SQUAD

KSP Weekly: Closer to Bennu

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1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

And I wish every time squad shows a subpar preview that we can raise attention to it without some deflecting into a philosophical discussion on positivity vs negativity. We tell them its good or bad we tell them why its good or bad that is constructive criticism and that should be enough for anyone.

If you really wish that, please try and give the criticism without the unnecessary bits like identified earlier by  @HebaruSan. Then you'll find that the discussion will be more focused on the details you would like to discuss.

1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

They are the ones saying "we're optimizing the art and making it more efficient and pretty! get hype!" so they can RUD'ing prove it.

I think the new one looks a lot better than the old one. It could be improved more, but I think the gold foil looks much more attractive and realistic.

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2 hours ago, Deddly said:

Is that not in itself a worthwhile goal? That was my only point.

Fair enough, as long as we're not arguing that friendly wording makes criticism more accurate. It might be less unpleasant, but it's not inherently more accurate.

2 hours ago, Deddly said:

Well, that's just playing dirty. If they don't want more development, they should take whichever version of the game they prefer and be happy with it. If the intention is to stop development by overwhelming the devs with negativity, 1) it won't work, it will just make them ignore the person/thread; and 2) those of us who appreciate continued development will not be impressed with such tactics on the official forum.

Three things with regards to this.

1) Continued negativity from a community can and has caused creators to leave projects. I'm not saying it will happen here or that all of Squad would stop working, but there is plenty of history of people departing projects because of vocal opponents. We're people with feelings and, most importantly, limits.

2) I don't think anyone criticizing Squad's work is doing it for community recognition, so I doubt the lack of recognition will dissuade the less friendly critiques.

3) The issue with picking a version and sticking with it means you're limited to the mods available for only that version. This means giving up on any new stuff the community comes up with as well as giving up on new stock features/improvements. The thing is, when development ends no one will have to make that hard decision. Modding will continue after the last version of KSP hits the download servers. In fact, it might even thrive in an environment where modders don't have to worry about future stock changes breaking their work. And mods could focus on fixing and improving the stock game without concern for the effort being made redundant or untenable. The end of KSP development is not exactly a bad thing for a variety of reasons, and mods are one area that will likely benefit greatly.

 

Lastly, and this is not a numbered response to your post specifically but rather KSP development in general: One day development will end. When it does, Squad will either dissolve or begin to work on something new (be it KSP 2 [hopefully without the limitations of KSP] or something else entirely). More games doesn't sound like a bad thing to me. And I'm probably not creative enough, but I just don't see where else KSP can go from here. I have to say I'm in the clean it up, bux fix, and polish the heck out of it and call it done camp. Continuing to bolt stuff on in a largely directionless fashion (as its felt to me and we have no evidence [roadmap] to the contrary) seems like a way to drag a good game down.

Edited by Mako
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7 minutes ago, Deddly said:

I think the new one looks a lot better than the old one. It could be improved more

Yes it does look better than the old one, a lot actually. But it's the fact that it can be even better than that which annoys me personally.
They have the potential and by all means do they have the ability to get the most and best out of this revamp. Getting mediocre parts as a result of this effort is just disappointing at this point.

For me the question has shifted from "What part have they revamped this week?" to "What part have they vandalized this time?" in just a few weeks.

Edited by Delay

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Just now, Delay said:

Yes it does look better than the old one, a lot actually. But it's the fact that it can be even better than that which annoys me personally.
They have the potential and by all means do they have the ability to get the most and best out of this revamp. Getting mediocre parts is just disappointing at this point.

This, right here, is the kind of feedback that gets results.

This is the kind of feedback the community gave about the new EVA suits, and Squad thanked the community for it in the next "devnote". So it can make a difference :)

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@Vanamonde This is incorrect I've made a point of saying how previews appear, how they come across. This is very different from a direct accusation it's a warning of how things will be taken if a preview is released as is. Any directness is in reference to and backed up by the actual and poor assets squad has added to the game even recently in order to back up why I warn things could turn out so.

