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Desktop Tuesday, Steam Early Access and the Road Ahead

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Hi guys. With the release of Alpha 10, we’ve reached an important milestone in development. Many of the single-player gameplay systems are in place, and we’re steadily adding new content and improvements each month.

Here’s a “State of Stonehearth” post to outline how the team is doing, and some important developments that will occur over the coming weeks and months.

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Welcome Brad and Yang to Team Radiant!

First things first. I’m happy to introduce two new team members, Brad and Yang!

Some of you on the forums have already gotten to know Brad, who has been helping us to improve our outreach to you guys. Brad comes to us from ROBLOX, and LEGO before that. His first big project is a brand new site, which we will roll out soon in the coming weeks. Brad is a big believer in the power of gaming communities, so he fits right in. ;)

And yesterday we added a new programmer, Yang! She comes to us from Google, where she worked on game frameworks for the Chromecast. Before that she worked at EA on The Sims. Yang brings a ton of expertise and enthusiasm to the team. We’re thrilled to welcome both Yang and Brad to the team.

Steam Early Access and Price Change

Your feedback as die-hard Stonehearth fans has been tremendously important to us. Now that the game is starting to come together (though it is definitely still incomplete), it’s important for us to get feedback from a wider audience as well. To do that, we’ve decided to enter the Steam Early Access program with our next release.

This is an important step for us, but it will not change our goals for the game or our approach to developing features.

Here’s how we will handle our EA launch.

  • In early June, Stonehearth will become available on Steam Early Access
  • We will still offer a DRM-free version for sale on at http://stonehearth.net/store
  • We will reduce the price to $24.99 for both the Steam EA and DRM-free versions.
  • The June release will be “Alpha 10.5.” It will be a bug-fixing release to Alpha 10, with a few minor features in it.

If you have already bought the game and entered your Steam key, you don’t have to change anything.

Quick Steam EA Q&A

Q: Why Steam EA? Why now?

A: We’re entering Steam EA to get feedback from a wider audience of players so we can continue to improve the game. We’re doing this now because the game is complete enough to represent the core gameplay, and it’s early enough for us to still respond to feedback.

Q: How is your funding? Are you doing this so you can continue to develop the game?

A: Stonehearth funding is in great shape. We’ll share more information regarding funding in a future update, but we are sufficiently funded to finish the game.

Q: What happens to new Alphas once you go on Steam EA?

A: Absolutely nothing. It will be business as usual from a development standpoint. See below.

Game Updates After Steam EA

Steam EA will not change the way we talk with you guys or update the game. Desktop Tuesday will continue, as will the weekly streams. Alphas will continue to come out every 4-8 weeks.

The only change is that new players will be able to buy the game directly from Steam if they wish. We will continue to offer a non-Steam, DRM-free version for those who want it.

What’s Coming in Alpha 11

So with that out of the way, let’s look onward to Alpha 11! The major features in Alpha 11 will be improvements to the water system, at least one new class, new content, and more building improvements. Here’s who will be working on what.

Albert

  • Water, Stage 2
  • Add rivers and waterfalls to world generation
  • Complete flow and pressure simulation for water (this will fix the puddles that sometimes form in the world)

Brad

  • Launch the new Stonehearth site
  • Find new and better ways to communicate and cooperate with modders and players

Chris

  • Continue tracking down AI bugs
  • Continue to improve graphics performance

Doug

  • Add new music to the game
  • Continue to add sound effects for new features as they are developed

Stephanie

  • Add content, including more monsters and the conclusion of the goblin campaign

Tom

  • New class: the Cook
  • Add supporting assets for new monsters and water, stage 2
  • Make fancy graphics for the new site

Tony

  • Continue to improve the build editor
  • Add more feedback as to what your hearthlings need to make progress on seemingly stuck buildings
  • Improve the usability of the party system

Yang

  • Get up to speed on the major game systems and how they work

What About Mac and Linux?

I know some of you are eager for Mac and Linux ports. We’re still committed to making these happen.

As we have said in the past, we will focus on ports once the game is close to feature complete. I know you guys are eager for the ports, and we’re eager to bring them to you. We appreciate your patience.

Stonehearth Alpha r14 Now Available on Steam

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Hi guys. We’re going to try a tiered release schedule. As we make changes to the game and have somewhat stable, coherent sets of changes, we will update the Alpha. That’s the plan as you know it now.

What we’re adding is a more frequent set of releases for early testing. These releases will have minimal testing, and will be a means for us to get your feedback on the latest changes to the code-base. These will be through the beta branch feature of the Steam client. Here’s how you can access these builds.

How to Access the Latest Branch

  1. Get Stonehearth through Steam if you don’t already. You can get your Stonehearth Steam Key from your Humble Bundle page. Don’t try to download Steam through the Steam Store; Stonehearth won’t be here. Redeem the Steam Key listed on your Humble Bundle page.
  2. Right click on Stonehearth in your Library and select Properties
  3. Click the Betas tab and select “latest”

Your game will update to the latest bits. You can switch back to the official Alpha build using the same dropdown in the Betas tab.

 

Alpha 1, Release 14 Patch Notes

Here are patch notes for Alpha release 14, which we’ve just uploaded to Steam. The “14″ refers to our own internal build number. Obviously this is not the 14th release of the Alpha. ;)

  • Greatly optimized path finding, especially when building many structures.
  • Fixed a bug which would sometimes cause the game to crash when building walls.
  • Increased the length of a day by 50%
  • Added a task manager in the bottom-right corner to track CPU usage.
  • Removed the debug keys be default.  Set “enable_debug_keys” to true in your user_settings.json file to turn them back on.

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.

Watch Us Live, Tuesdays & Thursdays

We stream our development live on Tuesdays and Thursdays, @6pm PST!

Come say hi and ask questions at twitch.tv/stonehearth

Get Stonehearth!

The Stonehearth Alpha is now available through Humble Bundle.

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