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Alcyone: The Last City

A sci-fi interactive fiction game set in the last City in the universe. · By Joshua Meadows

Alpha Release Thread Sticky

A topic by Joshua Meadows created Apr 30, 2018 Views: 331 Replies: 12
Viewing posts 1 to 11
Developer

I'm extremely pleased to announce the initial release in the Alcyone: The Last City alpha — Alpha1!

Thank you all for being so patient as I've gotten this organised. This first release is a substantial change over the demo file I presented during Kickstarter; there's not any component of the game that hasn't been redone in some capacity. This portion of the game contains the same "areas" as in the original demo — character creation, a choice of two internship pathways with exposure to the Encounter system, and a secondary Encounter following completion of the internships. However, all of this has been rewritten and should look new even to players who saw the original demo.

Alpha1 Release Notes — 30-04-2018

  • Total overhaul of the game's appearance compared to the demo
  • "Dyslexic-friendly" font from Fontsmith to improve overall readability
  • New splash, menu, and interstitial screens
  • Custom cursor icons
  • Consistent styling implemented for buttons & UI elements from the Twine engine & SugarCube 2 functionality
  • Massive editing/rewriting passthrough to the Alcyone prose 
  • Text is now broken up into much smaller "bubbles" to further improve readability
  • Implemented additional audio and visual effects
  • Preliminary fixes implemented for screen readers (this will require further testing)
  • Glossary tooltip system has been overhauled to improve functionality and readability
  • Better differentiation between dialogue "bubbles," story "bubbles," and more important game moments
  • Passage headers are separated and better differentiated from the rest of the story bubbles
  • Improvements to various CSS elements

If anything comes up please don't hesitate to let me know — enjoy!

Looks great!  The sounds and music in the background are fantastic, and really bring the scenes to life.  I was hoping for a bit more story though, I'm hooked now ;)

Developer

Thanks, glad to hear it! I'm just waiting on assets for the second two internships and then the four will get pushed to the demo; once the game's UI and so forth is locked in and concrete, it's just the writing  left to finish and I'll get that in place pretty rapidly. Thanks for your support!

Feedback for playing the game with a screen reader. I've tried it both with mac and windows. I've played up to the point where you go to the place you chose to work.


On the mac, once I put it into full screen, I was able to access everything as far as I can tell. When it wasn't in full screen, I couldn't read the text.


On windows, it all worked from the start except for one thing. On the mac, I noticed that voiceover separates certain words, the way it breaks up paragraphs. I was able to click on those words to get the glossary info. I couldn't figure out a way to get that to work for me in windows.


The UI bar seems to be working fine. I was able to save and load games and see my attributes.


Let me know if there's anything in particular you'd like me to check.

More observations regarding screen readers.


Looking at the area with attributes and inventory, I know I have encounter secrets and perils, but I'm unable to get more details about them. Meaning, it just says encounter secret, or peril, but doesn't tell me what it actually is. Also, I can't tell if I should be able to get more details about the items in my inventory, such as a description or if it gives me some kind of boost to an attribute.


Hope that's helpful.

Developer

Hey thanks tons for these posts, this is helpful.

  • On the mac, I noticed that voiceover separates certain words, the way it breaks up paragraphs. I was able to click on those words to get the glossary info. I couldn't figure out a way to get that to work for me in windows.

This is probably down to how I've actually got the glossary working (there's a hacky bit of javascript that goes back after the page is drawn and looks for keywords, and if those keywords are found it retroactively wraps them in the glossary div — this way I only have to add definitions in one place as opposed to manually doing them every time I write the text out, and it detects the keywords automatically instead of me forgetting a word here or there.) I probably won't be able to do anything about this in terms of screen readers, but that's why I added the glossary button on the side so definitions can be accessed outside of a passage. Dunno why it's interactive under macOS but not Windows, but maybe that's down to their screen readers specifically.

  • Looking at the area with attributes and inventory, I know I have encounter secrets and perils, but I'm unable to get more details about them. Meaning, it just says encounter secret, or peril, but doesn't tell me what it actually is.

I think that I can rectify this by adding in the img alt text that I meant to go back and do but never had a chance. Right now if you mouse over the various images it gives a hover tooltip that tells you what the secret was, for example, and I think once I go back and implement those it will accomplish the same thing for people on screen readers.

  • Also, I can't tell if I should be able to get more details about the items in my inventory, such as a description or if it gives me some kind of boost to an attribute.

