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KSP development slowing


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Many games get a 1.0 release...  then a 1.01 patch a week later...   then a 1.1 patch six months later....  and... maybe a 1.11 patch a year later If some security flaw is discovered... and that's the game, whether it's fixed by 1.11 or not.  I think it's always worth remembering that the early access model and then the continued rollout of major improvements after the 'features complete' date is still VERY atypical.   We've gotten a lot more out of Squad already than you get out of larger studios for games that cost twice as much.

I DO suspect...  just based on the devnotes really... and the purchase of the 'franchise,' that we're probably not going to see MUCH except bug fixes for the core game in the future - that the new features and major gameplay things may well be DLC...  or saved for future installments in the kerbal franchise.  But that's a gut feeling, not based on insider knowledge or anything!  

Though I always want to point out in conversations like this what i said in the first paragraph.  While there are CERTAINLY things I wish they'd do still in the game, we have to accept that at some point management is going to say 'sales are no longer paying for development.   You guys are going to start working on something new.' and that this has been delayed WAY longer than we have any right to expect already, so when it happens we need to all cheer for them and eagerly anticipate the next project, not panic! :)  

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7 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

What makes you say that?

A release devoid of features and the complete focus of all development and communication towards a DLC.

For months now, we've only been hearing about localization and the expansion. There seems to be no drive, no desire anymore to improve the stock game (save for some stuff needed for the expansion). No Art passes on the Rocket parts, no fixing of wheels, no balance pass on the engines and capsules, no visual overhaul (remember the former Producer Maxmaps publicly dreaming of a KSP that looks as great as the EVE mod?). When was the last time you heard something like "we are not content with how this core system is behaving, so we want to invest significant work to improve it"?

Don't get me wrong - the game is great and I enjoy playing it. But there are things in need of fixing (devs obviously disagree with players on just how much that is), and not only are they not getting fixed, there isn't even talk anymore that there is something worth fixing in the first place. It's all about the expansion now.

I would be suprised to see a KSP 1.4 at all, and I would be even more surprised if this hypothetical KSP 1.4 had real significant changes and improvements. I think it's all DLC's from here on out.

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As far as I understand it, the console port was a massive letdown. It has never been communicated that way, but we all know that there have been some contractual adjustments... I assume this port didn't generate as much money as planned. We then had 1.2 (with quite some new content) and finally the subsequent language support. I haven't seen many new users around since 1.3 was made available - probably some users changed from English to Russian or Japanese but I doubt tons of Chinese users purchased the game... In the end we had the take over by taketwo and the DLC. The DLC features new parts and a mission builder - part packs are available for free and mission design is done on the forums as well. Not the best business case in my eyes. So yes, development isn't coming up with new exciting ideas to keep us following the news. Development has slowed, yes, definitely. There's work on DLC for ages now without any visible progress. I can totally understand the OP.

 

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28 minutes ago, Kobymaru said:

A release devoid of features and the complete focus of all development and communication towards a DLC.

For months now, we've only been hearing about localization and the expansion. There seems to be no drive, no desire anymore to improve the stock game (save for some stuff needed for the expansion). No Art passes on the Rocket parts, no fixing of wheels, no balance pass on the engines and capsules, no visual overhaul (remember the former Producer Maxmaps publicly dreaming of a KSP that looks as great as the EVE mod?). When was the last time you heard something like "we are not content with how this core system is behaving, so we want to invest significant work to improve it"?

Don't get me wrong - the game is great and I enjoy playing it. But there are things in need of fixing (devs obviously disagree with players on just how much that is), and not only are they not getting fixed, there isn't even talk anymore that there is something worth fixing in the first place. It's all about the expansion now.

I would be suprised to see a KSP 1.4 at all, and I would be even more surprised if this hypothetical KSP 1.4 had real significant changes and improvements. I think it's all DLC's from here on out.

While it may seem like nothing to you, the localization was a huge project.  Yes, to someone who speaks english, it may not seem like much, but believe me, from an internal point of view, it is.

Why do you think they are not fixing bugs?  Every week I read about more bugs begin fixed, QA testing, etc.

Yes, the consoles may have been a letdown, but that is only one thing.

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4 hours ago, linuxgurugamer said:

While it may seem like nothing to you, the localization was a huge project.  Yes, to someone who speaks english, it may not seem like much, but believe me, from an internal point of view, it is.

I know that's it's a big thing, internally, and I acknowledge that it's important. But for players with sufficient english skills, 1.3 was a version bump with no visible changes.

 

Quote

Why do you think they are not fixing bugs?  Every week I read about more bugs begin fixed, QA testing, etc.

That's pretty much what I read every week: "bugs begin fixed, QA testing, etc." Usually no specifics, and if anything it's pretty minor things like runway seams and wrong shadows. And that is good if that's chugging along slowly - but there is no ambition anymore to make larger improvements. We all know that the wheel physics have big problems, we also know that the engines and capsules are unbalanced. That's also "bugfixing", but the effort for fixing it is bigger. And that's what they don't do anymore. At least not according to anything I read that's public.

Edited by Kobymaru
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13 minutes ago, Kobymaru said:

I know that's it's a big thing, internally, and I acknowledge that it's important. But for players with sufficient english skills, 1.3 was a version bump with no visible changes.

and for everyone else, it was a version to make it accessible in their native language.  English speakers (of which I am one) aren't the entire world.

