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Kotaku's 7 month investigation into Star Citizen's development

Vash63

Member
That would be Erin Roberts, Chris' brother. He led Traveller's Tales (Tt Fusion to be exact) after Chris left the industry, but became CIG's global head of production in July 2015. He did some massive restructuring since and is generally considered the main reason for the more focused and streamlined development process we've seen in recent months.

Yep, I'd love to see more of Erin in their video content. He may not be the lead visionary but he definitely seems to be the one getting shit done.
 

zoukka

Member
What do you think will happen?

That it will stay in "alpha/beta" state forever and be a huge money sink until people realise it's never coming out as a cohesive product.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2SBYtj9pis&feature=youtu.be&t=1075

Listen to their discussion for about a minute.

Here's what tier 2 head actually rendered in engine in real time looks like.

Gary Oldman's character in the trailer doesn't look as good as the faces we see in the 10ftC video, but that is development. I'm sure it looks a lot better now. Because look at these:


For those that are suspicious that these heads won't look as good in-game, most if not all of the cutscenes will be done in engine and will not be pre-rendered.

The tech is impressive but the art design isn't. Those characters look terrifying and deep in the uncanny valley.
 

Galava

Member
That it will stay in "alpha/beta" state forever and be a huge money sink until people realise it's never coming out as a cohesive product.



The tech is impressive but the art design isn't. Those characters look terrifying and deep in the uncanny valley.

We'll see how they actually look like in Squadron 42 moving and talking, right now the movements and everything are very... tech-demo-like
 

apav

Member
That it will stay in "alpha/beta" state forever and be a huge money sink until people realise it's never coming out as a cohesive product.



The tech is impressive but the art design isn't. Those characters look terrifying and deep in the uncanny valley.

That's unfortunate for you. :( I personally don't see it and I haven't seen many others feel the same way as you.

The only time I have that feeling is when I look at robots in real life that look somewhat convincing but still have a long way to go before they're indiscernible from humans.
http://cdn0.dailydot.com/uploaded/images/original/2016/3/8/jules.jpg
 

Spuck-uk

Banned
Do you know anything about project management, or business management in general? Nothing in there is particularly unexpected or poorly done. This is simply what happens with mega projects of this scale. Companies hit communication issues and tech changes and expansions issues all the time in every industry.

Hi, I do, and the stuff they're talking about, and especially Roberts himself management, is far from standard.

The feature creep is staggering, and even if they'd known what a ridiculously large game they were making in the first place, it would be incredibly hard to get everything working together.

From the article, and talking to the people I know working at the UK devs, Croberts is the thing most likely to bring this project down.
 

KKRT00

Member
The feature creep is staggering, and even if they'd known what a ridiculously large game they were making in the first place, it would be incredibly hard to get everything working together.
Hmm upgrade, its 'incredible hard' now. Over year ago it was impossible.

From the article, and talking to the people I know working at the UK devs, Croberts is the thing most likely to bring this project down.
Someone is forgetting that without Chris there wouldnt be this project and it wouldnt be as big as it is.
There is also no other crowdfunding project that is done in way Star Citizen is done, even today, when they showed that they focusing 100% on almost daily community interactions has a big pay-offs.

Chris Roberts is not perfect, but he drives this project and do not allow for compromises.
We needed somebody like that for a long time, because this is how ambitious games were done in the past.
 
One might say the whole project is "tech-demo-like" :b

The most bizarre thing about this is that at some point Roberts decided to invest lots of money and time into the best facial animations ever - for a game about flying spaceships.
I mean, sure, the mission briefings will be fucking amazing - but who buys a spaceflight game for those.
And yes, the MMO part will benefit from good player faces, but we're not really going to be using this tech for anything important. It's just not a 'cinematic' game. I fear that Roberts is sinking back into wanting to be a film director again.

