AQ3D AdventureQuest 3D

Embracing Player Suggestions—and our Devs, too!

Beleen | Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The challenges of adding new content to an indie game by a small passionate team of programmers, artists, moderators, help desk, playtesters, and a pink-loving gal who thinks SQL is a sound that squirrels make.   

Hey there fellow gamers and Guardians! Today we are diving into the fascinating world of game development and highlighting the challenges the AQ3D team faces when incorporating new content and player-requested features. While we always value your input, eagerness, and enthusiasm, it's important for me and everyone else to understand the logistics behind implementing new features and game content. So! Let's explore some of the most commonly requested features and the hurdles we encounter along the way, since implementing seemingly “simple” requests is not as simple as it may seem.

Content Creation 101

Creating and implementing new content in any game, especially for an indie game like ours, is a complex and time-consuming endeavor. This process involves months of dedication, programming, balancing, and testing, so our “weekly” releases actually require multiple weeks of preparation, and our big events are months long in the making. In addition to always striving to bring our beloved gamers new content each week, here are some of the most challenging aspects of Unity game development in general.

Programming: Introducing anything new into AQ3D – like Classes, events, and never-before-seen features — means writing code from scratch. Our programmers have to figure out how to code these new things into the game without breaking anything along the way (and, if you’ve ever used Unity, you know that things break ALL the time, much like my diet strategies). Programming requires careful planning, meticulous implementation, and extensive testing to maintain a smooth gameplay experience for everyone on every device, while seamlessly integrating all of that within the preexisting systems of AQ3D. 

Art and Animation: Any new item, map, NPC, monster, feature, etc. comes with its own set of visual assets like models, textures, animations, and effects. Our art team pours their palettes into creating home-grown assets that align with our game's unique style. Crafting each art piece takes time and attention to detail, ensuring it enhances both the gameplay and overall experience, while still fitting within the confines of being a mobile app *and* a Steam game simultaneously. 

Balancing: Life – and virtual life too – is all about balance. Each monster, quest, zone, and Class is painstakingly balanced to ensure fair and enjoyable gameplay for everyone. Introducing any new feature (especially a new Class) means finding the right equilibrium between strengths, weaknesses, and interactions with other existing baddies, quest strings, players, and Classes. And, perhaps most importantly of all: the fun factor! Achieving superior levels of fun plus a delicate balance requires numerous iterations and adjustments which are ridiculously prone to breaking in Unity, often causing the team to revert back to the Programming Step #1. For everything else, we keep a vigilant eye to determine if something is too powerful, too profitable, or too weaksauce. With this in mind, the Dev team stays active by making balance changes to resources, farming, gear power and monsters post release to further fine-tune the experience for everyone.

Playtesting and Quality Assurance: Unlike other AAA companies that legitimately have hundreds of QA employees, we have just a handful of adoring teammates dedicated to playtesting and quality assurance. This involves identifying and fixing bugs so that new releases integrate seamlessly with existing content, and fine-tuning mechanics before (and sometimes after) launch depending on player feedback. These iterations can take considerable time to guarantee a satisfying player experience, and sometimes require rebalancing to get things right.

Resource Limitations: We aren’t Blizzard or Nintendo, so AQ3D must operate within certain limitations… primarily budget and manpower. We believe in upholding a sustainable development process to give our players something new every week, while also maintaining a work-life balance for the game Devs themselves. Of course, big studios have the capacity to release massive content all at once, but here at Artix we try to deliver weekly releases while also working on bigger game-changers to keep the game ever-expanding and evolving! 

Updates on Player Suggestions

If you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you know I’ve been abuzz about the huge list of player feedback, requests, and suggestions that I’ve been consolidating. I navigated through 2+ years of comments and narrowed everything down to an “easy to manage” 8,000-word doc that the AQ3D team is actively reviewing, line by line. Happy to report that a lot of the player feedback in the early parts of the list had already been addressed / resolved, so yay for that! But of course there’s a lot more suggestions that have not been – or cannot be – implemented in a timely manner, so let’s review the most commonly requested ones so that everyone knows where we’re at.  