Squad receives the same courtesy I expect from others if I start trying to pass off ms paint previews as an art "upgrade" feel free to call me out on that.

Now that that's out of the way let's speak constructively. Do you have any feelings on the HEC2 "update"? If what I fear is true and the asset optimisation turns out to be a lie in various cases would you be disappointed with squad?

@Deddly after the evidence me and @panzer1b presented about what is thoroughly wrong with the HEC2 by subjective and objective metrics I fear your standards for "looks good" may be dangerously low. Speaking from my own insight into kerbal asset creation this part is bad enough that they are better off starting fresh. The source for thier foil normal map being about the only thing of note that can be carried over..

Either way you should be wishing squad actually produces good assets more than obsessing over my choice of words everything "negative" I've said is backed up by history, and is well deserved. Squad's welcome to change my mind all they need to do is stop cutting corners. This isn't even modern AAA photorealism some "good" indie quality hand painted assets shouldn't be too much to ask. Look you've seen I can be positive when there is something to be positive about, but with this asset this week there are no real positives, and you're just bogging things down and drawing it out trying to be the hug police. A lot of the negativity in this thread only came about because people decided to attack criticism instead of discuss the actual devnote...

Edited by passinglurker
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25 minutes ago, Deddly said:

I suggest being nice, whether it gets the results we want or not. If we don't get results, perhaps we just have to live with the fact that the devs will do what they feel is best, and that won't always match what we think is best.

This is something I can completely get behind. There is no downside to everyone being a bit nicer (the world could certainly use it) as long as you accept that being nicer in and of itself is unlikely to affect the outcome.

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4 hours ago, Deddly said:

Whether or not a professional should listen regardless of the tone that criticism is given in, humans are human beings with feelings that affect them, for better or worse. This is an objective fact. Do with it what you will :)

But it doesn't make critique any less valuable or valid if it has negative or positive connotations. The quality of the existing work that is showcased will usually influence the general slant between negativity and positivity of the remarks though.

I do agree with some of the above points though and its obvious that a lot of the feedback that SQUAD gets during these Kerbal Weeklys is invaluable; a lot of it just senseless moaning, some of it hollow praise, however, SQUAD have made the decision to release this WIP work to the community for preview and as a direct response to that they are going to get feedback whether they desire it or not (although why would you showcase it if you didn't want feedback?). By choosing to showcase this work, it would be a waste of time if the designer of said part being showcased didn't go through the replies, filter out the fluff and concentrate the focused feedback and make effective changes to their work based on that.

I think a lot of the consistently moany dialogue from certain members is probably due to it being such a one sided conversation. I'm sure a lot of feedback would be more focused, directional and positive if discussion was open between the community and development team but it seems that the extent of dialogue boils down to 1-liners from the Game Producer. Does SQUAD want feedback from the community? Are staff/team members allowed to discuss on-going development of the parts showcase (NDA is murky waters as the part has already been show)?

It comes across like a big crowd huddled around a shuttered window and once a week a person inside opens the window, puts a poster on the wall and shuts the window and shutters. The crowd gets vocal for the week outside the window with no reaction. Then the person inside opens the window, puts out another poster and shuts the window again. Rinse and repeat. There is no 2-way dialogue here.

In light of what has been said, here's my feedback on the HECS-II in addition to what I said previously:

