April 22 2019 Weekly Update


#1

…I have to start putting 2019 in my titles because the weekly updates are starting to overlap with last year’s! Whoa.

Happy Monday! Pretty quiet in the office this week as we primarily focus on bug fixing and lead up to console launch.

For those who were curious about last week’s stream, we casually played through the first quest of Upper Erebus, then toured Marcaul with the Aether Core, and finally played with some magic in one of the later levels of the game. Note that this stream was pretty casual and unscripted, so if you’re looking for a more streamlined video, depending on feedback, I may make one later. You can watch it Twitch or Youtube.

In other news, it looks like our final invoice for the finished figurines and resin wand casts just came in today! Can’t wait to share photos of all the painted samples, and hopefully a sample box of all the KS physical stuff alongside it…


#2

Sam,

I saw your or Flarechess’ post on the Steam forum asking what experiences are most annoying, and deserving of fixing for UPD4…wich asks the question…is the NPC stuff that was discussed still going ahead as discussed?

Going to watch the Youtube vid now btw…


#3

…looks to have improved quite a bit since I Iast played it. But it still screams ‘where is the sense of world? Where are the NPCs and dialog to breathe life into it and make it all hang together…’.

Which begs a related question, after UPD4, what then? If that marks the end, will there by any business or licensing decision (after seeing how the consolve version does) to perhaps sell on the license, or work out some sort of assets/moddable rights deal?

Or is into onto the ‘next thing’?


#4

Hey Flug! :D Yes, I’m also flarechess on the Steam forums.

NPC work is still cleared for Update 4, but as I’ve mentioned before, interactions are based on existing systems, such as the rescue system and discovering NPCs to unlock new vendors. Setting up a dialogue system would be too expensive (budget- and time-wise), and we wouldn’t have enough time to QA it. In other words, for people hoping for a more dialogue- or narrative-heavy UA, that will not come with Update 4. It WILL however introduce some different creatures that should help vary the pacing of the game, and allow players some more rewards for interacting with characters in the Abyss.

After Update 4… we need to talk with 505 Games to confirm whether an Update 5 would be possible, including more bug fixing. My biggest priority after Update 4 / console is making sure we fulfill our Kickstarter promises, so I am estimating there should be AT LEAST 1 more update / patch with KS content. Unfortunately, no confirmations yet. Our current pipeline is that after one update, we circle back to our publisher to confirm whether we can work on the next, and raise our priorities and reasons why we know it would be beneficial.

Modding we are still thinking about. It would be very useful for us to see more discussion and get accurate interest on this subject, and we’re following a thread in our playtester forums very closely for this reason.


#5

OK thanks.

…btw, I was 99% sure you and yourself were one and the same (Flarechess) but wanted to be sure…

as far as Steam goes, stick with it. Once you strip out all the crap, many of the claims are reasonable from those who were in from the beginning. They just get a bit amplified and cheered on by the crowd mentality to say things they wouldn’t otherwise say.

Much of the underlying reasoning (not including the KS-entitlement stuff, which is right out there) is surprisingly solid and has logical underpinnings. It’s not only the way peope are choosing to construe things, it’s the substance.

I hope you have the motto ‘between a rock and a hard place’ hanging somewhere in your house, close to ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ and ‘where are the paracetomol?’ and ‘has anyone seen the soft landing spell? Oh wait…’ :grinning:

(I’m not on there in any guise btw, the tone dilutes the effectiveness of the message)


#6

haha don’t worry Flug, I’m used to you :slight_smile:

And I know. There’s real feedback in there; my frustrations were mainly towards people who would dismiss my posts because they didn’t trust things I posted about and would derail the conversation to call me a liar, and it was becoming harder to have a conversation with other people there.

I was hoping my recent post (which you saved me the trouble of linking to, thank you!) on the Steam forums would help alleviate some of their concerns, but it’s also a bit risky. Usually big posts like those are vetted by other people but I actually wrote all of that on the spot, and we generally don’t talk about the specifics of finances or timelines publicly. I know it’s a little irresponsible, but I am hoping the immediacy and transparency of my message helps shed more light on the situation and lends to its credibility. I genuinely want to represent both the community and the company with a more direct pipeline, having learned how terrible it was to not lend enough credence to the community’s voice as well as not communicating changes earlier.


