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Alpha 20 Dev Diary


madmole

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1 hour ago, Vapid Actions said:

For example, A20 has been officially delayed two times and will be the first content deliverable in over a year. This is something that simply would not in any way, shape, or form fly for any larger development studio, and so people on average don't expect it, and can be upset by the unexpected.

Larger development studios also typically don't let gamers play the game early access.  Early access is also dependent on the studio, as some will only release it as early development when the game is 90% completed while others will release it as soon as they have a working game (like TFP did).

 

If people have expectations that TFP should operate like a larger development studio then get upset when they don't, the issue is with them, not with TFP.  TFP has put priority on getting the latest Alpha development to a working level when they release it rather than meeting an arbitrary date.  We have seen what happens with AAA game development studios pushed for a specific released date on finished products.

 

Also, as was noted by other posters, there has not been any official released dates from TFP for Alpha 20 so I don't understand how it was officially delayed twice now.

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Just now, BFT2020 said:

Also, as was noted by other posters, there has not been any official released dates from TFP for Alpha 20 so I don't understand how it was officially delayed twice now.

 

It was stated to be releasing end of october, then november, now december. These were statements by official TFP team members, on the official A20 development resource, on the official TFP website on when A20 would be expected to release. Try working a job, telling your boss "Yup, I should have that done this week", then twice you delay it, and your only excuse is "well, I never gave you a specific day, so really you shouldn't have any sort of expectations of it being done" and see how long you hold the job. Once again, I'm not personally upset at it, because I don't set expectations for TFP being well used to this kind of thing by now, but "not stating a specific day" is not a valid excuse for delays.

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33 minutes ago, Vapid Actions said:

Again, I don't really have a problem with what they're doing - I see it as "We just want to keep making a cool game, so lets just keep adding cool stuff", rather than "We're a business making a product". I was just mentioning why it can be easy to get upset regarding it.

 

 

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, BFT2020 said:

Larger development studios also typically don't let gamers play the game early access.  Early access is also dependent on the studio, as some will only release it as early development when the game is 90% completed while others will release it as soon as they have a working game (like TFP did).

 

If people have expectations that TFP should operate like a larger development studio then get upset when they don't, the issue is with them, not with TFP.  TFP has put priority on getting the latest Alpha development to a working level when they release it rather than meeting an arbitrary date.  We have seen what happens with AAA game development studios pushed for a specific released date on finished products.

 

Also, as was noted by other posters, there has not been any official released dates from TFP for Alpha 20 so I don't understand how it was officially delayed twice now.

Well when i see Call of duty Vangurrd i think this is just Alpha xd , well Cyberpunk was realse as full version but it was beta truly (shareholders forced them to publish earlier).

Well  - people expect similar situation to going medival :  clear road map and +- when we will get this updates

 

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1 hour ago, Vapid Actions said:

Try working a job, telling your boss

 

There is a fundamental difference between being an employee and an employer. There are many things employees cannot do that employers can do. You just need to stop seeing TFP the development studio as an employee of some job because they are not. They are an independent entity that can make an estimated target and then choose to go past that estimate because they deem it necessary to deliver a product that is in good form rather than meet the target and deliver something poor and not have to worry about getting fired.

 

You are probably an employee and can only view situations from your own experience/point of view. TFP is not an employee. They are also committed to quality over meeting target estimates. 

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3 minutes ago, Roland said:

 

There is a fundamental difference between being an employee and an employer. There are many things employees cannot do that employers can do. You just need to stop seeing TFP the development studio as an employee of some job because they are not. They are an independent entity that can make an estimated target and then choose to go past that estimate because they deem it necessary to deliver a product that is in good form rather than meet the target and deliver something poor and not have to worry about getting fired.

 

You are probably an employee and can only view situations from your own experience/point of view. TFP is not an employee. They are also committed to quality over meeting target estimates. 

 

I don't recall ever seeing an official release date from the TFP staff (though I will admit I don't remember everything).  The closest thing I can recall is when Joel or Richard (can't remember which one said it) during one of the A20 development streams talked about trying to get it out before Thanksgiving, but I also recall Lathan damping down expectations of that being the release date because of the remaining MF bugs left to deal with prior to release.

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11 minutes ago, BFT2020 said:

 

I don't recall ever seeing an official release date from the TFP staff (though I will admit I don't remember everything).  The closest thing I can recall is when Joel or Richard (can't remember which one said it) during one of the A20 development streams talked about trying to get it out before Thanksgiving, but I also recall Lathan damping down expectations of that being the release date because of the remaining MF bugs left to deal with prior to release.

 

There are no official release dates. Just estimates to give people a ballpark. But even if it was official it is still acceptable because TFP is not an employee that has been given a deadline. That is just a poor analogy that keeps getting used over and over by folks who are employees and probably resent the fact that THEY have to keep their dealines...

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6 hours ago, Outlaw_187 said:

Also a question regarding airdrops...do they ever despawn?

