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KSP Weekly: Thrusting into the future

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There is nothing that I can add that has not been pointed out already, with respect to graphics..

But oh my Goodness these KSP weekly threads are the most aggressive and explosive thread(for good reasons!) that I have seen on this forum!!!

Edited by Sorabh
Grammar!

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@Lisias

That is why I've mentioned the "template", that would customize the bare "procedural tank" to reassemble its original part, without keeping it as a seperate part.

Ergo 1 procedural tank and many variants that look and behave like the original parts.

You wouldn't loose anything, the part catalogue would have the same amount of "parts", but you would significantly reduce the physical parts as files in your GameData folder. And the bonus of that would be, that those parts would be configurable to your desire both the contents of the tank, and the external looks/model, to which mod authors could contribute to increase the variety of both.

 

Edited by Ald

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17 hours ago, Lisias said:

Guidelines and copycatting are two different things.

If you had played Assassin's Creed since the first one, you would had noticed differences on the characters design. There're guidelines? Yep. But now and then such guidelines changes. Did you noticed how much the Animus changed in each version? Guess who proposed such changes?

I'm also a long time Tomb Rider player. Believe, there're a lot of design changes on each game - even at the times at Core Designs. Google for Toby Gard. ;) 

 

I think you need a mirror at home. :) 

The implications of your insinuations are near offensive. You are implicitly saying that Squad are allowing a random artist to "ruin the game" and are unable to prevent such catastrophe. You are also implying that every game artist are mere copycats, unable to create and innovate.

Yes, there're guidelines. But yes, such guidelines change. Did you notice it on the last Lara Croft models, didn't you? Had you played MGS on the last 30 years?

And, above all, how do you think you are able to decide if the artist is running wild, or merely defining a new guideline ? Once a game studio decide to renew the aesthetics of a game, who do you think they will hire for the job? An accountant? :D  

You (and granted, not only you - you only had the bad luck to be that last drop on the cup of water) are making a lot of assumptions without any solid ground. You don't build a game the same way you build a Web Site, a commercial application or a consumer gadget.

 

It would be wise. :) 

Speaking of near offensive, your misunderstanding of klgraham's post(s) (and mine by proxy) is pretty much there. To be fair, text is not always a good way to convey nuance, but it also seems to be a case of seeing what you want instead of what's there.

No one is asking for Squad to copycat Porkjet's style, however we would like to see them try to copy Porkjet's best practices when it comes to asset creation, such as efficient UV mapping and effective normal/specular map use.

As for the guidelines/style guide side of things, yes, they change over the life of a franchise, and possibly even over the life of a single title, especially as development teams changes. But that implies there is a guideline to begin with. The disparate styles existing in KSP are a result of many peoples' styles and likely a total lack of a style guide in favor of getting working parts in updates. Now, that the parts are in the game, there's no rush to revamp them... unless development time is coming to an end. And since there's (presumably) no rush, there's time to do things right by following best practices and enacting a style guide. From what I've seen (just taking the part previews into account), there isn't a style guide. And that's what our posts have been about.

It's not about the fact that the design style has changed, it's that it has never been consistent or coherent and the preview revamped parts don't show any sign of improving that situation.

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16 hours ago, panzer1b said:

Also, what mod is that, id love to snag that texture to put on the part...

Sadly I never got around to actually releasing that part (real life and stuff) one of these days I'll probably dig it out and finish it I've been wanting an excuse to play with the blender plugins ability to export mu's directly instead of having to go through unity

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3 hours ago, Mako said:

there's no rush to revamp them... unless development time is coming to an end. And since there's (presumably) no rush

There's always time pressure in software development. After the current task comes the next task, and then the next one after that.

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3 hours ago, Mako said:

Now, that the parts are in the game, there's no rush to revamp them... unless development time is coming to an end. And since there's (presumably) no rush, there's time to do things right by following best practices and enacting a style guide. From what I've seen (just taking the part previews into account), there isn't a style guide. And that's what our posts have been about.

