Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Medieval Engineers: Short-Term Roadmap + New Approach to SE/ME Updates

Today I’m writing to give Medieval Engineers players a better idea of where we are heading with the game and the new features that await them. I want to clarify our big picture plans for the game, so players will be able to see weekly updates as steps towards the awesome game that Medieval Engineers deserves to be.

The original vision for Medieval Engineers was solid (medieval technology, sandbox, physical interaction, realism, survival, intuitive and easy manipulation of volumetric environment, etc.) but during the past year we diverged from these core principles. I’m not satisfied with the current state of the game, and it’s time for us to refocus and consolidate.

It’s time to make Medieval Engineers more exciting, fun, and streamlined. Medieval Engineers is challenging to play in its current state (especially for new players) and we need to streamline it before major features can be added. 

We need to find the most intuitive design for the original vision for Medieval Engineers, one that extends to building, construction, deconstruction, crafting, harvesting, fighting mechanics (sword and crossbow), and so on. These elements are and will be the focus of the game.




So how will Medieval Engineers look after these big changes? Imagine your character spawning in the world. You will harvest, cut trees, build houses and castles, design protection against barbarians or other players, hunt and get food to sustain yourself, etc. It will be easier to build with blueprints, so you will be able to bring resources to a blueprint (for example, for a catapult) and the catapult will simply pop up. Hardcore players will always have the option to do it themselves, but the game will be more accessible for those who aren’t interested in spending a lot of time building something in particular.

However, these changes will take time. We know that weekly updates can frustrate players, because what happens behind the scenes in our studio is not always obvious to the public. It can seem like we focus on non-essential things (i.e. working on sounds rather than multiplayer), but the reality is that certain features and fixes take much, much longer than others. We always have multiple programmers, sound designers, and artists working on many things in parallel, and when a feature is complete we release it. Other projects take more time, but we definitely keep working on them.

Moreover, in the last 1-2 years we have transitioned from an indie studio of 5 people to one of 50+. We’re growing fast and the growth continues. We’ve experienced some growing pains (like any expanding business does). The way we’re solving this is to make our management processes better and by finding strong leaders for each project. I assure you that we are working to find the right person to lead Medieval Engineers and help us scale up so we can continue to bring you quality, awesome, fun, streamlined games with big features.


New approach to SE/ME updates

Streamlining our games also means optimizing our development, management, and update process. For this reason, in the coming weeks we will start updating both Medieval Engineers and Space Engineers on two branches – one stable branch, and a second development branch.

The development branch will continue to be updated weekly. However, these updates might not make sense every week, and there may be a number of bugs or problems with playing on the dev branch. Rest assured, though, that all updates to this branch are part of a long term plan.

We will also have a stable branch that will be well-tested and run smoothly for players. It will receive very important hot fixes, and will provide players with a more comfortable game play experience. Every month or two, we will update the stable branch with new stuff from the dev branch.

Having two branches will allow us to finish these major and radical changes without breaking the game every week or releasing features in their prototype phase before I can personally review them. Both games are in a very different stage of development than they were a year or two ago. They are more complex, and we simply need longer periods to make significant updates.

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***EDIT / CLARIFICATION***
1) The stable branch will be the default branch. In other words, if players do nothing, they will be playing on the stable branch. If you would like to access the development branch, you'll need to change to it on Steam (instructions for how to do this will be posted when the change is made).

2) Weekly update videos will continue!  :-)

3) Remember that we still need to test this idea to make sure it benefits everyone - players, modders, and us as developers

4) The development branch will go through the same testing process as today's main branch (internal testing at Keen Software House, testing by our Closed Testing Group, then releases on Tuesday + Thursday)

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In general, Medieval Engineers will be much more fun, coherent, exciting, and definitely more streamlined. Put simply, Medieval Engineers will become the awesome game that we all know it can be :-)

Thank you for reading! And many thanks to the Medieval Engineers players out there - we’re grateful for your patience and especially for your feedback. We definitely can’t make this game without you.

Marek Rosa
CEO and Founder
Keen Software House
:-)

For more game news, follow us on social media:

Medieval Engineers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MedievalEngineers
Medieval Engineers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MedievalEng
Space Engineers on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpaceEngineers
Space Engineers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SpaceEngineersG

43 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that ME will be more interesting, I have both SE and ME and in ME's current state it have almost no features that can make prefer ME over SE.

