the reason the devs are more focused on adding stuff than optimizing stuff is because this is currently an alpha. in developing games, there are 3 stages - Alpha: where all the mechanics of the game are added. every addition breaks everything else; Beta: where all the mechanics are optimized and bugs are squashed en-mass. stuff usually isn’t added in the Beta phase, the Beta phase is meant to make sure the game is playable for final release; Release: the game is technically complete. everything meant to be in the game is there and the game is optimized enough to be playable and most (though certainly not all) bugs are squashed. content is then released at a slower rate so as to make sure that it doesn’t break anything that already exists in the game.
that last sentence is important.
the reason why the devs do not optimize right now is because that would be a foolish thing to do. every single addition breaks at least 1 other thing, and normally breaks many things. usually, games are not played in alpha, the only ones with access to the alpha builds are the devs, and so the alpha phase is gone through quicker because they don’t need to make sure the game is still somewhat fun. alpha builds are normally completely unplayable. by making them playable, content additions are slowed down a lot. if they were to then optimize the game after every single addition, we wouldn’t see the final release for years. take the build tool for example. the build tool is heavily unoptimized. if they were to stop whatever they are working on right now to fix the build tool and make it work 100%, it would be an alpha build of its own. then, on the next alpha build, say they added blocks, or a new race, or a new anything, really. thanks to this addition, the build tool has broken again. the devs must then go through the code once more and re-optimize it for the new content, taking yet another alpha build to complete. that’s 3 alpha builds with only 1 actually progressing the game’s development in any form. since every addition to the code demands reoptimization of the code, it is a far better use of time to set the entire code up all at once and then optimize it once it is complete than to optimize it after every chunk of code is added. you need a skeleton before you can add the meat.
while I can understand the frustration of steam games being released in “early access” and never going anywhere, this game has clearly stated it’s an alpha. steam has a bad habit of labeling everything that’s not complete under the global label of “early access”, which means absolutely nothing to users. games that are labeled as early access could be anywhere from games like starbound, which is pretty much a complete game as it is now but it’s about to be changed in the next 2 updates dramatically, to games like this that are nowhere near their completion. and, frankly, even if they were to stop and optimize the game as it is now, you wouldn’t be happy. with what is available in the game right now, I stop after a week (in-game) of playing, if that. it’s fun, sure, but there’s no content yet. if the game were optimized, I would be able to go through all of the available content quicker than I already do. no one would be happy with the game if it were optimized like the final product would be right now. the thing to remember about alpha games, is that they are currently not games, and they will not be games until, at the very least, the beta phase, and even then it’ll be buggy until final release.
steam has done a very bad job at readying players for early access games, and I’m not the only one upset at them for how they’ve gone about treating the games. by giving terraria the same label as stonehearth (back before the 1.0 update), players assume stonehearth must have the same amount of playability as terraria, when it in fact does not. even though there is a section that says “why is this early access” that explains the state of affairs of the game, almost no one reads that. sure, I do, but the general steam user simply looks at the video and pictures and maybe the review quality (not the reviews themselves, just whether it is mostly positive, mixed, or mostly negative) before going “oh cool I should get this game before it rises in price”. what steam should have done is give multiple labels for varying levels of completion, with the explanation on those labels for how complete the game is and what should be expected of games in there. at the very least, an alpha/beta designation instead of the blanket term “early access”
I’ve got 99 bugs in the code
I’ve got 99 bugs
take one down
patch it around
I’ve got 127 bugs in the code
by the way, the devs have tried to avoid the issue you stated with games becoming so overly-inflated that they never get completed. during the kickstarter, they already roped off everything that will be in the game on final release. there have been a few minor alterations to their original plans for varying reasons, but for the most part it is still in tact, and everything new that they might be thinking of adding will only be added AFTER the game is fully released. they intend to work on the game (iirc) for 10 years after the game is released, continuously adding content. the reason why the release date was pushed back wasn’t because they’re adding more into the final release, but because they didn’t realize how tough it was gonna be until they started. the company is quite new, and (iirc) this is their first game. however, even with them getting caught off-guard, they are making better progress than most other games I’ve watched over from early-access to final release (a great number of those games I’ve watched never made it to final release, and a number of those have been dropped). they increased the size of their workerbase and upgraded their machines to be able to handle the load they didn’t expect to be too much for them to chew beforehand, and are still being very close to the consumers in terms of the forums and updating the game on a regular schedule. they are doing better than most games on steam’s “early access”.
phew. that was a huge wall of text. sorry. also, sorry if I came off as rude/arrogant/whatever, I don’t mean to.