From Alpha to Content Lock

Posted by Greg Kasavin on March 11, 2014

At the end of last year, we got Transistor to an alpha stage of development, which meant the game was essentially feature-complete and fully playable start to finish. Since then, we’ve been working to get every aspect of that game to a better place. Despite the broad-sounding goal, it’s a pretty meticulous process. We figured we’d give you a brief update on how it’s going!

Transistor - Process Wallpaper
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In development speak, after alpha, our next big internal milestone is a fun-sounding term called ‘content lock’. Here’s how those are different:

Alpha means the game content is all there and no significant new features are being added. You’re done creating environments, characters, major features, and game systems. The game should be fully playable and expressive of what the full experience is ultimately going to be. In other words, it should be interesting to play and worth playing. If there are major gaps in the design, or the story, or any other aspect, it’s not really alpha.

Content lock means the game is near shipping quality. Like alpha, this can be a moving target. Placeholder assets are gone, and every aspect of the game from the tuning to the timing of the voiceover to runtime performance are getting locked down. The caveats are removed. There’s a big emphasis on testing and refining. After content lock, it’s down to critical fixes or key surgical improvements.

These days we’re zeroing in on that content lock stage. It’s a key point in development that boils down to sweating the details. We promise to tell you more just as soon as we’re ready. In the mean time, don’t be a stranger and visit us on Twitter, and thank you for all your support and enthusiasm for this game!

9 Comments

  • Carl on 12/3/2014

    Very excited to hear about the progress you are making, Bastion was an amazing game and I'm looking forward to seeing the scope of your new game.

  • Nate on 12/3/2014

    This is great! The demo looked amazing, and I can't wait for this game. Also, I now have a new desktop background! keep up the great work

  • Sefam on 12/3/2014

    I'm not sure I understand exactly Greg. The way you're saying it, before content lock, it means you still do minor changes to the game, like replace the placeholder assets by the assets that are going to be in the final game. But you don't stray and change major parts of the game. And essentially content lock is when you decide to tune minor things and fix potential bugs. Do I get this right? D: Anyway, it's really awesome to see that you guys are advancing so fast in development. And thanks for the wallpaper, I'm definitely using it <3

  • Greg Kasavin on 12/3/2014

    @Sefam -- That's basically correct. The threshold for the types of changes we think are justified is getting narrower as we get closer to being done. Towards the end of the project it's important to stop noodling around with things that are working well because it can all be a rather delicate balance at that point!

  • Danielle on 12/3/2014

    So excited to hear an update! Can't wait till launch, keep up the great work!

  • MD on 13/3/2014

    Great to hear development is going as planned, can't wait to play it! Probably a trivial question, but will this game have a Platinum trophy?

  • Shane on 14/3/2014

    I've been following Transistor religiously, it's the only game I'm really excited about. Thanks for the update and new wallpaper, and I hope you guys take all the time you need to make it as good or even better than Bastion!

  • l0kiderhase on 19/3/2014

    To be frank: There are not many games out there, which get me as hyped as Transistor. Last week I finished Bastion for the 7th time... I'ts pretty nice to pass the time until the release of Transistor. I can't wait to play Transistor and i wouldn't mind to play an alpha build :) ...

  • Belabras on 23/3/2014

    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to the game!

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