Alpha Release 1 for Shroud of the Avatar is just a few days away!
RELEASE 1: December 12 - December 14, 2013
- Install / Patching system: Step one for you guys to play the game is for you to download the game and then patch the game. Since this is the first hands on impression of the product, it is critical.
- Login / Registration: Players should be able to log in using their existing accounts and if they have not yet registered, they should be intuitively led to the steps to register.
- Character Creation: Players should be able to create and customize their character. Creation / Customization options for Release 1 will include: name, gender, head shape, skin tone, hair style, hair color, and eye color.
- Single Player Online: All public releases prior to commercial launch will be online only. For Release 1 and 2, it will be constrained to single player online only.
- First Town: Our first town, Owl’s Head will be open for exploration. This is important for testing purposes so we can better tune our performance metrics on real user machines. For Release 1, exiting the town will just funnel you back into the same town (anyone see Groundhog Day?)
- Conversation: Important that players converse with the townsfolk so we can start expanding the dialog system. As you talk to NPCs, we will be tracking your conversations and using them to add more content based on your input.
- Bag Inventory: This is a hot topic in the forums so we want to get it in your hands for feedback on preferences. Immersion vs. ease of use, let the battle begin!
- Equipment: Players will be provided with several chests full of “[email protected] lootz” (armor, clothes, weapons, etc.) for trying on for size.
- House Claiming: Players will be able to select a house from the entire list of player houses (even Lord of the Manor!) for free so that we can test out the various size houses on the lots and allow players to test drive the various houses so they can have a better idea of which they ultimately want to own.
- House Decorating: Chests full of furniture and decorative items will be provided so you can stress test the decoration system and try out various styles of interiors. Help us figure out all the ways you can break things! (Look forward to screenshot contests on this!)
- Metrics: All the while you are playing, we will be stress testing our metrics system. This system is critical to maintaining a balanced economy, tracking exploits, and gathering data to improve the experience.
So now that it is clear what you can expect we should also be as clear about what you should not
- Mac & Linux: We are definitely going to support these Operating Systems but we were unable to get them working satisfactorily for Release 1. For Release 1 we will only support Windows. Our goal is to try again for OSX and Linux support for Release 2.
- Performance: Our goal with Release 1 was to build a machine challenging scene with Owl’s Head. We have only done rudimentary optimizations and we do not yet have a full suite of fallbacks (LODs, etc.). This means for R1 the game will be quite slow on lower end machines and due to memory usage might be unstable in certain conditions (like densely decorated areas). With each release we will be doing further optimizations and adding to our fallbacks to improve performance.
- Game Loop: Even though we have clearly stated that there will not be a complete game loop (adventure, loot, spend, craft, quest, etc.) until Release 4 there is still some expectation of those activities. For R1 there is just character creation / customization, NPC conversation, and home decoration.
- Advanced Player Housing: There are some advanced features for player housing including basements, home exterior decorations, and ceiling decorations that are not yet integrated. Expect to see these appear in future releases with the goal that by Release 4 they should all be present.
These are the scheduled dates of the future alpha tests:
RELEASE 2: January 24 - January 26 2014
RELEASE 3: February 20 - 22, 2014
RELEASE 4: March 20 - ?, 2014
Yeah, this test will occur just in the town of Owl's Head. It's very focused on testing just a few features. Alpha Release 2 and 3 will include other towns or villages, and they'll add the crafting system in 2 and multiplayer in 3. I don't think that it's until Release 4 that we'll get to explore any dungeons or the wilderness between towns.
Alpha Release 1 will begin tomorrow morning. Downloading and installing is now available, but we won't be able to log in until tomorrow. You can still pledge if you want to get access.
This was the announcement posted this morning:
"Early access for all backers at First Responder / Adventurer level and above begins with Release 1 tomorrow, Thursday December 12 at 10:30 AM Central Time. Release 1 access will end on Saturday December 14 at 10:00 PM Central Time. Starting today you can begin installing and patching (see instructions below) but login will not be enabled until Thursday morning."
Here's the link to the Pre-Alpha R1 Early Access Instructions. It contains the download link for the patcher.
How sad. So, SotA takes the whole buying beta access to a new level by now selling alpha access..
Richard Garriott did great things for computer RPG's back in the 80's-90's, but I guess now that he's rich, he has to generate huge amounts of money to keep his lifestyle (especially after wasting so much of his wealth). I want the Richard Garriott I used to know back, you know, the guy that offered a competitively priced game that blew the competition away? And what ever happened to play-testers needing qualifications with testing?
EA already trashed the Ultima franchise when they bought Origin Systems, Inc. I wonder if Garriott has regrets .. because his company was big and growing fast when he sold it .. my guess is, yes, if he wishes to return to Ultima with the only word left he can legally use, "Avatar".
A large portion of this game revolves around housing, and since housing is from pledges only (bigger pledge = better quality of life housing).... If the game's main feature that makes it stand out is housing, and it's by purchase only .. hrmm..
Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.
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