Gazing into my Crystal Ball...

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by YourLocalMadSci, July 14, 2014.

  1. Shadowpig24

    Shadowpig24 New Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    12
    How about a small and simple weekly/fortnightly post outlining whats been worked on and any decisions the team has made which may affect us in a large way.
    drz1, cdrkf and lokiCML like this.
  2. zweistein000

    zweistein000 Post Master General

    Messages:
    1,356
    Likes Received:
    718
    I think that it should just be made clear that the list isn't cast in stone and is subject to change or in other words that the list is more of a guide than a rule. That would keep disappointment to the minimum, I believe, and I would much rather have a highly fluctuating list than no list.
    janusbifrons likes this.
  3. lokiCML

    lokiCML Post Master General

    Messages:
    1,972
    Likes Received:
    950
    That's what I was thinking; something that keeps us in the loop and helps make it a little more transparent.:)
    cdrkf and Shadowpig24 like this.
  4. BradNicholson

    BradNicholson Uber Employee Uber Employee

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    4,602
    Yeah! We'll pick those back up again next week. I lost a couple there as we kinda shuffled what we were prioritizing.
  5. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,713
    Likes Received:
    4,779
    I can fully understand that you can't do anything too specific especially with regards to timings. I think what would be nice is some form of simple guide to things that definitely will make it *at some point* (so in the context of your example, unless I've missed something it is still a little unclear if the unit cannon is still a thing at all? The general feeling coming from you guys is it's still going to happen but that isn't clearly stated anywhere).

    I think the biggest one is to inform the community of any larger features that:
    A: Are no longer possible (ideally with a bit of technical information on why- you never know one of the very talented modders might pick up the baton!)

    B: Things that are happening but aren't making it into the 'official 1.0'. There are a couple of features currently not in the game that may or may not fall into this category and a bit of prior warning would probably go a long way to mitigate to many knee jerk reactions. I also like the idea of including this information in the game somehow. I think the community has learned to trust that when you guys say you will do something, it gets done even if it needs a little more time so making these things visible is a good idea.

    C: An rough overview of currently implemented things that are on the hit list for improvement (again this would have to be very brief to keep it reasonable) would be nice as I think people like to see that your actively working on things.

    I think the main ones are A and B- and the way that these are presented needs to be simple enough to read so perhaps the Q/A type idea might work. I mean if it were me I'd er' on the side of caution and put more things into the 'B' category than may be necessary- people would be super excited if you delivered something in 1.0 we weren't expecting you to and if things do get delayed a bit you're not going to upset anyone. The other point is features that fall into these categories might ruffle a few feathers however things tend to settle down so maybe it would avoid too much controversy flaring up on the release date?
    GoodOak and lokiCML like this.
  6. paulusss

    paulusss Active Member

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    144

    Your last sentence has been put forwards so many times that i lost count. The thing you guys do is not explain the compleet picture, i know you guys are game makers, but you are a community manager some of these things you should have seen comming. Most of the time i see you guys running at end of the shitstorm because you left it so wide open that it was inevitable to happen, and afterwards trying to manage the storm of sheet and being forced into a corner. So that should make you think, am i going to try and enclose this and leave no gaps or am are we to keep on going this way.
  7. BradNicholson

    BradNicholson Uber Employee Uber Employee

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    4,602
    I agree that we need to get out in front of stuff better. We can and we will moving forward. There are a few production realities that make this hard (example: when an error accidentally gets pushed to PTE or whatever), but we strive to learn from our mistakes.

    [I don't want this perceived to be that I'm excusing shitstorms, by the way. Having a bad experience or not liking something is fine. Going nuts and being toxic instead of leveraging a very, very direct relationship with us is not.]
    gtf50, luntbox, tehtrekd and 2 others like this.
  8. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

    Messages:
    7,689
    Likes Received:
    3,270
    That was the point of my prior post. You can't just make a list and leave it alone because regardless what specific development method you use it will always have things changing no matter what. What you guys do need to work on is keeping the community up to date on things, you can't just wait until a decision is final because it can take awhile for everything to fall in place that leads up to a particular decision. With the Unit Cannon as soon as it looked like it might not be feasible you guys should be letting us know that it might not happen for release and you're investigating the details and would get back to us.

