Das Tal - PvP Sandbox MMORPG
20
Aug
Rumble in the Jungle: Two Villages Under Siege

Alright. We’ve had four awesome alpha weekends with you guys where we had a lot of fun duking it out in small-scale PvP. Here’s two videos, one made by us and one courtesy of the Serial MMOist.


Rumble in the Jungle

But now it’s time to go big. We’ve just sent out 800 single-use alpha keys for our next alpha test this coming Sunday (August 24th, 8 PM CET).

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This test’s goal is to stress our game servers. We expect around 100 players to be able to log in at the same time so don’t be too upset if you don’t get in at first. Not everybody will actually make it to the test but we’ll still be over-subscribed a lot. You can also expect a good amount of lag as we’re getting nearer to the current server capacity - so keep your cool if things start lagging out a little (or a lot). 

Our upcoming tests will be less crowded again as we’ll increase our server capacity further and keep the number of invitees a little smaller. 


Veteran Tester Status

As I just wrote, these 800 keys we just sent out are single-use. So they are only good for this one test. Once the test is over you’ll have to wait for us to select you for another test again. This of course is going to get harder as more people sign up for the alpha waiting list.

The keys we’ve sent out to you before today are permanent - so if you’ve had a key before this test you will also be able to participate (and you’ll continue to be able to join our coming playtests).

But so far all of you have been restricted to playing only in the short time when we opened up our game server for the Sunday playtests. This is going to change for some people. We are occasionally going to promote a very small number of testers to veteran tester status - based on their feedback quality and testing prowess. This will enable you to log into the game server 24/7. And even better: It will allow you to log into the server even if we’ve already reached the player cap for that single playtest. 


Development Contribution

So until now there have only been two ways to get into the alpha tests: Get randomly selected from the waiting list or impress us with your community contributions to the game (like signing up for our Greenlight campaign). We’re now working on opening up a third way.

This way will be by supporting our game’s development via alpha funding. In simple words, add to our company piggy bank and we’ll open our servers for you. Sounds dirty, but that’s game development for you, we need to pay the bills to keep the lights on. Even though we’re funded for the coming months, we need to start generating an income to sustain the team and even increase it. For example we’d really love to add another programmer to our team (with a focus on client side code and tools) - and new team members means new expenses.

Your support will earn you a bunch of awesome perks - one of them being access to the game’s alpha. But again: This will not be the only way to get into the alpha. The other two ways (join the waiting list or do something awesome in the community) are still perfectly valid. In some way or another you’re going to make it into the game, and I’m already looking forward to playing with you all.

Alex

17
Aug
Patch Notes for Alpha Playtest #3

This has changed in between Alpha #3 (10.08.14) and #4 (17.08.14):

Server Hardware

  • moved the game server from a dual-core to a 16-core virtual machine (with unnecessary 112 GB of RAM)
  • server location is now US East coast instead of Europe

These changes are not permanent. We’re experimenting with some network-related stuff and you are our test bunnies. Next week will probably see a pretty big network performance increase as our new code branch matures and is set to go to live then.

7
Aug
Das Tal goes Steam Greenlight

Today is the day. We’re launching our campaign to get Das Tal onto Steam Greenlight proper. If you ever wanted to help us make the game: Please support us with your vote.

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For those of you who are interested in the process, here’s some background information.

Why Greenlight?

Why are we doing all of this, you ask? We’re a small, independent games studio operating without the huge marketing budgets of the AAA publishers. To make our game a success we need to get the word out about it in any way possible. Bringing Das Tal to Steam will be a great way to present the game to millions of potential players. Yes, Steam is not a silver bullet for all of our distribution problems. And yes, they will take a 30% cut of our income. But it will still be worth it as we’ll be able to run more server and thusly give you guys more options of picking the perfect server for you.

The Trials: Greenlight Concepts

If you’re a regular visitor, then this probably comes as no surprise to you. We have had not one but two Greenlight Concept Pages before - one for the combat prototype and one for the game itself. Those concept pages were invaluable tools for us to find out how Greenlight works. 

