Dev Update #6: Alpha Accomplished

After two weeks of invaluable feedback and many hours lost to exploring the nooks and crannies of the Terroir 0.1, our alpha test is done and dusted. In the beginning, we expected maybe a dozen testers, but ended up with three times that - and the applications still keep coming.

The biggest take away from the test is that there are quite a few additions to add to the UI to improve gameplay feedback to the Player. There were many things our testers pointed out that needed fixing or improving that we weren't able to spot, simply because we were too close to the game to recognize them as issues to new Players.

We'd like to say a very huge thank you to our testers. Here is a list of all the feedback we received from them and are currently implementing into the game:

  • Major adjustments to wine critic difficulty and the way price is calculated based on reviews and renown.

  • Add the wine price next to the final rating in the wine reviews page.

  • Implement fixes to the tooltips' "flicker".

  • Adjust pop-up text point sizes for better legibility.

  • Add a dialogue box preventing a player from making a purchase if that purchase will drive down a Player’s funds below 0.

  • Highlight the Pause, Play and FF buttons so Player knows which ones are active.

  • Assign hotkeys to Pause (SPACEBAR), Play (1) and FF (2).

  • Show the Yield of each varietal along with the characteristics in the process menus.

  • Different notification icons for different process and worker actions.

  • Implement price increase the older a wine gets.

  • Implement a wine log that basically records all the wines you’ve made (bottled ones only), their names, their rating, their year of harvest, their price and all their status effects.

  • Add an end-of-year financial report.

  • Something to think about in the future: wine awards.

  • Implement something that shows the changes in characteristics based on the process options a Player has open in front of them (before taking that action so that they know how their characteristics will change).

  • Allow Player to cancel Harvest - if the Player cancels in December, they will no longer be able to harvest again, so a dialogue box may be important.

  • Differentiate foliages states more visually - maybe add more leaves to heavy foliage and add more leaves to light foliage.

  • Allow a player to replace a planted vine on a tile.

  • Improve minimum quality settings.

  • Show progress bar for all Worker Actions and Research-in-Progress.

  • A few testers are quitting by accident - we will be enforcing a confirmation dialogue box to prevent this.

  • Lots and lots of minor adjustments, copy corrections and UI amendments.

Aside from this, we've also started work on localization. It's highly likely that language support will role out in batches, as some languages are more high-priority than others. If we can get them all out at once, we will.

We're also fine-tuning a few more animations, like our Mystery Box below (the Mystery Box is a placeholder name for our random event and mission system):

Every year, Players get the chance to open the Mystery Box and choose between CHANCE or CIRCUMSTANCE. Choosing the CHANCE card generates a random event - either a positive or a negative one. Choosing the CIRCUMSTANCE card gives the player a mission to accomplish. Failing the mission has a considerable negative impact on the Player, while accomplishing it could potentially reap great rewards. It's an extension of the underlying theme of Terroir - that as a vineyard manager, not only are you often times at the mercy of the weather, but also subject to the whims of the industry, market and fate itself.

Another change we've done is expand the maximum tile count to 33 tiles from the previous 19. That way, the Player can expand their vineyard even more to increase productivity. Here's a screengrab of the game's main stage with all 33 tiles visible.

33tiles.jpg

Aaaaaaaand that's it from us for now. We work non-stop. We don't sleep, we're like fish (that's technically not true, but you get our point). We'll be heading into a Beta test some time in the last week of April. After that, we'll work towards the end game and play by ear. But so far, we're very happy with out progress - the game's potential is really making itself apparent, and it's a struggle taking a step back and determining what's worth pursuing and what we're better off leaving alone for now.

Speak to you all very soon!

MARK