Closed Development Notice
Please take a look at this important notice about the future development of Fractured Online.
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!
October is almost gone, and we’ve been a little silent while we sprint towards the upcoming launch of the Fractured Pre-Alpha, which we are now glad to announce is really behind the corner.
That’s not the only great news this month has brought, however. Let’s cover them all!
It’s happened! Dynamight Studios has officially joined Improbable‘s Games Innovation Program!
What is it about? In the words of Improbable:
Thanks to our partnership with Google Cloud, any games that are built upon the SpatialOS platform by members of the SpatialOS Games Innovation Program will receive subsidies that will substantially or completely cover the costs of cloud-based online development. The program awards SpatialOS credits that will cover SpatialOS and Google Cloud usage costs, including underlying server fees, during development. This is the largest development subsidy of its kind.
We find that really cool for two reasons:
Want to find out more about Improbable and SpatialOS? Check out their website! 🙂
For all of you who don’t know about it yet, the Fractured Pre-Alpha is a time-limited testing phase to be run before the start of Alpha 1.
Access to the Pre-Alpha will be granted to the players with the best ranking in The Foundation, specifically those who sit in the TOP 100 Leaderboard, plus a few others selected among those who have won one or more weekly drawings. Access to the Pre-Alpha is limited to that testing phase, unlike access to Alpha 1 and beyond, which is permanent and can be purchased on our store.
The are a couple significant news about the Pre-Alpha which you should really know about, so here we go!
First of all, the Pre-Alpha was set to start 1-2 months before Alpha 1, as explained in our Playtesting FAQ. Since Alpha 1 is planned for December this year, the Pre-Alpha should have been October/November. However, in our development roadmap we’ve been a little too optimistic and announced specifically October as the launch month, while right now it’s pretty clear we won’t make it. Apologies for the confusion and the false hopes. We can confirm now that November is the month!
Secondly, while we’re planning to let over 100 players in the Pre-Alpha, invites won’t be sent out all at once but gradually over the course of a couple weeks or longer. The selection order won’t be based on ranking but on our own discretion.
To conclude, I know some of you are now asking yourselves “will this delay on the Pre-Alpha have an impact on the launch date of Alpha 1?”. The answer is: we’re not sure yet. As of today, Alpha 1 is still planned for December, but a 1-month delay or so on that too is not to be ruled out. Only the Pre-Alpha will tell!
The unlocking of our stretch goals is moving on at a steady pace. This month, the Lich Transformation has been reached! Like Beastmen and Demons, Humans will also have the chance to evolve their race – in their case, without being locked into an Evil or Good alignment.
Want to find out more about what it means to be a Lich? Check out this wiki entry, an extract of the info we released during our Kickstarter campaign!
In the last few weeks, we’ve had some internal discussions on how to keep you all up to date with the development of Fractured now that the team is 100% focused on the production of Alpha 1.
Writing news posts like this one has proven not to be a feasible route – it takes way too long, also considering each article is coupled to a press release and a newsletter, which makes it even more time-consuming. It’s something we can do once a month, not once a week or more as you deserve.
The solution we came up with is to open a channel on our Discord and a series of forum threads labeled Content Pills, where we’re going to post screenshots and short videos on a regular basis, with a brief caption explaining what you’re seeing (if needed). There are separate threads for discussion, and we’ll try to reply to as many questions as we can there!
A new milestone has been achieved: Fractured now has over 40,000 registered users!
At the time of the last update on the matter in June, our community members came from 128 different countries, with the TOP 10 being claimed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Italy, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Poland and Vietnam.
Today, our followers come from 150 different countries – that’s over 3/4 of the countries of the whole world! The TOP 10 is pretty much identical, the only difference being Vietnam that lost the 10th spot in favor of Spain.
That’s it for today.
See you soon and, as always, don’t forget to let us hear your voice on our community boards and social media!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!
After a long hiatus in updates due to summer vacation and the total focus of the team on the production of Alpha 1, it’s time to get back on track!
A couple weeks ago, we’ve asked you to cast your preference on the topics to be prioritized in the upcoming feature spotlights. The Alpha 1 map was the clear winner there – so here it is!
A couple words of warning before reading on:
And now, let’s add some more info to this map!
