We’ve had a busy month, first preparing then running the second Beta Weekend and now analyzing the results. In this development update, we’ll be delving deeper into the test itself, addressing some of the feedback, and sharing the winners of the Beta Weekend Community Contest!
But first, we want to thank all of you who participated in the Beta Weekend, shared their feedback with us, and those who streamed and created Nine to Five content! All of this really helps us identify what to focus on as we continue development. Some of you know, we do listen to the feedback and suggestions and with these monthly development updates we hope to share that process with all of you.
If you are not of the reading type, you can also watch us discuss some of these topics in this video:
Beta Weekend overview
With this test, we focused on testing the overall second-to-second gameplay improvements we’ve implemented since the first Beta Weekend. If you didn’t participate in the second Beta Weekend, or if you are unfamiliar with the changes, we highlight some of them in this video:
Or if you want to see actual gameplay, have a look at our gameplay stream:
Due to its focus and the limited duration of the test, this Beta Weekend didn’t have any progression, crafting, daily missions, or other similar features you might expect from a modern online shooter. We’ve purposely cut them out of this test to focus more on the sec-to-sec gameplay, but we’re continuing work on these features. A lot of improvements have been made on these since the last test, and we will be covering them more in upcoming development updates and streams.
Overall, we achieved everything that we wanted with this test. We collected very valuable feedback on the latest changes, and generally you seem to like the direction the game is moving towards. We will continue development as planned, implementing some changes based on the test, and we hope to have you all playing an even better version of the game soon. Even with the general feedback being positive, there were still some topics that were discussed in the community that we would like to address: mainly the Time to Kill and performance in the latest test.
TIME TO KILL AND WHAT IS NINE TO FIVE
The Time to Kill (TTK) is one of the more significant discussion topics from the Beta Weekend. Since the previous test, we’ve made a lot of changes to the second-to-second gameplay for example, we rebalanced weapons, improved the ADS, updated visual effects, simplified the armor system, all of which has affected the time-to-kill one way or another.
This led to some conflicting feedback; most players said that the time to kill has certainly improved and feels quite good now, but many consider the enemies to be bullet sponges. While this feedback can partly be attributed to the changes we have done, we do feel a part of it is also influenced by the different perceptions people have of the game.
Our design intent for Nine to Five is to create a team-based shooter experience, where team members can collaborate, strategize and adapt to earn their team a win. Putting it even shorter: think strategy and teamwork rather than twitch reflexes. Nine to Five is not intended to be a hyper-realistic shooter, where opponents get punished with immediate death if they peek out at an inopportune moment, but rather we want to give teams the chance to disengage and reposition themselves if caught in the open.
One more thing that could affect the perception of a long TTK is the fact that our current hit markers do still have some room for improvement. During the tests, we noticed that many players had issues understanding whether their shots were hitting the opponent or just barely missing. We will continue to improve the markers and the telegraphing of shots, hits, and misses as we continue development.
However, it is important to mention that the TTK is still not final, and the feedback will be taken into consideration. It is a tough balancing act of making the game fun for players with different types of expectations, but we will do our best to pull it off!
Quite many of you reached out to us regarding performance and connection issues. Some of these problems were caused by simply missing optimization, and we will address this as we continue development and get closer to release. However, there were some more complex issues as well, and thanks to the data and feedback from the Beta Weekend we will be able to investigate these further and nail them down.
Overall, we are striving for a balance between performance and quality, where players could run the game well on older hardware with some limitations in the graphics, as well as push the visuals or framerates to the moon on high-end machines. We still have some way to go, but we are continuously working on optimization and other performance fixes that should make the game run a lot smoother going forward.
UPCOMING CHANGES AND UPDATES
There is still some work ahead of us as we prepare Nine to Five for release. As mentioned earlier, progression and crafting are still being worked on and we will be talking about these more soon. Additionally, based on the feedback and data we received from the test; we have identified the following areas as needing some more love:
- Armor balancing. Reducing the hitpoint values for medium and heavy armor sets.
- Item slots. Adjusting the item slots available for each armor set.
- New armor sets. Adding new armor sets for the upcoming tests.
- Recoil patterns. Adjusting recoil patterns to be more predictable and easier to control.
- Weapon balancing. Rebalancing some weapons from the Beta Weekend, i.e., the Union Foundry SMG aka Tommy Gun.
- Sniper glint. Adding a sniper scope glint that allows players to spot a sniper aiming at them.
- Bullet ‘fly by’ communication. Improving the communication of a bullet flying past the character to help players easier recognize where they were shot from and if the enemy is missing their shots.
- Medkits and turrets. Rebalancing medkits and turrets to fit the core gameplay better.
- Grenades. Improving the grenade throw trajectory and collisions to make aiming and throwing grenades easier.
- Item quantities. Rebalancing item quantities available for the player.
HUD & UI
- Grenade indicator. Fixing the grenade indicator making it easier to spot and read and reflect the type of grenade thrown.
- Damage indicators. Improving damage indicators and hit direction communication.
- Teammate outlines. Adding an option to turn friendly outlines on or off in the settings.
- Drone icon. Adding a marker for your drone to avoid mistaking it for an enemy drone.
- Friendly markers in scope. Fixing the problem when your teammates weren’t marked when looking at them through a scope.
- Occlusion system. Fixing bugs in the occlusion system to get better sound propagation.
- Footsteps. Increasing the volume and range for footsteps.
- Ladder. Changing the audio asset for ladder climbing and creating additional fall audio assets.
- Collisions. Making a collision troubleshooting for the entire game to find and fix any potential bugs.
- Tutorial. Adding a new tutorial and improving the onboarding to make game modes and gameplay features clearer for new players.
- Keybinds. Creating additional keybind options to allow players to remap and reset their settings.
- Sensitivity. Adding more precise sensitivity settings, allowing players to input their desired sensitivity values.
We cannot promise that all these changes will be in the next time that you play the game, but we will surely be working on them!
BETA WEEKEND COMMUNITY CONTEST
During the Beta Weekend we ran a contest where we asked players to submit their creations into three categories:
- Best plays.
- Funny moments
- Open category. Everything that did not fit the first two categories, goes here (memes, fanart, anything really).
Being big fans of the number three, we naturally selected three winners for each of the three categories.
The competition was tough, but we managed to select nine creators that will receive exclusive Nine to Five merch!
Check this montage featuring all the winners and some of the greatest and funniest moments from the Beta Weekend:
To see the original entries, check our Discord post.
Thanks everyone for your submissions and congratulations to the winners!
That is all we had in store for this update! We will have more news to share with you soon, so stay tuned!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us on any of our Social Media accounts or Discord. We would love to hear your thoughts about the game as well as these development updates.
There’s plenty of work to be done and that always means just one thing: more tests ahead!
Executive Producer of Nine to Five