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The Challenge

#1
For me, the core problem with LT's development remains obvious, as it has from last year:
alpan wrote:I'm actually not hyped about LTSL at all. I'll let Josh's keen insights explain why:
JoshParnell wrote: At this point I feel like the task o finishing LT is just one massive dependency graph and I'm having trouble solving it for the right entrypoint. I keep feeling like colonies are that entrypoint, but then, they've got a dependency on a load of other conceptual baggage related to items and the economy.
This was actually one of my longer-term concerns with LT's scope and development, and he's basically right. LTSL could emit essence of pure innovation rather than code and it still wouldn't matter, because Josh doesn't have a container -- the game itself -- to store them. As such, the development of this language means comparatively little to me. I'd rather prefer that Josh not write a single line of code this month and instead bust out his trustworthy notebook and solve that biggest problem -- and I'm guessing he knows it's the biggest problem :) Until then, LTSL will serve as a useful diversion -- but a diversion nonetheless.
Unfortunately, nothing Josh has said following his recovery and public reentry has implied that he still has a good idea about what LT the game actually is, what the core loop entails. The dependency graph he's referring to -- see link -- appears to have remained unsolved. If it had been, I'm sure it would have been the first thing Josh told us after breaking the silence. I would love to be proven wrong about this. But what I'm seeing is Josh continuing to leave the important questions unanswered, seeking solace in yet another engine re-architecture that he hopes will lead to the final answer.

I'm genuinely sorry to say that he's not going to be finding it.

Before the eponymous venture, let me preclude any possibility of sounding passive-aggressive or angry. I'm not. From day one my primary interest in LT -- represented by a paltry $45 pledge I have never, ever spared any thought for post-pledge, and a multi-copy (5-10 copies, to be finalized depending on my situation) purchase of the game I still fully intend to follow through once it releases -- has never been about the game but Josh himself. I essentially bought in to witness the maturation of a very gentle, very intelligent young man and game developer. My motives haven't changed. I don't even care if the game is released. I only care about Josh's well being, to the extent that I would rather see LT cancelled to see him feel any further distress. Think about it. Lower your pitchforks and beam weapons.

Now. If he has found the answers to what I've described above, then I simply challenge Josh to share with us his findings. Give no detail about deadlines, the beta release date, nothing about when or even whether LT will be released. Simply do this. Describe the game to me, and in doing so, explain how you went about solving the conceptual issues. I dare you, Josh. I fully think you'll disappoint me. But maybe, you won't. :)
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Re: The Challenge

#2
alpan wrote: I'm genuinely sorry to say that he's not going to be finding it.
Honest question, how could you possibly know this? Perhaps he won't or hasn't, but to out right declare that he won't?

Besides, LT has always been about being a open sandbox sort of game that players get what they want from it within the rules and limits of the game. The LT universe does "it's thing" and the player becomes part of it.

Sorry, perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are saying. Very possible. I'm only one coffee in today.
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Re: The Challenge

#3
Zanteogo wrote:Honest question, how could you possibly know this? Perhaps he won't or hasn't, but to out right declare that he won't?
It's not like it doesn't have historical precedent -- we fully know what the last attempt of engine re-architecture lead to. Nothing points to any change on this round. Otherwise, you're right, of course -- I don't actually know, and I can't possibly know.

However, I am the challenger, no? I can be boisterous about it. :)

And those things you claim LT is -- no, I'm afraid that's lead to LT being a nebulous, unknown concept, a projection ground for people's expectations, more than anything else. A description of a concept does not automatically solve the practical issues that come with it. It's precisely because the game has never surpassed these sorts of ambiguous descriptions that it's currently stuck in a rut. Let's, for once, hear about the constraints, the limits, the things we can't do, the things that can't be done. There doesn't appear to be an end to the journey when the sky's the limit. Let's end the journey. Let's hear about how we get started, what happens when I start a new game.
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Re: The Challenge

#4
alpan wrote:There doesn't appear to be an end to the journey when the sky's the limit. Let's end the journey. Let's hear about how we get started, what happens when I start a new game.

Below I'll be outlining what I expect to see at universe generation and I'll attempt to bring all of the puzzle pieces LT has together to form a picture which Josh needs to finish Limit Theory.

Game Start: The universe is generated from a seed. Every system, every faction, from a high level perspective is populated. Then it begins. Game time is sped up to several times the normal game play rate and the NPCs carry out their actions as defined by the game rules. They build structures, fight battles, construct more ships, trade, mine, research. Game time returns to a factor of 1x and the player is loaded into a system and assigned a ship.

