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Is it still in development?

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There isn't much likely DF is dead, the studio it self is pretty padded when it comes to cash. It might just have been a double whammy of summer vacation + pax hitting the group at the same time. Having a stable enough build for PAX for the next version would require a bit of work. Either way only time will tell. Though I wish they would at least be a bit more active about what they are upto on their blog.

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The alpha version was actually updated all the time, but the developers take their time to fix most of the bugs before bringing the gameplay on the next level and so there has been an Alpha 5A, 5B, 5C, 5D aaaand 5E. I think update 6 should be on the run pretty soon, so don't worry too much ^^

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I imagine that it is just a well deserved summer vacation... a break from us demanding gamers who complain about every single tiny glitch... sometimes using especially harsh terms when talking about the AI... (I suppose that is because we intrinsically imagine a real person behaving the way our in-game entities do and then use the same words we might use to describe a person with the same level of intelligence.) It actually takes a great deal more sophisticated AI to survive in the harsh environs of space than it does to run-n-gun in a First Person Shooter... or forming attack and defend strategies in a Real-Time-Strategy or Sports game... or to model needs-based action selection (like "The SIMpletons"... that EA-made Artificial Idiocy would get itself killed on day one)... I suppose my point is that the AI requirements/expectations for this game are exceedingly high... even when compared with other AI-intensive game genres (so much so that it might become a new chapter in their risk assessment policy)... and even though I recognize this... I'm still guilty of making some pompous (and regretful) remarks as if I could have done a better job, or something... we've all contributed some amount of discouragement to this project and to the morale of the dev team working on it... let us hope that we have not killed it in the crib... but it also might be that they are spending a large amount of time on the next build so they can blind-side us with an amazing over-haul of the AI system that drops everybody's jaws (and they're not releasing it until it's done because they don't want us complaining about it being incomplete ;P).

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Just another thought regarding the AI requirements - even if they don't revamp the AI, they could still make a great game out of this... I suppose if the citizens resembled things more akin to the minions from Despicable Me... and had some entertaining death animations... then expectations wouldn't be nearly as high... gamers might still be frustrated that they get themselves killed, but at least they'd be more understanding.

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It's no prison architect now is it? They know how to work to a deadline and engage the community!

Sure it will pick up after summer, seem like a good company. (more regular blogging would ease the frustration tho!)

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I have to say, giving them the benefit of summer vacations and PAX is ridiculous. There are many other developers who are under the same circumstances that seem to be able to either A: Communicate with their playerbase or B: update the game or even a mixture of the two so why can't a financially successful developer not deliver?

There are games on the steams early access scheme that are being updated far more regularly that are manned by far smaller teams, some of which are as little as 1 man/woman.

The vacation/PAX excuse is no different to the amnesia fortnight (or whatever it was called) excuse was a few months back. You can't go giving excuses for failing epicly at communicating/updating a game.

It's like me disappearing from work for 6 weeks and then heading back in and saying to my boss 'Oh, sorry I was SO busy with the summer vacation AND I just HAD to go to some functions too'.

Its just not the done thing.

Also the failure to communicate with players on steam is bad but their own forums is just downright rude and possibly even arrogant. I understand that this in particular is probably down to them not having a community manager or such like staff member but it really wouldn't harm them if one of their team dropped by for one afternoon every so often to update a few threads.

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I have to say, giving them the benefit of summer vacations and PAX is ridiculous. There are many other developers who are under the same circumstances that seem to be able to either A: Communicate with their playerbase or B: update the game or even a mixture of the two so why can't a financially successful developer not deliver?

There are games on the steams early access scheme that are being updated far more regularly that are manned by far smaller teams, some of which are as little as 1 man/woman.

The vacation/PAX excuse is no different to the amnesia fortnight (or whatever it was called) excuse was a few months back. You can't go giving excuses for failing epicly at communicating/updating a game.

It's like me disappearing from work for 6 weeks and then heading back in and saying to my boss 'Oh, sorry I was SO busy with the summer vacation AND I just HAD to go to some functions too'.

Its just not the done thing.

Also the failure to communicate with players on steam is bad but their own forums is just downright rude and possibly even arrogant. I understand that this in particular is probably down to them not having a community manager or such like staff member but it really wouldn't harm them if one of their team dropped by for one afternoon every so often to update a few threads.

This is wrong on so many levels... Just saying

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Hey - heck yeah Spacebase is still in development!

I'm not on the team, but JP and co are working hard on the next update and I think you'll hear more about it soon.

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Double Fine is not a random fly-by-night indie dev and we are not going to silently pull the plug on Spacebase or any other in-development project. Doing so would be disastrous for our reputation and it would kill us emotionally ;____;

What has happened lately on Spacebase is that we're trying something different with regard to communication. Our hypothesis is that short, regular, relatively low-value updates (things like in-progress screenshots of new UI) don't really serve much more purpose than telling people "we're not dead!" The time cost of doing those is pretty small, but our team has been 3-4 people since Alpha 1's release and I wanted to see what the impact would be - both on our side and on the player side.