They are clearly not rushing, lol.  The post I linked here says clearly that guidelines exist, listing the things one might find in a 'style guide' tho not using the exact phrase. I'm convinced one exists, but we don't get to see it - b/c NDA.  I see minor concerns like solid black circles, but also clear effort toward improvement in many other aspects, in the previews of the past weeks.  

 

On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 4:24 PM, RoverDude said:
On ‎7‎/‎2‎/‎2017 at 3:25 PM, razark said:

When it's released.  Until then, everything is just a WIP, with the possibility of never even being released.

And this is the correct answer.  All parts still have to survive contact with QA, Experimentals, final art reviews, etc. (and some have already had some of their original geometry, textures, etc. changed based on QA feedback).  

Some parts still have mesh work to do, some have additional texture work to do, etc.  Some I'd consider to be within a stone's throw of being in their final state.  Some are dog-eared to have their textures tweaked.  Heck, some got tweaked between the time their screenshot was made for KSP Weekly, and the actual release of the relevant post.

Some will likely get more updates as their alternate textures are built up.  Some that were previously close to finished have had to be revisited because I wasn't happy with how the part sets came together when making historic rockets in the VAB, or we found out that some geometry caused issues with the IVAs, etc. and some parts have been tweaked/changed more than once at this point for all of the reasons above and more.

I have said repeatedly that everything is subject to change,  So yeah, I'd say nothing is set in stone until the final release build :wink:

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If anything has ever changed between a part preview and the released build, the quote counts as a true statement - even If a change occurred but it missed the point a 3rd party was trying to point out. 

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10 hours ago, Mako said:

Speaking of near offensive, your misunderstanding of klgraham's post(s) (and mine by proxy) is pretty much there. To be fair, text is not always a good way to convey nuance, but it also seems to be a case of seeing what you want instead of what's there.

As I said "(and granted, not only you - you only had the bad luck to be that last drop on the cup of water)"

 

10 hours ago, Mako said:

No one is asking for Squad to copycat Porkjet's style, however we would like to see them try to copy Porkjet's best practices when it comes to asset creation, such as efficient UV mapping and effective normal/specular map use.

So please pinpoint where the revamping parts are failing on the subject! :) 

 

10 hours ago, Mako said:

Now, that the parts are in the game, there's no rush to revamp them... unless development time is coming to an end. And since there's (presumably) no rush, there's time to do things right by following best practices and enacting a style guide.

Unless you have some insider information (what would be a problem, as Strategy is usually a confidential subject - harshly punished if leaked, by the way), you are way over your head. Right now, I can think on at least 3 reasons such measure would need to be done, and none of them would be discussed to the wide public.

You are projecting your limitations as it would Squad's ones.

 

10 hours ago, Mako said:

It's not about the fact that the design style has changed, it's that it has never been consistent or coherent and the preview revamped parts don't show any sign of improving that situation.

You have absolutely no ground to do such affirmation. All we had saw are a couple parts, it's not enough to tell if they are just shoving new styles on some parts just because, or if they are initiating a "revamp effort", where the aesthetics would be normalized and a new set of guidelines are being stablished.

Since Squad already stated they are "revamping the parts", my best guess is the later. :D Of course they can fail on the process, and of course historically such transitions are not smooth (and yeah, this need to be improved). But none of us have enough information to tell they are already failing - all I see is wild speculation, uninformed guesses and an implicit accusation of incompetence here and there.

— POST - EDIT — 

Given the direction this discussion is taking, I think it's time to thank people for this interesting discussion - since I do not attend Squad's strategic meetings (and would had signed a beautiful NDA if I do), I don't think that anything productive could come by insisting on posting about.

 

Edited by Lisias
hit "Save" too soon. and… bad grammars. =/

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1 hour ago, basic.syntax said:

If anything has ever changed between a part preview and the released build, the quote counts as a true statement - even If a change occurred but it missed the point a 3rd party was trying to point out. 

