Open Beta is Coming Soon
We're in a 9-day crunch to finish most of the guts of Lunatix Online now. We expect to be done after the Thanksgiving weekend. During this time, the 7-day trial period will be implemented and the game will be reset and reopened for public use. It will still be in beta but we'll begin to accept new players and we'll begin taking subscriptions.
None of the new features may be implemented before open beta begins (player marriages, teams, profiles) and even IGM support may not be done at that time. Since the game will at least include the features of the BBS versions, we think opening up the game for public play before all the new features are added is a good idea.
Use The Forum!
The LOGIC FORUM is (and has been) available for use. Feel free to post messages, offer feedback, and ask questions about Lunatix Online.
A BIG Thanks to the Game Sites!
We'd like to thank MPOG.COM, BetaZine, Beta Bites, and the Online Games Library for posting info about the game and for getting our beta information out there. It has really helped bring some attention to the game! Thanks!
Screen Shots Are Here!!!
We had planned to do this earlier, but we're just now getting around to it. There are now six core functions yet to be added, plus the new features (like teams, marriages, and special skills) haven't been added yet either. Many of the graphic stills also remain undone at this time. Still, it looks like we'll be ready for a larger amount of testers soon... stay tuned! We may even be ready to launch the game LIVE for real player signups in a few weeks... not just testers!
Anyway, as promised, here are a dozen screenshots right from the game. Keep in mind that the actual graphics, text, layout and look of the game are subject to change. Right now... this is how it looks. As far as "HTML/CGI-based" web games go, we think it looks pretty sharp! Click a graphic thumbnail to see the full screen.
Alpha Testing is Going Well
Testing is going well. Many problems have already been found and fixed. More features are yet to be implemented, but we're hoping to finish the core of the game soon so we can begin working on the “new” features (like player marriages, teams/gangs, special skills) and the IGM support. Stay tuned for more info about the second phase of testing, which should begin in less than a month.
Alpha Testing Has Now Started
Email went out yesterday to the people selected for the first phase of testing. During this phase, the game core will be finished while existing features are tested. Once the game core is done and preliminary testing is over, we'll bring more testers on-board for the “live” trial. We had planned to send email to those who were not selected for the first phase, but had trouble with the email program importing and using the list.
Many features currently have not been added yet. This includes the nightly maintenance (should be working this evening, which is good since this is the first day of play), Bedpost notches/Flirting with a nurse, Sending romantic notes, the Lab, IGM Support (The Elevator), Game music, Ghenghis Khan, Changing your name, Instructions, Attempting an escape, Actually being “blocked” from the game when you die for the rest of the day (also need to add Ghost Mode), Being a Nuisance (in the cafeteria), and several more things. Also, many of the graphics are not yet done (only about 25% of the stills for Monsters are done at this time, and many of the rooms have not yet been done).
However, we're hoping to be completely finished by December 1st (less than a month away, woohooooo) at which time we plan to open the game up for public play. Beta testers will get a free month of play starting at the “grand opening,” and new players will be able to sign up for 1 week free (to get a feel for the game and determine whether or not they wish to subscribe) with no obligation to continue past the week (your character is simply suspended when your free time runs out). Those who do wish to continue can do so for $5 a month (very cheap) or $25 for 6 months.
Beta Testing = Alpha Testing
Today, we will select around 2-dozen testers from the 8-dozen requests sent in. Testing will start tomorrow morning. It is important to note that much of the game core is not yet done, meaning we're a little behind our schedule.
Since we received enough requests for this phase, plus plenty more to select from for future phases, the beta request form is now offline. We want to thank everybody who has taken the time to fill it out! Email will go out later today to notify those who were and were not selected for this phase.
Beta Testing to start on Monday!
One of the biggest, most important functions of the game is not working yet, but we're hoping to get it done in time... The Nightly Event. This function is responsible for bringing players back to life, giving a player's turns back, and so forth. This won't be difficult, but we're trying to determine whether or not we'll need to do it as a cron job on the server. A few other important things ARE working now, including the ability to download the graphics and set a preference to use them locally (instead of remotely) to speed up game play!
We'll be wrapping up loose ends like this over the weekend, although many core features may or may not be working when testing starts. We'll select beta testers soon and send an email to everybody who has sent the request form.
The in-game Email system works now! This was one of the few remaining “big” things left to add to the core game shell. Now, the game can send you “in-game mail” when you're attacked in your sleep, when somebody plays a prank on you, and so forth. Also, players can mail each other inside the game and reply (with quoting) if desired. We chose not to add threading support, since it's not such a big thing when it's private email and not a public message forum.
Did You Get a Confirmation?
If you filled out the Beta Request Form, you should have received a copy of the request in your email, from “email@example.com” (haven't figured out how to fix that reply-to name yet so that it comes from firstname.lastname@example.org, but working on it). If you filled out the request and did not get this carbon copy of the request in your email within a few minutes, then chances are good that you entered your email address wrong. We've gotten quite a few automatic bounce reports from invalid email addresses. And, if you entered your email wrong, we have no way to recruit you when it comes to testing.