The Player: The player quickly familiarizes themselves with the controls and begins working through the UI elements. The player quickly learns the meaning of each icon and determines the number of credits they have on hand. It's at this point that the player chooses to either spend what money they have, sell their starter ship, or find a way to make some quick cash (or go exploring).

The market: Weapons, ships, ores, and blueprints are all being sold and purchased from this screen. Price varies depending on the particular NPC's set price which is determined by how rare the particular item is and what it cost to produce the item.

In this universe there are carriers, planets, moons, and thousands of asteroids. Carriers are rare, but are sometimes seen during large scale battles over particular zones of space.

...


I'll expand on this post if needed.
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Re: The Challenge

#6
alpan wrote: And those things you claim LT is -- no, I'm afraid that's lead to LT being a nebulous, unknown concept, a projection ground for people's expectations, more than anything else. A description of a concept does not automatically solve the practical issues that come with it. It's precisely because the game has never surpassed these sorts of ambiguous descriptions that it's currently stuck in a rut. Let's, for once, hear about the constraints, the limits, the things we can't do, the things that can't be done. There doesn't appear to be an end to the journey when the sky's the limit. Let's end the journey. Let's hear about how we get started, what happens when I start a new game.
Don't take this the wrong way, but you seem to have a way of saying a lot of stuff without actually saying much. This is not supposed to be a personal attack but an observation. Please don't take offence.

So you want to know more about LT? Well, we all do. However, I think Josh has been more than clear about what the basic idea of LT is.

It's a sandbox game, they are intentionally open ended. Most lack depth but excel in freedom.

Again, you want more EXACT details? Again, we all want to know more.

Do I think the fact that LT is so open in it's concept is why it's delayed? Perhaps. Not really a bad thing, the more open the more complex. Does Josh need to come here and answer your "challenge"? Good luck... He will give us more information when he is ready.
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Re: The Challenge

#8
Other than that link above, I think the years and years of daily dev logs give fairly good evidence that I know what LT is about. This single post, as I explain in the link above, should be taken with a grain of salt. What should not be taken with a grain of salt are the heaps upon heaps of thought that I've put into fleshing out what LT is 'all about' and, subsequently, recorded in the dev logs.

My response to the challenge: http://forums.ltheory.com/viewforum.php?f=12. And that is not intended as snark. Within those logs lies tome upon tome of what LT is about. I can't possibly write it all here in a post.

Again, the entry point is a non-issue. The game appeared to me as a massive, unapproachable dependency graph under my fogged mental state (most things in life did at that point). But it isn't. Every 'module' of gameplay is separable from (most of) the others. There is no 'entry point', only a source of particular pieces of gameplay (markets are the source of trade, colonies are the source of AI players, zones are the source of raw materials, equipment modules are the source of a vast majority of mechanics including production, research, exploration, etc. etc.) This is part of the point of my current development approach.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: The Challenge

#9
Well said Josh, I am honestly still excited for the game, more so with the recent announcements of the upgrades to the underlying infrastructure.
I feel it's better to get something done right, rather than release something broken and stupid.

There are those here to complain about your actions without ever having laid their sights on any ambitious projects. And it seems to me those are unfortunately more often the vocal ones.

I still look forward to seeing your massive long spiels about the game and the process around it. They are very much a highlight of the week/fortnight.
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Re: The Challenge

#10
Honestly, the end of the dark days explanation, plus seeing that you are back at it, and being present on the forums (even just a little bit is fine by me) was enough for me.

Following the process was the best part for me. And, now... seeing if you actually pull it off is something I look forward to. There are many failed KS projects with big ambitions. Though, I've mostly felt that you have the best chance to be the exception, not the rule... the 1 out of 100 that will ultimately deliver beyond what any reasonable person would have expected one person to be able to deliver (however late... which was a given to me... I can't think of a KS project off-hand that actually hit their target date on time, and on spec).
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Re: The Challenge

#11
Zanteogo, no worries. You can't possibly offend me, and I welcome your opinions, as I welcome everyone's.

Silverware, I invite you to check out my post history if you think I'm among the "more often vocal ones". I may come off as a detractor, but I have praised Josh plenty of times in the past and I hope to do so in the future. I try to make sure that none of my praise or my criticism comes off as undue.

Josh, thank you for responding -- particularly with the last paragraph of your second post (the larger post you link to is not relevant to what I asked of you). I'm not too disappointed with your reply, but you have been playing this close to the chest, and you do come across as sufficiently confident that you have a game in your hands, rather than a set of isolated functionality. I suppose, as you say, time will tell.

