Elemental: Why it’s important to get it right

By on April 13, 2010 4:51:52 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

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LostLibrary First off, we want to thank the users who are publicly supporting us on our regular and intentional delays of the beta process. We appreciate your support.

This blog is mainly targeted at the users who are contacting us privately telling us quit “delaying” or how important it is for the game to be released in August or saying that we’re being too perfectionist.

Let me address those issues with a bit of understanding about Stardock and its motivations.

Stardock is a privately held company. A lot of people don’t understand the significance of that.  So let me walk you through the ramifications of that.

1. Stardock’s success is not determined by the “timely” release of Elemental. Our software is pre-loaded on millions of computers worldwide. Our enterprise group (that makes MyColors and Fences and Object Desktop) is very successful. So we don’t have financial pressure on us to release games early.

2. With the above in mind, the release of other games is not going to be a factor on when we release Elemental. Our goal is to make sure Elemental is a great game and release it only when we think it’s a great game.

3. No reasonable person is going to argue that Elemental is like “Duke Nuken Forever” because there is an open beta program where people can clearly see the game progressing. We are confident that our beta group agrees with us on the pacing we have for the beta.

4. I believe with certainty that most beta testers will agree with me when I say that Elemental is significant in demonstrating what a modern PC-only (i.e. non-portable) strategy game can do.  It is important for us that it be done right and that means taking our time to make sure every step is done correctly.

5. And don’t worry, even when we believe the game is ready for release, there will still be plenty of people arguing that we “rushed it”. So you can rest assured that there will never be unanimous agreement on when it’s “done”.

6. We are trying our best to be responsive to user requests. For instance, we let new beta testers into beta 1Z rather than making them wait until Beta 2.  I just want to reiterate again though that Elemental will NOT be remotely fun until Beta 3. Anyone who tells you the game is fun at this stage should probably seek out help. Elemental beta 1 and 2 are NOT fun. If I discover something fun in Beta 1 and 2 I will endeavor to make sure it’s removed so that people aren’t spending too much time playing the game.

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AXidenTAL
April 13, 2010 4:55:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I gotta say I love your design philosophy here.

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April 13, 2010 5:06:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

2. With the above in mind, the release of other games is not going to be a factor on when we release Elemental. Our goal is to make sure Elemental is a great game and release it only when we think it’s a great game.

I like this. This is why Stardock is one of my favourite companies actually.



3. We are confident that our beta group agrees with us on the pacing we have for the beta.

Absolutely. It's possible that the release date will be pushed back, but ah well. We cannot go to Beta 2, if the testers are having CTDs and lock-ups, or they cannot reload a saved game. [Gfx glitches and stuff like that can be fixed while we are in Beta 2 as well of course..] Just imagine what would happen, if the devs would ignore these reported problems. I am pretty sure that no one would like to purchase a game, which crashes & locks up occasionally.

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April 13, 2010 5:12:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well said.

 

I'd personally like to know who is going "RELEASE IT SOON OR YOUR COMPANY WILL DIE" (etc) so I may punch them in the feet.

 

An even better statistic would be how many of the people that have told you this, have actually pre-ordered. I'm willing to bet none, on the outside, 1/10th on the inside.

 

Hail Stardock, long live the King, etc.

 

Excellence, that's all you guys have ever given us. Rushing the game will not produce such.

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April 13, 2010 5:12:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
If I discover something fun in Beta 1 and 2 I will endeavor to make sure it’s removed so that people aren’t spending too much time playing the game.

Bugs ARE fun!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

And why must people go the private route to tell how they want the game released soon and quit delaying it? What? Scared of the public opinion?

When Elemental is realsed some people will was it was rushed, it'll CTD for some people (if it ever starts), trolls will come to complain of the lack of races and how lazy Stardock was...

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April 13, 2010 5:17:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,

 trolls will come to complain of the lack of races and how lazy Stardock was...

Hah yeah, that is pretty possible.

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April 13, 2010 5:19:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Are the users worried you're delaying the game rather than relasing it now, or that you're delaying the next beta phase?

