DrunkenGamer’s Omerta (August 2010)

So it’s time for me to once again look back on the last month of running Omerta Deathmatch. This time I have to do so with more than a touch of hubris.

For you see it turns out that things were going far too well for the last few months, no major disasters in either design or development. Oh sure there were a few tweaks here and there, and the odd feature that took a little longer to develop than expected, but nothing major.

However this month we had our first true failure. We got over ambitious and that came back to bite us in the ass – big style.

This month saw us in an unusual position, where we had to do what is known as a reset on the main international version of the game. A reset involves shutting the game down temporarily and resetting everyone’s accounts back to a starting state. The reason we do this is that after a while, as is the way with the mafia, one family becomes so powerful that they have complete control over the version.

When the game gets to this state, the family in dominance stops all new families forming and on the whole makes the game unplayable for anyone not in their inner circle. So over the years we have performed these resets, which declare the version over and a new one begins.

Now when we do this for the bigger versions of Omerta, such as the International, Dutch & Portuguese versions, we like to use that opportunity to roll out gameplay changes as well.

This time we were planning to roll out a whole new family system, which would bring new elements to the gameplay of families. This system would have replaced the current static family sizes with an expanding family system that relied on the activity of the family to progress.

However this left us with an issue – we had a date set for the International reset that was closer than we imagined it would normally take to get the changes completed. But we were so drunk on the confidence of the past few months we thought that, if we organised ourselves well enough, we could get it done in double time.

Unfortunately, as you will have no doubt have already realised, this choice was very much a mistake.

There were complications with the development, some of the features proved a lot harder to make than anticipated and all round things took longer than imagined.

We were left with two options: reset the International version without the changes promised, or push back the reset to finish the changes. We decided to ask the players which way they would like us to go.

In the end the International version has restarted without the new family system, but does have a bunch of the changes we’ve trailed over the last few months on Deathmatch.¬†Suffice to say that we will not be making that mistake again if it can at all be avoided. We’re going to try to work to more realistic development deadlines in the future.

Due to them all being busy with the start of a new version, there was no time for our players eye view of this month’s goings on. That will return next month, along with better news on the design front (hopefully!).

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