I guess I should say something. If for nothing else, for the fact that there's nothing left to lose here.

It's been a few weeks now that the "main" Perpetuum server is no longer running, which I suppose is the symbolic conclusion of the development of Perpetuum, something that was our first venture in game development and took 10+ years of our lives. In some ways, it was an emotional moment to pull the plug, and in other ways it really wasn't. Let me try to explain why.

We started working on the game (then just called "GenXY") in around 2004 - we genuinely had no idea what we were doing, we had no idea of the scope of it, we had no idea what it'd become or what we'd WANT it to become; we just had a faint idea that it was possible, and we started on it because we didn't know better. Turns out, that was kinda really we needed to get it done - because if we would've known what's coming, we probably never would've started.

I don't mean that as necessarily a negative, it's just that we mostly just made shit up along the way as we went: there's no "How To Make An MMO" handbook, and there sure as hell wasn't one in 2004. Most of us were still in our early 20s, and we never realized the amount of technology we would need to conjure up along the way, but we were ambitious (and stupid) and the fact that we can't (or not supposed to) do it just never occurred to us. So we went to it head first. We really were indie before "indie" was a thing.

Of course, the mission objective changed a few times along the way - initially we didn't want character models, just these little soul-like particle bursts, because we wanted to cut down on having to write an animation engine. Then when we realized that'd be boring, we went for robots because we didn't want to code skinned animation. The longer we went on, the more it snowballed, and next thing we knew we had this elaborate multi-platform architecture to have a game, a client, a website, a webstore, a backend, all these things in all different programming languages, platforms, database engines, that we just cooked up out of nowhere because we just thought "we have to figure this out", and we did, even though many many people not only warned us against, but actively predicted we couldn't do it.

That's not to say it wasn't bumpy. Even after alpha, even after closed beta, even after beta, it was bumpy. There were some joyful fuckups (like accidentally shutting down servers with a piece of pastry and setting our kitchen equipment on fire), some a bit more stressful (like screwing up the game launch because we weren't drunk, as opposed to the early access launch when we were) and some of them pretty miserable (like the cease-and-desist letter - guess who!). But through all of this, we had one goal and one goal only - to finish and release a game and do the best we can. And in that, say what you want, we succeeded. Not opinion, fact.

We didn't always see eye-to-eye with you - and that's putting it nicely; as developers, it was necessarily to be cagey and secretive sometimes, to be stern at other times - even though we desperately wanted to keep in contact with out playerbase, we learned quickly that any reaction we released to the public had immediate ripples in-game, sometimes considerably bigger ones that we imagined, so we often secluded until we had something that was ready to show. This of course sometimes meant that what we produced wasn't in line with the general expectations, or that it split the playerbase even more - it often felt like a no-win-scenario, but we soldiered on, because we were desperate to make this work. There's a delicate balance between listening enough and not listening too much, and we often missed that balance - but we always tried.

The way I imagine studio closures happen in gamedev, they're probably come more as a sudden shock - for us, that wasn't the case. There were several moments where we knew that this isn't gonna go for long - we all hoped it would, but I think reality set in when we weren't able to reach the numbers we needed; we reached a number that was enough to sustain development, but we had no funds to market the game, or to produce massive amounts of content, and our creativity and work-ethic was only able to get us out the door, not all the way to the next town. So yeah, we've seen the end coming for a long time - and who are we kidding, you did too. But we didn't want to go away without leaving a mark, pretending this never happened, so we did what we could to make sure the legacy at least in part lives on.

I personally am still 100% proud of the effort we've put in over the years and the spirit we've invested in this game. Would I do things differently, knowing what I know now? Sure. But hindsight is always 20/20, and with the naive mindset we had, and the resources we had available, I think we made the best game we could.

A few people have asked what projects we moved on to, so here's a brief summary: (I'll continue to expand this if I can find others)

  • Zoom spent a bit of time in motion graphics, and now works at Primal Games on a yet-unannounced title
  • Alf is developing cloud technology at Nokia, which he says is a lot less stressful
  • BoyC is working on car UX software at NNG
  • Quodys, in his own words, "is on his journey to wreck a yet bigger enterprise, this time a global telco company"
  • Gargaj (me) moved on to Slightly Mad Studios and has worked on Project CARS 2, and is now working on a yet-unannounced title.

Aside from that, as many of you know Zoom, BoyC and myself have been and will continue releasing work under the name Conspiracy; we've recently released our first venture in VR on the Oculus store - it's not really game-related, but it's something we'll keep on doing if you wanna follow us there.

Anyway.

Thanks for sticking with us over the years - you helped us achieve something that very few people could.

See you around, somewhere, sometime.

