Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Alpha Is Boring. Except For Those Poor Souls Working On It.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on October 28, 2010

I have been prepping Frayed Knights for the Utah Indie Night tonight.  I was kind of excited, because, you know, now it is finally ALPHA. You know, testable. Being tested. Being fixed. As a complete game.

But, uh, that doesn’t leave much to really SHOW. At an indie night.

See, I’ve already shown off most of the individual parts of the game every few months. So people have already seen most of the *pieces* of the game. Now that the pieces are coming together, the real thing to show is… how the game works as a whole.

By cheating like crazy and insta-killing all enemies, it takes me at least fifteen minutes to get from the Pokmor Xang intro to the second “major” dungeon that becomes available – the Tower of Almost Certain Death. Twenty to twenty-five minutes if I hit the two “optional” dungeons available along the way. More if I try and resolve another optional quest.  The tower needs some work, and one of the quests is currently bypassed (I need to fix that) which cuts some time out of it, but the tower takes about ten minutes on it’s own if I blitz through insta-killing everything. That’s before you even GET to the Caverns of Anarchy, which is truly the “meat” of the game.

(Note: If you don’t cheat like crazy with my awesome developer commands, aren’t skipping all the dialogs like I am, don’t know the optimal path through the dungeons like I do, actually try to buy and sell equipment  once in a while, have to rest periodically and so forth, you shouldn’t expect to run through the game quite that fast.  Just in case you were worried about it.)

Nobody really wants to sit and watch me play through that, just to see some dungeons ‘n stuff that they (probably) have already seen before. So much of what we’re doing with the alpha is just getting all the quests and progression working properly, the game balanced out with the appropriate spells, abilities, and equipment matching what’s going on, adding descriptions, dialog, and feedback to things that the player currently needs telepathy to understand what’s going on. And tons and tons of testing and bug fixes.

And really, that’s not much fun to watch. I’m as excited as anything about Frayed Knights right now, but we’re really at the stage of the development process that it’s not about new stuff anymore. It’s about the old stuff getting refined. Subtle stuff individually, but that collectively makes the game look more like a real game than the amateurish hack-job that it really is (oops, did I say that out loud?).

From the outside, alpha’s kinda boring.

From the inside, alpha looks more like this:

On the inside, alpha is a frantic flurry of activity, and it’s an incredibly bumpy ride to turn something that’s not-much-fun but functional into something a real game.  There’s just not a lot to show off about it.

Filed Under: Frayed Knights, Utah Indie Game Night - Comments: 9 Comments to Read

  • Xenovore said,

    Just blood? What about the flaming hoops?

  • Rubes said,

    That’s a great way to describe it. Vespers has been at that alpha stage for a long time, and it’s almost not worth showing off anymore because it’s not like people can really *see* the updates.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Heh. Well, we can all commiserate tonight at indie night (assuming the current work emergency allows me to go) or something. The Alpha Sisyphus club.

    So, Rubes, are you an expert on animation now?

  • Rubes said,

    No, but the more time goes by, the more of an expert I could have been had I tried to pick it up. But I would say that I’m definitely an expert on just how frustrating and awful the Torque animation system is…

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Well, *I* have learned that if you have entities in the game derived from the player class, that all animation commands in Torque are really more of a suggestion.

  • skavenhorde said,

    Good luck at Utah Indie Night. I really wish they had those over here in Asia. Not the Utah part, but the indie part 😀

  • Rubes said,

    Animation does seem fairly random, doesn’t it? Wish I could make it tonight, but couldn’t make the trip down. Hope it went well!

  • McTeddy said,

    I usually systematically show my game to different people so that none see all of the features. For example: Friend A has seen the combat systems, and Friend B has seen the new Dialog Trees.

    And then whenever I feel that I need an ego boost, I reveal a new part of the game to someone. They say nice things and then it’s exciting for everyone… and more importantly it gives me a boost when I needed it most.

    That said, It’s probably more work than it really benefits… especially considering I have yet to ship any completed product.

  • Utah Indie Night – Fall 2010 said,

    […] Comments McTeddy on Alpha Is Boring. Except For Those Poor Souls Working On It.Miral on Exult: A New Release to Play an Old Game…Rubes on Alpha Is Boring. Except For Those […]