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Nice interview from a developer I wish SE would readFollow

#1 Dec 18 2010 at 6:55 PM Rating: Good
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Here is a statement by Russ Brown, VP of Development at Trion Worlds, the developer of the upcoming Rift. His words are inspiring as a former industry clone, customer, player and MMO lover...

This kind of talk needs to be passed around to all developers of games, not just MMOs...

Enjoy the read.

"An MMO is a very different beast from other packaged games I have worked on. When you release a standard packaged game, you generally don’t get feedback from your customers until it’s too late. The single focus test you did two months before release is pretty much worthless; it’s just too little time to react and iterate. In Rift I’ve had people playing in alpha and beta for months, and it’s easy to see where players are getting frustrated and where they are jumping for joy.

Most importantly, you can react. You can say, "We were wrong," "We need to change that" and "Sweet, they totally loved that." This leads to changes, fixes, and lets us focus our development time on the features that will make this the best possible game. This is where the game evolves into something great. This is why real time feedback is critical.

Dealing with constant, live feedback is not always easy. Sometimes it can be a morale hit when people are overly critical of a feature. Also, I’ll be the first to admit that it can be tough to schedule a development team’s time if you are constantly reacting to daily feedback. But feedback is good, and I am proud of our team’s ability to respond to it. Most of the time they just dive in and fix it, knowing the customer is right. I have had my artists up until the wee hours of the morning fixing lighting, collision or animation issues that have affected gameplay.

Engineers, who get downright ornery seeing bugs, get seriously ****** that there is a bug in their code. You will find 3 a.m. "check ins" for fixes and changes to features from engineers and designers. There have been times when I’ve come into the office in the morning to find work done by an entire group of developers staying late the night before to fix an instance or invasion. Not because some stuffed shirt told them to, but because they care, and just like the players in our alpha/beta, they want to make the best **** product possible. The only way to do that is to listen to your customers and react.

If you don’t listen to what the players are saying, you may make the game you want, but you are not making the game your customers want. "
#2 Dec 18 2010 at 7:50 PM Rating: Good
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Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues, but i do agree that live feedback should be taken very seriously when talking about fixing game bug's or broken mechanics
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#3 Dec 18 2010 at 8:29 PM Rating: Default
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Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues,


in beta we said that retainer system is not going to wrok, and an AH should be there, and they ignor us, look at it now, step by step they are moving to an AH system but they wont admit it.

first more words, then words name change, then retainers show clothes, then more words change names, and search function on each word.

later: search funtion to all words= AH

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#4 Dec 18 2010 at 8:41 PM Rating: Good
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daour wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues,


in beta we said that retainer system is not going to wrok, and an AH should be there, and they ignor us, look at it now, step by step they are moving to an AH system but they wont admit it.

first more words, then words name change, then retainers show clothes, then more words change names, and search function on each word.

later: search funtion to all words= AH



i was not commenting specifically on this game's development but in an overall sense, more in like fight mechanics or total difficulty of a game etc etc.
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#5 Dec 18 2010 at 9:14 PM Rating: Decent
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Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues, but i do agree that live feedback should be taken very seriously when talking about fixing game bug's or broken mechanics


Sorry but no, developers don't "know better". When I get tasked with things at work, I either tell my customer if the program he's asking of me is feasible or if it isn't. I don't tell him he should do something else instead or ask him to change his business around to fit my idea of what the program should do. The only time I tell customers no is when what they ask of me is literally impossible.

Any developer and any development team that doesn't make the program the customer asked for is a bad development team and their project is bound to fail. When you go to buy an apple, the grocer who tells you to get an orange instead and refuses to sell you the apple is a grocer who doesn't get any money.
#6 Dec 18 2010 at 9:29 PM Rating: Good
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Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues, but i do agree that live feedback should be taken very seriously when talking about fixing game bug's or broken mechanics


I'm a developer for a multiplayer online game and players know more about our game than anyone in our company, including CEO, artists, producers, developers, customer service, etc.
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#7 Dec 18 2010 at 11:49 PM Rating: Default
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odinpingpong wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues, but i do agree that live feedback should be taken very seriously when talking about fixing game bug's or broken mechanics


I'm a developer for a multiplayer online game and players know more about our game than anyone in our company, including CEO, artists, producers, developers, customer service, etc.


Indeed i do know more about FFT world than Yasumi Matsuno, metter of fact i'm gonna go apply for SE this moment, and deliver FFT2 for the PS3.....

