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I was just listening to Feargus' most recent interview and he talked about the spring 2014 release date. While he said that the date was open to change given the game's most larger scope post-KS, it was his hope that they would keep that launch window.

 

My first thought was,

 

"Don't worry about any release dates! Part of the benefit of Kickstarter is not being enslaved to arbitrary timeframes!"

 

And I'm pretty sure that a sizable majority of the backers would support this.

 

But then I got to thinking of the importance of deadlines in spurring creativity, trimming away the proverbial fat, and pushing the game slowly but surely along.

 

For anyone here who has worked in the industry (or any deadline-driven field) and certainly to any Obsidian peeps who want to chime in, I'd love to hear some more about what deadlines and release dates mean to you. As P:E ramps up, it seems an interesting conversation to have!

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There is also the matter of indefinitely "improving" the game. I can remember a situation (though the specific game escapes me), where a long awaited game's released was perpetually postponed due to the game not meeting the dev's standards. By placing a semi-rigid (and hopefully increasingly solidifying) deadline on the release it gives the team an idea of when to begin their wrap up. While we as the backers certainly want the best product that can be provided, at some point there is a time to say "we've done everything we can in a reasonable timeframe. It's time to make this thing happen".

Do not criticize a fish for being a turtle when it is, in fact, a fish.

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The job of any good production manager is to set deadlines. Everyone will hate him for it at first, and it's a thankless job, but someone's got to do it.

 

I would just rather they push the deadline back now and deal with the moaning and groaning now as opposed to later. Waiting 15 months or waiting 18 months is still waiting. But waiting 3 months and having the game now doesn't go over so well with most people.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I would just rather they push the deadline back now and deal with the moaning and groaning now as opposed to later. Waiting 15 months or waiting 18 months is still waiting. But waiting 3 months and having the game now doesn't go over so well with most people.

I agree with this to some extent. I don't feel like at this point in time they could realistically push the deadline back as the process has only just begun. Some time has to be given for the team to have a reasonable understanding of how far they are from reaching the goals they want to reach, and in turn how much time they are going to need to reach those. However, that doesn't mean that I approve of waiting until the last minute (3 months prior) and screaming CRAP We can't finish in time! Any efficient business should be constantly reflecting on how they are keeping up with their goal deadlines.

Do not criticize a fish for being a turtle when it is, in fact, a fish.

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Yeh and what crap DNF came out to be...

 

I don't imagine they will wait forever because after all, waiting too long would mean that they're losing out on revenue.

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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I chime in with the same folks on day 6 of the Kickstarter forums Release Date thread.

 

I don't really expect anything, just saying that I would personally be okay with it if they wanted to take more time for polish or for extra features :) when Obsidian feels like it's finished kind of. A deadline is always good of course.

 

EDIT:

Just don't take as long as Duke Nukem forever and Half Life 3 and starcraft 2 please.

 

Black Mesa is out though.

Edited by Osvir
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For anyone here who has worked in the industry (or any deadline-driven field) and certainly to any Obsidian peeps who want to chime in, I'd love to hear some more about what deadlines and release dates mean to you. As P:E ramps up, it seems an interesting conversation to have!

I don't work in the games industry, but my field is definitely deadline-driven and they serve several purposes.

 

First and most importantly, while a project like this will not have any external authority imposing deadlines, there is still the matter of money. There is some number of people working on it and each of these people gets paid some yearly salary (plus overhead). The budget of the project, the size of the team and the expense of each member define a natural deadline. The project manager must specify these at the beginning of the project and there is very little leeway in getting extra time beyond what was initially planned.

 

Second, deadlines are necessary to keep people who depend on each other working together smoothly. If you read the Update 30, they discuss the concept of a pipeline which is omnipresent in both hardware and software industries. You don't want to have the guy whose job it is to convert art into a format the game understands sit there and twiddle his thumbs because the guy who was supposed to provide him with the art to convert is late. When deadlines are designed and adhered to properly, they allow a complex product made by dozens of people come together into a coherent whole without wasting the time of any of these people.

