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  • Alpha where art thou?

    Given the increasingly frequent questions about a release date for alpha and the fact that we are starting to eat away at "early 2013" or Q1, I felt that I should address this.

    While I still believe we will release within what I would consider "early" 2013, things are running a little slower than I had hoped due to some unanticipated problems that have been hampering us since late last year. The good news is that we have recently taken action to correct this problem in a way that will be a boon to the entire project. I shall elaborate...

    Around Sept or Oct of last year, both of the part-time animators we had working on the project ended up in crunch at their day jobs (both at different studios). They were out of the game for longer than expected and things got behind in the animation department. We also found some issues with the character rig when work began on skinning the female armor. Our main animator struggled with this on and off as his busy schedule allowed but progress in identifying and fixing the problem was slow. We ultimately had to track down and set up a Skype meeting with the original Titan Quest animator. Those problems appear to be fixed now but they did their damage in slowing us down and caused some rework.

    Fortunately, pre-order sales have been higher than I had predicted after the KS and some things in our budget ended up not being as expensive as I had anticipated. The result is that we were able to bring on a full-time senior technical animator, who starts this coming week. Best of all, he already has experience working with the TQ engine as his last job was at Stomp (aka Tencent Boston), which was started by one of the owners and the former president of Iron Lore. They started out prototyping in the TQ engine on their past project. We've also brought on another contract animator to help us make up for lost time and he's currently at work animating the first mini-boss that will be in the alpha.

    Now that we'll have a full-time animator, we won't have to worry about any future cases of people's unpredictable part-time availability slowing us down. I also expect that we'll be able to have more / higher quality animations in Grim Dawn. One of the little bonuses we're hoping to get to is more ambient animation for things like swaying lights and hanging corpses that react to the wind.

    In terms of alpha, some of the biggest things that remain are getting the mini-boss and "act-end" boss animated. There are also a number of armor pieces that need to be skinned.

    We also got a little carried away with quests... but I think in a good way. While working to get quests in, we've added some cool new features, like the survivors you can rescue that visually change the town. We've also greatly enhanced the UI and quest completion tracking as well as increasing the randomization of where quest objectives can appear. There is still some work required to get all the new quest stuff fully working.

    Finally, we'll need some time once all the major work is done to do a little rudimentary testing. We're not trying to polish things to perfection but we don't want to release a build with epic fails, like an underground entrance not working, that would result in us having to immediately rush to put out an emergency patch. Once things look reasonable, we'll need to get a copy of the build set up for distribution with each of the methods by which it will be distributed.

    So, great progress is being made and some aspects of the game are better now than I would have thought they could be given our limited budget. There is still work to be done on the road to alpha but we're getting very close. I don't want to give a release date yet as there are still some unpredictable elements in our path but I'll very tentatively say it looks like we may release alpha in the next month or two, which would still be within Q1. I'll try to provide a firmer estimate as we get toward the end of Feb and we see how things are shaping up, especially with animation.

    Believe though when I say that I couldn't feel more pressure to get alpha released and we're doing our best to make that happen.
    Last edited by Zantai; 02-04-2013, 11:44 AM.

  • #2
    Thank you on behalf of the community for keeping us up to date and answering questions that I bet you'd rather leave unanswered!
    Grim Dawn is full of potential and I see you guys have some fresh ideas to bring to the table. Take your time, I know it's very hard to carry out this sort of project especially with a compact team such as yourselves. Keep on the good fight and we'll come along your journey to keep bugging you with questions ('Are we there yet? Are we there yet?')


    • #3
      And to think I almost forgot to check the Grim Dawn forums after the Superbowl.

      Thanks for the update and the hard work, medierra. There are so many game developers that would have remained silent until a release date was set or ignored the alpha buzz on the forums, but instead you clued us in to what's going on. This is why I love Crate.

      Despite alpha coming later than I had hoped, there's still lots of good news here. We're all anxious for alpha but I think we can survive waiting just a bit longer.
      Played Recently: Super Meat Boy, Just Cause 2, Fallout: New Vegas


      • #4
        Just to reiterate what Pastabasta said. Thank you for keeping us in the loop! It is the most important thing you can do as a developer undertaking a crowd-sourced project. And because of the continued good faith dialog between the developers and the community, I say take all the time you need! But Q1 still sounds great!

        Whatever the case may be, thanks for all the hard work and thanks for keeping the lines of communication open. As long as you keep talking to us, we'll be here for you.


        • #5
          Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear you folks are still mostly on track. I'm really hoping this game does reasonably well enough to afford you the opportunity to continue working on it and getting more people on the team. You folks deserve to stick around.
          "Shared pain is lessened.Shared joy is increased.Thus we refute entropy."
          -Spider Robinson


          • #6
            Omnia in debitum tempore!

            Project is looking really good, damn fine job so far guys!


            • #7
              Thanks for the update, it's great not to be kept in the dark


              • #8
                Thanks for the update, I am placated.

                I also appreciate the stress the folks at Crate may be starting to feel and in the end I shall quote Mr. Miyamoto of Nintendo:

                "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."


                • #9
                  Thanks for the update, it means a lot to hear from you about the current state.

                  And no worries - it would be of course nice to test it earlier but if there are some things to handle before that, then we will just wait


                  • #10
                    More warm fuzzies

                    As all those above have said thanks for the info and open, honest communication regarding some queries from the community!! It is great to have someone with such an old school mentality (someone that genuinely cares about the masses and their concerns) running the show making a great game, don't let anyone rush you guys into making it into anything other than what you want it to be!!!


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the update!
                      Give the game the time it needs please


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the "behind the scene" update medierra!
                        Once a Legendary Fan Edition Grim Dawn Supporter
                        Upgraded to Co-op Digital Deluxe Edition


                        • #13
                          Carried away with quests? Full-time animator experienced with the engine? I say that's some great news.

                          I just really hope that people don't mistake "alpha" for a final demo, as they tend to...


                          • #14
                            Devs, please don't rush in development, just take your time. We can wait


                            • #15
                              WOW another full time dev and someone who is familiar with the engine!! that is awesome, so this takes the full time devs working now to 7? which is a lot, but yeah it does sound like you needed an animator, so really, really good you got someone full time

                              thank you for the news, I know you probably didn't really want to release this, but at least you taken the brave decision to let the community know of the progress behind the scenes

                              as for the alpha itself, take your time, don't rush it, even if the deadline for Q1 slips into Q2, a rushed game, even an alpha could end up hurting Crate more then a buggy game that has broken quests, and a lot worse

                              at least if you take your time and make sure things are up to scratch before it gets released, then the game will help in more ways then one,

                              sure there will be those that may not realise this is an alpha, and may consider this as an early go at the game, but there will be those that do realise this, and take the alpha for what it is

                              but a good alpha will be far better then a bad alpha, so take your time, as much as you need to release a good alpha, so people's word of mouth will spread the knowledge of the game even more, so even more sales, and more money to keep your full time devs going

                              good luck and we are here for you, don't rush the game just to please people, we understand you are a small studio, but for a small studio you are doing wonders, keep up the great work you are doing

                              I salute you
                              Legendary key holder since 20/12/2010

                              Co-op Digital Deluxe Bundle supporter I hope GD is a success