Kick in the BALLs!

Lorddarthvik

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Lorddarthvik
Sticking with the Test philosophy - plainly speaking your mind.

Ok... I signed on to Star Citizen in June, 2013. I have put a ton of money in a vision - not a game (not as much as some but still a lot) and in April 2019 we still have a alpha, only a couple systems to explore, and a handful of mission givers. I am all for perfection, but at what point does perfection start to work against itself. I still believe this game can be great, a world view shift in game play, but the longer it takes to get something workable the more resources CIG spends on management and development. Why have we all resigned ourselves to a 10 year production of this game? We should demand more; more efficiency, more production.

Because of this I am writing this thread. Chris has to walk the line between mismanagement and optimization. I know, that in version one it was extremely crude, in version two we started to get some traction, in version three we redesigned and corrected many of the mistakes made in version one and two. My point is, at some point you have to move forward. What was state of the art in GPUs in 2013 is not state of the art in 2019. So, technology moves forward and doesn't care about our game... it grows exponentially every year and the tech of last year is not as good as the tech of this year, the tech of 2013 is not as good as 2019 - this will always be the case. At some point Star Citizen needs to grow a pair of balls and put out content as fast as the demand. Seven years for this with a handful of planets and mission givers, the 2013 version of space invaders called (Arena Commander)... it took 3 years to build the Empire State Building and 2 years to build Hoover Dam. These were tangible objects requiring physical resources (not that computers are not physical, but a hell of a lot easier to move than concrete and steel). The Empire State Building cost in 1931 was $40,948,900 (~$676,000,000 in 2019). Star Citizen just announced they reached the $200,000,000 mark after 6 or 7 years of crowd funding and were still in Alpha with only a road map to help keep the backers at bay - not asking themselves, is this really the best the CIG can do?

Lastly, this begs the question... is CIG only interested in only selling concepts and not the game?

My goal is not to complain, but try to put this in perspective from my point of view.
CD
I can certainly understand your frustration, been there myself. What I did to alleviate this frustration is go check out ArcCorp.
Seriousy, if that doesn't make you go "wow, I've been wanting this for so long, I'll wait some more for the rest", than SC might not be the game for you in the end, cos that place is just fuckin amazing.

As for your argument about putting up buildings, I think it works, as long as you take into account everything. When I say everything, I mean literally everyhting it took to build them.
Those buildings needed raw materials that had to be mined, processed, made into parts, transported, and only after all that, could they be purchased and used to build those buildings. Same thing for the tools.
Imagine what it would take, and how much it would cost if you would have to start with inventing your own mining picks, screwdrivers, welding machines... and then to make your own tools, building your own mines, smelters, and whatnot to get the materials needed for those tools. Then finding the people who are smart enough to build something they have never built before.
And this is just the tools, there are tons of other stuff needed to be invented and made from scratch, Not bought from a market of already existing tools, parts, bricks, and mortar, cos they don't exist yet!
If you take into account ALL that it would take, then, and Only then, it is a fair comparison to what CIG is doing.
And when you really understand this, it's when you realize that it's not taking that long at all.

tldr.: those buildings were made by existing tech, with existing tools and building blocks. SC had non of these and had to invent em ALL. That's why it's taking so damn long.
tldr "brah mode".: WoW took 10+ years to make cos nothing like it existed before. SC is the same. Chillax brah :)

as for the "we want content" argument... what is content to you? more planets? more missions? more ships?
These are Assets. While Assets are easy and fast to create compared to the underlying system, they can only be made as long there are tools to make them, and a working system to put them into. We had non of those for a long time, see previous argument.
All of this is useless when you keep falling trough the damn floor when you land. They need to figure that out first, than you can have as many planets as you want.

----------

Now to vent a little myself, I'm not happy with the timing they put out. It feels very laid back and lazy compared to last years timeplan. I see lots of guns and ships and such. We already have tons of those. Those are the low-level things that any 12 year old can cobble together in basement. So where is the good stuff, like jumping between systems and shit?

Years away. Not happy.

But on the other hand, if they can get the PU to finally have working missions and trading, and not crash every 5 seconds, I'm willing to wait, cos there is already a ton of stuff to explore and do...
 

ColdDog

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Thanks everyone, we have very interesting perspectives, some I agree with, some I don't but I think we should at least remind CIG that we are still here, we still care about the game 7 years later and that is a HUGE commitment from all of us, year after year. Discussions like this keep SC fresh and I think CIG knows it. Yes, this was a pledge and yes it was money I was willing to lose. Still, I want my darn Orion and Endeavor and that's not going to change any time soon. For me at least and I have no reservations about reminding CIG of that fact. :)

Here is a Kids in the Hall classic for you

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy0UpRIncYM
 

Phil

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My biggest concern is as the game drags out funding will dwindle, we had a discussion on this a few months back and its pretty obvious they sold their stock in the company to make sure they could finish SQ42 and try and bring in new funding. I have no doubts SC will be completed but its how it gets done that might be the big question, can CIG keep going with the spending vs income? Will they have to take drastic measures to ensure the game gets done? We will see!!!!
 

