For the curious among you...


#21

Honestly, I can only speak for myself, I was never looking for UU1/2 Remastered. I was, based upon the KS, expecting something that was at least recognizable as a UU game. Bugs/quality aside (things happen) the design decisions post the first demo were bizarre.


#22

Seemed like a good idea at the time…


#23

Oh boy. On the ‘not helping myself front’ I think I have met my match :wink:

Seriously, Chris, this level of glib may reflect the truthful reality, but certainly isn’t going to win over people towards SS3…a lot of people here want to show some good faith, and a bit of detail would do that.


#24

…on the upside, at least people can see that the world are real, and not reverting to some of the eyewash you sometimes get. For me, I’d much rather people say what they think than what they might think we want to hear.

It wil be interesting to see what the final update is planning. Save systems, plotting, quests, continuous dungeons and a grand staircase so far (plus much misc stuff)…I wonder just how far off completion some of themissing systems were, before they were abandoned? I.e. is there a hope in hell some major feature might be bolted-on if near enough…?

For me that would be some form of dialog tree/NPC hybrid (give me a scrolling text box with a lumpy cursor and I’d be happy). I’d take that in beta/theta form…

What would others want to see in Upd3? (yes, I’m trying to de-toxify this thread a bit. Oh, and the only clown round here is me, if you don’t mind :wink: )


#25

So, I know I can be a bit dry humor and direct that it can come off as flippant…that is not the case. I don’t beat around the bush tho.

Sorry if ‘those people’ came of like a slam, it wasn’t meant to be…and the last post is pretty much just a joke. Please realize that for us-developers we have done our grieving, and can’t wallow in the failure, we have to push on. Trust me, Thanksgiving this year was a bummer. So am I personally still pissed off and angry…nah. I just can’t be, I have moved on, hopefully with clearer vision and trying to finish this thing up. It does feel calmer and happier around here now. Update 2 is a step closer to the game some of us saw 4 years ago. As I said in the other forum, the thing that really sucks about game development - unlike other forms of entertainment, is the development cycle is so damn long. For this team it will be what 20 months to 3 years for another swing at the plate.
The how we got here, development process exc, I just will not comment on that- sorry, but that is like commenting on my family and these people I see just as much as my family. I mean I have to stare at Tim all day long…for years…and years…my god…
Looking back at the kickstarter, I see every thing we dropped, and remember for the most part the why. My personal favorite, a living ecology, frankly was a whole game in itself, and would have become the only feature we worked on if that stayed. Could have we done a better job of ‘faking it’? Yeah.
As for dialog trees: This is how I remember it. We don’t like them…especially in FPS games and wanted to see if we could get by without them - i.e. some other solution. The idea was if we couldn’t --which we didn’t–we would come back to the tried and true. Because of the 100 other fires, that system was left on the floor for better or worse.
As for community- I can only speak for myself. When I got feedback from the community on parts I was working on, I reacted to it. If any of you know my past, community matters to me, 2 MMO’s worth of community helped me out time and again over my career.
Remember please that my comments are mine and mine alone and do not reflect the opinion of the company exc. exc. Lucky for us that we can be ourselves and not always just be PR pieces.


#26

No I am a clown. I’m ok with that.


#27

Unfortunately this is true, which is what makes KS such a crappy vehicle for gamedev. Investors and publishers don’t care so much if stuff gets cut, as long as the money comes in. But gamers aren’t going to be forgiving of missing features, despite cutting being not just normal but indeed good practice.

I’m just very skeptical that this never occurred to anyone. That at no point did anyone realize that the normal gamedev process in this case basically amounted to false marketing.


#28

Chris, glad you posted. I knew your previous comment was a joke, but I also knew a lot of people wouldn’t see it that way.

Btw, I don’t think anyone wants you to comment on other devs, just the rationale behind various design decisions (not who made them). Then again, I know you can’t speak for others there, so it gets complicated.

As for the dialogs etc… an argument for another day, but I happen to think they’re central to the character of the game, and perform any number of core functions.

Please be bold with upd3.


#29

Amen to this.


