The Reality of Development

squirrel_killersquirrel_killer REGISTERED Posts: 1 Podling
From everything I can find I know that currently TUG exists as a pile of code and likely some half finished art and sound assets, which is fine by me, games take years to make right.

Now luckily I do work in the development industry, but in the QA departments rather than in the active creation, but you can't make a living pointing out when ideas are getting off track, or a mechanic is poor without understanding the work to get there so hey time to ask some questions that will mean a lot to me and next to nothing of the general population:

How far along are the following from being able to show something that resembles a demonstration piece? (please do not bother anyone who is busy actually MAKING these things)

Physics
World Generation
Art Assets
Sound Assets
Rendering Visuals
The systems behind allowing movement
The systems behind various AIs
Tools
Inventory Systems
Mining
Crafting

I feel like that information would be a lot more sensible to understand what is going on than a discussion on how many people are working on what, I know there is little to show that only means something to a small subset of people, but I would like to know what exists as of yet.

Really this is just me asking "Is this thing still a thing" and just wanting to know what is being worked on.

Comments

  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    Welcome to the club. For months past myself and others have attempted to tease out this kind of information BUT THAT GUY @ino seems to be running a pretty tight ship :unamused:

    Of course it's been stated that things will be winding on up to the re-release in december so the way I see it, your best bet is to knuckle on down and hibernate like the rest of the community.

    Probably a good idea to poke them with a stick every now and then, just to check yunno.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    Ino made it very clear that posting regular updates would interfere with getting work done, and that they don't have the resources for any kind of public outreach or reliable customer feedback response.

    He also wants our sympathy for the extra years it's taking to get done, but promises the final game will be more awesome than originally planned. Complaints of, "I don't care about 'more awesome;' I just want the originally-planned game, as described at the Kickstarter, before Windows 7 is shuttered," are ignored.

    As it stands, I believe we'll eventually (within another three years) get a functional "complete" multiplayer-able game, lacking some of the features described in the K'start but with insistence that we shouldn't care about that because we're getting features the K'start didn't promise, like alchemy. Kickstarter bonuses like special mounts will either be ignored, or handed out to many more people than paid for them, to thank them from waiting and entice them to start playing again. (No idea about t-shirt and artwork rewards, which they could've delivered a year and a half ago if they'd actually allocated a portion of the money they received to physical rewards.) This game may not have voxel editing in the multiplayer version, and it may be free-to-play with a mod store stacked with cheap image mods.

    I then expect the multiplayer hosted version will be swamped with ads and micropayments at the behest of Nerd Kingdom's new owners, who will need a reason to keep supporting it after all the enthusiastic, initial rush players have long since hit burnout. Certainly, no more than a handful of the over 7000 people who funded the Kickstarter, not to mention the Yogscast victims who've been screwed over twice, are ever going to put money toward Nerd Kingdom again.

    TUG management has consistently refused to discuss
    (1) what features the non-alpha ready-for-public release will have;
    (2) progress on fixing any of the known bugs or in-process features;
    (3) monetization options - they've mentioned f2p but not discussed it, not been willing to have any back-and-forth about the pros and cons;
    (4) the mod store that's supposedly part of the plan; nor
    (5) player moderation on the hosted servers, other than insisting they want to have a "social experiment" to see what happens when players have to manage their own behavior. (We have the answer to that, on countless Minecraft servers.)

    I expect the hosted servers to last just long enough for a group of players to start using them to share illegal porn or bootleg movie download links, and get shut down by whatever agency is investigating digital crime at the time.

    (I do not mind that "games take years to make." I mind that they put a deadline on that, and failed to deliver, and have said that instead of working on delivering that product, they're morphing it into a different product--and refusing to talk to their existing, long-time-waiting customers until they're done.)
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    edited September 2016
    Elf said:

    [snip]

    I'm sorry, but we do not allow any statement in the forums that speaks against our inconditional love for TUG, no matter what the mods might say.
  • BtJakeBtJake REGISTERED Posts: 13 Seed
    I may or may not have connections that show and tell me things and the game is being worked on. From what I can tell they are also adding new features that were not in the DirectX version. Also I think Ino posted a video via twitter showing some of the new terrain generation stuff a while back.

    image

  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    One of the things that's killing (has killed?) this game is "new features."

