I was right, you were wrong

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That’s a good question!

While we’d love to tell you everything as we find it out, the reality is that we need to show things when they’re ready, and in the best shape possible. Every single feature, in every single game, goes through multiple iterations, bug tests and redesigns before they’re released to the public. As such, if a company were to release all the information they have, you’d end up with a lot of convoluted and eventually incorrect content.

We know it’s exciting to get a sneak peek at things in development, but as mentioned, things change and when that has to happen, we wouldn’t want to let anyone down. You also have to understand that you can’t just speak about a feature, you have to show it. That requires development time to teach the feature, tech time to set up the build, creative services time to make images and videos and community time to design a release plan and get that information out.

To do all that for information which will change very quickly doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, in order to make sure that what we present to you is as correct as possible, sometimes we have to hold our secrets to our chest and ensure it’s right before we show it off to you all.

TL;DR – Games development is constantly in flux and features constantly change. Showing off information early leads to misinformation and potential disappointment. There’s also a lot more to releasing info than simply putting a post on the internet.

We hope this information helps explain the situation a little!
I'm glad to see an explanation like that. I'm someone who's aspiring to be a game developer, and someone who's very interested in the process and very interested in unreleased or beta content (don't get me started on the 64dd). As much as I'd love to see every little detail of fleet carriers and the next update, I know I can't because of...well, what you just said. And, obviously, spoilers. Although, I'm wondering if at some point, maybe after the next major update is released or at some point in the future, frontier could talk about some of the scrapped ideas that were never put into the game. Not content that would be used, but stuff like those leaked thargoid models or other content that's not going to be used. That would be very interesting to someone like me who likes to look at old games and wonder what beta elements were going to be used for in games. I've also spent a lot of time fooling around with gameshark codes on ocarina of time to try to find that kind of thing. Anyway, thanks for the explanation Paige, it's good that people hear that from someone at frontier's mouth and not just someone in the community saying that.
 
That’s a good question!

While we’d love to tell you everything as we find it out, the reality is that we need to show things when they’re ready, and in the best shape possible. Every single feature, in every single game, goes through multiple iterations, bug tests and redesigns before they’re released to the public. As such, if a company were to release all the information they have, you’d end up with a lot of convoluted and eventually incorrect content.

We know it’s exciting to get a sneak peek at things in development, but as mentioned, things change and when that has to happen, we wouldn’t want to let anyone down. You also have to understand that you can’t just speak about a feature, you have to show it. That requires development time to teach the feature, tech time to set up the build, creative services time to make images and videos and community time to design a release plan and get that information out.

To do all that for information which will change very quickly doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, in order to make sure that what we present to you is as correct as possible, sometimes we have to hold our secrets to our chest and ensure it’s right before we show it off to you all.

TL;DR – Games development is constantly in flux and features constantly change. Showing off information early leads to misinformation and potential disappointment. There’s also a lot more to releasing info than simply putting a post on the internet.

We hope this information helps explain the situation a little!
This is a very good reply Paige, but you should note how its good principles have not been observed by you (you Frontier, not you Paige) in the past.

You need to show things when they are ready, and it cannot be just text on a blogpost, you say. Let's assume that's correct (although, most Kickstarter projects, yours included, are precisely grounded on written descriptions of what will be one day ready, and that's fine as long as those ideas actually do become reality). So, was it a wise idea to talk about Fleet Carriers in October 2017, before you had anything to show for it, not even a render? Was it wise to showcase icy planets tech before it was ready and without offering any kind of timeframe? (Just two egregious examples)

Contrary to what many less shrewd readers here seem to understand, i don't want everything RIGHT NOW. I don't particularly feel entitled to anything. I am very happy to wait, playing other games if necessary or if i feel like. I am simply observing that the way you conducted your communication over the last few years has been very unclear and - more importantly - inconsistent. And this particular period prolonged silence is proving problematic for many.

The result is that people feel - wrongly perhaps - that the game is somewhat directionless. There are iron-clad promises, there are projects, and there are vague hopes. We don't demand the former (although I do believe in the existence of deadlines, they are ubiquitous in the industry), but we certainly would like a bit more than just the latter.

