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Old 05-09-2013, 11:18 PM
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Snazzblaster Snazzblaster is offline
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Exclamation Alpha Status FAQ

Medierra, the head developer of Grim Dawn, has provided a lot of information about the status of the alpha and in the past day or two. In an effort to reduce redundant questions about the alpha, I've compiled some of Medierra's quotes in a concise, easy-to-access format. I apologize in advance if I misquoted or misinterpreted his quotes.


Why not just release the alpha now, bugs and all?

"Most of the issues we've been dealing with we knew about before we started testing and they aren't so difficult to reproduce that we need more than a few people doing it. More people would help us to uncover harder to find bugs but that isn't our goal right now. I feel like a broken record but apparently I can't say enough that we're just trying to fix the most obvious and prevalent issues. Once alpha is out, I'm sure people will find a lot more of the less frequent bugs and compatibility issues. We're after the big bugs that happen constantly while playing or every other game, not once every hundred games.

The purpose of this testing was also to do a final 'kicking of the tires' and just make sure we didn't miss anything big and also to help verify things we released fixes for were really fixed. We also wanted to get some initial impressions of things so that we could address any glaring issues that were not obvious to us - a new set of eyes to look over our work before release.

In that regard, it was also to help alleviate a bit of stage fright and give us some confidence that the game was ready to go. We wouldn't have started it so soon had we known some of these issues were going to take so long to fix. I figured it would probably only be a week or two."



What’s the worst-case scenario if the alpha was released before developers think it’s ready?

"…No doubt somehow a build will end up being pirated. Given the disastrous experience Iron Lore had with an early buggy build being pirated and then widely criticized, we don't want to repeat that as it generally spreads a bad image of the game. There are also probably a lot of people who have or will buy alpha access that just expect to be able to play the game and, despite it being alpha, will be disappointed and possibly turned off if it is too buggy.

This is also not only the first release of Grim Dawn but our first release as a studio. Our reputation will be formed based on the quality of this release and it will likely affect not only sales of Grim Dawn but potentially our entire future as a studio."



How did you select playtesters?

"We needed a little help testing a release build, we didn't think it would last this long and we just did the simplest, most obvious thing - we recruited some people we knew; many of them people who have worked on the project or helped us in other ways. This is what has been done on every project I've ever worked on before any release… We could have a random lottery but that would be additional work to choose names, contact people, wait to hear back to see if they were interested in testing and, afterwards, people who didn't get in would probably question how the lottery was conducted and / or complain that they had the right to get in because they joined early / contributed more. Also, in all those cases, we'd have no idea whether the people we selected would make good testers or could be trusted not to leak stuff before we were ready to put it out."


From a Developer’s standpoint, how do you feel about the pressure from fans to release the alpha?

"…There are people who have bought the game, some of which aren't even on the forums and are either watching from afar or just expecting to one day find an email that GD alpha is ready. There are others who have followed development actively and tell us to take whatever time we need. There are also some who are impatient and feel like we're unnecessarily delaying release. On the other hand, I have a development team who cares deeply about the work they're doing and want to make sure that it is well received after all this time invested in Grim Dawn. They don't want to release it with glaring issues when they feel that just a little more time ("little" in game development time-scale) could allow them to fix it. Some of these issues are more serious than others but to the people working on them, they're a reflection on themselves and it is very important to them that they be fixed.

So, I'm trying to balance the two sides to this - the people who are angry that we haven't released and the team that desperately wants just a little more time so that they can feel good about their work. I'm glad that we took a few extra weeks because I think the game as improved tremendously and a lot of stuff has been fixed that I would have been embarrassed to release with."



So, when will the alpha be released?

"There are still plenty of known issues and I'm sure people will find many more but we're at the point now where I've said 'ok, really, this is good enough, we need to finish whatever we're working on and get this thing out to people'. As much as I think the delay has been good for the game, it is really wearing on me too and I'm more than ready to have the release over with so that we can move on. So, if you can all just give us a little more patience, it would be much appreciated and I think it will be worth it in the end."


Why can’t you just give us a set date for alpha release?

"The problem with giving real estimates is that they're only as good as what I know at the time and previously unknown issues can arise that take weeks to fix. A programmer checks in a fix to a known problem and it exposes some deeper and more serious issue and then it takes time to correct everything. It is like if someone asked you for an estimate of how long it was going to take to finish a 10 page paper for college and you were almost done but then you discovered there was another 20 page paper inside of it that you had to do before you could finish the first one (the papers are bugs... common, it wasn't that bad of an analogy...)

The process of checking in fixes and verifying them also takes time. We can't just check in a fix and assume it is going to work without putting up a release candidate build and retesting it. For example, yesterday a programmer just changed how something trivial was being saved and it ended up breaking character saving so that quest progress, gold, and teleport locations were lost. We don't wan to blindly release with an issue like that.

Right now, I'm basically just working on little odds and ends while I wait on word that we're good to go. I'll let you know as soon as I know something for certain. I hope that will be soon...."



Why was the date for alpha released push back from previous estimates?

"We thought we were going to be ready earlier but hit a few unexpected snags. The wait shouldn't be much longer and we're working 7 days a week to resolve the last couple issues.

I can assure though, this has nothing to do with donations, as we would no doubt see a lot more of them if the alpha were actually out and available. The only benefit derived from delay is to release a better build of the game for you guys. It is certainly not fun being in my seat right now with people growing increasingly impatient and discontent waiting. I hope you can understand, we've delayed because we thought it was the right thing to do, not because it is comfortable or somehow generating more donation."
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:24 PM
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Hope this answers a lot of confusing that will eventually come around.

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Old 05-09-2013, 11:25 PM
TECHNOmancer TECHNOmancer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMasked View Post
Sticky?
Definitely!

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  Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #4  
Old 05-09-2013, 11:26 PM
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medierra medierra is offline
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Awesome - thank you for putting this together! Moved and stickied.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:21 AM
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Qerr Qerr is offline
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Possible to link it on front page too? It's one of best updates about the status of the game we've had in a while.
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Old 05-10-2013, 12:58 AM
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Crystalis Crystalis is offline
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Thank you for taking your time to do this!
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:22 AM
codesoldier codesoldier is offline
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I am really sorry to hear that people are angry. Take it easy guys. Its not magic and people need to understand that. Come to think of it, the angry people can build a game themselves then.

Last edited by codesoldier; 05-10-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:44 AM
imthedan imthedan is offline
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Probably answered elsewhere, but was it ever confirmed how much of the game we'll be able to test during Alpha? Is it the full game or are we just getting Act1 (or less)?
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imthedan View Post
Probably answered elsewhere, but was it ever confirmed how much of the game we'll be able to test during Alpha? Is it the full game or are we just getting Act1 (or less)?
It won't be the full game, since it isn't ready/finished/started yet.
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:51 AM
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JohnNamikaze JohnNamikaze is offline
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Glad to see this thread was made and approved by Med.






Quote:
Originally Posted by imthedan View Post
Probably answered elsewhere, but was it ever confirmed how much of the game we'll be able to test during Alpha? Is it the full game or are we just getting Act1 (or less)?
Alpha will only have one act in play with three masteries. I think the farthest you can go in lvling is 20. Don't take my word for it, but only one act will appear in Alpha.

The rest of the contents (the other two masteries, and more acts) will probably appear, but most likely in full release/expansions.
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