    It's been in development for over three years, and they don't yet have a feature list for the post-beta version, much less an actual roadmap with planned dates to have each feature done. I don't think they have a beta feature list.
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    @Elf It sounds like you may have missed out on the discussions held on steam about the various topics you've risen here.

    As a link to the TLDR of it: here you go.

    If you're interested in digging deeper then you'll have to do your own searching.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    @Rawr, yes, that's possible. I watch the official blog on tumblr and the official NK forum site; I don't try to keep up with TUG discussions on Steam, Reddit, GameFAQs, or any other site where TUG may have a presence.

    Why should I bother watching discussions in other places? I notice that Ino has specifically said that there'll be no official feedback from the team on Steam, and he thanks the people who haven't criticized the team and gives the wag o' the finger to the ones who are vocal about their disappointments.

    I see they've officially announced "no paid mods;" I expect that to change when the new owners realize that a single-purchase game that's already burnt out its most enthusiastic supporters has few ways of bringing in regular income.

    Other than that, I stand by what I've said: constantly changing planned feature list, no timeline or roadmap to Release Version; no discussion with players/customers about any of the features or monetization plans - there's an occasional announcement of "we're thinking of doing X," but no explanations why, and no answers to questions like, "did you think that would get Y results?"

    And, as I said, they seem to have scrapped the idea of releasing the game they advertised on Kickstarter. They insist the game they intend to release is "better" - but don't have a complete list of features or schedule for implementing them.

    Or, if they do, they haven't bothered to share them with their customers.

    If they want this game to have a chance in hell of starting to make money from customers again, they need to start a PR campaign now: post regular "here's what we're working on, and it's awesome!" snippets to tumblr and twitter and video clips to YouTube; engage in dialogue (not announcements) about how some new features will work and what they're changing about existing features; explain why some features had to go and what they're offering instead; go over the plans for the "survival" and "adventure" servers and how they'll be different; get the physical rewards sent out to K'start backers and give a game-dev timeline for the in-game rewards ("you'll get your thaumcraft wisp when...").

    Otherwise, if they get the engine fixed in December and launch a complete, ready-to-sell game in January... all their current players who haven't written off the game entirely will download the new version, notice every feature they expected but didn't get, and complain loudly about how NK has provided half a game four years late.

    Right now, they can work toward mitigating that. Every month that slips by increases their reputation as a failed game company. And right now is as good as it gets... they're getting griped at for past failures, but not for current errors because there are no current errors to discuss.

    If they're so busy developing that nobody can maintain an online presence, and they can't afford to hire an intern to spend 5 hours a week doing cheerful, informative public interactions, they have no business trying to create a game with a huge social player base.
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    The way NK goes about sharing information and updates could use an overhaul. How would you go about it?
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    Start with, "commit to sharing information and updates." Any schedule, any plan, is better than none.

    Pick a central spot for information to flow from, ideally here or the official blog. Post regular updates - at least monthly, ideally weekly - even if they're short "still working on things; here, have a screencap from one of the dev test runs" posts.

    Crosspost from there - a twitter post saying "new update; have a link;" a Steam post saying "we're working on X this month" followed by a link, and so on.

    Appoint someone to do this - and to answer replies, politely and cheerfully. If nobody is available to do this, hire someone. (Not: scam some college student into working for free under the label "intern." Pay someone, even if it's minimum wage. This company doesn't need a bigger rep for pinching pennies.)

    If there's no budget for a social media rep, this company is dead; Houston's min wage is $7.25/hour, and if there's not a couple-hundred dollars a month available for PR now, there won't be resources to deal with the flamewars that'll happen when development starts up again, and the game will never get past the initial flurry of "oh, it's available again" sales.

    Content:
    Don't just say, "here's what we're thinking of doing;" post why--and, in the case of things that any marginally-competent game company knows are controversial (f2p, removing voxel manip), explain why this won't ruin the game for people who enjoy what they've already got.

    Expect that every change or announcement will be met with hostility - there's several years of broken promises here, and a whole bunch of pulling the rug out from under people. NK needs its userbase - current customers and potential future ones - to trust them, and that can't be earned quickly.

