Welcome to this weeks state of the game! I have continued to work on the website and for the first time ported all the current forum posts! The process went suprisingly well, and I was able to pull the user accounts over as well [though you will have to reset your password]. This gave me a great set of test data for the site, to not only test visuals and layout, but performance as well. Remember, this site is supposed to not only be pretty, but much faster as well!
Here is what it looks like so far:
The only BIG draw back from the conversion process is none of the uploaded files on the forums will be transfered over. :(
Next on the migration list is all the blog posts. These should come over pretty quickly, even though there is a suprising number of the [Is the really the 179th state of the game?!?].
The next big step is finding a nice quite time to pull the actual switch! 'Technically' the switch will be seemless, as the new server is already up and live so it will just be a matter of the DNS information propagating out to the world. In reality, I will have to lock down the old forums at some point so that no posts get lost and ensure I have plenty of free time to fix something if it goes horribly wrong. If everything goes well, there should not be any game downtime at all. If things go bad, I would expect less than 24 hours of game downtime.
I did manage to create a niffty 'cascading' system so that you don't have to worry about password resets for the M.A.V. client. You WILL need to reset your password when logging into the website, and at that point your M.A.V. client password will also be reset.
Well, I believe that is all for this week! See you next week, and have a great 4th of July!
Welcome to another State of the Game!
This week I finished up all the cart, checkout, giftcode, and user account systems on the website! It's a BIG step and now I am ready to start the migration process over from the old site. I will be moving all the content over [with some help from my amazing wife!] and hooking up a transition from the old user accounts to the new ones.
Then, it's just a matter of putting in a bunch of redirects from the old pages to the new ones and then transfering the domain name to the new IP address! It's getting close!
There are some outstanding content issues as well, mainly just for formating the site correctly for people on phones.
The last real big hurdle is the bridging of the account systems. The most likely thing that will happen is a mass password reset, but I would like a better solution than that.
This week I will be focused on finding that better solution! See you next week!
P.S.: Sergedavid and LegacyElite have been added as contributors on Facebook, so be on the look out for posts by them!
Another week of ranting about the website? Not quite, though I do reserve the right to rant still!
For the most part I have finished the backend of the site and have moved on to polishing the style and design of the user facing pages. I have also been focusing a LOT on the user experince, trying to make sure things like logging in, registering, and redeeming gift codes all feel nice and are located in places that make sense for the user.
This also means I am doing an incredible amount of minor issue fixing. I believe this is near theraputic for me, as I am being forced to take every action and detail into account. It is changing how I work and how I judge a task as being 'done'. This will translate into a better website, and I hope to continue this workflow on the game once the website is done.
Speaking of being done with the site, I am feeling it will likely be 3 more weeks until the full switch over happens. The trickest part will be the actual switch, as it will have to be done right so the game login will work [and support people with older versions of the game] and redirect people in the right ways so all the existing links don't throw 404 errors, since the whole site changed.
I hope to put up a live preview of the new site in the next week or so. Until then, it's back to the dev cave for me!
Welcome to another state of the game! This week, I want to dedicate this post to random ramblings, mainly because this is what happens when you take a game developer and tell them to make a website, and the other part is because I haven't 'loosened up' in a post in a while.
So, for the first part, I really and starting to hate web development. I am tired of debugging dynamic variables and functions called through strings and not being able to easiely step through code. I also am upset that I am having to do the web development stuff in the first place, but I CAN say, there is NO WAY I would have ever gotten something of this same quality from a developer at the budget I had. With the current features I have implemented, along with the custom code work, I can say I have saved ~$40,000. Considering a slapped together site of just plugins and terrible design can easily be $5,000. So, I have to keep that in mind as I once again set up an elaborate email system to send me debug data from my ajax queries. [Also, web development is likely easier than this, but my lack of expert experince is likely why it's so painful. Either way, I have a new found sympothy for all web devs]
In other random news, I see Steam is offering refunds now. It was actually really suprising to see this, because I found out about it at the same time as the public! I would have thought they would have messaged something out to the people actually selling on Steam, but I guess that is what happens when you give up some control of your product.
While I don't openly support refunds for M.A.V., the ~4 people that have contacted me for them have all got them. Software refunds can be real touchy subject with some developers, but I feel steam did a good job with the requirements they put in place. I will ALWAYS addvocate trying the free demo of M.A.V. before buying it [and same goes for any game, esspecially early acces games] to ensure you know what you are getting. Unfortunatly, I have seen some developers create some very misleading demos, so refunds will always have a place.
Speaking of refunds, kind of, it was brought up in a refund thread on Steam about the time between updates. My response was fairly simple: Time between updates is my biggest concern as well. With that said, the time between updates is likely to get WORSE before they get better. The reason for this is because the project is in a very important transition stage. It is changing from Alpha to Open Beta [I think these terms have lost all meaning] which means everything in the game is getting groomed with a fine tooth comb to remove bugs, improve polish, and basically solidify everything in place. Alpha is the land of quick itterations, blue sky ideas, and generally sloppy but passable work. Beta [in this case] means we have found the ideas that work, at a minum level, and it's time to shore them all up and present a slice of what the finished game will be. In traditional development this is called the Vertical Slice, and it would normally represent a single level in the game, normally from mid-game, and taking it to release quality to serve as a measuring stick for the rest of the game.
In real news, I am continuing to make [slow] progress on the site. I have a unified login for the site, the shop, and the forums. I have a working achievement system and have replicated most of the curent forum features as well. I have also integrated the shop with the current gift code system and the steam key system. I am now working on the ability to redeem keys and making some special pages for the higher level kickstarter backers to start submiting for thier rewards. Once that is done, I have some formating / design tasks to finish up, then I will hook the game login system up with the new site. Then comes the content migration and the transition between user systems [which I haven't figured out how to do yet]. Yay!
See you next week!
I have been fighting the allergies from hell [literally, my nose is bleeding from the swelling] so I will keep this short and sweet.
M.A.V. will be entering the polish phase soon and there is a forum post about what this means. Read it here.