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Argh! I can't believe it's the middle of 2019 and I'm writing about something so ridiculous. Pathea Games, developer of Planet Explorers and My Time At Portia have lost the multiplayer code for Planet Explorers.

As a little reminder, Planet Explorers was funded on Kickstarter way back in 2013 with the help of over four thousand backers providing them well over one hundred thousand dollars. When it released in 2016 it was…rough. It had a lot of promise, some elements of it were interesting but it also had a lot of bugs.

In early May this year, Pathea Games wrote on Steam about their server being down, then in early June they wrote about there being "more loss than we anticipated" and then late June where they announced "our lobby server had an issue where all the code base got deleted from its server" and "it's a lost cause unless we completely rewrite the code from scratch".

Backups, Backups—Backups!

They don't seem to have any kind of backup of their working version, which is completely crazy considering the masses of free storage you can find online. It's also very easy to start using version control systems, with plenty of free storage for that also available in numerous of places, so I'm struggling to understand how they could lose everything like this.

Pathea Games have now made the game free and they said they will be looking to "make the game code available online" hopefully under a decent license allowing others to hack away at it, perhaps giving it a new life.

On top of that, they also said they're working on Planet Explorers 2 and they've "matured as a studio", but I don't really know how they could write that with a straight face in these circumstances.

You can find Planet Explorers on Steam.

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kellerkindt 3 Jul, 2019
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I ... I dont understand. How do you develop on code... as a team... without having some sort of copy? I mean logistically. Even if you copy your code from your dev machine to the server, there is a copy. The only two ways I can imagine to achieve this scenario is that they either all worked directly on that server (RDP or ssh (latter probably not?)) or used it as network share. I mean, it feels ... hard to accomplish this. Setting up a network share or managing RDP sessions (who can when code) feels like a lot more work than just throwing git at it.
Its not easy to fuck it up so hard, so in some way, I am actually impressed. Just in a really bad way.

Last edited by kellerkindt on 3 July 2019 at 10:09 am UTC
mylka 3 Jul, 2019
there is a demo on steam. mayvbe the demo still works.... lel

Last edited by mylka on 3 July 2019 at 10:10 am UTC
GustyGhost 3 Jul, 2019
Even when there are no harmful intentions, proprietary software always finds a way to bite you in the ass.
ObsidianBlk 3 Jul, 2019
I do really hope Pathea releases the source code, and I really hope some competent people get their hands on it because, honestly, I always liked the idea of Planet Explorers. The game itself always felt jankie, but maybe someone/group can get this game to where it could have been.
Linas 3 Jul, 2019
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They used something called U-Link:

QuoteWe used a software called U-link for PE, and that software is now defunct. Even if we had the original U-link code, we still don't have the configurations and additional code we wrote back in 2013.

If they coded against this platform, then their code would be useless even if they had it. That can easily happen to anyone relying too much on proprietary cloud service.

Last edited by Linas on 3 July 2019 at 11:19 am UTC
Liam Dawe 3 Jul, 2019
Wrong link Linas. From their wording, U-link wasn't the issue. The issue is how they lose their own code, as they said it themselves, they don't have their config and code they wrote for the server.
Nanobang 3 Jul, 2019
I can't get through a week without a really solid act of irreversible Stupidity, so I'm inclined to give them a pass. I've made several attempts to get into the game but the build system is just so klunky, and the control schema seems unnecessarily complicated---I'll try again, to be sure, but multiplayer play won't be missed at my house.

Their decision to release the game for free strikes me as sincere mea culpa and is appreciated. I'd absolutely love to see them release the source code as I can imagine the Community transforming this game into something quite spectacular.

Last edited by Nanobang on 3 July 2019 at 11:56 am UTC
mirv 3 Jul, 2019
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Just going to copy & paste from a developer replying to the issue. Basically this is less a backup issue, more a development process enforcement issue (if they'd forced proper development processes on all developers, then the code would have gone into the backups properly).
But I can see how this could have happened, and it's a good example of why rigid code submission structures exist in some organisations, even if they can be annoying sometimes.

Bear in mind that lobby server itself was taken out. Quote is:

zede05 [developer] 26 Jun @ 3:58am
@The sap is rising! We have all of our available code backed up on our SVN server. But the programmer that wrote the lobby code back in 2014 wrote some of the code directly to the lobby server. So we don't have these, and since this programmer isn't here anymore, and probably wouldn't remember what he wrote even if he were, the entire thing doesn't work unless we rewrite.
x_wing 3 Jul, 2019
Quoting: PsychojauIt's always complicated nowadays when you are a small indie : free storage is nice but... is anything free ? Versioning systems for closed sources have a cost and there is always the bandwidth problem : game projects are HUGE. Not only you have all the game content and it's sources, but you also have a lot of garb** *erm* a lot of things that won't always be useful in the near future lol.

In this case we're talking about server code, so it's probably a 100% text files. You don't need such huge amount of disc space for that, not to mention that if you use a version control system like git (with a remote in a local server of your own) you will have your repository replicated on the computer of each developer for no cost.

I can accept that a game code from the 90s is lost for ever due to "reasons", but something developed in the last 10 years cannot be excused unless I think that this devs are a bunch of novices/inepts.
x_wing 3 Jul, 2019
Quoting: mirvzede05 [developer] 26 Jun @ 3:58am
@The sap is rising! We have all of our available code backed up on our SVN server. But the programmer that wrote the lobby code back in 2014 wrote some of the code directly to the lobby server. So we don't have these, and since this programmer isn't here anymore, and probably wouldn't remember what he wrote even if he were, the entire thing doesn't work unless we rewrite.

The old trick of writing code in production... nice! Still, they should have something at least. Either case, hope they finally move to git for their next project.
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