#30

There is no way these changes were a surprise until the last minute. For all that this campaign did wrong, a lack of updates and transparency on the game’s progress and various changes in vision is not one of them.

I didn’t back the initial KS because I generally avoid backing projects that are effectively Day Zero, but by the time I backed in Spring 2016, it was pretty clear that the game was not taking a purist approach and was putting a lot of emphasis on abilities and simulation and less on story and dialog.

Now yes, it’s true, that this was long after the KS and some people were unhappy with those changes, but it’s just flat out wrong to say they weren’t communicated long in advance.


#31

Thank you very much for your last post Chris. Spoken like a friend who has shared this project for years now. Obviously, people are still working on this, and there is even another update planned. I am consfused about something here!

If this game was a massive train wreck that derailed, why are people still “hopeful” on any level? I mean, Thi4f. Train WRECK! Derailed, and quickly sank to the bottom and never played again. People were VERY MEAN about the failures of that game.

And they were right. And they were specific things that the game got completely wrong, and they were things that truly destroyed any semblance of a Thief title! Amongst the rabid complaints levied at this particular game, I have yet to see ANY of those same “game breaking” things. For example:

If I was a player, who was mostly interested in exploration, who had NO interest in ANY kind of magic whatsoever, and did not care to intereact with ANY creature, human, monster or otherwise, but made the most of encounters, would this game appeal to me?


#32

I agree it was clear that the scope had been reduced, but I challenge anybody to have fully realized by how much before the game released. All lot of the scope reduction was NOT communicated prior to the release.

Until weeks before the release, they were still hanging hopes in front of us. Grand staircase to interconnect the dungeon ? Factions / dialogues ? Save system ? “Don’t worry guys, we know from experience that a game likes this comes together in the final stretch”. It’s only when release was approaching that they admitted the game wouldn’t have a proper save system, that factions couldn’t be “physically” encountered in the game or that the dynamic ecology was dropped ( yeah, remember that one too ? ), or that there would be no interactive dialogues.

I think it was pretty clear for everybody that they were in trouble and would have to cut down a lot of features, but I fully disagree that it was properly communicated “long in advance”. Unless by “long in advance” you meant two weeks before the release ( which, should I remind you, was when the beta was launched and they couldn’t delay answering questions anymore ! ).


#33

I will say, I don’t think that any vision of this game was ever impossible for their budget, had they zeroed in on it from the start. But they spent an insanely long time experimenting with what the game was. They had already delivered a pretty substantial vertical slice BEFORE rebooting the entire game, essentially, a few months later. The whole thing just seemed like such a moving target, and it’s impossible to produce effectively when that’s the case.

They also seemed to take an approach design that was very labor intensive. The core concept is around building out everything as physically simulated systems, rather than relying on canned animations and pre-determiend designer-curated interactions, so that the game could react to unexpected player actions. This has some interesting perks, but it’s also probably a nightmare to playtest and debug because it’s so unpredictable, and I’d wager they did spent a lot of time just trying and tweaking and futzing with the design.

But yeah, I’m sure there’s a hell of a story behind this whole thing. I’d love to hear it.


#34

Sandro…if you’re purely talking exploration, chances are you will find things you like. But since some of that will depend on taste regarding art direction, a very different architecture, and a very different feeling of space around you. It is (IMO) very, very different to the earlier versions in this respect - not the graphical elements, the changes go without saying - but the whole approach. It is a sea change.

The ethos behind the physical design is very different.
There’s only one way to find out :wink:


#35

Very true! ;D

Which leads me to another thing I am slightly confused about…

Is Update2 out yet? I thought it was out for some reason and folks were already panning it, but it sounds like Chris said they are still working on Update2?? And then yet another one, Update3 still on the horizon???

This should be good.

Anyways, can someone comprehensively describe any and all info relating to Update2???


#36

Sandro, Update 2 has been out a few days. Update 3 has been mentioned as reasonably firm, nothing known yet. Read the release notes pinned above for a good idea.

See Pkeod’s blow-by-blow account of playing UPD2 on the Steam Ascendant forum for detail, though be warned it is illustrated with screenshots.

