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Not Keen about this...

Discussion in 'General' started by Absinthetic, Aug 12, 2017.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Absinthetic Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    https://steamdb.info/app/244850/items/

    Yes KSH; Paid cosmetics, bundling an alpha version of a still-unfinished game as a deluxe edition nobody wanted, pretending said unfinished game is in beta instead of alpha, wasting time on videos, memes and dividing your limited resources on multiple projects while yet having to deliver a single one.

    Yes, all of these decisions will magically stop the company from bleeding money. Adding proper core gameplay elements to fill the gaping void present in the glorified tech demo that is Space Engineers wouldn't encourage people to play the game, talk about it to their friends or write reviews telling people to buy it. No.

    Paid cosmetics.
     
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  2. Logi Apprentice Engineer

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    170
    I sure do hope Keen artists haven't been made waste their time working on these ugly joke reskins like grafitti suit, disco suit, zombi suit, wood suit, newspaper suit, medieval suit, rainbow suit, skeleton suit etc. when we can't even have simple reskin of a catwalk, or anything at all.

    If they intend these for paid cosmetics that their emplyees have been actually working on, I'm speechless.
     
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  3. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,836
    Don't make assumptions. We don't know anything about what this actually is.
     
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  4. Sarekh Senior Engineer

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    1,188
    Let's add a couple of intel to your statements, good friends:

    (1) the most common outsourcing project in the gaming industry apart from localised advertisement is reskins for monetization purposes. So, in all probability the precious time of artists has not been "wasted"

    (2) Even so, there have been probably half of those suits and skins already - lightning and texturing tests are necessary for various reasons and this is best done by having testing versions that look like anything possible for future reference. As nothing gets deleted in a dev repository this is probably at least half of it a bit polished.

    (3) the same goes probably for catwalk variations. But implementing them is not just a matter of artists but also of devs. Don't tell me you want the devs to waste their precious time on implementing catwalk variations when there are bugs to be squished?

    (4) You know literally nothing about the motivations and organizational structure that led to this. Please do not assume undercomplex intentions for a highly complex project. From A-B-Testing to texture-testing to affiliate-partnership to a thank-you for Alpha-backers to a press-release skin-package this could be anything INCLUDING monetization and in this case you are actually not forced to buy it, fun fact! (And if I then ever see you in one of those suits I am going to mock you for all eternity)

    (5) again - please, don't, for the love of chocolate, don't assume you are the frack talking for all of us: "a deluxe edition nobody wanted" and sentences are condescending and unwarranted.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  5. Absinthetic Trainee Engineer

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    8
    Before you guys tell me not to make assumptions, you might want to stop making them yourselves.

    Nice condescension there too.

    Are you implying that I am the type of person to say something and later do something that goes against what I've said?

    People may not like what I said or the way I said it but by blowing the whistle early on this sort of thing, I am giving KSH and the community an opportunity to steer development in another, potentially better direction and everyone is free to ignore that opportunity. I don't see too many people on this forum willing to do that but I've sure seen a lot of KSH apologists and self-appointed forum sheriffs around here lately.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
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  6. Ghostickles Senior Engineer

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    2,077
    Looks like items a lot of Steam players of a lot of other games like to have in their inventories.
    Guess they trade them, look at them, wear them, whatever.
    While it doesn't add to my personal game experience, it does for some people.
    Seems like nobody ever makes the game the way I want. Nope. Never.
    They always seem to do what the market wants.
    Go figure.
    Care box empty on this one.
     
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  7. Eikester Apprentice Engineer

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    423
    it doesnt matter what this actually is, its just sad that they use resources on this instead of working on something that has a real gameplay value. And, even tho some of them do look cool, most of them look out of place

    Edit: this could have been done after the gold release
     
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  8. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,649
    [​IMG]
    1. The preview icons (the mirror.keenswh addresses) are publically visible. In case they go dark, I downloaded icons 35 minutes ago :)
    2. It is in the section of SteamDB for microtransaction tradeable items
    3. People likely start with Promo Veteran, Promo SE Deluxe, Promo Devs, Promo ME
    4. There are Helmet, Suit, Shoes, Gloves, Welders, Grinders, Rifles, and Drills as skinned items
    5. The changes to source code access *might* make sense now in terms of preventing people from accessing assets that they have not purchased. A game still has to show you *other players* wearing the skins, for example.
    6. File metadata indicates creation of icons in July 2017 using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.

    ineveraskedforthis.jpg
     
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  9. Taemien Apprentice Engineer

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    468
    Where is the evidence of a paid cosmetic?

