Great question! And I think we’ve got an even greater answer for you!
Momentum Mod’s 1.0.0 release is going to be pushed back to 2022. More details can be found below.
Momentum Mod Playtest is now available for signup! You can find the button on our Steam Store page, under the Wishlist button. Click the “Request Access” button while logged in to the Steam account you’d like to play on, and we’ll be gradually and regularly (weekly) granting access over the upcoming months of development!
Now, those are two huge pieces of news that I’d like to break down, so let’s dig in!
What is this “Momentum Mod Playtest” thing?
Momentum Mod Playtest is the full build of Momentum Mod that players with keys have been enjoying. We’re utilizing Steam’s “Steam Playtest” feature that was recently released as a means to make it easier for players to get access to the build.
This Playtest release is NOT 1.0.0! The Playtest build is still an active Alpha, but instead of it being private, it is now accessible by the public, making the Playtest build the Semi-Public Alpha build. 1.0.0 is considered to be the Full Public Beta. 2.0.0 will be the Full Release of the game. The Playtest build will only last until 1.0.0 releases, where it will deactivate in favor of players moving over to the actual, main Momentum Mod AppID.
You may be wondering, “how’s it easier to grant access?”
Steam Playtest has a dashboard that lets us grant access to a number of players without any discretion other than the number and region where the players are from (effectively “shotgunning” it). All without having to request any keys! This effectively means that it’s no longer a “super secret select VIP club'' to get access, it’s instead more of a “first come first serve” basis to get access!
We’re taking this approach so we can rotate playtesters into the game to get further feedback on core features that are starting to require larger and larger sample sizes (large lobbies, cosmetic systems, rank systems, etc).
Please note that this Playtest build is far from production ready! Since this is the same Alpha build that key-holders play, it has the same bugs, and the same expectations that you’re aware of -- the game is in active development!! The leaderboards will still be fully wiped by 1.0.0 to provide a fresh start, so instead of grinding times, we encourage players to grind the game, specifically breaking as many things as possible before our 1.0.0 launch!
Still, our hope is that this satisfies those that have been looking for access. The public now has a way to try out Momentum Mod before 1.0.0 easily, if they’d like to!
I signed up for the Playtest, when do I get to play??
We will be granting access weekly, with the first drop starting on December 4th! We want to give people enough time to sign up and spread the word, as well as gauge interest and get an overall number of people signing up.
Each access grant will be proportional to the number of players that have requested access. So the exact number won’t be known, but the idea is to use some function like:
f(grants) = 50 + ( requests / 50 )
or something. These numbers aren’t final, and will absolutely be scaled based on the amount of interest and requests we have!
For reference, Momentum has roughly 14,000 wishlists. Assuming all 14k people sign up for access, we would scale it to be something like 150 + ( 14000 / 50 ) which is roughly 430 grants a week. If we’re feeling more confident, we’d increase the base grant number (150) up to something like 250 or so. Or perhaps on a special December day 🎅, we could feel generous and drop 1000 grants! It just all depends, really.
The reason we aren’t doing fully-open access is because the non-stop, unlimited feedback would be absolutely overwhelming for us. Similarly, our server hardware is currently not scaled for potentially thousands of people at once, and may not handle it well yet! We may fully open access if we find an effective way to manage the newer player count and the feedback being received from them, but for now it’s going to be a “staggered” release following the formula above.
Also note that we will still be using manually-generated keys to “fast track” very important players that meet key requirements! So if you fit any of the requirements below, reach out to Gocnak on Discord with proof to get access faster! Otherwise, you’ll have to wait your turn.
- Contributors to the project (code [for game, website, etc], assets, documentation, maps)
- Mappers of any supported gamemode (need portfolio / proof!)
- Streamers (consistent/regular streaming of the game and its pre-1.0.0 updates to a sizeable audience)
- Gamemode scientists (proficient in the upcoming and newly-supported game modes, enough to the point to be able to give in-depth, active feedback as we develop them)
- Experienced game QA / testers (with proof!)
