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GM Stormcrow View Drop Down
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Joined: 23 Feb 2010
Location: Illyria
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Age of Ascent
    Posted: 28 Feb 2014 at 15:33
Hi everyone,

What is Age of Ascent?
We wanted you all to be the first to know about this.

As many of you have gathered (it's not really been a secret) we have been working on a prototype of a second MMO game title called Age of Ascent (AoA).

AoA is a space-based MMO on a truly epic scale.  We've been working closely with Microsoft to create what we both believe will be the world's first "Ultra-MMO".

We're doing a public alpha test of the PvP component on Friday March 14th, and we're going to give every active illy player an early access token so you can come and try out the game and vent your spleen at both Thundercat and I as well as a bunch of Microsoft and Nokia staff who have been helping us with the internal beta tests of AoA, by turning us all into small puffs of space debris.

During the public alpha we're hoping to break the official world record for the World's Largest Videogame PvP Battle, a record currently held by Eve Online at 4,075 pilots in a single battle.  Not only that but we're (hopefully) going to break this record with realtime, directly-piloted dogfighting.

Finally - and just as importantly - we've written the client end of this game in HTML5 WebGL - so as long as you have a modern web browser (IE11, Chrome, Firefox or Opera - not Safari, please complain to apple about their lack of default support for WebGL) and an internet connection you'll be able to play.  No download, no install, and it's free - so you guys will have the first chance to (hopefully) break an official world record and be part of gaming history.


VT reel of last night's Microsoft employee Internal Beta test

Please note that this video is by no means feature complete in any way.  It's an internal test of networking, and there's still work to be done on the HUD, the UI, front-end particle physics, audio etc.  But it'll give you an indication of what (at least one part) of the game is about.

What does this mean for Illy?
We're planning on doing a modest kickstarter campaign to raise some funds to hire people and continue work on completing the AoA game, and we hope you might consider backing AoA.  Having people working independently on AoA is only going to free-up more resources to complete the things we've promised for illy, and after the world record attempt in two weeks' time we'll be fully back on with illy bugfixes.

And there's a surprisingly large amount of crossover between the games.

I know that - on the face of it - AoA looks like it's entirely different from Illy.  And yes, as far as 3D internet spaceship violencing goes, that's not really much like illy at all.  

However, the full game of AoA for release next year will be also be an epic sandbox MMO.  And that means we have to build and complete new cloud-based systems like missions, NPC AI, trade, crafting and manufacturing, pathfinding (for autopilot) - and many others.  And those kind of systems are broadly game agnostic, so they'll be entirely suitable for deployment into illy.

The backend of illy was, in large part, written by myself.  And I'm not really a coder (shocking, I know!).  So, having a bunch of MMO coding professionals write scalable systems for what I'm pretty confident will be the world's largest, most epic MMO means that the code is going to have to be well defined, well written, reviewed, rigorously tested, and have proper procedures in place to deploy, update and regression test each piece.

It also means that there will be people working on things (such as scalable pathfinding algorithms).  Things that (honestly) would be well down the road if it was just TC and me writing code.  So we believe this can only be good for illy.

We're sure you're all going to have tons of questions and here's a thread to keep them all in one place.  We'll set up a Q&A video livestream for next week where hopefully we can answer them!

I hope to see you in space on the 14th!

Best,

SC
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