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The RTB discussion thread

#1
2014 is dead, long live 2015! With the new update format, it seams like monthly discussion threads lose some of their meaning. Lets talk about the new format, and how progress is going.

Personally I love the new format! It looks like a one man agile development team. It seams like with the engine and LTSL in its current state, nearly all the major hurtles are out of the way and the final content push can start. Im excited to see the new features rolling off the ContentJosh workbench!

How do you guys feel about the new update format? How do you feel about the state of the Road To Beta?
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#3
Well, I went back and looked at the devlogs, and frankly with some hindsight, Josh has one hell of a time ever getting any momentum. Even in his most productive periods, he is facing frequent interruptions and reasons to halt development. That said, in a productive week, he can seem to get a lot done.

Below is just some of my own internal thoughts, what relevance it has to actual development is up in the air.

I wanted to get an idea of just how fast Josh works with LTSL, so I took a look at the week of October 12, he
  • Worked on the overhead testbed
  • Spent 2 days on the Trade interface
  • Finished the mod loader
  • Created a graphics mod
  • Had a catch-up day
  • Tackled a bug
  • Worked on the system layout generator
  • Worked on warp tunnels
  • Finished bringing detailed commodity view into the new interface
  • Started work on unified asset caching
So it looks like with his LTSL speed, when he gets down to it, he can knock out about 4-5 little things, 1 mid-size thing, or 1/2 to 1/10 of a big thing each day.

Next, I tried to figure out how much is left to do. I have previously said that if release is going to happen before May, and the Beta is going to be a meaningful length of time, there will only be about 8-10 weeks of further development.

The biggest component, which really hasn't been touched much is construction and the AI to go with it. Because this is such a large piece of the game, I would say that it will take about 2 weeks to get it ready to go.
Then there are the various interfaces for all the various aspects of the game. If we can assume 2-3 days each... that's another 2 weeks
Then you have all the objects which will fill the space... all the factories and asteroid bases and buildings on colonies and space elevators? and jumpgates, etc. He has rapid model iteration, but still there is a LOT of these to put out and then connect the AI, interfaces, and construction logic to the various objects. I would say this will take probably another 2 weeks.
There is still the communications system to develop, there is still universe generation, there is still LOD, There is still reputation, there is still data catalogs, there is still more work to do on colonies, theres still hundreds of little things to do/finish. I guess if he can get it all done in 2-4 weeks, he will be done in time to release a beta in March...

Did I miss anything?
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#4
I personally have no problem with the RTB format. Whatever helps Josh finish the game better and faster is always worth it, and RTB seems like a good way for Josh to set minor deadlines for himself while also showing everyone the best of what recent LT development has to offer :) The only question I have is whether the daily dev logs will continue. I presume they will, but it wasn't too clear from the metaupdate...
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#5
I feel like ContentJosh is most productive when he has done some planning, and instead of jumping around to much is able to focus. The next week of planning should help a lot I think!

Lets assume there are 8 weeks left, and is on average as productive as he was on the week of Oct 12. By Hyperions count that would mean something like 32-40 little things, 8 mid sized things, and one or two major new features before beta. With the current state of LT it seams like he is perfectly on track for beta!

Additionally, I think the new RTB format will significantly contribute to the rate of development. If there is one thing we learned from update 21, its that the video update process, even though it is very nice and informative for us spectators, takes a lot of time and mental effort from Josh. Im hoping the RTB will both reduce stress and increase dev speed!
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#6
To be honest, I don't know how I feel about this new "Road To Beta" update process. I think he'll end up creating more work for himself and fall into the same trap he fell into with the monthly videos.
JoshParnell@Kickstarter wrote:In RTB, there is no pressure to beat the last entry, no time for last-minute content (since it's weekly), no question of whether the entry is a success or failure. There's simply the need to demonstrate game content, end of story.
That was supposed to be the idea behind the monthly update videos, too. Just replace "weekly" with "monthly". They were supposed to come exactly once a month, no stupidly adding more features to delay the video more and more, but Josh compounded it.

Oh wells, we'll see how it goes. See if Josh can finally manage to escape his mantra of adding "just one more thing ... and then this other thing ... oh, and this other major thing too ... (repeat ad infinitum)".
"The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time." —Tom Cargill
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#7
It's certainly a good development! Two suggestions for Josh.

1) Have a publicly available list of your weekly tasks, or if the tasks aren't granular enough for weekly allocation, then just the tasks relating to the playability of the game. The dev logs, as you state, are there to make you feel responsible. However, the dev logs have failed to achieve this on a more big-picture level -- you have been perfectly accountable with respect to daily development but less so for the broad strokes of the conceptual issues (most importantly the faction and colony mechanics, IMO) relating to the playability of the game. The features all exist (as Cornflakes would be quick to point out), but only on paper (as he wouldn't). Anyone viewing the dev logs from 2012-2015 would see a very intelligent and talented young programmer led astray in a sea of small improvements, as I did (and tried to warn). Let's not have it again.

