I’ll be starting my DragonCon festivities starting tomorrow evening. Again, follow me on twitter to keep an eye out where I’m at, because if you happen to run into me, you’ll get alpha access!
I’ll be starting my DragonCon festivities starting tomorrow evening. Again, follow me on twitter to keep an eye out where I’m at, because if you happen to run into me, you’ll get alpha access!
Want to get into the Alpha?
In the Atlanta area?
Going to DragonCon?
You may be in luck! (If you answered no to those, don’t worry, we’re going to have some opportunities for others announced soon as well)
I’m going to DragonCon again this year, and if anyone happens to find me wandering around, just hook me up with your user name, and you’ll get an invite into the Alpha!
If you want to keep up with what I’m doing around the convention, or get an idea of who you’re looking for, follow me on Twitter; @elevenKaiyon. I’ll be at the convention Thursday evening through Monday afternoon, and I’ll be wearing my Eleven t-shirt for at least part of that time as well.
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.
Hop on over to the forums to ask me some questions. I’ll turn it into a blog post when I’m all done (although I likely won’t be answering in quite real time).
Wait… Has it really already been a year since we first invited our tiny group of testers in? Huh… Who knew? Time sure does fly, doesn’t it?
Well, we’ve certainly come a long way in that time. There have been some major stability updates, most of the main game features are working, or very close to working, we’ve got a few web app screens close to ready, and our user base is getting close to 100 players… Wait a minute… I just said close to, didn’t I? And 100 isn’t even prime, so why the heck would I even say such a number!?! Let’s say 101, and let’s see what we can do to get up to that number ASAP!
Later today, I’ll open up a thread in the forums where I want as many awesome and crazy creative posts that you can imagine! Good at drawing? Make us a funny doodle. Bad at drawing? Scribble something anyways! Like to write? We enjoy all kinds of poetry and stories. Whatever you do, just give it a piece of your heart, and you’ll be in the mix to get added to the alpha test group.
I’ll leave the thread open for about a week, and then a small group will comb through the submissions to find their favorites (and we may even pick a couple names at random). The winners will be informed shortly after decisions are made. If you don’t make the cut this time, don’t worry, we’re thinking up new ways to start adding people on a more regular basis as well, so stay tuned!
P.S.: Let’s all take a brief moment of silence for Glitch in honor of the third anniversary of its shut down. While what we are doing here wouldn’t be possible without it’s untimely end and the amazing generosity of those who made it, it’s left a gaping whole in the hearts and minds of so many people that we can only hope to fill again someday.
Going to Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia this year? So am I! Well, a small part of it…
Want access to the Alpha AND going to Dragon Con? Hmm… maybe we can work something out.
Here’s the deal:
I’ll be at Dragon Con Friday, from around lunch to dinner time, and then I’ll be watching the parade on Saturday. During those times, if you happen to find me wandering around in my Eleven t-shirt, I’ll be giving the first 5 (or so) people access to the Alpha!
Already in the Alpha? Still come and find me, I might be able to hook you up with something too (after the con).
I’ll update this post with a picture of the t-shirt before the con, and I’ll try to post some updates to twitter during the event (@ElevenKaiyon and @ElevenGiantsMMO).
Even three point o-ier than before!
So, it’s been a long while since my last big post… Sorry about that. Time to rectify away, though!
Since my last State of the Project post (way back in August of last year!?!) we’ve accomplished a whole lot! Time for a list (in pseudo-chronological order)!
We rolled out our combined version of a Vanity/Wardrobe system. While we haven’t hooked it up to the account system yet, we’ve got a solution for integrating it with the game in internal testing/review right now. In the meantime, you can save/load your creations via a bit of text. If you haven’t checked it out, you can find it here.
While housing (along with the associated streets and friend signposts) is set up and working, there’s some architectural and infrastructure stuff keeping it (and other instanced areas) from working in anything other than a test environment at the moment. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get this rolled out, but we’ll just have to wait a bit while we work out some of the other kinks.
Our NPCs can move! While we still have a few bugs to work out here and there, most of the NPCs are fully functional, though we don’t have foxes working yet.
We requested some help from our amazing community to provide new names/descriptions to the items in the wardrobe, since that data has been lost to us. While we might have been able to simply dig around to find the lost info somewhere, we thought it might be a good opportunity to put our own (and some of your) personal touch on things. It’s closed down at the moment, but keep your eyes out for other ways you can contribute in the future (we may even open this, or something similar, back up)!
Throwaway Server – Thrown Away!
That old Throwaway Server we were always talking about? It’s no longer being actively used for development. Instead, we’ve pushed the real thing up on GitHub along with a couple of other repositories. Full disclosure though, there are still a couple of repositories we’re holding private for the moment that are necessary to run the game (if you want access to contribute, just send us a message from the info over on the Contact Us page.
We finally managed to get things to a point where we could welcome people into both the forums (public) and the game (private). We’re continually adding more people to our testing group as activity levels and system stability allow, and we’re making loads of progress in getting things ready for bigger audiences. An unfortunate disclaimer though, we’ve still got a long road ahead of us along with some major changes that need to be made to our core system in order to get things ready for that next level which I’ll address a bit more later.
This also gave rise to our forums (you are signed up… right?), which has had a great turnout of former Glitchen and new players excited to get in on the action.
MMOGames Editors Choice Award for February 2015
You may have seen our most recent blog post regarding some of the issues we’re working on, but I’ll summarize either way. Basically, some of the features we’re taking advantage of in order to get our system working well in a distributed environment also make it perform insanely slowly. While this kind of performance doesn’t hinder a very small user base much, if we were to increase the load on the servers, things wouldn’t go very well right now.
