Where is Alpha? And is it Alpha?

Discussion in 'News and announcements' started by Karl, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. Karl

    Karl Администратор Staff Member

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    Oct 2, 2017
    Prologue

    When Side 1 promises Side 2 something and then for various reasons can’t keep this promise - that’s bad.
    But the worse behaviour will be the silence on the part of Side 1 that condemns Side 2 to guess and resent.

    Not only indie games but even big game studios face this problem. Meeting problems they prefer to withdraw into themselves and share only victories. It looks like plastic and glamorous life in Instagram.

    I don’t feel right about it. It is necessary to tell about everything. Moreover, we don’t do something shameful or criminal.

    That’s why I share not only information about Alpha, but also our thoughts.

    Chapter 1. “Alpha” or “Pre-Alpha”, how to spell it?

    Reading our forum I met some unrealistic expectations as to whether we’d prepared for “Alpha”. And it’s here on the forum where a lot of people are watching us from the first months.

    In our view, the reason is following: modern tendencies of project promoting are to hide the raw product from a potential consumer, however “tasty” it will be. That’s why the 80% ready projects are often shown to the public in Alpha. Sometimes the readiness is about early access stage. And also such tendencies has its advantages. But we’ll talk about it later.

    Based on the foregoing and according to modern tendencies - we’d name this content as “Pre-Alpha”.

    Chapter 2 What are we doing now?

    We gather (within one build) the whole content of more than 12 months. Here’s a partial list:
    • code;
    • level design (East, 2 counties);
    • new animations
    • new men models;
    • new models of armour and clothes, new modular system of character dressing;
    • new mob models, animations and AI;
    • interface, sounds.
    And it can’t be reconciled at once, of course. Also it depends on the amount of content (more than a year our team was preparing the patches without sewing the whole patchwork quilt).

    I’m telling it as it is - it’s the middle of November now but we still don’t have the final build. Going into detail would bore you, so we will add the percentage of readiness on the Alpha page. There you will check our progress (the equivalent of “Status” page)

    Chapter 3 We don’t have the second chance to make a first impression.

    In my view, we all understand how friendly the community that we have. The most important thing is the attitude of this community towards the project and its readiness.

    But Alpha release (it would be regarded as Alpha, even if it’d be named “Pre-Alpha” or “Post-Prototype”) is an issue extending beyond the forum community. Prototype showed that many players didn’t seem to be aware of the fact that they saw the raw product.

    I want to remind that at the end of the January 2017 we gave more than 7 thousands of keys in a few days and 85% were activated. We got enough bad reviews as the outcome because there was nothing to do in the game but players wanted to see almost the full game.

    That’s why the rush with our pre-Alpha and its rawness would lead to negative emotions of a potential player who would see the project for the first time. This emotions will extend to other players as snowball.

    Add the obscurity of the studio, multiply by the reputation of russian developers and get a toxic mix that many of players won’t like.

    Many of you understood it and someone warned us. But our colleagues in gamedev explained this situation with Early Access to us most clearly for the current era (2017-2018). They showed statistics and conversion of such “negative” into a loss in a broad sense, not only economic.

    In the end we want to change the steps of pre-Alpha and Alpha demonstration:
    1. Pre-Alpha content will be shown gradually and in stages on our test server (ROG Club), and we are going to increase the number of the testers soon;
    2. Those who applied Alpha (more than 13 thousands) will wait for it. And we will try to “polish” it. Alpha should help with promoting, and shouldn’t put up roadblocks. I think that all present are interested in mass character of the project;
    3. With the advent of pre-Alpha builds we will resume video reports.
    Chapter 4 Horses and a ferry

    Unfortunately we needed to replace on of our programmers. The situation is unpleasant but we already solve it.

    New programmer means that our leadprogrammer Artem S. should spend many hours explaining the details. Because it’s not as easy as mobile games.

    This fact of our daily life will influence the date of pre-Alpha and Alpha release.

    Chapter 5 How do you like, Gabe?

    Many of you have already heard about Discord shop. After the release they are more willing to answer our questions and application.

    Even if they approve the same commission payments as the Steam, Discord has some advantages.

    It’s too early to report on the same efficiency as Steam store.

    And also we are interested in their programme “First on Discord”. We don’t know if we can take part in this programme, releasing Alpha in Steam. That’s why we can’t tell which launcher and keys we will choose. New launcher takes time too.

    Epilogue

    What conclusions can we draw from the foregoing?
    1. Pre-Alpha will be released only in private version (ROG Club) in stages, the date you will know on the bar;
    2. The number of ROG Club members will be increased to get more testers and the variability of their PC;
    3. Alpha that you applied on the site will be opened later, after fixing evident bugs. The ROG Club will be responsible for finding this bugs;
    P.S. (from me personally)

    Pre-Alpha situation has signaled to me about my own mistake in team management.

    Chasing deadlines (even if it was reconciled), claims in that regard are very stressful for the team members.

    It’s possible to take part in the sprint for 3-4 months as prototype work. But sprint is impossible for the whole distance of creating MMORPG.

    My experience of team work originates in the sector of the economy. It’s less creative in comparison with gamedev. That’s why the process of game development is unpredictable.

    There are particular paces of working, but some 3D model, animation, part of the code, 2D picture or game design table can significantly be more difficult than previous. While rushing the deadlines you worsen the quality or work overtime. Both variants bring negative into the project.

    Only enthusiastic team members can keep this pace up, even with the normal cost recovery. ROG Team, thank you all!

    That’s why I won’t tell the new date for pre-Alpha release. It will be clear from reports on the work done.

    We will value new pace of working that won’t lead to “overheating”. We will do it only after the team will get new members and they will be able to join the work to reduce the load.

    After that, it will be clear how far the date of Early Access will be delayed. This date will take into consideration extra time to avoid such situations.

    Is this true better than silence and “2 weeks”?
    Everyone will make up their own mind. I decided that it’s better.

    I reserve a couple of messages to update information and add reports on the work done.

    Vatslav Verzhbitskiy, CEO
    @ROG_LEAD
     
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