A few days a go I was out having lunch and I was thinking about punishment in games. Its a topic I have been thinking a lot about. Games with harsh punishments like permadeath can be very effective at increasing the tension, but they can also become very frustrating. In a game like love that it ultimately cooperative it is easy to fall in to trap of collective punishment. Then i thought of a interesting solution to this, a spawn timer that forced players to stay in the settlement for a limited time after dieing. If I would have gotten this idea a few weeks ago I would have just implemented it, told my players about it and seen how it would have worked out.
Love has always been about experimenting with new ideas, but I cant do that anymore. After last week I have seen an explosion in new players and interest. It has been absolutely amazing and it has been a massive success and donations are pouring in. But it also made it very clear to me that too keep changing the game like I have in the past, for the players I used to have, just wont work. Many of the new players needs less players and action, they need a calmer safer environment that doesn't change to experiment in. To them Love needs to become more stable, and not have me constantly put new experiments in there. In many ways it has already become more stable just because I am now much more happy with the game, so fewer major changes are needed (and the fact that administrating the ballooning number of servers and players is taking up so much more of my time). This however is not enough. Love needs to be able to branch for different players and skills.
This is why I have come to the conclusion that letting players run their own servers is the best way froward. Its been requested many times before, but with very few players it always felt better to have everyone gathered in a few shared servers, but now things are different. The servers are over populated.
The new servers that you will be able run yourself, will be configurable in various ways so that you can run them with or without AI, you will be able to re-seed when ever you want, you will be able to save several copies of the world, put a password on them, and pause them.... and maybe just maybe I will make some options to make Love more punishing. I will still run my own servers that will be accessible to anyone.
This was not something I planed, so I will need to take some time to work out all the details. I need to redesign a significant part of the master server architecture, and will need to expose these options in some new way. Anyone who has donated 25$ or more in the last week will have gotten an extra voucher code, that I originally intended to use as a Beta/Alfa code for some future project. Now I'm instead going to use this as a voucher code for running servers. If you have donated 10USD in the last week and now wish you had put up 25$ to get a server voucher, just E-mail me and Ill figure something out (Or you can just donate 25$ now...).
It will be a few weeks until I'm able to release the servers publicly, but I'm working as fast as I can to make them ready for public release. Luckily PCGamer has stepped up and will in a few days start running the the first beta servers that will allow me to test this. I cant thank them enough for all their support!