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how does the community feel abut the long dev time? we used to get a major update every few months or so, but .23 was half a year ago now. the ARM update was ok, but the only real improvement other than minor tweaks were the joint enhancement. what do we feel about the slow developement? also, at this pace, where do we see KSP in two or three years?

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I feel like they added enough to make this a complete game, but not quite.

That's a huge understatement. Calling KSP a 'complete game' is the same as calling Duke Nukem Forever 'an example of accelerated game development'.

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You're forgetting that ARM featured a few new parts (including the claw which needed new mechanics to be coded and tested), random generation of asteroids and related mechanics along with maneuver node improvements in addition to the mentioned joint enhancement (which is a major improvement) and bug fixes.

For slightly over 3 months since 0.23 that's not bad. Also there was a similar slowdown in development last year at the beginning of the year with 0.19. (also about 3 months).

The 0.23.5 instead of a 0.24 may be confusing, implying that it was less work than a full number version, but that's simply because 0.24 was planned to be the contract update and the ARM patch was done before the contract branch.

As to your question. I think that achieving scope completion is possible by the end of the year and that's what we should see this year. Whatever more career mode mechanics are planned shouldn't be as much work as the contract system framework and budgets, though I am curious as to what they will be. There aren't many gameplay frameworks that need to be implemented (multiplayer mostly and a few minor things), just a lot of content and polish (planets needing polish, new planet(s), biomes, new contracts, new parts, improved aerodynamics, science rebalancing, VAB/SPH editor improvements, new UI features). Overall I am pretty certain we will see version 1.0 within the next 24 months.

Edited by Pulstar
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You're forgetting that ARM featured a few new parts (including the claw which needed new mechanics to be coded and tested), random generation of asteroids and related mechanics along with maneuver node improvements in addition to the mentioned joint enhancement (which is a major improvement) and bug fixes.

For slightly over 3 months since 0.23 that's not bad. Also there was a similar slowdown in development last year at the beginning of the year with 0.19. (also about 3 months)

-New parts are not improvement.

-Random generation of asteroids that only add artificial challenge is not an improvement.

-New mechanics for a claw...Mechanics that KAS does since 0.19. How is that an improvement?

-The maneuver node new functionalities and fixes were present in mods since 0.19

-The joint enhancement is something that ferram made as a MOD as well. In fact, KSP's joint recinforcement works so well, that it's better to use Kerbal Join Reinforcement instead.

The 0.23.5 instead of a 0.24 may be confusing, implying that it was less work than a full number version, but that's simply because 0.24 was planned to be the contract update and the ARM patch was done before the contract branch.

It's not even possible to measure what the plans for 0.24 are. If you go for the vague development texts that HarvesteR often posts, you better star buying snake oil. In practice, we only know what features are added in KSP once we get to play the new version.

As to your question. I think that achieving scope completion is possible by the end of the year and that's what we should see this year. Whatever more career mode mechanics are planned shouldn't be as much work as the contract system framework and budgets, though I am curious as to what they will be. There aren't many gameplay frameworks that need to be implemented (multiplayer mostly and a few minor things), just a lot of content and polish (planets needing polish, new planet(s), biomes, new contracts, new parts, improved aerodynamics, science rebalancing, VAB/SPH editor improvements, new UI features). Overall I am pretty certain we will see version 1.0 within the next 24 months.

I don't think so. So far, KSP is using a 'kangaroo' development model that jumps from Alpha to Beta constantly. Plus, if you notice, everything you suggested pretty much requires redoing big parts of the core game. Considering KSP's current development model, the only thing you'll see in 24 months is the announcement for a possible version 0.25 that may or may not have the features proposed.

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I'm going to throw out a thought that I haven't seen yet in threads like this.

The absolute amount of time between updates isn't important. Whether it's a week, a month, six months, whatever, is not what seems to matter.

What matters, I think, is this: If the time between two updates is longer than the time it takes for players to exhaust all of the content from the first update, then people will start getting impatient for the next one. Or worse, they'll lose interest in the game before the next one.

