The delay - Part 2
1 day ago
– Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 12:37:22 AM
Yesterday we posted that we realized we wouldn't be able to ship the Beta by the end of February. Since then, the level of support along with the community's genuine concern for our wellbeing has been deeply encouraging. Thank you.
We also mentioned we were going to have an internal meeting to work out a new estimate of how much time we would need. We've had that meeting, here is the result.
The Beta is now scheduled to ship at the end of March. This gives us four extra weeks to get the Beta to a point where meaningful testing can be done by the community. We have decided to make it the full month to minimize any chance of issues creeping up on us last minute this time around. We are diving into a lot of areas of the project quickly to try and route out any more unknowns. You'll be hearing about this in the dev logs over the next weeks.
Rest assured, it's still going to be a Beta, and so this post on what to expect still stands, but we'll have got through the game-breaking issues we are looking at right now.
We will also stick to our original plan and keep pre-orders open until the Beta goes live. We will be emailing the people who made pre-orders separately once we have made a couple of inquiries with BackerKit regarding when they charge cards.
As always, we are reachable, especially on the Discord, so do come and commiserate with us. Meanwhile we'll get back to making this something we can all make new stories in.
Again, thank you for letting us do this independently. We hope that this update finds you, and your projects, in good health and spirit.
Warmest regards from the team
 The bug that really crept up on me last week was a bug that caused the undo/redo information to go out of sync when you have multiple players building. This breaks the board more with every subsequent action and, as you can imagine, really sucks the fun out of playing. Worse still, it's not even a bug that gives valuable information to us, it's just broken. We know that it's fixable, but we also need to review all related code because this case stayed under the radar for a long time. We need to make sure it doesn't manifest anywhere else.
Some visual progress, but also something rather somber. A Delay
2 days ago
– Sat, Feb 15, 2020 at 02:28:31 AM
I don't post updates quite as much, but I do like to show what I've been working on, usually in the form of gifs on twitter or sneaking it into Baggers' posts. This particular update is in two parts. First of which is in the way of some progress. The first iteration of the new Atmosphere system is almost beta ready. For people who are familiar with the Alpha version of the game, knows about Atmosphere blocks.
These were literally boxes you could put on the board, click on and switch between different visual looks as well as switch between music and ambient tracks. They were premade inside of Taleweaver, and wasn't particularly flexible, although somewhat conveniently places. Or I guess they would have been if the players didn't see them, and wouldn't get stuck in them if they decided to walk through. This might all sound a bit confusing to others.
The new solution to this is having these settings exposed in the Atmosphere tab on the left side. So now, you can select a music track, an ambient track, SkyCycle, and a Post Process Color effect. These options can then be synced to your players as usual.
The Atmosphere blocks are still there though but now hidden behind the GameMaster Overlay.
Meaning you don't have to hide them from your players. In addition to having some preset atmosphere blocks to choose from, you can also create your own by dragging out a block from the Atmosphere settings tab (This part isn't entirely done yet).
And eventually, hopefully, also share combinations online via copy/paste. (later)
We're likely expanding the options depending on what makes sense for a later iteration. One that might also make it into the beta is Exposure control. (if it makes sense).
I'd also like to mention that Dwarf has been working on more music and ambient sounds! As well as new miniatures! Heckbo is working on a lot of new stuff, including things related to last week's water tweet!
----- Second part -----
Note to self: * deep breaths *
Now for the second part. The somber part, as I put it in the title. Not "dull in color," but rather "a feeling of deep seriousness."
As some of you might have gathered from Baggers' previous updates, we've hit some unexpected issues. (https://bouncyrock.com/news) Initially smaller items which put us behind schedule, but more recently some more significant ones which, although these are entirely solvable has some notable unknowns which are hard to estimate.
It is becoming increasingly clear that we're not going to meet the End of February estimate. (I'm using estimate here rather than "the deadline," for my own sanity).
It is just not realistic.
It took me, personally, way too long to see that. Blindly wanting to see a February Beta Release. If everything went perfectly, sure! But as we know, things seldom do.
Crunch can be a "useful" tool, and sometimes especially for indie developers, one could argue that it is necessary. But the value of increased productivity and focus quickly fades into increasingly harmful routines. And after just a couple of weeks, the benefits are gone, and you're just doing damage.
We're at this point; actually, we've stepped over that point and can about make it out in the distance. Behind us. This latest setback was the realization that we can't just brute-force the last couple of weeks and hope that we have something to cram out the door, potentially burning-out in the process.
So what does that mean?
We still haven't worked out all the details. We're having a meeting tomorrow about the subject and will be sharing our findings with you within the next day or so. From initial talks, we're probably looking at about 3-4 weeks past the original estimation. This would allow us to sort out the more daunting issues comfortably, but also do a bit of testing before it goes out to everyone. (It is very much a beta, but we do want it to be properly playable, even if a bit buggy)
So that's it. We know a lot of you are hyped for TaleSpire to be available, and this comes as a bit of a disappointment. We're right there with you, but we also hope you understand our decision to postpone the beta, just a bit longer.
Thank you all so very much for your amazing support!
TLDR: Beta release needs to be pushed, because of some newly discovered issues and fear of burnout from crunch. More information within a day or so.
PS: Another earlier experiment: (this is nowhere near play ready, just showing that it will be coming at some point)
Into the depths!
8 days ago
– Sun, Feb 09, 2020 at 01:20:07 AM
The work on the Beta continues in earnest. We've been feeling that deadline and Dev logs have been a little sporadic (sorry about that), but you can find the latest over here.
Other than saying we are still here and working, there isn't much to tell you news-wise, so instead, here is a peek at something Jonny has been working on.
