Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:47 pm
I was very much thinking about that PAX code (both versions, actually). It's very fair to observe that that the pretty/immediate/hands-on/exciting stuff is of course what you want to show off at an expo. Most people find it a lot easier to get the sense of tactile features -- pretty space! good combat AI! cool explosions! -- than simulationist stuff that runs in the background to create content and that takes time to express.
But while I think Josh could find himself enthusiastic about the world-sim features (and Freelancer certainly had some, such as the trading aspect) or procedural content generation, I never had the impression these were his first love. The "Implemented" column of the spreadsheet tells that story.
None of which (as I think you know) is a criticism. I'm sure that somewhere in my 5000 comments here is at least one pointing out that it's very OK to take a break from implementing Must Have But Not Really All That Interesting features to do something fun. One person working on a big project needs to find ways to stay motivated. If that means doing pew-pew occasionally, rather than laying plumbing all the time, then absolutely that's fine. I encouraged Graphics Josh to play now and then!
That said... it looks like the plumbing needed for all the non-dogfightery features was just too much. Most of the core non-dogfighting systems, on which the many world-simulation features would be built, don't seem from the spreadsheet to have been started: things like non-combat AI, factions, colonies, projects, and mining. Without being able to get to the point of working on those core systems, there was no way to get to all the detailed features in the Kickstarter that provided a setting and reasons for the dogfighting.
Again: this is speculative analysis, not criticism! I'm just thinking out loud about what I see -- none of it is finger-pointing, and there is a lot of exculpatory reality I'm not mentioning here (mostly having to do with "if you've never tried to build a game, you don't really know how hard it is").
I'll always wish more could have been done. But I'll always be amazed by what actually did get done.