Concern regarding lack of communication and transparency
What is worrisome that Dynamight are continuously promising features, yet don't deliver them. What is even more worrisome however is that upon delay we aren't given a new ETA or even any explanation. For instance: in most latest post Prometheus said that over next few days we would have the following:
Ability to destroy plots
Global view for for trade posts
Specialized heavy material storage piles
That post was 10 days ago, and legends were communicated as "ready" even before that in dev update #4. Now - I completely understand that this is a very small team, and delays are expected - I'm not crapping on the studio on the delays. What I find seriously concerning though is that they aren't telling us ANYTHING. My advice to the studio - don't promise stuff that you know you can't 100% deliver - this continually sows doubt into your community. And please, even if it's just a quick 10 minute write up on reason of delay as well as ETA - that's all we are asking for.
Yesterday Promotheus said that the update will be happening today.
Understandably this type of thing can feel a bit like another project we backed, eh.
Actually, Prometheus and Co are going over and above the call of duty to keep us informed of things. They are of course forced to back-burner some things when immediate bugs must be addressed, like for instance the Server crash on the 2nd day of the Alpha.
I would much rather have them working hard on the game and the various elements, than taking time out to give us ETAs when they are unsure after dealing with bugs, how the cascading affect of the patching will affect the new expected features.
Feel good, in most games, any new features like that would be held until the next alpha altogether, but the gang is trying to hot patch some stuff in that they have primed to launch, and so far, they look like they are going to go full steam ahead forward with those plans.
@GamerSeuss Really? You say that they are going above call of duty to keep us informed, yet discord and forums are empty - perhaps state an example of where they are doing as such instead of blindly defending the devs eh?
And I have never implied that they should take hours of their workday to inform community on delays - I'm not delusional enough to ask such as small dev team to do as such. All I'm asking for is a quick little update.
And what "most games" are you referring to and what "new features" are you referring to? I would personally prefer that to be fair - because half the stuff released for this alpha is still not working as intended. All I'm saying is - don't promise stuff if you aren't sure you can not deliver it
@munch He said similar sort of thing several times already. Time shall tell if he was telling the truth or this will be the 3rd delay.
because half the stuff released for this alpha is still not working as intended.
This here is more than likely the logical reason why they aren't getting on with the newer stuff like Legends that have been promised. Until they get the features they thought were going to go smoothly, going smoothly, it only makes sense for them to defer to focusing on that.
As to the 'great at communication' and 'over and above the call of duty' that I stated, in most games, and I've been beta testing games since before MMOs were a thing, but the first MMO I beta-tested was EverQuest, back in the 90s, anyway, in most games, when your in the development stage, the Devs might update the testers of when to expect the Testing Servers to be available, and when a Hot-Patch might be expected, and other than that, it generally could take them anywhere from 2 weeks, to 3+ months to come up with updates for their tester community. Outside of when an active test is going on, the Devs are very very active in the Forums and Discord speaking to us about our wishes, concerns, ideas, etc... They are very responsive. During a test, their energies are going elsewhere, and I know (because it has been posted by Spectre) that not even Spectre gets to talk directly to Prometheus as much when the Alpha is going on.
Prometheus took extra time, this alpha in fact, to produce 4 update videos prior to the alpha's launch, and as far as I remember, having watched all 4, only 1 of them even had anyone else with him to bounce questions and comments off of, unlike previous videos. This was because their schedule was such that he and Oxfurd couldn't coordinate their schedules like they usually do. If you watched previous video updates, Oxfurd, one of our Content Creators/Streamers, has been there to host these updates.
It is more important that they fix what's wrong in the Alpha currently, than even taking 10 minutes to post something like an ETA on those future features, because as any programmer can tell you (shoot, any kind of creator) a 10 minute post actually can take several hours out of your work day to actually put together when your reporting things to people in an official capacity, expressly because you don't want to make further promises or imply things are going to happen until you have made good on previous promises.
I don't just blindly sing the praises of the Developers, I've been following this game since it first came to Kickstarter, and I got my lowly Adept Founder's Pack. I've gradually upgraded my backing since then, even though I am a retired, disabled person with very limited income, because I believe in the vision that these Developers have for this game. and I respect the actual real effort they are putting into doing the game right...not letting anything get in their way, some things may slow them down (Corona Virus/Covid-19) but nothing is gonna stop them!
for me it boils down to reality, how long does it take to type a sentence of encouragement? How long did it take you to type that paragraph? Devs tend to be those people/freinds taht never seem to get back to you when you text then. Its nice to get an acknowledgement and its marketing 101 to communicate even if it is a " we're still working on stuff thanks for the suggestions and time you have devoted to helping us out to find bugs"
Thats really not asking much, and coming from them can stomp out a lot of potential fires or smoldering attitudes.