Myr is one of the three continents of Syndesia. Its size is about 40 km2, roughly 1/4 of the total land area currently designed for the planet.
Being located in a favorable location of an already temperate world, Myr has a very mild climate all around. On one hand, that’s a blessing, as it makes it easier to forage and run cultivations, plus it lessens the need to produce specific clothing to deal with harsh temperatures. On the other hand, it means it’s deprived of several unique resources that can be found in the more extreme biomes available on the other continents.
The map, as you’ve surely noticed, is already large – likely more than you expected. The reason is that travel and exploration are key components of the Fractured experience, and that requires distances to be meaningful. At the same time, we don’t want the world to feel empty – that is why we’re going to adjust the number of points of interest based on player population to avoid excessive dispersion.
Of course, the Pre-Alpha and Alpha 1 will be crucial in defining whether we got everything right, so worry not – we’re ready to make all the adjustments needed!
Each black dot on the map represents a so-called “town spot”, a location where a player-run settlement can be started.
The average size of a town spot is 256 m2, which means it can host well over 100 buildings – perhaps even 200 with careful planning. This means a medium-to-large guild can have all its members living in the same town, while it’s convenient for smaller guilds to band together and share the same settlement.
As you can see, town spots are located far apart from each other – you have to travel for at least 1km to move from one town to the other, and that’s only in the very best cases. Usually it’s twice or more than that.
Running for 1km takes about 5 minutes on rough terrains (assuming a realistic player behavior and a non-straight path), slightly less on a proper road that grants bonus movement speed. This means that a town-to-town trip is often a little adventure that requires some preparation, and it could turn into an actual challenge when travelling through unfriendly biomes and/or at night.
With such distances and such wide spots, you might be wondering whether large guilds should focus on owning multiple towns or focus on a single one. The answer is definitely the latter. A town needs several public buildings to be 100% functional, and there are serious benefits in making it as populated as possible – also related to how well it can be defended. Running multiple settlements instead is demanding, and they can easily be lost to your enemies!
Mines are the primary source of minerals in the universe of Fractured. While minerals can theoretically be found anywhere on Syndesia thanks to events such as falling meteorites, the latter are rather rare occurrences, unable to sustain the needs of an organized group of players.
Mines are (almost) always located close to a town spot to which they are connected by easily walkable paths. A town can’t claim control of a mine directly – everyone can potentially enter it and dig minerals. However, the ores extracted are a heavy resource that can only be carried by hand or in handcarts and wagons, just like the wood logs you can see in the Syndesia Kickstarter teaser. Moreover, ore can only be processed in specific town buildings – not in temporary crafting stations in the wild, nor in personal land plots. This means that a mine can de facto be exploited only by the citizens of the closest town.
Roads are predefined paths on the ground that connect town spots and other important world locations. Walking on a road grants a movement speed bonus that changes according to the type of road (paved vs unpaved) and its condition.
Since the planets of Fractured are large open worlds, we’ve designed roads to be quite straight and easy to navigate – no need to make them unrealistically convoluted to slow players down.
In Alpha 1, the implementation of roads is basic – they can’t be improved and don’t decay over time. Later on, we’re planning to expand the system to include the active participation of players in the creation and maintenance of the road infrastructure of the planet.
As you might have noticed looking at the map, Myr includes plenty of rivers, and most town spots are located close to one of them.
Rivers in the plains of Myr are often shallow and quiet, featuring plenty of fords that can be crossed by players who aren’t carrying heavy loads. This makes it easier for explorers to move around, while still requiring merchants to follow the main roads that feature large bridges.
As of today, swimming is not planned, and sailing is not in the list of topics for Alpha. However, the proximity of towns and rivers is definitely not a coincidence! Transportation of players and materials through boats is something we’ve planned to implement later on – and when we do, it’s going to shake the worlds of commerce and warfare!
Yes, yes, it was about time. Kickstarter pledges are finally integrated with Fractured accounts!
Want to make sure yours has been imported correctly? Just have a look at your account menu – it will tell you what your pledge pack is.
You’ve pledged but the menu still says “none”? Well, there are two possible reasons for that:
Either way, please get in touch with us though a Kickstarter private message. Make sure to specify your correct Fractured account username in the message, and we’ll take it from there.