So you can have tiny updates every few weeks that give people a few weeks worth of "new stuff to do" , or you can have huge updates every few months that give people a few months worth of new stuff to do, and everything is hunky dory. That seems to be why the 0.18 update is looked upon so fondly: 0.18 introduced docking, which vastly expanded what you could do in the game, and kept people busy for months.

The problem arises if you have updates every few months that only give people a couple of weeks worth of new stuff to do.

If people are currently getting antsy about the release schedule (which they seem to be) then shorter release cycles alone probably won't help very much, since those shorter cycles will also have much less content. The only way to get more stuff per release would be to have more people working on each release. KSP has a very small team, and given this I don't think it's reasonable to expect development to be much faster that it currently is.

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I'm going to throw out a thought that I haven't seen yet in threads like this.

The absolute amount of time between updates isn't important. Whether it's a week, a month, six months, whatever, is not what seems to matter.

What matters, I think, is this: If the time between two updates is longer than the time it takes for players to exhaust all of the content from the first update, then people will start getting impatient for the next one. Or worse, they'll lose interest in the game before the next one.

So you can have tiny updates every few weeks that give people a few weeks worth of "new stuff to do" , or you can have huge updates every few months that give people a few months worth of new stuff to do, and everything is hunky dory. That seems to be why the 0.18 update is looked upon so fondly: 0.18 introduced docking, which vastly expanded what you could do in the game, and kept people busy for months.

The problem arises if you have updates every few months that only give people a couple of weeks worth of new stuff to do.

If people are currently getting antsy about the release schedule (which they seem to be) then shorter release cycles alone probably won't help very much, since those shorter cycles will also have much less content. The only way to get more stuff per release would be to have more people working on each release. KSP has a very small team, and given this I don't think it's reasonable to expect development to be much faster that it currently is.

The problem is not only the development schedule. The problem is that we don't even know what to expect in updates. Development texts are vague and broad and even have a disclaimer that there's no guarantees the proposed features will be implemented in a next version when features are mentioned. KSPs version release is pretty much a blind bag, where you hope the PRed features are in the game and you only find out when you get to play the new version. It's almost like a time consuming lottery. They dwelve greatly on the unlikely scenario that you win (get the part/feature/functionality) but forget to mention or hide what will happen in the likely possibility that you lose. And the most dangerous part is: The developers only do a small push towards said time consuming lottery. The users are the ones that do the rest, fantasizing about features they're not even sure are being made or will be released and hyping up the game for other people as well.

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Can you name an instance happening after April of last year, where the PR'd features weren't in the update (backing it up with a link)? I only recall this happening to Mu's optimization branch for 0.22. Ever since the "expansion" fiasco last yearr PR guidelines seem to be pretty strict and they don't tell us anything unless it is currently being worked and it's probable it will make it into the update, keeping the uncertain things secret until the release notes. I'd argue that overall we're usually getting more than what Harvester says in the "goals for the next update" posts.

Also I'm not really sure why do you expect the development plans for the next update given to the community for updates to be precise. Creative work, and software development does fall under it after all, isn't a standardized predictable enterprise. You don't know how the code should look or will look until you finish it or you realize that the whole approach to the problem was wrong (or impossible to implement) and come up with a better one. You'd need to have prophetic powers to actually deliver more than vague goals, that's a problem every plan for every project faces.

Plans get revised all the time, since nobody can predict the challenges. What Squad tells us reflects that and they didn't think of such an approach because they had such a whim. The do it because that's what experience with developing the game has shown them. Some stuff got canceled, development focus got changed, new possibilities and opportunities have arisen and old plans were no longer valid. C'est la vie.

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The problem is not only the development schedule. The problem is that we don't even know what to expect in updates. Development texts are vague and broad and even have a disclaimer that there's no guarantees the proposed features will be implemented in a next version when features are mentioned. KSPs version release is pretty much a blind bag, where you hope the PRed features are in the game and you only find out when you get to play the new version.
PR guidelines seem to be pretty strict and they don't tell us anything unless it is currently being worked and it's probable it will make it into the update, keeping the uncertain things secret until the release notes. I'd argue that overall we're usually getting more than what Harvester says in the "goals for the next update" posts.

I actually agree with both of you, but in a slightly different sense.

