Closed Alpha is getting even closer! - Newsletter #10

Closed Alpha is getting even closer! - Newsletter #10

Hello to all our backers and newsletter readers! We’ve got a ton of updates to share with you this time, so let’s dive right in.

Closed Alpha is getting even closer!

We’ve been working around the clock on our PFTG Closed Alpha release. Right now, this means doing a substantial amount of tuning on controls, climbing, and combat. We recently integrated Unity’s new Cinemachine/Timeline system, a huge improvement for cutscenes and trailers. It’s a great tool and will cut down the development time we would have to dedicate to cutscenes. Cutscenes that used to take us one week to set up now take 20 minutes! It’s pretty amazing.

The Champion is an enemy we’re working on for the Closed Alpha.
All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC

Wait, you’re still working on the Closed Alpha?

Yes, still! Game development schedules are not an exact science, and estimating how much time it will take to get PFTG to “feel right” can be a bit of a moving target. Our hope was to have the Closed Alpha done earlier, however, we felt it was necessary to include several features now that we had slotted for later releases, including a new onboarding area for players. Initially, we planned to throw players into the deep end and see how it went. However, in recent playtests, we quickly found that a dedicated area to let players get comfortable with the world and the mechanics was worth prioritizing.

The good news is that we see the light at the end of the tunnel for the Closed Alpha and the path to full release. However, with that being said, it’s become obvious to us that we need to push out the PFTG Closed Alpha and full release into 2018. We know that you have been patiently waiting, and we’re excited for you to see all of the great stuff we’ve been able to add by pushing out our dates a bit. We hope that the additional features, content, and polish will take away the sting of having to wait a little longer. (Read on to learn about some of these improvements in detail.)

Because of this change to the schedule, we’ll be updating our official site, the Kickstarter page, and various other places to show the new 2018 target instead of 2017. If you see press, social media posts, or friends still referring to the 2017 date in the future, please help us spread the word and get them up to speed.

All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC

When will we see the full release!?

We’re not ready to throw out a specific 2018 date for the full release yet, especially without seeing the feedback from the upcoming Closed Alpha. We’ve received lots of emails and messages from our backers asking us to take our time and not rush PFTG, which we appreciate as it lets us work towards the high bar we’ve set for ourselves. Because our Closed Alpha will be a rolling release that first goes out to our backers and then later to a wider audience, we’re estimating that the full release would follow at least 6-9 months after Closed Alpha begins.

All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC

What else is going on?

Since our last newsletter, the camera system in PFTG has undergone some major improvements. The biggest of those improvements is the smoothness of the camera when following the player. This may sound like something simple in theory, but things get much trickier when the player is hanging from fast-moving giants, gliding with a sailcloth, or maneuvering through tight climbing puzzles.

Our central problem with camera smoothness stemmed from the way we were dealing with the player’s physics. Typically in games, you have a “loop” of code that runs at least once per frame for as long as the game is running. In games built in Unity, you usually have three times during each loop when you can move objects in the game: FixedUpdate, Update, and LateUpdate. FixedUpdate is often used for physics as it’s constantly run at fixed time intervals regardless of frame rate, which avoids physics acting inconsistently due to frame rate changes. LateUpdate happens once every frame, and since the frame rate can change, you never know how often LateUpdate will happen.

As a result of writing our custom character controller, we were moving the character in both FixedUpdate and LateUpdate. As we discovered with this approach over time, getting the camera to follow smoothly became a huge headache and a pain to work with. This issue lingered for a while since it didn’t completely break anything, but it was annoying to see the camera “pop” into position or have a slight jitter. Over the past few months, we kept it in the back of our minds as something that needed fixing.

Eventually, we recently decided to bite the bullet and spend time fixing it. So we moved all the player movement into one Update, which greatly simplified the camera and allowed for a constant smooth movement without issues. The results of this fix, while not drastic, do help us to get closer to a camera that should be something you don’t even notice and keeps the focus on the gameplay.

Overall, we’ve spent a good chunk of time getting our controls and combat to feel much tighter and more responsive. Climbing controls were improved to react better to player movements. Tim has been working hard tuning this and simplifying the base controls with our bow/arrow and grappling hook. In the pre-alpha build, to use the bow, you pressed right click to pull up the bow, then left click to shoot. We’ve streamlined this now, so it’s left click to pull up and shoot with both the bow and grappling hook. We also improved climbing so that you can climb around 90-degree angles and also tweaked stamina usage and cold resistance. The core pieces of the game continue to get refined while we iterate through both big changes and improvements, as well as things like how the player explores and finds bosses.

All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC

Climb Jump

A new feature we added was the ability to jump backward off a wall. It seems like a small thing to add, but it’s been on the backlog for a long time. Finally, it’s here! Having this ability allows us to improve and expand on platforming elements, especially in caves (more on this below).

Here’s a rundown of some other things we’ve been hard at work on:


A backer on the Kickstarter page had a question about this, and in previous streams, we’ve discussed how caves could be used to expand our environments. In general, we’re looking into developing multiple paths within caves. Some would be short, some would be longer, and some would have platforming elements. We’ve begun work on these, and we like the early results so far and hope to share more soon.

All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC


So we've been silent on this for a while (ha!). Ian has been working on some tracks for a while now, and we've been exploring choirs quite a bit as we find that they fit the atmosphere in the game. Over the last year, we've done some short sessions and vocalists to try out some ideas. We'll do another recording session with a full choir this winter for some of our tracks.

To give you a preview, we've provided a couple of samples you can download.

Awakening: This was recorded nearly a year ago as Ian ran tests with a smaller vocal ensemble. Sitting in on the performance of the choral test was amazing. We liked the results, and frequently, we played it on a loop while working on the game. 


Hymn: This track will play in a large ruined temple you'll visit in the game. Currently, the temple track uses vocal samples but will be recorded later with a choir. 


We wrapped up the third boss and are now deep in refining the fourth boss. We have a little work left on the Closed Alpha, but we are close. We also have a couple of other bosses sketched out and will have to decide which one will be the fifth boss.

Overall, development is in a really good place, and we can’t wait to show you more! Have a great 2017, and we’ll see you in 2018!

-No Matter Studios

Exclusive Desktop Background

Until our next update, here’s an exclusive desktop background for our backers and newsletter readers / All images © 2017 - No Matter Studios, LLC

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