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 Post subject: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:46 pm 

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So its no secret that development towards a more complete game has pretty much stopped as the original grad student dev team has graduated and mostly moved on to real jobs with real work and real paychecks. This game has been kept alive through player insistence, donation and some duct tape and bailing wire.

I've got to ask, is this pretty much what the game is going to continue to be? Because the game, as it currently stands, pretty well sucks. And yeah, I know my saying that will likely elicit a round of "Red's whining" but I really no longer care.

Many of my comrades have already quit and moved on. The game is stale, the game play is so utterly repetitive that my kids are bored watching me dog fight (and they are 7 and 5 and literally nothing else on tv bores them, they'll watch Sham wow commercials happily).

So, is this it? Are there any dev-sponsored events on the horizon? Is there any real game improvement in the works? I'd like to know in order to decide whether I'll keep playing the game or to put my limited energies into something with a future.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:21 pm 
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Fenriq wrote:
And yeah, I know my saying that will likely elicit a round of "Red's whining" but I really no longer care.


Why would you think that? This isn't a Red problem, this is an everybody problem.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:31 pm 
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My take on this question is that it is a matter of intellectual property (IP) rights. As I understand it, Fen has the right view in regards to where the devs are at in their lives and careers, but are stuck trying to determine whether to pursue the game as a commercial entity or as a (quasi-)open source effort.

To condense what has been discussed on several different threads, many technically inclined Skyrates have offered their services to work on bugs, extend gameplay, contribute artwork and story content, etc., but these offers have been rebuffed because the legal questions involved in accepting this IP would powerfully complicate any future profit-making venture. In other words, there is a large base of people who don't have the devs' constraints in terms of time and inclination to improve the game, but if they were allowed to contribute it would end Airship Studios' ability to monetize the extant game.

I would (and have) put the options thusly:

A) Retain IP control, and invest what's necessary to make a traditional and full featured game. This would mean the devs likely having to get a business loan, take time off their current jobs, and hire one or more dedicated employees to take care of the current game. While we all enjoy an upgraded Skyrates 2.6/2.7/... experience, the devs sit down and write 3.0 from scratch, hook it in to Facebook, Kongregate, etc., advertise like mad, and make some money off of a very fine product.

B) Relinquish IP control and hand over some or all of the keys to the game to the player base. Create one of the first open source gaming experiences, trusting Skyrates to be a largely intelligent and diversely talented group of players that would take the game in fascinating directions. At the same time, admit that the devs have gotten all they can from their creation and release it to become something they haven't planned.

C) Do nothing, and the game limps along with sporadic, feverish, and unsatisfying dev attention. This is the path we're currently on and basically no one is satisfied with it.

I encourage discussion of these or other options, with an eye towards illuminating the devs' choices.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:02 pm 

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Eskay wrote:
Fenriq wrote:
And yeah, I know my saying that will likely elicit a round of "Red's whining" but I really no longer care.


Why would you think that? This isn't a Red problem, this is an everybody problem.

I've been conditioned to expect some snark whenever any old guard Red yaps about anything. I'm kind of heartened that it hasn't happened but the cynical side of me puts that as much to the diminished player base as anything else. But hey, maybe we're building a kinder, gentler Skyrates?

As for Z!'s assessment, she's pretty well spot on. The three paths are there before us, I know which one I'd like to see chosen but I'm least confident that it will be chosen and thus the game limps along. Which is a shame because I think many of the long time players see this game's magnificent potential and we'd hoped to be able to help bring that potential to fruition.

But it feels more and more like things aren't going to progress any further unless something does change.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:29 am 
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Zabrak! wrote:
C) Do nothing, and the game limps along with sporadic, feverish, and unsatisfying dev attention. This is the path we're currently on and basically no one is satisfied with it.


