Author Topic: Shallow Space  (Read 8124 times)

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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #30 on: February 15, 2021, 07:38:43 AM »
So believe it or not, this game has been revived by the developer and work on it appears to have started again. But don't throw any parties because the game has been taken in a totally new direction and it seems quite disappointing.

Starting in December, I began receiving in my email blogs from the developer talking about renewed efforts to continue development. I really wasn't paying close attention to them until I read in the latest blog that this game is now a MMORTS. It was a stunning admission that prompted me to go back to the prior blogs and review them more closely.

A lot of the details are still somewhat vague and ambiguous, and the developer seems to try to sugarcoat a lot of his new decisions, but the most shocking changes, aside from the fact that there is no longer any single player element to this and it is entirely MP focused, is that it is not even in 3D anymore.

The developer explained that the perspective and camera are the biggest changes, "gone is that completely three dimensional camera movement..."  He even has the nerve to blame this on reports that "players were having headaches" but then concedes that "we want to be able to run this client on phones and tablets eventually."  Excuse me, what!?

The blogs also explain that the developer doesn't want to be "chasing [his] tail trying to get the scale of the ships right, realistic ship scale is a fallacy, we spent 5 years chasing it, the capital ships will always dwarf the frigates and you loose the frigate details. Is it useful it anyways? It just becomes confusing in a game in which you need to notice and control your fleets undistracted." Again, what? If you can't even get simple scale right, how are you going to achieve anything?

Instead, the developer is looking to make this into a "more traditional RTS"  with "tricks" whereby the ships are a representation like board icons on a game like Civilisation for example.

"In fact, the game is going to play a LOT like a realtime computerised board game."

Similar to the rework of the tactical layer, the strategy layer is also being converted to a 2D system, because "it's easier to understand and control, particularly when a particular planet is busy."

This is just the tip of the iceberg...but for a game that was initially marked as a 3D space combat game and spiritual successor to Home World with realistic features and single player focused story line and skirmish modes, this sure is a very strange turn of events. I think it is a real slap in the face to everyone who backed this game early on. They should have just let this die on the vine.   
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Offline Destraex

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2021, 06:51:18 PM »
Iíd rather something than nothing. I can deal with my failed investments. I suspect they told this guy he had to put up or give the money back?
"They only asked the Light Brigade to do it once"

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2021, 08:12:41 PM »
Iíd rather have the game that was marketed and what I paid for. I have no interest in a dumbed down mmorts aimed at a quick port to mobile devices and tablets. No thanks.
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Offline Destraex

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #33 on: February 15, 2021, 09:15:31 PM »
I would rather what you want as well. But I will count this one as a failed investment and see what IS a reslity. If it sux so be it. You know me anyways, I will probably hate it but I will certainly try it.
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Offline Yskonyn

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2021, 02:33:40 PM »
Well at least the name is aptly chosen.
"Pilots do not get paid for what they do daily, but they get paid for what they are capable of doing.
However, if pilots would need to do daily what they are capable of doing, nobody would dare to fly anymore.Ē

Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2021, 04:09:23 PM »
I'd like to think that a very contentious discussion I had with the developer led to the latest blog post. Seriously, he is a total douche bag...but at least now he is being open and honest. Still patronizing though...

Quote
WTF is Shallow Space an MMORTS now?

Anytime a space RTS tries to rear its head someone manically screams Homeworld or Nexus. Originality is practically met with scorn. I understand now why there is nothing but vacuum where an abundance of RTS games should be ...

The rumour mill is grinding and speculation is abound, the machinery of development is moving and but the game is changing.

But what the actual fuck is going on?

    This entire article is a reality check, it's rude, contains frank and unadulterated views and you might not like what you read.

Is Shallow Space an MMORTS?

Yes. But then when I look up examples of supposed MMORTS games I see examples of linear concepts, free-to-play and all sorts of things that we are not looking to be. Shallow Space 3.0 features a procedurally generated play areas with a backend designed to be run on a highly scalable backend (Kubernetes.)