2) Don't sweat the videos. Pictures will convey most of the information and will take a fraction of the effort. :)
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#8
Flatfingers wrote:
thesilverspanch wrote:How do you guys feel about the new update format? How do you feel about the state of the Road To Beta?
I'll let you know on January 14. :)
I'll let you know on January 22, or maybe January 23.

I know, the door out is this way... :angel:
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#10
If it means Monday can be spent planning the next five days of focus and the next five days are spent on those items then that's a good thing, the seventh day is for the video and taking a step back to see how it all comes together in the overall scheme of things.

It's all well and good having mechanics that function well, and that the AI can use and abuse to their own ends, but they should seem cohesive enough to at least appear a natural evolution of the advancement in the universe.

Time can only tell and then through the rose tinted glasses will Limit Theory be judged on it's own merits. I'm looking forward to seeing the Beta release of course as well as the game changing mods that people come up with that's far beyond what one person can hope to see let alone complete.

My only concern, and it's a concern without any financial risk, is how Josh goes about coding. It's as if he works until he falls asleep at the keyboard, while that's okay once or twice a month it seems to be more regular than that, and it's not a good idea to work to exhaustion or spend 14+ straight days without a day off. If shorter bursts allowed for a more focused and happy Josh then bring it on, an extra month will be better than burnout too soon. Only Josh knows his limits I hope he listens to his own body and mind more than the siren call of his digital baby.
Life is about memories, the more the better.
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#11
Personally I have no problem waiting as long as it takes, I have full confidence in Josh to not abandon the project which is actually the worry people who have problems waiting, have.

RTB is fine, if it's what Josh wants, not what he is feeling pressured to by people with little faith.

I'll play it when it's ready anyway, not when it's being squeezed out due to arbitrary deadlines.
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#12
If Josh follows what he has outlined, I believe it will work out better for all.

My concern is that he has made other similar decisions in the past to help him focus on "getting stuff done". However they only seem to be followed for a couple weeks then get dropped.

Josh is a skilled programmer and seems to be a all around good guy. He is certainly dedicated to his project. He does however seem to drift into questionable development areas, particularly at such a late stage of his project. He acknowledges this, which is good. I just hope for his own sanity he sticks to his new plan so the development of Limit Theory can actually end "sometime".
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#13
Miklos wrote:Personally I have no problem waiting as long as it takes, I have full confidence in Josh to not abandon the project which is actually the worry people who have problems waiting, have.

RTB is fine, if it's what Josh wants, not what he is feeling pressured to by people with little faith.

I'll play it when it's ready anyway, not when it's being squeezed out due to arbitrary deadlines.
I don't think Josh will abandon his project.

However, the development of Limit Theory has to end at some point. At least "end" at 1.0 until he has time to do any further patches that he see's fit.

This is not greed on my part. Don't get me wrong I would love to have LT in my hands right now, but for Josh's sake he just can't keep working on LT for the another two and a half years. He has said himself he has plans for his future that are on hold right now.

People get offended when others try to respectfully nudge Josh to get LT actually done, well, I think it's worse when there are people telling him not to worry about deadlines and just to just keep working on LT "forever".
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#14
I think Josh is adding stress to his work with the new update format. Ideally, yes, all he's doing is focusing his work on what matters for beta release. In practice, this means whenever he has to do something that isn't terribly exciting to show off, but that needs to be done (more LTSL implementation, for example), he's going to feel like he's got nothing to show for a week of work.

Josh has already demonstrated that he's got some anxiety issues related to publishing these updates. He wants to wow and amaze with every update, and even in the run-up to beta, that may just not be possible every time. If he wants to make the process less stressful, it requires a change in mindset, not a change in update procedure. The mindset he needs to assume for these updates is, "I know, and my fans know, that the game will be released when it's ready. Everything I am doing, whether or not it is finished, or flashy, or even interesting to anyone but me, is preparing my ideal game for release. Therefore, it doesn't matter whether any individual dev update is flashy. I'm confident in my game and I can write a weekly/daily/monthly update without any stress at all."

My brother has anxiety issues from time to time. My girlfriend has pretty severe OCD. Anxiety is something that doesn't go away just because you change a process. Controlling anxiety has a lot more to do with therapeutic techniques and the discipline to apply them every day.
Spacecredentials: looks at stars sometimes, cheated at X-Wing vs TIE Fighter, killed a titan once.
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Re: The RTB discussion thread

#15
Miklos wrote:Personally I have no problem waiting as long as it takes, I have full confidence in Josh to not abandon the project which is actually the worry people who have problems waiting, have.

RTB is fine, if it's what Josh wants, not what he is feeling pressured to by people with little faith.

I'll play it when it's ready anyway, not when it's being squeezed out due to arbitrary deadlines.
As one who worries about the release date, I do not fear that it will not be released. I simply want the game not to be needlessly delayed. The release deadline, by the way, is far from arbitrary.

It is simply poor practice to break a release date repeatedly. Josh is clearly attempting to avoid this, and I applaud that personally - like Zanteogo though, I just hope he can stick with it.

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