Author Topic: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!  (Read 5529 times)

Offline ptarth

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2016, 09:40:00 PM »
As one of the top ten experts in the funness of SBR I have this to say:
There isn't one single SBR game, there were at least 4. Each version had pros and cons. Some I liked a lot, others less so, but none of them were worse games than many titles that are released in recent years. I also obviously know exactly what was wrong with each, and I could totally fix them. ;)
Note: This post contains content that is meant to be whimsical. Any belittlement or trivialization of complex issues is only intended to lighten the mood and does not reflect upon the merit of those positions.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2016, 02:37:13 AM »
+1 to cyborg. Like all of it. The graphics, the "AI War 2 should have come out earlier" part. So much time was wasted from when Arcen was "the thing".


All releases of SBR were fundamentaly broken. I know that there is potential there, but I don't fall in love with potential. It's expected for an alpha though, but the planned stuff never made it - when done for real, it was not fun. Yes, SBR alphas were worse than a lot of the games in that genre.

The pace was fundamentaly broken. The economy as well. Diplomacy never made it into the game, and it was the major selling point as I understood it. AI ? Not there. Combat was deeply flawed... the territory update aimed to change that but then the game was still broken.


As I mentioned on another thread; as a redshirt I never found the fun bit. I kept off the SBR forums until I had finished several passes to avoid bias. When I did finally return to the forums, people were having fun with what was there - that really threw me. At the time I put it down to there were more people with a better grasp of where it was all going. So I kept most of my feedback to the interface issues and its design flaws, on the assumption they were better placed to give feedback. Hindsight tells me that was not the case. :(

This, +1. Not to mention that it happened again with Raptor. This trend needs to stop.


And, like Cyborg said in another thread...
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19280.msg210236.html#msg210236

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2016, 08:06:24 AM »
+1 to cyborg. Like all of it. The graphics, the "AI War 2 should have come out earlier" part. So much time was wasted from when Arcen was "the thing".


All releases of SBR were fundamentaly broken. I know that there is potential there, but I don't fall in love with potential. It's expected for an alpha though, but the planned stuff never made it - when done for real, it was not fun. Yes, SBR alphas were worse than a lot of the games in that genre.

The pace was fundamentaly broken. The economy as well. Diplomacy never made it into the game, and it was the major selling point as I understood it. AI ? Not there. Combat was deeply flawed... the territory update aimed to change that but then the game was still broken.


As I mentioned on another thread; as a redshirt I never found the fun bit. I kept off the SBR forums until I had finished several passes to avoid bias. When I did finally return to the forums, people were having fun with what was there - that really threw me. At the time I put it down to there were more people with a better grasp of where it was all going. So I kept most of my feedback to the interface issues and its design flaws, on the assumption they were better placed to give feedback. Hindsight tells me that was not the case. :(

This, +1. Not to mention that it happened again with Raptor. This trend needs to stop.


And, like Cyborg said in another thread...
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19280.msg210236.html#msg210236

Whaa.. Whaaaat? I thought the game was mostly done and only the "fun" was nowhere to be found? Man I must have gotten the wrong impression then o.O If so disregard my hype about SBR, I honestly thought the game only needed a polishing pass. Not an actual development out of pre-alpha into a feature complete thing. I mean we are talking a prototype, and not a game then. If that is the case please disregard me bringing up SBR O;O

And make no mistake about it eraser, the people want AI war, to the tune of what, $90,000 kickstarter? This forum hasn't been so alive in years. We have had such a great response and a positive excitement around here, in between all the desperate forum posting. AI War 2 will bring home another solid hit, something that can be expanded on and bring in funding to keep the doors open, pay people a fair wage, and allow more experimentation. Maybe even that 4x, although we can see how hard it is to make one. Watching the SBR sausage get made was incredibly educational for me, I learned a lot of things, and I hope that it's obvious that 4x is an extremely complicated genre to get right.

Yeah this is something I didn't understand so far, who is actually developing AI War 2 if this KS fails? More time for family doesn't sound like crunch time is going to be a thing, and how else you gonna make AI War in 8 months with keith (who is an awesome coder, but only 1) and Blues (for ALL graphics? 1 person????) (if this were another dev I'd be laughing at that optimistic estimate by the way, 8 months maybe for polish... but full development in 8 months of something that doesn't yet exist as a playable prototype? With 3 people???) Or is this toned down AI War 2 going to be an EA release? I didn't follow the KS in detail so yeah... I am a bit confused ;P

Quote from: Cyborg
Criticizing AI War 2 graphics, I have some concerns with the bright outlining and neon lights everywhere rather than the original gritty look, also. But I don't think they can pull off 3-D gritty. That's not their artistic strong suit and hasn't been on any of the titles. It's just not going to happen. Certainly, toning down the Las Vegas lights would be a good start, but there is going to be some shading.