As for the rewards associated with each pack (such as forum titles), we’re going to get those working in the coming months, before Alpha 1 begins. We’ll likely couple their implementation with an update of The Foundation, which badly needs some new content!
The reason we’re being so slow in rolling these updates out is that we’re almost 100% focused on the production on Alpha 1 to meet the tight deadlines we’ve given ourselves, so the whole “web part” of Fractured can’t get the love it deserves. We’ll do our best to follow both properly anyway!
With pledge integration completed and the launch of our store upcoming, we can say the value of a Fractured account has grown considerably. Several of you have requested additional protection measures for when this day would come – so here they are!
The Account Guard protects your account from being stolen if someone gets hold of your password by asking you to authorize each new device or browser you use to login. To authorize the device and complete the login process, you are required to input a code sent to your email.
This feature requires cookies to be active in your browser to work correctly, otherwise you’ll be asked to authenticate the same device over and over each time you log in. It can be disabled from your account menu, but we highly recommend you bear the little annoyance and keep it active!
It’s ready! But not live yet, as you can see. The reason is we’re waiting for the almost 100 people who didn’t respond to Kickstarter surveys to get in touch, and to see whether everything works fine with the new website updates. Yes, we’ve haven’t just added a new navbar and the Account Guard, there’s also been some code rewriting being done in the background.
A small anticipation that will surely be appreciated by many of you who missed our Kickstarter campaign, could not pledge or had Kickstarter fail to withdraw money from the bank account: the Fractured Store will also include a few units of the Kickstarter Early Birds!
That’s it for today.
As always, let us know what you think of this update… and brace yourselves for the Store!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!
Today, we’re going to tackle another topic which has been discussed aplenty, with lots of sensitive feedback from the community: regional servers and localization.
As some of you may recall, our initial plan was to have one single game server that players from all over the world would connect to. This decision was not due to technical reasons, but a specific game design choice – we wanted to create a unified, truly international experience, without splitting our userbase.
Well, it turned out this was a very clear situation where our vision conflicted with that of our community. Many of you reported to us unsatisfying experiences in other online games that adopted the same solution, and more stories of the like.
Hence, we started revising our plans. We tested out the smoothness and playability of the game, deploying servers in the US and connecting from the EU, where Dynamight is based. We touched base with Improbable – which, if you don’t know, is the company behind SpatialOS, our amazing backend engine and hosting platform. We even mentioned the topic to a couple of the publishers interested in Fractured.
The feedback was unanimous: in an RPG with action combat, where quick reflexes and skillshots lie at the core of combat, latency matters. Surprising, right? (*sarcasm*). Hence, here we go with our new plan!
SpatialOS relies on the Google Cloud for hosting, which features centers in the following locations:
If Google does, so does SpatialOS – and it’s available to us already, which means we can make use of it in Alpha 1 – Test 1 if we want to. Cool right?
Of course, the fact we can deploy servers to all these locations doesn’t mean that we should. Splitting the userbase too much would have negative consequences on gameplay – a bit of latency is better than an empty world. Hence, the plan follows.
If the playerbase is somewhat low, we’ll start Alpha 1 with a single game server, located in US East, which is a good compromise for NA, SA and EU players.
Once the userbase grows (or from the start, if large enough), we can start deploying regional servers. The first obvious split is from US East to US Central + EU Central, but that’s really up to player demand. Eventually, we could have a full server layout as such:
The fact our own backend for player data is also based on the Google Cloud allows us to potentially move a whole game world overnight. The fact we’re going to have time-limited testing phases while in development allows us to adjust everything before the start of each according to demand and data from the previous one. Hurray!
Our plans on localization were never a secret. However, we hadn’t approached the matter organically before we started working on Alpha 1.
Today, we can finally confirm that Fractured will be localized in the following languages:
Although Portuguese and Russian are considered high priority, that doesn’t mean we’ll get those done first, then the others later on. In fact, the most likely route is that we’ll tackle the localization matter all at once during Alpha 1.
