May 302015
 

Pyramid OverworldOne of my big struggles this past year has been in communicating my development progress (and for many months last summer/fall, the lack thereof). Especially when it comes to the Key of the Exiles content expansion, I’ve felt self conscious posting previews etc. in the face of so many delays. My reasoning has been that long time players probably don’t want to preview what’s in the works; they just want to play it already.

The feedback that I’ve been receiving, however, runs contrary to that. Even in the absence of a clear release date, many oldbies are curious about the expansion and want to know more about it. NEStalgia also continues to sell really well on Steam, meaning that there are lots of new players discovering the game every month who want to see more signs of progress from the dev team.

All in all, I think that most players want to hear from me on a regular basis – even if I don’t have much to report. Therefore, my plan this summer is to drop the “only show up when you have something to say” approach and trying something new.

From here on out I’ll be posting weekly development blog updates every Thursday. I can’t promise that the weekly posts will always be full of exciting new information, but players will at least have the opportunity to see what I’m working on and ask questions. The question that I have for all of you is this: What do you want me to show and/or write about?

I’m wary of spoilers when it comes to the expansion, but I’d like to show screenshots of the new areas and at least general descriptions of what’s going on in them. I also have some back-end updates in the works that could drastically increase the size of servers. If you have something else that you’d like me to address (no matter how big or how small), leave a comment on this post or future weekly update posts, and I’ll try to cover all requests.

The first weekly update will be posted this coming Thursday. In the meantime, here are several new screenshots from the expansion for you to digest:

Caption Testing 123

The first line of the “Back to Balzack” cutscene where your journey picks up.

Out to Sea

Sailing out to never before seen lands! This is the deck of your new ship.

Test

The Pyramid of Higaza is home to many dangerous traps…

Test

The main door that you’ll need the “Key of the Exiles” for.

Jan 252015
 

savefile_transferThe NEStalgia v1.68.8 update is now live, and simply contains a few minor bug fixes related to the recent server and savefile merges. With those bugs out of the way, we are finally able to start accepting savefile transfer requests for players on the official servers.

In order to request a savefile transfer, please visit the Savefile Transfer Request page and fill out the request form. Please read the instructions carefully before you make your request, because we cannot reverse savefile merges once they’ve been made. We will only be doing savefile transfers for people who apply using the request form on that page; if you’ve previously emailed us a transfer request then you still need to fill out and submit the form.

Please note that we do not offer individual character transfers between two servers. In other words, you cannot pick and choose which characters you’d like to move between servers; it is an all or nothing choice.

All transfer requests will be processed free of charge until February 16th, 2015. After that date, there will be a fee for all transfers (the fee is meant as a barrier to entry so that we’re not constantly making transfers for people on a whim).

 

I thank all of you for your patience as I’ve worked to get the transfer process up and running this month. Now that we have all of this house cleaning stuff out of the way, I’m hoping that I can finally turn my focus over to more exciting NEStalgia updates.

Dec 182014
 

NEStalgiaHey everyone! If you’re logging into the game after an extended absence, you may find that the official server you once played on no longer exists. We try to add and remove official NEStalgia servers according to the ebb and flow of demand (usually determined by big updates and Steam sales) in order to ensure that the active player count on each server doesn’t end up too high or too low. In an ideal world we’d just lump everybody onto one massive server, but unfortunately a single server just can’t handle that type of active player load.

As you’d expect, all of your character files are perfectly preserved and intact, but may have been transferred to a new server. For players with characters on multiple servers, this may also mean that your savefiles have been merged together onto one server. Please read on to find out where your characters have ended up:

Pre-2013 Savefiles

All savefiles on Algol, Greenlight and Zenithia that haven’t been accessed since December 31st, 2012 have been moved off of the official servers and posted online so that legacy players can download them for use in single player or public server games. If you are a paid NEStalgia user returning to the game, we will be happy to transfer your stored savefiles to an official server of your choice once you return. Please email us at team@silkgames.com with the subject “Legacy Transfer: [Your BYOND Key]”. We’ll need to know your exact BYOND Key (username) as well as the server that you’d like to transfer from, and your new target server.