#7

It’s not irresponsible in the least (transparency)… quite the opposite. it’s treating people like adults, and more of it is a good thing. Most of us suspected quite a bit of it anyway. People are much more forgiving if they’re given a chance.

I think we’d all settle for a situation where we can trust a reasonable account of game progress and have a quiet life, rather than have to go chasing and/or finger-pointing months/years later when it turns out information was with-held.

Obviously, the legal confidentiality stuff is a different.


#8

Transparency is what you should have been doing since day #1 the project deviated from what had been promised in the Kickstarter. You should never have to apologize for being transparent. As I already mentionned, the reason people are angry at you isn’t because of your failures - we can understand budget issues, we can understand the need to cut features, we can understand under-delivering, we can understand that you are human beings and that you were simply trying to do your best.

What we cannot understand is deception and hidding everything under the carpet in the (vain) hopes that nobody notices. I think we all appreciate your recent posts trying to be more open with what happened during the development, I just hope a lesson was learned and that you won’t repeat the same mistakes in your future projects.


#9

Sheesh. A fifth? Modders are never gonna be unleashed on this game at this rate! And there’s gonna be nothing left for us to fix!

Leave us SOME bugs?

Though, if U5 is after console, how will consolers get fixes? Or can that be done to console games nowadays?


#10

I should say that I was feeling a little irresponsible for not having a major message reviewed by my managers, but upon further reflection, it’s not it’s own separate update, and this is all mainly based on information already available, but with some updated clarification. I was apologizing for my behavior and the way that we’ve been dolling out information lately, which is usually scattered across time and in between updates.

I agree and wish that we could have updated the backers earlier in production. Even when I was being onboarded, there were a lot of missteps. Related to the point about the departments being fractured and no one having a full picture, there were a lot of features that were touch-and-go and could not be confirmed or denied until we were much closer to launch, which was confusing for players as well as for the team. A lot of mistakes were made, but I’m glad to see the majority of UA’s project instability was not mirrored in SS3’s development.

EDIT: Whoops, Dewi I managed to miss your entire post!

There’s a console patch system in place, and we’re only selling digitally for consoles at this time, to be clear. So Update 5 would most likely be released across console and PC / any other platforms we have available at the time.


#11

See, the problem with game development is that it’s done by humans.

Those pesky persons, in addition to being smart and creative and goal-oriented, also have personalities. They like to do things a certain way; they don’t like to do other things and will resist doing them; they don’t always agree; certain types can steamroll less intense teammates who might have a better idea; and even when there’s agreement there isn’t always enough communication of direction and organization of effort… and when there is, humans can still find a way to subvert it.

Games will be maximally fun, error-free, on schedule, and under budget once they’re made by immortal, perfect machines.

Until then, I wish more of us would cut the humans who make games just a little slack.


#12

Like Randy Smith said last night (and I’m paraphrasing the hell out of), he’d spent ~10 hours working on a little tunnel outside TMA’s Bank mission, filling it with story and in-universe reason for existing (outside a stealth option), and realized that was probably not a good use development time; but then, to find out that players combed over every single thing, encyclopedic imaginings for every polygon.

How could he have known? And, of course, how much less would things have been developed overall if the deadline came at exactly the same moment, and he’d been building inward like that all along? He’d already experienced rebuilding the Haunted Cathedral 3 times to meet mandated system specs, and that was a problem.


#13

A 5th update would be great, even if it only included bug fixes.


#14

As an update to the end of this week, in light of the new-player-crashes that we’re finally catching up on, this is most likely going to set us back on Update 4 and console work.

We need to make sure that:

  1. These crashes won’t progress to console
  2. That we tighten up our pipeline so this doesn’t happen again. It was unlikely that our external QA, 505’s QA and our internal QA was able to miss crashes so serious, but it happened anyways, most likely because we did not do a broad compatibility sweep before launching Update 3.
  3. Update 4 includes these fixes that were meant to put UA in a good state for Update 3, on top of polishing up the Update 4 features and making sure those are good to go.