As the one who made/textured the semi-ugly (although I loved them all except the superdreadnought) models in Star Ruler 1 as well as all the tech icons I would say grim dark models are very possible even if not a strong suit, and if Blues can not do it alone then acting as concept artist and hiring a freelancer that works along these lines is the way to do that. But for me graphics are a complete package and set the tone of a game from the outset, and a doom and gloom game needs to have fitting graphics and sound ;)

Anyway if you are bored you can PM me the reasons why you think SBR should never see the light of day, it would certainly be an interesting read as unlike you I only read about it's conceptualized ideas, not the actual thing that was tested by red-shirts ;p
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Offline Tridus

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2016, 08:14:32 AM »
Yeah this is something I didn't understand so far, who is actually developing AI War 2 if this KS fails? More time for family doesn't sound like crunch time is going to be a thing, and how else you gonna make AI War in 8 months with keith (who is an awesome coder, but only 1) and Blues (for ALL graphics? 1 person????) (if this were another dev I'd be laughing at that optimistic estimate by the way, 8 months maybe for polish... but full development in 8 months of something that doesn't yet exist as a playable prototype? With 3 people???) Or is this toned down AI War 2 going to be an EA release? I didn't follow the KS in detail so yeah... I am a bit confused ;P

It was 11 months or so, but yeah.

I'm really not sure what's going to happen with it now. I guess it'll be smaller scale.

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2016, 12:13:05 PM »
Cyborg and Kasnavada. I'm trying to break down more specifically what you guys mean. You seem to be saying "Chris done fcked" up, but at the same time diverting a lot of the blame for that onto the general community. I would say that there is also an element of "I told you so" about your posts, too.  There have been a few major costly decisions that Chris has made over the years. The biggest one being not pulling SBR at an early stage -- are you both saying that if there had been less "cheerleading" then SBR would've likely been pulled earlier? Or are you saying that if there had been less "cheerleading" then the project would've taken a better development route, probably resulting in a finished product?

Another big mistake was that Chris should never have made Valley 2, offering free copies to existing (Valley 1) customers. That was a decision that didn't work out well, and I don't think you can blame the community for that one, it was just a very bold move that backfired. Then we come to Raptor. Yes, with how events unfolded that turned out to be a bad call; however, I would argue that the worse decision was probably having Keith continue to work on SBR for pretty much the most of this year -- again, with no end product in sight. I don't think the community had any input in that call.

Chris has also made some good decisions, of course. Like ploughing ahead with the third iteration of the combat aspect of The Last Federation, getting the game over the line, which then went on to become one of Arcen's best sellers.

As for AI War 2? Was the community saying "don't work on AI War 2 Chris, we want X game"? Hell, no. People have been clamouring for AI War 2 for years, don't you think Chris knows this? Ultimately, the position Arcen find themselves in now is down to Chris. I agree that a community that "tells it like is" is more useful than being overly polite about certain things, but it's not a big factor in the plight that Arcen now find themselves in.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2016, 12:47:28 PM by Pepisolo »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2016, 09:32:52 PM »
"I told you so" is a different sentiment, although I certainly did call SBR on its problems at the time.

No, what I'm saying is different. I'm saying that the "inner circle" that finds itself constantly getting pre-redshirt copies and paid monies has consistently egged Chris on even when something is terrible. It's been admitted that cheerleading occurred, are you trying to determine whether or not I think you are partly to blame?

I'm not trying to point fingers and blame people because I want anyone to feel bad. I'm saying that the conflict of interest that people have in maintaining their relationship to where the money comes from (some of the volunteers are less volunteer than others) and to some extent social relationships makes you moderators (collectively) reluctant to the task of being honest, and I have seen this behavior, and I'm calling that out as being part of a community problem. I'm pointing it out because I want it to stop, and I want people to feel that they can be honest when something doesn't work.

That's really all it is. I'm not laying the "fall of Arcen" at your feet. And, Arcen isn't gone, it's just changing shape. So just move forward and think to yourself, are we being honest? Can we give constructive criticism as a group? I have a natural recalcitrant disposition that rejects social grouping, and I know that's not normal. But sometimes, that personality flaw can actually be a strength.

And one more item here. Chris is more than fair, has a disposition towards transparency, and genuinely seems to care about his employees. I would probably be banned for writing any of this on a triple A studio forum. But make no mistake, he lives in a world where he is at the top of his own tower, the boss, can set the rules, chart the course, and answer to pretty much no one. That's not saying he's disposed to being some kind of tyrant (because I think he's a nice guy from what we all see from our computer monitors), but that is the position he sits in. He is going to have to actively work to seek your criticism because of where he sits in the relationship to each of you.

