The Stomping Land Is Moving To UE4, Still Sorta Dead

By Graham Smith on August 6th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

A metaphor for something.

There are dozens of healthy and happy alpha funding projects and Early Access games under way, but when the model starts to go wrong, it seems like its going to go wrong in the noisiest, most painful way possible. The Stomping Land is a survival multiplayer game which rode dinosaurs and interesting hunting mechanics to both Kickstarter success and then initially high sales on Steam Early Access a year later.

But all is not happy in Jurassic Park. The initial release was less feature-complete than players hoped, updates were slower than initially promised, and now communication has all but stopped. The only thing the developer has said publicly in over two months was to Kotaku earlier this week: that the game is switching to Unreal Engine 4 and that this has created more work. The game’s community is less than pleased.

I played The Stomping Land shortly after release and wasn’t a fan of what I saw. The dinosaur AI was terrible and collision detection was imprecise, meaning there was little sense of threat from the environment; the island setting was vast and player counts low meaning there was little multitplayer drama; the structure of the game’s challenge didn’t support the long, pitch-black nights; and certain mechanics, like bolas, were overpowered in ways that allowed one player to ruin the experience for another with trivial effort.

Buying an Early Access game is always going to be a variable experience – sometimes it’s going to be a game that’s feature-complete, and sometimes it’s going to be a roughshod prototype. The measuring stick seems to be, “is this worth joining in on right now?” The Forest, another island survival game, was released in the same week and was similarly feature-incomplete, but the experience had been crafted in such a way that although you might be done with it after two hours, those two hours were at least fun.

What makes things trickier is that a game in development can be worth following even if there’s nothing yet available to play. Development videos, blogs, concept art, community discussions, even the very act of buying things, can all be part of enjoying an experience.

This seems like the context to understanding the current issues surrounding The Stomping Land. Taking the developer at his word, the game is not dead; it’s moving to a new engine and that’s a long process. Whether that process is necessary or desirable, I don’t know, but in either case it doesn’t exactly matter as players are not receiving the experience they paid for. That’s bad for a Kickstarter project which said that “updates to the project are planned on being released at least once per week”, and it’s bad for an Early Access release with the natural implication of a game to play and a visible development process.

Much like a T-Rex, videogame players’ vision is based on movement. The Stomping Land isn’t moving.

Alright, I’m reaching. Perhaps nature will find a way. Meanwhile, the developer’s full statement is worth reading over at Kotaku, in an article about some ‘Nathan Grayson’ fellow, whoever that is.

, .

26 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. MuscleHorse says:

  2. __FOXHOUND says:

    I played this for a couple hours and could not have been more disappointed. A new engine won’t fix severely flawed design and a severe lack of Working Video Game.

  3. Deadly Habit says:

    I’m so glad I choose Beasts of Prey over this for my dino survival fix, at least those devs are active with the community and regularly release updates.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Bradamantium says:

    I saw that Nathan fella asking about the state of the game around its Steam forums. Seems like a good reporter, RPS oughta hire him.

  5. Freud says:

    Most multiplayer-only games can’t be profitable. Players move on very quickly these days.

  6. Pheeze says:

    Much like a T-Rex, videogame players’ vision is based on movement.

    This is a common misconception! The T-Rex had excellent vision!

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Did you just contradict Jurassic Park?

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        Unless I’m misremembering I believe in the second Jurassic Park novel, The Lost World (completely different from the movie), Crichton clears out the misconception of the T-Rex having motion-based vision like toads. So he isn’t contradicting!

        • arboreal says:

          That’s piqued my interest. How do we know how the visual system of a dinosaur worked? I thought soft tissue (e.g. eyeballs) didn’t get fossilized? Related: how do we know that dinosaurs didn’t come in primary colours? They’re always pictured as earthy-coloured in books and films etc and I always wondered as a kid why this was so.

          Educate me please!

          • stiffkittin says:

            It’s to do with vision cones in comparable animals, which they’re able to model based on the structure and size of the ocular cavity; also the fact that tyrannosaurs had binocular vision like humans is highly suggestive http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/could-t-rex-really-only-see-you-if-you-moved.

            As for tint it’s really down to artistic license of the paleo-artists who render them. Traditionally based on the skin tones of modern reptiles, but since the confirmation that most late theropods sported feathers to some degree we’re seeing a bit more experimentation.

          • Caiman says:

            We can only guess based on related extant creatures. Given that the evidence that dinosaurs evolved into birds is extremely strong, it’s a reasonable assumption that their senses were similar to modern birds. Or crocodiles, with which they shared a common ancestor. In other words, they presumably had excellent vision, likely adapted to fit their particular ecological niche as with any modern bird / croc.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            It was recently discovered that colour could be inferred from the shape of pigment (which differs between colours), though the results seem to be controversial as the fossilization process may have altered the shape. http://www.nature.com/news/dust-up-over-dinosaurs-true-colours-1.12674

        • Premium User Badge

          Craig Pearson says:

          Them’s book smarts. I’m talking about movie smarts.

  7. derbefrier says:

    I hope it picks back up. I haven’t bought it but it was on my list of things to maybe one day eventually buy.

  8. Artist says:

    The game was never dead. There was always bits of info from staff members and paid contributors. And it was just a handful of crybabies that started a lot of ruckus. Do your homework, Graham. And please let somebody write about the game who doesnt dislike the game. Thx.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      According to the info that’s available now, the devs have had absolutely no communication with the user base since June 20th. That doesn’t sound like “always” to me.

      • Artist says:

        Govenorostrich was around most of the time after the earyl access release and said multiple times that Alex is still working on TSL. After that there was progress updates by the gfx- and sound designer.

        So yeah, there was info that was almost imedeatly swamped by some immature kids who feasted on the panic. There was no info directly from Alex and those kids claimed that only info from him is a proof.

        It didnt even matter to them that Alex went radio silent for almost 5 months last year after the successful kickstarter. Strangely no backers complained about that as you can review on kickstarter.

        This ruckus was started by the “angry steam kids” and Alex’ uncommon behaviour definatly helped them to pull off their usual stunts once more.

  9. SpaceAkers says:

    I’m going to make a survival game where you must navigate the broken, hopeless terrain of two dozen half-finished survival games on Steam.

    The enemies will be the angry, whiney teenagers who are upset that throwing their money at prototype games by unproven developers didn’t result in a timely delivery of a landmark masterpiece.

    • drinniol says:

      Will it be on Kickstarter and early access?

      • SpaceAkers says:

        Early Access will be an app that loads a video stream of me working on my kickstarter pitch.

    • rexx.sabotage says:

      Here take my money already!

      Where’s my game?!

      COMBAT IS BROKEN!!!

  10. jasondesante says:

    Much like a T-Rex, videogame players’ vision is based on movement.

    One of the best sentences I’ve ever read about this situation.