February is almost over and as many of you know and have been waiting for, this was the months we planned to go into Early Access on Steam. Unfortunately, due to a series of events we’ve chosen to postpone the Early Access release once again. We understand this must be very disappointing and infuriating, but with the time at hand we are simply not able to create a version of Mechanic Miner that we believe meets the standards which an Early Access game should have.
In the following I’ll explain why we are delayed and how we intend to reach Early Access.
What we have been doing until now
A few months ago (December 2018) we released the lootification patch for Mechanic Miner. Unfortunately, this patch was 2 months delayed which meant that everything else was pushed 2 months including the release of v.0.5.0 (the Early Access version).
During the last couple of months we have also spent a great deal of time working on multiplayer, which is also partly the reason why we’re delayed. Fortunately, we have come a long way, and we suspect that a test version of multiplayer will be ready for testing in the near future. Multiplayer is a feature that absolutely needs to be available on or before Early Access release.
To save some time, we decided to stop developing on Mod-support and start developing on v.0.5.0 (and multiplayer in parallel). Consequently, this means that Mod-support won't be implemented before Early Access. For those who are very excited about Mod-support, don’t worry we’ve already come a long way with it and we want to implement it shortly after Early Access release.
Early December we started working on the revamp of act 1; one of the biggest changes coming in v.0.5.0. The plan was to have this done late January, leaving us with only a few weeks to polish the game (which we later found was not enough time).
Now we are at the end of February, and are just finishing up the revamp of act 1, while still trying to get an overview of what’s actually missing before Mechanic Miner is ready for Early Access.
Another reason for the delay is funding. Unfortunately, developing a game is not free and for a long time we have been looking for a publisher for financial aid. This has been a long and slow process which did also consume a lot of time. Time that could have been used on developing the game. Fortunately, we recently got funded by the Danish Film Institute, which will allow us to develop on Mechanic Miner for quite some time without worrying about funding.
Polish is important!
Although multiplayer and funding is on track, we concluded that the few weeks we had scheduled for polishing was simply not enough.
Obviously, polishing is extremely important, and we truly believe that Mechanic Miner is in dire need of a great shiny polish before being called Early Access worthy. Currently there are a lot of issues that needs to be resolved during the polish-phase.
First and foremost, there are all the bugs. We currently have over 100 bugs recorded, while many of these are small, the sheer number of bugs means that a player regularly stumbles upon bugs, which we believe greatly reduces the fun of playing. This has to be fixed.
Another issue Mechanic Miner is currently struggling with, is the first impression and onboarding of new players. Looking at our alpha testers, we see a lot of new players only spend approximately 1 hour in the game. Although Mechanic Miner has a depth that allows players to construct unique and creative contraptions, understanding the game mechanics is just too much of an inconvenience for new players which means many players simply give up before reaching the “fun part”. We believe this is a major problem, a problem we’re already working on resolving.
Pushing the Early Access release will provide us with the necessary time needed to polish the game properly and have a working multiplayer feature ready. In other words: Releasing a version of Mechanic Miner of much higher quality, thus much better suited as an Early Access game. Furthermore, reaching this goal should be much easier now that we are financially secured for some time. We’ve chosen not to set a specific date for Early Access release yet. When we have gotten the complete overview of what’s missing, we’ll announce a date - we suspect this announcement should arrive in March.
Feel free to comment below. If you want to help us improve Mechanic Miner you can sign up for the closed alpha on our homepage or join our Discord.
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