Din progress report 3
Wednesday, 17 February 2010

We are now two weeks into the beta of Din's Curse. So far I'm very happy. Everything seems to be going pretty good and most people seem to really like the game, not everyone, but that's expected.

The feedback that I have been getting on our forums, other gaming forums, and by email has been awesome. Actually there has been so much, it's a bit overwhelming. This is a good thing so please don't stop. I'm not able to post responses as much as I would like, but I've been reading everything and changing tons of things based on the feedback.

Today, I released our 4th patch. In those four patches, I have made 309 changes. Well over half of those are changes directly from gamer feedback. There are still many changes coming that I haven't gotten to though. Right now my todo list has 241 items on it. One of these days I will get this back down to zero.

A quick sales note, so far this is our fastest selling game ever. I'm really hoping it stays this way. :) If it doesn't, I might start taking some contracting work, which would slow down Soldak development. :( The sales so far is actually interesting to me. On one hand we don't have a finished product, just a beta, and not even a demo yet. Yet the beta is selling quicker than our previous two games. This is kind of strange. On the other hand, we have an established fan base, we've talked a lot more about this game than probably both our other games combined, and I'm still convinced this is our best game ever. So it's strange and not a big surprise at the same time.

So where does that leave us? Well right now I would say we will have at least two more weeks of beta, a bunch of patches to come, and one of these days an actual demo and a final game. And by final, I mean the patches might slow down, not really final. :)

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Din progress report 2
Friday, 22 January 2010

I thought I would write up another short progress report for Din's Curse. So far alpha has been going pretty well. Our alpha testers are liking the game and it's getting better every day. A very good sign is that I'm spotting less things to fix and having more fun actually playing the game during our daily play testing.

Another good sign is the size of my todo list. The number of things on my todo list fluctuates a lot. I'm constantly fixing, adding, and balancing things so that I can remove an item from my list, but I or the testers also constantly find new things to add to the list. When I did my last progress report in mid December, I had 250 things left to do. When I announced alpha earlier this month the list had grown to 310 thanks to a lot of early feedback from our testers. Now it's down to 65. Just to give an example of all of this, 2 days ago it was at 67 items, yet I have changed 55 things since then.

Anyways, the game has come a long way during alpha. Yesterday I was surprised when a rescue went renegade and ambushed me. A few days ago I caved in an entire area of a cave doing something foolish (hit a trap next to a support beam and a gas leak). I also found a bunch of unique items yesterday. I'm not sure if it was a good streak of luck or I had a town with some kind of treasure world modifier going (either way it was nice). I really like when things surprise me. :) Considering I'm the one that added all of these pieces, it's cool that I can be surprised still.

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Tweets 2
Friday, 15 January 2010

Here's some of my latest tweets from twitter / facebook with a bit more explanation.

I still have a funny multiplayer bug that lets you run around while dead sometimes, everyone else sees you sliding around in the dead pose. This was pretty funny watching people slide around as dead bodies. This is fixed now though.

I swear our game is plotting against me, I spawn in a gas leak to test out flaming oil, and the world spawns an earthquake and destroys it. This seems to happen fairly often. I cheat to test something and the game responds.

I really like days were I focus on little things, I knocked 60 things off my todo list today. :) This was last week some time. At the beginning of that day my todo list had 313 items on it. At the end of the day it was down to 247. Today it's at 133.

I actually used a teleport trap to escape some enemies today in Din's Curse. I got mobbed and that was the quickest way out. :)

It's strange how many bugs you can find when you do weird things like tell the networking system not to send anything more than 2 feet away. In this case, the main thing I found was that I was sending all of the npcs in town across the network regardless of how far away you were.

Changelings disguised as imps on a level where you need to find imp tails for a quest is very dangerous. I was actually trying to kill imps and I ran into 2 changelings at the same time.

I destroyed a cursed gate today by setting fire to a bunch of barrels near it with my flaming sword. I couldn't get to the gate because of the barrels and all of the monsters nearby, so I started a little fire. :)

A zombie attacked a naga attacking me, the naga turns and kills the zombie, then walks over to use a lifestone, and then it came back to kill me. I was actually surprised that they were fighting in the first place since I was killing everything, so I just sat there and watched. I was even more surprised when the naga walked right by me to go heal and I'm the one that programmed them to do that.

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Din's Curse in Alpha
Monday, 04 January 2010

Well Din's Curse is finally in alpha. Technically it started over a week ago during the holidays. I was hoping we would be at this point in early November. However, with Soldak I really try to stick with the idea of releasing our games when they are done, not when an arbitrary schedule says to. We have spent the extra two months making Din a much better game. In the long run, I think this is the right decision. In the short term it hurts though (less revenue for last year and we missed submitting to IGF).

So far our alpha testers seem to be really enjoying themselves. They have been trying out all sorts of different builds thanks to the hybrid stuff and racking up a lot of playing hours already. They are even playing more multiplayer games than I thought because two of them happened to be at the same place during the holidays. With their help we are pretty quickly polishing some of the rougher parts and making Din as good as a game as possible.

Right now I'm thinking my longer alpha time guess of around a month is more likely at this point. Hopefully this means we will go into beta somewhere around the end of January. We will continue our internal testing at that point in time, but we are also still planning on the preorder/beta idea (short recap: you will be able to buy the game for a reduced price and get access to the beta).

Overall, I'm excited by our progress.

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Tweets 1
Friday, 01 January 2010

I thought I would start gathering my latest tweets into a blog post every once in a while so that those of you that aren't following us on twitter or facebook could enjoy this stuff also. I'm also expanding on them a bit.

Left Din on all night, came back this morning and all the townpeople are zombies, funny thing is they are all standing in their normal spots. What happened is that zombies raided the town and starting killing everyone. As each npc died in town they raised back up as a new undead to help kill off the rest of the living. Once they were done and had nothing left to do they all walked walk to the original spots and stood there like nothing had ever happened.

I'll just let the skeleton kill him is a bad strategy in Din's Curse (the victim will just rise back up as the undead). I've actually done this multiple times now. It doesn't help any. Do what they should do in the movies and kill it off before it just raises back up.

Added a bunch of new unique items today. Yeah more items. :)

Fixed a major performance issue today, ultimately needed to run a vtune (performance analyzer) build and a 5 player game to track it down. The system was getting confused and it was sending a lot more entities across the network than it needed to.

While testing today, I ran from some monsters by using a walk through walls cheat; the ghost floated throught the wall and killed me anyway. :) It's interesting how many things surprise me, but that is one of my goals for this game.

Had another good play test session today, my weaponmaster/healer pales in comparison to Delilah's assassin/sorcerer though. Both characters seem too weak over all still. However, the sorcerer's tornado skill is way over powered.

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