ObvZ: DayZ Early Access Is Not DayZ

It's unlikely, for example, that Bohemia will ever finish the catalogue modelling minigame.

Many of us have been round the Early Access block a few times now, strolled through Alphafunding Park a few times, and taken a pedalo out on Crowdfunding Lake. We’ve had some good times, haven’t we? And some bad too. By now we surely all definitely understand an important point with all this: you’re not buying a finished game. You’re paying for the dream of a game, or an early sketch of a game, or simply to support artists you like. Even when you’re playing these games, DayZ producer Brian Hicks reminds, “You are not playing DayZ, you are playing development builds. Early development builds.”

Replying to a DayZ forum thread titled ‘Has Anyone Else lost Faith in Dayz?’ (spotted by PC Gamer), Hicks gave a developer’s view of what’s happening here. Rather than cut his post up into little quotes to make myself feel clever, here’s the whole core:

You are not playing DayZ, you are playing development builds. Early development builds.

DayZ is 11 months into principle development, on what should be a 3 year standard development cycle. I can’t force you to be a fan of DayZ, but I can call this out:

Defining or judging what DayZ is by a build so early in its development is much a kin to judging a painting within the first few brush strokes. Hell, even Bob Ross’s paintings didn’t look great for the first few minutes (until you realized what it was he was making).

I can promise you none of your favorite AAA games played, or even resembled the final product that early in their cycles. (Okay, maybe some of the larger titles that push small incremental updates out every 12 months – but we all know those are special snowflakes)

Take a break, and come back in beta or even the full release. The Early Access period of development will have many peaks and low, low valleys. This is the nature of software development. Yes, it is stressful as heck – for all of us, but you get to be part of shaping the DayZ experience.

For me, its worth it – for some of you, it might not be. No one can fault you for that.

Of course, Bob Ross was quite committed to what he was painting. There was no risk with him. Bob Ross was unlikely to walk out of the television studio mid-painting. Bob Ross was unlikely to decide “You know what, I really dig what that Hieronymus Bosch guy is up to” and fill his serene meadow with cavorting nudes and hellbeasts. And if he did (I can’t say I’m an expert on his career), you hadn’t paid for it yet. Not that Bohemia are likely to do this, but they’re risks with crowdfunding in general.

These new forms of funding are wonderful and enable so many dreams, but not every dream comes true. We should all be mindful of that.

67 Comments

  1. shinkshank says:

    That last part kind of disregarded the idea of artistic vision/integrity, didn’t it? Surely the default stance is to assume that the person making a thing that they said that they would make is cautiously believing them ( as long as they haven’t pulled any bullshit before ). I would say that devs are about as unlikely to pull a 180 on their project as good old Ross, especially if the thing they’re making is, while unfinished, directly in front of us, and we can see that the parts that are done are definitely what they promised us would be in there.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      On the other hand, most people won’t (and can’t) buy a painting before it’s done. They generally won’t even get to see it before it’s done.

      Some people do order paintings, but that’s more akin to a Kickstarter, I’d say.

      • Hahaha says:

        What are you on about anyone can buy a painting before it’s done it’s called commision how stuck in the past are you? “oh my lord the servants are trying to get paintings of themsleves done hahahaha stupid vagabounds”

        • Volcanu says:

          No – a commission involves “commissioning” a piece of work, i.e. engaging an artist or artisan to create a specific piece for you, in line with your wishes/requirements. Hmmm-Hmmm’s example is referring to a painting that has already been started by the artist (in line with their own artistic vision and specifications) and someone coming along and buying it part way through. Which to be fair, is pretty uncommon.

          • Hahaha says:

            “Some people do order paintings, but that’s more akin to a Kickstarter, I’d say”

            When it’s ended with the above I’m not sure where your pulling “is referring to a painting that has already been started by the artist ” from

            rereading it it seems your just projecting what you think on to the post

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            What Volcanu said. Generally there’s buying finished paintings and commissioning paintings. Not buying unfinished paintings.

        • Bradamantium says:

          That’s not really “buying it before it’s done,” though. That’s just buying a painting, that has yet to be completed but will by the time it’s in your hands. Not like commissioning means you hang the unfinished piece up on the wall at every stage, thereby opening it up to criticism as it continues to develop.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      It’s more a warning that devs do have this freedom and can do as they jolly well please–which might be different from what you thought or hoped you were paying for.