I already have a key, do I need to sign up for the Playtest?
We’ve automatically granted access for all key holders to the Momentum Mod Playtest version. You can play either version of Momentum Mod, but if you’re trying to play with those that got into the Playtest, stick with the Playtest build!
Our site will synchronize replays and profile data between the two builds, but since the Playtest build is its own App ID, Steam lobbies/multiplayer won’t work across the two builds. The Playtest build will be as up-to-date with the main Momentum Mod build anyways, so you can copy files over from your main install (configs, etc) to the Playtest build.
So what’s going on with 1.0.0?
We’re pushing back to 2022.
It’s an undecided date at this time, but it has to be that way. I’d like to remind everyone (constantly) that Momentum Mod is a giant effort, but solely done in everyone’s free time. I really can’t put dates on volunteer work, so until the moment that we have every core feature in our roadmap (as seen below) done and ready, there won’t be a specific date. We’re pretty confident in 2022, but who knows what can change between now and then! For reference, our original 2021 date was before we got engine access, and well, the engine has a lot of work to be done!
But I know the term “feature creep” is very prevalent in any software project, and many could use it to describe what’s happening for Momentum, however, I want to assure you all that it’s not the case.
For the longest time, I didn’t even know what I wanted 1.0.0 to even be. It wasn’t until around 2019 when my new team members and I, with further clarity about the communities involved, were able to sit down and properly draft the vision for the project, and really narrow it down to have the roadmap it has now.
A lot of what feels like feature creep for Momentum has just been the slow realization of what the platform is going to become: a kickass central hub for Source game movement speedrunning. We started with surf and bhop, and while those modes have been pretty much “done” since 0.6.0, the rest of the game and its platform weren’t.
And with the Jump community integration, the focus shifted. The game shouldn’t be just two modes; it’s not really capturing the “why should I play Momentum Mod?” crowd if everything else, especially jump modes, came so far down the line after public release. So the 1.0.0 scope expanded, and now it includes modes that have little to no existing platform (Ahop, Conc, Tricksurf), and modes that significantly benefit from Momentum Mod’s features and philosophy (RJ, SJ, Defrag).
And then Valve got back to us (!) and granted us engine access (!!!), giving us the ability to make a fully fleshed-out game we think the modes deserve, and not be constrained by the limits of the Source SDK anymore. This prompted a further scope change to accommodate it, realizing we had a lot of core infrastructure tasks to complete to bring the game up to such a level. In terms of time, incorporating the added modes was relatively little work compared to the work involved with porting to a new engine branch of Source, ensuring full backwards compatibility, and the effort being put into porting systems (UI, zoning, etc) to take advantage of the new branch.
And with all of that, we have scoped a rock solid 1.0.0 release that’s compelling enough for people to try out and dig into, rather than “oh cool another dedicated surf and bhop game, whatever.”
As for 1.0.0 itself, we’re making excellent progress every single day. It might not be the fastest progress, but it’s progress nonetheless!
I’ll start with the slide from the QnA #6 (September) stream that went over Plar’s conveniently asked question, answering what’s really prioritized for 1.0.0 and what’s conditionally getting in.
(And a quick update on it, Rio and Lumia have been licensed, so Defrag and various movement fixes are making their way into v1.0.0!)
The leftmost column has the remaining core things left for 1.0.0; things we absolutely need to do to release 1.0.0. The middle column are things we will try to get in for 1.0.0 release, but will most likely come very soon afterwards if not. And the right column are just some of the things to look forward to with engine access and more free time for the devs.
We’re still porting our UI, but approaching the point where we can safely remove our (beloved) VGUI build entirely, and move forward in the new UI paradise that is Panorama. Our Panorama port has admittedly ballooned out greatly, not only because it requires so many pieces of dedicated UI, but because of the infrastructure changes required to accommodate it. The map selector is a good example, requiring changes to map caching, web API work, and learning Panorama in the first place, but has resulted in what we think is a really impressive piece of modern game UI. Fortunately, we genuinely expect Panorama to be the only milestone that balloons out in this way.
