Why Early Access? – (update)

Why Early Access? – (update)

When we first launched our Steam Store page, we shared here the Early Access FAQ (you can read it at Ganbatte Steam Store Page Live!).

The “Why Early Access Q&A” is a great format to reach the community and express the reasons, objectives and plans with regards to the Early Access process.

Last week, we updated heavily our “Why Early Access Q&A” to reflect our impending Early Access launch (SOON!). So in the spirit of the last time, where we wanted to archive in our dev blog the changes that Ganbatte goes through, here is the updated version.

why early access update for ganbatte competitive multiplayer vr sushi eating game

Why Early Access?

“We’re releasing Ganbatte in Early Access because we want to develop the game together with you, the Steam community, giving you access before it’s officially released. We’re in the early stages of development, and the game we’re putting out here is something that together with your input, we can build upon and enhance.
Ganbatte has both single-player as well as multiplayer modes, and we seek to create and foster a community from the ground up. Early access allows us to be in close contact with our community, providing us with a foundation to grow upon.
We are so freaking excited about this project, we want to share our work with as many people as possible, as soon as possible. But not too soon. Not before we had completed the foundation of the game, which is what we’ve been doing in the past 8 months. We’re now ready to go live. We believe that even in its current state, we have a compelling game experience.
Our goals for the official release of Ganbatte are clear. Focusing on one core game mechanic, making sure it plays and feels absolutely right. Keep our scope small, but our quality and polish very high. That small scope has one exception though: multiplayer. We believe that the best virtual reality experiences are shared, and thus we set out to make a social VR game, one that’s playable across multiple hardware platforms. We’re starting with Rift and Vive, and it’s our goal to support all major VR platforms.
In terms of visuals, we think that our team + a unique stylised art-style will get us there, we aim to make the final game feel polished and complete. Our goals for gameplay are a different topic, and we know that the best multiplayer games are meticulously balanced. Being an unknown, young and small indie team, we also realized we couldn’t get the volume of user data by means closed alpha or beta testing. This is why we decided to release the game as an Early Access title first, and use the feedback and data that the community provides to guide us towards a full release.
We believe that we’ve nailed the core mechanic and we’re now ready to move forward and work on improving the multiplayer performance, the AI, world building, extending the core concept, adding depth and replayability. What follows is a process that we’re now in, up to our ears: we’re working on network optimization, additional game mechanics, art style, music, sound, different game modes, character design, cat customization, the social and communication aspect, possible Twitch chat game interaction, level design and a whole lot more.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We expect Ganbatte to be in Early Access for 4 to 6 months. We are targeting to leave Early Access and release v1.0 in September 2018.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“We plan for the full version of Ganbatte to include improved network performance, dedicated servers, visual overhaul, improved and additional gameplay and mechanics. Additionally, Ganbatte will have different round modes, enhanced tutorial, kid-friendly auto-eat mode, height-viewing adjustment, fully functioning cat customization system, skins and accessories, achievements, steam saves, unlockables, XP, economy system, integrated event mode, guest mode, local multiplayer mode and support for more VR headsets and input devices. Future versions of Ganbatte will also include a separate Competitive Play mode, which will then take over the role of ranked game mode.
As we develop the game, things might change, get removed and added, that’s the nature of game development. It’s an iterative process. By remaining transparent, and communicating frequently, we aim to include you as much possible throughout the changes Ganbatte will go through. We want to hear your voice, and we listen to what you think of the features that we’re adding (or changing!), and learn from you how we can make the game better. We hope to collect anonymised game data to improve the balancing of the game (e.g. how the values of different sushi, their spawn ratio, and various combo systems influence the score) and as the user base grows and new features are added, how the game is used and how we can improve things like networking, matchmaking, customization and the overall game experience.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“V0.1.0 – The current version of Ganbatte includes 2 game modes; Single Player and Multiplayer, in addition to a step-by-step tutorial.

Single Player includes a vs. AI mode, in which you can take on bots at easy/medium/hard difficulty levels. It also offers an extensive Challenges mode that features a total of 28 levels to complete, at 3 difficulty levels each.

Multiplayer features Quick Match, allowing you to jump into a 4 player match and experience the core gameplay of eating sushi, throwing plates and trying to reach the highest score. At the moment this mode is ranked and players compete on the global leaderboard. Quick Match consists of 3 rounds, in which the player with the overall highest score wins. You can toggle various facial expressions of your cat, in order to express your emotions (currently 4 expressions: happy, wink, cry and angry).
Host/Join enables you to play multiplayer games with up to 4 players. Players can start a new server or join an existing one.
Note: multiplayer is currently labeled as experimental. Ganbatte v0.1.0 uses locally hosted networking using listen servers. This means that network performance will vary strongly, depending on factors such as geographic location and the server’s PC specs.
Ganbatte also includes a step-by-step tutorial, it teaches you all the controls and gameplay mechanics that the game currently offers. Furthermore, the game features 8 types of sushi and a single cat type.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes, we plan to gradually raise the price of Ganbatte as we ship new content and add more features. We believe that the game will significantly increase in value: join us for the ride now, and benefit later.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“Earlier in this text, we’ve outlined our goals and roadmap for Ganbatte. The primary tool to communicate with us is the Steam forum of Ganbatte. We want community communication to take place publicly, so everyone can give their input and all voices will be heard. This is how you can help shape the game. We aim to reply to all feedback within 48 hours. Additionally, we post a development update on a regular basis on our dev blog at the official Ganbatte website https://ganbattegame.com/. The comments section below each post is the secondary place of conversation. With this roadmap, the steam forums and our dev blog we set out to make Ganbatte grow and evolve, together with you, our community. On behalf of the team: it’s great to have you on board, let’s do this!”

* * *

Can you spot the differences between the previous version and this one?

As we are approaching the Early Access release date (soon to be announced), expect more news and updates on our social channels. Meanwhile, you can add Ganbatte to your wishlist (Steam Store page), which if you do would mean a lot to us.

Thank you for being a part of this journey, so far. We look forward to hearing your feedback, and to keep on improving Ganbatte.

– Daniela


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