Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I'm in!

An e-mail arrived in my mailbox this morning at 8:05AM EST with the opening line of "Welcome to the Seed beta test."

I'm so excited right now... I just wish the patch would download faster!!! Expect more regular updates over the next few days, complete with screenshots, and possibly videos!

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Newsletter #10

A new issue of the Seed newsletter arrived in mail boxes today. In it, Morten Juul talks about beta progress, as well as the revised release date. Of special interest is the following:
Beta-wise we have completed our first preliminary stress test, and we were able to identify and subsequently address various lag issues. A rather limited number of testers took part in the test, which might be due to unfortunate timing from us – a stress test during Danish working hours means Europeans at work/school and Americans asleep. We plan to do more of these on a regular basis at a more convenient time for the testers. This will mean overtime for us, but we might as well get used to it, as launch draws closer :).

It is also time to let in another batch of Beta testers. Tomorrow, Wednesday March 15th, at 14:00 CET (8:00 AM EST) another 1,000 testers will get invited, bringing the total number of Beta testers to 2,000. Our plan is to bring in new batches of testers on an ongoing basis, ending with an open Beta the last 14 days of April 2006.
You can read the full newsletter here.

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Monday, March 13, 2006

Research and In-game Languages

Haller and AlexK posted on topics regarding research and in-game languages, respectively.
Haller on Research:

I love the idea of minigames as part of research gameplay. I think I was actually the one that brought it up back in the day.

The main reason I like it is that I think there should be genuine gameplay attached to as many viable roles in a MMORPG as possible. And since researcher is a quite obvious role in faltering terraforming colony it obviously needs to be supported by some gameplay. I've tried being a researcher in Eve Online and while it is otherwise a quite good game, the research lottery is in my opinion a travesty of bad gameplay. There is absolutely no meaningful interaction for the player - You just spend time and hope to get lucky.

Link to full post

AlexK on language:

Hi guys,


This thread has been a very interesting read - you turned over an impressive amount of stones in a short time.

As Kroll states, english will be the official language of the server. I thought I'd sum up the official stance with regards to in-game languages:
  • There is a common language spoken in the colony. For OOC purposes, this appears as english, but in-game it could just as well be Esperanto or Xitsonga that made it into space as the global language. The point being that everybody should be able to communicate easily and quickly.

  • All known languages can be assumed to be in the database. As somebody above pointed out, Da Vinci is a multicultural colony. Earth wanted all sorts of cultures and thus also languages spread along with the new colonies.

  • Learning "old" terran languages would be considered a hobby, though it could also be explained with having to access old databases and records and not wanting to loose anything out in the translation.

  • These are very brainy people. If they want, they can likely learn a language quickly (link to RL amazing guy learning to speak Icelandic in one week).
Link to full post

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New Concept Art

A couple of days ago, Runestone posted some new artwork at the official site. There are some location pictures(including the steambaths), as well as some items/tools.

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

More on the Delay

Morten Juul posted a message on the forums which better describes why the release date for Seed was pushed back a month.
After one month of beta testing, we have come a very long way in terms of ensuring client and server stability. Our beta testing community have been an invaluable aid in this development, and we thank you for all the help you have provided.

However, even with the speedy progress so far, it is becoming evident that we will not be able to bring you a solid game we would feel good about charging for April 3rd, so we have decided to prolong the beta testing phase with an extra month.

We consider this good news: It gives us more time to add and test content of the game, and it gives us more time to learn from the beta test: Both about technical issues (which have so far been the almost exclusive focus) and gameplay/content issues which will increasingly become the main focus for the remaining beta test period.

I hope that you also will see this as being ultimately good news: Even if it does mean that you will have to wait a little longer for Seed, you will get more for your money this way.
Personally, I think it makes a lot of sense -- Runestone wanted to have 10,000 beta testers by release, and so far they have 1,000. Obviously things aren't going as quickly as they had initially hoped. In any case, I'm glad they delayed it... It drastically increases Seed's chances of being polished and well-recieved by the public. It's common knowledge that a poor launch can kill a game.

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Release Date Changed!

Runestone Announces Final Release Date for Seed

Aarhus, Denmark – March 8, 2006 – Runestone Game Development announced today that Seed, its upcoming genre-shattering massively multiplayer game, will officially launch on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006.

Runestone has afforded the testing stage slightly more time to improve player experiences for load and connectivity.

“The testing of the title thus far has been a great success, and we have our testers and hard working development team to thank,” said Lars Kroll Kristensen, CEO. “Although we are slightly pushing our original release date, the extra month will ensure that we have ample time to now pay our full attention to the story engine and NPC interaction experience.”

