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A plea to the community: Priorities – how to help Obsidian to make the best game


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Note: I do not have much experience in software design but in other fields, so if some of my reasoning is faulty, please do point that out, BUT in a CONSTRUCTIVE way (i.e. don’t just criticize, but provide a solution as well)

 

As we know, the development of this product is scheduled for approx. 18 months.

 

1) The current development phase is dedicated to measure a scope of work that will define team composition and workload for the whole 18 months. In this phase the dev team is probably making an assessment for their budged for the “big picture”. That’s why we see stretch goals containing elements that are most time consuming and which will define the spine and main goals of the product.

 

I feel that this is a time to discuss things like (examples):

  1. SP only or SP & a form of MP
     
  2. Number of companions
     
  3. Number of playable races
     
  4. Number of classes
     
  5. Art style
     
  6. Housing
     
  7. Gameplay options
     
  8. Engine and platform support
     
  9. Scope of the world and number of different playable regions with unique themes.
     
  10. Main story focus or more of an open world experience (i.e. big story, but also big number of high quality side quests)
     
  11. Number of factions with which player could interact.
     
  12. Any other feature that will affect the full development cycle and will require attention of the team in no matter what stage of the game you will be as a player.

This is a good moment to help the Obsidian on the defining the big picture, so they will be able to assess the financial requirements for each “big picture” feature and prepare stretch goals in accordance to that.

 

2) The second phase will be starting near the end of Kickstarter fund raising period

Here there will be a time for defining combat mechanics, scope of magic and spell casting mechanics, general lore and history, races lore, monsters, weapon types etc. This is also the time when we should start seeing first in game screen shots of general art concepts of different area types to give a feedback on the color palette and other art related matters.

 

Once these main things will be established it will make a framework within creative minds at Obsidian will be able to create plots, quests, factions and their lore, more details, NPCs, dialogs etc. – this should be untouched and best just trust the Obsidian on that… “Too many story writers usually leads to bad results ;)

 

3) Here we could discuss the features, which are usually not that much time consuming (i.e. customization options, once we will see the first screenshots and in game art, etc.). The team will be able to respond to those requests better, as they probably also will build up reserve for unexpected difficulties, so the further into the process, without difficulties eating up these reserves, there will be more chances for addition of some minor features.

 

4) Once we will hit the beta phase, then it will be also on the beta-testers to help find as many bugs as possible. It is highly unlikely that at this stage the dev team will be able to add additional game affecting features. At best they will be able to tweak some (like GUI etc.)

 

I wrote the above having in mind the good of the game and hoping for the reasonableness of the community. It seems to me that many threads that I read are going down to too low detail level and too many variations of similar concepts that I feel they are not very helpful to the dev team and might create confusion or are simply ignored.

 

If possible I’d love to hear from the Dev team here, what approach from the community would be most helpful to them in designing the best game possible within the expected budget limits. What topics the dev team deems most valuable for the moment (maybe an example of one of such topics) at the current stage of the development cycle.

 

Thanks for the read.

Edited by Darkpriest
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Actually, the best time to discuss everything is NOW, because the team is 100% focused on engaging the community to maximize the Kickstarter's success. They're reading every post in every forum and taking notes.

 

Your priorities will only kick in when the Kickstarter ends.

Edited by Infinitron
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Actually, the best time to discuss everything is NOW, because the team is 100% focused on engaging the community to maximize the Kickstarter's success. They're reading every post in every forum and taking notes.

 

Your priorities will only kick in when the Kickstarter ends.

 

They have my sympathy for reading every post and noting on it.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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Actually, I'm fairly confident Obsidian already has the big picture down--it's the details for which they're interested in player feedback, but they may or may not take all of that into account.

 

Example: Races are a huge deal in any fantasy world, and despite all the race threads, Obsidian came out showing they already had their ideas and here they are (but they had to show more to assuage fears of being too 'Tolkien classical' for some players).

 

There is no point stuffing all these gigantic 'big picture constructive ideas' into a single thread like you suggest; forum reading was not designed for this. All threads should be limited in topic and scope, the better to manage and read by Obsidian.

 

As others say--the time to discuss is NOW. The place to discuss is this forum.

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I actually hope the devs don't pay too much attention to the community, or at least use their better judgement when they do. For every good idea posted on a forum, there's often several bad ones.... and what the majority appear to want (or rather, a vocal minority) may not be best for the game.

 

I trust Obsidian, and at the end of the day, I want to pay money for their vision of a CRPG, not for the community's cluster**** of ideas.

 

That to me is perhaps one of the main downsides of Kickstarter. It may make developers feel pressured or obliged to listen to the community a little too much.

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I actually hope the devs don't pay too much attention to the community, or at least use their better judgement when they do. For every good idea posted on a forum, there's often several bad ones.... and what the majority appear to want (or rather, a vocal minority) may not be best for the game.

 

I trust Obsidian, and at the end of the day, I want to pay money for their vision of a CRPG, not for the community's cluster**** of ideas.

 

That to me is perhaps one of the main downsides of Kickstarter. It may make developers feel pressured or obliged to listen to the community a little too much.

 

Yep, I agree. As the saying goes, a camel is a horse designed by a committee. There's some good discussion going on here, but in the end Obsidian be doing the designing and the coding. It succeeds or fails based on their vision for the product.

 

Besides, if the first episode of this project works out well, they may sell enough copies to fund more and better functionality (and requested features) in the game engine. That's what I'm hoping for, at any rate.

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Actually, the best time to discuss everything is NOW, because the team is 100% focused on engaging the community to maximize the Kickstarter's success. They're reading every post in every forum and taking notes.

 

Your priorities will only kick in when the Kickstarter ends.

Not to mention that they already have a clear picture of many of these issues; the number of classes, the number of races, the number of companions - all this is already spelled out in the Kickstarter page. When the Kickstarter ends, they know exactly how much of each they're doing.

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