1. We've removed some functionality from SMD in preparation for a migration to new forum software. We expect to make the move before the end of August.

    I found a very interesting conversation today

    Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OmegaGame, Apr 30, 2017.

    1. OmegaGame

      Joined:
      Jan 29, 2015
      Messages:
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      While going through various youtube videos today, i found a conversation between Andy P ( Customer Experience Manager) and a fellow starmadian.. The conversation can be found here in the comment section>


      But here is a copy of the conversation for your own reading..

      No Man 1 week ago
      The main problem of this game is only one thing. There is no practical development in this game. The game is in alpha, yes. But the game is in alpha for 5 years. For example the last "bigger" update came out at the beginning of the year. This was 4 months ago. Since than, absolutely nothing happened. If you read forum posts from developers of this game, you read that they are constantly planing things and discussing things and are proposing things. But most of these things have already been planned and discussed year ago. See Bench's posts a few years ago. There is a big list of planned features for this game. It has been written a few years ago. The list is so long, that you have to scroll some time before you find the end of the list. Yet nearly none of these features have been developed. Keep in mind that it was written 2 years ago. Everything else are results of this devleopment method. So what has to happen? This game needs more active programmers. At the moment the main programmer seems to be the only one actively and constantly working on it. Someone else is currently working on planets. At least sometimes. Thats pretty much about it. The developers said that they are currently working on a universe update which may be the next big thing. At the same time they are saying that they want to start planning this feature. At this rate we see this update at the end of the year. Then we will have a more pretty universe. Thats it. Whats next? The crew update? Will it take anoter 1-2 years for NPCs to walk around the ships and stations? What about missions, planetary structures, etc? At this rate the game MAY exit alpha in another five years.


      No Man1 week ago
      Also they lately said, that they were working on bug fixes for the last 30 days. What have they done between the last bigger updates and the last 30 days? Nothing? Even more planning and discussing?

      [​IMG]

      Andy Pü1 week ago
      You know there are news to read? -> StarMade News - Latest Performance improvement on missiles, performance improvement on other projectiles, consolidated blocks (removed the need to produce EVERY SINGLE SHAPE of a block separately, Pipe T-Junction, light-bar corner, many minor fixed in weapons

      [​IMG]

      Andy Pü1 week ago
      About forum posts and development: To my knowledge, the power proposal was the first public proposal of this type, and this was to begin detail planning, everything on benchs list is a "wishlist" we all agreed upon, we do (and can!) not plan every detail of them, as they rely on the actual implementation, some systems that would be in line for development may not be possible at the moment, because we see another system it relies on, that needs to be adjusted first, we prefer updating the other system, than having to replace it or alter it again at a later point, that slows us down, so we do things right, than push play experience with half-done things that kinda work but have to be broken again. We did that in the past and it does cause a lot of overhead in adjustments and worktime to bandaid systems all the time. We have rough ideas how things should play together. And yes, its quite a while in development, and another 2-3 years to leave alpha, + another 2-3 years until being finished is a quite reasonable estimate.


      No Man1 week ago
      Hey Andy, thank you for stopping by. Yes I do read your news posts. But 3 - 4 months for performance improvements and bugfixes as well as new block shapes and lod Objects are not really much. My point still stands. If this is all that has been done in that time frame, you really do need more programmers. Schema said in an interview about two years ago, that the game was not more than an engine demo. It still is. At the same time Benchs list was a little more than just a wishlist. I remember him saying, that he had to write a very long documentation about how the game should look and play like at the end of its development. Out of this documentation, he created that list. As I already said. he wrote it 2 years ago and only a little bit has been done today. Of course fine planning and documentation takes time. But normally not multiple weeks or even months. By the way, changing release cycles usually should not take months either. Also 4-6 years more of development? For a game that has been in alpha for 5-7 years already? That is a little bit to much and out of proportion. However I appreciate that the development team is actually answering these concerns of the starmade community.

