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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#542
JoshParnell wrote: those who made LT come alive did it with full knowledge that it was a "one guy's crazy dream" kind of thing.
... it came from a graphics programmer who had a dream-turned-hobby project, a burning passion to see a particular kind of game made ...
This is why I backed the KS. Thinking that this deserves a chance, nothing more, nothing less. And thinking how amazing it would be if he can actually pull it through :)
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#545
While I normally stay out of these -- I'm one of those people in the middle, who thinks Josh should do certain things differently but isn't upset that he doesn't -- I thought it might be OK to comment about this:
JoshParnell wrote:I understand the frustrations with what are (apparently) the inescapable problems of a 1-man team...but at the same time, that's what LT has been from the very beginning, and everyone who helped make it a reality knew that. There wasn't any other way it could have happened -- the KS didn't come from a small indie studio's game proposal, it came from a graphics programmer who had a dream-turned-hobby project, a burning passion to see a particular kind of game made, and no other way to pursue it full-time than to go appeal to others who also wanted to see that game made.

TL;DR - It is what it is, LT has always been a one-man-team, so discussing the pitfalls of it aren't very useful. Even with overfunding we absolutely don't have the means to form a real 'team.' We're lucky to have found music and audio professionals to work with for the price we did. Discussing me and my problems as a developer, however, is totally fair game (although a rather well-beaten horse IMO) :ghost:
To put a boot to that poor pony once more, it might be useful to think of this in terms of the "hats" metaphor I've mentioned previously in order to have a friendly conversation about what indie game development really means.

Josh talks about being a "developer," but (I think he'd agree) that term covers a lot of roles. Some of the hats worn when creating a commercial game are:
  • Production -- finding a place to code, machines to code on, software to code with, etc.
  • Architecture -- defining the overall breakdown of systems needed by the game
  • Design -- deciding what gameplay features to code, and why
  • Infrastructure Programming -- the coding of the core architectural framework
  • Content Programming -- the coding of gameplay features that players will see
  • UI Programming -- the coding of the interface between game content and players
  • Documentation -- describing the code to make it easier to maintain and improve later
  • Testing -- Initial QA and management of alpha/beta process
  • Project Management -- decomposing features into coding tasks and scheduling those tasks
  • Accounting -- keeping track of development money and the expenses that consume it
  • Communications -- letting backers and fans know how things are going
  • Marketing/PR -- promoting the game to people who don't yet know about it
There are certainly other hats we could suggest (such as Audio and Graphics), but I think this makes my point: "game development" entails a lot more than just banging out tasty code.

And here's my corollary: very, very, very few people in this world excel at all of those jobs.

The reason being a one-man team is hard is because ability and time are limited. I'm ready to defend the proposition that Josh is a superb coder. But I honestly don't believe it's incorrect or mean to also acknowledge that he is, for whatever reason, not as gifted at or interested in wearing some of those other hats... and even if he were, doing those other jobs still sucks time away from coding, which I think it's fair to say is what he'd rather be doing.

A team, even a small one, especially a small one, can allocate hats more efficiently. That translates directly to either "achieving more than the base requirements" or "getting the base requirements done sooner" because everything isn't put on one person. It's a better allocation of personal skills and interests.

Just as Josh excels at coding, there are people who excel at wearing those other hats. There are people who are good at dealing with the unsexy but important production/management stuff. There are other people who have industry contacts and experience in communicating frequently with the outside world without lapsing into BS.

I will freely and openly admit to believing that Limit Theory would be done sooner and would be a better game if Josh let someone else wear those two hats. I sincerely don't understand why it's necessary to define a "one-man team" as including those two support functions.

Let's suppose some experienced person helped wrangle the production/project management stuff so that a responsible target for Limit Theory v1.0 can be met, and some other person with experience in marketing games helped with communications/PR so that lots of people hear about LT and reward Josh financially for all his hard work. Does anyone believe -- be honest -- that Limit Theory would be one iota less "Josh's game?"

To close, I want to make it clear: none of this is intended as criticism of Josh or anyone else. Criticism is action taken on the assumption that someone else will change their behavior, and I make no such assumption. Although I certainly wouldn't mind if something I said was useful to anyone, as far as I'm concerned, we're just swapping viewpoints about game development in general. Josh and LT just happen to be the nearest example of indie game development, both when it's working and when it's under stress.

Friendly disagreement (or agreement) on these thoughts is welcome. (And Josh, if you feel I've gotten any of the above wrong, I welcome your comments as well.)
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#546
You know flat, I pretty much agree with the basic idea you have there, except for one thing. It leaves out the possibility that perhaps Josh WANTS to do it all himself as a personal goal. You know, to prove to himself that he can do it. To gain the sense of accomplishment of a job started and finished.

