First of all, we want to thank everyone for your generous offerings of anti-Gremlin spells, potions, curses, dances, beseechings to the code gods, and other creative solutions. Many gremlins appear to have been re-assigned to other developers. The overall blood pressure and rate of production of stomach acid at Mage Faire Studios is decreasing. One or two gremlins is to be expected for any software project, and as long as we keep the gremlin population to that size, we’ll be fine. So, please, keep it up!
At the beginning of any game, there is a fair amount to learn. How do you move? How do you communicate? Where can you go? What can you do? What are you supposed to do? It can be overwhelming, trying to figure this all out at once. And it can be un-fun, frustrating, or boring. We don’t want that, obviously. We want to guide you through what you need to know, at a comfortable pace, and in a playful, exploratory way. So, much of our recent effort has been devoted to the first few minutes of your experience, which is all about moving and expressing yourself.
In Mage Faire, your avatar is a painting, so it is very light. You can jump almost three times your height and float softly down. And you can move, spin, and many other things while you’re falling. So, the first two areas are designed to let you explore all these abilities in a place that’s fun to jump around in.
You can also bow, twist, and tilt your body, and move your hands by dragging them. So, for example, you can wave to someone by raising your hand (dragging it up), then dragging it left and right. The third area is designed to show you all these ways to “puppeteer” your avatar. Once you’ve learned to express yourself as only a Mage can, you enter the Mage Faire proper.
All along, we’ve been developing on 64-bit Windows 7 and Vista machines. You always develop on pretty fast machines, because you run the code over and over and over, and you want to be able to do that as quickly as possible. So our development machines are pretty beefy.
We know that many Mages have older XP machines, and we wanted to make sure an older, slower machine could still run Mage Faire. So, recently, we got an old Windows XP machine, with a much slower processor, much less RAM, and much lower video RAM. This past week, we’ve been optimizing the content in Mage Faire so that the elderly XP can keep up with a decent frame rate. By creatively rearranging things now, we hope to save players from being frustrated later.
(And, Mac users, we haven’t forgotten you! We’re just not there yet.)
It’s very exciting. Many hundreds of people have completed our alpha questionnaire. Thank you for taking the time! It’s so helpful! We really need this information to organize our tests.
But, there are currently over 100 incomplete questionnaires. Did you complete yours? Here’s how you can know: Did you see a “thank you” page at the end? (Complete!) Did you get a confirmation email? (Complete!) Did you get a reminder email saying your questionnaire was not completed? (Incomplete!) Check your spam folder if you’ve got nothing (assuming you signed up on the alpha mailing list. You did, right?).
We’d like to avoid the tragedy of someone missing out on the alpha because they didn’t *realize* their questionnaire was incomplete.
We are working hard on the alpha, making it robust, fun, and easy to get started for as many Mages as we can. Thanks again for your patience.