When I was little I was told of the story of a beggar living in 19th century London. One day he found a 10.000 pound bill on the street. He went to a restaurant because he was hungry, and showed them the ten thousand pound bill. While they couldn't break it, they said that they couldn't let such a distinguished gentleman leave hungry, so they gave him a meal for free. Then he went to the tailor to get a new suit, but he couldn't break the bill either, but again he was given what he wanted for free. After a while, despite how well everyone he met treated him, he realized that in a way nothing had changed, he still was still stuck relying on the charities of others, because the value he had was one that impressed, but that he ultimately couldn't use.
This is where i am. I'm lost in some strange neverland between my perceived success and the reality of where I am.
I often get a few Beta requests a day, yet I cant let people in, and at the same time i need more testing. Usually betas are about stress testing and internal testing has ironed out most gameplay issues. In my case since i don't have any internal test team the beta will be far rougher and the changes may be quite significant. As you can imagine showing something in public that you have never had the chance to test yourself is very scary.
A small game should be cheaper, but running servers for LOVE is going to be roughly ten times as expensive as your average MMO since I have so few players per CPU. So when it comes to the beta I can either run only one server and only take in 200 people or I can take donations and open more servers. These are silly limitations for every one else in the industry but me.
Last week Ii was at the Nordic game conference and on Sunday I'm heading out to LA for E3. I cant really afford living a jet set life, but i keep getting invited. All this has pushed around my schedule a bit. I was meant to start working on AI last week but instead of getting in to some major surgery I have used the last two weeks to polish things up. One of the major changes is that i have now integrated cloth sim in to the engines and all characters are now rendered with full cloth sim. The cloth sim is very fast and stable, but most importantly it simulates wind far more realistic then i have seen in any other game. It is similar to Mayas N-Cloth.
If you are interested, you can download this little demo that you can play with.
While I might be traveling around the world, and my game might be valuable some day, I am still just a guy working on borrowed time in a one room apartment. While I may feel like I'm on top of the world one day, the limitations of reality hits hard another. When I get back home I will start working on the AI strategy system and once that is done, I feel like I have to take the plunge and have an open Beta. It will be a little slice of the game, that will most likely disappoint, but it has to be done.
You can carry around that 10.000 pound bill for a while and have everyone be impressed by it, but eventually you have to break it.