Weíre not aiming to be the next Eve Online, there is no in-game chat or social bollocks. Itís just that if we developed an AI in-game itíll be very simple and predictable and just as boring as the AI in any other RTS.

Playing vs. actual other Players (masquerading as AI) we hope will be far more interesting.

Weíre not interested in a cash grab, we donít intend on having you subscribe.

The server costs are going to be very light and we have no interest in starting an empire. Weíll keep it to a small upfront cost, maybe with some premium skins or boats, run some donations on the landing page or something, we havenít really thought about it.

It's not going to be free, it just wouldn't work.

Is Shallow Space coming out on mobile now??

Weíre going to make it far easier to control. We're excited about the places we can go but fear not, we have our hands full with the PC version, we got ahead of ourselves, there are no plans to go mobile right now.

Why no single-player?

Because it costs too much to develop.

We would need language translations, three times the assets we currently have, game designers, storywriters, a far bigger team.

This is a rescue project: We tried to crowdsource it, it failed, we tried to run through Early Access, it failed, we tried to find a publisher but they had some pretty ridiculous demands.

Could we take the idea to an investor? We could, but that would mean writing game design docs, business plans, dancing a bloody jig, it would mean quitting my job (again,) risking my career and my livelihood for a second time over something as silly as a computer game.

The risks are just too high, and Iím not prepared to do it.

The only reason why Iíve picked the project back up again is because Iím working on something I enjoy. I donít enjoy running a business or giving 70% of the IP to some publisher and watching them turn it into another soulless hip shot.

Multiplayer games have a bad rep at the moment I get it, but still; no money, so no real choice.

What about Z axis movement?

The backend has been developed to support three dimensional movement, but honestly, it adds absolutely nothing to the game. We tried with two previous revisions and failed. If such a game is to work, itíll take a far larger team with far cleverer people than me to pull it off.

We would rather focus on creating something that is fun in other ways.

What about the physics and simulated ballistics?

Simulated projectiles, physics based movement. It made for a fantastic technology demo, looked great, but when it came down to it, it added fuck-all to the game.

I honestly don't know what we were thinking.

I guess we went off at the deep end, working on the stuff that looked good so we could pull in the crowd to support us.

Why? Because we were inexperienced, because thatís what people were asking for and we wanted desperately to give it to them. We tried to make the game democratically, be the Jesus Christ of Real Time Strategy and because of that we started the project arse-about-face, we got sucked into the crowd and lost our way.

We fell into the Early Access trap well before we were ready and were too busy beating war drums to actually make a game.

We tried to reboot it, but the game suffered from the same mechanical and organisational issues.

Why? Because games need to be deterministic and predictable otherwise, itís not a fucking game. The damage needs to be pre-calculated, otherwise how hell do you balance that? You canít. It might work for an FPS, something with tightly confined parameters, a small amount units maybe, but not fleet battles.

Even if it were to work, the game fully lagged on anything but the best machines. Itís not a wonder really, every single projectile had scripts attached. It was crazy to think it could work, but we had to continue, because itís what the fans wanted.

Sorry, that didnít work out - it was a risky endeavour, high chance of it not working out and no matter how upset you are, deep down I think you knew that.

But what about the fans that supported you that want X, Y, Z?

I canít worry about that.

The game is ratshit on Steam and frankly, itís difficult to imagine it getting to an even worse state. I could worry about what the fans might think all day long, but ultimately, Iíll just get burnt-out again.

Honestly, it's difficult even listening to the majority of you because youíve been starved of originality, so much so that anytime a space RTS tries to rear its head someone manically screams Homeworld or Nexus.

Originality is practically met with scorn.

I understand now why there is nothing but vacuum where an abundance of RTS games should be: Youíre intelligent, meticulous, demanding, technically adept, a completely impossible bunch to make games for.

You lurk in the shadows, watching but rarely contributing.

Most of you use javascript or ad-blockers so I canít even see most of you visiting the website. I have no real idea of how popular this project is (or isn't.)

I look about to my colleagues of the time to see how many of them made it, where are Limit Theory, Deep Space Settlement and the like?

Burnt the fuck out trying thatís where.

