Letter from the Producer

Clockwork Labs
5 min readMay 22, 2024


May 2024


Bitcraft Closed Alpha (1) ended on April 30th, and boy, what a ride it was! First, we must thank all testers for participating, sharing feedback, reporting bugs, and last, but certainly not least, the patience and understanding of the community whenever the ride got a little bumpy.

Initially, everything went well, but after a few days, some issues crept in, which only became apparent when more players shared the same world over a longer time. That’s what testing is about — but regardless, closing the server for over two days was not what we had hoped for. Thank you again for the support we received from the community while we worked hard to get BitCraft running again.

Also, a shout-out to all the content creators who created videos and streamed BitCraft during the Alpha test. We knew there was a risk of not having an NDA on a game that just transitioned from Pre-Alpha into Closed Alpha, and that it would not provide a polished gaming experience. You have all been good sports and understanding while dealing with technical issues while live on stream.

Luckily, after a few all-nighters, we managed to get BitCraft in a presentable state again, allowing the second half of the test to run relatively smoothly.

The week after closing the test server, the Clockwork Labs team went to a company retreat! This was the first time many of us have ever met our long-time colleagues in person! We charged our batteries with hiking, a boat trip, escape room adventures, and relaxing at the campfire while discussing and planning the next steps for BitCraft, SpacetimeDB, and Clockwork Labs as a whole.

Now we are back and ready to tackle the upcoming challenges. But first: a quick overview of what we learned from BitCraft Closed Alpha one.

Round-up — Closed Alpha 1
Let’s start with a few numbers. 6452 players tested BitCraft for more than one hour.
A total of 2211 claim totems have been built. We will make adjustments to the onboarding experience here, to make players feel less pressured to immediately settle down but maybe join a claim during their first steps in BitCraft.
128 claims had 5 or more members and 83 players had joined the largest settlement.

We were excited to see testers building larger villages and cooperating to quickly leave the Stone Age and reach higher-tier technology. Many players started specializing, and we are happy with the direction the cooperative gameplay went with coordination. The tester feedback will help us further improve, polish, and continuously develop the basic systems already in place like chat and claim management. Specifically, we will also address the hurdles some solo testers faced with their claim — nobody should have to worry about losing their progress during the first hours of playing BitCraft.
But everything considered, we are happy with the results and believe that the town-scale gameplay is heading in the right direction.

A closer examination of the basic mechanics and implementation is, however, required for the trade of goods between players. The test showed that the right tools and incentives for flourishing trade between settlements are not yet there. The game designers took notes and talked to many players to fully understand the situation and already have plans for addressing the identified problems in a way that will make a merchant’s life in BitCraft fun and rewarding.

And there is the movement system. We believe that the implemented click-to-move system will provide the best, long-term gaming experience, however, it has become clear that almost every new tester requires time to adjust. We received some passionate initial feedback, requesting WASD movement but there were also discussions between seasoned testers who agreed that point-to-click provides a better and comfy gaming experience once getting used to it.
Losing potential players on day one in our pursuit of creating a better experience down the road is obviously not what we want. We plan to run a later Alpha Test (not Closed Alpha 2) with WASD movement implemented. The data and feedback from this test will help us to move in the right direction.

What’s next — Closed Alpha 2
Our current plan is to start the next test on June 16, 2024. Alpha 2 will focus on testing the first iteration of the Empire System. This will very likely be a short test aimed at gathering data and feedback specifically for the Empire System.
The details, such as duration, number of testers, and invite procedures, are still being discussed. We will make an announcement later on.
While the Empire System will be the focus of the next test, we will keep polishing the existing content. You can expect to find game balance improvements, new art assets, and many other refined details to be added over time.

Thank you, and stay tuned for more!