Darkfall: Developer Journals
Darkfall Developer Journal #12: Progress Update!

Julianne Capps | 2 Aug 2007 18:55
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We were surprised and delighted all in one to receive a journal from Tasos this week. The guys at Aventurine have been busy with their heads down, working, but Tasos popped up long enough to give us at WarCry an update.

Testing, bug fixing, and adding content are the order of the day. The worldbuilders have been improving areas of the world we created a long time ago before we had the wealth of worldbuilding assets that we have today. We're also adding more tools to make the testing process smoother.

Darkfall Developer Journal #12: Progress Update!
Written by Tasos Flambouras (Ass. Producer, Darkfall)

I know I said there wouldn't be a journal until the end of August, but some time was found and here it is:

The last update of a video of the Aerdin mount was very well received by the general audience. We had however hoped for a more positive reaction by the official community, especially after having given a full status update in the previous journal and this being only the 4th official video ever released. The original thought for the update were screenshots due to time constraints, but I recalled posts in the community wondering why we can't just release a short video instead of posting screens. The reason is that a video has a lot more production concerns that take some time, but we thought we'd try it this time and see how it goes over. Other than showing the mount, and giving you a feel of what it's like to be riding, it's the first time we've shown that dynamic shadows are operational in-game, so we believe the video is a significant update.

For future reference, please understand that our "pleasing updates" capability during debug testing of the game isn't optimal. You should also know that we'll be releasing a lot more updates which are meant for a general audience, with general information and media on the game because we're getting a lot of requests and also because frankly the response makes us want to. It's also very refreshing to be able to talk about the big picture and the essence of the game, rather than constantly having to break it down to its mechanics and talking about things that players should discover in the game itself. For more specialized information we'll try this once more, and see how it's received: Picking questions from the forum that we can answer, and answering them.

There's a lot of activity but there's not that much we can say on progress since the last full status update. Some issues reported that we were struggling with have been addressed and fixed. Testing is a relentless grinding process and we're on this big quality assurance initiative. We still haven't found a QA manager we're happy with yet so we're all happily sharing this added responsibility until we do. Testing, bug fixing, and adding content are the order of the day. The worldbuilders have been improving areas of the world we created a long time ago before we had the wealth of worldbuilding assets that we have today. We're also adding more tools to make the testing process smoother.

Since I suspect that a lot of people have skimmed to this point looking for public beta information, I have to say again that we don't have a date yet. If anything is holding back the public beta testing at the moment it's important practical issues. One big internal debate for example is whether we publish this game ourselves or if we agree to work with one of several publishers, or accept a number of compromises between the two, based on business model, territory and a number of other factors that need to be carefully weighed. We're prepared for any eventuality, and we do have several options but the final decision is critical. In the end we'll be doing what's best for the game, and ultimately for the players. We want to settle this before we move to a beta, and preferably do that as soon as possible, but we're still considering several options. Agreements, negotiations, discussions etc. go at their own speed, and they cannot be rushed.

In the meanwhile, development is continuing hardcore so we haven't been wasting our time. Another issue to consider, which we've talked about before, is the timing for the beta testing; things like costs in time, equipment, and support personnel need to be carefully considered in order for the test to be successful and useful.

We understand that it may be frustrating for those waiting to play the game to not be given an indication on when, but since there are still several factors affecting this, some of which are external to us, we would rather not make a guess. In any case, there will be an official announcement on any development. Technically we're ready for a beta test today, and every day that goes by, we get more ready.

Something I've failed to mention: We still have the clan beta application up, but we have not been able to process applications or requests for a while. I'm sorry about this, and I'd like everyone to know who have been sending in applications and requests, that we'll get to them as soon as possible. There is also a single player beta application available which will be made live shortly before the public beta is to begin.

In other news, there was an interesting debate on brokentoys.org Scott Jennings' AKA "Lum the Mad's" weblog based on an editorial on DF Warcry. Something in the comments set me off, and I actually posted a short comment that was prompted by the general attitude against and the treatment of what is referred to as "hardcore players" as outcasts by most games, and game designers.

There was also a Darkfall interview on a large Japanese gaming site.

It's meant for a general audience but the questions were interesting enough that I've asked for permission from the site to publish the interview in English in another update. One of the questions in the interview (what is a next generation MMORPG?) was pretty much answered by our official community.

Barring any announcement, the August 16th scheduled Warcry journal won't be happening but we'll resume with updates right after that.

Thanks for reading,
Tasos Flambouras.

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