      People would be a lot happier with early access if they went in thinking “Would I be happy with this purchase if the game stayed exactly the same? Does this build or dream please me enough to pay for?” Games can change drastically, or not enough, or take longer than planned, and evidently development can halt unexpectedly. People buy for the dream in their head, not the reality before them, and often end up disappointed.

      • Geebs says:

        Fortunately, Bohemia say that they are several months into developing some “principle”s, so maybe next time they’ll make it clearer exactly how far along they aren’t when they start selling things.

        (those guys need a copy editor, I’m providing this as a preview and they need to understand that they should be delighted to use it as it is. However it won’t be finished for 3 years and indeed may never be).

        • uajii says:

          I agree they should have made it clearer. Maybe they should have written something like “Current version is including only small subset of game mechanics and serves mostly as test bed with core technology that should serve as basis for future additions and improvements. We estimate that reaching Beta version with all key features present will take more than one year from current stage.” on their steam page…. Oh wait…

          • Geebs says:

            Given the mutable state of the internet, are you sure that the store description has always been the same? Buying into their narrative does mean conveniently ignoring two things – that the motivation for releasing into Early Access when they did is presumably at least partly driven by wanting to strike while the iron is hot, and that people bitching about how they think the previous pace of development is going to be reflected in subsequent development is totally not the same thing as complaining about having been sold an incomplete game.

            So, Bohemia’s PR is at least canny in having used those terms, even if they can’t spell ‘principal’.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            @Geebs The thing about DayZ is that it was never supposed to be this big thing to begin with, it was supposed to be an Arma-less copy of the mod. Simple and cheap. But the game sold like hot cakes, so they’ve changed all of their goals to make use of the huge response (mountains of cash) they received.

            So releasing the game wasn’t striking the iron as much as slowing down development to build up a big team and rewrite the whole game.

          • Geebs says:

            @Universal Quitter: thanks for the explanation!

            Being the devil’s advocate, hair splitting division again, I’d say that getting people to pay for one thing, deciding to give them another and then saying they’re being unreasonable complaining about not getting (the thing they originally thought they were buying) because (the thing they didn’t think they were buying) will take longer than expected has a logical disconnect in there somewhere :)

          • Universal Quitter says:

            @Geebs Well, I obviously don’t speak for Dean, Chris, Brian and the rest, but they’re probably replying more to people like this: link to forums.dayzgame.com

            I don’t think most businesses have a problem with criticism and customer dissatisfaction. It’s the vitriol they have to deal with on a near daily basis.

          • Tssha says:

            It is entirely the vitriol, and it’s a real problem in this industry. Paying back money hurts, but the harassment, the accusations, and that one guy who replies to every review or preview the company is ever featured in with “they never make good on their promises”, that really crosses a line.

            No other creative industry has to deal with this. You have to be technologically literate to play a computer game, and to buy a system capable of running a computer game, and therefore people who are both adept with technology and hating their life lash out at developers for “letting them down”. It’s a bizarre sense of entitlement, that because this individual was let down they deserve that individual’s eternal enmity.

            Sometimes you buy a product you don’t like. We’ve all been there, and sometimes you don’t get a refund. That sucks, but what bothers me is that some folks are so bothered by it that they never let it go even years later, and I can only assume that there is something very wrong in their life that they feel they need this little bit of power, just this little bit of power, to make some developer’s day bad, to make up for how crappy their lives are.

            Seriously, you ask any of them, “why did you do this?”, they all fall back on how powerless they feel in their everyday lives and how they feel like they have control over this one thing…so they do it. They take that power…because they can. Because they need it.

      • Niko says:

        The whole concept of early access is quite novel and many people have troubles getting their heads around it – it’s similar to the problem with the lack of terms related to digital media piracy/copyright issues.

      • Cyrius says:

        The core of DayZ existed before development began on ‘DayZ’ the standalone. The work has been done in many cases. They are reinventing the wheel.

        Any project manager worth his salt knows that repeated work is wasted work.

