Milestone Schedules

Consultant
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Milestone Schedules

Postby Consultant » Mon May 21, 2018 6:09 am

I've received a few questions about the pros and cons of showing the milestone schedule that we publish. Why do we do it, and don't we think that we are discouraging our community when we miss a milestone?

First off, we don't feel a lot of negative feedback from the community when we miss a milestone. And of course, we try to set the milestones so that we can achieve them. But we have missed a few -- We're late right now on delivering a new powerset and our date for the login test is slipping into June because we have people who come into and out of the project. Our core is a group of unpaid volunteers, supplemented by committed contractors. But people, resources and technical issues arise in every project -- even if a big firm like Google or Microsoft is doing the project. The point of our schedule is to communicate to you all of you, our community, what we are trying to do and to enable you to understand what is happening at any time. To show what we are focused on at the moment.

Right now, I think most of you are aware that we are working on getting a day/ night cycle into Ship of Heroes. And we are getting ready for a login test, so we can see how many players can enter the real game level at once with decent FPS. That will also allow us to relate the players' computer stats to performance. To prepare for the login test we are polishing the area around Arch Park, and trying to push that area closer to "final" status in terms of art style.

At the same time we are creating more mission maps and costumes. We have added PopcornFX to our game to improve the FX of our superpowers. We've begun (not finished) coding our mission system, with difficulty sliders. We have begun (not finished) a program of enabling NPC civilians to be in the city. And we're optimizing the environment, the code, the foliage, the character models, the costumes, everything you can think of, because our development philosophy is to not wait until the end to optimize. All of these things are happening simultaneously, because we are trying to get to Beta at the end of 2018.

The schedule is one way that we tell all of you what we're working on. In that sense it is a transparency tool.

But the schedule is also an internal tool to keep our team of volunteers and contractors aligned around the vision of the game. When we think we might miss a goal, we have internal discussions and brainstorming sessions to ask how we can recover the schedule. Should we substitute another goal? Does missing one milestone affect the critical path for the whole game? Do we need to recruit a new person to help with some particular aspect of the game? Are we on track for launch in 2019?

We think that the milestone schedule that we share with the public is a tool that allows all of you to see how we are doing. What is happening as planned and what has fallen behind. Of course, sometimes milestones are delivered early as well. And since we have a development philosophy that emphasizes building a working prototype of the game and then adding features and expansions as we approach launch, we think we are enabling all of you to join us on the journey towards the launch of Ship of Heroes.

I often get the question of whether we put too much effort into preparing the schedule. The answer is no -- schedules pay for themselves in terms of manhours saved on almost every project. But for a project like ours, where our entire staff is scattered across the globe, and we need to manage a team that is 100% remote contributors, a schedule is essential for us. The hard part of the schedule is not preparing it -- that's a couple of hours at most, every 3-4 months. The hard part is thinking ahead, knowing what we can and cannot do with our small, highly committed team of developers, and a very small budget. Sometimes that means we say "no" to great ideas simply because we cannot do everything (at least right now). But the schedule enables us to be much more efficient with our work.

That's why we create the milestone schedule, and that's also why we publish it.

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Golden Ace
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Golden Ace » Mon May 21, 2018 7:37 am

As always, you have the best posts.
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Consultant » Mon May 21, 2018 7:38 am

This is an internal development picture from yesterday, showing our view of what night should be like in Apotheosis City, in the Arch Park. Note the the clouds are lit by the moon, and that we've updated the road surface with a new look. Also we're adding (and occasionally subtracting) props from the area, getting ready for the upcoming login test.


SoH Night Sky 05212018 Small.jpg
Night Sky in Apotheosis City
SoH Night Sky 05212018 Small.jpg (257.28 KiB) Viewed 981 times

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Golden Ace » Mon May 21, 2018 7:43 am

Double feature! Awesome!

I never noticed this before but you have lights In the middle of your road. That looks awesome I swear this game is starting to look more real than reality. 😄
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Consultant » Mon May 21, 2018 8:04 am

That the new, improved road surface and those reflectors look good in the moonlight. Yesterday we had an exciting series of discussions about the "right" level of darkness for night time. It's darner without the moon. Too dark? The are alternative perspectives. But we're still fiddling with it, in all honesty. Still, I like this look quite a bit.

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Golden Ace » Mon May 21, 2018 8:06 am

That the new, improved road surface and those reflectors look good in the moonlight. Yesterday we had an exciting series of discussions about the "right" level of darkness for night time. It's darner without the moon. Too dark? The are alternative perspectives. But we're still fiddling with it, in all honesty. Still, I like this look quite a bit.
First
I saw what you did 😄

I really love these nights sky’s. Will we have other features such as an occasional meteor streaking across the heavens or anything else like that?
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Consultant » Mon May 21, 2018 9:00 am

Probably yes. We need to get a really good game started. Improvements should never stop. :)

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby lunawisp » Mon May 21, 2018 9:33 am

That looks awesome - and that's a word I rarely use, it's so overused these days. But that night image really does fit that word.
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Golden Ace » Mon May 21, 2018 9:45 am

Lol I just realized I know exactly where this is on the map just by looking at the buildings. I spent way too much time looking at videos
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Gilbegger
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Gilbegger » Mon May 21, 2018 10:13 am

I've received a few questions about the pros and cons of showing the milestone schedule that we publish. Why do we do it, and don't we think that we are discouraging our community when we miss a milestone?

