I enjoyed today’s stream, but the thing that interested me the most was when Alec(?) said that there may not be a stream next week as most of team StoneHearth will be in LA. Some sort of game jam it seems.
StoneHearth is not on schedule, it’s not even close to being on schedule. Do Riot really need to drag them off at apparently every opportunity they can think of?
Stonehearth never really had a schedule. Well, except for Alpha 1, which arrived late, and they gave up on their schedule soon after. Now the plan seems to be to finish it when it’s complete (and of course they had to change their goals this year) which I’m much happier with than rushing it out the door.
He has a point though. Since they joined Riot, the team has had to go to meetings, inductions and whatnot a lot more than before. It can’t affect the schedule, as there isn’t one, but they are off more frecuently.
They have also explained why this is. It’s likely desktop tuesdays will return this week. Let’s be honest here stonehearth has been in alpha for what 3 years? On top of that they had to change their design plan recently. I’d rather their important business get done then we get a better game rather than a few posts on the main blog when absolutely nothing exciting is going on anyway…
Godus showed that just because a dev team is taking a long time, it doesn’t necessarily follow that useful development is taking place. Not saying this is the case here, just suggesting that it’s possible for a project to lose its way.
I understand that Steff may not be able to produce desktop Tuesday for a month, what I’m a little shakier on is that in an expanded team, there is no-one else who could step in.
Okay, first up: I don’t now how long ago, in truth, that Stonehearth’s devs were bought by/joined Riot. I just know that it’s been this way for at least a month.
An Expanded Dev team is often a great thing, but first the “new” developers have to be brought up to speed on a small array of things:
Who does/has final say on what. (the quickest part)
How a critical set of things used everywhere in the game are coded, as opposed to industry standards/whatever the new devs allready know. (the slowest part, as you basically have to get the new guys to un-learn their previous coding habits. That’s 20~ish days right there)
What the currently “in progress” items are, and what the roadmap of “what to do next” is, (again, fairly quick)
The current state of the game with regards to bugs. (this allso takes quite a while)
Sad as it is, most of that would take at least a month and a half, without semi-constant interruptions from Riot to “attend meeting” about crap generally irrelevant to Stonehearth, but highly relevant to the rest of Riot, instead of doing more work on Stonehearth.
If you dig into the code meat of this game it’s not just writing new code but also making sure everything works, killing bugs between alphas, sleeping, eating, personal lives.
As to why no desktop tuesdays, steph explained this.
She said that while somebody else could step in and do it, it’d take much longer and it would be a waste of the teams resources because not only would somebody who isn’t experienced be doing it, they’d be getting sidetracked from their actual responsibility which would slow things down even more.
I doubt Riot would just dump SH at this point, i mean it’s possible, but they already sent several developers whome They pay to develop a game, that are capable of developing a different game that they might consider ‘profitable’ and if they were to dump it, it would be a big waste to hire several engineers and have them adjust to the new game, just so they can dump said game and make the devs re-adjust to another game that is foreign to them, which as mentioned earlier takes time and resouces to do
Consider Blizzard that let Overwatch cook for what, 7 years? Or was it 10, and it was even abandoned in the middle and revived, extended develpment times doesn’t seem like such a rare thing in the industry (not that i know much on it)
As for the whole attending events and such, for me, it’s totally okay and good even, now that we have a big ‘supporter’ like Riot getting press and attention will be easier than ever before, i just don’t think Riot will let the game generate Too Much hype before the full release can be accurately scheduled, early hype tends to die out, or go out of control like some other game which No Man meally cares of anymore, i think it’s more like the DarkSouls teaser that came out about a month and a half before the full release
Hey guys, thanks for offering your thoughts on this. The team has definitely had a very dense March, with three team trips–two to RiotHQ in LA and one to PAX. As a team, we really value our forward momentum, so we thought hard about the cost of each to our schedule, because we knew that with all three so close, they’d have a profound effect on the scheduling of A21 and probably a ripple effect out to A22. In the end, we decided to do all three, and two thirds of the way through the month, with the bulk of A21 safely on the Unstable branch, I’m sure that’s actually the right decision for the game in the long term.