Here is the web directory where you can find all of these old savefiles available for download: http://silkgames.com/nestalgia/legacy

We’d prefer to keep these savefiles in the mix on a live server, but due to the sheer quantity of these older savefiles (upwards of 50,000), this solution makes the most sense.

Algol

All savefiles accessed anytime after September 1st, 2013 have been merged into the “Malice” server. All other post-2013 savefiles (accessed January 1st, 2013 to August 31st, 2014) have been merged into the “Greenlight” server. Please read the note above about savefiles last accessed prior to 2013.

Colosseum

All savefiles have been merged into the “Doom” server.

Ennar

All savefiles have been merged into the “Midgard” server.

Greenlight

Please read the note above about savefiles last accessed prior to 2013. No other savefiles have been moved.

Malice

No savefiles have been moved.

Midgard

No savefiles have been moved.

Piatta

All savefiles have been merged into the “Midgard” server.

Whomp

All savefiles have been merged into the “Malice” server.

Zenithia

All savefiles accessed anytime after January 1st, 2013 have been merged into the “Doom” server. Please read the note above about savefiles last accessed prior to 2013.

Other Savefiles

There were a handful of players who had so many characters across the various servers that all of their savefiles couldn’t be merged together. Check the server files in this directory to see if you’re one of those players, then email us so that we can work to get those savefiles merged in somewhere: http://silkgames.com/nestalgia/legacy/excess

*************

Silk Games HatIf you wish to have your savefile transferred to a different server, we’re offering free savefile transfers through January 31st, 2015. You cannot transfer specific characters; only whole savefiles can be moved. You can merge savefiles between two servers, but only if the total character count does not exceed 16. We’ll start accepting these transfer requests on December 29th, and will post more details at that time.

This particular series of merges is long overdue, and I apologize for the delay. In the future I’ll work to be more vigilant about merging down servers after large population spikes.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at team@silkgames.com or comment below.

Aug 252014
 
This little one has been keeping me busy...

This little one has been keeping me busy…

We knew that the Steam launch would be a big deal, but seeing it actually happen back in April was pretty incredible. The crazy part for me personally was that in the opening days of the Steam release I was in the hospital with my wife as she gave birth to our first baby. The whole memory is now a blur of me frantically working on my laptop to manage the Steam release and holding my wife’s hand as she delivered our beautiful daughter Isla.

At any rate, between learning to care for a newborn and some health issues (see my recent forum reply) I’ve unfortunately been MIA since the Steam release. I haven’t decided whether or not I want to publicly discuss the health issues that have been plaguing me this year, but the important thing is that I’m feeling much better every day. Perhaps we’ll discuss that topic a bit in a future podcast.

Anyway, today I want to announce some exciting news as well as recap where we stand with NEStalgia development:

Humble Bundle Flash Sale: Modern Retro

I don’t think that the Humble Bundle needs any introduction, as it is the standard for charity bundles in the industry. I’m incredibly excited to announce that starting right now (11:00 am Pacific time), NEStalgia will be a part of a “Modern Retro” flash sale that lasts for 24 hours. This bundle includes over $70 worth of games and soundtracks, with a percentage of the proceeds benefitting the American Red Cross and Child’s Play.

Humble Bundle: Modern Retro

NEStalgia is included in the bundle if you pay at least $6. For those of you keeping score, that’s the cheapest price that the game has ever been offered for – and that’s not even considering the other great games and soundtracks that are a part of this bundle.

This is a short term flash bundle that only lasts 24 hours, so jump on it while you can! Check out the bundle page here: http://www.humblebundle.com/flash

Short Term Updates

This week we’ll be releasing the v1.68.5 update, which has a variety of bug fixes and balance tweaks. From here on out the NEStalgia Launcher will follow the same versioning notation as the game itself, so instead of being called “Build 19” the new version of the Launcher will also be “v1.68.5”.

One thing to note is that I’ve managed to track down and fix the map scrolling jitteriness affecting certain users, and that fix will be included in v1.68.5.

