The beta version is almost ready for release. I am currently working through the game save/loading code and fixing up some missing/out of data functionality, and once that is done, I’ll roll out the game to the testers.
Note that although I call this a Beta, that’s not really an accurate term for it. A traditional Beta is usually based around a nearly complete game; this release is more like an “early access” style approach. What those of you who have signed up for on the beta list are getting is a (hopefully) playable, but still very much unfinished game. What I’m looking for is the same as other early access efforts: feedback, suggestions, and help finding the bugs in the code.
If you’re a tester: Be prepared that P&T2 will feel like a step back compared to the existing game, at least initially.
A lot of the more complex functionality in P&T2 is either not implemented yet, or has been deliberately disabled in the first version, in order to focus on the core gameplay: ship to ship battles and trading. Since the former is pretty much entirely new (multiple ships), I expect there to be a lot of problems with this initially. Also, expect a high pace of updates and having to restart beta games occasionally. At this stage of development, saved games will break.
If that bothers you, I’d strongly suggest not jumping into the beta, lest it sour you on the game. I prefer to stay out of betas/early access programs myself, so I’ll think nothing less of you if you should decide it would be better to wait.
I’ll of course be using the feedback/criticism to try and improve the game, and plan to push out updates frequently to fix bugs, make the interface more user-friendly and add/release the game elements that I feel are missing. Most of the communication will occur through the MicaBytes beta community on Google+, but it’s public so those of you interested but not intending to be a part of the beta can follow it there. If you’re interested, you can also follow work as it happens on the new public Trello board for P&T2 where I plan to register issues/bugs as they get discovered.
Thanks for reading.
Just a quick note to mention that MicaBytes is now on Patreon.
You can read the note on the site if interested – not all that much to add really. Over the years, people have occasionally asked me for some option to show support beyond just buying the game, but given my work situation, Kickstarter is not an option and I’m not all that keen on adding consumables to my games just for the sake of doing so (which has also been suggested). Patreon seems like an interesting alternative, though, and I had donation buttons in the game back during the first couple of years of development, and this is not all that different. So there it is.
Still not sure what kind of rewards to add, but I’m not going to charge for beta access, and I’m not going to pay less attention to your opinions depending on whether you pledge to the patreon or not, so don’t worry on that account. If you pledge, that’s wonderful – if not, that’s OK too. I appreciate all of your support.
Halfway through 2015 already, so – as mentioned a few days ago – an update on where things stand, as well as some plans and announcements.
In case you were wondering, the “Pirates and Traders 2” beta is not starting today. I will say that I had hoped that would be the case, but the past seven months have simply been extremely busy, and I’ve simply not had sufficient time to get it into a stable enough shape. Fortunately, summer is coming now, which means I will (finally) be less busy at work for a while.
I plan to (or have already done) a number of changes today, though – in large part as preparation for when the beta will start. One change is that I’m changing the domain/company name to MicaBytes. The old domains and e-mail addresses will continue to work for the foreseeable future, but the official webpage will shortly change to be http://www.micabytes.com. If you need to contact us directly (for bug reports, comments, etc), the e-mail to use will be support@ on the new domain.
Twitter account will change to https://twitter.com/MicaBytes. If you’re currently following it, you should not need to do anything to it.
On Facebook, I’ve been maintaining three different pages for the various projects I’ve worked on. These three pages will be “closed” (i.e., I’ll stop posting on them and probably delete them eventually) and be consolidated on https://www.facebook.com/MicaBytes. As before, I’ll continue to post updates and screenshots on the Facebook pages, but now for all of my projects on the same page. I hope that many of you will join me in the move and “Like” the new pages. Unfortunately, I have to ask you to do this yourself. I am going to ask Facebook support to “merge” the two pages (i.e., move across the users of the Pirates and Traders page, at least), but let’s just say that Facebook support’s reputation is… not exactly superb when it comes to this sort of thing.
I’ve also set up a company account on Google Plus (https://google.com/+micabytes) which will be connected to a Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/micabytes). The youtube channel is where I’ll host trailers, possible let’s play’s etc in future. Nothing there yet, though. The Google Plus page mostly exists to link the different Google pages together. Let me know if there are things you would like to see in one place or the other.
The current plan for the near future is as follows:
- Release the first beta version of Pirates and Traders 2. I can’t make any promises about when this will be ready, but the plan is to get it out as soon as possible.
- Follow up the beta release of Pirates and Traders 2 with additional features.
- Release the first beta version of Dwarf Kingdom in September. This depends on my collaborators too, of course, but that’s the goal.
- Release the second beta version of Small Battles. How soon this comes depends on the how the other work pans out.
So, for the five of you patient enough to get this far, the important information: there is now a Google Plus community: MicaBytes Beta. This is an open community that anyone can join. Members of the group will have access to download the Pirates and Traders 2 beta (as well as the others, when they come) through Google Play. Note that you must join the community with the same Google ID as you use for your mobile devices for this to work. Also, think twice before joining the beta group. The first versions will probably feel like a step backward compared to the current game, and are almost guaranteed to have nasty crash bugs.
That’s all for now. Thanks for following us on the journey so far, and I hope you’ll come on over to the new pages.