Meanwhile, last time I tried the space combat (admittedly about 6 months ago), the balance was awful and the game didn't seem to know if I should be using a mouse or joystick. The gimballed lasers just made the game 'not fun' by giving a encouraging you to just point the mouse at the target while using your other hand to do random evasive manoevreing.
I'm hoping that gets improved and balanced, but it seems like it's just ignored by the devs in favour of adding the latest bleeding-edge tech to some game area that is merely 'nice to have' instead of core gameplay.

I've done some project management, and the feature creep here is ridiculous. The main difference with SC is that there is no one client to whom the project manager must justify his decisions. Instead, there are a million or so 'clients', and most are happy to let Chris do what he wants.

I constantly have to ask myself and my team "How does this help us fulfil the project goal", which is a ruthless razor for cutting off unnecessary feature creep (and yet some feature creep still happens for various reasons...)
The hardest projects are when the client has no clear vision and starts requesting lots of things with no clear goals in mind. It's very hard as a project manager to try and tell your clients that "No, I think that is a waste of your money and time", especially when they are offering you more money to fund their feature-creeping requests. I'm managing a small part of one such project at the moment and it's incredibly stressful.
 

KKRT00

Member
The most bizarre thing about this is that at some point Roberts decided to invest lots of money and time into the best facial animations ever - for a game about flying spaceships.
I mean, sure, the mission briefings will be fucking amazing - but who buys a spaceflight game for those.
And yes, the MMO part will benefit from good player faces, but we're not really going to be using this tech for anything important. It's just not a 'cinematic' game. I fear that Roberts is sinking back into wanting to be a film director again.

Wing Commander?

I'm hoping that gets improved and balanced, but it seems like it's just ignored by the devs in favour of adding the latest bleeding-edge tech to some game area that is merely 'nice to have' instead of core gameplay.

2.6 update, that is coming soon after CitizenCon, is exactly that.

project management stuff.
While i agree with you on theoretical level, nothing CIG is working on currently and showed off is a useless feature. All of them are necessary to achieve what they want to achieve.
If you disagree, just write which features, do you think, they should not work on?
 
The most bizarre thing about this is that at some point Roberts decided to invest lots of money and time into the best facial animations ever - for a game about flying spaceships.

Have you ever played Wing Commander? I mean... seirously? Your comment lacks a serious amount of perspective regarding what the project SQ42 has been pitched as.
That it will stay in "alpha/beta" state forever and be a huge money sink until people realise it's never coming out as a cohesive product.
The tech is impressive but the art design isn't. Those characters look terrifying and deep in the uncanny valley.

Call me annoying, but how is the art design unimpressive and how does that feed into the uncanny valley? I feel like I am reading the whole thing "clean angular and sterile PC graphics" made without "artisanry" kind of sentiment that lacks any real oomph as an argument.
 
The most bizarre thing about this is that at some point Roberts decided to invest lots of money and time into the best facial animations ever - for a game about flying spaceships.
I mean, sure, the mission briefings will be fucking amazing - but who buys a spaceflight game for those.
And yes, the MMO part will benefit from good player faces, but we're not really going to be using this tech for anything important. It's just not a 'cinematic' game. I fear that Roberts is sinking back into wanting to be a film director again.

I think that suggests you might have a pretty misguided view of what the game actually is going to be and what it is trying to accomplish. It is not just a "game about flying spaceships", the ships themselves are not the entire focus of it and the things like the first person gameplay are just as important. They've said quite a few times that they want it to be a very immersive game that doesn't feel like a videogame (as in no silly magical out-of-context menus everywhere, no teleporting into ships etc) and doing the characters properly is a big part of that.

It's not a game where flying spaceships is all that really matters, that is a very important part of it obviously, but it's trying to create a living universe where you can do whatever role you want; you're a character, not just a ship. From the start they've said it'll push the boundary's and do things differently to other games. If you can't see why having good facial animations and overall player immersion is important, i don't think you've really fully understood the goal of it.
 
I see a lot of parallels between Star Citizen and 38 Studios's game. The biggest parallel being a new studio tackling a very ambitious MMO without the experience of releasing any previous titles. I think Star Citizen should have been something on the scale of Free Space or Elite Dangerous.
 
I think Star Citizen should have been something on the scale of Free Space or Elite Dangerous.