  • I would argue that the difference in aesthetical styles between the new HECS and the new HECS-II vary quite significantly with the HECS going for a more cell-shaded, cartoony look whereas the HECS-II looks as though it is aiming for a more photo-realistic approach which kind of puts the two styles at opposite ends of the spectrum. Basically, pick a strong aesthetic style and run with it, don't have two.
  • The shading on the end caps is almost non-existent in comparison to the old part. The solid colours of grey make the surface look very flat, especially in contrast to the solid back central piece that appears to be a hole into the void of space-time. Some grimey shading in these regions would go a long way to making the end-cap plate look a lot less uniform and sterile.
  • Foil is extremely hard to get looking right. Its interesting that a new shader has been added to the list to allow for developers/modders to use so thats nice but some of the edges around the beveled sides (between the main faces of the main module) seem to be experiencing some weird lighting issues. You can see this especially on the lower preview shot between the left face and and central face of the main module where there is a strong, dark strip.
  • The foiled regions look as though the foil is just superficially sitting on the outside faces of the module with no technical explanation as to how it is being fastened to the interior pieces of the unit. It could look a lot more natural to the eye if there was a raised, protruding edge at the top and bottom of the main module faces, much like the old HECS-II design, where this foil texture would be presumed to be clamped underneath. This would also give the artist an area where they could introduce a darker shade to the foil in this region to suggest a very slightly contoured shape rather than slab, flat sides.
  • The geometry seems very simple. It is a rather uninteresting part to look at. A few greebles here and there would not go amiss whether they are introduced via texturing or via the mesh itself. With a model that is rather simple such as this, a handle more tris would not hurt the end user.

@Deddly, the community could write posts like this every week but it feels like a pointless task as there is almost zero confirmation that these kinds of feedback posts are ever read.

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@Poodmund just showed us how it's done :)

I would love to read posts like that every week!

 

1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

@Deddly after the evidence me and @panzer1b presented about what is thoroughly wrong with the HEC2 by subjective and objective metrics I fear your standards for "looks good" may be dangerously low.

Quite possibly! When I first looked at it I thought "Oh wow, that looks so much nicer than the old one" because I was concentrating on the gold foil and how it shines, which is an effect I've wanted to see in the game for some time. But when you and others pointed out in particular the lack of detail on the grey part and the "black hole", I could also see there was a lot that could be improved. My only concern was that such valuable feedback would get lost amongst the disparaging comments that weren't at all needed to get the point across.

So don't you think it looks at all more attractive than the old one?

EDIT: I'd still take the new one over the old.

tumblr_inline_pec7qgsxbh1rr2wit_540.jpg

Edited by Deddly
Added image for easy reference
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20 minutes ago, Deddly said:

So don't you think it looks at all more attractive than the old one?

That's questionable and it all comes down to the intended art direction of the game. Think of games like Borderlands, Skyrim, Minecraft or Fortnite, they all have a very strong sense of consistent art direction which brings all the art assets into one cohesive vision of what the game is meant to look like. Now take KSP (from 1.4 onwards) and more specifically Roverdude's work on the stock game with the Making History DLC parts that he made and also the other stock-a-like artwork that he has made for his mods (ala Karibou Rover, MKS, Otter Submersible, Exploration Pack etc.); this work all has the same strong sense of direction and style when it comes to the way in which the artwork is portrayed.

The colours are somewhat muted, the specularity of the parts are quite low with most having a matte or satin like quality, there are usually large areas of single colour that are broken up with edge highlights and shadows with small scratches and dirty smudges being present and the parts usually feature only minor details in their bump maps with most of the prominent shapes within their model mesh. The parts almost look a little like clay or porcelain.

Compare that to the new HECS-II model that was previewed; the foil texture is incredibly reflective, the mesh looks very flat with all the shape being given by a very strong/highly lit normal map (I appreciate foil is hard in this case and bump maps are pretty much the only way around this), the texture almost looks a little photo-realistic and there is almost no shading/highlighting/shadowing on the rest of the part. This, to my eye, has been made in a style that is very un-Kerbal as it doesn't fit in with the previous stock parts or the new revamped part styles that have been shown. For this reason, I would actually say the old part is more reflective of a unified, cohesive art style within the 'Kerbal' look.

I hope that gives a good insightful look into my opinion. :D 

EDIT: Again, in addition to the above, I would like to post-face it with the statement that I am not saying that it looks good or bad either way, I am just trying to infer that it looks very different stylistically to what, I feel, the well entrenched Kerbal aesthetic is.

