Author Topic: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.  (Read 11909 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2015, 03:24:27 PM »
I'm not too worried about that one, although perhaps I should be.  It's going to be a great game from the looks of it (it's on my own wishlist as well), but I don't see it being a stomper of strategy games.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2015, 08:23:40 PM »
You could almost make that into a marketing blurb. "So good it took Diablo 3 to distract from it!"

But it's interesting that D3 was that much of an event, particularly given the post-release consternation, are other Blizzard games similarly disruptive? Would you count 4X as its own genre, or under a broader strategy umbrella? City builders are almost an open field (RIP Maxis), but strategy is only slightly more crowded. Aside from Starcraft 2's last expansion, I think your only notable upcoming competition is Hearts of Iron 3.
GoogledLegacy of the Void, according to wiki it's releasing in the first half of 2015, which is ominous.

Unrelated, I was wondering if religion is planned for SBR. A race on an unexplored planet with alien memories in their heads and computers, an actual transcendent entity speaking to them, and their own religious traditions lost sounds like fertile ground for revelation and conversion, especially given the other races presumably still have their religions intact.

Offline x4000

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2015, 08:25:25 PM »
Cheers. :)

Religion isn't explicitly in here per se... but in some respects your dealings with the planet are sort of like dealing with a rogue deity.  Part of dealing with it involves building shrines to appease it, and in general following some of its rules, etc.
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Offline crazyroosterman

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2015, 09:00:25 PM »
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...
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Offline Aklyon

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2015, 10:34:23 PM »
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...
Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.

Offline Sounds

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #20 on: March 11, 2015, 11:41:36 PM »

[snip]

Here's the TLDR:

...

3. There are a number of interface fluidity and clarity things that are really bothering me, and it's something I want to work out before I get into having other players touch this at all.  They'll be a distraction, not a help, at this point.  I want to be whiz-bang  good at playing this before I really get other people into it, which is a big departure from all our past games except AI War.  I feel it's important.

[snip]

Yeah this is one area that needs a lot TLC.

Good interface design is an art form and difficult to get it 'just right' without sufficient time.

My first impression of TLF was that the UI buried the detail and hindered the fun. From what you've describe here and previous messages, SBR has a lot of moving parts. The more time you can devote to making the UI intuitive is quite understandable.

However I suspect that if you didn't need to pay the bills, you might keep tweaking and tuning indefinitely. :P

Offline Histidine

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #21 on: March 12, 2015, 07:54:59 AM »
NOOOO THIS IS TLF ALL OVER AGAIN WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Well, take your time. Late may not be nice but it's a lot better than broken or never, as my ma used to say*  :D Especially when you're banking large amounts of sales revenue and a good chunk of reputation on it.

*not actually said by my ma

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #22 on: March 12, 2015, 08:29:14 AM »
Some weeks I didn't come for news about SBR; just having a daily glance on the front page (still stuck on the funny "Incident on the previous Thursday"). I'm just out from the reading of what I missed on this part of the forum. And I saw so many "Added you to the list!" in the "Specs are finally feature-complete" thread. So, is it as simple as that? I just ask and I'm "in the list" too? Can I? Really? If so, yes, I want, I wish to be in the list! You, Chris, talked about donation... and that testers get the game for free?!? I want to buy the game! I want to give you money, because it's the normal way: you all work and have bills, and you make "delicious" games for us to eat, to feed our imagination and enjoy our lives! I'll buy the game twice its price! A restaurant cost about the price of a game, and it feed so few...

What? Game/Restaurant? I guess I was carried away by my own enthusiasm. Well, you see what I mean.

Out of curiosity, is the next game Airship Eternal?
More or less, yes.  What Airship Eternal is morphing into.  I'm not quite keen to say what that is just yet, but I'm excited. :)
SBR, then Airship Eternal (or any morphing of it, never mind), and then maybe an AI War new expansion, not counting the TLF expansion I haven't unpacked yet!!! So many presents and so few birthdays to fit them all! I'll never age fast enough if you guys keep going that way!

