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This Beta Be Good…

First of all, let me apologise for the lack of updates over the past few months, things have been rather insane here lately to say the least. Back in October, whilst still battling through a mountain of bugs, I decided it would be a good idea for us to enter DE into next year’s IGF. Up until this point Jack and I had been mostly fixing up the game to get it looking and functioning as it did in our Orange Box engine alpha, and although we were through the worst of it, I had yet to do any polish and hadn’t even begun the process of stripping out all of the portal 2 content, not to mention that we didn’t even have a functional UI!

With the IGF submission deadline just under a month away, I stocked up on food and barricaded myself into my apartment and put myself on permanent crunch in order to get something presentable for the IGF submission deadline. Over the course of the next few weeks I probably slept a total of 10 hours and had Hammer’s interface permanently burned into my retinas, but the overall result was worth it; By the time we submitted our first IGF build I’d managed to strip out every piece of unwanted content, reducing the game from over 10gb down to a mere 1.5gb, implement the new VO’s and soundtrack and polished up a good portion of the game. In the meantime Jack had finished off most of the last remaining big bugs and rebuilt the UI with all the functionality I needed. Within the course of a few weeks we went from a rather shabby, barely functioning, pre-alpha build to something that was starting to look like an actual game again.

A look at how DE evolved, de-evolved and re-evolved during it’s development

It was a proud moment to see the game finally taking shape. Since the first IGF submission I’ve been continuing to work like crazy, bug fixing and polishing and uploading updates, in order for the IGF judges (and eventually everyone else) to get the best experience possible. The result of all this hard work came to a head when we finally reached beta last week, meaning we are now feature complete, content complete and had no more alpha bugs remaining! I’m really pleased with how the game has turned out and I just wanted to show some screens from the Beta build to celebrate and as a thank you to everyone who has been patiently following DE!

Dear Esther screenshot 2

Dear Esther screenshot 3

Dear Esther screenshot 1

Dear Esther screenshot 4

Screenshot from beta version of Dear Esther

Hitting beta also means that we have more of solid idea for when we’ll be able to release DE, and although we still can’t give a specific date just yet, we are in talks with Valve about launching around the end of Jan/early Feb – So not long now!

We’ve still got a lot to do in the meantime; the next step for us is to get DE up and running on Steam which should be happening quite soon and then do a bunch of more thorough testing on different machines. I also want to work on an official launch trailer so you can see it in action since it really does look better in motion I think! In other news, Jessica Curry has released an excerpt of the remastered soundtrack on our official website, click here to take a listen!

If you want to keep up to date with events as they happen, you can follow me, Dan and jack on Twitter!

Fingers crossed for Dear Esther & IGF! 😀

Oh and don’t forget to vote for us in IndieDB’s Indie Of The Year nominations!

 (NOTE: Beta testing will be not be open to the public since we don’t have the resources to do any large scale public testing, but thanks to everyone who has volunteered)