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Aleš Ulm

Dev Dairy #144 - New Direction for Exploration

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Hey there, fellow ylanders!

Even though I wasn't that visible during the last two years or so when I was Ylands Creative Director, I was still here, listening to all you had to say. For those that don't know me - I've been with Ylands right from the very first day of development, acting most of the time as the Project Lead. I helped designed the game in the very beginning when it was nothing else than a sandbox survival. For more than three years I discussed our progress and features with you, the players on a daily basis. I met with you during many conventions.

Well, guess what. Some time ago I became once again Ylands Project Lead, taking the responsibility for every aspect of the game and the direction it's heading. I would like to use the opportunity to resume our dialogue where it stopped, and, in a way, also the game.

Let me tell you how I see the current situation.

We have made huge progress with the Ylands as a platform. It's already possible to create some truly amazing games in Ylands (some are already on the way). The Editor is faster. more user friendly and more powerful and being extended all the time. And we will continue with that.

But I know that is not what so many of you are waiting for me to say. I know that you are worried about the current state of Exploration.

Right now Exploration is not what we would like it to be. There are many things that I see is wrong with it and I won't get into the details in here because in the end for me there's only one single thing that can be said. There is not much exploration in Exploration anymore. A lot of the fun that was once there is now gone.

Choice of Biomes.png
What if your game was part of something much, much bigger? With so many new places to explore? Choose, which type of Islands you want to visit next 😊 
(image WiP)

The very first thing I did when I became Project Lead again was to make sure Exploration is returned back on the path we once were on. And that's what we're working on right now and that is what you will get the first taste of in the next update 1.5. I know you've waited way too long for Exploration to become better so I feel there's no time to lose. I want to give you something as soon as possible. A clear signal that Exploration is back in big style and even if it's just the first step (even though a very significant), you will be able to tell that we hear you.


A lot has been said about making Exploration better, so now we do it. And don't worry, we won't keep you in the dark until 1.5 - quite on the contrary, we will start talking about what's going to change rather soon. 🙂 

Thanks for having so much patience and staying classy, Ylanders 😁 

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Looks good and might give a reason to play again (though the size of each of those lands is important)
Would love the portal thing brought up ages ago still though as a doorway to another world for more islands, even if it's just an excuse to add weird biomes, just something end game so we don't end up with a dominated map

When I got the game it was a really enjoyable sandbox survival with a LOT of promise and the editor was a really nice bonus, then something happened like confusion with 'keep working on the editor' being the only proper direction and leaving half baked ideas everywhere 
Exploration got abandoned, focus is mainly the editor with afterthoughts on the created games and the weird online mode which feels like a mobile game, hungry for money and empty any time I've tried it.
Hopefully it can get back on track now, it's disheartening to see it as it currently stands.

Edited by leo_chaos
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It may be a far out guess, but I sense that something is hiding under those clouds on the west side of the map O_o

Other than that, I'm glad to see @Aleš Ulm at helm and I hope for Ylands that will entertain me once again. Fingers crossed and good luck to all involved, be it devs or players. 

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Thank you thank you thank you. Please keep this promise. I am so excited!!!! You guys are understanding what we are talking about !!!! That map looks awesome!!!!!! I can't wait for the coming updates!!!!!!!! Stay classy!!!

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Once again, I have hope.  Please make the update really count, even if it is delayed a bit.

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I don't care how long it takes you, just make this the best exploration update you've ever released. If you guys play your cards right, your game will burst with positive reviews and new players. 

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This is everything I want to hear. I initially got interested in Ylands because of the survival/exploration aspect of the game. A few of the minigames can be fun, but I lose interest in them after a few minutes. Exploration and survival games keep the game interesting and have me returning for continued hours of gameplay.

 

 

Edited by spiritchaser28

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7 minutes ago, NoNoNumGum said:

I don't care how long it takes you, just make this the best exploration update you've ever released. If you guys play your cards right, your game will burst with positive reviews and new players. 

Soon in 1.5:

- Rhinos now have silly hats!

- Editor improvements 

(more Explore updates soon, stay tuned) 

 

PS: I trust you, this is just a nervous joke 😅

Edited by Miguel Preguisa
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1 minute ago, Miguel Preguisa said:

Soon in 1.5:

- Rhinos now have silly hats!

- Editor improvements 

(more Explore updates soon, stay tuned) 

This is probably the best summary of what they have done before this announcment

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Oh yeah. Now that map looks promising 😁🤗 In older versions, some ylands used to "look like that sometimes". Now they are round shaped.

Please really consider my idea of give back those high cliffs/montains close to water, not in the middle of the yland. As a option or even a generic random map generation.

Stay classy 😆

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for the first time in 2 years i am actually excited for the next ylands update. VERY VERY cool ylands team i'm super excited for this new era of ylands.

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@Aleš Ulm wears his hat everywhere even on parties 😉 

Congratulations on being back in saddle again as Project Lead! (And your 10 year anniversary at Bohemia Interactive).

 

I really like the step that was taken to "break up" the game in 2 pieces (creative/exploration) but with that also comes that the focus for both pieces needs to be 50%/50% and as many I also felt that exploration was a bit on the background, which I completely understand as the creative part (free to play) needed all of the attention to become successful and still has a big growing curve! 

 

For me personally, as a early day exploration/survival fan of Ylands, this also felt like Exploration did not get most of the attention and felt left behind compared to how creative was developed, but we did get regular updates with new content or features, as a Bohemia Interactive fan i also know the wise words: "never promise but over deliver", and with that i know that on the background a lot will be done but kept secret for as long as possible and  eventually exploration would get its steps forward it needs for the future. 

