angelous Aug 21 @ 11:03pm
A Message from the DF9 Team
(I'm not part of the team, but this was posted in their forums):

DF JP LeBreton

Double Fine is not a random fly-by-night indie dev and we are not going to silently pull the plug on Spacebase or any other in-development project. Doing so would be disastrous for our reputation and it would kill us emotionally ;____;

What has happened lately on Spacebase is that we’re trying something different with regard to communication. Our hypothesis is that short, regular, relatively low-value updates (things like in-progress screenshots of new UI) don’t really serve much more purpose than telling people “we’re not dead!” The time cost of doing those is pretty small, but our team has been 3-4 people since Alpha 1’s release and I wanted to see what the impact would be - both on our side and on the player side.

I knew there would be threads like this when we undertook this direction, and we’ve been watching the various forums closely. I completely understand how one can read a lack of response as a lack of concern, but nothing could be further from the truth. We come to Double Fine every day and work hard to make Spacebase better. It’s our baby and we love working on it. Some player criticism just isn’t very easy to respond to - we know exactly what’s happening with the project, and we could either give an extended brain dump of all that, or we could try to sum it up and risk misleading through brevity or making some specific promise we can’t keep.

Valve’s talk from Steam Dev Days about communication with fans and Team Fortress 2 got us thinking along this current line. There are some points in it that make a strong kind of counter-intuitive sense: who wouldn’t want constant communication? Well, maybe constant communication helps people care less and less about something over time. We needed to shake things up a bit.

This isn’t some master plan; we’re learning as we go - for example, I recently started updating the in-game Transmission from Team Spacebase to hint at the game’s backstory (aka the Spacebase Lore Minute)... but not many people have commented on it, because (we suspect) most people are paying closer attention to out-of-game communication like the website than launching the game regularly. Which is fine; everything like this we try helps us learn to do better. I’ll probably still keep doing those messages because taking a short break from coding to write weird/funny stuff is just fun, and we know some folks will appreciate it.

Regarding Alpha 6 specifically… hmm, what should I say? When we DO have something to say, you’ll know it! We don’t have Valve’s resources so don’t expect lush animated shorts for each update, but we do have a surprise waiting in the wings for Alpha 6, and you’ll hear about it pretty soon now. We want to tell you a story, we want to make you curious about things. Please be patient for a little while longer. Thanks so much for your continued passion and support.
Showing 1-14 of 14 comments
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marvinbland Aug 21 @ 11:25pm 
Double fine needs to know that there are still many people new to crowd funded/green lit/prre-release games out there ...

i'm one of them and i had money to burn in my pocket over the last week ... i WOULD have signed up for their early access game , but from what i could tell when i poked around on their website and looked at the updates it appeared that work had stopped on the game .. As it is i'm proably not going to be buying the early access until i see more evidence that the game is progressing ..

Doublw fine should remember that if they want to continue to bring in funds they need to show that work is pogressing on the game in a constant and steady manner .
Mick Aug 22 @ 1:06pm 
Well that's good to know
[DBG] bufford12b Aug 23 @ 12:33am 
Basically that statement is nothing more than the devs trying to make it look like they are too hard at work to bother with the community, but in reality it's not that they are being innovative it's that they really don't care about the community. They most likely are frustrated that their vision was way more than they can handle. I predict they pull the plug soon and just "release" the game and change the name of Double Fine to something else for their next project.
Toliman Aug 23 @ 2:00am 
it seems that way with the 7 weeks betwen the alpha 5e and the last edit, making small changes to the engine.

some of that was due to PAX, and their amnesia fortnight prototype week releases.

it just seems that there's no priority on development or bug fixes or feature edit/reviews
Cyroch Aug 23 @ 8:55am 
Originally posted by bufford12b:
change the name of Double Fine to something else for their next project.

I doubt that a studio like double fine would just change their name villy nilly. They already have proven with Broken Age that they are capable of creating something crowdfunded. Furthermore, a studio founded by Tim Schafer will most likely be known in the industry no matter what name they would choose.
Menace Aug 23 @ 9:48am 
I've been waiting to buy this, and what is making me hesitant to pull the purchase trigger is the slow updates and lack of communication.

Even small bi-monthly updates with a little summary of what's being worked on, and maybe a picture of what's going to be included, would do wonders. The picture could be of anything ingame - a picture of a new kind of potted plant even... anything!
cancelHoo Aug 23 @ 12:52pm 
I know this sucks, but I still trust DoubleFine. I have a ton of games, so this one just sits there. I come here and check out the progress every once in a while. I'm not thrilled with the devs as I consider the game to be unplayable. Still, I will wait. What other choice do I have? If I had to guess, I would bet that development of this title has taken a back seat to Massive Chalice (which has a better chance of being a blockbuster upon release.) I would bet that the dev team grows once Massive Chalice's development slows. I think Double Fine spread themselves too thin.
City Builder Aug 23 @ 8:22pm 
With the many early access games that I've bought so far, it feels to me that spacebase is about on par with many of the other early access games as far as what we're seeing being developed and the speed at which they are doing it.

Sure there are some that develop quicker than this one is but overall I'd have to say that this is pretty much on par with the majority of the early access games that I have in my library.