That was what it was going to be at the time of the kickstarter, until they got enough money to make something far better and have it how they really always wanted it to be in the first place.
 

Zalusithix

Member
Basically, it's not a game where flying spaceships is all that really matters, that is a very important part of it obviously, but it's trying to create a living universe where you can; you're a character, not just a ship.

Exactly. You're playing a character that can permanently die even. (Leaving their property to another character.) SC is ultimately supposed to be a game about your journey as a character in a sci-fi setting. Everything else is ancillary to that. The ships, FPS combat, etc. They provide some means by which to define the character.

I mean, the game is called Star Citizen. Not Star Ship. ;)
 

aadiboy

Member
This is going to be one of those "never going to release, and when it finally does it does not live up to expectations" type of games, isn't it?
 
Great journalism.

I do think a game will eventually be released, the project seems to have finally hit its stride in the last year or so. It's probably a better study of crowdfunding than game development, those problems happen everywhere.

If they start asking for more money or say they ran out, shit will hit the fan and splatter in a fine mist across Chris Roberts face.
 

tuxfool

Banned
If they start asking for more money or say they ran out, shit will hit the fan and splatter in a fine mist across Chris Roberts face.

Given the amount of money raised, they can easily borrow or sell the project. There is very clearly a business case being made here. People quite rightly say that the money that they raised is the baseline funding available to them.
 

Chipopo

Banned
This is going to be one of those "never going to release, and when it finally does it does not live up to expectations" type of games, isn't it?

Remember NMS?

Imagine that, but with no cap on the amount of money people have invested, and expectations that are even more unrealistic.
 
Finally got around to reading part 1. Honestly, just about every issue the game seems to have with development sounds like the same issues a lot of AAA games go through. They just happen to be in a unique position of having an ever increasing AAA budget with no publisher to reign them in and force them to cut stuff and push it out the door. I still have relatively high hopes for the game personally. I only have $35 tied up in it that I spent like 3 years ago though so I honestly don't feel super invested whether it ends up good or bad (or even existing in general). Once/if it releases it's going to feel like a free game that dropped in my lap. Anyway, great article.
 

Raticus79

Seek victory, not fairness
Kotaku has released part 2/5 of their ongoing series on Star Citizen:

http://www.kotaku.co.uk/2016/09/26/the-24-year-feud-that-has-dogged-star-citizen

omg that video of Chris playing the alpha at the top of the article. It's like a Tim & Eric sketch.

"A version of this article originally appeared in Swedish, in issue 018 of LEVEL magazine (July 2016). This edited English version is published exclusively on Kotaku UK, with permission."

Old news. Waiting for part 3.
 
Remember NMS?

Imagine that, but with no cap on the amount of money people have invested, and expectations that are even more unrealistic.

Except the problem with NMS had very little to do with "expectations that are unrealistic" and was more along the lines of promising features that weren't actually there at the end. So far there isn't anything to suggest that will happen with Star Citizen, especially as they've been pretty clear on it being a 10+ year game and i'm fairly that they've even said not everything will be there at the start already.
 
That it will stay in "alpha/beta" state forever and be a huge money sink until people realise it's never coming out as a cohesive product.



The tech is impressive but the art design isn't. Those characters look terrifying and deep in the uncanny valley.

 

ultrazilla

Gold Member
Given the amount of money raised, they can easily borrow or sell the project. There is very clearly a business case being made here. People quite rightly say that the money that they raised is the baseline funding available to them.

If they get to the point that they have to "borrow" or "sell the project" because they blew through all the backer money, then I don't see this as a "business case" but a "the naysayers were right, you fucked everyone on their money" case. In other words, you're saying that Roberts will pull a "Dean Hall" who sold DayZ to Bohemia and ran with the money. We all know where DayZ stands at the moment-feature creep and a whole bunch of tech and development issues. Very similiar to Robert's endeavor but obviously Chris has a lot more money(?) to play with........for the time being anyways.

My prediction is that Roberts will get Squadron 42 out and then we'll start hearing about "funding/money" problems.