      [​IMG]

      Andy Pü1 week ago
      We know additional programmers would be useful, but that would also put us under delivery pressure. As a developer that needs to be paid, also needs us to make money in a different scale and approach from what we do now. From that point on, we cannot replace features if they do not fit our plans, it would be too much of a financial loss, and we have to push the possibly broken system through to final release, no turning back. In the current state we may be slower, but also keep our freedom. With a little bit of smiling, I can refer to star citizen for this. They build up a complete (and partially insane) development plan, got all their attention burnt through before really delivering anything, and are now left with a huge pile of funds, and a set, but quite impossible fund goal. I do not want to be in their position and have to pre-plan many many thousands of development hours. If you see at like 30% of the funds used, you are only 20% in your development goals, you have to make cuts on features to compensate and lower your goals. Or drain more money from your customers by selling more things you did not build yet... To this day, and I am sure for quite a while in the future, we do not demand money to play, try or use the game, as we are on our own aware and sure we are not in a position to sell the current state by any means. Any purchase is a plain showing of support, not a requirement. Depending on the actual goals, a 10 year development phase is not uncommon for indie games. At least when going for this scale, 2d based games are usually much quicker from way less complexity in UI, physics and data structures. Even if you have a limited height world or movement limited to be in "in gravity only" the complexity drops a lot. This is for sure not a general excuse, but with such high set goals, its for sure not being done in a short time, especially as we have to go new paths and merge things other games did on purpose avoid. And performance is a major thing to work on. All those "impressive" space games with large ships have mostly static ships, the amount on it you can customize is very limited and fully nailed down to a range by the developers. This circumvents a lot of calculation, as you can pre-calculate models and bring them in easy to compute formats. Other games with good universe economy always have a very limited size of the universe (X³ for example), I think I played no example yet with an "unlimited scale" in mind or at least as goal. Games with heavy entity modification, up to building from scratch, have usually problems with performance on large moving objects (minecraft), or give you a very limited physics range to work with (planet explorers). All of the above mentioned are great games, and I like them and played them for possibly way too long, but at some point, they miss a key feature you would like to have in them, and wont ever get it, because they have no option to go in that direction. Either by selecting a pre-made engine or by missing parts in the framework to add it in, so they would need to start from scratch to get to this direction. We have our own engine, and so far not faced a practical limitation that forces us to ditch a goal we have. So yeah, we will be slower, because we have to work with problems other may not have, or avoided in the first place, but we wont stop.



      No Man1 week ago
      I understand that you have developed your own engine and want to keep your freedom with it. Of course you are right, you have to face problems others do not face. Solving these problems is what makes Starmade stand out of the crowd. I just do not understand why you do not want to hire more developers. According to these statistics: StarMade - You have made quite a substantial amount of money since Starmade released on Steam. Keep in mind that there are no mentions about the money you made back when the yogs people came in. So money is probably not one of you problems. Having active developers working on the game puts you under delivery pressure. Of course. But you also already are. However I now do understand a lot better what your current situation is. So thank you for your time.

      [​IMG]

      Andy Pü1 week ago
      Well, those numbers look quite good. However, from our steam link process, most people that purchased starmade before our release on steam, added it to their steam account. (I have no actual stats on this) But you cannot really count them as purchase then, because they paid way less. We also had sales and humblebundle, so it may look like you can just multiply "total owners" by "current selling price", this would be great. If it would be that way we would for sure have more developers hired. :P



      No Man1 week ago
      So your core problem actually is money? If that is true, your current approach is completely correct and I have to apologize for my behavior. However, you may want to communicate this with your community, as this may solve a lot of misunderstandings. Thanks again for your time. :)

      [​IMG]

      Andy Pü1 week ago (edited)
      I did not say that, just that we do not have excess funds to hire multiple programmers at 60000€/year without it being a risk or putting pressure on us to make money to pay them. =) But I doubt any company could do that anyway. I just wanted to mention that, as we had a few people stating we earned millions since release, by just calculating them all as 'current price purchases'.


