Is Love All You Need? Public Alpha Go!

By Jim Rossignol on October 1st, 2009 at 12:02 pm.


Eskil Steenberg sends word that he’s opening up the alpha of his game to the public. Because it requires servers to be run to test it, he’s asking money for access at this eatly stage. You will be helping test a game, but the fee is relatively small. You can get it for 3 Euros, which is about £2.80. HOWEVER, it is not a finished product and/or service, and it is the work of a one man team. If you don’t like the idea of paying for an explicitly unfinished game, then this is not for you. If you want access to a weird and beautiful indie MMO, and to help make it work in the long run, then get your wallet out. To be sure it runs on your PC please download the client and get the alpha access details via the game itself. That way, says Eskil, you can be sure the game will function on your machine, as the world displays in the menu screen. You can follow Eskil’s ongoing updates on Twitter. And very brief first impressions follow…

We had a crack at this last night, and it’s suitable strange and gaseous. Reminiscent of games past, and yet it feels very new. Almost like a ghost of the future. Even at this unfinished alpha stage you can see the potential, although the game has a long way to go in terms of teaching you how to play, and presenting the information you need on screen. We’ll see the testers in there, and have more coverage soon.

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139 Comments »

  1. Schmung says:

    I’m still unclear about what the purpose of the game actually IS. The development tools were very clever though.

  2. nabeel says:

    I’ll probably drop in on the weekend, been waiting a long time to try this.

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Can we build an RPS clan/guild/corp/thing in the game?

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Basically you wander about in the landscape and claim a settlement, which you can then build up by manipulating the terrain around you. To make settlements bigger and better you have to go out and explore and find “tokens” and bring them back. The more tokens you have, the better your settlement becomes. And you have to fight monsters both while exploring, and defend the settlement. Movement and combat is FPS style.

  5. Jim Rossignol says:

    Meat: doesn’t look like there is that much community detail in there at the minute, but we can definitely congregate on a specific server/settlement.

  6. Norskov says:

    I think I’m on UK Server 2, but I’m not sure as I can’t connect at the moment..

  7. Meat Circus says:

    Can you RP-bless one then, Jim? It would make things easier.

  8. Tei says:

    So, where I can join this thing? Where is the pay button?

    • qrter says:

      Download and run the client – it contains the URL where you can buy a “voucher”.

      I’m not trying to be obtuse here but Steenberg wants you to run the client first to see if your rig can handle it.

      (Although I have to say, an easy clickable link within the client would’ve helped, it’s not the easiest website to remember..)

    • Tei says:

      HEhehe.. I am inside. At first, I was solo, and fighting a mosters sentlement, but I have found people, a nice setlement :-)

  9. Dominic White says:

    I’m totally in on this. Everything I’ve seen about the game has been fascinating, and for all the grumbling people do about wanting a new FPS-MMO, when one comes along, nobody seems to even notice that it’s one.

    I’ll repeat that: This is an FPS/MMO hybrid. You run, you jump, you shoot people with bullets and build bases and such.

  10. 678 says:

    I can’t log in.

  11. Ian says:

    The question is, who’ll be more annoying? The bone-headed luddites who’ve already decided it’s a big pile of old wank without having touched it and refuse to change their mind or the bone-heads who’re fanboys of the game before the thing’s even out and will refuse to let anybody criticise it?

    Round 1: FIGHT!

    • AndrewC says:

      The fanboys are only saying it looks incredibly interesting and refreshing and they eagerly await more details of how it plays.

      The critics are saying it’s gay.

    • Ian says:

      I stress that I’m making a distinction between people who are merely very enthusiastic about it and the ideas that Mr Steenberg is implementing and are excited to see what comes of it and the people who think it’s a solid gold guarantee that this game will be utterly amazing and look down their nose at anybody who thinks otherwise.

    • AndrewC says:

      Who are they, these zealot people?

      It’s also true that the haters are pretty thin on the ground too – I don’t think they’ve turned up in the last couple of threads about this game. And I get the feeling most of them were just the fake-hate of deliberate trolls anyway.

      Let’s see if any turn up here. You get the jaffa cakes and i’ll bring the binoculars.

    • Ian says:

      Admittedly, the shouty folk at both ends of the spectrum have died down with this game. Thankfully. But there have been the odd couple at both ends. Personally I think this sort of thing more than deserves to work (and possibly needs to) but I’ve had the distinct impression once or twice from folks that because it doesn’t make me wet my pants that I’m some sort of cave-dweller.

      I’m looking forward to seeing what the Hivemind think. And the jaffa cakes.