Client-Side Saving Coming Soon

We’re working to implement client-side saving as an option for players on both private and public servers. “Client-Side Saving” simply means that your character savefiles will be stored on your computer rather than whatever server you’re playing on. The real goal with this change is to make drop-in drop-out multiplayer much easier for small private games, though public dedicated server hosts will have the option to allow client-side savefiles as well. All of the Official Servers will be sticking with the current server-side saving system.

The First Major Content Expansion

MardeckWork has (finally) resumed on the forthcoming “Key of the Exiles” content expansion. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “Key of the Exiles”, here is a quick rundown of what it will include:

  • The main quest line will be continued, beginning with the player receiving his or her very own boat. The main quest line itself will branch out at this point and become much less linear, allowing players to complete main story objectives in whatever order they choose.
  • Players will be able to use their boat to sail around and explore the entire world, which contains many new towns, dungeons and other exciting areas to explore.
  • The level cap for Players and Companions will be increased to 45, opening up new abilities, skill tree nodes and milestone boosts.
  • A new end-game dungeon will be introduced for level 45 players, complete with new daily quests and new equipment sets for each class.
  • New monsters, music, etc. etc. – everything that content expansions typically come with!
Other Lose Ends

I’m working on updating our server merging tool so that I can begin server merges in the next week or two. I’d love to wave a magic wand and just have a single NEStalgia server support 1000+ players online at once, but until that happens we’ll need to continue to add servers for large population explosions and then merge them down afterwards.

That’s all for today. As always if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to drop us a comment on this post, and don’t forget to spread the word about the Humble Bundle Flash Sale! You’re probably never going to see NEStalgia go for any cheaper than this, and you get a lot of other games as well. Plus, you know, charity.

Nov 222013
 

8bitcoinAmid all of the craziness of trying to get the game ready for Steam, one of the road blocks that I’m currently running into is a shortage of available funds for development. Part of that stems from putting aside projects that actually pay the bills in order to work on NEStalgia (which doesn’t yet pay the bills)… but also because there are a lot of pre-release expenses piling up.

Many of you have been incredibly generous with donations to our cause in the form of gift subscriptions or the purchase of custom guild capes in the past. I’m always receiving requests from players who are interested in paying for other types of vanity items, but I didn’t want things to get micro-transactiony.

So, in what will hopefully be a win-win for everybody involved, I’m going to offer several different types of new vanity items, customization options, etc. for a very limited time. By “very limited time” I mean just a couple weeks, and that it will be the only time I’m ever going to do this. It is essentially a Kickstarter campaign, and if you want to make your mark on the game before it hits Steam, then now is your chance.

halloweenpack itemname maskpack

Like the custom guild capes that we’ve offered before, none of the stuff on sale here is going to give anyone a gameplay advantage. Players who don’t donate during this fundraising campaign won’t be negatively impacted in any way (though they will see some new masks/dyes/costumes on other players that aren’t yet accessible).

I’ve come up with the usual list of Kickstarter-esque donation options, but if you think of a cool option that isn’t on this list, then please share it in the comments. I’ve re-purposed the Put NEStalgia On Steam website for use in this fundraising campaign, so simply go to PutNEStalgiaOnSteam.com to check it out the list:

Put NEStalgia On Steam .com

Every donation helps and is greatly appreciated. Anyone who donates during this fundraising campaign will have their name permanently placed on a list of contributors in the game, and will be given full access to the eventual Key of the Exiles closed beta test.

The NEStalgia Pre-Steam Fundraiser starts right now and will end December 4th. As I said above, I won’t be extending this campaign nor offering anything like it ever again. Because we don’t have any sort of micro-transaction mechanism in the game, all of these items will need to be distributed manually, which we’ll work to do as quickly as possible. Thanks everyone!

Aug 302013
 

It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly one year since NEStalgia went up on Steam Greenlight. It’s even harder to believe that it’s also been about a year since development of the game was inadvertently put on “pause” after I started a new job.