    What is linked looks like a fun Halloween update where you can dress up your engineer in costume.

    Need more evidence, or this is just a troll attempt.
     
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  10. Absinthetic Trainee Engineer

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    8
    Additional evidence in favor or against these findings is welcome. Ad hominem (calling others trolls because you disagree with them) is not.
     
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  11. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,649
    Well, are the icons something that people made up to troll? They are hosted by KSWH:
    Code:
    http://mirror.keenswh.com/images/skins/astronaut/Graffiti/Graffiti_helmet.png
    [​IMG]
    I think it is unlikely that KSWH would participate in a trolling attempt.

    Now, given that they put this data into this part of Steam, as detected by steamdb, what does Steam say about this section?
    https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/inventory
    https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/inventory/economy

    So there are a few ways this system could be used, likely resulting in some players looking like Scaramanga Lannister.
     
  12. Ghostickles Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,077
    Sad is having to lay off artists because the core artwork in the game is done, if this kept some people on the payroll; that is not sad. Besides, artists don't really make a lot of 'game play', they make the game play look good.
     
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  13. FlakMagnet Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,551
    well ...this is ....interesting.

    No idea what the original source info is...but the implications are clear. Monetarisation of software is a pretty common thing nowadays, and not just limited to to full release alpha. Ark, for example, released a full DLC pack while still in alpha! They got slated for it to be fair...but not as much as when they announced full release and doubled the price.

    I would not stress over 'losing development time' on this though. Texture artists are not working to make multiplayer better, they are not making rotors work and they are not making pistons less wobbly and making my drills less volatile. There wouldn't be a downside to this in terms of overall game fixing. Just debatable whether there is an upside. I couldn't see any pictures on that steam link, so what these things actually are is just guesswork. Ignoring the namecalling/fanboiism etc. there are some things of interest here. There are also things of caution.

    As Malware said ... we really don't have enough to go on, so I am going to keep my powder dry for now. If this adds stuff to the game then great. If it's ruining custom player models or stopping us making our own skins and restricting hte game unless we open our wallets or key in a credit card number...then I have a pitchfork and a torch will be looking for an angry mob to join.
     
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  14. Taemien Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    468
    I called no one a troll. But what would it be called when someone makes an unfounded statement for the purpose of sensationalizing? You've said the following:

    1. Paid cosmetics, as if this was some sort of evil greedy thing noted in the sarcastic tone of your posts.

    2. Calling the game an Alpha when the devs (who decide what phase their project is in) have put it in a Beta.

    3. Claiming that KSH has wasted their time and resources on videos and multiple projects.

    Its one thing to be critical, but you're being outright accusatory on the subjects. The first one is sort of funny because you saw some files and jumped to a conclusion and made an assumption. In this case you're overreacting, or trolling. I really can't tell which. But either make you look bad. So take your pick. And even if we were getting paid cosmetics, how would that be a bad thing? Adding art assets to a game takes no time nor resources from coding and bug fixing. Unless you can name the artist/super coder who is doing both.

    The second one is ridiculous. The definition of a Alpha/Beta phase in a project is decided by the project director. I would know because I am one. Alpha is there to get the key features into a project, Beta is there to test those features and add content to flesh it out. Being how much actual gameplay was in the Alpha (for me, and many others, a few hundred hours) I'll claim they were in Beta before they even announced it, but that's their call, not mine.

    And then the last one. I really want to know how an artists that focuses on Medieval architecture in ME instead of focusing on SE is a waste? Laying off artists is an improper term. Artists are normally contracted and when you no longer need their services, you don't redo a contract and let them sit idle. They ought to want to go do other things to work on their portfolio and well it makes no sense to pay someone to be idle. As for the videos, like any other production, the first one takes a bunch of time. But once you've got the system down, I'd dare say the videos take literally less than 2 hours to make. But aside from that, they provide a valuable service to me as it allows me to take a break from either game and when major changes happen I can view the videos to get an idea of what changed.

