2020 was... epically uncool; with the fires and the plagues and the laser raptor invasion.
But our team got to spend much of it doing something we truly love; building an awesome tool to make playing games more fun. Oh, and also playing games - which was a great way for us to stay connected even though we were miles apart.
2021 is here though, and we wanted to share a few things with you lovely people.
As mentioned in our last email, we've had our heads down working hard on Forge and new Shards. The team has been killing it, and next week we'll be sharing a roadmap for when and how you'll be able to get your hands on Forge.
New GG peeps!
We'd like to formally introduce the latest two members in the GameGlass family!
You may have seen these guys romping around discord or on the Daymar Rally interview, and you may have even talked to them in a 1 on 1 interview about Star Citizen Shards... (more on that later).
Role: UI / UX Lead
The first thing Francisc started working on was a new pipeline for how we execute UX and UI, designed to let us crush out Shards faster. This was a critical part to get right, as our new Shards need to fit into the more complex and advanced GG platform coming in our next big release.
On top of that, he has taken the lead on designing some super secret Star Citizen related stuff that we can't quite talk about yet.
Role: UI Designer
Pedja has been spearheading the translation of the new GameGlass brand style for the GG apps and Host as well as working on a major new navigation system for Shards that's coming soon.
Oh, and the Forge UX/UI. Oh, as well as refreshing the E:D Shards.
He's been busy.
Solid foundations are good
The Forge is an incredibly complex beast. The goal is to make it super easy and intuitive for anyone to create Shards.
But not just icky grids of buttons. The Shards you create need to look amazing, be filled with dynamic and immersive interactions, and work on a huge range of phones or tablets.
WebRTC, added in Host 3.0, was a huge upgrade, it allows the transfer of data instantaneously between two connected devices. This means that many network setups will no longer have issues, and it's even possible to use GG on cellular networks or other wild and crazy things that you all most likely have set up.
Host 3.0, WebRTC, the recent work on error handling, and firewall settings, it's all been to create the foundation for Forge. The last few months of 2020 were a MASSIVE step forward, and have let us devote almost all our developers to Forge, while our designers focus on new SC and ED Shards.
A Forge for you and a Forge for us
There are a few parts to Forge, and we wanted to give you a breakdown of how we're approaching them from a product and tech perspective.
The internal forge will be used by us to create shards at a much faster rate than we were previously. Before, we would hand code each of our shards, and this proved to be quite restrictive and limiting when it came to having these shards work on all your devices.
By using Forge tech as a set of internal tools we can speed up this process and have a system in place that keeps everything congruent and future proofed. It is the architecture we have dreamed of since the beginning days of GG and it's getting really close for us to use on the newly designed SC shards.
The devs have been creating test mini-Shards as they add new features to the internal Forge to check what kinds of things the tech lets you build.
Here's a controller Shard Alfredo built, using our Forge tech, in about 30 minutes.
User Facing Forge
This version of the forge is what you will be using.
Here you can see a snippet of how easy it is to put together a Shard using the Forge UI.
This is FAR from a finished product and you can expect the end result to look much different than in this current iteration.
It will have fewer features than our internal version, but will be FAR easier to use. Critically, your Forge doesn't just share the same tech as our Forge, it IS the same Forge.
This means we have one codebase to maintain, a single unified path for improvements, and by the time you get new features they will have been teste and polished internally as we use them to create Shards too.
The Forge will be released in multiple phases. The first phase is for us to use it internally to build the redesigned SC and ED Shards, and to create some new ones we have on the roadmap.
The second phase will be an alpha test to GlassPass members. We will start small, and add more users and features as we gather feedback and bugs are squished.
As for an ETA, we don't want to give you a date that we may or may not make, so just know that we will show progress here and there and we will try to get it into your hands ASAP.
So, what's next?
We know everyone keeps wondering about what we are doing with Star Citizen and Elite Dangerous.
Let's just say we have something VERY big in the works, but unfortunately we can't really talk about it yet. Yeah, I know we keep saying that.
We are waiting for the right time to announce it, and we know that waiting can be frustrating. But we promise, it's worth it. It's really, really worth it. When we can talk about it, you will be hearing about it from all over the place :)
We are working on a complete overhaul for ED, that fits better with the new strategy we have in mind with the forge and our overall desire to make things more customizable. On top of that, we are working on new Shards and will be keeping an eye on the new expansion coming up to see if there is even more functionality we can add for things like on-foot activities and some of the new profession content.
While Forge will let you build your own Shards for any game you like, we still plan to continue making Shards for additional games ourselves. These Shards will be more complex than what you'll be able to create, which lets us design some really amazing and immersive experiences.
You'll see this with In The Black, then with new games as we're ready to announce them.
Win a $500 Star Citizen Fleet
Oh! Almost forgot!
Right now you can win $500 to spend on a custom Star Citizen fleet of your own design.
We've been listening to your stories about how playing games with Shards feels so much better than playing the old way. And we've been listening to your feature, Shard and game requests.
We've also been thinking deep about how GameGlass could radically transform how you play games.
GameGlass has always been about making games more fun, and in 2021 you'll be able to make MORE games MORE fun.
But we're also building the foundation for something bigger. Something that will transform how you play and experience games.
2021 is going to be huge. And we can't wait to bring you along for the ride.
The GameGlass team.