Steam even provides you with insights on how many people liked your concept submission. Here is how we did so far - we haven’t publicly shared that before.

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Combat Prototype Concept Page

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Full Game Concept Page

Why does the Combat Prototype concept page have more visitors than the new one? It’s because of its age. It has been on Greenlight for about twice as long. That does account for some serious long-tail traffic over time.

Launch Day: Thunderclap

You’ve also probably seen our Thunderclap campaign. It’s a coordinated message that is going out today at 4 PM (CET) over Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr that should help us get a lot of eyes onto the game early on - currently we’re slated to reach about 94.000 people with it. Thanks to everybody who signed up for this! Here are the stats:

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Don’t worry if you’re too late for the Thunderclap. Just share our Greenlight page on your socials if you want to help us out. It’s gonna help a lot. Thanks!

Future Plans

Next steps: Promote the hell out of this campaign. Make more gameplay videos. Make a better trailer. And don’t get distracted by communication work too much - we still have a game to finish. But then we’re working on that every day and we’re chugging along just fine. I’ll go back to that right now, in fact. =D

Alex

6
Aug
Patch Notes for Alpha Playtest #3

This has changed in between Alpha #2 (27.07.14) and #3 (10.08.14):

New Features

  • added a basic minimap
  • press f2 to take screenshots (on windows you find them in C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\LocalLow\Fairytale Distillery\tal)
  • launcher now shows more detailed download infos 
  • cast icon (next to the health bars) now fades out over time
  • arrow is now invisible while you shoot your bow
  • projectiles now hit the ground when they arrive

Balancing

  • added choke points to the map
  • rock slide in the south of the map: no more running in circles
  • decreased bow and scythe damage per hit
  • scythe now has a small pushback on sweep
  • scythe sweep AE range decreased slightly
  • decreased a lot of other AoEs ranges
  • decreased base HP and Energy (300 -> 200)

Fixes

  • lots of small animation fixes
  • shader animation now only displayed when using armor skills
  • you now longer clip in the ground when dead
  • rock and tree stump colliders no longer block projectiles
4
Aug
Thunderclap For Your Alpha Key and Kicking Off August!

Hello again fancy bipeds. We have finished off July with 2 alpha tests under our belt, and have already made plans for more at our monthly planning session. July’s tests were a lot of fun, and as we optimise the server more to allow for more players and tweak our systems, they are only going to become more awesome.

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Pictures Featured: In-Game Screen Shots From Alpha Test #2

Support our Thunderclap and get yourself an alpha key!

We kicked off a small Thunderclap campaign last month to spread the word about Das Tal and our upcoming move onto Steam Greenlight, and are sitting at about 90% of our goal. Thunderclap lets people pledge to share a message on their social media and if the campaign reaches its goal, a message is sent out, whether it is a tweet or a Facebook post. Right now we want to nudge that last chunk of pledges over the line by offering alpha keys to some lucky people who support the Thunderclap. Simply send an email to Alex with a link to your Thunderclap pledge and go into the draw for 50 alpha keys. If you have already pledged to our Thunderclap, feel free to participate, we aren’t that mean.

Conditions for raffle:

  • Everybody who can use e-mail can participate. I don’t care how old you are or in which country you reside.
  • Every human can only enter once. You can only get one key per person.
  • You enter the raffle if you send me and email until before the Thunderclap launches (August 7th at 4 PM CET).
  • If there are more than 50 participants we’ll assign numbers to you and let the random generator decide on the winner.
  • The winners will get contacted by a reply to their mail.
  • Oh we’re of course legally obliged that this amazing raffle is being organized by our own Fairytale Distillery UG (haftungsbeschränkt) - learn more about us in our Impressum.

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August Awesomeness

This month is going to be another big one, as we continue with alpha tests, which we have decided to set at a weekly regular time of Sunday 3pm CET. So for this month, if you have previously had trouble remembering you can jump on at this time and be part of the tests. We also want to move onto youtube more seriously this month, by encouraging playermade content and special test events for youtubers. If you have a youtube channel and would like to get some alpha test footage, get in contact with us and let us know how we can help, or simply hit record in one of the tests. We would also really appreciate people suggesting Das Tal to their favourite youtubers. We are chatting with a few already, but hearing that their viewers want to see our gameplay might get our foot in the door with some of the larger personalities.

