What does Closed Alpha mean?
The “Alpha” part means we’re only part way along our journey toward our Early Access launch. In an Alpha state, the game is not finished yet, lacking some features and much of the polish that we hope to include before we launch. You may therefore expect some bugs. You may also find that several parts of the game could be made better, which is exactly the feedback we hope to gather through this testing process!
The “Closed” part (as opposed to an “Open Alpha”) means that players need to sign up for this testing round, whereas the build many people have played in the past was a public demo featured in various festivals. We are allowing anyone who signs up to try the Alpha, so it’s not super Closed in reality, but we’re requesting that people knock on our door so they know that there’s still some areas under construction before they enter. 🙂
Unlike some Closed Alphas that may consist of the whole game, we are not including the full campaign but instead dividing challenges across different testing groups, as explained below.
How long is the Alpha playable?
Our Closed Alpha build will be available to play for exactly two weeks, starting today and expiring on Monday 10/12. The two week duration helps us gather feedback promptly so we can incorporate it into our plan for Early Access.
Will an Alpha key grant me a full copy of RoboCo at release?
Unfortunately no, the Alpha key is for testing purposes only.
What’s included in the Closed Alpha?
In addition to the Sandwich Server challenge that we all know and love, each Closed Alpha tester will gain access to two new challenge levels, randomized from a pool of 9 new challenges – meaning that you may have access to a different pair of challenges than others (that’s totally intentional!)
Other new features include:
- Undo / Redo functionality.
- An example of our campaign system in action. Unlock new parts and challenges as you progress through the game.
- A sandbox-only VR mode (when launching the game, players choose to launch either the desktop game or a sandbox-only VR mode using SteamVR).
Why can’t I test all 9 new challenges? If some people have different ones, why not share them all?
First off, we love the enthusiasm!
One of the tricky aspects of sharing a game like this with you all for feedback before it’s on Early Access is that we have two contradictory goals:
- We would like feedback across as many challenges as we can.
- But we also don’t want to spoil all the surprises!
Therefore, dividing the Closed Alpha testers into groups and giving each group access to a different set of challenges seemed like the best way to reconcile these two goals.
This may seem less satisfying in the short term, but we hope you’ll agree that it will make launch that much more exciting and satisfying for everyone! You’ll get to see a few challenges improve based on your feedback, but still have new challenges to look forward to playing at launch.
We have also been working on a surprise challenge that none of the Closed Alpha testing groups will receive. We are holding this one back so that everyone first experiences it with the Early Access launch version! 🙂
How does the campaign progression in the Closed Alpha compare to what’s planned for the full campaign at Early Access launch?
As each Closed Alpha testing group will only receive three challenges, the sequence of challenges skips around a bit more, whereas the Early Access launch version will have a smoother progression across the full set of challenges.
Having the Sandwich Server challenge plus two new challenges also lets us showcase one of the cool things about how our unlocking system will work with the full campaign, which is that challenges can be unlocked in small groups instead of just one by one. This lets the player try different challenges when they want a change of pace.
Likewise, the part and cosmetic unlocks for Closed Alpha are mostly just examples of how the system works rather than the final intended unlock events. Our hope is that the unlocking system will really get to shine once we can let everyone play all our challenges within the full campaign!
We will have an upcoming blog post about our campaign systems that will give a better sense of how they work and how things might feel in the final game.
Can I reuse my saved robots from the previous festival demo?
In theory! The Closed Alpha build should automatically find your save files from the festival demo.
One thing to bear in mind: Now that a system exists for unlocking parts during the campaign, you may not be able to load some of your previous robots within a challenge until you’ve unlocked within the campaign all the parts that you had used in that saved robot. This is one of many aspects of the unlocking system that will make more sense at launch when playing the full campaign from scratch.
In the sandbox, all functional parts are available from the beginning, but as with the campaign, some cosmetics will be locked until you find and complete the secret objectives that unlock them.
Unfortunately we had to temporarily disable mode switching for this Closed Alpha due to an issue with the latest version of SteamVR. We will need some help from Valve to get this resolved but are hoping to restore mode switching in the future!
Great! What are the best ways to give feedback?
In the game’s main menu, there is a Give Feedback button which will take you to a survey about your experience. This button will be familiar to players of the festival demo, but the survey itself is all new, so we invite you to fill it out again!
If you join our Discord community, we are collecting general feedback, bug reports, and feature suggestions. We will also be trying out a method for you to upvote each other’s suggestions. So besides just being a party all the time, Discord will be a great place to browse the ideas from other players and add your own voice to the mix!