Thanks for trying out Space Farmers.
Here we answer some of the more commonly asked questions categorized into these headings:
1 - Connection Issues
1a - *New!* Forcing a photon connection
2 - Gameplay Issues
3 - Questions about the game
4 - Questions about Bumpkin Brothers
Things to try first
A. Check that your router supports uPNP and activate it if it does. This helps *a lot*.
B. Open port range 8000-8050 on your router As this would allow connection method 1 to work even if uPNP is inactive. http://www.portforward.com has guides on how to do this.
C. Wait until later I know how this sounds, but if hundreds of people are using photon as a server then its capacity will be full. Remember a game of Space Farmers usually lasts for around 20 minutes so you shouldn't have to wait long.
D. Check your region settings in the "Options" menu. You both need to be in the same region for this to work. By default it sets it to Europe.
E. Check your firewall settings If you're running as a server the windows firewall will often flag this the first time you play. Make sure it allows the SpaceFarmers.exe file to connect to the internet!
We've done our absolute best to make a connection happen between you and your friend but like any online game there are likely to be issues along the way.
To help explain this I want to tell you how we currently do things. It's subject to change but will hopefully highlight some of the issues we've had ourselves.
1. A user creates a game. This creates a room on a 3rd party server called "Photon Cloud"
2. This room can then be joined by someone via another copy of the game.
3. Connection Attempt 1 happens. This attempts to join the users via standard Unity Networking. This will try and open your ports automatically using uPNP if it is available. Also if you have ports 8000-8050 open this should work.
4. Connection Attempt 2 happens. This attempts to use NAT punchthrough via a 3rd party NAT server. This works if you have a compatible NAT with each other.
5. The first two connection attempts are repeated but using the other machine as the server instead. Just in case one of you has the required ports open or uPNP enabled.
6. Lastly if all else fails, Photon is used as a server. This is *not* preferable. We like Photon a lot but we can't afford to run enough servers for everyone to use. More importantly it means slower connection speeds because photon is essentially a go-between server.
We only have limited Photon server slots and because it's being used as a server *and* a lobby we need as many people not using it at any one time as possible.
One final way you can always connect is over a VPN by using the LAN connection mode in Space Farmers. There are a few programs that allow VPNs but we don't know them well enough to recommend any of them. Space Farmers allows LAN play by altering the connection type in the Options menu.
Do you keep getting lag? And the connection speed warning icon keeps appearing in the bottom right of the screen? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Are you using Photon? Photon has always been slower for us than a direct P2P connection. It's well worth trying to establish a better connection through uPNP or port forwarding.
2. Are you nearby globally? We've seen some people play across continents or across huge oceans and while we agree that in gaming there are no oceans, unfortunately physics hasn't quite caught up yet. A larger distance between you is going to cause slower connection speeds.
3. Any downloads/windows updates happening? Andy once tried to show someone the game while forgetting he was downloading a 2gb game on steam once. It worked but it was very laggy!
4. Swap who the server is? It's better for the faster connection to be the server so if one of you has BT infinity and the other has dial up (I know, I know, this is just for an example though) then the fibre optic user should be the server.
Everyone's router is different. However there is a fantastic site called http://www.portforward.com which has nearly every router on the planet on file. They can help you out!
In releasing a game heavy on networking we always knew there would be issues. So now we need you to help us! Please write a detailed report on what is happening, what your connection speeds are, what routers you are using and as much additional detail as possible before getting in touch. Emails that say "We can't connect, please help" without any further details simply cannot be supported!
So with that in mind, send detailed reports to: contact [at] bumpkinbrothers [dot] com.
Forcing a Photon Connection
Since March 2015 we have introduced an alternative connection method - to force the photon connection. We now have additional slots to use and we're hoping this allows users who have had trouble establishing A P2P connection previously the chance to play the game. This may also be faster for users who experience a very slow direct connection.
Step 1 - When Space Farmers loads select the "Options" menu and then the "Connection Options" menu item. Step 2 - In the connection menu both users should select the same region. So if you're both in the USA that's the region you should select. This is important as if you choose alternative regions the game will *not* connect. Step 3 - Both players ensure that "Force Photon Connection" is checked. Step 4 - Return to the main menu and start a game the usual way.
The game will now default to the photon connection method when starting a game. If you have trouble connecting via Steam this method also applies to starting non-steam games.
Game Play QuestionsThis is for where you might be getting stuck in the game. No spoilers but we will give clues!
That final laser blocks your way. See where it ends? I wonder where it starts...
Pigs can only protect you when they're on the ground. Otherwise your ankles are exposed!
We're going to be implementing a skip function very soon! It will cost a handful of turnips to move on...
Is it super difficult? Yes! Is it impossible? No! It takes many attempts but don't give up, you'll get there!
General Questions about the game
Back in 2008 we were playing tons of Team Fortress 2 and were part of a clan.
However nearly every evening we found ourselves on the clan server with no one else around. We wanted to play something while we waited for the rest of the gang and thought it would be cool to play something for two players working together in a funny way.
Over the years and after we formed Bumpkin Brothers we thought more about the game. At some point one of us mentioned farmers (not sure who it was and why any more) and after playing Portal 2 co-op the ideas really started coming.
Finally we had a chance to make the game and we took it!
While we've been thinking about it for quite some time, we only sat down and created the design docs on the 20h August 2013. The first prototype was a finished couple of weeks after this.
We had a fair bit of help testing from various people but 99% of the project has been the two of us.
Originally we wanted to make it looks semi-realistic. More like Alien Breed or Natural Selection style. But after a fair bit of early play testing it didn't feel right with the characters or style of gameplay.
So after a couple of hard weeks and many, many frank discussions we settled on the style you see now!
The game was created in Unity3D, the modelling in Blender and the texture art done in illustrator and Anime Studio.
We want to release Space Farmers everywhere, the only probable exception being touch screen devices.
Questions about The Bumpkin Brothers
We're Rich and Andy, the Bumpkin Brothers! We're two programmer dads from the English countryside.
It's been a life long interest for us both. We both had ZX spectrums when we were young. Then Rich got a SNES and Andy got a Megadrive and the war began! (Joking)
We met when we both applied for the same job in 2005, became friends shortly after and then formed Bumpkin Brothers in 2009.
You should check out our games page on our website.
Yes and no. We'd love to, really but it's a time issue for us right now. We are considering holding workshops as we've had a *lot* of people ask us recently. Drop us an email if you're interested and we'll let you know.
Links and things
Space Farmers website: http://spacefarmers.bumpkinbrothers.com
BumpkinBrothers website: http://www.bumpkinbrothers.com
Press Page: http://www.bumpkinbrothers.com/press/sheet.php?p=space_farmers
Bumpkin Twitter Feed: http://www.twitter.com/bumpkinbros