    Having a roadmap or a feature list isn't about making promises unless you make it so. As a Community, we don't even WANT promises, we want explanations, insight and understanding. And for you guys the best part is that once you make the information available, the community takes care of the rest, there will always be questions and people who have a hard time wrapping their head about some things but you're communtiy has a lot more knowledge and insight than you seem to give it credit for and they can do all(or at least the greater majority) of the "footwork" for you with as long they have the information only you guys can provide as base.

    Again, the real challenge you'll be having to deal with is upkeep. Do it right and the idea of "Over-Promising" will never be an issue.

    Mike
  9. wondible

    wondible Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,251
    Likes Received:
    2,056
    Call it a development weather forecast. Everybody knows that past seven days (or less) they are just making stuff up, and even this afternoon will throw you a curve ball once and while.
  10. carlorizzante

    carlorizzante Post Master General

    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    995
    Oh dear...

    By software development standard, you never cleared beta with PA. In fact, you're still building features, and evaluating what features will be included, specially if you're still deciding what will eventually break something else. That's not beta, in beta all features are present, and the software simply gets polished and bug blasted.

    Therefore, technically you're still in Alpha. I know... marketing, blah, blah... gamma... selling few more copies... and so on... we're cool. But you can leave the propaganda out of this.

    You can stop worrying. It's pretty clear to everyone how things have been over-promised at day one, during the Kickstarter campaign :D

    If you promise a key feature and then take it away from people who paid up front, you can't really say that people reacted a little drastically.

    Uber folks, you're nice people, but perhaps you should finally considering that your Customers are not completely dumb.
    vyolin, acetylene7 and janusbifrons like this.
  11. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,713
    Likes Received:
    4,779
    I think the saying 'always under-promise and over-deliver' is applicable here (from a management training course I did some while ago).

    In my opinion anything that is decidedly shaky for getting into 1.0 should be stated as 'probably not going to be in by 1.0' or even 'definitely not going to be in for 1.0' under a "confirmed after release" section. Now if that changes and one or more of these features get in early I think lots of people will be happy.
  12. paulusss

    paulusss Active Member

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    144
    I understand the point compleetly, your not excusing anything, and i might sound abit hard on that post, pointing a finger at you, altho i just wanted to point out where things go wrong, which was already clear as day :p never mention me (wissles and walks away)
  13. YourLocalMadSci

    YourLocalMadSci Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    766
    Likes Received:
    762
    I understand why you came to that conclusion. But with all due respect, I think you came to the wrong one. You read that kerfuffle, and read it as "don't promise anything you can't deliver". In reality, the important lesson was "don't tell people you can't deliver something, a few months after you realised it was going to be tough. Tell them NOW".

    On the whole, I think that most people here genuinely do have the barest hint of a grasp on the pressure you folks are under. The evidence for that is despite all the crap that's been flung around, people will still defend that you are the right guys to be making this game when some forum troll wanders by. You are focusing on the shitstorm, and learning the lesson that the community doesn't understand you, and that's not only the wrong lesson to learn, but a dangerous one too. If you keep your community up to date, with what is going on, what they can expect, and why, then it won't matter if features slip. It's when you don't keep people in the loop that things get bad. See the recent incident.

    Now, on to your point about the volume of decisions made. I understand that there are hundreds made every day which ripple throughout the design process. I understand that a modeller may decide to add extra greebles on one part of the model geometry, causing a texture artist to decide that the artwork needs to look a little darker here, which may lead to your design guys deciding that the unit looks slightly better suited for a different role than was originally planned. It's difficult to convey that process to the community.

    The good thing is, you have a lot of people willing to help. A verbal Q&A could be a useful tool. If keeping a list updated is too difficult, then you could hold regular verbal Q&As and let the community fill things into a list. I understand that you don't want to make something that looks "binding", but I think that something has to be a little binding. Throughout the recent mess, the biggest issue that came up is "has Uber gone back on their word". I know that you have acted in good faith, but I'm not the judge of how you will be perceived. If trust is what people perceive as an issue, then there is only one way to build trust. You need to make promises, then stick to them to the satisfaction of your customers.

    And that's hard. That's really bloody hard.

