There’s excitement in the air: After almost two years of development, the first closed alpha tests are about to commence. Consequently, a lot of our time this week was spent on preparing said tests and we can’t wait to finally open the gates to Prosperous Universe!
Due to external work for customers my week was once again a bit short. Nonetheless, I was able to help out Michi with some of the preparations for the upcoming alpha test. Based on my findings from last week concerning a tool for our marketing and communication efforts, this was also the first week in which I tried to make it a routine to do a bit of PR every morning before starting work on anything else. It’s a bit shocking how little one gets done in 20 minutes, but my hope is that by doing it regularly I’ll slowly get more efficient and we’ll start to see an effect soon.
In terms of development I spent most of my time preparing the financial utilities in the game. Ironically, even though PU is a business simulation through and through, it was almost impossible for a player to see their financial standing until now, especially in any kind of detail. So I’m currently adding various reports and statistics to the interface showing things like the most recent cash transactions, some important indicators like total debt, the value of your business etc. as well classic balance and income statements. Not the most exciting features, but definitely crucial to a game like ours!
This week was mostly characterized by the upcoming alpha tests. We decided to do multiple small tests in a row and focus on one or two features each time. I developed a little alpha test roadmap that currently contains six tests each lasting between one and two weeks. Initially the tests are non-public and the testers are friends and collegues who will hopefully forgive annoying errors and bugs (which will be pretty likely in the beginning).
But don’t worry, if you want to be part of the alpha tests you absolutely can! We will ask everyone who registered for the forums to join the tests once the game is stable enough and the roughest edges are rounded off.
Although we don’t intent to reset the game world once it starts we will do so in the alpha tests. There are several reasons for that, one is technical: It’s always easier to fix bugs and add new functionality if there aren’t any game events or data from the past that have to be considered. That way we hope we are quicker in fixing things. Another reason is that the starting phase of the world is critical. Only a few commodities are traded by non-player characters and we tend to keep that list short. If the list is too short though, players could get stuck because, for example, they cannot produce a commodity themselves yet, but already spent too much money or construction materials to start the production. This bootstrapping phase of the game world is a bit of a hen and egg problem and we want to make sure we leave that phase as swift and smoothly as possible.
As always, we’d love to hear what you think: join us on the forums!