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2017 - JANUARY - New Years Dev Blog
Happy New Years

(Yes, I did just 'assume' your new years identity as being happy since you're probably consuming alcohol)

This last couple weeks was such a clustershmuck for me personally, hence the lack of the dev-blog, and lack of more fixes in the last update as I just did not have time between being sick, holidays, dealing with more server stability issues, etc.

But as we are entering the new year I wanted to release today's patch, including the major graphic rehaul (will state reasons below) and this community event to test out our broadcasting system, along with collaboration features.

What's in store for 2017?

I think 2017 is the year to finalize things and get them done right. I suspect IOU will get its abundance of updates and roadmap progression this year, while next year and the following will be of adding content to existing features.

The intention of all new features/additions is to ensure they can be re-used and expanded upon in the long-run, so we aren't revamping old system repeatedly.

We'll be looking at significant publishing this year between ArmorGames, mobile (Android-Only probably for now), and setting up localization for going a little more global.

We also have a lot of design issues that need to be taken care of, for example what makes a new user engaged in a 2 year old game? It's fun but there's no sense in competing with the current designs. 

I'm publishing on ArmorGames later in January. It's official, and thanks to finally having the new graphics in, we can clean up some engagement issues along the way for new users.
I don't know whether IOU will do as well as it did on Kongregate or through iourpg, but whatever, it's new players. Works for me, and we've done our research on the engagement issues, and delayed publishing IOU further long enough.

I will slowly be setting up windows to work with multiple resolutions for multiple devices/mediums of access.

Auto-updating APK's should be setup before the middle of this year for testing, then we'll be publishing through Kongregate/Gamestop on the mobile market for about as big a push as you can get in the indie flash industry. Plenty of plans for optimizing things in a simple manner to make this work/possible.

Expedition System Clearly the expeditions need to get done, like 2 weeks ago. We haven't been short of updates, but short of progress on this system is obvious. I'm finalizing the battle system for the AI battles to start, so you can begin performing the battles and upgrading your ship.

This system has a TON of room for expansion via resources, which we'll definitely be coming back to with future features.

Legendary System - The assets for this are for the most part done (just some icons). It shouldn't take long to duplicate the ascension-style upgrade system and add this one. Lets aim for Mid January for this.

Guild Rehaul - This is happening this year soon or later. Once voted upon we'll have a lengthy (or multiple) community discussions on how it will be accomplished. It's definitely a huge part of the game that needs a rehaul though to be able to expand anywhere with guilds.

Classes / Abilities - This will be happening this year as well. We have some ideas on how to accomplish this, but it will require discussions and significant testing. I would like the focus of party play for challenges to allow for strategy, not just pure DPS.

Challenges - This system is pretty clunky. I don't care to completely rehaul it (other than the window), however I would love to expand on it and make it a major source of the game's content, beyond challenge points, and more to receive resources for crafting. A daily limit for rewards is planned, but it would make repeating challenges and helping others have a more meaningful yield.

Battles -  There's room for significant improvement on monster death, coin drop / collect / animation. It's not a massive engagement issue, but it wouldn't be a massive undertaking either. Simple effect changes that could go a long way for new and old users.

Black Screen - After being idle for a while. I think it might be necessary to black-screen. Removing all animations and significant processing and provide the player with simple 'Current Status' screen. I would actually like to set something like this up for additional devices, with minimal functionality allowing you to change zones, or perform daily tasks (fishing,woodcutting, expeditions, etc) without actually having to go INTO the game. Consider it a remote management system. This feature is however one that would sit at the end of the priority spectrum, but I do feel that it has its importance factor in the long-run.

Crafting / Gear / Avatars - I really don't know if I can squeeze in avatars AND crafting at the same time. That is just an insane undertaking. I feel perhaps setting up templatable avatars, and allowing users to setup who they are as a start is the best bet, then expanding with gear/crafting with visual consequences is the best way to go. 

Pets - I think there's room for one more expansion on pets. Whether that's gear or something else. However that will likely not be a focus this year; instead the focus will be to allow users to select their pets look, instead of being bound to tiers. This will allow community created pet competitions, skins, and so forth.

Pet Upgrade Map - After discussing the simplification of this system, I'm actually considering against that, and simply allowing two parallel builds for pets: Arena-based, and Combat-Based. Arena based would be for pet arena build, and the Combat-Based would be for hunting in your party. No more having to reset to make pushes in arena, then back for hunting.

XSolla - I can't go into too much detail, but I proposed using this payment provider for non-kongregate sites as a means to be able to make purchases in a larger variety of ways, especially internationally. However I discovered something when testing it, where international conversions were....far from correct. I contacted some people and an investigation is going on. So far it's not looking good, but we'll see how things go in the coming weeks. I'm definitely looking out for users here by avoiding them until they (hopefully) resolve this conversion practice. I'd rather people wait on such purchases or not purchase at all, than support people getting scandalized by an extra 6-10% from conversion rates. I have morals, believe it or not.

That's it for now. I'm sure there's a ton more that could be mentioned here, but it's new years and I have been at this for countless hours already.

Happy New Years. Drive safe, especially if you drive drunk.

Hey folks,

Some quick updates/notes as to what's ahead this week:

New Years Event
This event will be dwindling down soon with the increased ball drops. Shut down of this event will occur on the release of the new expedition system.

The santa event will run until the next event is ready (before the 20th?) - Likely Global Warming Event

Expedition System Expansion
Already being tested now, and going fairly well. I'm finishing up on drones, finalizing some balance changes then we can look at the PvP aspect.

The PvP aspect isn't what a lot of people expected (and worried about), but we'll see how things turn out during tested. If it doesn't go well, I'll just scrap the PvP aspect.

