Author Topic: "Coming in June 2001!!!"  (Read 11296 times)

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Offline Prophet

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"Coming in June 2001!!!"
I was staring the forums and then it struck me... Those hosted campaigns and mod projects have been there for as long as I can remember... (Since VWBB retired)
But has there really been any major releases other than TBP?
I think TVWP relased something ages ago...? And that demo thingy from Blakcwater was nice, but small. Anything else? Has there been anything large that you can really call a release?

TBP has done quite a good job giving out packages that have worked well and have brought more people under the shining lights of B5.

But what is wrong with the other projects? Sure, its cool to have a polished and perfect, not to mention huge, pakcage to give out. But while the "team" is "working" on their grand product, their loyal worshipper have nothing to do but wait...

SCP is producing new builds, and modding forums contain juicy suprises. But other than those (and TBP) the community seems to be in a kind of a stasis.

What is happening behind the closed doors?
Are the projects become too big to do anything else than just "be"...
Who will be the next one to break the spell and give the community a real event?
Or have I missed something?


This was not meant as offense towards those people who work on those projects. I'm not claiming they are lazy. And I sure as hell know how that people have personal lives... So dont dare to give me any of that ****.

"It's done when it's done".
My main concern here is that so many big high profile projects give that answer, and none have been finished.
I'm not saying anything. I did not say anything then and I'm not saying anything now. -Dukath
I am not breaking radio silence just cos' you lot got spooked by a dead flying ****ing cow. -Sergeant Harry Wells/Dog Soldiers


Prophet is walking in the deep dark places of the earth...

 

Offline Kie99

  • 211
Inferno have made one major release, and the second one should be done by the end of the year.
"You shot me in the bollocks, Tim"
"Like I said, no hard feelings"

 

Offline Mefustae

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Blackwater Ops looks like their getting closer to their Big Release...and i don't mean the kind that i just made in the Lavatory...:p

 

Offline Goober5000

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The FSPort has put out a few releases.  So has Lightning Marshall.  NTV released a demo.

For the most part though, you're right.  Most of the hosted projects are far too ambitious to be completed in a year.  Many of them have been ongoing for several years.

 
BD and I had a chat about feature-creep in Blackwater Ops not too long ago.

Quote
{BlackDove} http://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php/topic,34171.msg710700.html#msg710700 I smell feature-creep.  Looks good, mind you, but BWO's never getting released at this rate.
{BlackDove} Oh BWO's getting released quite soonish
{BlackDove} Actually if it all went up and died right now, with the files I have, I could have it done myself with some extra help.
{BlueFlames} Soonish must be pretty relative, when the campaign's four years past its first release date.
{BlackDove} I wasn't with the staff four years ago so I can't comment on that heh.
{BlueFlames} I don't think it's going to be a matter of people abandoning it; I think it's a matter of you (meaning the current BWO team) continually adding more and more to the campaign.
{BlackDove} Ehhhhh no.
{BlackDove} This is all of the stuff we didn't have because Bobbau was inactive.
{BlackDove} Just patching it to the SCP level now.
{BlackDove} In the process of releasing a few more images.
{BlueFlames} Initially the voice pack was going to be a post-release add-on.  Now that's a won't-release-without feature.  It was going to be a retail campaign (since it started pre-SCP), and now all of the MODs need to be updated for the SCP.
{BlackDove} It was never a post-release add-on
{BlackDove} IceFire got confused.
{BlackDove} Because he released Derelict unfinished.
{BlackDove} And with the progress of the SCP, do you really think it could've just been ignored?
{BlackDove} That was rhetorical by the way.
{BlueFlames} I think the campaign upgrades could be left as an update.
{BlueFlames} The campaign's already four YEARS late.  Now's not the time to be adding features.
{BlackDove} Since the campaign is four years late, all the better to be doing it now.
{BlackDove} After all, people should've realised that it's not to be expected four years ago and that it was an unrealistic date.
{BlackDove} Four years ago SCP didn't exist.
{Judd-MGT} anyone have any idea why a fresh install of XP wouldn't be able to run HL2?
{BlueFlames} Four years ago, it was a bunch of missions.  Getting that done in twelve to eighteen months isn't unrealistic, with a diligent team.
{BlueFlames} Now you're adding and adding, and not thinking realistically about how much further back the release date is going to be pushed.
{BlueFlames} Sure, SCP upgrades look nice, but I'd rather have the finished campaign on my hard drive right now than wait for it to look prettier.
{BlackDove} Ah that may be true for everyone waiting.
{BlackDove} Truth is, nobody on the staff cares when it's going to be released. Four years down the line, the product has to be quality before anything else.
{BlackDove} Official motto of the release date is "When it's done"
{BlackDove} For good reason too.
{BlueFlames} Bah.  What good is a game or campaign that never gets released?  It could be the greatest campaign in the world, but who's going to give a ****, if nobody gets to play it?
{-- [SK-lead]Deathsong has quit (Quit: This computer has gone to sleep)
{BlackDove} Sometime down the line.........
{BlackDove} As I said, it will definatly get played one way or the other.
{BlueFlames} Well, that's just so many words until you've released something more substantial than a screenshot and a many-year-old demo.


