Swordship. Version Alpha, debriefing!

Stéphane Restani

Stéphane Restani

Developer

Thanks a lot to all of you for being part of our early build of Swordship. Congrats to our winners, RICQUI, Noeuguedum and Aless for blowing the highscore off the roof. We hope you’ll enjoy your prizes 🙂 And an enormous thank you to everyone for the most valuable feedback and playful times.

  • We recorded 134 players, who played a total of 80 hours accross 3500 games.
  • 7588 Mines escaped without blowing up , 4820 Gunners and 181 Backkillers could leave unharmed.
  • On the flip-side, 14538 Mines exploded, 18880 Gunners blew up and you killed 14979 Backkillers. A total of 37710 Dashers crashed into the water.
  • Container-wise, most of the cargo got safely home, with a 90% delivery rate. 10% were used as a last resort (or just for fun!)

We’ve had a couple of days to wind off, and are now planning our next milestone, which is coming in hot: Gamescom in august. Now, the event is currently cancelled, stuff is happening online, there is a lot of uncertainty. But what we know for sure is that we’ll keep on moving forward. So we started planning our road ahead.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Take what we observed during the alpha (thanks to stats, live streams and watching people playing)
  • Take what you observed during the alpha (and the feedbacks you gave us in discord)
  • Take what we want to do (it’s still our game after all!)
  • Take what we wanted to do 5 months ago

Keep what makes sense, discard (or postpone) the rest, mash it all together, extract high-level features, sanity-check that we can do everything for the deadline and call it a plan. Here’s what we ended up with:

Meta game

A lot of you asked for it: “what can we expect from the final game?”/”how are you going to keep us playing for hours?”

We already have a basic idea of what we want to achieve (a roguelike progression model, various levels and environments), but the devil’s in the details. We still need to answer questions such as:

  • How will you obtain the various skills?
  • How will you progress through the environments?
  • How will you experience various container effects?
  • How is the narrative frame introduced and how will it keep you hooked?
  • How will each individual level play out?

So the goal of this will be to answer all of these questions (and more), and implement the basic systems that will let us put the game together down the road.

Playable tutorial

You all had the “chance” of experiencing our image-based tutorial. It was obviously not final, but it served us as a cheap way to see what info we needed to communicate to get you started. It helped us see what needs explanations vs what is obvious (dive cooldown, anyone?).

Now that we have a better understanding of that, combined with how we’ll go about for the meta game, we’ll implement a “real” playable tutorial (which will more likely be a gentle introduction to the game rather than a “tutorial” button, since we hate these as much as you do).

We’ll iterate the same way for the meta game. You can expect another image-based tutorial for the meta-game aspects in the next milestone, which will help us cheaply figure out exactly what needs to be communicated.

Improved Juice

You quickly realized that our screenshots were a deceitful attempt at gathering more guinea pigs players into discord. These cool side-views, close-ups into the action are nowhere to be seen in the alpha. Well that’s something we’ve always wanted to have, and we’re planning it for the next release. You will soon be able to experience these sweet Burnout moments in-game.

On top of that, we’re also planning on improving the “death experience” (what happens when you lose). Better animations, slow-mos, you’ll soon be begging to lose just so you can see the cool animations we’ve put.

Improved UI

The current menu is slick and all, but we won’t be able to fit the entirety of what we want in it. We’re planning on rewamping them (and rest assured they’ll still be as clean as they are now) to better fit our vision for the meta-game.

Improved audio

We want to explore a lot more in audio than what we currently have. Stuff like spatialization of explosions, doppler effects, we want to go crazy with the sound effects. You guys also seemed to love the track, but like everything, it gets boring pretty fast. We’ll try to get another track running for you in this next release.

Additional content

Two of the major pillars of content will be skills and containers (depending on our meta game discussions, these might end up being called pilots and ships, that’s still pending). In the alpha, these mapped to the dive and the explosion as you used your container. On top of improving what we currently have (cough cough dive cooldown cough cough), we’ll be adding one new skill and one new container effect in the next release.

What these will be exactly is still undefined (although we have some rough ideas already!), so if you have ideas, share them in discord!

Correctifs post stunfest

I knew I had a french term somewhere.

This “feature” concerns addressing all bugs/unbalances/inefficiencies we observed during our public test, together with all of the leftover stuff we had from the alpha.

Playtests (Gamescom)

Planning for these events requires a ton of work, so to make sure we’re not forgetting anything, this is also accounted for in our planning.

Closing thoughts

The public alpha test was a blast for us, and we really hope you had as much fun as we had.

We’ll still be testing stuff internally on our discord, so if you’re already there, make sure to stick around. If not, join us on discord: watching how new players pick up the game is incredibly valuable to us.

The download link for the alpha has been revoked, meaning it can no longer be used to get the build. If you really want to give it a try, ping us on discord, we’re not closed to the idea of leaving it public.

Also, remember all of this is just a plan. It does not guarantee anything. Things can (and will) change. We’ll always take the decisions we feel take us closer to the game we want to make, with your help.

In any case, thank you all for being part of this with us, and until next time!