HUGE thanks to everybody who's filling out the beta form!
We'll review them all carefully when it's time to select. Remember that the game is only compatible with Netscape 3, Netscape 4, or Internet Explorer 4. The beta form will be up for a few more days. We're still expecting to start some testing at the beginning of November, although many features will not yet be implemented (player marriages, teams, IGM/Add-On support, and many more will be developed after testing starts).
If You're Curious...
If you have a telnet application (I recommend NetTerm, from InterSoft International) and would like to check out the BBS version of the game (just to get an idea of how the game plays and what it's all about) you can TELNET to bbs.cxo.com. That's a BBS here in Wichita, run by the people we teamed up with to create WG Lunatix. After making an account, you'll be emailed an activation number and then you can access the rest of the BBS. To check out Lunatix, use the global command /GO LUNATIX or GF4P from the main menu. You can telnet in with the default Windows “telnet” program but then everything is going to be black & white and altogether bland. We plan on comprising a telnet list soon of several dozen other BBS's where Lunatix is available. This particular version has been around for more than 2 years, and it lacks some of the new things we're adding to Lunatix Online.
As Promised, More Information
More INFORMATION about the game is now available. It's... well... pretty lengthy, but a good read for anybody truly interested in what the game is all about.
Already, a few requests for Beta Testing have been submitted. This appears to be the result of our listing in the www.mpog.com beta listing. We will definitely need to provide a link to that site, and a few others I've found. They're wonderful resources.
We did want to assure people that previous online gaming (or even beta-testing) experience isn't required (appreciated, yes, but certainly not required). Everybody will be considered, and our plan is to pick a variety of people.
Beta Testing Will Begin Soon!
Some early beta testing should begin on or around November 1st! We expect that many of the features will not yet be implemented, especially many of the new features like teams/gangs and player marriages, but most of the features carried over from the BBS version of the game should be in place by then. If you are interested in becoming a beta tester for this early testing phase, fill out the Beta Test Request Form now! We will only need around 20 testers to begin with. Requests will be accepted up until testing is about to begin.
MSIE Bug Fixed & Domain Works Now!
Our domain name is working, at long last! Please update your bookmarks to the new URL, http://www.prowler-pro.com/logic now. The old URL should still work as well, though.
The problem that caused the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser to freeze has (it appears) been corrected now. It required a revision of the chat module, but it didn't take long to do and the original code remains enclosed in an “if” condition so it would be easy to change back to the original method if necessary.
Too Many ADS!
Okay, this page is getting too cluttered. I'm going to move all the banner ads off to a LINKS page (for now, the links to gaming sites will remain on the main page.
MSIE 4, and Progress Report
The problem with Internet Explorer 4 still happens about 90% of the time. I know it has something to do with my chat module and the way it's called as the master page is loaded. I haven't really tried too hard to debug it since I'm doing most of my testing in Netscape, but it cropped up last night when a friend was helping alpha-test the chat module. I'll probably have to look into it soon before Beta Testing begins.
The “daily news” feature has been added. It's now shown at startup, then when the game begins it's viewable from within your cell. A shared function for writing to the news has been added. I'll need to go back and use it at a few key points (when a new player is added, when a player is killed, and so on).
Anna is hard at work on graphics. She's been working on patient rooms the past few days (she took a break from making monsters). For a little variety, there will be ten rooms (or maybe more) and you're assigned one as a new player. This makes it a little more interesting when you break into another patient's room and see a different graphic.
More Q&A Coming Soon
It concerns me deeply that I haven't yet added a “features” list for Lunatix Online... or described it with enough detail. This should be rectified (there's something not quite right about that word) soon. More info than any sane person can handle will be added.
Don't forget the Forum!
The Message Forum is always open, and bookmarking is your friend. :)
What will set us apart?
In looking around at some of the other gaming sites to hunt for other places to exchange links, I've noticed that writing a multiplayer RPG these days must be indredibly common. You don't even have to TRY, and you can stumble on dozens of them. The bad news is, they all look excellent... or maybe that's the good news, depending on how you look at it. <grin>
It makes a person wonder, though, how one small (albeit insane) voice is going to be heard among the others. I'm not familiar with the history of any of the other great online games (except maybe a couple of them) so I can't compare. I can, however, mention a few reasons that I think we'll do pretty well when it's ready to launch.
Ð Lunatix dates back to March of 1995, when the first version was introduced to the BBS community. In September of 1996, A much-improved version for Worldgroup/MajorBBS was introduced. In its 3½-year history, we've figured out what was good and what was bad, and we've made note of the things we could improve upon or add to the game. LOGIC has the good fortune of enheriting this from the previous versions.
Ð In its 3½-year (and still going) lifetime, Lunatix has been played by thousands and thousands of BBS'ers all over the world.. It has proven to be one of the most successful BBS games ever (dwarfed only by the big-dogs like LORD, BRE, Tradewars, MajorMud, and some others).
