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Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 1:27:11 PM   
onomastikon

 

Posts: 188
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I'm starting to get a little worried.

Like a number of people here, I have been a gamer since before there was internet, which, I believe, has an effect on my gaming consumption today.

Today, I feel at home with independent productions, not only because I enjoy a niche product, but I like sitting in the niche; I do not feel at home on Blizzard.com forums, while I feel much more comfortable on smaller "niche" forums such as these. You may know what I mean. Part of what I am trying to say is that the "culture" of gaming and gaming purchasing includes factors surrounding more than the product itself, and hence that the "communication culture" surrounding a product may have a non-trivial effect on the type and quantity of those products I am willing to purchase.

One aspect of this "communication culture" includes some form of interaction with some or all of those directly responsible for producing the product itself. In the case of games I truly love, and -- not uncoincidentally -- the online cultures those games have produced, that is usually in the form of regular postings on boards such as these, usually by one or two people of the development team. In the case of some of my favorites (e.g. Dominions and COE: Illwinter games), that is 2 people at the most; or in the case of DW, it is one person: Code Force might as well consist in Elliot alone.

For whatever reasons -- and "normally", I would assume that these reasons would be somehow communicated to the "community", if this were a "normal situation -- Elliot has made only 2 posts so far in 2012, both on the 12th of March. In other words, he all but stopped interacting with the community around the release of DW-L 1.7.06 (coincidentally the time I joined this community). This is not to say he has stopped working on DW, believing in DW, loving DW, etc. -- obviously this is not the case, as we have seen numerous Beta updates, and have received news (through a third party) of an upcoming expansion in the works.

But I am worried, because my feeling of culture and communication is off cue. On the one hand, this is reflected in my desire to have what appears to me to be only very few, but somewhat crucial, changes implemented in the current build to make DW-L very enjoyable. My desire is partly unreflected egoistic consumerism, and partly based on the (unjust? ill-informed? utopian?) belief that it is precisely a game such as DW and its surrounding "culture" which gets reasonable updates, in close-knit interaction with the developer, according to reasonable claims / bug reports / support requests expressed in the community. On the other hand, this is also reflected in my desire to witness some form of interaction with the developer, as I attempted to explain above. In other words: On the other hand, I'm starting to feel like I'm a bit out alone on the heath. Not entirely alone, of course, since I feel well enough with you, my fellow game-players, a very very few vitriolic exceptions notwithstanding. But I miss the shepard feeling I have come to associate with purchasing a niche product: being a member of a community which thrives and whose product thrives on the interaction with the developer.

Has something happened? And if so, what? I suppose all I want to say is: Speak with me. I miss you. I am feeling, surely wrongly, as if I am in an entirely different boat than the one I had imagined myself to be. But I need you to tell me that. I am only partly interested in obtaining my egoistic consumer-based product-oriented materialistic wishes; I am mostly interested in having the illusion that my words are being considered. It is, as we Germans say, our "word in God's ear" that makes many of us consistent believers in independent games. Please help me in my illusion. Elliot, I miss you, I hope you are well, please do be in touch soon.

Thank you.
Post #: 1
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 3:07:00 PM   
Webbco


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You're German? You're English is better than mine. And I'm English.

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RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 3:30:43 PM   
Jeeves


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I assure you that he interacts with Beta testers. I gave a lot of suggestions and complaints during the past month as a beta tester in the tester forum. Maybe he is working hard on fixes to issues we beta testers have raised with him...

Lonnie Courtney Clay
p.s. another patch or two and all of his attention should be focused on the next expansion...

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Lonnie Courtney Clay

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Post #: 3
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 3:32:47 PM   
Cauldyth

 

Posts: 687
Joined: 6/27/2010
Status: online
Very nice post, and I agree. There have been some interesting discussions on here lately about various game features, but after a while everyone gets the impression that it's not being read by the developers, and that the discussion is ultimately a waste of time. Then the fruitful discussions stop, and all that's left is a semi-dead forum. When I first hear about any game, the first thing I do is visit the forums for it to see what people are talking about. If the forum is dead, that's a big red flag for me.

