Submitted by rujasu on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 02:42

Our newest demo is now available! Check it out at:

As usual, it is available for Windows and Mac OS X, and a source package is available for users of Linux and other OS'es. Please note that the binary package for Windows includes only the English language version of the game, without the map editor. Because we have had limited help on the Windows side recently, we have been unable to provide the map editor or alternate translations. If you would like to help us with the Windows distribution, or have other feedback, please talk to us in the forums!

New unstable release

Submitted by rujasu on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 02:44

We have posted a new unstable release (development snapshot) on our Sourceforge page:

Differences you may notice from our past demo include new environments, music, characters, and plot. This content is unfinished, consider it to be in a beta or even alpha state right now. Other features include an internationalization framework (work-in-progress), settings profiles, and a new shopping interface. To see the complete list of features, check the release notes on our Sourceforge page. Alternatively, play the game and find out!

Some known issues that we hope to have resolved by the next release:

- You may experience random crashes, particularly when changing maps, so save very frequently.
- The story is mostly complete, but details are missing. Some parts may be hard to follow because of missing or incomplete animations/dialogue.
- The desert outskirts area is not complete and should be fairly unchallenging.
- Claudius may keep running when certain dialogue events occur.
- Treasure chests repopulate when revisiting an area

Enjoy, and be sure to post any feedback in our forums!

Release early, release often

Submitted by Roots on Fri, 02/26/2010 - 22:53

This popular mantra of the open source community is one that Allacrost has historically neglected to follow. I feel that we had good reason to do so in the past when our work was focused more on the core engines and game logic rather than content and features. We had very little to show then. Other than our official releases, the only other type of releases that we made available were internal pre-releases to our forum community for testing. These releases were kept somewhat private and required a registered forum account to download or even be made aware of the pre-release. Being an open source game, it was always possible for someone to download the latest SVN and compile and try the game out on their own, but not everyone has the technical know-how or motivation to perform such a task.

Early this month, at the encouragement of some fellows of the open source game community, our team considered whether we should begin to make releases more regularly. We decided it was definitely worth a shot. This weekend, we will make available our first "unstable" release. This is unlike anything we've done before, because it truly is a snapshot of the current state of the game. Unstable releases will be unpolished, unfinished, and full of bugs. But they are great for keeping our players involved in the design process, our team motivated, and the general public interested in the project. Below is an explanation of our current plan with these unstable release in a Q&A format.

Where can I download the unstable releases?
Unstable releases will be made available on our Sourceforge page, the same as our official releases. Unstable releases will be clearly marked so and placed in a separate directory.

What systems will unstable releases be made for?
The same as our official releases: Windows, OS X, and a source distribution for POSIX-type systems like Linux and FreeBSD. Others outside our team may decide to make specific release builds for their respective systems, but we do not support this.

Is there a way for me to automatically be notified when a new unstable release becomes available?
Yes. Sourceforge provides the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds about our project from the project page. If you register on our forums, you'll be sent an e-mail every time that an unstable or official release is made available.

How often will unstable releases be made available?
We're tentatively setting ourselves a guidelines of trying to have no longer than two months between unstable releases. However, this is not a guarantee. We are not releasing on a strict schedule and unstable releases are basically made when the timing is right.

What are the criteria you will use to decide when to make another unstable release?
There are many, but the most significant include: the amount of time that has passed since our previous unstable release, the presence/absence of any bugs that may cause crashes or freezes, and the degree of noticeable change from the player's perspective relative to the previous release.

The word "unstable" has me concerned. Is there a risk involved in playing an unstable releases?
We intentionally decided to call these unstable releases to indicate that yes, there is indeed a risk in playing them. However its no more risk than the developers take every day when they are working on the code (actually its much less risk). The worst that we've observed happen during development is the computer freezing completely and requiring us to restart our systems, but this situation is very rare. Other times the application may freeze, become unresponsive, or crash suddenly. These conditions are also rare. We do, however, try our best to eliminate any bugs that cause crashes or freezes before the unstable release goes live.

How many unstable releases will be made available for download?
Only a single unstable release will be available at any time. Once a new unstable release becomes available, the previous unstable releases is deleted and will no longer be available. This is done to ease the burden on our team so we are not trying to support or resolve issues with multiple unstable releases.

How do I tell which unstable release I have? Is there a version number?
The file you download will have an eight digit number representing the year, month, and date that the unstable release went live. For example, if the unstable release was made on February 28th, 2010 the file name would include the string "20100228". Other than the file name, there is no version information available. The game itself will likely report either the previous or next official version number such as "1.0.0".

Do you want feedback or bug reports on the unstable releases?
Of course we do. But because unstable releases by their very nature contain an unfinished state of the game, some problems are very evident such as missing images or something being drawn at an incorrect position. Please try to anticipate which problems are self-evident to the team and don't waste your time or ours reporting such issues.