EDIT EDIT: A good metaphor would be putting a piece of Modern, conceptual art in a historic National Art Gallery. It may be a good piece of art... but it doesn't look right in its surroundings.

Edited by Poodmund
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2 hours ago, Deddly said:

Quite possibly! When I first looked at it I thought "Oh wow, that looks so much nicer than the old one"

To be fair this isn't unusual I was positive when I first saw it too, but looking closer at some pretty bald flaws, and realizing this is essentially the old part it came across as a slap in the face after the last few weeks of positive results and reinforcement.
 

2 hours ago, Deddly said:

My only concern was that such valuable feedback would get lost amongst the disparaging comments that weren't at all needed to get the point across.

I can understand where you are coming from but I think if anything is going to bury feedback its going to be these long debates on the nature of criticism. Even if they feel compelled to disagree with the tone people should still be sharing their opinion on the preview piece or whether they agree or disagree with the core point of a piece of criticism instead of solely focusing on whether it reads like someone was smiling when they wrote it. If they don't have an opinion on the contents of the devnote and just take issue with the tone of those who do care then I'd suggest they take thier issue to another thread (like the positivity movement thread) or communicate with the one they have issues with in private so that the weekly doesn't get derailed over offhanded passionate words.
 

2 hours ago, Deddly said:

So don't you think it looks at all more attractive than the old one?

let me preface by saying neither is porkalike so for the goal of a unified aesthetic attractive has nothing to do with the core lynchpin of criticism that has been leveled against the HEC2. 

As for which is the "lesser of two evils" I'd have to say the old one. the shoddy UV map aside it looks painted like more attention was paid to it vs. the new one that basically looks (as I said before) photoshopped or rather it doesn't look painted it looks scrapbooked together, and a decent normal map alone can't really save it you know what I mean? 

Edited by passinglurker
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I honestly feel that the best thing squad can do going forward is to try and create a porkjet based style in revamped parts, at least in the STOCK revamped parts.  Unless you want to then revamp all of porkjet's parts down the road, his style is the single most unified of everything in KSP as of this point, so the least effort route would be to stick to porkjet's style at least to a extent, handpainted parts with good specular maps and such.  Now if you want to move away from porkjet, perhaps do this in a new DLC where you can make parts be different and not walk over the stock game creating multiple styles in the same game.

 

Still, regardless of what style, i think the biggest thing they can do is properly draw edges on their parts.  This isnt exclusive to the new 1.5 teaser pics, but the 2.5m tanks, mk1-3 pod, and a few others show blatant lack of properly drawn edge textures between dissimilar materials.  Nomatter what art style is chosen going forwards, foil and metal cannot just suddently change to each other along a model's 3D edge, the foil needs to be clamped down somehow (probably going underneath the metal near the edge) with the corresponding edge feature (a few scrapes here and there wont hurt as well as specular map showing the brighter edge area like on porkjet's parts).  Please do something about the undefined edge textures which completely destroy immersion, and please consider adding a little bit more dirt/scratches/wear on the parts because it just doesnt feel right when parts are coming out as cleanroom styled.

 

If you guys need inspiration, open up the textures made by porkjet, take a good look at how he made edges very defined without overdoing it, and take a good look at how he made parts look exceptionally well without using a single normal map (which is the case of the 1.25m liquid fuel tank for airplanes and wing parts).  Im not asking for copy/paste, im not asking for identical to his style, but i (and a good number of the rest of this community) are asking for high quality effort to be put into the game, and this is what would make it look much better in the long run!

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7 minutes ago, panzer1b said:

If you guys need inspiration, open up the textures made by porkjet, take a good look at how he made edges very defined without overdoing it, and take a good look at how he made parts look exceptionally well without using a single normal map (which is the case of the 1.25m liquid fuel tank for airplanes and wing parts).  Im not asking for copy/paste, im not asking for identical to his style, but i (and a good number of the rest of this community) are asking for high quality effort to be put into the game, and this is what would make it look much better in the long run!