Friends, it is time to prepare for our annual ritual, during which our wallets gain sentience, slink out of our closely guarded pockets and offer themselves as monetary sacrifice to the great lords of Bellevue in hopes of a plentiful digital Summer wherein we may joyfully reap the crops of electronic entertainment while overdosing on caffeinated drinks and dubstep.

Yes, it is our favorite vaporous vacation vendition, the Steam Summer Sale and this time we offer you a whopping 50% off on Perpetuum and all in-game items starting from June 11 to 22, both on Steam and on our website; a great opportunity to buy several copies of the game and thousands of credits to various members of your family, your pets, your dentist, your high school crush, your lawyer, your probation officer and Dave the Guy from Grocery Store on The Corner.

Perpetuum 3.6 release

One of the new field terminals

It's been a long and bumpy road, but we're finally there. Our truly random assignment system aka. Assignment system revamp Stage 2 will hit the live server on Monday the 15th of June, along with a healthy number of general updates and fixes.

Public testing of the patch has been going on for almost 2 weeks already, and those of you who have been following development saw almost daily updates and fixes. I'd like to take the opportunity here to thank everyone who participated in the testing - your feedback and bug reports helped us a lot in speeding up development, and certainly made this a better patch.

Testing will not stop though, since in this first patch we're only releasing the new assignment system for the three Alpha 1 islands: New Virginia, Attalica, and Daoden. As soon as we finish reworking the other islands, you'll be able to see and test them first on the test server.

The order of release will be Alpha 1 islands (in Monday's patch), then Alpha 2s, Beta 1s, and finally Beta 2s, the latter ones receiving assignments for the first time ever.

The testing forum topic can be found here, the first post of which also serves as preliminary patch notes.

We hope to welcome a bunch of new players during the weekend, and some of us devs will probably pop in to general chat too, so see you there!

As we mentioned in the previous post, ever since the Steam launch we've been busy working on getting new hosting. Over the last week we've finally received all the paperwork and hardware accesses to start the process:

On June 16th (Monday), starting at 10:00 we'll start the migration from our old servers in Budapest to a large datacenter in Amsterdam operated by Internap.

Internap certainly has a track record in gaming hosting, so this will hopefully lower the on-terrain latency - Amsterdam is one of the major hubs of Transatlantic networking, so players from Europe and America should notice a much more stable connection. Internap also cooked up various solutions to continually adapt networks, so in short we're having high hopes for this.

Now, a few words about the migration itself: During the period of moving, which we estimate to be around 3-4 hours (but you know how it is), all services will be down - game, web, email, IRC, everything. Some of this delay is inevitable (DNS propagation) and services will come back asynchronously: we'll try to get the game back up as fast as we can - most services are already running and working fine, we just need to synchronize some files and databases.

It's probably your best bet to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to follow our migration progress.

Wish us luck.

...I'll get me coat.

Anyway.

I don't think I have to introduce Steam Greenlight to anyone, but I'm happy to say that we took the chance as soon as we literally could and put the game up, so now you can express your desire to get the game up on Steam! Click here!

Admittedly, the recent 48 hours weren't the particularly the merriest ones in Perpetuumland, so let me try to attempt to address some of the major issues that arose and have been discussed during this period.

Exploits and reimbursements

There have been some occurrences of faulty functioning on server-side which were widely discussed on the forums. As a general statement, I'd like to remind everyone that as it says in the EULA, the abuse of such faulty mechanics is forbidden, and you may be risking your account status by doing so.

The most prominent such issue, as most might have heard of, was an anomaly which resulted in bots respawning in your hangar after they've been shot, essentially allowing you to fight with the same robot multiple times, turning Perpetuum into something of a George Romero movie. This was prominently used during a major fight on Monday; to address this, we will reimburse those players who suffered losses to these zombie bots, and will also temporarily suspend the accounts of those players who have repeatedly utilized this flaw.

Another, less problematic issue arose from the change of the production fees on Gamma islands: now that the mechanic has changed, and fees are returned to the owner corporation instead of the Syndicate, we will retroactively reimburse the corporations with these fees for their previous productions as well, since they should've been receiving these funds in the first place.

The Big One

And now for the most uncomfortable part: Our announcement about the adjustment of the gamma teleport ranges kicked up a massive stink, and it'd be feeble not to address that. To this end, we'd like to offer a chance to the major corporations / alliances involved in this game to express their opinions on the upcoming change, and invite them to a public roundtable on July the 5th (this forum and the opening post will continue to update with more information), where we'd like to provide an opportunity for the delegates of these groups to debate the change, provide us developers with enough insight so that we can handle this right, or even to make further adjustments. This also means that said change will be postponed until we have reached an agreement with the playerbase.

This all, of course, is far from being a final denouement of the situation, and we're well aware of that, but admittedly we painted ourselves in a corner a bit, so at this point what we feel is best, is to give you players a chance to right our wrongs.