Siralim Ultimate: Release Roadmap

Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Thylacine Studios Podcast. In this episode, I want to talk about the roadmap for Siralim Ultimate and how all the different release stages will work. I also want to give you a glimpse of what to expect with the alpha version of the game.

As you probably know by now, we’ll release the game to our alpha backers on August 10. By the way, it’s still not too late to buy alpha access to the game, so if you’re interested, check out the PayPal shop on our website at thylacinestudios.com. Alpha will take place on Steam only, and will start out only available on Windows for the first few weeks. Later on, after the game is more stable, I’ll release it for Mac and Linux as well.

I can’t give you a definite time for when you’ll receive your key – I need to send them to everyone manually, so that makes it difficult to predict when you’ll get to play. I’ll start sending the keys out around 1pm EST on August 10, and I’m hoping it won’t take longer than a couple hours to send them out to everyone. If you purchased alpha access via our PayPal shop, you’ll receive the key at the same e-mail address you used to make your purchase. If you’re a Kickstarter backer, you’ll receive your key through their messaging system.

As for what you should expect in alpha… a lot of bugs and crashes, of course, but I’ll be aggressively patching the game during the first week or so to make sure you don’t hit some horrible roadblock that prevents you from playing. The full focus, especially during the first couple weeks, will be on bug and crash fixes – I won’t be adding any new content or making balance adjustments during this time. In fact, I probably won’t add any content at all during alpha. I don’t know how long alpha will last because it all depends on how smoothly things go and how many issues come up during this time.

Content-wise, alpha includes all the main story quests, along with a healthy amount of end-game content including prophecies, god relics, projects, Nether Stones, and more. All 15 of the original specializations are fully implemented as well. You’re not going to run out of content during the alpha. In fact, there’s already more content than there was in Siralim 3. Don’t forget about fusion, too – I can guarantee that you’ll spend hours upon hours looking at all the different combinations of creatures you can make. One thing the alpha probably won’t include – at least not at the start – is a tutorial system. In Siralim 3, there were a bunch of popups that would explain game mechanics to you, and those aren’t implemented yet in Siralim Ultimate. There isn’t a libary system yet either. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think any of the game’s mechanics are that incredibly complex that you won’t be able to figure anything out, so I’m not really worried about that.

Once the game is stable, we’ll move toward the beta phase. Your alpha keys will still work during beta, and I’ll send out keys to all the beta backers during this time as well. During beta, I’ll focus on quality of life improvements, balance adjustments, and some content. The goal of beta is to make the game feel good to play. This phase will be all about polish. I might add a few new pieces of content as well, such as new specializations.

A few weeks before beta ends, I’ll send out surveys to backers who purchased the right to work with us to design custom content, like creatures, costumes, spells, and things like that. You’ll have plenty of time – at least a few weeks – to submit your answers, and by this point you’ll have been able to play the game for at least a couple months so you should have a good idea about what you want me to add to the game by then. Most content will have a deadline for your submissions, but some of the larger-scale pieces of content such as specializations and custom realms will be more flexible since that will require a lot more back-and-forth communication with me.

Next, we’ll enter Early Access – again, only on Steam. During this time, we’ll have a lot of new players trying out the game, many of whom have never played a Siralim game before, so it’ll be interesting to get a fresh perspective on the gameplay. I’ll continue adding new content during this time. My hope is that all the promised backer content and stretch goals will be implemented during Early Access aside from a few features. I know the roguelike mode won’t happen during Early Access – that’ll come after launch. I’m pretty sure everything else will be added in Early Access, though.

After the game leaves Early Access, I’ll start working on the roguelike mode, the mobile ports, and finally I’ll work on the console ports. I have absolutely no idea when any of those things will be finished – it’s impossible to even guess a quarter in 2021 right now, but I’ll keep you updated. At no point during development do I plan to wipe your save files. There might be a bug or crash or something that wipes them out, but that’s the only way you’ll lose your progress.

I’m really excited for you all to finally test out the game. I’ve been playing through the story quests to make sure there aren’t any massive bugs or crashes, and I’m so happy with how the game feels already. During these final few weeks prior to our alpha launch, I probably won’t release any more podcast episodes so that I can dedicate all my time toward the release. After the alpha is stabilized though, you’ll definitely hear from me again. In the meantime, keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook, subreddit, Discord, website, or forums for updates. That’s it for this episode, and I’ll see you guys next time!

Siralim Ultimate: Online Features Revised

Transcript

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Thylacine Studios Podcast. In this episode, I want to talk about some of the online features in Siralim Ultimate and how I’ve decided to change the way they work based on player feedback.

When I started working on Siralim Ultimate, I envisioned a game that would be ever-changing. The idea was for there to be so many moving parts in the game that you could play it non-stop and never run out of things to do because there would always be some new event to keep you occupied. I still like that idea and plan to move forward with it, but some of the features that I planned to have online components have turned out to not be so great. I feel like I was forcing online functionality into features that didn’t really need them. So, I want to talk about what those features are and how I plan to change them in Siralim Ultimate.

