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ErikH2000
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PigmyWubba wrote:
We've been in a slow period for a while now, a lot of the team has been busy, but from what I heard we are hoping to push for a release before the end of this year.
The world isn't right if you don't finish.

-Erik

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05-07-2019 at 03:01 PM
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Nuntar
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Thank you for the words of encouragement :)

I apologise for going so long without an update post. My life has been so hectic for a while that it's been hard to know what to say. In September I suddenly quit my job and started a PGCE (teacher training course), which is extremely intensive, time-consuming and stressful. In November I fell ill, and it wasn't at all certain whether I'd be able to complete the course. I ended up taking time out and resuming study in January, which means that I won't finish until next February. On the plus side, I will have a long summer break and I won't be looking for jobs yet, so my time will be entirely my own for roughly ten weeks.

Unfortunately, this has coincided with a slack period when other team members have also been busy, so there hasn't been much progress overall. We have made some important progress with feedback and testing, but this is "invisible" progress -- it doesn't add to the number of rooms and it's hard to quantify.

So, this is the current state of play. When my placement finishes on 14 June, I will post (on the private beta board) a detailed schedule of what still needs to be done, so that we can check off tasks as they get completed and get an idea of our rate of progress. I hope that others will also have more free time over the summer and we'll be able to pick up the pace again, but unfortunately I can't make any guarantees. I will also decide how many per cent each task is worth, so that I can make a progress bar, and I'll update it at least every week.

One idea I've had -- but I don't know how far this will go -- is to find a good time (probably on a Sunday) and do a weekly development / testing stream. I'd like to find a time when as many people as possible can join in, but I know some people will want to stay away so as not to see any of the hold before release.

I don't know what will happen after the summer; we'll have to decide based on how progress stands at that time. I'd love to have the hold finished by the end of the summer, but that depends on how many of the team are available, not just on me.

As always, anyone who wants (and has CaravelNet) can still sign up to help us get the hold finished faster. Right now, we are mostly looking for testers for the higher tiers. If anyone wants to help with architecture, there are no levels left to be claimed, but you could help by collaborating on one of the remaining levels; there are also a few missing single rooms that we'd like to fill in.

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05-08-2019 at 03:15 PM
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ErikH2000
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If you do a Sunday Twitch stream,consider having yours before or after mine (3 to 5pm ish). We can try /raiding each other (send viewers to other channel at end of stream).

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05-08-2019 at 03:25 PM
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Nuntar
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I did a test stream tonight and it went better than expected :P So, let's pencil in next Sunday, 26 May at 9pm (UK time), for the first Entry Point stream!

I'm going to play through the hold from the beginning. By now, nearly everything in the early tiers is finished and stable, but it's still good to have a final look over everything -- and having to explain to someone else why something is the way that it makes it a lot easier to feel sure that it's right! Also, there are more difficult optional levels scattered throughout the hold, and some are near the beginning, so it won't take too long for me to hit rooms I haven't solved before and might need help with :P

Ultimately, I want to end up with a series of videos that I can leave on my channel indefinitely, and can be viewed as a kind of Let's Play with developer commentary. For this to work as well as possible, it would be great to have a good number of viewers so that I don't get stuck in one place for too long. I know that some people will want to stay away to avoid spoilers, and that's okay. For anyone who's already played the early tiers, or is okay with seeing them ahead of release, I look forward to seeing you on Sunday! :D

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50th Skywatcher
05-20-2019 at 12:09 AM
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Banjooie
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i respect that this has been in the works for five years now
05-23-2019 at 08:00 PM
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Nuntar
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No stream tonight, I'm sorry. I'm still recovering from a cold, and given that I got halfway through Chapter 1 last time, I want to resume when I'm at full strength so I can try to fit the rest of the chapter into a single stream.

On a more positive note, I'm really enjoying streaming the hold so far and we've had some great feedback from the stream chat that has helped enormously with ironing out the few remaining issues in the levels covered so far.

I'm going to continue the streams regularly on Sundays at 8pm. The earlier start time means I can go for about 3 hours, which feels like a good length of time for one chunk, given how long the hold is!

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50th Skywatcher
06-16-2019 at 09:12 PM
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ErikH2000
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Nuntar wrote:
No stream tonight, I'm sorry.
I just noticed that I missed this. And I was going to go catch up a bit.

But... what's the link?

