The Release That Almost Wasn't But Now Is, After All

Hi folks! I had originally planned to do a lot of UI last week and do a devblog with some screenshots. However, finishing the gameplay for raiding settlements took longer than I expected. I have finished up implementing the raid itself, but I still have a few taks to finish around persistence and impacts from the raid outcomes. But that is not what we are going to talk about today. Today we are going to talk about 1.3.


Before we do that, a few notes about stuff:

(Or just click here to jump to the changelog)

  • I am relabeling everything from “Alpha” to “Pre-Alpha” - it’s all about expectations, right?
  • I am going to continue with 1.x - so next release is “Pre-Alpha 1.4” - and that matches up with the Current Milestone list of the Roadmap board
  • The next devblog will go over raid mechanics and whats left to get to 1.4

On to the main story…


The 1.2 build had only a few bugs but one of them was catastrophic - if you tried to view the details of a settlement the game crashed. Unknowing, I put 1.2 out there and moved on to begin work on the ill-fated 1.3 features.

When I learned of this bug I was knee deep in 1.3, so I fixed the code along the way and kept on going. (This is important soon) This was right around the time that I had begun to outrun the documented design for the game. For 1.3 I began implementing a very different player-character interaction system that I had not entirely thought through or considered - but it was really exciting! And somewhere in that new system was the fix for the killer bug in 1.2.

I think I was about a month in and there still wasn’t a end in sight for the new system. The 1.2 build had been broken this whole time (I had taken down the links) because I thought 1.3 would come soon and that would fix it. This was around the end of June, and I finally understood that I needed to stop what I was doing and figure out where I was going.

I was happy with the settlement/character basics in 1.x, but thought the interaction of moving characters on the map didn’t deliver what I wanted. I had tried to fix it quickly with an exciting idea, but the result was that I had a broken game for a month and no easy way to finish 1.3.

The problem with the 1.3 work was that it heavily impacted the core actions in the game so the game literally didn’t work. But I did not know how I would need to fix those actions, and I did not want to fix them once and then redo them again later anyway.


The lesson of the story is to strive to keep the game shippable and to focus on an iterative process.

  • Ship smaller updates to allow for more focused feedback
  • Design things simply at first, focusing on the major touch-points and interactions
  • Iterate on the design of the working model
  • Isolate new development properly to allow flexible branching

Late last week I got the courage to look at the source control repository and see what it would take to release a working 1.3 - it turned out it wasn’t so bad, and it was a nice change to work on something I could release soon.

So, without further ado, I am glad to present to you Fealty Pre-Alpha 1.3!


Pre-Alpha 1.3 contains some UI changes, but is mostly bug fixes and small improvements.

Changelog

Changes

  • Removed Portrait support on mobile devices
  • AI command selection and throttling - it’s a little duanting to see all the enemy characters advance at once
  • Automated player log-in because it was an unnecessary hassle
  • Improvements to the way characters move on the map
  • A host of underlying simulation changes that you won’t notice, but are super good

Fixes

  • Fixed UI related crashes
  • Fixed window positions for some panels that were off-screen

See you next time, when we will take about the raid mechanics - I promise!

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