Faith in Exciting Future Content to Come can only go so far to keep the community engaged and confident in the decelpment process.

Things are in flux, they change. Sure, they do (within reason -- one cannot, say, cancel a game with the excuse "oh you know, things change"). But then include us, tell us what changed, tell us what technical challenges there were, tell us why it's better to wait...you know, just tell us.
 
Was it wise to showcase icy planets tech before it was ready and without offering any kind of timeframe?
No. That is why they waited till they felt confident giving a time frame: Q4 2018. However, as I, paige and others keep trying to explain to you, development isn't a guaranteed thing and sometimes things don't go as planned. This was one of those cases. They announced they weren't able to release when they thought they would, and when they feel confident enough to give a new time frame they will.
 
It's almost June 2019 and still no indication of fleet carriers. Evidently they were not delayed but cancelled. FDev did nothing to clarify this, again opting to mislead the player base in order to generate revenue.
So, let's just get this right. If FD add Fleet Carriers at some point in the future, you will eat crow?

Just want to check ;)
 
That’s a good question!

While we’d love to tell you everything as we find it out, the reality is that we need to show things when they’re ready, and in the best shape possible. Every single feature, in every single game, goes through multiple iterations, bug tests and redesigns before they’re released to the public. As such, if a company were to release all the information they have, you’d end up with a lot of convoluted and eventually incorrect content.

We know it’s exciting to get a sneak peek at things in development, but as mentioned, things change and when that has to happen, we wouldn’t want to let anyone down. You also have to understand that you can’t just speak about a feature, you have to show it. That requires development time to teach the feature, tech time to set up the build, creative services time to make images and videos and community time to design a release plan and get that information out.

To do all that for information which will change very quickly doesn’t make a lot of sense. So, in order to make sure that what we present to you is as correct as possible, sometimes we have to hold our secrets to our chest and ensure it’s right before we show it off to you all.

TL;DR – Games development is constantly in flux and features constantly change. Showing off information early leads to misinformation and potential disappointment. There’s also a lot more to releasing info than simply putting a post on the internet.

We hope this information helps explain the situation a little!
I’ll challenge that.

When Subnautica was under development, they had a Trello page set up which had literally every bit of development info on it and was updated constantly as each dev completed an element. It was clear, concise, and allowed us, the paying customers, to see what we were paying for.

There was no childish secrecy or “we can’t tell you anything about it, but we’re sure you’ll like it” nonsense. Just complete transparency.

In the end, Subnautica turned out to be an excellent game, and their transparency did nothing to compromise that.
 
Elite isn't a single player game though, but multiplayer, and operates under the game-as-a-service model. For the developers to announce that the live game is going into low-effort mode until the end of 2020 is a bold move in such a scenario. (And it really has, see: the minimum effort going into Interstellar Initiatives, the headline feature of this period.) Frontier have been quite clear on their priorities: the focus is to improve new player retention, probably to improve it before the next expansion, and keeping long-time Commanders playing is not really a priority.

Don't expect any announcements before big gaming events, either. Frontier will want to use the marketing boost from those, so it makes sense that they would show off all the stuff live there instead of making a post on the forums "the next big expansion will be X, here are some screenshots / short videos". Closest such event would be this year's E3, but I doubt that there'll be anything there. I'd say the most likely will be E3 2020, or if Frontier think their other games need more promotion as well, then perhaps there'll be a Frontier Expo late this year.

As for why the next expansion's content isn't announced yet, the most likely reason is that they don't want to disappoint fans who are not looking forward to whichever features the expansion will have, but are instead looking forward to the one(s) it won't have. Better to keep those people in the dark, waiting, instead of disappointing them now and having them lose interest in the game. After all, in that case they might not check back next year to see whatever the future brings.


About the discontinued dev blogs, sneak peeks and newsletters that contained actual news: bear in mind that those were from a time when Frontier Developments' main focus was Elite: Dangerous. These days, it's making multiple games.
 
