The Beta is coming. Here is what to expect.
4 months 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
5 months 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!
Fashioning the Spire
5 months ago
– Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 02:27:11 AM
Hi there everyone,
I just looked at the clock and realized that I've nearly run out of Sunday, so I best get writing.
This week we have kept hammering away on the Beta. We've posted about some of this in the dev-logs:
The first one is especially interesting as it includes work on the miniatures. Ree has somehow found time between business work and coding to make creatures too! Here is a sped-up stream of the sculpting of Flint, one of the Kickstarter exclusive heroes!
Behind the scenes, we have been making base models for a variety of weapons. Just like with the base creature meshes, these give us a great place to start sculpting when producing new assets.
The pre-orders have been going well. We've seen well over 500 so far, which is fair considering it has had no push in the wider world yet. It almost certainly is just folks from our small community who missed the original Kickstarter campaign. We'll likely be doing more with the pre-orders in time, and we'll talk more about that then.
And that, for today, is that!
Thanks for stopping by. More TaleSpire goodness coming up soon.
Pre-order, Beta, and Early Access News!
5 months ago
– Tue, Jan 07, 2020 at 09:11:21 PM
TLDR: The news in 4 points
1. We are opening up TaleSpire for pre-order (which also gives you access to the February Beta)
2. We are pushing back the Early Access date but using point 1 to make sure that folks who missed the Kickstarter can get in sooner than initially planned
3. If you missed the Kickstarter or simply want to secure more copies you can do this now
4. We will be delivering rewards via BackerKit
Hi all! We've had an intense four months building the TaleSpire Beta, and with less than two months left it's time for some news.
We have teamed up with BackerKit to help us deliver the backer rewards when the time comes. This means that you'll be receiving an email from BackerKit in the coming weeks. For those of you who are familiar with crowdfunding, you may have seen this service before. For those unfamiliar with BackerKit, please read the FAQ down below.
Pre-orders (the whys and the hows)
Even though the Kickstarter was backed by way more people than we expected, we have still received tonnes of messages from people who missed the original campaign and wanted to get into the Beta. Although it was not part of the original plan, we have decided to use BackerKit's pre-order system to make this happen.
This means that:
- For those who have already backed: This is a way to get additional copies
- For those who missed the original campaign: This lets you (and your party if you like) secure copies of TaleSpire while also getting into the Beta. This means you will have access in late February rather than waiting for the Early Access that we initially scheduled for April.
You will notice that we are only providing an option to get copies of the base game (which means additional copies if you have already backed); none of the Kickstarter rewards are available. This is deliberate, and the reason is that during the campaign, we stated that those were Kickstarter exclusive rewards. To us, it felt wrong to go back on that promise.
Hold up, what's that about the Early Access?
Our roadmap to Early Access was a bit too ambitious and so, to make sure we give you something we are happy with, we are delaying the Early Access to later in 2020. 'Later in 2020' is vague but (mercifully) is not marketing speak for 'Next Christmas' - instead, it means that we know we need more time, but we don't want to mislead by trying to guess how many months. We'll get back to you with concrete dates as soon as we can.
A few of the features that will be waiting until the early access are modding support, foam blocks and official community content sites.
This means that:
- For those who have already backed: Not too many changes, as you were already getting access to the Beta in late February. We are just going to take a bit longer to get you the features scheduled for the early access.
- For those who missed the original campaign: You can now either choose to use the links above to get into the game sooner than previously planned or you can continue to wait for the early access. We'll be sure to shout that loud when it happens :)
More Questions? Check out this FAQ
Note: If you don't see an answer to your question here, please reach out to us on Kickstarter, Discord or email us at email@example.com
What is this BackerKit thing, and why do I have to use it?
It is a service which, amongst other things, helps deliver Kickstarter rewards and manage pre-orders.
We are using their services so that we can keep focused on making the game and on making sure that the rewards are reliably delivered.
