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So, Kickstarters is a relatively new thing, and of course PE has done that. But another relatively new thing for games is Pre-Release access. Take for example, Kerbal Space Program. You can buy the game, now, and you get access to what is essentially an alpha now. The "campaign" isn't even playable yet, the parts (it's a rocket building simulator) aren't all in place, the game code isn't finished.

 

And yet a larger portion of its publicity is coming from the fact that you can buy and play the game right away. I don't see why Project Eternity couldn't do something fairly similar. An initial proposal would be something along the lines of:

 

Move up "early beta access" backers to an alpha build being available too them. Not feature complete, very early, probably not something you might even have fun playing all the time (lots of bugs occur during this phase, things you should be able to do but can't cause they aren't in yet, etc.) Obsidian gets early feedback on how things are going, backers get their early access, and...

 

At a later stage, say a couple months before the game is done, but is in a fairly playable state, everyone gets access. Keeping in mind that the game ISN'T done, and is advertised heavily as such, why not? It's worked for Minecraft, and Kerbal, and a growing number of games. It means more money for development before the game is done, more publicity, and early access for everyone!

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So, Kickstarters is a relatively new thing, and of course PE has done that. But another relatively new thing for games is Pre-Release access. Take for example, Kerbal Space Program. You can buy the game, now, and you get access to what is essentially an alpha now. The "campaign" isn't even playable yet, the parts (it's a rocket building simulator) aren't all in place, the game code isn't finished.

 

And yet a larger portion of its publicity is coming from the fact that you can buy and play the game right away. I don't see why Project Eternity couldn't do something fairly similar. An initial proposal would be something along the lines of:

 

Move up "early beta access" backers to an alpha build being available too them. Not feature complete, very early, probably not something you might even have fun playing all the time (lots of bugs occur during this phase, things you should be able to do but can't cause they aren't in yet, etc.) Obsidian gets early feedback on how things are going, backers get their early access, and...

 

At a later stage, say a couple months before the game is done, but is in a fairly playable state, everyone gets access. Keeping in mind that the game ISN'T done, and is advertised heavily as such, why not? It's worked for Minecraft, and Kerbal, and a growing number of games. It means more money for development before the game is done, more publicity, and early access for everyone!

 

KSP's appeal has nothing to do with the "Pre-Release" state and more to do with the fact that the rocket simulator is just THAT fun, in its sandboxy way.

 

It's also a totally different kind of game.

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Ehhh... I'm iffy about this. BUT, I will say that, with the alpha/beta testing/access aspect of this whole backer thing, I definitely think they should present very specific test builds that are in no way just sections chopped straight out of the complete game.

 

What I mean is, I'd love to test combat mechanics by just running around in an arena, fighting different things, using different shrubs and obstacles as cover (if a cover system affects your detection chance, etc.), and testing movement and damage values and abilities and stuff like that. I'd do that ALL DAY LONG!

 

BUT, I have hardly any interest at all in playtesting each 10th of the actual, finished, coherent-storyline of a game, 50 times. By the time the game comes out, I'd be like "Psshhh... I already played all that. I even tested EVERY SINGLE outcome of EVERY SINGLE character build in EVERY SINGLE situation in the whole game. I don't really want to play it, now that it's finished."

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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So, Kickstarters is a relatively new thing, and of course PE has done that. But another relatively new thing for games is Pre-Release access. Take for example, Kerbal Space Program. You can buy the game, now, and you get access to what is essentially an alpha now. The "campaign" isn't even playable yet, the parts (it's a rocket building simulator) aren't all in place, the game code isn't finished.

 

And yet a larger portion of its publicity is coming from the fact that you can buy and play the game right away. I don't see why Project Eternity couldn't do something fairly similar. An initial proposal would be something along the lines of:

 

Move up "early beta access" backers to an alpha build being available too them. Not feature complete, very early, probably not something you might even have fun playing all the time (lots of bugs occur during this phase, things you should be able to do but can't cause they aren't in yet, etc.) Obsidian gets early feedback on how things are going, backers get their early access, and...

 

At a later stage, say a couple months before the game is done, but is in a fairly playable state, everyone gets access. Keeping in mind that the game ISN'T done, and is advertised heavily as such, why not? It's worked for Minecraft, and Kerbal, and a growing number of games. It means more money for development before the game is done, more publicity, and early access for everyone!

 

KSP's appeal has nothing to do with the "Pre-Release" state and more to do with the fact that the rocket simulator is just THAT fun, in its sandboxy way.

