Dev Diary - Sept 2017

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Supreme Ruler
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Joined: Jun 04 2002
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Location: BattleGoat Studios

Dev Diary - Sept 2017

#1 Post by Balthagor » Sep 19 2017

Sometimes when writing it can be hard to know where to start. For me, the last 12 months have been a rollercoaster, both personally and professionally. This fall I have the opportunity to slow down and take stock of things. The same is true for the studio, having successfully completed the 8th project on the Supreme Ruler series, and the ground work begun on our next (still unannounced) project. In Project Management, taking time to document your lessons learned is an important part of closing out the project. Hopefully by sharing some of this here, all of you in the community will have a better sense of what to expect moving forward.

Like may game studios, our work is project driven. The work hours and team size are most significant during the main development phase of a project. This was one of the factors that made returning to the studio in February so exciting for me. We had trimmed down our resources so that we could support the Supreme Ruler series over a long period of time but with limits on what could be achieved. The undertaking of an additional Supreme Ruler title offered an opportunity for another push on improving the engine and this allow us to build up our team again. We knew that our wishlist, built up over more than a decade, could not be emptied with this one additional project. It would though allow us to tackle some of our important priorities. Two in particular were important to me from an engine standpoint - Steam Multiplayer and performance improvements. And in terms of features for the new title, I had three that topped my wishlist - trench warfare, chemical warfare and rail transport. Now that last one didn't quite make it yet, but remains a feature we will be adding post release. We also have a few more models and map fixes in the works for the next update.

Now that the game is out, I'm happy to say that the engine improvements in particular have performed better than expected. The game speed is notably faster than before, and not only for early maps with limited units with short spotting ranges. Even multiplayer game performance has notably increased. And the matchmaking is now much easier than before. Although the community segment that play SR online is still small, it's nice to see an open lobby from time to time when I check out the multiplayer menu. And SRGW has been very well received by the community. Our Steam reviews have been very kind. And we're quite proud of what we achieved. So the question becomes, now what?

For myself, much of my involvement in the studio is winding down. I'm currently taking some college courses and doing some contract work for another studio. But I have agreed to put a bit of my time each month into support and maintenance. I've been part of seven of the eight Supreme Ruler projects, it's hard to let it go. And if some of you are wondering why my personal schedule is relevant, the long time community members will know that I am often the "face" of the team. I don't want people to think I'm ignoring them if my response time and frequency is suddenly much lower.

But we will continue to track the issues and feedback. We also have looked a little closer at the mapeditor which isn't officially released, but that some very smart community members were able to find. See our forums if you'd like to know more. The one thing that's still unclear is if the focus will be more on SRU, SRGW or both. That will likely depend on what's seen as community interest. We'll also look for things we can update that add to both. And, of course, rail transport. Our next step will be to update the Roadmap and FAQ thread. We'll try and find all the most relevant questions and put the answers in one place.

Thanks again for your support!
Chris Latour
BattleGoat Studios

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