mcwaffles2003

A simple argument for early access

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Spoiler

 

Worthwhile vid, but the argument starts around 20:40

 

Early access doesn't have to months/years, but SOME time in it may be appropriate, lets be honest here... There Will Be Bugs

Edited by mcwaffles2003

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There will be bugs regardless of whether it is Early Access or not. I would rather they do proper internal QA and release a mostly working game from the get go.

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15 minutes ago, MechBFP said:

There will be bugs regardless of whether it is Early Access or not. I would rather they do proper internal QA and release a mostly working game from the get go.

I agree but whens the last time you saw a "mostly working game from the get go"? Perhaps let the mass of the community look for them in the final stages as a beta typically goes. Did you watch the segment?

 

Edited by mcwaffles2003

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2 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Perhaps let the mass of the community look for them in the final stages as a beta typically goes.

How did that work out for KSP1? How 'bugless' is it today, after how many years of the 'mass of the community' looking for them in the 'final stages'?

Whether it's a formal early access period with the actual (hash)tag on the product, or an 'early-access-pretending-to-be-release' that tries to hide the fact, it's effectively the same thing. They will still ask for a full-product price, and "there will be bugs".

Early access as a concept has proven to be little more than a way of getting paid before delivering a reasonably finished product. At the same time, it seems to have the effect of removing developers' worry about stuff being broken or unfinished or unpolished in their product, or their urgency at fixing it.

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Hear hear @swjr-swis. KSP2 needs to learn from KSP1's mistakes, not reproduce them. Have a clear vision for the game from the start, believe in it, implement it, make it robust, then present it. Don't throw in the kitchen sink just because you think somebody might want one. If it's not worth doing well, integrating thoroughly into the core gameplay, and polishing until it works well enough that people won't notice the remaining bugs, then it's not worth doing at all.

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1 hour ago, swjr-swis said:

How did that work out for KSP1? How 'bugless' is it today, after how many years of the 'mass of the community' looking for them in the 'final stages'?

Whether it's a formal early access period with the actual (hash)tag on the product, or an 'early-access-pretending-to-be-release' that tries to hide the fact, it's effectively the same thing. They will still ask for a full-product price, and "there will be bugs".

Early access as a concept has proven to be little more than a way of getting paid before delivering a reasonably finished product. At the same time, it seems to have the effect of removing developers' worry about stuff being broken or unfinished or unpolished in their product, or their urgency at fixing it.

I see it as a fair warning to the community.

Also, keep in mind SQUAD is a marketing company first, not a game developer. Using them as a baseline or bar to surpass, to me, seems underwhelming.

Factorio is still in "early access" and I believe they have a fair reputation for standing by their product

 

Edited by mcwaffles2003

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53 minutes ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Also, keep in mind SQUAD is a marketing company first, not a game developer. Using them as a baseline or bar to surpass, to me, seems underwhelming.

There’s multiple aspects to how KSP performed as an early access game and not all of them have to do with Squad not being a game developer.

  • I remember that at the time KSP was heralded as an example of “successful early access” development. Granted, that was around the 0.18 days and before questionable 0.22–0.90–1.0 jump in versioning.
  • Squad, as a marketing company should be very aware of the perils of releasing a buggy partial product. Saying that because they’re a marketing company one can expect lower standards is like saying “well Adobe is not a paint manufacturer, so what do they know about colors?

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2 hours ago, swjr-swis said:

Early access as a concept has proven to be little more than a way of getting paid before delivering a reasonably finished product. At the same time, it seems to have the effect of removing developers' worry about stuff being broken or unfinished or unpolished in their product, or their urgency at fixing it.

Some nuance is in place here. The early access prices were heavily discounted, to the point of being free at one point. And “getting paid before releasing a reasonably finished product” is a big deal; as it’s a very big challenge for indie developers. And that’s where innovative games come from, as big studios tend to stick to what is known to make money (which makes sense with the investments being made, but doesn’t generate fresh new games).

There’s quite a few early access games that worked out well. Astroneer is a favorite of mine. There’s also games that were not early access but used different ways of financing development (No Mans Sky), proving that early access alone is not a guarantee for success or failure.

What did hurt KSP in its development were factors that are in hindsight easy to attack, but hindsight is 20/20:

  • the game started as a very limited proof of concept and morphed gradually into what it is now. That means that lots of things have been bolted on and do not integrate very well with the rest of the game, like career mode.
  • A lot of promises were made about the final product that were hard to full fill. Multiplayer being the  most obvious, but “don’t pay for upgrades” was an incredibly shortsighted promise. Don’t get me wrong, DLC is a great way to keep development financed after five years and I gladly pay for it, but it raised unrealistic expectations with a large part of the community who even now are asking if they’re entitled to a free 2.0 version.
  • You can’t please everyone, but Squad tries to do so, and that results in failing everyone. To the left, shirt release cycles and implementing promised/wanted features. To the right, no bugs. And smack in the middle, us, seemingly getting neither.

