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If PC gaming has any experts when it comes to Early Access on Steam, it’s Dean Hall.

The Day Z zombie-survival creator had one of the first big success stories on Valve’s digital-distribution service, and he talked about it — and his new game, Ion, for RocketWerkz — during the PC Gaming Show tonight at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles.

He flagged one of the biggest pitfalls for Early Access developers.

“One of the advantages of Early Access is that the scope was allowed to get bigger. But if it gets popular, you start to change the scope. You begin to lose your roadmap,” he said.


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Hall gave an example of an Early Access game that maintains its development plans well. “I played a game called Neo Scavenger. It had a really great road map for telling you [the consumer] when things were completed. I liked that. It allowed people to see where your game is going.”

When asked about his feelings about moving from Day Z to Ion, Hall also provided a bit of insight on the stress of having sudden success. “I think a lot of it comes down to learning lessons. I think that when I first came up with Day Z, it was an accident. A mod that I thought maybe 50 people would play. When it became popular, I realized I didn’t have the resources [to keep up development alone].”

As for his new game, Ion, Hall said, “is the game I really wanted to make.”

Ion is a space-station exploration game where players roam various ships via a Diablo-esque isometric camera (although the game is completely in 3D). “It’s [Ion’s concept] based off of a game I absolutely loved, called Space Station 13,” he said.

To close out the interview, show host Sean “Day 9” Plott asked him what his favorite bug has been so far in Day Z or Ion.

“When you clicked on another player [in Ion], their internal organs would fall out,” he said.

That’s one helluva bug.

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