[Poll] Next main developement priority should be...?

Discussion in 'Open' started by ZeroGravitas, Sep 10, 2018.

?

Which of these would be best, overall, for Payload to prioritise next?:

  1. Co-op campaign (even if it's limited, takes over a year and continues to stall most other features).

    1 vote(s)
    5.9%
  2. Crafting bugs (plus AI "Follow" fixes and other notable but boring things missing from 1.0).

    16 vote(s)
    94.1%
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  1. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    So, I'm not asking what you are most hyped for. More pragmatically, what would make the most sense for the dev team to focus on next, from a business standpoint, and for the player base, overall. Perhaps imagining new player's experience of the game, as well as your own.

    I've deliberately kept the options down to just two, as I'm trying to get a solid perspective and maybe (we'll see) make the point that there is demand for things from the player community, even if it's quieter than the repeated chirps of "Co-op campaign?!".

    Neither option was actually touted as potential immediate priorities and this poll is not official, or binding in any way.

    We might have another vote, in another thread, with more options (following thoughts added to this thread). Maybe the devs themselves will put something out there, I don't know.



    Short term development I'm taking for granted:

    • Ongoing fixes to critical bugs on console (and PC), as the core console coding work winds up (hopefully).

    Hot swapping and PC gamepad support be implemented as planned. An essential quality of life addition for console, with their 'Block Allowance', also bringing the platforms into line with each other.

    Co-op Creative mode will be implemented, making good on the years of coding work, to give the community some kind of collaborative multiplayer. Very important from a marketing point of view, for the continued success of the game. It should greatly increase the potential for big YouTubers to make attention grabbing content in conjunction with their piers.

    • AI fix to "Follow", makes sense (there's various little inconsistencies that might be addressed without a full rework). But "Harvest" AI as a short term goal? I don't see this as viable. Manually harvesting rocks, crystals and trees is fiddly as heck, even with a well designed tech. So I'd expect the difficulty of this to be up there with flying AI (which I don't see as at all viable, without compromises and massive cheats for how it works in practice).

    • Coding support to enable art and design teams to contribute a limited amount of new content, once more. I'm hoping. (Blocks with modestly novel functions, slightly different missions, etc.)



    Crafting Context:

    • I've been cataloguing crafting bugs for over a year (see my signature), pushing to have them fixed as 'urgent'.

    • Early this year we were told there was time scheduled in for fixes to this, friendly AI (and block rotation, I think), before 1.0. Circumstances presumably changed, that's understandable and fine - unforeseens, development overruns and pushing for console releases makes sense, or whatever.

    • But I was a little bemused to see in the post 1.0 roadmap:
    ... With no notes at all about crafting fixes or additions. And no engagement from devs when I asked about the topic [1, 2].

    • Crafting bugs have been noted by a couple of those kicking up a fuss on the Steam forums about problems with the game, following 1.0 release (talking about getting refunds, etc). And I can't really argue against the substance of that, even as a TT fanboy.

    The devs have already seen and responded to some of these threads and I know that there will pretty much always be some naysayers, with anything. But for every instance of vocal negativity about issues, how many more are quietly leaving negative feedback, or just politely leaving altogether? (10 times? 100? More?)

     
    #1 ZeroGravitas, Sep 10, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  2. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    (Continued) Crafting Rant:

    The (would be) crafting enthusiasts are giving up on this aspect, that they would otherwise enjoy [3]. Yes, I (and others) have been fairly successful in finding good tech designs the avoid the worst of the bugs, but using someone else's work, or following a detailed written guide is not fun for many.

    Happily blundering your way to functional Fabrication (of higher level blocks) seems almost entirely implausible; I've watched a lot of different YouTubers struggle continuously with the (same) bugs, for seasons (shout out to @M1cha3lMax ;)). The standard approaches people seem to take just don't fit at all well with what's currently possible.

    And those are the few persisting, when many more have simply given up, like I did in my first playthrough (of 0.7.5).

    I know that getting to grips with the crafting system code will be technically daunting and time consuming, with side-effects and problems likely along the way. But it's just something that needs to be done. It's getting towards the point where I'd be tempted to say that Payload should just remove it from the game altogether, if they really have no expectations of allocating the resources to fix it.

