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Sergei Klimov

Development Diary (of sorts)

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This is a locked & pinned thread that you can subscribe to, to be notified of when the game enters closed beta and the first 1K copies become available. I will update it once a week with the current estimates.

20/05/2019: we currently expect the beta to be about 8 weeks away.

27/05/2019: we currently expect the beta to be about 8 weeks away (yeah, yeah – we completed some of the planned tasks, but we ran into the need to change some of the tools, too – which added a few extra tasks).

03/06/2019: we currently expect to enter the Limited Early Access period in about 7-8 weeks; we then expect to spend about the same period of time in this mode, prior to entering publicly available Early Access.

10/06/2019: we currently expect to enter the Limited Early Access period in about 7; in the last week we made pretty good progress.

17/06/2019: we currently expect to enter the Limited Early Access period around end of July. We have updated the Steam release date to say "Q3 2019" because we expect to spend about 2 months in the Limited EA period, hence the earliest proper Early Access launch date will be around end of September.

24/06/2019: we currently expect to start giving access to the game for a number of players from end of July onwards, with the Limited Early Access a bit later, and with the open Early Access in about 3 months from now. We're cutting some features but the thing that we cannot shorten is the number of in-game items and content that remains quite high, and that needs input, edits and translation, which is the hard limitation on how soon we can launch the product.

15/07/2019: we are about three big features away from being ready to invite the first few players to Spire of Sorcery; we moved more of the content to the "after Early Access" stage, as well as some features (e.g. global events, long-lasting events); what remains to finish: decision-making and a notification system; current status of the game: the start of the campaign is very hard, most campaigns end up in defeat after 10 minutes; we need to re-balance this before we can invite even a single new person to play. Mid-August looks like the most likely time when we'll start granting access, at the moment.

29/07/2019: we are currently going through some ups and downs in the team's mood due to extensive playtesting: on one hand, we have a lot of things ready and working (including the system of battles during encounters); on another, we started to struggle with the issues of balancing the overall experience: it seems like one can explore the world much faster Han one can research the explored knowledge right now; it seems like a disproportionate amount of time is spent on managing the food supply chain (gathering raw food, processing it and distributing it), and so on. These days, we have an all-hands team meeting every two days to synchronise everyone's efforts, and we are busy with a lot of new things that we did not think of before: for example, a system of suggestions/recommendations that would advise you, when you try to set up a quest that crosses a swamp, that a rope would be helpful in such a journey; and when you send someone out, the same system would advise to give them X food rations to avoid hunger on the road. This sort of work at times feels frustrating because the "enemy" is invisible: we "feel" that something is not optimal, and we look for solutions in our imaginary mental models. If we release in Limited Early Access before the end of September, I would be oh so happy.

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07/08/2019: First off, I think it now makes sense to make every new entry as a separate message, so as to make it easier to follow. Secondly, on the subject itself: our team's mood this past week has been significantly better than during the one before. The reason is that we clearly identified priorities, splitting the currently open tasks between Prevents Core Loop | Limited Early Access | Early Access | Early Access +. And we're doing our best to stay focused on the first group. In this way, we're removing the barriers that exist early on in the game, until we can finish the main campaign with some workarounds. Only then will we look back and do the other stuff. What we're busy with, as an example: 

  • introducing "food forecast" that says right on the main screen, for how many days y our Spire currently has food supplies of cooked and raw food (after that, characters will resort to casting Arcane Porridge).
  • introducing indication of quest's progress when someone has reached location, e.g. you send a party to explore for 5 days and once they reach the destination, you have a progress bar showing that they've spent 2 out of 5 days, etc.
  • introducing a list of all ill characters in the Hospital room, with their doctors, and medical supplies - both used and requested - as well as the time of the next treatment, and an indication of whether they're treated off-site or they occupy hospital beds.