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  2. "Hardcore players will always have the option to do it themselves" Just make sure there is a real advantage/reward to going down this path. Otherwise its not an option for most players (who try to play somewhat optimally to reach the implicit goals of the game). It will take more time and effort to build things yourself the hard way, so those who choose to play the game like that, must receive an equivalent reward for their efforts, to keep things balanced.

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    1. I think what they mean is its going to be a tick box in Multiplayer
      Hardcore mode Yes or No
      If so blueprints will be turned off.

      Some people like the challenge I mean what's the purpose of Minecraft's Hardcore mode? Nothing outside of a challenge.

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  3. When I bought the games I could play them. My computer met the specs that you specified on steam. Now my computer doesn't meet the specs it seems as on the lowest settings it take forever to load and forever lagging.

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  4. Does that mean that you will keep the current changes to ME? That you will continue to make it easier? If yes, then.. well... I'm disappointed. Medieval Engineers is or was unique with its approach to inventory, building etc and I can't understand why you are more or less throwing that away. I think, I can say that the majority of the player base wants the good old volumetric inventory back, which means that they don't want the game to become much easier. That kind of realism just made the game what it was.
    But maybe I just may have gotten it completely wrong - excuse me if thats the case.

    Apart from that, the new development approach is good in my opinion. I'm glad you decided to change something. The stable branch will make the games a lot more enjoyable. I don't want to say that they aren't right now - but it happened quite often that a new patch entirely broke the game for a week.

    Thank you for informing us about all that!

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    1. personally I like the new inventory, also if you think about it perhaps they didn't do this for us? what if there was a bug with the old system that prevented them from adding new items and the like? it may not have been a player based change 100% + even now you cant do that much more, just enough that you don't have to play with 1000 people in order to build a single house.

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  5. Stable needs to NOT be the main branch otherwise modding is likely to fall apart. Things Like SE server extender which is going to be updated off of dev will break on a stable Main branch if server hosts move to stable. Modders are not going to want to double workshop mods to have compatibility with both branches. API changes need to be pushed to Stable as they happen as they do not create instability in and of them selves, but will more frequently break script mods and Programmable Block scripts. MP Testing would also be an issue as a lot less servers will be running dev.

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    1. I agree with every single word.

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    2. I run a space engineers server and i can tell you weekly updates wreck multiplayer. This being said servers will most definitely run the stable version due to the fact that it is stable!!! A very foreign concept to operators and admins. With this fact there will undoubtably be many who will play the experimental version just to try the new features and test the game privately.(A good 75% of our admins test every patch)

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  6. Seems about right to me. A whole update in 1 week is overkill. Take as much time as needed for the right development and players will play on stable version without things that aren't complete. I dislike things just popping up instead of building in ME, but it's a personal prefference.

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  7. Looking forward to it Marek! Opening up the games to new players, always a good thing.

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  8. A promising and well thought vision, expected nothing less. Is there and thoughts on how sneaky bugs will be identified without the players help every week before releasing the stable updates? (In other words how will you make sure what is on the stable branch is truly stable?) Having major releases over a longer period of time can (possibly) cause more bugs than small releases would have. Hopefully this helps you guys a little

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    1. Thank you for the "EDIT / CLARIFICATION". Cleared up my question

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  9. A good decision! I've been hoping for you to implement a monthly update cycle, actually. This is better.

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  10. Excellent news! Thank you, Marek.

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  11. Thank you so much for this post !
    I was about giving up my hopes just today, but reading this make me feel better. This game has an insane potential, and it feels good to read that you know this too ;)

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  12. Hey Mr. Rosa.

    I'd be fine if you guys swapped to an every other week, or once monthly update release schedule if it helped move the game along.

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  13. Sounds good. Best of luck with your restructuring.

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  14. Thanks, seems Xoc passed on my and discord's idea of the stable vs experimental branch. Perhaps my mods wont break every week now and W4stedSpace can record his epicness without his arm in his neck.

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  15. Fantastic! As many of us of us want to try new things every week, plenty just want to be able to play in the first place, and some want both. This two-branch style should help everyone get what they are looking for, with the added benefit that the stable users will know what to expect to change.

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  16. The main problem that we have right now with ME is the fact how claustrophobic it is, and how easy it is to overheat your computer trying to run a ME Server.

    please widen out the worlds, add AI "Cargo Ships" like in SE for players to chase after, and create a very low-poly setting for us with non-NASA spec PCs to play.

    We WANT to play your games, but the fact that everything seems to overheat our hardware is pushing us away.

