At the end of last year, we got Transistor to an alpha stage of development, which meant the game was essentially feature-complete and fully playable start to finish. Since then, we've been working to get every aspect of that game to a better place. Despite the broad-sounding goal, it's a pretty meticulous process. We figured we'd give you a brief update on how it's going!
In development speak, after alpha, our next big internal milestone is a fun-sounding term called 'content lock'. Here's how those are different:
Alpha means the game content is all there and no significant new features are being added. You're done creating environments, characters, major features, and game systems. The game should be fully playable and expressive of what the full experience is ultimately going to be. In other words, it should be interesting to play and worth playing. If there are major gaps in the design, or the story, or any other aspect, it's not really alpha.
Content lock means the game is near shipping quality. Like alpha, this can be a moving target. Placeholder assets are gone, and every aspect of the game from the tuning to the timing of the voiceover to runtime performance are getting locked down. The caveats are removed. There's a big emphasis on testing and refining. After content lock, it's down to critical fixes or key surgical improvements.
These days we're zeroing in on that content lock stage. It's a key point in development that boils down to sweating the details. We promise to tell you more just as soon as we're ready. In the mean time, don't be a stranger and visit us on Twitter, and thank you for all your support and enthusiasm for this game!