I play coop with friends and most of the time we have airdrop markers turned off.  One day I found a valley with four drops just sitting there.  The drops must have been there for at least four in-game days and one or more server restarts as I tend to stop the server after a session and backup the save files.

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The consumer is the boss.

 

...hey that's me! 

Cool, TFP are all my employees.

So I hereby demand that they release A20 experimental bug-free yesterday.

 

...wait...do I have to pay them now that I'm the boss?

Will they continue to do their work properly, just because I've paid about 10 bucks a few years ago?

 

oops awww...ok I reconsiderd this employee-boss thingy aaaand,

it's okay TFP take all the time you need 😬

 

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4 hours ago, Gazz said:

 

Yes, it is. All T1 items and up are crafted with random stats.

Oh wow. I thought you guys didn't want to encourage that kind of gameplay and settled for a middle value for armours, but then again I seldom craft armours, just weapons that do have it.

Still, padded and scrap iron shouldn't count within the "primitive" argument as they currently have a lot of weight in looting and should randomize something for loot flavour. Durability or a 0.1 decimal or something. I might be munching on a dead subject as they are probably getting remastered in the coming months.

 

Btw, I politely request that you bring A16 durability back . Max durability value is useless if it does not show the current against the max durability. The coloured bar is unaccurate and distracting. In a16 you could see for example: Durability: 103/510 . Right now you get 510 and it's useless and doesn't tell us a thing. 

That item check should show, no performace change involved as it is already always happening.

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20 minutes ago, meilodasreh said:

The consumer is the boss.

 

...hey that's me! 

Cool, TFP are all my employees.

So I hereby demand that they release A20 experimental bug-free yesterday.

 

...wait...do I have to pay them now that I'm the boss?

Will they continue to do their work properly, just because I've paid about 10 bucks a few years ago?

 

oops awww...ok I reconsiderd this employee-boss thingy aaaand,

it's okay TFP take all the time you need 😬

 

Pretty sure you owe them a pay rise to 😁

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Just now, Roland said:

 

There is a fundamental difference between being an employee and an employer. There are many things employees cannot do that employers can do. You just need to stop seeing TFP the development studio as an employee of some job because they are not. They are an independent entity that can make an estimated target and then choose to go past that estimate because they deem it necessary to deliver a product that is in good form rather than meet the target and deliver something poor and not have to worry about getting fired.

 

You are probably an employee and can only view situations from your own experience/point of view. TFP is not an employee. They are also committed to quality over meeting target estimates. 



I didn't intend for this to become personal, but if you want to dangle the ham, I'll bite. I'll start by saying that this is a fairly clear ad hominem fallacy. You're stating that my input is not valid, because I am not a company like TFP, but am only an employee, which has nothing to do with the validity, or lack thereof in my remarks. However, due to your status, I respect you, and am going to take the time to offer a proper response, rather than just give you a buzzer sound like this is some sort of msn chat room.

I am an employee; however, the reference was towards what it means to set expectations and the reactions to them, not TFP's existence as a boss or employee. I'm also a project manager. It's 'my' job to set the timelines, to establish expectations, and meet them. There are certainly times when I need to adjust timelines, and I need to manage those expectations with clients. In my job, I don't report to my "boss" aside from the odd beer Friday, I report directly to clients. The boss takes the payments, and as long as the payments are coming and complaints are reasonably limited, they're happy. I operate the same way TFP would, in that you don't set internal expectations, you set expectations directly with clients/customers/consumers, whichever term you want to use. I agree, my critique has been very critical of TFP, and I'm sure it bites a bit, I'm not trying to beat around the bush. One thing about setting expectations - you have to be clear.

Delays, internal or external, should be the exception, not the rule. with TFP, it is a rule - multiple delays happen every release. This screams to me that there is a lack of proper project management. Scopes are not being clearly defined, work is not being clearly estimated, and no deliverables are being formed. Before I have my programmers or designers write a single line of code, or look at a single reference, I have created a clear deliverable for them to be working on. This outlines exactly what features, content, or functions are going to be included in the next push. This is discussed as a team, we cover each of the tasks within the deliverable, estimate the work required to implement it, and discuss interactions and potential conflicts. I then take that discussion, and form it into the deliverable scope, with a breakdown for each part, who should be working on it, when they should be working on it, and when it's expected to be completed by. Then, and only then does work start. During the project I touch base with my developers once a week to twice a week to check the state of each of the items so that progress, and any delays are clearly known and tracked at all times. There is also a large block of time provided between expected completion, and next deliverable start so that a.) I have time to work on the next schedule, and b.) developers have time to iron anything out still lingering. If I was expecting to release a deliverable in a month, then my team should simply be testing and bug fixing. There should not be anything at all new added within the last 20% of a deliverable's timeline.