By sheer coincidence, I wrapped up that job this past Tuesday in order to start focusing my own new media production company. When my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate my career milestone on Tuesday night, one of the things we talked about is how I was looking forward to putting time into NEStalgia again. As you can imagine, the last thing that I expected was to wake up the next morning to find out that NEStalgia had been Greenlit. Talk about serendipity!

What Happens Now?

Getting NEStalgia ready for sale on Steam is going to take some time. It could be two weeks, or it could be two months – I really don’t know at this point. The important thing to note is that NEStalgia launching on Steam isn’t going to affect any current subscriber’s access to the game. Once I have more information about how it’s all going to work, I’ll be sure to share the details.

The game itself is also in need of some updates in the near future. There are a ton of  bug fixes and minor tweaks on my to-do list (a year’s backlog really adds up fast). My biggest concern, however, will be working on the previously announced content expansion, ‘Key of the Exiles‘.

None of this is going to happen overnight. As patiently as all of you have been waiting, you’re going to have to wait a bit longer. New content is what the majority of you are craving, and as of now I don’t have an answer for when it will be released.

Management Changes

In the past, a great deal of my time has been spent in the day to day management of the community and dealing with customer service type stuff. From this point forward I’m going to stay out of all of that as much as I possibly can in order to focus strictly on development. Balzack is now the go-to guy for everything related to community management. That means moderation decisions, customer service issues, questions/complaints, etc. Balzack has always been the official community manager – the difference now is that I’m taking myself completely out of the equation.

Balzack can be reached via the forums or the team@silkgames.com email.

Distribution Changes

Our current distribution model was built to handle a small community. Restricting the game to a handful  of official dedicated servers is how we’ve quality controlled the experience and ensured that players don’t get too spread out over a bunch of small private servers. However, now that a much larger audience is potentially headed our way, things need to change.

What we’ll likely do is transition over to a Minecraft/Terraria sort of model. Players will be able to download the game to play single player or host small private servers to play with friends. People who purchase the game will also be able to host larger public dedicated servers. Last but not least, we’ll continue to maintain a large cluster of official dedicated servers as an option for players to join.

Under this model players will no longer be reliant upon joining the Silk Games servers, and people who don’t like the official servers can host and manage their own servers however they see fit.

Time to Celebrate!

Last year’s Steam Greenlight holiday event has been activated on all servers, so those of you who haven’t played the event before should stop by and check it out. Now that I’m going to be back working on the game around the clock, you can expect to see regular blog updates and the occasional podcast in the weeks and months to come.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you for all of the support so far! This whole Greenlight endeavor was a community effort, and NEStalgia’s success belongs to all of you who were a part of it. I also want to sincerely thank those of you who have stuck around with the game this past year during my development hiatus. You’ve been very understanding and patient, and I’ve really appreciated it.

There will be much, much more news to come…

Aug 152012
 

I know that many of you read Valve’s announcement for Steam Greenlight back in July because I was bombarded with emails from players telling me that I should put NEStalgia on it. For those of you who haven’t heard, Steam Greenlight is forthcoming system that will allow Steam community members to pick the next indie games that make it onto the service. If that sounds like a perfect match for NEStalgia, that’s because it is.

Even though the system isn’t supposed to launch until the end of August, my hope is to get the player base rallied and ready to go in the coming weeks so that we can storm the gates on day one. To that end I’ve created a simple website to help promote our cause and answer and questions players may have about how NEStalgia will work on Steam. Check it out at:

Put NEStalgia On Steam .com

As you’ll read on that site, we’re not looking for a bunch of random people to upvote NEStalgia and spam our way to the top. We only want people who have actually played and enjoyed NEStalgia to take part in this campaign, so keep that in mind as you link that site to your friends. As the end of August approaches we should be trying to both recruit new players and rally our existing base. You’ll notice that along with the new Steam site, I’ve also created a new revised version of the NEStalgia trailer:

The best way to introduce NEStalgia to new players is to link them directly to main website [ http://silkgames.com/nestalgia ] and/or the game’s new trailer [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tfStO7h75Q ]. Please only post about NEStalgia on gaming message boards and other sites if you’re already an established member of that community. There is nothing more obnoxious than someone who signs up for a forum just to advertise something (and that type of post won’t help us anyway). The key here is that we should be informing potential new players about the game’s existence, not giving them a sales pitch.

