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KAG A Look Back at 2017, and The Year Ahead

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Geti, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    Hey Folks!

    2017 was quite a year! Pull up a chair (and a tall glass of nostalgia), I figure a retrospective is in order.


    As with any multiplayer game, the community is what sustains the project - without players, there's not much to play. But this year, the KAG community have gone far beyond simple participation and play. Much of what follows is partly or wholly community effort, and we can't overstate our gratitude for that.

    I'd especially like to thank Furai, Asu, Jrgp, Galen, Mazey, FuzzyBlueBaron, MM, Cameron, Verra, Sophia, Norill, Diprog, Fuzzle, Panky, mcrifel, Ni, GoldenGuy, Tru, Terracraft, Makmoud, TFlippy, FunATuns, Monkey_Feats, 8x, the OKSA, Discord and Forum moderation teams, all the modders, and the community at large for the part they have played in the game this year!​

    Discord was perhaps the biggest community shift overall, both in the official and unofficial spaces. Discord has taken over the role that IRC used to play, but also much of the forum and development chatter. The official server has thrived, but there are also region-specific and clan-run Discord servers which cater to more niche audiences and help to sustain and engage those populations. In the official sphere, day to day development, testing, modding and announcements are all coordinated primarily or partly through Discord.

    The official discord has also reached a thousand members and is holding a give away raffle to celebrate! It will start on the 3rd and end on the 5th of January - so if you're interested in a chance at a freebie, be sure to enter!

    The open github base repository got properly up and running this year. It has been a wonderful way for community members to contribute to the game in a volunteer capacity. We've had a few hundred community contributions across over fifty separate pull requests (!) - including translations, maps, balance tweaks, code clean ups, optimisations and more.

    This has really let us fill out the changelogs of each build with things the community is very interested in, and has thankfully been mostly uncontroversial. We've endeavoured to merge in contributed work as soon as it's ready, and worked with each contributor to make that as easy as possible.

    We are looking forward to working with you in 2018, and hope to gear up this side of development even further!​

    Internal Contributions
    We've taken on some new internal contribution relationships, and rekindled some old ones as well. This has led to renewed development engine-side and the release of a few major features, fixes, and optimisations - including a new performance profiling system, faster water/fire/minimap, some significantly improved modding functionality, precache fixes, translation improvements and countless smaller fixes.

    This has been a great way for people who want to contribute beyond script, texture, sound, config and map changes to really sink their teeth into helping build the game, and also helps spread the load of communicating with the community in the development and testing channels.​

    2017 saw translation efforts take off, with Russian and French translations for the majority of the game and menu texts, as well as increased translation support across the board. We hope this increases the usability of the game for those using the translation feature so far - we're looking to finalise support and increase the visibility of the feature soon, to help accommodate more non-english-speaking users.

    We've had some expressions of interest for Spanish, Chinese and German translations as well, which can hopefully get underway in the new year.​

    Maps have been managed by a small group of community moderators with experience in map making and map criticism. They have been busily reviewing community-submitted maps on the forums and managing the mapcycle changes as appropriate, and have shown themselves to be good at communicating their process with the map makers and the community at large. This will no doubt continue to give both the novice and expert map maker a chance to bring fresh playable spaces to the game in 2018.​

    2017 was our first year of actively running more frequent large (50-75%) sales to draw fresh players on steam, and help ensure the game is affordable for everyone. We've minimised participation in bundles, as we see poor player activation rates from these, so we feel that they are likely bad for the community. We also did a charity sale which raised $1183 for unicef australia. We're happy with how this approach has gone so far, and are planning to continue with this as frequently as steam allows in the new year.​

    First DLC
    The Flags of the World Cosmetic Head Pack DLC was released this year. It had a bit of a lukewarm reception, but overall we've had expressions of interest for both a non-steam purchase option, and further cosmetic DLC opportunities. Releasing DLC is a lot more work than it seems, but it may be an option to allow players to give extended support to development without resorting to things like gameplay content splits that either fracture the player base or sow "pay to win" discontent.

    We've tossed around the idea of head packs, class skins, and emoticon packs; we'd be interested in trying each of these as development time and finances allow.​

    Looking Forward
    2018 will be a year of further polish, more open contribution, and community empowerment. Walkthroughs for contributing, formalisation of some unwritten rules, and a more transparent dev cycle are all planned. We want to open game testing even more and continue to utilise discord for testing, development and modding coordination.

    We want to improve player retention through a better singleplayer and newbie experience, and we want to get the official modded servers updated and stable again. We hope to get the compilers that we use updated which will enable many optimisations, modernisation of some of the code, and some libraries to be updated or replaced, fixing some age-old bugs. We hope to get the finances behind the game into a more sustainable place and to be more open about the state of affairs there. We want to build some fresh new vanilla content to rekindle the spark for older players, and to further enable modders to realise their dreams.​

    We know this sounds fairly ambitious, but after 2017 has gone so well, I think it's a good chance to grab the bull by the horns. We hope you'll stick around for an exciting year!

    Happy New Year to You All!
    From everyone at THD
  2. epsilon

    epsilon Assonist Donator Tester
    1. Gather Oceania
    2. KAG World Cup 2018

    KAG 2017 starter pack meme.

    Oh what a year. Thanks for everything devs!
  3. l3afysamz

    l3afysamz Shopkeep Stealer

    Probably one of the best years for KAG and THD since forever, keep on going!
  4. AgentHightower

    AgentHightower Shipwright Official Server Admin Tester
    1. Aphelion's Roleplay

    Glad to hear that the year that i joined KAG's community was one of the most influential years, let's keep on going for 2018.
    jimmyzoudcba, Geti and Varion like this.
  5. What an amazing year for everyone in the kag community! ::):
    Varion likes this.
  6. bunnie

    bunnie Haxor

    happy new year THD and everyone, may it now only get better and better for KAG! ::):
    Also - have you guys at THD thought about starting a kickstarter - perhaps to get better advertising, and maybe some free weekends? i talked about this with a few people - if you'd tell us that you need more money to advertise or develop, we would happily donate ::): let's have this in kag again (and some 32v32 ctf as well, please please please)

    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
    Varion, Geti, epsilon and 2 others like this.
  7. speaking of charities, the grand finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy) is in one week. it's the biggest charity in Poland, maybe you could contact them and do a charity sale once more
    Geti, epsilon, Gregorian and 2 others like this.
  8. Geti

    Geti Please avoid PMing me (poke a mod instead) THD Team Administrator Global Moderator

    I'm not sure we can do another steam sale so soon (and they're the only ones most players care about, though maybe PL players specifically would notice GoG or direct), but I'll bring it up with MM and look into it a bit.

    I'm not sure how a kickstarter for an old game would go, honestly. I've thought about opening a donation fund but I'd want to be more transparent about finances like the bay12 guys are with dwarf fortress - it's something we need to talk about internally.

    Direct advertising is something that it's very very hard to talk MM into, but I think it'd be worth trying, honestly.

    Free weekends are possible but raise some questions about how accounts would be handled and if the API/ingame gui stuff can handle it smoothly. It's the kind of first-impression thing that if botched (eg cryptic error messages on starting the game, either during the free weekend or afterwards) just turns thousands of people off the game.
  9. ECBicalho

    ECBicalho Shopkeep Stealer Donator

    Wise decision. Today, more than ever, the packages are a trap for games that really want to develop.
    I have the bad habit of forgetting the forum and returning to "rediscover it" six months later. ::P:
    You could highlight charity events in KAG, maybe as you did with Trench Run. Just an idea.
    Varion likes this.