I found the bit about Icefire getting confused about the campaign he started particularly humorous.

It's particularly relevant to note, though, that in the case of BWO and likely others, the development teams' priorities have shifted from actually releasing the campaign/MOD/project to making sure that campaign/MOD/project is as shiny and fully-featured as possible.  It's a nice intent to want to take advantage of all resources available for a project, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  How close have these major projects come to release, before the development team decided to take several months to a year, just to update the included MODs for the SCP?  How many man-hours have been thrown to the wayside by development teams scrapping content so that it could be 'updated'?  I think a whole lot of campaigns would benefit more from being released, then updated, than from being continually updated and never released.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2005, 12:41:17 pm by 143 »

 

Offline aldo_14

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Re: "Coming in June 2001!!!"
Quote
Originally posted by Prophet
"It's done when it's done".[/I]
My main concern here is that so many big high profile projects give that answer, and none have been finished.


That's because we don't get paid (and I'm open to offers) :D

So other stuff takes priority; I have job interviews and stuff to prepare for, for example, plus need to keep doing other work to keep my coding up to scratch.  So already you've only got a few hours in the day to work.

And then I don't work every day on, say, LS.  So it'd take a long time anyways, assuming you don't get bored doing it and detour.  Which is how I ended up making CoW, incidentally.

I think I have, personally, at least managed to sort out my previous feature creep issues :D  Reci was bit of a nightmare in that regard; at one point every mod was done, but all 3 FREDers were busy or just away.... so I ended up working on stuff for a sequel and Icefires' abortive Paradigm Shift campaign, and then ended up redoing the Reci storyline and mods because I was doing stuff for that which was of a far better quality than the existing Reci stuff.

Vicious circle.

 

Offline Prophet

  • 210
  • The know-it-all
Re: Re: "Coming in June 2001!!!"
Quote
Originally posted by aldo_14


That's because we don't get paid (and I'm open to offers) :D

So other stuff takes priority; I have job interviews and stuff to prepare for, for example, plus need to keep doing other work to keep my coding up to scratch.  So already you've only got a few hours in the day to work.

So you were the first one...
Quote
Originally posted by aldo_14
And I sure as hell know how that people have personal lives... So dont dare to give me any of that ****.

Every person who has been in this community more than a month knows that. Myself included.
Every person who has produced/producing something for this community knows that. Myself included.
To me, it is painful to see this cold fact in these forums. Please do not bring this up here because it is not the point in this discussion and everyone should automaticly take it in to account when talking thinking about this...
Ok?
I'm not saying anything. I did not say anything then and I'm not saying anything now. -Dukath
I am not breaking radio silence just cos' you lot got spooked by a dead flying ****ing cow. -Sergeant Harry Wells/Dog Soldiers


Prophet is walking in the deep dark places of the earth...

 

Offline aldo_14

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eh?

Painful as it may be, it needs to be reinforced sometimes IMO.  Especially given that this is now quite an old community, and a lot of people - like me - willl have moved through formal education and into proper work.

It might not be a nice answer, but that's the truth; it's why projects can't work to set release dates.  modding work is personal time, and personal time is very fluid in what it's used for and how much you can spare. There's no real common reason, I'd wager, for "done when it's done" beyond the consequences of personal stuff.

Especially the biggies, who are trying to work to a near-professional standard (which is another reason for projects being very quiet).  I know I try to, although at the same time I've scaled back my ambitions to be - I hope - a little more achievable.

 

Offline Prophet

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Your point is recived and understood, very deeply. But it isn't the point I had in mind when I started this thread. BlueFlames post displays that point point far elegantly than I ever could. Its about release policy and wether or not big projects can be over-ambitious.
I'm not saying anything. I did not say anything then and I'm not saying anything now. -Dukath
I am not breaking radio silence just cos' you lot got spooked by a dead flying ****ing cow. -Sergeant Harry Wells/Dog Soldiers


Prophet is walking in the deep dark places of the earth...

 

Offline Blaise Russel

  • Campaign King
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The community isn't in stasis if you take your eye off the skyscrapers and look down towards the ground. ;)

There are lots of "small" projects running around that are doing quite nicely. 'Sides, towers rarely crumble from the bottom up and all that. :)

 

Offline WMCoolmon

  • Purveyor of space crack
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There are a couple of small campaigns/chapters I've been testing that seemed pretty much finalized, but haven't been released yet.
-C

 

Offline BlackDove

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Gah, remind me never to have a conversation with you again.

 
Don't speak in an open channel if you don't want someone to log it.  ;P

 

Offline Roanoke

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I seem to recall MindGames getting in the highlights with "We're half done. Yay!"

Can't remember how long ago that was.

 

Offline BlackDove

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No.

Quote
Originally posted by BlueFlames
Don't speak in an open channel if you don't want someone to log it.  ;P


Yeah, because that's the problem.

 

Offline karajorma

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Quote
Originally posted by Roanoke
I seem to recall MindGames getting in the highlights with "We're half done. Yay!"


