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Star Citizen and the Response to the Dogfighting Module Delay - Page 2

Posted Wed, Jan 08, 2014 by ricoxg

Progress Hurts

Like myself, I think a fair number of those who are fans of Star Citizen or have chosen to become backers have more than a passing familiarity with programing or software engineering. I think it’s pretty likely that this is one of the big reasons so many seem to be okay with delays based on the recent reasons given by Chris Roberts.

Those of us who have worked on software projects understand that you sort of have a couple modes you develop from; the cost-saving, do-what-it-takes mode, and the do-it-right mode. The first is usually pretty quick and doesn’t require much spin-up time to start churning out “results,” where the latter often requires more thought and structure. You have to lay out the groundwork to build from when you have the option of doing something correctly from the start, and that often means there’s a perceived lack of progress early on.

Mr. Console Gamer over there likely doesn’t understand the difference, but I believe we more enlightened (being experienced in that form of hackery) are glad to see it. One thing I’ve always complained about, and I’m sure a number of you as well, is how stupid it is that we have to do dumb things to show progress and keep “management” happy while we struggle to develop something we’re not actually ashamed to have our tag in. How awesome is it that someone is actually working for management (ie Chris Roberts and we backers) that understand that?

Star Citizen - Idiocracy

There may be a lot more of them, but we carry a much thicker wallet.


Now I don’t want the non-coding members of our fellow intellectual-elite to miss me here by thinking I’m just trying to make warm fuzzies for a game I’m excited about. There’s a reason beyond just cheering for fellow code-monkeys that I’m actually glad to see this call, a couple of them actually. First, I’m glad to see some integrity in a development team. Coming out like this and telling your community, not that you can’t deliver, but that you won’t deliver because it wouldn’t meet your standards is ballsy. I like that. Don’t sugar coat it, just tell me you’re not delivering and why. Contrary to how all the other publishers treat us, a lot of us are big kids and can handle it.

More importantly, I like what it says for the future of the game long-term. Remember, the CIG guys intend to give out developer handbooks when they’re done with initial development that will allow modders to have a blast adding things to the game on down the line. A little extra effort making sure things are written correctly now will make modding the game later that much easier. Obviously it’s good for speeding up the internal development going forward as well, but I suspect this will be one of those games that draws a whole lot on community-produced content eventually. I think that’s a good thing, and one of the strongest draws to Star Citizen for me personally.

Of Birds and the Industry

There’s another reason I like what happened here a lot. As a gamer who feels fairly abandoned by the major developers and publishing companies in the industry over the last decade, I’m cheering for anyone who throws a rude salute in their direction. Make no mistake, that’s exactly what we’ve seen here with Star Citizen.

Roberts has effectively told all the big-money players in this industry that this market isn’t made up of idiots and that he’s not going to treat us like it. He made his decision, and shockingly enough the community has thanked him for it. Mostly by throwing more money at him, but I think I’ve heard a few cheers at the local coffee shop as well.

Whether SC succeeds or fails beyond this point, the team at CIG have just demonstrated that you can deliver the worst news and still not lose people if you’re on the right track with what you’re community wants. Funding has passed $36 million since the initial announcement, which demonstrates not only an acceptance of the news, but actual appreciation at being treated like an adult for a change.

Now, I have to be frank on one point. I’m not sure this would actually fly with most other games. CIG is way closer to their community than most other game developers can be, and that allows them a flexibility other developers may not enjoy. So I don’t expect a dramatic shift in the way other developers handle future course adjustments like this. What I do believe is that it suggests that a change in this direction may not have the dire consequences many folks previously expected. Because of that, I hope it helps to initiate at least a small change in how we fans are treated by other developers and publishers moving forward. If nothing else, it helps move the needle in that direction.

The Executive Summary

It’s a long time until the game’s supposed to be complete, so there’s no telling whether or not we’ll get there. I don’t see this recent news as being catastrophic in any way, but rather more encouraging in a lot of aspects. More significantly, it seems there are a lot of other people backing the game who feel the same way, and I find a great deal of pride in that fact.

