Author Topic: The "Minecraft Effect"  (Read 3394 times)

Sigma

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The "Minecraft Effect"
« on: December 14, 2013, 11:15:22 pm »
So lately I've been watching the current meltdown from the fanbase over KSP and its game direction switching. long story short they canned resources permanently (a highly anticipated feature that was teased and reported to be around 70% complete around the beginning of the year before the first delay.) and announced they are going to add multiplayer to KSP (not as highly anticipated feature that the devs, up until about a week ago said it couldn't be done and was not the focus of KSP). Read up on it on their forums, reddit, 4chan, where ever for the whole issue surrounding this and how it links to their first PR disaster. I don't want to explain as it's a long long story.

Minecraft apparently had this happen to them as well when Notch suddenly announced the game was completed and handed it off and the new devs started simply implementing mods that were popular.

Basically my point is, at some point Blockade Runner will get very very popular, and with popularity comes lots and lots of fans and a lot of ideas as to how the game should be developed. The Minecraft Effect is when those fans start arguing and clashing with each other as to what the direction game that is in development should go. The problem is, the game developers ultimately take a side, usually the side they feel has more people and thus more money, and cause a change in direction of the game, basically a mid-development restructuring, that causes it to look completely different from the original design and plan for the game, suddenly scrapping or adding features at a whim and end up alienating a large chunk of their customers and it causes a lot of headaches all around and isn't good in the long run.

Basically this thread is to brainstorm, how would the devs prevent this? My suggestion is that the Devs creates a solid plan of things they know they can do early on and stick with it and have PR that puts across the plan, plain and clear to the players.

Attached is a graph laid out detailing the minecraft effect, made by a former KSP dev.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2013, 11:19:31 pm by Sigma »

DiscK

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2013, 06:04:25 am »
NovaSilisko was a friend of mine a few years back when KSP was just kicking off, he was very keen on where Minecraft was going and he was right.
Does anyone else remember the game "Ace of Spades"? The original game was great, but then the devs sold it to Jagex (Who make any game go to shit) you even had to pay to make a server.
The problem with Minecraft is that most of the people who pay are kids who don't know better and just want shiny "OMG LOOK A DRAGON" and say that redstone is just nerd stuff.
Thing is, over time people who are like 'We are never going to do that' become "We are going to do that" because it's what will make the game look the best. Minecraft made promises and never delivered them, Blockade Runner makes uncertain promises and may or may not deliver them.
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Czorio

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2013, 07:43:53 am »
KSP is in meltdown mode again? Could you give me a TL;DR on that? I've been pretty out of the loop concerning KSP development.
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Aaron

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2013, 03:27:46 pm »
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KSP is in meltdown mode again? Could you give me a TL;DR on that? I've been pretty out of the loop concerning KSP development.

Honestly I would have been unaware of it if not for Sigma bringing it up. =\

Last I knew the KSP version built off of Unity is going to receive minor updates while a new version under C++ was under development.  The big "blow up" came when they let everyone know the new C++ version (due to the costs of development) would require everyone to purchase it separately, and that they'd be going for more traditional game mechanics than the Unity KSP's pure mods & physics sandbox.

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Minecraft apparently had this happen to them as well when Notch suddenly announced the game was completed and handed it off and the new devs started simply implementing mods that were popular.

Well, we do like the idea of both mods and implementing the juicier ones into a "Blockade Runner+" of sorts. ;D

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Basically my point is, at some point Blockade Runner will get very very popular, and with popularity comes lots and lots of fans and a lot of ideas as to how the game should be developed.

See Blockade Runner Forums, year 1.

Quote
The Minecraft Effect is when those fans start arguing and clashing with each other as to what the direction game that is in development should go.

See Blockade Runner Forums, year 2.

Quote
The problem is, the game developers ultimately take a side, usually the side they feel has more people and thus more money, and cause a change in direction of the game, basically a mid-development restructuring, that causes it to look completely different from the original design and plan for the game, suddenly scrapping or adding features at a whim and end up alienating a large chunk of their customers and it causes a lot of headaches all around and isn't good in the long run.

See our push towards "cubic blocks only", "atmospheres", and Minecraft-style digging mechanics during the autumn of 2012.

We've already run quite the gamut of indie mistakes and have head to deal with the fallout, so we approach a second round of publicity a little more battle hardened. =]

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Thing is, over time people who are like 'We are never going to do that' become "We are going to do that" because it's what will make the game look the best. Minecraft made promises and never delivered them, Blockade Runner makes uncertain promises and may or may not deliver them.

While determining the 'meta game' of Blockade Runner, there are a lot of choices we'll be making that might be disappointing or "promise-breaking", but comes from the striking similarities between making a video game and making a board game.  With both, you want to maximize your theme while trimming and slimming mechanics to make it an overall enjoyable and re-playable experience.  Some board games work well with 'all the things' (High Frontier actually looks like a really fun game for us rocket science nerds!), and others work well from a "simple, but moddable" standpoint like Munchkin.

In the end you can't please everyone, so we build a game we would enjoy and add to our LAN roster.  This tends to be the kind of games that have withstood the test of time.