It's true that we generally don't know exactly how the gameplay will be affected by upcoming updates. But your objection, MR4Y, seems to be that you don't know if you're going to get what you want. Well, ok, that's true... but the game isn't built just for you, and as the stones wisely sang, "you can't always get what you want". This sounds a bit entitled.

On the other hand, I do think there is a more legitimate reason why it's a bad approach: it means the community can't give feedback on how those mechanics play out ahead of time. I'm sure everyone remembers when science was going to be in the next update. There were dozens of people saying "oh boy I hope it's not grindy", and dozens more saying "well we don't know if it's going to be grindy, so don't bother commenting". And of course, it turned out to be horribly grindy. If we'd known beforehand what the mechanic was going to be like, we might have been able to have a useful discussion about it without all of the "just shut up and wait" posts that generally send threads off the rails.

I also agree that we do tend to get more than we usually hear about in advance, which is some compensation I suppose.

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Agree with your list, but

-New mechanics for a claw...Mechanics that KAS does since 0.19. How is that an improvement?

is just IMHO a docking port which doesn't looks like a DP (does Squad team have trouble with anim/Unity ? It would be funny, it looks like they doesn't have any choice but use their own DP mechanism to make this claw work, the main drawback comes from the resource sharing AFAIK which seems to trouble some/many people).

And you forget:

-A new decoupler which add a new big issue :P

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I agree with the saying that KSP doesn't look like it's complete, or even "scope complete".

But keep in mind that KSP is working with modular framework that are expected to be fun at release even if incomplete.

But sometime a feature is just too great to add and balance in one release. That's why for Science to be complete you would have needed both budget and reputation and all biome added at once, but this would certainly have took far more time to do.

Now, the more they add, the more we compare KSP with big closed-development game (which take years to complete). This make it harder for them to top-themselves at each release.

I'm no developer but I think in their situation I would do what they "look like" to be doing : Work on the invisible to user deeper code to prepare for future feature while giving the player "small looking" toy to pass the time until the world(save)-killing update.

To answer the original question : I'm personally ok to wait forev... quite a long time. The game didn't cost me much and when the version was stable I got more than what I expected for my money.

I just hope they made version that doesn't crash so often. (Though I'm letting it pass as my computer is old)

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These threads are always hilarious.

how does the community feel abut the long dev time? we used to get a major update every few months or so, but .23 was half a year ago now.

Eh, it's fine. 0.23.5 came out with more content and was cool, although the coding for asteroids was kind of dumb from a modding standpoint (like a lot of other things, current conics draws is private, for instance). Seriously SQUAD, think about your program like a big API and program accordingly.

Anyway, we would have had 0.24 by now if it weren't for the testers saying "this is fine and all but what's the point?" and then having the devs move up the 0.25 features to 0.24. So basically you can think of the upcoming 0.24 as two updates in one that took two updates' time. The original 0.24 sounded like a lot of back-end work anyway, there wouldn't have been that much content and people would be griping about how boring it was.

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-New parts are not improvement.

Yet players clamor for them constantly, so somebody must think they're a good idea.

-Random generation of asteroids that only add artificial challenge is not an improvement.

The entire game is an artificial challenge, so I'm not seeing the problem with that.

-New mechanics for a claw...Mechanics that KAS does since 0.19... The maneuver node new functionalities and fixes were present in mods since 0.19... joint enhancement is something that ferram made...

Yet people complain bitterly if anyone suggests leaving a function to modders rather than Squad including it in stock.

The problem is that we don't even know what to expect in updates.

You know the basics if you read the announcements and Devnotes, but even if we didn't know, what difference would it make? New versions come when they come and include what they include. Knowing about it ahead of time isn't going to change that.

In short, if the game isn't going in a direction or at a rate you would prefer, that doesn't mean that Squad isn't doing good things that others are pleased about. Would I like new versions to come faster? Yes! I'd like new stuff to play with every couple of weeks. But I also want the features to be well-made and non-trivial, and that means that it's going to take time to make. So I'm patient, and I wait, and occasionally I go do something else for a while, and come back to KSP refreshed. (I've just discovered Minecraft, at the moment. :D )

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I don't play Space Engineers much, but I casually follow it's development and personally, I like the they handle the updates: They release a patch every week. They have for as long as I can remember without exception. There may be a few weeks where they didn't release anything, but it was definitely the exception. Sometimes the patches have huge new features (2 weeks ago they released the "Merge" block, basically a docking clamp) and usually, they're tiny (This week added an in-game color change to your character, and spectator mode. wooo...). Sometimes they additions don't do anything but are needed for later content (and they say "this will be used for later content"). But they're consistent.

