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debunking "Joe made me do it"

An open ended, beautiful and innovative 3D space environment with stars, planets, moons, asteroids, comets, black holes, star bases and floating cities!

Post Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:27 pm

I don't know how you can say that it reflects on Lancers Reactor just because a few people are unhappy with the initial release of a game.
Actually instead of hurting sales it looks to me like it is helping because now I want to go out and buy Spaceforce just to see what all the fuss is about.
I wasn't planning on buying Spaceforce until a patch was released or at least an addon for Multiplayer and I am still waiting for the modding tools that were suppose to be released but so far I haven't seen any.
Game developers should be happy that Lancers Reactor is helping spread the news about a game and just because a few people are not happy with it don't mean that most intelligent people will not form their own opinion and just go by what a few unhappy people say.
So to say that it hurts Lancers Reactor just because they are being fair and not deleting posts like they are in the official Spaceforce site forums is not true.
Anyone with any intelligence can see that Lancers Reactor is one heck of a great site with a dedicated staff, free unlimited downloads of thousands of mods, tools and other miscellaneous files and has a great community.

Post Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:28 pm

Thanks to Finalday for steering the discussion away from personal attacks, and to Chips for putting us back on topic.

A couple points of clarification towards the latter:

"Severe Problems"

After I wrote the previous post, I was thinking that my term "severe problem" is ambiguous. I was thinking from a programmer's point of view, not a player's.

Take for example a game-crash. Obviously a game-crash is a "severe problem" from a player's point of view, but from a programmer's point of view this is always extremely easy to fix once it's reproducible. So if I say the patch looks like a lot of piddly stuff, I don't mean that it's not huge and substantial from the player's point of view -- it very well may be, e.g. & esp. the ships freezing bug -- I just mean that it would take very little time to put the changes into the code.

A "severe problem" from a programmer's point of view would be where an entire system had to be re-engineered, for example because it doesn't scale well. (A more concrete but made-up example of scaling problems: if there were too much lag time in AI calculations in larger battles, the AI may need to be rewritten).

If the game were released with a lot of piddly problems, I wouldn't mind at all, so long as they're fixed in a patch. Severe problems are really serious, because often they're prohibitively expensive to fix. -- Such as the writing and mission design. (Two separate severe problems.) It's mainly the mission design that gets me. But yeah, neither one can possibly be fixed. I mean, in principle it can be done of course, and it would be fantastic if they did it, but I really doubt they'll go to the trouble.

I consider the lack of game-design a gamekiller because the bare simulation isn't sufficient, as it is in X3. In X3, it's fine if the story sucks: you can just ignore it. It's not really the strength. SpaceFarce doesn't have an interesting enough simulation. It's like flying Freelancer or Darkstar One after the campaign: it gets boring fast. This is a subjective thing of course, but hopefully the theoretical framework is clear.

Oh, and yes the story is "playable" in the sense that there are no showstopping bugs.

Developers Reconnecting with the Community

No, I don't expect them to come out with "yup we made a stinker, sorry folks" -- but something more like this: "we recognize that people are disappointed, and we'd like to open up the process by which we fix things, so you (the community) can be a part of the solution."

Then, real discussion, not advertising, not stonewalling, not patronizing.

Will they catch hell from the disappointed fans? Yes. Is that disincentive? Certainly. Nobody wants to face that music. But it's worth doing anyway. "Throw your suggestion on this big unordered pile" doesn't really sound like a plan, but rather more like a dodge.

In the earlier phase of this game's development, there was a separate suggestion board (on the official site), indexed by topic and everything. Something like that would have been a good move.

On the Suggestions thread, I showed in some detail, with examples, how it's really necessary to get context and feedback, if one is to make non-trivial suggestions. Hopefully that point is well taken.


Just to contextualize: I brought up these two main issues not because I'm trying to hammer a point that's already been made, but because I wanted to show that the severe problems (and the developer's response) have nothing to do with JoWood.

The worst JoWood did was force Provox to keep their agreed deadline, and the game consequently shipped with some bugs and minus a few minor features.

As I mentioned above, these kind of piddly problems (autopilot doesn't work, the ship freezes, etc.) -- even if they appear severe from the player's point-of-view -- are perfectly acceptable, since a patch will fix 'em just fine. They don't devalue the game in the long term.

If you're like me, and sad about a potentially-beautiful game permanently badly disfigured, you're not thinking about problems that the JoWood had anything to do with.