I still see progress (although I did just open a bug report)

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Is it really that unplayable?

which would you prefer, several small patches, each only fixiing a single thing, and also inadvertently liquiding off mod authors with a plethora of minor releases, or a single larger patch?

if the game was unplayable, I would be able to understand your frustration.  But it is playable.  You have your choice of playing 1.2.2 or 1.3

I'm actually playing both, and have no significant issues beyond what the mods cause

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I've said it before and I'll say it again.  KSP ending development is not a bad thing.  All projects come to an end.  Sure, career isn't what I wanted.  There are plenty of things I would have done differently.  Those things have nothing to do with whether a product is finished or not.  I support Squad putting the finishing touches on KSP1 and moving forward with more profitable DLC.  I also support Take Two moving forward with KSP2, with or without Squad.  Just don't expect me to back an early access release again.

7 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

Is it really that unplayable?

 

Searched unplayable.  I think you're the first to say that in this thread.  Complaining about problems is natural.  They exist.  I do agree if anyone calls this game unplayable, they need a reality check.

Edited by klgraham1013
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5 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

Is it really that unplayable?

No one said that. I even specifically said that it is very playable and also very fun. But there is still plenty of room for improvement, and all I mean was the observation that the needed improvement is probably not going to happen anymore.

 

5 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

which would you prefer, several small patches, each only fixiing a single thing, and also inadvertently liquiding off mod authors with a plethora of minor releases, or a single larger patch?

Actually I would prefer several small patches. Because if they are small, then the chance of compatilibity problems will be miniscule. So mod authors could just say "compatible with all versions from 1.3.0 to 1.3.99", and trust in squad that they won't break things with minor patches (anymore).

 

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Am I the only one who doesn't see a difference between developing the game vs. developing DLC?

New content, changes, and improvements will all still be coming, you just have to pay for them is all.

So no, KSP development hasn't "slowed" ...it's just not free anymore. Considering how long the game has been out, that neither surprises or bothers me.

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1 minute ago, Rocket In My Pocket said:

Am I the only one who doesn't see a difference between developing the game vs. developing DLC?

New content, changes, and improvements will all still be coming, you just have to pay for them is all.

So no, KSP development hasn't "slowed" ...it's just not free anymore. Considering how long the game has been out, that neither surprises or bothers me.

You are correct.  I think the view of it "slowing" is maybe more akin to it "ending".  As DLC typically comes at the end of a life cycle of a game.

6 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

Speaking as a mod author, that would be very painful.

One of the reasons I look forward to development coming to an end.  Allow mods to fully mature with a stable base to work from.

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Just now, klgraham1013 said:

You are correct.  I think the view of it "slowing" is maybe more akin to it "ending".  As DLC typically comes at the end of a life cycle of a game.

Agreed, personally I never thought this game would get any DLC being so niche.

So the way I look at it this has extended KSP's lifespan, almost a "second wind" if you know what I mean.

Let's face it, without Take Two and the Historical DLC; KSP would just be an old game getting older.

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If they follow the path of many earlier games then expansions or DLCs is functional way to continue to support and bring fixes to the core game.

The expansions/DLCs bring in funds to the company but they need a stable and functional core game to be viable.

So I think we can look forward a continued support of the core game even if most new shiny and exciting stuff will come as DLCs.

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I disagree. They're working on an expansion. New parts, a mission editor, and I'm also going to guess/hope they'll include a stock campaign space race to the moon once the editor is complete. That doesn't really smack of slow development.

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Every software product goes through this. Development slows, then stops. Somewhere along the way it's declared complete.

Sad? Maybe. Inevitable nonetheless.

3 hours ago, Kobymaru said:

That's pretty much what I read every week: "bugs begin fixed, QA testing, etc."

The best thing I did for my peace of mind was to stop reading the weekly.

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 After 1.0, there is not much incentive to continue development of core features - hence the 1.0 designation.  DLC is a natural way to generate revenue from an old product and keep tweaking the core game - I don't think anyone can blame SQUAD for that. However, I wouldn't expect many, if any major new features from here on out.  In this regard, it may seem like development has slowed.

Would I like to see perpetual support for KSP? To a point. From what I've read about the limits of Unity, it seems to me as if a sequel based on some other technology would be more aligned with where I personally would like to see the game go.  The DLC effectively gives SQUAD another product to sell to not only to maintain KSP, but possibly begin work on a sequel with more functionality (especially if T2 is bankrolling them).  KSP was a good start, and I'm sure the devs learned a lot about what to do and what not to do, but pretty soon I think the time will come to move on and start something new from the ground up.

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3 hours ago, Kobymaru said:

Actually I would prefer several small patches. Because if they are small, then the chance of compatilibity problems will be miniscule. So mod authors could just say "compatible with all versions from 1.3.0 to 1.3.99", and trust in squad that they won't break things with minor patches (anymore).

Squad has never operated like this with the possible exception of right after a major release. Once it's stable they go away for many months until the next release is ready. This has been the pattern since I started watching development at 0.20, some four years ago. Expecting them to start doing it at this point is wishful thinking, they're not geared for it.

Whether that's ultimately good or bad is subjective; clearly they've released a wildly popular indie title with sales numbers that many developers would be envious of and changing their process will get in the way of further releases (it will slow them down even further to "retool" for quicker releases), so changing now nets no gain. Would I prefer they do things like Wube, makers of Factorio, another wildly successful indie title (not as many sales as KSP by a long shot, but they're in the same ballpark, having broke the 1 million mark)? Yes, incremental releases with detailed changelogs and quality weekly dev notes complete with previews and process insights is a model every early access developer should strive for (and several actually do). But Squad is tooled for a different kind of development and they have been for some time.

E: And on the topic of development slowing, I'm hoping the core product is finally pronounced "done" at some point soon. DLC work seems to be going full steam but the base game really needs to be finished up. I doubt we'll get an art update, there's no money in it (maybe a DLC will replace it all).

Edited by regex
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