 

It's also a totally different kind of game.

 

 

Uhm, it was one example of a growing pool of "pre-release access" games. I said nothing about why Kerbal was fun, I was just pointing out that this was successful for them, and could be for project Eternity.

 

Also, Lephys WHY would you be iffy? I mean, there are reasons I can imagine why. But what are they exactly?

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It works for some games. For a complicated RPG, I don't think so, given the way these games are built and given the way they work. Mount & Blade is the most RPGy example that used this method successfully, but it was still a very different affair. It's also adding on a second layer of pay-first get-(finished game)-later after Kickstarter. 

 

I like the model but I think there are games it works for and games it doesn't.

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Also, Lephys WHY would you be iffy? I mean, there are reasons I can imagine why. But what are they exactly?

Agh, I was kinda thinking out loud there, and I didn't really elaborate much at all, heh. Sorry about that.

 

When I said I was iffy, all I meant was that I'm not sure a playable build would really function properly for something like P:E, until they get a little farther along. I guess I was only iffy on the timeframe. As in, I kinda felt like saying "It's probably gonna be a while," but then I stopped myself with "Well, you never know how early of a build could benefit from testing."

 

That's when I thought of my "Make sure you just give us test scenarios, rather than test-actual-segments-of-the-game" point to emphasize.

 

So, yeah, I don't know that it could quite be what an alpha-release could be, but I really don't see a reason why they COULDN'T provide quite early alpha builds and allow testing, for the things I made example of above (purely mechanical aspects of the game).


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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What about a volunteer mid/late-alpha-early-early-beta-QA-community-thingy? 

Kinda like this forum but more in-depth & more physical.

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They will not release an alpha of this game, I'm sure as much as people would love to play it it would probably attract nothing but negative reactivity and story spoilers.

 

Playable beta is fine, which we can probably expect early 2014 I suppose.

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I know there's doubt, but I've tried playing Path of Exile, an action RPG under active development. Huge chapters have been added, new gameplay mechanics, etc. And yet, its worked. Its "play before it's done!" model has done well, and that's a game much closer to PE than Kerbal or Minecraft.

 

Sure, it's not a perfect fit. But I'm not suggesting there be another "pay" scale at all. Just, if it's possible to just let people play a few months before the game is actually done. Maybe it's not. Maybe the entire game really would have to be too close to being "complete" to actually make such a thing work for its intended purpose. But then again, maybe there is some way to make it work.

Edited by Frenetic Pony

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They will not release an alpha of this game, I'm sure as much as people would love to play it it would probably attract nothing but negative reactivity and story spoilers.

 

Playable beta is fine, which we can probably expect early 2014 I suppose.

I'm recalling some developer saying something like (something I read here/a link/someone referenced it) "The sooner I can get my Players into the game the better". Bugfixing, direction, feedback, suggestion etc. etc. All I'm saying is "As soon as it's beneficial for Obsidian to give access" that's when I think they should give access. It's not about "I got into the game derp!" it's about "Let's help make the best game evah derp!".

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And I'm recalling other developers (ie. Aterdux Entertainment) getting a lot of negative publicity for releasing an alpha of their game earlier than they probably should have. Sure it helped them do a bunch of bug fixing and whatnot but it got them a lot of negative publicity and they still haven't been greenlit for Steam yet.

 

Not that Obsidian will have that problem, but there's also my point about spoilers.

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I know there's doubt, but I've tried playing Path of Exile, an action RPG under active development. Huge chapters have been added, new gameplay mechanics, etc. And yet, its worked. Its "play before it's done!" model has done well, and that's a game much closer to PE than Kerbal or Minecraft.

 

Sure, it's not a perfect fit. But I'm not suggesting there be another "pay" scale at all. Just, if it's possible to just let people play a few months before the game is actually done. Maybe it's not. Maybe the entire game really would have to be too close to being "complete" to actually make such a thing work for its intended purpose. But then again, maybe there is some way to make it work.

This is ridiculous. PoE is a Diablo clone. The "alpha" build of Path of Exile was more of a real beta and the current "beta" is a release game that they are labeling as "beta" because the "Oooooooo, I get to play before it 'releases!'" mentality kicks in and attracts people. In other words, you're describing spending time to use it as a marketing gimmick. Project Eternity was funded at more than triple what they were expecting -- it is not in the same kind of situation as a Free-to-Play game. I know I would find it incredibly dishonest if they took this suggestion. You, obviously, wouldn't care about that, but I doubt I am alone in this.

