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The End of an Alpha Era

Posted by The TTR Team on April 21, 2014 02:00 PM

Heya, Toontown fanatics! I'm the toon known as Shockley, here guest-blogging for Sir Max (his arm is sore from all the pie throwing).

This weekend's event, as you may know, marks the end of the Toontown Rewritten Alpha Test. And boy, what a smash hit that was-- literally! I wasn't able to make it to the Election, unfortunately, but I enjoyed seeing the community's overwhelmingly positive response to the many surprises we had in store. We've poured our very hearts and souls into our work these past few months (Not just the Election, either!), and seeing how well-received it was made it all the better.

Now that the Alpha testing period is over, I think it's only fitting that I take this time to say a few words...
*ahem* mongoose, lampshade, jocular.
I would also like to talk about the road ahead. What's next for Toontown Rewritten?

When I joined the team last August, I had a general idea of what challenges we had in store: We were all just regular folks with little background in game development, no organization, and most of us barely knew each other. We hadn't even decided on a name for the project at that point. However, even with those hurdles, what really brought us together quickly was that we all shared the exact same goal: To rebuild and preserve our beloved Toontown.

What I didn't know back then was how much steam we'd pick up along the way. In under a month, we went from a small, unknown project to the continuation of Toontown itself. In a under 2 months, we had already begun our alpha test and set a specific plan for our entire future. It's been about 6 months now - not even in beta - and we've already began adding our own original content to the game! It was amazing to see our creation come to life, rather than restoring something that has already been done before.

During my time with the project, I've come to know many talented developers, and working alongside them so far has been a great honor. Don't even get me started on the community, either. I will forever cherish every joke, story, and memory that you guys have shared with me. Some of you have even written in kind words of support, which we read whenever we're having an off day. We know that we've disappointed you at times, but most of you know our vision and understand what we have to go through. So, here's to the community: You all rock!

As Alpha is now over, it's time to gear up and talk about Beta. With the transition in the game's testing cycle, we are also changing our focus. During Alpha, the main question in my mind was, "Can this crazy idea of ours actually work? Can we not only restore the game, but bring life back to it and bring back the community?" I can tell you with full certainty now that the answer is "Absolutely." I would like to present the next challenge: "Can we make Toontown Rewritten return to the glory days of the game? Can we go above and beyond, and make this a game that is not only fast and stable, but also exciting and fresh?"

Although we have a general idea of when Beta will start, we don't have an official date to give you. We just need a short breather, both to rest and to give us time to rebuild some of the less robust components of the game. I can't share many details about the beta yet, but I'm going to share a few anyway!

1. The timeline of Beta will take place shortly after the Election. The cogs have invaded the streets of Toontown, and toons are just starting to learn how to fight them off through street battles and Toon Tasks. However, the cogs are learning a few things as well... Cog Buildings are beginning to tower over the streets of Toontown as more local shops are turned into mega-corporations.

2. To keep you occupied during the break, we will be releasing all sorts of entertainment. There are a few videos that we're really wanting to work on for beta, as well as a comic that will be released to fill you in on what happened in the town while you were gone.

3. One of the main points of Beta is to give our servers and game technology a massive overhaul in preparation for the public release to ensure that everyone has a chance to play smoothly without interruption - and hopefully even more smoothly than ever before.

4. If you already have a Toontown Rewritten account: Congrats! You're officially a Beta tester! All of our Alpha Testers, as a thanks for helping us, will be given extra keys as well so that they can play with their friends throughout Beta. As Beta goes on, those friends will be given keys to invite their friends, and so on.

5. Beta will start out small, and become massive before the end. Next week we'll announce even more about Beta Keys and how they will work. We've listened to your suggestions!

Even with all of the excitement, with the end of Alpha there is one more thing that isn't quite so good: The end of the Daily Alpha Updates. The Daily Updates were a great way to keep in touch with you guys, although the reason we did them was because frankly, the game is quite boring without any features. Everyone knows that a toon gets sad when they're bored, so we made Daily Updates out of the smaller features to make sure the game stayed interesting for everyone throughout development. Now that we're getting into the really huge parts of the game, we have to focus on making them work perfectly rather than updating daily. We'll be updating on our own time -- but never fear! We'll do our best to keep you entertained every few days with the many shenanigans of Sir Max and the rest of the crew.

One final commitment I want to make when Beta launches, however, is to spending more time actually playing. It's easy to get caught up in the rigors of development and lose sight of the objective: building a great game, not a piece of software. Make sure to keep up with our website for updates as we move on in this transition from Alpha to Beta. Trust me, we have quite a bit in store!