Since we started working on Alpha 1, we’ve built the management of in-game texts to be translation-ready. We’ve recently reached out to a couple localization agencies too – haven’t reached an agreement yet, but we’re getting there. On top of that, we’re planning to get additional help from of our awesome community (which has already done many translation miracles!) through web tools like CrowdIn.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the languages above are the only ones we’re going after. Right now, 90% of our non-English community comes from countries speaking those languages, hence the pick. In the future, more may come!
That’s it for today.
As always, let us know what you think of this update and let’s keep the support for our Kickstarter campaign going strong. 9 days to go, we can make it happen!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast!
Since we started our Kickstarter campaign, a development roadmap has been one of the updates most requested by the community. In the beginning, we were wondering whether to focus on Alpha 1 or provide an overview from now till full release. In the end we came to a conclusion: why not both?
So, without further ado, let’s get to the point – with a small clarification first!
The development of Fractured from now till full release is split into 4 large periods of time, called development phases (or cycles). In chronological order, they’re named Alpha Phase 1, Alpha Phase 2, Beta Phase 1, Beta Phase 2.
Here’s a recap of the cheapest pledge packs you can buy to get access to the game within each development phase:
Within each development phase, we’re going to run several time-limited tests, spaced out by some downtime during which we can focus on integrating feedback and completing new features.
The phase we’re currently under is (quite obviously) Alpha Phase 1. The first test planned for this phase is Alpha 1 – Test 1, and it’s coming soon: December this year!
Below you can find an infographic with the expected starting dates of each testing phase from today until full release.
Before moving on to the next point, a couple caveats on the info displayed above.
Yes, it takes time to build an MMO. Whoever is telling you “we’re making an ambitious MMO and it’s going to hit full release in one year!” is either overly optimistic or downright lying. Or is a AAA studio that has deployed a 100+ people team on the project since the start, but that’s a different story. We’re taking the honest route: it’s going to take 3 years more to get Fractured to full release. While it may seem long, we’re committed to making the game already enjoyable in Alpha 1, which is doable – more on this in the next section!
Also, the time estimates above are based on a multitude of forecasts – from revenue streams and team size at any given time to various technical factors. While we’re trying to be as precise and realistic as possible, some predictions may prove to be wrong, causing changes in the schedule (negative or positive). Were those to happen, we promise to be totally open to you on the reasons why and on everything that’s going on behind the scenes.
And now, let’s get into the details of Alpha 1 – what it means for us and what you should expect from it if you’ve purchased the Knight pack or higher in our Kickstarter campaign.
In a nutshell, the aim of Alpha 1 is to complete all the core features of Fractured, which will become playable over time in 4 planned testing phases. It’s a pivotal period in the development of the game, where features will be iterated on until they play smoothly and find the approval of the community. By being part of it, you’ll have the unique occasion to be able to shape the foundation of the game through your feedback!
Our aim for the very first testing phase, planned for December this year, is to have an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that can already provide a meaningful experience to you and to the publishers that have shown interest in Fractured. You’ll be able to gather resources, craft, build, enjoy PvE and PvP – in two words: have fun!
As stated in the first SOTG update, Humans and Syndesia have been the primary focus of our work so far. This is because Syndesia is the most varied of all planets (in terms of possible biomes), and it’s the middle ground between the PvE/cooperative ruleset of Arboreus and the PvP/competitive one of Tartaros.
For the first testing phase in December this year, it’s indeed likely you’ll be able to play as a Human only. We’re going to implement a unique temporary ruleset for Syndesia as long as it’s the only planet, leaning on the cooperative side, to make the testing of crafting, towns and PvE easier.
Over the course of Alpha 1, we’re going to bring all the three planets and races to life, building on what you were already able to see in the first teaser video and the Kickstarter video. Given how many of you are here because you’re enticed by the Three Races, Three Gameplays paradigm, which is undoubtedly one of the most unique features of Fractured, you can be sure it will be given the due priority!
We’ve spoken about them at length in the last Q&A livestream linked above.
This feature will already be live in Test 1!
Crafting in Fractured can be roughly divided into two sections:
The former will be quite complete in Test 1 already, the latter more simplified, to be expanded during Alpha 1.
Together with crafting, town building will be king in Test 1 of Alpha 1. It can roughly be divided into the three sections:
Points 1 and 2 will be there in Test 1 (the latter in a minimalist fashion), with lots to be expanded later on during Alpha 1. The conflict side will likely see the light towards the end of Alpha 1.
