What Does Alpha Mean?
Right now Stonehearth is in the “Alpha” stage. This means that the game isn’t even done yet. We’re actively adding new features month by month. Different development teams use the terms “Alpha” and “Beta” in different ways. Here’s what they mean for Stonehearth
- Alpha. The team is adding major features to the game, like new gameplay systems, new classes, and new monsters. The game is playable, but pretty buggy. Save games will probably not work from release to release. Stonehearth is in this phase now.
- Beta. All the major features of the game are finished! At this point bug fixing begins in earnest. During the beta phase, the game will get more and more bug free. Save games will work across releases.
- 1.0 Release. The game is basically finished. It’s as bug free as we can make it, and plays great.
Stonehearth Release Process
Here’s a brief overview into how we go about developing Stonehearth. On the dev blog you’ll see us refer to terms like “branches” and “release candidates.” This page explains all that, briefly, I promise.
Each new Alpha release goes through the following cycle, which we repeat every 4 – 8 weeks.
- Work on features, adding new features to the game or improving existing features. New classes, better AI, new gameplay systems, etc.
- Release a buggy version of the game to the “Latest” branch. This is your chance to kick the tires on the new features and give early feedback.
- Fix lots of bugs. Inevitably, writing new code brings its share of bugs. We fix all the big scary bugs that we find and update the Latest branch with those fixes.
- Release a new Alpha! Once we’re happy with the quality of the Latest branch, we officially update the game for everyone. We’re still Alpha, so don’t expect things to be 100% bug free, but you can generally play and enjoy the game at this point.
About the “Latest” Branch
If you’ve installed Stonehearth in Steam, you have access to the Latest branch. This is a separate version of the game that we use to test out new brand new features. Generally we update the Latest branch every few days in the weeks before a new Alpha release.
Consider Using the Latest Branch When…
- You want a sneak peak at the brand new changes coming in the next Alpha
- You want to help us out by testing and giving bug reports before the next Alpha
- You don’t mind big, scary, game-breaking bugs.
How to Switch Between Branches
The Latest branch is available if you’ve installed the game through Steam. Here’s how to switch between the Latest branch and the regular version of the game.
- Go to your Steam Library and right click on Stonehearth
- Select “Properties” from the dropdown menu.
- Hop on over to the “Betas” tab
- In the “Select the beta you would like to opt into:” dropdown, choose:
- latest – The latest branch
- NONE – The regular version of the game.