Early Access; An Excuse?

Discussion in 'Clockwork Empires General' started by Fruit, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. dbaumgart

    dbaumgart Art Director Staff Member

    Would it work if you (you as in the fans in general) told us about these key features we ought to have that might be missed by way of Early Access? I mean. It's as simple as that, isn't it - just tell us what the problem is and we listen?

    (Unless you believe we would not listen, in which case why even bring it up? Though clearly I read what you said, what with posting here. I can't speak for other game companies or answer for their actions, I can only do my part in this one. And that includes Paying Attention To What Fans Want. Right!)

    BTW- we have rebindable keys in.

    So I encourage people to bring our attention to any accessibility issues that we might miss. For example I would very much like to get some colourblind folks to volunteer to get in on giving the alpha a whirl (for free mind you) so we can have your feedback and fix anything that'd cause a problem there. & Etc!
    Kamisma likes this.
  2. Xyvik

    Xyvik Member

    I think certain people in this thread are over-reacting based on what some other companies have done in Early Access. So allow me to do a quick fact-check here and see if we can come to any conclusions.

    Q: Has Gaslamp Games ever released any games?
    A: Yes; see the critically acclaimed and best-selling Dungeons of Dredmor

    Q: Has Gaslamp Games ever released anything on Early Access?
    A: Early Access didn't exist (to my knowledge) when Dungeons of Dredmor, so no

    Q: Has Gaslmap Games ever shown a history of not listening to their fans?
    A: I've only been here for a few years, but in that span of time I have not seen a single instance of ignorage.

    And the really important question-

    Q: Has Gaslamp Games already released Clockwork Empires to the Early Access program?
    A: Obviously not

    Based on that little question and answer session, we can come to a few conclusions. First, it doesn't make any sense to start complaining about missing features when there isn't even a game available yet. Second, Gaslamp Games has an excellent track record so far of listening to their fans, and also of doing the right thing for their games. Third, it doesn't make any sense to start complaining about missing...oh wait, I did that one.

    In short, I think Gaslamp Games should go ahead and release Clockwork Empires in whatever state they were already planning to do so, and then we can start seeing what features are needed. Complaining about it beforehand really doesn't do any of us any good. We don't even know what feature sets are planned for the game, and Gaslamp has already stated they're going to tell us more later on.

    TL;DR-- have some patience, trust Gaslamp, and wait until there's actually something to complain about before doing so.
  3. Fruit

    Fruit Member


    I don't think anyone at all has over reacted. Gaslamp Games have barely been mentioned, nor missing features. And as far as I've read, nobody has complained about their decision. In fact, I myself have merely expressed my concerns regarding the Early Access program and it's psychological side-effects.

    The problem isn't trust. Early Access' biggest problem, in my opinion, is its community. The community revers and worships the devs. That's why everyone is trying to get "in" on the in jokes on the weekly web-blog. That's why people get excited when the devs descend into our threads and talks to us.

    In this case it's because this is a rather small community compared to the titans. A lot of companies hire themselves a legion of community managers for it. Some devs are just not fit to interact with the public.

    And if you at any time up until now have found yourself thinking "He's talking ill about Nicholas!" or some other Gaslamp dev, know that I didn't even once refer to them in a negative fashion.

    The fans will side with the developers. And wrongfully so. You are the consumer, you should only be concerned of what you're getting. If anything you should be overly cautious at all times. You should ask for rebindable keys. You should ask for colourblind support. And you should most definitely do it before they release it! In this case we are getting it.

    Don't worship the developers. Don't say "Trust in them" like religious groups say "Trust in God". They are not gods, they are human beings that makes mistakes.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  4. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Subtle. Also worthy of a scowl from me.
  5. Fruit

    Fruit Member

    What can I say? He was the Face of Fez. I doubt anyone has heard of his co-workers mentioned in the link. People see Phil Fish. People boycott Phil Fish. People insult Phil Fish.

    But there's a whole team behind there, having to suffer because Phil Fish couldn't let it go. And I don't blame him, it's hard. That's why a lot of companies hire educated HR staff to be community managers. They can effectively deal with it. They don't take it personally when the game is insulted.
  6. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Gonna break forum etiquette for a moment here.

    Phil Fish is an explosive personality. Anyone who has watched Indie Game: The Movie knows this guy clearly has issues with his anger, and he says some scary shit. And he is the face of Fez *because Fez is his game*. Yes, other people worked on it with him, but it's his game... just as much as Braid is Jonathan Blow's game or Binding of Isaac is Edmund McMillen's game or Transport Tycoon is Chris Sawyer's.

    But you know what? He was getting death threats, he was getting abuse. Every day. On a scale I can't imagine. And most devs can't afford PR or HR or whatever, especially when their project isn't even out yet. It's all well and good to sit here at a distance with a sherry and a monocle and go "oh yes, rather, he should hire some PR should the bally little twit". If he said something even slightly caustic, the press would jump on him. He was under a load of pressure, and has been for a long time. And people going "ha look at this guy this is how you don't do shit" are just as bad. Would love to see how many of his detractors would cope in his shoes.

