5 Things I Learned From My First Alpha Test

Alpha Test One

Alpha Test One for Lands of Oneiro just wrapped up. It was four days of fun, excitement, and nerve-wracking anxiety. I had set the deadline for the first alpha test at only 2 months into the project with the hopes that having a hard date would keep me motivated. I believe it worked, that I achieved much more than if I hadn’t announced the Alpha Test was coming up. The biggest benefit from the test was the feedback that I got from the players who came to the test. Here’s what I learned.

1 – Hours of Building = Minutes of Content

Players will zoom through any well-built area. If there are no bugs or issues to slow them down, they can be FAST. The first player who logged into the game had killed her first bat 5 minutes and 4 seconds after connecting. After 26 minutes and 56 seconds, they finished the tutorial and ran out of content. That put me in the panic while I tried to build quests faster than the players could complete them. That’s not possible, by the way. You’ll be tempted to speed build areas to give the players more content…

Read more5 Things I Learned From My First Alpha Test

Example MUD Prog – Randomly Restrung NPC’s

These progs will show you a simple framework for randomly named NPC’s.  The example will randomly set the gender, name, short and long description for the NPC.  The mob will load a random set of clothing and possibly a piece of loot.

Please note, these MUD Progs were written and tested on a Dawn of Time version 1.69s_beta5 MUD. The scripts do require my snippet to give mobiles access to the SHORT and STRING commands in the MP Commands List.

You need a generic mobile that will morph into a random npc when it loads into the game. I’m using mobile 3006, a Dusk Elf. The program that kicks off the random generation is number 3200 in my example, so I have set the Dusk Elf mobile to call that program with a repop trigger.

MUDPrograms for [ 3006]:
Mudprogs on this mob will not ignore questers
Mudprogs on this mob WILL NOT ignore non questers
Mob mudprog triggers: repop 
 Number Vnum Trigger Phrase   
 ------ ---- ------- --------------------
[    0]  3200   repop 100   

Read moreExample MUD Prog – Randomly Restrung NPC’s

Snippet – Giving NPC’s the String and Short Commands

Editing

By giving mobiles the ability to use the immortal commands STRING and SHORT, amazing things can happen. In my next post, I’m going to show you how to write three scripts that will give your cities a plethora of randomly named NPC’s. Those scripts depend on this snippet.

Please note, this snippet is compatible with version 1.69s_beta5.

mp_cmds.cpp

add to the delcarations near the top:

DECLARE_DO_FUN( do_short);
DECLARE_DO_FUN( do_string);

Then around line 197 in the table of mp commands, add the following:

	{"short",do_short,"Works just like the Imm command SHORT."},	
	{"string",do_string,"Works just like the Imm command STRING."},	

Read moreSnippet – Giving NPC’s the String and Short Commands

Class Specific Passive Tutorials

Designing Notes

I have been through more than my fair share of tutorials in MUDs lately as I have been scoping out the competition.  I have been to muds with tutorials that take hours to complete.  One took me over 12 hours the other day.  That is INSANE!

I am not putting the players through a generic newbie school that takes hours of frustration to complete. I want my players to be killing mobs within 20 minutes of connecting to the game and earning their first sweet, sweet quest reward.

To get the player into the game as soon as possible I am taking a Passive Tutorial approach.  The player will receive hints and information about the game but they’re free to do as they wish as soon as they get into the game.

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The Minimum Viable Product Approach

Northwest Akir

One of the greatest hopes that I have for Lands of Oneiro is that the world that will be one worth exploring and the stories will be fun to experience.  With the date for the first alpha test approaching, I want to create the smallest game possible that would be:

  • at least nominally fun to play – a test of the game design concept overall.
  • provides useful testing feedback – from both the game engine and the play-testers.

So far one of the greatest challenges I have had while working on Lands of Oneiro is the loss of focus on creating a fully functional albeit tiny game.

Read moreThe Minimum Viable Product Approach