What A Day
It was so simple on paper. Clean up the beta files, make an installer, test it on a few test systems I have here, get it ready for a small demo Wednesday morning ready for a Thursday launch. Damn paper!
Half The Day
In reality, I spent about 5 hours getting the sky to work again, and then to get the guns working again. Small almost incidental changes had the knock-on effect of causing the reflective sky to disappear, and for the gun geometry to fly all over the shop. The solution was to write a sky shader and use some older gun models to get back on track.
The Other Half
Fear not however, as my hurdles jumped, I cleaned up the files so only Reloaded specific files are used, and I created a nicely clean installer which also uses a DirectX web installer to reduce download size and also runs the VC redist installer in case you are missing any DLL files the software requires. During our alpha testing, the full zip file was around the 500MB mark. Thanks to file cleaning, and a better compression level thanks to NSIS, the new beta installer is around 190MB. This should please everyone, not least our server which is going to get hit HARD on Thursday! To make sure the download is not agony for you, we have created a silent mirror system so you will have two servers serving up your much anticipated beta file.
I have yet to start my compatibility testing with the new installer, but I am going to dig out an XP machine as I have received reports that all is not well on that operating system at the moment. It's also prudent to test an installer under different conditions to make sure you see what we see when it's finally on your PC.
As I won't have much time left on Wednesday to actually code, I am dividing my time this evening and tomorrow evening either hiding or finishing functionality demonstrated in the editor and engine. One example is the weapon and health panels, which although functional, are currently using placeholders. Even though I have the actual art now, it came in a little late and my current task is installer testing. Maybe if I don't tire later tonight or same time tommorow, I can add them in as they do look rather sharp!
Appeal For Rick
Rick has asked me to retract his email as the official place to send your woes to, but you can keep an eye out on the forum for news about how and where to post your findings. For this beta, I suggest you avoid submitting bug reports about the stuff that clearly is not working (as we already know about them), and make your feedback more general about the stuff that appears complete and whether we're heading in the right direction.
Appeal For Testimonials
Rick is looking for some quotes we can put in our 'Beta Press Release' about how amazing the product looks so far. If you can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org it will save him bouncing back to this blog every ten minutes. Much appreciated!!