All right, so I’m looking at this Wikipedia page on the software release cycle, and I think I’m ready to declare that Forge War has entered the beta stage. More or less. I don’t foresee adding any new features, and the application seems stable enough for more heavy outside testing. It’s kind of hard to tell about all this terminology since this article is about large releases, and it’s just a one-man, silly Flash-based operation. But, sure, whatever, open beta! Ready to be released out into the many corners of the world wide web like a load of vampire bats.
Back when I first put the digital version up online, it wasn’t really ready for human consumption – definite alpha material. There were still lots of bugs and I had a page-long list of features I still wanted to implement. I released it following a strict plan I had for a November Kickstarter launch, but eventually real life caught up to me, pushing everything back, and leaving the digital version stranded out in the vast internets, to be worked on occasionally.
Which was for the best. Since I’ve given myself time, I’ve been able to make quite a few improvements without having to rush everything. You can see the big, long change log on the game page. It’s long, but I feel they were all necessary (obviously cleaning up game-breaking bugs is necessary, but also the other stuff). One thing that was annoying was how I had written all this code and made these graphics for a bidding system on market cards, but then took that all out to streamline the game. All that code is still there, though, commented out in case I want to use it for something else.
Though, honestly, if I do this again for another project, I might just go with VASSAL or something instead of building it from the ground up with Flash. It is a lot of work that probably could have been put towards something of more use – designing other games or interacting with more social media for this game. Once I’d already put months of time into it, though, the only course that made any sense was just to put my head down and finish it. I kind of have a history with unfinished Flash games, and I wanted to break that cycle now that I have more experience programming.
So, look,, as it is now. It will continue to see bug fixes and maybe some changes based on player suggestions. I can only hope other people treat my baby with dignity and it does the job I intended for it to do – give people interested in the game a full experience of how the game plays so that they can make an informed decision on whether to support the project. So let’s get this party started.