First off, we don't feel a lot of negative feedback from the community when we miss a milestone. And of course, we try to set the milestones so that we can achieve them. But we have missed a few -- We're late right now on delivering a new powerset and our date for the login test is slipping into June because we have people who come into and out of the project. Our core is a group of unpaid volunteers, supplemented by committed contractors. But people, resources and technical issues arise in every project -- even if a big firm like Google or Microsoft is doing the project. The point of our schedule is to communicate to you all of you, our community, what we are trying to do and to enable you to understand what is happening at any time. To show what we are focused on at the moment.

Right now, I think most of you are aware that we are working on getting a day/ night cycle into Ship of Heroes. And we are getting ready for a login test, so we can see how many players can enter the real game level at once with decent FPS. That will also allow us to relate the players' computer stats to performance. To prepare for the login test we are polishing the area around Arch Park, and trying to push that area closer to "final" status in terms of art style.

At the same time we are creating more mission maps and costumes. We have added PopcornFX to our game to improve the FX of our superpowers. We've begun (not finished) coding our mission system, with difficulty sliders. We have begun (not finished) a program of enabling NPC civilians to be in the city. And we're optimizing the environment, the code, the foliage, the character models, the costumes, everything you can think of, because our development philosophy is to not wait until the end to optimize. All of these things are happening simultaneously, because we are trying to get to Beta at the end of 2018.

The schedule is one way that we tell all of you what we're working on. In that sense it is a transparency tool.

But the schedule is also an internal tool to keep our team of volunteers and contractors aligned around the vision of the game. When we think we might miss a goal, we have internal discussions and brainstorming sessions to ask how we can recover the schedule. Should we substitute another goal? Does missing one milestone affect the critical path for the whole game? Do we need to recruit a new person to help with some particular aspect of the game? Are we on track for launch in 2019?

We think that the milestone schedule that we share with the public is a tool that allows all of you to see how we are doing. What is happening as planned and what has fallen behind. Of course, sometimes milestones are delivered early as well. And since we have a development philosophy that emphasizes building a working prototype of the game and then adding features and expansions as we approach launch, we think we are enabling all of you to join us on the journey towards the launch of Ship of Heroes.

I often get the question of whether we put too much effort into preparing the schedule. The answer is no -- schedules pay for themselves in terms of manhours saved on almost every project. But for a project like ours, where our entire staff is scattered across the globe, and we need to manage a team that is 100% remote contributors, a schedule is essential for us. The hard part of the schedule is not preparing it -- that's a couple of hours at most, every 3-4 months. The hard part is thinking ahead, knowing what we can and cannot do with our small, highly committed team of developers, and a very small budget. Sometimes that means we say "no" to great ideas simply because we cannot do everything (at least right now). But the schedule enables us to be much more efficient with our work.

That's why we create the milestone schedule, and that's also why we publish it.

I see other projects NOT showing very much after years of being in development. Very little video updates or very little content in the videos. In my opinion SOH is doing it the right way. So much in fact I think its hard for some to believe you are actually where you say you are in the project.

Im not going to bash the other projects and how they release information. I hope they all release and everyone finds what is fun for them , but I believe they way you are rolling out the "milestone schedule" is the best way of doing it.

As much as we all should remember to be patient in the process, you may also want to be patient with us. We all are desperate to find our new City of heroes "home"...and for me...this looks like home.

And on another note....WOW...that nighttime picture looks great!!

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Consultant » Mon May 21, 2018 11:16 am

Gilbegger, on behalf of the team that made that scene, thank you very much. Of course we did not show the earlier screengrabs where we all muttered "what in the world is happening? It looks like midnight in a coal mine." And yes, each team can legitimately have its own methodology. We started getting questions about the schedule, which is actually a little odd since we've been publishing them for 18 months, but then again we have a lot of folks who have just found us recently. So I thought I should explain the philosophy we have about the schedule.

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby Golden Ace » Mon May 21, 2018 11:56 am

It was a big post in an informative post. So that means I should be looking for a new ship of heroes article pretty soon. Maybe today or tomorrow.
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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby sensible » Mon May 21, 2018 12:29 pm

It was a big post in an informative post. So that means I should be looking for a new ship of heroes article pretty soon. Maybe today or tomorrow.
Hahah, @GoldenAce i admire your assiduously attentive observational prowess as always. I bet there will be some articles to. : )

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby PowerAce » Mon May 21, 2018 1:31 pm

That’s both a very compelling and a very calming nighttime view of Apotheosis City!

It actually reminds me of farming Banished Pantheon masks near Talos Island just outside the entrance to Dark Astoria. Oh, the memories.
It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.

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Re: Milestone Schedules

Postby PowerAce » Mon May 21, 2018 4:52 pm

And I should add it’s a lot more detailed and beautiful than Talos Island! A big thank you to all of the team members! It just makes me want to go for a stroll. 😉
It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.


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