A comment thread started on the latest post from Kaalus that had nothing to do with post and everything to do with wanting zombies in the game. If you follow his blog you’ll know there is nothing unusual in that but this time there was a note of weary resignation in the comments. It was as if the players making them not only knew that Kaalus would never add their requests, but that Kaalus would never add anything like them either. That sense of something akin to defeat saddened me because no player should feel that about the game they enjoy. I replied with something I hope will be seen by Kaalus, a request for him to address his players via his blog and set out a roadmap for the game.
I’m going to expand on that quick reply here, but I’m also going to email him too. I doubt I’ll hear back, but hey ho, it’s got to be worth a try, right?
First off let me say how much I’ve enjoyed your game over the last few months. You’ve only to rifle back through posts on my blog to see how much fun I’ve had trying to survive and build a shelter capable of keeping the wolves and rain out. But you’ll also see a number of posts in which I express my concerns over the direction you are taking the game in. Whether it is the addition of mechanics to manage health or the large expansion of fauna, I’ve been vocal in my lack of understanding and, to coin a horrible marketing phrase, absence of ‘buy in’.
Now I realise that despite having bought three copies of your game, I’m just a tiny speck in a crowd, but I’d like to take this opportunity to address you personally and ask for something. I’m not going to ask you to add feature X, Y or Z and I have no intentions of mentioning the words ‘zombie’, ‘pet’ or ‘minecarts’. No, what I want to ask you for is some time and an explanation. I would very much like you to take time out of your busy schedule to put a roadmap of your ideas up on your blog. I want to understand where you are heading with the game over the next few months/year because, and I will be very candid here, I want to know if it is a journey I want to make with you.
You see, if you are going to take the game down a certain route towards being the kind of game I don’t want to play, I’d like to know now as it would save me time and you earache from more of my blog posts. If, on the other hand, you are going somewhere I’d like to go too, then I’m going up stick around and hopefully persuade more of my friends to come with me.
Every post you publish on your blog generates a slew of comments packed with feature requests and no matter what you, I, or anyone else thinks of those requests they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt your game has passionate followers who feel very strongly that it needs to expand and become more than it currently is. If you were to take my roadmap request seriously you could answer a great deal of those requests, either affirming or rejecting them, in one go. Additionally if you were to publish your roadmap on your blog as a page similar to the change log, then people could be referred there to see that the request they want is due out in the next update, is possibly going to happen one day or can never happen because of technical limitations.
A roadmap post, possibly with a Q&A in the comments, that led to a permanent but changing/evolving roadmap page on your blog would be the perfect place to address the ever-repeating calls for multiplayer, mods, NPCs, transport and breedable/tameable animals, to name but a few. Personally I’d like to know more about your thoughts on terrain generation, use of narrative structure within the game and the potential for long term replayability, although that just names my top three of several :-)
Anyway, I think I’ve taken up enough of your time with this message. Hopefully it strikes a chord with you and my desire to support Survivalcraft is clear. Thanks again for a fun game and I hope you too feel a roadmap would be a worthwhile endeavour.
Yours in play,