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Bosun

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  1. I don't agree, to be honest. DCS is a great example of this. Their modules have to meet certain standards and criteria, and they have policies and procedures for how to implement them, that the 3rd-party contributor must meet. That game is a stellar success, not in spite of those, but because of them. The Freespace Mod community is also a great example of this. For the last two decades, they've been modding that old engine, and have done truly impressive work. The Diaspora stand-alone, featuring the Battlestar Galactica universe was, simply put, undersold. That could have been put out by a studio with investors. It was a team of volunteers. DCS was never a complete game when it was released, it was released in 'modules', similar to KSP's timeline. It worked because the modules came at a frequency quick enough to keep interest, and the community did not feel like a half-finished game was released and then half-worked on. That's a huge and difficult impression to maintain. Loss of interest has killed so many titles on launch, and KSP has a very, very real danger of getting some negative feedback on EA release, given the time it's taken them to get just the bare minimum done for it. If we can help float interest and positive feedback with a vibrant contributor community, officially, and not just random modders, then it will be a massive asset to the development team, and the longstanding of the game. The modding community is what made KSP 1 have the community and longevity it still enjoys today, and I feel that in order to produce KSP2 in a timeline that meets interest, and to continue that interest, that community needs to be at the table, with the devs, as the development continues.
  2. Seeing that KSP2 will allow modding from day one, with a very incomplete game, I have to consider that the modding community will quickly outpace the rate of official development. Modders can build sub-systems, parts, even overhaul the graphics, and there's every reason to feel that the community, as enthusiastic as it is for a release-ready game, will get to work quickly to make it one. I would posit that modders need to be able to attain "3rd Party Contributor" status. Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) does this with their modules. In fact, over half the modules available in the game are made by 3rd-party developers and modders. They all get vetted, of course, and tested, but this effectively doubles the rate of their development, and allows the game to reach a breadth it would never reach otherwise. The Early Access version of the game will certainly be bug-fixed, added too, and embellished the way the original was, and I think that add-ons need to have a procedure and policy in place to be tandem to official development, sanctioned and vetted by the dev team, for release in official updates. The current timeline of 2024 for the 1.0 release and 2025-2026 for the complete game, based on extrapolation of current development speed, could be halved if this approach is encouraged. It has worked very well in other games, and indeed is essential to any large-scale game in this modern era of technology. The modules, the coding, are all too complex for any one development team to complete in any timeline that renders them relevant to the platform ability of their age. What was started as a Unity 5 project, under a single development team timeline, would be 3-4 versions of game technology old by the time it was released. This represents a larger shift in the industry, as well. Many companies are recognizing that it's not feasible to field a complete game on their own anymore, and this, I believe, is why modding is allowed from the start (along with precedent and tradition in KSP). I think, to officially recognize these contributions as being not just add-ons, but essential core-game developments in their own right, is essential to completing the game.
  3. My big concern, is that modding will absolutely outpace development. In fact, I expect modders to be able to finish the core components of the game well ahead of devs reaching a 1.0 status. The concern around it I have, is that by allowing mod access from day one, you're essentially crowd-sourcing the rest of your development. In that, there needs to be a defined policy for mods being adopted in to future releases of the game, with recognition and monetary compensation provided for the coders doing the work. The first thing that comes to mind is seeing Kerbin from orbit in the videos - it looks worse than the first versions of Environmental Enhancements mod. Someone will very quickly make it look better, and it would behoove their development to be able to incorporate that mod in to the final, future release. But they need to have defined policies and procedures in place for that. They have a tremendous opportunity here to really speed up their development cycle with this kind of crowd-sourcing, which will be imperative to good reviews and a timeline that doesn't further alienate players. DCS does this with their 3rd-Party contributors, and honestly, the game's a huge success in the sim crowd because of it.