 

Finally, without deadlines, a lot of people (including myself to some extent) will try to do things in a way that may increase the quality, but probably goes well beyond the point of diminishing returns. This is what is typically referred to as the better being the enemy of the good.

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Didn't we contribute because we thought these guys know what they're doing? Let them.

Shenanigans. Faith is so 13th century.

Not really; just lots of practical experience in a business environment. Having people with no practical experience in this matter try to micromanage every aspect of the game's development is folly. Let the experts do their job.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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Well the deadline was set before they ver thought they would have $4.1mil worth of game to deliver. When you expand so much in scope and depth, it's hard to keep a deadline (especially since they probably won't be expanding the team size too much).

My blog is where I'm keeping a record of all of my suggestions and bug mentions.

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/  UPDATED 9/26/2014

My DXdiag:

http://hormalakh.blogspot.com/2014/08/beta-begins-v257.html

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Well the deadline was set before they ver thought they would have $4.1mil worth of game to deliver. When you expand so much in scope and depth, it's hard to keep a deadline (especially since they probably won't be expanding the team size too much).

It probably depends on how much of that expansion can be done in parallel, and how much of it has just added more bottlenecks. I suspect that features like the adventurer's hall can probably be done in parallel, for example, as can the endless paths and the stronghold.

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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"Don't worry about any release dates! Part of the benefit of Kickstarter is not being enslaved to arbitrary timeframes!"

 

And I'm pretty sure that a sizable majority of the backers would support this.

 

While I do, a publisher isn't the only reason for a release date. Every day of development means money spent, every day the game is not released means money not coming in. P:E's release date, whether it proves arbitrary or not, cannot just be delayed and delayed and delayed; their objective is still to turn a profit, after all.

 

I support releasing the game 'when its done'...preferably when its not only done in the rough sense, but polished up to a mirror shine. I'm really hoping that can be accomplished within the time frame they specify. If it can't, I really hope they delay it until it can. But I don't think it amounts to their being able to release the game just whenever they feel like its suitably awesome. The money they have, and the money they hope to earn, will always play a role in the decision.

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Just don't take as long as Duke Nukem forever and Half Life 3 and starcraft 2 please.

 

I love how Half Life 3 is always used now. A game that has never been announced.

None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination. 

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Just don't take as long as Duke Nukem forever and Half Life 3 and starcraft 2 please.

 

I love how Half Life 3 is always used now. A game that has never been announced.

 

Half-Life 3, no.

 

Half-life 2 Episode 3, yes. There was no doubt Valve was expecting to release the latter.

 

Valve's approach to the whole thing is fascinating, too, since they basically refuse to even acknowledge the subject. They won't say when they expect to release it or if its even under production anymore. Its either sadism or an extremely bizarre marketing tactic...but given how much crap they had to eat from giving false release dates for Half-Life 2, its hard to blame them for just not saying anything at all.

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Well if it needs to run 4-6 months longer than estimated I wouldn't be upset. Any longer than that and I'd feel a bit let down. I'm sure they felt pretty confident in how long it would take them to put a game like this together and probably set the release date on how fast they thought they could get it done well with a little bit of wiggle room. Beyond just wanting to get it out ASAP I think that there are a few other things that would probably be a large factor in wanting

 

The first is the budget. That 4+ Million we raised needs to go to pay the salaries for quiet a few people. If they have a team of around 30 that's about 140K for a year and a half of work per person without including any sort of allowance for expenses in licensing or advertisement buys and the like. So for every dollar spent outside of salaries it decreases the amount they're getting payed over these next 1.5 years. So while I'm sure they appreciate hearing that we're willing to wait til the game is ready I'm fairly certain that the long the development goes on the thinner their budget for salaries is stretched.*

 

Also there is the launch window to be considered. It looks like they're aiming late q1 early q2 of 2014 which is a good time to launch new IP or things that can't compete with the q4 AAA titles. In the summer (late q2 early q3) people are on vacation or out and about in the nice weather and not buying as many games. In late q3 and q4 they'd have to compete with the September/October rush and all big AAA titles later on. So they have a large reason to not miss the launch window they're gunning for. It gives them the best chance at high sales which is of course something they really want so they can make profits. If they delay too long after the window they're shooting for they're going to hit a non-ideal launch time.

