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Messages - Brendan

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Extrasolar / Re: shadow but no object - bug?
« on: December 10, 2014, 01:21:05 PM »
Hey Christian, looks like a renderer hiccup that caused quite a few of your recent photos to render without any plants.  We are looking into it, we'll re-render the affected photos once we know what caused it.

Thanks for the kind words damaltor, glad you liked the game.  We read all the feedback and requests people post, but with the current dwindling budget we have to make sure we're spending our time on things that seriously impact the play experience the most without having to do costly design changes and big overhauls.  Right now we're focusing on the standalone mobile app as we see this as the thing that could currently have the biggest impact.

Regarding your technical interest, here's a look at how motobionts get populated.  I'ma drop it in spoiler tags because this might kind of ruin a bit of the magic for some.

The whole system is actually a lot simpler than you might think.  This is one of the daytime Bristletongue populations.  There are actually 2 entries for each species population, one for day and one for night, and at sunrise / sunset individuals from the active population start to disappear and get replaced with ones that have the daytime parameters.  This is represented by the graph at the bottom, with midnight on the left and 11:59 pm on the right.  The vertical axis is how many motobionts from this population can exist in the world at that time.

The "dynamic" flag means they are randomly placed within a radius in meters designated by the Max value in the Seed Distribution graph.  The graph determines the distribution from the center of the population (left) to the edge.  Since this is the daytime population they are more spread out as they're out hunting for bugs and whatnot, so more likely to find them near the edge of the circle.  The nighttime population has a graph that looks like the inverse as the herd huddles up together for warmth while sleeping.  The seed for the random placement is the time the photo is taken, so they will always move between photos.

I think it's probably easy to guess what the rest of the controls do, but feel free to ask away if not. [/spoiler]

Could we please have somewhat more realistic night skies? I'd be happy to help with it as much as possible (given that I can't do digital art, and by extension, a star map).

It's actually not a star map - we couldn't get a high enough resolution map that we were happy with.  The stars are all individual points and their sky positions and apparent magnitudes are generated straight out of a NASA database (we figured 10 ly from Earth wouldn't be noticeably different, but as shown in other threads I guess we were wrong :P).  Hmm, maybe I could just get the coordinate file from Brian and post it and y'all could figure out the necessary edits...

Extrasolar / Re: Small floating rocks
« on: September 09, 2014, 01:31:02 PM »
Sorry guys, the render servers are getting overloaded due to the huge influx of new users from the Kickstarter coverage.  We actually had more people sign up yesterday than any other day since we've launched.  So, sort of a good problem to have.

If you have a weird image that you'd like fixed just PM me a link to the public page or the image directly (the url that has something like as the domain, right clicking or downloading a wallpaper should get it) and we will do a manual re-render.  These two should already be fixed.

Extrasolar / Re: Biont Hunters' Club - Island #1
« on: September 09, 2014, 01:24:39 PM »
Hey Kevin, big apologies for not noticing this before, but I believe you're misinterpreting Jane's email.  She's just saying there's six species on your "Discoveries" page that you haven't clicked on and read the description of.  I can see how that would be confusing.

Sail Iris tend to be found in the same areas as Scaled Ancients, if that helps at all. ;)  Thanks for the Kickstarter pledge!

Extrasolar / Season 2 Kickstarter is NOW LIVE.
« on: September 08, 2014, 11:48:08 AM »

This is it folks.  If you'd like to play Season 2, now is the time to make it happen!

Please feel free to forward all of your friends this finely crafted link:

Thank you all for supporting us this far!

Extrasolar / Video Testimonials for Season 2 Kickstarter
« on: September 03, 2014, 11:01:22 AM »
Hello all,

The decision has come down the wire and we are in full swing -- we're planning to launch the Kickstarter for Season 2 next week.

We would love to include your voices in the Kickstarter video.  If you have five minutes and a webcam and want to send us a short blurb, that would be totally awesome.  The focus should be on why you think people who haven't played Extrasolar should give it a try.  If you can't or rather wouldn't do video, audio would also be fine, just send us a photo or avatar image to use as a stand-in.  And like in the previous testimonial thread, give us a way to credit you - first name, twitter handle, etc, and your permission for us, aka Lazy 8 Studios, to use your words and likeness for the purpose of promoting Extrasolar.

Thank you!  And thanks for playing and supporting us this far.  We are on a short schedule, but hopefully we can get these in.  Also, if you'd like to give feedback on the Kickstarter page send me a PM and I'll send you a preview link later this week.

Extrasolar / Re: We need your help: Testimonials!
« on: September 03, 2014, 10:46:03 AM »
Thanks all!  This is exactly what we're looking for.  Keith is working on the new landing page, when it's done it will look something like this:  We're also using your quotes on the Kickstarter page, which I'll post more about in a bit.

Jim if you do have a less creep-tastic photo that would be great.

Smili: We have talked a lot about Steam, and we have an in there since we were an IGF nomination (free Greenlight bypass).  The main challenge is figuring out a way to make a web based game work with Steam integration, it's less trivial than you would think.

Forwarded this on to Keith, it's now on his todo list.