This is also in the hover tooltips and should (hopefully) be fixed with appropriate img alt text. However, are you able to interact with the buttons in the inventory to equip/unequip items once you have access? That's one thing I was worried about since it was an issue earlier on. Otherwise the inventory screen is just a pretty wall of images that doesn't do anything useful!

No problem about the glossary. As long as there's a way to get that information. Speaking of which, I found something with the area that comes up if you open the glossary or credits. I can't close it by clicking the close button. Might be there for inventory as well though I haven't specifically tried it.


Regarding inventory, I can equip/unequip, but it could be improved somewhat if possible. I see 2 links for each item. One says "none", and the other is the name of the item. I confirmed that clicking the links changes the corresponding attribute number the way I expect. If "none" could be changed to unequip, that would help things make more sense. It would be even better if if there was a control that toggled between equip/unequip. The other issue with the current inventory is that I don't know if an item is equipped or not without checking the stats.


Overall, looking good.

Developer

Alpha2 is out now on itch; you can download it directly from your store page or with the itch app — the zip file (whichever way you download it) contains executables for five operating systems, so be sure to navigate to the downloaded directory and delete any you don't need.

Alpha2 Release Notes — 23-10-2018

  • Info/release notes screen added to the first loading screen
  • Autosave system implemented
  • Alcyone now has Objectives, and those Objectives are now exposed to the player
  • Counter now shows how many passages remain in each “page”
  • Hub locations actually work properly when the demo’s end is reached
  • Further visual tweaks
  • Removed the spinning widget from each page and reorganised the appearance & content of the sidebar
  • The Help button actually does something useful now!
  • Kickstarter backers added to the Credits overlay
Developer

Alpha3 is now out on itch! 

As discussed on Kickstarter, this brings in the Patron update that includes additional content on a monthly basis as a special thanks to early backers. The Patron's first Commission is an Encounter nearly ten thousand words in length, so this is a substantial amount of new content available to everyone.

Full release notes are below.

November 23 2018 —

  • Alpha3 release, and final (?) demo release
  • Preliminary accessibility update adding img alt text to primary icons for players using screen readers; this will be an ongoing fix, but many of the more vital icons now have proper descriptions
  • Added access for Supporter Content to those who were early backers or Patreon supporters
  • The Patron has set up shop in the City! Check Kickstarter for details about this eccentric figure
  • The Patron's first Commission is now playable — help him pick up a particularly special parcel
  • All four Attribute internships are available in the Alcyone demo now. Enjoy pursuing the Mind and Charm tracks in addition to the existing Body and Vigour ones
  • Slight font size tweaks to the header text at the start of each passage
  • Encounter "Trapped" has been tweaked to provide additional solutions for players who didn't pursue the Body internship
  • Made some edits to the wording in certain character creation passages, and some additional writing edits throughout the first four internships
  • Audio levels have been tweaked across the board to help with competing against screen readers
  • Fixed a crossfading bug with the Encounter versions of music tracks so spoopy ambience works like it's supposed to!
  • Huge overhaul to how variables are handled in the game; this breaks old save files, but should not impact them going forward
  • Visual tweaks to better differentiate conversation bubbles from regular story text
Developer

Just a quick update to the alpha as well as the public demo — I fixed up a couple of issues that were reported after the Patron launch (nothing game-breaking, fortunately!) so hopefully, hopefully, this is the last time the demo needs to be touched.

December 03 2018 —

  • Alpha4 release, and hopefully the final demo version
  • Fixed an audio crossfading issue between the main and Encounter versions of music tracks
  • Fixed an issue with the Mind internship's music
  • Fixed an issue with the Charm internship's music
  • Expanded the Help & Glossary section of the game to actually include the Help part of things
  • Glossary entries are now alphabetised and not arranged in the order that the player may encounter those terms
Developer

Alpha6 is out now, along with the third Patron Commission:

January 31 2019 —

  • Alpha6 release
  • Added the January 2019 Patron Commission, "The Survey"
  • Fixes and tweaks made to the save/load dialog system
Developer

Hey supporters! Just a quick note to say that the latest Valentines-themed Patron commission is live — grab the demo through itch.io to give it a play.

Also, keep an eye out for some pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) news coming, hopefully, in March. That's all I'm saying for now!

Developer (1 edit)

The next Patron Commission is now live!

March 31 2019 —

  • Alpha8 release
  • Added the March 2019 Patron Commission, "The Gift"
  • Fixes to some glossary tooltip definitions
  • Fixes to variable flagging in a couple Patron Encounters