The Knowledge System is another big reason why many of you are following Fractured – we know that.
As much as we’d love to have it already in Test 1, that’s hardly possible, since it requires all the other systems to be in place (with a decent amount of content) to make sense. You need plenty of creatures to interact with, locations to explore, and so on. Therefore, it will be implemented later during the Alpha 1 cycle.
That’s it. We hope we’ve been able to give you a good overview of what’s coming in the next, exciting months.
Stay tuned for the spotlights on player-run towns and keep up the awesome support for our Kickstarter – 57% funded, 12 days to go… We can make it happen!
Hi, fellow gamer and MMO enthusiast! With this article, we’re releasing the first issue of a new type of Fractured blog post: a State Of The Game update!
The aim of this new series is to give you a detailed account on the progress being made on the development of Fractured – including what features we’ve added and what challenges we had to face.
Before starting, I shall lay a necessary preamble: while Fractured as a project was started in January 2017, the first months of work at Dynamight were largely spent setting up the company, hiring, defining game design pillars and core features of the game, choosing tools and technology, getting familiar with SpatialOS, prototyping and preparing the public face of Fractured (this website!). Work on Alpha 1 has actually started in August 2017, so everything below is the result of a little more than 3 months of work by a single (full-time) front-end developer and a (part-time) back-end developer!
Our home page and that of Improbable already explain why in 2017 SpatialOS is the best platform to create a next-gen MMO with the ambition of Fractured, so let’s not dwell on that again. What some of you might wrongly infer from that, however, is that SpatialOS provides developers with some sort of “basic MMORPG layout” to build on. That is definitely not the case: we had to build everything from the ground up, and we went straight to the networked way.
In the following paragraphs, I’m going to briefly recap the first steps we took to implement a basic MMO gameplay.
Of course, the development of gameplay is only half of the job while laying the foundation of an MMO – there’s a lot that happens before you enter the world, and also a lot that goes on behind the scenes while you play. Simultaneously to the above, we also created:
This was just the beginning. Now, let’s get deeper into some of the works described above, and the main challenges we had to face when developing them.
SpatialOS gave us the server architecture to create an open world of virtually unlimited scale. That alone is simply amazing, but it solved only half of the problem – we had to figure out ourselves the puzzle of client-side world building. It wasn’t much of a technical issue there, but rather one of game design: how can a small company without an army of level designers pull off such a gargantuan task?
The answer, we knew, was procedural world generation followed by human polishing.
Over the last couple months, we have defined, furiously thrown away and re-defined the world building tools and pipeline in a seemingly endless loop of never-satisfying iterations… until we made it!
Today, I can gladly announce we’re able to quickly generate large portions of maps which perfectly fit the mechanics of an MMO with isometric camera and ARPG combat. Exciting maps, with the detail and variety you’d expect from a AAA production (but made by an indie team). That’s cool, isn’t it?
If you have been following the development of Fractured, you should know already that we think static, boring combat is one of the biggest issues of several sandbox titles, and that we are committed to revitalizing the genre by making it collide with the exciting world of ARPGs.
Developing a good action combat system in an MMO poses several challenges. First of all, reaction times must be quick: provided you have an acceptable latency, your character should respond immediately to your commands. At the same time, the position and actions of other players on your client should be cleverly simulated while keeping their movement smooth and without consuming too much bandwidth. Damn!
Reading the above, you should understand how our basic movement system wasn’t obviously up to the task, and had to be largely improved. While we did it, we added pathfinding and smart obstacle avoidance, until we came at what we have today – a good compromise between smoothness and performance.
We started with a punch-throwing mannequin – now we have an ass-kicking human warrior able to wear armor and hold weapons and shields!
To get a more meaningful feel for the combat, we developed the first set of weapon parameters, such as 1/2-handed, base damage and speed, range, area of effect (shape and size), accuracy, mobility, and a few others. Out of those, we created 6 different weapons (unarmed, short sword, great sword, spear, crossbow, bow), each with its own unique advantages and weaknesses in different scenarios.
