Author Topic: How many people are working on this game?  (Read 6860 times)

Offline Mick

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #15 on: January 30, 2015, 08:27:07 AM »
There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.

So true. In other games I've tested or done Early Access for a while, I don't really feel that my feedback matters all that much. Being able to contribute to the Mantis and see that issues are actually being worked on gives a lot more encouragement to actually report bugs and suggest improvements. Even if a suggestion is rejected, it's nice to hear it, instead of just thinking that it went into a black hole.

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2015, 08:33:55 AM »
You mentioned the animator's name was Julian, is he the guy who does the co-optional podcast animations, because I remember TB mentioning their animator's name was Julian?

Yessss. :)

I absolutely adored the Biscuit Federation's animation style, so I went looking for a studio or individual who could do something similar.  Eventually I wound up having a "duh" moment and just went straight to Julian.  Awesome guy.

You forgot the legion of rabid Arcen fans just waiting to get into the testing phase.

Ya know, what always gets me about this is how many there are that do this not just for one game, but that keep sticking around and doing it each time a new one comes out, usually with quite alot of effort and time put in by most.  That's not something I see very often, really.

That gets me, too.  Holy smokes I take that as a huge compliment.

I enjoy doing beta testing.  I'd actually like to someday see a title developed start to finish, rather than from a beta to finish standpoint.  There was a series of articles written during the development of Hidden Path's "Defense Grid 2" that covered aspects of the development process, and I found it very interesting.

Most of the way through, the game isn't really in a playable state, and a lot of the stuff is in my head.  But I do get what you're saying, and... the idea intrigues me in a lot of ways.  It's a lot more fun once you guys are around.

Then again... there's also something really important about solitude for a while, in a design sense.  If you think of writing an essay for a class, it's like the period where you make the rough draft, pausing periodically as you go, and getting it all out and occasionally making cuts and drastic shifts as you do.  Having your professor standing over you making little noises or giving you full-out feedback would be... some level of hell, in a certain sense, I guess?

But that analogy only holds up so well.  I don't know which force would win out, if you see what I mean: the creativity of groups and the value of having people to bounce ideas off of, or the sense of being watched while "still practicing," so to speak.  I know some AAA teams have testers practically from the start; I'm not sure how they manage that.  They also have much more rigid design docs, too, though.  And in general more staff to be receptors for said feedback.

I don't know.  It's interesting to think about.

I definitely do use you guys on the forums as a way of bouncing ideas around, though.  Many of you guys have already helped to shape the game in various ways without even seeing it.  That's obviously the case when I specifically solicit ideas, sure.  But in other cases we're just talking about game features, and I'm explaining this or that.  Sometimes somebody misunderstands what I mean and their misunderstood version is actually better.

Other times you guys get really excited about something I mention in an offhand fashion, and that surprises me and gets me to think more about that area.  That excitement can be infectious.  And there's a variety of other things that really create a lot of that back and forth inspiration for me, too.  When I do these big posts about ways the game works in advance of actually releasing the game, it's surprisingly helpful what the just-discussion results in.

Here though, testing just isn't testing.  There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.  They let us really be a part of making the game.  How often can you say that?  How many games have you played with a "misery" difficulty level?   :D

I think the answer is... maybe 3 games?   :P  Skyward, Bionic, and TLF all do, if I'm not mistaken, haha. :)

Anyway, yes, I love having you guys be involved to the degree you are.  It's absolutely awesome. :)

There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.

So true. In other games I've tested or done Early Access for a while, I don't really feel that my feedback matters all that much. Being able to contribute to the Mantis and see that issues are actually being worked on gives a lot more encouragement to actually report bugs and suggest improvements. Even if a suggestion is rejected, it's nice to hear it, instead of just thinking that it went into a black hole.

That's really good to hear.  I always feel a bit bad when I have to reject a suggestion for whatever reason, and it's tempting to just leave it in some ambiguous state.  And sometimes I do that if it's one of those "out of scope for now, but maybe someday" features.  And it basically gets marked as such.  Goodness, we've had some features for AI War get implemented in an expansion after they were originally suggested 3 years prior and just sat idle and "forgotten" that whole time (mantis never forgets!).

