Well, I started this AMA… months ago. Whoops.
Here are the final results!
Retribution: What is the next milestone you are all working towards?
Kaiyon: One of the most recent milestones we hit (that I personally was pushing for, at least), was the release of housing for the alpha community to play around with, since it was my favorite feature. We’re currently discussing our next milestones, so I’ll update this answer once we can give you something a little more concrete.
Retribution: Bonus question: Since it’s Pi Day what is your favorite type of pie?
Kaiyon: Classic apple pie is my favorite.
Supershero: When will you go into beta and more of us can try it out?
Kaiyon: That’s a hard one to answer, to be honest. I’d like to be able to give you a firm answer, or even a lofty one, but I unfortunately don’t know. Because there’re typically only a hand full of us actively working on the project at any time, and those of us that are actively working are also balancing day jobs and personal lives (I have 2 young kids, myself), I know none of us are able to devote as much time as we’d like, and that amount of time varies wildly based on what else is going on. As is typically the case, things slow down a lot over holidays and exam times (we’ve got a few members working through school), and our day jobs often go through periods of time where they take over a lot more attention as well. The best answer I can give is, as soon as we possibly can, but that might still be a while. That said, we’re trying to regularly add new people to the testing team as often as we can. You can trust that we’ll let you know as soon as we have a more realistic timeline in mind.
Supershero: Is there a longer-term completion goal set at this point?
Kaiyon: Referring a bit back to the previous answer, nothing better than “as soon as we can”. Any time we do get a feasible sub goal with a reasonably realistic timeline, I’ll try to share that.
BribAnnie: The last server update required no restart of the game. Do you see this as continuing with future updates?
Kaiyon: We’ll definitely try to keep from resetting Ur as often as possible when updating the server, but there are likely going to be changes that will force us to reset back to the initial state.
Dubstepper: Are you still enjoying the journey?
Kaiyon: Yes! I enjoy it immensely. There’s nothing I’d rather work on, and I just wish I had more time to devote to it.
Snarkle: Do you ever just get to play?
Kaiyon: I try to make time for it, but it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Right after we got housing up, I made sure to spend a good bit of time setting up a tower. Partly to get some SDBs set up to give easy access to common building materials, but mainly because housing was one of my favorite features of the game.
Delyth: Other than scalability and having an all-volunteer staff, what do you consider one of the biggest challenges for Eleven?
Kaiyon: While scalability and a volunteer staff are really the only major challenges that we can concern ourselves with, I’d say trying to keep our own overwhelming goals and expectations more down to earth and reasonable is a close third. Each of us working on this project are doing so because we loved the world of Ur so much, we not only want it to come alive again, but to prosper and grow in ways we can’t even imagine yet (okay, we’ve done a fair amount of imagining, to be honest). Knowing our own time limitations, and how much that keeps progress down to a slow, but steady, pace, it’s hard to reconcile against our hopes. We want to make this game so it can be enjoyable for as many people possible for as long as possible, which means stability, scalability and future proofing our technologies.
Cleops: I am just interested to know how many servers the game would need to sustain say a couple of thousand players?
Kaiyon: Good question, although a hard one to answer at this point. Right now our user base is 113, although we don’t typically see more than 20 logged on at once, and even that is somewhat rare, and we’re only running the game itself on a single very modest server, so, once we iron out some of the stability gremlins that plague the system, we should be able to run a decent number of people simultaneously on a single better built server. On top of that, we have 4 other servers with various purposes from web hosting, e-mail, source hosting, and test areas.
Cleops: Apart from servers (and testing) is it just wo/man power & time to support the game that is the only hindrance to a release proper, or is there other technical or gamer programming stuff behind the scenes that also needs to happen and be sustained on an ongoing basis.
Kaiyon: The biggest known hindrance right now would definitely be wo/man power and time, although, to be a little more specific, it’s sufficiently expertised wo/man power and time. There are plenty of technical challenges in the way, but, given the right amount of time and correct people working on them, none of them should be insurmountable, and there will always be ongoing work to help fix issues that arise, or tweak performance and stability, but that’s to be expected with any large project like this.
