of one of my favorite villages:
Okay, I hope that answered everybody's questions! I'll be working hard this weekend to replenish the higher-level rewards, and I'll be working with Erik Dinnel to drum up some more promotions. Look for a new video update early next week!