And if they need more inspiration @CobaltWolf's BDB mod is a veritable gold mine of wildly different designs all adapted to get along under a hand painted kerbal style (and porkalike too boot)

xLmNhA4.png

btw @Deddly would you say that any one of these are more attractive for KSP than either HECS2 iteration?

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Kinda feels like the art style is tearing itself in two- Going for the Kerbal look and the photo-realistic look at the same time...
I'm a bit nervous, because one of the few things about this game I dislike is the feeling of putting legos together when I'm building a rocket, and clashing art styles can really amplify that effect.

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13 hours ago, Deddly said:

I suggest being nice, whether it gets the results we want or not. If we don't get results, perhaps we just have to live with the fact that the devs will do what they feel is best, and that won't always match what we think is best.

I'm nice for a while. If that doesn't achieve anything, I start being not-nice. Finally, I say "screw you" and leave.
I'm currently at stage 2 re: inaction on constant game engine bugs and broken updates.

I'm absolutely not going to say nice things because you tell me to, which in itself is off  topic. I will be nice as soon as I hear about some progress re. aforementioned bugs.

 

Also this:

13 hours ago, Mako said:

I don't think anyone criticizing Squad's work is doing it for community recognition

This:

13 hours ago, Mako said:

The issue with picking a version and sticking with it means you're limited to the mods available for only that version.

This:

13 hours ago, Mako said:

Modding will continue after the last version of KSP hits the download servers. In fact, it might even thrive in an environment where modders don't have to worry about future stock changes breaking their work.

And this:

13 hours ago, Mako said:

I have to say I'm in the clean it up, bux fix, and polish the heck out of it and call it done camp.

I backed KSP in alpha anticipating that one day it would become a finished game, yet new bugs are still being introduced, mods are constantly being broken, and no end to churn or beginning of polishing is in sight.

I would like to be able to install the game, add my favourite mods, and just play. I don't want to find out that a bunch of mods have been broken by an update, that my peripherals suddenly don't work, or that the game now crashes to desktop without warning. I don't want the wheels on my rovers to explode for no apparent reason, or my surface bases to leap into the sky. I would really like to see a major or even final release that isn't catastrophically broken in some way.
 

Also:

12 hours ago, Poodmund said:

I think a lot of the consistently moany dialogue from certain members is probably due to it being such a one sided conversation. I'm sure a lot of feedback would be more focused, directional and positive if discussion was open between the community and development team

I have been asking for updates re. bugs and consistently getting silence, or in extremely rare cases canned PR-department weasel words, for a long time now.
Do not care about an art pass, do care about bugs and performance. Hear plenty about art, little about bugs, effectively zero about a particular regression I have in mind. Frustration intensifies.

Edited by steve_v
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Just a question. Considering Enhanced Edition is not mentioned at all during last weeks, does it mean, the last patch is final no other bugs will be fixed on consoles? Or is there still hope for polished version?

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8 hours ago, passinglurker said:


xLmNhA4.png

btw @Deddly would you say that any one of these are more attractive for KSP than either HECS2 iteration?

Sure, I think they are beautiful, with a lot of attention to detail, if slightly too shiny for stock (unless my tiny mobile screen isn't doing it justice right now). I think Nertea's also look fantastic and I would love to see his work in stock. My main issue with the old HECS2 and other gold foil parts like the Round8 and the MH radial fuel tanks is that, to my eyes, they don't really look gold. That's why I was happy to see a subjective improvement on that front. The art in general is perhaps not heading in the direction I was hoping, but it's still possible to get some attractive eye candy in the game as it is. My personal preference would be a focus on a more varied terrain without the repeating textures, collision meshes for ground scatter and maybe a Saturn analogue etc. But I can wait until they fix @steve_v's bugs first. 

2 minutes ago, Agarwel said:

Just a question. Considering Enhanced Edition is not mentioned at all during last weeks, does it mean, the last patch is final no other bugs will be fixed on consoles? Or is there still hope for polished version?

