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The Ages of Ilathid | Jennifer

The Ages of Ilathid

Post Mortem of Alpha Testing

Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 14 April, 2012 20:03

So now that our first alpha test in way too many years is over--at least, for now--I think a post mortem review of the process would be helpful for anyone undertaking a similar project for their own Age/game level. 

First off, a huge thank you to everyone who joined in the test and provided feedback.  I was often impressed by the depth of your analyses, even if, yes, you couldn't solve the puzzle.  Fyi, only one person managed to solve the puzzle, and this was through luck.  (Okay, so there were those of you who hacked the game files to get the answer.  Wink  )  At any rate, we'll be fixing things to guide players towards the right answer in the next version.  

Also--if you applied as a tester but got stuck at some point in the process--i.e. you sent us an e-mail, but we never responded--then please send another e-mail to ilathid@gmail.com and we'll guide you through the rest of the steps.  We made a number of mistakes along the way, and though we tried to make sure that we got everyone, I don't feel 100% sure. 

Finally, if you played the game and haven't yet responded to the questionnaire (you can find the link in the same e-mail as the game download links), what are you waiting for?  The game isn't going to improve itself.  ;)

Okay, on to the post mortem review.  

When we started off the alpha testing process, we simply had a bunch of loose testing documents set up on Google docs with spreadsheets and letters.  Basically we just planned to e-mail links to whoever signed up.  But the number of people who joined the test (several dozens) combined with me moving house and losing internet connection for awhile made the manual approach fall flat on its face.  I tried sending mass e-mails, but it was difficult because everyone was at a different stage in the sign up process and I wasn't sure who had been taken care of yet; the done-by-hand lists took too much effort to maintain.  Paulo finally solved the problem by creating a bot that automatically flagged e-mails with the appropriate "Sign me up for alpha testing" title, then created links between the documents which shunted people through the sign up process automagically.  Muuuch better.  He can explain this process better than I can, so I'll let him go over it in another post.  :)

Another pitfall included the language barrier (I don't speak French, though fortunately several other Ilathidians do), which prevented several unfortunate people from getting prompt replies to their requests for help.  If anyone is interested, we are looking for a French translator; excellent spelling and grammar are a must. 

Then too, the download site we used for the game was not particularly "clean," leading at least one person to believe that they had to pay to get the game.  I recommend choosing a very simple, user friendly download site without any unnecessary content on the download page.  

Finally, this may seem obvious, but note in the alpha testing announcement what platform the game is currently running on.  Mac, Linux, Windows--it's kind of important, y'know?  ;)  

Okay, that's it for now.  On to the next bunch of fixes!


Alpha Testing Closed

Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 05 February, 2012 17:22

NOTE: ALPHA TESTING IS CURRENTLY CLOSED!  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE INCLUDED IN OUR NEXT TEST, SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER OR WATCH THIS SPACE FOR NEW TESTING OPPORTUNITIES.  :)

ALPHA TESTING CLOSED

 

 


1st Draft of Age Demo Finished

Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 17 December, 2011 19:58

Happy to announce that we've finished the demo for part of an Age.  :)  Still got a lot of work left to do on it, but it's pretty darned thrilling to walk around in.

We'll start setting things in motion to release it for testing once we've gotten our project management system straightened back out.  Redmine?  It finally bit the big one.  Too many errors, too hard to fix when it breaks.  Also, some of the official "upgrades" were actually Vista-style upgrades, if you get the drift.  So right now we're looking at OpenAtrium, which seems like it will be an improvement in any case.  

"Then the game designers grew proud of Redmine, and forgot their humble origins in the darkness of the ancient Ilathid forum.  And so a great catastrophe struck their project management system.  The survivors fled to a new home, OpenAtrium, where they could begin anew."  Story of our project!


Cautiously Optimistic

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 03 November, 2011 19:44

We're currently in the final stage of assembly for the new area--the slides are done, the animations are done, and the programming is estimated at 25% complete.  :)

Plans for the future are to focus on smaller bites at a time.  


Update on Upcoming Demo

Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 19 August, 2011 21:34

Back in April I mentioned we were trying to finish a new demo in a scorching 30 day blitz. The operational part of the post was the following:

Not that we finished it all on schedule (let's just throw back 
our heads and laugh at that silly idea)

At any rate, it's time for a progress update. We're done with the modeling, sounds, voice recordings, landscaping and a bit of the rendering. Which leaves the animations, the rest of the renderings, the coding for the navigation, some voice alteration, and the puzzle logic.

But--due to some problems one of our team members is having, we'll have to put this on hold for awhile (a month or so, I guess).

I thought I'd share some of the work done for the demo here. This animal is called the stinger snail. (Due to the import process from Blender to Bryce, the snail won't look this good in the demo, but in the final version it should look right.)

Stinger Snail


Pushing to get part of an Age into alpha testing

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 09 April, 2011 11:48

It's truly amazing to see what people can do when they come together. We've been scorching along on a 30 day blitz to get part of an Age into alpha testing.  Here's what we laid out for the first week of work:

Week 1 (March 24 - March 31)
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New Models, Timeline

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 03 February, 2011 10:39
  • Finally got the timeline into Timeglider.  I can't sing enough praises for this program; I appreciate it more each time I use it. 
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Progress Rolls On...

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 22 January, 2011 14:50
Lots of news this month:
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New Years Update

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 31 December, 2010 22:07

Did a New Years clean up of the forum today.  I turned all the unfinished tasks I found into "Issues" so they don't get forgotten about.  This happened often before we switched to Redmine.  As it is, a task may not get worked on for months, but it's still there on the to-do list, waiting to be finished. 

I also did some work on a model of a sea critter (Hooray for Blender's sculpt tool and multires!) and drew some statues that I still need to post on the board. 


Merry Christmas!

General, Jennifer — Posted by ilathid @ 30 December, 2010 10:43

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone! 

And so passes another busy year.  :)  For several months now we've been focusing on the Ages of Caliben and Veegtara.  Right now I'm pleased to say that puzzle design is 80% complete and concept art is about 50% finished.  Modeling is perhaps at 5%?  

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