Will you be supporting unstable releases?
Yes, but don't come with the expectation that we're going to fix your problem immediately and directly. For example we may fix a crash that a user reported, but the fix wouldn't be available for the user until we make the next unstable release. We want to make sure that unstable releases are not counter-productive for our team, and producing a new unstable release every time we fix a reported problem would cost us a lot of time and effort.

Will installing the unstable release conflict with the official release I already have installed?
Probably. To be honest we're not sure at this stage. This issue we'll figure out along the way, and hopefully in the future we'll have a system in place to ensure that official and unstable releases can co-exist on the same system without conflict. We recommend you back up any saved game files and settings that you don't want to lose.

I want to make one final and important note about our unstable releases. This is an experiment for our team. Many of us have great hopes that this will be a positive force for the project, but we can't be sure if this will ultimately help or hurt us. If, after a lengthy trial period, we decide that these releases are not beneficial enough to justify their cost, we may decide to discontinue making unstable releases available. So bear with us through this process and hopefully both the players and the team mutually benefit from this new system. Check back with us late this weekend for our first release of 2010!

Jan. 2010 Forum Updates

Submitted by Roots on Sun, 01/31/2010 - 22:27

Hey everyone. Just wanted to send out a quick notice about our forums. We had a lot of problems with spam bots registering accounts last year and this weekend it looks like we finally stopped them (for now). So the good news is that there is less spam for us to deal with, meaning more of our time is spent actually working on the game. But there are still several spam bots registered on the forums. We've already started going through the entire member list and deleting those that we know or are likely to be spammers.

Now the bad news is that we may accidentally delete legitimate accounts if they look suspicious (no posts, odd user names or e-mail addresses, etc). The best way to protect your account so that it is not deleted is to make at least one post on the forums. We're only examining accounts which have zero posts. So this might be a good time for you to post in the self-introduction thread if you haven't already. If we do happen to delete your account, you are of course welcome to register once again, and encouraged to make a post so your account is safe in the future. Also the captchas used for registration are now much more difficult than before, so if you're registering an account you may have a spot of trouble deciphering the captcha.

An unfortunate side effect of our forum upgrade was that it destroyed our custom forum skin and we had no backup of our style sheet. So the visual aesthetics of the forum are less appealing than they were before. If you're able and willing to help us get the forums looking as sharp as they once were, we'd really appreciate the extra bit of help. Thanks!

New Year, New Screenshots

Submitted by rujasu on Fri, 01/08/2010 - 03:36

Hello and happy 2010. Work continues on our next release, which will contain a new story, new music, and new maps. It's been a while since we've posted any game content, so I've put up a few screenshots from our current SVN:

As you can see, these are mostly from the desert environment that will be featured in the early part of the game. In total, we have three new maps that are about 60% complete, and we will also may be including 2-3 miniature maps for certain scripted scenes. There will also be two boss battles that will challenge the player.

With that said, we are in need of help at the moment. Some of our most valuable contributors have been unable to help as of late, and we could use new people to help with nearly all facets of the game development process. No matter what your skill level, feel free to apply. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, and we look forward to making 2010 a great year for Hero of Allacrost!


EDIT (1/20) - We've also released two new musical themes, and an updated version of the theme that plays on the title screen. These are just a sample of the music we have ready for our upcoming release.

Updates and Upcoming

Submitted by Roots on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 04:52

The team revival last month proved to be a success and we've been steadily making progress for five weeks now. I'm pretty happy about the pace considering we only have about four programmers that are active at the moment. The features for the map exploration section of the game are, for the most part, now complete. By the way, you can monitor our progress in the wiki. I've started design the maps for the next release as well, which will include a lot of new artwork.

I'd like to give a general explanation behind the purpose of this next demo. First, why another demo? Why don't we get started on the real game? The answer is that we're not quite ready to take that (enormous) step just yet. We're still missing some critical features that the actual game will require, and this next (and final) demo release will be implementing most of those requirements. Releasing demos are also a great way for us as a team to gain experience and I think we've gotten better with each release we've made. So those are the technical motivations behind this next release.

We have another type of motivation for this release. We (especially myself) haven't really been fully content with our past releases. Our previous demos were merely demonstrations of the technology and didn't really resemble an RPG very much. There was no story, no sequence of events, and no puzzles or major challenges. Those are pretty important things to leave out, especially for an RPG and especially for a game like Allacrost where one of our major goals is to place a strong emphasis on producing a good story. Our past releases felt more like "experiments" than games. So our highest goal with this next release is to produce a "mini-RPG". One that has a story, character development, plot devices, and so on. Something that is actually fun and interesting to play. That's what we're going to bring to you.

Brian (our writer) has already written us a great story for this next release. It is essentially a "prequel" to the main game storyline. It follows Claudius during his days as a Karlate (a knight in training). The setting is a remote desert town where Claudius and several other Karlates live temporarily at a training camp. Claudius develops a close bond with Kyle, a fellow trainee. There exists some friction between Kyle and his superiors, which climax with a dramatic turn of events that place Claudius in an uncomfortable position. I don't want to spoil it, so I'll leave the synopsis at that.

