We’re on Steam!
It took a lot of work to get a blockchain game on the Steam platform, but it was worth it. We released a free playtest version of Age of Rust which has the first couple of levels of the game. We’ve had over 3,000 players download and playtest the first few levels of the game and the response was overly positive. The playtest gave us a good opportunity to see what players enjoyed about the game as well as struggled with. One of the things that has been a “struggle” with developing the game has been the players expectations and the playtest was meant to help gauge that as well.
Certainly players enjoyed the game but two of the struggles that the game has had to overcome has been the “play to earn” and “full first person shooter” expectations. Bringing a blockchain game to the community has brought about the vision that players can consistently earn from a game. Unfortunately, this concept started to leak into players expectation for Age of Rust. Age of Rust is not a play to earn game, while player can claim bounties (tokens with embedded Enjin coin that have real world value), the game wasn’t created to be a vending machine of prizes. Some of our playtest group had that expectation, but since the game wasn’t designed in that way, it caused some confusion. Part of this had to do with marketing and the interviews done in the past about the game as well as to who the game was advertised to. So, some of the marketing will change for the game as well helping to shape the bounty-earning expectations for the game.
Some players during the playtest had the expectation that the game was a first-person shooter and were confused as to why they had to solve a puzzle in the first area of the game. The game has a bit of a mix on puzzles and some light combat present in other action/adventure/puzzle type games of today. Unfortunately, admittedly, the first person shooter experiences in the game felt very dated and frustrated players. Mainly, the problems were more about the look and feel around the player handling, how the player moved, how the weapon handling felt, and the actual shooing at and defeat of the enemies. To address the player concerns, all those areas have been addressed based on players experiences with other games that feature a combat element.
Lastly, there were a couple of bad bugs that were in the Playtest like notifications not fading out, but the majority of them were minor but all the bugs have been fixed for a future update later when Season 1 gets released later this year.
Improvements for the next release
Resolution — A recurring request was for players to be able to pick a resolution other than the one the game engine was selecting as the default. In the next version, players will have the ability to choose the resolution in the settings menu.
The Journal — One of the items that was in development before the playtest was a journal to accompany the player and auto-record some of the clues for players. Since some areas are forward progression only, players needed a way to review some specific information about puzzles or dialogue from earlier parts of the game. While players are still encouraged to take notes, the Journal contains an account of dialogue from other characters in the game and some of the imagery as well used to solve some of the puzzles in the game.
Weapon Handling & Improved AI — A new approach was taken to bring some of the first person gameplay that involves combat up to date. This includes new handling for the weapons to include a physical down-sights view. Additional effects were added to give a more reactionary look and feel to the gameplay mechanics such ricochet material effects for plaster, dirt, metal, water, and other materials.
The main handgun (Voltok HG45) and rifle (KV Auto Pulse Rifle) were swapped out for other game models that not only supported physical sights but also higher resolutions. The pistol didn’t feel right for players, so it’s been replaced with a sci-fi revolver with a speed loading cartridge. Movement with the weapons has also been updated for the next build, so it matches the movement in popular FPS games today with an increase to the sway & bob effects. The jumping and crouching with a weapon has been fixed, so that players can jump & shoot as well as crouch & shoot.
The enemies in the playtest didn’t move around, other than the stealth take-down enemies. The stealth takedown enemies had a couple of issues in the AI and takedown capabilities, which has been fixed in the upcoming version. In other areas, the enemies didn’t move around much and there were some issues with the animations and physics, this caused some gameplay issues, but they’ve been addressed. The enemies are now more fluid with the use of a finite state machine allowing for enemies to now dynamically react and take cover or chase players.
Quick Slots for Items — Something that players have been asking for since the early alpha was the ability to add Quick Slots for things mapped to the 1–4 keys for mouse and keyboard players. In the upcoming version, players can drag & drop certain items to the quick slots to map them for gameplay.
Help Updates — The in-game help can now be togged on and off for players that don’t want to see the prompts to use a particular button. Messages about items being added to the journal, checkpoint saves, and general tutorial help can be turned off by disabling the help feature. Players starting the game for the first time will see prompts to display the key/control map.
JumpNet Support — This is the big update, which is required to make the game actually functional when gas prices for Ethereum went out of the control. Some functionality has already been added to the game but the main portion that we’re waiting for to extend the game is the asset bridge. This will allow us to transition the tokens that were minted on mainnet over to the gas-free Enjin solution. After the asset bridge is ready, we’ll need some additional time to develop and transition over to it. While we’re waiting for that, additional development for the game continues.
MiniMap for the HUD — The mini-maps for the Heads Up Display has been updated in the new version of the game to show actual map renderings of the level the player is on.
If Age of Rust isn’t your speed….
We also have some community based crypto puzzles and other games that get released now and again. Red Fern Valley is a crypto puzzle horror game, Fomo another crypto puzzle exploration game, and mini-games and puzzles. Future puzzle access to these games will require a token from our Concept Art series which features some art renderings used in marketing Age of Rust and other games such as SpacePirate. Keep an eye out on JumpNet for these NFT’s.