Apparance Logo

Current Status Private Alpha Closed Beta Open Beta Version 1

Releases

Apparance is long term project and there's lots to do, but an actual release is long overdue. Initially there will be a small Alpha release to a few friends, then a Beta release to a wider audience, before a full public Beta release of the tools for evaluation.

Development will be ongoing, guided by feedback and the grand plan, until at some time in the future a game has been built and released with it. At this point I will be happy to label it Version 1 and come out of Beta.

The approximate timeline goes like this:

  • February - Alpha release to a few friends for some initial impressions and assessment of fundamental premises. Question to answer: Is this boat going to float?
  • March - Closed Beta release to anyone I know personally who would be interested in looking at the project. Aim to get feedback on everything from tool UI to documentation. Question to answer: Is this boat going to carry people?
  • April - Open Beta release to anyone who will listen. Really want to see what people think, and open discussions for projects and collaborations around the system. Question to answer: Is this boat something people want to race around in?

The further these dates can be brought forward, the better.


Alpha

The initial release is going to be quite small. I want to let a few of my more technically minded friends get the first proper look at the tools and engine. The plan is as follows:

Release Alpha (invite only)
Schedule 1st February 2017
Audience Small. Trusted friends.
Content
  • Build of the Apparance Editor
  • Data for all current projects (Future City, Web Site)
  • Data for old projects (Dev, Tests, Gamejam, etc.)
  • User Manual (see manual page)
Goals
  • Initial thoughts - Am I crazy? Do you think it will work?
  • Q/A - Intense discussion about the project.
  • Direction - Thoughts on the direction to take the project.
  • Smoke test - Does everything work well enough to release?
  • Missing - What have I missed? What must it have?
  • Blockers - Any blocking issues, bugs, crashes, confusion?
  • Website - What do you think of the web-site?
  • Documentation - What is still needed, or needs improving?
  • Sign-off - What is needed before proceeding to Closed Beta?

Status

  • Alpha - 22 signed up, 12 downloads, 11 active

Releases


Closed Beta

The second release will be a bit later. I want people I know to have a good look round, open it up to more technical people, start discussion project future. At this point I need to start thinking about project direction, including pitching a game, and collaboration and funding.

Release Closed Beta (invite only)
Schedule 1st March 2017
Audience Medium. Any friends and ex-collegues. Acquaintences who've expressed interest in procedural techniques.
Content
  • Cover letter with terms and conditions.
  • Build of the Apparance Editor
  • Build of the Apparance Player
  • Data for all current projects (Future City, Web Site)
  • Data for old projects (Dev, Tests, Gamejam, etc.)
  • User Manual (see manual page)
  • Questionaire to provide feedback.
Goals
  • Sticking points - Finer points that still slow progress?
  • Missing - What else have I missed? What could it do with?
  • Blockers - Any blocking issues, bugs, crashes, confusion?
  • Feedback - First impressions, thoughts on the whole idea.
  • Interesting - Is this project going to be interesting to people?
  • Discussion - Further discusion about the project.
  • Direction - Thoughts on the direction to take the project.
  • Future - How is the project going to proceed, how to sustain it?
  • Funding - What form of funding is going to work, and where from?
  • Sign-off - What is needed before proceeding to Open Beta?

Status

  • Alpha+Beta - 45 signed up, 29 downloads, 23 active

Releases


Open Beta

The final beta stage will be the public release, open to anyone. This is likely to be the holding pattern for some time as the technology is matured to the point of fully supporting the first game release.

Release Open Beta
Schedule April 2017
Audience Large. Any interested party.
Content
  • Cover letter with terms and conditions.
  • Build of the Apparance Editor
  • Build of the Apparance Player
  • Data for all current projects (Future City, Web Site)
  • Data for old projects (Dev, Tests, Gamejam, etc.)
  • User Manual (see manual page)
Goals
  • Blockers - Any blocking issues, bugs, crashes, confusion?
  • Feedback - First impressions, thoughts on the whole idea.
  • Interesting - Is this project going to be interesting to people?
  • Discussion - Further discusion about the project.
  • Direction - Thoughts on the direction to take the project.
  • Future - How is the project going to proceed, how to sustain it?
  • Funding - What form of funding is going to work, and where from?

