Sorry this has taken so long. I apologize for constantly underestimating or miscalculating time frames. Making this game is pretty time consuming. :)
In the hopes of keeping expectations in line, I'm going to lay the ground work a bit in this post.
What the Beta is and what it isn't.
What it is: A functioning preview of the game, a fairly (but not totally) polished slice that comprises roughly 1/6 of the total map size and takes place early in the game. This portion isn't totally insubstantial, and contains a number of secrets, power ups, items, weapons, and NPCs to find. Some more secret than others (some much more). While it's only a portion of the game, it's enough to impart the overall design and gameplay philosophy of the game. You'll get a picture of what it's like to play the game, but not the full picture. This is also a minimal-spoilers build in terms of story information.
What it isn't: A full tour of what it's like to play the game. There are many important, defining powers and mechanics that aren't found until later, in parts of the game not covered in this build. This also isn't by any measure a finished product -- It contains placeholder assets in some instances. Some areas are a bit less polished than they ought to be, and certain elements such as dialogue are subject to change. There's also a known issue where the game can occasionally, at random, crash when switching to a new area. This is an elusive problem with the engine and remains under investigation. I hope to learn more about this through your participation.
Unfortunately, this also isn't currently a build that includes Mac or Linux users. I'll expand on this more in a bit.
Stuff to know
- If you're participating in the beta, we'll be discussing the game on the Steam Ghost Song forums. Here I'll be listening to your reactions as well as any feedback, suggestions, or bug reports. here's not much there yet, but hopefully once the beta is distributed we'll have some activity. I look forward to hearing from everyone.
- There is no NDA. Once the keys are sent out, you can freely discuss the game, show videos, stream, whatever. I have nothing to hide. Obviously, it's forbidden that you attempt to distribute the game -- But showing/telling is absolutely fine.
- If you're not a beta backer, but are interested in becoming one, it's still possible by backing the appropriate tier through Paypal at this link. When making this decision please keep in mind everything I said above in the "what it is/what it isn't" section. If you backed a smaller amount in the past and want to combine amounts, this is perfectly fine, just email me with your info at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get you set up.
- Right now, the Beta is only available to Windows users. I deeply apologize to anyone who was hoping for a Mac or Linux version already. I am basically developing this game on my own, and will need help from others fleshing those aspects out later. I know how annoying this might be if you don't have a windows machine, and ask only that you bear with me.
- The game supports gamepads. It is developed on, and to some extent assumes the use of Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamepads. If you have either of these, I can confirm that the game will work perfectly on them right away. If you have another gamepad, it may or may not work perfectly, and I'd be interested in getting your feedback if you have other gamepads. It is also possible to play on a keyboard but far from optimal. This is a controller style game, with more buttons at use than are comfortable to operate on a keyboard.
The beta will probably be updated a few times. I'll feel it out. I do plan to add another wing of the map onto it a bit later on, and I may update it any time I want to have you guys help me test something new.
What I'm asking you to do right now!!
Because it looks as though I'll be pretty much distributing the beta keys manually, it will be a somewhat belabored process next week. If you are actively participating and want in on the action ASAP, *please* send me an email right away -- as soon as you read this -- to email@example.com with the subject "I'm in the beta" and in the body include your kickstarter username and email. Alternatively, if you backed directly by Paypal or through the Humble Widget, then please mention that in the email as well. People who email me will be the first I get to once I'm distributing the keys, after that point I'll work on tracking down the rest of you who didn't.
There's a long road behind and ahead of me, and I'm looking forward to you guys getting a first look at the game. I hope it doesn't crash too much. XD I look forward to, with your participation, making this game the best it can possibly be in the months to come. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.