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Author Topic: Your Game and Public Alpha Testing  (Read 124 times)

Prometheus2012

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Your Game and Public Alpha Testing
« on: Oct 06, 17, 07:25:38 AM »

Recently, with the help and encouragement of the HE team, we opened up our game Exile Online to the public in a limited manner.

Our game is now in a pre-alpha phase. We have members of the public playing and testing the game. Basically what we did is to open up our empty developer seats and create accounts for a select few individuals. This number will vary depending on your subscription and how many seats you have. But it could be up to 99.

This will from day 1, allow you to get your players into the game. You just throw them the installer and the player client files for your world and let them install.

The one point i would stress though is that you really should make sure you have something to show off first. At the minimum i would recommend a vertical slice of your game. This being essentially a demo of art and foundation game systems with some limited playable content. Otherwise your players will be running around the empty starting areas after they create a character using the base Hero Engine characters.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vertical_slice
http://www.kinematicsoup.com/news/2016/10/26/game-development-workflow

I think this is one of the best features that Hero Engine has to offer. The ability to let at least some of your playerbase into your game as soon as you set up. You will be instantly ahead of 99.99% of other MMO projects on other engines. They have to build their game world up, build servers and get multiplayer capability into their game which can take months and potentially many thousands in development costs.

We now have a solid testing base of able players that eagerly await each new change and addition that we make to the game.

The Hero Engine team will work to accommodate your pre-alpha testing and their support has been instrumental in allowing our game to progress as far as it has.
« Last Edit: Oct 06, 17, 07:35:47 AM by Prometheus2012 »
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nocake

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Re: Your Game and Public Alpha Testing
« Reply #1 on: Oct 06, 17, 04:48:20 PM »

Public Alphas are the new craze.

Just a couple things to note:

While you can drop people into the basic Hero Engine world you will still need to do months of work before having a "Vertical Slice" ready.

If you give your players the Hero Player Client they will be unable to "wake" your world which only the HeroEngine or HeroRepo can do. Leaving them unable to login.

There is limited instances that you can launch while developing so if you have to run Area Instances (1) and Area Instances (EDIT) you may quickly reach your cap. Depending on your game design of course.

The 99 seats if for grandfathered accounts which are very few and should be extremely grateful of those extra slots.
If you are not grandfathered then 100 seats runs you $750 a month which is far more than any other engine and paying for your own hosting and paying someone to set up your server for it one time. (unreal, unity, etc on aws/cloud service).
For a development team that runs 100 people $7 a seat is cheap! but if you are running a public alpha and giving those seats to your players you are paying $7 a month for each player to play your game essentially.

Pricing is yearly not monthly


I know there are a few more hurdles.

With out a doubt you can create multiple games and have players in them quicker and easier than most engines but there is still a lot to do and consider.

It would be nice if IdeaFabrik made this easier though because IMHO I do think they could make our development environments easier to work with the Public Alpha Craze starting with the sign up processes for new players.
« Last Edit: Oct 07, 17, 12:41:03 PM by nocake »
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HE-SARRENE

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Re: Your Game and Public Alpha Testing
« Reply #2 on: Oct 07, 17, 12:18:58 PM »

... <snip>...
If you are not grandfathered then 100 seats runs you $750 a month which is far more than any other engine and paying for your own hosting and paying someone to set up your server for it one time. (unreal, unity, etc on aws/cloud service).
For a development team that runs 100 people $7 a seat is cheap! but if you are running a public alpha and giving those seats to your players you are paying $7 a month for each player to play your game essentially.
... <snip>...

I would like to make one correction to this. The "Premium Yearly" with 100 seats is not monthly, but yearly.  This covers game hosting, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth.

This works out to $7.50 a month per seat or 0.625 per month per seat.

http://heroengine.com/heroengine/heroengine-pricing

Unity is per month cost and is also per seat, there is no group or Team any longer: Their prices start at $35 to $125 per month per seat. There are also additional limitations and does not include the real time development environment and the first two limit the number of concurrent users.
https://store.unity.com/?_ga=2.35260897.1103212200.1507397052-523997034.1500690251

Unreal is essentially free with a 5% royalty, however does not include anything beyond basic tcp/ip like networking for limited number of players nor servers. So you would have to build your own network for an MMO as well as all hosting and bandwidth costs. It also does not have the real time development environment that HE has.

Each engine has its pros and cons, however, I believe, (I might be biased) that HE is the best option out there for an MMO. I hope that helps somewhat.


... <snip>...If you give your players the Hero Player Client they will be unable to "wake" your world which only the HeroEngine or HeroRepo can do. Leaving them unable to login.

There is limited instances that you can launch while developing so if you have to run Area Instances (1) and Area Instances (EDIT) you may quickly reach your cap. Depending on your game design of course.
... <snip>...

Both of these we work with each client based on their needs. This includes the area limits and world "wake up". So not in all cases would these limits apply. Once your game goes to a public alpha/beta there are no limitations or anything like this.

:)

[Edited to add the price page link]
« Last Edit: Oct 07, 17, 12:33:08 PM by HE-SARRENE »
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nocake

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Re: Your Game and Public Alpha Testing
« Reply #3 on: Oct 07, 17, 12:39:57 PM »

I stand corrected on the pricing and have crossed out that paragraph above to avoid someone only reading that.

HeroEngine is by far the best engine for an MMO right now IMO even if it was that much monthly!

Just don't expect a turn key alpha that can be ready by day 1. A conservative guess would be 2-6 months alpha if you had a team of skilled full time workers.
There are differences between HE development enviros and production servers.

« Last Edit: Oct 07, 17, 01:14:44 PM by nocake »
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Prometheus2012

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Re: Your Game and Public Alpha Testing
« Reply #4 on: Oct 11, 17, 08:59:50 AM »

Yah i should make clear again that although you can get your players into your game from day 1, there will not be anything for them to interact with, other the base stuff that comes with HE.

Depending on your team makeup, you will need several months of work before feeling comfortable enough to start letting people in to try out your game.

This is still a very short turnaround time for a closed alpha for an MMO. Where most projects will need years of development before any player steps foot into their game.

Add to this the simple solution of giving your players the client files that are automatically generated for your game. There is no need for build and client distribution setup.

Keep in mind this is for limited numbers of players. After your vertical slice is ready and you are good to progress to the next step of your alpha, the HE team will work closely with you on setting up your live test servers and help you along every step of the way.