17 sep 2014
The information in this post has taken longer to collate (and confirm) than expected but we wanted to address the most frequent questions we’ve seen on the Steam forums, Facebook, Twitter, IndieDB and in email since we released the first alpha builds on Early Access.
Thank You Thank you for supporting the development of Gang Beasts by buying the Early Access version, we would not be in a position to continue the full time development of the game without your support. Thank you also to the people that have played and promoted the pre-alpha prototype builds that can be downloaded from IndieDB. Early Access We submitted Gang Beasts to Early Access to fund the development of the full game and to continue the development of the game in a public context that gives players of the game the scope to inform and give feedback on the development and plans for the game. Double Fine The publishing agreement we have with Double Fine gives us a glut of practical advice, and access to technical support and the other key resources that we identified as necessary to make the full version of Gang Beasts (without the pressure to compromise or modify key game mechanics or content). We are working with Double Fine to identify and solve specific issues with the current version of the game and to move to a more standardised development schedule with additional support and resources for testing, localisation processes, and other practical tasks. Pricing The Early Access price for Gang Beasts was informed by a review of the pricing for other Early Access games and conversations we had with other developers; the price is based on the level of content, number of game modes, variety of customisations, and number and variety of stages that are currently planned for the full version of the game (Steam users that support the development of Gang Beasts on Early Access automatically own the full version of the game when it is released). We have not set a date for the release of the full version but there will be many content updates and key technical improvements to the game whilst in Early Access.
The Pre-alpha builds We submitted the first pre-alpha build of Gang Beasts to IndieDB on 14 February 2014, the pre-alpha version of the game is currently similar to the Early Access build (with some key differences) but the pre-alpha build was not a stable platform for the development of the full game, this is partially due to the high number of forces that acted on the previous versions of the game characters (to structure the various character movements) but also because a significant percentage of the scripts and assets for the game were tests or temporary solutions. Significant sections of the game, the game characters, and assets have been refactored or rebuilt for the Early Access build (to make a stable platform for making and testing new content), we have made a number of minor updates to the Early Access build (current version is 0.1.4) and are now working to fix more involved bugs and issues such as the current lack of custom input support and adding support for explicit controller pairing.
Characters The Early Access builds of Gang Beasts have a rebuilt and optimised version of the Gang Beasts characters, the modifications were necessary to reduce the number of concurrent forces acting on them to prepare for the implementation of climbing, straddling, kicking, elbowing, and walking on inclines, stairs, and other undulating or uneven surfaces, we will continue to make modifications to the new versions of the characters to conform their movement more closely with the character movement in the 0.0.3 pre-alpha build, adding new contextual moves when needed. There will be additional body shapes / sizes to play as in coming builds. Customisations We plan to have a full character customisation system with a scheme for sharing customisations with others, we have reviewed various potential implementations but currently plan to continuing making and adding customisations to the Early Access builds before committing to a specific customisation system (see below for pre-viz of one of the gang customisations, for the Meat Factory district that we’re currently working on). Follow this link[fatknack.blogspot.co.uk] for more concept art
Stages We are working on a number of stages currently and plan to include several new stages in the next content release, the stages that are close to being releasable are a stage with a pair of suspended shipping containers, a cooling tower, and a revised version of the ‘Street’ stage (from the 0.0.2 pre-alpha builds), other stages that are currently in development are an industrial freezer room, a pedestrian foot bridge, an industrial storage facility, and a city park (to replace the ‘Sandbox’ stage from the pre-alpha builds). Game Modes We have plans for numerous game modes and mini-games, including boss fights (play as a boss vs friends), waves, vandalism (damage the vehicle), team and tournament modes, hat fights, and a single and co-op story mode with enemy AI and boss fights. We are working to modify the previous AI from the pre-alpha builds to work with the new version of the character and expect to include support for AI enemies in at least some of the stages in the next content release. Input We are working to add a custom GUI for the custom input mapping, this will allow multiple players to play on a single keyboard (we don't suggest playing with multiple players on the same keyboard unless you have anti-key ghosting hardware as standard keyboards are limited to approx. 6 concurrent registered key presses). The current (and previous) Early Access builds have an issue with indexing input devices with some configurations, this is because there is no unique ID associated with each connected input device i.e. the order of the list of connected input devices reported by the system is arbitrary (and can potentially include other devices), the solution we are working on forces players to explicitly associate their device with a character i.e. the first player to press ‘Jump’ is player 1, the second is player 2 etc. similar to the character selection screen in Mario Kart, Bomberman, and other multiplayer games.
Optimisation We have been working to port Gang Beasts to Unity 5 (Gang Beasts is made with the Unity game engine) for the last week, the performance improvements in testing have been are significant. We are continuing to work on optimisations for the current and coming stages but have moved from Unity 4.5 to Unity 5 for the next significant release (the first content release on Early Access) as we expect this to make Gang Beasts substantially more performant on most systems (see the YouTube video herefor a comparison). We can’t currently give an estimation for when this content release will be submitted to Steam but it is a key priority.
Networking We have listed Gang Beasts on Steam as an exclusively local multiplayer game to avoid confusion. We have had many requests for online support and want to have support for online modes but we can’t commit to adding support until we have implemented a stable, tested, and working solution (and have secured the various resources necessary to support it). We are working with Multiplay to identify potential schemes for an online implementation. Support If you have support issues with the current build, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, this helps us to prioritise support for specific issues. If you have graphical or performance issues please include information about the operating system, manufacturer, and system specification.