I knew there would be threads like this when we undertook this direction, and we've been watching the various forums closely. I completely understand how one can read a lack of response as a lack of concern, but nothing could be further from the truth. We come to Double Fine every day and work hard to make Spacebase better. It's our baby and we love working on it. Some player criticism just isn't very easy to respond to - we know exactly what's happening with the project, and we could either give an extended brain dump of all that, or we could try to sum it up and risk misleading through brevity or making some specific promise we can't keep.

Valve's talk from Steam Dev Days about

got us thinking along this current line. There are some points in it that make a strong kind of counter-intuitive sense: who wouldn't want constant communication? Well, maybe constant communication helps people care less and less about something over time. We needed to shake things up a bit.

This isn't some master plan; we're learning as we go - for example, I recently started updating the in-game Transmission from Team Spacebase to hint at the game's backstory (aka the Spacebase Lore Minute)... but not many people have commented on it, because (we suspect) most people are paying closer attention to out-of-game communication like the website than launching the game regularly. Which is fine; everything like this we try helps us learn to do better. I'll probably still keep doing those messages because taking a short break from coding to write weird/funny stuff is just fun, and we know some folks will appreciate it.

Regarding Alpha 6 specifically... hmm, what should I say? When we DO have something to say, you'll know it! We don't have Valve's resources so don't expect lush animated shorts for each update, but we do have a surprise waiting in the wings for Alpha 6, and you'll hear about it pretty soon now. We want to tell you a story, we want to make you curious about things. Please be patient for a little while longer. Thanks so much for your continued passion and support.

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4 PEOPLE???? WHAT? AND YOU HAVE MANAGED TO PROGRAMM THIS ON YOUR OWN???? This is mind-blowing! I thought you have at least 15 people on this project! :o

Absolutly amazing, please keep this up!

And I am sorry, but even when I love this game, I haven't played it very much in the last few days and have seen the daily transmissions, because the quest system is kinda repeating. I would be happy if some folks could post the transmissions here. I have only seen the first one about the Quaaai and instantly posted it on the forum, but I thought it would be a thing that is only appearing once a week or something like that.

Please tell us or give us a hint if you do something great like that, so that your effort isn't lost! :(

I will keep up my posts for this game, because what you achieved so far is already a good game and I trust that it will become even better.

So basically:

xz2g72mcar5i.jpg

Edit: There is only one new transmission so far, so luckily I haven't missed much. I will post it in the thread where it belongs to for the moment ^^

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What has happened lately on Spacebase is that we're trying something different with regard to communication. [...] Some player criticism just isn't very easy to respond to - we know exactly what's happening with the project, and we could either give an extended brain dump of all that, or we could try to sum it up and risk misleading through brevity or making some specific promise we can't keep.

Please read this as slightly tongue-in-cheek, but: tl;dr — "Communication is hard, so let's not do it"?

It's great that you know exactly what's happening with the project, but since you decided to follow the open-development-paid-alpha model for SDF9, I was rather hoping that you would share that knowledge to some extent with those of us who signed up for the ride.

Regarding the impact of your change in communication style — I had the same gut reaction as the original poster when I recently discovered that the future development plans section on the site had been deleted. That combined with the recent dearth of posts left a bad taste.

So it is not so much this new direction itself, regardless of how I feel about that, but the fact that you snuck it in under the radar. A short post along the lines of "we're going to be a bit more low-key in the future because of A, B and C" would have gone a long way. It's about expectation management, not about knowing what you had for breakfast ;)

I am a first-hour backer of Prison Architect, and to me, they are the gold standard for the open alpha development model.

They don't post massive amounts of low-value minutiae.

They don't seem to spend an ungodly amount of time in the forums (although they are involved).

They have not handed over the direction of the product by following polls and bending to everybody's whim.

Crucially, they do have figured out a pretty good way of managing expectations. Next release is two months away because the lead dev is going to be a dad? Community is calm and content with dearly a peep. Next release is going to be a "boring" bugfix-only release with zero new features? Community is happy, because they have access to an actual bug tracker and can help out with gardening and priorisation.

As unsexy as it may sound, I would count a public bug tracker as a communication tool. It allows us alpha players a bit of transparency into the current work without requiring you to blog about it. It rewards me taking twenty minutes to draft a decent bug report with screenshots and everything by keeping me in the loop beyond "I've added your report to our internal database". I don't have to wade through a hundred forum posts to find out whether there already is a confirmed report for my issue.

