It's about time to let you know what's currently going on, and what the future of Rising World will probably look like. Sorry for the wall of text!
Some of you may remember that we mentioned some traffic changes on Steam last October. Valve changed the algorithm that decides which games are promoted and which are not. There aren't many details known about how the algorithm works exactly, but it seems that the algorithm is mostly favoring top-sellers now - there are lots of other serious indie developers out there who were negatively affected by the algorithm change.
We lost a lot of our visibility "over night" and therefore our game sells a lot worse than before. Of course it's up to Valve to decide what's best for the store, but this change makes it much harder for us to survive - especially in combination with the introduction of Steam Direct in 2017.
The development of Rising World is not about making money, but of course we have running costs and have to pay bills just like everyone else. We will never abandon Rising World, no matter what happens, but if we're having trouble covering the costs, this will inevitable slow down development - to a point that becomes unacceptable. But even if we somehow make it to the 1.0, it would be a pity if the journey ends at this point (since there is still so much unused potential in this game).
It couldn't go on like this, so we had to find the best solution for the community and the game.
To cut a long story short, we decided to move Rising World to another engine. This allows us to bring Rising World to a new level (from a technological point of view). Graphics isn't everything, but it still plays a big role when it comes to the first impression of the game. But moving to a new engine also allows us to release the game on more platforms - for example consoles. Of course the PC will still be our main platform, but being able to bring the game to consoles (or maybe even something like Stadia) could ensure the future of the game.
We are sure that the vast majority of players will benefit from this measure in the end, since the result will be a much more polished game. The bad news is, that moving to another engine means a rewrite of the game. This sounds worse than it actually is, though. When implementing a new feature, most of the time is spent on the conceptual design - and there is no need to redo that now in this case. The actual implementation, i.e. the "programming part" is in fact the smallest part.
But apart from that there are several "core mechanics" that had to be reworked anyway, for example the world generation. It makes sense to use this opportunity to do that now.
Nevertheless, it will still take some time until the "new version" is ready. In order to speed things up, we have a new fulltime dev now (so we're two people focusing on the programming/implementation part). This wasn't really an option before, since the game already consists of more than 250k lines of code, and getting used to it would take a lot of time.
I'm still afraid that it will take up to 1 year until the current version of the game can be fully replaced by the new version (but at this stage, it will already feature the reworked core mechanics). But once we have a playable version, we will make it accessible (as "Beta" in Steam) - we're confident that this still happens this year.
We already have some preview screenshots we want to share with you. Please keep in mind that these are some very early screenshots, but they give at least a rough idea how the game could look like in the future:
Just to avoid any misunderstandings: If you already own the game, there is of course no need to buy it again. Once the new version is ready, it will replace the current version and you will be able to access it.
However, the Java version will still be available (as well as the according server files). Once the new version replaces the current one, the Java version will be moved to a separate Beta branch in Steam which will always be accessible (it will also be available for standalone owners). So if you don't like the changes and want to stick to the old version, that will be possible. We are still going to provide bugfixes for the Java version.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or if you think that it's a bad idea to move to a new engine, please let us know Either leave a comment here, or create a new post in the forums.
We've set up a small FAQ by the way which provides some more information: https://forum.rising-world.net/thread/10171