We did have screenshots too though :D
Karajorma's Freespace FAQ. It's almost like asking me yourself.

[ Diaspora ] - [ Seeds Of Rebellion ] - [ Mind Games ]

 

Offline NGTM-1R

  • I reject your reality and substitute my own
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Well, the classic answer to feature creep is to ignore anything that doesn't break your missions.

@High Max: You do not want them to do that.
"Load sabot. Target Zaku, direct front!"

A Feddie Story

 
Quote
@High Max:  You do not want them to do that.

Derelict did fine with voices released seperately.  Placeholder sounds would have been nice, but even without, the campaign is still quite good.  I'm not sure you're in the greatest position to be telling High Max, myself, or anyone else waiting for a campaign-in-development what we want.  We know what we want a hair better than a third-party might.

[The next bit I wrote, thinking of nobody in particular, then realized it might look like I'm still addressing ngtm1r.  Just to clear up confusion, I'm back on the general subject of feature-creeping campaign developers.]

I think that the real answer to feature creep is to come up with a fixed list of features before development even begins, and then don't add anything, no matter how trivial, to that list until after the initial release.  The point here is, none of the most-hyped-about projects have had a policy like that, and their release dates keep getting shoved back because of it.  If your philosophy is one of, "Oooo...  Shine-maps and glow-points are supported now?  We gotta add that!" you'll never make it to the initial release.

The SCP is feature-creeping by design, since it's an on-going upgrade project with semi-regular public releases.  You can't plan around having your MODs support every SCP feature, since by the time you're done adding support for one release's new spiffiness, another release will come around with more stuff you'll want to support.  Professional game developers that use third-party engines have the same issues to cope with.  As they're building the game and tweaking the engine, new games will constantly be getting released, and they can either take the time to add the feature to the engine they're using, scrap the work done so far and start anew on the new engine, or continue work on the game, leaving the new features for their next project.

Think of it like a game, where you keep changing engines in mid-development.  What do you have?  Duke Nukem Forever.  That will be released, "when it's done," as well, and I think everyone stopped caring round-about four or five years ago, realizing that it will never be done.  If you're going to follow DNF's design philosophy, I'd ask that you follow their media policy too, and put a gag-order on yourself until "it's done" too.  I don't want to hear about it, if you don't plan on finishing your initial release.  Seriously, close your public development forum(s); stop posting screenshots; stop promising demos; stop giving out phony release dates; stop saying, "Soon!  We swear...  Really!  ...but when it's done..."  Just stop.

It's getting to be like an old joke now.  I went on a two-year hiatus, expecting Machina Terra and Blackwater Ops (to name just a couple) to be finished or very nearly finished, knowing how real life matters tend to get in the way of development around here.  Instead, I come back to find that all of the projects I had been watching have scrapped a great deal of work, since missions with only retail SEXPs are apparently out-of-fashion now, and every single new ship and weapon had to be upgraded to use every single graphical effect I could name and a few I can't.

That was a huge, HUGE disappointment.  I hear you screaming, "We're making a PROFESSIONAL-quality product here, so quit whining!"  Excuse me?  In just over two years, a professional team would be pressing CDs for the game that they built from a blank page of code up.  A professional team would have something to their product that the developers around here don't seem to have...  Namely, THE PRODUCT!

I've been tossing around the Duke Nukem Forever example enough, so let me throw another one out there...

Dark Horizons:  Lore

I know there's at least a couple of Lore players in the FS2 community here, and they can tell you it's a pretty sweet game for the price.  Inquisitor and his team built Lore using the Torque (Tribes 2 engine), with few, if any major upgrades to the graphics-side of the engine.  Now, if I had to choose between retail FS2 and Tribes 2 on basis of graphics alone, I'd probably side with retail FS2, just to give you an idea of the graphical punch the Torque engine has.  Inquisitor and his team used Torque with little to no major upgrades, and started selling it.  You know...  Selling...  As in, people will pay for the game, despite its dated graphics engine.  I've played around with the game a bit, and can say that it's pretty fun.  If you will, it's worthy of being called a good game.  Are there shiny maps and glowing points on every model?  Nope.  Does it have crazy-awesome looking 3D shockwaves emitted by dying units and large weapons?  Nope.  Do people still pay for it and feel that the game is a product of professional quality?  Hell yes, they do.  I'm quite sure esd will be happy to pop on here and box your ears if you disagree.

You don't need to play the game of 1001-prerelease upgrades to have a professional-quality campaign.  All you need is a good writer/designer, some experienced FRED-users, and some time.  Prior to my hiatus, many project teams had everything but the time.  Now, they seem to have a little more time, but they're managing it poorly, picking up a lot more work than they can handle.  I understand that real life gets in the way, but volunteering yourself and your team for more work on your project, when the lot of you are already in a time-pinch is your own fault.

 
 

Offline aldo_14

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I always thought DH:L looked quite nice, actually.  Models and maps seem good.

I'd point out a professional team can usually develop a far more complex product in less that 2 years simply because they get paid to work 9 or more  hours a day on stuff.  And there's also usually, say, more than one artist (for example).  And they outsource some work like cgi.