Vice City Online 1.0 DP1 Release Postponement
As we have been steadily approaching our Developer Preview 1 (DP1) release deadline of January 22, 2012, it has become increasingly apparent to us through extensive testing and development that we, unfortunately, are no longer able to abide by the date which we confidently supplied to you in our video just over three weeks ago. We do understand your anticipation for our long-awaited release, which is exactly why we are not able to release it on the 22nd as planned. Since we were not able to gather enough concrete data through our progressively small tests, which would be representative of a mass-test such as the Developer Preview 1, we cannot conclude that this build will be playable on scales of 20-50, or even more players at a time on a server. The following explains our reasoning for this, along with our easily acceptable new release date.
If you were around for our release of Vice City Online RC1 years back, you will probably remember that the first build showed telltale signs of not being tested because it was consistently crashing and there were embarrassing mistakes evident. Not only that, but our master server was also consistently changing hosts, for we had not settled on a firm agreement on which company would be hosting it. Additionally, you will probably also remember that there wasn't a whole lot to do in terms of stock game modes--you had to practically script everything yourself for a long while until our Executive Consultant Mex developed and released his VCO Lua Extensions (VLE) scripting API, which eased the process tremendously and actually made scripting fun.
What kind of product were we releasing back then? It was a primitive product which existed solely for experimentation and which was not intended for public release by any means. We had no idea at the time how it would behave with more than five players on a server. The whole concept of creating a multiplayer GTA was still new and fresh to all of us.
Immediately following the release of our last VCO RC1 patch, we were in the process of working on RC2, which featured improved synchronization, improved stability, and more features (some of which were just prototypes at the time for systems we have implemented in our DP1). Despite these facts, it was still mostly a research project. On a positive note, it greatly expanded our knowledge of the game and gave us a new leaf on what we were able to do with the game. It was also in this period that we developed documents which would prepare ourselves for an entirely new team structure and website. We like to consider this as our transition period. Unfortunately, this is also the time that you--the public--was mostly in the dark with what we were doing. Just to give you an idea of how long this period was, it lasted from the moment after our last patch for VCO RC1 up until about a few months after our merge with the GTA: State of Liberty project.
Soon after, we decided that the RC2/SOLO prototype wrapper/game engine was not going to be released because the cost and efficiency of the performance was too high and there were loose ends in terms of the features and functionality available. Thus, the entire source code was entirely scrapped and re-done, and the methodologies of reverse engineering have been revised and optimized.
Ever since that decision, it's been a scramble to balance optimization with features in a timely manner. We have been working quickly in order to deliver a product of our highest caliber which would give Vice City the best chance it had as a multiplayer game. In a sense, instead of a "rush job," we have actually taken the time to do everything pertaining to this project at a comfortable pace correctly. It was our mistake to hide our progress to the public, which we now see generated much mistrust and disinterest in not only this project, but even worse, in Vice City as a game!
What are we asking you for? We need just three more weeks to maximize everything up to the standards of a Developer Preview (essentially a public beta). Specifically, we are promising to release the final build of DP1 up to and including Februrary 10th, 2012. To further boost insight, we will also be hosting a public beta test up to and including February 5th, 2012. Advance notice will not be supplied if we decide to release sooner than the maximized dates--please make sure to check for any updates. We don't want to fulfill false promises. However, keep in mind that as a reward for your patience, you will, at long last, have proper fun in Vice City!
Also, keep in mind that this is still a Developer Preview. The public beta will give us insight into fixing last-minute crashes directly before the release of the final product. Still, a Developer Preview is essentially still beta software, and has the capability of being expanded and refined. We hope to see you there for both our public beta and our developer preview releases!