Even if in reality a large part of Squad is involved in KSP2, having Private  Division (or before that, Star Theory) run the game has the immense benefit that there’s no positive or negative expectations in those regards. It doesn’t have to be early access, therefore no “release quickly” pressure and the game can truly be built from the ground up.

I don’t think Early Access is to blame for the state KSP1 is in, but it was certainly an enabler. The biggest problem is/was that there was no vision of the final product and the game kind of randomly evolved. There a plenty of early access ganes that did fine in that regards.

 

And early access is not always problematic; without it we would not have had KSP. We’re still better off with it!

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I feel they should just SCREW CONSOLES and focus on the PC edition I DON'T CARE ABOUT CONSOLE PLAYERS we got so many garbage updates because"Console Players Cant get mods so everyone needs to get the features so the console players can get them.

MAKE IT PC ONLY at first ADD GOOD STUFF AND THEN Give it to console players

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2 hours ago, Kerbart said:

Some nuance is in place here. The early access prices were heavily discounted, to the point of being free at one point. And “getting paid before releasing a reasonably finished product” is a big deal; as it’s a very big challenge for indie developers. And that’s where innovative games come from, as big studios tend to stick to what is known to make money (which makes sense with the investments being made, but doesn’t generate fresh new games).

There’s quite a few early access games that worked out well. Astroneer is a favorite of mine. There’s also games that were not early access but used different ways of financing development (No Mans Sky), proving that early access alone is not a guarantee for success or failure.

What did hurt KSP in its development were factors that are in hindsight easy to attack, but hindsight is 20/20:

  • the game started as a very limited proof of concept and morphed gradually into what it is now. That means that lots of things have been bolted on and do not integrate very well with the rest of the game, like career mode.
  • A lot of promises were made about the final product that were hard to full fill. Multiplayer being the  most obvious, but “don’t pay for upgrades” was an incredibly shortsighted promise. Don’t get me wrong, DLC is a great way to keep development financed after five years and I gladly pay for it, but it raised unrealistic expectations with a large part of the community who even now are asking if they’re entitled to a free 2.0 version.
  • You can’t please everyone, but Squad tries to do so, and that results in failing everyone. To the left, shirt release cycles and implementing promised/wanted features. To the right, no bugs. And smack in the middle, us, seemingly getting neither.

Even if in reality a large part of Squad is involved in KSP2, having Private  Division (or before that, Star Theory) run the game has the immense benefit that there’s no positive or negative expectations in those regards. It doesn’t have to be early access, therefore no “release quickly” pressure and the game can truly be built from the ground up.

I don’t think Early Access is to blame for the state KSP1 is in, but it was certainly an enabler. The biggest problem is/was that there was no vision of the final product and the game kind of randomly evolved. There a plenty of early access ganes that did fine in that regards.

 

And early access is not always problematic; without it we would not have had KSP. We’re still better off with it!

I'm quoting the whole thing so people will read this a second time as I was writing basically the same.

 

I've more than once said that the thing I'm waiting the most about KSP2 is the rewriting of the game itself, but that doesn't mean that KSP1 was an error or a badly made game.

KSP is not a game "made" by a professional studio already known in the industry, is the first title of an indie studio "organically grown" from the feedback of a passionate community, the EA aspect of it wasn't only important for the game itself but vital for the definition of a new genre of games of which KSP is the only example for the time being.

 

Big studios implies big budgets and big budgets require low risks, that's why a publisher like TT has a subsidiary like Private Division to work on smaller AA or indie games, because you can't have innovation when you can't risk to fail.

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17 minutes ago, Master39 said:

Big studios implies big budgets and big budgets require low risks, that's why a publisher like TT has a subsidiary like Private Division to work on smaller AA or indie games, because you can't have innovation when you can't risk to fail.

So true, that's why so many AAA game studios keep rehashing the same idea repeatedly. (CoD & the Sims comes to mind.) It's the smaller independent studios that are making the (in my opinion) interesting games as of late.

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8 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

Factorio is still in "early access"

The irony. The best example that popped into your head, and it's a game that has been and still is in early access since 2016. According to the developers themselves:

Quote

“We have been working on Factorio for over 8 years. The game is very stable and is highly optimised for prolonged gameplay and creating huge factories. We have sold over 1.8 million copies on our website and through Steam. However there are a few finishing touches, including GUI and graphics that we still want to add before calling the game complete, and leaving early access.”