-Erik

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06-25-2019 at 06:59 AM
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Nuntar
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Hi Erik,

I've invited you to the beta board for EP (The Descent of King Hesper). There's a sticky topic where I keep the links to previous streams. I don't want to keep the links publicly available, because I am playing through the entire hold, secrets and all. When a reasonable length of time has passed after release, I'll set the streams to public and repost the links in the Holds topic.

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50th Skywatcher
06-25-2019 at 07:05 PM
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ErikH2000
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Ah, I see! At first, I thought you were just terrible at self-promotion. :)

Thanks, Nuntar.

-Erik

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dev journals | twitch stream | youtube archive (NSFW)
06-26-2019 at 01:39 AM
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mauvebutterfly
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And here I just assumed that Erik had access to all beta holds already.

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106th Skywatcher
06-26-2019 at 09:31 AM
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Nuntar
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We've had some discussion in chat about the possibility of taking a break from the EP livestreams, and the outcome is that we are not taking a break right now, but it remains a possibility for the future if it gets too stressful.

So, this Sunday will be (hopefully) the last stream for Chapter 3. There are three levels left -- one I haven't played before at all, so that could be a problem, but the other two are not too hard.

I think, since the streams have often run longer than the planned 3 hours, and since I have a particular stopping point that I strongly want to reach, I will start a bit earlier, at 7:30pm UK time, and we'll see how that goes -- if it turns out well then I'll make that the regular start time.

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50th Skywatcher
08-14-2019 at 10:26 PM
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Nuntar
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We did indeed make it to the end of Chapter 3 in last night's livestream. However, I think at this point I definitely need a break, and the end of a chapter is a very good place to take one, so I am going to take a break from livestreams until further notice.

Thank you to everyone who's taken part -- it's been extremely helpful in finding improvements that needed to be made.

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08-20-2019 at 12:38 AM
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Pinnacle
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11 3-hour streams to get through the first 3 (out of 7) main story chapters really puts the sheer size of the hold into perspective. Of course this includes doing all the secret rooms, optional levels and challenges along the way, making a beeline straight for the end would be a lot faster.

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08-20-2019 at 04:46 PM
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slimm tom
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Here I am again, wondering how things are going on this project. I would hate for it to never see the light of day.
07-27-2020 at 09:35 AM
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Nuntar
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Whew. It really is a long time since the last update post.

As I mentioned above, last year I itemised everything remaining so that we had a progress tracker with completion percentage. This started at 87.32% -- this was last July -- and is currently up to 89.70%. So, steady but slow progress.

Although the increase of 2.4% in a year is disappointing, this doesn't mean we expect it to take another four years. It just means this has been a particularly slow period. There is really not that much left to be done.

Over the last couple of days, Dragon Fogel and others have started a push to try to make more rapid progress in the next month. We'll see how things look then, and make a decision on whether we need to change our strategy for the endgame.

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07-31-2020 at 08:01 PM
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Pinnacle
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To be a bit more specific on the state of development, the hold is very nearly content complete aside from a few small but critical endgame things. In terms of testing and polish, the first six chapters are generally quite polished with few to no outstanding issues, but for whatever reason chapter 7 ended up being an immense difficulty spike, which led to its levels being fairly intimidating for testers to approach, resulting in a bit of a standstill due to lack of feedback. Momentum seems to be picking back up though, so hopefully it will be possible to share a planned release date in the near future. It's a specific problem with a specific solution, and hopefully with the recent stretch of slow progress (let's call it an unintended but needed break to prevent burnout) we can move on to implementing that solution.

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Once (adv.): Enough.
Twice (adv.): Once too often.
~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

[Last edited by Pinnacle at 07-31-2020 08:27 PM]
07-31-2020 at 08:19 PM
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slimm tom
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Glad to hear people are still actively working on this! Thanks for the update, and the best of luck with the endgame.
08-01-2020 at 06:14 PM
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Nuntar
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Time for a much more positive post! :D

As said above, we've been making a push to try to get progress to pick up again. Specifically, we decided to try to get as far as we could during August, and then have a look to see whether we were on track or whether we would have to change our strategy somehow.