    Give the rep the authority to actually answer questions about development: where's the game on physics; what's up with the golems; how about fixing the crafting system so you don't accidentally make the wrong thing. What are the plans for the adventure & survival servers, and why. How many people are working on aspect X right now. Are there going to be caves; if so, where are those on the work schedule.

    At this point, the only reason *not* to answer direct questions, is if there's a scam going on and no game is ever going to get past the current early-alpha stage. NK can't lose supporters by saying, "well, it's gonna be another four months before we revamp the seed growth system;" all the people that could be lost with honesty, are already long-gone from "please wait another few months and then see what we've got!"

    Most recent of those was mid-June. Oh hey; it's been a few months, and we've got... nothing.

    The current system of announcing every five months, "we're still here, and someday we will have an awesome game!" is a plan for instant crash-and-burn when it gets past alpha and into beta.

    TL;DR short version: Pick a place and POST UPDATES. Regularly. Publicly; don't try to funnel all criticism into personal emails. Engage with customers as potential fans, not as "haters."
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    here we go - strawpoll on what place NK should post to.

    My vote is for reddit and the official forums. Reddit for it's upvoting system and NK forums just cause you guys are awesome :p

    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    I like here and/or email list; a company's official announcements should never be hosted on a third-party platform if that can reasonably be avoided. It creates both the problem of "users must have a membership on that third party to participate" and "that third party sets the standards for content."
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    True but I was thinking of it more in terms of not re-inventing the wheel. Steam would be a good example of game devs using an existing platform. The other thing is the couple of issues we have with the current forums. For instance, navigation via mobile. Implementing this either puts the game devs of NK into web dev or hiring/paying for it.

    So while I agree that people should be very wary of third party's, they've also dealt with / solved many issues that come up in web dev / content sharing.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • DapperHamsterDapperHamster REGISTERED Posts: 58 Seed
    Nerd Kingdom sharing information/posting updates regularly would be really nice. I know Ino was concerned about having things to share that the average public would understand/be impressed by at this stage of development, but the people who are left are not going to be driven off by updates that they don't fully understand. We would at least see that things are progressing and that the devs are excited about it. They don't even have to be exciting updates either; I mean the bar is set really really low at this point, any news would be more exciting than silence for months.
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    I would appreciate nerdie/technical post on things the devs are excited about.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • arshan272arshan272 REGISTERED Posts: 92 Seed
    Wingidon said:

    Elf said:

    [snip]

    I'm sorry, but we do not allow any statement in the forums that speaks against our inconditional love for TUG, no matter what the mods might say.
    If you truly loved TUG you'd force yourself to accept the fact that Elf is perhaps the only person here talking sense.
    Apparently, my opposite class is the Alcoholic.
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    arshan272 said:

    Wingidon said:

    Elf said:

    [snip]

    I'm sorry, but we do not allow any statement in the forums that speaks against our inconditional love for TUG, no matter what the mods might say.
    If you truly loved TUG you'd force yourself to accept the fact that Elf is perhaps the only person here talking sense.
    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    @arshan272 Excuse me?
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    @arshan272 Thanks, but I don't think everyone else here is being unreasonable. We've got different levels of trust and different priorities.

    My biggest worry, actually, is that Nerd Kingdom is basing their design and business decisions off the conversations here, rather than the market as a whole - the people who are still posting here are the ones who are hopeful, who still believe TUG can be a viable and enjoyable game. The thousands who walked away are more representative of the actual market that NK will need to convince to buy the new version of TUG.
  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 509 Seed
    The catch is that the wider community isn't as easy to interact with. Furthermore, keeping track of whats said across the different channels (steam, NK forums, twitter, tumblr, youtube, reddit, etc...) is plenty of work which your average person would not do.

    So my biggest worry is that most of us are dealing with partial information about what's going on.

    Mind you @Elf , if I'm not mistaken, NK started to rethink their approach to F2P mostly because of feedback from Steam users. You're right though, these forums are not representative of what the whole community thinks.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    Hence the need for regular update posts where they accept feedback. However, that's not the only way to get a sense of what the wider community has an interest in/will put up with. Steam forums (not TUG's specific ones), Reddit, Youtube, other gaming sites, and places like tumblr all have plenty of info about what gamers are looking for in games, and what's considered too expensive, and what company decisions are considered scams.

    And a company that claims to be focused on social research shouldn't have any problems figuring out how to get a sense of the larger community.
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