At a first glance this might look free: defer the choice until the Devs have time to make it. But that idea conceals some significant opportunity costs. Specifically, the longer you wait before doing it yourself (A), the older your old code gets, so the less it can help you compete. And the longer you wait before asking for help (B), the more of your fans leave to do something else, so the less help you can hope to get.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:54 am 
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Eskay wrote:
Fenriq wrote:
And yeah, I know my saying that will likely elicit a round of "Red's whining" but I really no longer care.


Why would you think that? This isn't a Red problem, this is an everybody problem.


Agreed.

Devs, Zabrak has summed things up nicely. I know that this was a labor of love for you guys, and you don't want to see it die, but right now, it's dying by inches. Please, make a decision. Commit to developing this game, whether via option A or B, or shut it down.

As it stands, you're losing players and potential income.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:30 am 

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Zabrak! wrote:
A) Retain IP control, and invest what's necessary to make a traditional and full featured game. This would mean the devs likely having to get a business loan, take time off their current jobs, and hire one or more dedicated employees to take care of the current game. While we all enjoy an upgraded Skyrates 2.6/2.7/... experience, the devs sit down and write 3.0 from scratch, hook it in to Facebook, Kongregate, etc., advertise like mad, and make some money off of a very fine product.


This would sadly be the end of the well-knit and fun community, which I take it is the only reason the few of us that do come here still come here.

It'd also bring the oh so unwanted trolls all over this site.
Other than that. There will have to be some changes, but risking a steady job to put alot of time and money into something that's very unsure to be profitable is well... risky.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:38 am 

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Depending on the skills, money and available time of those interested in contribution, there is a fourth option. A 'new' Skyrates, with unofficial, semi-open development.

Original assets and code would almost certainly be out of the question, so it'd be a ground-up rebuild... lots of pros vs cons there. New art, new models, new skylands... etc.

Unlikely to happen, but not entirely impossible if people really put their minds together.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:07 pm 
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Well, that's only really an option if the devs officially ax the option to monetize and self maintain since we would obviously be running roughshod over their IP even if we didn't literally use the same setting (to the point where there is a decent chance that, if they cared to, they could probably win in court). And if they decide not to pursue, why not open the code base or at least release some of the IP or what-have-you?

The point is, things have been limping along for quite some time, arguably since 2.3 ended, definitely since the Hidden War stuff. There comes a time to make the hard choice of either giving up your baby to someone else or doubling down on it and investing. Otherwise it will merely limp into oblivion.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 3:15 pm 
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Reality wrote:
Zabrak! wrote:
A) Retain IP control, and invest what's necessary to make a traditional and full featured game ...

This would sadly be the end of the well-knit and fun community, which I take it is the only reason the few of us that do come here still come here.

It'd also bring the oh so unwanted trolls all over this site.

I don't understand why this should be so. The game survived the JayisGames influx with aplomb, and indeed several of the most notable players (*ahem*) came in with that tide. At worst, this just means some harsher moderation and a retreat into Wing chat when World gets too noisy. Small price to pay.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:05 pm 
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Burrito Loco wrote:
Well, that's only really an option if the devs officially ax the option to monetize and self maintain since we would obviously be running roughshod over their IP even if we didn't literally use the same setting (to the point where there is a decent chance that, if they cared to, they could probably win in court). And if they decide not to pursue, why not open the code base or at least release some of the IP or what-have-you?


This is my understanding, else I'd've just gone and done that already.

Zabrak! wrote:
I don't understand why this should be so. The game survived the JayisGames influx with aplomb, and indeed several of the most notable players (*ahem*) came in with that tide. At worst, this just means some harsher moderation and a retreat into Wing chat when World gets too noisy. Small price to pay.


I agree -- the game is already equipped with tools for managing more players than it has, and further tools (e.g. General Chat moderators) would be relatively cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 12:08 am 
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Zabrak! wrote:
Reality wrote:
Zabrak! wrote:
A) Retain IP control, and invest what's necessary to make a traditional and full featured game ...

This would sadly be the end of the well-knit and fun community, which I take it is the only reason the few of us that do come here still come here.