 

Yes, PoE is another "specific example" for you. But if you're going to bring specific examples to explain what you mean, you should not be complaining about people pointing out counter-points to your example to explain what they mean either.

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Not that Obsidian will have that problem, but there's also my point about spoilers.

Yeah. I think there's definitely a way to do it without spoilers, at the cost of having to rely on in-house testing for the story-specific content (making sure this quest works right, etc.)

 

But, they could test almost all non-specific mechanics and such, and even set up dummy quests to test quest completion triggers and the technical aspects of their quest structuring, without giving anything away.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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So, Kickstarters is a relatively new thing, and of course PE has done that. But another relatively new thing for games is Pre-Release access. Take for example, Kerbal Space Program. You can buy the game, now, and you get access to what is essentially an alpha now. The "campaign" isn't even playable yet, the parts (it's a rocket building simulator) aren't all in place, the game code isn't finished.

 

And yet a larger portion of its publicity is coming from the fact that you can buy and play the game right away. I don't see why Project Eternity couldn't do something fairly similar. An initial proposal would be something along the lines of:

 

Move up "early beta access" backers to an alpha build being available too them. Not feature complete, very early, probably not something you might even have fun playing all the time (lots of bugs occur during this phase, things you should be able to do but can't cause they aren't in yet, etc.) Obsidian gets early feedback on how things are going, backers get their early access, and...

 

At a later stage, say a couple months before the game is done, but is in a fairly playable state, everyone gets access. Keeping in mind that the game ISN'T done, and is advertised heavily as such, why not? It's worked for Minecraft, and Kerbal, and a growing number of games. It means more money for development before the game is done, more publicity, and early access for everyone!

It's not a sandbox or online PVP multiplayer game, it's a single player, story-heavy RPG. You're practically begging them to ruin the game as an experience. And I'm sure there'll be at least a few beta backers who would love nothing more than to divulge spoilers to people whether or not they like it.

Edited by AGX-17
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It's not a sandbox or online PVP multiplayer game, it's a single player, story-heavy RPG. You're practically begging them to ruin the game as an experience. And I'm sure there'll be at least a few beta backers who would love nothing more than to divulge spoilers to people whether or not they like it.

You're right. And they're ruining the game as an experience with all these updates, breaking down the mechanics and such! Oh wait... 8)

 

I think it's been mentioned about 73 times, MINIMUM, now, that they don't have to provide a build of the game that spoils the story. They can, for example, put in a chest containing lots of different basic weapon types, then have a bunch of goblins, marked as having different armor types. Then, let you go nuts and fight them to test the mechanics and find any bugs in them. They could also have various locked things for you to try out. Maybe some kind of rapid leveling system so that you can test various things at various levels, etc. Maybe some simple dialogues and dummy quests to make sure the reactivity and such works.

 

Hell, they don't even really have to change the functionality of the quests from actual in-game ones. You just skip all the story stuff in-between. Maybe write some dummy dialogue, like I said. No one's going to know that that NPC you talked to is actually going to be in the game, with a similar quest that you actually have to complete all the steps of instead of simply doing little parts of, then automatically advancing to the next parts. Also, things like a "go kill this thing" quest could be easily tweaked from another actual in-game quest without being the same quest in the same setting/story.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Just out of habitual caution, I'll probably wait for the third major patch release before I touch this game. :)


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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pretty sure the beta will be found on the open seas soon after it's released...

 

Exactly! Piracy is a thing no matter if you want it to be or not. Rather than forcing those people who want to play, whether they be paying customers or not, to go and torrent it (a sometimes slow, annoying, bandwidth sucking process) why not REWARD people you KNOW have payed with easier, more direct, more legitimate feeling access too it for vanishingly little cost?

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I pitched in enough money for beta access as an add-on during the kickstarter, but I've completely cooled on that.  I'll end up choosing something else from the add-ons available because I really don't want to spoil this game for myself.  Maybe some people don't mind spoiling the story and are happy to dig into the game early and if they paid for that privilege then I say good for them.

 

However, Unless Obsidian gets really detailed and systematic feedback from people with beta access, the utility of a massive beta phase probably won't yield as much benefit as some people might think.

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@Nikolokolus I don't remember where they talked about it, but I'm pretty sure they intend for the beta test to be a stand alone experience to test various game systems without spoiling the story.

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