    • AndrewC says:

      Ah. I think you’re just referring to Meat Circus. The only movement he’s indicative of involves last night’s curry.

    • Meat Circus says:

      No joy, AndrewC. I’m definitely in the “This looks ace! Can’t wait to see what it actually *is*…” camp.

    • Flobulon says:

      STOP BEING SO REASONABLE!

  12. The Sombrero Kid says:

    looking forward to this

  13. Joseph says:

    I reckon it’ll be the boneheads who talk about boneheads.

    Anyway.

    I imagine being in Australia means this beautiful looking FPS MMO is unfortunately a no go for me due to shooting + lag. Has anyone tried it out from afar?

    • David says:

      Weapon firing is slightly laggy (at least it is from Sydney), but it’s nothing a red-blooded Aussie can’t handle.

    • Pie21 says:

      My first impression was that you were suggesting you needn’t worry, since shooting = ban.

      I can see that.

  14. Dominic White says:

    Alright, got my account key. I’ll save making my account til later – the person I want to have as my buddy (lovely buddy idea – you can have a second player play for free, but only when you’re online) isn’t around yet, so I don’t know what username/pass they want.

    Oh yeah, is the referral system up and running? If so, an RPS referral chain would be a good idea. Get every an extra 5-6 days of play for that 3 euros.

  15. nine says:

    ukserver1 for the RPS group? Makes sense, as all servers have plenty of space so far.

  16. Mort says:

    So, anyone swapping usernames for the reference bonuses?

    Seemed clear that the voucher is time limited from the penalties for changing servers/bonuses etc. But what is the limit of the voucher? Did I miss it? Is it in the email containing voucher I havent yet received?

  17. jameb says:

    ‘Download and run the client – it contains the URL where you can buy’

    sorry i run the client can find no url ? anyone help?

    • Mort says:

      mouseover the create account option, the url appears below. Iirc.

  18. Stijn says:

    http://www.quelsolaar.com/alpha – somehow it only pops up inside the client once for every 5 times you run it. I hope Eskil doesn’t hate me now :(

    Regarding hate and Eskil, I ordered a voucher key but didn’t get any so far. What a ripoff!!!!

  19. jameb says:

    thanks mort

    but nothing appears for me….. guess this is a good reason to go to work and try it there…..

    or could someone post the url?

  20. Jim Rossignol says:

    Aim for UK server 1.

    Also the game assigns names, so you may need to share them here.

  21. jameskond says:

    It seems to have a Subscription type system in place, you play per month, so you can play this Alpha for 30 days for 3 euro’s ;p

  22. jameb says:

    actually – just logged in to work— get no url there as well :( graphics do display over logme in though which is nice) both systems are nvidia graphics cards and amd chips… any one post the url ?

  23. dartt says:

    I’m signing up as ‘dartt’ on UK1, if someone posts their username here soon, I’ll put you as my referal.

  24. Songbearer says:

    This game is a boiling, seething mass of potential. It looks beautiful, runs very smoothly, and promises to be a lot of fun.

    Its current major flaws are that Settlement tokens are extremely rare, and you need to be part of a Settlement to do practically anything in this game.

    You start a Settlemennt by finding a Settlement Token, followed by finding a suitable place to establish your new city. Once the settlement has been set up, other players are directed to it and asked to join it.

    The settlement is then expanded by finding Tokens throughout the world. Players scout out these Tokens, bring them back to the settlement and install them, turning them into buildings which players can get tools out of. For example, you might find an Elevator token out in the world. Once you take it back to your base and install it, other players can build elevators leading into your settlement.

    This is all well and good, but since there are no permissions in this game any player can do whatever they like to the settlement providing they’re a member of it. This means that they can basically level and change all the terrain to their hearts content, and can even destroy entire settlements or murder people at a whim.

    The other problem is that it’s possible to modify a settlement to the point that it’s innaccessable, such as raising terrain all the way to the sky with no way to reach it.

    This is where the lack of Settlement tokens really bites you in the arse. It’s rare to find more than one in the wild, meaning if some gimp ruins the one settlement in the game, there’s nowhere else to go. Love basically screams for a way to limit certain people’s ability to mess with settlements.

    It’s important to realise that the game is still in Alpha and has a long way to go, and the work Eskil has done so far is incredibly impressive. The world is a genuine joy to explore due to the sheer print-screen destroying beauty of the graphics (Although they can get VERY noisy at times), and when people co-operate to build a nice Settlement it can be extrodinarily rewarding. You can literally carve into mountains Dwarf Fortress style, building windows, maps, turrets and the like as you go.

