Friday, April 16, 2010

Tidalis Beta Begins, Now Available For Preorder!

What happens when a notable indie strategy developer makes a puzzle game?  We have no idea.  Our first game happened to be a notable indie strategy game, but we’ve never considered ourselves tied to any particular genre. Truth is, we made Tidalis because we like puzzle games and we wanted to take our opportunity to innovate in that space.

The "streams" mechanic employed by Tidalis is what makes it so unique -- chain reactions with a dozen blocks are trivially easy to create.  This makes the game really easy to get into, but also makes the creation of advanced multi-stage combos more challenging than in other block-based puzzlers.  At an advanced level of play, it’s the difference between Chess and Checkers; with Tidalis in the hands of an expert, there are more variables to keep in mind as you set up truly elegant interactions.

But never fear:  the easier difficulty levels are quite relaxed, and our Zen mode provides a particularly no-rush style of gameplay.  The core mechanics are so simple that the two-year-old daughter of one of our staff enjoys playing along with him.  And we suppose it goes without saying that many of our mothers are hooked on it, too.

Whether you’re just looking for a casual fun time,  a deep and strategic puzzle experience, or a series of brain-bending puzzles, we’ve got you covered.  About half of the five staff members working on this game are the hardcore puzzle types, and the other half have completely casual tastes.  We’ve approached this with our usual attention to detail: the mechanics of the timing, chain merging, and other mechanics have been refined to a ridiculous degree to provide an optimal experience in all play styles.

THE CURRENT VERSIONS ARE STILL BETA!  Sorry for the caps there, but it’s that important. This game is not nearly complete, content-wise.  We have so many more levels, puzzles, game modes, and so forth to implement -- not to mention network play.   But the core gameplay, and the first 30% or so of the content, has been polished to the point where we’re excited to finally be able to share it with folks.  We hope you enjoy playing it as much as we’re enjoying making it!

What Do I Need To Know?
If you're potentially interested in the game, and potentially being part of the beta, you'll want to first take a look at our newly expanded Tidalis section of the website.  That first page has information on the beta, including what is currently available in the initial release, and what our upcoming roadmap is for hitting final release in a couple of months.

If you want to try before you buy (which we always strongly recommend), you'll particularly be interested in the Tidalis download page.  Both the Windows and Mac OSX versions of the game are now available.  If anyone is interested in trying to run one or the other of those on Linux, we'd be curious to hear how it works -- we're also still looking for feedback on what the minimum system requirements seem to be.  At present the game does great at 60 fps on the lowest-powered hardware we have around (around 1.6 Ghz), so we know it's somewhere south of that, but we don't know precisely where.

If you're looking to create and share puzzles, or to download puzzles from other players, we've set up a Tidalis Custom Puzzles forum.  Actually, there's a whole set of forums for the game here that you should check out if you're wanting to be active in the early Tidalis community.

Please visit the Tidalis tech support forum if you need any tech support.  Unlike AI War, Tidalis does not have any prerequisites, though it helps if your graphics card drivers are functional.

The Beta Begins!
If you were around for the Zenith Remnant beta, this process will be quite familiar.  We'll post updates several times a week (sometimes several times per day), and you can download them at your leisure.  The Tidalis engine includes a built-in patching system that is multiplatform and is even superior to the one currently being used by AI War (AI War's patching system will get an upgrade to this model soon).  For the latest beta update news and release notes, be sure to check or subscribe to the main Tidalis forum.  The first beta update will be out sometime tomorrow, and they will follow regularly from then on.

We at Arcen would like to extend our heartfelt thanks for all your ongoing support.  Even as this post was being typed out, a few preorders have already gone in for the game based on players who were actively waiting for it.  We couldn't do this without our wonderful community, and we're really excited not only to see AI War continue to grow, but to see Arcen grow as a company as we explore the first of what will hopefully be many genres in our portfolio.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.