What I propose about the future of Sky Nations

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What I propose about the future of Sky Nations

Postby JonJohn11 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 7:32 am

Alright, this is my last time I'm typing up a dramatic post about what needs to be done about Sky Nations. This game is dead, hardly anyone is on anymore. I will explain what I want to be fixed or added, and why it should happen.

The Capital System: We can live to deal with the warp system like most of us have, but the players are not always right. You told me before that players demanded refunds if the capital system wasn't added. Well its here now, those people are gone, and all that its done is make people isolate themselves never to be seen again. The night before Sky Nations release you talked about what you wanted sky nations to be in a live stream. You said you wanted players to be able to plan attacks on peoples bases and have air battles with warships. This is simply not possible anymore due to the lack of players claiming systems and them just hiding everything they own including themselves in their capitals all the time. In one of your YouTube videos you talked about the siphon miner and how people had to go out of their capitals and blah blah blah, this has literally never happened, why? Because the massive ore balls that spawn after storms gives you pretty much infinite resources that people warp to their capitals and then build massive warships that they will literally never use and will just sit in a capital.

What I propose:
I propose we completely scrap the capital system and change the capital gate systems to other plain systems. I think it should be so that the high valued material systems scattered around the map are nation claimable, and that the refinery and the transport and the miner can all be built there. Because there would be a limited number of claimable regions it would incline players to join or ally other nations to protect their land and ships. As for the ore balls, remove them. It will give purpose to getting a siphon miner set up and help balance the ton of warships being made out of them. I say we build up a ton of hype and attention by getting some sort of live streamer or you-tuber to play this game with a fresh wipe as a relaunch to increase the population. After the big nations get established, people will join up with their faction of choice and invade each other to get their materials, ships and their siphoned transports- and finally, this game will be fun again. I hope you agree with me, I know the whole "if it works don't fix it thing" but it really doesn't work, as the game keeps declining. I hope you will fix this game that was good once, and can be again. If this has convinced you feel free to message me back as I have a ton of other ideas that would only work if this happens, thanks -JonJohn11
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Re: What I propose about the future of Sky Nations

Postby MrBenjammin » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:44 pm

I've kind of replied to this post from you before. But I'll just run through a couple of points you made and try to address them.
You told me before that players demanded refunds if the capital system wasn't added.

This isn't really what I said at all. People were consistently leaving and unhappy because their progress was basically being destroyed overnight when they aren't playing, even if you have defences the system has to be fundamentally attackable and invade-able to have the PVP you want. This hurt the longevity for the game very early on and a lot more people left because of that more than anything else. We had more players, because we had a lot more new players daily(but I'll get to that in a moment). Which meant lots of people found a lot of their stuff was gone while they are offline. Capitals allow you to basically risk what you want, if you get attacked while roaming outside of it. You know what you were risking and its a more concious decision on the players part. Think of it this way, if you were playing Fallout 4, your 20 hours in and your save gets deleted. You'd be pretty mad right? You probably wouldn't pick it up again. Even if they know the risk, losing all your progress, which in Sky Nations, is your ships and resources and having to start again too much for really anyone to palette. Any fully PVP defendable/attackable area inherently has to be attackable and thus will always eventually be lost to persistent players no matter the defense(since it has to inherently be beatable). There are better, more popular games for this experience of lose everything PVP that can do it better with PVP. Such as Rust, H1Z1 and DayZ. Put frankly, the way building works in SN and the scale of development in comparison, SN can never compete with these games. Even these games get a fairly bad rap due to the frustrations of losing it all situations that players didn't feel are fair.

I agree with you on Ore Balls giving too much to players. They were intended for a lot more players online which is why the default limit for players online is much higher than we have on Com 1 and 3. If you imagine a server with 20-30 or so active players, they'd actually be shared around a lot more and be less of a problem. They also create a point for people to gather and fight over when they do appear. They appear a lot rarer now, and I may scale back the actual gain from them.

I do agree that people isolate themselves in Capitals. Isolation of people in capitals, isn't totally due to ore balls but it is a factor. At the moment there isn't enough events like storms, MQ and MK to bring people out and not enough of a reason for people to claim areas. As a lone developer, who doesn't make a lot of money and won't ever from SN, I kind of have to look at how to make a few some interesting events that are re-playable to draw players out now rather than lots. As well as make claiming things more beneficial which does involve making syphons a better investment of your time and defenses like you mentioned as well some other possible structures that beneficial to your team as a whole. Removing capitals isn't really a solution to anything. If you want large ship battles, you won't get them without capitals because no one will be able to build them or feel motivation too since they will likely be destroyed or stolen before they are even finished. They also can't come back to them over several weeks if they are busy for the same reason. Not everyone can login to the game every day to quickly build or defend something, in fact most can't. You either have to inflate materials to the point where they don't matter, so rebuilding is less of an issue or everyone plays the game 90% of the time impoverished and unable to enjoy most of the ship stuff.

