DomiNations 5th Year Anniversary Letter from Tim Train

TheWise

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Leaders, below is a letter from the CEO of Big Huge Games Tim Train in recognition of DomiNation's 5th year anniversary!

Hello DomiNations Leaders,

We’ve now hit FIVE YEARS of our journey through human history, and what a great trip it’s been! The game began in 2013 as a first project for our new startup, originally named SecretNewCo. As a team with strong empire-building roots going back to the days of the original Sid Meier’s Civilization in 1991, we were excited to bring deep strategy experiences to the mobile platform. One maxim we learned from Sid was “make games you want to play, and you will probably find an audience.” So the first thing we did (after setting up makeshift desks in my dining room) was to start a prototype that we could jam all our cool ideas into.

We would congregate 2-3 times a week and play new builds of the game, then discuss what was fun and what was not fun. Out of each conversation we’d generate a list of tasks for the engineers to work on, dubbed the “Wall of Pain” because of how quickly we wanted to iterate. This is usually the most fun part of game development – when you are painting on a blank canvas and you can see your ideas come together very quickly. The first magical moment for me was the original build that had hunting and gathering in it – tapping on deer and fruit trees, collecting rare resources, and then going to battle with historical units. We were excited to bring some of the feel of classic historical strategy games to the mobile build-and-battle genre, including a sense of progression through the Ages, meaningful choices like Nations and Wonders, and deeper combat with troop generators and fragile siege units to protect.

Along the way, we reacquired the name Big Huge Games in an auction from the State of Rhode Island, who ended up owning the name after the implosion of 38 Studios (feel free to Google for more info on THAT industry war story…). Many of the founding group had been involved in the original Big Huge, and we wanted this successor studio to live up to the same ideals as the original. We were excited to build great games that could find a broad audience, and create a company that avoided so much of the toxicity of the tech industry by valuing team skills as much as technical skills.

Of course, nothing ever goes quite according to plan in the startup world. We launched DomiNations with a team of about 20 people, very small by industry standards. This was our first mobile title, our first project developed in Unity, and of course our first game as a new studio. Within a few weeks of launch, more people had played DomiNations than had played any of our previous strategy titles, which was a scale of audience we were unprepared for. As such, we spent the first few years trying to balance the addition of new features with more investment in fixing our “tech debt” that allowed so many security issues and other bugs. We may have made some wrong decisions in the early years of DomiNations, but as it became clearer that this game could have a ten or fifteen year lifespan, we have shifted more of our resources to addressing security holes. This is always a little bit of a game of “whack-a-mole,” where new exploits are discovered as fast as we can fix them, but hopefully Leaders have noticed a much more proactive approach to banning cheaters, fixing exploits, and keeping the Leaderboards clean.

All of this is with an eye towards continuing to support this game for another decade or more – as long as you, the players, are willing to keep coming back to the game and telling your friends about a title I firmly believe is the best build-and-battle game on mobile today.


As we enter the second half of our first decade, we will be telling the story of humankind all the way through to the present day – and maybe a little beyond! We have an exciting 2020 roadmap that will make working together within your Alliance more crucial than ever:
  • Build the mighty Parliament, unlocking a new Alliance-wide Research system where you’ll work together to unlock powerful new benefits for all members of your Alliance.
  • Progress faster with the ability to request aid from Allies that reduces your in-progress timers.
  • Become a world-leading Super Power with cyclical World War Seasons and custom ladder rewards.
  • Study under Sun Tzu at the University to master War and unlock the Art of War.
  • Seize the power of the Information Age and its new Wonders.
None of this would be possible without such a group of engaged and passionate players as we have in DomiNations. We are deeply thankful from the bottom of our hearts for all the love that you pour into your bases, your Alliances, your feedback, and your continued willingness to log in every day. So on behalf of everyone here at Big Huge Games, THANKS SO MUCH for all your support, and enjoy the five-year-anniversary celebration that’s about to begin!

Tim Train

CEO, Big Huge Games
 

LordStark263AC

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Sounds good. Keep up the good work.

Maybe hold off Information Age until December?
 

Zaxillaxifrage

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Alliance-wide research and alliance-donated speedups sound like good additions. Let's hope those donations don't require us to give away our own speed-ups currently stored in the Archive, which would be a zero-sum feature that many people would be reluctant to use.
 

