The last few weeks have been pretty crazy! On february 14th, we opened access to Snow Plow’s playtest after weeks of preparation, polishing the build, and getting ready with Steam. And the following days and weeks were overwhelming! I was not expecting so many players and so much activity on our Discord server. And the feedback has been excellent. Not that I was only expecting positive feedback, but it ended up all being pretty positive. Especially considering that it’s a first prototype only, there’s not much yet to try, and I didn’t know how it would go. Feedback came with tons of suggestions and ideas on how to improve this, which is great! Have you seen our Steam Store page? Click here to see it.
Allright, let’s get into the details…
What’s out exactly?
For the purpose of developing the core mechanics of this game, I gathered all the assets and mechanics in one scene, created a small map which is basically a road that loops around a lake. That way, I was able to test everything in a believable game context. Since there is no gameplay yet, we just call that a sandbox. No gameplay, but it is already enjoyable, so I thought that was a proper timing to give you access to the project, while it’s being developed, as promised.
To keep everything under control during the distribution, the obvious choice for a platform was Steam. Steam has a pretty cool tool called Playtest, that allows the devs to grant access for free to a chosen number of players. On february 14th, we opened access to this Snow Plow prototype through Steam Playtest.
We started with small numbers of players every day, watching for potential game-breaking bugs or any sort of chaos. We got more and more requests every day, and since the distribution has been seamless for the first few weeks, we raised the number of daily access several times. Even some youtubers and streamers started publishing videos featuring the playtest, bringing waves of players every time.
Requesting access is made through Steam. So you first need a Steam account, and Steam installed on your computer. Then search for Snow Plow. On Snow Plow’s store page, where you would normally find the “Add to cart” button, you’ll see a “Request Access” green button.
By clicking that button, you a being added to the pool of players waiting for access. We open new seats every day, and those access are given ramdomly.
How long? Why do I have to wait?
Probably the most popular questions! Depending on how many players have requested access in the preceding days, this could vary. We’ve seen everything from a few hours to several days. We are never technically “full”, but you won’t get instant access either.
It is technically a playtest, not a release. It’s a first trial by real players to see if the game behaves well. We keep control over this playtest by limiting the number of players and re-evaluating everyday. And we’re planning on rolling the updates through the playtest as well, until there’s more meat around this game. We could stretch our luck and ask for money, but instead we just ask for some patience so we can do this playtest right. Plus, we have no power over who gets access or not. We can decide how many seats we open, and then Steam randomly sends access to that amount of players. When it’s done, you’ll get an email letting you know your access has been granted.
We are planning on pushing updates through the playtest. Based on our roadmap, suggestions and bug reports, we’ll be fixing stuff, changing stuff, and adding stuff. The sandbox map will not get updates, as it will eventually be scrapped when the open world comes out. But everything else that is being updated or changed will be updated in the sandbox. In parallel to that, we are developing the career mode and the open world.
Based on feedback, the next update could contain some or all of the following…
- Key binding customization
- FPC height adjustment
- Time scale adjustment
- More sound effects for the trucks
- Volume option
- Emergency truck reset
- FPC traces in snow
- Bloom effect adjustment
- Tire tracks
- Hood view (while we wait for 1st person cabin view)
Don’t quote me on that list! Updates requiring more time could be in the subsequent update, we’ll see how it goes.
We’re getting great feedback from players, mostly on our Discord. All bug reports and all suggestions are being tracked carefully. Most of the above list is actually from players ideas and reports. We’re aware that the game is lacking basic support like key binding, controller support, OS support on other than Windows, multi-screen, etc. This prototype’s goal was to get the mechanics working. All the support and interface stuff will be added in the future.
Feedback can be transmitted via our Discord server, email (see our website), or directly on the Steam community.
This is from well before the playtest, but it hadn’t been covered in a dev blog yet. Earlier this winter the trucks got a texture overhaul, now showing wear, rust and dirt. The good thing is that wear is based on a shader node that generates it automatically when I create the vehicles, avoiding having to paint the details and saving a lot of time in the process.
If you want to get involved, join our Discord! There is a lot going on, we share sneak peeks and discuss about snow, and plows.
Remember those simple rules:
- On our Discord, there’s the project’s roadmap and an FAQ. They are there so that we don’t have to answer the same questions everyday. So please read those before you ask a question.
- Please keep your discussions on purpose and on the right channel.
- Stay respectful of others, and of the server’s rules.
- No, I can’t bypass the playtest system and grant your access to the game. It’s not technically possible.
- No, I don’t know how long it will take for your access to be granted.
- No, I don’t have a release date for the “complete” game.
All for now! In the coming weeks, as mentionned above, we will be simultaneously working on updating the sandbox and developing the open world/career mode. Stay tuned for more!
Eric, project lead