All of this is meant to prevent negative experiences, which we primarily nail down to these: (a) "I feel like I need to do something but I cannot do anything about that" i.e. lack of control (b) "i wish i knew this before spending X days on what is a bad plan, as I see now" i.e. overtly long feedback loop of mechanics (c) "something's happening but i don't see it" i.e. lack of transparency.

The example of the first situation: a disciple returns from a quest, he is sick, he displays symptoms of nausea and fever; there's a character with Level 4 in Healing already assigned as a doctor in the Hospital; but for 2 days, nothing happens, and the sick character continues to complain and suffer. This is bad experience as you know you need to do something, but you seem not to be able to do anything.

The example of the second situation: you send a disciple, who's a weak mage (low magic energy supply), on a quest outside, and you give them 15 food rations; that should last them some days; in fact, after 4 days they run out of food, and start using spellcasting to make arcane porridge, spending all of their magic energy, and going negative there, which begins to remove heir Health points -- even before they reach their destination. It would be great to have a travel forecast showing how many days they expect to be away; it would be great to have an equipment suggestion saying "you will need to give this party X rations to service their food needs".

The example of the third situation: you start a research project, but you don't know how many hours this particular special knowledge will be researched, and how much magic energy this research will take away from your mage. In a workaround manner, this can be deduced from the speed of progress bars filling in, but that's a very inconvenient method. So what we want is an indication of the number of hours for each research item, as well as a display of how much magic energy a specific character spends on their research.

Anyways, to make a long story short, this past week we continued working in "sprints" -- two-day periods where each of us makes changes, then we get the new build running and do another round of testing the core loop -- and we are all in agreement on 95% of the issues, which makes our teamwork pretty efficient: no arguments, just a very focused discussion of possible solutions.

I cannot honestly say when we will be ready to enter Limited Early Access, thought it's not next week or the week after that. In terms of budgeting, we have August and September covered, so there is no risk of us compromising on our approach just to meet the fiscal needs. We will continue to make the game's core loop longer with every new build until the loop extends all the way to preparing the Elixir of Youth, and at that time we'll get the first 1K players into Rund to give us their fresh perspective!

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12/08/2019: Thanks for following our development efforts! We know some artists (and game developers) who make games to prove a point, or to express themselves, or to make loads of money; for us, it's different – we make games to bring fun (i.e. a great playing experience) to a large number of people from different countries. If our audience is generally unhappy, then we're not happy either. The most precious thing that we take from the communities around our games is the sort of an open conversation where ideas and opinions are exchanged. It is like an extended version of our all-hands team meeting where everyone contributes with his or her thoughts and reflections, and then the people with the most experience and skill in the field look for the best solution.

Take, for example, today's production meeting (we now meet every 2 days to lock down the list of changes that we plan for the next version of the game, as we settled on preparing 2 builds per week). A lot of things that will go into the next build are the result of last week's observations from the team: we identify the situations where we, as players, feel uncomfortable, and then our design team finds a way of improving our experience.

  • For weeks, most of us have been unhappy about how much spoiled food is produced as a result of cooking. Say, you bring home 40 kg of mushrooms, berries, roots and nuts (what we call "gifts of nature"), then you look for the best cook among the disciples, and settle on a guy with Alchemy Practice 1, Theory 2 and a fully open applied proficiency of Cooking, and task him with producing 100 Standard Rations (which requires Alchemy Level 1). How many rations will be produced? Right now, you can expect about 55 rations and 45 potions of spoiled food. Current decision: our game designer will re-balance the probabilities of successful crafting, as we accumulated enough experience to agree that it needs to change.
     
  • Another thing is room upgrades. You can upgrade most of the rooms either by spending :sos_energy: (magic energy) or through real-life materials (stone, wood, clay, etc.). In recent campaigns, we felt uncomfortable about the values required for an upgrade. The cost in magic energy was too low compared to the cost in materials, and so we all ended up spending energy rather than gathering resources. In the next build, this should change as this part gets re-balanced.
     
