Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

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Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Nova »

I like the idea about a technical development blog, but it would steal even more time. :/
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by topforce »

About the organized ides section Sony had fairly neat idea http://www.planetside2.com/roadmap might want to take a quick look at it.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by eddyvegas »

What you decide to leave out is as important as what you decide to put in.

I think having too many ideas can lead to feature creep. Yes, they're good ideas, many of them are anyway. But I count on you, the developer, to realize your vision of what the game should be. That's what I'm paying for, your expertise in making games and knowing what to put in and what not to, to make an enjoyable game. I would let the modders add the feature creep. Make a focused product with a beginning, middle, and end that makes a cohesive 'thing', please.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by kovarex »

eddyvegas wrote:What you decide to leave out is as important as what you decide to put in.

I think having too many ideas can lead to feature creep. Yes, they're good ideas, many of them are anyway. But I count on you, the developer, to realize your vision of what the game should be. That's what I'm paying for, your expertise in making games and knowing what to put in and what not to, to make an enjoyable game. I would let the modders add the feature creep. Make a focused product with a beginning, middle, and end that makes a cohesive 'thing', please.
Thanks for the trust, this is what we are aiming for :)

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by _aD »

Hi! I participate in an open source game which is hosted on https://launchpad.net/ Launchpad. Their bug tracking system also doubles-up as a feature request database where people can add their interest to particular features and the developers can provide feedback on each idea and log its progress. IMO something structured like this really is very important so that you can gauge how much interest each feature has. Having it all on a forum thread or sub-forum always struck me as a terrible long-term idea...this place is like the Wild West! :-D

p.s. this is a fabulous game, thank you so much for providing something that my brain loves with such gusto. Moreish, challenging and room for creativity.
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Drury »

eddyvegas wrote:What you decide to leave out is as important as what you decide to put in.

I think having too many ideas can lead to feature creep. Yes, they're good ideas, many of them are anyway. But I count on you, the developer, to realize your vision of what the game should be. That's what I'm paying for, your expertise in making games and knowing what to put in and what not to, to make an enjoyable game. I would let the modders add the feature creep. Make a focused product with a beginning, middle, and end that makes a cohesive 'thing', please.
Exactly. It's not always that you see developers listening to their customers and working on what they want the most, but as Notch said, players only think what they want to play, but they don't know. I have myself witnessed a game getting ruined before my eyes by the hands of a developer who was too eager to implement a couple huge devastating features that the community requested - turning the gameplay of the game upside-down and making LOTS of people quit the game for good, many of which were avid supporters of the features.

Please don't let this happen to Factorio. Make a clear vision of what you want the game to be and trash every feature that doesn't work towards that vision. If you do it right, you should end up trashing 90% of community suggestions, which is good, those 10% should still be more than enough for a 3-man team.

If I were in charge of the game, out of those features presented in the blog post, I'd only work towards better circuit network, better RPG-based mid-game combat, more vehicles and end-game RTS elements (this would be my vision of the game - first you automate factories and conduct research while fighting off aliens in your power armor, then you let your robots take over and fight the alien wildlife with tanks to make space for colonization). Then a couple gimmicks that don't really have to make it in but would be neat for post-release polishing (train guns, advanced train network etc., underground building/mining/combat - huge feature, fun feature, but not fun enough to focus on in Alpha). Things I wouldn't implement at at all due to being huge and not fitting my vision/breaking the balance/making the game less intuitive or too complex - advanced electricity network (complex nuclear plants, electricity network losing power over long distance), random encounters (on a deserted planet dominated by biters...? inside a fortified factory...?), complex enemy bases, different planets/weather/climates (Factorio takes place on a desert planet with small oases, much like Dune - it's the signature environment of the game, plus Albert doesn't have to die of overworking - all just to have a white/green screen instead of yellow), farming (growing crops/rubber trees/regular, harvesting, processing into food/rubber/wood products - the game's name is Factorio and focuses on rusty machinery welding metal plates together, not Farminio where cakes are baked and served with milk)(in fact, I'd just change the sprites of the player character to resemble a robot to justify the fact that he doesn't have to eat).

Of course I am in fact not the developer here, but you get what I mean - huge features that sound great but don't bring anything new aren't needed. Hence I wouldn't implement farming - it's not present in the game yet, and doesn't have to be, because it wouldn't be different enough from the rest of the game to make it worthwile, would have to be properly implemented to work with the rest of the game, while opening doors to a new influx of feature requests that you don't have time to work on. Nuclear energy - same story. It would basically just be a time waste for both the player and you as the developer, and the reviewers love to pick on these big ideas that aren't properly explored/balanced. Some ideas sound fine, but it's important to have your priorities and not hesitate to trash whatever you don't consider practical.

