Let's Talk About Milestone 16

I haven’t been communicating here in the forums for a long time, and I’m going to try to fix that!

Let’s talk about where development is up to right now. Right now, we’re at the very very end of the development for Milestone 16 (MS16), which is technically our alpha build.


“Alpha” is a pretty nebulous term in software engineering; different companies will define it differently. I spent most of my career at Melbourne House, where they considered “alpha” to be “The game design is locked down. Maybe not everything is implemented yet, but nothing new will be added to the game between now and release.”

On the other hand, at LucasArts, they considered “alpha” to be “The product is complete. We could ship it today if necessary (but we’d prefer to spend another few months polishing it).”

Based upon my time at an Electronic Arts company, they seemed to be somewhere between those two extremes.

For MMORPG Tycoon 2, “alpha” is somewhere between those extremes. All the core systems are in place and working approximately the way that they should be. There are a few pieces which aren’t implemented yet, but those are mostly side elements; dungeons, for example, aren’t yet implemented. About half of the items in the tech tree aren’t implemented yet. But the way the tech tree works is implemented, as are some of the technologies. Scenarios are working, although only a few have yet been implemented. Alerts are working, although we’re going to need more of them. There are aesthetic options for some building types, but there need to be more. You get the idea. What needs to be made going forward is more content, rather than more systems. The systems are now all in place.

It’s likely that we’ll be entering Early Access on Steam shortly after reaching Milestone 16. (I need to update our trailer first, though. The game has come a long way since our old Greenlight trailer!) Watch for that in a month or two, probably.

From here to Milestone 16

As I type this, there are just three elements left on the “to do” list for Milestone 16. These are:

  1. Short cutscene sequence after the player places their first starting point.

This cutscene sequence will be around 30 seconds long, and the first two thirds of it are implemented now. This cutscene marks the end of the “tutorial” part of the game, and the start of the real game.

I’d say that I’m about 2/3 of the way through this work right now.

  1. Re-work class/monster editing

In my opinion, there are too many windows involved in editing in-game player, monster, and NPC classes. There are actually three different windows right now, when it should be only one! The UI re-theming recently was a part of this, but the rest is going to be taking all the information about character types and all the editing of their visual models and all the editing of their statistics and attacks and putting it all into a single larger window, so it’s easier to make adjustments, instead of having it all spread out in different windows.

As part of this, GUI for editing hats and tails will be added, as well as for customising character colors. I’m really looking forward to this! But I haven’t even properly started on this one yet (apart from the general UI overhaul that came through yesterday)

  1. Update the tutorial.

The tutorial actually doesn’t have too much wrong with it now. I want to tweak the very start a little, now that we’re starting with only three regions available, instead of an entire WoW-sized landmass, but there probably isn’t much work here.

So… that’s where I’m at and what I’m up to! If folks have questions, I’d be happy to answer them!

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Before launching the early access, I think it would be nice if there were more Landmark models, and the player being able to put different npcs ( not only the first one of the slot ). Looking forward for the new trailer.

I agree! Landmarks in particular need a bunch more model variations available.

And… the more I think about it, the more I think that any type of NPC should be able to be created with any of the NPC models. So you ought to be able to make quest-givers or guards or whatever using any of the different configured models. Right now, one of the configured models is the “quest-giver” model, one is the “guard” model, and then there are three “for future usage” models that can’t be used at all.

What do you think?

Yeah, I think it’s a bit odd that all NPCs have the same model.