It's still in a very experimental stage and will go through a bunch of revisions even after it's release. However, we think this will go rather nicely with another asset pack we are currently brewing. More on that as it nears completion!
Hope this finds you all well.
Take care everyone.
The Beta is coming. Here is what to expect.
20 days ago
– Tue, Jan 28, 2020 at 12:23:49 AM
The Beta is our first big post-Kickstarter milestone, let's talk about it.
When is it?
We scheduled the beta release for the end of February, and from looking at what we still need to get working, we expect it to be coming out in the very last days of February.
What is it?
A beta is a work in progress, development version of the game and it is going to feel like it!
This not a Google-style beta, which tends to be a more polished product that they want to build buzz around. This is a real development build complete with bugs and missing features. However, if you are up for that, it is going to be fun. For those familiar with the alpha, it's going to be very similar but with entirely new code under the hood for many systems.
The Beta will include:
- The tilesets from the alpha with some new sets and minis
- The new building system
- Multiplayer building and play
- An early version of the new atmosphere system
- An early version of the emote system
- An early version of the GM overlay
- Line-of-sight: This shows and hides non-player creatures based on whether your creature can see them
- Explicit GM hiding of assets
- HP and four generic stats per creature
- Two basic rulers (straight line and circular area-of-effect)
- Per creature torches
- GM Flashlight
- Session History
- Setting up creatures that exist across all boards of the campaign (We call these 'unique creature')
What won't it have
Many of the features the game really needs are not in the Beta. This is as planned, and they all will show up by the time the Early Access starts. Here are some notable absences:
- Accessibility options
- Multi-Language support
- Settings/Keybinding menus
- Fog of war
- Pathfinding tools
- Creature scaling
- Setting up creatures outside of a campaign
And then, of course, there are the stretch goals. We can save those for another day, though, as they weren't meant to be in the Beta anyway.
Do remember that a beta is a stage of development is not usually, something that is made publicly available. Do not worry if this build feels too unfinished for you (or your party), and you decide to hold off playing it until the Early Access. Stories are too important to mess up with an unfinished game.
What will happen at the end of February?
Some days before the beta ships, we will stop the pre-order and charge the credit cards of the people who have purchased additional copies of the game. We are doing this a few days before the beta ships to give time for payments to process and any issues to come up.
Most Kickstarter backers do not need to worry about this. These payments are from the pre-orders we ran recently, so if you backed you have already paid and there is nothing else to do.
You will then receive emails from BackerKit to inform you that your Steam keys are available. You will be able to click a link to go to BackerKit and collect your keys.
You are then free to redeem your key in Steam and hand out keys to the rest of your party if you backed at a level that got you multiple copies.
We will be available on email and discord to help with issues, so between us and BackerKit's support crew, we will make sure you all get your keys.
Note that this is only the start of the delivery of the Kickstarter rewards. We will tell you more about the custom dice, Kickstarter exclusive creatures, soundtrack and more as they are created and prepped for release :)
System requirements (or the lack thereof)
An omission here that I'm not too happy about is the system requirements. We don't have this data yet, so I can't share it. The only bits I can guarantee *for the Beta* is that you will need a 64bit Windows machine with a GPU that can handle at least shader model 5. https://www.lifewire.com/determine-directx-version-and-shader-model-812997
Requirements will change during the Beta as we optimize, so please be aware that the performance of the Beta on your machine is not necessarily indicative of where it will be by the Early Access. We'd love to hear about your experiences regarding this once you have the Beta, so do feel free to reach out to us!
How the Beta will progress
To begin with, the focus will be on fixing bugs as they come up. We will have set up a bug tracker for the Beta just like we did for the alpha, and together we can get TaleSpire up to snuff.
As soon as the initial issues subside, we will shift focus onto features. You will receive those as soon as they are finished, and so, if you want to, you will be able to be part of the process of iterating and polishing those for the Early Access.
Next stop, Early Access
The Early Access will be coming out later this year and is intended to be a polished core of the game. At this point, the game will be in a more player-friendly state, and our focus will shift to expanding it. This is when you will see the games feature set grow and also the start of the free asset pack releases.
During the Early Access, we will also start talking more about the stretch goals, and when you can expect them!
Other news from the week
During the last week, Ree put out an excellent dev stream showing off the new building system and talked about some of the challenges,
the art crew have been putting out more awesome content,
And these ones are just fun
That's all we have for today. Do please continue reaching out to us here, on discord, and elsewhere online. It's lovely to see how excited so many of you are for TaleSpire, and we are equally pumped to be getting close to having a beta in your hands.
 Whilst it's much more common now, especially in games, most stuff made still doesn't have a public beta.
 There is also a possibility to reduce the required shader model by changing some of the internals not to use compute shaders. However, one avenue we are looking into for improving performance is GPU occlusion culling, which itself makes use of compute shaders, so we aren't making any promises on lowering that requirement today.
 Shout-out to the alpha crew for being amazingly diligent at finding and reporting all the issues!
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming
26 days ago
– Wed, Jan 22, 2020 at 01:52:06 AM
Last week (and over the weekend), @Ree and I met up to work together on TaleSpire tasks that are easier in person.
It went really well, and I've been trying to ride that momentum, which has resulted in me not updating you as soon as I'd like. I'm still not quite ready to write the next update, so I wanted to pop in, say hi, and then run back to the code.
The next update will be on what is going to be in the beta and what you can expect. Ree will also be running a technical stream before the beta showing off the new building tools and talking about the design challenges there. So keep an eye out for that.
Finally, here are the dev logs from last week:
Cool, I think that's all that can't wait until the next posts :)
p.s. Check out this cracking shot of a new elf mini @Dwarf has been sculpting!