Hello again. Time can be a funny thing. When I think that it has been a month since the last Project Entropia Development Report, I'm surprised at how quickly the time has passed. On the other hand, when I consider how much progress the team has made since that day, it feels like quite a bit longer than just a month has passed.
Earlier this week, we announced the admission of approximately 500 new participants into our current Phase II beta test. We started Phase I of our beta back in May, but that involved only a very select group of about 50 people doing technical testing. In early September, we moved into Phase II, and including this latest group, we now have about 1,000 testers in total. We are pleased that a number of our testers have been very helpful in identifying and reporting bugs, and we are hoping to encourage participants who are currently just playing the beta to become active in testing and reporting as well. And of course, we are already looking forward to letting in more beta testers, even though we don't yet know when that is likely to happen.
The number of bugs uncovered has been a very pleasant surprise so far since we were actually expecting to find more bugs and more serious bugs than we actually have. Of course, this means we have spent less development time to fix them than planned, and as a result, we are either on schedule or ahead of schedule in just about every major area of both testing and development. Naturally, we are very happy about this, although we are still being cautious to avoid becoming over-confident. We know we are off to a terrific start in the first several weeks of large-scale beta, but there is still a lot of development ahead, and many potential problems that can arise. However, I can say that the level of excitement and motivation continues to grow here, day by day and week by week.
In terms of development, the team has been working on many different things. There are far too many to list them all, but some of the major additions and changes put in place recently are new weapons, clothes, avatar hairstyles, NPCs, NPC AI and user interfaces. We have also modified the targeting system and various weapon parameters. Graphically, we have implemented changes in areas such as the sky, fog and terrain maps. We had been working on these on our internal development server, and now, the visuals in the beta test will more closely resemble those that we have shown in our development screenshots. Looking forward, we are continuing to work on these and many other different areas. A number of these involve various forms of content such as new land areas, monsters and weapons. These will be implemented into the beta by way of patches as they are ready.
Another important step we have taken during the last month is the hiring of our new Community Representative, Erik Johnels. We are well aware that community is an absolutely critical aspect of the total online world experience, and we have great confidence that Erik will contribute greatly to growing and strengthening the Project Entropia community by providing an improved channel for better and more regular communication of information.
As a last topic for today, we have received a number of messages telling us the Project Entropia website is currently unreachable for people in parts of North America, and that it has been since yesterday. We are aware of this problem, and I can assure you that the site is still up and working fine for European readers. The cause of the situation is outside our control, perhaps a router or trans-Atlantic cable malfunction. Anyway, when the site is accessible again, I invite you to drop in to see the new beta and development screenshots of the week. You can also visit our new forums to chat with Erik, me and other team members. If you haven't applied to take part in the beta test, you can do so http://www.project-entropia.com/betatest/apply.asp?topic=betatest and in general, watch the site for lots more exciting news and information.