I'm really not concerned that they might call it quits and say the game is done and move on to something else, it would as the developer said, be disasterous for their reputation. Case in point, the game "Towns", the lead developer (not Ben, aka BurningPet) has totally destroyed any reputation that he might have earned in the early days of developing Towns and I think if he tried to make a new game he would suffer terribly on the amount of folks that would avoid it like the plague.

It takes time to develop, and that's what we're seeing here. It's unfortunate that it takes time as all of us that own the game want to play the full thing NOW, but that's just not possible, they've got to have time to work on it, there's simply no way around that folks.
smartbombradio Aug 24 @ 12:33pm 
I love how they repeatedly are like "We're doing this differently than other EAs, because we're Doublefine - and we don't have to."

Yes, we get it, you do whatever the ♥♥♥♥ you want on your own timetable, and the annoying little ♥♥♥♥♥ who had the audacity to buy your game can wait in the dark for your brilliance.

So they're answer to "we need more communication" is less communication? Fine fine. Finish your game whenever you guys find it convinient to you, I guess, and I'll consider my less on about Doublefine learned.

*walks off and fires off Gnomoria, becfore changing review back to negative*
LoneGunman Aug 26 @ 8:13pm 
The problem isn't frequency but quality. I would be happy with an update and summary every 5-6 weeks as long as they a) are clear about what the goals are for each update and b) update everyone if there's a delay. Good communication isn't about frequency. You can have 6 weekly updates that tell you nothing (and waste the small team's time putting together, responding too, etc.) and they still wouldn't be as good as a single update every six weeks or whatever works as long as it's regular. The problem is there've been these spurts of updates and fixes and it sets this expectation that we're going to see more of that then suddenly, nothing. It doesn't matter if this is a AAA game or a freshly minted greenlight project. The only difference would be a AAA game would likely have (if they were smart) several community managers answering questions (however repetitious they are) and spending the time putting together the updates so the devs don't have to. You just budget accordingly and stick with what you said you were going to do. Feel like you need to change the frequency/schedule/due date? No problem. Just say so.

There will always be people that complain, don't read previous posts or otherwise start yelling in the forums and complaining about minor stuff. I wouldn't sweat those people too much. They're a customer service issue and won't be satisfied by anything. But the majority of us, I'm pretty sure, will be happy just to know what's going on rather than just guessing or trying to read the devs minds.

Personally, I'm not ♥♥♥♥ed or anything about the game. I definitely would like to see a new update that brings something bigger than just small fixes as I'm at a point where I feel like there isn't that much more to do (outside of busy work). My problem is just that I feel like this game's got a lot of potential and experimenting with communication is just going to create more problems than anything else, especially if they don't bother to let people know until they complain a lot. A big part of how EA games on Steam work now is people who are interested (and savvy) will look at the community hub and discussions to see if there are a ton of complain threads or if everything looks standard (bug reports and suggestions mixed with help threads and strategy guides and the like). Like it or not, the community hub has become just as important if not more so than the reviews these days.

::Gets off his soap box::
JP  [developer] Aug 27 @ 1:45pm 
Thanks very much for the thoughtful reply, LoneGunman. We are definitely listening.
my•glass•eye Aug 29 @ 4:29am 
Originally posted by smartbombradio:
I love how they repeatedly are like "We're doing this differently than other EAs, because we're Doublefine - and we don't have to."

Yes, we get it, you do whatever the ♥♥♥♥ you want on your own timetable, and the annoying little ♥♥♥♥♥ who had the audacity to buy your game can wait in the dark for your brilliance.

So they're answer to "we need more communication" is less communication? Fine fine. Finish your game whenever you guys find it convinient to you, I guess, and I'll consider my less on about Doublefine learned.

*walks off and fires off Gnomoria, becfore changing review back to negative*

I'm not sure what world you live in, but on planet Earth people making a thing have every right to spend as long as they need to make it the way they want to make it so that it's as good as it can possibly be.

That means that games take a long time to make.

What people seem to be currently upset about is their less-than-stellar communication and in and of itself that's worth complaining about because it's not been great. But ultimately it's just a blip, something to spout off steam on the internet about (no pun intended!), as work is clearly ongoing at DF.

Patience, and the ability to research a developer to decide if you trust them, is pretty much a requirement of buying into an alpha. If you don't have any patience, or have evidence the developer walks away from incomplete games they've sold as alphas, you probably shouldn't buy into it.

(btw haters, there is no evidence that DF walks away from far-from-complete games they've sold as alphas, although I'm sure someone will invent some)

Last edited by my•glass•eye; Aug 29 @ 4:32am
HazySarkany Aug 29 @ 4:38pm 
That's nice, I was wondering myself, I went to the blog, and I saw some cryptic messaging there that seemed more ARG than update info. Then I came here and I see other people are wondering too. I thought you were keeping the same pace as Prison Architect, so I was looking to see if you had anything new. I don't mind so much, good to know you're communicating.
nightarix Aug 31 @ 6:51am 
Originally posted by bufford12b:
Basically that statement is nothing more than the devs trying to make it look like they are too hard at work to bother with the community, but in reality it's not that they are being innovative it's that they really don't care about the community. They most likely are frustrated that their vision was way more than they can handle. I predict they pull the plug soon and just "release" the game and change the name of Double Fine to something else for their next project.

i find it funny that you act like double fine is some newbie indie company who can afford to crash. no i'll wager they see this through even if it takes them years to finish.
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