EpicDuel Home

EpicDuel PVP Game Design Notes

Behind the scenes information about EpicDuel's development and releases, a real-time PVP MMO that you can play online in your web browser.

October 18, 2011

Sorry for the Delay

Some may be wondering why this particular release is taking so long.  First we push back the Friday release, then we push back again on Monday, now it's looking like we'll have to wait until Wednesday to release the new retrain along with the new Harvest content.  I could use the tired excuse "because programming is HARD", which is still true, especially for right brain people like myself, but that doesn't really satisfy your frustration or anxiousness to try out new features.  Instead, I will try my best to explain what it is we're doing with this newfangled retrain features and some of the complications that make this such a nasty beast.

Basically, we are rebuilding the retrain feature from the ground up.  After the feature goes live, you will be able to distribute all of your skill and attribute points in one go.  The system will also calculate a price based on your level, so lowbies won't have to sell all their gear just to have that extra point in Dexterity.  To sweeten the deal, every time you level up, you will have an opportunity to redistribute all of your points for free.

Many seem to be unclear on the nature of this feature.  Some were under the impression that we were just building a new way to retrain; keeping the old system, while the new one would become a premium "express retrain" similar to the way we can add more item types or battle modes.  This revamp of the retrain/level up system is not as "simple" as a new battle mode.  Battle modes are somewhat modular and share a lot of code.  That allows us to have many different types of battles and makes it much easier to change one type without breaking all the others.  This latest feature is not a new method for retraining, but a complete overhaul of all the existing code that handles retraining.  It also affects all the systems connected with retraining, like how many stats you need to put into a skill to improve it or how quickly your damage improves as you put points into strength or what new skills you'll have if you change class.  This affects all players in and out of battle and is a truly intimidating bit of game logic.  Think of it as rebuilding a home from the basement up rather than adding an extra bedroom.

Large features like this are especially frustrating because they make releases nearly impossible until the feature is 100% complete.  In EpicDuel, adding just about anything new to the game requires a server restart and introduces the possibility of overwriting game code on the live servers with incomplete or broken features.  This becomes more and more likely as a feature is closer to completion.  Now you have an absolute disaster.  A much as we hate to do it, it's better to postpone a release a few days or more to insure the feature is throughout built and tested than to release a broken feature that puts everyone into retrain limbo or worse.

In spite of the delays, none of this would have been possible without Hudelf.  Without him, this feature would have taken much MUCH longer to complete.  He and Titan are working together wonderfully, but it's still taking some time to train our new programmer in the intricacies of EpicDuel's hundreds of thousands of lines of code.

I wrote this post because we felt you were owed an explanation, and also because some were unfairly taking their frustration out on Cinderella and our mods who were just relaying the best information we could give them at the time.  This may not make you feel any better, especially if you stopped reading at the part where I mentioned another delay, but I hope it at least gave you some idea of the scope of this new feature.  Believe me.  We don't enjoy delays any more than you.  Delays mean we have to work at home when we should be relaxing and eating dinner.  They mean we have to work on the weekend instead of having fun.  Worst of all, they mean we have a load of disappointed players who were devoted enough to wait for the each release so they could be the first to login.  Moving forward, we'll try to do better for you in terms of accurately assessing release times and communicating our progress, because without you , there's no us.  Thank you for your patience, loyalty, and understanding.



 EpicDuel Game Design Notes Archive