Once weapons had been completed, we moved to spellcasting, creating a few spell archetypes. Among those, we can mention different types skillshots (projectiles travelling in a given direction or effects spawned in a given terrain location), beams and sprays (continuous aimed spells with different shapes), and generic targeted abilities (either with immediate effect or projectiles following the target).
Once more, everything that has been added so far combat-wise is just a portion of what will be present in Alpha 1, which in turn is a glimpse of what Fractured will be in full release.
Our implementation of creatures in Fractured is still basic, but fully functional. As of today, the two main parameters that regulate a monster’s behavior are its attitude and migration.
A creature’s attitude represents its behavior towards you. It might attack you on sight, ignore you unless provoked, or even help you in situations of need. For the time being, what attitude a monster assumes is only regulated by the family it belongs to, but in the future it will be determined also by your race, location, time of the year, and action record.
Migration determines whether a creature always inhabits the same area or moves around the world. This implementation is also simpler now than it will be in the future, when we’ll implement proper migratory patterns and other complex behaviors (such as relocating to new food sources or more favorable environments).
As for the types of creatures implemented, we have a decent variety of forest animals (bears, wolves, boars) and classic fantasy foes (such goblins, trolls, kobolds).
Even with demons being the favorite player race by a slight margin (see below), we’ve chosen Syndesia and humans as the first race and planet to work on for Alpha 1.
This decision was quite obvious – Syndesia is the most varied of all planets (in terms of possible biomes), and also the one with the ruleset that can accommodate the largest amount of Fractured players. From an artistic standpoint, humans are also the quickest race to work on, since they don’t feature different families with unique body shapes and looks as demons and beastmen do.
We’ve selected a mountain area as the first biome to produce art assets for. This is definitely one of the most “classic” types of environment for a fantasy game, but again, it has allowed us to produce a decent amount of variety (forests, plain valleys, streams, rivers, lakes) in a relatively short time.
In this final section, let’s have a look at something beyond the development of Alpha 1. It’s been a long time since we’ve updated you on the growth of the Fractured community! Moreover, there are a few other things we’d like to let you know about.
As of today, Fractured has over 5,000 registered accounts. Registrations have slowed down considerably compared to the first month after the project was made public, but we strongly expect they will resume faster than ever as soon as the first screenshots and video footages are released.
Back in June, our community members came from over 70 countries, with the TOP 10 being claimed by Brazil, Vietnam, United States, Russia, Italy, Canada, UK, France and Ukraine.
Today, we have accounts registered from 100 different countries (that’s more than half the number of countries in the world!), while the TOP 10 looks a little different too: the United States have taken the lead, followed by Brazil, Vietnam, Russia, Italy, Germany, UK, Canada, France and Ukraine.
As for the choice of race, we see a perfect tie between humans and beastmen – each chosen by 31% of the userbase, while demons are the most popular selection (37%). Overall, this is a very balanced outcome and we couldn’t be happier by that!
As previously announced in a popular forum discussion, we’ve decided to tackle the issue of fake accounts not knowing they’ve been kicked out of The Foundation and never-active ones gaining levels passively and accruing rewards to the referring player.
When opening The Foundation page with a fake account, the scoundrel now correctly sees its account being level 0, with a new warning message explaining why that is happening.
Moreover, from today on, new accounts no longer generate Daily Points (down from the 15/day they accrued before). Instead, they only start generating Daily Points once they reach level 10, where the first “+5 Daily Points” reward is given out.
We’re glad of how far we’ve gone in barely over 3 months with such a small team of coders, and we’re excited to think of how fast we’ll become once the project receives proper funding and our devs at least double in number. Such is the power of the Unity + SpatialOS combination, coupled with some serious effort and passion for what we’re creating!
Reading this post, you’ve likely noticed that work on some of most unique features of Fractured – such as the many chances of interaction with the environment or different races – hasn’t started yet. Similarly, the bulk of the “sandbox” side of the game (resource gathering, crafting, building) is still missing.
Looking at our development speed so far, the fact there’s still one year left to the planned start of Alpha 1, and the fact a Kickstarter and subsequent team expansion are going to happen in between, we’re confident we’ll deliver all that’s been promised. And oh, did we mention screenshots and game footage are almost ready to be released? Keep an eye on the next updates!
See you soon and, as always, don’t forget to let us know hear your voice on our community boards and socials!