What’s so special about ‘The Last Door’ betas?

Don’t you hate when you buy a product and it turns to be nothing you were told it would be? I certainly do, that’s why I feel like I should explain in detail how the episode’s betas are in The Last Door for those of you who have not yet taken part in one.

Most people think of a “beta” version as a nearly finished product, where you should be open to experience some bugs here and there, but, overall, it will be very close to the final experience. This is not the case of The Last Door.

This game has always been all about creating a community. Since the very conception of the idea we knew that, in order to make an excellent game, we would need to assess the power of the collective creativity and imagination of the game’s players.

Letting you guys participate in the development has always been one of our main priorities. And The Last Door’s betas are possibly the most powerful way there is for you to leave your mark in the game.

A proposal open for changes

Our betas are not close to final gameplay. You have to think about it as a draft, for you to build upon. We reserve about 25% of the development time between beta and final, to be able to perform countless changes, based in your suggestions. Some will be shallow, details, but some other will be deep. Entire areas or characters could be cut or added during this process, and all will be done according to your feedback.

Blank descriptions for you to fill

Another thing we do in the beta is we leave ten to twelve objects in the game without description. Beta testers can then suggest a description during their playthrough using a simple form. The best descriptions will make it to the final version, and their authors will be featured in the final game’s credits!

Will playing the beta ruin the final game for me?

No, it will not. There are some measures we take to protect the final experience:

  • We make sure the beta gameplay is enjoyable by itself.
  • We avoid including any major spoilers in the beta: the opening and ending sequences won’t be present, and some important scenes will be cut out too. You will still have to play the final release to see what happens in this episode!
  • The overall gameplay of the final release usually feels very different from the beta version so it will be still thrilling to play through!

Most players enjoy playing both the beta and the final release:

  • You get to play two different versions of the game.
  • You get to discuss changes with us and other players.
  • You get to see those changes come together in the final version.
  • If you send us good feedback, you will get your name featured in the credits!

Sounds great, but does it work?

We’ve collected some feedback provided by players in the past about participating in the betas, hope this help get a better picture:

“I was kinda interested if you really put the changes community mentioned into your Final Version. Well..you did. And i think this fits just great. Everybody who played and finished the Beta knows what i mean and i as a player and a follower of your work (art) want to say thank you.” – Meatknife (forum post)

“I love how you guys altered the puzzles from the beta, and I really noticed how much you listened to your fans. This has truly been a fun adventure to be apart of with you guys and I would love to see this story reach the point to which it deserves.” – Jiveturkey (forum post)

“I too noticed how you took many of the forum comments and incorporated those changes into the game. I really liked the changes to some of the puzzles and surprises (you know which ones I’m talking about!) and the community input on some of the items (the teacups for example) really added an extra element of depth and imagination to everything.” – Mike1141 (forum post)

Creating seamless looping ambience tracks

Hello! I’m Carlos Viola, in my first blog post I want to talk about how we do the loops of the ambient sounds in TLD 😉

Composing a song that loops correctly is just a matter of making the end of the song go nice next to the beginning. In the other hand, for an ambience track, where there’s no structure or notes but noises, it can get a little bit tricky.

I’ll show how we do it using Cubase, but you can do pretty much the same with any software following the same tips.

First, we need to create an ambient track with some sounds, like wind, water, city noises, etc..  We mix this noises or sounds in a single track to create the correct sensation of a soundscape. You’d want to make it a little bit longer than what’s strictly required, since a small portion of it will be discarded during the process of making it loop.

making-loops-step1

Then, we import the track into our audio software and duplicate it

making-loops-step2

Now we need to join the tracks making a crossfade between them, is important to do this with mathematical coherence, you need to have a beat grid and snap the second track in a time event, for example 16 beats into the first track.

making-loops-step3

Then select a zone between the two tracks starting from 16 beats into the first track and ending from 16 beats of the second one.

And that’s it, now you have a perfect loop zone to export into a single track. Simply discard what’s out the “perfect loop zone” and you’re done!