    So provide your sources and evidence, or I'm (and many others) are just not going to take you seriously. Hell lets see your systems analysis, complete with the diagrams showing how you can make this project more efficient. If you honestly think you can do better, I'm sure they'll hire you for it. So prove yourself right and get paid at the same time.
     
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  15. Absinthetic Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    The key word in your quote is "this". By aiming at my post and saying it is a troll attempt, you're calling me a troll, so yes, you've called someone a troll in this thread.

    Cosmetics in this case are a bad thing because after years of development, we still have only a single handheld weapon (the rifle, two if you count the grinder and I'm not counting the tiered rifle variants they introduced not too long ago because it's essentially the same weapon) so to everyone saying that these skins were possibly made to keep the artists on the payroll, KSH could have made the artists work on skins for additional weapon models instead of gold-plating what's already done, something that would benefit more players than the portion of people who will end up using the cosmetics. If additional models and skins for new player weaponry have been made and we don't know about it yet, then it was careless for Keen not to tease them earlier since now that we've found out about the skins on steamdb.info, it makes them look greedy or foolish.

    You're calling me a troll again and presenting a false dichotomy.

    Calling a screwdriver a hairdryer doesn't magically turn it into an actual hairdryer. Calling an Alpha version of software a Beta version and making a public milestone out of it, like many game devs in the industry have been doing lately, doesn't magically turn the Alpha-quality software into Beta-quality software either, it's a dishonest PR move.

    It's not entirely a waste but it can be inefficient in some aspects, the enumeration in my first post made it look like I'm calling it a waste but I was instead listing this as another example of what I consider to be a bad decision taken by KSH. If KSH hadn't prematurely started working on Medieval Engineers, the company could have:
    1. Kept a smaller (in relation to its present size) number of employees in a smaller office space, resulting in a smaller company that is cheaper to run from an immediate financial perspective (how much exactly is debatable, of course), which could translate to the company having more development time before funding for the project runs out (if it's an issue).
    2. Hired people and moved as they did but kept everyone working on Space Engineers. Instead of creating duplicate positions for certain responsibilities in 2 projects, the company could have ended up with a workforce that has a more diversified set of skills or with slightly less employees. Work speed, scope and costs of the project could change as a result.
    3. Finished Space Engineers then started working on one or more new projects. These projects could then benefit from a finished engine and the company having gained more experience and resources, not to mention it would make KSH look better to have at least one finished product.
    4. Waited until Space Engineers is further along in development then started work on Medieval Engineers. A little less risky but the games don't get to benefit as much from shared development, which can be wasteful too. Unfortunately, even in our present situation, the code bases for Medieval Engineers and Space Engineers have diverged a bit from each other so the two games already aren't benefiting as much from shared development as was originally planned by KSH.
    I'm sure they had other options and hindsight is 20/20 but even at the time their decision was taken, KSH shouldn't have been considering the high-risk option they took. A lot of people in the community thought it was a bad idea despite Marek assuring everyone that everything would be alright (for the hardcore contrarians out there, no, things didn't turn out alright: Medieval Engineers needed to be relaunched and when you need to relaunch a product like that, it's because you screwed up the first time). Now instead of having one finished product or a product that's at least closer to being finished, they have two products that are nowhere near finished, that aren't benefiting as much from each other as was planned and two small similar teams working on different projects at the speed of small teams instead of one big team working on finishing one project at the speed of a big team, without having to pay people who may have been unnecessary to hire until later or at all. That's inefficient.

    So that's right, the productivity of the aforementioned artist isn't affected by which project he is working on. But contracting one artist instead of two artists is cheaper (unless taking into account factors like artist notoriety, which we're not doing for simplicity's sake and it doesn't really apply here anyway) and having two artists working on one project is generally more productive than having two artists working on two separate projects.

    From https://steamdb.info/faq :
    How are we getting this information?
    We use SteamKit to interface with the Steam network. We request changes for all applications and packages once in a while, but mostly rely on Steam's own update system which automatically notifies us when an application or package updates.
    All of the basic application and package information we provide (unless noted otherwise) is from Steam itself, and can be acquired by anyone with a regular Steam account.

    So as you can see, steamdb.info lists files that are on the Steam network.

