Hello, everybody! As of this writing, there is a little more than a week until our big (beta) launch party! It’s going to be a lot of fun, so try and make time for it if you can.

This week, we’ve made a bunch of polish changes that will hopefully make the experience a bit better for our players. Clarity is key in a game with so many players and so much going on at the same time. The sensors that the escaped convicts have to use to open gates are going to be much more player-friendly. Instead of player numbers, the sensors will now show a picture of your convict’s head. Since no two players are allowed to be the same convict, it makes it much easier to tell who has to go where.

The character selection screen has also been revamped. Those of you who went to Imagine RIT at the beginning of May saw a bit of what we were planning there. The huge grid of thumbnail images isn’t there anymore, and each player is given their own workspace to pick out their characters instead of having to find their cursor in a shared field. Another new thing that was not at Imagine RIT, however, is the ability to pick out your Rookie Cop. After selecting a convict, players can now choose which Rookie Cop they will play as in the event of their convict’s capture (or untimely locomotive demise). The main goal of these updates to character selection is to make sure all players know what their character looks like and what other players’ characters look like before the game starts. Hopefully this will alleviate some of the confusion that happened in our playtests.

Speaking of confusing things, Chain Gang Chase also had a difficulty setting that ranged from minimum security (easy) to supermax security (hard). Because players could find themselves playing both sides over the course of a game, it wasn’t entirely clear for whom it would be easy or difficult. As a result, we’ve changed the difficulty setting to be a sliding bar instead of giving players ambiguous difficulty names. Sliding the bar’s cursor towards the convict will shift the balance in favor of the convicts. The other side of the bar gives the cops an advantage.

I’m really excited that we were able to fit in all of these changes. It’s amazing how much just a few small tweaks will add to a game. That’s all the time I have for now, though. I should get going! In the meantime, get your digging spoons ready. It’s almost time to break out.