Over the years, the bitter truth pill fans of the MMORPG genre have had to swallow is that beta and even alpha phases aren’t quite as well defined as they used to be. With that in mind, Clockwork Labs has put together another lengthy dev blog to define each development stage of its exploration-minded MMO BitCraft, as well as outline plans for the game’s pre-alpha phase.
The game’s pre-alpha test will mostly be focused on ensuring the game’s technology works to begin with. This portion of testing will work in phases, the first of which will only include a small number of community members and mostly friends and family. Successive phases will naturally increase the tester population, adding survival mechanics and additional long-term content along the way. Pre-alpha will likely be running for weekends, broken up by periods of iterative development, and will run for approximately six months.
Looking beyond pre-alpha, BitCraft continues to outline development stages from alpha, beta, and launch. The alpha build will represent “the true spirit” of the game, and will see the addition of new features deeper gameplay, and balancing; beta will effectively be dry runs of the game’s launch version with further game balance, content design, bug fixing and polish; and release will be defined by the point where the devs feel that the game will not see an economic collapse or require full wipes. Development will continue post-launch, of course, but the devs will call BitCraft a launch product when “there is enough long-term content, the content is balanced, and performance is good.”
The post doesn’t provide any sort of timeframe for any of these test phases, and each successive phase is dependent on the previous step being completed to Clockwork Labs’ satisfaction, but at the very least there does appear to be a pretty concise plan for development of this one.