Just to let you know I've sent the v.10 Alpha out now and the Beta will be released once they've finished their playthroughs and get back to me with any errors/bugs.
Without any bugs hopefully that should be later this evening, but considering there is limited changed in regards to coding, I cannot see this being later than tomorrow (although it is a big update).
Just a quick note why the couple of last updates have started releasing "Alphas" to selected Patrons, whilst I didn't beforehand, and why they will be continuing going forward.
Basically I've been having a huge personal problem of people releasing a Patron exclusive update on other websites on the day of release; there would then be a bug, which I would bug fix for Patrons very quickly, however, whoever is doing the leaks would not update their leak with the bug-fixed version, resulting in me getting a ton of shitty comments, reviews, or DMs about bugs I've actually already fixed.
I'm a small developer, leaks are annoying, but with AVNs it is a pretty regular occurrence, they haven't prompted the change as I'm aware people do this, and in fact many people find the game this way. Whilst I dislike it obviously, its been going since Shadows over Manston v.0.1. However leaking brand new updates without bug testing causes me to basically get a lot of shit directed my way which I decided with v.09.1 I was going to do my best to avoid as I try and add more and more "game" elements. This was happening all the way back with v0.0 where I released it days before v0.1 as a "small demo" just for Patrons to have a look at the renders, and it got posted on multiple websites as the "First Release" and then had people trashing the "release of the game" and how bad and short it was and buggy. I've never been a coder by trade nor a game developer prior to this, so sometimes I do miss things, but I resolve to fix them as quickly as possible.
This meant that I'd then get a load of abusive comments and negative reviews/trash talk on the game about it being "buggy" and I'd get emails and DMs and all sorts about this, despite the fact that I've fixed it. I'd get an email from somebody saying "Hey why's your game broken?" and this then leaves me with a dilemma of, do I leak my own game despite people paying for early access to stop the negative opinion, or do I leave them playing a buggy broken version of the game until the public release, especially as the first couple of days are when it is downloaded the most on many of these sites?
So now I've got several 'Alpha Testers' who is somebody I trust not to leak it, and I have subtle words/code changed so if it does get leaked, I know exactly who it was and they'll not be getting an Alpha again. They alerted me to literally hundreds of bugs in the v.09.1 update, so I think whilst it is annoying to people who aren't part of the Alpha programme, it is better for me to do it this way. If any of these people do breach this duty or decide they don't want to do it anymore, I'll DM long-serving Patrons to invite them onboard if they want to be replacements.
It is incredibly disheartening to spend hundreds of hours making an update, then have people trash all that work over a tiny typo you missed which you fixed 25 seconds after it was reported, but the unfixed version then sits on that site for weeks after the bug-fix is released. There's obviously the other argument of "fix your game in the first place", but the end outcome is the same, I've literally just finished the final renders for v.10, if I was to do all the proof-reading and bug testing alone it would just push the release date back to probably later than the Beta will be, and more than one pair of eyes is always better.
So it is out, it is being read through, and as soon as the four people helping me out get back to me, I'll fix any problems should they arise and the Beta will be out for 5+ Patrons :)
Thanks again for all the continued support,