That's right, the time has finally come for us to tell you all when the time will finally come for you to be able to play Imperial Civil War 2.2. As usual, this news post is available in both text and video form:
Before we go any further, I do want to stress that everything you're about to see is a tentative guideline, not a guarantee. We can't see the future, so we don't know what circumstances will come up, but we're fairly confident in what we have planned.
That being said, as we've discussed in previous updates, the testing of the mod will be handled in a few progressively more open phases. We've been testing the mod internally and with the permanent testers as we've gone, so there's a lot of issues which have been caught and dealt with already, but broader pools of testers make it far easier to test the less common occurrences and figure out things like balance issues, while exposing as few people as possible to the more major issues that tend to come up at the beginning of any testing phase. The goal with this structure is to find the easiest way to get a progressively bigger testing pool while allowing the dev team to focus on actually developing the mod, as opposed to herding a bunch of testers or trying to manually select a huge pool of potential testers.
With that goal in mind, the first bit of open testing will take place on the official Thrawn's Revenge forums
in the Admiral's Lounge section. This is a post-restricted board, which requires 25 posts to access. It can be accessed whether you've posted 25 times before, or during the testing period- there is no cutoff date beyond the end of testing. We know there are plenty of people who love the mod and have been just as if not more active in other places, whether that's ModDB, Discord, YouTube comments on Corey Loses, or the Steam Workshop, but the point of this is not to somehow reward or punish anyone for activity or lack thereof- as I said above, this is the simplest way for us to get a narrower but still considerable starting pool of testers that requires the least direct management by the team so we can focus on the more important bits of actually developing the mod. This is about testing it and making it as bug-free and ready for widespread play as possible, not about rewarding anyone with early access or something like that. The forums also provide the best platform to handle the posting of feedback (which is far, far less manageable in the instant-message or comment thread style of, say Discord or Steam), distribution of instructions, patch notes, and the other bits that actually go into testing. This is also not an invitation to spam, which will just annoy us and put us off of doing any sort of open testing in the future if it becomes a problem. When we've done similar testing methods in the past, some people have either tried to spam their way in, or protested that it's unfair, which is why I again reiterate, this is not about who does or doesn't deserve
access or something, testing is a very important part of development, and this is the way that lets us maximize feedback and minimize how much effort goes into managing and collecting that feedback instead of actually working on the mod and acting on that feedback. We promise, we are doing our best to make sure 2.2 is as enjoyable as we can make it, and we want as many people to be able to enjoy it as possible, as soon as possible, but we need your cooperation in this
The planned date for the testing to begin in the Admiral's Lounge is: February 15th.
From here, we'll be testing for around 2-3 weeks in that stage as necessary to work out all the major issues that we can, and finalize any of the content that's still being worked on. Once we have all of that done, we'll be opening the testing board to all forum members to continue on with any balancing changes, bug fixes, etc. Once we're confident that we've sorted out everything we reasonably can, we'll be moving on from there to the final, full release of the mod. Currently we plan to have a version uploaded to ModDB, EaW Nexus, and we'll update the 2.15 Steam Workshop copy
to 2.2, so if you haven't subscribed to that, make sure to do so. The Demo workshop item will be removed near the end of testing. Once the testing process is over, we plan to ask a few of the people who contribute feedback and bug reports during the process to stay on as permanent internal testers for our projects going forward.
Our target date for this final release is: March 29th, 2018
Around that time, we'll start posting about our plans with 2.3 and Ascendancy 1.2, some of which has already started, as well as have a lot more information and content about Fall of the Republic, our Clone Wars-era mod. That's it for now though.