  4. I have been saying that a 6-10 year development time line is not only normal, but expected in most games nowadays. This further confirms it. I also stated several times that the developers would be well within a normal development cycle if they released the game before 2025-26. I think this is a more realistic time line, given the resources they have, and a confirmed timeline, given the status of the game as stated in the video. I would expect most of the core functionality of the game to be fleshed out over the rest of the 2023 year, to be completed at a 1.0 stage in 2024, perhaps mid-to-late year. I expect the larger interstellar modules and resources to come sometime between 2025-2026. This fits with their current development speed, if you extrapolate how long it took them to get here, incorporating all the various shake-ups that happened. There's absolutely no data to support them having an influx of resources to speed of development, so currently, this time table fits best within observed game status'. Finally - well done on the team. This is exactly how you market a release date, whether EA or otherwise. Very early on, the game promised things before they even knew what it would take to get there. Several times along the way, the date was pushed, but still given. Furthermore - the game was 'announced' when it was at the paper-napkin stage, which was a terrible mistake. But now, you've got a small, manageable, achievable goal that you can clearly meet. You've given a date close enough at hand to be exciting, but far enough out to give you time to meet it. Had you announced the game upon EA being ready for release, instead of announcing it in 2017, that would be have been the proper way to handle marketing. I think this means the team is finally being able to properly evaluate their own potential and ability in regards to their timeline and goals, which speaks to a higher functioning in the team, and that's a good thing. Thank you, for waiting to announce this until you had a scaled-down, achievable goal that you'll be able to deliver on. Please keep doing that. Any other big announcements - wait until you're already at beta stage before announcing them publicly. A lot of the backlash I see here surrounds broken promises and over-extended hype. By waiting and being more discrete with announcements, you can prevent that effect in the future. I'm looking forward to the game, though undetermined if I'll participate in EA. Like many others, I'd rather not burn myself out on this game as a beta-tester, especially if I'm going to be paying a lot for it. Final note - as others have mentioned - This has a real chance in EA with mods being allowed, to take off well past the development team. Already in KSP1, modders were able to take the game places the original team had never imagined. My worry is that this is going to supplant actual development of the game. The Kerbin that was shown was a worse rendering, from the land, to the clouds, than some of the better mods for KSP 1, and if modders come along and fix that - they'll have less incentive to build it in to the game for release. So my only plea - as modding takes off, I hope the team will have a policy/procedure in place for adopting mods to become core components. That will be critical, but it will also be critical to have a model in place to compensate financially the mods you incorporate - because the modders will, in effect, be finishing your modules for you in Early Access.
  5. This is one of the dangers with a long development cycle. You can get stuck in loops playing catch up to new technology so the game is relevant when it drops. You can finally release the game on an outdated engine that caps it's potential relative to it's contemporary peers. You can have modders beat you to the punch, releasing your game as a series of mods to it's predecessor You can have any number of things happen that will ultimately lead the final release to be less spectacular than you promised investors. The studio, in this case, has shot an interstellar ship across the development void - and while we know when it might arrive, no one's done a trip this long before, and if any calculation was off, even a little, they'll miss their goal of when and what the game is to be, by a large gulf. However, if they pull it off, and there's no evidence we have to be certain they're on course to intercept their goals, it will be a feat of engineering and design that is legandary.
  6. Controversial opinion, but this is why, as much as I love space travel, I'm not a fan of the privatized efforts. The beauty and glory of space exploration, for me, is not just the cool technology. A large part of it is the unity it can build in a country, in the world, and even down to among the group of astro- and cosmonauts that venture forth for it. You don't get that same sense of unity, of an entire, collective people throwing their resource, pride, and effort behind it, in the private sector endeavors. While they may be pioneering technology that could revolutionize many different industries, it's silo'd in to a private group of individuals, in particular, one man, for all it's glory, and shared sense of accomplishment. The reason that the 1960s space race was such a unifying force, is that every countryman was paying taxes into their government, and got to see the fruits of their investment build something they could all be proud of. Every person could say they were a part of it (I acknowledge that racial tensions did not actually allow every person to be a part of it, and still are barriers today). I'm excited for the upcoming Artemis missions, and I hope that it sparks a new era of pride in a unified, country-led effort. But for those that say private is doing what public cannot - that is only due to the country deciding that it did not want to fund a public effort, nor properly scale taxes to invest in public works, including a space program. When you have large, corporate interests that can throw their influence around, the easiest way to clear a path for your own company's success, is to get senators to defund the public institutions that would undermine your product or service, or compete with it. /rant