I guess it is fair to say: that time has come now, after a long time of waiting with just doing a few weeks per "exploration mission" as eventually all locations are known and resources depleted and you start a new exploration map again i really hope this will make the exploration duration a bit longer and enjoyable for the long term😄 

 

(Edit)

Ohh before this gets read in a other way than I mean it, it is all in a "positive way" as some things might be seen as negativity. 

Edited by A3_Melle
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16 hours ago, jchob said:

Oh yeah. Now that map looks promising 😁🤗 In older versions, some ylands used to "look like that sometimes". Now they are round shaped.

Please really consider my idea of give back those high cliffs/montains close to water, not in the middle of the yland. As a option or even a generic random map generation.

Stay classy 😆

It's good to see your excitement about us trying to put Exploration back on the track!  We plan to explain what's going to be in 1.5 in the upcoming weeks, but I would like to give you a quick summary of what to expect. Let me start by being completely honest - it would be foolish to expect we can fix the Exploration with just one update. We have only a certain time before the next update and projects like Ylands have a huge momentum so changing things takes time. So take 1.5 as the first piece of evidence that things are changing.
So our plan is basically this - the size of our maps are still limited by a certain thing in Unity (for those interested - it's a problem with precision in large scale games that many other large-map Unity projects -such as Rust and more - suffer from). As soon as this changes we will be able to do much more. 
If I would summarize what we want to have in 1.5 in one sentence, it would be something like this. We want to give you a large world where you will be able to travel between maps with your ship, explore the unknown and bring resources home. And since you are the classiest, I will throw in another sentence: also the days of having to restart Exploration every single time, to keep building your home over and over again from scratch will be gone.
I definitely wish I could tell you more than this, but I will ask you to wait a bit more. I think we will come up with some more detailed explanation in two or three weeks 😊

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Thanks for your reply, it means a lot not only for me but for all :)

I know it can't be done in one single update, but i'll be around to see what is still to come.

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21 minutes ago, bojo2736 said:

Why was unity chosen as a base since it has such limitations?

Because it didn't have these limitations back in the day, but one of the updates brought in these limitations and never addressed them since.

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16 hours ago, Adam Snellgrove said:

, that means we don't have 8 QA people available to play nonstop an Exploration game for a week trying to break it.

I am deeply concerned that without more significant testing, the game will always be too buggy to play no matter what the size of the islands are. 

11 hours ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

IMO, if I created Lego blocks and every time I look away everything  created with them would deconstruct, then no one would use my Lego blocks. It would have to be priority to get that issue fixed before I make more Lego blocks.

Back when this game was in early access people simply assumed that this is going to be the problem and felt ok to wait it out. 

However, once the game came out and the bugs were still there many abandoned the project.

The current situation is a situation where you lose players for lack of testing and you have no testing for lack of players.

I know you plan on more resources put toward testing. What sort of resources are you thinking? More funds, more people? 

I hope you don't mind me saying that in the current situation I feel like a little bit used. There are so many issues and we are told they won't get fixed unless we report them but we're talking about encountering 30 issues in a single session. It's really no fun to report that many. 

Something that discourages a lot of people is most of the bugs they reported (logs and all) 2-3 years ago are still unfixed. 

One example is the steam cloud issue which goes back and delete all of your progress after you have a certain amount of progress in your files. This is a very frustrating but because it saves your content but then you go back and do see that it's not there the next day and you lose all of your work. This is still happening. 


If I were making a game and people lost their progress so constantly it would keep me up at night. I can't imagine how people feel. 


As a dedicated player I feel like there might get chance in which this game will succeed over a period of years but it may never be fun or playable for anybody until it reaches that point. Therefore, I have to ask myself the question: "do I want to stay here during that time?"

 

 

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6 hours ago, Adam Snellgrove said:

Because it didn't have these limitations back in the day, but one of the updates brought in these limitations and never addressed them since.

Not just this problem, but others we have been told of.  Like the limited number of items that can be in any map.  And the limit to the number of players.  Does Arma suffer from the same limitations?

Edited by bojo2736

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20 hours ago, Aleš Ulm said:

- it would be foolish to expect we can fix the Exploration with just one update.

I couldn’t agree more, and I respect your diagnosis.

 

20 hours ago, Aleš Ulm said:

If I would summarize what we want to have in 1.5 in one sentence, it would be something like this. We want to give you a large world where you will be able to travel between maps with your ship, explore the unknown and bring resources home.

This (if honoured) is a massive (and very welcome) feature that could not only rejuvenate Exploration, but also be the first steps to rebuilding a vibrant online community again.

The concept that one could begin on their own ‘home’ archipelago, settle on it, and then venture out to visit other player-owned ports is something truly fantastic!

Imagine developing your fledgling settlement into a bustling trading port open to all sorts of players looking to trade/explore!

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6 hours ago, bojo2736 said:

Not just this problem, but others we have been told of.  Like the limited number of items that can be in any map.  And the limit to the number of players.  Does Arma suffer from the same limitations?

Arma runs on the RV (Real Virtuality) engine, and that engine is also at the end of life, for Arma3 they really pushed the engine to it limits.

That is comparing apples with pears. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, RedEagle_P1. said:

One example is the steam cloud issue which goes back and delete all of your progress after you have a certain amount of progress in your files. This is a very frustrating but because it saves your content but then you go back and do see that it's not there the next day and you lose all of your work. This is still happening. 

This gets mentioned now and again, but I don't remember ever dealing with this issue. Has to be something you reported before my time? Because if so, might be a good idea to have a look at this again and I can push it through QA to have a look at it. So what is the detailed problem, what happens and in what circumstances? Maybe make a separate thread for this, so we can find out, what is going wrong with the saving process?

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"also the days of having to restart Exploration every single time, to keep building your home over and over again from scratch will be gone.".......man I hope this is true.

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