Please Dont Do Early Access


#1

Please, please please don’t do early access yet. Here is why:

  1. People will rate your alpha on metacritic based on what it is now, yep look at almost any other early access game and almost all have terrible meta critic scores that stay with them until after release.

  2. The influx of angry people always happens. It doesn’t matter how clearly you say alpha, people wont read it, they will get angry over on steam, and unless the team is going to be busy posting over there as well, the rage will grow which leads to…

  3. The first thing I do when I want to buy a game on steam is go to the forum and look for dev responses and the general mood. No dev posts or just links elsewhere, I don’t buy. A lot of angry reviews with no official response, I dont buy. Reports of game breaking bugs that arn’t fixed in days, I dont buy (cough goblins cough).Things might start well but no matter how clearly you spell it out there will be a lot of rage and bad will for the game eventually.

Take starbound:

  1. Told people it was alpha, they raged.

  2. Made a checklist of things that if you dont like you shouldnt buy the alpha, they raged.

  3. Communicated at least 1 time a week on thier blog, but relied on the good community members to talk on steam, they raged.

  4. Explained why things were getting delayed, the office chair ceo’s proceeded to provide their opinions on how to run the company while raging.

Now there are exceptions, gnomoria is a great one so what did it do right:

  1. It had a lot of content when it when early access ‘alpha’.

  2. Heavily involved in both their own website and at steam.

  3. No huge game breaking bugs with each patch. I know its early but if alpha 6 release with the sorts of bugs we saw with alpha 4 expect to be destroyed.

  4. Consistency, they deliver things like patches and reports exactly when they say so, but they also say so. The ‘we don’t want to rush it’ is awesome, but people will get angry if you don’t nail it down a little more. dammed if you do/don’t.

Now some of these things are unavoidable, but lots can be avoided by simply waiting a little longer. I would like to think that someone at radiant has read this and this leads me to my final point:

Don’t give in to the community.

Make a plan and stick to it, don’t cave in to the communities whims (including this post :wink:) but just remember that expectations will change from how things are done now, to being available to the mindless mas purchasing masses on steam (I used to be one, then towns happened, sigh another story another time).


#2

I agree with this. Going early access would be a good money inflow, but the game needs more content first, otherwise it won’t go well with reviewers and new players.


#3

Considering both me and a friend kickstarted at Alpha level, and the last time i spoke with him he was… “Disappointed that there isn’t that much in it yet”

That is early access. People who forget that, in essence, they are buying a concept that doesn’t have to be finished, as dark a thought as that is. The Alpha testers from Kickstarter normally understand that, “Hey this isn’t finished, It’s just a preview, for both me and the Dev. We both get to find bugs, and I get to be included in the Dev Process!”

Overall, could work either way for you, but you most likely want to wait until you have a bit more content. Cause as pointed out, most consumers of Early access games are… well they don’t understand that there are two reasons to do it. IT is voluntary testing, that also adds a bit more money for the Development.


#4

hmm… i’m not sure of my specific stance on the early access option (although i’m probably leaning towards “its a good idea”), but I fail to see how Radiant deciding to go this route, is a side effect of giving in to the community…

can you elaborate?

and is there some misconception about what Steam Early Access really is? quoting the entry page:

Discover, play, and get involved with games as they evolve.


#5

@SteveAdamo Unfortunatly the steam community doesnt read anything before they buy. Line 1 of starbound says THIS IS AN ALPHA/BEATA!,

And now that whole forum is nothing but rage. Its really common for most of the greenlights, you can poke around and see at:

http://steamcommunity.com/greenlight?appid=765&browsesort=accepted&browsefilter=accepted&p=1

Click on any random 10 games and go to thier forums to see what I am talking about.

Elaboration on dont give into the community:
While we may never know, one reason that was claimed by the towns devs for just up and qutting was that he couldnt take the negativity of the community anymore. Another example was a request for the gnomoria dev to make larger updates instead of smaller regular ones, he listened, and then a group raged that he said he would do weekly updates.