Michael

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While i do understand your frustration, a lot of people are frustrated. (I know a little about project management but not so much about game development)
We have to consider
- A shifting scope and funding is pretty hard to manage and almost always leads to largely extended projects. So i'm pretty sure the first 2-3 years have been "wasted" because of that.
- I think Cryengine was probably an error. (Seems like they are reworking the whole engine) Also it might have fit into the original scope of the game
- They are building 2 games
- They needed to start from the scratch

especially point 1 (and 2?) is probably a major reason for the big delays

Just an example i know a project for a facility with clear timeline, funding and scope. Budget to build and get it going for it was 600 Mio €. Everything in this project was clear (Well the product was developed and the procedures have been tested and established). After 4 years they still don't sell any product.

Go to your nearest car dealership and tell them that you want to wait 4 years for your car. My question is simple "Is the community pushing for production fast enough?".
Isn't that what Tesla did? ^^
 

Hybus

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Pushing for more rapid development is one thing, but we don't need a modern developer "crunch" experience. This is how most major studios shove years worth of production into the last 6 months or so. Look at what happens when they do, we don't want CI programmers experiencing things like bioware magic and requiring months of downtime to recover. Also look at the result of that, these products have sucked ass lately.
 

ColdDog

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No, its a terrible counter-argument because the original comparison was flawed to begin with.

You can't compare software development to the construction of a building, they are very different.

Apples and oranges.

Let me try!

Elite Dangerous launched a game in 2yrs for $10M.

SpaceX has yet to launch a man in their rocket and has gotten over $1B in funding! What the hell is wrong with them?
I disagree, the materials are different but management philosophy remains. Age old question "How do I keep a project on track with the money I have?" Remember, they have some proprietary tech (applications) they are using but for the most part they use very expensive tools for rendering, etc - these are "purchased" tools that they pay huge license fees for. Jira - for development ticket tracking, Amazon Lumberyard, WWise, MotionBuilder/Maya, Photoshop, Max... and the list goes on. These are very expensive tools that CIG pays licenses for, not to mention their overhead with capital investments like hardware which typically have a life span after 4 years before the manufacturer EOLs them. For a typical 12 year engagement, the hardware should be refreshed 3 times during the span of that project... so the longer the project, the more overhead, the increase in cost. We are talking servers - blades and rack-mount, switches, security equipment and licenses, upkeep for server locations (data centers)... and the list goes on. The bigger the foot print the more cost, the more operations type people that need to be hired just keep things running. We could argue semantics all day but money and management remain steady... just different tools - trucks vs operating licenses (vehicles to move product), concrete vs hardware (physical infrastructure), steel workers vs graphic designers (labor).

In short, it may not compute at a basic level but there are many similarities - a widget (skyscraper or video game) - something that people create that has value.

*** Update***
I just wanted to add... the AWS bill must be enormous. The hardware I mentioned above was the on prem stuff which is probably just a fraction of the resources used or deployed in AWS. AWS builds in hardware, services, etc into their bills they send to CIG for usage. As you can see, time is money.

If anyone wants to work at CIG now is a good time to get in with the infulx of capital. They even have a Janitor opening (they need to tidy up the place a bit).

12417
 
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NaffNaffBobFace

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Age old question "How do I keep a project on track with the money I have?"
They have covered this. If the incoming pledges drop below the level that is sustainable for developing further innovations, they have "A few levers to pull".

Chris Roberts said:
We’ve also set it up in a way that, if we’re seeing a drop-off, we’d scale back our development ambition. But we haven’t, so we’ve been planning for that and getting stuff out. We obviously anticipate that when Squadron comes out, that’s going to be a big revenue-positive event for us. We have a bunch of people who’ve backed for Star Citizen and pledged for Squadron, but that game has potential to reach millions more people than our current base.

Our approach was that we wanted to — the money we’re bringing from crowdfunding, we’re committed to spending on the game and development. If we saw a change in that velocity or trajectory of the revenue coming in, we would make an adjustment on our internal development spending. We have a few levers to pull, but we’ve been pretty steady as we’ve gone along. We felt comfortable in our planning on that.

To me that says: If revenue dwindles, the option is there to flip the switch and dash to the end with the dev and resources created to that point. Until then (if that ever comes) development continues.
 
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Harkonan

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"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
At the end of the day, we're talking about a completely new IP using completely new tech, requiring the development of the very tools needed to create a game of this magnitude. There was always a risk that CIG could fail at delivering a product for your money, but current time frames are still reasonable and should not lead to panic IMHO.

Blizzard had established developers working with existing IP titles, yet took 7 years to make Star Craft 2 and 11 years to make Diablo 3.
 

Bruttle

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I've felt the wave of frustration hit a couple times now. So I can't talk trash. What I can comment on, are the things that brought everything back into perspective. Make no mistake. This frustration is an issue with perception, nothing else. I don't say it to start/continue an argument. I don't say it to belittle or invalidate the frustration you feel, but rather to point out that from a different perspective things look extremely promising.

