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a multiplayer game of parenting and civilization building

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#1 2017-02-17 22:54:13

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Early alpha testing coming

Friends and family testing has been going well.  We're right on the verge of being ready for some early, small-scale public alpha testing.  The game is in a pretty stable state with a comprehensive batch of starter content (from rocks all the way to forging steel---each game system has an example piece of content in place).

The art collective where we have office space is losing its lease, so we're in the middle of an upheaval as we prepare to move to a new office.  As soon as we're settled there, we'll be working on another few weeks of solid content creation.  At that point, we'll be contacting our early alpha testers and delivering builds to people.

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#2 2017-02-18 00:19:10

a_fiendish_thingy
Member
Registered: 2017-02-18
Posts: 3

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Looking forward to having this game out in the wild! I am super interesting in learning more about it; I've been curious since I saw that announcement trailer a while ago.

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#3 2017-02-18 05:13:55

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Well, if you have any questions for me, fire away.

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#4 2017-02-18 08:55:18

Claspa
Member
Registered: 2017-02-18
Posts: 2

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Another interesting game on the horizont! As with CM I am happy to help with prerelease testing.

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#5 2017-02-18 20:29:22

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Claspa, not sure if you are on my testers email list (been maintaining it since Sleep Is Death).  If not, please email me, and I'll add you.

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#6 2017-02-18 22:58:41

Claspa
Member
Registered: 2017-02-18
Posts: 2

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Let me fire some questions:

1. If many people want to enter the game, do they have to wait for an open time slot (once another player's character is able to have offspring?)?
2. Will there be some kind of hunger clock?
3. Will the game reset (back to the stone age) after a certain ingame goal is reached?

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#7 2017-02-19 10:40:20

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

1.
In the ideal case, every player who joins the game joins as a baby.  On the other hand, we NEVER make a player wait to join the game.  Everyone should join instantaneously.

Here's how I balance these two factors:

Every female character in the game who is of fertile age can have at most two young babies at any one time.  If a given female has two living young babies, the next baby born will go to some other female.

In the rare case that EVERY female has two living young babies, the next player to join will spawn as a new Eve character, elsewhere on the map.  Eve is zapped into existence fully grown up and fertile.

Thus, if there's a sudden surge of new players, there could be a bunch of Eve's spawned to cope with the surge.

But each Eve can have 2 babies, so even during a surge, 2/3 of the surge players will be babies, and only 1/3 of them will be Eve's.


2.
Everyone is hungry all the time.  There's a bar on the screen that shows your stomach and how full it is.  Babies and elderly people have very small stomachs, meaning they need to eat more frequently to survive.  As you grow up, your stomach gets bigger, allowing you to go on longer journeys without risk of dying from hunger along the way.  Toward the end of life, your stomach shrinks back down again.


3.
I've thought about this, but I'm not sure.  One idea is that way high in the tech tree is "the button," a doomsday machine that will reset the world.  People in the game can then fight over whether or not to create or use the button.

Of course, during testing, the world may need to reset from time to time, but so far, we haven't reset it.  The goal is to never reset it for development reasons if it can be avoided.

We may find that the game is more interesting with some kind of regular reset schedule (for example, once a week or month).  The game is VERY different at the beginning of civilization than it is at the end.

However, players looking for a "simple" life can always wander away from the center of civilization into the wilderness.  There are no fixed "ages" in the game, and different tech levels can exists simultaneously in different pockets of the map, just like real life.

And the map has plenty of room for this.  It's larger than 30,000 times the surface area of planet Earth and would take more than 34 continuous, real-world years to walk from one edge to the other.

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#8 2017-02-19 10:42:55

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Oh, and the rate that you consume food depends on how hot or cold you are.  If you dress warmly and stay near a fire, you consume food much more slowly.

If you put clothes on your baby and keep them warm, they will need to be fed much less often too.

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#9 2017-02-20 05:26:02

a_fiendish_thingy
Member
Registered: 2017-02-18
Posts: 3

Re: Early alpha testing coming

I have a couple questions about the game for you, if you don't mind.