But yeah, this is also just another suggestion from a random person from the forum, so take it as you would.
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Calico »

+1 for Drury.

Feature creep is a scary thing and yes, i've also witnessed games struggling to implement too many to fast leading to a overall less enjoyable gaming experience. I put all my trust in our Dev's to not become victims of the creep. There are many good suggestions out there, but i guess 90% of them can be discarded. Likely all of mine belong to those 90%, but thats ok with me.

Stay true to your vision of Factorio Devs, you can do it.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by jeroon »

The first page of the StarCraft technical development blog link you gave I really enjoyed, would really like to see something like this. The second page was a little too in-depth for my liking :D

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by ssilk »

I see it so:

There are the suggestion boards. They are a really good source for ideas. But it's chaotic, repeating, no clear direction. And there is the the developers backlog. The short topics are seen in the current FFF. But it is unpriorised, or not clear.

A logical step is now that suggested by Kovarex: let the gamers decide. I mean it's easy: make a thread, set some decisions and then the most voted is taken.

I think it is easy, and it's somehow the right way, but not leading to a better game.

Why?

Well, most arguments are already said by the others. But I think it is too easy for us to lean back and see what the devs are doing with their vision. I know that, I had customers, which thought like that and I hated that, because in the end I reprogrammed everything. What I want to say is, that such decisions aren't that easy. It takes time and it takes a clear vision, which is sometimes not possible, because you are standing too tight in front of the board.

I stop here and tell a story:

One day your boss comes to the lunch, all sit around, and tell all of you: "I want to make you some good, we will have in the kitchen sweeties for everyone, at every time. You can choose: do you want something like Mars, Snickers, bonbons, chocolate, etc. or do you want different sorts of muesli and milk?"
:) Well, it's not clear how that decision ends. Let's say 60% choose sweeties, the other 40 choose the muesli. But it's clear from beginning, that the decision for sweeties is not good for the company. They make tired, make fat, etc. if the boss wants to make something good, if he wants to choose the best solution, he will do it like so: "I want to make something good: we can have either sweeties or muesli with milk. I would like to give muesli, because sweeties aren't so good for us. Do you have a better idea?"

It's clear, that the discussion, that will follow will become sometimes very exhausting. Because the answers will be:

- I want neither sweeties nor muesli, I want steak!!
- I want nothing of it, we are already too fat.
- I don't want steak, I'm a vegetarian. Can we have vegetarian steaks?
- and I don't like steak without ketchup, if steak, then also ketchup!

Latest at this point you need to stop discussion, because we don't have a grill yet. Or a fork. Or coals. And fire is not allowed in the bureaus.
But at the end of the day they had a decision. And indeed one or two good ideas more. And they are so good, that it was more than worth all the afford!

Ok, this is of course not possible in a real company. That discussion is just too expensive, costs too much time. A good boss will do like so: "I want to ask you, we can discuss about it, everyone has two minutes to give a statement. I will hear that and then I decide, if there is no clear tendency."

Well, I would say this is a good compromise. Some topics are simple. It's clear that it is needed, it's just a good idea to speak a bit about it. Because there is a small chance to fetch a new idea.

But in a forum like this it is possible to speak much longer about it!

So here is my suggestion:
Create a new board or use the development proposals. For every user story create a thread and describe the epic and some of the biggest sub-tasks. This alone is a heavy task and if the story isn't well defined you can see that clearly on the types of answers.
Then let this discuss some days/weeks. It takes sometimes a moderation to stop the discussions about the "steaks", but I mean it should be a problem in the beginning and with new forum users only. In most cases the discussion will show up a clear tendency. Because what normally should happen is, that everyone, which is interested becomes a clear picture. Perhaps most say in the epic about "grilling": oh, grilling without fire? No, that's stupid. Or they say: "well, we love grilling so much, then let's go outside." Then we are more or less finished here.
We can make votes, to force a decision: yes or no? You wanna grill, then you need to go outside and get wet, when it rains.
The devs (=boss) can influence here: ok, grilling outside is no problem, but we don't want to make tents, because of the smoke. I guarantee, the most things can be solved like so and at some point there are the only big decisions left. But a much more reduced set than now!

And it's all about the reduction! Because the current problem is not handleable, because there are just too much options/decisions. But with only half of the options, the problem reduces to only 1/4.

So, with that remaining themes, the process can be repeated! Let's say we have only 4 big questions left, then the task is to compare A vs B, A vs C, A vs D, then B vs C, B vs D ... C vs D.

