Pre-Alpha 9 is officially over! We are currently hard at work analyzing the feedback and internal data, as well as fixing the bugs that showed up during the test. A special “thank you” to all the testers for providing feedback and sticking with us during the inevitable server crashes.
We learned a few lessons from this test. First, how adding a seemingly harmless step to the tutorial can drastically change the dynamic of a playtest, and second, how that seemingly harmless step could uncover a variety of bugs we would not have noticed otherwise! While this meant that this Pre Alpha wasn’t a smooth ride for the players, we did learn a lot, which is why we do these tests in the first place.
Now, with Pre-Alpha 9 almost wrapped up we are ready to jump head-first into what we want to be the last big Pre-Alpha milestone: phase 10.
Our goals for Pre-Alpha 10
You may have heard that server-side BitCraft runs on special software which is developed in-house by Clockwork Labs. Over the last several months, a dedicated team of engineers has worked on an improved backend system to power BitCraft going forward. We are now at the stage where we can transfer Bitcraft onto this new system.
The transition will require considerable brainpower, and almost everyone who knows how to code will be involved.
This means we will not focus on new game systems for BitCraft during Pre-Alpha 10, as these tend to require the help of our game programmers to fully implement. Instead, we will use the time to add more content and polish what we already have. The art team and the game designers can finally catch their breath and work on the many areas where we still have placeholders in the game.
One notable exception will be the completion of the UI revamp, which we will need to steal some programmer hours to finish.
This will result in a much bigger game compared to the previous tests. There will be more crafting recipes, more customization options, more diverse fauna and flora to explore, and so on. We will also address some of the major bugs and issues that we found during Pre-Alpha 9, and are hoping for a smoother test this time. But of course, you never know at this stage!
This leads to our plans for the final step of Pre-Alpha 10: the testing phase. We are planning at least two Pre-Alpha tests in the coming months. One, which we are calling Pre-Alpha 10, is primarily focused on testing the additional tiered content and how well that engages players over a longer period of time. Pre-Alpha 10 is planned to be a week long.
Pre-Alpha 10 is likely going to run on the legacy server-side system, which means we’ll need to do an additional test sometime after Pre-Alpha 10 to specifically test the stability and performance of the new server-side software.
We will keep you updated.