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On Saturday we had our second annual team meeting at Gettysburg.  We start out with a tour of the battlefield and finish off with a informal team meeting.  Usually we have our resident scenario designer Mark head the tour, but this year with had a guest start us off with a Day 1 Pender tour.  Chris did a great job starting us out and we really appreciate him taking the time.

Photos posted on facebook 

 

Many of the members of the team I had not met face to face before, so it's always good to put a face to the people that you work with everyday.  We've been working together for a few years now, so naturally it's a big advantage to go over the status of everything while in the same room.

 Mark finished the day off by bringing us to the Peach Orchard, Wheat Field, and ending at Devil's Den and then up to Little Round Top.  It was a hot day, but that just puts you more in the mood.

 One major difference this year is that we opened up the meeting to the community.  We got to meet some of the players of the previous games.  We spent the day enjoying the tour and picking their brains as to what they like and what they want different.  We learned a lot speaking with these guys, getting a really good idea about what people are expecting.  We've always had a great community and it isn't a surprise to find that the user names from the forum are as nice in person as they are on the boards.

 After the tours finished, we got down to business.  I mean everyone was there to participate in the first live multiplayer gaming.  With the battlefields fresh in our minds, we went to our rented conference room and set up.  We got four boxes reliably running on a small network and gave the first glimpse of the game outside of the team.

 The maps held up very well.  Even when we had just walked off the battlefields, it was easy to immerse into the realism of the maps.  All of the sites are finished and the rocks of Devil's Den right below Little Round Top were easy to recognize.  Based on the reactions of the other guys, I think everyone agreed.

 Of course everything didn't go perfectly, does it ever.  But we did accomplish what we came to do and that was to get some serious multiplayer gaming going.  We had a small test scenario that we've been testing for a while, so we brought it up.  Nothing too fancy, no searching for the enemy.  There they are, right out of rifle range.  The arty starts up soon after the game loads and for the first time, players got to go against a human enemy.  We had a few crashes, that was to be expected.  But we had 2/3/4 man multiplayer going until the end.  The crash seems to happen soon after launch, and if it doesn't the game runs smooth until someone surrenders the field.  Just watching everyone play was awesome.  It really gave us all a new boost of morale, which can be surely needed after working on this for so long.

 Thank you to everyone involved for making this such a successful event!

 So where are we?  We have some screens to create, most scenarios to finish.  They are blocked out with some starter moves, but with the AI finally coming to an end, they need to be finished and tested.  There are lots of bugs and dumb AI to fix.  All the final details of packaging and selling this thing need to be done.  There are a handful of icing to multiplayer to complete, not to mention getting the game lobby running.  As of August 1st, we are at Alpha.  To get to beta we need to complete all the features that are in the game.  Our Alpha means that we have at least the skeleton of all features that are going to make this release.  Maps are Beta already, just the crops are being tweaked.  Screens have a lot of functionality that still needs coding.  We wanted to have some more screens live at the demo, but a computer crash nixed that idea.

If you check our boards, some of the participants have written a little about playing the game.  We all hope to do this again next year.