Oh wait lol
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#8 Dec 19 2010 at 12:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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If the origanal dev team working with Conan taught us anything, though some of us knew if before hand, it's that a dev team that does all the stuff the players ask for are just going to make a steaming pile of crap.

Without a solid vision a game will not be good, if the players say they want something that goes against that vision then ***** the players... However if the requests are reasonable there is no reason the Devs shouldn't look into it at least. Breaking the vision breaks the game, no amount of player whineing can fix a broken game.
#9 Dec 19 2010 at 12:31 AM Rating: Good
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zurinadrg wrote:
If the origanal dev team working with Conan taught us anything, though some of us knew if before hand, it's that a dev team that does all the stuff the players ask for are just going to make a steaming pile of crap.

Without a solid vision a game will not be good, if the players say they want something that goes against that vision then ***** the players... However if the requests are reasonable there is no reason the Devs shouldn't look into it at least. Breaking the vision breaks the game, no amount of player whineing can fix a broken game.


^^ This is what i was going for.

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#10 Dec 19 2010 at 12:44 AM Rating: Good
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I would pay double the normal cost for FFT2!

Best game ever not to get a 2nd game in the series.
#11 Dec 19 2010 at 1:08 AM Rating: Good
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LordMethos wrote:
I would pay double the normal cost for FFT2!

Best game ever not to get a 2nd game in the series.


Let me at It!!!

FFT: The 50 Year War!

Muahahaha! Balbanes & T.G.C on your Team = Epic
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#12 Dec 19 2010 at 1:13 AM Rating: Good
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good post. I will make this comment its great to listen top layer feed back and wonderful for us to know that the developers are listening and are actively implementing our advice. However as one person said before when it bugs and major game breaking issues its one thing but when you get down to the nitty gritty little details you find a mass of different opinions among players on what the game should be. A good example of this (and seriously this is not a bash at all just an illustration) is WoW. Its massively successful and commands a leading share in this market and most of what it is now today refers to this idea but in the process while you get the mass appeal of the general market likely players like ourselves would find our voices inaudible. I am not saying there is a true them and us but what I am saying is that many titles I have players most notably W.A.R. are so much like WoW I think to myself "Why not just go play WoW?". It is this very reason I continue to drudge through FFXIV and maybe one of the few reason I respect the game. Just like FFXI at points I have to accept just because its not the way I would have done it doesn't make it bad. This is an idea our community in the past seldom faced. We were more inclined to take the challenge thrown at us and run with it despite all the pain often it made the reward that much sweeter and required us to go outside our shells and expand as players. too often developers listen to player feedback to the point that the games they make become far from original not because the developer is lazy but because they fear introducing something new that might have players asking for changes. It isn't until its too late that they realize they made the same game everybody has been playing for the last 6 years. It doesn't mean the game is bad or cheaply produced or that the developers were just biting ideas. Often we fail to realize our ideas tend to run along the same lines year after year and that we should task the developers with coming up with something new instead of dictating what should be done.

Player feedback is so important that it goes without question that developers should listen to us and what we have to say. But there comes a point when we are simply just not saying the same thing and if developers see 400 on this side asking for something and 300 on this side asking for something and the focus that much on the players they will alienate the 300 for the 400 without question. I don't know how many of you this has happened to but I am sure some of you have been in this situation.

In the long run it takes a careful balance of listening to the fans and implementing your own in house ideas to make anything that worth making. No matter what the product is simplicity in use, meeting the markets wants and need have to go hand in hand with innovation and originality. Our voices must be heard but sometimes we just need to listen.

NOTE: I apologize for the wall of text post but I don't feel I said anything wrong in it.
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#13 Dec 19 2010 at 1:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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zurinadrg wrote:
If the origanal dev team working with Conan taught us anything, though some of us knew if before hand, it's that a dev team that does all the stuff the players ask for are just going to make a steaming pile of crap.