Context: the post you quoted was from the thread where they preview'd the rd-107 which as you'd recall was a part that received wide spread criticism from virtually everyone.

 

While it seemed a reasonable thing to say at the time Rd's post turned out to ultimately be deflection against the growing spread of criticism. As far as anyone could tell on release the rd-107 was the only one that got a second pass and everything else(including the parts that came before which he alluded to) looked as bad as the day they were previewed in addition to the across the board under the hood QA issues that a polish pass should have caught(missing emmisive animations, config file typos, mesh artifacts, inefficiency, incorrectly sized nodes etc) even if we entertained the notion that this could be technically true and just exaggerated the outcome is still the same squad at that time failed so bad we can't simply trust them to notice and correct obvious flaws and errors themselves now. This might change if they can deliver a solid update in the future but until then they can't escape their past mistakes so easily.

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1 hour ago, Lisias said:

You have absolutely no ground to do such affirmation. All we had saw are a couple parts, it's not enough to tell if they are just shoving new styles on some parts just because, or if they are initiating a "revamp effort", where the aesthetics would be normalized and a new set of guidelines are being stablished.

Since Squad already stated they are "revamping the parts", my best guess is the later. :D Of course they can fail on the process, and of course historically such transitions are not smooth (and yeah, this need to be improved). But none of us have enough information to tell they are already failing - all I see is wild speculation, uninformed guesses and an implicit accusation of incompetence here and there.

I beg to differ...Making History released with many broken parts and it took them the better part of 6 months and 5 point releases to resolve them. That isn't speculation or uninformed guesses, it's a set of expectations based on previous experience.

I have no doubt that the Squad team is capable of amazing work, but I'm not privy to the pressures that resulted in them releasing broken parts before so I have no way of knowing if they'll improve. It's not wrong for people to see the past and use that as a predictor of the future.

Edited by Tyko

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#sigh Ok, I'll bite the bait. ;) 

2 hours ago, Tyko said:

I beg to differ...Making History released with many broken parts and it took them the better part of 6 months and 5 point releases to resolve them. That isn't speculation or uninformed guesses, it's a set of expectations based on previous experience.

For me, it's plain clear that MH was rushed into production. By the time 1.4.0 hit the shelves, It was plain clear to me that they already knew 1.4.1 would be issued. Fast. They had a non-functional requirement to meet, and it should had be a hell of a requirement. What got Squad with their pants down, IMHO, was the need for the 1.4.2 and 1.4.3 releases in order to get things working again. (observing the bug-track can be a source of insights).

My guessing (and it's all what it is, a guessing) is that Squad is currently fighting a multi-front war:

  • they are dealing with technical flaws from third parties products,
  • they are dealing with some technical debits from the past
    • (a awful part created by that flaws on third parties products on the past),
  • and they need to cope to some strategical, non-funcional, requirements.

The first two fronts are easy to watch from outside. The last one? Not a bit.

It would be of value to add that the current year's hiring announces are, by themselves, another source of insights. IMHO Squad is aware to the problems and they are taking proper measures to solve or at least mitigate the problems.

Any reasoning that looks only on the flaws of the past, and plain ignores what was done since them, is an uninformed guess (even by being a educated one). You are not informed enough to do a proper analysis (neither do I, by the way - I AM GUESSING TOO).

If we are not informed enough, it's speculation.

 

2 hours ago, Tyko said:

I have no doubt that the Squad team is capable of amazing work, but I'm not privy to the pressures that resulted in them releasing broken parts before so I have no way of knowing if they'll improve. It's not wrong for people to see the past and use that as a predictor of the future.

Agreed. What's wrong is to handle them as they're already guilty for a problem they didn't caused yet.

