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The End of Worlds Adrift and their Implications

Hello Improbable.

I wanted to ask if you have considered to help the community of Worlds Adrift or Bossa Studios to keep the game alive one way or the other. The information came through that Worlds Adrift was not commercially viable because the costs of renting the servers at your cloud was too way too high.
even as it had sold decent 100k copies. The Devs hinted that even if they would sell more copies and bring in more players the rising cost of the server infrastructure for the gamer made the whole project doomed from the start. So it seems for us in the community.
If this was truly the case this is not just a PR Disaster for Bossa Studios but also a PR Disaster for SpatialOS.Not just gives it the message that a game has to have huge commercial succes otherwise you are running out of money but that if a community would want to host private servers to perservate their beloved game they would not be able to because of the proprietary Element of using SpatialOS
Since Worlds Adrift seemed to be the flagship project of Improbable for building physical living worlds and WA is still on your website to advertise your technology. I am begging you, please help us, the community to keep the game alive. It was proposed to asking you humbly for implementing a contract for using SpatialOS under a non-profit/personal/archive licence.
World Adrift is a truly unique game and thanks to your technology I felt for the first time since I was a child the excitment of experiences something never seen and played before. It would be a tragedy in the history of game development when these kind of games and their underlying boldness are not risked to be made.

I would definitely be interested in knowing what exactly Improbable was charging Bossa, and why it was purportedly so much higher than the advertized prices on Improbable’s website.

Also, what was the falling out with Bossa that caused them to stop keeping up with new iterations of the SpatialOS versions? That seems to have been at the core of why they were never able to expand their world when it became overcrowded.

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Hello @Dropgunner,

First of all thank you very much for your post. The community’s passion for Worlds Adrift is amazing and your post is yet another proof of that. You raise a set of fair questions and I’ll try my best to answer all of them.

There are many costs associated with making and running a game. The decision to shut down Worlds Adrift was made by Bossa based on an overall assessment of the game’s commercial viability and not simply hosting costs. Bossa Studios was one of the first studios to use SpatialOS, and Improbable and Bossa worked together to ensure that hosting costs were not an issue during development. I do not know what statement by the devs you are thinking of but I’m afraid your interpretation is inaccurate.

As a technology partner it’s not appropriate for us to go into any details that Bossa have not. Speaking generally, however, it’s an undeniable fact that making massively multiplayer online games is difficult - as a genre, they contain many technical, design and commercial challenges. Worlds Adrift was a hugely innovative game which we were excited to provide networking and hosting technology to support. We believe Bossa created something truly unique and we are glad we were able to support this project.

Moving on to the question of the continuation of Worlds Adrift as a game via alternative means. More specifically I think you are asking about running Worlds Adrift on SpatialOS without the involvement of Bossa Studios. Bossa are the creators of Worlds Adrift and Improbable provides the underlying networking and hosting technology that makes Worlds Adrift’s seamless open world possible. As a technology partner we respect and support Bossa’s decisions regarding the future of their game. Continuing to run the game on SpatialOS without Bossa’s involvement is therefore not possible.

Last but not least, to address @rignanroach’s question regarding Worlds Adrift running on an earlier version of SpatialOS. We are constantly upgrading and improving our product. Bossa Studios was a very early partner and built Worlds Adrift using an earlier version of the platform which we have maintained. This means that Worlds Adrift has a very different structure and development experience from any project on the latest version of SpatialOS.

I hope the above information provides some insight and clarifications. If you have any follow-up questions do not hesitate to leave them here. We will be happy to respond.

Kind regards,
Duco - Developer Community Manager

Thanks for weighing in.

The question on a lot of our minds is, why did WA not keep abreast of the improvements seeing that a fundamental part of the balance of the game was meant to be controlling the size of the world?

I am looking at your website and claims that you take care of most of the hosting concerns so game developers can focus on the game itself. But it seems Bossa was spending all of its time trying to make your software work for them.

“We take care of the networking, hosting and online services. This means you can dedicate your budget, time and talent to gameplay and deliver low-latency action from hosting sites around the world.”

This failure reflects poorly on your ability to keep this particular commitment.

Hi @rignanroach, thanks for your follow up question.

As mentioned by @dvanamst, we’re constantly upgrading and improving SpatialOS and these changes are intended to be as non-disruptive or be as minimally disruptive to developers using our SDKs and GDKs, as much as possible.

Bossa Studios was a very early partner (Worlds Adrift was announced in 2014) and Worlds Adrift was built using an earlier version of SpatialOS, which we have maintained. This means that Worlds Adrift has a different structure and development experience to the current version of SpatialOS. In this very unusual case, moving to the latest version would have required more effort than moving between current versions would.

As also previously mentioned, as a technology partner, it’s not appropriate for us to speculate about the decisions of the game’s studio, but Bossa gave their reasons in their blog post - in short, that it was a commercial decision.

We’re very proud of what Bossa Studios achieved with the support of our technology, and that we were able to work together on it.

best,
Nee

I find this answer very unsatisfying because on the one hand you are stating that you help developers update the syystem ´ to be as non-disruptive or be as minimally disruptive to developers using your SDKs and GDKs but on the other hand you clearly state that Worlds Adrift has a different structure and development experience to the current version of SpatialOS. In this very unusual case, moving to the latest version would have required more effort. This is not an unusal case this is the first case of implementing your promise to help the developers change their system. You gave them a version what incompatible to your current version so in regard to your promise you should have taken the effort from Bossa und implemented with them a viable solution, especially BECAUSE it takes more effort than usually.
I get the feeling that both sides are playing the ball to each other and are not very clear why the community is getting told that one big argument for their decision was in fact the pricing. This is no speculation this is a statement from Bossa Studios. The commercial decision from Bossa was influenced by your decision to come to no solution with Bossa. Why was not Improbable taking responsibility and adress the fact that they are one part of the commercial decision and why did not offer Improbable alternatives to Bossa? For example having your service for free since they were your first implemented solution at the cost of nonupgradibility. Or another to use your own game development studio to take this project and further develop it?

Hello @Dropgunner.

I’m afraid that we can’t disclose confidential or commercial details. I understand that this can be frustrating, and can lead to speculation based on incomplete or incorrect information, but we also cannot comment on that speculation.

We worked with Bossa Studios as a technology partner. We’re very proud of what Bossa Studios achieved with the support of our technology, and that we were able to work together on it. We are also sad to see Worlds Adrift close, as fans of the game, as fans of Bossa Studios, we wish them every success with their future projects.

If you have a project of your own that you would like to discuss, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Thanks,
Nee