We should probably post updates here more often to avoid this exact situation of having a ton of news we want to share, so I'll apologize in advance and try to keep it light and entertaining. It may seem quiet here on the front page, but we have been super busy working on the game and the forums have been our primary outlet for communicating with players, which you are always welcome to take a peek at if you want to know the absolute latest happenings.
I don't get it, why can't you just post more often?
Excellent question! Carbon Games is actually a very small dev team. We don't have biz dev, or community managers, or PR people. We are small and self-funded, and we'd love to grow the team a little bit when AirMech is profitable enough to do that, but for now everyone who answers support emails or posts on the forums is also full-time working on the game and we're doing the best we can.
So what have you been doing all this time?
Since the last update we posted, let me think, there's actually quite a few notable things:
- AirMech is now available on Steam
- New Warthog AirMech class released
- CTF and Endless Survival modes added
- Referral system revealed and used
- Added a ton of servers around the world
- Lots of in-progress Variants and new Units
Besides all that, we continue to optimize and fix bugs all the time. It's a very organic development process, and we try to keep evaluating what is needed to make the game better.
What's next for AirMech?
More features, more content. The huge increase in players recently has made it painfully clear that we need to increase the priority of proper matchmaking. This goes hand in hand with ranking, because what I want myself is probably what most people want--to get into a game where all players have a low ping and are around my own experience and skill level. So yes, we are doing that, and it will be rolled out as soon as possible.
For content, there's been quite a few Units I've wanted to get in the game for a while and that's getting a big push soon. I've always wanted to pull more units from Tower Defense style games, and we'll of course have things that slow down enemies, and do damage over time. Survival will be getting airborne enemies, changing up that mode quite a bit. We will try to get those things rolled out as soon as we can, and of course all new Units are gifted to players who own the Beta Bundle.
More AirMech Variants are on the way as well. Anyone who launched the game recently who owns the Beta Bundle probably noticed they were gifted the "N-Vision" Osprey. Not all Variants are included with the Beta Bundle but some will be. For some future premium Variants I'll just drop one word: Steampunk.
Who are ChimneySwift and HuskyStarcraft?
They are YouTubers who have tons of fans that they introduced AirMech to. Even though we've been tracking referrals from day 1, it was only in the last month that we went public with the rewards system and started letting you cash them in. You can check your own status ingame by clicking the first button with your name on it, then Referrals. You can also see who referred you in Store > Codes, or get your code there to give to others.
Both Chimney and Husky blew through the reward tiers. Chimney's Tooth is now an item ingame, and his Pilot is being created, and probably with time he will get his own AirMech Variant as well. Husky's fanbase, already a great overlap because of his coverage of Starcraft, quickly blew through all levels and he is getting all 3 premium rewards. His first reward is actually going to be a Pet (instead of an item) but it takes a bit longer to make so we rolled out the Husky Pilot first (now available to players over level 10) and he will also be designing a custom AirMech Variant based on the class of his choosing.
We think this has worked out great for everyone involved, and look forward to finishing off those ingame items because they really are meant to reward the players who were brought here by those broadcasters as a way to interact with the community.
If anyone with a large following is interested in maximizing the number of captured referrals, we encourage them to email us first and make sure their links are set up correctly. We actually do want you to get full credit for all referrals, and are happy to share with you the results of your fan's participation.
Are you going to be at PAX Prime?
Yes! We're going to be part of the Indie MEGABOOTH again (as we were at PAX East) and Alienware has generously loaned us systems and Mad Catz has given us a sweet hookup with peripherals! We're going to have 12 stations set up, enough to run two 3v3 games at the same time! Plus the cool cats over at Penny Arcade are not only letting us bring back the PA Pilots from before, but we're expanding the lineup. More Pilots, a Unit, and a Pet are all available, and each card will give you one of them randomly.
All you have to do to get a prize card is stop by our booth at PAX Prime and pick one up for free. Not going to PAX? Ask around until you find a friend who is going and ask him to get you a card, if we have enough we will help friends out.
Is AirMech going to be released soon?
Trick question, because AirMech is available to play right now! Sure, we have a beta label on it, that's because we are actively developing it and we know it's not totally done, and there's bugs of course. The biggest change when we remove the beta label will be the removal of the Beta Bundle, not any big change in the game. Everyone keeps their progress and unlocks, and we keep adding stuff to the game. It doesn't go in a box and we move on to the next thing--who makes games like that anymore? AirMech is a continually evolving game, which will not have a sequel or anything because we don't want to ever fracture the playerbase. That's also why we have never done a wipe or a reset, because we want players to keep everything they have earned even if they get a little more because of some bugs on our side.
By playing AirMech early, you get access to exclusive things that may not be available later. We promise you can keep everything you unlock, but we can't promise that everything will always be available. It's best to check out the game quite often to see what new stuff is available, you might find some nice surprises. Since the game is completely free to play we think this works out great for both us at Carbon and the players who want early access.
But why isn't AirMech free on Steam yet?
Ah, true, you do have to buy the Beta Bundle to get access to the Steam version for now. As I mentioned above, there's a bunch of key features that are needed to make the game enjoyable for large numbers of players. Valve has shown us the numbers that F2P games can expect on Steam and together we decided that we want to get matchmaking and ranking in place before we throw the doors wide open.
Believe me, I want the game available for everyone on Steam too, and it will be as soon as we are ready. In the mean time, you can still play the game on PC or in Chrome. Don't forget if you bought the Beta Bundle outside of Steam, head on over to the forums and we will hook you up.
Any update on the Front Line Assembly music?
The album is done, mastered, and Metropolis is working out the release details. I have heard that November is the tentative release target for the album. From what I know, there will be a unique key printed in every physical album that will unlock the FLA exclusive items (4 Pilots + FLA AirMech Variant). It appears we are also going to be able to offer the album digitally, DRM-free, directly inside of the game which will instantly unlock the ingame items. We may even be able to offer a pre-sale where you can buy it and get the items, then download the album on the official release date. I'd love to be able to offer the album early but we have to respect the record label's marketing plans.
We are able to integrate the music into the game now, which is on our growing list of things to do. We'll probably start by adding some subtle menu music and then experiment with the dynamic ingame music. I expect that this will evolve a lot over time, and the band has offered to continue to assist us with this effort. I have to say the album is amazing, it's everything I wanted and more, and I can't wait to share it with you.
I have more very important questions!
I'd love to answer them, and they may have already been answered in the forums. If not, post your own question, or if you are from the media please get in touch with us--we're always happy to chat. I'm actually just back from a week-long vacation (my first in I don't know how long) and I'm eager to get a lot of new stuff into the game along with last minute PAX preparations. It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks!