Disappointed in the updates & frequency..

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Baleur
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Disappointed in the updates & frequency..

Postby Baleur » Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:46 am

I usually do pre-buy indie titles i enjoy. I feel it's a good investment as I support the developer and get a continually updated game, that just keeps getting better and better (indie devs are VERY good at this, and recently we've seen how AAA devs has taken note and adopted a similar passion for updating their games, at least some of them).

But Prison Architect has been an exception. I'll receive alot of flak for this, but I must speak my mind, after all it's my Duty as a paying customer of a pre-release game, is it not?

So why am I disappointed in PA's current update schedule?
Because there's far too few interesting new features and gameplay mechanics (or even pure content) being added, while month after month passes by and almost nothing happens.
We get new prisoner faces, names, and only guards can open doors. Hardly big additions to gameplay complexity or the overall feature set.
I know introversion games have always been on the simplicity in elegance side of things, i loved Defcon and Darwinia.
But for a management game I was hoping for more, and more frequently.



It's silly to bring in other games to "compare" with, since the dev teams are different, funding is different and the overall game genre might be different.
But to better illustrate my problem I'll do so anyway.

For example, Don't Starve has had countless actual interesting meaningful updates in the same span of time that Prison Architect has only had new faces, prisoner bio's (which has no effect yet) and such.
Don't Starve has new gameplay features, tons new content, a whole new season, new crafting stuff, etc.
Which in PA would be the equivalent of new room types, a seasonal timescale, new research etc.
Kerbal Space Program has had updates that include all new planetary bodies, new functionality that adds deeper gameplay (docking etc), in the same span of time (3 months or so).
Starsector added entirely new feature sets, skills and unique ship abilities, an expanded ship roster and a supply/fuel system.
Gnomoria added new recipes, new monster types, an entirely new world generation and a total rebalance of the attacks / crafting system.

Meanwhile in the same space of time, Prison Architect has not added any new deeper gameplay mechanics, no new features, and no expansions upon existing features or existing gameplay.
I had to speak my mind. I am very intrigued by the CONCEPT of the game, but I must be honest.
I regret pre-purchasing it. I feel I did not get my investments worth compared to other similar priced indie titles.

I wish you the best, maybe we'll meet again one day. :(
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Postby HerrJoebob » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:20 am

Well, the Kerbal guys are just a standout in indie dev as far as what they've been able to do and their community interaction. It's not even fair to compare other teams to them.

And to be honest, the 'name/face in game' stuff kind of ruins it for me because the bios are so silly. I'd thought these guys had a good feel for what made the game fun, but we'll see. "We'll see" being the key thing on buying an alpha. :)
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Re: Disappointed in the updates & frequency..

Postby VoiD88 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:58 am

Baleur wrote:*really long post cut out to save space*

Well, that's your opinion, you are of course entitled to have it. I, on the other hand, think IV are doing a fantastic job so far. You have to remember that Chris is practically the only person doing any real programming and for a game written by just one guy, it's developing quite quickly in my opinion^^
Life is NOT like a box of chocolates, it's more like a jar of jalapeños: What you do today might burn your a** tomorrow.
~Garfield
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paktsardines
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Postby paktsardines » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:41 am

I, on the other hand, think IV are doing a fantastic job so far


Huzzah! I concur. I think the updates are very well timed - they seem to release the moment I finish exploring the previous feature set.

Also, Prison Architect is a far more complex programming problem than Don't Starve, so a longer release cycle is inevitable. It's also not the sort of problem that can be solved faster by throwing more programmers at it. Don't Starve, on the otherhand, is.
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Postby DHKold » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:49 pm

paktsardines wrote:It's also not the sort of problem that can be solved faster by throwing more programmers at it.

That, of course, is totally wrong. Almost any developpment (except for the very tiny one like single function or so) can be split.
Actually, developping many features is easy to split, giving that the interfaces and other things are well defined.

Also, it's possible to have people working on new features, other enhancing and correcting bugs, some architects designing functional stuff, etc.

There are actually plainty of ways to split the work. But I think that Introversion just doesn't want to grow too much :)
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Ric666
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Postby Ric666 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:05 pm

Obviously each Indie developer is different. I guess thats the point of backing is no matter how long it takes, you'll always get the final product. You also have to remember that only Chris is doing the coding which must be very time consuming.

It would be nice to get more regular updates or a bit more interaction from the dev's but you have to take the rough with the smooth.

While your comparisons were true, it may have been a bit unfair to pick 2 of the most amazing Indie titles of recent times to compare with :P (imo)
KSP also had a tonne of modders working with the creator + don't starve was super polished even by early beta.
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Postby Ryster » Fri Mar 15, 2013 12:14 am

after all it's my Duty as a paying customer of a pre-release game


Except that you are not a paying customer of a pre-release game. You have paid, kickstarter style, to support the development of the final product. You have not paid for the early builds. You are being given access to early builds as a reward for supporting the development of the final product.

I feel I did not get my investments worth compared to other similar priced indie titles.


And you won't get your "investments worth" until the game is released. The software is in development and what you have access to now is just a bonus reward for supporting the development. Nothing more.
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paktsardines
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Postby paktsardines » Fri Mar 15, 2013 5:22 am

That, of course, is totally wrong


No, it is not. As I said before:

Practically speaking, hiring someone to 'help' work on the development at this stage is likely more trouble than it's worth. In prison terms, too many cooks in the kitchen.

Introducing someone to work on already established and developing code, particularly where there's been so few developer[s], could result in longer delays between releases. There's a non-trivial learning curve to any code base, and code quality is also likely to suffer. Add to that the time Chris needs to divert to review changes and release intervals could easily grow. And if it doesn't work out, that just leaves a lot of code for Chris to rewrite.

At this stage I think the fewer developers the better. Later, when the code is more mature and changes are minor and/or cosmetic, it would be a better idea methinks.


Sure, there are plenty of ways to split the work, but the management overhead will extend, not shorten release dates.
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Penroyaltea
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Postby Penroyaltea » Fri Mar 15, 2013 9:52 am

So much brown nosing.
The last update made it unplayable really. Apart from that its OK in frequency and features.

I think it must be tricky to keep people interested yet develop things that take a long time, there is a risk you are designing two games, one to release in the end and a small testing game.
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paktsardines
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Postby paktsardines » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:18 am

The last update made it unplayable really.

For someone so against brown-nosing I find your personal attacks pretty shitty. It is not brown-nosing to have an opinion that differs from your own.

The fact I've built my largest prison of all the alphas using alpha 7 is evidence enough for me that it both works, and significantly improves gameplay. Sure it's not perfect, but it is a huge improvement on alpha 6.
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Postby DHKold » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:34 am

paktsardines wrote:
That, of course, is totally wrong


No, it is not. As I said before:

Sure, there are plenty of ways to split the work, but the management overhead will extend, not shorten release dates.

Yeah, so if in my employer's company, the 50+ plain time skilled developpers working on our product were fired to just keep one, clients would get new versions, patches, etc. more often? How does that work?

Working in team is one of the first thing you learn in computer science/engineering. As I said, it's only not worth it if the project is too small.

Having more developpers, even at an early stage (alpha) is an excellent way to improve code and work faster. If you don't want to share or to spend time on a learning curve, you can still use extreme programming for example... Or let the other dev study the code alone and only join when he's ready, not involving any "teaching time"...

I've been working on tons of projects, with many kinds of splitting, different team sizes (from small 2-4 to big 100 with full hierarchy), on new or existing products.
But, of course, if you have better experience, share it with me, I like to learn.
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christopher1006
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Postby christopher1006 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 2:12 pm

I don't understand why everyone is in such a rush to get this game. Maybe it's just me who likes that there's a company who wants to take the time to make sure it's done well, not brought to 'retail' version in 6 months-1 year?
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Postby Parker22 » Fri Mar 15, 2013 11:13 pm

I appreciate what the OP poster is saying - there could be more. I am reserving judgement until later on, further down the line. There is always going to be a.... is that it moment when its finished , I am hoping that IV will have implemented enough depth into the game to make it *worth it*.

Ironically, being a tester means you will know the game inside and out by the time its finished. You'll be kind of proud, but really the surprise will be gone.
Im hoping that IV will do the 'campaign' in the background, and we'll get to enjoy that as a finished item.

But I am long for the ride. Lets see where this goes. IV know that if they make this game brilliantly, we'll be along for the next one
I think the OP has made a good post. Cheers
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Postby Daimaju » Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:28 am

HerrJoebob wrote:And to be honest, the 'name/face in game' stuff kind of ruins it for me because the bios are so silly.


could
not
agree
more
!

The moment I saw "Adolf Hilter" and other stupid bullshit names made up by hairless 12yo trolololls ruined this feature totally for me as you might see in my quite aggressive stance...
They should have setup some rules before handing this feature out. There are even female names/femal bios... awesome, really. Way to ruin a feature...
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christopher1006
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Postby christopher1006 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 3:13 am

Daimaju wrote:
could
not
agree
more
!

The moment I saw "Adolf Hilter" and other stupid bullshit names made up by hairless 12yo trolololls ruined this feature totally for me as you might see in my quite aggressive stance...
They should have setup some rules before handing this feature out. There are even female names/femal bios... awesome, really. Way to ruin a feature...


I thought the same about the Adolf Hitler one but I give them credit for the bio getting a chuckle from me. Considering how many people find this to be an immersion breaker for themselves I propose an option to turn off name in-game/face-in-game prisoners. That'll be an easy solution that should keep both sides happy.

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