Wednesday, November 02, 2011

New Launcher, Updates on the Future of the Game and Binder Pictures

I've been working on some maintenance stuff in AstroMiner.  One of the things that I wanted to do was leave ClickOnce.  When I did that, I switched my installer over to WiX.  It took a while to learn but I think I got the basics figured out and I have an installer that checks pre-requisites, installs them if needed and installs the game when done.

The nice thing is I have a lot of control over the install now.  The one thing I lost, though, was auto-update functionality.  I was going to implement this functionality in the game itself until I thought about how the 360 users don't need this at all.  All updating will be handled by the 360.  In my normal brainstorming technique, I loaded up another game to zone out and that game happened to be Minecraft.  I realized that I really like how their launcher is set up.  It would let me deliver news to my userbase and give me an easy place to handle updates from.

So I bring to you the new AstroMiner Launcher:

One thing you'll notice about it is that it requires a username and password to launch.  That's one thing I haven't talked about much on here:  how much the game will cost.

When the game first launches, it will be free.  It will still be in Alpha and that will allow me to get a good wide userbase for testing.  That free version will have everything that you've seen up to this point and a bunch more features/in-game creatures/structures.  Once that's been tested well, I'll release the first version for what I'm thinking is going to be $5.99 USD.  The money I get from that will go towards contracting a graphic designer and sound person, as well as maybe another programmer to look at my code and make it better.

It will stay that price until the end of Alpha.  That should hopefully only last a few months.  In those few months, my goal is to completely finish Terraforming an asteroid.  A lot of content will be added to the game and while the free version will have bug fix updates, it will not have content updates anymore.  That will be saved for the pay.

Once Terraforming is done, I will consider the game in Beta.  At that point the price will go up.  Beta will be focused on multiplayer.  I have some awesome plans for multiplayer that I don't want to reveal just yet because, primarily, they're not entirely done.  Multiplayer + lots of content updates is what beta will be all about.  I'm hoping to get to Beta by early next year.  I have a huge binder full of notes that I've taken that detail how I want the game to go forward.  If I want you to pay for the game, I want you to be sure that you're getting your money's worth.  On top of a full roadmap going forward, I also do nightly backups both on-site and off-site to 2 different sites.

One of my backup sites, Dropbox.

In a nutshell, I don't want people to put their faith in me only to have me mess up due to some stupid error.  Hopefully by documenting this whole process, you can also see that I'm serious about getting this game done and out to you to play.

So that's what I'll be focusing on this week.  Functional and important updates :]

So until next time... ~

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