06-04-2016, 04:54 AM
Greetings friends and fellow managers!
It’s been quite the journey for us all at ManaVoid HQ with this title since we created the studio in September of 2014. I must admit we are all pretty stoked about where this game is at today compared to what we had originally designed over a year and a half ago. #Nostalgia
A crazy idea became a pitch, that pitch became a prototype, that prototype became a crowdfunding campaign and that crowdfunding campaign has finally become an alpha we are all proud of! Sure, there are still bugs to iron out and content to create, but now that the core systems are all integrated and working, the game is going to evolve quickly in the coming weeks.
With all of that said, I know you are all chomping at the bit to know what’s up with the upcoming alpha release so this little update should clear everything up for everyone!
When is the Closed Alpha Coming?
Epic Manager’s Closed Alpha testing period will officially commence on Wednesday, June 8th 2016. We apologize for the slight delay, but we strongly feel like these extra few days will make an important difference in your enjoyment of the game!
On that day, all Kickstarter Backers of the “Veteran Tier” and above will receive a Steam Key that will allow them to start playing Alpha Version 0.1 right away!
When / How are the Steam keys being sent?
We will begin sending out the Closed Alpha Steam keys at around 10AM (EDT) on June 8th. All keys will be sent through an automated mailing third-party (probably MailChimp). We expect the whole process to take anywhere from a few seconds to 3-4 hours for all 700+ recipients to receive their keys from the moment we press the “launch button”.
We will make official announcements on the Forums to let you know when the mailing process begins, as well as when it is complete.
Where will I receive my key?
Your unique Steam Key will be sent to the e-mail address you gave us in the post-Kickstarter backer Form (survey).
We’ve made sure the list is up to date so don’t worry if you’ve just sent yours in. We’ll also make sure that late backers (who joined by contacting us after the KS campaign was over), have correctly been added to the backer database.
How do I activate my Key and Start Playing?
0 - Receive your key via e-mail on June 8th.
1 - If you do not have Steam installed on your computer, do so by visiting http://store.steampowered.com/ and clicking on ‘Install Steam’ at the top of the page.
2 - Launch Steam and connect to your account. (or create one first if you have no account).
3 - Once logged in, click on ‘Games’ on the titlebar and then on ‘Activate a Product on Steam’ in the drop-down menu.
4 - Accept the User Agreement by clicking ‘Next’ once or twice, and you will be prompted with a request for a Steam Key. Simply copy/paste the one you’ve received and confirm by clicking ‘Next’ one more time.
5 - And voilà! Epic Manager will start downloading. Once the download is complete (about 1.5gb) you can start playing by clicking on Epic Manager in the ‘Library’ section.
What if I don’t receive my key?
If you think something went wrong on June 8th, don’t panic! You should start by checking the Forums to make sure we’ve reported all keys being sent.
If this is the case, also check your inbox’s “Spam” folder to make sure that the MailChimp message wasn’t filtered by your mailing provider.
If you’ve checked both things above, simply contact us and we’ll get back to you as fast as possible. The best place to do so is by private message on Kickstarter (since anyone from the Dev Team can see it), or by e-mail if you were among the late backers. As a last resort, you can also PM one of the Devs on the ManaVoid Forums.
Like the name implies, this first public build will be an ALPHA version of Epic Manager and, therefore, there will be undoubtedly be bugs and unbalanced values in the first few weeks of testing.
Epic Manager’s Closed Alpha will present players with an ever-growing slice of the full experience. At first, Closed Alpha players will be able to experience all the game's mechanics until a certain point in the Agency's progression. As per the first release (v.0.1), this point will be set to the first two years of your Manager’s career, so about 100 game turns representing the ‘Bronze and Silver Leagues’.
New content, bug fixes, balances changes and progression opportunities will then be added on a regular basis through automatic patches, as we further tweak balancing and the game's core features with the player feedback we receive.
Disclaimer: If game breaking bugs and unbalanced values aren’t your thing, please wait until our Steam Early Access release before playing. Although the game is already fun, it isn’t complete yet as there is still a lot of content and polish to be added to the campaign. The Closed Alpha is essentially a massive playtest that will allow us to iron out the kinks in the game, highlight what works well and fix the things that don’t!