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No. That is why they waited till they felt confident giving a time frame: Q4 2018. However, as I, paige and others keep trying to explain to you, development isn't a guaranteed thing and sometimes things don't go as planned. This was one of those cases. They announced they weren't able to release when they thought they would, and when they feel confident enough to give a new time frame they will.
I was addressing Paige. I'm clearly too dumb to follow your train of thoughts, so I've decided not to embarrass myself further by engaging with you.
 
I was addressing Paige. I'm clearly too dumb to follow your train of thoughts, so I've decided not to embarrass myself further by engaging with you.
Oh, give yourself some credit, you can work this one out no problem. :) You claim they announced carriers and ice planets without time frame. That is factually wrong. You have a tendency to ignore people when you are shown to be demonstrably wrong, I am not the first you do that with. You may instead want to just say 'my bad, thanks for correcting me' when that happens. But ignoring is fine too, I am sure it will entice others to engage in discussions with you as it sure shows you are arguing in good faith! (y)
 
Oh, give yourself some credit, you can work this one out no problem. :) You claim they announced carriers and ice planets without time frame. That is factually wrong. You have a tendency to ignore people when you are shown to be demonstrably wrong, I am not the first you do that with. You may instead want to just say 'my bad, thanks for correcting me' when that happens. But ignoring is fine too, I am sure it will entice others to engage in discussions with you as it sure shows you are arguing in good faith! (y)
No, I have a tendency to ignore people who 1) are rude, and 2) want to quibble about single narrow issues rather than appreciate the big picture. The big picture being: there is a pattern of poor or inconsistent communication from Frontier. And I'm not the only crazy manchild saying this. Ant (to name a standup member of the community) has been saying this for ages.

I never said they announced without timeframe. I said they "announced" showing vague content, when they clearly were not at a stage of development advanced enough that would permit them to stick to the timeframe. And in fact, nothing showed up when they said it would.

As i said above, EITHER you make vague announcements so that cannot be held responsible for anything you say (which doesn't sound to me like responsible community engagement) OR you make precise announcements...and then fail to deliver. In both cases, there's something you, the developer, did wrong.

And I know..."ah, you poor fool, you really don't understand the arcane world of videogame development!". No, I understand it. And I know there's issues, obstacles, delays... But there are also deadlines that are observed.

Let's take an internal example, to prove how things can be done. Elite Dangerous for PS4. Frontier released an announcement trailer the 8th of December 2016, which said only "Q2". The 16th of May 2017 they announced the release date: June 27th. And on June 27th...believe it or not...they launched the game. Amazing right? A timeframe offered 7 months in advance for something as massive as porting the game to a new platform. A precise deadline given 6 weeks before the actual date. A deadline met. This is how things work.

Now, you are trying to say that nothing can be said about the fabled 2020 content because, oh my what a foolish idea, roadmaps with dates (or even quarters) to be observed! There is a lot that they could commit to. Even a "fragmented roadmap": in July 2019 we will reveal the content of the new in DLC; in October 2019 we will be able to share the quarters of release for each part of it, in January 2020 we will give you precise release dates. Or infinite possible variations of this with a greater or minor level of detail (someone above mentioned Trello workflows -- that'd be amazing but perhaps it's asking too much). All of which would be better than complete silence for 18 months, just promising exciting new things beyond the horizon.

This is not a matter of me and Elite. it's a matter of: how to best do community management in the videogame industry? And there are many companies that do a more transparent and -- yes -- better job.

But hey, what do I know. I'm the guy who ignores when Cold Hard Facts are showed down my throat.
 
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I never said they announced without timeframe.
Huh, that is weird. I could swear you'd say:

Was it wise to showcase icy planets tech before it was ready and without offering any kind of timeframe?
Oh, you did. When you say "never" you kinda mean "minutes ago." Which is a pretty big difference.

I'm the guy who ignores when Cold Hard Facts are showed down my throat.
:)

Now, you are trying to say that nothing can be said about the fabled 2020 content because, oh my what a foolish idea, roadmaps with dates (or even quarters) to be observed!
Nope. All I am saying is that roadmaps are tentative. I've explained why. Paige explained why. Examples have been given. But it is rather difficult discussing with someone who flat-out denies the very thing he said just minutes before...