  • Or take such a simple thing as sleep: in the current (and previous) versions of the game, characters would routinely wake up at 4AM to go down to the kitchen and eat something. The motivation of "hunger" overwhelmed their desire to "sleep". That looked weird, and so in the next build we're re-balancing some of the motivations, including sleep, to arrive at the situation where only a special character trait or a sickness may push someone to get up in the middle of the night.

Asides from balancing and re-balancing, there's the bugs. Some bugs are obvious: if you watched last week's dev stream, you might remember how the Library broke down, showing "99" books for each skill; in the same build, it was also impossible to initiate an exploration quest. Other bugs are more complex and require some investigation: for example, currently you can perform the ritual of transferring energy from an idol several times in a row; however, no energy is transferred and the quest log does not show any related records. Somewhere in the game, something is off, and we will find and fix it in time for the next build. Needless to say, these sorts of bugs are not what we like to see in the game when we offer it players in the Limited Early Access release.

And certain things in the build are what we call "bug-o-feature": something that works not as intended, but that we nevertheless prefer to keep. Here's something that we will implement in the next build: in the current version, when you send someone to hunt, or forage, it looks like this:

   09:00 +25 mushrooms
   10:00 +22 mushrooms
   11:00 +27 mushrooms
   12:00 +50 mushrooms, lunch: -1 ration

The reason for the increase in performance during lunch was a pretty funny bug, and when we looked into the root of it, here's what we found: you sent a disciple to the specific Foraging Grounds. The character foraged there. And at lunch, she was free to look for food as she pleased. Thus if several foraging grounds overlapped, including those that you did not know about yet, then she tapped into all of them, often doubling or tripling the results at that hour. Our solution: we'll enable disciples to use all the foraging grounds that they can identify, and if they identify previously unknown grounds, then these will become a part of their discovery results in the quest report. Thus a "bug" becomes a "feature".

Anyways, this is just to let you know where we're at. Today's build is 123.544 (which means that we're at 123rd version of user interface and 544th version of game logic). We expect to go through 2 more builds this week. As to when we are ready to enter Limited Early Access... we don't know yet!

Finally, this week's Friday stream will be in 🇺🇸. @Fahrengeit is off on his summer holidays (he's headed to Warsaw, Berlin, Prague and Dresden) so it will be me, @AndrewChewie and @Rita Dmitrijenko manning (and womanning) the ship.

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20/08/2019: We're currently in the middle of that period, both sweet and stressful, that lies just prior to the release of the game. The closer we are to launch, the better we understand our own game, and the higher is the impact of all the development decisions that we make during this period.

Over a year ago, we created the visuals for a dozen of food rations that are available in the game, and at that time we had a pretty basic idea about what they would be like: one sort of ration should give you more nourishment than the other, one required 3 different ingredients while another demanded only 1, and so on. Right now, though, we understand these game items so much better, as we have first-hand experience with cooking the rations during our playtests, and seeking out the ingredients that are required to cook them, as well as dealing with the consequences of specific types of food. And thus we immediately see room for improvement.

The Arcane Bread, for example, currently looks very appealing; however, its taste is actually at -1, and so we want to reflect that right in the illustration; the Travel Ration, in another example, weighs only 0.2 units, while all other rations weigh 0.5; visually, though, all of the rations look about the same size, and so we want to highlight Travel Ration's low weight by displaying it as a thinner, lighter package.

Und so weiter, und so weiter...

To make the most of the current period's potential, and not to fall into the trap of constant iterations and re-iterations, we use two approaches:

  • Make decisions quickly.
  • Push back any dev work that can be pushed back.

