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The Dream

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arctic, Oct 18, 2016.

  1. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    I have a dream. Or at this point, rather, had a dream. A dream that kept me up at night, one that made me write this. And I'm sorry if I come off as a bit abrasive, but this is just how I feel. This is just something that I feel needs to be said. It's a rant, an unplanned rant, but do see me through. And if I'm wrong about anything, please, do correct me. Remember this: I don't hate you. I just want to see the dream through to its full potential.

    Three years ago, three long years ago, I hopped on to the Seed of Andromeda ride. The future was glorious - here was a game with amazing things the likes of which had never, ever been done or seen before, features that I could only have imagined up until then, features that, had I not seen, I would never have believed. From day one, I was firmly latched on - I was fully convinced that, in one or two years, Seed of Andromeda would become the Next Big Thing™. So, I hopped on and waited.

    I think that, out of a group of a dozen or so people, I was one of the most enthusiastic. I just knew that one day, all that enthusiasm would pay off, and everything would change, and that this was something that would change, change, change the world of gaming forever. Needless to say, the hype train was, for me, travelling at about mach three, and the updates gave it the fuel it needed to keep chugging along, even accelerating. I showed some of my friends, but they stopped cared within weeks - since, of course, there wasn't much to care about at the time.

    But now... Now what? It's been literally a year and still, there has not been a single significant update. Ben's found a Real Job™ now, and he doesn't have the time or motivation to work on this little project, I wouldn't think. Honestly, this had potential, serious potential, but Ben, unlike most people, was a real perfectionist; nothing less than perfect would do, and while I do understand the problems of releasing a half-baked piece of game, lesser devs have done it and completely revamped the whole thing, multiple times over. See DayZ, or Unturned, or Rust. Honesty is what did it, but the desire to produce something "Worthy" ultimately meant that nothing, worthy or otherwise, was made.

    I do realize that saying all of this does make me seem a little bit callous, a little bit selfish - maybe even very selfish. But it really does pain me, keeps me up at night, to know that something with so much potential was... squandered. That's really the only word for it.

    Bloat, also, was a big problem of the whole thing. First it was a simple little "Guns n grenades" shooter, then it became this big planet-scale survival game, and the immediately afterwards everything just sort of ballooned into this big No-Man's-Sky-esque "Everything" game with thousands of procedural planets and creatures, and it would be this big RPG with so much to do - of course, the problem with that was realized soon enough, and now it's... An arena shooter? My god, my fucking god, is there a worse genre you could possibly have chosen?

    Let's evaluate, for a second, what arena shooters need:
    • Well-designed maps
    • Fast-paced twitch multiplayer action
    I'm oversimplifying, but you get my point. An arena shooter can be done on any engine with reasonably competent multiplayer capability. Unreal, for instance - heck, Unreal Tournament is the reason why Unreal engine exists. There are plenty in Unity. But here's the thing - the arena shooters that people play, what do they need?

    1. Nostalgia
    2. A low, low price so people can 1v1 their mates
    Even the arena shooters that people play, that are technically competent, beautiful, amazingly optimized and free - I'm talking Unreal Tournament 5 - have an extremely low playerbase. Because, well, it gets repetitive pretty quickly. That was more than okay in the days when low hard drive capacity and low processor speeds meant that there could only be so much content in a game, but - and I'm loathe to say it - it's 2016. Technology has moved on, and while there is definitely a playerbase for arena shooters, it's very much a niche product. One that doesn't bear building a whole new engine for.

    Now, with that in mind, let's take a look at what this engine of yours offers:

    • Massive, persistent open world
    • Unprecedented scale
    • Freeform construction and destruction
    • Amazing and well-optimized water and cell physics
    • Extreme optimization for travelling at high speed
    • The ability to see for hundreds of kilometers in all directions
    And what does it not have? Well - what does it not have at this present moment?
    • Multiplayer capability
    • Guns
    I really do have to ask, did you have a good reason for choosing to make an arena shooter? As opposed to, say, a smaller and less complex survival game? It would still have been the absolute top of the hierarchy in its class, it would have been better than any other offering based solely on the excellent physics and optimization alone. I genuinely want to know. If I had to hazard a foolish, naive, and poorly-informed guess, I would have to say that it really seems that you just chose something that you thought was a "Noble" genre to do, possibly from your childhood.

    We had all those updates. The stuff about night vision, and coloured lighting, and then, you decided that, nope, not big enough! (Despite the planet-sized world already being so fuckhuge that it would be immensely impractical to actually play on) and expanded the game to an entire solar system. Several solar systems, fuck.