I'm also not active on their forums (Steam or otherwise), so I don't know what their community is like, or what level of interaction their devs have with the community.

I'm not saying KSP needs weekly up dates, but it would be nice to see regular updates about every 4-6 weeks would be enough.

Really, I'm just getting fatigued of reading "we're working on this stuff we can't tell you about" in the dev notes. I feel like a lot of the blame for disappointment gets laid at community members who speculate about whats coming down the pipe, and IMO this isn't very fair because I feel that Squad generates an environment that encourages speculation.

A prime example of this was the "Golden Statue" that got posted last week. It didn't cause a problem and Rowsdower's not a dev, but it's a good, recent example.

WHAT IS IT? Can YOU guess what it is? You can try, but even if you guess right, we won't tell you! But you can guess, you can guess ALL DAY LONG! Just LOOK at it! It's a thing!

The whole "soontm" thing is another example. /shudder

Anyway, the point is, even if the updates were tiny, if they were regular, they would help curb some of the speculation about the game. Is a new feature coming this update? it wasn't there? oh, maybe next update. It's fine to have code there that isn't getting used yet. Some of it may even be helpful to the modders who can play with it before the whole feature is implemented.

Again, just my opinion, with some examples.

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Really, I'm just getting fatigued of reading "we're working on this stuff we can't tell you about" in the dev notes. I feel like a lot of the blame for disappointment gets laid at community members who speculate about whats coming down the pipe, and IMO this isn't very fair because I feel that Squad generates an environment that encourages speculation.

Personally I think SQUAD has silenced themselves because of past failures (DLC fiasco what I missed, promised resources, 0.23.5 pre-hype, etc...) and the backlash from those. Add on to that the small size of their team plus the workload and you have a recipe for little to no information because no one has the time or incentive to actually expound on new features. Instead we get LOLMYSTERIOUSSCREENSHOT and HEREISHOWWEDEV.

I mean, really, you shoot yourself in the foot enough times and you're not going to risk doing it again.

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Personally I think SQUAD has silenced themselves because of past failures (DLC fiasco what I missed, promised resources, 0.23.5 pre-hype, etc...) and the backlash from those. Add on to that the small size of their team plus the workload and you have a recipe for little to no information because no one has the time or incentive to actually expound on new features. Instead we get LOLMYSTERIOUSSCREENSHOT and HEREISHOWWEDEV.

I mean, really, you shoot yourself in the foot enough times and you're not going to risk doing it again.

Pretty much, it's the same reason why we don't get release dates.

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Pretty much, it's the same reason why we don't get release dates.

No sane developer gives out release because it's one of the dumbest things you can do. Talking about new features is one thing, giving yourself no play for unforeseen issues is something else entirely.

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As a person who works in software development for many years, I can say one thing:

KSP releases are frequent and very full of content for the size of team Squad has on it.

Of course an average player is upset because the game has a bug he doesn't like and the last release brought a change he doesn't like and didn't bring a feature he would like to have in game. It also takes longer than he's willing to wait for another release without complaining. That's no different from any other game in development.

Each feature takes its time to be implemented, tested, and released. And since we had a release withdrawn just recently since added functionality was missing proper context to be enjoyable, it is logical it will take more time to implement another feature.

The point is, discussing it on forums is not going to make the development cycle any faster.

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The point is, discussing it on forums is not going to make the development cycle any faster.

Exactly. The same way that complaining about bugs more than once won't make them get solved faster. The same way that suggesting features won't get them into the game. The same way that complaining about people's complaint's won't stop them from complaining.

So, in essence, the entirety of this forums is useless according to your statement.

