Letters from Logress: What's On The Horizon?
Written by malakhi   
Friday, 28 June 2013 20:00

Letters from Logress is a going to be a new monthly feature here at Alteil. Logress is an amazingly busy guy, but he's always ready to share what's going on behind the scenes here at Alteil HQ. So here it is, directly from Logress's quill... er, typewriter... er, printing press... bah, whatever sort of instrument that guy uses to jot down his thoughts.

Hi everyone - Logress here with some news about what we've been up to here at the mother ship...

ALTEIL: HORIZONS is well, on the horizon.  Alteil: Horizons is our working title for the re-launch of Alteil, a true sequel game.

June is coming to an end, and represented for us a big push to make Alteil: Horizons not just an idea, but something within our grasp, something tangible. Here are the details:

  • Playable Demo: this was our main goal. Having this as a goal forced us to move forward a number of fronts, including taking the infrastructure and code we’d been working on for the past year and turn it into a bridge to the next Alteil. The short answer is that we did manage to complete a demo that will serve a lot of our immediate purposes (and looks awesome). More details after the list.
  • Connecticon: Connecticon is a decent-sized gaming convention which got its start with the help of Apocoplay’s very own thatDave and MysteryMan. We’re going to be there to talk Alteil and get some users and business partners on board. Obviously we had to prep for the con (July 10th, btw) and having some kind of Demo is key to the plan. We'd love to see you if you can make it!
  • Getting Japan on board: The Japanese team has been mostly hands off with us, unlike some of the previous licensees of Alteil. To launch a new game, however, will definitely require both their approval and support. Last week we had our official presentation to the Japanese team for Alteil: Horizons. We showed off our demo and it was a huge hit. They were interested in the possibilities and promised to come back to us within a few weeks with ideas on what our advances could mean for Alteil on both sides of the world. Stay tuned for more developments here.
  • Cracking the new user deadlock:  Let’s be honest, in an online game like this users are game content… and any game issues, like balance, are heavily exacerbated by user count dropping. The best thing we could give Alteil is a ton of new users. A few times over last year we spent an experimental sum on advertising to see if we could drive some users to the site. We actually, I believe, scored a perfect zero. Some of this has to do with a sharp, industry wide drop in the effectiveness of online advertising. To take on this issue, the next few bullet points were added.
  • Malakhi, our new PR man: You might have noticed most posts don’t have my name on them anymore. Sure, this frees me to head up design on the new game’s back end. But more importantly, we have a team member who’s always got users and getting new users in the forefront of his mind. Good for us game design / programming types who tend to get distracted by mechanics and technology to have someone to keep us on task.
  • A front-facing site for new users:  Our site has always been good at displaying news, banners for recent events, and giving access to a card list and other basic functions (like the rule book, anyone ever checked out that?) in just a few clicks. Useful for our current users, very utilitarian. Exciting and intriguing for potential new users? Not so much. We put a lot of art and a lot of proto-sites in front of gamers (who did not know of Alteil at the time) to judge reactions and come up with our new front-facing look.
  • A PR Firm:  This is the big one, the big question for small to medium sized games with good potential. Do you get a PR firm? It’s a possible shortcut to upping the scaling of your game in a big way. A successful launch for Alteil: Horizons with a PR firm could mean the difference between having the same grinder rake you over the coals all night except with awesome new graphics and a snappy engine, versus having a big new game with a big new community. We have been given some opportunities that could lead to a partnership… meetings all next week to check out a few avenues see if this could be the right move for us.

 

Okay, that’s an awful lot of bullet points. But I know, you all want to know more about the Demo. For starters, we divided it into a front and back end with different teams working on each. The front end came out really nicely. Great new layout, design, 3D elements, graphics, animation and yes… music. We’d like a lot more animation, but we’ve got something to replace every existing animation and a few extras. For example, sending to the cemetery looks different than returning now. Also, we’re adding animations to clearly illustrate certain game mechanics that might be difficult to pick up. I think everyone will appreciate those. Everything is 100% HTML5, so it will work seamlessly on any computer, tablet or whatever you want as is (although we’d probably want to make specific apps at some point, anyway). Right now we can control the animations and effectively simulate a game of Alteil – great for all these presentations.

The back end, or the core game logic, lost almost two weeks when my laptop melted down. The logic is completely built, however, and we’re in the unit-testing phase. Actually, let me take this opportunity to announce we’re looking for PRE-ALPHA TESTERS to get some more eyes on the game logic. For now, we’re looking for people with some level of programming knowledge. Not being frightened by a curly bracket would be a good start.

We were having a lot of trouble simulating one major feature of the current Alteil: the Random Disconnects. We just couldn’t get it to work right, so we decided to leave it out completely of the next version. No more random disconnects. You can always string your network cable across an open doorway and leave it loose in its socket if you want the same effect.

That’s all I have for now… actually, there is still a number of things going on so hopefully I’ll be able to announce more in the near future. Thank you all for your support, as always.

 
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