As we move closer and closer to our beta testing and launch dates, it’s important to keep the whole of this project in perspective. The core goal is still to develop a replacement for a game that is dying, to maintain continuity of the community and spirit which Earth:2025 inspired. Earth maintained this strong community and spirit throughout a very rocky couple of years, and no one is more aware of this than we are. This is why we plan to continue updating, expanding and improving Earth Empires to move into areas where Earth:2025 never ventured.
For our December launch, we will be working with a clean, simple and generally familiar interface. This will include many updates to the display, including modernization and improving some of the information architecture, but the real interface work will come in the future. To appeal to a new generation of gamers, Earth Empires needs to modernize its look and feel. To this end, we’ll be embarking on a mission to redesign and redevelop the interface for Earth Empires as we move into the new year. This is something that I’m really excited about, and it’ll heavily involve members of the community. Like any good software usability project, user input is key through every stage of development, and we’ll be looking to both the core community while still emphasising increasing the user base with a new generation of users. We also need to move away from the idea that the game will be a “web based MMO country sim”, and move our focus towards creating a gaming experience that can span multiple platforms and offer players quick and simple access to the game through a variety of methods. This includes moving the game away from a web-only interface, looking more at mobile application development and integration into social networking sites like Facebook.
Another important aspect of our plans to improve player experience is to create new ways Earth Empires can integrate and interact with existing (and potentially future) clan hosting sites. We’ve been lucky enough to have knowledge of two hosting sites (Boxcar and qzgt) from staff members, and having Dragon (of GHQnet fame) idling in our dev chat daily. Now will we have hosting sites able to play turns for you? No, of course not… but there’s a wealth of information that can be fed to these sites to improve the out-of-game experience without giving those who use a clan hosting site an unfair advantage. Many of these things are little changes, such as including flags for hosting sites to tell if a country is in vacation or in protection, timestamping news, and providing a market feed. Some of these changes will open a new door of development for clan hosting sites. Through the use of an two-way API system, clan sites will be able to more closely interact with the game, and the game will be able to interact with the site. This API could perhaps enable things like pulling your in-game news into your clan’s site, automatically uploading spyops to your alliance’s database, or administering your clan.
There’s been a lot of questions and debate regarding which servers will be kept for Earth Empires. First of all, I will clear up any misconceptions regarding FFA: we will have a Free For All server in Earth Empires. The decision to create this server was made relatively early in the dev process, and qz created a very robust system which will allow for easier playing of multiple countries, better information to help admins detect cheating, and a decreased incentive to cheat. The account system we have created works by creating one master account (those of you who use Boxcar for multiple alliances may know about a similar feature ) which you can then create countries from. This account will keep track of your previous countries and keep track of multiple countries for your FFA-style servers. I think we have a great system in place, and I’m really excited to start getting more users up and running on it. Another issue of debate was regarding tournament and whether we will keep a similar format. The answer is yes, we will be creating a tournament server, but will not be launching with it. Because of the very specific nature of the tournament style game, we will need to do a little more work after launch to make sure everything is ready to start the tourney up. I think Mehul’s tournament was never-ending. I personally don’t like this… You should be competing for something, not just competing until the end of time… because when you’re playing against time, time always wins… and that is why we hate time!!! Alliance and EC… that is a spot for much debate. This debate continues, and I can honestly tell you that we have not decided whether we will do both servers or one unified server. The notion of “Earth Council” will be gone, however, so the only difference would be the turn structure (3 vs 2 per hr, etc). We’ll keep you posted on the status of all these servers, their launch dates and the beta…. oh ya, I should talk about the beta…
While we have no specific dates yet for a limited or public beta test, we are well into our Alpha testing with a core set of testers coupled with our in-house testing. As qz posted today, we’ve made great strides in replicating some of Earth’s nuances (the positive ones) and have refined our formulae down quite well. We are moving into our final stages of development before we hit full QA mode in preparation for our early December launch. While I won’t throw out dates yet for anything limited or public, I will say that you should expect to see some “Earth Express” style servers popping up before we launch in early December… and given that we’re getting up on the end of November… well, you can do the math
I want to also take a second to thank everyone whose been spreading the good word for Earth Empires… it looks like we’ll have the vast majority of the EC and 1A communities moving to Earth Empires, and we hope to rekindle the strength of the former FFA community as well. In the end, we are putting this work in for you guys so that we can help bring this style of game back to it’s former glory. We are all highly optimistic about the success of Earth Empires, and we appreciate everyone’s support along the way.
So that’s a quick little update from me,
Feel free to contact me or any of our team if you have any questions or comments
Thanks again guys