Announcing SOS Closed Alpha 2
Outpost Games is happy to announce that Contestants will soon be headed back to La Cuna Island for the SOS Closed Alpha 2 which will take place over the course of three weekends: Sept 30-Oct 1, Oct 14–15 & Nov 4–5. Servers will be open from 9am-9pm PT (4pm-4am GMT) on those dates. While server support will be limited, we are working to steadily expand our player concurrency and geographic availability to accommodate more Contestants worldwide. Streaming is absolutely permitted during this Closed Alpha 2.
In the months since the June Closed Alpha , we’ve been hard at work improving SOS based on your feedback and the data we gathered from your time with the game. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see when you return to La Cuna Island.
Enter the Intro
Consistently throughout the June Closed Alpha, Contestants dazzled us and their audiences with their antics during the Intros. The Intro sequence already made for a great show, but we knew we had to give Contestants the ability to express themselves fully.
Along with a brand-new setting and presentation, we have added a host of animation improvements including head tracking based on cursor movement, a suite of gestures, and expanded facial animations. Our hope is that this newly revamped Intro should allow every Contestant the chance to shine during the Closed Alpha 2 weekends.
And We’re Outro
To help bring the reality show presentation full circle, we realized that we had to expand the end sequence of each match. We never want to waste an opportunity to give facetime to an eliminated contestant or a triumphant victor. Our new outro sequence now includes confessionals where a few lucky Contestants get the chance to tell audiences what they really thought about each match.
As with many of the alterations and developments that have made their way into SOS since the June Closed Alpha, this Outro sequence aims to make player performance the focus and to deliver on the promise of putting Contestants center stage. Stick around through the end of the match you might get the chance to get in the final word.
Vote for Papaya
The final big addition to the game since the June Closed Alpha is a feature that’s been oft-requested (and for good reason): Audience voting. In our effort to always put the focus of the game on our Contestants’ performances, we felt that it was essential to create ways for our players to interact directly with their audience and for that audience to interact with them.
Starting now, whenever a flare is fired and the helicopter is able to see it, a vote will be initiated. This allows for spectators (both in-game and on Hero.tv) to choose between a series of positive and negative gameplay trade-offs. The winning selection will be air-dropped onto La Cuna Island to either help or hurt the remaining Contestants. So be kind to your audience; you might need their help!
Quality of Life
We have added functionality to the game that will allow for reporting of players who are seen violating our Code of Conduct. Enforcement of this Code is imperative to our efforts to promote a positive and welcoming community, which will in turn make for more entertaining episodes of SOS.
Please remember that abusing this reporting system is itself a violation of the Code of Conduct, so refrain from making false reports of your fellow Contestants.
We’re happy to announce that for our Closed Alpha Weekends, players will be able to adjust in-game audio levels to suit their needs. This feature was heavily-requested and we’re glad to support it in time for your latest trip out to La Cuna Island.
Keybinding is in place now, so feel free to make every button on your keyboard ‘Throw’ if that’s what you’re into.
Odds and Ends
We made some small changes to some of the extraction points on La Cuna Island since the last time you may have played. Our aim is to make each extraction point offer balanced trade-offs, so we made some changes in layout and geometry based on data we collected during the June Closed Alpha. Your favored extraction point may no longer be such a sure thing, and one you may have ignored in the past could prove its mettle.
In our June Closed Alpha, many Contestants noticed the trails left by other players (footsteps, blood, grass, discarded items, etc.) and used them to make interesting decisions. However, we also saw that some Contestants missed these visual cues. We believe that this kind of in-game information is really important in bringing players together and creating interesting, dynamic scenarios, so we wanted to see what small changes we could make to increase awareness of these trails. Since then, we have:
- Lightened color of sand
- Darkened color of footsteps
- Increased prominence of sap trail from Relic
- Modified flag colors and designs
- Differentiated player blood from Hupia blood
- Increased noticeability of player blood trails
- Optimized grass trails to make them more visible
These changes touched on a number of different elements of the game, but in the end, the aim was the same: Inform our Contestants about the state of a match purely through the game’s visual language.
Throwing was something that we added to the game close to the release of the Closed Alpha in an effort to provide Contestants with a combat option that wasn’t strictly melee or guns. However, after reviewing the data, we found that throwing didn’t seem to be competing well enough with other combat mechanics. It just didn’t seem to be representing a large enough percentage of kills.
Going into our Closed Alpha Weekends, we have increased the damage of thrown Items by 19% and their speed by 40%. We have already seen that this change has caused hits per match to increase significantly. Try lobbing some Papayas around this weekend and let us know what you think.
Some of you may notice that the layouts of our temples have changed slightly due to some changes on our end to how we construct our temple architecture. We have steadily been moving towards an architectural style that allows us to create structures with more chambers and cover along hallways between them.
As with the rest of SOS, our characters are a work in progress. Currently, we are still in the process of finalizing our cast of characters, but already you may spot some distinct improvements over their last outings.
We are in the process of updating the hair of each of our characters. Not everyone has been follicly blessed just yet, but here’s a glimpse of the progress we’ve made.
And it wasn’t just a facelift for some of our characters. They also were fitted with facial expression systems that can allow for them to display a wide range of emotions. In turn, we hope this brings out even more dynamic performances from our Contestants.
We have come a long way since our June Closed Alpha, but there is still a long way to go. We’re excited to share what we’ve been working on all these months with everyone over the coming Closed Alpha Weekends. Our goal is and always has been to offer every player the chance to put on their best performance. As always, please offer us feedback in our feedback portal and be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest SOS news and updates.