    The "1.0 is a line in the sand" mantra just isn't going to ring true with console players or new PC players (buying TerraTech at the new, higher, price). I think that to avoid player sentiment souring, time needs to be taken for these boring bug fixes and implementing little features that players consider 'missing', currently. Say, at least 6 months or so, to start catching up with the 'technical debt' that's been accrued.


    The other oversights to prioritise:

    AI follow function is another one that's been lamented for a long time. I understand that it's current state (for the last year or so, at least) is because they half transitioned to a new, 'modular' system. Ready for harvesting, etc, I guess. So, even if little fixes to it's function are even possible (e.g. it being unable to drive treaded wheels forwards at all), it might make most sense to fold this in with development of the other AI modes (if there is indeed a way to make them viable).

    Block rotation frustration - again, a long time issue. A smart system that's not quite smart enough and need a little more development? The block rotations restrictions applied to wheels before 1.0 were meant as a band-aid, but they don't cover all that much of the issue and can get in the way a little.

    I appreciate the simplicity of the current system, it's compelling, but I'm unsure if augmenting it's logic will hit the spot, alone. (Or if a fully deterministic complementary system might be best.) Either way, quite a lot of back-end work for little to show off, but something that needs doing. And delaying these things just means they are causing grief for longer.

    Delete snapshot button - how is this not in the game, yet? We regularly get steam forum posts asking about this. Snapshots can accrue pretty quickly (especially with the auto_snapshot spam from deaths), yet the campaign tech loading menu is tiny and horrible to search through. An overhaul of the loading system would be very handy, but a delete function seems like an essential to me.

    I got the impression from the devs, on stream, that consoles don't even have this(?!), but asking Salidifier (on YouTube), I'm told they do have a button (that he's accidentally hitting all the time). I don't know if there's technical difficulties with this on (different) PC platforms, but it needs doing. (I'd opt to simply move all 'deleted' snapshots to a "Trash" sub-folder, to ensure against heartache.)

    Catching up with bugs in general - I've been waiting for a almost a year for MP development to quieten down enough for it to be worth me resurfacing the many other reported bugs that I've seen no reply to indicate they've even been logged. (It feels like half of a the ~couple hundred I've made, personally.)


    Thereafter (in my opinion):

    Control update (already scheduled as short term) to overcome flight problems, in particular. Arguably buggy, certainly a major idiosyncrasy.

    Full Map - "Where the heck is my base?!", "Wasn't I here before?!", etc.

     
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  3. Rockfarmer

    Rockfarmer Well-Known Member

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    I still care about the game. But this rant pretty much outlines why i stopped playing waiting for the bug fixes. At my work, sometimes I have to do boring stuff. That is why it is called 'work' and it is why my employer pays me a salary. I hope Payload starts working their way through the "boring job list that needs addressing, but no one feels like doing"-list. Crafting, AI, Flight controls, snapshot organisation, keybindings etc. etc.

    If I had known that implementing multiplayer would take 18 months to develop and pretty much halt all general development of the game, I would have never, ever supported multiplayer. I am currently afraid that adding water in the game is going to be exact same thing.

     
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  4. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    Thanks again for chiming in (nice to see you around).:)
    To be clear, when I used the word "boring" above, I meant it from a community perspective. That current and potential players won't generally get hyped for fixes - it's just taken for granted.

     
  5. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    Also, I do feel like I've failed with my approach, to get at what I intended...

    I genuinely wanted to poll feedback and alternative view points, but I may have smothered that in explaining where I was coming from so heavy handedly. (Or will be seen to have.)

    Obviously my brain-dump produced more words than intended, too, and my timing was poor for reaching people - Monday night, during the general back to school lull, with Community Core on the other 'channel'.

    ---

    Worst, I feel I've ended up portraying these issues as primarily affecting enthusiast players (who are the only ones I can reach through these channels). But I really felt the opposite: that the long timers have already figured out the work-arounds, while it's the multitudes of new players who will struggle and be worst affected...

