Dev Diary #5 - Lessons from the Alpha
Posted on August 12, 2016

Hi, guys!

We’ve got major news for you today.The Alpha is coming to an end and will be shut down in the following weeks. But only to make room for the Beta which will launch around mid-September! Specific dates and other details will be revealed in the future.

In this dev blog I’d like to talk about some of the lessons we have learned during the Alpha. This is the first multiplayer action game our team and company are developing so we didn’t really know what to expect. Here are some of the things we've found out with a few thank yous put in-between :-)

Youtubers are a must

The first step to having a successful Alpha is actually letting people know there’s one happening. We’ve learned that to achieve that you can either spend piles of cash (which we don’t have) on a marketing campaign or ask a couple of Youtubers really nicely to make videos about the game. Luckily for us the youtubers responded really well and some great videos were made which attracted lots of players to the game. Here’s a big thank you to great gamer youtubers Draegast, Entak, TheXPGamers, Lathland, Rosefall or Table and Chums and local Slovak youtubers GoGo, Selassie, Duklock and Asimister for showing the game to the world (click on the names to see their videos). A big thank you goes out also to everyone else who has made videos or streamed GJL gameplay. We hope to see some great GJL footage from you in the future :-)

Having a community is awesome

Since the launch of the Alpha, we’ve been reading the game forum every day. We were and still are surprised by the quality of feedback from the player community. The suggestion section is full of well thought-out analyses and feedback on everything from the user interface through ability balance to ship customization options. The quality of bug reports has also been very high and has helped us to identify and fix a lot of issues. The lesson for us is that as long as the team does their best to make a fun game, there will be players who will want to help us out and be part of the development. We’d like to give a big shout out to our community members. If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them, so thanks a lot :-)! We hope we didn’t disappoint so far.

You will spend more time polishing than you think

The general plan before the start of Alpha was 1. launch Alpha, 2. collect feedback and bug reports, 3. work on stuff for the Beta, 4. release a few bugfixes for Alpha along the way.In reality there were 13 patches in the ~50 days since the launch. Some of these focused on major issues that could undermine the whole game. The biggest changes were probably the two overhauls of the matchmaking system to ensure shorter search times and more balanced games. We also had to include spawn protection because of the rampant spawn killing at the start of Alpha. About a month after the launch we had to add an antispam feature to the chat, because some guys found it just hilarious to spam obscenities in the global chat window. We’ve also added kill assists so that cooperation in combat was rewarded and have made a good deal of balancing so that obvious imbalance didn’t annoy players too much. The good news is that these changes have noticeably improved the game… at least that’s what we've heard :-). The worse news is that they delayed our work on Beta a bit, but now we’re back on track and there’s lots of cool stuff to look forward to.

That’s it for today. Next time we’ll look at new features which will be added in the Beta. What are your impressions of the of Galactic Junk League Alpha? Let us know on the! Forum.

See you next time

Martin “Gajxo” Gajarsky

Game Designer