  7. This is why I've never understood the current environment of announcing releases. Most all the studios I know are releasing announcements on their upcoming projects before they ever have a clear idea of whether not 1) What they said they would do is feasible with the resources they have, and 2) What they said they would do is achievable in the timeline they've given Now, I would imagine it would make sense, integrity-wise, to let only investors and a limited public base know that development is underway, and give no release dates at all until: 1) The game was in or close to the Beta stages of development so that 2) You could accurately estimate how much time was left on development, because there would be a small enough, manageable amount of development left to speculate a timeline for. It would fit a good PR run to announce the release date about 6 months (or so) from when the game would be finished, unless some major breakages happened in Beta - but Alphas are where you ideally discover those, if you're doing it well. If you don't have a version of your game that is playable by a mass public, even with a few minor glitches - you shouldn't be promising a release date, because you simply don't know, and promising a customer a product that you don't have, in a timeline you don't know, in a production you're not even certain is possible yet - seems like not an ideal model for salesmanship. If I had a kid came to me, to pitch their idea of a product, or project for the shipyard, and they gave me even a range of time it may take to develop or finish, it's too easy to ask one or two questions about very real possibilities, and get them entirely flubbed on further estimation. Most PMs are happy to give a time estimate as if nothing will go wrong, or give you an 'outside' estimate as if they know what the outside even is. "Ok, what happens if you find out that part is not available until the following week, or the shipment is delayed...or this subcontractor has to reschedule to the afternoon?" They flail, their timeline falls apart, over a simple question that they have no control over the variable of. I ask those questions not to discourage them, but to help them understand that, at the stage of planning they are at, any estimate of time they give is fairly moot. It's better to tell the customer, at that point, things they can reliably claim, like, "I can tell you that once the labor and part are on site, and together - it will take them 2 days. However, we won't know when that will be, until the product ships and we get a tracking number for it...because I can't schedule the labor until I have a day picked out to install, which I can't pick until I know the product will be here within a reasonable doubt - which requires the product ship first, and I get a tracking number that is valid and gives me updates. Make the small, reliable claims first. You'll meet those claims, and as you get closer, you can focus your final date one notch at a time, until you're ready to tell folks when it will be. Until you start the process, you have no idea how long it will take, because there are simply too many variables to account for. Even if you've done it a thousand times. Ask any ship captain how often they get out of a dry-dock on time per the initial estimate of the work. It simply isn't possible to estimate a timeline for work until you have a regular pool of progress data to draw from, and estimate from. That will need to be, at a minimum, a measured 50% of total development needed before you even have a rough ballpark on a napkin, of how much time it's gonna take to do something that is unique, and not just an exact copy of a project that's already been done. But, alas, they can keep on saying release dates, and we'll keep on waiting because it's an awesome game. But it will also just keep being a mosquito near my ear, that the game industry will keep breaking the core tenants of salesmanship, project management PR, and taking the trust and faith of their fanbases for granted... and no one ever does it differently.
  8. I mentioned several other spots, that as long as they released the game before 2025, they're still well within a normal dev cycle. Glad they're taking their due time and polishing it. In other news, I'm thinking of opening a Sports Betting website, centered around game release dates. You have to project your bid on when a game will actually release, when it is first announced, and betting closes 4-6 months after the initial announcement. I'm going to retire in 2 years on this. I suppose this comes from working in shipyards, where any ship in lay will be delayed, by default, by a mathematical factor times the length of their anticipated stay. (No, you cannot have the formula, but yes, there is one.) It's so eerily accurate that I've made many a Captain blush, but it's just mathematics at this point, I can't even call it bet. Same for game design. (The reason I'm not giving this formula out, is that I am seriously wondering if I can make a business model out of consulting about cycles similar to these. This cannot just be some weird party-trick talent, like folding your tongue over. So help me, I'mma make some money on this.)
  9. I mean, I've postulated that if they release before 2025, they'll still be within a normal development time line. Things just take longer nowadays. You can't just crank games out the way you used to. Most complex games, and movies, can even take dec ::coughTopGun2cough:: ades ::coughAvatarcough:: to come to fruition. I think the lesson here is to appreciate KSP 1, and keep the modding community alive. If anyone is bound to release a KSP 2, it's going to be modders, who want to keep the game alive.
  10. Ok now make the Firefly Season 2 interactive Timeline
  11. It's on a timeline to be released before 2025. The game hasn't even gotten a working beta yet, further more, they do not have an alpha build yet. Their only assets and modeling so far, are considered 'pre-alpha', as corresponds with the labels in all the dev correspondence. Once they get through alpha - and build a beta - that would require at least 4 -6 months of solid testing with another 2 or more to likely bang out any dents. Being that they'd need to hammer through an Alpha build first, that puts us, at the earliest, in 2023. Likely pushing 2024. So, we're looking at 2023 and beyond at the earliest.