It's *uniquely* the moderators who are not getting paid on a given project that are *most* able to give the warning signals when something isn't going right. I can try, I certainly did on both SBR and Raptor, but I'm more of a pariah on the outside. I can't do what you moderators can and that's deliver the news in the morning as it is.

This a complicated mix of psychology and sociology. How this all works is way more than just unity engines and YouTube videos. You all play a role, and I'm just asking you to think what that is and how it relates to what's going on here. And if you don't believe any of that, reread this thread, Valley 2, SBR, Raptor, etc.

My motivation is a long-lived Arcen. Sure, I want the success and profit of its employees and Chris. I would be happy if they all struck it rich like Notch and sold out for millions. But after AI War 2, yeah?
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Offline Cinth

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2016, 11:00:35 PM »
I think you are attributing more responsibility to what we mods do than what we actually are doing.

We are here primarily to squash spam bots.  We do that job fairly well :)
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Offline Misery

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2016, 11:37:54 PM »
If any of us are getting paid, I sure am not aware of it (or I've forgotten).  This certainly includes everything related to Starward.  We're the Freaking Volunteers for a reason, after all.

Quote
It's *uniquely* the moderators who are not getting paid on a given project that are *most* able to give the warning signals when something isn't going right. I can try, I certainly did on both SBR and Raptor, but I'm more of a pariah on the outside. I can't do what you moderators can and that's deliver the news in the morning as it is.

You have to understand, that while there's often "inside knowledge" and such, we cant give "warning signals" and such about it because that sort of thing simply isn't allowed.  It's not our information to give.

It is true that with Starward this is often different; I for instance tend to just talk about whatever or show screenshots of upcoming stuff, particularly things that are my doing in the first place. Starward is a different story though; that project was handed over to us.   But even that has rules; we couldn't talk about the Humble Update until it happened, for instance.  There's a couple of other things right now that cant really be mentioned, either.  Them's the rules.

If we have permission on something, yes, we can give news.  But things being the way they are, if that's the case, Chris usually has already given the news, so everyone here is usually already aware of it. Arcen has always been good about keeping everyone informed, particularly since the opinions and thoughts of the community tend to play into a lot of things so much. And we mods don't necessarily have anything to add to it beyond what anyone else could come up with.

Hell, my own thoughts on things are rarely based on financial viability and such.  Finances are beyond me and I tend not to deal with money in general outside of random impulse purchases, so I often don't think of that.  Usually I'm thinking of the quality and viability of the gameplay only.  This was why I kept saying that Raptor had potential; because I knew where the game was meant to head as far as gameplay goes, and in that, to me, it did have potential.   But in terms of marketing and such?  All I know is "it's tough for everyone right now".   That's about it.   I mean, something like, say, Valley 2, right?  My main concern with THAT game was that they were giving it away to people that already owned the first.  I remember thinking that it seemed like a risky move.  Beyond that though, I really liked the game itself, and basically that was what I'd be thinking about in further comments.  That's what influences whatever I'm saying at the time.

SBR, now... I mostly just complained a lot.   That game had issues and we all know it.  I thought it had potential, but it never hit the point of actually meeting that.

Don't assume that we wont voice concerns or anything simply because we're talking to "the boss" or whatever.  Usually we speak up when we feel it's necessary (or in my case, complain a lot).  If we were dealing with something like a jerkbag AAA company, that'd be one thing.  That's one of the benefits of indie devs though:  They don't have to act like that, and in my experience, they rarely do.  I've never met one that cant be spoken to in a very frank and honest way.  I complain to others I know just as I do here.

Really, as Cinth says, you're attributing more importance to us than we have.   We help around the forums, and work on Starward.  That's it, really.  And since these forums are so peaceful, most of that bit is "stomp bots", which is certainly why I do it (I really cant emphasize how much I hate those things).



....also we don't get "pre-redshirt" copies of things.   In my case Starward and also TLF were exceptions; I was directly in Starward's main development, and same for TLF's first expansion. So of course I'm going to have development versions of those.  But things other than that?  It hasn't happened, and aside from Cinth working with them on AI War 2, I'm betting this is the case for the others too (correct me if I'm wrong).  It just wouldn't make any sense to do that, because what the heck would be the benefit?


Aaaaanyway.  All I'm really saying is not to get the wrong impression.  I know this whole thing has been bloody frustrating, so something like this is expected and I've no problems with it.  But yeah, just explaining some things here.

