We came close but…
…we didn’t make it. As those of you who watched our 14 hours of Live Streaming on Saturday can attest, we gave it our best shot. We worked from 10AM till almost midnight, but it wasn’t enough time to find one crashing bug and a new problem with our database queries that occurred when so many of you Alpha folks hit the dbase at the same that. Other than that, the game is working really well. Now, we could still say we’re in Alpha and that this goes with the territory, but that’s not the kind of behavior or attitude that you have come to expect from us (and should demand from any Kickstarted game). “Faking it” or simply extending our deadline by a few days is, quite frankly, unacceptable to us. Thus, we are going to delay Alpha while we track down the one major crashing issue and the new database issue.
As to a quick recap, about 9:30PM, we found one of the smoking guns, a problem with Windows Firewall on one of the AWS boxes that we run. Once we fixed that problem, things ran very well for a while. Unfortunately, the other crash bug we were tracking down appeared yet again, and then a new problem popped up. While we have a good idea where in the code the game is crashing, and we know exactly why the second problem happened, we don’t quite know yet what is causing the first, and fixing the second will take a few days. Thus, we have no real choice but to announce the delay. Now, because I started writing this message before we found the firewall problem, we’re a lot more upset than we were at the beginning…but again, we are still late.
Now, what does this mean for you? It means that our first step will be following through on our Alpha Guarantee. To quote myself: “The second part of the plan is the Alpha Guarantee. If we have to further delay the Alpha beyond that date, we will compensate all of our Backers with a combination of Founder’s Points, CSE Points, and free days of subscription. The rewards will, of course, be appropriate to whether you are a Builder, Founder and/or lifetime subscription holder, but no matter what your tier, you will be rewarded if we are delayed again.” On Monday, after the disappointment of missing this milestone is a bit less painful for all of us, we’ll announce how exactly this is going to work. As I said when we announced the first delay, we didn’t have to make this promise, but we did and we will damn well keep it.
As for the second step, we need to tell you when Alpha is going to open. Our expectation is that it will be a very short delay, but Andrew needs to decide the best way to fix the problem over the next few days. If all goes well, we might actually have Alpha open before we come up with the date, but we are not going to promise that. We will certainly know by the end of next week. But right now, well, it’s been a long couple of weeks and we are all a bit tired. So now isn’t really the best time to think about or discuss this.
I am incredibly proud of the effort that the team made over the past two weeks. As our IT folks will tell you and you can see from our P.A.T. Checklists, we knocked out a lot of problems, added a ton of new stuff, and started making progress on the world. The effort of everyone here—programmers, artists, designers, producer, writer, and community management—was laudable, but we still came up short.
Now, the good news I mentioned above is that other than the crashes, everything else is working quite well. The new building system, C.U.B.E., is in and working great. The game is playing great, lots of new ability components are added and working well. Frame rate is great on our target machines, and we have a really good idea about what went wrong the second time.
Thus, I’m sorry to announce the delay in Alpha, but proud to keep my promise about our Alpha Guarantee. No excuses, no reasons and as usual from us, no BS. We’re late, and we are going to do what we said we were going to do if we missed Alpha, even by a day.
We thank all of our Backers for their support, as always. To those that have stayed with us throughout today’s very long Live Streaming session, that was an impressive effort on your part. To all of our Backers, you have our love, as well as our deep and sincere gratitude and again, our apologies.
P.S. What I can say is that if we think the delay will be more than a week, well, we have something to show our Alpha folks that will take some of the sting out of it.