If all goes well, a month full of fun testing and Das Tal plastered all over the internet! Thanks for reading guys, more updates later in the month.

David

25
Jul
Patch Notes for Alpha Playtest #2

This has changed in between Alpha Playtest #1 (20.07.14) and #2 (27.07.14):

New Features

  • added a recently-healed state on the character health bars

Balancing

  • zoomed out the camera a little bit
  • reduced AoE sizes all-around by some
  • your field of view is now 240 degrees instead of 270
  • reduced bow shot damage by a lot
  • reduced scythe sweep damage by a little

Fixes

  • fast projectiles (arrows) now hit players directly - no more need for the AoE
  • moved dirt decals and tree trunks to their correct positions
  • the hemp farm is now correctly rotated
  • fixed the “white corners” bug where too much environment got culled
  • you now get interrupted from casting your spell when you die during the spell cast
  • it is not possible anymore to move around while getting up 
  • new cursor: ugly but easy to see
  • fixed a bug where after having been dead, your weapon was held wrong and you didn’t do attack animations anymore 
  • fixed a weird graphical glitch where you saw everything double in windowed mode
  • animations now scale with the spell cast duration (WiP)
  • newly spawned characters shouldn’t play an animation anymore
  • fix a server crash bug (farseer body null pointer)
  • skills now use the correct animations
  • fix array out of bounds bug in server (server crash)
  • you now respawn with F5, added text message
  • weapons now have shadows
  • render quality now defaults to pretty
21
Jul
Development Roadmap Post Alpha #1

Yesterday we ran our first playtest since moving over from our Combat Prototype (made in LÖVE/NodeJS) to our proper new code base (Unity/Photon). It was pretty amazing to see you guys have so much fun already in the tiny, feature-deprived build we gave you. If you could not be part of the test, check out the recordings and streams listed in the forums.

Today we’ve spent our morning collecting feedback and planning our next steps. We’ve decided to move to a more frequent release schedule (probably bi-weekly) and to add a staging environment and a mandatory QA phase to our release pipeline to ensure that the upcoming builds are properly tested and low on bugs.

We’ve also decided to re-order our development roadmap a little bit. Here’s an overview - this is of course subject to change and very general the further we look into the future.

Short-term:

  • improve server performance
  • improve collision to be more detailed
  • fix all known bugs
  • finish environment assets
  • improve central logging & tracking

Mid-term:

  • re-introduce prototype features: damage feedback, server-side view angle, foot steps, bushes, targeting UI, skill-recast ui
  • implement 3rd party tool for account management
  • bring back prototype audio
  • implement new skill system & more skills incl. angular selectors and self-targeting
  • particle effects for skills
  • design and implement a proper user interface
  • more armor & weapon tiers (visuals only)

Longer-term

  • mobs & base AI
  • player stats
  • player progression (XP, skills)
  • equipment
  • proper game audio & music

  • world editor
  • new (bigger) world map

  • cities
  • resources
  • crafting

We’ll keep you update on our progress in this blog and through regular patch notes. Subscribe via RSS to get the new posts delivered to your inbox. 

20
Jul
Today’s Alpha Test!

Throwing up some awesome info that Alex put together for the playtests. If you have been accepted or hope to join in some of the future playtests, check this out! Remember that we have a lot of useful info on our brand new landing page also.

First Wave of Keys Deactivated
As promised: If you got a key on Monday and have not used it yet then the key has now been deactivated. But don’t despair: We’ll send out new keys for the next test. This does not affect anyone who got their key in a later stage, of course.

CCU Cap: Only 20 players will be allowed in each game
We have a very small map for this first test and a very unoptimized server. So we’ll play it save and we’ll only admit 20 players to each round. We have a lot more activated accounts than that so to those who don’t make it into the game at first: sorry for the inconvenience. We’ll definitely run multiple rounds so that everybody will get a chance to play eventually. And of course there will be more play tests in the coming weeks and months. Biggers ones. Much bigger ones

Download the latest client now
In order to not have to waste our time during the test patching we’ve just released the final game client. Please run the patcher as soon as possible - the file size is about 200 MB. If the patcher fails to work, here’s the direct link to download the client only.

