Friday, November 7, 2014

My Time With the Evolve Big Alpha Weekend [Part I]

What follows is Part I of my foray into Turtle Rock Studios and 2K's Big Alpha release testing of their still in development game Evolve.

So the #BiGaLpHa weekend started out alright.  I downloaded the 14.8Gig file  over night from Thursday to Friday (of last week).  The game opened at 9am PST although I figured the servers would be flooded with people a la Elder Scrolls Online's beta weekend.  Around 11am I gave the game a go, and was greeted with a Steam pop up window showing me how far along my installation process was?

After a few seconds of looking at this window, I became disappointed as I was then greeted with another Steam pop up window telling me that I had to download some service something-or-other first.

"Okay, since this is from Steam, I'll take it as legit," is what my brain told me.  So I thought I would install whatever service I was apparently now missing, but then this happened:

That damn Bootstrapper again!  So I had to close down Steam, but thankfully the previous result with the Bootstrapper did not happen again.  Whew!

An hour or so later, I tried again, just for shits and giggles.  This time the installation window that popped up started at 1%, then progressed to 24%, 30%, 62% and all the way up to 100%.  And the game started.  Whew!!

I was excited if you couldn't tell from the extra exclamation mark.  The game, or at least the menu was running smoothly with the monster in the background, breathing with its mandibles occasionally reaching out away from it's mouth in a way that implies smooth movement (having already used "smooth" earlier in the sentence).  I went into the options, did the obligatory switching of the axis for the mouse/y-axis, changed the video settings from "High" down to "Low" as I was 99% sure that my little laptop wouldn't be able to handle graphics of this potential caliber.  Then I clicked "Play" and was brought to the character selection screen.

I wasn't really sure what the jobs meant, aside from Assault (Tank) and Medic (Medic) and those were roles that I wasn't comfortable playing on my first playthrough.  My thought process was that playing a role that I wasn't familiar with would be excusable if I were to fuck up the rest of the people I was playing with.  So I clicked "Accept" and patiently waited to be put into a group.

After 20 minutes I was kicked out for "inactivity."  I thought, maybe it was because I actually didn't touch my computer in those 20 minutes of waiting (and reading a textbook).  So, I re-entered the waiting queue room place:

Another 25 minutes later I was kicked out of the waiting room due to inactivity, although this time I was sure to move my mouse around every 5 minutes (I had a timer running).  I know that I could have just clicked the "Back" button every so often to try and reset the waiting room, but I figured that since Turtle Rock and 2K were testing server capacity, that I would just let the game try and find a group for me.  Testing doesn't always mean being able to play a functioning product and my time with The Elder Scrolls Online beta test taught me this.

In total, I waited 1 hour 18 minutes and was kicked out three times (once was because the phone rang and temporarily killed our internet connection).  After that first taste of what was to be Evolve, I tried multiple times to log back into the game, but each time I was greeted with the first "Completing Installation. . . 1%" before being told that I needed to download the Steam service component whereby I can either hit "cancel" and I could forget about playing or click "Download" and have the bootstrapping error come up, and forget about playing.

The #BigAlpha weekend lasted from Friday October 31st until Sunday November 2nd and the article for Monday will include the 30 minutes I was able to spend actually playing the game.

Have a wonderful weekend.


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