As you probably know, we’re planning our first release this December. Thanks to your help with the Kickstarter and beyond, we’ve come a long way from our initial prototype. We are steadily making progress on the game week by week, but we are also challenged by some big, hard problems like coordinating multiple AIs and building game systems that are both powerful and also flexible to mod.

We’re proud of what we have accomplished so far, but features that we had hoped to have finished by now, like construction, are still works in progress. To be perfectly clear, we are still very confident that we can build these features. It’s just taking longer.

We thought very hard about whether to hold back on a release until these key features were finished, or to release what we have now in its incomplete state. We’ve decided to release what we have now, for two reasons:

  1. We want your feedback, both on the things that we’ve finished and on priorities for what you would most like to see next in the game.
  2. We promised a release this year, and we believe in sticking to promises. We know a lot of you are excited to get your hands on the game, even at this early stage.

We will release this first version of Stonehearth in the second half of December. Based on our progress, we’re officially calling this the Stonehearth Alpha release, or more specifically Stonehearth Alpha 1.

Stonehearth Alpha 1

The alpha releases will be available to everyone who pre-ordered the Stonehearth “beta”, either through the Kickstarter or the Humble Bundle store. You’ll have the option of a direct download or installing through Steam. We’re still working out the details on Steam, so that may come a little later.

Here’s what’s in Alpha 1:

  • Random world generation
  • Ability to choose where you want to settle
  • Harvesting resources (wood, berries, etc) and storing them in stockpiles
  • Basic crafting, with one profession: the Carpenter
  • Day/night cycle
  • Your citizens will eat when they get hungry and sleep when they get sleepy
  • Basic construction of walls and houses

This will be an Alpha quality release. There will be bugs. It will be missing major features, like the ability to save your progress.

Stonehearth Release Plan

Going forward, we will update the Alpha frequently. When new features are ready, big and small, we will push them into the game immediately, so you’ll get access to them right away. You can expect these new features to be buggy and sometimes incomplete, but they will get better over time. The goal is to get your feedback early and often.

We’ll keep releasing this way all the way up to the finished, polished game.

For those of you with a lower tolerance for bugs, we’re working on a way to offer somewhat more stable releases at a slower pace. We’re still figuring out the details on this one, so stay tuned for more info.

More Development Info Going Forward

We’ve heard a lot of feedback that you guys like more tech-focused blog entries that detail how we’re making the game. It’s genuinely fun to talk about the tech involved in game-making, and we’re glad you’re interested. So we’ll keep this up.

When we release Stonehearth Alpha 1, we’ll also publish a development road-map that describes what we’re working on and roughly (very roughly!) when you can expect the remaining features to make it into the game.

New Graphics Test Incoming

Next week we’ll release an updated graphics test that fixes many of the bugs you guys have reported. It will also show off our terrain generator, so you’ll get to see something a little more interesting than a dirt cube.

Despite the setbacks, we’re all incredibly pumped to finally get a release into the wild. We can’t wait for your feedback, and we look forward to taking this Alpha release and building it into the fully featured game that we’re all dying to play.