    And now, now what? There's a post every month, if we're lucky, and there hasn't been any significant official news for a year. I just want a sign, goddamn it, a sign that the dream isn't dead yet. Two days ago, I had a dream, a real dream, about Seed of Andromeda, and that there was a build released, and it wasn't perfect, not by any means, but it was something, it was fucking something to make me keep believing that the dream could still be alive, still be resuscitated. When I woke up, the first thing I did was to immediately check the Seed of Andromeda website - but no. Tis only a dream.
  2. Arctic

    Arctic Giant Robot Advocate

    • Tester
    I woke up in 5AM, and I couldn't get back to sleep after that. It was after that that I realized that I hadn't thought at all about SoA for literally months. Months. This game used to be the object of my obsession. I used to think about practically nothing but this game. I spent as much time as I could poring over the forum and becoming the second highest post-count member, and I dreamed. All those suggestions threads, you think those came out of nowhere?

    And yet, now, after three years of patiently waiting, I had simply forgotten. It had simply escaped my mind, for god knows how long - for months, many months.

    And that, I think, is the worst part. The dream, the ride, never ended - an ending would have been, at the very least, a spectacle, closure. If it was simply announced that the game was cancelled then at least there could be closure. Mourning, weeping, maybe, but closure. This, in its current state, is worse. It's worse than waiting for Half-Life 3; there was never any official announcement of the game, Half Life 3 was never officially confirmed to exist, even. But this was worse because it did exist, and now, it was idiotically wasting what it had. This? This is letting the train coast to a stop - a slow, dreary stop, in the midst of the doldrums.

    Sometimes, I see a new guy jump on. The enthusiasm is bitter and painful to see. I see a bit of myself in those people.

    I just want a sign, goddamn it. Any sign, any real fucking sign that isn't this bullshit, because as it is, I think I'm just about ready to give it up for good. But no. I've seen what's possible, I've opened Pandora's box and now I can't close it again. Knowing what's possible, I don't think I'm ever going to truly give up on the dream. But I guarantee that if you don't do something about it, in ten years' time the dream will still be at the stage it's at today. Stalled, and stagnated. I mean, fuck - how much real life stuff can really get in the way over the course of three years? Moving can't possibly take that much time, can it? I mean, well, if I'm mistaken then please, do feel free to correct me, but... Well, it does seem like a bit of an excuse at this point.

    And that's another thing. See that "Tester" badge under my name? Tell me, please, what have I actually had to test? Have I, or indeed any of the "Tester" team ever actually had to test anything? What does it mean, then?

    In the course of these three years, we've seen many contenders to the throne - 7 Days to Die, No Man's Sky, Star Citizen (Just an aside: Don't, for the love of god, try to in any way compete with Star Citizen), Dual Universe... So much has popped up, and yet, none have really surpassed SoA's engine in any significant way. Don't give up. Please. There is still a chance.

    I don't think anyone's actually still following the game any more. Ben hasn't posted a video in literally months. There hasn't been any tangible development in literally months. Fuck, even if you just put out the last voxel build, just to... to prove that you fucking exist! To prove that it wasn't all for nought! To prove that that the dream, however slow it might be, is still alive. Please. A Steam group notification, a Youtube video, a blog post, anything, any fucking thing that would prove that you still fucking exist. To tide us over 'till, well, I don't know.

    I know that this is a rant, and it's going to come off as harsh and harmful and abrasive to almost everyone, but I just needed to get it off my mind. Because I haven't had SoA on my mind for so long. That, I think, is the worst part. And I don't think, for that matter, that many other people have had SoA in their minds for the past few months at all. And I also don't think that this is going to change anything, this post. Do I hope that it'll change things, for the better? Yes, fucking yes, a thousand times yes. Do I expect it to? Honestly, in the depths of my heart... No. This is, pretty much, just out here so that I can finally get some sleep and I can finally put this damn thing to rest.

    I just don't want to dream to die.
  3. ColdFuseon

    ColdFuseon Lost in Space

    • Contributor
    It's okay man. I was excited and obsessed by this game too, but seems like it was too good to be true. Maybe another nerd in another forum will take up the torch and begin such an exciting project, and perhaps with success this time. who knows
    Thomas988 likes this.
  4. NeonSturm

    NeonSturm Back Into Space

    • Member
    I don't really like shooters.
    Lag, purely destructive, limited game area to enforce encounters, …

    On the other side, there is a racing game.
    Lag is not that much of a problem because it's the route with what you are interacting.
    It's not destructive and everyone can choose any own route to the destination or intermediate goal.

    But what is really annoying me is:
    SoA, UntoldUniverse, SpaceEngineers, StarMade, MineCraft, SkyNations, …

    EVERYONE reinvents the wheel again and again and again.
    And for one alone it's too much work to be done.

    Everyone is dreaming about a game which will never have a big community to provide many good mods.
    Nobody has a successful game.