Pushed into June? Peh! Push it next years if you think it's better. I trust you. I trust you all for making the best game.
Thank you for being awesome.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2015, 09:27:23 AM »
this game sounds like its going to be super interesting but holy smokes your working on this AND enougher title as well as the constant updates for ai war and tlf?! I hope you guys aren't pushing your self's to hard...

We're not really working on the next game after this one yet, but I have to always be planning one game ahead so that when development wraps on one we are ready to move the artists to that one.  Art is always the first thing to wrap up for one of our titles, and I wouldn't want people to just be sitting around for a period and then being bored later.

Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.

Yep, this new game is just monster huge and we haven't had time for anything other than critical fixes on the others.  A project of this scope... well, it just sucks in everyone and all the time availability.  TLF took slightly less time to make, and that was really split between two different games that we had to build separately: the solar map and then the battles.  And there was so so so much redoing of the battles, and that was individually very complicated.  And still it took less time than this game, which is just one game rather than two mashed together.  That gives some indication of the scale here, heh.

Not that I want to oversell this either and have people expecting AI War + 6 Expansions level of content from day 1 here, but -- AI and networking aside -- a 4X title is inherently a lot more complicated to create than an RTS one.

Yeah this is one area that needs a lot TLC.

Good interface design is an art form and difficult to get it 'just right' without sufficient time.

My first impression of TLF was that the UI buried the detail and hindered the fun.

Yep, for sure on how important this is.  And yes, I agree on TLF.  That went through a lot of iterations and ultimately it was as good as we could make it UI-wise -- I'm not sure if a generally-better design is around for the underlying gameplay there -- but ultimately it left me with a lot of lessons on what I wanted to do differently this next time.

From what you've describe here and previous messages, SBR has a lot of moving parts. The more time you can devote to making the UI intuitive is quite understandable.

Yep, for sure.  Some of it comes down to actually altering the game itself to make the UI more possible, though, so it's a bit more than that.  Which is part of why I don't want anyone else but me in there yet, because it would just confuse things.

As one example, there was a given stat that was city-wide and very important relating to your efficiency.  It's a key thing, and I was constantly having to look to the upper left corner of the screen to find out what it was.  This was no good at all, it was very distracting how my eyeballs were having to move the more I played.

Eventually I figured out that that simply doesn't work as a city-wide stat, because you have to check it too frequently.  And... hang on a minute... actually I can do some cool things with it if it's building-based instead, but calculated at the start of each turn based on the central city stuff, I realized.  So instead that is moving to buildings, where for the most part the answer is "I'm fine so I'm invisible," which was already the case, and then it's "something is going on so I'm showing a progress bar on this specific building right now" for the ones in question. 

That keeps my eyeballs on my buildings themselves, without adding clutter to the majority of the town, and actually improving a gameplay mechanic without being a complete overhaul of the concept (well -- in my opinion.  Opinions on how much of an overhaul that is may differ, which again is part of why no other players yet.)

So it's things like that.  I play and every time I get annoyed, I try to figure out why.  Every time I feel tripped up or slow moving between turns, I look at why.  Every time I'm groaning at trying to figure out some stats that are buried, I look to see if they need to be simplified, altered, or exposed in the interface better.  And so on.

In a lot of respects it's not really the interface itself that is my focus, but rather how I move and flow through the game myself.  It's a process that definitely takes time, but it's so rewarding and it's crazy to see how different the game is after just a week and a half of that.  I'm playing for longer and longer stretches without getting frustrated, the game puts up the right amount of resistance to me doing things rather than too much or too little more of the time, etc, etc.  Another couple of weeks of this and it's going to be quite slick, I think. :)

However I suspect that if you didn't need to pay the bills, you might keep tweaking and tuning indefinitely. :P

I'm actually pretty good at knowing when to stop, which I can say with some certainty given this was my lifelong hobby before I ever had to pay the bills, heh.  Some people are consumed with endless polish, but I try and get to a reasonable place and then recognize the diminishing returns.  Sometimes I (ahem) don't quite make it to that place, and other times I push way past that place and just burn money, but overall I'm pretty decent at it.  When I push way too far and burn money, it's usually because of an underlying problem in the game itself, which I don't have the faintest sense of here.  Thankfully!

