Are we really that involved? Requesting your opinion!

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laser50
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Are we really that involved? Requesting your opinion!

Postby laser50 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:46 pm

Hey guys, I have been around for, probably alpha 6-ish, I can't really remember that well, but I decided to put this topic up here, not because I want to bitch and moan about my problems, but because I'd love to see what others think.
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(This part below is about Alpha 12!)
So far, developments have been monthly, that's good, it isn't very long. And I'm liking the pace so far, I'm not sure if this is correct or not, but this is what I think, is correct.
As shown, here: http://www.twitch.tv/introversionsoftware/b/424309382 - The contraband system was that far, on the first day of the month, the second video shows pretty much near-completion.
Video 2 shows the shakedown command, and shows it in a pretty functional state. Probably not completely playable, but see for yourself, think about it.
(EDIT: Adding to this, that was also the last stream they have done so far, sure, they finished that version, but come on. It was something!)

That was on the 2nd day of the month. Which, to me, shows that it was already near completion. So, what did we wait for for the remainder of the month? (Assuming it took the whole week to get the contraband system fully working, perhaps two.)
Did we wait for some fixes that took 2 more weeks? I get that there was an agreement on a monthly release, I am not saying it shouldn't be like that. I am also not saying that there isn't enough work done. But there may have been time left throughout the rest of the month, for some other things that have been much-requested, too.

Okay, so that aside. Moving on, Alpha 9.
(Link to the subject below: http://forums.introversion.co.uk/prison ... php?t=2014)
A vote, was put up on the forums, I loved the idea of asking the player, what they wanted to see in the game. And generally, who wasn't happy with this? I mean, if you had been waiting for riots, vote for riots, and you'd have the chance to get it added in the next alpha. It was a good experience, overall. And in my opinion, really did get the community of testers, and gamers together to vote for what they wanted.

That was the last time a vote was made, was the vote made because of some sort of publicity? Probably not, did Chris run out of ideas? Probably not. So what happened to the whole idea of including the community into the development, isn't that kind of, in a way, what we paid for as well?

Since that alpha, we have basically only had the chance to report bugs. It almost feels like there is a big, big fence in between development, and the alpha testers, to me, at least.
Looking at the forums, I see amazing ideas, lots, and lots of good ideas. From not only gamers, but from actual prisoners, and prison guards. When I read through some of these, I really did have it all in my mind, and I wanted it. I'm sure anyone has had that some time or another.
Forums are supposed to be used for communication, we are all communicating, we're providing feedback on suggestions, feedback on bug reports. But I don't see any developers using these forums.
Looking at Chris's posts, the last one, a support question, answered on the 28th of JUNE. That is a big, 3 months. Are we even being looked at? I think so, yes. I'm sure, Chris is looking through the forums from time to time.
Mark, the Publisher, certainly an important role in development, but where has he been? His last forum post was not 3, but 4 months ago.

I guess, what I'm trying to say here. Is that there is little to no involvement for us, in the Alpha. Sure, we get to see them release the game, they post a changelog, but is that really it? I do kind of feel let down by Introversion. I certainly expected more involvement for us, as the players, as the testers, those who assure PA can continue it's development. Big companies, like the makers of Rome 2 (Forgot the name, sorry..), it's a big company of at least a hundred people, and even they keep us more up-to-date with what's going on. Isn't indie development about some form teamwork, from developer to player? Or is it another title to name yourself, does it have any meaning at all?
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(Now comes the important part, down below this line..)
As I said at the beginning, I'm not angry, I'm not trying to whine about my problems, I'm looking for your opinions on the matter, heck, I'd love to hear what Chris, or Mark have to say.
If I could, make a suggestion, it would be to involve us more, have more of these votes, do a blog from time to time, the "Bug of the day" isn't gonna do it for me, to be honest.
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knoest26
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Postby knoest26 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:03 pm

Well, on the 'not enough work last month' thing, they also do a lot of things for future alpha's like the Doghandler. You can already see the doghandler in the staff screen on the Twitch video but they probably thought it could be applied better later on.

However, you're right about the suggestion stuff, I've seen many really good suggestions but none of them in the game itself. Correct me if I'm wrong but, perhaps the multi-miljonair developers became a bit full of themselves. Thinking that they have so much success they can do it without listening to the gamers.
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Postby HerrJoebob » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:15 pm

knoest26 wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong but, perhaps the multi-miljonair developers became a bit full of themselves. Thinking that they have so much success they can do it without listening to the gamers.


