Early Alpha Image - Work In ProgressHey, Survivors,
One week has passed since we released our Closed Alpha 0.8 to our community testers. We want to thank everyone who has downloaded and tested it! Your bug reports and suggestions are genuinely appreciated by the development team. Heck, your bug reports helped us create our first hotfix for Alpha 0.8, and we were able to address some of the most common bugs in the build. Your insight helps to make Dead Matter the best it can be and we are excited to continue this journey with you.
On top of working on hotfixes, our entire team has moved on to our next update, Closed Alpha 0.9. Our plans for 0.9 make it one of the most substantial updates to Dead Matter ever, and we are very excited to get to work on this particular update. There are a plethora of features and changes coming to 0.9. That’s all that we can tease for Alpha 0.9 right now. We will share more information about that update once we’re ready to show off our work.
For today’s blog, a couple members of our studio leadership will be reflecting on 0.8, discussing the next steps for Dead Matter’s development, and finally, I’ll share some information about our upcoming AMA for our backers and media partners.
Reflection and Next StepsI’m going to invite our Head of Studio, Derek Czerkaski, to speak about our last update and how it will influence our development on 0.9.
Greetings, everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed our recently deployed update in the form of our 0.8 push to the main branch! It represents the first update of the year that we’ve shipped as a team.
One of the primary goals for the team during this update was to establish a steady pace forward in development and deliver an update within a predetermined timeframe. We needed to prove to ourselves that our organisational adjustments were working and having the intended effect on our developmental output. We had some simple goals for this first update. I admittedly could have done a better job highlighting the expectations we set forth for ourselves. So here's the 0.8 update success criteria:
- We set out with a scope that we believed we could achieve with the team we had assembled at that moment.
- We sought to ensure that we could define, prioritise, and schedule the work more efficiently than we have in the past.
- We wanted to ensure that we consistently adapt and evolve our policies and workflows to accommodate our new hires and our ramp up.
- We wanted to establish foundations for gameplay, which we can then expand upon in our future updates.
By all accounts, we succeeded in all categories! It was a much-needed win for the team and a massive boost of momentum for us all!
However, these successes don’t mean that there isn't room for improvement. There are several key areas where we’ll be looking to improve and tighten up throughout the development of 0.9. Some of these areas include, but are not limited to:
- Better playtest practices; we are getting better at this as a company, but we still have substantial room for improvement in how we process feedback and data to make it actionable within the constraints of our development schedule. Additionally, we will expand this process when we ramp up our Community Playtesting later this Summer.
- Communication, communication, communication; Our rapid growth as a company led to occasional gaps in our internal communication. This communication gap led to some breakdowns that caused unnecessary headaches that we’ll strive to tighten up in the future. This struggle is usually pretty constant in any enterprise, and we’ll continue to work hard at improving our communication execution.
- Content lock and release candidate management; We made some fairly preventable mistakes here and there, and these mistakes jeopardised our release of 0.8. Thankfully, we rallied and got it done, but future updates should be less of a question mark and more in line with our target deadlines.
I’m going to hand things off to our Lead Producer, Tim Perreault, to add additional commentary on 0.8, as well as what to expect with 0.9
The best way I can summarise our 0.8 development is that it involved a lot of learning and growth. As a company, we moved to new tools, new processes, and in some cases, new ways of thinking about development. This learning was foundational in setting us up for future success and the ability to deliver on the internal roadmap we’ve laid out for an Early Access release.
Overall, the 0.8 release went very well. While there was a lot of just-in-time delivery of tools and features, the results speak for themselves. With the tools and processes we established in 0.8, we have massively improved our planning, execution, and delivery of features and content. The next steps we’ll be taking are adopting tools and practices to increase the quality of work being delivered.
The 0.8 release had its hiccups. We had to push the release date back 24 hours because our content lock was too soon to release. Fortunately, the time between content lock and release for future updates is much longer, and therefore we are unlikely to see this problem again.
With the 0.9 update, we have a much more well-defined plan than we’ve ever had before, with development goals for each sprint laid out and a release date in mind. The team has put in a lot of effort in planning and defining work, and while it’s not all done, we can generally start to focus more on the execution of our plan.
By the time you read this, we’ll be close to wrapping up the first sprint of the 0.9 development cycle. We can already see improvements in some departments thanks to all the hard work behind the scenes in 0.8. So I’m very excited to see how the rest of the development goes and share in an exciting release of 0.9 later this year.
Ask Us AnythingTransparency is a core pillar for our company so we’ve decided to open an AMA opportunity for our community and development team. Today, I will share links to a Google form page in our Backers and Partners Discord channels. These links will take you to a page where you can submit a question to our developers.
We are limiting this AMA to Closed Alpha Testers and Media Partners for two reasons: the first reason is that they have tested the Alpha builds of Dead Matter, so they can ask questions that are relevant to where we are in the development process. The second reason is to limit the amount of questions we receive to a manageable number. We will, however, make an effort to select questions that are most relevant to all of our community.
We are looking for questions regarding previous builds, alpha update 0.8, and our most recent hotfix, so we will not be answering any questions about future release dates or questions that appear on our FAQ pages. The reason for not wanting to discuss future plans is that we do not want to give inaccurate information about our future plans, and we prefer to share our plans when we are confident that we can deliver it on time. Also, we keep our FAQ up to date with our announcements. If a question appears on our FAQ, rest assured that it is accurate.
We will try to answer as many questions as possible. Similar questions will get bundled together. We likely will not be able to answer every question due to time constraints. So we will prioritise well thought out questions. We won't be accepting any questions submitted after June 12th, 2022.
Our completed AMA will be posted on the Dead Matter Blog on June 17th, 2022.
ConclusionThat is all for this week. Stay tuned for our upcoming AMA blog post and more information on 0.9 in the coming months.