There will be more to talk about in the weeks ahead. In the meantime get out there and start letting people know that at the end of August we’re going to finally get NEStalgia on Steam!

Apr 102012
 

The highly anticipated v1.63 update will go live next Friday, April 20th. If you’re unfamiliar with this update then check out our previous coverage of v1.63 for details:

With over 100 recruitable companions, the amount of diversity in v1.63 is ridiculous. No two companions are the same, and almost every conceivable class mish-mash and stat permutation is out there. Imagine a Warlock who can tank, a Ninja healer, or a pure Wizard-type that uses Will instead of MP. Each companion is essentially its own unique character class, making it all but certain that “catch ’em all” fever is about to hit NEStalgia.

v1.63 isn’t just a huge update, it’s a transformative one. The solo experience has been improved immeasurably – all while keeping the multiplayer focus intact (Reserve Bonuses add an entirely new layer of customization and strategy to the game). The only way that this update could be better is if it were packed with a content expansion… but that’s our next priority.

One More Thing…

Although this won’t be a part of v1.63, we’re about to begin public testing on the standalone version of NEStalgia. Imagine downloading a simple NEStalgia package which allows you to install the game like any other (sans BYOND), then places a shortcut on your desktop that opens this splash window:

NEStalgia will remain powered by BYOND (and your current accounts will still function), but with this standalone installer the BYOND side of things stays under the hood. BYOND is awesome, but taking away the confusing step of having to install a separate program to play NEStalgia is really going to widen the game’s appeal and legitimacy. Look for public testing on this to begin soon – I’ll post details here on the blog when we’re ready.

Feb 142012
 

Although our attacker was not successful in actually bringing down our servers or causing an interruption of service, he did succeed in scaring off our host who shut down our VPS without warning and didn’t respond to my emails/phone calls for about 36 hours. Our host had advertised protection against that type of thing, but they neglected to mention that it’s much more cost-effective for them to just terminate a client’s contract in the event of a sustained attack. Fun times!

The crazy thing is that our attacker isn’t even particularly sophisticated:  the attacks have been small and have always originated from a single IP. We’re dealing with a script kiddie who googled the term “DDoS”, and it’s baffling to me how even the most highly recommended VPS hosts aren’t equipped to deal with that sort of thing. Therefore, we’re done with Virtual Private Servers and graduating to a true Dedicated Server with a host who specializes in DDoS protection. Triple the cost, but well worth the increased reliability and peace of mind moving forward.

Anyway, I apologize for the downtime. If I had understood the flawed nature of all VPS hosts then I would have just switched over to a dedicated server a couple weeks ago during the first round of attacks. This is just one of those growing pain things that I’m thankful happened now rather than down the road when we’ve got a ton of servers to worry about. I’m sure that this won’t be our last encounter with these sorts of attacks, but we’re much better equipped to handle them now.

I really appreciate everyone in the community being so understanding and supportive in regards to this situation. Any amount of downtime for an online game like this is really frustrating, and I’m very thankful to have a community of players who dealt with it so well.

Algol:  byond://72.20.57.158:50444

Zenithia: byond://72.20.57.158:51616

Nov 272011
 

As I prepare to spend the next few hours browsing Amazon for all of the big sales, I’m super excited to be able to offer my very own Cyber Monday sale on NEStalgia subscriptions. From now through tomorrow at Midnight PST all NEStalgia subscriptions are Buy One Get One Free. The prices for subscriptions are as follows:

In order to take advantage of this offer you need to purchase a subscription before midnight tomorrow and shoot a quick email to team@silkgames.com with your BYOND key and the key of the person whom you’d like to gift the free subscription to. You’re also welcome to give the free subscription to yourself, meaning that a one year subscription could cost you only $9 instead of $15. Head over to the subscriptions page on the NEStalgia website to make your purchase.

Whether you’re a dedicated veteran or an oldbie who lurks the forums waiting for the new content patch to drop, thanks to all of  you for your ongoing support of NEStalgia development!