    But it's a hell of a lot easier to deliver things that you've said you have a chance of delivering, than it is to deliver things which your customers have just assumed you will deliver anyway.
  14. BradNicholson

    BradNicholson Uber Employee Uber Employee

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    4,602
    I don't understand the premise that we held onto this knowledge for several months. Who said that? Where is this coming from? I honestly don't know.

    And thanks for the feedback, btw. I dunno if I made that clear before. I like the idea of doing Q&As. It's a format that allows us to talk about whatever we're thinking or hoping to build on a given day, but takes some of the sting away if something has to get cut, de-prioritized, elevated, or whatever may or may not happen.
  15. paulusss

    paulusss Active Member

    Messages:
    271
    Likes Received:
    144
    Q&A isn't that what the vanguards are doing, they look at the questions from the forum, and interview you guys about it? what is the point in doing another Q&A besides that?
  16. YourLocalMadSci

    YourLocalMadSci Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    766
    Likes Received:
    762
    Err, you just said it:

    I'm reading that as you folks knew that the unit cannon was looking like a more and more challenging feature to implement, but you held off letting us know until it had already hit the point where you guys had to make a judgement call to postpone it. Rather than keeping us updated throughout the steady decline of it's chance for inclusion.

    If I'm reading that wrong, then I think this stresses the case for improved communication even more so.
  17. BradNicholson

    BradNicholson Uber Employee Uber Employee

    Messages:
    1,075
    Likes Received:
    4,602
    Edit: OK, I see what you're saying more clearly now. Interesting idea. Something to think about.
    Last edited: July 15, 2014
  18. neutrino

    neutrino low mass particle Uber Employee

    Messages:
    3,229
    Likes Received:
    2,687
    You're kidding right? Every single thing is tough. It's a miracle that this project exists at all, a miracle. Making a game like this as an indy on a shoestring budget is ridiculous level hard. This project is the end result of a bunch of really improbable stuff stacked end-to-end. Getting a kickstarter together (which cost significant resources and risk), running the campaign, getting the team hired, managing the project so we could get something out quickly to generate revenue to keep going, all the while updating the game while we develop it. This isn't child's play here, this is about as hardcore as it gets.

    If we had originally pitched the project as "Well this is really hard and the chances of pulling it off are pretty low" the project wouldn't exist. You need to be irrationally positive about what you are trying to accomplish otherwise you will fail hard before you start. I really don't think you guys understand the reality of how difficult this project has been from a technical, business, artistic and just plain hard work perspective. It's taken every ounce of the 100+ years of game making experience our team has to daily make the right tradeoffs to keep the project moving forward. You guys second guessing our every move has made it even harder. Note that I'm not blaming here, I'm just telling you the reality of what we deal with.

    The bottom line is that we reserve the right to make what we think are the best decisions in terms of managing the development of the project. You guys can feel free to second guess our decisions but you simply aren't in a position to argue with us about them.

    To throw stuff from the kickstarter video in our face and claim we promised it without any context of the last two years of development is quite frankly BS. We have substantially created the game we set out to create. I think the vision has been maintained throughout. We are continuing to work on and improve the game into the future. Delaying something (e.g. unit cannon) because we are focusing our limited resources on things we think are more important to the core experience is something that should be embraced by the community, not derided as shitty management of the project.
  19. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,713
    Likes Received:
    4,779
    I am amazed you have got as far as you have and I do think many here don't (can't) comprehend the complexity of something like this.

    I think what could be useful is *if possible* could we have some sort of loose 'this is still on the cards' or 'this has been ruled out for us to make' kinda thing (really only relating to a couple of 'big' features, and I can only think of about 3 that aren't in yet). It might help put an end to some quite frankly ill informed speculation.

    I also think you must appreciate that the community *loves* this game, which is why people get a bit irrational at times on here. Either way I say you guys have got serious guts taking on this whole project, and from my perspective it's looking good (hopefully it's working for you guys too, over-demanding community aside) :)
    gtf50 likes this.
  20. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

    Messages:
    7,689
    Likes Received:
    3,270
    I'm pretty sure MadSci Wasn't intending to slam you guys for making decisions or trying to say they aren't difficult, merely the idea that many of the things that have caused a commotion on forums in the past could have been averted or completely avoided by more up front communication regarding the outcomes of those decisions.

    Mike
    vyolin, stuart98 and squishypon3 like this.

Share This Page