We’ll soon be opening two new sections on the Forums, one for bug reporting and the other for gameplay / balance feedback discussions. Know that we will be monitoring the Forums daily and trying to respond as quickly as we can!
We’ve also setup a short online survey for Alpha version 0.1 using ‘Google Forms’ that will be available to you straight from the game’s Main Menu (and also at the end of a Campaign). If you have a few minutes to spare, don’t hesitate to fill it out after giving the game a run or two!
Our current plan is to publish a new survey with each significant game update (0.2 / 0.3 / etc) so we can track the evolution of player satisfaction over time. While we cherish engaging discussions on the Forums and social media, it is also important for us to identify future development priorities by gathering more quantitative (and easily interpretable) feedback, and the short surveys we’re preparing aim at doing just that!
We’ve also got our eye on a few more potential reporting tools we could be using in the near future. More details on those will follow the Closed Alpha Release day.
During the weeks following the Closed Alpha release, we will continue developing the game but more importantly, we will also be very active on the forums and elsewhere to collect your feedback/balance/bug-reports every day.
There are only four of us and a few hundred of you, so while the prospect of gathering all incoming feedback looks a bit daunting, we look forward to the chance of having a few hundred more people contributing more directly to the game’s development!
As the weeks go on, the game will consistently be growing. Through the game updates on Steam, we will be adding quests, random encounters, features, bug fixes, polishing etc. on a regular basis. After a few patches and a few broken save files, we are confident that we are going to end up with a fun game for all of the 2D strategy fantasy tycoon management fans out there!
While some missing features (like community-created unique adventurers) will be added to the game during the course of the Closed Alpha, others (like Prestige Classes, the Alchemist, the Enchanter, etc.) will more likely be introduced progressively afterwards, during the Early Access months.
Shortly following the Closed Alpha Release, we’ll publish and keep updating a comprehensive development road-map, outlining such major upcoming content updates and to let you know what we’re currently working on for the next patch.
Details regarding future digital and physical Kickstarter rewards will also be addressed in a dedicated Forum Thread around that point.
We’ve been chasing bugs! Big icky ones! We really wanted to release the alpha this week, but there were still some game breaking and fun breaking issues that we were aware of and wanted to eliminate before handing it over to you! There aren’t too many left, but there are still some tricky ones that will require us to spend a few more nights at the studio to make sure everything functions correctly.
We’ve also been adding tool-tips, scout dialogues and UI feedback in areas of the game that were a bit confusing. This has actually really helped the game’s flow. There are so many mechanics and resources to be aware of during a turn that it was necessary for information to be readily available for every icon/button. Although a lot has already been done, your feedback will be crucial in order to figure out what areas of the game we can improve on and clarify even more.
To be honest, the biggest challenge we’ve tackled this week is balancing. As we are debugging, we are also testing the overall progression of the game. Although it’s quite a task to balance adventurer progression, combat values, agency progression, salary negotiations, etc. simultaneously, the campaigns are becoming more and more fun as we keep tweaking values to make all the game mechanics more cohesive and coherent!
With all of this in mind, we felt like it would be better to spend a few extra days ironing out the major bugs, adding visual feedback and balancing the game before releasing the alpha. Giving you a knowingly flawed build would defeat the purpose of this alpha release, which is firstly, to say thank you for your support during the game’s development and secondly, to collect feedback on what you believe is fun or not in the game.
We can’t thank you enough for your continued support through the Kickstarter and beyond, we really feel blessed to have such a positive, respectful and awesome community behind us and the game. We can’t wait for you to finally discover the world of Astraeus next week!
There are only a few more days until the game is in the hands of our backers and we are working our hardest to make sure it’s ready! Until then, best regards to each and everyone of you.
As usual, don't hesitate to reach to us here on the Forums if you have any questions or comments, it's always a pleasure to hear back from you all!
Stay tuned and above all, stay Epic!
- The ManaVoid Dev Team
Simon 'OISIN' Girard