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Overview of development builds and release plan details

With the blessing of the developers I prepared the following overview of development builds. Hopefully this contributes to avoiding misunderstandings.

Prototype

This is the earliest build of the game. It was used to create the promotional footage seen in the crowdfunding campaigns. Only some of the final features were implemented and almost none of them finished or polished. But the basis for the tech and gameplay were both there.


Alpha / Work in Progress

Since the beginning, the game engine has been refactored thoroughly to assist future development and further design decision have been made concerning the mechanics of the game, including the wider world map providing a background to the settlement area under the player’s control. On the way towards the beta (see below), it has been decided to release - gradually, in controlled batches - the current WIP version to the backers with the “Closed Beta Access” reward, i.e. the Lord level and above (initially the plan was not to share the game with the backers at this early stage yet).

This version is a first approach to the Mesolithic era in Atlantic Europe. It includes resource production and gathering, building construction, basic tools (the knowledge system is not yet present), minimal work specialization, tribal policies, and the migration mechanic. See www.ancient-cities.com/funding.php for a full desciption of the contents. The game will receive continuous updates for the players to enjoy and test as the development progresses all the way to release.


Beta

The beta stage will be reached once the game is feature-complete, i.e. it contains all the mechanics and gameplay planned for release (see below). This stage is envisioned to last a few months in which the game will receive a final polish and balancing based on the feedback.


Full release

After the final polish, the game will be released to the general public and available for purchase. In terms of contents, the full release version will cover the transition from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic (the Neolithic revolution) in Atlantic Europe.

Later, backers with the Chief level and above will receive two future expansions that have been unlocked during the crowdfunding period covering the Ice Age (before the base game timeline) and the Neolithic Middle East for free, once they are developed. All further, as of yet unannounced, expansions to the game will be free for backers with the Savant level and above. All other unlocked goals concerning game features (more biomes, disease simulation, etc.) will each be added to the base game for everyone either at the full release or later, depending on the available development capacity.

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Nice sum up, thanks @Marko :+1:

For a time I’ve been left a bit uneasy with the “2 future expansions” offered for free to every backer. I thought about diseases, sea, animal companions and all others that I thought would be granted for free to every backer, as the goals have been reached before the end of crowdfunding.

It took me some time to realize there are 2 different things here:

  • Ice Age and Neolithic Middle East are clearly expansions – meaning in short every one buying the game after release will have to buy them to use their features;
  • every other goal is basically made of feature implemented into the game and accessible to everyone having the base game.

Hence you were totally right about the 2 DLCs, even though to avoid misunderstanding I’d suggest adding the pledges will be an integral part of the game.

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Thanks, @Elfryc! I added the suggested edit.

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Thanks Marko, good summary.

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Thanks a lot for that overview and thanks to the developers for letting you do this / helping you with this.
But let’s be clear about this. The WIP version might not yet contain every feature seen in the promotional footage, right? It’s kind of implied by the WIP-version being “refactored”, but not explicitly stated.
Just want people to be prepared and not expecting more than there is.

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I don’t know about the comparison with the promotional footage. The developers will have to answer that.

Btw, I just edited the names of the stages based on additional input/suggestions by the devs concerning how they see their progress in retrospect. (Fusi, I removed your reference to Alpha for this reason in order not to be confusing for the reader since the name now changed.)

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That’s alright.

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The current version includes the contents described in www.ancient-cities.com/funding.php for the “closed beta access” reward as has been already published everywhere.

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Okay, good. So, for example hunting and animals that were in the trailer aren’t in the WIP version yet.

This trailer was from the prototype version and include prototype features. Some of them has been already included in the current game and some other not. Anyway this prototype code is the base of current version so will be very easy to include these features in the current game core.

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Guys, I get that there are valid reasons and content, that has already been created for this engine is easy to re-implement.
But I take it as a definive yes. Hunting/animals are not in the game right now. It’s just good to know.

Good work, just one question. The expansions will be only for Chief and above? Because in Lord it says “Unlocked expansions”. I’m not a english native speaker, so maybe I’m misunderstanding something.

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Yes, but Chief is one level lower than Lord, so that of course means that the Lord level also gets the unlocked expansions :slight_smile:

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Sooo, is not that I misunderstood something, is that I misread something jajaja
Thank you and sorry xD

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Someone with a Lord account already got the key to the game? Has anyone got a key to the game yet? I can’t find any footage or new screenshots on the internet…

This is because people aren’t allowed to share anything yet. They want to keep things under wraps until the game is good enough for the general public. If you get the game you can’t post anything without permission until later. And yes they’ve sent out the first batch of lord keys.

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nope, still no key

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See here:
https://forum.ancient-cities.com/t/first-closed-version-for-backers-release-date/5633/577?u=marko

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Thanks for the breakdown. :palms_up_together: Greatly appreciated.

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