It'd also bring the oh so unwanted trolls all over this site.

I don't understand why this should be so. The game survived the JayisGames influx with aplomb, and indeed several of the most notable players (*ahem*) came in with that tide. At worst, this just means some harsher moderation and a retreat into Wing chat when World gets too noisy. Small price to pay.


Chilluns, all y'all, chilluns! But in all seriousness, there's no reason that the community would dissolve. Some of the social constructs (factions, wings, etc) might need some attention but that's doable. And most of us prone to kvetching about the Eternal September crossed that threshold eons ago and can be safely ignored and/or humored as y'all see fit.

Really, like I said, it boils down to the devs needing to sit down, bite the bullet and make a decision and stick with it (well, if they give it up that will take care of itself but option 'a' requires a hard commitment if it's gonna go anywhere).

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:56 am 

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Quote:
To condense what has been discussed on several different threads, many technically inclined Skyrates have offered their services to work on bugs, extend gameplay, contribute artwork and story content, etc., but these offers have been rebuffed because the legal questions involved in accepting this IP would powerfully complicate any future profit-making venture. In other words, there is a large base of people who don't have the devs' constraints in terms of time and inclination to improve the game, but if they were allowed to contribute it would end Airship Studios' ability to monetize the extant game.


Why would it end their ability to monetize the game? Why would players helping out "complicate any future profit-making venture?" It's my understanding that all they need to do is have anyone contributing sign a statement that anything submitted to them for use in Skyrates is their property for them to use in whichever form or medium they desire. Essentially, it becomes their complete property. Or am I just missing something?


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:51 pm 
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The problem with that, Cyril, is that some players may want to submit their ideas without losing ownership of said ideas. While I'm pretty sure that those in the community right now would be fine with Airship Studios using their ideas, and would gladly forswear all thoughts of ownership and monetization for the sake of the game they know and love, it's entirely possible that with more active development and publicity, we'd get an influx of people who aren't quite as understanding.

Yes, contributors signing over all rights would definitely be the easiest, legally speaking, but it's far from easy in a social sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 3:53 pm 
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Herley wrote:
The problem with that, Cyril, is that some players may want to submit their ideas without losing ownership of said ideas. While I'm pretty sure that those in the community right now would be fine with Airship Studios using their ideas, and would gladly forswear all thoughts of ownership and monetization for the sake of the game they know and love, it's entirely possible that with more active development and publicity, we'd get an influx of people who aren't quite as understanding.

Yes, contributors signing over all rights would definitely be the easiest, legally speaking, but it's far from easy in a social sense.


I fail to see the problem with people who don't wish to relinquish the rights to their works; if they do not wish to, they do not have to submit their works for inclusion in Skyrates.

Valve does something similar with Team Fortress 2 to what's being described in this thread. The community has been making maps and models, and the Valve team will buy the rights to choice ones for good sums of cash(not that this is necessary in regard to Skyrates). They actually go a couple of steps further. The maps have stamps that can be bought in the TF2 store, the proceeds of which(after taxes) go to the map makers. The model/item makers receive a percentage when their items sell in the store. Both map makers and item makers get special, cosmetically-enhanced items, with the item makers getting special versions of the items they've made.

I'm not saying that's something that has to happen here, just illustrating the possibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:55 am 

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I think I have my answer.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:42 pm 
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Yeah, you pretty much do. Sorry.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 11:48 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:43 am 
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i saw this thread a while ago, and share the same sadness that i'm sure you guys do. i feel completely paralyzed as to how to respond, since i still have a dev-voice, but have been inactive, and can't speak for the team right now. for the time being, i can't really speak for myself either; but i will be able to about a month from now. if you check back in, i promise to at least give more of my personal explanation then. i still care deeply about skyrates and what we've all built together here.


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 Post subject: Re: Is This As Good as the Game is Gonna Get?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:32 am 
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I just wanted fireworks. :sad:

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