  12. Aziz, this is is the kind of development time line I reference. While I wholeheartedly believe that most games aim for, have a goal for, a 5 year or less development, and maybe some of them meet that, there are several more that have development drag in to the decade marker. This is much more common now, because of crowd-funded studios instead of private producers and investors. The game has to be announced at the 'we don't even have money for this yet' stage, in order to get the money, to hire a programmer, to make what was just shown in a trailer. But that's part of it. The 'new engine,' yes, it's still Unity, but Unity has improved leaps and bounds in the last 6-7 years, and if you started making a game in Unity around that time, finalizing it now, you'd have so many different things you could do, could improve on, and some of the things you've done may not even be guaranteed to work in newer versions of Unity, in the same way. Heck, in 2015, Adobe CS changed a lot of their UI design from previous CS releases. As a professional designer, it took me a long time to re-work my workspace and remap my desktop layout to accommodate the changes. That was just for the UI, not to mention macros that were things I put in, that were now covered by tools that came included, or things that I had to do outside the program, that I now were in the program, etc. If Unity, which I haven't used in a long time, is any where near that kind of evolution, which I bet it is similar, working in a timeline of 5-6 years, even, would be hitting roadbumps just based on the software and systems used to make the game, not even considering the consumer expectations that you'd have to continually meet, as those expectations evolve with technology. Just 10 years ago, for example, a flat plane object with a tiled texture that had a corresponding object oriented toward the viewer, that was shaped like a puff, was the height of in-game cloud technology. Look at IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad now. If you started out making IL-2 1946, and it went into 5-6 years development, you wouldn't have a game that would sell, unless you revamped a lot of things that were probably very core parts of the game, and that's just graphics. Not to mention computational systems and physics advances. So what would become 5 years, hits about 5 years, and suddenly, you've got another year, maybe 2, or 3, of development to overhaul and modernize the game that has taken so long to build, it's obsolete. That's the development cycle I am accustomed to seeing, based on the games I get interested in. I'd be stoked if the games I wanted to play, took less than 4-5 years to develop and release, but I still don't have a good analog for X-wing Vs. Tie-Fighter, because as flashy as Squadrons was, it was released in less than 5 years because there was nearly 0 content to it, and it's already dead because they dropped support as soon as they released it. Given that KSP2 would likely be well supported if the predecessor is any indication, a development cycle of less than 5 years does not fit within the profile of a well-supported game, but in the profile of a "Squadrons" where the content is minimal and the game is not well supported.
  13. I've said it elsewhere, but they'd be well within the normal range of development to release before 2025, which leaves them plenty of time. The game isn't dead, but it isn't coming out this year, most likely, or there would be some sort of attempt by the developer to at least put a statement out that they're still on track, at this point. They risk losing the narrative and interest, and by release, having an underwhelming response due to lack of consumer awareness, if so. Also, most development cycles just take longer now with all the tech involved. Look at television shows. When Star Trek: TNG was running, it was 30 episodes in a 'season', every single year. In the early 2000s, shows like Battlestar, Eureka, or Warehouse 13 had 10-12 episodes a season. Now, you have shows like Upload, Resident Alien, Picard, which have 7 episodes, half the length each, every other season. Our development cycles have just gotten longer, and that means production is more than halved, and this goes for games, movies and TV. Why do you think we have 9 Fast and Furious movies? Or 20 Marvel Movies? Because half the production has already been done on them already by every other movie before. The digital assets are there. The processes. The procedures. The props. It's just cost-effective and easy. They can actually roll it out in a reasonable time to keep public interest. Making a brand new game with a new engine, new processes, for new technology - it's staggering, daunting, and would take a programming team that could rival the 5 armies of Mordor, to roll out in the normal timelines we've grown accustomed too.
  14. This sounds like it sets up for colonies, long-haul travel and other features that allow for remote management and persistent-world dynamics for ships and structures without having to 'pilot' them in active control. For instance, controlling and monitoring a long burn from an interstellar, from the mission control on Kerbal....or.... automated resupply missions....
  15. Ahres, are you in possession of information that we may have missed? I would love to be wrong, but going off of the information provided thus far, and the indications that the lack of even an estimated quarter for release are giving us, already almost 3 months in to the year, doesn't seem to back up any conclusion that I could be wrong. At the stages of development we have been privy to thus far, it would be a fast pace for them to deliver a 'finished' product by the November/December months, unless they're much further along than they've shown in the videos so far. If the developer were to commit, unambiguously to a quarter this year (not even a solid date), I think that would go a long way to reassure folks that the game will not be in perpetual development for the next few years as so many other titles fall victim too in their cycles. However, it is entirely common for games to take years from their public announcement, to any sort of viable release, and I cannot fathom that KSP2 would be any different, unless they're doing something radically different in the development process that no game company has ever done before. I wouldn't worry for it though, this just means the game is being tediously worked on, and will be finished and well put together. As stated above, if they release before 2025, they're well within the normal development time lines for similarly scaled games elsewhere, as 2022 was ambitious, even for being 2 years past their initial call. In fact, I've never seen a game in the last 20 years that's been developed in less than 2 years or so, and within the last 10, I'd be hard pressed to pull an example of a title that was publicly announced, and then released, within two years, that has a similar scale and depth of physical and graphical modeling that they're attempting here.
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