The first approach allows us to avoid the nightmare of endless meetings and deliberations. We always, always discuss the game as a team, but then we delegate the decision to the most qualified person on the topic. I recently wanted to add an event that featured bees and honey ("your party comes across a wild hive, what do you do? – smoke the bees out and eat the honey or leave it be and slowly walk past it"), but our game designer shot it down, highlighting the rule that we should first and foremost use the items and creatures that already exist in the game, while "bees" and "honey" are not among the current game items. Everyone on the team is welcome to bring up ideas or comments on game design, but our game designer is the person who ultimately decides what fits and what doesn't fit the game's vision.

The second approach allows us to save development time by focusing on what must be done and leaving the rest to the moment when it becomes equally pressing. For example, almost two years ago we created the visuals for a late-game monster called The Many-Handed. It's a fun creature that presides over a precious library abandoned in the Age of Mages. Right now, however, this monster will not make it in the Early Access version, because we're more focused on more common, early-game events and situations. Thus whatever time we spent on The Many Handed, we could have used with better effect on something that would actually ship in Early Access. The rule here now is that we only work on visuals for things that are already in the build. Take the newly added non-human race of Oorls: we first had it added to the game, and only then started on the concept art, being 100% certain that these assets will be a part of the game when it launches.

Anyways, process aside, what we're currently busy with is (a) adding mechanics that are still lacking (such as treatment for "wounds", removing painful "symptoms", etc.); and (b) looking for ways to allow for better, and smarter, decisions through changes in user interface.

A typical example of (b) is the process of setting up a new Quest (outside of the Spire) or Task (inside the Spire):

  • to understand who is the best character for a research task, you need to know their relevant skills (theory and practice)
  • you also need to know their interest level (loves, hates, or is different to this type of task)

This is already in the game. However, we aim higher:

  • we want to show, how much time this specific research task will take for each of the characters who could work on it
  • we want to show, right in that window, if some special knowledge items are already partially researched (say, 20% or 80%)
  • we also want to give players a forecast on how much experience (in theory and in practice, where relevant) a character might gain from such task
  • on top of this, we want to display a warning for situations where some characters already hit experience threshold and will not gain much from this task
  • finally, we want to "forewarn" of situations where threshold is not reached yet, but might be reached during this task

We're currently going through healing, teaching, crafting, exploration and so on, to identify more spots where a better user interface can lead to better user experience, and while this work is hardly predictable (you play, you discuss, and then you come up with solutions, then you play some more!), it has a huge impact on the overall user experience of the game.

And that's about it for this week. Last Friday's dev stream with build 126 is available here (in English), while this week's stream will happen in Russian. See you around!

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27/08/2019. Everyone who visits our studio in Vilnius these days has the same question when they walk through the door: "So when is the game coming out?". We used to be concerned about it because we couldn't give anyone a precise answer, but now that the game is shaping up to be a fun experience, we no longer worry. It's one thing to work on a project that may – or may not – become a good game, and it's quite another to work on something that is definitely shaping up the way we wanted. There is still lots of work left to do, and we sometimes get tired, and confused... but in the end, with every new version of the game we move closer and closer to launching in Early Access.

Speaking of which, as we are weeks away from the launch, we've changed the way that we handle dev streams:

  • from the last week onwards, there is an 🇺🇸 English-language stream every week (last week's edition: here)
  • we now will stream on Wednesdays so that everyone can catch up whenever it works for them, throughout the week
  • we now stream not only on Steam, but also on YouTube and Twitch

By the way, we've recently released a special short video highlighting the main RPG mechanics in the game. This rather basic video is called "Basics" (here; special cookie points if you can guess the name of the game on my t-shirt there!).

As to the current focus of our development efforts, this week it's mostly about control. You have the world to explore. You have the RPG mechanics to master. There's a ton of events happening every hour. And what you need to stay on top of this is exactly that: the feeling, and the power, of control over the flow of the game.