Let's take an internal example, to prove how things can be done. Elite Dangerous for PS4. Frontier released an announcement trailer in December 2016, which said only "Q2". The 16th of May 2017 they announced the release date: June 27th. And on June 27th...believe it or not...they launched the game. Amazing right? A timeframe offered 7 months in advance for something as massive as porting the game to a new platform. A precise deadline given 6 weeks before the actual date. A deadline met. This is how things work.
And they did the same with Beyond. And pretty much all of it was released, as mentioned, when mentioned. Ice planets and carriers wasn't due to unforseen circumstances. They announced that also ahead of time, and informed us they would tell us more when they felt confident about a new date. They repeated that in March. They repeated that today.

Roadmaps are tentative. Usually it works. Sometimes not. When it doesn't people freak out. Some, like you, explicitly say roadmaps should be guaranteed. But that isn't how it works. FD informs us when they feel a certain amount of confidence and feel they can present it adequately. Usually when they announce something they manage to deliver. Sometimes they can't. To minimize the latter they are hesitant to announce stuff when they don't feel certain. I am completely lost why any of this is hard to accept, or why you feel the need to deny things that factually and demonstrably happened or even things you said yourself, literally minutes before. It is really not needed.

Anyway, I doubt this'll go anywhere so I'll leave you the final word ("dont point out I am factually wrong, it isn't important!" or some such again; that isn't how discussions work though) and wish you a happy weekend! (y)
 
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Huh, that is weird. I could swear you'd say:



Oh, you did. When you say "never" you kinda mean "minutes ago." Which is a pretty big difference.



:)



Nope. All I am saying is that roadmaps are tentative. I've explained why. Paige explained why. Examples have been given. But it is rather difficult discussing with someone who flat-out denies the very thing he said just minutes before...

See. I wrote several paragraphs, and you grappled on the one thing you could rejoin with.

Yes, I said "without offering any kind of deadline" (in the case of fleet carriers -- what timeline did they give for Ice worlds? I don't recall one). That might be incorrect. But then, worse still: they offered the deadline and they failed to deliver. This is issue n1.

To which you reply, again, that oh so many examples have been given why they cannot be blamed for it, and I'm just too dim-witted to understand the stupendous complexity of software development.

I've replied to this "objection" of yours. I think it's nonsense. And this is issue n2: deadlines exist. Clearer communication is possible. Many kinds of roadmaps can be offered. I've wrote it all down above.

But hey, keep scoring points about the one tiny issue where you can point out "BUT YOU SAID IT!"

This is why I ignore people like you.
 
Have you been borrowing Doc' Brown's DeLorean or something?

Obviously it's disappointing that we didn't get our Fleet Carriers and enhanced planets ice-planets but, having announced the delay - and then announced the 2020 ETA for the next big update - I don't see why anybody would expect to see Fleet Carriers or enhanced planets before then.

I mean, by all means come back and remind us all of this thread in January 2021 but until then it's a bit silly to insist they're never going to appear.
You clearly don't understand pessimistic whining development 🙃
 

Viajero

Volunteer Moderator
Fair enough ;)

But what about :

“Withholding information is the essence of tyranny. Control of the flow of information is the tool of the dictatorship.” :p



I still don't understand why they stopped doing this...
Well, not wishing to be that guy here but I think it needs to be pointed out that that is precisely what this is. FDEV´s money at stake, FDEV´s work on the line, FDEV´s own plans for information sharing. Not a democracy at all I am afraid.

The period previous to vanilla launch during 2013-2014 is often brought up as a counter point of good information sharing. The main difference then is that vanilla was in big part crowdfunded and obviously the developer owed it big to the community to update them/us on progress etc. Now with the new era 2020 or fleet carriers or icy surfaces? Not at all the same story. FDEV is in full control. Their product, their money, their game. They have indeed earned their right to dictate their own pace. We are all free not to like that pace though, and act accordingly with our wallets or make suggestions, but otherwise it is indeed a one side affair, and that is how it should be. FDEV will live or die, succeed or fail by their own decisions.
 
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