      • Terragot says:

        The problem there is that early access games aren’t advertised as what they currently are, but what they promise they will be.

        Sure there’s a disclaimer, but it’s in the developers interest to not let the disclaimer act detrimentally towards their game sales. Therefore you see disclaimers used just as another marketing means.

      • P.Funk says:

        People just need to get it through their heads that they’re dealing with a totally different consumer purchasing mechanism than in just about anything else. There is no example to draw, people should stop comparing things to paintings or other things or whatever. There is no metaphor or simile or analogy you can batter to death to use to try and get people to feel comfortable with the process.

        This is new ground, we’re basically investors without the fiduciary rights. Its altogether fucked up and backwards but its what we have now so we gotta ride it out and see whats coming.

        I honestly can’t believe how hard it is for people to come to grips with how different it is. Everyone wants to apply some other logic to it. Everyone wants to ‘deserve’ something. People seem to like setting themselves up for disappointment. Its odd because the whole scheme is rather transparent. Hope and dreams are incredible blinders it seems, like a smear of raspberry jam on the radar dish.

    • Shuck says:

      “That last part kind of disregarded the idea of artistic vision/integrity, didn’t it?”
      No, quite the opposite. The thing about artistic integrity is that you change things as you go along depending on what’s working. In both games and painting, it’s common to remove elements, shift thing around and generally diverge from the initial vision if that isn’t working out. (One of the ways to detect forgeries involves X-raying the painting to look at the layers beneath – if all the hidden layers look like the finished image, that’s not generally a good sign.) Part of this is that it’s not uncommon for paintings – and games – to get abandoned completely because it’s discovered that the initial vision isn’t working and the creators can’t figure out a way to alter it to make it sufficiently compelling.

    • ryanlester1 says:

      am i gonna have to pay like 60$ when the full version comes out or will i get a free copy for having alpha…..

  2. Mordaedil says:

    That this article even exists makes me think there really ought to be some way to stop bad buyers from continually making stupid purchases. For their own sake, if not for every one elses.

    • Clavus says:

      Rocket said they’re working with Valve to make this more clear. The store page warnings aren’t enough apparently. He said something about having to press through additional disclaimers before you can buy the game. They’re really going out of their way to inform people, so I think people that complain about DayZ’s current state only have themselves to blame. You can criticize the core direction of the project, but bitching about features being unfinished isn’t helping anyone.

      • bstard says:

        Instead of selling unfinished and changing product on a separate portal to save customers from buying stuff they dont want, Valve is going to put that mark on the end, when customers already have decided they want to purchase? Arf. Smell like lawyers and user agreements more than customer service.

        • Darsktory says:

          When you enter the DayZ store page the first text you see Is “WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS ALPHA. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME AND ARE PREPARED TO HANDLE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES AND POSSIBLE INTERRUPTIONS OF GAME FUNCTIONING.”

          Under the video there Is a big bright blue box saying “Early Access Game Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops. Note: This Early Access game may or may not change significantly over the course of development. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you may want to wait until the game progresses further in development.”

          It also says In the genre description “Early access”. This Is all on the very first page when you click on the game. This Is before you purchase It. Adding another layer won’t be to cover themselves as they have already done that, It’s to help their customers understand what they are actually purchasing.

      • plsgodontvisitheforums_ says:

        If you do not want people bitching about the fact that your game is unplayable crap, it’s a good idea to not sell unplayable crap in an advertised storefront.

      • Rizlar says:

        It is surprising how many copies of the DayZ standalone have sold on steam early access. It was consistently in the top sellers list over a long period of time. Is it literally just the popularity of the mod fueling these sales? But then why did it continue to sell loads long after it first appeared? As someone with an interest in the game but not early access I’m finding it hard to get my head around why it has sold so many copies.

        And of course it is already made pretty darn clear what people are buying, if someone is expecting a finished game it’s their own fault. Not that I’m unsympathetic but they must have failed to read or understand what they were paying for.

    • Moraven says:

      Or devs shout out lofty goals and set our expectations.