Some experimentation has been done in order to try and improve things without rewriting our entire infrastructure to avoid use of the problem features, which has had at least a little success, but we’re still working towards better solutions and closely monitoring the respective progress by the node.js/io.js teams (did I mention we’ve been experimenting with both, and are excited about the merging of the two projects back together?).
The QA2 process has started, which means our team is combing through every single level in the game and trying to make sure every barnacle is pointing the right direction, every vendor has a nice and consistent look, and a million other tiny details that these perfectionists are keeping a close eye on. We’ve already rolled out one of the Groddle regions, and are slowly working through the rest. I’ll get one of the team members to write something up for the blog soon.
We’ve been making a good bit of progress on bug fixes while we’ve been trying to sort out the big issues. We’ve also got a setup for an integrated vanity/wardrobe that we should be able to roll out relatively soon to the alpha testers and are trying to add more testers whenever possible; we’re currently up to 53 users, though there’s typically only a handful on simultaneously.
That’s all for now, folks! While progress may have slowed down a bit due to outside obligations and our fun architectural issue, be certain that we are very much committed to seeing this through, so we’ll get it working one way or another.
Thanks to all of your votes, we won, and should get some nice coverage from them due to it.
If you’re curious to see how well our amazing community did in the voting, take a look here: http://www.mmogames.com/topmmos/mmogames-editors-choice-february-2015/
-edit- The interview I did with the editor is available now here: http://www.mmogames.com/gamearticles/glitch-revival-project-interview-project-lead-eleven/
Is this thing on?
Ah, good, it is.
Well, as I’m sure you all know (you do, right?) we’ve let a small group of 13 people into the game to start playing around and testing. This has been a great success, with many improvements being made to help improve the stability and experience while some other work is ongoing in order to bring over some more features. Thanks in no small part to these improvements, we’re bringing in another small (but bigger!) group to help with the process.
How’s 18 sound, making a total of 31 alpha testers? We’ve already picked those new people and let them know. If you weren’t part of the group this time, just hang tight while we tighten things up more.
And now for some feedback from our testers (They provided a lot of material for this part, but in the interest of not facing TLDR issues, I picked out a few comments. They can yell at me later.):
“I feel at home and the nostalgia is overwhelming!”
“Incredible!! I didn’t expect it to be identical to Glitch which it is.”
“(S)ome days there are no new bugs(yay) and other days there are quite a few, and often they cause reloads but it’s all part of the process.”
“It’s good to be there, to almost feel the heart of the Giants. Just like if I went through a portal that brought me in Ur a few glitch-years after the events that put an end on Ur. Back in a broken but fixable world, because we have the technology, we can repair it. A bit of a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, if you have the imagination.”
“Things that arent working yet, npc, and emblems, and such. I can’t do basic quests without simple ingredients like butterfly milk and grain.” (Regarding what’s annoying)
“Default Glitchen æsthetics. Bare, bald, grey, and not being naked. Generic! Although we could be wireframed. Generic might be good then, the pants are superfluous.” (Regarding what’s annoying)
It’s been exactly 2 years to the day since we thought we all lost the world of Ur forever. It most certainly was a sad day for me, and I’m sure I can say the same for the rest of the team (those that played at least). Little did we know at the time that just under a year later, we’d be given the opportunity to bring it back…and that exactly a year later, we would be able to walk around in Ur, even though it was only on a single street. It’s been a year of hard, but fun work, and while we’ve got a long ways to go, significant progress has been made.
As those that have been keeping up with the blog may know, we started work on our ‘true’ server, the one that’s going to be for keeps, a while back. Since we’ve had a chance to figure out how most of the main game functions work, the true test there was going to be getting the overall system architecture set up in such a way that we’d have the stability and organization we need in order to bring the world back together as we left it 2 years ago, and allow a full load of players. Well, while only a very minimal set of gameplay functions have been implemented in the ‘proper’ way on this new version of the server, we feel we’re ready to open up, albeit to a very small group to start.
It may sound like a tiny number, but we’ll be welcoming 13 people in to start. How are we going to choose those 13 people? This first group will be a mix of people we’ve identified as good testers and 5 people brought in based on their levels of interaction with our group via social media (Facebook, Twitter and here on the blog). Different rules will likely apply to future groups coming in, such as contests and/or first-come-first-serve registration, but those 5 people will be identified and notified shortly. For now, one of the most important things to remember for testers is: Alpha is really not about playing the game at all, but often rather tedious testing and enduring crashes and bugs and… stuff…
How are we going to let people in to the game? Well, that’s where the web app piece comes in to play. Our shiny new forums are launching today as well! Everyone will be welcome to register and chat on the forums for now, and those chosen to participate in the Alpha will be given access to the game through the same login along with a special Alpha only forum. The forum url will be announced in approximately an hour via Facebook and Twitter. (Update: look here! http://humbaba.elevengiants.com )
While we’re glad to start bringing people in, please remember that this is a work in progress, and we’re likely to experience some growing pains as we move forward, and since this is a volunteer project, please bear with us while we work these things out. As always, your best source for updates, whether they be related to issues we’re having, rules for bringing in the next batch of alpha testers, or announcements for new functionality being rolled out will be right here on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter. Further information for how you can help out as an Alpha tester once you’re in will be found in the Alpha forums.
Again, welcome home,
P.S.: Please look forward to follow up posts from some of the key team members that have helped make this happen.
P.P.S.: Special thanks go out to Aroha, Joey, JustinD, LadyCeres, Scheijan, Turnip and Varaeth for their contributions to this last push towards Alpha, and of course to the rest of the team for all of their hard work on the rest of the project.
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