We hope you've been enjoying the wonderful weather (at least for Europe) this Summer had to bring and also a bit of vacation. All summer the Full Control engine has been running at full steam to get Space Hulk ready for launch, and after having cleared some kinks here and there, and patched the game up, we feel we’re ready to change our focus and shift gears so we can get the JAF ball rolling a lot faster.
Without further stalling, i’ll get right to the juicy info you we know you’re longing for.
The design and setup for the new JAF site and forum has finally been coded, so now we need to take down the old site and setup the new one.
We’ve primarily focused on functionality and It’s been a bit of a challenge to set everything up so that it supports both Kickstarter backers and Paypal backers, but we managed to find a workaround. What we need now it to have the final details on our backer’s tier level in place. Having that info will enable us to put the backers in the right “boxes”and give access to the hidden forum for those who have the appropriate tier level and also for backers to have the right Kickstarter Badge.
To begin with people “just” need to sign up using the email they used for Kickstarter or Paypal. If a backer’s final tier level it’s not in place for when the site goes live, they will be upgraded at a later point.
In order to get a clear overview of people’s final tier level we need to send out a few surveys. Unfortunately the Kickstarter system is not too user friendly, so we are only allowed to send out 1 survey pr. tier. This means we have to wait with all tiers with physical goods and tiers with an option to have physical add-ons, as the delivery address is likely to change for some within a years time.
We’ll have to contact some of the backers in tiers below $100 we’re uncertain about manually, as we need to know if they’re eligible to gain access to the behind the scenes forum, hopefully it doesn't take too long. To begin with we’ll send out surveys to backers in tiers up to the $42 tier level within the next few days.
Short Term Roadmap
Having launched Space Hulk we’re now in a position where we can start to move some of the team to the Jagged Alliance: Flashback project. Initially we have moved some of the artist onto JAF. They have started deciding on the final style and which art sets/assets we’re going to have in the game. Jesper already started to play around with what the characters should look like, so I grabbed a quick shot of it.
The approach for JAF is very different than Space Hulk as it’s a crowdfunded game, which opens up for many opportunities to get feedback and fine tune the game during the development stages. As stated earlier we want to include contributions from the community, be it sounds, voices or models...but only if we find the quality and content to be good enough. We’re also going to put some decisions up for vote e.g. “what should this sector include?” and then give you options to choose from.
As you know from the Kickstarter we will have an closed alpha, closed beta and also early access to the game. Below you can see our plans for these.
So far we plan to have a playable vertical slice of the game ready for late 2013 early 2014, which will be available to backers who paid for alpha access. A vertical slice is basically a small slice of the tactical game where you see the core functionality and style that is planned to be in the final version.
The feedback that you as alpha access contributor have will be essential in the rest of the process, as we will tweak the system from this slice and forward.
Beta & Early Access
Planning for these is hard to do as they’re both dependent on the feedback we get from the alpha tester and also what’s possible from a technical standpoint.
As soon as we feel we have a solid alpha version ready, we’ll be able expand the game some more and readying it up for beta. In the beta we will introduce the strategic level and additional content and sectors, which you’ll hear much more about once we get closer.
For the early access it’s really too...early to say. We want the backers to have access to the game as early as possible, so we can get proper feedback, find bugs and fine tune the game before release, but we need to have a somewhat finished game ready before that’s possible.
As most of you probably know we attended the business section of Gamescom to promote both Space Hulk and Jagged Alliance: Flashback and we gave A LOT of interviews, Thomas had about 40 scheduled interviews over a 3 day period, we’ve posted a link to a video interview about JAF in English with German subtitles below:
We did venture out in the public area a few times, but we quickly retreated...they simply let too many people in :)
Dialogue Competition Winner
We’ve picked a winner of the dialogue competition and also learned that we need to be more specific when we make this sort of competition. Our aim was simply to get some inspiration from the fans and give the backers a chance to influence the game at the same time.
The winner is….*drum roll*
(Surreptitiously overheard between two goons guarding an indoor location.)
Goon 1: "Hey, want to see a magic trick?"
Goon 2: "Like what?"
Goon 1: "Ala-ka-zam, Ala-ka-zoop, turn this food into poop..." (steals Goon 2's snack and eats it)
Goon 2: "Hey, man!"
Goon 1: "Mm. Takes about 8 hours, I'll come get you when its ready."
Goon 2: "You're an asshole, Barry..."
It’s simple, funny and not too long :)
We got some nice contributions and you may find snippets or altered versions of them in the game if we find them to be suiting. We also have an honorary mention we’ like to include.
The premise of this conversation came from one I had with a retired Gulf War veteran a few years ago. It could be used as an overheard conversation in a bar or something.
#1: Personally, I'm proud of our soldiers. It takes real guts to serve your country like they do.
#2: You really believe they're in it to serve the nation?
#1: Well, yeah. That's why my brother joined. My family all believes in this country.
#2: Do you think he would have joined if he wasn't paid?
#1: What are you implying? That he's only in it for the money?
#2: National pride doesn't put food on the table, or get you medical benefits. This nation wouldn't have an army if there was no money in it, pride or not.
#1: Well yeah, but what's stopping them from taking any other job then?
#2: Because the government has made it impossible to live off any other job. You join the military or you live on minimum wage.
#2: Kind of funny, isn't it? They're not so different from those mercenaries after all.
It’s a pretty neat dialogue, but we didn't think it fit the comical and lighthearted nature of the franchise all too well. However, a revised version could pop up in the game.
Info you may have missed
In our last FC newsletter we added some additional info about JAF, which we’re sure not all backers are aware of so we decided to include it in this update as well.
Map Editor Stretch Goal
We've had some talks back and forth, here at the office, about the map editor and we've decided that it’s such an important feature for the community that we will add it no matter what budget we end up with. That's right - we throw in the remaining $10k to give you this awesome tool as thanks for your backing.
When talking about the editor we found it suiting to also give you a sneak peek on how the map is shaping up. It’s still work in progress, but getting closer to a more finalized version.
We stripped the map of almost all info, so we don’t give too much away. We realize that some people will start to count the number of sectors, but as it is still work in progress the total number could change a lot, as well as the placement of cities, mines and special sectors.
Filip also started making a more detailed version of the map, see below:
Until next time!
The JAF Full Control Team