Also, one thing that's getting on my nerves. Most people here assume that just because you're complaining about the lack of clear communication about updates, that means the person is whining because they're not getting the updates they want. Really? You're gonna diminish a person's opinion to a matter of whining because you don't agree with their opinion or is a SQUAD fanboy? Essentially, people are not allowed to have opinions, unless they are the same as yours or the developers you so adore.

One thing is very clear and I dare you to prove me wrong in this:

-There is no clear definition on what SQUAD is gonna do in any release of KSP no matter how many deblogs, livestreams or anything they do. Let's look at ARM. At first, it was stated to be a DLC, then a mod and we only got to know it was an addon when the afformented thing was released.

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I don't play Space Engineers much, but I casually follow it's development and personally, I like the they handle the updates: They release a patch every week. They have for as long as I can remember without exception.

Not only that, but it's generally uploaded between 5 - 7 GMT every thursday. You could nearly set your watch by it.

I've seen very few developers that manage an update schedule that reliable though.

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-There is no clear definition on what SQUAD is gonna do in any release of KSP no matter how many deblogs, livestreams or anything they do. Let's look at ARM. At first, it was stated to be a DLC, then a mod and we only got to know it was an addon when the afformented thing was released.

We have a fairly good idea on what SQUAD is working at the moment. 0.24 will most likely have contracts and budgets, and it'll be released when it's ready. There could be more details available, but the KSP community has grown too large for that. Too many players would take the details as promises, instead of vague predictions that might be obsolete tomorrow. They would then feel betrayed, when the release proves to be something else than they expected.

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No sane developer gives out release because it's one of the dumbest things you can do. Talking about new features is one thing, giving yourself no play for unforeseen issues is something else entirely.

I don't really understand this viewpoint, though it is certainly common. There's nothing so special about developing software that means it can't be kept to a schedule, any more than building a skyscraper. Both endeavors involve dealing with setbacks and unforeseen issues, and sometimes things get behind schedule, but I don't think it's impossible to have a schedule at all for either of them just because they're not 100% predictable.

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Most people here assume that just because you're complaining about the lack of clear communication about updates, that means the person is whining because they're not getting the updates they want.

A few posts back, you gave a list of recently included features which you considered non-valuable. Clearly, you were expressing unhappiness that the updates were not including things you wanted and were including things you did not want. That has nothing to do with communication. Which is it you're unhappy with? The content, the communication, both, or neither?

Essentially, people are not allowed to have opinions, unless they are the same as yours or the developers you so adore.

It is generally the people who repeat their opinions most stridently and repetitiously who claim they are not being allowed to have their opinions. The fact that others disagree with you is not censorship or oppression.

One thing is very clear and I dare you to prove me wrong in this:

-There is no clear definition on what SQUAD is gonna do in any release of KSP no matter how many deblogs, livestreams or anything they do. Let's look at ARM. At first, it was stated to be a DLC, then a mod and we only got to know it was an addon when the afformented thing was released.

You are correct; I cannot prove this wrong. It also doesn't matter. Whether it ended up being called an official mod, or a DLC, or what have you, we still got it. We didn't know exactly what was going to be in it beforehand, but we still got it. What's in a name? Asteroid-grabbing and larger parts are still as sweet. And as always, there were the terms you agreed to before purchasing the game: "Squad is under no obligation to maintain any level of communication with the player community, choosing to do so at their own discretion."

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I don't really understand this viewpoint, though it is certainly common. There's nothing so special about developing software that means it can't be kept to a schedule, any more than building a skyscraper. Both endeavors involve dealing with setbacks and unforeseen issues, and sometimes things get behind schedule, but I don't think it's impossible to have a schedule at all for either of them just because they're not 100% predictable.

It's fine to have an internal deadline to work from but publishing a deadline means that people will hold you to it. That sounds all fine and good and generally works in a more professional environment where the client only sees the final QA version and then decides whether they're going to pay for improvements outside of scope, but if you publish a deadline for every update you make during early access game development with a fuzzy scope you're going to end up with a lot of very hacked off players because you will inevitably miss 50% or more of those deadlines.

E: At least, that's been my experience watching early access games. Maybe I have a different perspective being in development, maybe I'm more patient with updates because I know what goes into them, I don't know.

Edited by regex
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