Novus Aeterno Post Mortum

It’s been nearly a decade. We have been through a lot together on our journey towards our end-goal, Novus Aeterno. Novus represented a vision that we wanted to give to you all, however, despite our best efforts, Novus as we envisioned was not to be.

We are not ready to give up on our promise of a MMO strategy game. We would like to both explain everything that’s happened up until this point, and show you how we will make things right.

So, let’s start at the beginning:

We ran a very successful kickstarter for Novus Aeterno: over 3,900 of you believed in our dream and it showed. Development was on track and the kickstarter provided the funds needed to bring Novus to early access.

Then in 2014 we hit the first major roadblock: Havok discontinued support for the Havok Vision engine. This meant that core issues with the engine that Havok had reassured us would be solved since 2011 were left untouched, and Novus’ development had been hamstrung.

Workarounds were discussed and tried, but ultimately the ending of support was a blow we did not manage to recover from. We were far too invested into the Vision Engine and after 5 years everything we had worked on had been undone. As you can imagine this was an infuriating situation for us, but we were determined to keep our promise. We were forced to entirely rebuild the game because our next best option, Unity, was built on C# where Vision used C++.

Our first Unity build was presented in October 2015.

The funds raised by the Kickstarter, originally intended to bridge the gap between final development and early access, ran out by Q3 2014. We put our efforts to finding a solution for the Vision engine issue and development continued solely out of our own pockets. It was at this point that we ceased allowing people to donate via kickstarter. With the problems mounting, we did not feel comfortable accepting additional donations as the future was uncertain.

With what little we had to provide, it seemed that the only option was to look for a publisher’s backing, something that took us three years to secure. The publisher’s funding gave stability but came with its own complications.

It was through live testing with our publisher that we encountered an inherent flaw with the Novus design. This can be best summarised as a geographical and timezone-based isolation. What do we mean by this? In your typical MMO game (most of which are MMORPGs), the player base is always able to interact with other players regardless of the server population. Novus’ problem stemmed from the fact that there needed to be a significantly large percentage of active players at all times in order to create the same level of interactions. A player in Novus might find himself surrounded by inactive players.

The problem highlighted was that in order to find active players, this player might need to travel for a very long time or just hope for the players closest to him to become active.

Our publisher believed that this issue would make Novus entirely non-viable and honestly, we could not disagree with what the live testing had shown.

This was the second nail in the coffin.

As a result, our publisher pulled their funding.

This was the third and final nail in the coffin for Novus.

What Now?

We were not ready to give up our efforts to create a MMO strategy game.

So, now that you’re up to speed let’s talk about the future.

Our first step was addressing the geographical issue that our publisher had highlighted. If we wanted to deliver a MMORTS, we would first need to resolve that issue. Conceptually, Nation-states and their inherently fixed nature needed to be overcome.

Our solution was to take the Nation-state with us, placing players in command of a vast Flagship and its supporting warships in a universe where every fleet is the Nation-state.

Sovereignty from the barrels of a battleship.

However, it is clear to us this would not be Novus Aeterno. This would be something different, something we believe will be more enjoyable and deeper for our players.

But, we haven’t forgotten our promise.

With this in mind, we will be carrying over the kickstarter rewards from Novus Aeterno to the new game. Where the rewards are incompatible we will offer alternatives.

For example the planet terraforming tokens: One backer has proposed the planet terraforming tokens be made into special cosmetic space station skins that would grant new appearances such as turning a constructible station into a ringworld.

We would welcome your feedback on our development Discord, both for your ideas for Novus reward alternatives and your opinion on the new game and its direction.

At the end of the day this is still an amazing community that we want to involve heavily in the development of the game through regular updates and open channels for communication. It’s very possible that with your feedback and continued support this game will grow into something you will love the way we do. If that is not what happens then we are so grateful for your backing of Novus Aeterno that we will personally refund your kickstarter backing out of the profit the team gets from launch of this game.

Choices regarding refunds won’t need to be made until closer to launch, so until then thank you for keeping an open mind and being patient as we work hard.

Thank you all so much,

- Nick, Matt, Luuk, Ryan, Jorge.