Firaxis announces "Sid Meier's Starships"

Discussion in 'Starships' started by SupremacyKing2, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    I think the big problem there is: you can only do so much when you have no fixed plans yourself. It's entirely possible that Firaxis itself isn't quite sure whether it can commit to an expansion yet (as Firaxis probably has another two or three big projects running in the background).

    Furthermore, Firaxis was never great at communicating, they are very much a traditional games company, they are just slowly embracing the whole social media side now, so it's unsurprising that they are careful (esp. regarding future plans, as this would need extra vetting by 2K as well).

    On top of that, they are working on a patch but still testing it, so that points towards them still tweaking the balance... but that might or might not work that well.

    And, finally, modders are probably waiting for the DLL as well, which also consumes resources to sanitise and prepare for general consumption.

    Nevertheless, it'd be nice, if they tried to communicate more - that's just something a lot of communities appreciate more than in the past, especially of there are issues like Civ:BE's somewhat mixed reception from reviewers.
     
  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    They gave reasoning for the Fall patch and got a ton of comments about their incompetence. Whether or not you think that was deserved, that's going to colour their enthusiasm about such ventures.
     
  3. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    Link to this reasoning please? I'd love to know if internal trade routes are actually working as intended or if they're completely backwards, or if they're aware of the horrible mess they've made of the quest system and are working to fix it.
     
  4. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Design is a matter of opinion. Very few people set out to intentionally do a crappy job. Think of Elemental: War of Magic. Sometimes you get tunnel vision and refuse to listen to other people in your design team. Others, you just lose focus. Civ:BE is not awful by any means, it just isn't what many expected. Can they fix it? Yes. Will they fix it? Most likely. Will everyone be happy with their fix? Probably not.

    Meanwhile, I am looking forward to SM's Starships. But I won't be buying it out the gate, so to speak.
     
  5. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Pretty sure it was quoted in the patch notes. Whether or not the reasoning is sufficient is open to debate.

    Additionally, it doesn't excuse the outstanding bugs with the Quest system. I expected a faster hotfix for that.
     
  6. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    Trade:
    • Water trade routes no longer receive any increased yield.
    • Revised trade route formula for city-to-city trade, with reduced yields.
    • Trade Depots can no longer be purchased with Energy.

    No reasoning was posted. We just got "this is what we did". It would be nice if they engaged with the community and gave some kind of explanation for the changes they make so we could tell what their actual intent was.
     
  7. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Ahh, maybe I'm getting confused with the Health changes which had an explanation? Besides, again, the original point stands, given the accusations of incompetence across this community. It's not exactly a welcoming situation to try and explain things to.
     
  8. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    Nope, same deal. "This is what we did" with no explanation. At least with health the changes they made are pretty self-explanatory, but it would still have been good to have a sentence or two saying things like, "We felt that the current penalties for health led to players expanding endlessly without regard to negative health, so we've increased the penalties for very low health as well as the bonuses for positive health so they're less ignorable."

    Instead, we just got:

    Health effects balancing:
    • From -20 to -70, Production is penalized -1% per point (up to -50%).
    • From -15 to -65, enemy Covert Ops Intrigue is increased +2% per point (up to +100%).
    • From -10 to -60, Science is penalized -1% per point (up to -50%).
    • From -5 to -55, Culture is penalized -1% per point (up to -50%).
    • From 0 to -50, Outpost Growth is penalized -2% per point (up to -100%).
    • From 0 to -50, City Growth is penalized -2% per point (up to -100%).
    • From 1 to 5, nothing happens.
    • From 5 to 25, Production bonus +1% per point (up to +20%).
    • From 10 to 30, enemy Covert Ops Intrigue is decreased -2% per point (up to -40%).
    • From 15 to 35, Science bonus +1% per point (up to +20%).
    • From 20 to 40, Culture bonus +1 per point (up to +20%).
    • From 25 to 45, City Growth bonus +1% per point (up to +20%).
    • From 25 to 45, Outpost Growth bonus +2% per point (up to +40%).

    Even the most well-put-together and successful games have vocal critics. Many people on the Internet are quite abusive. But that's no reason to disengage from your community - it's more likely a marketing decision that their developers and designers aren't allowed to post online except when given permission to do so.

    I'm a big fan of Paradox games and their forums can often be a bit of a cesspool, but I have nothing but respect for their developers for talking to their fans, explaining the changes they've made and the reasoning behind them, and even arguing with their fans. I think it makes for better games, too.
     