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    I’m still contemplating the legality of selling unfinished products in a store and therefore being unable to provide any guarantee of quality (of course many who disagree claim Valve is a service not a store, a rather convenient attempt to circumvent several other arguments regarding consumer rights and one borrowed from AAA publishers). Kickstarter is ‘the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects’, an investing platform for projects that rouse your interest. Steam is a store. There is supposed to be a difference.

    • Ben Barrett says:

      I will be pretty amazed if there’s a legal issue with saying to someone “see this thing you’re buying, it’s unfinished and might never be finished” and then them complaining it’s unfinished.

      • Katar says:

        Steam, and other digital download stores, tend to get around laws designed for physical products by using the old chestnut of you are actually buying a service. I’m pretty sure in the UK you can’t sell a product that doesn’t exist, rendering pre-purchase illegal which is why you can’t pre-purchase a game on Amazon or in Game, unless it is a bespoke item or a service, and it would be illegal to sell a product or service that you know might never be finished.

        Until the government and courts get around to deciding if a digital download or a physical copy of a game is actually a service or product and take digital retailing seriously Steam and others will skirt around the spirit if not the letter of the law.

    • khomotso says:

      But this isn’t just some novel legal maneuvering that Steam has introduced. Games haven’t been reducible to mere notions of physical products for some time now.

      Clearer and more formal service level agreements would be welcome, or just spelling out exactly what is being paid for as something the buyer has to agree to before purchasing. I certainly agree that if money is changing hands a contractual relationship is being entered into, and this is not being handled appropriately now. But clinging to a hoary physical product concept is not, I think, necessary for anchoring consumer rights.

  4. PiiSmith says:

    Well it is quite easy to not have these problems as a developer. Do not sell an unfinished product!
    If you are rolling in “Early Access” money you have to respond and live with these posts.

    • Clavus says:

      What exactly do people hope to accomplish with these complaints? Make them work faster? The games industry is already notorious for over-working its employees. All Bohemia can say is “we’re working on it. Because it’s in development.”, yet some people still don’t get it. They sold an unfinished product as an unfinished product, they probably have the least marketing-friendly statements on the Steam store page out of all Early Access titles.

      WHAT are people expecting them to do? Because in my eyes, they’re doing exactly what they set out to do and what they communicated to customers ages ago. Hell, the project even massively expanded because of the sales success. The new rendering engine was explicitly ruled out by Rocket at the start of the project, yet now it’s on the table and being worked on.

      • DarkLiberator says:

        Exactly! Hell it says on the store page, “WARNING: THIS GAME IS EARLY ACCESS ALPHA. PLEASE DO NOT PURCHASE IT UNLESS YOU WANT TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAME AND ARE PREPARED TO HANDLE WITH SERIOUS ISSUES AND POSSIBLE INTERRUPTIONS OF GAME FUNCTIONING. ” About as blunt as you can get.

        Not sure what else people were expecting.

        • Niko says:

          If I wanted to read words, I’d get a book, duh. Not that I’ll get one because I like gaems and not stupid books. Books are for nubs.

      • hosphemer says:

        Let us first address the simple fact that a basic contract exists between the Early Access buyers and Dean/Bohemia. We, the early access buyers accept the piss poor state of the game, and understand it’s a work in progress. Dean/Bohemia understand that the early access buyers are expecting the product to at some point be finished and that the early access testing/investment portion is a process done to positively affect the development of the DayZ title.

        There’s considerable concern that instead of using the feedback and investment capital of the early buyers to complete a game that we all invested in, that instead they’ve either squandered it, or are using it fund development of titles and interests that do not benefit the early access buyers (ie. the PS4 stuff they keep trotting out.)

        If so, they DEFINITELY, at bare minimum, deceived the early access buyers, as I don’t see anything in the “disclaimer” about using our money to development something I have no interest in buying for a console I do not own. I also feel they violated the implied spirit of the contract that took place when they took my money. I believe Bohemia interactive should be compelled to release an itemized budget whereas an explanation of the alpha purchasing dollars were spent. I believe the resulting disclosure would be very disappointing, and possibly worthy of civil infraction.

    • jezcentral says:

      Curious you should say that. What do you think he has just done?

  5. SMGreer says:

    You know, I’ve put many, many hours into DayZ and enjoyed the majority of that immensely. If the game changes drastically from what I wanted or takes many more years before being finished, I can’t really complain. It’s given me more fun and engagement than a lot of fully finished games already.