In development for over 8 years, 4 years for sale on Steam for what they consider to be (from that same message) its final price, and having sold 1.8+ million copies.

Let that sink in a moment. 45 million bucks of revenue while doing 'a few finishing touches'. I challenge you to name me any kind of job in any other industry grossing that kind of money just for polishing up the product... while still not delivering the finished end product. Most people get hassled for not finishing their hour reports by the end of the frigging week, for a lousy weekly or monthly salary. So spare me the sob stories about poor 'indie' game developers. Heck, I'll 'stand by my product' for 20 years under those terms. Where do I sign?

 

All that said, you will not hear me say that no good games have ever come out that used an early access type of program. I did not say that in my earlier reply here either.

I am just very strongly opposing the statement that early access is in any way a necessity or requirement to get a good, reasonably polished product delivered any sooner. If anything, even in the best cases, you either end up with an unfinished or unpolished (if not outright abandoned) product, or it takes years to ever leave early access.

The biggest counter-argument to the 'simple argument' for early access, is early access itself.

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15 hours ago, mcwaffles2003 said:

whens the last time you saw a "mostly working game from the get go"

Pretty much every non-EA game I've ever bought. And most of the EA ones too.

Edited by 5thHorseman

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Eh, I think at this point, early access is a moot point.  I think there's a decent chance we'll get some sort of Beta, but even if we don't, we are probably still looking at a release in the next 12 months (at least, with the information we have so far) so it's not a terribly long wait.  Personally, I like early access games, when done right.  I think for games like KSP1 that deliver a truly unique experience, the enjoyment that comes from playing that game, even in an incomplete state, can worth tradeoffs in stability or having to wait for the full content site.  I feel like I may be in the minority in this (at least, just based on what I've read on this forum) but I do not regret buying into KSP in early access at all: any bugginess or lack of features has never offset the amount of entertainment and joy that i've gotten out of it.  And while I've purchased a fair few early access games over the years, I've enjoyed most of them and consider KSP be to be one of the best.  Of course, there are a ton of games out there that take advantage of early access to push truly suboptimal games without any formal reviews taking it to task, or games that are just never able to reach a substantial live release.  But these days, there is a lot of junk games floating around in general, just as a side effect of the broadening access to development tools and storefronts.  I think Early Access can be a valid model for getting a game to players early, being able to built up a fanbase around it, and continue funding into full release, but it's hardly a requirement and since KSP is already a proven concept, KSP2 doesn't really need that same level of exposure to succeed.

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No early AAAcess, no MTX, no day one DLC. 

If they want to release their bleeding-edge build and SDK to modders a month or two in advance then fine (for free or a small deposit up front)

But the game won't be any better than it would be if it launches in "early access". 

Indeed; it's much more likely that it'll become a crutch for them to excuse their lack of progress fixing bugs or rolling out important features.

They already considered a significant shift in their development, staff and studio, and it's likely that KSP2 will be delayed by several months.

Let's just give them a chance to make it for Pete's sake.

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Posted (edited)

Although early access has enabled the development of many games that otherwise wouldn't have been made, it's also a pretty poor way to make a coherent game. It incentivizes short-sighted changes to attract new customers at the expense of long-term game coherence, and because devs have to keep players happy throughout development it strongly discourages big, game-breaking changes (i.e. balancing, removing some placeholders or game systems that aren't working as intended) that could potentially affect save games, but at the expense of making the final product worse.

I'm very glad KSP1 exists, and wouldn't have been made without early access, but it has some unfortunate baggage from it as well that KSP2 would be best to avoid.

That said, an open beta of KSP2 would be very much appreciated prior to launch.

Edited by Lord Aurelius

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1 hour ago, Lord Aurelius said:

Although early access has enabled the development of many games that otherwise wouldn't have been made, it's also a pretty poor way to make a coherent game. It incentivizes short-sighted changes to attract new customers at the expense of long-term game coherence, and because devs have to keep players happy throughout development it strongly discourages big, game-breaking changes (i.e. balancing, removing some placeholders or game systems that aren't working as intended) that could potentially affect save games, but at the expense of making the final product worse.

I'm very glad KSP1 exists, and wouldn't have been made without early access, but it has some unfortunate baggage from it as well that KSP2 would be best to avoid.

That said, an open beta of KSP2 would be very much appreciated prior to launch.

I'd also appreciate an open beta thereof, though there's one substantial problem with that: DRM, or the lack thereof. While I haven't looked extensively, most of the open betas I'm familiar with are for obligately online games which simply don't work if you lack the appropriate client. KSP 2, though, will be substantially single-player with no DRM, making it more likely people just keep going with their open-beta copies.

