It’s Here – Alpha 2!

blogalpha2.png7th October 2017 – Perry

“Oh right! You’ll want to know whats changed, won’t you? Well…”

Our second Alpha is finally here! Phew, that was a lot of work! We probably would have been on time too, but a lot has been going on in the last couple months…

First of all, I’ve recently been away with my family to Europa Park, in Germany (I highly recommend it!). Anyways, it was only while I was on holiday that Martyn and I came to realise something. We were all going away in September! It was either a holiday or leaving for Uni, or going abroad to a meeting. After the first week, we hardly had a day when we were all available. To top that off I also caught a cold which put an end to my plans of working abroad. Still, the holiday was fun and I felt good and refreshed when I got back; the only problem was I got back a day before the release was supposed to happen. Oh dear.

Fortunately we’d allowed ourselves plenty of slack and already had all the features in for weeks! All that was left was bug fixes and boy were there a lot of em! Oh right! You’ll want to know what’s changed, won’t you? Well…

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User Interface: The UI has changed, drastically. We’ve taken on board a lot of feedback to make it both more intuitive and more attractive (although there is still some feedback that didn’t quite make it in).

Sounds and VO’s: We’ve added new sound effects, and given the Dwarves some voices! Also, sounds now pan properly, so when someone is digging somewhere to the left, you should hear it mostly in your left ear.

Textures: Dirt, stone and ground textures have had an upgrade thanks to Faye’s handywork! They’re also proper resources now, so if you wanted you could draw your own and replace them in the resources folder!

Instructions: There are a few new instructions available. Spawn Dwarf, Research and Defend Zone! Crafting has been moved to the individual buildings, and the different types of Foraging has been merged into one button (the Forage button)!

Dwarves: Traits have been added, although they don’t do much just yet. We’ve also given Engineers slightly bigger brains, so they will behave a bit more intelligently when crafting and building things.

Goblins: Goblins now behave more intelligently, and are more persistent pursuers. They’ll also fight in groups now, so watch your back!

Maps: We’ve built a brand new tutorial, which covers every aspect of the gameplay in a much cleaner way, and I’ve added a couple new features to the random map generator too.

Campaign: This is the biggest change, the Alpha Campaign! Featuring 7 maps, each with unique objectives, hand-crafted environments, plus you can travel between them at your leisure using the all new: Settling Cart!

Access to the Map Editor: While this feature offers no info on how to use it, we thought we’d give you access to it so you can see how we build maps, and maybe even make your own! (Feel free to share your creations on the Forum).

Bug Fixes:¬†We saw people breaking our first Alpha a lot, and decided to make an extra effort to make this one more stable. I’ve refined code all over and fixed a lot of the bugs that were present in the last build, and even got Joseph to join in on testing and tracking them down.

Quality of Life Improvements: Besides the changes to the UI, the way you control what Dwarf does what job has been reworked, plus we’ve added single-mouse mode (for trackpad users) and a hardware mouse option in the menu along-side colourblind mode. I’ve made a few optimisations to make the game run more smoothly as well as a number of little QoL changes, like making tall structures translucent when you hover over the tile behind them.

And lots of work under the hood: To make the tutorial and campaign possible, we built a new scripting interface into the editor, which makes use of an awesome Java package (called NashornScriptEngine) that can directly access the program’s functions and variables! What’s that mean? It means we can sort of mod the game now without actually having to touch the source code, and it’s specific to each map! The editor we’ve released also has access to this through map events (and I’ve provided a copy of the tutorial map in there, so if you want you can peek at how the tutorial map works).

Hopefully, the chaos that was September does not reflect too much in the new Alpha that’s just been released! Hope you all enjoy it and we would love to hear from you.

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