The first just doesn't make sense, it's not ready. In case of the latter, you've got good reasons to delay. Understandingly some people who have bought into the project really want to see the progress, but I'm sure like most software projects you go through periods where there just isn't a demonstratable product. There may even be days where the software won't compile at the end of the day.

1Z came at about the right time. Just as I realized there wasn't anything for us to test due to the overhaul, 1Z showed up. I'm satisfied with my preorder.

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April 13, 2010 5:21:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

3. No reasonable person is going to argue that Elemental is like “Duke Nuken Forever” because there is an open beta program where people can clearly see the game progressing. We are confident that our beta group agrees with us on the pacing we have for the beta.

While the 1Z is still rather unstable, it has progressed significantly from the 1A.  Its amazing how much has changed, and for the better. To those telling the SD crew to quit delaying, that they are being to perfectionist, please stop. Instead tell them thank you for spending the time and money to make sure Elemental is as great a game as its potential. And that potential is immense.

Elemental beta 1 and 2 are NOT fun.

Might not be fun yet, but I can certainly see how much fun it'll be!

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April 13, 2010 5:29:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,

trolls will come to complain of the lack of races and how lazy Stardock was...

I'd much rather have fewer extremely diverse races than 12 races that are merely separated by (+1 to food production, +1 to unit movement, etc).

I can't imagine why people want the game rushed though. I'd rather see it polished over a period of 4 years than pushed out the door in 1 year.

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April 13, 2010 5:32:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,

trolls will come to complain of the lack of races and how lazy Stardock was...

I'd much rather have fewer extremely diverse races than 12 races that are merely separated by (+1 to food production, +1 to unit movement, etc).

I can't imagine why people want the game rushed though. I'd rather see it polished over a period of 4 years than pushed out the door in 1 year.

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April 13, 2010 5:41:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are actually people sending messages like that? LoL , I'd like to see one or part of one, sounds like a laugh riot!!!

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April 13, 2010 5:51:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,
There are actually people sending messages like that? LoL , I'd like to see one or part of one, sounds like a laugh riot!!!

Check this out Raven, you will like it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qkMmT16MUY 

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April 13, 2010 6:04:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
   
  5. And don’t worry, even when we believe the game is ready for release, there will still be plenty of people arguing that we “rushed it”. So you can rest assured that there will never be unanimous agreement on when it’s “done”.

With all respects, by looking to all promising aspects and/or functionalities this game should have and what is presently implemented, I do not see how you will be able to release it 1st September of 2010. I mean, just  balancing the game with all features included, would probably be a long process and September 1st is not so far away..

Don't get me wrong, I prefer see delays than rushing out a software and I sincerely like this kind of  philosophy "it's done when it's done" when , as you do, programmers and/or team leader gives real feedback about progression/issues...

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April 13, 2010 6:09:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Moussu,

quoting post   
  5. And don’t worry, even when we believe the game is ready for release, there will still be plenty of people arguing that we “rushed it”. So you can rest assured that there will never be unanimous agreement on when it’s “done”.

With all respects, by looking to all promising aspects and/or functionalities this game should have and what is presently implemented, I do not see how you will be able to release it 1st September of 2010. I mean, just  balancing the game with all features included, would probably be a long process and September 1st is not so far away..

Don't get me wrong, I prefer see delays than rushing out a software and I sincerely like this kind of  philosophy "it's done when it's done" when , as you do, programmers and/or team leader gives real feedback about progression/issues...

I'm thinking the game will be released Feb 2011 (not that I have a problem with that). That is of course assuming that there are a huge number of spells (rivaling MoM), as well as a large number of items, abilities, units, etc.

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April 13, 2010 6:15:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Be careful, Brad. Beta 1Z is pretty damn fun. If it weren't for the out of memory problems I'd be one of those people saying to quit being so perfectionist.

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April 13, 2010 6:16:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tormy-,



Quoting Raven X,
reply 10
There are actually people sending messages like that? LoL , I'd like to see one or part of one, sounds like a laugh riot!!!



Check this out Raven, you will like it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qkMmT16MUY 

lol that was funny. Check this one out, complete ownage. I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBqxjHRXmlo&NR=1

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April 13, 2010 6:47:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are actually people sending messages like that? LoL , I'd like to see one or part of one, sounds like a laugh riot!!!