Extrasolar / Re: Is there a list of all the badges possible?
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:23:26 PM »
I can't give you a complete list because of spoilers, but I believe there are 15 that you can currently earn. ;)

Extrasolar / We need your help: Testimonials!
« on: August 05, 2014, 02:18:18 PM »
Hey folks,

As mentioned in our July update we're looking at ways of improving Extrasolar's outreach.  We're working on a new landing page and we'd like to add some player testimonials mixed in with press quotes.  So, if you'd like to be featured on the first page everyone who plays the game will see, post a response in this thread with:
  • Your first name, or handle, twitter, etc. that you'd like to be identified with.
  • A link to a photo of your face.
  • A few sentences describing your experience playing Extrasolar and why you'd recommend it to new people.
  • Your permission for us, aka Lazy 8 Studios, to use your words and likeness for the purpose of promoting Extrasolar.
We'll pick our favorites and use them in the rotation.

Thanks all, we really appreciate it!

Extrasolar / Development Update: July 2014
« on: July 15, 2014, 04:14:02 PM »
Hello all!

I believe we are long overdue for a development update, so here's what's currently going on with us and Extrasolar.  Mainly:

Season 2 (and 3)

After launch the majority of our efforts were focused on promotion and fixes, but in the last couple months we've started to get serious about Seasons 2 and 3.  Pre-production is just about finished for Season 2, and we'll be moving into full-on production very soon.  Rob and I have been working closely with Lucas and Andrew on nailing down the story for both seasons and it's really coming together.  Even more exciting to me is the new locations; as was hinted at if you finished Season 1, Season 2 will be taking place on an entirely new island and it will be very different from Artocos.  I've already started roughing out the basic terrain and will be finalizing it with Andrew later this week.  That's only the beginning of a very long process, but it's an exciting start that gives us a big idea of what to expect going forward.

Speaking of a long process...

Timing and budget

It's going to be a while before Season 2 is done and launched.  We are for sure committed, but as things stand Season 2 is going to be no small amount of work and will have a much smaller budget than Season 1.  This is somewhat ok because a lot of the budget for Season 1 went toward developing tech which we won't need to do again, but it is still a much lower budget than we would like.  The hard truth is that it's been difficult for us to build an audience for Extrasolar so far.  Funds are coming in at a rate that is enough to sustain the game's operating costs, but little beyond that.  The hope was that income from Season 1 would pay for the next 2 seasons, but unless we grow our player base by an order of 50 that's just not going to happen, and that's not even considering recouping the money we put in to produce Season 1.  We're managing to stay afloat off of money that still comes in from Cogs, but the real Season 2 budget is probably going to need to come from somewhere else, which brings us to...


We're only just beginning to consider the thought of Kickstarter as an option, but unless we suddenly get an endorsement from Notch or one of our other current pursuits unexpectedly pays out big (we are, for instance, working on getting Extrasolar into classrooms) we might be turning to crowdfunding to try and get Season 2 out the door.  We know Kickstarter is no guarantee for success and if we go that route we'll be carefully considering what the best approach is, and how best to not alienate the users who have essentially already pledged by becoming Pioneer level supporters.  Kickstarter does open up some fun opportunities though.  How would you like to skype with someone on the team or meet us in person?  XRI branded swag, physical prints of photos, and having new photobionts named after you would almost certainly be on the docket.

If we go the Kickstarter route we will definitely need all the help you can give us, of course.  Apart from helping us spread the word it would be great to include things like video clips from players talking about their experience playing through Season 1.

Other things

There are still fixes and updates that will be affecting Season 1 as well as 2 and 3.  Brian got terrain decals working which allowed us to add rover tracks and will help give the Season 2 terrain a more detailed, unique look.  Keith has been spending some time on a version of the interface that works way better for small mobile screens, something that's been on our todo list forever. 

We also made this video that managed to briefly find its way onto the front page of Reddit:

Wrapping it up

Even though we're not seeing player numbers as high as we'd like we're quite proud of what we've accomplished in the last four years.  We knew going in that there was a high chance Extrasolar would never recover the costs put into it, and I'm pretty sure the team as a whole is just happy to have had the chance to work on such a unique, crazy project.  Thousands of pictures are taken every day by players and it's a joy to see every one of them and pick ones to hilight.  Plus you can't help but feel like your whole life has been validated when someone sends you pictures like this:

Keep dreaming,


Extrasolar / Re: I'm confused, how do invitations work?
« on: June 11, 2014, 02:17:45 PM »
During beta we limited the number of invitations because we were still figuring out how much load the servers could take.  This led us to an interesting discovery later when we added more: we get more new players through the invitation system when people have less invites to give out.  Our theory is that it gives the invites a sense of value, and people are more likely to send them to their friends and family that they feel would actually use them to sign up.

The current distribution is 5 when you sign up, 5 more if you get a little further into the game, and (I think) 5 more when you reach the end of the storyline.  If anyone thinks they have more than 15 friends they would like to invite to the game just ask and we will happily add more to your account.  You can also just link them to now that signups are open to everyone. :)

Extrasolar / What made you want to play Extrasolar?
« on: May 20, 2014, 10:59:42 AM »
Hi all,

We are working to put together some new promo campaigns for the game, and I thought I'd take a poll to maybe get some ideas for good angles to pursue.  So if you have a moment to comment on the following, please do!

1. What was it that most caused you to want to give Extrasolar a try when you first heard about it?

2. Having played the game, is there something that you would have found even more compelling than your answer to #1 had you known about it beforehand?

Extrasolar / Rover tracks are now in
« on: May 09, 2014, 11:27:11 AM »
Take a photo facing backwards and you just might see where you came from.

You might want to spoiler-tag that photo, Brendan  :-\
Done, sorry!

I think the colour information is probably not necessary, though.
I wanted to add it in for colorblind players, with a deuteranopia filter the aqua especially fades into the terrain pretty badly.

Thanks for the help everybody!

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