    I can think of other devs who are better examples of how not to conduct yourself in public, or devs that need(ed) better communication, or anything.
  7. dtolman

    dtolman Member

    Early access is a win win when done properly:
    -Developers get access to a large pool of potential beta testers, who are self-selected to be more likely to give the feedback they need to make a beta worthwhile.
    -Players get early access to a game, rather than wait and live vicariously through previews. They also get more direct access to developers, which seems to be a perk that some people like.

    My only concern. Is there going to be a box version of the game, or just digital download. Cause I like physical stuff I can put on my shelf... and I'm not shelling out for digital if I can wait a bit to get a box copy.

    If its just digital download... guess I'm interested.
  8. Vague anxiety over early access is probably just a result of people anxious over it being announced soon.

    So you guys should probably Just tell us about it.

    Or just start giving out early access with the disclaimer that you arn't sure whats going to happen and the fishmen are holding your family hostage if you don't release it into open access. We'll understand they're a very threatening bunch.
  9. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Unless there's a secret thing going on, you have to assume it's digital-only. Very few indies get boxed copies, and fewer still across multiple countries. The only countries I know that have boxed indies are largely European (the UK and Germany being two of the main ones in this regard), and generally you're only talking the bigger games. On my desk I have the boxed editions of Sanctum, Frozen Synapse and Monaco, and I know Terraria, Braid, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Limbo, The Binding of Isaac, the Basement Collection (w/ Indie Game: The Movie) and Super Meat Boy had boxed editions.
  10. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    Playground bullying is not the same as a constant stream of death threats.
  11. Loerwyn

    Loerwyn Member

    I think you'll find a good chunk of the active users of this forum had much the same in terms of childhood experiences. I actually have issues with one of my wrists because of my experiences.

    My position is this: He has anger management issues. That's an armchair diagnosis based on a limited amount of data. But it's so easy to say he should just respond like that, but another thing to do it. Not tweeting would have saved him issues. Not participating in Indie Game: The Movie would have saved him issues. But that's just victim blaming. You're making it out to be his fault. Yes, I'll concede I believe he did not make things better for himself by retaliating like he has done in the past, but I certainly don't blame him for the position he was put in.

    Edit: Either way, this discussion is long-beyond inappropriate for this forum and we should stop.
  12. Fruit

    Fruit Member

    And let me ask you, would you do the same today? As a grown man/woman? Would you handle it the same way as you did a child if something similar happened to you today? Would you pull a "Phil Fisher"?

    And that's what I have been saying. It's not easy to not reply to hateful messages. But it is very much is own fault. You can't blame anyone else for the fact that he replied. You can't blame anyone else for him deciding that he needed to defend polytron's game.

    Now, if you'd like to stop it here that's alright. But I am actually finding this rather intriguing and possibly educative. But you did initiate this conversation by "Breaking forum etiquette" as you put it. See, I find this entertaining. So if you want to stop it, you're the one whom has to take the initiative (again) and not reply to this post. I won't stop discussing a topic I find interesting until you stop providing me with material.

    Ironically kind of like how bullies won't stop bullying until the victim stops providing them with the tools to do so. Again, Phil Fish.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  13. samiamthelaw

    samiamthelaw Member

    In this context, I suppose by EA, you mean "Early Access." I first read this as "Electronic Arts," and agreed wholeheartedly. I've had decent luck with early access games, but I've only tried fairly major ones. KSP and Minecraft were both in decent shape when I picked them up; worth the price of admission at the time. I intend to start in on Clockwork Empires when it goes to early access, assuming it doesn't cost $60 (I've had awful luck with games that cost $60).
  14. I think that the major point that everyone should understand going into early access is that it wont be perfect, there will be issues, bugs, missing features, everyone seems to be worried about how the early access model will be used but its my understanding that the gaslamp devs very much want to use early access as a way to get in touch with the community and getting in touch with the community will give them the chance to address all these fears, so why worry beforehand this much,
  15. Kamisma

    Kamisma Member

    Although i didn't need the colorblind mode in Dredmor, i was very happy it was there.
    The best option of the sort was in Borderlands 2 where there was different item color codes for every type of color blindness ! (for instance i have trouble with blue and purple items, and there was a setting to fix this for me :) )

    This is a major oversight in most game and i'm glad that developpers such as Gaslamp games (or Gearbox, and a few other, not that many sadly) takes these issues seriously.

    i have some sort of mild Deuteranopia (common color blindess), although it's very mild in can cause issues in certain games that use color-coded mechanisms (color coded loot is an example, but i can also think of team colors in games like starcraft)
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
  16. Daynab

    Daynab Community Moderator Staff Member

    When it came out that he was quitting being public online, he had the support of countless devs (who personally never reacted in the ways he did) because they, too, were getting death threats (and lots of rape threats if they're women) everyday. It's a very common thing in the games industry, sadly, and not responding didn't change anything for those people.