If you're so inclined, you might even offload some of the administrivia to the community - filtering out duplicates, cleaning up unclear reports and the like. I certainly wouldn't mind spending twenty minutes every other day to help out a project we care about, and I suspect others here wouldn't either.

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Janfoeh has it spot on.

Im also a backer of Prison Architect and its unfortunately the game upon which I compare other Early Access titles.

Responding to this thread is a decent enough start but I would strongly suggest you post your response or an edited version of it on the steam discussion boards, it really needs it and people are really losing patience with the game over there.

A once a month update would be fantastic, just let us know whats going on from time to time. People tend to panick less when they know something is going to happen (isn't that from Batman?).

I truely feel that if one of you could make 1 single afternoon a month a priority to work on communication and PR with us via the various sites you have available (no need to go crazy, Steam, these forums and twitter would probably do) then it would make everything far more relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.

Also I would like to see the dev plan page either re-done and actively updated or completely deleted. It isn't serving any purpose whatsoever at the moment.

None of my posts are intended to be abusive, upsetting or offensive, they are simply the truth from my own experience. Take it with a pinch of salt.

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What has happened lately on Spacebase is that we're trying something different with regard to communication. [...] Some player criticism just isn't very easy to respond to - we know exactly what's happening with the project, and we could either give an extended brain dump of all that, or we could try to sum it up and risk misleading through brevity or making some specific promise we can't keep.

Please read this as slightly tongue-in-cheek, but: tl;dr — "Communication is hard, so let's not do it"?

It's great that you know exactly what's happening with the project, but since you decided to follow the open-development-paid-alpha model for SDF9, I was rather hoping that you would share that knowledge to some extent with those of us who signed up for the ride.

Regarding the impact of your change in communication style — I had the same gut reaction as the original poster when I recently discovered that the future development plans section on the site had been deleted. That combined with the recent dearth of posts left a bad taste.

So it is not so much this new direction itself, regardless of how I feel about that, but the fact that you snuck it in under the radar. A short post along the lines of "we're going to be a bit more low-key in the future because of A, B and C" would have gone a long way. It's about expectation management, not about knowing what you had for breakfast ;)

I am a first-hour backer of Prison Architect, and to me, they are the gold standard for the open alpha development model.

They don't post massive amounts of low-value minutiae.

They don't seem to spend an ungodly amount of time in the forums (although they are involved).

They have not handed over the direction of the product by following polls and bending to everybody's whim.

Crucially, they do have figured out a pretty good way of managing expectations. Next release is two months away because the lead dev is going to be a dad? Community is calm and content with dearly a peep. Next release is going to be a "boring" bugfix-only release with zero new features? Community is happy, because they have access to an actual bug tracker and can help out with gardening and priorisation.

As unsexy as it may sound, I would count a public bug tracker as a communication tool. It allows us alpha players a bit of transparency into the current work without requiring you to blog about it. It rewards me taking twenty minutes to draft a decent bug report with screenshots and everything by keeping me in the loop beyond "I've added your report to our internal database". I don't have to wade through a hundred forum posts to find out whether there already is a confirmed report for my issue.

If you're so inclined, you might even offload some of the administrivia to the community - filtering out duplicates, cleaning up unclear reports and the like. I certainly wouldn't mind spending twenty minutes every other day to help out a project we care about, and I suspect others here wouldn't either.

I agree entirely with this too, as a prison architect backer also, I've never felt I wasted my money there.

If you're all working so hard, which you must be, then it must be quite demoralizing to have a large number of your customer complaining about you. I would imagine it is, surely it would serve you all well to keep people updated, if you're changing you communication style then you absolutely need to inform everyone because from the outside it seemed like everyone just left and turned the lights out.

I don't personally open the game more than once a month, probably not even that as the currently features don't offer a great deal of replay value (not intended as a criticism) and thats probably the case for a lot of us so I haven't seen any info there if there was any.

The whole thing came across with a very corporate 'we don't give a sh*t' attitude even though from the sounds of it the opposite was true. Lets hope for the future.

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...I'll probably still keep doing those messages because taking a short break from coding to write weird/funny stuff is just fun, and we know some folks will appreciate it...

Thanks for touching base, JP LeBreton! Absolutely no criticism over here, only total respect for you and your team. Rest assured there are folk who eagerly anticipate many more minutes of lore.

Can't wait to relearn and refine many more times the toppest ways to make base in space. You're making magic.

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sometimes using especially harsh terms when talking about the AI...

I know this is aimed at me, but let me tell you I've seen my little... subjects do outrageous thing even or especially from a hobby programmer's point of view.

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sometimes using especially harsh terms when talking about the AI...

I know this is aimed at me, but let me tell you I've seen my little... subjects do outrageous thing even or especially from a hobby programmer's point of view.

I hadn't directed that at any one person in specific... we've all said something about the AI... especially in the wake of frustrations after some not-so-bright decision resulting in the untimely demise of some 20+ citizens... or a similar scenario.