Legendary System
The new legendary system will be worked on after the expedition system. Eta is likely for the ArmorGames release by the 24th. Probably not this week.

ArmorGames Publishing
The date proposed is the 24th....I intend on keeping that date and getting the publish out there. A few engagement improvements will be done before then, but probably not this week, so I won't go into detail yet.

That's all for now. Busy busy weeks ahead.

Sunday's are flying by nowadays.

New Years Event
This will be brought down with the upcoming patch. 

Global Warming Event
We should have the global warming event out by next week this time.

Next Patch
I'm expecting the next patch to be released in the next couple days. I'll release an official announcement the night before.

Expedition System
Ship arena will be released with the upcoming patch. PvP will not be included, and therefore this system's growth progression speed will be a fair bit slower. This will change on the PvP release.

With the release of this system you can expect a new Space Upgrade Lab as well.

There is also room left, even after the PvP system for a 2nd set of AI Challenge series for the ship arena, but that may be a few months down the road when this system is more established.

Several other changes/additions will accompany this patch.

Something's Fishy
Some fishing balance changes are up ahead. There was a significant issue with the way tackle worked, where it leaned too much on rod upgrades. We had to fix this, which would generally reduce the average fish value per day, so we're making other balance changes:

line 10% to 15% per level
bait 3% to 4% per level
FV% reward +10%
adding new space-lab upgrade for increasing daily fish value
an attack helicopter (just figured I would throw that in here)
a one-time reset on fishing upgrades due to balance changes

Also, in the list is an extension to fishing with 5 additional fishing equipment pieces,  25 new fish, and more to be able to expand with fishing ahead. We may be looking at a reduction in fish achievements (for easier 'clam' rewards) as well.

Upgrade & Ability Icons
Phew these ugly old icons....they're finally getting a rehaul. You'll see these changes in the upcoming patch. 

New Level Requirement System
We've added several new level requirements to access systems, intended to bring the process of introduction to the game at a less 'in your face' pace. The following levels are the current requirements:

-BALANCE: Woodcutting now requires player level 5
-BALANCE: Mining now requires player level 10
-BALANCE: Challenges now require player level 15
-BALANCE: Expeditions now require player level 20
-BALANCE: Fishing/Orb now require player level 30
-BALANCE: Pet Arena & Map now require player level 50
-BALANCE: Ship Arena now requires player level 100

Legendary will require 1000, and the new challenge difficulties (next month at this rate) will likely be 250, and 500.

Pet Upgrade Map
Until we can setup the two different distributions for upgrade map upgrades, resets will be FREE

Legendary System, Inf 2000+, etc
I was going to work on a few other things with this patch but this patch is already so big, that we're going to hold off with smaller patches until after the ArmorGames release coming up real quick here.

The Next Survey
The arena PvP has a good amount of backend work behind it, and players won't realize it but they'll be populating positions and scores for the intended system ahead of time. Immediately after PvP is ready for testing, I'll release the next survey for community voting.

That's it for now.

Good Evening...

I'm really burnt out today so will be keeping this pretty short.

Major Balance Changes
Inferno Cap Increase from 2k+
Some rather large balance changes are coming to inferno monsters/tiers, mostly regarding the removal of all the walls with a new formula on HP, and different gain rates for party sizes.

Among that is some major fishing balance improvements that I think will cater much better to your liking. When? Before Tuesday.

Looking at release on Tuesday, although there's a minor possibility of a 1 week delay on that. 

Engagement Updates
Will be seeing what quick changes in engagement and marketing we can perform before the publishing release.

PvP & Legendary & Challenge Difficulty Increases
A little setback by some of these balance changes, but will begin further development on this mid week, and start preparing things for testing.

Fishing Equipment Expansion
We have 20 new fishing equipment pieces lined up. Fishies are next. Better equipment, more fishvalue, more sacrifices, more SO. Might be a month before this jumps in, but figured i'd chime in about it and say Isael is in the works for the assets.

That's all for the moment. Seems like little but we've been incredibly busy...stay tuned.

**Good Morning folks...just a heads up!**

I was considering a minor marketing update regarding incentives for purchasing packs, since outside of events I haven't pushed much for marketing since the Black Friday 2015 due to some embarrassment and moral concerns, along with the fact that we were waiting a long time before we could offer a better development focus on features.

However we're moving forward with new publishing, new features, and will at some points need to push marketing to bind the game to a guaranteed long-term future.

That being said, I'll be offering an incentive for existing Diamond-Only packs with a ONE-TIME +50%, or +100% (still deciding) bonus on the users first-time purchase of each diamond pack type.

Out of  my significant respect for those who have supported IOU already, I'll be crediting anyone who purchased each type of diamond-only pack with this bonus without requiring another purchase to activate this upcoming bonus: Retro-actively.

Hey Folks - Obviously there was no dev blog on Sunday, please stay tuned. Bunch of things going on and the offset of the blog vs when things are better prepared to announce/discuss has me delaying or skipping the blog for the week.

We have ArmorGames release ahead planned for this Friday requiring some emergency attention due to the difference in the way AG accounts work, and outside of Legendary release preparations, stability fixes, engagement improvements, promotional assets organization, and a lot of tedious crap in the background with setting up new development environments for easier debugging testing in the future, I don't have much else to go on about.

Also regarding the upcoming survey, I'll just toss a date of....lets say Feb 8th as a plan for that release. PvP development is coming along, but there's a mess of preparations going on at the moment, so I just haven't had time to polish and further prepare it for testing yet.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to PM me over the next few days; just be prepared for a delay on responses.


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