Cleops: Also, do you envision new content being added should the game ever be launched proper. I have been stunned by just how functional the game was from the get go and so frankly would be happy with it as it is forever, You said we could AYA 😉 Can that new content involve cheese sculpting as a skill. Like whittle it into furniture and statues of myself.
Kaiyon: We all have high hopes of making the game grow after the first phase is completed, and there’s a plethora of ideas, both internal and external, that we’d love to implement. We’ll have to see what ways we can make the team and the project grow and evolve until we get to that point. Regarding cheese sculpting: sounds like the right amount of Glitchy oddness. To the ideas forum (which we’ll definitely look over for any gems when we do get to that point)!
Cleops: I was also wondering what exactly it is about instanced locations that means they cannot be accessed at the moment. Is it because they are directly connected with the players ID in some way?
Kaiyon: The real reason many instanced locations can’t be accessed now is simply that we don’t have the location data. When our awesome friends over at Tiny Speck/Slack released everything open source, their data dump was missing the templates that make up a great deal of the instanced locations. While we don’t have much hope of getting the originals (not because they don’t want to help us, but because it would be very difficult to do so), we do plan on recreating all missing locations using the LocoDeco tool, and have even done so on a very limited basis so far, it’s just another one of those time consuming tasks that we’re committing as much available resource as we can justify to (which isn’t very much right now).
Gizzyglitch: Have you ever thought setting up account that we could attribute money to help getting a bigger server to sustain more people or funds to make what is needed to get it back up running for everyone to enjoy ?
Kaiyon: Of course we’ve thought of it. There are a bunch of problems with taking money in right now.
1) A bigger server won’t really help that much if the game still has stability issues. It would allow for more people, sure, but the errors would happen a lot more frequently with more people, and interfere with playing significantly.
2) In order to justify paying anyone to spend time working on the game would be difficult without a sustainable income model in place. We all have day jobs (or school, in some cases), which we can’t give up without a certain amount of guaranteed salary and security in place. Aside from turning it into a full time job, even paying people on a part time basis would require a level of overhead and such that we’re not currently prepared for.
Gizzyglitch: Maybe you can get us a KaiyonAlatar doll that says I like apple pie
Kaiyon: Not a question, but I like it.
Cleops: How do rook attacks work? Are they randomly instanced or something else? Will they be a part of Eleven?
Kaiyon: I haven’t honestly poked around in the mechanics, so I can’t say exactly, but they will most definitely be part of Eleven.
Tanjay: i’m just wondering if there’s a date the game will be in open beta. will it be months… years? any answer apart from we don’t know would be good… even if the answer start with (we are hoping). would be good enough
Kaiyon: Sorry, no date to give right now. We’re working hard, but have limited resources with ever changing availability, so no great way to plan for anything other than short term.
ser wampus: Can you make “tweaks” on the fly, or does it take a new release to incorporate all the “tweaks”?
Kaiyon: Other than making changes to in game things through a REPL command line tool, the only way we’ve done code changes to this point have been through updates to the server, which require a restart of the game. That said, TS had mechanics for rolling restarts that would help prevent restarts like that, we just haven’t had the need to implement them yet.
A: What do you most enjoy about resurrecting Glitch?
Kaiyon: Everything except the fact that I can’t work on it full time.
A: What are the technical limitations of your server?
Kaiyon: We haven’t really tested their limits, though we’re working on thing that should improve them either way.
EriaFae: When the webapp gets done, and all that’s left is the design- will you/your team model it after the Glitch website? It would be really nostalgic even if it was just similar.
Kaiyon: We’re actually working on upgrading the webapp right now. While we’ll probably never copy the Glitch site, we’re certain to take inspiration from it.
Zotac: Do you still need testers? I’m hugely interested, and I have some free time I could dedicate to this for the next year!
Kaiyon: We add new groups of testers as often as we can. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to join.
Hawkwell: How many alpha testers do you currently have?
Kaiyon: 127 registered testers
Hawkwell: I see from testers’ posts in the forum that houses and towers have been implemented. What major pieces of the game are still waiting to become part of Eleven Giants?
Kaiyon: Some of the main things that are missing at this point are the missing templates that we need to rebuild and some webapp functionality (activity feed, messages, auctions, etc…). Most other in game content is implemented at this point.