      No Man1 week ago
      Which would probably lead to the same core problem, or do I understand something wrong?
       
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    2. JinM

      Joined:
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      To quote another line from the comment section:
      25:53 go ahead and build your ship, you can reserve a place for the reactor in the size you initially mentioned for your ship. They wont be 50% of your ship mass or alike. We cannot give exact numbers yet, but dont expect more than 2%

      I mean even if I work with 10% of my ships space I would say that there will be no "total refits" needed to make old systems work.
       
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    3. DukeofRealms

      DukeofRealms Count Duku

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      I've brushed through this. Basically, we have as many staff/developers as we can afford. It's not really as simple as shoving more developers at the problem, that requires a lot of time and money investment, which we don't have. What we've been working on for the past few months has been lots and lots of bugfixing, optimisations, performance updates, planets and yes, the occasional texture update. So, we haven't been doing nothing; it's simply work that's not as visible or as "cool" as other things. I'm sure most people will appreciate the fact that we're taking the time to cleanup, I know the servers we work closely with do.

      We have Auburn and schema and in some capacity Lancake working on the game, at most, we could handle one more, which we may do (or maybe we are already doing that ;) ).

      Fortunately, most of the things we want in StarMade are either already in, or have the foundations to build upon. The universe update is an interesting one, mainly because it's pretty vital for trade, NPC factions, exploration, resource consumption and a whole host of other things. Planetary structures, well that's the planet update, so we're already working on that. Crew and missions, sure. Most of these things interact with the universe update anyway, and it's definitely work towards missions (which the universe update will have to be designed with those in mind).

      In the past, we haven't known (specifically) what we still need to achieve beta; we're getting a fairly clear vision of what that is now. The universe update is one of those updates that needs to happen sooner than later. The sooner we have it planned out, the sooner we can begin planning for things like the missions/quest system and NPC faction expansion. The sooner we have the foundations for it in the game, the sooner we can begin development on features that rely on it. The universe update will finally bring us over the hill, in terms of a development standpoint, the game would be considered framework complete. Perhaps more exciting from a development perspective and scheduling wise.

      The rest of development work after universe is either building on top of what we've made here (crew, missions...), adding additional independent systems (audio, mod api...) or reworking/tying together existing systems (power, trade...). We're currently in the process of ramping up development and planning for the sprint towards beta.

      I'm not the best person to talk to about what the universe update offers and really changes, I can talk about how it affects scheduling, planning and our journey towards beta release If it takes us 5 additional years to complete the game, that's what we'll do, that's not in our plans, but if that's what has to be done, so be it.

      It's easy to simplify complex problems and judge development speed and work from a consumer perspective. The way we work is to get as much progress done with a limited amount of time and money, very often, this means that the work we do isn't as visible to a player. We could certainly switch to working on "cool" stuff right now, like crew and missions, simply to sate the player base and increase sales. That's short term, ill-informed, money grabbing behaviour. We're here to make a good game, not to ramp hype, take cash and run away with broken promises. If we wanted to do that, we certainly wouldn't have spent this long working on the game.
       
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    4. OmegaGame

      Joined:
      Jan 29, 2015
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      To clarify, I posted this conversation more as an opportunity for explanation of why it has been in development so long and why it still has some ways to go. But i have always had this feeling in the back of my head that no one ever really knew how long the development would last. I suspect they never expected to have to go back and change core aspects so often.. I also suspect this has been a learning experience for the team.
       
      #4 OmegaGame, Apr 30, 2017
      Last edited: May 3, 2017
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    5. Shaker

      Joined:
      Jan 19, 2015
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      Didnt the devs say at the start of the year, they are aiming for beta stage at the end of this year?

