Posted Wed, Jan 08, 2014 by ricoxg
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?
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.
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.
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.