Author Topic: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.  (Read 1597 times)

Offline x4000

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August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« on: August 11, 2016, 12:25:32 PM »
Original: http://arcengames.com/august-22nd-release-and-arcen-ama/

First of all, I want to do a shout-out to the reddit AMA that we did yesterday.  We're still answering questions in there some, even though the AMA is technically over.

I am going to be traveling this afternoon and over the weekend, so will be responding less (if at all) during that time.  However, I will try to get to any and all questions by sometime next week if more come in (at the time of this writing all of the questions have been answered, which I'm very pleased about).

Lab Two Tunnels

Another Delay

Okay, yep, another delay.   This time less than a week, though, and there's solid reasoning to believe this will be the last one.  So what's up this time, right?  Here's the scoop, copy-pastad from the email I sent to staff (we're all virtual, so no office):

Progress has been good, but not quite what it needs to be (mostly on my end).  Ultimately it comes down to me being too much a bottleneck for everyone else.

  • I had to take out a bunch of time to set up stuff for Cinth (setting up props), which has saved time but cost me some upfront.

  • I had to take out time for the same thing for Keith (helping out with programming procgen).

  • Blue (artist and level design) needed various things and I had to take time out to get those ready for her.

  • I spent pretty much all yesterday either writing dialogue or recording it with Ben McAuley (voiceover actor), partly so Craig (major help on audio editing and work) would have time to split it.


And all of this has delayed a lot of the work that I need to do in order to stop blocking Misery (major help on enemy design, and also coming up to do tactical room design) from doing his work, which is some of the most critical remaining stuff. But all the other stuff was (and is) also critical. It's nobody's fault at all (certainly not anyone but me if it was), but there's just a lot of stuff and I have been too embedded in all the parts of it to let proper progress be made in all the areas that need it.

Factory Floor

The Positive Bits!

THAT said, the slowdowns have had some positive unexpected benefits.

  • Blue has been greatly expanding the variety of environments that we have, which should be a really good thing for us both in terms of screenshots, videos, and early replayability.  A lot of the cool environments you can see in screenshots in this post.

  • Cinth has been actively feeding in more components for her to use, which has been a huge help and feeds that ability to really have a variety of atmospheres in such a positive way.

  • Craig has had extra time to work on things like ambient sound effects, which add so much to the immersiveness. I've seen Jim commentate on such things in The Jimquisition, so that stuff does matter.

  • Keith has not only taken a bunch of load off me on the programming with the mapgen stuff, but he's reworkng a lot of areas there so they are legitimately better under the hood and will help us give better and more correct results in terms of the levels created. But of course that takes time, too, so it works out kinda well I guess.

  • Misery has been coming up with a crazy amount of enemy ideas (and Craig added some too), and the number of ideas there has really let me put things together into some enemies that have graphics assignments figured out as well as voicework designed, etc, so that we can have a variety of grouped variants with each visual and audio consistent enemy. That's been absolutely killer of a help. Ben even remarked at one point "How do you guys come up with this stuff!?" and "You sure aren't making this easy on the player, are you?" at another. ;) Those two things ought to be the motto for Arcen in general, I feel like, haha.


Lab Two Reactor

Summing It Up

So there's been a pretty darn big silver lining with all this, in that nobody has just been sitting around waiting for me, which has been my goal. It's why I've done things in the order I have, even though in some respects that has been to the detriment of overall timing I have to say.

If I'd chosen a different path through some of this, we might have been able to hit the deadline, but we'd have had a bunch of idle periods where I was completely blocking someone for a week or more, etc. This sets us up for more success at launch and immediately following launch.

Lab Two Intermediate Office

So overall, even though I'm not happy about the delay, I am pleased with what we gain in exchange for this particular delay.

On a more personal front, I've been struggling with a variety of things on my end that have also started to intrude into work over this past weekend and into this week. We've been sick, my six year old son has had some issues that we're trying to help out with, some things with extended family have come up, and so on. So, yeah. From those things, I don't think I'd be in mental shape for a release next week even if we could barely squeeze it in. I hate yet another delay, but such is life. At least have potato.

Dark Cafeteria

What About ProcGen And Updated Pre-EA Demos?