Not sure what you’re expecting at at this stage, I think you’re only going to arrive a true view by giving it a go. It’s in a reasonable playable state now.

I’d be surprised if Update 3 was revolutionary, but the last updates contained a good amount of meat, so who knows, you may want to wait?


#37

I’m going to jump in without reading the other replies here and add, I would hardly mistake cutting features as being “progressive.” It wasn’t the fans who didn’t get it. It’s the devs not having their fingers on the pulse of basic expectations, and not communicating these cuts and “so-called progressive” (I would not argue reinventing the wheel is progressive, unless your reinvention works better than the initial invention) features early and often. Then often ignoring feedback. I think six months early access would have ironed out this entire experience, and led to less negative bickering that hurt sales in the long run on Steam.


#38

…I would agree with this. WHat stops it being harsh is the fact that it’s true (we were both around from early on to remember each instance).

‘Cutting edge’ does not mean cutting core, basic features. And 'social influencer’does not belong in the vocabulary of any sentient adult, never mind in connection to a much-loved game from 20 years ago (so,like ‘Feats’ then). They properly belong in the realm ‘oh, so western civilisation has come to this…?’.
You dont want to be pompous, but sometimes if it’s that or jar-jar Aelita, pompous it is…

There are all sorts of use leassons and implications here for SS3, and the proper role of feedback and if/how it is acted upon. With an existing much-loved franchise it is not optional, but should be mandatory to have ears wide open regarding reasonable expectations. Assumptions only get you accused of arrogance if it goes belly-up later and those expectations are ignored. Necessary baggage if you’re going to make a game on the strength and name of the original/s.


#39

Yeah this is a good post regarding the state of the updates.

My summary of Update 2 would be that it is a polished and better realised version of the game that UA was on launch, they’ve made some very nice changes and it’s a far better experience to play than the day 1 version, but it’s still that same “vision” of UA. If you were hoping for something closer to the feel of UU and more inline with that games focus and something that embraced more straight RPG aspects (dialogue etc.) then UA update 2 is still going to fall short.

I’m pleased with some of what they have done, and hopeful that Update 3 is another step in the right direction but some (or many, in the eyes of some) of UA’s problems are rooted at the core of what it is and an extensive strip down and redesign would be required to change that.


#40

Hmm. I’ve been firmly in the camp of sympathy for the devs, for having been in a very difficult situation, for having to release early, and for being willing to stick with it and keep hammering until the game moves toward something that belongs in the UU family. I haven’t been willing to entertain much acrimony for them because they’re only human and because they created the games I loved so much all those years ago. (Except for Chris, of course, whose initial “hey, I’ve moved on, at least I’m happy going to work” comments are absolutely not mitigated by his latter “yep, we messed up” ones and his seemingly boundless self-assurance. Seriously, when you’re offering a mea culpa, try to avoid the word “yep.” Tone is part of how people communicate, and I think his mindset is pretty clear, even in this thread.)

That said, if Update 3, which appears to be shaping up to be refinements rather than content, actually is the final one, I’m going to be furious as well as have my faith in these creators shattered. I see a lot of cautious optimism for System Shock 3, but for me… I have absolutely no interest in it. SS was a game that somehow passed me by when I was young, so the promise of more means nothing to me. Underworld was what I cared about, and what I’ve been invested in the return of since the KS launched. Heck, I hated Thief. I remember being horrified that it was made by the same company even as I returned my copy to the store. So hope for SS3 and knowledge that UA shares DNA with Thief make giant whooshing sounds as they zoom past the target of Stuff I Care About.

I’ve believed since launch that the remaining team would stick around and keep chipping away at it as long as it took, as an act of good faith if nothing else, adding monsters and NPCs and refining the story. I hope that’s still the case and that Update 3 isn’t the end of it. I won’t even object if those additions come in the form of paid DLC; I want something that evokes Underworld and I’m willing to keep paying to see it happen. Obviously I’m not expecting the promised game at this point, but… more content than what’s there now.

That’s my position, anyway.