Quote
Basically this thread is to brainstorm, how would the devs prevent this? My suggestion is that the Devs creates a solid plan of things they know they can do early on and stick with it and have PR that puts across the plan, plain and clear to the players.

Having a year of 'quiet time' to re-think what the game is, and what we're making has helped tremendously to solidify our development goals.  The sooner we can really cement in everyone's mind "what Blockade Runner is" the better, but the matter of presenting the plan in its entirety is going to have to wait until we're further along with our engine building.  In the meantime we must feign both the ignorance and the incompetence.  ::)

We're kind of fond of how Starbound laid down the law on specific features, so something along those lines is probably in order (while maintaining the magical "P-word" of potential).
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Sigma

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2013, 05:55:41 pm »
KSP is in meltdown mode again? Could you give me a TL;DR on that? I've been pretty out of the loop concerning KSP development.

I don't know about tl;dr, what I posted above was basically the tl;dr haha, it's a long story but here we go:

As you know resources was planned, and a mostly done feature in early 2013, estimated at around 70% complete and during the dev streams they showed off the features and parts. However after DLC-gate they announced they were postponing resources to work on career mode, which was basically the icing on the cake to DLC-gate. Now fast foward to now, a lot of firings, staff and Dev resigns, extremely long update development times, and an underwhelming, simplified career mode later:

Basically it started on 4chan /kspg/ (kerbal space program general) thread around Tuesday of last week when the community manager, maximaps, more or less came in and told everyone that the devs would have a meeting before kerbalkon to determine if resources were going to permanently scrapped or not. Note that /kspg/ is made up of a lot of people that left the forums and reddit after "DLC Gate" and felt like a disinfranchised part of the community as they were all people that wanted resources and loathed a lot of the forum and reddit community. So they didn't take this well at all and Maximaps hasn't posted since. People there take this as him coming on and telling /kspg/ this information was him "professionally" telling them that Squad no longer listens to them and they are no longer a relevant part of the community.

Then at Kerbalkon the lead developer, Harvester, announced that they were putting resource implementation "on the backburner indefinitely" had scrapped the previewed resources from the beginning of the year entirely and instead were going to focus on adding multiplayer to the game. Their reasoning for not adding resources was that they tried it out and it didn't seem easy or fun and that multiplayer is "one of the most wanted features". This is an extreme direction change for KSP as up until this point they were saying multiplayer in KSP was impossible, that KSP was first and foremost a single player game. It was taboo on the forums to ask for multiplayer as your thread would usually be locked and you would be told no.

Basically the community went into meltdown after this. Now there's threads on reddit and the forums on topics about this people believe KSP has sold out to what they believe is the "minecraft audience" for more profits, others think it's a terrible and unpopular decision (without going as far to say selling out), and there are of course those that defend Squad for the decision. On the forums a moderator posted his opinion on the main topic (he is for multiplayer) about this and then closed the thread, only to reopen it minutes later after "a forum member asked nicely". There has been a few polls on the forums that show that multiplayer is not as requested and as popular as resources and a lot of forum members are bothered by Squad's decision to add multiplayer. It should also be noted that most of the forum moderators aren't "moderate" and have also taken sides, most of them siding with the multiplayer supporters while three or four have voiced that they think multiplayer is a bad decision.

Aaron

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2013, 09:43:52 am »
Well, we're making a game we'd want to play, first and foremost.  It seems that firmly detailing that there's rhyme & reason for development changes and essentially that "it'll be OK" is the key to dampening community blowups.
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Strait Raider

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2013, 03:08:55 pm »
It's the dev's prerogative to build whatever game they want to. It doesn't matter what the majority of people want or don't want. If they decided that adding resources made the game less fun, fine. If they did it just for money, that's fine too.

People who get upset or angry on either side of the issue are foolish.

Aaron

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2013, 04:19:56 pm »
People who get upset or angry on either side of the issue are foolish.

Or just adolescent, thanks to anonymity.
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DiscK

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2013, 01:23:32 pm »
People who get upset or angry on either side of the issue are foolish.

Or just adolescent, thanks to anonymity.
Hopefully BR doesn't become a hub for younglings/whippersnappers. Most kids on Minecraft are insanely annoying.
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Aaron

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 05:01:25 pm »
People who get upset or angry on either side of the issue are foolish.

Or just adolescent, thanks to anonymity.
Hopefully BR doesn't become a hub for younglings/whippersnappers. Most kids on Minecraft are insanely annoying.

We'll just need to have some proper role models for them to follow then, won't we? ;D

Now, something we're thinking of doing before the end of the year is assigning everyone who's purchased before January 1st 2014 into a special "Founder's Club" role.  We haven't worked out all of the details, but more or less there'd be special privileges for being such a member, such as either the only feature prioritization privileges (we figure 5,000's enough to gather a decent survey) or just more extended choices, access to developer builds in-between the bi-weekly builds, etc.

We'd just like to do something special as a thank you for the early adopters who've stuck with us since the beginning and through the harder times.
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erebamagi

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Re: The "Minecraft Effect"
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2014, 07:06:41 pm »
i thank you for the founders club idea. i have stuck with this game and bought it and watched it since the week 54 release. and i'm sure me and the rest of us who have stuck with you guys since the beginning  will make sure that this game stays close to the ideal of fully functioning spaceships