#6

ah… well, there’s no excuse for stu… for the feebleminded? :blush:

and point taken… but its sort of a catch 22, isn’t it? you want to please the part of the community that wants the game naow, while simultaneously not wanting to upset the community that feels early access games are not ready for mass consumption…


#7

early access would be a bad idea right now, if it has to be released in september, make it very late september, but as it is, like everyone else says, the illiterates on steam will just post bad reviews


#8

I think, if anything, Early Access should only be done if Radiant find a way to crush all bugs - make sure the people can play the game instead of running into random bugs every now and then, I know it’s alpha and it’s expected, but a public alpha would need to do this to survive


#9

Wombat85 makes some good points. Steam is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. If Radiant needs an influx of cash, just let us know and we’ll get the word out to everyone we know about how great the game is shaping up, sort of like a second kickstarter funding drive. I know I haven’t been as evangelical during the alpha phase as maybe I should’ve been, but I can certainly start now if you give the word.

You can always raise the price on Humble Bundle, right? Why not start there?


#10

Maybe putting “THIS GAME IS NOT FINISHED AND HAS BARELY ANY CONTENT AT THE MOMENT, BE WARNED” in massive letters in the description might be a good idea.


#11

To be fair, Stonehearth came a long way in Alpha 4. It really is a game, now. My main concern is that people will be so put off by the bugs that they’ll trash the game unfairly. Right now the community is really supportive, but an influx of Steam people who are expecting perfection could be bad news long-term. Unless there’s some major reason for doing it so soon, we’re unaware of, I don’t see much reason to invite potential PR disaster on the game. If there is a major reason for doing it so soon (like, Radiant needs more money), let the existing community know and I think we can get word-of-mouth going again like the Kickstarter did, and send people over to the Humble Bundle Store and Radiant can raise the price a bit.


#12

[quote=“Newf, post:10, topic:7252, full:true”]
Maybe putting “THIS GAME IS NOT FINISHED AND HAS BARELY ANY CONTENT AT THE MOMENT, BE WARNED” in massive letters in the description might be a good idea.[/quote]
We are talking about steam, this won’t work :smiley:
They will see a game for 25 bugs and after that they will rage, because the game in this status isn’t worth it…

If it’s about the money, you guys should go that way, but if everything else is alright, you should wait with the early access until there is enough content in the game for at least some hours of exploration…


#13

I’m guessing it won’t help. Though perhaps taking a leaf out of DayZ’s book and plastering a similar warning would be beneficial:

Like I mentioned in the earlier dev blog thread, it’s a tricky situation that I don’t envy Team R for being in, and it’s almost like you have to comprise a list of pros and cons. It’s probably best to read other people’s reaction to early access and other dev’s experiences. I linked that blog before but I’ll link it again:

From Tiy - one of the starbound dev’s:

http://playstarbound.com/some-thoughts-on-early-access-release-dates-the-big-1-0/

I fear that regardless of any and all pre-warning and announcements over the state of the game there will always be criticism. If the last year has proven anything to me it’s that people do not read what they are supposed to read.

The reality is that all of us here are aware of how far the game has come since the Kickstarter last year and since the first release in December. But when the floodgates open people will purchase and people will complain. We just have to hope that people will have some sort of embedded understanding of what it actually means to be “early access” though perhaps this is wishful thinking.

We also have to consider that in September everyone that has pledged $15 either at Kickstarter or post-kickstarter will have access to the game, this will be a large amount of people and the only saving grace being that they will have received Kickstarter updates and browsed the official dev blog. The culture from Kickstarter may well be, as illustrated by a fair few comments, that they are not bothered with delays due to constant communication and the commitment to an uncompromised product - all the wishful thinking in the world will be necessary to assume the mass audience at Steam will be so understanding.

Perhaps it would be wise to open up access to all $15 tiers in September, this is definitely unalterable and needs to be done, and then upping the price to the suggested $25 (I have no doubt we will soon be fielding complaints about this) and then holding off until perhaps Christmas before releasing on Steam. At least you have a varying degree of control through the Stonehearth page in that people are actively having to seek out the game to purchase it.


#14

Unfortunately, I agree with the above posts. If someone pays 25$ for an Alpha game, they will post very bad comment on Steam even if it is stated that it is in Alpha. They will play as much as they can for a few days and then uninstall the game and forget all about it and buy the next one. You sure would get some cash but not as much as you would get if the game was nearly finished and buyers spread good word about it.
As a kickstarter backer, I would understand if you would delay the Steam release, I am currently happy with the Alpha versions release rate and Team Radiant is very communicative with us, so we know we matter for you and that we can only expect nice things in the future.


