Hi all. This is just a quick update on what’s going on in development. As always, you can follow my day-to-day development progress on my changelog.
The time between Alpha 7 and Alpha 8 will be the longest yet. This is for a number of reasons.
Partly, it’s because a lot of things have slowed me down. Piotr ‘ison’ Walczak was helping out over summer, but he went back to school. Work on the Ludeon Launcher took a lot of time – more than expected. Ludeon’s tax year ended, which meant a huge pile of paperwork that doesn’t appear on the changelog. The game is bigger, which means that there is more maintenance and fixing work to do every alpha. And I moved houses, which took many hours.
Besides all that, though, I’ve decided to start targeting somewhat longer spans between releases. This is to improve long-term productivity.
Each release takes a ton of time in and of itself. I can’t just package up the game and release it. It has to go through a multi-week, multi-stage testing and bugfixing process. The private testers have to bang on it, then the public testers. I have to manage dozens of bug reports, close duplicates, invite new testers, test it myself, and of course fix piles and piles of bugs. As the game’s gotten more complex this whole process has gotten more involved. The first public releases wrapped up their testing cycles in about a week. Alpha 7 took about three weeks. There’s just more stuff to test now. I can still work on future content during a testing cycle, but it’s slower as every change and fix needs to be merged forward – sometimes dozens of times. Then, once it’s released, there is a barrage of support requests and often more bug reports and hotfixes to test and release and publicize.
I believe I can maximize long-term output by reducing the number of actual releases and being able to just work with the game in an unstable state for longer. Because that’s where the good super-productive period is: when I can simply pour in features without constantly worrying about every little bug that might be getting introduced. I want to expand that period of the release cycle proportional to the testing period, to maintain a good ratio.
The good news is that the next release will at least feature boreal forest and tundra biomes, a full temperature and season system with fire, heaters, air conditioners, warm/cool clothing, hypothermia and heat stroke, and oodles of other smaller content additions like herbal medicine, weaponsmithing, and properly reworked economy and stats systems.