Releases

Download

Available via the itch.io Apparance page.


Tools

Current Status Concept Prototype Development Testing Released

A hugely important part of the project and probably about half the effort so far has been in developing the tools and engine editing support. Built from the start with the goal to enable the Apparance philosophies of interaction, immediacy, flexibility, and exploration, the tools remain a focus of development effort.

The editor is the place you will start, the place you will spend your time, and the place you will create your worlds. A lot has been done to ensure a smooth experience, that doesn't hinder building, but there is still a huge wish list and collection of ideas to improve it further.

Every development release will include the editor to allow anyone to fully explore the procedures that make up all the demo projects. The best way to learn and understand Apparance (or indeed anything) is to play with it, to view examples, tweak parameters, and try stuff out.

Check out the documentation available on the manual page for details, or take a look through Apparance blog posts about editing.

Web Site

This site can be considered a release too, especially as it was build procedurally using the very same systems as the demo and game related content. I blogged about it here:

Pictures of examples and a video of the interactive editing in action can be found in the Apparance gallery.

Status

  • Since launch - 658 visitors, 1,339 page impressions

Demos

As a new technology, it is crucial to have show-cases for Apparance that demonstrate it's range, power, and features. Not in a position to build fully fledged games yet, this needs to be in the form of visual examples. The primary focus in the few months running up to the Alpha has been to build such a demo, something for people to fly around, explore, and learn about the characteristics of the engine.

Future City

Current Status Concept Prototype Development Testing Released

Brief: A sprawling future metropolis, covering 100 square kilometres. A mixture of buiness, industry, and space-travel interspersed with a variety of residential and leisure areas. Showing off the size and detail obtainable using Apparance. Multi-layered procedural algorithms build a unique, richly detailed city from its starting seed.

Visit the Future City section of the Apparance gallery to see how the demo is progressing.

Or visit the Apparance development blog for many entries featuring the Future City demo:

Games

The primary goal for Apparance is to provide a powerful new way to make games. At the moment there are two game concepts I want to build to prove out the technology further. One based around the Future City demo assets (it would be wasteful not to take advantage of all the effort put into it), and the second a more ambitious sci-fi prospecting game.

Game #1

Current Status Concept Prototype Development Testing Released

Brief: The first game will be set in the environment created for Future City. It is likely to be an exploration game, with goals around finding objects around the city. I want to include vehicles, to help cover the large area, but they also enable pushing the technology towards detailed, intricate, interactive objects.

Game #2

Current Status Concept Prototype Development Testing Released

Brief: The second game will be planet surface based science-fiction game. An opportunity to flesh out the full texturing, height-field, and 'data-scape' plans and driving the landscape and biome generation ambitions for Apparance. Again an element of exploration, and vehicles, will be involved, but also prospecting, industrial mining complex construction and operation. Lots of automation, robotics, and machines to bring the place alive.

Jams

Two Choices

Current Status Concept Prototype Development Testing Released

Last November I took part in the Guildford Game Jam for 2016, deciding to take Apparance for a spin to see what I could make in a weekend. I joined the crowd at the Rocket Desk offices in Guildford for game-dev (and pizza) around the jams theme of 'Two Choices'. It was fairly intense, but the company and camaraderie was great and I managed to come away with a small game demo based on some earlier procedural dungeon prototyping.

I managed to build in a puzzle element to the dungeon maze, using a series of procedurally generated glyphs to give clues to a final do/die decision. Apart from not managing to get any collision/physics in I was pleased with the result. As it was also Proc Jam weekend I sneakily entered it in that as well.

You can download it from the Apparance itch.io page.

I also blogged about my Game-jam experience on the Apparance blog:

Status

  • Since release - 16 downloads, 74 views