  9. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    My bad, I thought they'd actually given reasons somewhere. Not sure what I read now.

    That is a reason to disengage from your community. There are pieces on the subject all over the web, though obviously it's an unpopular topic to actually speak about because it's both bad publicity and gets fans angry easily.

    No-one should have to put up with abuse. There are consequences of dealing with abuse that don't mesh well with an existing heavy workload (which games development is; very tiresome, especially during crunch). Yes, a lot of publishers streamline PR because that's an actual job role that requires talents developers don't necessarily have, and some publishers lock down communication further for a variety of reasons (not all of them good) . . . but that doesn't mean that all developers are obliged to communicate if they don't think the effort is worthwhile.

    "get a thicker skin", before anyone uses it, is a terrible defense. The developers' jobs is not to take abuse. It is to develop the game. They're the ones developing it, not us. If we were so good at games design and / or development, we'd be doing their jobs for them. Some developers have the time and patience to interact with their fanbase, and more developers than I think anyone realises (even Firaxis, I'd guess) read all the fan and official forums. They just don't necessarily post.

    What would the reaction be if a Firaxis dev. said "the Health changes are self-explanatory because the previous penalties weren't impacting the game enough and positive Health wasn't being rewarded"? The same as what's happened already, because people have already theorised that that was the reasoning. People made those criticisms themselves.

    The same goes for Starships, though in this instance we're actually getting developer insight into the game on the stream. So it's not really an applicable topic for this thread in the first place.
     
  10. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    If another company can do it and get lots of goodwill from their fans as a result, Firaxis should probably do it too. You always seem to be apologising for them and explaining how they're this exceptional company that can't be expected to do things other companies do, why is that?

    And that's why I didn't use health as my original example. We just got sidetracked there because you were under the mistaken belief that Firaxis had posted any reasoning for the changes, first to trade, and second to health.

    It's not clear why they changed some of the things they changed in the trade section of the game. When I looked, I have not been able to find any reasoning behind what the trade system is actually meant to achieve, either in Civ 5 or in BE. All we have is our own assumptions, presumably because Firaxis devs are on a tight leash when it comes to communicating with the public.

    I would like them let off the leash a little bit. Perhaps if they shared the reasons for some of their design decisions people would be able to go, "Oh yes, I suppose I see what they were going for when they made tiny cities get nothing out of trading with huge cities - that makes sense". As it is, you just feel like they can't be bothered wasting their time on their community, and you just have to take your best guess as to what they were going for.

    Eh, a stream written as a marketing stunt is nothing compared to an actual interactive Q&A session, like what you get if you let devs post on a forum.
     
  11. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Gort and Gorb... It's like watching two heads of a Hydra arguing with each other.

    :D
     
  12. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Hail Hydra!

    :)

    @Gort:

    You keep attacking me as a person by seeking to discredit me as someone who defends Firaxis. This is pointless. You attack Firaxis a lot, you're allowed to do that. I'm allowed to defend them. Certainly, you're not going to get an interesting or balanced debate if people aren't allowed (or are mocked for) defending Firaxis.

    Every company is different. Just because one company does something, another company cannot be expected to act in a completely identical manner. I would love for Firaxis to be more open about their communication, but I don't expect nor demand it. Especially on this forum, which is incredibly hostile to pretty much everything about BE and has been since before release (omg it's a CiV reskin, which is unintelligent and inaccurate in the first place).

    You can replace my example with whatever you want. What if the Firaxis dev. said "we changed Trade Routes because the bonuses were completely out of line with the intent we had for them, and new cities are now handicapped because you should only be able to receive resources in line with your city's strength. This explains why bigger cities benefit more from Trading Routes more than small cities, and also encourages tall strategies more than wide strategies were previously". It doesn't matter what reasoning they gave. You'd disagree with them and say they need to improve the situation. There is no magical answer Firaxis can give that would satisfy everyone. All they can do is spend their time as they see fit, which is presumably either working on BE or working on something else (as Starships is a separate team).

    The people who get games design will understand the changes even if they don't agree with them. The people who don't, won't. This is generally how life goes in any discipline. You shouldn't need to be told that which you already know.

    You ask for developer interaction, but you dismiss streams as marketing stunts. Not all valid developer interaction comes from Q & As - which can also be staged or unsatisfactory. Be happy that you're getting streams - information is a powerful tool that you can use to shape your impressions of the game and thus your likelihood to buy.
     