With that in mind, I would like to close with some comments on the larger post. I don't intend to argue any of it, just comment. Given that you intend to keep the link handy, I think they'll be -- and remain -- relevant.
JoshParnell wrote: [LT] has ALWAYS been about working smart -- it has ALWAYS been about creating a beautiful technology in order to enable the creation of a beautiful game.
I have no doubt that this is what you currently believe, and I remember the one-man-dev detractors, but I certainly don't remember the technology being such a focus in the original Kickstarter pitch or the following updates and what I'll broadly describe as the "first half" of the dev logs, before the growing occupation with the scripting engine. And while everyone may have different motives for backing the game, I don't think anyone had the virtues of unbounded development efficiency in mind when doing so. You did extol the benefits of procedural generation, but that was the extent of it.

I'll give you that subordinating the game to the technology is an excellent narrative for justifying what you're currently doing, but it seems to be a relatively recent construction. If the technology has always had such an importance and precedence from the start, it's news to me.
JoshParnell wrote: When this solution has been built up to the point of supporting all of LT's existing content, the content algorithms will simply be transferred over -- no work will have been in vain (not even LTE or LTSL, because they were important milestones for my coming to understand the right way).
I'm sure I don't need to say this. But I hope you keep in mind that the content algorithms -- and I hate the word content for the vacuous thing it has become in game parlance! -- themselves will not provide you with the game, just as the monthly videos from the LTSL-era showed individual functionality but never how they worked together. Actually, let me be somewhat more blunt. Unless they are shown to be working together cohesively, unless they are shown to be part of an actual game, your content algorithms hold no meaning. Like I've said above, you come across as confident in having this issue resolved, but I wouldn't be doing my duty if I didn't remind you once again.
JoshParnell wrote:And about that 'finding an entry point' thing that someone recently expressed (imagine my joy in being reminded of this dev log) -- it was never actually an issue. It was never about Limit Theory.
Well, excuse me for naively taking your refreshingly honest and frank dev-logs at face value! :) And yes, I'm sure you enjoyed it being brought up again. But you can't argue that dev logs contain tomes upon tomes of information (not to mention the back-and-forths) and then object when people bring up bits you don't like!
JoshParnell wrote:It is entirely possible to develop each independently, and to perform incremental testing by joining them as they are ready to be joined.
Confident again! We'll see about that. And let me reiterate once again: I really do look forward to seeing it.

After all, we cannot let 0100101101100001011110010110111101111010 win.
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Re: The Challenge

#12
alpan wrote:
I have no doubt that this is what you currently believe, and I remember the one-man-dev detractors, but I certainly don't remember the technology being such a focus in the original Kickstarter pitch or the following updates and what I'll broadly describe as the "first half" of the dev logs, before the growing occupation with the scripting engine. And while everyone may have different motives for backing the game, I don't think anyone had the virtues of unbounded development efficiency in mind when doing so. You did extol the benefits of procedural generation, but that was the extent of it.

I'll give you that subordinating the game to the technology is an excellent narrative for justifying what you're currently doing, but it seems to be a relatively recent construction. If the technology has always had such an importance and precedence from the start, it's news to me.
You are of course correct Alpan as it was never part of the original Kickstarter. Back in 2012:
JoshParnell wrote: At this stage, much of the graphics technology has been completed, most of the core engine is in place, and many of the procedural algorithms are well underway. Gameplay is the largest part of what remains, and I fully intend to make gameplay my burning focus for the rest of the development process. Gameplay is king, I recognize that! Limit Theory will not be about graphics (although they will be good!). It will be about gameplay. Deep, rich, engaging gameplay, just like the space sim genre deserves.
However, the whole point of this project was making a one makes dream a reality so we can all enjoy it together. If Josh actually needs to tweak the tech to make his dream happen, he needs to tweak it. He of course was not lying to us back in 2012, he just didn't know what he would come up against. I am sure when it comes time to start his next project he will know better.

I have my doubts and wonder about certain aspects, but Josh has made it more than clear he will be doing thing the way he believes they need to be done and that just the way it will be. All we can do now is wait for the artist to do his thing.
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Re: The Challenge

#14
alpan wrote: After all, we cannot let 0100101101100001011110010110111101111010 win.
Oh my. I just read that matrix forum thread. That guy is... unpleasant. I mean, to riff on Josh, "Such suck, much mean! WOW!".

Seriously though, go Josh! Prove that [other human being] wrong! Crush his [pessimism] with procedurally generated fists controlled by post singularity AI! :thumbup:


PS
I realized that calling 0100101101100001011110010110111101111010 mean names was mean, so I replaced the curse words with bracketed bits. Makes me a better person, right? :roll: :lol:
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