LordStark263AC

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Thanks for reminding me. Zaxillaxifrage

I believe Archive should produce Speed-Ups.
Very Large Array is a Space Age Wonder, only certain players can have that "luxury", where's you can have Archive in Iron Age and begin saving up Speed-Ups for when it's really needed.
 

Fufutus

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Thank you Tim. With regards to new ages, you can roll out as many as you like, I’m staying in Global. See you!
 

LordStark263AC

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TheWise

I understand you're kinda new here.
So may I suggest posting important things like this in General Discussion first. Because that's where all people at. Not many would check News and Announcements.

That's how TinSoldier used to do it. Post it in General Discussion then once it get hits, after a couple of days move it to News and Announcements.
 

LordStark263AC

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Is that all you do, post something about how you'll forever stay in Global Age? 🤔🙄 Lame.
 

Uhuru

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TheWise, I have a question for Tim Train. Since this question concerns many, as can be seen from the posts on this forum, I hope you will help to get an answer to it!

I am a five year in the game (53 months to be exact) my settlers have never been idle and during this time of continuous upgrade I have reached level 302 for the base and only half of the University research! It cost me at least $500 for the entire time. I paid time to time until I realized that I was a dupe! Because there are a lot of players with the level of 350-370 and with a fully completed University, while they has spent much less time in the game. They would need to spend thousands of dollars to buy speed-ups for such a breakaway. Obviously, most of them didn't! Perhaps, today these tricksters do not use exploits and cheats and do not manifest themselves in any way. But they applied hacked speed-ups in 2018-19 and are now sitting quietly on their maximum bases. Having a complete picture of the progress of each player in your database is all easy to see.

My question is: Do you have a real working method to compare real payments with game progress? If there is one, then will all these people who didn't pay for the bounties be thrown out of the game? When?!
 
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domifan

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TheWise, I have a question for Tim Train. Since this question concerns many, as can be seen from the posts on this forum, I hope you will help to get an answer to it!

I am a five year in the game (53 months to be exact) my settlers have never been idle and during this time of continuous upgrade I have reached level 302 for the base and only half of the University research! It cost me at least $500 for the entire time. I paid time to time until I realized that I was a dupe! Because there are a lot of players with the level of 350-370 and with a fully completed University, while they has spent much less time in the game. They would need to spend thousands of dollars to buy speed-ups for such a breakaway. Obviously, most of them didn't! Perhaps, today these tricksters do not use exploits and cheats and do not manifest themselves in any way. But they applied hacked speed-ups in 2018-19 and are now sitting quietly on their maximum bases. Having a complete picture of the progress of each player in your database is all easy to see.

My question is: Do you have a real working method to compare real payments with game progress? If there is one, then will all these people who didn't pay for the bounties be thrown out of the game? When?!

TheWise I second this question. Before rolling out a new age, it would prudent to level the playing field, otherwise there’ll always be disgruntled players unwilling to pay to win against the cheaters. As far as I can tell, it shouldn’t be overly difficult identifying these bases, and long overdue.
 

oddin

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could not agree more... all those people made the game extra hard with their level 80 generals and max uni. It is crazy and unfair to let them sit on their gains
 

Spaceboy

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well, I moved from Global to Atomic last winter, and I can see that on multiplayer, it is tough. The oil bonus is not great, except on cold war bases. But the new troops etc makes it interesting to upgrade.
And thanks to the rebalancing storm, you better upgrade ASAP...
 

Spaceboy

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yes, of course.

In English I would really have understood your question.
 

Xabar

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hi,
TheWise . Any update about the next update? or the next rush, Summer of the Ages?
to mantain us comunicated.
thanks
 

TheWise

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Don't worry, we're a little delayed right now but we'll have exciting things to share soon!
 

Gregos 2.0

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Could we at least see some conceptual art or the design of parliament? Anything for us to discuss in our groups ??
 

DUSTY1

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Some of my friends have the new Parliament building. I have upgraded all 3 of my devices and no Parliament yet. The recommended upgrade button appears though. Do you have to be Digital Age or some other level for the new building to appear?
 

Xabar

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Some of my friends have the new Parliament building. I have upgraded all 3 of my devices and no Parliament yet. The recommended upgrade button appears though. Do you have to be Digital Age or some other level for the new building to appear?

No. Just, fail the update.
 
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