I think Stonehearth is in a much better position now than the last time they were going to do Early Access. It’s still a huge risk, and there’s really no way of knowing ahead of time. What I don’t know is what Radiant hopes to accomplish with it, if they say they’re in good financial shape already. They say they want feedback, but I can’t imagine any feedback from Steam is going to be terribly constructive. My guess is they’re gambling that the reviews will be mostly positive and it’ll get some media attention.
Radiant does have a good team and probably the best PR of any crowdfunded game ever, with the possible exception of Prison Architect. For a brand new company I’d say they’re well ahead of the curve. They’re consistent about making progress on the game and they keep the community updated regularly. Those two things combined should hopefully allow Stonehearth to survive Steam Early Access. That first build to go up better be really, really well polished though, and Alpha 11 better be pretty amazing too. If they can pull that off, and I would strongly urge Radiant to delay release of both Alpha 10.5 and 11 if they’re not really well tested, then Stonehearth could be a really big success.
We can help out, of course, to increase the odds. When Stonehearth goes up on Early Access, let’s all go and give the game great reviews and vote up the good reviews and vote down the idiotic ones.
Mostly bug free, i mean. I know that it’s almost impossible to make it bug free. But at least so that not a lot of gamebreaking bugs pop-up. Might couse some people to write bad reviews, and i love this game and i don’t want that to happen on Early Access launch
I still think we should wait for the official beta release of the game, granted the game has more features than last time, but steam is a much harsher place than radiant thinks, and imho, if they dont want a million ‘gam sux’ reviews, they need to finish up a few more things
My advice is free and probably worth what you pay for it. That being said:
I think one of the big things going for Radiant are all the streams that they are in the habit of doing. If anything makes steam backers angry, it is silence. I think this is key to keeping steam users on your side. The fact that you have an opportunity to interact with the developer on twitch every week is pretty awesome. I have always respected the game companies who let their people talk to players in game, (i.e. Firefall and Tabula Rasa.) The streams are similar to that, but as this is a single player game right now, streams will have to do. Make sure to keep that going!
I’m a bit worried about some of the bugs that I thought would have been cleared up by now. For instance, the goblins who spawn in camp need to stop spawning on top of the campfire, getting stuck and unable to do goblin things. It ruins the campaign, and I would have expected an immediate squish because that. There are still a number of non-intuitive problems when you build custom buildings, and if you let that loose on steam… let’s just not find out what happens. Perhaps the community can be used to help identify what issues impact the game play experience the most, so those can be resolved before the wave of new players roll in.
There are a few things I think you should disclose right up front so you don’t have an issue with the community. Please tell people that code updates break the save compatibility all the time so don’t get attached to your beta towns. I’m perfectly OK with losing my saves because I expect it. Make it very visible. Make sure to tell them that you only have X of Y classes included in the game so far. If you absolutely have to have that archer, don’t buy this yet. Tell them you have some undead and wolves and goblins, but the others are yet to come.
Personally, I wish you would spend 6 more months on this before you let it into early access, but I understand you have to flip the switch at some point. I can only imagine how hard that decision is to make. Let us know what things we can do to help you get ready.
I’m very happy to see the team expand. And I’m also very happy to see the project is on stable ground financially. Can’t wait to see Yangs contributions to the game and the new website. And I’m curious on to how Brad is going to engage modders more.
One of the things that–for me, at least–is a huge attraction to Stonehearth is the building system. There’s already a decent bit possible with the tools at hand. But I’m forecasting a ton of backlash surrounding it, specifically because there’s still no gameplay-implemented way to edit or delete structures. Additionally, there’s no real threat to buildings, either; they’re invincible and can’t be overcome by mobs in any way, unless they happen to spawn in the player’s town borders.
At the very least, I was hoping for these features to be implemented before Radiant looked at Early Access again, since there’s a number of city-builders and voxel-based games to compare it to already.
After that…I’d say their next target would be combat. Those upgrades to Party assignments and control and additional unit classes can’t come fast enough! Adding more campaigns and roving mobs will also diversify each game and populate the game world more.
Somewhere in this mix will also be requests for more diverse worlds, although this might be able to be put on the backburner more (maybe a little bit added with every other update or so, just to keep improving the game world).
Wear some alligator skin cuz your going to need it at times, You’ll do fine though! Express a lot that this is a home grown engine not a store bought. Hide features that are not complete yet, so as to not allow ppl to “oops!” release it before it’s ready (this will happen if you don’t) steam is a different animal and ppl will mess with you just because (just say’in Hide your work till it’s ready).
Anyhow it will be exciting to see how this goes Break a leg! Best of luck and lots of success!
I never got a ‘Welcome Aboard’ Everytime I see you welcome someone aboard, I cry inside, knowing I never got welcomed aboard the S.S. Friendship (or Stonehearth discourse, what ever you want to call it)