Hi everyone! This is Chris, the producer of Rotaeno.
Allow me to express my sincerest gratitude for your unwavering support towards Rotaeno.
During Rotaeno’s first anniversary, we have conducted a survey hoping to listen to your thoughts and improve Rotaeno. This developer blog is our response to the survey results.
Why did the response take so long to write? Well, actually we had planned to publish the responses within a month of the survey closing, but we did not expect to receive over 5,000 responses! Furthermore, almost all responses are very detailed and contain a lot of great insights! So, in order to read them all thoroughly, we could only publish this developer blog until today. Honestly, thank you so much.
Without further ado, let’s get started. Unfortunately, due to the large number of responses, only some of the most frequently asked questions can be answered below. We hope for your understanding.
💿About the Songs
Your suggestions were basically unanimous, and it seems that the two things you were most looking forward to were “Rhythm Game Collab" and the addition of “Rhythm Game Classics". We have taken notes!
Like all rhythm game players, I personally hope to see Rotaeno collaborate with my favorite rhythm games. The WACCA and Kalpa collaborations we have done so far have been very well received too. As a result, we are already working on other rhythm game collaborations (including those requested in our survey). We cannot announce the details just yet, but please stay tuned!
However, we do not intend to collaborate too often. Our dream is to create Rotaeno's own unique world and produce music that will stay in your memory. Therefore, we too want to include as many original songs by many composers as possible, as well as collab and the classics. (We will try our best to avoid having the same problem of “Way too few originals” and “The overabundance of certain composer’s music” that has plagued the first few months of Rotaeno’s launch).
As for the "Rhythm Game Classics," we have already begun the process of including songs that were nominated by many players based on their compatibility, as well as songs that were nominated less frequently but are very appropriate for the game. Please look forward to this as well!
📋About the Charts
Rotaeno's Charts has been very well received by many players.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our chart production team, who worked hard to make Rotaeno's music charts more fun and innovative with each update -- at many points, even I was amazed! --I never thought that Rotaeno could be played like this! Much of the fun of Rotaeno is due to the meticulous design of the chart creators, and Rotaeno is truly fortunate to have such an outstanding chart production team. We will continue to maintain our current standards and develop even more fun charts in the future!
In this survey, many of you expressed a desire to play higher-difficulty charts. It seems that you are already familiar with the game and ready for a new challenge. Rest assured! You will be seeing more high-difficulty charts from now on.
In terms of high-level chart planning, we would like to focus more on diversity - more and more types of high-level charts will be introduced, but the difficulty cap will not be pushed too much in the near term. We made this decision as we see that Rotaeno still only has a relatively small number of high-level charts (12+, 13), and therefore we still have a lot of room for experimentation before we have to raise the skill cap. We believe that this approach will be a lot more enjoyable (but still very challenging) for all of you.
In addition, we've noticed that a number of players want to see denser note patterns that require more dexterity compared to the current requirement. However, an equal amount of players also tell us that they don’t want this to happen to the game.
In our current chart design for Rotaeno, balancing dexterity charts poses a unique challenge. Given Rotaeno's distinctive handheld and rotational gameplay, an excessive focus on dexterity risks compromising the “fun” that comes with the game's unique control. Furthermore, it's worth noting that most rhythm game players are less accustomed to using their thumbs for gameplay. Even if they excel in other rhythm games, adapting to Rotaeno often requires them to retrain their thumb skills. Consequently, we believe that, at its current stage, Rotaeno isn't ideally suited for introducing dense dexterity charts.
Nonetheless, it's undeniable that some players have made notable improvements in their skill levels and would love to see more dexterity charts.
As a result, you can expect to see a few charts in the future that require a greater degree of dexterity. Rest assured, we will make sure that these sheets do not detract from the overall gaming experience and avoid excessive difficulty just for the sake of it.
Our future chart design approach aims to cater to the diverse needs of our players. While there may be instances where you find the gameplay somewhat challenging during this exploration phase, we kindly request your patience. We believe that, over time, we can strike a good balance in sheet design that satisfies a broad spectrum of players.
We are very happy that our various unusual and crazy(?) mini-games have been well received. We will continue to add various mini-games and hope to offer more interesting arrangements and effects for everyone to play.
📆About In-Game Event
During the first anniversary update, Rotaeno held its first in-game event. Surveys showed that players were generally satisfied with the event and wanted to see more of them. As such, all future major updates will also have an event that goes along with it.
However, since it was our first time running an event, we also made a lot of mistakes. We received a lot of valuable advice in the survey.
For the KALPA collaboration event, the event duration has been extended to two weeks to allow more time to play the event. We have also added 6 additional challenge attempts for pilots who have purchased the corresponding song pack, making it easier for pilots who have purchased music packs to complete the event.
For the "Where Our Story Began" event, we changed the attempts recovery mechanism to once every 2.5 hours (i.e., a maximum of 9-10 attempts per day), allowing pilots to manage their time more freely and eliminating the reset time issue. Judging by the reactions so far, everyone seems to be satisfied with this adjustment. Therefore, we plan to use the time recovery system as much as possible for all future events.
In each of our past events, we have experimented with different event gameplay hoping to find the most interesting designs. We will continue to work on introducing more interesting gameplay, and in particular, gameplay and rules that have been well received by our pilots (such as the “Bounty” event mode as well as the random song mechanics that you all both love and hate) will be brought back to other events in the future.