Based on the title of the game, I am assuming the lifespan of a player is going to be around one hour. If this is the case, how much of that time is going to be spent as a baby or elder? How is the game going to remain interesting during those times? I know the core of the game is the survival/crafting/civilization elements; but what is there to do while you are in the baby stage? And (as morbid as this is going to sound...) what incentive is there for a mother to take care of her baby?

Thanks Jason! And I'm looking forward to learning more about the game!

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#10 2017-02-20 07:04:29

molikto
Member
Registered: 2017-02-20
Posts: 1

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Big fan of your games! can I be a alpha tester?

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#11 2017-02-20 07:15:21

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Each year passes in one minute.

When you're a baby, you really depend on your parents for survival.

Each object in the game has an age that you have to be before you can pick it up.  Newborn babies can't pick up much, but as you get older, you can start helping out more.  By around age 4 or 5 (4-5 minutes), you can feed yourself.  There will be some thing toddlers (age 2-3) will be able to pick up, so the parents can give them some stuff to do (husking corn, planting seeds, etc.)  Maybe also some baby toys, eventually.

But newborn babies can't pick up a weapon or ride away on your horse.

What's interesting about being a baby is the situation you find yourself born into, and communicating with your parents about your survival needs.  If you have bad parents, your life will be short.


When you get old, you still can DO everything, but your stomach shrinks.  You don't need someone to feed you, but it might help if someone brought a bunch of food to you.  This stage of life is interesting as you watch your children around you as adults now, and see your grandchildren being born.  You may want to "tidy up" whatever project you were working on in your life, and pass it on to your heirs, because after you die, you'll likely never see it or them again (you'll be reborn somewhere else in the world).

When you're old, you can SPEAK the longest thoughts.  Each year gives you one extra letter per chat message.  At age 60, you can chat 60 letters at a time.  So, you can also guide your family.


There is NO built-in incentive for taking care of your baby.

However, you only get old enough to HAVE a baby if someone else took care of you when you were a baby (just like real life!).  Remember those kind parents who sacrificed so much to keep you alive?

Also, since you only live one hour, what you are working on in your lifetime only has meaning in terms of how it will benefit future generations.  Your baby IS that future.  If you never have a baby survive until adulthood, you are living in isolation and cutting yourself off from the greater story and meaning that is possible in the game.

Obviously, you can chose to live this way and play alone.

But I think most people will take care of babies.

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#12 2017-02-20 15:27:59

a_fiendish_thingy
Member
Registered: 2017-02-18
Posts: 3

Re: Early alpha testing coming

jasonrohrer wrote:

You may want to "tidy up" whatever project you were working on in your life, and pass it on to your heirs, because after you die, you'll likely never see it or them again (you'll be reborn somewhere else in the world).

Oooh! I am getting some Chain World vibes from that statement (I wonder what ever happened to Chain World.....).

It sounds crazy interesting, and my mind is racing with all the possibilities that could bring with it (warring tribes where no one remembers or knows what initially started the war, different parts of the world being at vastly different parts of the tech tree, and even the possibilities that the aforementioned "Button" could bring with it.)

Thank you for all the answers!! It sounds like something that could be up my alley.

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#13 2017-02-20 21:25:43

Vescator
Member
Registered: 2017-02-20
Posts: 8

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Woow the trailer look cool. I would love to play this game. You were talking about alpha testing this game. I would like to help alpha testing this game. What are the requirements for alpha testing?

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#14 2017-02-21 18:16:48

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Well, I need people with a variety of different computers.  I need some Mac testers, some people with different Window computers, different graphics cards, etc.

I also need people who are willing to chase down bugs and glitches and find ways to reproduce them.

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#15 2017-02-25 17:13:54

mastaprzemo
Member
Registered: 2017-02-25
Posts: 3

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Cant wait to test this game !! big_smile

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#16 2017-02-28 08:33:11

Dan_Dan84
Member
Registered: 2017-02-28
Posts: 2

Re: Early alpha testing coming

jasonrohrer wrote:

When you're old, you can SPEAK the longest thoughts.  Each year gives you one extra letter per chat message.  At age 60, you can chat 60 letters at a time.  So, you can also guide your family.