That said, if a studio can afford to do so, I suspect it's much healthier overall to have a studio work with a limited number of testers (such as a "closed" early access/beta) and produce a good rendition of a video game from the moment of public release rather than have huge amounts of feedback "noise" with short-term priorities. With a closed beta, you can justify taking several months to refactor core elements of the game and substantially change how it plays. The moment you go public, even early-access public, you start to get serious bad rep for breaking the game for existing customers, and that's a trap KSP fell into: an inability to do more than tweak the game because it would break existing saves and playstyles.

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2 hours ago, Starman4308 said:

I'd also appreciate an open beta thereof, though there's one substantial problem with that: DRM, or the lack thereof. While I haven't looked extensively, most of the open betas I'm familiar with are for obligately online games which simply don't work if you lack the appropriate client. KSP 2, though, will be substantially single-player with no DRM, making it more likely people just keep going with their open-beta copies.

That said, if a studio can afford to do so, I suspect it's much healthier overall to have a studio work with a limited number of testers (such as a "closed" early access/beta) and produce a good rendition of a video game from the moment of public release rather than have huge amounts of feedback "noise" with short-term priorities. With a closed beta, you can justify taking several months to refactor core elements of the game and substantially change how it plays. The moment you go public, even early-access public, you start to get serious bad rep for breaking the game for existing customers, and that's a trap KSP fell into: an inability to do more than tweak the game because it would break existing saves and playstyles.

A Demo is implied to not be the complete game anyway; KSP1's demo isn't the full game either. So i don't see the issue, also you could just have a beta via steam and make the copies suicide after it elapses and automatically pull it from libraries.

That's a form of DRM, but the beta isn't restricted by the same promise. KSP2 beta could have DRM without KSP2 proper having it.

It's more about communicating the proper expectations than anything else, so people know exactly what they're getting and the implications of it.

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On 2/25/2020 at 4:36 AM, mcwaffles2003 said:
  Reveal hidden contents

 

Worthwhile vid, but the argument starts around 20:40

 

Early access doesn't have to months/years, but SOME time in it may be appropriate, lets be honest here... There Will Be Bugs

I made a Petition

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Posted (edited)

Actually, judging from the fact they're still showing "pre-alpha" content, then I'd expect the April (or whenever) release to be EA, whether it's called by that name or not. Two months before release they really should have more than that, with late alpha or early beta content, at least.

What you can do in two months is go from alpha to late beta, and that's what I'm expecting to happen. Of course, they could have a grand fanfare and a flashy release post, but as anyone who remembers KSP1.0 knows, this doesn't really mean anything.

Edited by Dragon01

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1 hour ago, Dragon01 said:

Actually, judging from the fact they're still showing "pre-alpha" content, then I'd expect the April (or whenever) release to be EA, whether it's called by that name or not. Two months before release they really should have more than that, with late alpha or early beta content, at least.

What you can do in two months is go from alpha to late beta, and that's what I'm expecting to happen. Of course, they could have a grand fanfare and a flashy release post, but as anyone who remembers KSP1.0 knows, this doesn't really mean anything.

Yeah I agree but they now said the game is going to be released next year cause the devs think it is too big

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1 hour ago, SpaceFace545 said:

Yeah I agree but they now said the game is going to be released next year cause the devs think it is too big

Again and again, no. Fiscal Year. Don't any of you people pay taxes? It's been delayed a month at most. It just crossed the fiscal year boundary, which has some very important consequences for accounting (hence why the shareholders had to be notified), but is otherwise unremarkable.

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13 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Again and again, no. Fiscal Year. Don't any of you people pay taxes? It's been delayed a month at most. It just crossed the fiscal year boundary, which has some very important consequences for accounting (hence why the shareholders had to be notified), but is otherwise unremarkable.

They haven't yet announced a release date, and they've just transferred the project to a brand-new studio which they haven't even finished setting up.

If it's only been delayed a month, I'm eating my space helmet.

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25 minutes ago, Dragon01 said:

Again and again, no. Fiscal Year. Don't any of you people pay taxes? It's been delayed a month at most. It just crossed the fiscal year boundary, which has some very important consequences for accounting (hence why the shareholders had to be notified), but is otherwise unremarkable.

In the interview that was aired yesterday from PAX, the devs said that (a) they were planning to release "several" videos showcasing various parts of the game and that (b) those videos would be coming out "every month or two". Folding those together, the most optimistic timeline for release would be 4-5 months from now, so late summer/early fall, and quite possibly next winter. Still within FY21, but not "April". 

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