  6. eggy toast says:

    I think Day Z is horrible and I don’t know why anyone in the world is paying money for this horrible game that will never be finished and would be terrible even if it was.

    Having said that, when you click on the game in Steam, you get a screen shot and this: link to i.imgur.com and I honestly don’t see how much more they can do without Valve making the text bright blinking red somehow.

    • Hahaha says:

      People are dumb

    • Brainslime1 says:

      im sorry but i have to disagree you bought a game that is in Early development. as said in the article (You are not playing DayZ, you are playing development builds. Early development builds.) so it would be your fault for buying it not theres

  7. clockwerkgoblin says:

    That is a risk you take with every kickstarter and early access, but choose to disregard it if you see an exciting concept, and cry about it later on.

    I understand the players frustrations though. DayZ is probably the most fun, exciting and atmospheric game i’ve played for years, so it is especially maddening to see that the mod and the standalone are both full of bugs and hardly playable. Stating that they started working on a game that should have a “3 year standard development cycle” is plain bullshit, the development is based on a (mostly) working engine and mod, and not from scratch.

    • uajii says:

      The engine was designed specifically for Arma 2. It wasn’t made for things DayZ wants to do, therefore large parts of the engine need to be rewritten. Mod serves more like a concept, other than that it isn’t really useful in the actual development of the game.

    • Clavus says:

      “Stating that they started working on a game that should have a standard “3 year standard development cycle” is plain bullshit, the development is based on a (mostly) working engine and mod, and not from scratch.”

      But it IS being completely reworked. They reiterated that many times. Pretty much all code and art is being touched, while new stuff is continually in the works.

      Few games in this industry start completely from scratch. Engines are re-used at the start so they can quickly prototype new gameplay, but as it goes along everything is improved. Sometimes starting from scratch might’ve been more time-efficient for the programmers, but that would mean it would take a LOT longer before you have anything in a playable state.

      • Moraven says:

        That is part of the problem that they decided to do this a year after starting. Other early access games have tried to do it and its outrage, or the development just stops since they ran out of money. DayZ was able to delay a year,make buckets of money and finally add some more devs in spring 2014. The delay like this would kill any other Early Access game.

  8. derbefrier says:

    I think its more that people didn’t expect it totake so long to finish. I mean the guy said it himself. They are barely a year into a 3 year development cycle. So what 3 years of this game being in early access? I think that’s were they are loseing people. It seems a lot of buyers were not expecting it to take so long and as far as I know this 3 year development cycle wasn’t really advertised leaving customers to make there own assumptions. I mean 3 years in early acces is no small amount of time.

    Glad I never bought it.

    • Chuckleluck says:

      The thing is, what have they accomplished since the standalone’s release? I’m no expert on game dev timelines, but they’re basically one-third of the way through their development cycle, and I would have expected more progress on a finished product.

      I was gifted DayZ. Which meant I had to play the thing with the friend that bought it for me. I did not enjoy myself.

      • Sleepy Will says:

        You may be shocked at the state of most games just a month before release!

  9. Moraven says:

    I don’t think it is new buyers feeling burned, but the early buyers who were told a game was coming out in 2013.

    Alpha promised in Dec 2012. Did not happen.
    Oct 2013, progress ‘very good’.
    Alpha released in Dec 2013.
    March 2014, Cauldron Studios added to DayZ dev team
    Game penned for by sping/summer 2015. Now they are saying its in 11 months of what should be 36 months of dev cycle. Uhhh standalone has been worked on since it was announced in 2012. So did they not do any development from 2012 to Oct 2013? I know Hall liked to travel a lot and talk about the game.

  10. Chuckleluck says:

    You can patch the game, but you can’t patch the terrible torture-fetish community that plays it.

  11. Boosh says:

    it’s a pretty unique market, and devs/publishers are exploiting that. I really can’t think of any other consumer product where the buyer can be so impatient to get their hands on the product that they are willing to stump up well before delivery, and often before real information is known of what will be delivered. It’s a reflection on games and gaming and, dare I say, almost addiction type behaviour displayed by the consumer.
    When you stop and think about it, it’s utterly bizarre.

