If you play real-time strategy games, you probably know what an "active pause" is. In short words, it means that you can pause the game in real time and perform some activities at your own pace. For example, regroup units or construct new buildings. Although it might seem to be an insignificant option, in case of Driftland: The Magic Revival it played a really important role.
The idea of having an active pause in Driftland: The Magic Revival appeared in one of the discussions on the Steam Community forum. The first version of the game published in Early Access did not have such functionality at all. And that's why we made Driftland available at the time of production to involve the community already at this stage. We designed the appropriate functionalities and combined them with the game mechanics, and in the next update, we presented them to our players.
Active pause is not just an extra button that had to be added to the game. Implemented mechanics analyzes "orders" given by the player during the game, gives them priority and sets execution times. In other words, the moves made during the active pause are queuing. If we didn't decide on such a solution, the players could, for example, in one moment flood the opponent with spells, or individual commands would collide with each other, which would spoil the game. Imagine, for example, an island on which there are units on which we cast spells in an active pause. At the same time on the same island we build a new structure, which units must go around, and at the same time, we move this island to another place, where it will discover the fog of war, under which it can hide.... well, that's it! All this can be done in Driftland and the game will handle it without any problems.
The implementation of an active pause caused that many undecided players became convinced to Driftland: The Magic Revival. Since its introduction, they have been able to play at their own pace, without worrying about the passing time. Active pause allowed to enjoy our game also for people who suffer from a disability. Before active pause, the game was simply too fast for them. However, hardcore players also appreciated the introduction of the new option. These players, for example, started to play at the highest possible speed, using an active pause to give orders.
An interesting phenomenon is also the impact of an active pause on sales. We can't tell exactly how many people decided to buy Driftland after adding this option. Yet, there are players who admit that it was the active pause that made them decide to add the game to their libraries. There were also voices of dissatisfaction. Some players did not like the fact that we were "wasting" time to introduce this particular functionality. With time, when the AI became more demanding, even this group of players appreciated the possibility of temporarily stopping the game ;-)
In the case of Driftland: The Magic Revival, the active pause was a jackpot. Not in every game such a solution will work or will be needed at all. Yet, this subject shows how important it is to pay attention to what the community says even at an advanced stage of production and, if possible, to fulfill the wishes of the players.