We're massively upgrading game log so that more and more things become transparent. For example, casting an Arcane Porridge to feed yourself is now reflected like this:

  • [character] casts spell :sos_magic: Arcane Porridge, Level 1, spends :sos_energy:20
  • [character] gains item Arcane Porridge
  • [character] consumes item Arcane Porridge

We have two goals here: to show you everything that you may want to know, and then to give you flexible tools that would help to filter out the important stuff from the unimportant stuff.

And once we're done with the upgraded log, we'll move to upgrading game events. Thanks for sticking with us – and make sure you check out the new visuals for the oorl race!

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02/09/2019. Last week, we had a difficult moment when we realised that we may miss an Early Access release in 2019 altogether.

A part of it is that one of us is expecting a baby in a couple of months – and when that happens, we'll send the young father home for a month to help his wife; so between now and 2020, there will be at least 4 weeks that we will spend without a person who is core to the development process, and that will happen about 8 weeks from now (maybe even sooner). So rather than having 16-17 weeks before the end of the year, we actually have 7-8 and then 4 more weeks at the end of the year. And we very much – very, very much! – want to enter Early Access before our friend and colleague goes home to spend quality time with his new baby. This makes the price of mistake in planning (i.e. in dev process) higher.

Another part is the usual human tendency to disregard process and focus on the results. Our studio exists since mid 2013, and every year we repeat the same mantra: great games happen because of great development process, not because of individual sacrifices. We are much better at recognising the importance of the process in 2019 than in 2018, or 2017, but it is still a challenge. Like a smoker who quit 10 years ago but still wants occasionally to light up a stick of poison, we at various times still want to just curl up on our desks and dig into some area of the project without telling others, and without coordinating our work with the team at large.

The balance is delicate.

Send one person from a team of 8 for holidays, and suddenly it turns out that we stopped running daily playtests, did not update production plan for the week, and generally are unaware of what each of us is doing. Was the missing person responsible for the process? No, but somehow he was one of the people who passed the ball around, and without him the constant motion of updates in the team has dried up.

One day last week, I woke up at 4 in the morning because I realised that I don't know the status of the book mechanics: we wanted it changed, we spoke about it, but we did not set goals on what we want to achieve, nor when we want it happening. I then checked #release_notes, a channel that we use in the studio to post updates in the build, and found it lacking any activity in the last 3 days. So, basically, some decisions went undocumented, and at the same time everyone dug into some work that did not result in game updates. Which, as we know by now, is a recipe for disaster AKA "creating something which you will discover to be redundant by the time when you finish". And so we had an all-hands meeting, and returned to the very basic line of reasoning:

  1. At which stage of development can we make the game available in Limited Early Access?
  2. What do we currently lack from that stage?
  3. What among this list of missing items should we work on, in the next few days?

It is the second point that is crucial to us meeting the expectations of our community to have the game out sooner rather than later: can we launch without a user interface system that suggests to you, which spells would be beneficial to know for a specific quest? (such as "Repel Insects") We think, yes. Thus any time spent on such a system now, is the time wasted.

Here's a high-level list of systems that we consider crucial for the Limited Early Access, and their status:

  • Generating mage character – ✅
  • Generating 3 disciples who run away with the mage – ✅
  • Generating the world – ✅
  • Placing the Spire in the right position – we still have some work here, as sometimes it doesn't feel as it should be
  • Generating starting inventory – ✅, though needs further balancing as to what exactly you have at start
  • Foraging for food and resources, cooking food – mostly done, but we need to also add "Automate" option to such quests
  • Healing – there's a de-sync between what's in the game and what's shown in interface, First Aid doesn't work, healing Wounds doesn't work yet
  • Prediction of level of danger for quests/tasks – doesn't work yet, and is pretty critical for mid-game
  • Research & Experiment mechanics are mostly – ✅, but we need some balancing of individual knowledge items
  • Exploration – done except for sub-locations, which kills a lot of game (cannot access caves, catacombs) – this is a must
  • Trade is not done, and there's no money in the game – as much as we like to push it back, we feel like we must have it prior to LEA release
  • Global events – most of these can be done after release, but at the very least we need to have "A visit of Inquisition"
  • Spells & Rituals – we have the plan, but it's not in the game yet
  • Game log – it does exist, and is somewhat informative, but we decided to complete a "visual language" system to show more information and make it easier to understand
  • Events – we have a basic set but we want more, before we show the game to players; this is now becoming the focus of our game designer, really.

