Chris

Holidays & V15 / beta

51 posts in this topic

I discovered a couple of weeks ago that the only space when my friends and I had a suitable time in our calendars to go off on holiday together for a couple of weeks was at the end of this month, specifically the 22nd September to 7th October. As the last time I took time off was December, I'm going to be in Thailand for those two weeks.

The observant among you will have noticed an issue - V15 / beta is due on 9th October. Hopefully work will not completely grind to a halt with me being away even if I'm not able (or willing) to make it to an internet cafe, but in any case that sort of time was going to be busy anyway. Aaron, currently our tile artist, joins Goldhawk full time on the 8th and we're also moving into a proper office on that day (or renting a couple of desks in someone else's office, to be exact). There's quite a few admin tasks required for both of those things, plus there's the small matter of the release of XCOM on October 9th. So lots going on.

The likelihood of V15 coming out on 9th October is therefore somewhat reduced - or certainly the likelihood of it actually being the full beta on 9th October is reduced, if it does come out then. Because of this, I'm happy to release a cut-down V15 next week - probably about Wednesday (giving me a day before my holidays to fix any massive crash bugs) with most of the progress we've made over the last couple of weeks in it, if people want.

The likely features would be:

- More sprites (all friendly AI soldier sprites and some more Xenonaut ones)

- Arctic, Desert and Middle East Tilesets added (though unfinished, so they're bsaically flat and open at the mo)

- Chinook spawn maps for all orientations been added to all tilesets

- Can shoot over crouched soldiers

- Armour degradation with damage

- Vehicles have shadows, plus an explosion when destroyed

- Pop-up windows on Geoscape (UFO detected etc) are now draggable

- Lightmap is realistic and changes with seasons rather than being static

- Burst delay tag for each weapon added, which allows you to set the time between each shot in a burst

- Psionic powers now fully implemented with animation and sound (just need the AI to start using them now)

- Autoclosing doors (at the end of the turn) have been implemented, which we'll use in UFOs / bases

Bugfixes:

- Aliens no longer run inside walls and objects, making them hard to find / kill

- Ground combat saves now work again

- Suppression system for burst fire is now per burst, rather than per bullet

- Civilians spawn again

- Massive strength gain after battle no longer occurring

- Lieutenant and Captain ranks no longer switched

- LOS bug caused by standing on a roof fixed up

We'd then probably put out V16 around about 9th October, which would be the aggregated progress made by the team while I was away, plus more sprite rendering work and GJ's first major AI release.

There's still some way to go before beta even if we hit these goals (which we probably will), but we're making good progress. It also occurs to me that what we initially advertised as "beta" - ie, it's possible to play the feature complete (if not asset complete) game from start to finish - probably wouldn't be a good thing to advertise too much.

I think we may need a couple of weeks of sort of alpha-deluxe before we hit beta, because the game will almost certainly be a bit of a broken, unbalanced, buggy mess for the first couple of weeks of "beta". You forumgoers are used to that, but the last thing I want to do is do a big publicity drive and get a load of new customers to try the game and conclude it's terrible. I imagine it'll be markedly better after a few weeks of tweaks and bugfixes.

So apologies for the delays, but I think the "Three Builds to Beta" schedule has got us pretty close to where we want to be even if we've not quite hit every milestone in it.

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Yeah, go for it. I'd love a shufty at the new features, and my advice when you go on holiday is don't think about the game. There's plenty of time to do that when you get back to Blighty.

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Thailand Chris? I didn't think cheap, easy women would be your thing but whatever floats your boat as they say. :P

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So umm, I'm being kind of stupid right now so can someone summarize Chris' post about release/beta in the way I understand? Do we get smaller alpha releases or does it just take longer for actual beta? What about last part about not wanting much attention so that dumb people don't freak out because they don't know how game development works?

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In short.

  • Chris is offering to release V15 some time next week because he is going on holiday which would affect when V15 would be released otherwise.
  • V16 would be released when he gets back, or shortly after to coincide with the 9th October.
  • He wants to spend a few weeks after V16 is released bugfixing. A “alpha-deluxe” period, which is not exactly alpha, but not exactly beta.
  • This is because he doesn’t want to say “Xenonauts is in beta”, then new people sign up on the promise of a beta to find a buggy, broken mess then get disappointed by it.