      Edit:
      Reading through the comments its good to see others notice the same thing, if schine added some gameplay, something to do besides building or a reason to build, there wouldnt be this much complaining on the forum
       
      #5 Shaker, Apr 30, 2017
      Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
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    6. EricBlank

      Joined:
      Jul 1, 2013
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      The thing is the gameplay features they want to implement depend on coding and worldbuilding changes theyre trying to implement right now, which arent seen as gameplay features, but will be necessary in the future. Its not that theyre refusing to do it, but that they want it to work with the final product the first time they implement it, and not have to waste time later replacing things. So they are trying to get the basics set up now.
       
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    7. Shaker

      Joined:
      Jan 19, 2015
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      would have been handy to know the game wasnt going to have gameplay features for years to come when i joined, but i cant really complain as ive spent 1100 hours according to steam and it doesnt hurt to wait it out for another 2-3 years.
      Probally playing battlefield 7 by then
       
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    8. splatthecat

      Joined:
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      It would appear that the gameplay elements that people desire so much are intrinsically linked to this "universe" update that is currently WIP.

      I am a RP/PvE player so a more immersive environment and interaction with other NPC factions would be cool. A simplistic view of what a PvP player would want is basically what we have now but with performance improvements and a number of specific bug fixes. Surely they would have no interest in a random quest or mission or whether there can be any proper diplomatic relations with the NPC factions and maybe more intricate trade that include water, food, narcotics, slaves and alien items.

      Until this update and the additional features that are planned that require this are implemented, StarMade will remain an alpha. At least, that is how I read it.
       
    9. Cragun

      Joined:
      Feb 15, 2015
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      I really understand what this guy is saying I just recently got back into start made and I immediately dove into build a big ship. Then some one mentions that they are changing power and it came to the point where I'm building an interior around the current power system. Now that power is changing I can't reasonably continue building, aside from detailing.

      [​IMG]

      Granted I'm not the best ship builder but this ship was my first honest attempt at making a pvp/raid ship. My usual build process is Weapons, power, shields and finally system. Now I've stopped playing again while I wait for the power update.
       
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    10. Criss

      Criss Social Media Director

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      You are correct.

      We won't be seeing that update for a while, but planning for it has already begun. In short, everything interesting that a player can do outside of building is done in the universe. We need to plan out a lot of things. We need progression, proper resource distribution, points of interest, scaling combat, proper faction management, proper colonization and faction claiming and eventually missions and scenarios.

      But none of that stuff really works with our current universe. We would rather design the world with these things in mind rather than shove them all into what we have and hope it works. So, by the end of the year, expect to see some big changes to what you are doing and encountering in the universe.
       
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    11. Shaker

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      We have entered the 5th month of the year with no big updates yet. Hopefully this planet update is good
       
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    12. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      The devs just can't win.

      They give us updates with new stuff and a few bug fixes, people bitch and moan about "Stop adding new stuff until you fix the old stuff!".

      They give us updates focusing on fixing the old stuff, and people bitch "You haven't given us anything new!"

      Oi. This is why I don't work with the public.
       
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    13. Ithirahad

      Ithirahad Arana'Aethi

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      Does it not, though?

      You already have a functional sector system, that I don't see changing very much.

      You already have solar systems, that have asteroid belts.

      You already have NPC factions.

      I obviously don't know the plans (which, if so much stuff depends on them, should be pretty solid I'd think, so why so secretive?) but within the current universe structure, you can achieve
      largely independent of the exact structure of the universe with smaller-scale generation changes that can apply no matter what,
      just by creating ore density values for groups of systems as per my thread or any number of other proposals on the subject,
      first with certain types of special structure or celestial body that can just as easily exist with the current universe, then you can augment it later on with a largely "cool"-oriented, more overarching universe update,
      again independent of the exact universe structure,
      yet again independent of the universe structure,
      with space-based assets for now and then add the ground/planet component later, if there is one, after the planet/universe changes,
      once again, independent of the universe structure, if designed properly. It would only need a rebalance at the very most when the universe becomes different.
      which should largely be independent of the universe structure as well, because missions would have objective entities, objective sectors, and objective systems, and objective factions, even... but not objective voids or nebulae as separate things, I'd imagine. That'd be silly; those things should just be treated as groups of systems/sectors with special flags on them (which we already have support for, I think). What's the difference between a mission to pick up High Priestess Esra ym Kuf of Odlid from the celestial temple floating in a random system because we don't have cool things in space yet, and picking her up from a sector above a ringed gas giant?