I'm sure you would agree, that most, if not all painters want to create their paintings by themselves. When you first learn something, how do you feel when you finally are able to accomplish it on your own? Proud? A sense of satisfaction?

So I understand where you are coming from, but at the same time, I do not wish to take that away from Josh. He's earned it.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#547
I'm very well acquainted with that impulse, Poet. I feel it myself about a lot of things; I can get downright grumpy when I'm not even trusted with the chance to get something done properly on my own.

For me, though, that calculation changes depending on whether other people are depending on me, and on the importance of their expectations.

If I'm just doing something for myself, I'll invest as much time and effort into it as I want. If other people are counting on me, however, then I feel like I need to lower my resistance to asking for and accepting appropriate help.

I'm not suggesting there is (or should be) a direct parallel between how I roll and how Josh prefers to handle the production of LT. I'm just speaking for myself to note that it is possible to feel a need to be perceived as competent and still be able to take some help when it's appropriate to try to satisfy external dependencies.
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#548
I tend to think of Josh making LT for himself nowadays, Flat. It saves me from much angst. ;) I know in my heart of hearts that this is not strictly true but it is the way I viewed the project originally. Josh invited the backers onboard to help him make his dream game so if what I had wanted had been markedly different from what he said he was trying to do during his fundraising campaign I would have been wiser to have walked away and not contributed. :)

This is why I avoid the heated debates about the project nowadays. I know I'm looking for what the coding warrior wants to achieve (more or less) so I prefer to see the best game he can make without the core being diluted. I'll be surprised if I need to have a modified version of the original. Certainly not an extensively modified version.

Freelancer 2 was always the core of the game as far as I could see. And it can't get closer to my ideal game than that. :angel:
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#549
Flatfingers wrote:
Just as Josh excels at coding, there are people who excel at wearing those other hats. There are people who are good at dealing with the unsexy but important production/management stuff. There are other people who have industry contacts and experience in communicating frequently with the outside world without lapsing into BS.

I will freely and openly admit to believing that Limit Theory would be done sooner and would be a better game if Josh let someone else wear those two hats. I sincerely don't understand why it's necessary to define a "one-man team" as including those two support functions.

Let's suppose some experienced person helped wrangle the production/project management stuff so that a responsible target for Limit Theory v1.0 can be met, and some other person with experience in marketing games helped with communications/PR so that lots of people hear about LT and reward Josh financially for all his hard work. Does anyone believe -- be honest -- that Limit Theory would be one iota less "Josh's game?"

To close, I want to make it clear: none of this is intended as criticism of Josh or anyone else. Criticism is action taken on the assumption that someone else will change their behavior, and I make no such assumption. Although I certainly wouldn't mind if something I said was useful to anyone, as far as I'm concerned, we're just swapping viewpoints about game development in general. Josh and LT just happen to be the nearest example of indie game development, both when it's working and when it's under stress.
Thank you Flat.
I have been a silent observer as of late, but do frequent the forums just to catch up on Josh's brief updates :)

It is nice to read a big chunk of text and read it for what it is, I could not have said it better :)

I do have to agree, there are people out there who are able to wear those hats that Josh does not like to wear, that would not detract from Josh being the owner of LT.

I have followed a few indie devs over the last 15 years, and one I like to keep in touch with is Introversion - "the last of the bedroom coders" - until I found out about Josh! :)

Introversion are basically a 3 man team:
- Chris Delay (lead designer and developer)
- Mark Morris (arbiter between Chris and Tom)
- Thomas Arundel (business development, sales, licensing and finance)

These guys have been mates since college.

Flat's logic is sound, and doesn't detract from what Josh has already achieved.. and there is no harm in re-iterating that some hats can be handed out to people who are willing to help out.

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

I only say this because we don't know if Josh has tried to ask for help with these hats.
YAY PYTHON \o/

In Josh We Trust
-=326.3827=-
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#551
The truth is none of us know what has changed since Josh moved to new surroundings apart from what he has chosen to share with us. He may very well be receiving a helping hand with those aspects of the game which some Community members are still showing concern about. He has mentioned that he isn't as isolated concerning the development process and is the recipient of mentoring from people he can trust and also exchanges ideas with others who are undertaking similar work.

The walls of text are fine and I'm sure the new Josh appreciates the concern expressed within such outpourings and perhaps benefits from some of the good advice given. But I have little doubt he will continue to do what he feels is best for the project.