    I’m a PM, it would be like my client paying me in advance of delivering anything at all, and with no credible plan. They don’t and the reason is because they have no guarantees that what they pay for will be delivered. It’s a fundamental part of project delivery. Deliver to spec, get paid.
    Getting paid first removes deadlines, issues with scope creep, or any risks associated with not delivering on any promise, or not delivering at all.

    On a human level, getting paid first removes the key motivator for the production and creative process. Game developers get round that with a ‘we’re gamers and fans too!’ approach, telling us they are delivering a game they themselves want to play. I’m not saying that isn’t true, but it requires great trust from the buyer.
    Individual developers will continue to get paid by their employers in some circumstances, however, those employers will quickly seek to re-deploy resources once your cash has been received.
    Take DayZ for example, how much extra revenue do you realistically expect they will receive on release? Virtually nil compared to the continuous stream generated by a drip drip effect of the glacial process of adding new features.

    Businesses exist to get your money, once they have it, priorities change, usually to the next source of revenue. That is a fact and no amount of fluffy words will change that.

    • Shuck says:

      You’re assuming that the game-maker has no relationship with the customer beyond releasing a single game, though. That’s not right on two levels. “Official release” increasingly is a sort of mile-post mid-way through a game’s lifespan, not an end point after which the game is expected to generate no more revenue. (Even AAA games rely heavily on post-release DLC to actually make their profits.) The whole “Early Access” model is essentially based on what happened with Minecraft, which released a “finished” game that continues to get support (and it’s made plenty of money post-alpha). Also, developers are in a constant relationship with game-buyers and they’d generate substantial negative publicity if they did this, to the detriment of any further games they tried to make (even developers who are incorrectly seen as having done this have problems because of the lack of consumer trust). Developers really do want to finish games and care about what they’re releasing, often to the detriment of the company’s long-term financial health – developers who don’t care churn out huge numbers of cheap, crappy knock-off games for web and mobile to make quick bucks.
      Of course, under traditional publishing models, many games ran out of funding before being finished, and this does and will continue to happen with early access games as well. These are the more likely risks – that developers will not raise enough money to make the game they promised or will change ambitions once they have the money until the point where they can’t deliver, or will otherwise mismanage the funds so that they’re depleted before the game is finished.

    • P.Funk says:

      All that talk you just did does nothing to address the problem of how this developer is going to court the same community again to receive the funding to make his next game. You make it sound like any business that gets paid up front will inevitably welsh with no care to its reputation even though reputation is pretty important when it comes to getting ongoing funding for the future.

      How do you make another kickstarter or sell another early access game when the entire community thinks you’re (rightly) a bunch of shysters?

      Little flaw in your logic, nevermind we haven’t touched on personal pride in your work or a desire to actually be respected in your vocation and all that which is altogether separate from the “we’re gamers too” line. It also hasn’t addressed the fact that a big thing is always building a consumer/user/player base that will be loyal to you longterm. That sort of thing is worth billions these days apparently if its big enough.

  12. Donjo says:

    So much hype at the start of the early access launch was a gift and a curse – loads of early backers but also lots of people with little patience jumping in. Broken promises and changes in plans early on the development has lost them a lot of good will but I’m still optimistic. I played a lot when I first bought it and enjoyed myself immensely, now I play every couple of weeks when there’s something interesting happening with specific groups or new updated stuff I want to see. It’s a great game and I reckon it’ll get a lot more interesting.

  13. BananaMan3000 says:

    Personally I’ve enjoyed playing DayZ a lot already, but as a dev myself I think the pace of development has been pretty slow considering what they had to start with. They are hamstrung by a really bad engine that wasn’t designed to do what they’re asking it to do and BI is totally unused to developing this sort of game. It’s a very weird situation that a mod for one of their games became such a sensation and more popular than any of the official games they’ve ever made. They’ve been turned from making niche mil-sim style games into a persistent multiplayer sandbox zombie survival game, a bit of a turnaround to say the least.