First, you might remember that I revealed “World Bosses” a couple months ago. These were supposed to be giant bosses that would spawn on a timer. The timer would be contained on a server, so every single person playing the game would have their game invaded by the same World Boss at the same time. Then, players would all find the World Boss and defeat it which would help to fend off this “invasion”. After the World Boss was defeated by enough players, everyone who participated would receive a reward.

In the end, I don’t think the online functionality for World Bosses really needs to exist. I don’t want players to be at the mercy of the game deciding when you can fight a boss. And, imagine if you happen to be asleep or at work or school while a certain World Boss spawns, and by the time you’re able to play the game, it’s gone. That would feel pretty bad. So, I’ve decided to remove all online components from World Bosses.

I haven’t designed the specifics about how you’ll encounter them yet, but World Bosses will still be huge creatures that you’ll fight that have unique mechanics associated with them. These bosses take up all 6 creature slots for the enemy, and each slot contains a different body part. That might sound kind of weird, so I’ll give you an example. Hydranox is one of the World Bosses you’ll encounter in Siralim Ultimate. It’s a giant hydra that is so large that it takes up the entire battlefield, so it doesn’t have room for allies or anything like that. It’ll start with 5 heads, one for each slot, plus a body which consumes the remaining slot. The body is immune to damage and buffs the heads, and increases their stats and provides support for it. When you kill a head, two more spawn in its place which means they can now attack, cast spells, and employ all other effects two times. When you kill those two heads, three new ones will spawn. And when you finally kill those three heads, no more will spawn. Since there are 5 head slots and each one can have up to 3 heads, you might be fighting 15 heads at once if you carelessly mow them all down at once with area-of-effect spells. So, the optimal strategy for fighting this boss is to tackle one “head slot” at a time.

I feel like I rambled on a bit too much there, so if you’re still confused, don’t worry about it – the mechanics of how each fight works will be better-explained in-game. Anyway, some of the rewards you’ll earn from World Bosses include exclusive spell gem recipes (5 will be available from each boss), exclusive trait materials for your artifacts, cosmetics, and much more.

So, that’s how I’m thinking World Bosses will work now. No more online functionality – and I think this feature will be better off for it.

Next, I want to talk about Tavern Brawls. A while back, I asked everyone to fill out a survey regarding Tavern Brawls. The survey was very short and simply asked players how much they enjoy Tavern Brawls as they are in Siralim 3. Over 700 people replied to the survey, and your feedback is pretty clear: most people hate them. And those of you who don’t outright hate them simply don’t care about them one way or another. In total, less than 10% of players said they like this feature. Unfortunately, Tavern Brawls are also one of the most obnoxious things for me to handle from a coding perspective, and there are so many little bugs associated with them even in Siralim 3 that I feel like it’s all held together with bandaids and chewing gum at this point. So, it’s impossible for me to justify spending so much time on a feature that the majority of players dislike. I have a really cool idea in mind that will replace Tavern Brawls – it won’t feature PvP elements at all, but I think you’ll like it. It’s still a little too early to announce the specifics about this yet, but I’m extremely confident that most of you will enjoy what I have in mind. I recognize that some of you really enjoyed Tavern Brawls, and I’m sorry that this feature won’t make its way to Siralim Ultimate. It was a nice experiment, but it just proved that any form of PvP in the Siralim games is a bad idea. I won’t even get into all the flaws with Tavern Brawls right now because that’s not the point of this episode, but it’s something I’ll take a deep dive into at some point because I think it’s a pretty interesting topic to explore from a game design perspective.

Lastly, let’s talk about Siralim Ultimate’s Event Calendar. For those of you who don’t know (or simply forgot), there will be an in-game calendar that is tied to real-world time. It lists all the events that will happen in the game. Siralim 3 had a lot of events that rewarded exclusive creatures, materials, cosmetics, and more. These events were very well-received, but I didn’t like the fact that there was no way for players to see when an event would happen. A lot of people would check Facebook or Twitter several days after an event ended only to find out that they missed out on a wardrobe costume, and that’s a big problem to me. So, in Siralim Ultimate, there will be a calendar that will tell you when an event is coming up. I’m even planning to add optional push notifications to the mobile version of the game so that you can opt-in to reminders about events on your phone.

Anyway, so far, I’ve repeated what you already know about the calendar. The big change I’m planning for this, however, is that I don’t want to tie any exclusive creatures to events anymore. In Siralim 3, there were 4 major holiday events that offered 5 or 6 exclusive creatures. It was fun, but again, it felt so bad to miss out on those creatures. So, for all events in Siralim Ultimate (including the holiday ones like Halloween), rewards will mostly be cosmetic in nature: creature skins, decorations, things like that. There also might be a few exclusive trait materials for you to acquire because I don’t think that’s as punishing as missing out on a creature, but I’m hesitant to even do that. I think time-based rewards should all be cosmetic. And, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I also have an idea in mind to allow players to manipulate the calendar in case they missed out on an event – but I’m still not ready to announce specifics on that.

So, that’s pretty much all I have to say about online functionality in Siralim Ultimate. I think these changes will make for a much better experience for everyone. Whether you agree or disagree, I want to hear your thoughts about it. The game isn’t even in alpha testing yet, so there’s obviously plenty of time to iterate on things like this to make it as player-friendly as possible. Thanks for listening (or reading!), and I’ll see you guys next time.