Squad and Private Division have been very quiet about this. That usually means that they have not made a definite decision yet. So there's hope, at least. 

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4 minutes ago, Deddly said:

My personal preference would be a focus on a more varied terrain without the repeating textures, collision meshes for ground scatter and maybe a Saturn analogue etc.

That stuff is next on my personal list, right behind fixing the existing bugs (and not introducing more).
GP2 in particular has been on the general wishlist for years, and if we must keep the art department busy, the terrain needs more attention than the parts IMO.

 

4 minutes ago, Deddly said:

But I can wait until they fix @steve_v's bugs first.

If I thought it was getting fixed at all, I wouldn't be complaining.

Edited by steve_v
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12 hours ago, Deddly said:

@Poodmund just showed us how it's done :)

I would love to read posts like that every week!

Hear, hear!!!

 

12 hours ago, Deddly said:

EDIT: I'd still take the new one over the old.

tumblr_inline_pec7qgsxbh1rr2wit_540.jpg

My instinctive first reaction to that graphic was "I want the gold sides of the revamped version with something like the very-end caps of the current version but improved.  The revamped end caps look too flat and featureless."

I think this is down to what @Poodmund said about having a consistent style.  KSP will always have a cartoon-nature about it (little green beasties exploring space), but I like to see good parts that remind me of all the real space probes I've seen over the years.

And from this, I'll have to take another look at BDB mods.

9 hours ago, passinglurker said:

And if they need more inspiration @CobaltWolf's BDB mod is a veritable gold mine of wildly different designs all adapted to get along under a hand painted kerbal style (and porkalike too boot)

Spoiler

xLmNhA4.png

 

 

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4 hours ago, Deddly said:

if slightly too shiny for stock (unless my tiny mobile screen isn't doing it justice right now).

That's not an in engine render things would look differently in game. Still you've peaked my curiosity how much shiny is "too shiny"? Some of these have thier bright spots (where it's warranted) sure but none are totally uniform and flat shaded like the new HECS2 or other recent parts squad's put out, and as @panzer1b explained taking advantage of contrast in the specular map (ie the shininess in the right amounts in the right places) is a key element to making the sort of detailed porkalike textures we appreciate.

As for gold foil the tricky part that makes this so hard in KSP is that it usually comes in one of two forms either it looks like krap, or it looks too photorealistic personally I think @CobaltWolf's MEM decent module, and ranger probe core are the best examples of kerbal foil that finds a middle ground and fits in with the other hand painted parts while still leaving the impression of shiny foil

MK1DzG9.png?1

Imgur album of larger examples
Edited by passinglurker

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1 hour ago, passinglurker said:

That's not an in engine render things would look differently in game. Still you've peaked my curiosity how much shiny is "too shiny"?

You're probably right. In the game they would look different, it's more about the lighting that made them look a bit like shiny plastic toy models on my mobile screen earlier on. I'm sure they look great in-game.

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The new HECS II needs more distressing patterns added, if you ask me.

Also, some UV Mapping on the top and bottom to give some depth to the attach surface would be nice (as well as actually creating an inner rim on the black center hole.)

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6 hours ago, The_Cat_In_Space said:

And no news for the Enhanced Edition (again)

And you are surprised?  Squad's standard response to problems on anything but windows+steam appears to be silence until threatened with loss of revenue.
Doubly so with the console port debacle, which they seem rather keen to distance themselves from.

Feel free to prove me wrong with a timeline for bringing the console ports up to date guys, I have a ready to eat hat right here.
I'll eat some crow too, if you start treating bugfixes and updates with equal priority across all your supposedly supported platforms.

Edited by steve_v
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36 minutes ago, steve_v said:

I'll eat some crow too, if you start treating bugfixes and updates with equal priority across all your supposedly supported platforms

Sign me up for that hat with crow on the side.

Forcing platform specific limitations down our throats, and not even acknowledging or mentioning them anywhere, is nothing short of a disgrace in my book. And at the same time charging money for sub-par add-ons is just an insult on top of it.

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