Recently, I’ve come to some realizations about Trials mode, our sort of “meat and potatoes” single-player mode for the game. Namely, that it should, like Match Mode, be played on a win/loss basis – not on a “get a high score, whatever that means” basis. You can read a bit more about that here and here. (Keep in mind, on that first link to Dinofarm, some details have changed, but the thrust of Trials changes are the same).
For the past 3 weeks or so, we’ve been diving into the nitty gritty details of what implementing Match Mode would really mean for our team. What back-end would we use to host all our multiplayer interactions? How would our league system work? What’s the structure of a match? How much would all this cost? And most importantly, how long is this feature going to take?
After tons of research, which itself took a lot of time, we have a very rough ball-park answer, and… it isn’t what we had hoped. It’s hard to nail it down exactly, but what we’re certain of is that doing Match Mode right is going to take us at least an additional 3-4 months. And we’ve been doing this long enough to know that that probably means more like 6-8.
Further, we’ve also looked into just how much non-match-mode-related work there is left to do on AURO – just on Story Mode, finishing Trials, basic social features, metagame, polish, bug fixing, and cross-platform support – and it’s also a freaking ton of work. We hope we’ll surprise ourselves, but I personally find it believable that even if we were to drop Match Mode as a launch feature, we still might be looking at 5 more months until release.
So with that in mind, I regretfully have to announce that we are shelving Match Mode as a feature. Considering how much work it will be, we also might even prioritize other cool features before Match Mode, such as a puzzle mode, a new, longer story campaign, replay functionality, or more. So in general, I wouldn’t hold your breath on Match Mode. I’m happy to have reviewed our Kickstarter campaign and noticed that there was no mention of Match Mode made at all on it, so we won’t be betraying our wonderful Kickstarter supporters by dropping the mode.
At this point, we just really want to get this game out, and dropping Match Mode is going to give us a huge boost towards getting there. I’m sure you feel the same way after so very long.
Since we’re losing Match Mode, we need to spend extra time and energy on coming up with great ways to make sure that Trials mode has a lot of good social features. We don’t have a definite list yet, but some things we’re considering are things like: you can still send your result of a Trials mode game to a friend somehow, like perhaps it can still send them the random seed. Or maybe you can post scores or even screenshots to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe somehow you can “capture a moment” and share it with someone. We’d love to hear your ideas, but the bottom line is, we want to make sure AURO is a thing that can build a community around it. Let us know what you think over at the forums.
But also, Match Mode is actually less necessary now due to the Trials mode changes we’re making. Trials can now function largely the way that Match Mode was going to, just, without the “multiplayer” aspect. So yeah – Match Mode was going to be way more work, for actually, way less benefit.
Blake’s New Promo Image
Okay, now time for something nice and awesome. Blake has been working on this promo image for probably 80 hours. We’re considering trying to use it for a new title screen, but either way it will definitely get used as a banner, PC version title screen, or any time we need a horizontal image. We think this image captures the dynamism and excitement of AURO a lot better than our original one. What do you think?
Anyway, the beta goes on. Stay tuned here, because I’m gonna post soon about what final features Trials will have. We’re looking forward to getting this game out to you guys, hopefully in as few as 3 months. Somewhere in the 3-5 month range feels safe to me. Thanks for your patience everyone.