#15

So much yes to so many points in this thread.

Especially for a company that is as open as Radiant going Early Access is a very double edged sword.
On one hand the influx of money from people buying the game early could prove crucial for the financial situation.
On the other hand the price for that is that the team will have to deal with toxic comments far beyond their imagination.

Its a concept that can work well under the right circumstances, but should that path be chosen then even the harshest comment made on this forum will seem like an eternal declaration of love.

To Radiant:
Only - truly only go this way if you truly believe you can handle all the bile that will hit you no matter how good the game or your communication will be.

As someone else suggested, do read the comments on other early access games on Steam.
Now I suggest you imagine these comments directed towards Stonehearth.
Do this for a few minutes each day and only after a week or better two decide if you really are ready to handle it.


#16

Pun not intended?

20char


#17

So far I’ve been pretty underwhelmed with early access. I’m moving away from steam in general in every way I can but in particular I’ll never participate in an early access game again unless someone gifts me.

Rust was my first game of this type and the core game that it came with was fun enough to get my moneys worth out of it I believe I have something like 300 hours into it. There have been some drastic changes since, but it looks like the game will be perpetually in development for years to come so ultimately I feel it was probably far too soon to be on early access especially with an entire engine rewrite. This was my first game from this dev team and based on their lack of transparency (although they are getting better) and their inability to take criticism to the point where they censor their forums heavily has ensured me that I will never buy a game from them again. (Not that I care about tennis)

My second early access game was DayZ, which I personally find to be a disaster. Game breaking glitches which make even the limited content available unplayable. That was one of my purchases of the year that I truly regret because I honestly don’t enjoy the game so I do have a bias. I feel the devs have a serious lack of communication and there are many other major issues concerning how they are handling the game.

There seems to be something inherently foul in early access games of the survival genre:

Stomping land just had a big article about how the devs completely disappeared in May, no community communication after they announced they are moving the game to a new engine… but most people are pretty disheartened and even steam disabled peoples ability to purchase it.

I mean even minecraft which was essentially the first early access game which was so successful it seemed to set a new precedent in gaming sales… was basically in and still is in perpetual development. People forget that its “full” release was at the same time of Skyrim. It had a few saving graces though: Dev involvement in the community, Frequent updates, and the game was in a playable state as it was…

I like the format that a lot of smaller dev teams are taking away from steam. Successful kickstarter which leads to a great community and then offering to purchase your way into the alpha via the games official site. I do think this is the more risky option ultimately but if you do a little research usually your safe. I first this this with Grim Dawn, Stonehearth and now Rimworld. I have had great luck so far. It seems to me that Steam’s EA format makes people think that their money is safer because somehow steam will be the good guy and save them during a worst case… but the issue is steam is horrible for things like that. “All sales are final” sort of business.


#18

For me I think they know how to manage their game and if you follow well the development of the game you know that they finish the basis of the game and they pass the most hard part of the development.
And they said they will make Early Acces soon after they deliver the game to the backers so certainly we will have a game which will with less bugs.

I did and I’m doing a lot of early acces and I think it’s a good thing for a game because it permits to have a good feedback on the game and more bug reports =P

After if they deliver the early access sooner or later they always will have some people who will rage.

And to notice Nuclear Throne, Invisible Inc., Broforce, Dungeon of The Endless are great Early Access =P For the same kind of game we have Prison Architect which is a great Early Access too =P


#19

The biggest problem with early access really is that half the people on steam doesn’t read what the game is before they buy it. Then (As a lot of people already said) they start raging when they finds out that they didn’t get what they thought they paid for. Quite irritating really that means that half of all the ratings of is people who are angry about the game doesn’t do stuff that the description said it wouldn’t do. :frowning:


#20

Stupid is as stupid does.

But yeah, the PR side has me worried somewhat. A fair few more serious bugs in the previous Alpha 4 release (I haven’t tried the most recent one yet though - been busy :frowning: ), and precious little of the (visible) end product has been implemented, which you just know is going to lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth.