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Stonehearth, Kickstarter, and Upcoming Releases

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Hi everyone. When we launched the Stonehearth Kickstarter in May 2013, we promised that all backers would receive the game in September, 2014. After a lot of hard work, and a lot of great support from all of you, that day is nearly upon us, so I wanted to take a minute to explain where we are in development and what we will be doing on the deadline.

This is long, so let’s just put the TLDR up front, shall we?

TLDR Summary

  • The game is currently in Alpha. We’re making steady progress, but there’s still lots of game left to build.
  • In September we will release Stonehearth Alpha 5. At this point all $15+ Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers will get the Alpha and all subsequent releases until the game is complete.
  • We’re still working on the Kickstarter pet rewards. You can expect them once we have a few more major gameplay features complete.
  • Soon after the Alpha 5 release, we will release Stonehearth on Steam Early-Access and change the price to $25.
  • Expect continued Alpha releases until all game features are complete!

Stonehearth Alpha

First, as most of you know, we’re behind schedule on building the game. My reddit post here describes why we are delayed, but long story short, we’ve chosen to stick 100% to the original vision of the game, even when it costs us time. We would rather ship the Stonehearth we want late than ship a watered down version of the game on time.

The encouraging news is that many of the tough technical problems are behind us, and we’re adding content at a faster rate than ever. At this point we have a solid, fun kernel of the final game, and we’re excited to keep working until we deliver all the features we promised in the Kickstarter.

Alpha 5 Will Be Released to All Kickstarter backers in September

We will release the next Stonehearth Alpha in mid September, and make it available to all $15+ Kickstarter backers and those who have pre-ordered the game for $15 on stonehearth.net.

The Alpha 5 release will have major features like farming, trapping, building, and basic combat, but it will be missing other features like mining, water, and multi-player. So we can do one of two things: hold the game back from you until all these features are ready, or give you the game now, leaving it up to you whether to play now or wait until it’s feature-complete.

We’re giving you the choice. You can choose to download it starting in Alpha 5, or wait until the game is completely finished. Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, we think there’s enough in Alpha 5 to play and have fun with, but it’s totally up to you.

So if you’ve been on the fence about buying the game, you can save a few bucks by buying it now for $15, then waiting a few weeks for the Alpha 5 release. And of course, all Stonehearth customers will continue to get free updates until the game is 100% finished.

OSX and Linux ports will come after all major game features are complete.

Timeline for Remaining Features

So when will the remaining features make it into the game? It’s tough to give an exact time, but you can follow our progress at http://stonehearth.net/roadmap/. We will implement major features roughly in a top to bottom order as they are listed on the roadmap.

And as I said above, a lot of the brow-furrowing, tough technical problems are behind us, so you can expect features to continue to come in at a fairly regular pace as we complete development of the game.

Digital Kickstarter Rewards

Pets and other Kickstarter Rewards will come in by the time the game is finished. You’ll be able to download all these rewards through the Humble Bundle download page for Stonehearth.

Steam Early-Access Release and Price Change to $25

Soon after Alpha 5, we will release Stonehearth on Steam Early-Access! If you have already bought Stonehearth, this really doesn’t affect you, since you can already get the game through the Steam key we provided you on your Humble Bundle page.

Alpha, Beta, and Final Release

We’ll continue to use the Alpha title for Stonehearth releases for the time being. Alpha and beta mean different things to different people, so here’s what those terms mean to us at Radiant.

  • Alpha: The game is still in major development and missing big game features. Expect frequent bugs.
  • Beta: All major game features are complete. The game still needs minor enhancements and bug fixing.
  • Release: The game is finished and as bug free as possible.

We expect to be in the Alpha phase for the foreseeable future, so you can expect Alpha 6, 7, 8, etc. to follow Alpha 5.

Once the game is “feature complete” we will officially move to the Beta designation. You can expect the beta period to be much shorter than Alpha.

Final words

Getting Stonehearth to this point has been a long road for us all. Even though there’s lots more work to do, we are more determined than ever to keep at it until we have the game we envisioned when we first made the Kickstarter video.

We are extremely grateful for all of your insightful feedback, and all the support we’ve received about fulfilling the original vision for Stonehearth. We wouldn’t be here without you, and your help has made it even better along the way.

Desktop Tuesday, One Year Kickstarter Anniversary!

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Amazingly, as of today it has been exactly one year since the start of our Kickstarter. Back then we were literally two guys working out of a spare room in house. Thanks to all of your help, here’s what we’ve accomplished over the last year.

Team Stonehearth Assembled

The Stonehearth team is now up to six full time developers! Every one of them is uniquely talented and has had an enormous contribution to the game. Here they, in order of hire date.

