Pathologic: The Beta Nest
Today we’ve decided to make The Marble Nest available to the beta backers.
Because doors are finicky things.
When we released The Marble Nest to the alpha backers, we knew full well that some of its aspects were unfinished—and that it’s not necessarily obvious to a player whether an element of the game is a deliberate choice or simply unfinished. Take the inventory system, for instance: it was very barebones, with items stacking in weird ways and unstacking through a less than obvious mechanic (you have to press Shift and then squint hard to be able to navigate the miniscule window). Obviously, we were prepared to have this aspect criticized—it is an improvised solution that we have no plans of keeping.
So are the doors. To be more precise, the animation of opening them. To be even more precise, the lack thereof.
However, for some reason it never occurred to us that the lack of door-opening animations is such a sore sight for so many people.
Which leads us to believe that it will be beneficial for the real Pathologic to have us share The Marble Nest more freely.
Don’t take us wrong: we have received a number of brilliant comments that gave us a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. Some of the game’s elements are being reworked right now, such as:
- The unwieldy looting system. Indeed, we don’t want the process of looting to be a mindless clickfest; but it was never our intention to make it so cumbersome as to discourage people. The looting in The Marble Nest is temporary and will work much smoother in the real game.
- The mindmap notifications and event feedback. Navigating the mindmap is not supposed to be trivial: it should take a moment or two to think over the facts listed, how they connect and what it entails. But we won’t make it unnecessarily obtuse. It will become much easier (i.e. possible) to tell which thoughts are new, which branches have ended, and so on.
- Trading and barter. First of all, we would like to point out that not every merchant in the town is supposed to be having a constant seizure—the shaking of the screen is a bug. We can also now see that the interface with the green/red bar is confusing. Duly noted.
- Running, jumping, somersaulting. Real running hasn’t been implemented yet; neither has the whole movement system been balanced at all. There will be a time for you to moan the frustratingly slow movement speed, but it hasn’t come yet.
- The “plague face” in the silent house being too jump-scary. We will rework the atmosphere of infected houses to be subtler.
- The confusing fight(s). The fight in The Marble Nest is more or less a QTE that we whipped up to show the general mood we’re going after. The real mechanics behind it have not been implemented yet. But they will. Oh, they will.
- The goddamn doors.
It needs to be stressed that none of these things will change in The Marble Nest itself. It’s the real Pathologic we’re working on now.
Yet we’ve poured a lot of effort into this small thing and, honestly, have a soft spot for it in our hearts—despite the imperfections. We feel that this small thingie, while finicky like a door, deserves to be played by more people.
If you’re a beta backer, it will happen automatically: just go to the Dashboard on the Backer Portal, and you’ll see the code to be activated on Steam. The same warnings still apply: The Marble Nest is unpolished, unoptimised, demanding, and won’t let you save your progress. On the flip side, activating it on Steam won’t have any bearing on the type of copy of the real Pathologic you will be eligible for (so it doesn’t mean forfeiting your PS4 copy, don’t worry).
This “trickle down” principle won’t apply to the real alpha, that will only be exclusive to the alpha backers. And if you’re a non-beta backer, it might make sense to stay tuned.
For now though, we’re looking forward to the beta backers’ feedback.