  25. Spoon says:

    I like the referral chain idea. Anyone with their account already created care to get the ball rolling?

  26. Nick says:

    Paid the 3 euro, logged in at lunchtime, I have absolutely no idea what the hell’s going on, but god it looks good. 3 euro is a bargain for supporting development madness of this ilk.

  27. P7uen says:

    P7uen is my username. And in the game.

    No, really, refer away.

    • Spoon says:

      P7uen, I referred you when I created. If someone would do me now, it would be ace. SN is Spoon.

    • ophois says:

      Right Spoon I put you as referrer. If anyone want to continue the chain I’m JackalHeadGod :)

  28. Hypocee says:

    And of course, Steenberg has often implied that this is intended to be not so much an MMO as a persistent PvE game that you play with real friends who are not screaming sociopaths – many small servers.

    I do hope some form of crowd control finds its way in…but I’d be skeptical of even a Blizzard attempt to ungrief players who can modify terrain and pop items as a matter of course. For a one-man team, no matter how extraterrestrial…I’m not sure it’s on the docket.

    Nevertheless, for now at least, I am there!

  29. kurige says:

    Oi… Maybe I’m crazy, but I’ve completely lost faith in this one. I’m not one of the critics who thinks this is “gay” – quite the contrary – but it’s Eskil himself who’s turned me off from this game.

    When I first heard about Love I subscribed to Eskil’s blog, and then unsubscribed about a month or two later when I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I simply don’t understand his lone-wolf mentality, and reading him pontificate on the subject is tiring.

    This whole, pay-to-play alpha test is just another nail in the coffin of my interest. If you can’t afford a server for everybody then run a server out of your home for a handful of testers you trust who are willing to work for free. When it’s ready for beta testing and you still can’t afford a dedicated server then you’re going to need to take out a loan. If you can’t/don’t want to take out a loan and don’t trust anybody to finance the game for you, then you shouldn’t be making a commercial-scale MMO.

    Seriously, who in their right mind would pay for this:

    Given the untested nature of the game, and the very limited development resources (A single developer) you should not expect the level of polish, amount of content or level of service of a large commercial game.

    • kurige says:

      Before 101 angry fans jump down my throat, let me clarify this one sentence:

      Seriously, who in their right mind would pay for this:

      I am – in case it’s not terribly obvious – referring to the Alpha. I’m all for paying for a finished game, or, even pre-paying for a game that I have reason to believe will be finished in a timely manner. Neither is true, in this case. And, the fact that it is a small amount of money has nothing to do with the principal of the thing.

      Aight. I think I’ve got my bases covered. Opine away!

    • Jacques says:

      Here’s the reason Eskil’s given for charging. http://www.gaminglove.net/forums/showpost.php?p=666&postcount=75

    • Dominic White says:

      I personally think ‘Pay a little and get in on the ground floor’ testing is a great approach for small indie developers to take. Worked great for Mount & Blade, and Overgrowth looks to be helped by it no end. By putting a money barrier there, it filters out the opportunists looking for something new to play, and ensures that only those most interested in the future of the game are on-board. These people are far more likely to provide useful bug reports and actually dig deep and see what works and what doesn’t than your average random joe who signs up to open betas.

      It lets them test on a large scale while bringing in a first wave of funding, and allows them to interact with their audience and tune the game better to their desires. Now, if a multimillion dollar studio pulled something like this, I’d tell them to fuck off, but if it’s one guys ambitious solo project, and the subject interests me, then sure. If it helps the end product, then why not?

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Gratuitous Space Battles. Nuff said.

    • Lestaticon says:

      I have a hard time, due to my very strongly intuitive personality, to put into words an easily understood/clear response to this, but I swear I picture it all very clearly in my head! It seems you have very defined and absolute beliefs regarding the way games should be developed and shared with the world; how they should be classified, and how, due to their classification, they should be developed and sold to the world.

      Well all I can say is that I don’t agree. I tend to see things in ways which are less constraining. I think you limit creativity and positive change by needing to classify everything so rigidly. You end up having good and interesting ideas being squeezed into inappropriate labels and totally misunderstood.
      “We need endgame.” “Where are the classes?” “Who is the producer?” “This is a beta” “No, this is an alpha” “There are no raids?” “How do I call a GM?”

      Eskil has explained the reasoning behind the development and this testing process. It’s very logical, rational, and realistic. Some could even say very human. The name of the game is very revealing.

    • Doug F says:

      So… don’t buy into the alpha then? You can thank me later for coming up with such a simple, elegant solution.