There's no way his vision and the feature creep will see the full game ever released. I honestly believe that. I'm a backer as well so I'm not just sitting back and wishing doom and gloom on the project.
 

joecanada

Member
good article, just finished "the 24 year feud........" . very in-depth and solidifies my view that they are probably working on a great game, and it may even release as a solid 10/10, but for now the business acumen is severely lacking here. Bad PR all around, bad consumer relations, bad communications , allegedly* bad working environment.

and those things add up to a risky situation, even with the best talent around. Like who spends all this money on lawyers and the lot before the game is even out just to silence a few critics? really puzzling and all these assets used on internet wars, bans, lawyers, and feuds basically won't end up in the game. not to mention the obvious part of every month the game is in development is a huge sinkhole of rent, wages, supplies, utilities and all the other overhead that any business accumulates.

I really want the game though. hope it comes out in a good state.

edit - also I found this a bit concerning...

..."When the game was recently updated to version 2.4, CIG had also made some significant changes to the user agreement, giving them an out if they’re not able to deliver on their previous promises: “You acknowledge and agree that the Game and the pledge items delivered to you may differ in certain aspects from the description of the Game and those pledge items that was available on the Website at the time of your Pledge.”.

Though this could be considered pretty standard for crowdfunding projects or development projects, their history of changing things as they go kind of raises an eyebrow with vague statements like this.
 

Spirited

Mine is pretty and pink
good article, just finished "the 24 year feud........" . very in-depth and solidifies my view that they are probably working on a great game, and it may even release as a solid 10/10, but for now the business acumen is severely lacking here. Bad PR all around, bad consumer relations, bad communications , allegedly* bad working environment.

and those things add up to a risky situation, even with the best talent around. Like who spends all this money on lawyers and the lot before the game is even out just to silence a few critics? really puzzling and all these assets used on internet wars, bans, lawyers, and feuds basically won't end up in the game. not to mention the obvious part of every month the game is in development is a huge sinkhole of rent, wages, supplies, utilities and all the other overhead that any business accumulates.

I really want the game though. hope it comes out in a good state.

Part 2 is a translation of the hit piece by level from earlier this year(?) so I wouldn't put much trust in this part.
They are giving fucking Derek Smart legitimacy in the article.
 

tuxfool

Banned
If they get to the point that they have to "borrow" or "sell the project" because they blew through all the backer money, then I don't see this as a "business case" but a "the naysayers were right, you fucked everyone on their money" case. In other words, you're saying that Roberts will pull a "Dean Hall" who sold DayZ to Bohemia and ran with the money. We all know where DayZ stands at the moment-feature creep and a whole bunch of tech and development issues. Very similiar to Robert's endeavor but obviously Chris has a lot more money(?) to play with........for the time being anyways.

My prediction is that Roberts will get Squadron 42 out and then we'll start hearing about "funding/money" problems.

There's no way his vision and the feature creep will see the full game ever released. I honestly believe that. I'm a backer as well so I'm not just sitting back and wishing doom and gloom on the project.
Lenders don't care, which is why kickstarters are used to gauge interest, they don't see only 50K backers funded the KS, they see 50K people willing to preorder. There is already too much work done for nobody to want to scoop this up. Additionally specific to this project, of the total number of people that have created an account, only half have backed it, which serves as a secondary demonstration of interest.
 
There's no way his vision and the feature creep will see the full game ever released. I honestly believe that. I'm a backer as well so I'm not just sitting back and wishing doom and gloom on the project.

At what point are you expecting all those "feature creep" additions to be implemented by, though? I think a "10 year plan" for the game has been mentioned before and it's entirely possible that all the features planned for the game will be implemented within a 10 year timeframe.

Part 2 is a translation of the hit piece by level from earlier this year(?) so I wouldn't put much trust in this part.
They are giving fucking Derek Smart legitimacy in the article.

I didn't read the entire article, it's quite long and not exactly easy to read. What do they say about him?
 