This push has gone far better than any of us hoped for. Specifically:

* Our progress bar has increased by 1.2% during August -- in other words, equivalent to half of what was achieved during the entire previous year.
* We have recruited three new team members, who have already been great contributions, particularly in feedback on finished levels.
* mauvebutterfly has started a playthrough of the entire hold from the beginning, giving feedback but also considering the hold from the point of view of a HA, so that we can get one of our HA votes in early. He is currently deep into Chapter 6, so well over halfway through the hold, and we are keeping on top of dealing with all issues raised.
* Dragon Fogel's stream is serving as a last look over the very early game. Right now he has finished with Chapters 1 and 2 and all issues raised have been fixed, so these chapters are now completely finished.

I don't know how things will continue from here, but we have a plan of campaign and we have backup plans for what to do if things slow down again, so I am absolutely confident now that we can get this finished! :thumbsup

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09-01-2020 at 12:03 AM
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I can playtest, if you are interested.
09-01-2020 at 02:58 PM
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Nuntar
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More people are always welcome! You would have to turn on "Available for beta testing holds" in your profile. Also, since we are specifically looking for more people to test the endgame and postgame content, let me know if you're willing to help out with that, and I'll PM instructions to get there without playing through all the early chapters.

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09-01-2020 at 05:53 PM
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I turned it on. I'll probably play a little from the earlier chapters in order to get into the right mindset for the hold.
09-02-2020 at 05:25 AM
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averagemoe
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Watching Fogel's stream, I saw something that looked like a good place to add a room. So I whipped something up, and a secret room branching off of it. Where can I submit them?

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09-04-2020 at 09:13 PM
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Pinnacle
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The majority of the rooms that are being hidden have already been built, and the remaining ones are claimed by someone, so we're just looking for places to put them.

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[Last edited by Pinnacle at 09-04-2020 09:21 PM]
09-04-2020 at 09:20 PM
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Nuntar
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You can send it to me by PM and I will at least look at it, but I can't promise we will add it. As Pinnacle said, we are pretty much done with the early chapters now and the streams are just a final look over them to catch any remaining issues.

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09-04-2020 at 09:26 PM
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averagemoe
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I don't see a way to attach a file to a PM.

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09-04-2020 at 09:33 PM
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Illusionist
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I'm thinking about joining, but I have to warn - I am of medium / intermediate skills, I am not an expert (like most of you guys), so I don't know if I'm fit enough to test anything. Also, I am more of a lynchpin guy rather than puzzlemaster. If anything I can test the lynchpin puzzles OR tedious ones and give feedback whether they are tiresome or allright. Or something else can be arranged, depending on your needs guys

[Last edited by Illusionist at 09-21-2020 12:45 PM]
09-05-2020 at 07:26 PM
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Nuntar
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I'm not an expert either, and being an expert is certainly not required for contributing :P As I said to bbb above, you would have to turn on "Available for beta testing holds" in your CaravelNet settings for me to add you.

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50th Skywatcher
09-05-2020 at 07:49 PM
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Nuntar wrote:
I'm not an expert either, and being an expert is certainly not required for contributing :P As I said to bbb above, you would have to turn on "Available for beta testing holds" in your CaravelNet settings for me to add you.

Okay, I'm available now, I hope that I will be worthy. The reason I am careful is that I would not want to be a liability, but rather, bush (do not confuse with push) the project further.
I have plenty of time to test, but I hope that my feedback will be useful.
* :wizard *

[Last edited by Illusionist at 09-21-2020 12:45 PM]
09-05-2020 at 07:56 PM
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Nuntar
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Time for another update :thumbsup

We're still making great progress -- with 2.8% gained over the last two months, at the current rate of progress we should be finished within another six, even without compromising on any of the content we'd like to have. That's not a guarantee, of course, but it means that things are very hopeful.

Those who have signed up recently have been great additions to the team and have helped enormously. So, as always, the door is open if anyone else wants to take part.

Dragon Fogel's streams are now midway through Chapter 4, and pretty much all issues before that point have been resolved. There are only twelve remaining unfinished levels -- most of them in varying states of partial completion and some nearly finished -- and an ever-shrinking list of levels we are looking for more testing on.

I know I've said a few times in the past that I hope we can get this finished in the next year, and each time that hasn't worked out, but this time I feel confident that we will be releasing some time in 2021. I don't know exactly when, but the current plan is that around Christmas we will look at where we are up to and decide on a tentative release date.

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09-30-2020 at 07:14 PM
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averagemoe
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Joined recently? Wait, does that mean such a thing is still open? Where?

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09-30-2020 at 08:05 PM
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