  • Tom & Tony. Do we count as hires? Whatever…we started this whole mess by jumping ship from our jobs in corporate America to write our dream sandbox simulation game. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Stephanie. Stephanie joined us just after the start of the Kickstarter, informing us that she was coming to work for us whether we liked it or not. She jumped in with both feet, responding to literally hundreds of backer messages a day and building the game’s core crafting system.  Multi-talented, today she writes gameplay code, assists in our UI design, and writes all of the game’s lore and journal entries.
  • Albert. Mega coder #1. Albert has amazing technical chops, having worked on crazy-technical problems at Microsoft and his own startup company. We rely on Albert for solving our big simulation problems like terrain generation, fluid simulation, and managing crowds of game character AIs (like for instance, in combat!)
  • Chris. Mega coder #2. Canadian. Chris has done amazing work on our renderer. Most of the pretty things in the game have his fingerprints on them: the lighting, sky, shadows, etc. More recently Chris has been pitching in on the AI system, where his impact has been significant.
  • Doug. We didn’t know how much we really needed an audio guy until we hired Doug. Doug is responsible for everything you hear in the game. He mixes and implements our sound effects on his own, and has done a terrific job in managing the composers for our sound track. Doug’s a perfectionist, and his work really adds to the atmosphere of the game.

Also, big thanks to our volunteer community moderators, SteveAdamo, Geoffers747, and everyone who’s contributed to the online Stonehearth community, giving feedback, posting bugs, and sharing your creations.

Office Space!

Last fall we actually moved into a real office space in downtown Los Altos, CA. Renting real estate in the SF bay area is….let’s just say challenging, so this was a big deal for us.

Chris and Stephanie

Chris and Stephanie

 

Progress on the Game

Of course, all of this work is in service of completing the actual game. To be honest, Stonehearth is a much bigger challenge than we anticipated, mainly due to our no-compromise approach. We want a high quality simulation game…in full 3D…with detailed, animated characters….and make the whole thing moddable. We have had our share of set-backs, but we have remained 100% true to our original vision of the game.

The reason is simple: we started this whole  adventure not just to build games, but to build THIS game. A compromised version of Stonehearth wouldn’t be the game we’ve dreamed of, so we have no interest in doing that. We’re building the game we want, no matter what it takes.

And our persistence is paying off. Most of the major technical hurdles are behind us, and the game engine is more stable and faster than it’s ever been. For the first time, the whole team is focused on adding gameplay content, and we’re adding content at a better rate than ever before.

There’s still a long road ahead of us, but over the coming months you will start to see more and more of the game unfold, and Stonehearth the game will start to look like the vision of the game that we all have in our heads.

And as always, your feedback in valuable to us. So please keep it coming!

Stonehearth Alpha 3 Formally Released!

I’ll make another announcement about this later, but we’ve just pushed Alpha 3 to all Steam branches and your Humble Bundle page. This public release of the Alpha fixes a ton of bugs that you all have reported from the Steam Latest branch, including the stuck Carpenter and Trapper crash bugs.

What’s Next

What a year, right? The past year has been one of transformation for Radiant, from a passion project to an actual development studio. We’ve set ourselves up to deliver on the promise of that original Kickstarter video. Over the next year, we’ll deliver on that promise by building the game we set out to make.

So once again, thanks to everyone who’s supported us: our families, Kickstarter backers, pre-order customers, discourse members, /r/stonehearth, and stream watchers. Here’s to a productive and successful year 2!

Kickstarter Maddness! Vote for Stonehearth on Steam Greenlight!

Hey guys. Our Kickstarter is off to a roaring start. Thank you so much everyone for helping us spread the word. We are in 100% scramble mode responding to backer comments and collecting valuable feedback about the kinds of things people want to see in the game. As we get closer to being funded, we’ll roll out our stretch goals.

Also, thanks to backer feedback, we’ve decided to put Stonehearth on Steam Greenlight! This is a great way for us to raise awareness for the game, and will be an amazing channel to reach gamers once Stonehearth is ready for release.

The Stonehearth Kickstarter is Live!

Well, let’s see how this goes, right?  Our Kickstarter is now live!  There’s a lot of new information about the game on our page, so please check it out and let us know what you think!  Huge thanks again to Richard Li for helping us put together the video, and to Clark Aboud for the awesome trailer music.

 

 

Desktop Tuesday, Belated Edition: Introducing the Weaver!

Ack! I missed our regular Tuesday developer update, but I have a good reason! We’ve put the finishing touches on our Kickstarter video and submitted it for approval. Hopefully the Kickstarter guys can get back to us in time for our scheduled launch on the 29th.

Ok, so back to business. If you’ve been following along, you know that all your little citizens have an RPG-like class. That goes for the military units like Swordsman and Archer, but it’s also true for your crafters. And so (drumroll), here is a shot of the Weaver class and a lot of her craftables.

weaver

The weaver spins raw materials (cotton, flax, wool, etc) into consumable goods like cord for bows, and cloth for clothes and bedding. Where do those sheep, plants, and tools (the spinning wheel and loom) come from? Other crafters of course! We’re shooting for a real economic model between the the crafter classes, with all kinds of interesting dependencies between the production of raw materials and their refinement into consumable goods.

That’s it for now. Happy Tuesday…belatedly. And because it’s pre-Kickstarter week, here’s a new desktop wallpaper!

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Get Stonehearth!

The Stonehearth Alpha is now available through Humble Bundle.

Dev Roadmap

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