The 2020 Dev Run: As Big As The Launch Run (?)

WARNING: Giant effort post :D

TLDR: The 2020 DLC is definitely a big, concerted run. Seemingly the longest contiguous period of full production since pre-launch.

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The Production Dates Are Similar:

We don't know exactly when 'full production' started on ED, but we do know that it hadn't started prior to the Kickstarter:

Q: Okay, let’s talk about the team. How many people are working on the game right now?

A: It’s still at a skunkworks stage now, and the plan is to increase it beyond that once we’ve got the thumbs up from Kickstarter. [6 November 2012]

If we take the Kickstarter 'thumbs up' as an approximate start point for full production, then the dates look like this:

APPROXIMATE 'FULL PRODUCTION' DATES:

Elite Dangerous:

Approx: 2 Years


2020 DLC

Approx: 2 Years


But How Long Was The Pre-Production?

Don't have enough info to judge timescales here, but both seem to have years of skunkwork attached:

Elite: Dangerous:

If you believe this Guinness Book of Records entry, work started about 17 years ago :D. Certainly FDev seem to have done prep work for 'Elite 4' at various points. (Here they are talking about Legs in 2001:D). That seems a bit silly though. Only the more recent years of skunkworking are likely to be of technical relevance. So: Unclear. Probably substantial. Probably less than 17 years ;)

2020 DLC:

There's been various talk of them prototyping the expansions. From the familiar proc gen clouds & the leggy mock-ups of pre-launch, to more concrete assertions like: "We have work going on on Season 3 and Season 4 already..." / 'We have ongoing work on planets, including atmospheres, planetary life, walking about...' etc


Dedicated Elite Staffing:

Was the staffing comparable? That's pretty hard to nail down too. But it seems pretty possible that they're in similar ballparks:

Currently:

100+ dev team with the majority focusing on the new era. (More sourcing on the dedicated staffing over recent years here: [1],[2],[3],[4]).

(Their broader staffing scenario is approx 440 staff, with a 4th franchise likely in full production (expected 2019) and a 5th & 6th seemingly in some form of production.)

During the Initial Dev Run:

Their overall staffing ranged from approx 240 to 270 over that period. They had 5 prior projects on the go:
We worked on five projects of varying sizes for our two key clients, and two of these games were released in the financial year 2013–14.
Given that JWE scaled up to 75-100 staffing, you'd imagine those three other park games took up significant resources.

Ultimately ED's dedicated staffing for that period seems to be unknown. However it seems unlikely they had much more than 100 staff on the project, given the 'work for hire' projects on their slate at the time.


The Longest Dev Runs Since Launch:

The longest I'm aware of is the small team on the Cmdr Creator for 'way over a year'. The Plandings tech itself went from R&D to delivery in a year.


(Reasons Not To Get Carried Away):
  • The game is doubtlessly an absolute ball of code now. Adding to that, rather than building from scratch, will definitely be a lot harder, and mean fewer additions emerge from the dev period.
  • The launch title went live with loads of gaps in it ;). Two years isn't the longest time in the world to innovate in.
  • This is mainly guesswork :D
 
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From what I’ve seen, we’re still IN Pre-production, or maybe post-pre-production?

Ultimately they’re just not done with it yet, and I’m fine with that. Take as long as you need, just make it live up to its potential.
 
An interesting take on things, thank you.

I wonder when we'll start to get some drips of information.. Perhaps nothing until the end of the year. Be curious to see how that 'leak' from before pans out too.
Still betting on some form of space legs :)

Anyway, we'll see..
 

Guest193293

G
It seem they always did some work here and there over the years for space legs and I guess atmospheric planets too.

Whatever come in 2020, it's big and I'm sure they have been working on it since a few years already.

There is also that: (was found in 3.3 beta files.)
Source: https://youtu.be/-WzS-n0EiCI
 
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I don't give a 'furry crack of a rat's behind' anymore about this 2020 "update"

When Frontier start to give us ACTUAL information, instead of silence or 'announcements of announcements' it's all just meaningless to me.

Will I be 'super excited' like Frontier staff are when they FINALLY announce something concrete?..............given FD's track record, probably not!
 

Viajero

Volunteer Moderator
WARNING: Giant effort post :D

TLDR: The 2020 DLC is definitely a big, concerted run. Seemingly the longest contiguous period of full production since pre-launch.