Once Panorama is completely in place, our focus shifts to the new zone tools and format, then we open the floodgates for helpers (explained below). Then the focus is on a new replay format to support all of our modes. After that, it’s a balance between all the different types of 1.0.0 prep. Cosmetic system and store, Learn sections, translation polishing, anticheat, and anything else that devs have the free time to pick up and fit the priority for the release.
It’s one thing to say “port to Panorama” and “refactor the Replay format” and another to actually break down what’s required for it. This breakdown isn’t feature creep, but rather more of a categorization and general communication issue. Do we bore you with the nitty gritty and overwhelming nature of exactly everything, or just keep it brief at the cost of it looking like “nothing” is being done?
My approach has been to try to show our GitHub project boards which does both, showing that brief overview, but also allowing the public to see the individual pieces of work we have to do for each milestone version. I know it isn’t the most user-friendly way to stay up to date with 1.0.0 progress, but it’s the best we can do for the current size of the team. Perhaps if we get a dedicated PR team, we could have more regular blog posts? But do people even read blog posts? 🤔
All in all, we’re making a TON of excellent progress, and while not all of it is really flashy and showcase-able, it’s all work to make sure that 1.0.0 is going to be the best version of Momentum Mod that we want the public to play. While the Playtest build can help show our progress, 1.0.0 will be the true “ready to play by everyone” build to get everyone on, and I can’t wait for the day we press the giant green button to release it!!
Wow, making a game is hard, how can I help?
You said it! And we’d love your help! The most straightforward way to help us would be to potentially join the team and help out directly. Check out our signup form here and apply for anything that fits your interests:
These are things that we are in direct, desperate need for. If you can’t attend the meetings or don’t necessarily want to join the team, but can still help out from time to time, just let us know in the form!
Outside of this form, we have three other avenues to help out the game:
- Map porting / zoning
It’s no secret that we want to support as many maps as physically possible! But with it comes the vast amount of effort to port, prepare, and zone maps for the game. We support maps from the 2013 (TF2/CS:S) engine, as well as CS:GO engine, but a lot of them have entities that aren’t needed in our game, need fixing up to use Momentum-specific entities, and of course, zones to actually have a proper timer for the map. We’ll need help with collecting, fixing, polishing, and zoning the immense amount of content we wish to support!
After our Zone refactor in 0.10.0, this will start taking full form and we will be recruiting as many people as possible to help!
The centralization and globalization of Momentum Mod and its leaderboards doesn’t just mean communities, but extends to those in countries all across the globe. We want Momentum Mod to offer a great first-party language support to as many languages as we can, specifically in the game interface. We’ll be needing everyone’s help translating the game and verifying the translations work with our UI layout!
After our main Panorama port is done in 0.9.2, we will begin to formulate the translation process (for translating + verifying). Then it’s just a matter of people stepping up and helping with any languages they know!
- Word of mouth
Probably the most obvious and easiest way to help us: just telling friends or random people about the game! Letting them know about us is the biggest help we could ever ask for. This can cause a cascade of spreading, as those people can tell their friends about it, and so on, and can even bring people who are interested in helping the team to us!
As always, please consider joining our official Momentum Mod Discord Server to stay up to date with the game (as well as sharing concerns or bugs with the team), and after signing up for the playtest, consider wishlisting us on Steam! Also, if you didn’t know, we’re getting more and more active on our MomentumMod Twitch channel, so consider following and subscribing there to support us!
Finally, thank you for reading this blog post. The public Playtest build is a huge step we’re taking for Momentum’s development! I promise it’s not the post-Thanksgiving food-induced coma speaking here: I am extremely thankful for not just my team helping make the most kickass Source movement game out there, but also you, the community, for supporting it all along the way. Momentum Mod would not be where it is today without the support from all of you, and it’s been awesome watching everyone’s reaction to the progress that the team and I have been making on it.
Here’s to many more kickass updates on our journey to 1.0.0! 🧡
Nick (Gocnak) K.
Momentum Mod Project Lead