But yeah, I'm on the player end of things with 7 Days To Die, and I feel the pain of that being just a black hole when it comes to feedback.  I absolutely love that game and seeing it evolve, but it basically killed any interest of mine in giving thoughts.  In their defense, though, this is their first game they've ever done on their own.  So I understand the desire to really hold that first one close.  When you're on your first one, it feels like that might be the only one you ever get to do, so you'd better try to do everything you ever wanted to do.  After half a dozen games, you start settling down a bit. ;)
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2015, 11:07:39 AM »
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Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2015, 11:17:32 AM »
Underbart! :D

She's gradually teaching us bits of Swedish.
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Offline Misery

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2015, 11:52:12 AM »
Huh, that's alot of interesting insight into the whole design process; I'd often wondered in many cases just how some of that stuff goes down.  Particularly since you guys dont seem to go by any rigid design sheet or whatever they're called.  Always hated that sort of idea myself; on the occaision I make something I'd just get confused if I tried that.  I generally just smash together ideas whenever they happen to occur to me, cant imagine having to follow some pre-written THING with some large dev team.  Just.... ugh.  I dont know how the AAA teams and such can do that.  Not sure I WANT to know, either.  It sounds awful.

And I agree on the "black hole of feedback" arguement.   It's like... what's the point of bothering if nobody is going to listen to me at all?   I tend to buy into alot of early-access type games, but I only submit feedback or jump into forums and whatnot for certain specific developers, where I can have an actual impact on things that involve some actual conversation as opposed to writing up a rambling post that I dont know will even get read or not.  Also seems pointless to do it if there's already like 10000 people doing it at once. 

Quote
I think the answer is... maybe 3 games?     Skyward, Bionic, and TLF all do, if I'm not mistaken, haha.

Geez, that's right, that ended up being in multiple games now... it's very flattering and much appreciated, by the way.  I got quite a kick outta that one happening.

Often wondered how many players other than myself actually dove into those, as they're all super hard.  Particularly with TLF, I havent heard at all of anyone playing that one in that mode.   I've seen some darned good BD play though on that difficulty from a couple of people. 

I swear though, it's really hard to find much in the way of *good* videos of your games;  typically I like to watch alot of LPs, but.... if I'm watching someone play a game on anything I consider "easy" mode, I get bored fast.  And that's usually what I find.  Though that's annoyingly typical of LPs in general, come to think of it. 

I've totally forgotten whatever else I was going to say.  It's a tad annoying when that happens.


Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2015, 03:26:22 PM »
Underbart! :D

She's gradually teaching us bits of Swedish.
<3
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Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2015, 07:05:56 PM »
You forgot the legion of rabid Arcen fans just waiting to get into the testing phase.

Ya know, what always gets me about this is how many there are that do this not just for one game, but that keep sticking around and doing it each time a new one comes out, usually with quite alot of effort and time put in by most.  That's not something I see very often, really.

That gets me, too.  Holy smokes I take that as a huge compliment.

Ya know, it's been almost 3 years since I started giving feedback here.  Actually it was during the AVVW beta.  I think I've done just about every beta since then.

I enjoy doing beta testing.  I'd actually like to someday see a title developed start to finish, rather than from a beta to finish standpoint.  There was a series of articles written during the development of Hidden Path's "Defense Grid 2" that covered aspects of the development process, and I found it very interesting.

Most of the way through, the game isn't really in a playable state, and a lot of the stuff is in my head.  But I do get what you're saying, and... the idea intrigues me in a lot of ways.  It's a lot more fun once you guys are around.

Then again... there's also something really important about solitude for a while, in a design sense.  If you think of writing an essay for a class, it's like the period where you make the rough draft, pausing periodically as you go, and getting it all out and occasionally making cuts and drastic shifts as you do.  Having your professor standing over you making little noises or giving you full-out feedback would be... some level of hell, in a certain sense, I guess?

But that analogy only holds up so well.  I don't know which force would win out, if you see what I mean: the creativity of groups and the value of having people to bounce ideas off of, or the sense of being watched while "still practicing," so to speak.  I know some AAA teams have testers practically from the start; I'm not sure how they manage that.  They also have much more rigid design docs, too, though.  And in general more staff to be receptors for said feedback.

I don't know.  It's interesting to think about.

I definitely do use you guys on the forums as a way of bouncing ideas around, though.  Many of you guys have already helped to shape the game in various ways without even seeing it.  That's obviously the case when I specifically solicit ideas, sure.  But in other cases we're just talking about game features, and I'm explaining this or that.  Sometimes somebody misunderstands what I mean and their misunderstood version is actually better.

Other times you guys get really excited about something I mention in an offhand fashion, and that surprises me and gets me to think more about that area.  That excitement can be infectious.  And there's a variety of other things that really create a lot of that back and forth inspiration for me, too.  When I do these big posts about ways the game works in advance of actually releasing the game, it's surprisingly helpful what the just-discussion results in.

Don't get me wrong here, I love my level of involvement.  I've found my niche in testing.  It's just that there is so much more that goes into making a game that I, as a fan of games, just don't get to see.  It would be like watching a mechanic work on a car or my kids building lego sets. 

