Saturday, October 14, 2017

The ADOM front: Steam, UI/UX & more

Hi folks!

Just a quick update regarding our current work:

  • We'll be on Steam with a beta very soon now - one more bug/new feature to get right (custom mouse cursors for much better left-click interactions) and then we'll be there.
  • We have been spending a lot more time on examining the user experience for new ADOM players. And it's without doubt still horrible (although much better than 12 months ago). I sadly have come to realize that we have been making a mistake (as hard as it sounds) by mostly discussing UI/UX within the existing community. The existing community mostly consists of too many roguelike/ADOM experts who just fail to see (like me) what barriers these games pose to general players. 
  • As a result we have started doing supervised tests with new players of varying experience in a UI/UX lab setting and the results have been staggering: ADOM presents incredible barriers to get into the game (still, despite hundreds of UI issues we already worked on). But the good news is that we believe we now finally are learning the important UI/UX issues (maybe a bit late, but whatever) and will be able to work on them without ruining the game for existing players. Our UI/UX milestone in the ticket database lists our findings and while this stuff won't make it into the next Steam release I really hope that we will be able to include most of it into the release after that:
So our priorities right now are:
  1. Releasing on Steam.
  2. Improving UI/UX.
  3. Finishing the crowdfunding promises (which we hope to do this month!).
  4. Getting ready for the Roguelike Celebration (meet me there) and big announcements.
Stay tuned for updates!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Announcing the (graphical) prerelease of ADOM 2.3.4

Hi everyone!

Today marks another important milestone to getting ADOM back on track and rolling after this rather bumpy year: We just released ADOM 2.3.4 to our prerelease testers. This release contains the full graphical glory of ADOM Deluxe. Now you will be able to try out tons of amazing features accumulated over more than nine months in our graphical user interface:
  • a new HUD
  • better typography
  • (mostly) animated monsters
  • better tooltips & dialogs,
  • refined icons and graphics in general,
  • many new music & sound effects,
  • a huge amount of usability enhancements in order to simplify playing ADOM by mouse (really important for the Steam release),
  • and more: read the changelog for the full details (and note that many of the changes listed  between 2.3.0 and 2.3.4 will finally be visible in the graphical release - especially in the 2.3.0 release notes)
ADOM 2.3.4 still is somewhat rough around the edges and a couple of features are still under development (e.g. the personalized and animated PC sprites). We also expect it to be buggy (comparably to the ADOM 2.3.0 ASCII release). So expect to meet some rough spots - but we strongly believe that it is one of the best releases ever.

We now need your support in quickly stabilizing the graphical release in the same amazing way you so far worked on making the ASCII version much better as we now want to do the Steam release as soon as possible to then turn over to much smaller and more regular releases.

As usual the prerelease can be downloaded from the usual location.

What's up next?

Starting today I will be working on the remaining crowdfunding promises. I finally have updated the project flowchart for the current state:

From the flowchart you can see that most of the remaining tasks are now the part that is the biggest fun to me: adding content.

There are still a lot of levels, items & artifacts to be designed and that's the part of ADOM I always enjoyed the most. Immediately after this release we will use a two-pronged approach to continue:
  • I will immediately start adding content (maps, monsters, items, artifacts, quests) from a big pool of notes that has been lying for far too long. 
  • The rest of Team ADOM will continue working on stabilizing the current version in order to get both to Steam and to a general public release.
Once we have the next Steam & public release (which will be in October... hopefully sooner than later) we will change our development process to much smaller and more agile releases in much more regular intervals.

And then we'll have some more news at the Roguelike Celebration in San Francisco.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Announcing the (pre)release of ADOM 2.3.3 (ASCII again)

Hi everyone!

We are happy to announce the (pre)release of ADOM 2.3.3 - yet another ASCII-only (pre)release for our impending graphical and Steam release. Besides having fixed lots of bugs and optimized some of the new features even more (see the changelog) we this time would like to direct the attention of our prerelease testers to two focus areas:

  • We have revised the configurable character generation process. You now can choose between the following base difficulty modes:
    • Tutorial (the introduction as you know it)
    • Easy (a new mode that reduces deadliness and somewhat favors the player)
    • Classic (roguelike, the standard mode for ADOM ever since the game was created)
    • Personalized (the configurable character generation sequence)
    • Please try them out, test the navigation and provide us with feedback. The idea here to find an easier introduction for new players with the Easy mode - and give experienced players more means to personalize their game experience (among other things with a means to configure a "medium" level for hunger, fudge die rolls to some extent and configure on whether and how to use talents in your game).
    • This mode is a very important addition for Steam where we learned that many of the more casual games get too easily frustrated by the steep learning curve in ADOM. Together with the many UI enhancements (and many more to come in the graphical version) we hope that they will enjoy ADOM far more and that this will allow us to get better visibility with a wider audience (more happening in the background for that - stay tuned for a later update).
  • Since ADOM 2.3.0 we have included a completely revised point-based character generation process for your attributes. It provides a lot more flexibility and basically factors in all the points for your disposal which in former versions were hard-wired. Naturally we also would like to know how you like that mode.
That's it - barring any major hiccups the next release will be the graphical prerelease - we are closing in. Here are some more teasers to what is going on with the graphical version :-)