Listen to the newest episode of CwBS! This time we're running on a collective 12 hours of sleep, find out our testers have already murdered 21,000 creatures in just 2 days of the Crashlands beta, and hear about Sam flinging himself down a staircase. Things are getting wild over at Butterscotch HQ.
Share it around and help us hit that 300 listens in a week mark!
Crashlands beta is GOING LIVE for our awesome group of testers!
If you want to follow the journey the Beta players are going through (minus spoilers, as per their NDA), the Crashlands subreddit and the Butterscotch Forums will be leaking with player-generated goodies over the next few weeks.
HOW CAN YOU HELP US?
Maybe you know the cancery story behind Crashlands, maybe you know that we're a 3-brother, bootstrapped indie studio working out of our apartments, or maybe you know that the games industry is among the toughest in the world, and you want to lend us your POWER to make the launch of Crashlands the biggest deal in the early moments of 2016.
There are tons of ways to get involved.
Got a Twitter Account?
Use #Crashlands and tell your friends and followers about the trailer. If you're a fan of big games sites like IGN, Polygon, PC Gamer or Rock Paper Shotgun, tweet at them and show how excited you are about the game. Follow some Twitch or Mobcrush streamers? Let them know it's coming, too!
Have a platform?
If you're a streamer, games writer, fellow gamedev, redditor, newspaper columnist from a small town in Iowa, convention organizer, or forum-goer, get in touch with us so we can hook you up. We want the launch of Crashlands to be as big as possible, and that means getting word out about it through every medium imaginable (there's a presskit over here, by the way).
Community your thang?
Get in on the ground floor and join the movement to form the most welcome, loving community on the internet by introducing yourself on the forums and becoming a part of the burgeoning Butterscotch clan.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR LAUNCH?
As our beastly cohort of testers burn through the game's content (which takes between 40 and 90 hours) on each platform we'll be patching things up actively behind them. We anticipate a swathe of small tasks and a few, larger bugs that may crop up, depending on platform specifics.
We should have an idea in ~2 weeks of when we can reliably produce a finalized Crashlands build and can begin the submission process to various storefronts, to ensure the highest visibility on launch day. We will set a launch date at that time and release the final Crashlands poster (which is so phenomenal we're having a hard time keeping it secret).
Thank you all for being part of our journey. We're stoked to have hit the Beta milestone and unbelievably excited to get the game wrapped up and shipped very soon. Lend us your voice in the coming weeks, and help make this the biggest Indie moment of 2016!
Listen to the newest episode of CwBS! We talk about Fallout 4's fork problem, discuss whether we'd prefer having hands for feet vs feet for hands, and talk about our plans for an international pizza party.
Plus, we've been working with documentary crew Forever an Astronaut on telling the story of Crashlands, our studio, and all this cancery bs that came along for the ride. The teaser is out RIGHT NOW and you should totally watch it (pro-tip: bring some tissues) and share it ALL OVER THE SOCIAL MEDIAS with #Bscotchdiary.
We've also opened up our t-shirt shop, so you can EMBLAZON YOUR MIGHTY CHEST with the most confusing pairing of words ever! You can only order through December 14th, so get yours today!
HEY, Bscotcharoos! About a month ago, we partook in an amazing worldwide event called the Indie Speed Run. It's a 48-hour game-making competition in which roughly 423,951,011 teams from across the entire universe compete to make the BEST GAME ALLOWABLE BY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS.
Our entry (PC only) into the contest is an Elevator Simulator about saving scientists. We called it...
The contest is now closed, and JUDGING IS UNDERWAY! Last time we did the Indie Speed Run, we managed to secure second place. This time, we're GOING FOR NUMBER ONE! If you want to help us win, come give our game a play! And if you like the game, leave a rating on the game's Indie Speed Run page!
Hey. Hey you. Go vote for our ridiculous elevator simulator "Do You Even Lift!?" (bit.ly/elevatorsim). After that, listen to the newest episode of CWiBS, wherein Sam explains "Gains vs Graft vs Host," his wise(?) attempt to win against his stem cell transplant. You'll also hear about screaming goats and motorcycles, and how we are so close to done with Crashlands we can barely believe it. The Beta starts soon: the application is closed but if you've already applied we give some tips for increasing your chances to get selected. Finally, we dig deep into how cancer, science, and the act of Creation can change the way you look at life.
