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Author Topic: When/what is alpha?  (Read 19203 times)
pspeed
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« on: July 22, 2012, 03:43:26 PM »

This question and related questions seem to come up from time to time.  I've answered it in a few different ways scattered around but I thought it was worth collecting it all in one place.  At the very least it will become a nice link when someone else asks. Smiley

What is "alpha"?

In traditional software development life cycles, "alpha" is where you freeze features and then begin fixing bugs in preparation for "beta".  "Beta" is where you release your software to some or all your users for testing "in the wild".

For indie development, these terms don't make the same sense because the players are getting to play the game long before it reached anything close to alpha.

So for me, Mythruna is "alpha" when it meets the following criteria:
  • Basic feel of the real game is clear
  • Most (hopefully all) performance-draining features have already been added and risks assessed
  • Most of the game trailer that I've story boarded can be filmed "in game".
  • Integration with the Mythruna.com store

When the game hits alpha, for anyone seriously looking at it, I want them to easily understand why this game is different than other games and what it is similar to.  Fortunately, much of the "feel of the real game" will be implemented when the "performance-draining features" are added.

By "performance-draining feature", I mean those features that have a good chance of lowering the performance of the game.  Physics and AI are the biggest items here.  Each of these may lower performance in significant ways depending on how things unfold.

Since to play the full version of alpha will require that users pay, I want to make a best effort at making sure they will still be able to play the game later.  I'd hate to release alpha, make a bunch of people pay for it, and then 6 months later add changes that keep paying users from being able to play.  It might happen... but I will do my best to prevent it.

So at a minimum, the following features are necessary for alpha:
  • Physics - including hinges, ropes, springs, pulleys, cloth, etc.
  • AI and NPCs
  • Character animation - both players and NPCs
  • Combat (probably)

The full high level roadmap can be found here: http://mythruna.com/forum/index.php?topic=502.0

What will "alpha" cost?

The current plan is for alpha to cost $15 U.S.  This could go as high as $20 depending on a few things but $15 is the current plan.

This price covers alpha, beta, and the final release of this version of Mythruna.  (I say "version" because maybe 5 years from now there is a completely different Mythruna 2.0 that is entirely new... this price doesn't cover that.)  This price covers all 1.x versions of Mythruna.

Donators can lock in a $10 price now by donating $10 U.S..  This gets a license for the game regardless of what the price is later.  The full benefits of donating are spelled out here: http://mythruna.com/donation-benefits/

...but locking in a discount price seems like a pretty good reason to me.

When is "alpha"?

The flip answer would be "when it's ready".  The real answer is much harder.

My typical feel is that it is "six months away".  It always seems like a reasonable (even if aggressive) schedule... but I've felt like it was "six months away" for the past 4 months.

So, the best I can do is say that it will continue to be "six months away" until I update that to "five months away"... which probably won't be a month from now. Wink

If there are questions that this did no cover then ask them below.  I will incorporate my answers into the text above and note that in your response.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2012, 08:19:53 PM by pspeed » Logged
BigredRm
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2012, 08:08:21 PM »

Take your time Im sure it will be better if you do it right. If you need any help testing I hope you'll know who to contact.
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caesar
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2012, 01:46:54 AM »

Thanks a lot for pointing that out so clearly!

It's very good to keep the playability in mind. Before you force the players to buy a license you have to ensure it will work later on, too. Otherwise you will get a horrible reputation.
Of course you want to get something back after investing a huge amount of time and also money, the server does not pay for himself.
The 'why no f2p???' folks will have to realize that fact.

Best wishes for your progress!
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Michael Musgrove
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« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 12:34:00 AM »

*Puts on market for $15 U.S.*
*5,000 people buy the game*
*Paul drools at the amount of money*
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« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 02:41:16 PM »

*Puts on market for $15 U.S.*
*5,000 people buy the game*
*Paul drools at the amount of money*

75,000$ = Not even enough to buy a nice house.
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pspeed
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 07:35:21 AM »

*Puts on market for $15 U.S.*
*5,000 people buy the game*
*Paul drools at the amount of money*

75,000$ = Not even enough to buy a nice house.

