The Unnamed Game remains transparent through its first design hurdles.
TUG, or The Unnamed Game, is an attempt at something that could be considered noble in video game development. Can a video game be created while players are engaged with it from the beginning of its design process? Also, can social science offer a means through which to help answer some of the problems that have been at the forefront of game criticism for the past decade? This Kickstarted game has begun to work its way to trying to answer these questions and has so far maintained a transparency that some game companies (and most gamers) would perhaps want to avoid altogether. Through distribution problems and early alpha responses, TUG makers, Nerd Kingdom, have unleashed an early access product that some testers have been criticizing. It will be interesting to see how this transparent, crowd-influenced design process will take shape once the initial furor settles down.
So far, alpha access has been something of a nightmare for Nerd Kingdom. On July 12, Nerd Kingdom announced that they would be releasing their alpha kit on July 15, 2013 (or that following Monday). However, when July 15 rolled around, Nerd Kingdom posted on their front page that because of a myriad of problems with their delivery system, they couldn't roll out the Alpha. Additionally, they asked backers how they felt about releasing their alpha product to everyone instead of just alpha backers (the alpha folks did not like this idea one bit).
On Tuesday, July 16th, Nerd Kingdom finally announced that their distribution system was beginning to work and that they would rolling things out. However, they ran into another snag with their distribution system thanks to the third party they were using to distribute their game. At the current time, people are beginning to get access to TUG, but it is at a slower rate than anticipated.
Early impressions of TUG are pretty close to what you would expect from any alpha test. The game is buggy and has tons of issues, but the architecture of the title is certainly there and it seems like there is a solid foundation that Nerd Kingdom will building on.
In my opinion, Nerd Kingdom should receive a few kudos for sticking to their design transparency. Problems like this, because they aren't related directly to the design of the game but the distribution of the game, can tarnish reputations quickly. However, they have given no signs of backing down or hiding their problems, so I am hoping that this will end up being more of a benefit to Nerd Kingdom rather than a hindrance or "bad press."
See below for a brief video of the alpha environment in TUG. I was impressed with the ambiance of the world even at this stage. It feels melodic and calming. Nighttime is downright spooky. Once they start adding creatures and features, it will be interesting to see what happens.
Source: TUG Kickstarter