Even if it was possible to continue to do things democratically with what little we have we would end up pleasing no-one and frankly, I'd just get bored making it.

Itís time to take what we as a team have learned, own up to some realities and take the opportunity to try something different. There will be a few pissed off peeps for sure, but we tried to play it down the middle, now itís time to be contentious.

Maybe youíll like it, I hope you do, I ask you to keep an open mind.

Beside, I haven't just pulled this shit out of a hat, in the years i've been gone i've been to countless game conferences in the Netherlands, met with successful and failed game developers, spoke with devs from some huge studios (343, Bethesda) researched new ideas, understood new trends, and tried to bring them into the original Shallow Space specification.

I think this will be fun and I think it'll face up to the important parts of the original idea.

Think you can do better?

Please do try, there's more than enough room for all of us but some parting words of advice: Never start with the game of your dreams.
Grogheads Uber Alles
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"No beast is more alpha than JH." Gusington, 10/23/18


Offline al_infierno

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #36 on: February 16, 2021, 04:19:39 PM »
That's quite a word salad and all I really got out of it is that the developer is frustrated as hell, burned out, and wanted to do something new.  Fair enough, but why not start a new project with a new name, even if you're reusing old assets or whatever?

Also:

Quote
Think you can do better?

Please do try, there's more than enough room for all of us but some parting words of advice: Never start with the game of your dreams.

This argument is the refuge of the weak.  I don't need to be a great director to criticize a crappy movie, nor do I need to be a great writer to criticize a crappy book, nor do I need to be a great game dev to criticize a crappy game.  If all you can say is, "I don't see you doing better," then you've basically admitted that what you did sucks and somebody else needs to do it better.
It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge.  War endures.  As well ask men what they think of stone.  War was always here.  Before man was, war waited for him.  The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.  That is the way it was and will be.  That way and not some other way.
- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian


If they made nothing but WWII games, I'd be perfectly content.  Hypothetical matchups from alternate history 1980s, asymmetrical US-bashes-some-3rd world guerillas, or minor wars between Upper Bumblescum and outer Kaboomistan hold no appeal for me.
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I guess it's sort of nice that the word "tactical" seems to refer to some kind of seriousness during your moments of mental clarity.
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #37 on: February 16, 2021, 04:22:23 PM »
^I should share with you the text of the discussion I had with him. It is really remarkable.
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Offline Destraex

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2021, 06:33:42 PM »
Two of the questions the dev dealt with specifically I asked him and had answered by him last night. Namely z axis and plans for other platforms.
I am tempted to ask if he wants to be frank, how much money he pocketed in total. Just to be transparent. I l know though that the point here would be that he burned this up in full time development.
He was the one that advertised the game and made the promises. Now apparently all of that is a silly pipe dream. At least he is honest though.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2021, 06:36:20 PM by Destraex »
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #39 on: February 16, 2021, 06:59:15 PM »
At least he is honest though.

Yeah...but I literally had to force it out of him and when I told him why I thought he was making a mistake (after he asked) he got very nasty and rude. He basically said, "stop throwing a tantrum over something that cost you the price of a pizza..."
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Offline Destraex

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #40 on: February 16, 2021, 07:46:01 PM »
If itís just the price of a pizza to him, perhaps he should refund all the money? I mean itís just small fry to him by the sound of it.
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #41 on: February 16, 2021, 07:56:06 PM »
If itís just the price of a pizza to him, perhaps he should refund all the money? I mean itís just small fry to him by the sound of it.

I asked if he would offer refunds and his response was, ďwhy would I do that?Ē
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Offline Gusington

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2021, 07:59:34 PM »
I would love to see the whole interview.
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Shallow Space
« Reply #43 on: February 16, 2021, 08:49:51 PM »
I would love to see the whole interview.

I wouldnít really call it an interview. It was more like me telling him why I was bothered with the new direction and him telling me to deal with it. Sadly, he deleted some of his more colorful comments before I could copy them all, but Iíll post up what I have when I get the chance.
Grogheads Uber Alles
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"No beast is more alpha than JH." Gusington, 10/23/18