    ---

    Anyway, for reference: back-links to the threads on other platforms where I've linked to this thread (they may have a little complimentary discussion):

    Reddit
    Steam


     
    #5 ZeroGravitas, Sep 11, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  6. Zed

    Zed Well-Known Member

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    While preparing a longer post in reply to this thread I stumbled along the following Steam Review which seems to be cogent to the conversation at hand.

    The review appears objective and does well in its summation regarding an experienced gamer's first time experiences with TerraTech.

    In short response to some of the points @ZeroGravitas mentions above over multiple posts I've the following short comments which may or may not be expanded upon in subsequent post(s).

    Crafting may be forlorn; however it is functional and should most assuredly remain in-game, even in its current state.

    Circling back to :

    I've underlined Business Standpoint above for emphasis as at its Current Stage of Development TerraTech must have sales in order to remain salient / solvent.

    A short list of suggestions to improve sales which could in theory be completed before black friday / winter sale to capitalize on the remaining hype from 1.0 release would be:

    1) The Block'o'pedia which has been discussed in the past , included with a in-game game manual (including block allowances / little things like double clicking on a block while in build beam to alter camera perspective of which the steam reviewer was apparently unaware.

    2) Bring back Multiplayer Creative Mode with an unlimited duration mode immediately, locking the spawn block ability to host only (promotes family play, multiple accounts = multiple sales.)

    2a) Bonus pts (sales) available if this can be achieved on console versions

    3) While a vast control update has been pondered, belabored, and indeed even promised, two immediate changes would resolve 80% of the issues for 20% of the work entailed.

    3i) An anchor hotkey / console button, if explosive bolts have one Anchoring most assuredly deserves one. Yesterday.

    3ii) Separate keys for Thrusters / Boosters (directionals come later as part of the 80%) would massively improve flight capabilities of Techs.

     
  7. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    Yeah, it makes a few of the points I've pointed out above, I'll quote some of them here:
    At what point do 'quality of life' improvements go from a nice luxury to a necessity...?

    That's surely in progress right now, as a stated immediate goal (as I assumption). All your other point: yeah, sure. Some interim QoL before a full control update, why not.:)

     
  8. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    OK, so I've switched the poll result to be visible without voting (0 to 12 currently, for what it's worth #MostLeadingQuestionEver), in case the devs are interested: @higekun, @Rob, @saiwun, @Jamie, @Matt - my last mass tagging, I think I'm done trying to push development around, for now. :rolleyes:

     
  9. Rockfarmer

    Rockfarmer Well-Known Member

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    I totally meant boring from a developer perspective. Sometimes i get to do some really cool spatial analysis, beautiful maps and creative problem solving at work. That is fun and rewarding. And sometimes I just have to sit and update database credentials, metadata documentation and database permissions. That is boring.

    I honestly suspect (but obviously no way of knowing) that the Payload developers have a list of stuff they are each responsible for and kinda just go through the list in terms of what they think is more fun. At least, that is how it appears from the "outside".

     
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  10. ZeroGravitas

    ZeroGravitas Breaker of Games

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    I don't feel like that fits well with having spent the last 18 months primarily developing the back end net code for for multi-player and the necessary modifications for console. Sounds like the boring hard work to me... :( Prioritising business goals, etc.

     
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  11. Django

    Django PAYLOAD STUDIOS

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    Couldn't really be further from the truth. I don't really want to go down the route of needing to 'validate' what we've chosen to work on, least of which because it's not my place, but we've been working our butts off to get TT to release on multiple platforms. There's an awful lot of behind the scenes work that lucky-for-you you don't have to deal with.
    If it were up to me I'd be writing some cool AI or swarm missile behaviours. Instead _sometimes_, for _some people_ a snapshot is temporarily not visible on PS4, and I'm trawling through code trying to figure out what's going wrong.

    We're working on cleanup and restructuring areas to have a better base for adding new features. Meanwhile we try to balance that with adding features or improvements that are visible and meaningful to the majority of players.
    Ultimately we're making a game that's fun to play for you, but that needs to be balanced by sustaining our business so that we can continue to make TT. When we're not working on the things you care about most it can feel pretty frustrating, I completely understand.

     
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  12. Rockfarmer

    Rockfarmer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply @Django - I am happy to be corrected ;)

     
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