We're going for an alpha release to MS on Wednesday, then as soon as possible after to our alpha team, at which point I'll get a lot more feedback which I am looking forward to. The release to MS is a little bit scary because we effectively get the go/no go for the whole thing on this submission, but damn me if it doesn't look gorgeous and I think it plays really nicely so I would be very surprised if we have any problems there. Sure we probably aren't going to hit every TCR with alpha but we're not going for full cert yet, this is just show and tell so I think we should be ok :).
I'm really loving playing it. The last couple of nights we've had full on sessions on the big plasma and it just looks *lovely*. And it's wonderfully shooty, you get to blow a lot of stuff up very prettily without it being forbiddingly difficult, once you get your head round a couple of key concepts that make it not-just-Tempest-y :). I'm only at level 32 now, plenty of time to make the later levels really hard if I want to, plenty of scope for challenging new enemy types, but I want at least these early levels to be a nice fat slice of sweet gaming cake that *everyone* can sink their teeth into once they get the gist. And I think I've got that. It's really nice.
It feels to me like "this is to Tempest what Llamatron was to Robotron" and that is more or less what I was aiming for, so I'm pleased about that.
Looking forward now to getting the alpha team on it. With the likes of Sickers, Fuseball and Jedburgh on there I don't think I can have a better set of users to get feedback from really :).
I just know I'm going to end today with a big fat session on the plasma again. I'm just loving playing it now, to be honest.
And that is always a really good bit to get to when you're making a game }:-D.