Glitch prepares for unlaunch

As you may have noticed, Glitch does things a little bit differently. Just two months after the game’s official launch, developers at Tiny Speck are preparing to unlaunch it, taking it back into beta mode.

The studio’s rationale is simple: They’re working to make the game better, make it faster – and it seems the only way to do this is to close the blinds for a little while (and we are promised it will only be a little while).


The browser-based, free-to-play MMO has been described as “Zork fun, Pac-Man fun, Super Mario Brothers fun” – and early reports show the number of subscriptions matching the “very optimistic” projections of the development team.

But the successful launch of the game itself has revealed two problems the developers hadn’t anticipated.

The first is to make the early game reveal itself more easily to new players so they can get into the fun faster. The second and larger task is to give those players who have gotten over that initial hump and fallen in love with the game — spending dozens or even hundreds of hours playing — the creative tools that they need to change the world in more tangible ways: building whole new locations themselves, designing new buildings, setting up resource flows and forming flexible organizations to create bigger things together.

Tiny Speck describe both these challenges as “surmountable”, but the team is discovering that their original plan to simply let a solution evolve simply isn’t going to work.

Some fairly radical changes to core game mechanics are going to be necessary to make Glitch what it needs to be.

As you might expect, “radical changes” aren’t things that can be made easily while the game is open to the general public, particularly when those changes impact on scaling, stability and quality of service.

Going back to beta will let us make the changes that need to be made. And so we’re “unlaunching” — and going back to beta.

The game’s latest blog post explains that there are no intentions to slow down, with new features and additional content still planned to roll out over the next little while.

[img_big]center,2511,2011-11-30/rook.jpg,The Rook[/img_big]

If you’re a fan of Glitch and you’re upset by this “unlaunch” decision, please let them know. Tiny Speck understand this is a somewhat unusual move, and that you might not be keen on the idea of everything changing after you’ve handed over real-world money in support. If that’s you, then head over to the refund program page and follow the prompts for a “100%, no hassle, full & complete refund.”

In closing:

We are more optimistic than ever that Glitch can deliver on its promise of a unique, imaginative world, full of delights and ripe for experimentation and expansion by players — and we know what we have to do to get there. We want to make something worthy of all that love: we want to make the game you deserve to play.

Thank you for all your support so far and we’ll do our best to continue to earn it.

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