I don’t know whether we’ll get an update out this week. We’re going to Seattle to Steam Dev Days. Please don’t take that to mean that we’re rich now so we’re abandoning Rust in favor of jetsetting around the world. We’re doing it for you guys! In the meantime, here’s some stuff that is important to us – that we will be working on and thinking about.
Sales and Online Players
Sales have been strong. Stronger than strong. We really have been knocked on our arses by sales. Our plan was to release the alpha on to Steam in a low-key way and slowly build up steam until the game was in a decent state. But our player counts have exploded our wildest dreams.
So we’ve obviously felt a bit shell-shocked by the popularity explosion we’ve seen and it’s scrambled our plans a bit. We’ve had to work with GSP’s to bring more servers online – and make them more manageable via RCON and stuff. This is something we didn’t think we’d have to do for a while because we thought we’d only need about 10 servers. Then we had the DDOS issues – which has taken a week or two to get past (we’re still seeing residual attacks on individual servers/websites – but for the most part they seem to have subsided).
So thanks to everyone that has joined us on our journey so far. We’re going to be working hard to help you justify spending that $20 on our early alpha game and hope you enjoy the progress we make over the coming year.
Well over 1,000 people have been VAC banned from Rust for cheating. We have also done a lot of work on both the client and server to make some cheats impossible. That’s not to say that cheating is eradicated. That’ll never happen. Even if we somehow manage to totally stop software based cheats.. people will still be wrapping dental floss around their monitor to form a crude crosshair.
But it should now be pretty clear and obvious to people that VAC is active and if you cheat you stand a good chance of being banned. So don’t.
We have been looking at other cheat solutions. Things like Punkbuster don’t really appeal to us. We don’t like the idea of forcing you guys install a cheat client on your PC to play Rust. Especially since VAC is already installed and works just as well. There are serverside solutions like Fairfight – which do appeal.. but we’re not so sure of their effectiveness or accuracy. The last thing we want to do is ban legitimate hard working players. It’s an area we will continue to test and review.
It pains us to see people posting videos and screenshots of Rust with the grass turned off. They are obviously doing this for performance reasons – and if it gained us 20fps extra we’d turn it off too.
Performance is something we’re keeping a close eye on and looking for opportunities to improve FPS at every turn.
It’s not something that most of you have probably noticed or even care about. 128 player servers run kind of great. 256 player servers are pushing it. 512 player servers are non existent (I don’t think Steam technically even supports them). Server performance is something we hope to work on and improve.
The problems probably aren’t apparent when you join a freshly made server.. but once the server has about 50,000+ structures it will start to get laggy – and we’ll start to see periods of unresponsiveness. We’re going to have to put some tools together to catch and log these hitches and hopefully get them fixed.
Linux & Mac
Getting Linux and Mac working just as well as their PC versions is another one of our top priorities. It’s important to realize that because we’re using Unity our hands are tied in a lot of ways here. If something runs great on Windows, but runs like crap on Linux – our options are pretty limited because all the workings are on Unity’s side of the engine. In fact most of the time our best and only option is to turn that feature off on that platform. This isn’t a great solution because you don’t want to play a game with crippled graphics.
Mac users account for around 3% of our purchases and 2% of our online players. To us that means that 33% of those players either can’t start the game or aren’t enjoying the performance of it. We’re aware that some mac users can’t play the game and this is one of our top priorities.
Linux users account for 0.4% of our sales and 0.2% of our online players. Similarly to Mac, we’re losing half the users somewhere – we have work to do here.
Defense is something we talk about a lot internally. We have a lot of offense.. weapons, grenades, explosives. The only defense we have right now are doors and spikey fence. It’s obvious that there’s a gap here that needs filling. Especially when defending unoccupied homes.
When developing this gap we need to keep in mind that people are crafty and will find a way to work around it. They’ll build stairs over a fence. They’ll put a sleeping bag outside the base so when they die they can respawn there, pick up their weapons and carry on. We want to avoid adding systems to dissuade these types of behavior. If anything they should be rewarded – because they’re finding their own solutions to problems. We want to find solutions that allow the defending players to find innovative solutions to attacks. Ideally solutions that don’t involve putting a million doors in your house, or building a maze around it.
Playing with Friends
One of the most requested features, with 575 votes on trello is shared door access. This is a no brainer for us and reveals that people really want to play with their friends. They want their friends to share their house. They want to work with their friends to defend their house.
Helping people to find, recognize and work with their friends is something we try to weigh into every decision we make. For example – if you and a friend are building a house together.. who controls the house? Should just the builder of a wall be able to rip it down easily – or all of his friends too? If we help people cooperate better – maybe there will be less murders.
Helk was meant to remove Zombies before we released on Steam. That never happened. The sooner we remove them the less people will miss them.
We don’t know whether we’re actually going to have to replace them further down the line. It’s not something we want to rush into. Reskinning them so they’re ‘mutants’ instead of ‘zombies’ goes against the whole point of removing them in the first place (which is: we’re not a dayz clone anymore).
A console release isn’t out of the question. But it’s not something we’re going to be dedicating lots of time to right now.
We skipped this completely on the first run at the player model because we just wanted something that worked. Customizable faces, beards, hair is something we’re in early talks about. It’s not as huge priority as other stuff on this list – but it’s something we’re basing decisions on.