 

* I of course can't vouch 100% for how the kickstarter money is being allocated but I can only assume that a good majority is going to towards the team's salary.

K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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I agree with others here that the best thing is to make a new estimate now-ish based on the current scope expectations, team size, etc Then if they think they need to adjust the target adjust it now. But deadlines serve a key purpose as do the milestones along the way. I think they get that.

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A release date is anything but arbitrary. Release dates exist because money runs dry. A single programmer makes somewhere around $70,000 a year at Obsidian, and this is roughly the industry standard. Every single person on this project has a five or even six-figure salary, likely greater than $40,000 and Obsidian has over 100 employees. Costs add up. Very quickly. Sure there's no publisher in this equation that can get tired of incurring losses and force a game to ship so they can profit, but now Obsidian only has $4,000,000 to work with. If that dries up during development there are going to be Problems.

 

There's only one studio that release dates truly don't matter for, and that's Valve. This is the case solely because Valve has the money to keep going without shipping a product for a good, long while.

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I think release dates serve a valuable purpose, in that they keep the project on track so it doesn't start to become a "it's done whenever I get around to it" sort of deal. Flexibility is nice, as long as the project is largely on track but perhaps needs an extra few months of fine tuning. The release date just makes sure that that's the case, not just a case where the project fell so far behind schedule because there's no real target to aim for.

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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Deadlines are there because companies want to compete each other and make people buy their game instead of others. If anyone has ever worked on aproject of any kind you should already know that deadlines work counter-productive. They stress things up. The game should get as long the devs thinnk it should get top be done in order to be the best they can make. They don't need to compete other projects of the markets with this one.

 

So, in short, deadlines suck and managers pushing for deadlines suck even more.

 

At the end, it's only a game; it's not that our lives depend on it!

Edited by Sedrefilos
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If Project Eternity needs another half a year or so to be made to shine as brightly as it can, Obsidian should go ahead and take that time. Things like this aren't a quick sell churned out yearly, this is a severe undertaking of a development project. I know the folks at Obsidian are professionals and like to keep deadlines stable for a myriad of reasons, but given the massive amount of funding this game received I believe more time wouldn't hurt. Just think of the Weresharks.

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Half-Life 3, no.

 

Half-life 2 Episode 3, yes. There was no doubt Valve was expecting to release the latter.

 

Valve's approach to the whole thing is fascinating, too, since they basically refuse to even acknowledge the subject. They won't say when they expect to release it or if its even under production anymore. Its either sadism or an extremely bizarre marketing tactic...but given how much crap they had to eat from giving false release dates for Half-Life 2, its hard to blame them for just not saying anything at all.

They don't refuse to say anything, just refuse to say anything directly.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0d6yBHDvKUw

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None of this is really happening. There is a man. With a typewriter. This is all part of his crazy imagination. 

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I think for me the biggest thing is that they set that deadline pre-Kickstarter. I can see how, even if they bring on extra staff, that's still a crazy turnaround for a game with Eternity's current scope (particularly the second major city and the ambitious Endless Paths).

 

I agree in principle with the positive creative elements of deadlines, but on the other hand, I absolutely would err on the side of delaying the game to make sure they're not rushing to push something out the door. As the most successful Kickstarter to date, it's important that the game launches with much fanfare and minimal fuss.

 

Some great comments! Thanks everyone who pitched in!

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