Maybe I'm too used to the Stardock forums, where the developers air their dirty laundry constantly. ;)

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Post #: 4
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 3:35:14 PM   
Cauldyth

 

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See, I didn't even know there were beta testers or a testing forum! Poke Elliot to stick his head in here with us plebes and say hi. ;)

(in reply to Jeeves)
Post #: 5
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 4:13:00 PM   
tjhkkr


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I guess my thought is that it is a ma and pa shop here...
There are only a handful of people... one developer, and couple of other Matrix people that appear to help.

If I have ever had any major issues -- I think it was twice, both Erik and Elliot have been there. I understand: I have often wanted to ask Elliot questions, but given the size of the staff...
And there are several volunteers here who help with testing that often help when there are questions...
Not saying you cannot ask to hear from Elliot more often, but I just have chocked it up to small staff size.

_____________________________

Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.

(in reply to Cauldyth)
Post #: 6
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 5:16:17 PM   
WiZz

 

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Totally agree, we need a little portion of information.

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Post #: 7
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 5:16:48 PM   
feelotraveller


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I empathise with the concerns of the OP.

Last I heard from Elliot was after I reported a bug back in March he said he couldn't reproduce but feel free to upload a save.  So I spent a couple of hours digging around for a couple of saves which nailed the problem down and uploaded them.  And then I waited... and waited... and waited... and posted to remind... and waited... and waited... and waited.  Now maybe the saves didn't reproduce the bug on his end, or it was fixed (although I've seen no mention of it in changelogs), or he considered it not important, or he didn't look at the saves, or he considered it low priority and it is way down the to do list but might get fixed eventually, or... Well you get the picture.

That said I am a bit torn here, since it is probably a better use of Elliot's time to actually be coding the game rather than replying to my petty egoistic concerns even if they do have an impact on the game.  Still the process has left me feeling rather deflated.  Maybe we need some sort of beta testing liaison?  I get the feeling that some of our discussions do get through sometimes but it would be nice to know when we are flogging a dead horse and when/where our constructive input is appreciated or even needed. 

(in reply to tjhkkr)
Post #: 8
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 6:20:56 PM   
Gelatinous Cube


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As long as the latest version is a beta patch, I think its important to remind the community that you're still working on things.

That said, we as a community should also remember that the Distant Worlds team isn't your typical developer studio either. Things'll take as long as they take.

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Post #: 9
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 8:34:01 PM   
DasTactic

 

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Very eloquent OP. Nice work. :) I hadn't really considered that niche games like this develop a personal culture where the gaming community feels like a real community and where you feel you 'know' the others in that community.

I guess Eric has been the designated spokesperson in this forum for the game and I'm assuming that is so Elliot can focus on the building. I must say I do like it when developers communicate directly but I also understand that at times this must be distracting.

(in reply to Gelatinous Cube)
Post #: 10
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 10:12:58 PM   
onomastikon

 

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Thank you for this feedback. It is good to know that this is not an echo into an empty grove of trees (another German saying poorly anglicized).

@tjhkkr: I feel most at home, as my poorly-worded OP failed to convey, in ma and pa shops. I had hoped to attempt to explain that it is precisely those little niche cafés, as opposed to the huge Starbucks chains, which develop the "culture" of "communication" that I, and I guess others like me, cherish. I enjoy being in a café which is understaffed, where I have to wait 15 minutes for my coffee, but I know everyone by name. The N-tronium forums (Armada 2526) were a one-man show, the Illwinter forums (Dominions 3, Conquest of Elysium) are a two-man show, etc. etc. -- I LIKE Indy games because they cultivate this culture. Do you think that most of the people who play those games would do so if there were not an active forum community?
I lurked here for a week before buying and joining the community on the 29th of November, 2011. I checked: The user elliotg had made dozens of posts in November and mid-December. This looked familiar to me, felt good, and also helped in making me jump over the fence.
Then there have been NO POSTS by Elliot with the exception of 2 he made in mid-March.
I'm not saying this is bad for business, bad for an expansion, or anything like that (although I can imagine it might be). I'm not an economist, I'm a semiotician. I'm claiming it's bad for the culture, and will eventually have negative effects on the game itself. You vets are used to Elliot posting; I just caught the tail-end of that.
A culture of communication is a delicate thing. Like any form of communication, it needs support. The flock doesn't tend itself indefinately. It needs tending. So in response to FeelOTraveller: I disagree. 15 minutes of Elliot's time per week spent here and NOT spent programming is a sound investment on his part. You all know this if you have ever had a relationship (friendship, marriage, sports club, etc.) with people. Otherwise, the culture will slowly atrophy, and even the vets will slowly start to think the worst. Just my two cents of course.
With that said, I do mean it honestly: my investment here is not purely materialistic, nor is this post intended to be just an intellectual argument. I do have some emotional capital at stake. I miss Elliot and hope he has not come to harm. Do let us hear from you when you can, friend. We care.