Yeah, that's not much money in the grand scheme of things.  Definitely not enough to quite my job, anyway. (not even close actually)
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Moonkey
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 11:11:43 PM »

Yea, you would need about quadruple as much buyers to get a nice house. And to think Mojang has hit the millions already.
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pspeed
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 11:16:58 PM »

Yea, you would need about quadruple as much buyers to get a nice house. And to think Mojang has hit the millions already.

Heheh... I already have a nice house.  The problem is that I'd like to keep it for another few decades. Smiley
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Moonkey
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 04:18:41 PM »

Yea, you would need about quadruple as much buyers to get a nice house. And to think Mojang has hit the millions already.

Heheh... I already have a nice house.  The problem is that I'd like to keep it for another few decades. Smiley
Housing debts... Smiley
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T. B. Jerremad
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 11:03:46 AM »

Hey, I think you might find this interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minecraft#Commercial

...To compare this to another Indie game we all know about.  In the first month of release, Minecraft sold 1,000,000 copies.  Advertising was by word-of-mouth.  25,000 of those were in the 24 hours following a weekend of play-for-free. 

I can't put into words how excited I am for Mythruna.  I think this game will do as well or better than Minecraft.

Lets just be skeptical though, say you sell 1,000,000 copies in the first year.  That's $15,000,000 - enough to live very comfortably for the next 100 years. 

Mate, take the time to let your dreams become Mythruna reality, and I predict you will be very well off.
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pspeed
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2012, 11:53:59 AM »

Thanks for the nice words.  I'd settle for simply making a living at it... but it would be nice to fund the next projects, too. Smiley
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Thanos
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 07:10:46 PM »

And what happens if Mythruna becomes really popular and eventually gets cracked? Will the sales be reduced?
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pspeed
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 07:36:12 PM »

And what happens if Mythruna becomes really popular and eventually gets cracked? Will the sales be reduced?

You mean "cracked" in the way that players who didn't pay for it somehow manage to unlock the full game?

For one thing, studies show that these players wouldn't have paid for the game anyway.  So it's not really a lost sale.  You just have to make it more convenient for honest players to play it legitimately than it is for them to play it illegally.  So it has to be easier to buy a valid license than it is to search for and install some crack.

For another, they won't be able to play on legitimate servers, regardless of any cracks.  It's the legitimate player, server, and modder market that is the most important to me.  The game will be successful if those things are successful.  The people who will make those areas a success are the ones that will gladly pay for what they believe is a good value rather than trying to find some way to crack every new mod that some modder puts out.
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Thanos
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2012, 08:02:18 PM »

For another, they won't be able to play on legitimate servers, regardless of any cracks.  It's the legitimate player, server, and modder market that is the most important to me.  The game will be successful if those things are successful.  The people who will make those areas a success are the ones that will gladly pay for what they believe is a good value rather than trying to find some way to crack every new mod that some modder puts out.

I see. So it will work the same way as minecraft legitimate servers. But there are many not legitimate too I used to play on them before I actually bought the game so studies are wrong in my case Grin But I totally understand what you say, I guess single player mode could be easier to unlock too but who wants to play forever alone in an infinite world? Tongue

Are you planning to sell the game on steam or other similar websites?
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pspeed
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 09:39:17 PM »

For another, they won't be able to play on legitimate servers, regardless of any cracks.  It's the legitimate player, server, and modder market that is the most important to me.  The game will be successful if those things are successful.  The people who will make those areas a success are the ones that will gladly pay for what they believe is a good value rather than trying to find some way to crack every new mod that some modder puts out.

I see. So it will work the same way as minecraft legitimate servers. But there are many not legitimate too I used to play on them before I actually bought the game so studies are wrong in my case Grin But I totally understand what you say, I guess single player mode could be easier to unlock too but who wants to play forever alone in an infinite world? Tongue

But you eventually bought it.  You are the poster child for why it's exactly the right level of copy protection. Smiley

In Mythruna's case, I don't plan to force you to login every time you want to play single player.  For logging into a server it will be necessary, though.  Servers may have the option to relax this "every time" requirement if you've connected to them before within a certain amount of time.  I'm still working out details of the token passing design.

I hate it when I can't play a game just because I'm having trouble hitting the main site, though.

Are you planning to sell the game on steam or other similar websites?

I'd like to.  I will explore that more when I get closer.  The landscape changes a lot and who knows how long it will be before I'm to that point.
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