That's the other thing that we want to be able to show off a LOT prior to launch on the 22nd.  We should start rolling those out on the 17th (when we originally would have launched), and then will be packing in more enemies, rooms, and tactical setups throughout the week and weekend after that.

Talk to you soon!

Chris

Industiral Tunnel

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Online TheVampire100

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 12:55:48 PM »
Nooooooooooooooo- oh, hey, the screenshots look actually really nice.

Offline x4000

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2016, 01:15:24 PM »
Good things come to those who - *blam*
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Online Logorouge

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2016, 06:53:14 PM »
Everytime you post screenshots of this game, I'm always thinking "Damn this game looks good."
Beautiful environments I can't wait to wreck and set on fire. :)

Offline Draco18s

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2016, 07:06:45 PM »
Ooh, pretty...
(Huh? A delay?)

Offline tombik

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2016, 09:33:36 AM »
I decided to memorize this new release date as October 1st.

And when it gets released earlier than that, I would be positively surprised, instead of updating my internal calendar a dozen times during a month. And that way, I would continue to see Arcen as a company that knows its capabilites well, not a one that is overhyped about their own product.

I already commented on this once, so I wanted to make my point clearer, I am not angry or something :) But seriously, why do you pick a date which can be reached if everything goes super well, and let everyone know about that date without adding any error margin (like 2 weeks or smt). You dont have to really behave according to that date you know, you can always use extra time for marketing, or if not early releases seem always positive thing to me.

New screenshots looks progressively better, and I already said neat for the ones in two posts earlier. So I am liking what I will get after you are done, it is just that I have problems that how do you manage deadlines in front of the public. While I usually appreciate the transparency, it this case, I think the opposite. We dont have to know your actual deadlines that is being shaped up by financial & technical capabilites, and we really dont need to learn any suboptimal events that shifts release 3 days. You should have internal and external release dates, and about changing the external one, you should be more conservative I think.

This really seems unprofessional to me, so I wanted to make my point clear. I know how much you love this stuff, but not every consumer cares about it. What is visible to the public eye is this:

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/07/05/in-case-of-emergency-release-raptor-arcen-games/

In July 5, even within the post it is mentioned, there was a delay. Now think about an average consumer that was interested in the game after reading that, and checking out the news here. Before even reading what you added with each delay, in the first look he will see a dozen of delays. He will not spend additional 30 minutes to read your posts to see that the delay was not caused because of you dont care, it is the exact opposite. What I am saying is only that you should not gamble around with this.

Of course I am not trying to teach you your job, this is only a view from a fan, but still can see how may the others think.

Offline Misery

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 11:24:21 AM »
I decided to memorize this new release date as October 1st.

And when it gets released earlier than that, I would be positively surprised, instead of updating my internal calendar a dozen times during a month. And that way, I would continue to see Arcen as a company that knows its capabilites well, not a one that is overhyped about their own product.

I already commented on this once, so I wanted to make my point clearer, I am not angry or something :) But seriously, why do you pick a date which can be reached if everything goes super well, and let everyone know about that date without adding any error margin (like 2 weeks or smt). You dont have to really behave according to that date you know, you can always use extra time for marketing, or if not early releases seem always positive thing to me.

New screenshots looks progressively better, and I already said neat for the ones in two posts earlier. So I am liking what I will get after you are done, it is just that I have problems that how do you manage deadlines in front of the public. While I usually appreciate the transparency, it this case, I think the opposite. We dont have to know your actual deadlines that is being shaped up by financial & technical capabilites, and we really dont need to learn any suboptimal events that shifts release 3 days. You should have internal and external release dates, and about changing the external one, you should be more conservative I think.

This really seems unprofessional to me, so I wanted to make my point clear. I know how much you love this stuff, but not every consumer cares about it. What is visible to the public eye is this:

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/07/05/in-case-of-emergency-release-raptor-arcen-games/

In July 5, even within the post it is mentioned, there was a delay. Now think about an average consumer that was interested in the game after reading that, and checking out the news here. Before even reading what you added with each delay, in the first look he will see a dozen of delays. He will not spend additional 30 minutes to read your posts to see that the delay was not caused because of you dont care, it is the exact opposite. What I am saying is only that you should not gamble around with this.