Anyway, the series of articles on DG2 I mentioned can be found here:
http://www.polygon.com/the-making-of-defense-grid-2

Here though, testing just isn't testing.  There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.  They let us really be a part of making the game.  How often can you say that?  How many games have you played with a "misery" difficulty level?   :D

I think the answer is... maybe 3 games?   :P  Skyward, Bionic, and TLF all do, if I'm not mistaken, haha. :)

Anyway, yes, I love having you guys be involved to the degree you are.  It's absolutely awesome. :)

The "Misery" difficulty level is just the best example I could think of where a player/tester has a "fingerprint" on the game.  There are many, many more (and I can't recall them all). 

There is a lot of back and forth between Chris, Keith and us testers.  It's a level of interaction I haven't found anywhere else really.

So true. In other games I've tested or done Early Access for a while, I don't really feel that my feedback matters all that much. Being able to contribute to the Mantis and see that issues are actually being worked on gives a lot more encouragement to actually report bugs and suggest improvements. Even if a suggestion is rejected, it's nice to hear it, instead of just thinking that it went into a black hole.

That's really good to hear.  I always feel a bit bad when I have to reject a suggestion for whatever reason, and it's tempting to just leave it in some ambiguous state.  And sometimes I do that if it's one of those "out of scope for now, but maybe someday" features.  And it basically gets marked as such.  Goodness, we've had some features for AI War get implemented in an expansion after they were originally suggested 3 years prior and just sat idle and "forgotten" that whole time (mantis never forgets!).

But yeah, I'm on the player end of things with 7 Days To Die, and I feel the pain of that being just a black hole when it comes to feedback.  I absolutely love that game and seeing it evolve, but it basically killed any interest of mine in giving thoughts.  In their defense, though, this is their first game they've ever done on their own.  So I understand the desire to really hold that first one close.  When you're on your first one, it feels like that might be the only one you ever get to do, so you'd better try to do everything you ever wanted to do.  After half a dozen games, you start settling down a bit. ;)

I still do betas whenever I can.  If I find something I'll send it in or comment on it. A few places I've found, you can get some level of interaction, though no one does it like Arcen does it though. 

« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 07:55:52 PM by Cinth »
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline Misery

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2015, 10:05:14 AM »
Ya know, it's been almost 3 years since I started giving feedback here.  Actually it was during the AVVW beta.  I think I've done just about every beta since then.

....good grief, has it seriously been that long?  Really?   That's when I first arrived here as well.  I remember.... eagles. Well, and wall slimes and some other stuff.  But the slimes were brief, and then it was back to the eagles.  I complained alot, I'm sure.  But then I do that every time.   Eagles. 

It was a good time though either way, that one cemented my presence here, that's for sure, with both the game itself and how well the devs handled everything and dealt with the community.

Quote
The "Misery" difficulty level is just the best example I could think of where a player/tester has a "fingerprint" on the game.  There are many, many more (and I can't recall them all). 

There's also the voices in Bionic Dues;  wasnt it Khadgar that did those?  I might be remembering that wrong.  But I'm pretty sure that's right.  Those came out really well and added alot to the experience. Which is a very unique (and large) contribution.   And there's the Obscura and new ships in TLF's expansion, but I dunno that that counts since that was technically contracted work. 

There's one other aspect that gets me with this stuff though:  the testers end up in the credits for these games, pretty much every single time.  Pretty long list, too.  I've done alot of testing so far for a bunch of different developers, and there's game elements both large and small in various games where I can point to them and say "yeah, that thing was my idea/fault"... but only in the games HERE can I say I got a listing in the credits for any of them.  Even if my role was very, very minor.  Particularly just for testing... it's damn near unheard of for mere testers to get that recognition!  Amazes me every time.

....and it just suddenly occurred to me, I've gotten most of these games for free due to participating in these tests and such.  I hadnt even thought of that before, but I think the only ones I actually BOUGHT (for myself, anyway) was AI War and it's pile of expansions.  I've not had ANY other developer do this one at all.   Now I feel kinda bad about this, actually...


Whole experience here in this community so far has been bloody amazing, really.  I dont remember at all how the heck I found AVWW in the first place, but I'm glad I did.  Alot of good and fun experiences here so far.

And eagles.  And wall-pigeons, cant forget those walking nightmares...
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 10:07:46 AM by Misery »

Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2015, 10:57:58 AM »
*remembers the AI War 2.0 release*


Oh GOD I'm old >_>
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Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2015, 07:37:21 PM »
*remembers the AI War 2.0 release*


Oh GOD I'm old >_>
I started playing AI War shortly after the 2.0 release.  I didn't really do forums back then. 

....good grief, has it seriously been that long?  Really?   That's when I first arrived here as well.  I remember.... eagles. Well, and wall slimes and some other stuff.  But the slimes were brief, and then it was back to the eagles.  I complained alot, I'm sure.  But then I do that every time.   Eagles. 