The increase in difficulty is not proportional to the increase in PT gain
This issue is also present in the Journey With You and KALPA events. To address this issue, the scoring design for the "Where Our Story Began" event has been reworked to that points per game, as well as the difficulty bonuses have been increased significantly. To keep the game at a balance, the penalty for failing was also increased - high risk, high rewards. In making these adjustments, we were careful not to ruin the experience for new players. We want to make sure that beginners can complete events in a reasonable amount of time.
However, this time the event rules created a whole new problem... Advanced players received all of their rewards by the third day of the event and had nothing left to play with. For future events, we will be doing more experiments, such as adding rewards like traveler badges and new event currency for each certain event, after all rewards have been earned.
A new exclusive event currency will be added in future updates, obtainable by participating events or direct purchases. The exclusive currency can be used to trade in past event songs. Stay tuned for more details in future updates. As for the other event rewards (e.g. badges), we still don’t have a plan for those. We are also considering rerunning the event and adding an event exchange store, but to be fair to players who participated in the event on time, and those who have spent money to get the event rewards during the event period, the rerun rewards would be harder to obtain compared to participating on time.
📕Regarding the Story
As for the story, we've also received a plethora of feedback.
Many players have expressed their wish for longer, more elaborate stories. However, we're cautious about overextending the story length, as we don't want the process of unlocking songs to become overly time-consuming, burdening players who are simply eager to enjoy new songs. Thus, our current inclination is to maintain the current story length. Nevertheless, we do plan to allocate more effort to enhance the stories and lore of the unique planets within the Rotaeno universe.
We sincerely apologize for the slower pace of our story updates. Our development team is relatively small, and crafting story updates demands significantly more effort than regular game updates. This inevitably results in longer story update cycles. Nevertheless, we are actively exploring the introduction of less time-consuming side-story updates in between our main story releases. Examples of this include the previously introduced Bolt’s side story and the Childhood side story. We are also diligently searching for ways to boost development efficiency to better meet player expectations.
The development of Chapter 3 in the main story is currently in progress, and we will keep you updated as we make progress.
Additionally, we inquired about your opinions on paid story chapters in our recent survey. The consensus seems to lean towards a preference for free access to the main story chapters. This is understandable, considering that many players may have limited budgets for in-game spending, and there are other games that offer main story content for free.
From a personal standpoint, as a creator, I too want to make the main story chapter free. The whole team has put in the most effort in creating each story chapter, and I believe that the story chapters represent the best of Rotaeno. Therefore, I want to share this piece of work with as many players as possible.
However, the reality is that Rotaeno Chapter 2 is a complete business failure that couldn’t recoup its cost at all. Despite our best efforts to balance expenses, the production of numerous original songs, artwork, and development hours remains a significant financial cost. To recoup some of these costs with Chapter Two, we experimented with a more costly song pack, "The Voice of Orb", hoping that could offset our cost of releasing Chapter 2 for free. However, making this pack more expensive may turn out to be a mistake as this made the song pack sell a lot fewer copies, thus failing to meet our expectations.
In essence, we cannot guarantee that Chapter 3 will also be offered for free. Nevertheless, your input is invaluable to us, and we are committed to finding a solution that allows a wider audience to access the main story content while also balancing the game's financial viability. We welcome your thoughts and ideas on this matter. Please let us know if you have any ideas!
This is a game design failure from me. When I first designed the miles and traveler badge system, I was mostly focusing on the early-game experience, but not the late game. We have previously attempted to address these concerns through mechanisms like the Traveller Badge Shop and early access songs. However, the effectiveness of these solutions proved to be limited. Currently, we are considering doing a complete revamp of our in-game currency system to fix the problem once and for all. However, this process may require some time, and we greatly appreciate your understanding and patience as we work on these improvements.
⚙️In Regard to New Systems
In our recent survey, players shared their top three most wanted systems, including:
1) Friend System, features like friend lists and friend leaderboards.
2) An Enhanced Character System, covering character skills, character progression, and character customization.
3) Additional Personalization Elements, such as profile decorations, titles, and customizable game interfaces.
We got what you want! And we will prioritize the development of these three aspects in the upcoming updates.
We also received a lot of other suggestions on features and improvements, such as a log feature for the visual novel segments, the ability to fine-tune the audio offset, and enhanced gyroscope calibration, among others. We will try to introduce these changes along with the major updates.
However, since our team is very very small, it may take us some more time to get these done.
Up until now, I have been the only programmer for Rotaeno. But at the same time, I am also responsible for a lot of other aspects from business to design to custom support… So, the development speed turns out to be quite slow… I am truly sorry about it.
But! Just last week! We received the permit to launch Rotaeno in mainland China! This should increase our revenue and allow us to finally expand our team! This should allow us to have more frequent updates and an overall improved game quality.
And that wraps up our response to the survey.
Once again, I would like to say thank you to all of you who took the time to complete the survey. While we may be the game developers, it's clear that many of you have a more profound understanding of the game's intricacies than we do. Your responses have unearthed several issues we had overlooked, prompting numerous adjustments in the game's future direction.
Many of you also left words of encouragement and support to us. Thank you. I am really happy that you love Rotaeno as much as we do, it means a lot to us. We will keep trying our best to make Rotaeno as great as it can be!