Is the Beta the full game? What should I expect?
No, many features will be missing in the Beta, and there will be bugs. Betas offer an opportunity for the curious to get access earlier and to potentially help out finding bugs and shaping the game through their feedback.
Everyone who backed in the original Kickstarter campaign or who pre-orders now will automatically get access to the Early Access and full game when they release.
Are you trying to get extra funding? Should we be worried?
No, and hopefully, no! The Kickstarter was a massive success, and we are in a great place because of it. Our burn rate has been as expected, and we can comfortably deliver the game with what we have.
Opening up pre-orders is a response to the many emails we received asking for us to do something like this.
It’s been a few days and I didn't get my BackerKit email invite. What do I do?
The easiest thing to do is to go here: https://talespire.backerkit.com , enter your Kickstarter email address and click on the "Get My Survey" button. You will be sent a new email with a link to your account.
I've used BackerKit before, but I forgot my BackerKit password. How do I get it?
Go here: https://talespire.backerkit.com, follow the 'Log in to your Backer Account »' link, click on the "Forgot your password?" link, and follow the instructions.
I've used BackerKit before, and I want to sign back into https://talespire.backerkit.com , but I don't remember the email I used for my account. How do I get it?
It should be your Kickstarter account email. If that doesn't work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will help you.
I have a question about BackerKit that isn't covered here. What do I do?
Head over to https://www.backerkit.com/faq_backer, or email the team directly at email@example.com. They're happy to help!
During the Kickstarter, I backed at the 'Custom Party' level, but this looks cheaper. What gives?
The 'Custom Party' tier from the Kickstarter included a bunch of Kickstarter exclusive rewards. This new wave is priced the same as each additional copy from the 'Custom Party' tier.
We had a lot of discussion about this internally as we knew this could be a bit of a bummer for some of you out there. We couldn't think of another way to help the folks that came late while also keeping the Kickstarter rewards exclusive, other than just not doing a pre-order, which also seemed like a big shame. As mentioned above, this was not part of the original plan, and so we didn't factor this possibility into the original rewards lineup.
We hope this is ok with you, but if not, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on our Discord.
How long will pre-orders stay open?
Until the Beta starts.
Is the Beta still on track?
Yes. It's going to be an incredibly intense month-and-a-bit but we are still expecting to have the Beta out by the end of February.
Not today, other than once again, to say thank you for all your help in making TaleSpire happen!
We'll be back with regular updates over the next few days.
Click here to visit the pre-order page
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Let's get building!
5 months ago
– Fri, Jan 03, 2020 at 12:12:21 AM
Hello everyone, we've been very quiet over the holiday season (and most of December too), and upon seeing how great so many game teams have been at sending wishes and good cheer, we originally were thinking of starting this update with an apology. However, the rest has been so nice and so needed that instead we simply want to say "Thank You". These next few months are going to be intense, so being able to catch up on sleep, spend some quality time with the family, and generally make merry has been a real blessing.
That said, it is time to gear up and set sights squarely on the beta. Let's get started!
I've been offline but took a laptop loaded up with the TaleSpire server code with me to the UK and so I've been doing a bunch of reading, re-familiarization, and preliminary work on the server update. I'll make a little dev log on that in a couple of hours.
@Ree has been working on the game itself and has a bunch of developments to the building tools that are super exciting. His blog post on this has been growing to cover all this stuff, so keep an eye out for that!
Jason has carried on working on the backer-designed minis. We would like to show them off as more of a unit so no gifs today but it's still been exciting to see theses behind the scenes (another perk of the job :p)
And finally, we have heard the calls from many of you who didn't find the game until after the Kickstarter ended. We also have heard the calls of those who had extra members they wanted to add to the party. Keep your eyes peeled on the 7th of January as we will have some news just for you.
Until then (and once again), Happy New Year from the whole TaleSpire team,
It's going to be a great one!
 I was also carrying this which helped make extra sure that I couldn't over-work!