      I may not reply right away, as I plan on registering for this as soon as I get home tonight.

  30. Stijn says:

    Played 5 minutes until someone put me in a pit so deep I couldn’t get out of it.

    WELL

    • CMaster says:

      … well well
      ?

    • Premium User Badge

      Stijn says:

      It’s basically the thing I was afraid would happen – people messing around with the terrain shaping tools to annoy other players. Should be familiar for anyone who played Sauerbraten or Cube in multiplayer edit mode.

      Apart from that I think I’m not too fond of the fog shader stuff present everywhere – it makes screenshots look nice, but is really disorienting for me.

  31. CMaster says:

    I’ll pass on the pay-for-alpha I think. It immediatley strikes me as a game out there enough in it’s own ideas I’m not too interested in helping shape it – I’ll sit back and see what comes of it in the long run.

  32. Norskov says:

    It is possible to commit suicide, just press the compass icon in the menu.

    • Clovis says:

      Is really necessary to explain something as intuitive as that? :-p

    • Norskov says:

      It was a reply to @Stijn.. Still having a bit of trouble with the comments ;)

    • Clovis says:

      Heh, no I was just joking. Go back and read your sentence. That’s just madness!

  33. dartt says:

    I had a quick exploratory romp through the world during my lunch break. I tried to navigate to a settlement (direction indicated on my HUD) but only made it so far before it was time to actually eat something and get back to work.

    It’s beautiful and confusing, I can’t wait to try it on my home PC when I can give it more time and attention.

  34. lefishy says:

    This game is… crazy. I haven't had any trouble with griefers but yeah you can just respawn if someone messes with you or traps you. If you have a token that is a different story because using the quicktravel makes you drop any oneshot items you may have.

  35. P7uen says:

    Good stuff. Now if I had even the slightest idea what was going on that would be fantastic.

    Are you supposed to point the penis at the bottom of the screen upwards, and that will lead me to a settlement? I don't know whether it's supposed to be pointing up or down, if you see what I mean.

    • dartt says:

      I think it makes the most sense for the penis to be pointing up.

      As in real life, the penis will often know what it’s doing even if you don’t.

  36. Jayt says:

    Can’t wait to read some impressions!

  37. lefishy says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Can’t wait to read some impressions!

    It is all the penis talk that has got you interested isn't it? Harhar.

    Now someone mentions it it is kinda phallic. I guess like all men I should follow my penis to salvation.

  38. Quasar says:

    I’ve signed up as Quasar, so refer me if you like.

    Having a tough time figuring the game out – ran through a forest I couldn’t really see and died of being shot by something or other. The graphics are an interesting experiment, but I don’t know if I could stand to sit and look at them for hours at a time. Could really do with some graphical options, as I’m running at around 15fps which isn’t ideal.

    Also, is there supposed to be sound? I’m not getting any.

    • Nick says:

      Don’t think there’s any sound at the mo.

    • Fraser says:

      I referred you, Quasar. If anyone could do the same for me that would be awesome :)

  39. Jacques says:

    I’ll probably see a few of you in game on server number one. Ingame name: Clebri.

    Also, join the forums, I’ll be adding a section for the alpha proper once I get out of college.

  40. lefishy says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    I personally think ‘Pay a little and get in on the ground floor’ testing is a great approach for small indie developers to take. Worked great for Mount & Blade, and Overgrowth looks to be helped by it no end. By putting a money barrier there, it filters out the opportunists looking for something new to play, and ensures that only those most interested in the future of the game are on-board. These people are far more likely to provide useful bug reports and actually dig deep and see what works and what doesn’t than your average random joe who signs up to open betas.

    It lets them test on a large scale while bringing in a first wave of funding, and allows them to interact with their audience and tune the game better to their desires. Now, if a multimillion dollar studio pulled something like this, I’d tell them to fuck off, but if it’s one guys ambitious solo project, and the subject interests me, then sure. If it helps the end product, then why not?

    Farbs is doing a very similar thing with Captain Forever. While CF is a game in and of itself by buying it you are funding and gaining access to Captain Successor. Seems like a pretty good business model to me. It's kinda like the appstore model a lot of developers are using. Release a game with this amount of content and use the proceeds to add stuff to the game that people want. It's like episodic games but real!

  41. Jacques says:

    Anyway, on the subject of paying, isn’t it better to pay 3 euro and decide you don’t like it rather than buying the full game, paying 10 euro (or whatever it’ll be at launch) and then deciding you don’t like it?