Runestone has focused on making the NPCs varied and interesting to work with. All NPCs in Seed have their own behaviors, motivations and goals, powered by a sophisticated AI engine with distinct emotion, knowledge, and event response systems. They remember, and they judge. The NPCs have been paired with a unique template story system that creates stories according to the playing style and role of each player.

“We are taking every step to make sure Seed is a high-quality game,” continued Kristensen, “and we feel that this short delay will help ensure that we’re able to present a solid gaming experience to our loyal community.”

For more information about Seed please visit www.seedthegame.com.

# # #

About Runestone Game Development
Runestone Game Development is a Danish computer game developer specializing in innovative, story-based massively multiplayer online games. Seed is the premiere title from the company, which is owned partly by the employees, partly by business investors.

Link

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Patience is a Virtue

I missed these posts when they were posted a few days ago, but HateTank and AlexK both posted in a thread about the lack of dev interaction/beta info lately:

Originally posted by HateTank:
Don't worry guys. We're still here - watching, and reading whenever we get the chance.
But with the beta a lot of the questions are more focused around the beta test, and coming from the beta testers.
And with the beta, more and more of the early speculations are dismissed or confirmed, and no longer spark the hefty debates.

And we are indeed quite busy not only with the beta, but also with creating the content and gameplay that will eventually be whats in the "launch package".

It's not like we have forgotten the forum - not at all. But we really, really want to get as much content as possible wrapped up for launch, so there's enough for you guys to get your sticky little fingers into.

Once things settle down a bit, I'm sure you'll see more dev. interaction again. In the meantime, please forgive our lack of presence on the forums...
Originally posted by AlexK:
Hang in there. Launch is drawing closer, and we are busy bees making content and clearing the living room for the great party. It's going to be fun. You know you want to be there.
All of us hopefuls just need to relax and wait... I've been occupying myself with other things to avoid obsessing over Seed(which is why I've been less active in posting updates here).

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Seed Ship Info

AlexK responded to a question on the forums about what the original purpose of the seed ships was:
The premise of the seed ships is that they were literally thrown into the wind. They might succeed, they might fail, but it was important to send them no matter what. Not because Earth was in immediate trouble, but because it wanted to spread humanity further than just the Sol system.

If the plan had worked perfectly, the ships would settle down on their destination planets, start terraforming and make people. Once a colony was well underway and had the resources for it, it should launch a seed ship of its own, aimed at the next suitable planet to be found. This would make the spreading easier, though not necessarily quicker.

There was no plan for the colonies to, say, send back resources to a starving Earth. It was hoped that the colonies would "call home" when they were able to, and that trade and communication would be established over time, but the criteria for seed ship success was healthy, thriving, independent colonies scattered all over the near Universe.

So why haven't Earth called? Nobody really knows. As with other bits of the backstory, we are keeping this in the dark on purpose. We want it to be a surprise when the storyline comes into play, and we want to be able to react to interesting developments in ongoing story or to you guys tossing ideas around.
Link

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Stress Test Update

Kroll posted the following on the forums, regarding the recent stress test:
Hi all

As some of you know, we did a small stress test last thursday at 2 PM CET. About 30 people turned up, probably because of the less-than-optimal timeslot for the US players, and because the test was only announced a few days ahead.

Still, 30, turned out to be enough to cause stress to the server, so the turnout was adequate.

The test was primarily concerned with lag issues in general, and lag issues around chat and emotes with "many" players. Initially, we were all dispersed around in the game world, with some trouble in Recspace (the most populated space) and less trouble in the other spaces.
After a while, we all convened in the Canyon, again with some trouble. and increased lag.
Finally, we all met at the window shellside in canyon. Here, we enjoyed a technical talk about the window technology behind the tower window. Afterwards, we all chatted and emoted all at the same time. This caused massive lags, and massive client deaths.

While this was going on, our techs were busy monitoring the server behaviour, and we learned a lot about what is causing our lag. We are currently working on fixes for some of these issues, so hopefully, lag will be reduced with the next patch.

The server didn't even break a sweat during all this. We rebooted it intentionally during the test, in order to set in some more debug information, and since that reboot, the server has been up continually. (26 hours straight, and counting).

We will definately schedule a new test session, this time probably at a time more suited for US players being awake, and EU players being home from school/work. Unfortunately for us, that means late hours .

Thank you again to all that turned up. I hope to see you again in a new stress test soon to be announced.

/Kroll
Click the "Full Post" link below to see the whole message.

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Server Problems

Maargaard announced the following on the official forums:
Our hosting center i USA have made a small mistake.

Your launcher will report errors but you should still be able to login.

This also means that the IRC server currently is unavailable.

I will get the IRC server up again as soon at possible, I will make a posting when it is up again. E.T.A. Sometime Saturday Danish time.

Sorry for the inconvenience
Link

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