The team talks: Our eggsperience on launching an ALPHA

For this week's post, we'd like to bring our team's thoughts to you on how it felt like to launch our game in an alpha version. It wasn't an easy task... not at all! Even though King of the Eggs still has more development to go, we reached our first milestone... and it was GREAT. Yes, it wasn't perfect, yes, it could have much more to it, yes, we know we don't have a Mac version available yet, and yes... the "King of the Hill" gamemode was unbeatable (if you did you're a freaking nordic god). Now, we'll all tell you what it was like to lauch the starting version of a game for a small company like ours. Each one of us will narrate their own story. Let's begin!

Jesús Sebastián López: Producer, Game Developer

Chronicles of a producer for an alpha: the experience of launching an alpha was both gratifying and stressful for me. There were many problems in planning, many members of the team were on vacations and I'm also a programmer, so I had to do other's work during the last days, like any other school work, I had to work some all-nighters, together with Nicolás. But this is our project, and we wanted to take that first step to move forward. For the last 2 to 3 weeks prior to the release, we had to work every single day, dedicating many hours, and sacrifing sleep. I had the priviledge to lead 10 people to make this release work out. It was very satisfying to see everyone's smile when we al felt that our project was heading for the right direction, that it wasn't stuck anymore. Together with marketing we were able to create the campaign and use the indie platforms, leaving our very first mark in the world. We had very interesting numbers, and seeing people play our game, it fealt great. During the last minute, we had to give more tasks to each member of the team, so we could fulfill the long to-do list. If you don't plan things throughly, you can have problems with your team, and even fights can be created. Checking the statistics and knowing that people really like our game, was satisfactory, but people were not really downloading or playing the game for more than 3 minutes, which is a big shock for a producer. But now, we have taken this realease as a huge learning experience, and we're able to have new direction and planning to make it better! Having such a committed team is the best... and it's what makes this game a reality.

Juliana Montes: Lead Graphic Designer, Narrative, Animator

Releasing an alpha is scary. You've been working on it, looking for every detail that might be wrong, trying to make it it's best. The thing is, no matter how hard you try, there's no way it's gonna see the sunlight with no mistakes in it. Once you release it, indeed, you get to see all the mistakes, but it also allows you to see your game in a different light. We learned that releasing an alpha, more than having a first visible version of your game, is about allowing it to be analyzed in a whole new dimension, so it can grow much more from there. You can bet your sweet ass it's not gonna be perfect, but you can also bet that same sweet ass that it's gonna get better from it.

Raúl Blanco: Developer, Concept Artist, Game Designer

I think most of my partners would agree that working on the alpha was extremely stressful, and yet it was not only worth it, but necessary. I say it was necessary because we’ve been working on this project for quite some time now, and the weight of not seeing the project going anywhere was starting to become a real number on us. Due to time constraints, I couldn’t dedicate all the time I wanted to and it was really frustrating to see how problems that I knew about, but I was unable to solve, were causing trouble for the rest of the team. After seeing the game being played by people on the internet, it fills me with joy to know that everything I work on, though not nearly as much as I wanted, resulted in a game that has many flaws, but that was making people happy despite it all. The release of the alpha filled me with motivation to keep working on this, and now that I have more free time, I can help with everything that’s needed.

Juan Sebastián Baracaldo: Lead Developer, Game Designer

The experience of releasing a big milestone of a video game, such as an Open Alpha, is bittersweet. It implies very stressful days prior the launch, last minute fixes and (a lot) of team fights (because everybody wants to release the best product). But after all this stress and fights and sleep deprivation, the feeling of letting people know your game is amazing, and it compensates all the hard work that we made. When you make the release, it may be not perfect, but you just have to do your best and let it go! (Maybe do a patch later, but just let it go!)

