Closed testing

We’re getting really close to reaching Milestone 12.

Milestone 12 is primarily a user interface milestone;  solidifying a lot of thinking around exactly how the user edits the world, and is mostly focused on towns and monster zones.  I think I’m pretty pleased with what’s going on, there. It also has solidified a lot of the game, in terms of coping well when the user destroys things that were in use, and it also has vastly improved the pathfinding, such that players will much more commonly use the roads that you’ve so carefully laid out for them!

If you haven’t seen before, here’s a somewhat old tweet:

Milestone 12 is also the first milestone build which won’t be public; from here out, we’re going to be doing closed testing. Those of you who’ve signed up for that, you’re on the list, and I’ll be in touch soon! If you missed out, drop me an email and I’ll add you to the list either for this first build, or for future ones as we expand the testing base.

I’m arguing with myself over exactly how to conduct this closed testing. While I do have a fully functional version of the game on Steam (though nobody but me can see it, or has a key for it.. have I mentioned that cloud saves are already supported? It’s so convenient!), there isn’t a really good way to handle discussions between testers on that platform. I’ve been considering’s Refinery service, which sounds like it provides a lot of the features that I want/need. Does anybody here already run their desktop client, or have experience or opinions about them, either positive or negative? Whatever we do, I’m going to need to be setting it up sometime in this coming week.

Stuff that remains: I need to bring the game’s (still bare-bones) tutorial up to date, I need to hide some of the debugging tools. Maybe set up a way to place roads inside towns? And I’m tempted to (re-)implement shadows, which have been missing from the game since way back in Milestone 2. And I’d like to implement a quick “has there been a new build posted?” notice in the game’s main menu. That’d probably be useful for testers.

I’m expecting to push this stuff out to people in about a week. And from that point on, I’ll be doing frequent updates (although I’ll keep doing larger ‘milestone’ points as well, since I find that they’re better at keeping me honest). Apologies for the slow run-up to this milestone, but everything’s finally returning to normal! Now I just need to figure out where to do the testing at. :)