NOOOO THIS IS TLF ALL OVER AGAIN WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE

Well, take your time. Late may not be nice but it's a lot better than broken or never, as my ma used to say*  :D Especially when you're banking large amounts of sales revenue and a good chunk of reputation on it.

*not actually said by my ma

Haha.  Indeed.  Your ma is smart. ;)

Some weeks I didn't come for news about SBR; just having a daily glance on the front page (still stuck on the funny "Incident on the previous Thursday").

Yeah, I really need to do another post soon -- and I have some content queued up to show -- but I really don't want to push things further on the main side until I can show gameplay video.  I feel like I'm passing the point where I can talk too publicly about this for very long without showing some actual in-game footage.  I don't know why I have that feeling, but it's why I've been posting on the forums instead of the blog.  That will change!

I'm just out from the reading of what I missed on this part of the forum. And I saw so many "Added you to the list!" in the "Specs are finally feature-complete" thread. So, is it as simple as that? I just ask and I'm "in the list" too? Can I? Really? If so, yes, I want, I wish to be in the list!

You are in the list! :D

You, Chris, talked about donation... and that testers get the game for free?!? I want to buy the game! I want to give you money, because it's the normal way: you all work and have bills, and you make "delicious" games for us to eat, to feed our imagination and enjoy our lives! I'll buy the game twice its price! A restaurant cost about the price of a game, and it feed so few...

What? Game/Restaurant? I guess I was carried away by my own enthusiasm. Well, you see what I mean.

You are extremely kind. :)  Yes, as part of the beta process, we send you a steam key, and you register that and get updates through Steam.  You can't buy a game on Steam that you already have in your library (well, except to gift), and at any rate we're grateful for the feedback and feel like a free copy is the least we can do.

But, recognizing that some folks do want to contribute more, and admitting to the fact that we can use that given the nature of the market at the moment and the length of development, etc, etc, I did mention the donations thing.  It also has the lowest cut out of all the ways of giving us money -- 0%, IIRC.  2% at most.  On our site the cut for buying it outright is 8%, whereas usually in the industry it's 30%.

Anyway, PLEASE do not send us any money related to this game until you actually have it in hand, because I don't want anyone having buyer's remorse after getting something sight-unseen when it's in an early state, etc.  If you are in the beta and feel like you want to throw in a tip, we do have a page for that on the main site navigation area, and we'll link to that.

But seeing as you guys are doing us a service by testing and giving feedback, a free copy of the game is the least we can do, so don't feel obligated.  We'll be fine even without any tips/donations, don't worry.

SBR, then Airship Eternal (or any morphing of it, never mind), and then maybe an AI War new expansion, not counting the TLF expansion I haven't unpacked yet!!! So many presents and so few birthdays to fit them all! I'll never age fast enough if you guys keep going that way!

Pushed into June? Peh! Push it next years if you think it's better. I trust you. I trust you all for making the best game.
Thank you for being awesome.

Thank you so much!  It really means a huge amount. :)
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2015, 04:48:53 AM »
Not so constant updates, surprisingly for Arcen :)
I think theres been maybe one each recently, to fix notable issues.

Yep, this new game is just monster huge and we haven't had time for anything other than critical fixes on the others.  A project of this scope... well, it just sucks in everyone and all the time availability.  TLF took slightly less time to make, and that was really split between two different games that we had to build separately: the solar map and then the battles.  And there was so so so much redoing of the battles, and that was individually very complicated.  And still it took less time than this game, which is just one game rather than two mashed together.  That gives some indication of the scale here, heh.

