James ‘The Navigator’ Mayo discusses Project Genesis’ recent playtest

Coin Rivet recently spoke with James Mayo, commonly known as The Navigator at 8 Circuit Studios, to discuss the highly anticipated first-person shooter and space genre mashup game Project Genesis and its recent playtest.

You recently held the Andromeda playtest, while revealing a lot of exciting new updates to Project Genesis. Could you give any insight into how successful the Andromeda playtest was?

“You’re right, we included updated systems based on community feedback like thrusters, powerslides to improve evasion tactics, and weapons visual effects. We’ve initiated the Pilot Program and started allocating badges to community members, and these badges can be seen on the leaderboards, the Pilot’s hanger, and in-game. There were also a number of infrastructure components that we implemented on the backend to scale the game servers automatically and distribute builds through Steam.

“We had about 80 participants over the course of two days at two sessions per day. From our perspective, the playtest was a big success because we got a ton of outstanding feedback from the participants, and we found a number of bugs that we can fix for the next playtest. Additionally, the community was also able to stream and broadcast their sessions without restriction because we’ve lifted the early NDA. Most importantly though, it seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun!”

When we last spoke, it looked like Project Genesis was set for an alpha phase launch this year. Is this still the case?

“We’re actually considering shifting the definition of alpha back to the more technical development meaning of the term: ‘code or feature complete’. This is defined as all the core functionality and features being implemented. We are still intending to hit that originally planned ‘open alpha’ milestone soon, but we’re probably going to label it as a named playtest instead, like we started doing with the Andomeda playtest.”

During the media tour which I was kindly invited to, you showcased the Project Genesis store with the 8-bit token. How is the store shaping up?

“The store is being developed in parallel with Project Genesis and is shaping up nicely, but we’re going to offer a streamlined purchase experience compared to the more supermarket-like demo that you received. In fact, we’re focusing most on the purchasing of virtual goods and blockchain-based assets occurring in-game. We think this kind of experience is more in alignment with what gamers have come to expect with titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Overwatch.”

When we last spoke, we also briefly discussed the Metaverse. How is the Metaverse looking now? Would you be able to provide any details for additional games?

“There’s been a bit of traction from our colleagues, but it will likely be a bit longer before we see any big moves in this area from the broader game industry. The Metaverse is still something we are still very passionate about and it is a core pillar in our development roadmap. We’re starting to play this subject close to the chest as we develop our capabilities, but we’re super excited about the work that is happening behind the scenes. Sorry, I wish I could say more!”

Back in early June, Project Genesis was listed on Steam. Has there been much participation in your community from Steam? And if so, how helpful has this been?

“Since we listed on Steam in June, I think we’ve just scratched the surface with a little over 1,200 Wishlists so far. We’re starting to slowly see participation in our Discord from folks visiting us from Steam, and vice versa. It has been pretty humbling to watch the interest accumulate across our other social media platforms, too.”

Four unique badges were also unveiled in June. Do you have any figures regarding the amount of people who now own one of these badges?

“We implemented the Pilot Program to recognise those community contributors who are going above and beyond the call of duty. Test Pilots are those members who are focused on quality and/or are great at breaking things and hunting down repro steps. Ambassadors are like the emcees of the group and will tend to be good candidates to fulfil the role of moderators on our social media channels.  Pioneers lead the way by developing community created content or broadcasting Project Genesis on their respective streaming/video platform. And finally, our Ace Pilots are our competitive players. They help us find tactical exploits, cheats, or OP/nerf’ed features so that we ensure Project Genesis is fairly balanced.

“We have the following badges allocated: 14 Test Pilots, 5 Ambassadors, 7 Pioneers, and 5 Ace Pilots. Although the numbers don’t tell the whole story because it is possible for community members to hold badges in more than one category.”

With all the recent updates, what comes next in the development of Project Genesis?

“The Andromeda playtest highlighted some work we need to do to smooth out some networking issues we ran into when we were operating at full capacity, so we’ll start there. But the community has indicated that improvements to our notification and feedback system will go a long way to improving the gameplay experience. This would ensure that if your capital ship is getting breached and boarded that you’ll get some notification, or if your opponents are completing objectives while running amok aboard your ship, you’ll be informed of their treachery so you can respond accordingly. Additionally, we’ll also be looking into implementing some additional performance optimisations.”

For more detail, you can visit the public Trello here.

Finally, is there anything you would like to add which hasn’t been covered?

“Thanks for asking! If any of your readers are interested in a space-combat and FPS genre mashup, Project Genesis might be a new game that is worth checking out. You can sign up for our pre-alpha playtests at www.projectgenesis.com. Or, if you’d just like to watch a game get developed in ‘real time’, we’d love to have you join the conversation in our Discord or on Steam. Thanks for the great questions!”

Interested in reading more Project Genesis-related stories? Discover more about Project Genesis being listed on the popular game distribution platform Steam.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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