    Now if you go to the following link I posted above, which is the page for Space Engineers: https://steamdb.info/app/244850/items/

    You see a list of Space Engineers items destined for the Steam Market Place. From the names of the items, someone can easily see they are cosmetics and not soviet chemical warheads or rubber duckies. Pictures were associated with these items and Keen appear to have taken them down from their own server but it's alright since someone else in this thread already backed them up and posted an example. On that same page, you can also see green buttons to the right of certain items that clearly say "Buy on Steam". To the left are property flags such as "marketable", "tradeable" and "price", many (but not all) having the "marketable" and 'tradeable" values set to "true" and a price flag containing a temporary value (which means the price remains to be determined) but for items that aren't meant for sale, there is no "price" flag at all nor any green button to the right. From this information, we come to the conclusion that there are items in this list scheduled to have a price or be reconfigured while others either haven't been configured yet or will be freely available. Of course, you don't put up a bunch of free items on the Steam Market, that's pointless. So it is likely that the items which do not have a price at the moment will be available by some other means or receive a price later. The alternative would be to have all these listed items be entirely free, which begs the question: "Why are you even listing everything on the Steam Market, Keen?". Still, there are items there scheduled to have a price and these items are cosmetics and we cannot say that "it's just the page displaying default values for every items" because the items listed are configured differently from others.

    You may want to stop seeing a proctologist for your eyeglasses because it looks like solid evidence that Keen has plans for paid cosmetics.

    How am I going to sleep soundly tonight, I wonder!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  16. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,649
    Small detail - The Golden Gun and Graffiti Helmet images above (and the one below) are linked to the KSWH mirror site, which was NOT "taken down". Anyone who can read the icon links on steamdb can go take a look at the items. Like this: http://mirror.keenswh.com/images/skins/astronaut/Carpet/Carpet_suit.png
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Hotshot Jimmy Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,500
    Has these items been released as such? No, so until they actually come out and say we're going to sell these items etc then this is all just speculation on information that is hidden for most people. Raise your pitchforks when it actually happens not before.
     
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  18. admanter Apprentice Engineer

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    151
    There is value in cautiously preparing the pitchforks. It could prevent keen from seriously investing in this, if it was just an experiment.
     
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  19. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,836
    Or it could cause anger and bad reviews based on something that's unconfirmed and currently nothing but a rumor. Things like this has a tendency to escalate.
     
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  20. Absinthetic Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    8
    Some of you guys have strange definitions of what "unconfirmed" and "rumor" means but nevermind, I'm done driving this short bus. I warned the community, I played my part and I'm out of here.
     
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  21. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,911
    There is what has been released.
    There is what will be released.
    Then there is what is being explored.

    It you comb Space Engineers you can find definition for blocks that were never released. We have all kinds of features that were explored and never released: hand guns, large caliber ship/station weapons, hydrogen power plants, train rails, specialized refineries, small assemblers, etc.

    I would take anything that you find with a grain of salt... actually a pound of salt. It's a treasure trove of half-baked ideas. I wouldn't go all-up-in-arms over things stumbled across. DLC is a bit controversial especially if it changes the balance of the game. But even if it's just cosmetic there's a lot to weigh before release.

    Alternate space suits can already be made. Are they taking or did they take this feature away to promote it to DLC only?

    Keen has a lack of communication with the community compared to other early release games out there. That's always been a problem since there's no way of guessing what direction Keen is striving in, what future releases we can expect, and what features will be nerfed or killed off.
     
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  22. Vrmithrax Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,017
    Personally, I'm not sure what the fuss is about. For the last 4 years, requests for "customizing my astronaut" have come through in trickles and floods, depending on the day. It's been a consistent request, but it is also not a request that can, by any means, be considered "critical" for the game development. Where is the harm in having some graphics artists throw together some cosmetic skins, and provide those as micro-transaction products for people who feel the need to customize? It's not like this is some kind of weird precedent, it happens all over STEAM, in games from small indie titles to AAA titles. As was pointed out by a few people already, it's likely there were different skin variations of suits and tools floating around for ages, used as tests, discarded concepts, etc. Rather than clogging up the development cycle with unnecessary items, making them optional buy-ins outside of the core system could actually in many ways be preferable. And it can be a good long-term way to recoup some of the costs of keeping graphical artists on the team, even when they might have a lull in their workload (so they can fill up that time with skins). Seems like a win/win, and I can't see it chewing up core development time in any real fashion - the physics and block behaviors are the real time-chewing issues, and the graphical designers typically have very little to do with that part of the coding.
     