In terms of actual players, what happened to players is we stopped getting as many new players through the doors to play the game. The majority of people, no matter how much they like the game, won't play it forever. They will play it and enjoy it until they've had enough. For some people that's a week, for others that's 6 months. But like we all do eventually, we stop playing a game and move on to a new experience. The fate of most early access titles is basically, people get their fill before it's done and when there's more to offer them but not come back. I've done it on a bunch of games I've played and the trend overall appears to be that. The reason we had a lot of different players over a couple of periods of time is actually me doing a lot of work on marketing and having various moments of luck, quality and mechanics is what makes people stay and I'm trying to build that as best I can. Not what makes people initially pick up the game unfortunately(though friends will share it, you need to get that 'sharer' in the first place to discover it). This incurred lots of new daily players, like 30-50 every day trying out the game, rather than the 2-5 we have now. Some stay and some don't but logically the more people coming through the door the more people are going to stay. There's a lot of quality games launched every day, but if people can't find them. They're a tree falling in the woods that makes no sound(the vast most fail financially too).This is why we had a larger population when the game was inherently very unstable and had only a few blocks and base mechanics very early on. This also has the effect in a game like SN, more people being online helps the stopping power of peoples longevity as well, since it provides a more interesting experience. Getting Youtubers, Twitch Streamers, journalists, events etc to cover the game was what drove people to the game and made the servers populated. But, I realised later on with this media is that you only really get one chance for them to cover your game. A lot of people covered it in a very early state(such as RPS and Kotaku) and because they've covered it already, it's unlikely they'll come back and cover it when it's done. The key thing people forget about exposure on any of these sites, especially YouTube. Large YouTubers are a business, each video needs to be inherently interesting to their userbase to get views, in order to earn money via ad clicks. Large YouTubers for the most part aren't going to cover games with small playerbases or audiences vs safer options like breakaway indie hits or AAA games because inherently the latter will make them more money and help grow their fan base. This isn't a bad thing, it's just good business on their part. So I've held off marketing hardcore like I did early on since we'd basically run out the coverage for the game before it's even done, which may of happened already. Since the game isn't covered anywhere to any great degree like it was when I was working on that side of things pretty much every day, no one's finding it and trying it out. Which kind of leads to another point, when I started making SN, greenlight didn't exist(or was in it's very early stages), but when it did come out and we went through it. It was very hard process to get through, if I recall correctly, it took us about 20k votes to even get on Steam. Which is a lot, and it took so much work to get there. Now, it's not quite the same literally hundreds of games of a decent quality come out every week(this is also due to more people making games with easier tools). Steam kind of pulled away from showing games on the main page, so your game is basically lost in the sea of steam without getting a lot of coverage. When we launched on Desura(which was the first place) we inherently were very popular off the bat because there was a lot less indie games popping up both at the time and on the specific platform(Desura also went bankrupt, so we lost a lot of daily new consumers from that platform trying out the game, like many developers who sold through Desura, Desura still owe us money too that we will never get back). This got a lot of new players in the doors and regularly too. We were pretty much always in the top 50 at least on the site.

Anyway, thought I'd explain my side of things. Game's don't really market themselves and now it's almost impossible due to the huge amount of games available every day, so without a lot of money, contacts and people it's an uphill struggle and I don't have any of those things, SN is my first smallish public game that I thought it'd be neat to build and play. Hopefully when the game's done and I go to push it everywhere I can, it'll bring in more players and they'll enjoy it, but I doubt it to some degree. I'm not telling you to like or dislike capitals or my mistakes, have your opinions, like them if you like them, hate them and think I'm dumb if you don't. I do want to make the on-map systems more engaging for PVP to bring people out and hopefully provide a more core PVP experience with CTF events if I can bring that back. Since it has all the elements of combat without the long term grind and build up. Something that H1Z1's Battle Royale, shows is a really good way to get people initially into the game.
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Re: What I propose about the future of Sky Nations

Postby JonJohn11 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:00 pm

Thanks for the reply Ben, I secretly knew this post wouldn't do anything but It helped me confirm that you do indeed still care about the game and work hard to improve it. But you can only do so much and I understand that. I might look into getting the name out there, however I can. Thanks -JonJohn11
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