We're about to fire up the closed beta of Crashlands (I know, I know, FINALLY) which means we'll have a whole bunch of beta-testing novices providing feedback on the game. I needed to write up an article for them on how to give useful beta feedback, and figured it might be a useful reference for other game developers and game testers. SO HERE WE GO!
Understand what the feedback is for
Context is essential in providing useful feedback, because what is "useful" depends on the current state of the game (is it a prototype, or a finished product?), proximity to publication (months down the road, tomorrow, or is it already published?), your relationship to the developer (close friends, or never met?) and so on.
Remember: Feedback that isn't useful wastes everyone's time.
For example, if the developer hands you a game that is done and scheduled to release a month from now, they may want to know about game-breaking bugs (so they can make an emergency patch) but not want a laundry list of things that "could be a little better" (it's too late for that). But all this depends on the most important piece of context, which is what the developer is actually looking for.
Developers are people too, and often they don't think to explicitly tell you what kind of feedback they want. In that case, ASK! If they say "anything you think of!" then you should go do something else instead. Why? Because there is never a state of a game where any and all feedback is useful. A develop who hasn't carefully considered what value you can provide is going to be wasting your time.
Okay, so the most important first step to providing useful feedback is to focus on exactly what the developer is looking for (in retrospect, DUH, right?). But the hard part is in how to give feedback.
What useful feedback looks like
So you're playtesting a game and have stumbled across something you want to report. How can you do that in the most productive way? Here are the four components of good feedback:
Why you think the thing that happened is a problem.
The exact steps required to make the thing happen, and how often it happens when you complete those steps.
Does everything happen for a reason? Turns out the answer is yes, DUH. In this episode we discuss the chimney-teleportation range of wizards, dig deep into whether Sam is going to get addicted to his cancer drugs, and talk about Crashlands pre-orders and the upcoming beta (living todo list at bit.ly/1OpYiTR).
In this far-ranging episode, we talk about Sam's inability to use sticky notes, Adam's gerdness, that you should ignore this nonsense about bacon and cancer, and find out that Seth would eat both Adam and Sam during an apocalypse scenario. We also talk about how creature fighting used to work in Crashlands.
"When is Crashlands coming out?" This is pretty much the only question we get asked these days. It's frustrating for us, because the answer is "we don't know, but soon!"
But hey, that's our fault, because we've now passed our original "summer/fall" release date, which was when we thought the game would be out. Oh, and we've also passed our June 2014 release date, which was also when we (hilariously) thought the game would be out.
So what happened? Why didn't Crashlands come out this past summer like our trailer said it would? Why didn't the beta start two months ago like we planned?
The answer is a simple one: inexperience. We're pretty dang new to the game dev scene. We have never done a project of the size and scope of Crashlands. Before Crashlands, we had never made a crafting game, and we had never made a game with a more than a superficial story. Crashlands has both crafting and story, plus a ton of other things that we'd never done before (cross-platform save syncing, an infinite and reproducible procedural world, story creation via the Crashlands Creator, etc). So our ability to estimate how long each component would take has been consistently wrong!
At the end of development, a game looks complete even though it still has a long list of needed tweaks and improvements. The larger and more complex the game, the longer is that strange period of looks-complete-but-actually-isn't. We've been there for months now. For the entirety of that period, we always thought that the end was just two weeks away. (We still think we're just two weeks away!)
Indeed, if you were to play Crashlands right now, you would think it was done. Because it basically is. All of the content is in and all of the systems work -- mostly. But you would also notice some rough edges: confusing UI elements, some weird creature behaviors, some balance issues (things getting too hard or too easy as the game progresses), graphical errors during the game's nighttime, the occasional crash, etc. All of those things need to be fixed before we can call the game done. Fortunately, it is way easier and less time-consuming to fix those little issues than it was to build the content and systems for the game.
BUT! Even when the game itself is truly done (very, very soon) we can't launch it immediately. We still have to run a bunch of players through the game for beta testing, to figure out what devices it works on and find any bugs we missed. We'll then have to get approval from the various app stores, so we can then find a launch date where we won't be competing with other highly-anticipated games for feature spots, so that we can make the announcement and have enough time to get the marketing/PR/hype train rolling.
So, all that said, when is Crashlands coming out?
We don't know! It's nearly November already, and we still have to do all those things listed above. We have no doubt that the game will be done by the end of the year, but it's looking less likely that we'll be able to launch it by the end of the year. It'll be a close thing.
We'll of course continue to be transparent about development progress, so stay on top of the forums and our podcast to find out how things with Crashlands are going!