As a project manager, I also fully understand "quality concern". But this is taken into account when designing the deliverables. If something isn't up to allowable quality by the set dates, that means either the scope was breached, or the work required was underestimated to the point that not even the extra allowances were enough to cover it. as I mentioned, this can certainly happen - but not within the last 20% of a cycle, as everything should either be completed, or near completion before this point. So if there is a delay, it should be a well understood delay. Multiple delays means many things have gone wrong, which typically means the deliverable was too large to properly establish and estimate. At any point during a project, I can state all cores of what the project will be once it's complete, what each deliverable (or 'part', or 'release') of it will contain, and an outline of anticipated completion times for each deliverable.

And while TFP cannot be fired, it can go bankrupt. So I don't really see how that's an easier risk than getting fired, and shouldn't be taken as seriously. An employee can get a new job, the business is gone. I certainly appreciate your disregard for random people's discussions regarding a project's progress, though actions do speak louder than words. I'm not the one repeatedly adding delays to deliverables. 

I love the game, I love the content, and I currently do want to continue supporting it. I simply explained what I believe is causing the failure to meet expectations based on my professional experience and training. If proper project management were occurring, we would not be seeing the types of regular delays we are, among other things. I said earlier I didn't want to turn this into a discussion about what project management is and means, but like a feral knocking at my front door: if you're going to try to call me out on my home ground, I'm going to have to answer. TFP can run things however they want, but it doesn't mean the criticism is invalid.

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I love how the conversations in here get all existential just before the release of a new Alpha.

It's kinda like the build up here in the tropics

It slowly gets hotter and sweatier for months until everyone is begging for the rain.  Tempers flare and words are said but when the first rains come all is forgotten and the world is right again.

So come on TFP... Bring the rain!

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19 minutes ago, Vapid Actions said:

I'm also a project manager.

 

Of what? What product are you producing? Is it a video game? I'd like to know exactly how similar your job and our project manager's job is and whether your deliverables are at least on the same scale or even relatable to the deliverables our project manager is overseeing. Your general description of what you do is very similar to what I witness as I "see" TFP work. They have a very similar structure in place that you describe. I also am privy to the reports that are posted for completed deliverables and workflow appears to me to be in a good place and not bogged down at all. There is quite a lot of instant collaboration that comes up as artists or level designers need a programmer to make something happen that has them snagged and I'm actually quite impressed with how fluid the team is across different departments.

 

Your assumption is that there is little to no project management simply because in a forum one of the owners will say that they are certain things should get done by [Date] and then that date happens. I'm actually surprised that as a professional in the industry you would take such musings as official dates. If they are stated then I post them as estimates but TFP doesn't create official deadlines on the internet. They keep those deadlines and any adjustments to them internally. What about you? Do you post your official target dates anywhere online for anyone to view?

 

35 minutes ago, Vapid Actions said:

As a project manager, I also fully understand "quality concern". But this is taken into account when designing the deliverables.

 

Again, we would need to know the industry you are coming from. There are differences in complexity and while the individual parts that each of the programmers are easily accounted for in terms of time at the start, A20 as a whole is immensely complex. You would probably want to do a smaller update as your answer. TFP doesn't want to do that but that by itself doesn't mean they are just haphazardly throwing together whatever because it sounds cool.

 

57 minutes ago, Vapid Actions said:

And while TFP cannot be fired, it can go bankrupt.

 

They are at the opposite end of the spectrum from bankruptcy which, by the way, is an excellent sign that they are managing things well.

 

58 minutes ago, Vapid Actions said:

I simply explained what I believe is causing the failure to meet expectations based on my professional experience and training.

 

And I let you know that you are wrong based on my insider view of their operations which despite your professional experience you don't have and are just guessing at because they they decided to release in December instead of October 31.

 

(They could have released on October 31 but chose not to.)

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Facepunch studios. Rust is updated each and every month. It also started in EA in 2013 and was "gold" Feb 2018. 

 

I love 7 Days to Die -- it's my favorite game, by far. I've been playing since Sept 9, 2013. But TFPs are at the other end of the spectrum from Facepunch. Can't you at least admit that professionals are able to meet timelines? It's juvenile to hide behind "We can't miss a deadline if we don't make one." All you're really saying is, "We have no idea how long stuff will take because we're not professional enough to know" or something like that. 

 

I love 7 Days to Die in spite of the dev team. I'll keep playing and be excited for each new release. But I don't have to keep defending them for their poor work output. 

 

One question for all you: How'd you like to get monthly updates -- both small and large -- on 7 Days? Don't tell me it's not possible as that's exactly what Facepunch delivers on Rust. Hell, I'd settle for twice a year updates, but if history is any guide, I'm sure TFPs would have trouble hitting those deadlines.

 

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25 minutes ago, nielm269 said:

(Setting in the back of the car.) Whhhyyyyy, are we there yet?

 

Because they felt it needed more work. There are many examples in the industry of studios who release incomplete updates simply because they were directed to release on the date that was given ready or not. In this case there was no official date given-- only an estimate and when that date came they decided to keep working on it internally rather than release it to experimental as it was.

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