@Hawkshield ++ Completely agree
(...)Devs tend to be those people/freinds taht never seem to get back to you when you text then(...)
They are few, you are many. Have you ever considered how many people are 'texting' them? I've been in a similar misery and I can assure you that yes, it sometimes only takes a bit of time, but often it takes far longer than anticipated to respond properly. While more and more people are trying to get your attention and more and more work is waiting unattended.
I understand that you have been burnt @LordRellik, I had backed that project as well (and unlike most others I was fully aware how unlikely it was to work out and have been a vocal 'realist', which was being called a troll and hater back there). Nobody is expecting you to be a 'fanboy' and blindly defend everything, but be careful not to swing the pendulum to the other extreme either. 10 days is still 'several days' to most of us that are realistic with game development. Consider that you can already test a 'working' multiplayer environment in this project, with less than a tenth of the funding, less than half the time in and a far more realistic approach than that other project (which would have been possible, but that's a different story).
@Logain Tbf, I think you’re right. Perhaps I am being a little too harsh on them, but I think the principle that you shouldn’t make deadlines you can’t meet still applies - regardless of how small a studio is.
Hi @LordRellik @Hawkshield, apologies for having been so silent in the last few days. We are a very small studio and we're very focused on development - including myself in person, since I'm not only the CEO of the company but a programmer as well.
The fact we don't have a community manager is a big liability, I know. I do the PR / community management work myself whenever I have time, but I just can't keep up with everything during testing phases. I'm overwhelmed with bug reports, messages from content creators, emails - we should really have a dedicated person for that.
As for the whole "legends coming tomorrow" fiasco, that's entirely my fault. I got overly confident that it was almost complete, but then we had to put it on hold to fix several urgent bugs and rework the city decay system (the other feature coming in the next patch). We have been doing the final polishing of the legends today.
I should never have announced a day for the legends in the first place and just stated they'd come during the test. I won't make the same mistake again
This is alpha in many ways, including the "non game" side of things.
Prom learns from each test, how to handle people, expectations, demands, gripes, praise, etc.
His answer is the correct way to handle a concern. Well done!
Thank you for reaching out and letting us know Prom. I have no doubts y'all are up to your eyeballs with fixes and what not. Looking forward to what's yet to come in this test.
yes, your response and insight is greatly appreciated, thank you for taking the considerate time of touching base!
Thank you Prometheus.
I am always appreciating your open words.
You proofed several times now, that you don't hide your mistakes and gives the feedback we need, when it is neccessary.
cross my fingers that you can get work done and satisfying the community.
Don't worry, most of us know, how hard your work is and how much hearth blood you put in it.
(...)I think the principle that you shouldn’t make deadlines you can’t meet still applies(...)
You're right and wrong at the same time.
You are right as in that developers (and the people representing them to the outside) need to be very cautious when predicting timeframes. That is a learning process as well, as Prometheus just experienced.
You are wrong though, because with software development (and that includes games), there is never a guarantee that you're going to manage and release something. You'd have to announce that there has been updates after the first 24 hours of an update, because first, unpredictable complications can delay producing the update, unforeseen configurations can cause problems while patching the server and even then, logical errors and things that slipped through your A/B and QA testing can force you into a hotfix.
Btw. in regards to that other project, I think that that CEO suffered from the complete opposite problem. Had he spent his time developing a solid strategy and plan instead of hanging out in discord discussing things with people, he would have realized that big data analysis is normally not the strong side of TypeScript (and neither that of C#) before writing code, before running into delays and issues. He'd have written a simple CUDA program from day one, ran it on a GTX 1080 TI in their own space rather than 'renting 72 cores' and save the team a lot of trouble and time.
The fact we don't have a community manager is a big liability, I know.
I take it you're looking for one?
Of course if you choose the wrong one and we end up with a power-mad wannabe dictator that'd be far far worse than less frequent communication.
@Prometheus Thank you very much for taking your time to reply Prom - its very refreshing to see accountability from a studio . And like you said - very nice to hear that you learnt your lesson from this and wont repeat same mistake again - hopefully we will get a CM soon as well.