It was a good time though either way, that one cemented my presence here, that's for sure, with both the game itself and how well the devs handled everything and dealt with the community.
 
Eagles, slimes, and funny bugs (like the one where you couldn't jump on ladders).  Testing AVVW was truely an interactive experience.  I remember one time Chris goes, "New build guys!".  I go, "BUG!".  15 minutes later Chris goes, "New build guys!".  <-- That has happened many times since, but the turn around times here are amazing. 

What really got me was the Ancient Shadows expansion testing for AI War.  Getting to talk nuts and bolts with Keith during that time was something else.  Not to mention me breaking the game in incredible ways. 

I'm Arcen's guy until I'm dead or they find someone better.


Quote
There's also the voices in Bionic Dues;  wasnt it Khadgar that did those?  I might be remembering that wrong.  But I'm pretty sure that's right.  Those came out really well and added alot to the experience. Which is a very unique (and large) contribution.   And there's the Obscura and new ships in TLF's expansion, but I dunno that that counts since that was technically contracted work. 
The BD voices are AWESOME.  Best part of the game for me.  Yeah, no.  I couldn't recall a lot but there are community contributions everywhere.

Quote
There's one other aspect that gets me with this stuff though:  the testers end up in the credits for these games, pretty much every single time.  Pretty long list, too.  I've done alot of testing so far for a bunch of different developers, and there's game elements both large and small in various games where I can point to them and say "yeah, that thing was my idea/fault"... but only in the games HERE can I say I got a listing in the credits for any of them.  Even if my role was very, very minor.  Particularly just for testing... it's damn near unheard of for mere testers to get that recognition!  Amazes me every time.

....and it just suddenly occurred to me, I've gotten most of these games for free due to participating in these tests and such.  I hadnt even thought of that before, but I think the only ones I actually BOUGHT (for myself, anyway) was AI War and it's pile of expansions.  I've not had ANY other developer do this one at all.   Now I feel kinda bad about this, actually...

I appreciate that they give us credit in a big way.  I think I'm up to 9 titles?  2 I bought into (AVVW/AS), one was free (AVVW2).  2 AI War expansions, TLF, SH, BD, SC (all beta invites) and I still need to buy Tidalis and the expansions for TLF and SC.  Then I'll have collected them all!!

Quote
Whole experience here in this community so far has been bloody amazing, really.  I dont remember at all how the heck I found AVWW in the first place, but I'm glad I did.  Alot of good and fun experiences here so far.

And eagles.  And wall-pigeons, cant forget those walking nightmares...
This community is like an extended family.  I love it here.
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #25 on: February 01, 2015, 07:54:37 PM »
"Like an extended family" is absolutely right.

And yep, I just love what Khadgar did with the voices in BD, also.  I-KP has done a lot of pixel art for us for various games, too.  TLF and AI War come most to mind.  eRaSeR (I can never remember the spelling, sorry) did explosions for AI War and various other things.  Taught me how to do some particle-related stuff in general.  Man we had a ton of people who did some random rooms for Valley 1, and three big hitters for Valley 2 chunk pieces, plus some other folks who did a few.  There are a solid dozen or more people with a few puzzles in Tidalis.

And then of course the multitude of feature ideas that were submitted in mantis or on the forums that we used in some game or another.  Sometimes changing the idea majorly as it was implemented, but sometimes not much at all.  Really just varied.

Yep, I love this crowd. :)
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Offline Mánagarmr

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2015, 02:49:41 AM »
Thanks for reminding me...The need for new AI War tutorials are pretty damn dire. Everytime I see the old ones I cringe at how bad they are compared to my current quality standards. Please tell me you need new ones so I get a reason to make 'em ;)
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Offline Cinth

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2015, 03:07:50 AM »
Thanks for reminding me...The need for new AI War tutorials are pretty damn dire. Everytime I see the old ones I cringe at how bad they are compared to my current quality standards. Please tell me you need new ones so I get a reason to make 'em ;)

As an AI War player, yes please.  Those tutorials have been brought up off and on forever.  If I may make a suggestion, if you get the go-a-head, poll the AI War community to get feedback.  I'm pretty sure they would appreciate the opportunity.   :D
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 08:09:23 AM by Cinth »
Quote from: keith.lamothe
Opened your save. My computer wept. Switched to the ST planet and ship icons filled my screen, so I zoomed out. Game told me that it _was_ totally zoomed out. You could seriously walk from one end of the inner grav well to the other without getting your feet cold.

Offline x4000

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Re: How many people are working on this game?
« Reply #28 on: February 02, 2015, 10:31:07 AM »
By all means, please do!
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