One thing is to say "I think they should use the efforts on something else", or "I failed to understand how they plan to push KSP to the next level", or even "I can't see how they would implement the changes without more grief - modders are being consistently annoyed by new releases". These are some valid points that I think would be worth some (nice, civilized and educated) discussion about.

(I'm not saying I agree or disagree with any of these points, I'm just saying it would worth discussing them).

Another one is to say "they are incompetents that doesn't know what they are doing", what's appears to be the tone on most vitriol criticism I find, some of them implied on the revamping parts effort.

I'm not saying they are competent. I'm not saying they are incompetent. I'm saying we do not have enough information to even consider something about the matter.

Competence is not the absence of errors. Competence is the ability to reach your goals besides (and sometimes, due!) the errors. How I could measure competence without knowing the goals and constraints?

Edited by Lisias
slight better phrasing.

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@Lisias

Tylo said it better than I could of.

Just to clarify: Everything besides what Squad employees have posted in this thread, including your posts, is speculation.

You seem to have based your speculation on what Squad has said and some optimism. I appreciate this. This is what I would like to see.

I've based my speculation on what I've observed from Squad while following KSP's development for the last 5 years, on what I've observed from other game development projects from before and after KSP, and on my natural predilection for pessimism. This is what I expect to see.

I would love for you to be right and for me to be wrong. I would love for Squad to prove me wrong, but from what I've seen so far I don't expect them to. I expect KSP to remain a great idea with decent execution and unrealized potential.

Making video games is hard, and sometimes good enough just has to be good enough. I'm happy with what I have, but it doesn't mean I don't want more or I stop seeing room for improvement.

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1 hour ago, Tyko said:

it's a set of expectations based on previous experience.

I missed that. You touched what appears to be the most important issue ever about KSP, and I almost let it go unchecked. Sorry.

I remember I saying in the past that Managing User's Expectations is harsh, and perhaps something Squad should be doing differently. I think it worths mentioning it again.

I'm afraid I don't have the slightest clue about how this should be handled, however. The growing list of long discussions in which I'm recurrently involved in this forum appears to corroborates this, by the way.

Edited by Lisias
eternal typos of the englishless mind.

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51 minutes ago, Lisias said:

I remember I saying in the past that Managing User's Expectations is harsh, and perhaps something Squad should be doing differently. I think it worths mentioning it again.

I'm afraid I don't have the slightest clue about how this should be handled, however. The growing list of long discussions in which I'm recurrently involved in this forum appears to corroborates this, by the way.

It's not an easy problem to tackle, but I do think you've hit on what is often a contributing cause, if not the root cause, of a lot of users' frustrations with many software titles.

In the case of KSP specifically, we've never really known what to expect beyond the next update. And rarely, if ever, has the next update has been perfectly clear or detailed. Surprises are probably a good thing in general, but the community hasn't had a clear idea of KSP's future post-launch. Based on my experience with other titles and other dev teams It feels like that's because Squad itself hasn't had a clear idea.

Right now it feels like they're still working on KSP because they don't know what else to do and Take-Two is still sending money, so why not? It seems unlikely that that's the case, but that's how it feels. Whatever the case may be, I don't think anyone can say that Squad is providing enough info to have any idea what to expect, even about something as specific as the currently underway art revamp.

It can be tough to manage, but I always feel like providing as much honest information as possible is best. I know some folks in this forum like to point out that some people will misunderstand any communication and use that as an excuse to not share any info, but that just strikes me as failing to communicate clearly on the dev side and failing to comprehend on the user side. Just accept that there will be some of that, and work through it. It seems better than the alternative, and no one would have to be any more engaged than they currently are with the community.

You're right that it's not an easy, quick thing to tackle, but maybe it doesn't really matter. Maybe the numbers guys at Take-Two have figured out that KSP sold well enough that any DLC will likely sell enough to justify continued development with or without a lot of community engagement. Or maybe, like how you're feeling about KSP, it's a work in progress and we'll see improvement.

As I said earlier: I do want you to be right.

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