In practice, the set is much smaller: Not all combinations make sense, it's clear that A is needed to make B, or the story is so big, that it can't be made, and other logical reasons. I bet we speak here from about 10-15 discussions in the first step and 5-10 in the second. If that is made in small portions (every second or third day one new) then we could be finished with this process in about 3-4 month. At that time we should be in the best case at the stable version of v0.11.

Time enough.

Well. Sounds like much work, but I would support that way.
It is a risk and it is an experiment, which can fail, but what I'm really sure about is: if there is any forum in this universe, in which that can work, then this! :)
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by kovarex »

I just wanted to point out, that we never promised, that we would follow the ideas given. That would be path to hell.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by eddyvegas »

Another thing and then I'll shut up.

The danger in forum suggestions, and forums in general, is that you start to think forum goers are your entire clientele. They're not. Not everybody is totally obsessed with making the most efficient layout. Not everybody is pissed off that the new patch reduced the output of building X to 2.25 of Product Y and how that has totally ruined the game. Not everybody wants more and more stuff to build and more and more options. Some people are just happy to get their red beaker factory running and go hey cool, I figured it out, it works. Some people just hook stuff up together without a master plan, with belts all over the place. That's cool too, as long as the guy is having fun running his belts all over the place. Those people are part of your clientele too, not just the forum goers.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by ssilk »

kovarex wrote:I just wanted to point out, that we never promised, that we would follow the ideas given. That would be path to hell.
Right, I thought this was clear after the first posts...

I see the forum only as something to become new input, new ideas, not decisions.

And to reduce my suggestion to one sentence: This in a more structured way, a bit more moderated and that's it!
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Drury »

ssilk wrote:So here is my suggestion:
Create a new board or use the development proposals...
I think you're thinking a bit too big here. We don't need to make a reality show about ideas with voting and stuff, I'd say one sticky thread on the ideas board with a list of links to threads categorized by the general ideas they're suggesting.

For example:

Nuclear energy:
http://linknumerouno
http://linknumeroduo
http://linknumerotres
http://linknumeroquatro

Vehicles:

http://linknumerouno
http://linknumeroduo
http://linknumerotres
http://linknumeroquatro

Et cetera. Just so they're in one place where they're easily accessible for devs to read and think about.

And anyway, if the users want feedback, they're free to make a poll themselves, and anyone is free to reply to their thread. Maybe we could even have an automated system that automatically adds a poll to every new thread on the board. I believe there are also thread rating plugins available for phpBB forums.
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by ssilk »

Hehe, normally I been told to think to small... :)

Well, yes, I didn't thought about how to present the current state of the suggestion, but your idea should be working. Problem here is, that it needs to have a ticket-system (e. g. Mantis) to display that. My first thought was about not needing that.
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Garm »

I've seen two designs that I believe could be good for suggestions:

1. DF forums suggestion polls Link

Players add options to the poll and link it to forum post explaining the suggestion.
Each registered user has limited number (2-3) of votes he can cast on separate suggestions.

This setup can easily show most desirable suggestions, however it also needs modicum of moderation in order to avoid similar suggestions. This poll can also limit the amount of threads suggesting already suggested topics since new users could simply vote right away for the ideas they like most.

Developers can use the poll to quickly figure out what players desire most, without being forced to implement these proposals right away or in precise implementation.

As and if suggestions are incorporated into the game - they are removed from the poll allowing players to vote for something else. Voting is always open so users can change their votes anytime.


2. "Choose your path" voting.

Devs come up with 4-5 ideas that they don't mind implementing next update. These ideas are released for polls and discussion.
At the end of the poll the most favorite idea is incorporated into next update.

Depending on user reception of other ideas they can be:

a) added to next poll to be voted again.
b) implemented in consecutive patches based on popularity.
c) removed from the polls, or reintroduced in modified form.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Drury »

http://playstarbound.com/suggestions/

This might work as well. reddit-like system showing most popular suggestions of all time as well as smaller recent requests, everything can be easily rated. Simple, effective.
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

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+1
The implementation is not so easy...
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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by nours77 »

Why not possible, better it is the better it is ? you want release 1.0 soon ?
i agree for forum, in old news you say you read 6 month old post first, need another system than vertical classification but it will require an effort of a forum dev admin... "a judge of good ideas" who can move interesting topic.

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Re: Friday Facts #29 So many ideas

Post by Darthlawsuit »

Remember there is always factorio 2, don't need to shove everything into factorio 1. Once you add multiplayer I think most of your time should be spent polishing and expanding existing features instead of adding new ones. Expanding the enemies that attack us would be a huge step. Reworking the tech tree would be great too.

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