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  17. Hello Marek.

    Which version will u pick for the stable branch? The current one or do u plan to take some older better working version like the 01.126 version? (this one was the stablest one in last time imo)

    And another small question :P
    Do u guys already work on the physics that 1g on earth feel like real 1g? (the fall down on earth)

    PS: Sry for my english and greez from Vienna

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  18. This is great news! Especially with the current state of multiplayer SE.

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  19. thank you for listening to feedback, and separating the branches!

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  20. Huge fan of Space Engineers and hoping to get on board with Medieval Engineers at some point. Thank you for some great gameplay experience that you have provided through Space Engineers!

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  21. Repair updates on steam becouse game can't update. Steam display error "HDD write error". Any other game on steam patch normaly, only Space Engineers can't.

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    1. That usually occurs when the Se client or DS exe is still running after closing out of the game. Check the Process list in TaskManager for both and end process on them before attempting to update the game. For DS: If you have ever played with the DS configurator on a computer, it will launch itself automatically until you run it again to turn it off.

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  22. This is great news, I am very pleased you guys have decided to have the two branches. This will mean that the many players that enjoy playing this game, can keep playing from week to week with the interruption of updates that break the game for them.

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  23. Good move with stable/dev branch. Thanks for hearing out community.

    And I wouldn't worry so much about modding part. Every modder will support stable version of course. If someone will go along with dev branch will always get a chance to play around new features, prepare mods and test it. The released, when is included into stable. It's a win-win for everyone.

    You have no idea how many times I had to redo my mods, chenge concept of the server word I was building, find a way around the problems, sometimes create temporary mods to overcome it, ONLY because the part I was working on suddenly changed or have got broken.

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    1. Not -all- modders will be supporting the Stable branch - the division has already started; It's the same thing that plagues other games in the genre - Take TKOM for example it follows this pattern already and the game is all but dead from an community interaction standpoint.

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  24. Please go back to 127 for stable. 127+ is garbage, complete garbage.

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  25. Marek, please readme a moment!

    His team of programmers must be pretty busy with their jobs to find new bugs. If you are thinking to hire 4 or 5 new team members who are dedicated --exclusively-- to try the game and look for bugs in not controlled ambient as the LAN of your company (They should also test the game world servers ) make monthly updates may work.

    But, if not, same words: how bugs will be identified without the players help every week before releasing the stable updates? (In other words how will you make sure what is on the stable branch is truly stable?) Having major releases over a longer period of time can (possibly) cause more bugs than small releases would have.

    if something goes wrong with montly patch, we will have to wait a month for new fixes?

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  26. Great plan! Absolutely amazing even its harder task. We believe in u KSH \m/

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  27. How will this fit together with community updates/Github ?
    The ModAPI for SE needs an incredible amount of work, but there is little incentive if it takes forever for any improvements modders create themselves are totally ignored.

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  28. Thank you for actually listening for once. You are taking the first step to being competent developers. As long as the stable version is the version all the way back before player prediction that will make far more of us happier. What I have left to say, ABOUT DANG TIME!

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  29. I like the concept of separate branches, but fear the results it will have on modding. I doubt much modders would adhere to both branches. I can see the stable branch being a primarily(with rare instances) vanilla branch. I could be wrong, but I feel Modders will go nearly obsolete as the regular player who subscribes to the mods will be forced to choose between a dev version with regularly updated mods, or a stable version that will have a few dedicated modders with the bulk of the good mods falling under the dev branch but probably resulting in more vanilla servers. As a server owner, I would love to keep my server in the Dev branch, but doing so would mean my community would move on to another more stable server(as my stability is the only think that keeps them there, lol). That would mean, I am forced to have my server in the stable branch for the players sake, but would also mean, I am deprived of using a lot of useful mods that would most likely not be available. Again, this is just from what I am seeing and is in my personal opinion.

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  30. Meh ME - spoiling my fun by simplifying the game isn't enough - they also have to add salt to the wound by talking about it. ME is dead to me and nothing can revive it, 'nuff said. SE Development Branch I plan to be on as soon as it lets me - although I do think they'll take a lot of heat for raising the turnaround time of the average player's updates.

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  31. I hope you can get the XBOX 1 SE out this year because with new systems comes new bugs. no matter how long you plan it, it will have issues I mean look at DICE (4 year development) and Bethesda (4-8 year development) every game has is bug SE and ME are no exceptions but there may be a lot more on XB1 than what is on PC easier to fix it early than later

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