I was very concerned for LT when he was the cave dweller of old showing all the signs of someone on the edge but I don't have the same doubts anymore.

I'm sure with his next project there will be many changes implemented which have been gleaned from experience gained during the time spent with LT 1.0. :angel:
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#552
Victor Tombs wrote:The truth is none of us know what has changed since Josh moved to new surroundings apart from what he has chosen to share with us. He may very well be receiving a helping hand with those aspects of the game which some Community members are still showing concern about. He has mentioned that he isn't as isolated concerning the development process and is the recipient of mentoring from people he can trust and also exchanges ideas with others who are undertaking similar work.

The walls of text are fine and I'm sure the new Josh appreciates the concern expressed within such outpourings and perhaps benefits from some of the good advice given. But I have little doubt he will continue to do what he feels is best for the project.

I was very concerned for LT when he was the cave dweller of old showing all the signs of someone on the edge but I don't have the same doubts anymore.

I'm sure with his next project there will be many changes implemented which have been gleaned from experience gained during the time spent with LT 1.0. :angel:
You have a great point. We just don't know. All we know is what he tells us. My "speculation" is based off that and that alone, with my personal bias of course. I am 100% behind Josh and LT. I want no mistake made about that. But sometimes we have to put the extraordinary aspects of the person behind with respect to the matter at hand. It doesn't matter how brilliant Josh is. He is still human. As mentioned by one of my longer term friends on IRC earlier Josh can be very bad at translating his thoughts into words. Which can lead to very gross misinterpretation. This is where Flat's analogy of "hats" is very spot on. My view isn't so much that he needs to give other people those hats as I think his methodology would be hampered if he let others get involved with any level of authority. That in and of itself is a problem, but a problem we cannot really resolve. What I do think is as I've said before that the project on the whole simply needs fresh eyes. Josh suffers from being way too close and intimately involved in this project. I believe he thinks he sees things clear as ever but he's spun that yarn before a few times when it was clear to those on the outside that he was struggling.

It seems pretty clear at any rate though that nothing we say or do is going to be taken on board at this point and that whether he's right or just delusional he is going to keep going on the path that he's on and whether or not it yields at game is yet to be seen. Personally I've given up on the idea of it coming to fruition. I'd love nothing more than to see a big headline reading "LT is released... blows world away" but as have many others I am simply choosing to step back and not worry about it. The last post of relevance I've seen regarding LT leads me to believe that he's basically rebuilding at the engine level yet again for simulation and test purposes. His previous posts on the matter were much more hopeful. I actually got the serious impression that he was on the "home stretch" and basically just polishing and finishing it up for Beta. Now... now... lets just say it doesn't seem like that anymore.

I just hope that he silently takes some of the advice given to him rather than just plowing through face first. Perspective can be a wonderful thing. I fear he lacks it at this point. Which is perfectly understandable. No one can ever expect to have a great perspective when they're knee deep in something... anything.
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#553
(For everyone) Take a deep breath.....breathe in........aannd.....breathe out. There :)

Don't sweat it dudes. Your worry and angst about LT is not required, and might very well not help it get made more quickly, so always remember to breathe in and out before venting.

As Josh has said himself oh so many times, LT is his personal pet dream project and it will happen. So help it happen, keep positive and give it the time it needs to ferment, like all good wines.
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#554
I'd be happy to see the game come out whenever, as a non-backer. No pressure, no demands, no advice, no worries. I'll admit that saw the KS pitch but I didn't really "get it" back then. Just seemed like another one for the bandwagon.

I did back Elite: Dangerous (well, it's David Braben making a new Elite game, of course I backed it), Star Citizen (Chris Roberts did make Stryker's Run on the BBC Micro, and he has some space game pedigree too) and Infinity: Battlescape (the engine looked good for many years before the KS pitch, and the initial ambition was scaled back a bit, so I figured they have a chance). So I'm good for the time being.

I understand that the silence was deafening on this game for a while there, but Mr Parnell seems to be back on his feet again and hard at work. Having the project's backers play armchair project manager and badgering him on his forum seems a little counter-productive - if getting the game finished and out of the door is the objective.
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Re: The Beginning of the Golden Days!

#555
Victor Tombs wrote:I'm sure with his next project there will be many changes implemented which have been gleaned from experience gained during the time spent with LT 1.0. :angel:
Oh god yes, can you imagine the sheer levels of awesome that will be required to even start thinking about a project for after LT.
Josh is too ambitious for his own good (which is good for us, that spawned LT :V) and his next project is going to be absolutely amazing.

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