The gist of this article is basically that I’m just a fairly proud guy as I’m writing this article. I saw news delivered that had the potential to be catastrophic and I’ve seen a community accept the situation and even find an odd encouragement in it. he coffee shop collective and I believe it tells us a lot about the quality and maturity of said community in particular, but also I think proves several important points about gamers in general. It demonstrates that despite all the damage kids playing Halo on Xbox Live have done for our image, the average gamer is more mature than they once were. There probably was a time were most of us were kids and had to be treated as such, but those days have passed. The new gamer is older and certainly more cognitively developed. There’s also at least one developer that recognizes that fact and treats us like it. Last month CIG allowed us to show that we have standards, and that we will stand behind those who promise to uphold them.

Great article, Red. I think that Roberts and CIG can weather this delay is due to two things: the first (as you pointed out) is that they've been very active in communicating with the community. The second is that I believe that the supporters of Star Citizen are older, much more mature gamers that want to see a good product, not an unfinished one. The delay is necessary as that if the game is going to allow modders to go crazy with it to see what they can come up with, you need the strongest possible foundation to support such efforts.

While I'm not planning on playing Star Citizen, I really hope that they succeed and this will lead to more developers actually taking some risks and putting out some more interesting games for us to devour.

Great article indeed! But, you missed a couple of fairly significant points.

The community is single-mindedly behind Star Citizen, not only because it is going to be a great game, but because of Chris Roberts. We trust Chris. To a degree I've never experienced in any other gaming community. There are those who humorously refer to Mr. Roberts as Christ Roberts, but the fact is we trust him when he says what he says.

We are indeed an older crowd, and as cheesy as this may sound, I would like to offer you this video which can explain the SC community many times better than I can (Apparently I cant link it here, but go to YouTuibe and search "Star Citizen - A promise".

Have a look, I think you will find it illuminating. It is a bit lengthy, but hang into the end and you will undertand why we our community has embraced Chris and the fine people at CIG.

There's another reason that people are being accepting of the delay as well.

The Mulitplayer Backend.

Instead of using the multiplayer code that currently exists in the Crytek3 engine, Roberts and co have decided to implement their own MMO Multiplayer backend for the Dogfighting Module (DFM).
In doing so, he saves manhours in the long run. If he used the crytek code, they'd just have to throw that out when it came time for the persistent universe servers.
By using the MMO backend for the DFM, as opposed to waiting, they can get an entire YEAR out of testing said backend.

It'll make for a more polished game in the long run, and possibly save a lot of time, and I think it's a great reason for the delay.

Thanks, jeffprime et al.

Yeah, even if you're not a fan of this specific game, you really have to be proud of where this is driving the industry, and I just can't get over the fact that it's crowd funded to boot.

As cool as this is, I'm even more excited to see where the community takes it once they get their inspired hands on it.

History, gentlemen. I believe we may have tickets to that show.

I definitely agree that the SC crowd is understanding of the reasons behind the delay. But this isn't necessarily because they're experienced programmers. And it's dangerous to make that assumption.

First off, I have no experience making games or developing software. I don't have "more than a passing familiarity with programing or software engineering".

Does that mean I fall into the category of the "low-brow audience ... who can hardly spell “port forwarding” (much less understand what it is)"?

Yet I completely understand why the dogfighting module must be delayed. This understanding isn't based on hard knowledge or programming experience. It's simply because there's a general truth that often comes into play with big projects: sometimes, "doing it right" takes time.

This is true of painting, architecture, even something mundane like planning a holiday. It's common to us all. So while I agree with your well-written article, I think it's dangerous to assume that the SC community is so energetic and forgiving because so many people have programming experience. It's not "Us vs. Them".

No, it's because we understand CR's vision and have patience. That's why we're pledging money, and that's why we want to see this thing done right. I don't need industry experience to know that if the SC team wants more time, we should give them more time.

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