Of course I am not trying to teach you your job, this is only a view from a fan, but still can see how may the others think.

To be honest, this sort of thing happens all the time... not just from Arcen.   The nice thing here is that when a delay happens, it doesn't last a freaking YEAR (thankfully!).  And that it is indeed fully explained for those that desire to read the explanation (many games just go "Oops, delay!  Stuff is happening!" and then that's it).   

There's a variety of reasons as to why this one is happening, and why this has occurred more than once; most of this I know from internal emails, and thus wont repeat because I'm not so sure that I should (and heck if I can remember what was said in these official posts and what wasn't and I'm WAY too lazy to check), but generally, the reasons are all valid.   Same with the reason as to why these games often start with dates that seem way too close in a general sense. 

Overall though, I'd rather see the game delayed... many times if necessary... than pushed out in a bad state.  That'd suck.  While everything is looking good, there's just no way it's ready for EA right now. 

At least, even if there's more delays after this... it's not that long of a wait.  None of that "oops, you'll all have to wait til Q1 of next year" stuff here. 


As for the transparency, I see it the other way around to be honest.   I haaaaaaate when I see a delay from some developer, and they don't bother to explain themselves.   It's like, what the heck is wrong?  Is something not ready.... or did they genuinely screw something up?  One of them has fine implications on the game; if it's delayed because it's just not ready to meet their vision for it, that's a good reason to delay. It's good that they realized that a specific part of the game NEEDS more time to meet it's potential.   If it's delayed because they screwed something up so horribly that a delay is created.... that's a bad implication.   That doesn't say anything good about it, and says that I should think twice about a purchase.  When a developer isn't clear about what's going on, I typically assume the latter.

But it's not just that;  when it comes to EA games, and indie developers, LOTS of them do this.   Not all, of course... some are very tight lipped.   But most of the ones I'm familiar with at least, do this very thing.   Lots of details, lots of "hey, this is what happened here... and this over here is WHY it happened.   This is our next step.  That's everything that's going on, feel free to let us know what you think of this."   People like it when those creating a product are as open about it as possible.  It makes them seem trustworthy due to the honesty. 

Offline tombik

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2016, 11:41:23 AM »
As for the transparency, I see it the other way around to be honest.   I haaaaaaate when I see a delay from some developer, and they don't bother to explain themselves.   It's like, what the heck is wrong?  Is something not ready.... or did they genuinely screw something up?  One of them has fine implications on the game; if it's delayed because it's just not ready to meet their vision for it, that's a good reason to delay. It's good that they realized that a specific part of the game NEEDS more time to meet it's potential.   If it's delayed because they screwed something up so horribly that a delay is created.... that's a bad implication.   That doesn't say anything good about it, and says that I should think twice about a purchase.  When a developer isn't clear about what's going on, I typically assume the latter.

My problem with transparency is not hearing about what went wrong, I also appreciate that. My problem is only with knowing the internal deadline for the Chris, you, Blue and Keith, which in an ideal company should be seperate from what the public knows.

Needing to delay the game a dozen of times is not that neutral itself you know. I know it is for right reasons, but that is not how a general consumer's mind works I assume. One can easily lose the hype that was build up for July, or can just get distracted you know.

"Overall though, I'd rather see the game delayed... many times if necessary... than pushed out in a bad state.  That'd suck.  While everything is looking good, there's just no way it's ready for EA right now.

I also agree with this, and my point was not countering this anyhow. My point can be summed up by the following sentence, even though it would be a bit exaggerated this way:

"When you are about to delay a game for 3 additional days, DONT. Delay it for 2 weeks instead, that would save you additional delays and apologies."
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 11:47:03 AM by tombik »

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2016, 11:41:49 AM »
so I put up a post here a few days ago and now its vanished completely??? are people plotting against me? or am I going mad? either way is rather unsettling I have to say.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2016, 12:56:19 PM »
so I put up a post here a few days ago and now its vanished completely??? are people plotting against me? or am I going mad? either way is rather unsettling I have to say.

Based on another thread, there was some kind of maintainence that caused a few posts (a period of about a minute) that were lost.