(in reply to DasTactic)
Post #: 11
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/3/2012 11:10:55 PM   
Igard


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I miss Elliot's presence on the forums too. I sincerely hope he's well and returns soon, if only to say "hi".



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Post #: 12
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 12:48:57 AM   
Dracus

 

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Actually his patching is in line with big companies with large staffs. Independent game development thrives on keeping the feeling that they still support their product. You also got to remember that it is not a big company and therefore the developer may one day decide to drop the game or is not making enough from the game to support themselves and spend alot of time doing another job.

look at SE and see how that developer abondoned his main product to release a risk style game but even that game is not well supported anymore cuase he got married and family ate up his development time. Read the forums over at SE and you will see that the community there feels the developer either gave up on the game or no longer cares about the fan base. No one has heard from him in over a year.

At some point DW will run it's course as the developer either decides to stop working on it to build a new game or quit game design completely.

(in reply to Igard)
Post #: 13
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 3:29:38 AM   
ehsumrell1


Posts: 2529
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From: The Briar Patch Nebula
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As one of the beta test team members, I'd just like to offer the following. Elliot
maintains interest in the game, this forum (and the Developmental Forum) and us game
players in my humble opinion. As a fact, each and every beta update he provides us to
test usually contains fixes as well as additions that were/are provided and suggested
by the players commenting on this forum. Sometimes, again IMHO, the new additions/fixes
break previous areas that were working in the game before the additions. And then of
course, the verbal backlashes start as players run across these bugs that have reappeared.

Nevertheless, from my information, Elliot last logged into the main DW forum on June 3rd and last
posted in the developmental forum on June 1st. Being concerned myself, I contacted Erik and he
told me that Elliot is well and doing fine. So I assume that he may be just enjoying some well
deserved personal time and I personally am okay with that. Erik says we'll hear news soon so I
am okay with that also. I'm sure Elliot himself will explain his hiatus upon his return, although
as far as I'm concerned, I don't need an explanation. Just my thirty cents worth!

_____________________________

Shields are useless in "The Briar Patch"...

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Post #: 14
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 3:41:03 AM   
jpwrunyan


Posts: 552
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From: Uranus
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Do not try and bend the Eliot; that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth.
What truth?
There is no Eliot.
There is no Eliot?
Then you will see, it is not the Eliot that bends, it is only yourself.

(in reply to ehsumrell1)
Post #: 15
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 4:09:55 AM   
ehsumrell1


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From: The Briar Patch Nebula
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LOL! Yeah, I loved that philosophical scene in the Matrix too!

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Shields are useless in "The Briar Patch"...

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Post #: 16
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 4:45:37 AM   
Cauldyth

 

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Thanks for the insider update. Looking forward to hearing what they have planned for the new expansion. :)

(in reply to ehsumrell1)
Post #: 17
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 6:25:43 AM   
tjhkkr


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I do have some emotional capital at stake. I miss Elliot and hope he has not come to harm. Do let us hear from you when you can, friend. We care.

Hey guys, nothing wrong with anything I see here.
There is a PM key, why not send him a message expressing what you are saying here?

Trust me, on the tough days of my... work... a message like that goes a long way...
Use the PM key and say hi. I think he would be impressed. Erik too!

It is this kind of stuff that keeps me here... trust me.

And perhaps take it as a compliment!!! How so? Because he, Erik, trusts us to be adults... well I am a little immature, but I am the only one... Erik had to shut topic on ANOTHER forum, not Distant Worlds, down because people are not as good as they are here.
We have a good community.

< Message edited by tjhkkr -- 7/4/2012 6:30:08 AM >


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Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.

(in reply to Cauldyth)
Post #: 18
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 6:32:00 AM   
tjhkkr


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By the way: it is July 4th in the U.S.of A.
No taxation without representation!
Rules to live by in the Distant World's Universe!