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I haven't doubted for a second this is being worked on. Part of it is the knowledge the developers do this professionally.

I can however see why people would worry, recently an uncomfortable amount of early access games have appeared only to disappear or not go anywhere,

which gives a sort of unsavory air to the concept of early access. Even though that sort of model has been around for very long, and some very good and tremendously popular games are all about it. I won't worry about this, I'd actually say this sparse style has worked kind of well on me, I'm really excited about what's coming and I'm starting to have some theories on personal belongings and things like that coming up in the update, as I've seen pictures of a garden gnome and a teddy bear on Jeremy's twitter!

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Interestingly im not at all bothered by any of the bugs with the game. I don't care if its breaking all the time. I care about it functioning to a degree that doesn't crash constantly but otherwise I accept everything else as a misshap that will be cleaned up upon release or at a later date. The thing that bothered me was the complete lack of communication and even a lifesign from the game. It still bugs me that this game gets minor updates once every quarter of a year whereas there are other games that get them far more routinely and often with more content.

Im aware that this must be disheartening for the development team and I don't want to sound like an ass but im equally not gonna kiss theirs because I enjoy the game and im somewhat passionate about it. This game could quite easily flop due to poor communication and I feel its really necessary to let people know whats going on.

I think each month some time should be taken to fill the community in on whats going on. If thats "sorry guys but the patch is gonna be delayed a little due to a huge problem with the code" then so be it, at least we know its delayed. The last we heard officially from Double Fine on this game is the update Alpha 5e which was launched on July 16. Since that time noone has heard a peep, all that has happened was the dev page on the website was deleted.

We are currently sat at just over a week away from 3 months without additional content. Again I appreciate theres a lot of work to do and its not as straight forward as we would love it to be but communication would really help here.

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This is all really good constructive feedback folks, thanks very much. I wish there was more I could talk about right now. Thank you for being patient. We won't be dark for much longer.

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Thanks for taking the time to read up and respond. It truely does make a difference.

Also thanks for not taking it too harshly and with a pinch of salt!

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I look forward to picking up the game once it is complete. Until then, I'm patient enough to wait things out for this and Hack N Slash.

Smiles

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I look forward to picking up the game once it is complete. Until then, I'm patient enough to wait things out for this and Hack N Slash.

Smiles

Its a really good game for what there is, it just doesn't have enough yet and not frequently as a few of us would like.

Be sure to keep an eye on it though!

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What has happened lately on Spacebase is that we're trying something different with regard to communication. Our hypothesis is that short, regular, relatively low-value updates (things like in-progress screenshots of new UI) don't really serve much more purpose than telling people "we're not dead!" The time cost of doing those is pretty small, but our team has been 3-4 people since Alpha 1's release and I wanted to see what the impact would be - both on our side and on the player side.
But I love those posts. I actually get to see what is going on and what you guys are up to and it makes me excited to get little hints and previews for the next update!

Plus we all love you guys because you all never stop talking to us. Even with all this new technology and what not there still are only a real handful of devs still that actually communicate and update their fans like Double Fine does.

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Double Fine is not a random fly-by-night indie dev and we are not going to silently pull the plug on Spacebase or any other in-development project. Doing so would be disastrous for our reputation and it would kill us emotionally ;____;

...

Regarding Alpha 6 specifically... hmm, what should I say? When we DO have something to say, you'll know it! We don't have Valve's resources so don't expect lush animated shorts for each update, but we do have a surprise waiting in the wings for Alpha 6, and you'll hear about it pretty soon now. We want to tell you a story, we want to make you curious about things. Please be patient for a little while longer. Thanks so much for your continued passion and support.

Just an FYI, I posted this same message (complete, just snipped it here for brevity's sake) on the Steam forums to let people know about this, there are some interesting discussions and comments/opinions going on there if you'd like to read more of what the fans have to say.

Cheers

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I just want to say that after looking at the patch notes for the new alpha 6 that it would seem like quite a lot of content is in there, probably a good 3 months worth of content. For that im happy.

Also I would like to apologise to the dev team for my harsh words and congratulate you on living up to your initial promise and making me look foolish. GG :D!

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Well I feel bad now. Looking through the notes of the new version, which I haven't had a chance to play yet, it looks like there is a lot of content there. I will try to have a go next week and look forward to seeing what has been added.

I hope this whole experience has if anything shown the developers that communication does matter a great deal, and also reminded us backers to have faith.

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Double Fine is not a random fly-by-night indie dev and we are not going to silently pull the plug on Spacebase or any other in-development project. Doing so would be disastrous for our reputation and it would kill us emotionally ;____;

Could you please put this statement into context regarding the planned "release" of 1.0 for the people who paid the full price for the game.

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