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:47 am

I don't know how you can say that it reflects on Lancers Reactor

I can say that because of the mail i got because half of the world still think im LR admin for some reason, the various reports about this issue from various sources, the of complains about LR that ppl have sent to provox and the fact that i got asked about this issue by a coder of another space sim that is covered by LR

the first expression i heard about this issue was "it is poisoning"
you can go with this crap if you want... but heavily believe that will leave to consequences that LR wont like

one thing you should be aware of - those companies dont need LR but LR needs them to survive because without games to cover nobody would visit this place and for sure FL wont last forever
you should never bite the hand that is feeding you

The worst JoWood did was force Provox to keep their agreed deadline, and the game consequently shipped with some bugs and minus a few minor features.

how often do i need to say this again... that statement is not true so stop posting such a crap

if you want that provox does fix the bugs then give me a bug list and ill go directly to them to deal with that issue personally... but stop this crap here

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 3:42 am

Both of you post fighting and watch the Fluffy bunny Rabbit show!

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 4:17 am

Alright, enough of this. *Click*

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:20 am

reopen lol.

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:31 am

Thanks for that post, now I understand where you are currently coming from, and I am sure that what I am about to say you already think/know or possibly agree with. This is why I am so surprised as well

No, I don't expect them to come out with "yup we made a stinker, sorry folks" -- but something more like this: "we recognize that people are disappointed, and we'd like to open up the process by which we fix things, so you (the community) can be a part of the solution."

Then, real discussion, not advertising, not stonewalling, not patronizing.

Yes, i agree, fixing up problems that will have to be resolved for another version / sequel of the game will require time, money and effort. If there are such issues (you believe there are, I haven't played it yet so cannot comment), then it's unfortunate that they will have to do this for the (hopefully) next version!

However, I can also understand why they aren't particularly interested at this point in hearing it... just like Egosoft wasn't when they released their games.

Is their first commitment to ensure that people who buy the game can play it as free of those trivial bugs as possible? Surely this is true, the most important commitment is to fixing up all those bugs that cause crashes, ruin graphics, affect the game play itself. By doing this, the largest part of their audience can enjoy the game they've bought and therefore hopefully stick around to give input in refinements at a later date (i call them refinements - the AI may be more scalable if resolved now, but if it's playing - then it's a refinement. If it stopped us playing, it's a bug - I know, semantics in what we consider issues, but I'm a customer - and my first interest is playing the game!).

I want to play the game that they've bought, and play it without bugs and crashes. The most serious problems for me, and for most consumers, is where we can't do that - such as game crashes. You may find this trivial, but for me - as a consumer who wants to play it, that's the most important thing about the game at the moment.

I am sure, just like Egosoft, that once they've managed to fix up the bugs the game has that does impact upon being able to play it, then they will engage in talks about shortcomings in the overall game. Whether those involve such technical details as AI, or more general issues like a terribly written storyline (I say terribly, I haven't played it, so this is NOT my personal opinion yet It's sat on my desk right now, ready to install on this old machine )

Most flaming about games I've met has nothing to do with poor storyline, and everything to do with those crashes and trivial things that you dismiss quickly To most, those are by far the most important aspects of the game - playing it

Don't worry, like the community did at Egosoft, they will do so for this. They will start (after getting to know the game) questioning little bits, highlighting problems / issues with storyline, balance and difficulty. They may not be programmers, so you may look slightly differently at the game and it's underlying issues to them, but they'll certainly be giving feedback on the storyline missions quality, variety and more.

One thing that is helpful is that this is apparently very moddable. Whether it's X-series type moddable is unknown to me, but here's hoping Communities, especially over there, tend to help lead development between versions. They have the "devnet", whereby people put forward suggestions and recommendations (after signing an NDA) - and those get implemented if accepted.

Sounds like these guys kinda did the same, hopefully with a product to now give ironcast feedback upon, that will really shine through for the hopeful sequel (feels strange to say that when I've yet to play it ).

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:40 am

Yes, re-open, and as long as people now don't start flaming each other, or bashing the devs - I do not see a reason to close it either.

Constructive criticism will involve allowing those that think of more underlying issues than simple bug crashes, or so on, to actually give input. This chap finds different problems and considers them more deeply, than nearly anyone else.

As long as he can voice those opinions from this point on without thrashing Provox over the butt for them, but actually highlighting the independant issue and how it should be made better, then I think posts are welcome.

