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Old 02-04-2013, 07:21 AM
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medierra medierra is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
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Default 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 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:39 AM
Pastabasta Pastabasta is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 5

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?')
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:45 AM
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Mall Ninja Mall Ninja is offline
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 108

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
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:50 AM
PatMan33 PatMan33 is offline
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 19

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.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:11 AM
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zidders zidders is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 315

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
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:15 AM
ryunp ryunp is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 16

Omnia in debitum tempore!

Project is looking really good, damn fine job so far guys!
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:16 AM
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yerkyerk yerkyerk is offline
Lord Advocate
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4,228

Thanks for the update, it's great not to be kept in the dark
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:22 AM
Dri Dri is offline
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 125

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."
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:34 AM
nemhauser nemhauser is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 3

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
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:48 AM
Keladry Keladry is offline
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 6
Smile More warm fuzzies :D

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!!!
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alpha, animations, character, quests
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