    For example: In StarMade, you can make your own blocks per config file. But you cannot make a faction permission system for accessing structures.
    Games addict with mod support, but finally you cannot make what you want out of it and are bound to foreign&restrictive license terms.
    Developers should decide to either "sell creative contents" like in a movie or give a "free building tool" and only selling parts non-essential to participate in Multiplayer.

    About creativity - I haven't seen a game where you can do things with sound alone (spells? :)):
  5. PsychoticLeprechaun

    PsychoticLeprechaun Designer & Web Developer

    • Dev Member
    Arctic, whether or not you choose to direct it still in our direction, please don't lose this enthusiasm for games - ever. This is precisely the enthusiasm that brought all of us, dev or otherwise, together.

    You are absolutely right, of course. Since June 2015 there hasn't been anything significant released to you, and certainly since 2014 nothing that might be considered major progression in the game department. In fact, since the summer of 2015 we haven't made massive progress even on the engine side. I could say we've been open about the fact things would slow down, but that is of course meaningless - it isn't why but what that matters. So on the what side of things, I will update you.

    I'll be frank, things don't look good in terms of the prospects for major development of the project over the comings months, maybe even years when we compare it to the 2013-15 period. But I don't put much faith in predictions of the long-term - it's nigh on impossible to be sure of any particular outcome. The short-term I can speak for; in which development has been happening in parts. There have been small improvements to the engine and I have been working on the UI library to replace the one we lost, with every intention of going back and working even more on that in the coming months. Further, on the web side of things, the aspects needed if we are ever to do multiplayer for any form of game, I have been doing heavy development. I have said many a time I don't see much point in actively posting about the web stuff - perhaps that is wrong but updates regarding web dev are certainly no indicator of progress on SoA itself - but rest assured I continue to develop it further, with no intention of stopping for the foreseeable future.

    You raise a perfectly valid argument on the matter of "why make an arena shooter?", to which I have some answers - no different to the ones we gave when we first announced this decision. We went through a whole list of games we could develop, we discounted those that would require too much time to make either due to specific content for that game or because of too many features that wouldn't be common to Seed of Andromeda. Then we decided on the one that inspired us most of those candidates left. The choice made sense, you are right that in part we chose it because we have nostalgia for our childhoods. Every single one of us on the dev team, and no doubt most-all of those of you reading this have played an arena shooter when we were younger. This isn't a bad thing though, it means that we all have enthusiasm for the game - enthusiasm to come up with new ideas and to do the ground-work for such a game. You also rightly point out that the feature set of an arena shooter isn't necessarily in-line with the feature set of the work we have already done. This was, in our eyes, a good thing for two reasons, though: firstly, the feature set we have in Vorb is perfect for innovating on the concept of the arena shooter genre - to do things never before done in the genre - and secondly, the features of the arena shooter genre are those that would matter to making Seed of Andromeda fun. Getting FPS mechanics - movement, shooting, cover - level design and multiplayer working both efficiently and in a way that makes them fun is something none of us have done before, and doing this in the test-bed of a simpler game made sense. We would have no legacy code to deal with, it would let us flesh out the aspects of Vorb we would need to integrate into SoA and beyond all, it would give us experience actually finishing a game. So, arena shooters don't necessarily come logically from SoA's goals, but from our goals the choice seemed very much the right one.

    So, after all that, yes things are not ideal. Yes, development of SoA itself is at a halt. Yes, development of Vorb is (far) slower than it has been before. Yes, this is unlikely to change in the short-term due to the situations of core dev members. But I want to be clear, I have no intention of letting the project just drop away. I will contribute what I can to keep things going. So that when others return, they return to a project that isn't where they left it, but in a place where it is ready to be pushed further than before as quickly as possible.

    One last thing, I seem to have been saying this often since the end of 2015, but seriously do not worry about moving on. There are great projects out there; no, none do precisely what we've done, but certainly all of them have done more of everything else. If we see development get back on track with no sign of derailing again, be sure we will blast about it as loud as we can on social media. Until such a time though, it isn't likely there'll be anything meaningful to touch - there isn't a working voxel build right now in SoA, as much as such a build has been requested from time to time; the only build we have is so truly dev build-esque that it makes games like Batman: Arkham Knight look polished on release.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
    PsychoticLeprechaun, Oct 22, 2016
    Last edited by PsychoticLeprechaun; at Oct 23, 2016
  6. Mr-M

    Mr-M Tester

    • Tester
    this shooter could be differend:
    parkour clibing, destroy things to make something new (destroy a brige and make a blockade or brige on a lower level) , breake a damm to turn a grassplane ("2d" movement) into a diveing arena (3d movement)
    joppiesaus likes this.
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