If you listened to our most recent podcast, you heard us talk about what we've been up to in our work on Exploit: Zero Day. We haven't worked much on our social puzzle game about hacktivism for a while; we've been focusing instead on "The Majesty of Colors" and Rosette Diceless.
However, with those out the door, our development focus is returning to EZD. We'll be splitting our remaining alpha work into small named releases. We've only scoped out the first two, but we can provide some information on what will be included and what's going to happen further down the road.
Alpha 2-1: "Crash Override"
"Crash Override" is currently in progress and focuses on a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff. We're upgrading our server software, improving our error handling, and fixing some subtle issues that have stuck around in the code for a while. The most work, however, is going into our internal job editor.
One reason why the release of new storylines hasn't been easy is that it's really awkward for us to write and assemble new jobs (EZD's equivalent of missions or quests). We're biting the bullet and taking the time to make a more user-friendly editor that will streamline the process immensely. It's only for our internal use for now, but someday we hope to get it to the point where players can create and share their own jobs.
Once the job editor is ready, we'll resume making jobs for the "Headless Swarm" season of story. Because we want to build up a healthy backlog, it'll be a while afterward that we actually start releasing the new jobs.
Alpha 2-2: "Cereal Killer"
This job will feature an assortment of player-facing fixes and enhancements. We'll improve our communication and messaging, make it easier to access clusters, and add a thing or two to the registration flow. This release will be a bit feature-light, since we're focusing on getting new jobs out the door sooner.
We've got a bunch more work to do before we consider this alpha phase complete. We don't have cute names or specific timelines for this work, but here's an overview of some of the things we have planned in the near-term:
- Enhancements and bugfixes to the Matrix player experience, making it easier to create and edit puzzles
- Replay of puzzle solutions so you can show off your work and see how people solved your systems
- Improved social tools to enhance safety and give more incentive to befriend other players
- More behind-the-scenes fixes and improvements
If you want to try out Exploit: Zero Day for yourself, you can visit its website and sign up for the mailing list; we send out keys every month or so that provide access to the game and the free season of story, "Black Echoes." If you're especially eager, you can buy "Headless Swarm" to get instant access to the game and start playing the in-progress season of premium plot.