State Of The Game (2018)
As the New Year approaches, I thought it would be good to reflect on 2018, and then discuss what is planned for 2019.
Let’s take a look back at 2018
This year brought a lot of change to Little Orbit. From my perspective there were many days where it felt like we were drinking from the fire hose. I appreciate the patience and help that we have received from the community. None of this would have been possible without supportive players like you.
We announced our acquisition of GamersFirst and APB. It took a few weeks to sort out new forums, GDPR systems, new forum rules, new Terms of Service, and a new Customer Support site. I finished that month doing the Q&A with Kempington. For those that missed it, you can see it here https://www.twitch.tv/videos/265424620. This was my first experience doing anything like that, and I’m sure at least a couple memes were born that day, but overall, I had a good time.
We launched BattlEye and cleaned out cobwebs from the code in order to deploy our first new build in months. I also put out our first public roadmap, which you can read here. As a quick recap, I outlined several phases including (1) Infrastructure, (2) Unification, and then (3) Critical Mechanics / Minor Content update. I am pleased to say that for the most part we either stuck to that schedule, and in some cases we added to it.
We ran our first sale for Independence Day and adjusted G1C to be 100 G1C for every $1 to make it easier for players to understand. I realize on the outside, this was a small thing, but the entire team got involved to learn how G1 pricing worked, how to give free Premium for the event, and how to message it properly to the players. We improved the Friends system, changed the networking system to help with DDoS issues, and started Weapon Balance testing on OTW. You can read that update here.
This month brought us the Showstopper, an exciting new addition to our arsenal.
We launched the new Trading System, made a series of fixes to long standing issues, exploits, and bugs. This month also saw a bit of a hiccup - Weapon Balance. While not our best moment, we learned a lot and we changed the way we handled major changes going forward. You can read more about that here.
We launched our first all-new event called Epidemic and re-worked ARMAS pricing. This was a significant departure from the roadmap, and I think we surprised a lot of people. The event wasn’t flawless, but I am proud of the Little Orbit team for getting this out on a tight schedule. It was critical for us to wrap our head around building more new content, spending time on cool rewards, and then structuring good ways for players to earn them. I also started a Developer Discussion area on the forums (https://forums.gamersfirst.com/forum/112-developer-discussion/) to discuss big community issues like Matchmaking, Cheating, and Updates. You can read about the ARMAS changes and Epidemic event here and here.
We launched Autumn Assault this month as an effort to try and reuse an older event with some new mechanics, and it just didn’t work as well as we planned. Ultimately, more player testing was needed. I also put out an update on the roadmap here.
We closed out the year by re-forming the SPCT, adding two-factor authentication and the all-new Slay Bells event, which had new clothing items. I think it is our best event to date. We even did some marketing around the game. You can read about it here.
At this point, Project #1 Infrastructure is done, and I’m also pleased to announce the Project #2 Unification is done for PC and nearly done for console. We substituted some of the Minor Content for Epidemic and Slay Bells, but I think we did well against the roadmap this year.
What’s coming in 2019
There is a lot coming for APB in 2019, and this blog is already too long to map out an entire roadmap, but here are some of the highlights.
1) Transitioning APB PC to Unreal 3.5 To be honest, I had really hoped to get this on OTW before year end. We are so close.. but not quite there. We just staged all of the internal testing environment, and today was the first time I was able to log into this version. I am reasonably confident that a build will go to the SPCT team in January, and then based on feedback, we might have a public OTW build sometime in February. I want to set expectations properly - there are going to be bugs, and I expect OTW testing to take a while before this gets launched for the larger community.
2) New Unreal 3.5 builds for PS4 and XB1 This is the other major priority for Q1 2019. We are one library away from starting full QA testing so we can submit to Sony and Microsoft. I know we have a lot of console players who are struggling with that version of the game. I’ll continue to post updates on our progress.
3) New progression to sync PC and console Once we get all three platforms on the same code, we are going to release 2 new contacts with new in-game missions and rewards.
4) ARMAS refinements and progress The first phase was completed in October, and I’m looking to continue development here through Q1. We want to create the best place to get the cool gear you want to play your best.
5) New team Challenge Mode For those of you who participated in Epidemic and Slay Bells, you have seen the beginnings of what this mode can be. This will be a hybrid of Battle Royale and Territory Control mechanics where players get to choose the parts of the map that collapse. We are very excited about this new mode and look forward to sharing more with you as we get closer to its release some time in the first quarter.
There are more exciting developments in the works, but need just a little more time before we can reveal them so stay tuned. As always, we appreciate your ongoing support and are eager to bring you the best In APB.