Some of these issues are simple and some are complicated. Some relate to user interface and some relate to game mechanics.

And while we don't see here a single thing that we cannot do, what is obvious is that almost everything requires a team effort.

Basically, developing a game, as a team, is a lot like riding a bicycle. When you're there, it feels effortless and you can even climb some pretty high hills. When you start getting distracted, though, it's pretty easy to miss the right turn, or get stuck with the wrong gear.

To summarise what I wanted to share in today's update: the next 8 weeks are absolutely crucial for us, if we want the game to come out in 2019. We're doing our best, which may – or may not – be enough to succeed. Thanks for your patience, and for your interest in this project!

As a reminder, our weekly dev streams happen each Wednesday. Last week's English-language stream is here, and this week it will be Rita and me, and we will show you all the creatures of Rund that make it into the Early Access version, so it will be a visual-heavy edition. We stream on Steam (here), Twitch (here) and YouTube Live (here) at 14:00 London / 16:00 Vilnius / 21:00 Beijing / 22:00 Tokyo.

catacombs.jpg

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12/09/2019: First off, I apologise for being late with this entry in the development diary. 

It happened for a number of reasons: from being buried in paperwork (game developers also pay taxes! 💰) to taking part in a marathon (6 people from our team competed in various distances 🎽) to... wait for it: finally starting the preliminary Early Access  period for Spire of Sorcery! :sos_magic: And while I'm not sure you will have fun reading about taxes or seeing photos from the marathon (we did better than in 2018, by the way!), please let me tell you a bit more about the preliminary Early Access.

Here's our release roadmap:

  1. We start publicly posting release notes to keep everyone up to date on the changes in the game ✅
  2. We start publishing weekly videos about content/features that we now have in the game ✅
  3. We enter Preliminary Early Access: 10 keys are issued to players from different countries ✅ ("micro-release")
  4. Once we fix most of the critical issues that are reported, we expand the audience to another 10-20 people, adding more countries ➡️
  5. Once we have enough content to complete the minor campaign, we enter Limited Early Access, offering 1.000 copies for sale through Steam ➡️ ("mini-release")
  6. Once we see that the overall player experience is positive, we enter Early Access, making the game available to anyone who wishes to purchase it on Steam ➡️ ("EA release")

We just completed the third step, with players from 🇯🇵 🇯🇵 🇯🇵 🇺🇸 🇮🇹 🇬🇷 🇷🇺 🇷🇺 🇷🇺 🇷🇺 🇪🇸 starting to play Spire of Sorcery since Tuesday.

If you're interested in the sort of issues that they deal with (and we cannot thank them enough for their bravery and commitment to help us!), you can see all of the reports here: Early Access Feedback. For now, our focus will be in dealing with the annoying and confusing issues identified by these players, as well as in continuing work on major features like the updated game log (by the way, we already have Skill Check shown in the game, which helps a lot in understanding the consequences of various actions).

Of other news, yesterday we recorded another video that introduces the world of the game: The Dwellers & Monsters of Rund. The English-language version is available here.

That's it for now, and I'll have more news on Monday!

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19/09/2019: it looks like these weekly dev updates have moved, on their own accord, to Thursday – and I don't really mind that, as Mondays are going to be very busy for our team for the next few months (man oh man!). In a nutshell, here's our news for the past week:

  1. We got a lot of valuable feedback during the "micro-release" last week, thanks much to the players who took their time to structure their experience and write it down in a way that allows us to understand "the big picture".
     