One way or another though, overall, I just wish this project could have worked out differently.   It seriously sucks that the KS didn't go through.

Offline Cinth

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2016, 11:53:29 PM »
I also had a small part in Raptor, but it wasn't in the dev process.  I was handling asset prep for Chris so he could focus on enemies and such.  I also made the arched ceiling tiles and an easter egg that didn't make it in.
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Offline Misery

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #39 on: November 03, 2016, 12:15:31 AM »
Ah, that's right, I remember that now.   

Did enemy designs, myself.  Would have loved to see how they came out in-game, but it didn't get that far.

Hate seeing any project come to a halt.  Bloody frustrating every time.  Though at the same time it really was probably the best move for them to make.  Just didn't get anywhere in sales, did it?  The whole "it's just Goat Simulator" thing sure didn't help, bah.  That was irritating to see, every time.

Offline Draco18s

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #40 on: November 03, 2016, 12:24:29 AM »
Starward is a different story though; that project was handed over to us.   But even that has rules; we couldn't talk about the Humble Update until it happened, for instance.  There's a couple of other things right now that cant really be mentioned, either.  Them's the rules.

Or in my case when I got the TLF expansion. I literally couldn't talk about it and went to Chris to have him post on the forums asking for testers.  I didn't want to be the one to pop out of nowhere going "I need peeps" because it'd make no sense as there wasn't even a hint that an expansion was being worked on, or even considered, much less that I was the one doing it.

Misery here was the only forumite who knew about it before that point because I was given a budget for Misery to build shot patterns and I'd reached out fairly early so xe could get crackin'.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #41 on: November 03, 2016, 02:24:29 AM »
(...)

I bow to your writing skills.
I tried to write that, ended up with much more pointing fingers and bad-mouthing. So I didn't.

I think it's because, sadly, the people doing this don't recognize themselves doing this. They think they're being honest, thoughtful, useful, and that they're not cheerleaders.

It's particularly horrible for me to see this because the forums of other game series I very much love are in the same situation (dominions 3 & 4, egosoft before the X-abortion fiasco...).

(...) TLF (...)

Sorry for being mean, but I have an entirely different view of why TLF sold.

First, general notes: Arcen makes good games, but has abyssal PR. I do think PR is hard. But PR is not given the attention it craves here. Communication is very good on the forum. Outside of it... not so much.

For me, the main reason why TLF worked on the PR front is because it was the very last game out on 18 April 2014, just before a seasonal 3 day week-end followed by a large part of its possible audience, called "Easter". And as such, it was at the top of the "new release" front page from steam for 4 days straight.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 02:34:32 AM by kasnavada »

Offline eRe4s3r

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #42 on: November 03, 2016, 02:55:09 AM »
Rebirth was absolutely hated by the very vocal community even before release so I don't think that is in any way comparable. The sad thing is the market has spoken, and Rebirth made Egosoft the most money ever and Egosoft also was very harsh to it's loyal fanbase after release. But for me that company is dead because of how they handled their (now ex) LOYAL fanbase after the launch. Thinking about it that is one of 2 companies I even hold a deep grudge against. In that sense you can consider me like a proper Warhammer Dwarf. Totally pointless grudge, but it's gonna be in the book of grudges until the end-times ;P

Also imo a topic that makes everyone defensive isn't going to fix anything. Game development should generate something that is fun to play, and as elusive as that is, when you are not having fun making a game, then chances are your game won't be very fun ;p

Well all that said, I want to see AI War 2 so I hope whatever happens makes that happen. By the way, the reason I don't moderate or test stuff is exactly this, the moment I become bound to 1 developer I can no longer fundamentally and honestly critic the game. And for me that red herring is Star Ruler ;P Mind you I do think the 2 games are absolutely unique, and though I didn't work on SR2 I actually like that better. But see, as I didn't work on it, I can look at it as a pure gamer, and then things become much easier and clearer...

Also obviously if you make all the ships in a game, this robs you a lot of the "new" feeling of it when you play it. So I wonder... if developers shouldn't outsource feedback gathering to some exterior thing. Isn't there a game testing outsourcing startup with NDA and all that? Because it seems to me that should be a thing.

Ps.: Kasnavada, PR is not just abyssal, you will find that nearly no game company knows what PR management even is. Developers send out copies to youtubers and streamers, except that isn't PR, that is fishing for attention. True PR is only done by the major MP developers, where the devs run competitions (which is a big element of PR) pay streamers so that they can do it full time or even motivate moderators and modders by having them visit in the offices etc. This all costs money, and this is why PR costs money.