Hmm, so I guess English (or at least shortened, baby/childlike, and direct, to-the-point, no-wasted-letter utterances) will be the lingua franca. And will there be a limit on the number of chat messages one can send per minute? Anyway, that's a very creative way of demonstrating the influence elders have (had?) in a society.

Anyway, glad to see the updates. Interested in seeing what form the game will take!

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#17 2017-02-28 22:10:33

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Well, it doesn't have to be English.  But it does have to use the 26-letter western alphabet.

I toyed with the idea of making up a new alphabet, so part of the game would be players forging a new language from scratch.  But I figured that the game will be hard enough without adding language creation to the list of burdens.

There's currently a limit of 1 message per second per person server-side, and that's there to prevent automated spamming of messages in a way that would overload the server.

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#18 2017-03-06 09:45:21

Lozerface79
Member
Registered: 2017-03-06
Posts: 1

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Hey jason, im really excited for this game and would love to help alpha test it. How would i go about getting on that list?

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#19 2017-03-06 09:55:20

Dan_Dan84
Member
Registered: 2017-02-28
Posts: 2

Re: Early alpha testing coming

jasonrohrer wrote:

Well, it doesn't have to be English.  But it does have to use the 26-letter western alphabet.

Well, perhaps not necessarily English, but I'm sure that's what it'll default to. Anyway, I just noticed that because, if I'm not mistaken, this will be your first multiplayer online game where there will be an official channel for players to directly communicate with each other in-game through language/chat. I just thought that was an interesting development.

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#20 2017-03-08 07:15:54

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

If you're interested in helping to alpha test, please email me:  jasonrohrer AT fastmail DOT fm

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#21 2017-03-19 13:47:47

mastaprzemo
Member
Registered: 2017-02-25
Posts: 3

Re: Early alpha testing coming

any news Jason on when alpha tests will begin ?

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#22 2017-03-21 05:48:34

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Well, there's been a major road bump.  The artist and I have parted ways, so I'm starting over content-wise (but not programming-wise).  Should be back on track in a month or two.

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#23 2017-03-27 07:18:13

BleachFlavor
Member
Registered: 2017-03-27
Posts: 1

Re: Early alpha testing coming

I'm quite sorry about you and your artist, I was quite loving the art style I saw in the trailers. Regardless, I jumped the first time I heard of this game. I've been thinking about a game with similar characteristics as to this, and the concept is quite thought-provoking! Might I inquire as to if I too could become an Early Access tester? That is of course, when the content has been completed.

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#24 2017-03-27 17:34:32

jasonrohrer
Administrator
Registered: 2017-02-13
Posts: 40

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Well, the entire rapid content editing system is based on scanning pen and ink drawings from paper, so in general, the end result will look somewhat similar (drawn and colored on paper---watercolor backgrounds, and such).  It will just be drawn by a different hand going forward (mine).

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#25 2017-03-29 22:14:56

..
Member
Registered: 2017-03-29
Posts: 1

Re: Early alpha testing coming

Eek, drawing everything yourself AND starting over sounds like it'll slow things down a lot.

Hi everyone, nice to see some familiar faces from CM and TCD (my username on the TCD forums is voxel).

Jason, be warned that you're still having problems with email: the registration email from these forums was marked by gmail as spam, with the message "Why is this message in Spam? We've found that lots of messages from northcountrynotes.org are spam". I see the server has a neighbouring ip address to the CM/TCD server. Sending email from rented hosts is a huge pain, you can read all about that misery elsewhere.

Relatedly, when I tried to subscribe for annoucement emails, I kept getting the message "You did that way faster than a human would." I guess that means that my attempt was blocked? I'm not sure what I've done wrong, what are you timing?

Last edited by .. (2017-03-29 22:16:56)

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