_____________________________

Remember that the evil which is now in the world will become yet more powerful, and that it is not evil which conquers evil, but only love -- Olga Romanov.

(in reply to tjhkkr)
Post #: 19
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 12:26:38 PM   
WiZz

 

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Did anyone try to pm Erik?

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RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 1:52:33 PM   
Evrett


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I can understand, though not agree with having a policy of not communicating with the customers. However I wonder about those saying they are too busy to post. It takes 5 secs or less to post a quick reply. And the devs have been active on other forums. So suggesting they dont have time I think is silly.

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Post #: 21
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 5:27:01 PM   
ASHBERY76


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Most developers do not bother posting on forums much.I can only think of Paradox,Kerberos and Stardock to a lesser degree that regularly talk about gameplay

Matrix only seem get to involved just before a new product timeframe.

< Message edited by ASHBERY76 -- 7/4/2012 5:28:37 PM >


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RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 5:41:50 PM   
WiZz

 

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Elliot - yes. But Erik wrote on forum quite often.

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RE: Tending the Flock - 7/4/2012 9:32:37 PM   
Igard


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From: Scotland
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I know alot of people talk about Erik going missing for long periods, but he does have alot of other games to tend to. He's not solely DW, unlike Elliot who is the creator of DW. Although, I'm sure he's busy also, there is no reason anybody should be so busy that they can't spend 10-15 minutes checking the forums once a week, or even every other week.

I just want to see Elliot pop his head in and say 'Hi' from time to time. We can only guess as to why he doesn't.

Elliot, you're always welcome. Come back!!

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Post #: 24
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 1:30:55 AM   
jpwrunyan


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Elliot's here at my house, guys. He says "hi".

(in reply to Igard)
Post #: 25
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 8:26:27 AM   
oxenshtrudel

 

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Well he is most likely on vacation or working on the expansion. I don't mind him being absent for longer times since he eventually shows up after with some great new patch/expansion. During a development cycle it is probably best to not get to much input since that can be distracting for the current task at hand.

When he do visit the forum he's usually very thorough and I think he spends much more than 10-15 minutes a week in average on the forums even though he is only visiting between cycles.

It will be fun to see what he will come up with next. ;-)

(in reply to jpwrunyan)
Post #: 26
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 2:34:17 PM   
scotten_usa

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan
Elliot's here at my house, guys. He says "hi".


Buy him a beer for me!

(in reply to jpwrunyan)
Post #: 27
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 3:46:21 PM   
Igard


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From: Scotland
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quote:

ORIGINAL: ScottenChi

quote:

ORIGINAL: jpwrunyan
Elliot's here at my house, guys. He says "hi".


Buy him a beer for me!


A pint of the finest Rephidium Ale from me!

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Post #: 28
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 4:12:57 PM   
Haree78


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Nice post onomastikon.
If you have some suggestions for the game or concerns where you feel need attention for you to enjoy the game more then get it written down in the forum, don't wait for a 'direct line' to the developers. History will tell us that they do read suggestions and problems, all posts here, and that can be seen in the patch notes that get released each version/beta.

The testing team hasn't heard from Elliot in a while. Last time there was this amount of quite it was for months before an expansion was announced and then went in to beta testing for about 2-4 months if I recall correctly? This period of non interaction occurred before ROTS and Legends.
So not hearing from Elliot is probably a good thing, just enjoy the current version for a while

< Message edited by Haree78 -- 7/5/2012 4:15:29 PM >


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Post #: 29
RE: Tending the Flock - 7/5/2012 4:45:29 PM   
Yskonyn


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Very nice post, Ono!
You touched upon the feeling and 'mood' I have with niche game communities exactly!

I wouldn't mind an update from either Elliot or Erik either, but as pointed out by others; these boards always went from rather active to pretty silent in a flow that is related to a release of a new expansion.
You just joined in the busy peak. ;)

Still, as a member of the Dominions forum as well, I do agree that the sense of community as a whole is more prevalent over there. People are always talking tactics, gameplay and other topics. Here its much more quiet.
Perhaps one reason is that DW doesn't have multiplayer?

The AAR section of this board is rather active, afterall.

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Desktop: Intel i7 9700K @5.0Ghz, Nvidia GTX1080, 32GB RAM, Win 10 64bit

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