Victor, my impression was that BFett was looking for specifics, perhaps so that we could have a substantive discussion about LT gameplay ideas as a nice change from complaining.
"Serious" was perhaps not the best choice of words. I offer finishing my post-writing efforts near 3 AM on a working day as my explanation, and I throw myself on the mercy of this most august Court.
Now, as for you, Edowyth: hello!
Glad you delurked, and thanks for the thoughtful comments.
The oldtimers here will have already heard in detail -- repeatedly -- the reasons why I conclude that "Dude, Why Are You Spending Time On This?" is a proper description for Josh designing and implementing the warp lanes feature. But with apologies to them, here's one more brief effort to explain -- not to insist on persuading you, but mostly to show that my assessment of the value of Josh developing warp lanes is not just some random, mindless anti-warp lane bigotry on my part. I haz reasons.
First, my understanding of the pro-warp lanes arguments:
1. Freelancer had simple warp lanes; LT is inspired by Freelancer; therefore LT should have at least simple warp lanes.
2. "Space is big -- really big." Warp lanes are a practical necessity to shorten the distances (i.e., time for the player to travel) between planets.
3. Warp lanes are aesthetically pleasing in helping to showcase the feeling of the bigness of space.
4. Complex warp lane technology -- warp lanes interact with other functional gameplay systems; warp lanes can eventually be constructed by characters (player and NPC); etc. -- creates additional gameplay activities.
5. Josh wants warp lanes.
While simplified, those are meant to be fair summaries of the pro-warp lanes position. If I've badly described a pro- argument, or left an important one out, that was inadvertent and I welcome proposed corrections/additions.
On the hope that the pro- arguments I listed above are generally acceptable, here are the reasons why I come to a different conclusion regarding this particular feature.
1. Simply duplicating features in other games is never, ever the Right Thing, not even for sequels. Individual features should always be selected for implementation only when good reasons are given for how they directly support the overall vision of the new game's intended play experience.
Remember that Freelancer also had space bars with NPCs who could be talked to, but Josh (rightly IMO) isn't implementing that feature in Limit Theory. So it's clearly OK to not implement in LT some aspects of Freelancer.
2. The practical desire to go more quickly from one planet to another than ships can usually fly can be satisfied in multiple ways. Warp lanes are one solution. Another is simply letting every ship have a "go really fast" mode. Warp lanes are not a practical necessity; a "interplanetary" (IP) drive mode also satisfies this desire.
An IP drive has the additional virtue of being simpler/faster to implement (yes, even for Josh) than warp lanes. I'll come back to that "faster to implement" argument in a moment.
3. Warp lanes require planets to be static and unmoving, which prevents them from rotating and orbiting. That's an aesthetic flaw in a game that otherwise models planets as huge spheres properly lit by stars and separated by vast gulfs of mostly empty space.
This one is certainly debatable. It bugs me personally that Josh has built this amazing science fiction universe, but then lets a desire for a replaceable feature prevent planets in this universe from behaving plausibly.
4. The complicated version of warp lanes that Josh is documented to have spent weeks
working on consumed time that could have been spent coding and testing other features (some of which are in my list above) with arguably much greater gameplay value.
Deciding whether to implement some cool thing in a game is a function not just of its promised benefits but also of the likely cost to implement it, both in an absolute sense as well as the opportunity cost of losing the time needed to implement some other feature. Do warp lanes, whose practical function can be accomplished by a fast-but-constrained interplanetary drive, deliver enough value for their likely cost-to-implement that spending weeks coding them can be justified?
I think no. And that's before considering that it's now nearly four years after the Kickstarter ended, with no progress visible to backers. That's not a shot at Josh, it's just a fact.
Given this fact, and the fact that making a game (to say nothing of a fun
game) is incredibly hard, with more pieces to build and integrate than you can imagine, is it really right to insist on coding and testing a feature whose practical function can be implemented much more quickly with a different "go fast between planets" metaphor?
I haven't addressed the aesthetic value cited for warp lanes, or Josh simply declaring, "they're in, end of discussion." Aesthetics may be a point in their favor.
And as for Josh deciding to do warp lanes no matter what, all I can do is shrug, say I disagree, and move on. But unless he chooses to be a part of this conversation
, I hope it's OK for me to discuss with other fans of LT why I disagree: I want LT to see the light of day
, and I don't think that ever happens if Josh spends days or weeks implementing minor and replaceable features like warp lanes.
So in an important sense, I'm not actually anti-warp lanes specifically. What I think the structure of my prioritized list above proves is that more than anything else, I am pro-release a good basic v1.0 of Limit Theory.
And yes, this was the "brief" explanation.
Thanks for giving it fair consideration.