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I was actually thinking it would an enormous leap to go from this version 14 to beta anyways. And has for holydays I think it will be good for xenonauts, its good to get away for a while and come back stronger push for a proper beta release. It would be cool to have again the new milestone for next versions even if not sure about them, with features to be added like you did for 3 builds to beta. Also I would like to know if there will be new maps in this 15 version.

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In short.
  • Chris is offering to release V15 some time next week because he is going on holiday which would affect when V15 would be released otherwise.

  • V16 would be released when he gets back, or shortly after to coincide with the 9th October.

  • He wants to spend a few weeks after V16 is released bugfixing. A “alpha-deluxe” period, which is not exactly alpha, but not exactly beta.

  • This is because he doesn’t want to say “Xenonauts is in beta”, then new people sign up on the promise of a beta to find a buggy, broken mess then get disappointed by it.

Hmm, okay. Well, if you ask me they might as well not release it until hes back, but if they think its more efficient that way then alright. Still someone is probably gonna think its in beta :P

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Hop across the border to Cambodia! I founded a charity there and we are building a new school (starting at the end of this month).

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(In response to XenoMask)

Well, this is it. This is an offer to us. Do we want a cut-down v15 next week, with new features to try out, or wait until he gets back from holiday, when a "full" v15 is likely to be held up? Personally, I would like to see the new features. It would give us alpha-ville boys and girls a chance to try them out and give some feedback. Especially as some of the features are seeing civvies back in the game, and seeing the new friendly solider sprites.

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Also, to clarify: V16 when released will probably not be ready for beta either. We'll put what we can into that release when I'm back in the UK, and then we'll take stock of the situation and see what is needed to hit feature-completeness. It shouldn't be that much, but we're starting work on implementing the final Geoscape UI etc so we'll see how far we've got with that by V16. That's one of the major things we'll need in place before we start shouting about our beta to the world.

Belmakor - we may pop across and see Ankor Wat, but I don't know if we can travel that far east and still get down south to do the diving we want to do. I hope so, but we'll see. Good luck with the schoolbuilding anyway!

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Also, to clarify: V16 when released will probably not be ready for beta either. We'll put what we can into that release when I'm back in the UK, and then we'll take stock of the situation and see what is needed to hit feature-completeness. It shouldn't be that much, but we're starting work on implementing the final Geoscape UI etc so we'll see how far we've got with that by V16. That's one of the major things we'll need in place before we start shouting about our beta to the world.

Belmakor - we may pop across and see Ankor Wat, but I don't know if we can travel that far east and still get down south to do the diving we want to do. I hope so, but we'll see. Good luck with the schoolbuilding anyway!

Be careful when diving. You know what comes next...

TERROR FROM THE DEEP!

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Personally I always say do what is most efficient and causes the least amount of extra time and/or results in a better end product :) Never rush anything for short-term gain if it hurts anything (even just a little) long-term basically.

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Great news Chris..Wednesday can't come quick enough for me. What time will it be downloadable GMT? Might take the day off work

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I think a slight delay is definitely a good thing. Trying to get a little mini press movement going right near the time of X-COM doesn't seem like a good idea. With the holiday's so close your going to have to compete with tons of other games as well even if it is "just a beta". I think waiting would be very prudent.

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When do you predict the game will be feature complete, I am waiting until then to play it.

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Which ever is easiest for you and the team Chris.

I would however like to point out that releasing in small chunks will allow for better testing, especially with regards to this release and which bugs have *hopefully* been fixed, and that will probably help for an easier transition into beta.

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Belmakor - we may pop across and see Ankor Wat, but I don't know if we can travel that far east and still get down south to do the diving we want to do. I hope so, but we'll see. Good luck with the schoolbuilding anyway!

Well you can go down Krabi on an overnight bus and then a morning ferry to ko phi phi, do 5 days of diving and chilling (off-peak season! ) then its only a 4 hour bus to the Thai/Cambodia border and a 2 hour taxi the other side (visa on arrival). If you want an idea of prices so you don't get ripped off then PM me.

Edited by Belmakor

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how long have you been diving chris, i have been diving well over half my life.

p.s. enjoy the food, from what i hear the food is cheap plentyful and good in thailand.

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I have no way to express what this project means to me, and how much I appreciate what you guys are doing, so by all means, go take that break, and enjoy it. I would love to play your "alpha-deluxe" in the meantime.

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