---

The Production Dates Are Similar:

We don't know exactly when 'full production' started on ED, but we do know that it hadn't started prior to the Kickstarter:




If we take the Kickstarter 'thumbs up' as an approximate start point for full production, then the dates look like this:

APPROXIMATE 'FULL PRODUCTION' DATES:

Elite Dangerous:

Approx: 2 Years


2020 DLC

Approx: 2 Years


But How Long Was The Pre-Production?

Don't have enough info to judge timescales here, but both seem to have years of skunkwork attached:

Elite: Dangerous:

If you believe this Guinness Book of Records entry, work started about 17 years ago :D. Certainly FDev seem to have done prep work for 'Elite 4' at various points. (Here they are talking about Legs in 2001:D). That seems a bit silly though. Only the more recent years of skunkworking are likely to be of technical relevance. So: Unclear. Probably substantial. Probably less than 17 years ;)

2020 DLC:

There's been various talk of them prototyping the expansions. From the familiar proc gen clouds & the leggy mock-ups of pre-launch, to more concrete assertions like: "We have work going on on Season 3 and Season 4 already..." / 'We have ongoing work on planets, including atmospheres, planetary life, walking about...' etc


Dedicated Elite Staffing:

Was the staffing comparable? That's pretty hard to nail down too. But it seems pretty possible that they're in similar ballparks:

Currently:

100+ dev team with the majority focusing on the new era. (More sourcing on the dedicated staffing over recent years here: [1],[2],[3],[4]).

(Their broader staffing scenario is approx 440 staff, with a 4th franchise likely in full production (expected 2019) and a 5th & 6th seemingly in some form of production.)

During the Initial Dev Run:

Their overall staffing ranged from approx 240 to 270 over that period. They had 5 prior projects on the go:

Given that JWE scaled up to 75-100 staffing, you'd imagine those three other park games took up significant resources.

Ultimately ED's dedicated staffing for that period seems to be unknown. However it seems unlikely they had much more than 100 staff on the project, given the 'work for hire' projects on their slate at the time.


The Longest Dev Runs Since Launch:

The longest I'm aware of is the small team on the Cmdr Creator for 'way over a year'. The Plandings tech itself went from R&D to delivery in a year.


(Reasons Not To Get Carried Away):
  • The game is doubtlessly an absolute ball of code now. Adding to that, rather than building from scratch, will definitely be a lot harder, and mean fewer additions emerge from the dev period.
  • The launch title went live with loads of gaps in it ;). Two years isn't the longest time in the world to innovate in.
  • This is mainly guesswork :D
Post fail, missing obligatory "game dead" and "game usueful life ends 2021"
 
Im currently in Guardian Ruins so I have realy bad time that makes my hype for whatever future can bring non-existent.

I hope that making all those other games was partially because that will give you a lot of experience in other areas and opportunity to "try" to make dinos, some flora etc, maybe to try how planets might look like, you know what I mean.
To be honest I don't even need spacelegs unless there will be some places where I can walk, other than my ship, that would get old in about 10 minutes and I already saw Obsidian's space legs walking around cockpit so its old already. Immersion wise I don't care as I spend probably more time alt+tabed trying to figure out what the hell is going on so there you go immersion.
Planetary landings would be really nice but don't forget it will be 4bilions of same planetary landings or whats the number. Unless theres a reason like building your own base on planets it will be just another landing on planet and will get old fast as on rocky planets. Although it should be much nicer that's for sure, not sure if ppl will go and do something like Hey look at this river its so exciting what a lovely curves it does, probably some will.

When it comes to excitement I already experienced that too with my 1st CG, Guardians, Interstellar Forum Iniciative etc.
Does I sound pessimistic? Well that's probably because I really am. But they say hope never dies.

Most of all I think that these 270 ppl should start to roll out QoL updates for about 5 years.
 
Stay with your feet on the ground. I have a feeling the new era is likely to be carriers and ice worlds, basically what they should have delivered half a year ago.
Hmmm since ice planets were obviously working in a live build version some 8 months or so ago, I doubt they require another 18 months of working on them to get them in game. Still, who knows?!
 
Stay with your feet on the ground. I have a feeling the new era is likely to be carriers and ice worlds, basically what they should have delivered half a year ago.
C'mon even i'm not that critic!
But i agree, lets wait and see, these speculation threads in the past few years met only disappointment.
One thing is sure; bugs, a lot of bugs and "coldfix" months after release fixing 1/3rd of the newly introduced bugs.
They will need to rent another amazon server for 'isuee tracker' lol, funded by microtransactions XD
 
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