Mostly they're from non-beta testers.  Some have been from people anxious to get into the beta. Others are people who want us to get to beta 3 (where the graphics are turned on). And still others are people who believe that if we don't release it "soon" that we'll get buried by Civ V and then no one will make a "real" (whatever that means) fantasy strategy game.

I still hope for the game to come out in 3rd quarter but if we're not happy, we'll push it to 1st quarter 2011 and if we're still not happy we'll push it beyond that.  The "vaporware" comments I've gotten I don't think are credible because of the open beta.  People see the game evolve on a regular basis.

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April 13, 2010 6:53:28 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

If you already think it's going to be out after september wouldn't it be wise to indicate it in the Impulse game page ? http://www.impulsedriven.com/elemental

"Realease date : To be determined" or something like this.

I'm not in the Beta testing and I remember seeing a release date for February 2010 a while ago. When it got pushed to august I just wondered what happened...

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April 13, 2010 6:53:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think this situation is part of the danger of conducting the developmental process so openly -- you get exposed to the irrational expectations of some fans, often coming from outside the software development world (and bolstered by the anonymity of the internet).

For what it's worth, Stardock's commitment to quality is one of the main reasons I chose to pre-order Elemental instead of waiting to see the reviews first.  Knowing that the final product isn't going to be pushed out and that you'll actually take the time to make sure it's a finished, enjoyable product for the players makes me willing to take the risk of ordering a game half a year to a year in advance.  Getting into the beta is a bonus, as I'm pretty impatient, but should be viewed as a perk and reflective of the desire to produce a product that doesn't suck. 

In short, don't listen to the crazy (and often vocal) minority. 

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April 13, 2010 7:33:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

please guys, take all the time you need.  put as many features as you want and balance it all you want.  this is the game i have been waiting on for such a long time, and in my opinion i believe that its Civ V that needs to be worried about you and not vice versa.  we have played those games to death, i mean how many times can you move through the ages and do the same thing?  i have specifically not joined the beta so that the experience is as fresh and wonderous as it can be(i come here everyday after all).  ever since Galciv 1 you have become one of those rare trusted developers that i put my faith into to get it right, so believe me when i say that when you feel its ready, i will be there day 1 no matter when it is to eagerly put down my cash on a guaranteed excellent product.

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April 13, 2010 7:36:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to say it makes me glad to hear you guys are taking your time and making sure the product is the best you can deliver. This is the same design philosophy as blizzard and it has paid off for them. No one I know remembers how long it took to make a game but they do remember if it was a good or bad game. 

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April 13, 2010 7:57:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is the game we've been waiting for for way too long, but we know it's safe in your hands.  Those of us who witnessed the passion and B,S&T's that you and your team gave to Gal Civ II could never doubt that you have our best interests at heart.  We may be fanatics, but we're your fanatics.

 

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April 13, 2010 8:10:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes please take the time you need to get it right. And to listen to all crazy and brilliant ideas on the forum! 

 

 

 

 

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April 13, 2010 8:17:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Delay, delay! By all means, just get it right. I mean, assuming this will be the game I'm expecting from the journals and previews, then I'll be buying it no matter what. However, if it's rushed and tons of bugs are left in there, then YOU guys (stardock) will feel it (i.e. less purchases). So do what you have to, and get it the way you want it, then release it; we'll still be here. There's not much of a market these days for turn-based fantasy games, so our attention won't wander much.

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April 13, 2010 8:24:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't normally preorder games but when Stardock is behind the keyboard i know it will be done right. I am happy to show my support with a preorder, beta test, and being patient until brad (and us) thinks its done.

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April 13, 2010 8:27:38 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I agree with my fellow testers that you should take the time and get it right.  I am enjoying the 1Z1 version changes to the game but still frustrated by CTD/out of memory issues that I hope will be fixed in 1Z2. 

Anyone who complains that the delays aren't warrented clearly hasn't been playing the eye-bleeding, hair-ripping, cry-like-a-baby Beta 1.  If they were they would see that the game is great but still in need of work, mostly in bug fixes/stability issuses as the gameplay can be quite enjoyable when everything works.

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