Teamspeak Server
We will announce important information in-game via text popups but the best communication channel will be our Teamspeak server. So please download the Teamspeak 3 client and join us before 5 PM on our Server at trinsic.fairydist.com.

Read the Readme: Controls, Skills, Rules & Map
We have compiled a short readme page on our web site that has all the information you need to play. The key bindings for this test are fixed (this will change later) and they are on the site. You’ll also find the details about our 12 temporary skills (two for each weapon and armor set), the rules for this “siege fight light” and the world map.

Bug Reports and Feedback
Should you encounter any bugs (quite likely) then please do either post about them in our feedback forums or send them to support@fairydist.com

Streams, Recordings & Screenshots
You are allowed - even encouraged - to record and document all gameplay. There is no NDA. We only ask you to post your screenshots, videos or streams in our forums so we can look at them and share them with the rest of the community.

Feedback Appreciated!
Dave is setting up a feedback form so you can give us structured feedback. Please take the time after the test and write down your answers to his questions so we can make the game better. 

14
Jul
Alpha Tests Have Arrived! A War for the Valley is Brewing!

Hello everyone, and welcome finally to the leadup week to the very first July playtest! It’s now official: The first playtest in the new game will take place on the upcoming Sunday, the 20th of July at 5 PM CET. 

The first batch of testers will be receiving an email today to let them know they have been accepted and pointing them in the right direction for downloads and account setup. Signing up via our alpha form is still worthwhile, as it will put you down to receive further information on the game and let you know when the next tests are happening.

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We have set up a landing page for the test which will have all crucial information that anyone could need for learning about our alpha test phase or keeping up to date. It includes the storyline I have been working on accompanied by some great new artwork by Michail, a test schedule and a readme to get people into the game itself (accepted testers that is of course). All of this will be expanded upon as we enter the testing and more information becomes available/relevant.

We are also trying to setup youtuber events for the test period, so that we can have some peronalities you may know join us in Das Tal for some fun and get some footage up for everyone to see. I am obviously contacting youtubers myself, but if you have some favourites of your own feel free to let them know and invite them along.

That is about all, less than a week from now on the 20th we will have our first playtest, and following that we should have some tasty new content, so I am looking forward to putting that together to show everyone.

- David

25
Jun
Alpha Test 7x Over-Subscribed! And: The Last Tinker Give-Away!

Hey everybody,

Alex here. I had a good day yesterday, with a ton of people signing up for our first alpha test. We’re actually about 7x oversubscribed right now and I expect this number to rise a lot until we actually get to send out test invitations. So I wanted to give those who will have to wait a little longer a small goodie. Here it is:


Send an email with the name of The Last TInker's protagonist to tinkalicious@fairydist.com and win one Steam Key for the game. The rules for this amazing raffle are simple:

  • Everybody who can use e-mail can participate. I don’t care how old you are or in which country you reside.
  • You enter the raffle if you send me the correct name until this friday (July 27th) at 4 PM CET.
  • If there are two or more mails with correct answers we’ll assign numbers to you and let the random generator decide on the winner.
  • The winner will get contacted by a reply to their mail containing the key.
  • We won’t sign you up for any newsletters or anything. That’s your job, you lazy bastard! You know where to find the sign-up link.
  • Oh we’re of course legally obliged that this amazing raffle is being organized by our own Fairytale Distillery UG (haftungsbeschränkt) - learn more about us in our Impressum.

In other news:

We haven’t yet announced how we’ll decide our testers for the upcoming playtest next month. But if you do seriously awesome shit such as dissecting our game for half an hour on your YouTube channel then you can be sure that this will greatly increase your chances.

PS: Hello to everybody who signed up for the Alpha test from Russia and Poland. You guys are awesome. =D

[edit] The raffle is over. Congratulations Pedro!

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