Sandra Falla: Lead Concept Artist, Illustrator, Color & Lighting Designer

Being part of an alpha release was, interesting, to say the least. At first, I thought I was the only one stressing about the deadline, because, sure, I was the only one travelling overseas for a whole month right before the scheduled release, so it was only natural that my work had to be done *way* ahead of time. And I did the vast majority of it, leaving one or two things for my teammates (who apparently had a lot more time than I did). However, when I got back, I was quickly surprised to see that everyone was cursing the final week with all of its last minute mishaps. I think no one had really seen the closeness of the due date until it was hitting them right in the face. But who am I to blame, schedules are really hard to keep. In the end, I think I had the best alpha release out of everyone in my team ^-^

Mateo Robayo: Character Designer, Concept Artist, Illustrator, Game Designer, Quality Assurance

Oh, Glob! Late May: I was happy because I felt they finally listened to my advice, we needed to show the game on indie communities to know if it was working, that means, to know if it was fun and engaging. During the first weeks of June, I took a chilled attitude about it, because I thought it wouldn’t happen... but that was a mistake, a big one. A week prior to the release of the Alpha version, I was working until 2 a.m. (almost every day) to finish the Winnegg screens and some adjustments for Eggorias. I made it (we made it!) but that wasn’t the end of the story, it was just its beginning. And I feel so happy about that. We learned that it was mandatory to have a quality assurance (QA) team to test the game every week, we learned that there were communication problems between almost all the team members, and we learned that we needed to focus on the gamer's experience. To me, the release of the alpha felt like a friendly kick in the eggs along with a lovely "voice in off" saying: You fools are making a game! Focus on the experience. That’s what we have been trying to do since then, that’s our main priority because, let’s be honest, most of the gameplay sucked at the moment.

Jaime Pineda: Lead Game Designer, Developer

Honestly, there were many times when I lost hope about ever releasing this alpha. Through the long nights, loads of work and meeting upon meeting, I have to admit there were times when I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Even as we were closing in on the day, and the nights stretched even further, it seemed like the game would never be done. But here we stand, a lot of blood, sweat, tears and an alpha release later as testament that that work was not in vain. Even so, I must say I enjoyed my job thoroughly. Game design is my passion and coming up with so many ideas that ended up being in the final game, watching them come to life, interact with each other and sometimes having unintended, even fascinating, results was a true pleasure and kept me going through those challenging times. All in all, I have to say that, despite the hardships, I am in love with game development and cannot see myself doing anything else. But perhaps it’s because it’s far easier to say that standing on the other side of a release, we shall see.

Zafire Dragoon: Composer, Sound Designer

I've always had some pressure on me because I feel that I need to have a really high quality in my work, and I want it to be as perfect as possible. Seeing all the work and effort that I've put into the process, developing the songs, listening different influences to compliment the composition of each one, making sure that every song is appropriate for the atmosphere of the game, and at the same time, that they do not become stale or boring, has been an exhausting but comforting experience.

Nicolás Álvarez: Creative Director, Lead Animator

"The hardest and most important thing as a Indie Game Dev is to publish your game” I tend to remember the words of the many fellow developers who have told us this, if I might dare to consider myself one of them. Some of the members of the team were going abroad before we had our Alpha release, and it might not have been the best time to publish it, but it was necessary for all of us. We had been working on this game for a long time, and we needed some feedback, and being consumed by the urge to feel we were accomplishing something was taking away our motivation. For a long time, most of the team including myself feared we were never going to show the game, so this Alpha was a personal matter, a stepping stone that we could use to push further our passion and continue working on this Project. We made a lot of mistakes because of this, and by the time we released our Alpha, we realized how bad we had performed. But we had finally made a release and it was the best kind of feedback we could have had. Lots of things are changing now because of this, not only the game but stuff inside the team, stuff that wasn't clear is now obvious for us. We did it, we finally showed our work to the world, and it wasn’t perfect but are learning a lot from this experience.

Natalia Cárdenas: Marketing Director

As the newest member of the team, I feel really happy to have joined such a loving and funny family. I remember when they first showed me what they had of the game so far, and I was absolutely impressed. When you get to see such high quality work, the team's dedication can be observed through every single detail. This is why I determined myself to make their creation visible to the world, everyone had to see all the time and effort my team had put into creating the wonderful world of Eggorias. Marketing became a very important tool to allow others to find us and get interested in knowing a little more about our game. We joined indie games communities, and reinforced our Facebook strategy, but we fell in love with the "creation blog". During the release of the alpha, we had to put together all of our visibility strategies, and even had a release event in a networking bar! We had to plan the presentation, but it resulted very flawed in the end. This is how we all learned the importance of having a very smooth and interesting speech to tell others about your game. You have to keep in mind that it's not only important to develop an awesome game, but also imagine a kick-ass strategy to sell it. Our beloved Alpha version was our first step into giving birth to something meaningful, to bring joy, laughter, fun, and reinforce friendships (as well as destroy them haha). I truly want to thank my team for giving me the honor of putting their baby egg out there in the world :)