  2. After reading all the feedback, we experienced a psychological crisis that was partially based on our own attempts to "live in the future": "here's a game about magic, where you will have a lot of magic" – "but there's very little magic in the current build!" – "well, we plan to have a lot of magic" – "WHEN?", and partially on our own unprofessional approach to game design, where we would design a mechanic that sounds cool on its own, but is so complex that it's nearly impossible to explain it to players via interface; and the third cause was our fear of making any single mechanics "significant", so that we have 7 systems that feed into the character efficiency, and 6 more systems that feed into character's mood, which in turn feeds into character efficiency (yeah... ;-), and all of these systems are so moderate that it's hardly possible to tell the connection between the cause and the effect.
     
  3. Starting Friday last week, we started all-hands meetings during which we went from crying to laughing and back to crying, as we finally mustered the courage to look reality in the eye: THIS is what we developed, and THAT is what we dreamed to develop, so how the hell do we go from one to another? We spent 8 hours on Friday, 4 hours on Sunday, 10 hours on Monday and 10 hours on Tuesday just talking about everything in the game, from how mechanics work to what our expectations are, from the game, as players. After 10 more hours of meetings on Wednesday, we finally started to see the light at the end of the tunnel this morning (Thursday).

If you haven't seen our dev video from yesterday, here's Rita and I talking about this process in a bit more detail – 📺 video 📺.

And now, some good news: after 2.5 years of developing this game, we finally had the brains to put together a 📖 high-level concept of the game 📖 that everyone in the team agrees on, and which reflects both the current state of the game and where we plan to be when we launch in Early Access. Here it is:

SoS_concept_EN.gif

What happens next:

  • we already created the plan for the campaign that will be in the game when it launches in Early Access (more on that next week);
  • during the next few days, we plan to detail ALL of the game events that will go into the Early Access version of the game;
  • based on these events, we'll remove the items/mechanics that are not necessary, and add the ones that are required;

Once we're done with the planning, our team will split into two groups: those who will continue working with the existing playtest group (which we will also expand a little) on improving user interface/user experience on the mechanics that we decided to keep (Library, Alchemical Lab, etc.); while the other group will head-dive into the missing mechanics and missing content.

We currently want to release in Limited Early Access in a matter of weeks, as we're very upset with our own failure to not get intoxicated with "just one more cool mechanics!" approach, and we want to fix the problems and ship the game as soon as we're done with that.

That's it for the past few days (which were very emotional, to be honest) – and see you next week, when I will have the details on the campaign as well as the overview of the events.

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05/10/2019:

At the end of September, we made the decision to release the game in Early Access on October 30, 2019.

Deep inside, each of us would love nothing more than to push this back to, say, May 2020 – far enough into the future so that we can go back to a "safe" development environment where we can use such arguments as "later in the development, you will see how this plays off really well" to address a reported issue.

But like a person with a drinking problem who, in his bright moment, makes the decision to sign up for a mountain expedition instead of a trip to see his drinking buddies, we recognise that entering Early Access at the end of this month is the only way forward if we want to stay true to our dreams, ambitions and to the hopes of our player community.

Thanks to the feedback from about the dozen of Limited Early Access players, we had to face the reality: we need to make changes in the way how we finish this game. It is no longer enough to discuss the game internally, we need a wider discussion of what is fun and what is not; and what sort of balance gives the most enjoyable player experience.

And so, in three weeks and a half from now, we will go live on Steam.

We will continue to be actively involved on the official Discord server, on these dedicated forums and on the Steam forums as well. We will also continue to publish weekly dev videos where we'll talk about the current state of the game and present new features/new content. As to these diaries, their time is over – I need all of my time on the development front.

Many thanks for your support through the development process: it means a lot to us!

  • excited 2

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FWIW, last night I kept thinking that we might not lift off the runway in time for October 30. I'll post here in a few days as to whether this was a valid hunch.

  • depressed 1

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