    But none of this has to do with Early Access. If you really want to continue discussing this PM me but otherwise let's get back on topic.
    convolutedthinker likes this.
  17. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    If you don't like early access, then wait. It's as simple as that. It doesn't matter if you are talking about Gaslamp Games, or Electronic Arts or Joe Shmo's 5th grade programming project. it comes down to the same answer. Buy it now, or wait and see.

    If you don't want to deal with bugs, missing features, and so on, then you should definitely choose to wait and see. If you are excited enough by the game and you trust GLG, (or EA or Joe Shmo) and you don't mind testing an unfinished game, and are not prone to bouts of anger/frustration if your game crashes or you can't load a save, or your characters fall through the world on occasion or turn pink for no apparent reason, then it might be worthwhile to you.

    I think a lot of the issue is not with the game devs, but with overly high expectations for a game that is still in development. It's actually good for everyone if GLG can get early feedback and constructive criticism BEFORE the official release date. Early access is good, but it's not for everyone. If you have a low tolerance for dealing with bugs and crashes and so on, then it's not for you.
  18. Ghostwoods

    Ghostwoods Member

    Like all other tools*, Early Access is not a good thing, nor a bad thing. It is just a thing, and the goodness or badness lies in how it is used. Sometimes, it is a hideous, cynical attempt to exploit genuine fans by milking them for all they're worth. Sometimes, it's a really horrible but well-intentioned mistake that kills your launch sales. And sometimes, as with Minecraft and Dwarf Fortress**, it's a glorious way of delighting enthusiasts and building an incredibly strong platform.

    Where Clockwork Empires falls in this spectrum has yet to be seen. I, for one, look forward to finding out.

    * Exceptions: The Holy Grail. The Necronomicon. The Koch Brothers.
    ** Yes, I know DF is freeware. It's still wildly pre-alpha though, and probably always will be, at least in our lifetimes.
  19. Fruit

    Fruit Member


    That's right, every public person with controversial or outspoken opinions will get death threats. Even if you just comment on a video on youtube with said opinions you will get threats flung at you.

    Even so, I still believe Phil Fish made for a good example of how not to represent your game. The point I'm trying to make is that he brought it upon himself. He wasn't threatened or made a target for being obese like say Jim Sterling in the video I started this thread of with. Or any other obese personalities. Be it youtube or not. You can't stop being obese. It would take time and resolve. But not replying to empty threats and derogatory messages takes nothing more than disconnecting for awhile until the anger has subsided.
  20. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    While I endorse disconnecting for a while, that's not an answer to everything. There's a difference between a human being and a computer, and that's that humans act largely out of emotion rather than reason. We like to think of ourselves as being rational beings, and to some extent, we are. But...

    I remember reading a study about how people make decisions, how they choose between option A and B, how they choose who to vote for, what car to buy, and so on. As it turns out, the research has shown that in most cases, the REASON for a decision is not determined until AFTER the decision has been made. What that means is that when you explain why you did something, those reasons are actually not often true at all (although you believe that to be so). The truth, more often, is that you decided out of a purely emotional response (there could be some reason behind that emotional response, as emotions are not TOTALLY irrational). But it's not necessarily the same decision that a purely rational entity (such as a computer) would come up with.

    It helps explain so much about human behavior and why simple answers (just say no, don't drink, don't smoke, don't eat so much, just get more exercise, go to the doctor, tell someone about something, just talk to a friend, etc.) is not actually quite as logic would say they should be.

    We all have buttons, and with help and/or experience, we may EVENTUALLY learn how to avoid stupid reactions to those buttons being pushed. But we are also all human beings, which means that we will never run out of buttons that can be pushed, and there always will be the possibility of either destructive, or self-destructive or just plain emotional reactions.

    In other words, we all have our limits, and my limits are not precisely the same as anyone else's. I'm not saying that we aren't responsible, but I'm saying that it's something that happens and always can happen, even to the best of us.

    Just so you know, I realized that this is as true for me, as I guess it would be for most people. I've done things out of emotion that I later regretted. I always thought of myself as a patient and tolerant person, but I've had my buttons pushed, and I've reached my limit at times. What also helped me to understand this is that I am being treated for depression and anxiety, which most people do not understand is a physiological issue, but it does affect my behavior in ways that I don't like to talk about except with my therapist and people in my therapy group, because most people don't quite get it.

    But logic should dictate that anyone who's ever felt irritable, overtired, outraged, embarassed, depressed, and so on, should realize that that affects their behavior so they should not be surprised that it affects EVERYONE'S behavior. But it does and always will.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2014