These are the old notes from the original post, haha. I'll just save these here for posterity.
There are no spoilers in here, and I'll be brief (well, brief for me
This is the very first batch, the valiant "redshirts," who will go forth and impale themselves on the worst of the bugs and confusion for the benefit of all those who follow. I should have keys PMed to all of you within a few hours (waiting on a batch of keys from Steam, which I completely spaced out on and forgot to request until an hour or two ago).
Beyond that, specific things:
1. The new HUD is not in place yet. The existing one will probably only be something you have for a day or two max.
2. I have a number of other things I'm working on, as does Keith. A lot of your stuff regarding usability and the early game we'll get to as soon as possible, but I'm
also going to be extra slow in the next few days as I get some of the documentation done and things like that. Please see the "Chris: For Soon" and "Chris: For A Bit Later" sections here
. I'll be doing most of the "for soon" stuff before I get to much of your feedback, and then the "for a bit later" stuff while getting to some of your feedback, and then beyond that your feedback is the primary thing.
2.a. Note that my options were basically to wait and finish those things and keep you out of the beta until then, or be a bit distracted from you at the start of the beta. I figured the latter was preferable, all told. I will still be reading all the mantis tickets, though!
3. The early game balance is something I've tested quite a lot, and I'm reasonably happy with it. The midgame balance I've tested some, and there are some spotty bits I'm already aware of. The endgame balance I have not tested yet at all in a "real" playthrough scenario, and there are various clarity issues with the various endgames. All the pieces are there, but they are incredibly disorderly and not documented, just FYI.
4. I haven't yet run this on OSX or Linux, so it's possible this first build might not even launch on them. If you can confirm whether or not those do work, then I'll fix it tonight if there is a problem.Where To Give Feedback
On mantis, which is here: http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/
1. Please only report one issue per mantis ticket. That way we can close the tickets when they are done, versus having half-done tickets all over the place.
1.a. That said, if it's something like "here are 30 typos," obviously that is one mantis ticket. It's a judgement call on your part, but if you think that we're extremely likely to address the entire set of issues at once, then it's one ticket.
2. It is possible to upload files on mantis, though some folks miss that. It's there in the middle of the page after you make your initial submission. You can continue to submit more files as much as you need as discussion continues.
3. Please please please
include a savegame and steps to replicate where relevant.
It's almost always relevant. We don't need screenshots or video unless it's something really strange that you think we won't be able to easily observe another way. But a savegame and instructions lets us just pop into your game, see the problem, fix it, test
it, and then mark it resolved. The observation and testing steps take 90% or more of the time for us if you don't include savegames.
Anyway, thanks. What Sort Of Feedback?
Honestly, whatever you want to tell us. If it's feature suggestions, then sure. We might not do them or might not do them until far into the future, but it never hurts to submit if you've got an idea and you think it's cool. If I do wind up closing a lot of your tickets as "won't fix" or "working as intended," please don't be disheartened. I'll leave a brief comment to explain why, and the fact that you have a lot of closed tickets does not reflect in any way badly on you. It's all good! No pressure, really.
Now, the one exception: really long stream of consciousness narratives. Those tend to be very hard for me to read quickly, and me being able to parse information quickly is a pretty important thing when it comes to moving through the beta. You guys will outnumber me hundreds to one, literally, by the time this is over. If you want to share longer narratives with other players in the forums and have a long discussion with them, absolutely! No problems.
If you come to some sort of consensus, or if you want to float specific ideas past me either way, then please just make mantis tickets that are specific potential action items. Or that are specific problems that you had (confusion here, bug there, balance there, etc). I'll take part in some longer discussions, but I won't have time to read most of them just because I'll actually be working on the game, but I will read every last mantis ticket that's in the style requested above.
These are just some guidelines on what to expect based on what has worked in the past.Oh, Please Do Remember I'm A Human
If something sucks, I want to know about it. But! I'm not a robot. So if you can tell me it sucks -- clearly, so that I know you mean it sucks -- without bludgeoning me emotionally, that would be best for all of us. When I get worn down emotionally by overly-negative stuff, I get slower.
Basically think of it like this:
Healthy feedback: "Thing A is no fun at all, or is broken or whatever, and probably needs attention. Possible resolutions might be XYZ, or I don't have ideas but what specifically is bugging me is 123, and addressing that would probably make this fun/functional/whatever."
Toxic feedback: "Thing A sucks, I don't know what you were thinking. I'm not having any fun at all." (NB: Even if you're not having any fun at all because of some issue, a better way to say it is "I can't get past this issue to really evaluate the rest of the game, because this one thing is bothering me so very much.")
TLDR: I can take the heat, I'm open to all feedback, but only when I feel like you're on my side. If I feel like you're going "this Chris guy is actually an idiot, why was I ever excited about this," then I start going into a death spiral if that happens enough. Past a certain point in the beta I get a lot more confidence and that becomes less of an issue, but whenever I'm first unveiling a new game it's a really emotionally tense thing for me. Don't hide the truth from me or say things you don't mean, but if there's something you hate then please give me the benefit of the doubt that we can work through it together, and approach it from that angle. It will be a lot happier for both of us that way!What Are We Doing Right Now?
Mantis is where you make your submissions of ideas to us, and I categorized them and so forth there. However, I then pull those into a "list backlog" that is a more short-term todo list in an order that shifts around from day to day based on what new information comes in. That list backlog has always been private in the past, but this time we've decided to share it with you so that you can get a better idea of what is coming: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14XQ61PpOfTHiusfdy0D6Vjq2OjNN04GkKddpYV7ZrJE/edit?usp=sharing
So, whenever "now" is, that page lists what we're doing. What's Changed Lately?
Whatever it is, you can read about it here: http://arcengames.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=Stars_Beyond_Reach_Beta_Release_NotesTips
You don't owe us anything for being a part of the beta, in fact my view is that we owe you. The free copy of the game that you get is a small token that we're able to give back to you. Your feedback really is what takes the game from being pretty rough at first beta, and then getting to fully polished at 1.0. That said, if you want to leave a tip, we do have a way for you to do that: http://arcengames.com/tips/
Giving us a tip is not required to get into the beta, nor will it get you into the beta -- though getting into the beta honestly shouldn't be a problem for you anyway, at this point, if you have the interest. We're only taking a certain number of people per batch, but you should have no problem getting into one of the batches. My honest preference is that if you do feel inclined to give a tip, you actually wait until you're in the beta and make sure you still feel that way.