In the first two weeks of December we’re going to invite more players to help us test our upcoming multiplayer RTS, codenamed Project Atlas, in a series of Test Weekends. We’re inviting roughly a thousand new players so make sure you’ve signed up for a chance to be one of them!
Since 2013 we’ve been playing Atlas builds twice a week with what we’re calling a Daily Test Group. Builds for these daily tests are rough and unpolished, and they require reading a page of patch notes and often crash or have silly degeneracies. We sometimes even ask daily testers to use their imaginations or test if currently bad strategies are fun so that we can make them viable. Thanks to this small group of dedicated testers, we’ve been able to get quick feedback on minimum viable implementations of design ideas.
Now, we want to take some of these still new and in-progress designs and test them with a broader group of people. Test Weekends are our way of getting feedback at a much larger scale for a limited time. Even though these tests are more polished than our daily builds, keep in mind that this is still a very early build of the game. The most accurate name for this stage is a technical pre-alpha, which means there will be plenty of bugs, placeholders, and some incomplete game systems. While balance will be critical to the final game, at this stage we’ll be focusing only on degeneracies which block quality feedback on game systems. Once the game systems are more permanent, then it will make sense to tune balance.
Here are the main goals of the Test Weekends:
We plan on making large scale changes to the game after the Test Weekends. We’ll be taking the test offline on December 14th for Test Weekend users so that we can get back to iterating more quickly. A few players who participate in Test Weekends may be invited to the Daily Test Group. If that’s something you want, let us know in the feedback survey we send out after the test.
Please make sure you’ve signed up if you’re interested in participating in the Test Weekends!
Q: What’s a Non-Disclosure Agreement and why haven’t I seen gameplay discussion?
A: As part of the signup process, you agree to avoid sharing anything about Atlas publicly. That includes images, videos, streams, and even written discussions. We’ll be showing you experimental ideas which would not make sense if presented out of context. Since many of these ideas won’t make the final cut, public exposure would cause more confusion and misunderstanding than constructive discussion. We need your help! We’re a small independent studio and we’ll be relying on you, our early community, to help us make Atlas great - so please don’t share Atlas yet.
Q: How are you choosing Test Weekend participants, and how many invites are you sending?
A: We’ll be sending out a survey to everyone who has signed up to test Atlas. We’ll select from respondents to ensure we get broad coverage on system and player types. For the first Test Weekend, we’ll start emailing out tokens on December 3rd, and we’ll continue until we have roughly ~1,000 account signups. If you don’t make it this time, watch your email for information about future tests.
Q: When are the Test Weekends?
A: During the first two tests, players will have access between December 3rd and 14th and are encouraged to install the client and play vs bots as soon as they receive a key. PvP matchmaking will open on December 6th and 13th from noon to 4:00pm US/Pacific time. Please ask questions and report any technical issues before the PvP time window!
Q: What happens when a Test Weekend concludes?
A: We’ll send out a survey for feedback shortly after the test. If you express interest in being a part of the regular test group, you may be invited. All participants will be invited to future Atlas Test Weekends.