By Pinpointerror @ October 28, 2013 at 3:19pm
My name is Noel Holmes and I manage the Community team here at Perfect World. Our main role here at the company is putting together the content and information you see on our websites, launchers, and social media pages.
I wanted to take a moment to share a huge update that we’re currently working on – the Arc client and website.
First, I want to share a little history. Back in 2008, we started the company with only one game: Perfect World International. Naturally, as gamers and fans of online games, our initial success with Perfect World enabled us to license and develop new titles, which eventually resulted in new launchers, new websites, and new internal tools to manage in-game communications.
Looking at where we are today, we’re proud to say that we’ve grown to manage over 15 concurrent titles, tons of active and loyal players, and, to be fully transparent, a bafflingly complex array of disconnected technology.
Over the past several months, we’ve met a ton of amazing developers of great games that we’d love to partner with. However, if we want to deliver these games to our players with using our current process, the task stands before us to create new infrastructure and tools for each game we want to support.
And that is why we are creating Arc, a platform to make it possible for us to deliver a high volume of quality games to our players with a consistent, reliable user experience. Our goal is to create this web-based platform to allow our players to download our games, find information, and engage in community features within a single umbrella of technology.
What exactly is happening?
We’re developing the Arc client and updated game websites simultaneously.
The Arc Client will allow you to download Perfect World games, and will eventually replace the various launchers, patchers, and download methods we currently offer. An early version of the Arc Client is available now, and you can get it here.
The new game websites will be different than they are now in the following ways:
- All game websites in the Perfect World network will run on the same framework
- The game websites will be totally viewable in the Arc Client
The benefit to this is that website and Launcher content will no longer be segregated. Rather than having two channels of information with different feeds, there will be a single feed that you’ll be able to view from multiple entry points (on the website, in the Arc client, or on your phone).
Why is this transition necessary for us?
Focusing our resources on a single game and information delivery mechanism enables us to ensure that the experience is solid, rather than needing to prioritize engineering resources across several different systems (which leads to the unfortunate side effect of some systems not getting the love they need).
This sounds pretty basic. Where are all the bells and whistles?
Our first goal is to create a solid delivery mechanism. Being the enthusiasts that we are, we at Perfect World have been in that situation where a new version of a piece of software or new operating system introduced countless new features that only take up space and get in the way. We’re not into that.
While we do want to add cool features for community and social media down the line, our first goal is to make Arc a simple, lightweight, and unobtrusive game delivery platform.
One of the greatest challenges we face with building a platform is ensuring that our intentions are very clear. As gamers ourselves, we understand that installing new software on one’s computer is not something that can be taken lightly.
Arc’s highest intention is to deliver an exceptional gaming experience. In order to meet this goal, it’s important that Arc is optimized for performance in terms of memory and hard drive space. With that in mind, we’ve taken great steps to keep the client lightweight and lean. We perform regular tests to ensure that these goals are met, and have a feedback system integrated into the client to gather reports from players.
We’ve love to gather as much feedback on Arc as possible, and that is why we have an early version available for download today, and have already enabled Arc to be the default download experience for some of our games. The best way to provide your feedback is to submit it directly through the client, though you can also post your feedback on any game-specific forum, and we’ll be happy to take a look!
Arc’s Design Goals
Here’s a few additional points of clarification that we’ve come up with, based on our own experience as gamers, and the feedback we’ve received from users thus far.
Arc will be the exclusive method of downloading, patching, and launching all Perfect World games
To ensure that existing and future games do not need individual launchers and websites, our goal is to build Arc to deliver all the games published by the Perfect World brand. Once this goal is met, most games will require Arc in order to launch.
We understand that having to use a new application to download your favorite game can be an annoyance, so we’ll be doing everything we can to make this process easy and simple.
Editors Note: We wanted to make one clarification Currently there are no plans to remove any Perfect World games from the Steam platform, or discontinue any products that are currently available for purchase on Steam.
Arc will not gather or share personal information without consent
Optionally, you can opt-in to provide anonymous performance and hardware statistics (which helps us make sure Arc performs well on a diverse spectrum of hardware), though it does not gather or send any data without your consent.
Our goal is to create a non-disruptive gaming experience
As gamers, we’ve definitely had experiences where we felt like a game or service was too aggressive with its promotions, and we definitely acknowledge concerns of everyone who has asked about this. We are taking the development and utilization of the built-in notification and alert systems very seriously and are being extremely critical about the nature and frequency of information we provide to our users. We’re also collecting user feedback via the report system and will be constantly revising our messaging strategy based on that feedback.
Enabling players to get into our games is our top priority
As a gaming service provider, our entire business involves around delivering high quality gaming experiences to our players. Arc is designed to make this as easy as possible, and it will always be our priority to identify areas for improvement that help more players get into our games easier.
No torrent downloading
We host all downloads on our own servers, without consuming any upload bandwidth. This is a major improvement over previous versions of the software, which utilized torrent functionality to deliver the game files.
The goal of Arc is to replace our current game Launchers , not run in conjunction with them
Currently, Arc launches the game Launchers, but this is not the final design. A lot of the feedback we’ve received is that it feels inefficient to have Arc open the launcher, which in turn launches the game. This is only a temporary configuration while we work to ensure that Arc is 100% integrated with all our games.
Arc only installs the games you want to play
One additional goal of Arc is that players who only wish to play one game are enabled to do so. Some of the top feedback we receive from players about Arc is that there is a concern about Arc being required to get into their current game. Our goal is to ensure that Arc itself is as good as, if not better, than the current game Launchers in terms of speed, stability, and resource usage. Once we meet the milestone of having Arc replace all our individual game launchers, our vision is that running Arc to launch your favorite game will be just as quick and easy as it was before.
We want to make your life better
Arc is transformational. By creating a multi-game platform that also integrates ease-of-use and social features, we are confident that we’ll be able to enrich your game experience even further.
Thank you for taking the read about our latest adventures in platform development. We hope to have more coming soon!
See you in Arc!