Offline Jabberwok

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2016, 01:25:56 PM »
Just wondering why the raptor seems to be unlit in every screenshot lately...

Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2016, 02:56:59 PM »
so I put up a post here a few days ago and now its vanished completely??? are people plotting against me? or am I going mad? either way is rather unsettling I have to say.

Based on another thread, there was some kind of maintainence that caused a few posts (a period of about a minute) that were lost.
fair enough I guess I really should pay more attention to the technical side forums.

what I said though amounted this. .godam that looks pretty bet some people who aren't following this forum will be surprised when they see how good this game looks when they get their hands on it.
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Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2016, 04:30:46 PM »
It appears that more than a couple of unrelated posts were removed, likely due to the small shift in servers we did that shouldn't have touched much, but apparently did. My sincerest apologies.
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Offline Misery

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2016, 11:29:35 PM »
As for the transparency, I see it the other way around to be honest.   I haaaaaaate when I see a delay from some developer, and they don't bother to explain themselves.   It's like, what the heck is wrong?  Is something not ready.... or did they genuinely screw something up?  One of them has fine implications on the game; if it's delayed because it's just not ready to meet their vision for it, that's a good reason to delay. It's good that they realized that a specific part of the game NEEDS more time to meet it's potential.   If it's delayed because they screwed something up so horribly that a delay is created.... that's a bad implication.   That doesn't say anything good about it, and says that I should think twice about a purchase.  When a developer isn't clear about what's going on, I typically assume the latter.

My problem with transparency is not hearing about what went wrong, I also appreciate that. My problem is only with knowing the internal deadline for the Chris, you, Blue and Keith, which in an ideal company should be seperate from what the public knows.

Needing to delay the game a dozen of times is not that neutral itself you know. I know it is for right reasons, but that is not how a general consumer's mind works I assume. One can easily lose the hype that was build up for July, or can just get distracted you know.

"Overall though, I'd rather see the game delayed... many times if necessary... than pushed out in a bad state.  That'd suck.  While everything is looking good, there's just no way it's ready for EA right now.

I also agree with this, and my point was not countering this anyhow. My point can be summed up by the following sentence, even though it would be a bit exaggerated this way:

"When you are about to delay a game for 3 additional days, DONT. Delay it for 2 weeks instead, that would save you additional delays and apologies."

Oh, I can understand the logic for making longer delays, giving more time, as you say.

Though... there are reasons why this tends not to happen with Arcen.  I'm never ENTIRELY clear on this reason (despite having heard it multiple times, seriously my memory is bloody awful) and I'm not going to explain it in any case (since I'm not officially part of Arcen, it's not my place to go too far into that type of detail).  But there are reasons.  Though at the same time I do think it's partly just the style of doing things here, as you might expect.  I've seen other devs that do this VERY differently.   The most extreme example being Scott Cawthon, the developer behind Five Nights at Freddy's, who gives himself LOTS of time until release, like, WAY too freaking much (no idea why)... but then finishes the game in question looooooong before then and just releases it.   Which I have to say is kinda entertaining.

As far as this game goes, right now, I'm just doing my bits pretty much when the ideas occur to me (and when they do I tend to get like 20 of them at once).  I've not had to deal with any super strict deadlines for this stuff.  So that's good.  But it's certainly different for Chris, with a millionty things to do.  I sure don't envy that part of his job, no sir.  But all in all, it seems to be going pretty darn well.

The one thing I'm really waiting for though, is to see the game's procedural level-generation in action.  I'm thinking it's going to get pretty interesting.  Really cant wait to see how that goes.

I'll stop here before I get to rambling too much.  I haven't had my caffeine yet.

Offline Cyborg

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Re: August 22nd release and Arcen AMA.
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2016, 07:43:19 PM »
I don't think Chris needs you to defend him every time there's some kind of criticism. I think what needs to be said is that every time you delay, you signal that there's something with the project. And being an independent studio, people are going to wonder what corners will need to be cut and what kind of magic needed to be done to get the release out the door. It doesn't project confidence or competence, even if we all know that the delay will ultimately help the project.

It invites suspicion from potential buyers. It's not something that you want to project. I think this is healthy criticism for next time.
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