Well that's all for now. Next time I'll discuss more of the major changes that you can expect in this next release.

Seven months

Submitted by Roots on Wed, 06/10/2009 - 07:01

Wow, its been nearly seven months since our last post. I bet some of you were starting to think this project was dead, weren't you? I grow tired of continuing to say this, but "no, we are not dead". Why the long period with no news posted on the site? The answer is quite simply, there was no news to share. The entire team kind of fell apart for a while and there wasn't a lot of motivation on our part to work on the game. We all had our own reasons. Some just needed a break while others were busy with other things in their lives. We did get some work done though. We're on the verge of having full internationalization (multiple language) support in the game and just have a few kinks left to work out.

One of the reasons why we fell into this state is that we lacked manpower in both our programming and art departments. If you recall from the last news post, we were trying really hard to attract new programmers. And we did attract quite a few. The problem is that nearly every person we brought aboard and trained turned out to produce nothing or very little work. Personally this pisses me off whenever this happens (and it has happened quite frequently in the last year or two) because it actually does take us some time to get people set and mentor them during their first couple of weeks with the team. So when someone joins but doesn't produce anything it actually hurts our progress, which is not cool at all. We do still need programmers and artists on this team though so if you are interested please apply. But do so only if you're actually willing to commit yourself and do some work because you're just going to hurt this game otherwise.

Now then, the good news is that the team is fired up again. We've picked up where we left off and have been working aggressively on implementing the features for the next release that we have planned. Yes, we haven't changed the plans for our next release. However because we fell behind so much from our long hiatus and our team size remains small, we've decided to cut some of the less essential features we had originally planned. One such feature that we decided to cut is surface sounds, which is the ability to play different sounds depending upon the type of surface a sprite is walking on. To be clear, we haven't decided to cut these features from the game entirely. We only decided to put them off until a later release milestone.

The highlight of this next release is going to be all the changes you will see in the game's battles. I guarantee that the battle system will be significantly better than any of our past release. You'll see improvements across the entire game of course, but battles are really what we are focusing on in this next release. Maybe in a future post I'll elaborate more on exactly what you can expect to see in our next release. Until then, thanks for being patient with us and hopefully we can deliver something to you before the end of this year. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that this project is now just over 5 years old. At least we're persistent, right? :)

New List of Development Tasks

Submitted by Roots on Mon, 11/17/2008 - 00:42

A couple months ago we had a number of discussions about how to improve management on our team. One common complaint was that some people did not know what needed to be done for the next release. The solution we came up with was to have a check list of all tasks that need to be done for each release. This wiki page has been private and viewable only to the team for the past two months. Today, we're making it public and you can check it out here.

Allacrost Demo 1.0.0 Task List
Warning: the contents of this wiki page contain many spoilers for the next release

This page is still not finalized, but most of the tasks for code, artwork, music, sound, story, maps, and game design are all there. The reason we have made this public is to hope that it makes it easier for outsiders to contribute something useful that we need. Many (but not all) of these tasks are already entered on our bug tracker/task manager. This may seem redundant, but its a lot easier to read through a single wiki page to get a general sense of everything that needs to be done than it is to view a large number of tasks on the bug tracker.

So take a look at the page (if you aren't worried about being spoiled for the next release) and if there's something on there that you think you can do, go ahead and tackle it yourself. The more people help out, the sooner the next release will happen. Oh and by the way, we are still very much in need of programmers and managers to join our team. We currently have only three active programmers. That really, really hurts. If we could bring that number up to eight (or higher), it would mean the world to us in the programming department right now. So please lend us a hand if you can afford the time, we need the help especially bad right now. Thanks!

E-mail/account issues with online services

Submitted by Roots on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 16:56

For several weeks we've been having e-mail issues. Specifically, none of our online services seem capable of sending e-mail. That means things like account registration, password retrieval, and other services are all affected. As far as I know you can still create an account with all of our services but you won't receive any e-mail from them when you register. Its really annoying and for that I apologize. We've been plagued with all kinds of online issues in the last six weeks due to lack of maintenance. We're trying to address the most urgent ones as soon as possible, but we simply don't have the bandwidth to solve every issue right now. Our programmers are the ones that end up fixing all these issues and when we're working on the site/wiki/whatever instead of the game, that means it costs us extra time to get to our next release.

That's part of the reason why we are so desperate for a team manager right now, as part of their responsibility is to handle these issues. Not having a team manager for several months is what got us in this position in the first place, and it really hurts when we don't have one around. Unfortunately we still haven't had anyone apply for the position since we announced it last week. So until we get a manager on this team, these sorts of problems will likely continue to be unresolved. To end this post on a positive note, we've hired three new programmers to the team recently and are still receiving applications for those positions.