Developer Update #16 – An Update on 0.3 and Beyond.

There are 3 pieces of bad news I need to deliver today.
1. Multiplayer is no longer a planned feature of 1.0
2. My brother will no longer be working on the game.
3. I took about 6 months off (July-January 1st)

The biggest piece of bad news is multiplayer. It was probably our most requested feature. We started from scratch in order to build multiplayer which slowed development a great deal. It was MUCH harder than we thought it would be. There are two reasons I’ve decided to drop multiplayer:
The first reason is time. Based on what I’ve seen so far, multiplayer more than doubles development time for me. Perhaps it’s because I’m not good at it and I’ll certainly accept some blame there. But multiplayer is complicated. It’s certainly NOT as simple as sending messages from client to server and back. You have to account for lag. You have to account for the possibility of cheating. Addressing these issues is tedious and slows down the development of ACTUAL gameplay. This fact frustrates me daily as a developer who is committed to finishing this project.
The second reason is that multiplayer is not critical for the core vision of the game. This game is about adventure, crafting, exploration, mining and world building. These are great as single player experiences. It would certainly be cool to do these things with friends. But, I think it’s more important that the core vision of this game is completed. If you disagree with this point you should know something: I’ve yet to see or hear of anyone playing Tile Miner using multiplayer. Some people have asked how they can set it up. But to my recollection I’ve not heard of anyone actually successfully setting up and playing a multiplayer game (other than my brother and I).

A few months after the last release my brother pulled back from his time devoted to Tile Miner dramatically. Since then we’ve had many discussions about it and he’s come to the conclusion that it’s not worth it for him to continue development. He’s made this decision for two reasons:
The money side: So far we’ve sold a little over a thousand copies at $5 a pop, and all money gained has gone towards paying for graphics and software for development. Any sales in the future would be split between us. Considering our current sales though, that would mean he’d probably get less than $5 a month. He can’t afford to do that.
The time side: When we started this project we thought it would take a year. MAYBE two. We are at year 4 right now and arguably only halfway done with development. Starting from scratch to do multiplayer slowed us down dramatically. So there’s that. But I can’t argue with the fact that there’s a lot more features and content we have to add before this thing is done. When he signed on to do this, he was certainly not expected to make a 4 year commitment.

A little bit about me before I explain this: I have dabbled in software development most of my life. But my primary occupation since high school has been serving in various capacities at local churches. The primary money maker in my family is my wife. She’s been a software developer since college and continues to run a business with her brother that has supported our family well. It’s allowed me to have quite a bit of freedom as far as my occupation. When the development of Tile Miner started I had just joined a team that was going to start a brand new church in another town. It took us 3-4 long years to finally arrive but this past September we launched the church and things have been going great. This is why I took the past 6 months off. A brand new church requires a lot of work.

With all that being said, I’ve been back to the grind doing a lot of refactoring and getting back into the code. I’ll try to post more regularly. I plan on giving Tile Miner Tuesday’s Wednesdays and Thursdays. My last update had a comment under it that said “nice little game but development is too slow”. That’s fair. Development will be slow. I like making sure that the things I create have quality. That’s going to take time. I felt rushed to complete multiplayer and I won’t rush again. I’ve updated the early access information to reflect what I currently expect for the games release date and features. The game will be finished when it’s finished but my best guess is 2021. Obviously, that’s a long ways off! I do however expect there to be significant updates as time goes on. I’m looking forward to the dungeon update!
What’s important to me is 2 things:
1. The game quality.
2. That the game actually gets finished!
Thanks for reading!

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