The fact that they're multi-miljonair (sic) developers does kind of mean they can do it without us. :)

Honestly I've not seen many really good suggestions. Most either don't make logical sense in the context of the game (such as naming/leveling up your staff), or are the Dwarf Fortress variety of wanting to make the game stupidly and randomly difficult.
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Postby laser50 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:41 pm

HerrJoebob wrote:
knoest26 wrote:Correct me if I'm wrong but, perhaps the multi-miljonair developers became a bit full of themselves. Thinking that they have so much success they can do it without listening to the gamers.


The fact that they're multi-miljonair (sic) developers does kind of mean they can do it without us. :)

Honestly I've not seen many really good suggestions. Most either don't make logical sense in the context of the game (such as naming/leveling up your staff), or are the Dwarf Fortress variety of wanting to make the game stupidly and randomly difficult.


At the multi-millionaire thing, where did they get this money from? It wasn't pulled out of some magical couch, that's my money, it's your money, why don't we get any say in anything? Not saying it's what we must have, but come on now, we did spend our money for the development of this game. (And of course the game itself..)

In my post, I was referring to the suggestions of actual prisoners, and actual prison guards. While not all of them had been of any use, some are actually, pretty realistic, make sense and could be put to good use.
I don't feel anything for "levelling up your guards". Or the randomness, it's a prison architect game, not minecraft/DF itself.
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Re: Are we really that involved? Requesting your opinion!

Postby _alphaBeta_ » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:01 pm

laser50 wrote:(This part below is about Alpha 12!)
So far, developments have been monthly, that's good, it isn't very long. And I'm liking the pace so far, I'm not sure if this is correct or not, but this is what I think, is correct.
As shown, here: http://www.twitch.tv/introversionsoftware/b/424309382 - The contraband system was that far, on the first day of the month, the second video shows pretty much near-completion.
Video 2 shows the shakedown command, and shows it in a pretty functional state. Probably not completely playable, but see for yourself, think about it.
(EDIT: Adding to this, that was also the last stream they have done so far, sure, they finished that version, but come on. It was something!)

That was on the 2nd day of the month. Which, to me, shows that it was already near completion. So, what did we wait for for the remainder of the month? (Assuming it took the whole week to get the contraband system fully working, perhaps two.)
Did we wait for some fixes that took 2 more weeks? I get that there was an agreement on a monthly release, I am not saying it shouldn't be like that. I am also not saying that there isn't enough work done. But there may have been time left throughout the rest of the month, for some other things that have been much-requested, too.

It's quite possible that they've branched off from the main baseline and are off creating some other features that can be merged in later. I'd doubt every feature is worked on serially one after the other (even though that's how it looks with the current Alpha releases). They may be worked on over the course of several alphas, and are introduced in the next Alpha once they're mature enough to not totally break gameplay. Chances are the contraband system started before Alpha-11 and was finally ready for release in Alpha-12. I don't know of course, but I wouldn't assume that there's no work being done just because it doesn't make it into the next alpha build. We're not watching a source code repository to see exactly what's going on.

As to the rest regarding alpha players' involvement, it's been a little on the quiet side recently. Suggestions are still a bit disorganized, and we've been discussing ways to clean that up here. I think before any major reorganization takes place, IV needs to weigh in on what's the most useful for them. There seems to be a sizeable amount of volunteers to help either organize certain apsects of the development or simply make the suggestions. We just need some marching orders.

I like the idea of the polls, and I think there'd be a lot more feedback if the public knew information like this was being received.
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Postby Ric666 » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:11 pm

It would be nice to get a little bit more feedback from the dev's or something that represented them on the forums that could look through all the ideas & report back to them. We obviously can't expect them to look through every topic as there is droves of new ideas that are suggested almost daily.

However, I do think they come onto the forums when they have time. I've seen Chris post a few times here & there so he definitely lurks in the shadows ;)

They also may have used the vote that they posted(as linked by yourself) as their future to do list & simply wanted to know which ones we wanted first.
There was quite a few of them & were all good additions so that could keep them busy for quite a while.

Good post either way. :)
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Postby Kolchak » Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:43 pm

I'm not sure how much impact various blog posts and topics have on the devs because; a) no-one knows quite how much of the forums Chris reads and b) that kind of thing might be hard to workout, as it won't be as simple as Chris seeing a suggestion, dropping everything, and fully implementing it.