Not that I want to oversell this either and have people expecting AI War + 6 Expansions level of content from day 1 here, but -- AI and networking aside -- a 4X title is inherently a lot more complicated to create than an RTS one.

Heh, I answered a question like this over on the TLF sub a few weeks ago.  Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.
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Offline GarathJJ

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2015, 03:55:42 PM »
This game sounds... utterly fascinating. I will, if you're still looking for more testers, gladly serve as one. Otherwise I, too, think it's far more important that you make the game done, than that you feed our impatience to be allowed to play it.

JJ

Offline x4000

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2015, 05:24:27 PM »
Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.

Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.

This game sounds... utterly fascinating. I will, if you're still looking for more testers, gladly serve as one. Otherwise I, too, think it's far more important that you make the game done, than that you feed our impatience to be allowed to play it.

Thanks for the kind words!  I've added you to the list. :)
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2015, 06:41:53 PM »
Honestly, I don't see this as strange for Arcen.  Around this time in the dev cycle, updates into other titles slow down as the focus becomes the current work in progress.  I'm pretty sure every title I've been here for has had this same thing happen.  I wouldn't expect anything to pick up outside of SBR until a few weeks after release (because there are always some issues to be resolved after a launch*).  I pretty much expect Chris and Keith to be super busy with SBR until then  It's all part of the cycle and will undoubtedly happen to some magnitude with AE once we get there.

* Not that I want to see issues rise up after launch, it's just that everything won't get caught in testing (as much as we hope it will).  Way to many variables to account for with PCs.

Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.
Isn't there almost always an exception?  It seems to be that way.  I think I remember why he doesn't do it as often anymore too.

Ya know, this kind of thing might make a good blog entry (the cycle itself and how it impacts other supported titles). 
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2015, 07:02:00 PM »
D. I do plan on asking the testers to feel free to make donations to us for the game via Paypal if they want to help support us.  They aren't buying the game by doing that -- [snip] -- but it might give us a little bump in revenue there.  Those who can and wish to contribute can do so, those who can't or don't want to or who feel they are already doing enough with their time can not.  If we want to think of some Kickstarter-like rewards for people who donate a certain amount, then I suppose that might be interesting so long as it doesn't take a huge amount of work to do those rewards.  But I don't want to go too far down that path, anyway.

Considering they (hopefully we) are getting the game free, that seems pretty reasonable. I know I could throw a few bucks in.

Offline x4000

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Re: Stars Beyond Reach pushing into a June release.
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2015, 07:33:04 PM »
Yep, you are absolutely right there.  There have been a few exceptions with some past projects (mainly where Keith chose to use some of his personal time to update AI War as a break from the main project), but those have been rarer lately, heh.
Isn't there almost always an exception?  It seems to be that way.  I think I remember why he doesn't do it as often anymore too.

Ya know, this kind of thing might make a good blog entry (the cycle itself and how it impacts other supported titles).
[/quote]

Yeah, it is something I should definitely post on at some point.  Not sure if I have already or not, actually.  But anyhow, there are always exceptions, as you say. :)

D. I do plan on asking the testers to feel free to make donations to us for the game via Paypal if they want to help support us.  They aren't buying the game by doing that -- [snip] -- but it might give us a little bump in revenue there.  Those who can and wish to contribute can do so, those who can't or don't want to or who feel they are already doing enough with their time can not.  If we want to think of some Kickstarter-like rewards for people who donate a certain amount, then I suppose that might be interesting so long as it doesn't take a huge amount of work to do those rewards.  But I don't want to go too far down that path, anyway.

Considering they (hopefully we) are getting the game free, that seems pretty reasonable. I know I could throw a few bucks in.

Yep, free copies -- really we owe you guys at that point, goodness it's helpful with the community on the case. :)
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