      That said, I look forward to universe improvements, and if that's what Schine deems to be the most important thing to work on, then so be it. I'm only... curious.
       
      #13 Ithirahad, May 3, 2017
      Last edited: May 3, 2017
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    14. Matt_Bradock

      Matt_Bradock The Shrink

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      Even if you move the stars themselves, there will be some idiot saying "Shoulda moved them a little more to the left"
       
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    15. Drakkart

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      Not so far left! Idiot /jk ; p
      THe points are valid and i think everyone agrees on feeling this - no reason to build right now untill new power system is released...
      But the potential the game holds is still tremendeous and schema sticking to his vision no matter the cost is golden. so let's just wait and see...
       
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    16. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      I for one really appreciate the attitude that Schine has toward the development of this work of art. When it is complete we'll see it for what it is. If you look at Starmade for what it is now, you sell it short. If you look at what it could become, you get a better picture of the game.

      Will it truly become the "ultimate space sandbox?" Quite possibly. Once the initial development phase is complete, the engine will have become powerful, optimized, and flexible. That means there's a good chance for an extensive modding API or additional content BEYOND release. If someone can find a way to mod space stations into Minecraft, someone can find a way to mod interstellar zombie apocalypse survival into Starmade. The possibilities really are endless once the completed engine is out there with hooks for modders to latch onto.
       
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    17. Neon_42

      Joined:
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      I've almost given up on Starmade. This video is a very good analysis why. There is immense potential in this game, but it needs to be fun. I'm not so abhorrent about the power update right now. Power will change and I will build new things. But even now there isn't much to do. I don't have reasons to test the systems implemented. There is no in game motivation to do anything. Its fun to build ships but then they just gather dust as they serve no purpose. There's no strategic value in exploration, there's no value in capturing territory, there's no incentive to trade ... People build amazing structures, but in the current state of the game they might as well pick up 3D modeling software and build models. Their creations would serve just about as much function. I think it is generous to say this game has 12 months left. I think Starmade missed its window of opportunity. We've been waiting 5 years. The time is now or never. We're tired of empty buggy gameplay. I'd say if they don't release a killer update by summer this game is done for.
       
    18. Valiant70

      Valiant70 That crazy cyborg

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      The game is in a rut now, and will probably go much further down into this rut before it resurfaces. Slow development will hurt the game, yes. The aftermath will plague the player counts for years to come. If the game really delivers in the end though, the game will probably regain its popularity.
       
    19. Edymnion

      Edymnion Carebear Extraordinaire!

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      No, we do not all feel that way.

      I can only speak for myself, but just because there is some nebulous "This is gonna change somehow at some undetermined point in the future" does not make me want to stop building now.

      Its an alpha, we all knew things were going to change constantly. Anyone that couldn't live with stuff changing shouldn't have been playing it in the first place.
       
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    20. Brokengauge

      Joined:
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      If starmade crashes and burns because of mismanagement, then I'll simply keep the last published distribution, then go on to make my own starmade!

      With blackjack! And hookers!

      In fact, forget starmade!

      But until that day, I will be patiently waiting for starmade to turn into a game that not only satiates my thirst to design and build cool looking spaceships, but also scratches my other gaming "needs".

      I don't understand the anger that gets put on display. Sometimes I feel like I've stumbled across an abusive relationship.

      "starmade, why you gotta make me hit you?"

      "but I focused on all the bugs like you as-"

      *smack*

      "see? there you go again. I don't give a shit what I said before, you need to do what I say NOW....now go fix me a new AI system, and I swear to GOD if you touch the Damn power system..."
       
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