Without a solid vision a game will not be good, if the players say they want something that goes against that vision then ***** the players... However if the requests are reasonable there is no reason the Devs shouldn't look into it at least. Breaking the vision breaks the game, no amount of player whineing can fix a broken game.
This.... Also it's annoying for people to say that SE isn't listening to there player base when they have come out and said they were wrong and sorry for the state of the game. It has gone even so far as replacing the Dev Team Leadership. You can't expect them to do a complete 180 over night, that's unrealistic. Give them a few months and see where the game is heading.
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#14 Dec 19 2010 at 1:52 AM Rating: Good
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Quote:
If you don’t listen to what the players are saying, you may make the game you want, but you are not making the game your customers want. "


On the other hand: If designers only made what people wanted there wouldn't be any progress and innovation. If designers made a game while trying to appease everyone, it would be a sucky and mediocre game at best. It's all about trying to find a niche market that is big enough for the desinger to survive / make a decent profit while trying to stay true to his own values.
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#15 Dec 19 2010 at 2:52 AM Rating: Good
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daour wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues,


in beta we said that retainer system is not going to wrok, and an AH should be there, and they ignor us, look at it now, step by step they are moving to an AH system but they wont admit it.

first more words, then words name change, then retainers show clothes, then more words change names, and search function on each word.

later: search funtion to all words= AH



Lol took me 7 reads before I realised you where talking about the wards not words.
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#16 Dec 19 2010 at 3:48 AM Rating: Good
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Wolfums wrote:
Ostia wrote:
Interesting read, one thing i wanna comment on, is that sometimes the dev team does know better, and no ammount of feedback is gonna change their minds in some issues, but i do agree that live feedback should be taken very seriously when talking about fixing game bug's or broken mechanics


Sorry but no, developers don't "know better". When I get tasked with things at work, I either tell my customer if the program he's asking of me is feasible or if it isn't. I don't tell him he should do something else instead or ask him to change his business around to fit my idea of what the program should do. The only time I tell customers no is when what they ask of me is literally impossible.

Any developer and any development team that doesn't make the program the customer asked for is a bad development team and their project is bound to fail. When you go to buy an apple, the grocer who tells you to get an orange instead and refuses to sell you the apple is a grocer who doesn't get any money.


Sorry but yes, the developer does know better because it's their code. You can't say they "don't know better" then proceed to say you only tell the customer no if what they want is "impossible", isn't that basically saying you know better than them?


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#17 Dec 19 2010 at 6:38 AM Rating: Good
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Well I gotta point out...


The dev team that just got replaced told us for 7 years that they could not increase storage capacity in XI.

They also told us they could not implement many more "unique" looking armors.

They also told us a whole slew of other blatant lies for many years.

I gave them a lot of leeway for a while thinking "well its their code and they would know the limitations of a PS2 better than I would" but clearly I trusted them too much. They should have worked harder EARLIER to get the players what they NEEDED to enjoy the game.

Thank goodness no more Tanaka directing. Weee!
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#18 Dec 19 2010 at 7:29 AM Rating: Default
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I was only implying that if the game is not like by most, it will not do well. So the dev teams needs to take time to take in the feedbacks.

For FF14, I tried the OB and I found bugs in the game. I just found that I had NO way to contact SE about them. I was block from the Beta forums and I couldn't contact them with an e-mail to say what I found.

Also I felt the betas were WAY too short. Wasn't it something like 5 months from Alpha to release for the game? How is that a good amount of time to test out a brand new game? I just felt the dev team just didn't want to listen to its players till after they released it. I, like many, was thinking this game is not ready for release when it came out and would have said that in a feedback too.

Heck I still feel that I have no way to report bugs. The current system is a hassle and I cannot tell if there is a response if they even got the report.
#19 Dec 19 2010 at 7:51 AM Rating: Excellent
There obviously has to be some middle ground somewhere. You can't go 100% based on what the customer says, cause quite frankly, some opinions are just flat out retarded. Things like the UI is laggy, or is just not good to maneuver through, ya, that's fine. On the other hand, things like your crafting system sucks from 20% of the player base, while the other 80% think it's fine, you can't go and try to fix that. If you try to please everyone, you'll probably end up with a game that's too easy and just rewards you for every little thing you do.

FFXI for a long time didn't listen to customers, and the game still did quite well. Do I think they should of implemented certain things from the customer feedback? Absolutely. Do I think they should of implemented every ridiculous suggestion, no. Also, as Dyvidd said, SE is listening, they've improved the game drastically over the last month alone. We sadly need to give them time, they know they it released too early, now we have to patiently wait.

I mean, all you need to do is look at the feedback forums to realize, a big chunk of our player base is retarded. You have one or two suggestions here and there that get positive responses from the community. The rest gets shot down cause it's unrealistic or just plain stupid.
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