    • Mort says:

      not when it’s an alpha, no. Traditional trial accounts are ok for what you’re suggesting.
      The problem with paid alpahs/betas, is many participants already have the problem of remembering they’re testing something, not TRYING something, when you require payment for that it becomes even more of a problem.

  42. Clovis says:

    lefishy said:
    Farbs is doing a very similar thing with Captain Forever. While CF is a game in and of itself by buying it you are funding and gaining access to Captain Successor. Seems like a pretty good business model to me. It's kinda like the appstore model a lot of developers are using. Release a game with this amount of content and use the proceeds to add stuff to the game that people want. It's like episodic games but real!

    So, what's going on with the blockquotes? Two people above me are claiming that "anonymous coward" wrote something. Did I end up on slashdot somehow? I'm guessing it has something to do with using the "quote" button in the forum, no? That's what I just did. The code that I can see before submitting this claims that lefishy wrote the quoted bit.

  43. lefishy says:

    Clovis said:
    So, what's going on with the blockquotes? Two people above me are claiming that "anonymous coward" wrote something. Did I end up on slashdot somehow? I'm guessing it has something to do with using the "quote" button in the forum, no? That's what I just did. The code that I can see before submitting this claims that lefishy wrote the quoted bit.

    I think Anonymous Coward == Unregistered Poster but I can't be sure.

  44. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes, “anonymous coward” is how the forum processes unregistered people. It’s a bit insulting, we might have to fix that.

    • Clovis says:

      Ya, the anonymous part is certainly a bit insulting, since they aren’t truely posting anonymously. The coward part seems fine though.

    • thaspius says:

      2nd that, the coward part is fine.

  45. Nilocy says:

    Well, i started play this last night after i got home from work. And the only thing that really bugged me was the lack of sound. Other than that this game is fantastic. I found a wee settlement (that wasn’t blocked in by a gigantic wall) where a few other players were starting. It was quite nice acctually, i met the settlement dwellers by shouting over a canyon at them, asking where to go, they had no idea. So i started on a small adventure to find a way there. Eventually I did. Then the servers crashed :(

    My name is Qual, and I’m on UKserver3

  46. Meat Circus says:

    Meat needs sound badly.

  47. Andy says:

    I must’ve logged on at ingame nighttime, because this game is incredibly dark – near zero ambiant lighting, I kept falling off cliffs because I couldn’t see 2ft in front of me.

    I also seem to be lost in the bottom of a canyon…

    Malkevin, server 1

  48. kurige says:

    Perhaps this discussion would be better moved to the forums, but, succinctly:

    @Dominic White, @TotalBiscuit :
    RTFA. You’re not getting in on the “ground floor” of anything. This is a time-limited fee to “try” an unfinished, unpolished program. Period. You’ll still have to pay for the game. (Apropos: I paid for Captain Forever.)

    @Lestaticon :
    I’m an intuitive person as well. However irrational or unjustified and despite how much I want this game to be awesome the reason I’ve lost faith is because of the developer’s attitude. An attitude which I intuited from his blog postings.

    I hope to be proven wrong, but unless his attitude towards outside help changes the transition from beautiful-screen saver to commercial MMO is going to be a rocky one, and it’s going to take a very very long time.

    • kurige says:

      Damnit. That was supposed to go here Ah, well.

    • Dominic White says:

      Holy jeebus, man.. You seem to be awfully agressive/defensive here. Other people seem quite happy with the idea of funding and helping with the testing of an indie project like this. Why you gotta be crapping on them and the idea as a whole?

      I think you’re just bitter because you didn’t think of it first. Either that, or bitter in general.

      And again, I bought in on Mount & Blade when it was in late alpha/early beta phase because I enjoyed what I saw and wanted to support it. It grew into something great. I did the same with Cortex Command, which is growing into something impressive. I’d put money down on Captain Forever and Gratuitous Space Battles if I had the disposable income, but at 3 euros for me and a friend to poke around an early version of Love, I can’t complain.

    • Dominic White says:

      Also, the guy says he hopes to (no promises, though) to transfer any remaining Alpha time over to Beta and then the final game, and I’d imagine that the price to play will go up by launch, so yeah, there’s a chance that there’s a discount in getting in early.

      And y’know what? Unfinished as it is, if you have fun playing it, that’s nothing to complain about.

  49. TheModernArdeo says:

    Alright, I’ve used you JackalHeadedGod.

    For the next in the chain, my name is Ardeo.

  50. Gutter says:

    I speak for all geeks with a non-geek girlfriend when I say that the buddy system is genius!

    Is there any other MMO that implement something similar?