No 1.31 preview... yet


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1.30 patches are likely finished and we've already moved the baseline code to v1.31 which will feature the UNITY 3D® upgrade and players are asking, "Where the heck is the preview?". Standard operating procedures have been tossed out the window for this version and I'm here to tell you why.

Throughout the development and production cycles of 1.29 and 1.30, some of our coders and all of our artists have been working hard on a very ambitious update to Playnet's proprietary game engine (UNITY 3D®) and the objects that populate it. The plan has been to deliver a more feature-enabled engine along with new or updated content that will represent a major step forward in the visual presentation of the game. Now that 1.30 has been put to bed, the many months of work is making it's way out of development and into closed Beta for internal testing.

Normally, as art is completed or even underway on a new object or feature, we'd publish a preview of it on our website or drop it into our newsletter. This would go on for the months leading up to release and is done to keep our players interested and excited by what's coming next and also provide a glimpse into our work and techniques. There are a few of reasons why that's not happening for 1.31.

First and foremost, there are several engine upgrades that have paved the way for brand new features or upgrades to some which are simply out-dated. Adding new features to a game/graphic engine that, in some cases, will have an effect on game-play takes a lot of guts, hope and testing by everyone involved in the process. These take more trials and tweaking that more straight-forward additions like a new vehicle or adding a new town to the terrain. During these feature development cycles, several versions are trialed before getting to the point where that feature is ready for closed Beta testing. Showing these features while in development could provide the wrong impression or even miscommunicate the purpose of the feature to players.

Secondly, some features are dropped for current version planning due to extended development times, unexpected road-blocks or early testing results. The type of features and content associated with game/graphic engine updates are at greater risk for missing releases compared to "known quantities" such as adding vehicles.

Finally, adding and updating graphics in a project this large needs to be presented as a whole, not in part. There are many, many small changes/updates along with major additions that all come together to represent a new visual package. Splitting these out into isolated previews just doesn't do the work justice. Imagine showing individual screenshots of carpeting, windows or paint samples when trying to sell a new home.

Will we publish a 1.31 preview? We plan on releasing a comprehensive listing of new features, content and changes along with some articles detailing a few of the major additions in the coming weeks. Certainly there will be some screenshots  and maybe some video. Until we tie off a few of the last features and feel confident they will be included in 1.31, we will ask for a little more patience.

We're very excited to be working on this update and can't wait to release it to our players.