Early Access Day 1: A Retrospective

29 April 2021

Hi everyone,

Hi everyone,

This is Josh Holmes, creative director of Scavengers and co-founder of Midwinter Entertainment.

I first want to say on behalf of the team: thank you everyone for joining us on day 1 of Early Access. Players, streamers, journalists, content creators, Twitch viewers; Explorers. The sheer number of you who’ve shown up has been both inspiring and humbling, and I want to let you know we’re doing everything we can to keep up.

Issues with Twitch Drops (blank emails, delayed codes)

Emailing out Twitch Drops is a matter of 3 platforms all rapidly interacting with each other - one verifying an account earned a drop, one to send the email from us, and one to attach a unique key from our database. Unfortunately, the volume of requests overloaded those interactions, and things started getting dropped (like the attached code).

At this point we think everyone who followed the right steps has a key (Steam or Epic Games Store) attributed to them, but not everyone has that key in their inbox.

Here’s our solution: we’re going to re-send everyone who has a key in the database their key. If you’re already in, ignore us! If you’re waiting on an email or got a blank key, this email refresh should send you the right key.

If in a few hours (when we send this email) you still don’t have a key or email, re-check the instructions of how to get one, or let us know via our Support page.

Steam and Epic Games Store Twitch Drops

We’re burning through Early Access keys at a crazy rate, and some of you may have noticed that we switched at some point from giving away Scavengers Steam keys to Epic Game Store keys.

Ideally we could give a code for both so you can make your choice (remember, there is cross-platform play!), but there are so many of you we can only give away one or the other until we can stabilize our supply. At this moment, we’ve exhausted our cache of Steam keys, but have been able to secure enough Epic Games Store keys to keep up.

Some of you might also be asking “why not just go to open access?” and I’ll give two answers. The first is a little mercenary, but it’s the truth: we think Twitch Drops are doing a great job in helping nurture our newly-born Twitch community and in driving more awareness. We’re a small studio and publishing team, and we have to do whatever we can to break through the noise against more established competitors. That said, we know there’s been some frustration, so we may move off keyed access once we solve for our second point: server stability.

Server and Lobby issues

This one sucks and we’re still trying to understand the root cause. The summary is: when our pre-game lobby servers hit a certain player threshold, they crash. Pre-game lobbies affect who you can invite into your party before starting a game. Think of it like a holding room before transferring over to the game servers (which are stable so far).

We’re tackling this in two ways. The first is to obviously find the root cause, but until we do, we’ve applied a different solution by splitting pre-game lobbies into “shards” (different server lobbies) and distributing the load so we don’t hit that concurrency ‘crash’ threshold. That sharding distribution is also random, opaque, and done per login, so there’s the tradeoff where you sometimes can’t invite a friend to your party because they’re not on the right shard, and it’s hard to tell why. We know it’s frustrating, sorry.

The short-term workaround is for one of you to keep relogging until you land on the same lobby shard - you can see if you’ve landed in the same lobby when the party invite goes through. We’re also putting in some extra work (we’re hoping to land in half a day) that will allow you to invite anyone from any lobby to mitigate this. None of this is ideal. We’re chasing down that root cause as fast as we can and will keep you updated throughout the process.

The future!

Issues aside, we’re still so excited to be on this journey with you all. Please keep your feedback coming, join us on Discord or follow us on Twitter. I promise that we’re reading everything.

We’ve also heard some comments around this being a time-limited phase. Not true! We’re planning to run Early Access always-on from here on out so we can work out the hiccups (like this) of what’s necessary to launch this game later this year.


Thanks for coming along and, as always, keep warm.

Josh & the Midwinter Team

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