Insights: Alpha


It’s that time again. During the last days we have tested the Battle of Decay Alpha version As you can see from the version number, it is a very young Alpha version. Due to some delays during the release of the version, fortunately some bugs and critical errors were fixed, although as we found out afterwards, not all of them.

The new BoD Alpha version is unexpectedly not 5 GB but a full 22 GB. In addition to a few system changes, the player will also find a completely new main menu right after the start. Here, points such as the new audio, graphics, dev and multiplayer settings stand out. All values can now be saved and reset. An offline mode for players who don’t want or can’t play Battle of Decay online (- don’t have an internet connection). They can set an offline name currently in the “Dev” menu under “Options”. As soon as the player moves towards the “Play” menu, 6 game modes and menu items are immediately apparent. We will cover some of these in this article, including Open World, Military and Missions modes. The latter was renamed from “Survival” to “Missions” in a small hotfix. The reason for this was the high risk of confusion between an Open World Survival mode and a Survival mode in the form of a wave / Horde game mode. Under the “Missions” menu you can later create a lobby with friends and play missions together in COOP. The functionality is already given or in other words, everything works except the server traveling of Unreal Engine 4, where we hope that the bug can be solved in UE4.23. But under the menu item “Open World” you can find the current “heart” of the game.

Open World Survival Mode

The Open World Surival mode includes in this version ( for the first time the 225km² Open World map. Of course only a fraction of the map is finished yet, but the player can already visit areas like the harbour, a material factory, several abandoned houses and large forest areas. Most of these places are also not finished yet. According to reports of the first testers this is not really noticeable.

An AI is also already present on the map. However, this is still very limited and not a challenge for the player. The focus in the development of the Open World map is currently more on the map design / level design than on the AI and possible opponents. As soon as the map is ready for an early beta or mature alpha version, we will take care of possible enemies and animals.

On the current map you can actually spend one or two hours until you have discovered everything. For the current size of the map, this is absolutely positive. The player finds a long but clearly unfinished highway again, which leads into an unfinished and therefore inaccessible tunnel. It looks better there already with the main roads in the northwest, which seem to be almost finished and are. A crash barrier often runs alongside them. Delineators are not missing either, of course. To the left and right we find forests or fields.

When we walk through the forest, we come across windmills, which have now also been edited with a sound effect. Further north we come across tracks, a creek, an old switch house and finally the rocky coast. What few people notice is the cave, which is located near the rocks. This goes in 35-50 meters in the field and will be extended later.

A few hundred meters further to the west, behind a field and a small section of forest, there is a small renovated forest house. This is perfect for a small inconspicuous base. Inside there are ladders, paint buckets and sparsely furnished rooms, as the house was renovated before the island was more or less abandoned. The thing that makes us very happy and a feature that will make the player happy sooner or later is that if you want to occupy a house, the interior of the object is no longer a problem. Especially in this example house it is possible to use the whole interior equipment like beds (as spawnpoint) and cupboards (storage) or to destroy them and remove them as needed. So the player can decide for himself what he wants to use or what just stands around in the way and what should be removed. Bases can be built better this way.

Unreal Engine 4.23 Update

Within the next weeks Battle of Decay will be updated to Unreal Engine version 4.23. We hope that we will be able to use some tools and options that did not work in version 4.22.3 due to bugs. We estimate that we can increase the FPS by another 20-25 FPS. This is especially necessary for weaker computers and dense forests (with lots of vegetation). Battle of Decay currently has an FPS lock at 62 FPS, which was not too hard on the testers in most cases. Of course everyone can raise the FPS lock up to 144 FPS. The worst FPS we measured so far was ~50 FPS in the forest area with a view to the whole harbour.

Bugs, Problems, Changelog

Also with this test we noticed many problems. Many of these can be easily solved or not so difficult to fix. Some, however, cause more concern. Among them is a Network Movement Lag that is created during sprint and run animation. Another bug occurs when “looting” bushes. The last more intensive bug is in the server browser. It is only possible to join a server with steam invitation. The “Join” button is currently not working for unexplainable reasons. Therefore we will probably rebuild the server session system again completely. After a nevertheless successful test of the current version, we can only say that this game has enormous potential and that there is still a lot more possible. The testers especially liked the level design and we are confident that things will continue to improve. At this point I would like to personally thank all the testers for their time and I look forward to seeing them again in the next test! Of course we are not finished yet, there are still some tests to come, especially with less powerful computers.

I wish you a pleasant and successful September!
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