Alpha testing is so close that I can taste it! Tastes like chicken, by the way. I was actually hoping to have the game ready for closed alpha testing already, but issues that I needed/wanted to address kept popping up. In this video, I talk about two of the gameplay issues I’ve dealt with.
The first issue was how strict the game is in regards to guards hearing your footsteps. Before, they would always react to hearing your footsteps, but I’ve now made it a bit more lenient so that they won’t react to your footsteps if there are other NPCs near you, since the footsteps might as well have come from them. The game was just too unforgiving.
The second issue was aimed shooting. The whole gimmick of a screen popping up where you would see a first-person view of your target and had to aim manually just didn’t feel right when actually playing the game. It felt too involved and ruined the flow of the game. So I’ve simplified how all that works.
I also added a way for me to track play statistics for alpha testing. The game will keep track of various stats, such as total play time, deaths, kills, your stealth rating and so on, and write it to a plain txt file. Testers will then be able to just paste the contents of that txt file into a post on the forums, or upload the txt file itself, and I’ll be able to get a good overview of how hard certain parts of the game were in general.
For the game to be completely ready for alpha testing, though, I still need to fix some bugs and crashes. And then compile and test the Linux and Mac OS X versions of the game… and also setting up a forum for alpha testers where they can offer feedback and report bugs as well as download the test version of the game. My current idea is that if you want to be an alpha tester, just make a post in a forum thread I’ll set up for that purpose (and register for the forums first, if you aren’t already). I’ll then grant you “Tester” status on the forums, which will also give you access to a hidden forum post with the download link.
That’s the plan, at least.