It also requires a certain size and existing customer base. The problem is Arcen never integrated customers in any way. To this day there is no meta progression on any of the games made. There is no profile here that lists your achievement or games that you own. There is no profiles for games, that reward loyal customers with little doodads. There was until quite recently no way for Arcen to even send news to the games main menus. And this is all part of PR imo ;)

« Last Edit: November 03, 2016, 03:08:40 AM by eRe4s3r »
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Offline Misery

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #43 on: November 03, 2016, 03:05:27 AM »
It's particularly horrible for me to see this because the forums of other game series I very much love are in the same situation (dominions 3 & 4, egosoft before the X-abortion fiasco...).

That's because this happens on pretty much ALL of them.  Unless a developer has had a track record for being bloody awful somehow, there's always.... always.... ALWAYS going to be people doing this.  Cheering for everything.  They like the games, they want more games, they cheer.

On the other side though, there will ALWAYS be people doing the OPPOSITE despite liking the things the developer has done.

I've been to sooooooo many similar forums over the last few years, and not once have I ever encountered one where these things are not happening.

The key part here isn't really either side.  It's what the developer in question does or does not do with all the things that are being said.  It's about what they take out of it and what decisions they make.

Either way, all the finger-pointing in the world (from either side) or general arguing aint gonna change what happened with the KS and other things, and it aint gonna change future events either.  I seriously doubt that anything of this nature is what caused any specific decisions to be made.  And remember, there's always pressure from BOTH sides on this one, so I cant imagine that the devs were exactly overwhelmed by either side.  PARTICULARLY with Raptor.  I seem to recall that people were very... "lukewarm" over that one from the start, to put it mildly.

Offline Tridus

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Re: 11 days to go ... Let's Fund This!!!
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2016, 08:20:00 AM »
Rebirth was absolutely hated by the very vocal community even before release so I don't think that is in any way comparable. The sad thing is the market has spoken, and Rebirth made Egosoft the most money ever and Egosoft also was very harsh to it's loyal fanbase after release. But for me that company is dead because of how they handled their (now ex) LOYAL fanbase after the launch. Thinking about it that is one of 2 companies I even hold a deep grudge against. In that sense you can consider me like a proper Warhammer Dwarf. Totally pointless grudge, but it's gonna be in the book of grudges until the end-times ;P

The problem with listening to your "very vocal community" is that they're not the mass market, in any way. If you want to sell lots of games, you need to broaden who you listen to. When you don't, you get niche games. If you want to make niche games, that's fine. If you don't? Then the niche fans may be unhappy about something, and if they get pissy about it, too bad. The forum is not the ones with their livelihood hinging on the games success in the market.

Listening to the forum hardcore fans exclusively is how we got a fiasco like Wildstar's launch focus on hardcore raiding, which is what they thought the market wanted. It's what the *forum* wanted. The market said "lol nope" and the game crashed, hard.

Quote
Also obviously if you make all the ships in a game, this robs you a lot of the "new" feeling of it when you play it. So I wonder... if developers shouldn't outsource feedback gathering to some exterior thing. Isn't there a game testing outsourcing startup with NDA and all that? Because it seems to me that should be a thing.

Proper game QA is expensive. I know that because my best friend does it for an AAA studio.  Outsourcing it to get meaningful playtest data on how fun something is for the target market would not be a cheap proposition. It's one of the upsides of working with a larger publisher: they already have those people in house.

Getting the community to do it for you tends to work fairly well if you already have a fun vision for the game. Look at stuff like AI War's expansions. Tons of community involvement there, and they worked out quite well. But, they already had the fun base figured out. You can't crowdsource that first part.

Quote
Ps.: Kasnavada, PR is not just abyssal, you will find that nearly no game company knows what PR management even is. Developers send out copies to youtubers and streamers, except that isn't PR, that is fishing for attention. True PR is only done by the major MP developers, where the devs run competitions (which is a big element of PR) pay streamers so that they can do it full time or even motivate moderators and modders by having them visit in the offices etc. This all costs money, and this is why PR costs money.

It also requires a certain size and existing customer base. The problem is Arcen never integrated customers in any way. To this day there is no meta progression on any of the games made. There is no profile here that lists your achievement or games that you own. There is no profiles for games, that reward loyal customers with little doodads. There was until quite recently no way for Arcen to even send news to the games main menus. And this is all part of PR imo ;)

Most developers suck at PR. They're developers, not marketers. You know who does PR well? PR professionals. Small developers can't usually afford that, though, which is another upside to working with a publisher that already has PR staff. Course, there's significant downsides to working with a publisher, as well, but they can shore up some of the things that are difficult for Arcen to do, leaving more time and energy to focus on the "make the game" part.