More Classes: No surprise here, but many players want more Classes. And I don’t blame ya! AQ3D is one of the few MMOs out there that allows you to change Classes at will, so why wouldn’t you want an infinite number of amazing options at your disposal? Well, as mentioned earlier, implementing a new *anything* requires a lot of programming, balancing, art, animation, and playtesting, with Classes being one of the most difficult and time-consuming things to create in Unity. Good news is that we have 4 new Classes in the works, which is super awesome since coding Classes in Unity is WAAAAY more challenging than coding Classes in Flash (like AQWorlds and DragonFable). We definitely need to give our AQ3D Devs a 👏 , 🙌, and a 👍 because they absolutely deserve it for everything that they did, do, and are doing to make all our wishes a reality!

More Communication: Oooh yes, this was mentioned a lot. And, if you can’t already tell by the length of this post and all my other DNs, I absolutely LOVE to talk so y’all might eventually want LESS communication moving forward. But hahahaha that’s not gonna happen since I’m squealing with excitement getting to experience all the newness alongside you! Suffice to say, you’ll be well informed of everything happening behind the scenes and in the world of AQ3D.

Bugs: Unless you’re an anteater, nobody likes bugs, and even AAA games are not immune to these nuisances. Vigilant players have noted various bugs they found throughout AQ3D, and Bugs are on the top of our list to resolve quickly. In fact, as soon as I published the doc to the team, Glisel, Fainal, and Fisn jumped into action, squashing bugs at breakneck speed, and it’s all thanks to players like you for pointing out the things we might have missed. Thank you!!

Dynamic Weather & Day/Night Cycles: Implementing a dynamic weather system would bring a whole new level of complexity to AQ3D of which we currently do not have the manpower for. Day/night cycles and weather would require complex scripting, art assets, and extensive programming to create realistic transitions, weather patterns, lighting effects, and atmospheric changes. Balancing performance, aesthetics, and gameplay impact presents a significant technical challenge that demands a much larger team than what we currently have. We appreciate all the wonderful comments suggesting such, but honestly (and unfortunately), it’s not something we have the power to do at this time.

Player Housing: YASSS! It’s happening! The much-desired Housing feature will entail a substantial investment in both art assets and back-end development. Creating customizable living spaces, designing furniture and decorations, and implementing systems for storage and individual personalization involves intricate coding, UI development, and comprehensive testing to ensure a seamless and enjoyable player experience. AQ3D is in the blueprint stage for Housing, but rest assured we are hiring Battleon’s best contractors to take on the job. 

More Guild Features: Another recurring player request is having more features for the Guilds. Your wishes have been granted… soonish! Blaze and the team are working on implementing all kinds of newness for you and your Guildmates. I wrote a bunch about that in a previous DN post here, and I hope to share another Guild update later this month. 

More More: What seems like a lot of content already covered is just the outer leaf of the iceberg lettuce. We addressed lots last week in our State of the Game post, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. The team is still reviewing everything on the player feedback list and relaying back to me with their honest thoughts on what can and cannot be done. There’s a lot of excitement abound with features and suggestions the Dev team would LOVE to implement, but I don’t want to accidently hint at something if it cannot be accomplished with 100% certainty. What IS certain is that these are exciting times and so much more fun is bound to come!       


We ♥️ our Players and our Dev Team too

In case it’s not abundantly clear by now, everyone here at Artix Entertainment loves the community we all built together. As lifelong gamers ourselves, we're passionate about creating new content and incorporating player feedback to make our games the best they can be. However, creating new things for everyone to enjoy is a time-consuming process that involves scrupulous planning, programming, art creation, and testing. As an indie studio, we strive for cool new things in every update we release, but balancing the wishes of our enthusiastic community with our limited resources poses significant challenges. 

Please know that we deeply and truly appreciate your suggestions and support. Everyone on our team is actively exploring ways to incorporate more player feedback into the AQ3D development roadmap. While adding new features, content, and Classes will take time, rest assured that we're pouring our passion into making AQ3D truly special and unique.

Thank you all for your unwavering enthusiasm, patience, and understanding as we tackle the logistical hurdles of game development. Together, we're forging a game that is bringing joy, excitement, and some really weird stuff to players around the world! 

Stay tuned for more updates on:

👾 Discord

🗣️ Twitter 

📘 Facebook

📸 Instagram

Warmest and coziest regards,
Beleen and the amazing AQ3D team

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