Course, saying "Storyline made by blind monkeys, strapped to the underside of a rollercoaster" is NOT constructive, and not welcome. However, picking apart the underlying storyline weaknesses, why story missions or other missions aren't up to scratch (without the words "it's just crap", how AI are failing and offering up some well thought out coherant suggestions, are EXACTLY what this thread should be about.

If anyone else wants to keep having a pop at anyone, then piss off. We can make a little SFRU community here, and differences in opinion are welcome, as thats what will make it interesting and useful.

We certanily CAN flourish with a difference of opinion, as long as those opinions are respectful (doesn't mean can't be damning, just not insulting or demeaning to folks) - and indeed, that's what'll make this forum interesting - to discuss differences in a mature manner.

So we still have a chance - ruin that chance, and your ability to post your opinion about it fast disappears. The only people to suffer, at that point, are yourselves being unable to discuss it anymore.

Up to you all, but please, lets give ourselves a chance eh?

Oh, and Breslin:

That's on top of here and the Space Force forums too. It kind of undermines my hope that you're here to talk about the game or discuss it, and that's all.

I hope that you are, and because you want to see it be better

Hope all continue to discuss the game though

Edited by - Chips on 6/23/2007 10:44:22 AM

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:28 am

Up to you all, but please, lets give ourselves a chance eh?

group hug

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 12:44 pm

reslin do you try and stop people trying to buy a game saying DONT BUY THIS GAME UNTIL YOU SEE HOW THE DEMO SUCKS!!!

Anyway, The game needs improved so post it in the suggestions forums and i really dont understand what this thread it for because i have just seen flame after flame the hole thing started with a flame thrower.

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:17 pm

Thomas writes:

reslin do you try and stop people trying to buy a game saying DONT BUY THIS GAME UNTIL YOU SEE HOW THE DEMO SUCKS!!!

Please consider what Chips said about the difference between critique and insult. I am sorry to correct you again, but in fact I wrote, "In any case, do not even consider buying this game until you have tried the demo! You'll easily see from the demo how badly the game is designed." (And even so, this was a summary of a set of specific points, not a mere blanket statement.) I can't think of any good reason you're pretending that I used abusive language when in fact I was only guilty of producing honest criticism.

Even intelligent people often have difficulty accepting that intelligent people can have different opinions, and sometimes difference feels threatening or confusing. One common response is to envision the opposing viewpoint in such a way that it is easier to reject outright.

Please try to avoid making this mistake in the future. It is in fact a hostility, whether or not it is intended as such.

i really dont understand what this thread it for

I can't summarize the entire thread for you, but I can certainly make easier for you the thesis:

JoWood may have been responsible for holding Provox to a deadline.
The game shipped without being thoroughly tested.
the problems resulting from this are minor, and easily fixed. -- Indeed they're probably already fixed for the most part.
the severe problems have to do with fundamental and thoroughgoing design decisions, and have nothing to do with being rushed.
JoWood may be arguably partly to blame for minor and temporary problems, but they're innocent of royally screwing up the game.

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:47 pm

I can tell what you think Breslin, BTW didnt put any quotes so i didnt say it was YOUR own words EXACTLY.

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 1:52 pm

Chips, do you see what I mean above? *Children should never be allowed near the net.*

Post Sat Jun 23, 2007 2:13 pm

Yes Chips, we're essentially in agreement, with just a couple points of difference in perspective.

I have some doubts that SF can become as much of a modding success as either X3 or Freelancer. It lacks the simulation model of the former, and the gameplay of the latter. Maybe the gameplay can be sufficiently fixed, but I'm not feeling it likely.

I'm of two minds about "the lemonade argument."

One the one hand: yes, one wants to get all the fun possible out of the games in his or her private collection. Maybe the game could have been a lot better -- but why not have some fun messing around with it nevertheless? We could just accept that there are problems, try to ignore them as much as possible, and have fun with the rest.

On the other hand: I honestly think a boycott of SF is entirely in order, for reasons stated. That they hired somebody with zero experience or training (and, consequently, scarce little skill) to write the main campaign -- this shows a fundamental failure of values. That they allowed the story and the design to progress and, ultimately, to pass -- this shows a fundamental failure of judgment.

As I've said elsewhere, "de-prioritize high-level design" is a business model -- from a business perspective it is a perfectly valid model. If you buy SF, then this business model works, which increases the chance that future business ventures will follow this model.

If at all possible, I want to avoid this happening again. If you take the total cost of development of that game, and add a decent writer and designer, you haven't increased the cost much at all. The industry just needs to know how important it is.

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