    Also standalone is more than 11 months into development – it was announced back in 2012 and also had the mod as a guide for the design (often something that takes ages to nail down) and much of the artwork (an entire world in fact, tonnes of weapons, vehicles, bits of kit) already done. A good metric for understanding why people are a bit frustrated with is that the mod that started it all that was made in someone’s free time still has more features than the standalone game. I think many people gladly accepted early access thinking the game in a year or 18 months time would be much more complete – three years to remake a mod that was already functioning is a different proposition though.

    I think BI themselves probably underestimated the amount of work needed to be done on the engine/tech for the game (Rocket has said as much) shown in the fact they made the conservative choice to stick with the ArmA 2 Engine. If they had switched to ArmA 3 and made a totally new purpose built world, I would understand talking about a 3 year dev cycle.

    Whether it was a mistake for BI to use the early access model I don’t know, they’ve sure sold a lot of copies of it already (2 million last time I checked, for comparison ArmA 3 sold 1 million total by June 2014) but the pressure is on them to deliver now and I think a lot of people reasonably expected development to go a bit quicker than it is, me included. I do feel that “Early Access” is a bit of a get out of jail free card though that will basically allows the devs to escape almost all criticism. Personally I think they’re stuck with some crappy tech that’s really held them back, it’s a shame DayZ didn’t happen to Valve or another developer that makes much more polished games but there we go.

    I’ve come to think that DayZ is a brilliant concept that is totally hamstrung by it’s tech and a developer who’s games are not normally put under this much scrutiny and normally cater to a very niche market. It’s a great game and I’m having fun with it but I think the concept will be really refined and turned into something still terrifying but a lot slicker, less buggy and with nicer production values by someone else. Still fun though. I really wish they’d fix the teleport-everyone-in-their-pants-to-the-same-part-of-the-world hack, and allow server admins to ban people though!

  14. communisthamster says:

    It’s one of those new balancing acts that devs have to walk. On one hand, to get more sales to fund development you have to pretend people will be getting A Game, when they’re really not, and ultimately it can harm the devs. And there’s a certain amount of people getting “locked in” to how the beta works, which can drag any changes during development, like KSP trying to keep save compatability working between updates.

    And with Planetary Annihilation, where they priced the beta higher than the final game, to exclude “bad beta testers” and select for dedicated fans, that bit them in the ass too. You can’t win.

  15. consortiumczar says:

    BI are just greedy, plain and simple. They think that these articles help them, but all it does is add fuel to the fire. People aren’t stupid. You can’t tell your customer how and why they should form their opinions. Opinions are formed based on player-game-developer interactions. BI sucks, that’s why people get mad. Very easy to understand, unless you’re as hard headed as they are.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      If they were that greedy, I doubt they would be mainly doing niche military sims.

      • consortiumczar says:

        Think about that statement. Greedy company has niche, why switch? Derrrrp

  16. specialsymbol says:

    People fail to grasp the concept of “early access” and “work in development” completely.

    Just have a look at Star Citizen:
    There are millions of misconceptions, from the “fact” that you “need to buy ships” to it being an MMO like WoW or Eve Online. But what really baffles me everytime is that people complain that it’s “not finished and buggy”.

    I really don’t get it. You spend real money on it, can’t you at least make the effort to read just a page of text about it?

  17. sophof says:

    The problem with early access, at least for me, is that you tend to burn out your enthusiasm on an unfinished game. If a game interests you and you can play it NOW, it is hard to say no. But then you’ll play this unfinished buggy version of it for a good many hours and then likely not touch it for a looong time. It probably would’ve been better if you just waited for the finished version, because then you’d have enjoyed it more.

    But the biggest fans are the ones that are going to play it in early access. I think most of them are going to be disappointed eventually, even if they know perfectly well what they are getting into.

  18. lolek says:

    We all think that dayz has a lot of potencial but bohemia does not realise that you have a game of the century in your hands like WOW and LOL. The whole bohemia should start working on dayz and hire more developers so the work would be easier and faster. Your primari games shouldnt be arma 3 or arma 2 what so ever but dayz because everyone is so excited for the every update that is on the list to come out. have you ever asked yourself was there ever such a hype with armas? I think you dont realise you have a billion dollar game right in front of your nose and the longer you will take to build it more competition will you have and more people will start to play something else and the whole dayz thing will be forgoten so I am begging you to get more people hired for the dayz dev. why does it take so long for you and if we look on the other side the epoch will come in next weeks for arma3 and you will be able to do 1000 more thing than you can in dayz and they are just some small fish developers… I realy want you to think about that because this is the only game that i have felt the hype like this and it would be a waste if you would not consider that.