  13. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    I'm glad we agree.

    Luckily nobody in this discussion has said such a thing.

    I disagree :)

    I'm not just being a negative nancy. I've given plenty of specific examples on how they can improve. You just seem to think they're all impossible, even when given examples where other companies in the same line of business have done so. I find this behaviour illogical.

    Not true. Other developers realise that people are more open to change if they understand the reasons behind change, so they take the time to explain their changes to everyone, not just those enlightened few who "get games design".

    A speech is not interactive. A conversation is interactive. A stream is a speech. A Q&A on a forum (or hell, just a forum thread) is a conversation.

    You and me - right here - are interacting. Sid Meier's stream on Twitch is not.
     
  14. s0nny80y

    s0nny80y Emperor

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    whats trade routes have to do with starships ?
     
  15. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    If I had released CivBE I would probably be silent for a while too :lol:

    However I would probably make more effort to fix concerns faster than a patch per 3 months.
     
  16. Kutuzov

    Kutuzov Prince

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    Would it be more accurate to say that they have never engaged with their community? I don't recall Firaxis ever having been communicative with their fans online. Firaxicon is a big step for them to meet and talk with their fan base in the US and those Europeans/Asians fanatical enough to travel there.

    FWIW, I know at least one game designer who will never communicate with the 'fans' on the forums. He has his reasons and I respect them. Some 'fans' are just so crass and have no manners/respect/ability to communicate with others online where there are no real consequences to swearing at/insulting another person. Just look at the way fans talk to Johan at Paradox for example. I don't believe this community would be any better as there are some truly and awesomely pissed off people hanging around here too.

    Paradox, yes, that is definitely their thing but I'd imagine some game designers would look at that model, cringe and decide that it's just not worth the stress. It's about as appealing as getting attacked by a near-naked nut-job on the steets of New York in broad daylight. Triumph and Muzzy Lane are very good communicators too. But Firaxis just isn't.

    We all find the absence of information a bit frustrating from time to time. I'd like to know too if only to put an end to these utterly pointless and often heated exchange of posts. But I'm not expecting to hear anything until Starships has been released.
     
  17. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Also, remember that game designers/developers are good at and paid for designing/developing. Engaging with the community means they lose work time and outside work... even if you love your work, it doesn't mean you want to talk about 24/7. Not everybody's idea of fun is hanging out on forums, we're a very self-selecting group here! ;)

    Unless you hire more PR people specifically to communicate but even they have a finite amount of time and I'm sure people would complain about that as well because PR people are usually less knowledgeable about the games themselves (as they're not designing them).

    Also, even as somebody who likes forums, I took a break from Civfanatics a bit after Civ5 came out because the negativity became unbearable and it's getting to the point here as well - even in threads that are not about problems with the game, people come in to snipe, just like 1UPT was always a drive-by snipe in the Civ5 forums.
     
  18. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

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    If they haven't settled plans on a BE expansion or DLC it's not because they haven't bothered to plan out their workload/product schedule. It's much more likely they're waiting to see the baseline sales of BE to project the sales curve of those potential future products.
     
  19. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    The lack of direct discussion isn't a real issue. The lack of communication and fast patching however...
     
  20. Kutuzov

    Kutuzov Prince

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    Firaxis are very communicative when it comes to talking about a project that is getting close to release. We were told and shown almost everything about Civ BE in the months running up to the release and they're showing and telling a lot about Starships too.

    I would gather from that that there is no major expansion nearing the stage of development where they would feel comfortable telling us about it. This is the same with other game designers too. They'll show us nothing because what they've got is in such a rough condition (pre-Alpha or early Alpha) that showing would cause more harm than it would do good. This community is no better ;)

    Now patching? They did have a thread open for the Fall patch several weeks before it was released and there's no such thread at the moment. Maybe they are not working on a major patch at the moment or maybe they are. (My money's on not because they are working on Starships.) We don't know and can do nothing but speculate based on what has gone before.

    Paradox drop support for their games ruthlessly and efficiently if they feel there is not enough to be gained in allocating their precious development resources to that project. The attention goes where the most money is to be made. Firaxis are probably the same. I don't expect to hear anything at all about Civ BE's future, whether that be patching, DLC or expansions until after Starships is released.

    If you really, really want to be in on the development of Firaxis games and discuss design issues with the developers, why don't you guys apply to become Beta Testers? It's always 'mud' out here on the public discussion boards. ;)
     

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