Llyranor

Member
I got my refund after they changed the TOS that forced players to agree that they couldn't ask for a refund as long as the game was being 'actively developed'. I was still bound to the old TOS since I refused to agree to the new one.

I still hope the game ends up good, but my investment (constellation and superhornet) was too much to go on faith alone. If it ends up good, I'll buy it again.
 

joecanada

Member
Part 2 is a translation of the hit piece by level from earlier this year(?) so I wouldn't put much trust in this part.
They are giving fucking Derek Smart legitimacy in the article.

well they also confirmed that the ex-employees were all legitimate and in no way affiliated with smart.

sounds like smart needs his own article though lol.
 
Part 2 is a translation of the hit piece by level from earlier this year(?) so I wouldn't put much trust in this part.
They are giving fucking Derek Smart legitimacy in the article.

That's unfortunate, though that's a whole lot of reading you just saved me from.
 

shoelacer

Banned
At what point are you expecting all those "feature creep" additions to be implemented by, though? I think a "10 year plan" for the game has been mentioned before and it's entirely possible that all the features planned for the game will be implemented within a 10 year timeframe.



I didn't read the entire article, it's quite long and not exactly easy to read. What do they say about him?

Why in god's name would anyone pay for a game a decade before it might be finished
 

Raticus79

Seek victory, not fairness
Why in god's name would pay for a game a decade before it might be finished

Kind of like if WoW had started as a Kickstarter and included all the expansions in the timeline.
Edit: and the first deliverable was a single player Warcraft 4
 
Why in god's name would anyone pay for a game a decade before it might be finished

I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as everyone who pays money for the game is aware of what they're actually paying for. My issue with the game is charging exorbitant prices for in game content this far ahead of such an ambitious game. I understand it's not my money and people should be free to do what they want with their money but it just feels gross.
 

Eolz

Member
I see a lot of parallels between Star Citizen and 38 Studios's game. The biggest parallel being a new studio tackling a very ambitious MMO without the experience of releasing any previous titles. I think Star Citizen should have been something on the scale of Free Space or Elite Dangerous.

Gotta say something on this one. Unless you mean "experience releasing something like Star Citizen" (nobody has), your statement couldn't be more wrong, with people having worked since a long time in this industry, whether it's older space sims like Chris, the whole Crysis trilogy, varied games at big companies like Ubisoft (not talking about Just Dance), younger guys, etc, this is not something made by amateurs.
 

Outrun

Member
Looks like they need some proper project management. To pretend that all is well at this point is not the way to go.
 

patchday

Member
Very good article read 75% of it so far.

Been waiting on Squadron 42 [single player] campaign. one day we'll get it, one day... Every so often I show up for free fly weekends to fly all the other neat ships
 

Mahonay

Banned
The guy believes that doubting Star Citizen is literally bigotry and a form of persecution.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=217971194&postcount=418

And his comment is especially ironic given Gator's "KotakuInAction" hatefest.

Numerous errors in this post. I expected a knee-jerk reaction to my use of the word, but try reading again.
I read it again, it still sounds insane and uncalled for. Or maybe just going overboard is a better way to describe it.
 

Jinkies

Member
I read it again, it still sounds insane and uncalled for.

Making a comparison to irrational hatred, which this is, is insane? I'm the one criticizing insanity.

Picking apart and spinning my words like this proving the point of that post.
 
Making a comparison to irrational hatred, which this is, is insane? I'm the one criticizing insanity.

Picking apart and spinning my words like this proving the point of that post.

Disssing fucking games on the god dam internet is not comparable to bigotry and prejudice that affects people in the real world with consequences that can end with death of the recipients of said bigotry or prejudice.

You need to think before you write, your words are an insult to anybody who has actually suffered either of the two.
 

Mahonay

Banned
Making a comparison to irrational hatred, which this is, is insane? I'm the one criticizing insanity.

Picking apart and spinning my words like this proving the point of that post.
Agree to disagree. Which video games are criticized is really not that important in the scheme of things. Pulling bigotry and prejudice into the conversation just seems to be adding unnecessary weight and controversy to a pretty tame subject.
 
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