  19. raexer says:

    The real issue I think many people have is the feeling of being cheated out of money and loss of faith in the product over time from the mod up to the standalone.

    When they say they are only 11 months into a 3 year development cycle then ultimately the game isn’t slated to come out until 2016. This is sort of a cop out thing to say as Dayz standalone was released roughly 11 months ago for early access and they took people’s money to do it. The game at that point represented a game within 2 years of a development cycle. You can’t say it started out fresh, because it didn’t. The design, application of mechanics, and most of the art was initially done(If not more.) Sure they “re-did” it on a new engine, but why do they keep talking about newer engines and changing stuff over still after 11 months? Personally I think they are confusing the well educated gamers by trying to PR trick us. It’s time to pony up, at least in the minds of the majority of the players admit you made a mistake and we will patiently wait for you to fix it. Don’t tell us we are wrong. Maybe next time release a beta access and keep things on the dl for your “3 year development cycle.” At least then people could continue with the mod and not feel cheated by paying again. Early access doesn’t mean 3 year development cycle unless you are taking it upon yourself to re-brand the word.

    Common practice in the past for companies looking for alpha and beta testers was to provide that access free of charge. Ultimately you are testing your game to make sure it works. The standalone as it is doesn’t give me a place to provide feedback beyond forums and blogs. So what is the point. I get to look under the hood, but my input really doesn’t go to the mechanic. In the past when companies began taking money for early access it was under the guise that the game was about to release. (2-3 months or maybe up to 6 months.) Even games that were early access f2p games with a pay element were at the choice of the players. There have been some instances in the past where this occurred and within a few months the company went bankrupt. There was much anger and frustration across the gaming world. We remember. There have recently been crowdsourcing projects that failed to pony up within 2 years and are actually being sued for it. See Kickstarter for more.

    All in all what you have with dayz is a complex issue, but a simple issue. The fans of the game who bought the early access most likely played or found out about the game through the mod. They probably had to pay for arma2 and the arma 2 expansion to even play the mod. Now they had to pay yet again for the standalone. Neither game is really a finished product and gamers take this as if they’ve been playing the same game now for nearly 3 years. In reality it is just two unfinished games that they payed for and now feel will never be finished. To say the mod wasn’t paid for is a lie. To say the mod can be played instead of the standalone is fine, just don’t make me do it until you fix the hacking issues. It’s the reason you made a standalone in the first place. To fix the problems the arma engine couldn’t address. Right? Or was it to just make more money?

    Personally If you release a game under the guise of early access then you can literally never finish your game and just keep updating it until you no longer feel you are making any money. Dishonesty and a bad excuses path for game publishers to go down. The sheer fact that the developer here posted frustration with the gamers opinions shows that they he is now against the gamers themselves.

    Bottom line. If you release an early access then expect feedback. If you are angry at your gamers because they give you feedback you don’t like then maybe you are doing something wrong. You should look more at your company. Either way my message to the developers of the standalone is: “The Dayz:Mod is basically still unplayable due to hackers and bugs and modded this and that. It’s just not supported. The Dayz:Standalone is still a great concept of a game, but I think your community is worried it will never be finished and fall to hackers as it is already doing. Upsetting your gamers more by showing aggression towards them is just poor pr. Never tell a gaming community they don’t understand games. We understand. We’ve been understanding for decades now.

  20. twitch.tv.BUGSxBUNNY says:

    ObvZ: your brain Is Not brain
    DayZ is 11 months into principle development????????????????????
    ARE U FUCKING SRSLY?

    call to me at least one game it was required which more than year for transfer on a new engine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????
    piece of shit
    you simply aren’t capable to make game

    in a year couldn’t improve load of the videocard, but now I can catch fish, WTF! ?

    don’t buy Dayz, don’t advise anybody Dayz
    Dayz = trash

  21. twitch.tv.BUGSxBUNNY says:

    “There is no patch for stupidity.” (Mitnick, 2003)