However, we (might) have had quite a bit of influence over some of the Alphas. After Alpha 8 was released, Chris put up his poll on what we wanted next (http://forums.introversion.co.uk/prisonarchitect/viewtopic.php?t=2014). He explicitly stated that they wouldn't necessarily implement in order of popularity, however, here are the results:
1. Facilities + Employment
2. Prisoner Pipeline, parole etc.
3. Full Segregation
4. Riots + Escapes
5. Guard Equipment + Progression
6. Threats, Contraband etc.

Alpha 9 (the one immediately after the poll) introduced employment. No.s 4&6 have also been implemented - whilst Alpha 11 (the first to not deal with one of the poll results) gave us hearses (as per infinite forum topics).
Although we don't have the devs at our immediate beck and call, we do have a considerable amount of influence, compared with the traditional players of a video game. I do like the move away from the 'take what your given' approach, and even if all the forums did for Chris was re-confirm his ideas, I think it is brilliant that we have the ability to discuss and propose ideas
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Postby Holyshrine » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:17 am

Also pretty important to remember that "playing an alpha" is not the same as "having a say about anything pertaining to the alpha".

Alpha testing is just that - you get thrown a bone, you look at it, tell the owner where it needs fixing and you hand it back - wait a bit - and check the next bone out.

Edit: Having said that, i do agree that a post here and there from IV would probably be "nice to see".
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Postby laser50 » Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:26 am

Holyshrine wrote:Also pretty important to remember that "playing an alpha" is not the same as "having a say about anything pertaining to the alpha".

Alpha testing is just that - you get thrown a bone, you look at it, tell the owner where it needs fixing and you hand it back - wait a bit - and check the next bone out.

Edit: Having said that, i do agree that a post here and there from IV would probably be "nice to see".


I'm not saying we should have a say in everything, not at all, that wouldn't go well, but hearing about progress every now and then would be fun, having the developers actually involve themselves with the people that support them through the alpha game, would be fun, aswell.
And neither of that seems to be happening, we some times get the "Bug of the week" through twitter, but that's all the communication we get, is this why we became part of the development, also known as being an "Alpha customer". We didn't just do it because we loved to report bugs, at least I would think not.
(I re-wrote this damn post twice now, I'm too damn tired to try again, I'll try tomorrow.)
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Postby Novbert » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:09 am

laser50: That's a big wall of text, man! Let me simplify it by collecting your major points:

1) The pace of the development is fine.
2) You imply that they implement release content in about two days and spend the rest of the month doing nothing(?)
3) You want to get asked about what you want.
4) You imply that not asking the community about further directions of development equals to not paying attention to suggestions at all.
5) You think developers don't use these forums because they aren't commenting.
6) You say that both Mark and Chris have disappeared from the forums - maybe it's just me but you seem to imply that they were much more active here before that.


1) I also think so.
2) I'm working on IT developments and I don't see anything worng with the main feature of a release being close to completion on the first week of the month. Would I be a developer of this game, I'd surely aim to build up some 'feature buffer' to avoid problems once half of the staff is on summer holiday. Also such way of working makes them able to work on more complex stuff; on features wich need more than one month to develop and test.
3) This forum is about sharing suggestions - you can share your ideas here whenever you want.
4) 5) The forum is an endless source of inspiration for developers. It would be rather stupid not to use it.
6) For the sake of argument I've checked all the posts from Chris and Mark. Chris commented a lot here last year - especially on bug reports. I think this was the natural part of the 'hypercare' period of the alpha, when players report tons of bugs and there weren't too many known workarounds. Since then the community grew and now it sustains itself. No developer assistance is necessary for that. Mark has a total of 15 posts here. I think he's busy doing other stuff.

Generally speaking: There is a tradeoff here between chit-chatting with players and doing actual work. As long as they focus on the latter, I don't mind if the first part is missing.
Last edited by Novbert on Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Daiky » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:38 am

I think it's not easy as a developer to listen to every single idea that people are shouting to them and analyse it to see if it fits the game while at the same time having your own ideas that you try to implement.
I expect a game to be of good quality, designed by skilled game designers... not a pile of features thrown together by random people.
It's like a cook that says: let's make a recipe for a dish and then ask random people to say what ingredient they like and throwing it all together thinking people will like it because the people selected all the ingrediënts.

I am probably the only one with this opinion, but sometimes I just hope they don't listen to everyone on the forum.

It's a whole different story with beta-testing and people reporting bugs. There you need to listen to the audience. Like the cook that has to listen to it's clients after they are done eating.

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