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20 July 2023

Invite System

How the developer preview invite codes work
Garry Newman
We've been running the closed developer preview for a while now.  It started off manually giving potential developers keys to unlock it on Steam to give us feedback and help us direct our progress.

There are only so many people we can manually give keys to though, so this method proved inefficient. So then we had the developer preview torture system, which was a webpage-based lottery, which gave a random selection of people access to the game.
We're at a point where I feel we need more people to join to test our underlying systems. Particularly to test the backend systems so we know they can scale to a decent amount of players.

So we want to open up a bit more. But at a controlled rate. 
Every Friday, existing users of the game get a number of keys - based on their usage of the game. These keys show up at the top right of
They can then give these keys out to people they want to play with, or with people they want to join their development team, by entering them in this page.

Once successfully entered, the user will find the game in their Steam account.
These are invite codes, not steam keys. They don't work in Steam. You need to enter them into - not in Steam. You still get the game in your Steam library.

The problem with giving out Steam Keys is that we lose control. They end up for sale on scumbag websites. 

While that can still happen here, we can more easily trace and punish those responsible or do special things like making the codes expire after a week or two if not issued etc.
So just to re-iterate.. the best way to get access right now is to find someone that already has access and pretend to be their friend until they give you a key.

We've been running this system for a few weeks now, and have gone from an average of 300 daily users to an average of 1,200 daily users. This is a good bump and it did show up some weaknesses in our backend that were easily fixed.

I don't really know what player numbers we should be aiming at for a closed developer preview, but we'll just keep going until scaling to Garry's Mod's 35,000 CCU doesn't seem so scary.