The deal

I guess after answering dozens of "why haven’t you fixed the site, released NS:Source and btw NS is dying" e-mails this week, I think it’s going to be more efficient to post here. It’s a bit of a dump, but here goes.

It has been a pretty rough year. As most of you are painfully aware, this web site got hacked almost a year ago. With that, went the Constellation/donation system, which was the main source of income for Unknown Worlds (me). If you’re thinking that we should’ve taken donations "manually" without the site working, I can tell you that I did that for years and it was a such a time-suck processing and changing SteamIDs and e-mail addresses that it almost wasn’t worth the time. So we needed the automation to work, and that meant our player profiles and site had to work.

That was also the point where we were trying to get investor interest, do contract work and also continue to improve NS. We didn’t have the resources to make NS:Source, no money was coming in, yet our expenses had increased a lot because we were spending a lot of time working on Nexus (sorry, not yet) and getting a core team together. So it was a tough situation.

We probably could’ve deleted over a million forum posts and 30,000 user accounts, but there’s too much history for that. Many of you have been with us since BEFORE v1.0, which has been around four years. I refused to try to "reset" our community and I didn’t want to just patch the site, as that wouldn’t have fixed the core problems with it. After going through quite a handful of programmers for the web-site, none of which seemed quite up to the task to actually finish it (it’s a surprisingly sophisticated piece of custom software, but that’s a topic for another day). So the site has been rewritten, and it in major testing right now. I expect we’ll open it up to the Constellation members for larger testing very shortly.

In the meantime, it’s been difficult even paying rent. I would have loved to be working on NS:Source, but it deserves a nice treatment, not a quick port-and-release, so I’ve taken on some other work to keep the landlord at bay. I’m also about to release a small non-NS "casual" game that I hope will make enough money (without any further maintenance or time investment) to fund NS:S. I fully realize that some NS community members will think we’ve abandoned them by doing this, which is why this may very well be the only mention you’ll ever hear of this game. Ironically, if we released this game on the Unknown Worlds site, or at least with the full knowledge and blessing of the NS community, we would probably all be playing NS:Source much sooner. 🙂 I want to stress that this game was purely a way to make enough money and I do not intend it to be a long-term focus, or for us to stop working on NS-like games. Got to pay the bills before making the dream game.

On the positive side, all the talking with investors looks like it finally might pay off. We have two standing offers for decent "seed" funding (think thousands of dollars, not millions), though the price we pay long-term is relatively high, so we want to take as little of this as possible. I also think some good money is about to come in from this new small game, which will make life a whole lot easier.

Finally, I just got back from VALVe and saw some amazing things and got some great offers of help. I’m more convinced than ever that NS:Source will become a reality, that we’ll be working on it full blast soon, and that it will exceed our wildest dreams. It’s my hope that we’ll have something more tangible to announce soon about this, but things do often take longer than you think…

So we’ve had to regroup and change the way we’re doing things and we had to spend a lot of money we didn’t have along the way, but for the first time in many months, I’m more confident than ever that we’re about to get back on the desired path. Thanks for sticking with us through our darker times.