What has helped me keep my sanity while I wait:

Scope: This game acts as a "proof of concept" for the future of gaming. It proves that it is possible to make an online universe with staggering complexity. It proves that the future doesn't need to be built from regurgitated concepts and stagnant industry standards. It proves that the scope can be so much bigger than the one the industry has accepted.

Building blocks: Have you noticed other games coming out with similar individual concepts? I'm not talking about space games. I'm talking about an infostructure level of capability. I'm talking about the building blocks CIG has needed to create in order to make this massive thing work. Other game developers are watching very carefully and learning from the lessons that CIG is teaching with their open and freeflowing information. It takes much more time to cut a new road through the forest than it does to repave an existing one. CIG is paving a new road. It takes time.

Development running longer than usual: It's really not. Especially if you take into consideration how much new tech they need to develop, it's actually running right on time. 10+ years of development is not uncommon in a large scale game. Some get it done sooner, some later. This is definitely and justifiably going to be later.

Current quality: Even if it runs out of funding and has to release in its current form, it's still a better game than well over half the trash that gets pushed on us regularly. The vast majority of "full release" games are so chronically devoid of content that it only takes hours to become bored and walk away. Thats not even counting the bugs/hacks/exploits/game breaking mechanics that plague the industry. SC has most of these beat right now and there are still miles to go. If this was any other developer, Star Citizen would have gone into "early access" 4 years ago. Then they would have done a full release 2 years ago. Then, everything in the past two years would have been released as paid DLC.

So these things help me keep it in perspective and keep the frustration of "I want it now!" at bay. Are they as efficient as they could be? Nope. Are they always on point and making the right decisions? Nope again. However, they are still doing a better job and producing better quality content than just about any developer I know. I'll be patient for that. Don't look at what it should be or will be, look at what it is now. Then look at any other AAA release in the last 5 years. THAT puts things in perspective.
 

Phil

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"Current quality: Even if it runs out of funding and has to release in its current form, it's still a better game than well over half the trash that gets pushed on us regularly. The vast majority of "full release" games are so chronically devoid of content that it only takes hours to become bored and walk away. Thats not even counting the bugs/hacks/exploits/game breaking mechanics that plague the industry. SC has most of these beat right now and there are still miles to go. If this was any other developer, Star Citizen would have gone into "early access" 4 years ago. Then they would have done a full release 2 years ago. Then, everything in the past two years would have been released as paid DLC."

While I agree with everything you said and I also feel this game is much better than anything on the market today I think some people like myself feel if funding becomes an issue this is usually where game companies make fatal mistakes and then have to either go back on their promises to their backers/community or merge with a hack company like EA to get the funding in order for the game to finish or maybe sell another chunk of the company off which could also lead issues down the road. We have seen this happen with other games before.

I firmly believe after reading their financial reports and watching them sell off 10% of the company in order to get funding to finish SQ42 money is clearly an issue I also have doubts as to CIG making their deadlines for release I find it hard to believe were still talking about a 2020 2nd quarter for the beta in SQ42 which most likely means a 4th quarter release if all goes well. To me this puts the game itself into 2022 in my opinion at the earliest, this means 2-3 more years of development at 40-50+ million a year and I have a feeling it will go over 60 the next few years to keep the release on time. Yikes!

Lets hope SQ42 goes without any problems and rakes in some $$ other wise I stand by my previous statements, at some point we will be asked to pay something like monthly fee's or some other fee or they will have to make another drastic decision like selling off the company to keep it going.

Again I am not here to bash the game or CIG I love them both and hope nothing but the best!! Just playing devils advocate here and people have legitimate points on both sides.
 

NaffNaffBobFace

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I firmly believe after reading their financial reports and watching them sell off 10% of the company in order to get funding to finish SQ42 money is clearly an issue
Wait, what? That's news, when did that happen?

Also, link to substantiate please 🙂
 
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Thalstan

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Wait, what? That's news, when did that happen?

Also, link to substantiate please 🙂
It was not a sale to finish SQ42, but to provide funds to market it.

There was a promise that all funds wold be used to develop the game. Marketing the game correctly is very expensive and without those funds, either it will fail in terms of sales, or a significant amount of development resources would need to shift to marketing the game
 

Montoya

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Wait, what? That's news, when did that happen?

Also, link to substantiate please 🙂
GTA V cost $137M to develop, and another $128M in marketing costs.

CoD: MW2 costs a mere $50M to develop, but $200M spent in marketing.

Destiny, $140M in development, and another $140M in marketing.

The point here is that you can make an awesome game, but without a massive marketing budget, nobody will hear about and buy it.

Star Citizen has been crowd funding the development which has raised $220M, but this does not include marketing costs.

Chris Roberts managed to get this billionaire investor and his son who like the idea of this game to pitch in $46M for a 10% stake in CIG.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattperez/2018/12/20/billionaire-clive-calder-and-son-invest-46-million-in-studio-behind-crowdfunded-game-star-citizen/

The funds will go towards marketing of Squadron 42.
 
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