Ð Lunatix Online subscriptions will be way cheap, at $5 a month (or just $25 for half a year... HALF A YEAR!!!) Trying it out is a no-brainer. Create a character and get a week of play for free. If you don't like, you don't even have to do anything... you're character suspends itself after the first week.
Ð The fact that it's being designed as a web-based (browser) game definitely isn't a mark against it. So far, speed doesn't appear to be a problem, even as slow as 14400 bps! Graphics and (maybe) sound will be available for local-loading to improve the play speed even more! As a browser-based game, it does away with the need to keep downloading new versions and new patches as development continues. There will be no such thing as client/server version incompatibilities, because your browser is a universal client! And, what is bound to be attractive to almost anybody who wants to jump right in and start playing, Lunatix Online will have almost no setup issues to be resolved, at all! You need MSIE 4, or Netscape 3 or 4. Chances are, you're already set up to play!
Ð Lunatix doesn't stress your serious side. After all, you're a mental patient... craziness is your middle name! If you want other players knowing that circus mice live under your bed, go for it! You'll fit right in. Wacky... funny... zany... hilarious... not-so-politically-correct... how often does an online RPG boast such things? <grin>
Let's Trade Links!
We've created a small animated banner (120 x 50 pixels, about 14k in size) to use in exchanging links. I've sent email to one online gaming site that's currently in beta-test stage (their links page offered link exchanges). The site is http://www.spacestrategy.com/ and the game is called “Kozaar”. Go check it out.
If your interested in exchanging a link with us, just send an email to me with the URL, and whether or not you'd also like to swap a banner. I'm particularly interested in gaming sites, or sites related to games.
Gotta Get The Word Out!!!
The question of how to advertise Lunatix Online is being considered. I've checked into placing ads on search engines. I believe an ad on Excite was upwards of $1,500. We'll probably have to start checking into things like this soon. I'd like to get some good statistics on how much usage banner ads on search engines get (it's bound to be very good, considering the massive amount of traffic). I'm also open to other ideas, as long as they don't involve spamming all the newsgroups.
More Problems are Resolved
Due to the help from a few people in the comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup, a problem with handling player files when interacting with other patients (first discovered to be a problem with the recently-added player attacks) has been resolved! This is wonderful news. I was considering re-writing the entire save-game function (which wouldn't have been so bad, but I liked the current way better) when I asked the question in the newsgroup and got a few suggestions. If I were (sigh) more experienced at Perl, I'd have already known the answer.
...And More Progress
The player look-up function has been added (so you can “select” a player from the list and break into their room, among other things). With this functionality, many of the other features (like posting Romantic Notes to another player or giving potions to another player) can now be implemented. Already, a player can break into another player's room and attack. In fact, any bugs aside, the player fight code is done!
It's looking really good... better each day, in fact. I've revised the look of the screen again so that the player's hit points and crazy buck balance will always be visible. You can always get all your stats at any time, but it's more convenient when buying weapons, healing, or fighting, for those two things to always be shown.
I plan to put a screen shot or two online in a few days. Also, It looks like I'll be ready for some preliminary alpha testing fairly soon (for specific things like the chat module and the closet fights).
Lunatix Online Progress
Shadow Fights have now been implemented. A few touch-ups remain (You currently don't get any experience or Crazy Bucks after defeating one, but that's a quick change). The main frame style was changed a bit, and I came up with a really simple way to disable the functionality of the browser's BACK button. It's looking pretty nice now, and I really like the integrated chat. Lunatix Online will be more than just a game... it will be a way to interact with other people while you play!
Welcome to the Official Lunatix Online web site!
We'll keep you up-to-date with the latest news on the development of our most exciting project yet -- Lunatix Online: Global Insanity Crisis. The screen shots in the left column are some of the early graphic stills. The game is progressing very well, although we still have plenty to do before a playable beta is ready.
A lengthy question-and-answer post is available at the Prowler Productions home page, but in brief, Lunatix Online is a web-based version of our popular Lunatix BBS game. Lunatix has been available for play over the Internet before (via telnet), but it has never been introduced in a native web version until now. As a web-based game, you'll be able to play Lunatix using Netscape 3, Netscape 4, or MS Internet Explorer 4 (at 800x600 resolution or higher).
You won't have to hunt around for browser plug-ins either. Lunatix will be playable with an out-of-the-box browser. If plug-ins are used, they will most likely be optional features. This means you won't have to jump through hoops just to get started!
We've decided you shouldn't have to pay just to decide whether or not you enjoy the game, so as a new player you'll get the first full week of play FOR FREE. If you don't like the game, you haven't lost anything. Your character is automatically suspended after the free time expires. You don't have to do anything at all to cancel, and you haven't wasted a cent. If you DO enjoy it though (and we think you will), simply sign up for $5 a month. Subscribe on a month-by-month basis, or 6 months at a time for $25.