Trip #1 was our first real team presentation of the game a subsection of the larger company, which is really important! Riot wants to support Stonehearth, but people who work there can do so more easily when they’re given a clear idea of what our game’s mission is, and what our short and long term plans are. It was deeply beneficial to have the whole team present because that way, each person has a chance to be recognized for their existing contributions, put faces to names you only see on email, etc.
Trip #2, for PAX, was really motivating to everyone on the team. It’s always nice to meet all of you who can make it in person, and hear what you love and really want to change about the game. It’s also really educational to watch and help people through the first 30 minutes of the game at the demo stations; your energy supercharges us to make things better.
Trip #3, back to RiotHQ, is actually for a cross-team bonding activity. It will be a good chance to reinforce friendships made during trip #1, and will help everyone on Team Stonehearth make strong connections among the other members of their discipline–art to art, engineering to engineering, etc, which means more people to call on for help when we undoubtedly need it.
Riot is actually an incredibly close-knit company. Everyone there Really Loves Games and this common foundation means everyone is used to hanging out together all the time. It’s a little weird from their company culture POV that we’re so far away, and I’ve definitely felt their interest in getting to know us better, so I’m glad this month will give us a chance to do that.
It’s also definitely true that Riot is not in a hurry to have us finish Stonehearth. From the POV of every Rioter I’ve talked to–every single one, from senior management to interns–the important thing is that Stonehearth be a really good game. Part of that is helping us learn more about the art of creating games–which we can pick up from developing personal mentors at the company–and part of that is getting giving us time to iterate until it feels good to everyone.
I actually think the whole team is infused with a sense of urgency about getting the game out to you. It’s what keeps us making alphas, and it’s what keeps us balanced between gameplay content and long term projects. It’s fed by watching people play the game, and talking with Kickstarter backers, and reading steam reviews and updates. We have never stopped working, week after week, to get you that 1.0 version of Stonehearth. The road is just a lot longer than we thought it was, and it’s going to be a long road yet, so we’d better pace ourselves.
I’m arriving a bit late to this thread - my job’s been keeping me incredibly busy with a number of deadlines recently (and approaching). Regardless, while most things have already been said, I wanted to add to one of Stephanie’s points above.
So I had the incredible honor and privilege of being invited to join Team Stonehearth at PAX East. I’d met some of the team previously, but for most of the newer devs, I never had the opportunity before this. First, if you’ve never been to a PAX, I’d highly encourage you to do so. This was my first convention, and it was amazing. PAX East is held in a humongous room, the size of over 10 (American) football fields. About 2/3 are filled with exhibitor booths of various sizes, the other 1/3 with consoles, laptops, desktops, and tables (board gaming) for people to game at. Stonehearth had a lovely booth with 3 computers for people to try the game. Those computers were in use by people all 3 days, from 10 AM to 6 PM. I saw everyone from older adults to a 7 y/o kid give it a try, and everyone shared so many positive things as they played.
More on the topic discussed above, while the team wasn’t sitting and writing code during this time - I can personally attest to the incredible amount of information that was gathered both from talking with fans, and watching people play. We learned where people get stuck when first playing. We discovered bugs. We got new ideas. Even while helping someone at a computer, members of the team were taking notes, saving error logs, and more to ensure they fix things as soon as they can. By Sunday night (just after PAX ended) while still at the hotel, one of the devs had already pushed in code to fix one of the bugs we saw.
In the evenings the team went out to dinner (plus me a few family members). You might think after 8+ hours of living, breathing, and talking Stonehearth they’d want nothing more to do with it. You’d be wrong. Even at dinner, people were talking about Stonehearth: what they saw that day, schedules and plans for fixes and features, ideas, and more.
So where am I going with this? I guess I just wanted to share first-hand experience that the team is working incredibly hard to get Stonehearth finished. Being part of a larger company like Riot certainly affects things (like meetings that didn’t use to happen), but meeting all the developers, old and new, and hearing their excitement first hand I know that they care just as much as we do (if not more) about Stonehearth, and getting it out to all of us.
Edit: Here’s a nice picture of the booth with some devs (Angelo, Justin, Brad, Stephanie, and Chris)
If you’re going to talk about heroes, @jomaxro drove us all to and from the airport, despite the fact that his car was losing brake fluid slowly and his brakes eventually died. And then it started to snow. :3