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  23. odizzido Junior Engineer

    Messages:
    681
    Just want to point out that if the graphics people have nothing to do they could look at making it so that blocks that are air tight look like they are, and ones that are not do not. Currently I am looking outside my ship through a huge hole that is airtight. This is in contrast to times when I cannot see out and the air leaks out anyways. It would be cool to visually see block airtightness instead of having to look on the wiki or open the config files.
     
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  24. Taemien Apprentice Engineer

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    468
    Don't troll then. If you want to be called a duck, you'll get called one.
     
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  25. Arcturus Senior Engineer

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    1,649
    Schrodinger's developer?
     
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  26. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,911
    Yes, but if there's not a lot of graphic work going on right now, then the graphics work may have used a lot of contract work. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to keep a stable full of graphics people around for something that may be considered "done" with only a few tweaks here or there for a staffer or two to manage.

    Licensed content is such a slippery slope, especially since it's NOT a free-to-play game. There is a very strong workshop of mods. So any DLC would have to be beyond the capabilities of the workshop mods or has to offer features to the game that are otherwise unavailable modding blocks or modding .sbc files. So to make custom DLC suits work, you couldn't have workshop suits. How would you stop someone from reverse engineering the DLC content or enthusiasts from developing their own closets full of suit options with many of them being as good or better than the DLC content?

    In a parallel universe, you could introduce a feature LIKE programmable block as DLC. For example if in-game programming was never available and then like a month from now they introduced the programmable block as DLC content for those that liked to code or use custom scripts. For those slow on the uptake, I'm not suggesting they do this to the game. What I'm saying is that something the level of the programmable block would have to be DLC, not simply just being able to choose the skin of the player.
     
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  27. Vrmithrax Senior Engineer

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    1,017
    While I get the basics of that argument, it's very much an apples to oranges comparison. You are comparing a block like a programmable block, which has massive potential impact on core gameplay, with cosmetic trinkets that are totally frivolous and unnecessary. If we were talking about anything other than superficial skins that are 100% optional, I'd have issues with the concept... I'm with you on how slippery a slope it can be, and the last thing we want to see is a game you have to buy into and then also subjects you to the "pay to win" mentality, nickel and diming you to death over the long haul.

    I think breaking the mod/skinning system just to monetize a few internally created skins would be idiotic and cause a huge community backlash. And I'm optimistic enough to assume that Keen is not stupid enough to do something like that. We'll just have to see what they really plan on doing with this stuff, I suppose.
     
  28. PLPM Junior Engineer

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    844
    I`d say you shifted Ronin`s comment into a whole diffent way that wasn`t his main argument.
    The now and present is that you can already skin, hell make a full on body change of the player model. And it wouldn`t make much sense to do some paid DLC for what we could already do.

    So there would have to be something extra...
     
  29. Vrmithrax Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,017
    Oooh, that makes more sense, @PLPM thanks. Sorry, @Ronin1973 - It seemed like such a weird tangent when I read it, now I get what you were saying!

    I started out wondering if they might be thinking about doing something similar to other games, like Payday 2 for example. Some custom skins that the devs have done, but a whole community of creators who make and trade their own skins, and then at different intervals some of the best skins are put together into special drops (community safes) which randomly select a skin when you open them. There is a whole marketplace economy around those skins and safes. But, that's not exactly a micro-transaction kind of ecosystem, and it would encourage (or maybe force) modders to charge for mods vs the free open workshop we have today, so I really hope they don't go that route.
     
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  30. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

    Messages:
    4,911
    Reading comprehension. It's important. A feature that takes a long time to groom and code being sold as a separate feature makes more sense than reskinning characters... which is pure vanity. I was stating that you'd have to offer DLC content that's COMPELLING to even get a reasonable response from the community... and yes, for the feature to be worth the money it would have to create an advantage to the player. Which would have backlash.

    Further compounding the situation or reducing the value of the DLC, would be server hosts that simply mod-out the DLC content so that it's not accessible OR make the DLC content accessible to everyone by creating similar mods or reverse engineering the DLC into a workshop mod.
     
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