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FRONTIERS - Explore, Discover & Survive in a massive, relaxing open world that emulates the tone of classic first person RPGs.
FRONTIERS - Explore, Discover & Survive in a massive, relaxing open world that emulates the tone of classic first person RPGs.
4,574 backers pledged $157,381 to help bring this project to life.

Preorders, yay!

26 likes

Hello, everyone! Warning: text-heavy update. If you don't know someone who cares about preorders, feel free to skip this one.

Early Access? Nope.

About a week ago I posted my thoughts about offering FRONTIERS for early access. (You should probably skim it so you don't feel lost.) I was conflicted by the whole idea and wanted a little feedback. The response wasn't unanimous, but the stories I heard - both in the forums and during the fact-finding I did on my own - convinced me that early access at this stage would be a nightmare.

But I was also reminded of a head-smackingly obvious alternative - preorders! All of the benefits and none of the downsides. So I've decided to go that route. Here's the Humble Bundle widget to prove it:

Click to see the widget on the main site at explore-frontiers.com

Why didn't I think of that earlier?

Preorders were constantly suggested to me by various outlets immediately after the Kickstarter was over, and I turned them down every time. My feeling was that Kickstarter backers understood that they were participating in something risky, but some random person pre-ordering the game would have every right to assume a guarantee of delivery. At the time I couldn't offer that - I believed I'd finish the game, of course, but believing and knowing are hardly the same. So I ruled out preorders and basically forgot about them.

But the early access discussion reminded me, and at this point the game is looking good. You can install it, load it and play it, and it basically resembles the final product. It has its issues* and still has a ways to go but if someone wants a guarantee that they'll get what they paid for I can offer it with confidence.

Is early access really all that bad?

You would not believe some of the horror stories I dug up during my fact-finding. All of the warnings about the crazy demands of players and avalanches of bug submissions gobbling up development time appear to be true. This is all on top of my misgivings about the system in general.

There may come a time when early access is appropriate - presumably when first impressions aren't as critical and I genuinely need the feedback from much, much larger groups of people - but I'm steering well clear until those benefits outweigh the many, many downsides.

Wait, no perks? What's the point?

No perks, and no point beyond 'I want to support this game *rightnow*!' I figure there will be two kinds of reactions - either someone sees a chance to preorder FRONTIERS and says 'Awesome, I'm in!' or they scoff and say 'No beta access? No perks? Psh, pass.' Both are legitimate reactions; I'm just not going to worry about the second group.

I had to push back pretty hard against offering beta access or kickstarter-style perks. Apparently that's the typical approach right now, and I guess it makes sense. But I'm taking this route to avoid getting swamped with more players and fulfillments during the beta stage. Those of you who pledged for beta access will undoubtedly keep me busy enough.

Alright, that's all for now - Next update I'll talk about multiplayer! Cheers,
- L

*Speaking of issues: That texture problem I posted about in the last update is under control. It's not totally solved - not yet - but it's no longer holding up the rest of development. So that's a plus.

MadSeaMonkey, Gregory Ponce, and 24 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Creator Lars Simkins on April 26, 2014

      Frederik - No dates yet, all I can say is 'soon.'
      gandalf.nho - You have until about a month before the game is released, whenever that ends up being. (Though earlier is better.) So plenty of time.

    2. Creator John GT on April 25, 2014

      HAAATE Early Access. As far as I'm concerned, that's just as bad as getting a Corporate Game upon retail release when those &#!%s know full well they're using the first buyers as impromptu beta-testers. And after having played many $60 bug-ridden games (and having my first impressions soured beyond recovery), I'm firmly aware of my inadequacies as a beta-tester. Even if my pledge level includes Alpha/Beta/Early Access, I will NEVER participate.

      I don't even want to SEE your game before it's DONE. And I'm more than patient to wait for it.

    3. Creator gandalf.nho on April 25, 2014

      I agree about the decision too, but you can use the Early Acess system only for backers to help distribute the beta for testing

      And what is the time limit to send the text of the in-game book?

    4. Creator Frederik Jan Meyer-Zeuthen on April 25, 2014

      "Those of you who pledged for beta access will undoubtedly keep me busy enough." Any ETA?

    5. Creator Michael W Nelson on April 25, 2014

      There's another major downside to early access from the players' perspective. In many ways, it ruins a game for me. You get in way before the game is actually ready, and it sucks out all of the anticipation for the real thing. You wear yourself out on something that is really only the shell of what you wanted to begin with, and in many cases I never go back to find out if it actually gets better through further development. I only have so much time for games these days, and if my first impression of one is bad, it might not get a second chance.

    6. Creator Technotica on April 25, 2014

      Sounds sensible, i don't care if it is early access or not, , on the buyers side it really doesn't matter, either you understand what early access means or you'll figure it out soon enough, either way you can't blame the game or the makers for its state.

      But on the developers side it obviously has far more improtant consequences.

    7. Creator Mark Shaun Rushow on April 25, 2014

      It sounds like you have made a sound choice and I agree with you for the reasons you have stated. Thank you for the information. I appreciate these extra lengths you go to for our own understanding.

    8. Creator Clayton on April 25, 2014

      This is the right decision!

      I have games that were early access, and although I played them a little, by the time they were "finished" I was disillusioned and no longer interested. MUCH better to go the route you have chosen. 100% support your decision.

    9. Creator Orgodemir on April 24, 2014

      I agree with all you said there about early access and the like. Good to know we have smart people working on this!

    10. Creator Victor Tombs on April 24, 2014

      Thank you for the update Lars. I also prefer to wait for the all singing, all dancing and full of complete goodness version of your masterpiece. :D

    11. Creator Doyle Clemence on April 24, 2014

      Keep up the good work, Lars. Thanks for all of the thoughtful updates.

    12. Creator Brett Ward on April 24, 2014

      Awesome. I'd rather play the final product and see it as it was intended.

    13. Creator Jesse Dylan Watson on April 24, 2014

      I'm glad it won't be Early Access (although I would have had fun trying it out). I'm happy "my" baby is being kept safe. But of course I'm for whatever is best for you and best for the game.

      Generally I never want to play something in beta; I'd rather wait until the creator's vision is complete. But I'm so excited for this game that I would have.

    14. Creator Jeff Craig on April 24, 2014

      Good for you. Early Access is super hit and miss, and I think that it's actually usually a net negative, especially for a small team. The only potential benefit is that you get large-scale hardware testing much earlier, but that also can lead to pulling you away from *building the game* to go chase those issues.

      I've bought into several Early Access games that I'm probably burnt out on the broken, incomplete version and will never really experience the complete game. Some of those games, never really feel 'complete'.

      Go, build. And best of luck with the preorders.

    15. Creator Brodie on April 24, 2014

      I'm in no rush, plus I'd rather be given a bug free game. Honestly you take all the time in the world, take another year if you need it.

    16. Creator Anthony Dixon on April 24, 2014

      Beta when? I wanna see my name on the memorial tower!

    17. Creator MadSeaMonkey on April 24, 2014

      Your updates and communication are very much appreciated - Thank You for that, and for taking an appropriate amount of time to develop a quality game. With these things in mind, I am in no rush to have any kind of early/alpha/beta access. Happy to hear progress is being made!