Author Topic: New Update - ATG development limps along - hoping for mid-2018 GA now...  (Read 260 times)

Short version, with moderate snarky commentary - Jon and Paradox bounced off each other hard, he admits he totally burned out on the game previously, and that once he wrote it - realized his original vision wouldn't work and he couldn't figure out what to do with the late game. Now that's he's out from Paradox, he has some new ideas on how to redesign the late game, and is re-energized to work on the game. Again. Also, he's totally going to update once a month. Promise. If he doesn't burn out (again), he thinks mid-2018 is doable. He'll keep us posted, Gloomhaven style, if things slip. Totally.

ps - new late game will involve settling with permanent structures, and he's toying with the idea of borders... if he can figure out the transition. Sounds like he'll need to design whole new systems for perm structures, and its a possible fatal design creep - but he says he has ideas and its not as bad as I think it is. Fingers crossed. Toes too.

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Long, Original Version:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonshafer/jon-shafers-at-the-gates/posts/2049993?ref=activity

Hey all,

You may have heard, you may not have, but recently I've parted ways from Paradox. In the end it really was creative and cultural differences - I can't go into details and will simply leave it at that. I still love Paradox and its games, but things sadly just didn't work out. I'll still always be rooting for all my friends over there, and wish them the best of luck.

So what's next?

I'll be focusing on At The Gates again. I can honestly say it'll be nice to go back to working on it full-time now that I've had some space and can return with fresh eyes and enthusiasm.

So what's happened with AtG?

I got burned out, to be honest, and ultimately wasn't really sure how to wrap things up in a way I could be proud of. I'm a perfectionist, and at times that trait definitely works against me. It sounds obvious of course, but when you're years deep in a project, have a task list a mile long, and run your own company with one full-time employee it's easy to lose sight of the fact that actually finishing something is more important than making sure it's perfect. Needless to say, it's been a hard lesson. I'll probably always lean a bit too far in that direction, but at least now I'm aware of that and can fight against it.

I made a few attempts at getting back into things but it became truly overwhelming at a certain point, so I stepped away. I'm not proud of that, and I apologise to all of the people I've let down. Making a full-scale 4X game mostly by yourself is an insane undertaking, and not one I would recommend. I thought I could pull it off within the time frame of a normal game's development cycle, but that was an incorrect assumption.

I had hoped my time at Paradox would serve as a source of inspiration, and fortunately I was definitely right about that. I learned a lot even in the short amount of time I was there, and have a clear plan on the design front for how I want to finish up AtG now. I've also recruited new help on the production and AI programming side to assist in shipping this bad boy, so it won't all be on my shoulders any more.

So what's the plan then?

The main places where AtG still needs attention are the mid-game (somewhat) and the late-game (a lot). The first few hours are very solid (aside from bugs and an outdated tutorial), so the goal now is a complete experience from start to finish.

To achieve that we're going to modify the arc of the game from what was originally pitched. I kept banging my head against the same wall over and over again, but the time away has allowed me to explore a new approach I'm confident will be superior. Instead of just migrating around the map for ten hours as resources run out all around you, roughly a third of the way in you'll start to settle down before building a secure kingdom and eventually confronting the Romans directly.

While this might sound ambitious the mechanics actually won't need to change much. 90% of what's in the game now can stay exactly the same, though we will be incorporating permanent structures in order to foster this new approach. I've also brought borders back in a related change (the main challenge right now is how exactly to transition between transient and permanent ownership of map structures), but we have yet to fully playtest the change - I'll keep you guys updated on the results.

Speaking of which, from here on out I'll be posting a project status update on the 1st of every month. I've been bad about this in the past, I know. I basically stepped away from social media last year, but I'll be active again here and on Twitter so if you have any questions (or justified rants) I'll be around to answer them. As for when the game will be done, I can't say for certain until I've built a task list based on our new, final objectives and had a couple other folks double-check things, but the target is mid-2018. Estimates from the last year or so have been based on part-time work, which is incredibly hard to get right with a big project like this, so I'm optimistic that things will turn out better this time. Could the game slip again? Of course, but I'll make sure to let you know if it does along with what progress we're actually making along the way.

Thanks to all the backers and fans who've hung around over the years. I promise there truly is a good game here, we just need to finish it. It's been a long road, both for the game and me myself. But now it's time to finish what we started. Thanks for sticking with us!

- Jon
Humble
Windows 7  Pro SP1
English-US
i7-4770 3.4 Ghz, 16 GB Ram
GTX 750ti
1920 x1080

Re: New Update - ATG development limps along - hoping for mid-2018 GA now...
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2017, 06:17:22 PM »
Welcome back...

I am hoping you will finish this baby in good time.

I wonder also on cultural differences since I also ended in Sweden... and its been interesting XP so far!

Re: New Update - ATG development limps along - hoping for mid-2018 GA now...
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 09:48:23 AM »
so I'd like to comment on a few items here.

 "I'll be active again here and on Twitter so if you have any questions (or justified rants) I'll be around to answer them."  So despite being one of the more vocal members of this and the KS forum, you have never once engaged me directly either on a forum or privately.   Does this update me you will start to communicate with me? 

Secondly, I requested on KS that you open up the beta testing to all backers, as I think we're well past the expectations for those who contributed more.  As someone with over 2,000 hours on Civ 5 and many more hours on Civ 4 I think I could positively contribute if I had access to the game.

finally, "Instead of just migrating around the map for ten hours as resources run out all around you, roughly a third of the way in you'll start to settle down before building a secure kingdom and eventually confronting the Romans directly." 

ok so wandering around the map for 10 hours foraging sounds a bit excessive and boring.  I suggest you immediately do away with that nonsense. 

Is this game going to be like Civ 5 whereby the routine decisions are simplified and made for you or is it going to be more of a paradox Grand Strategy game?  Either way, I would like some clarification on establishing a kingdom and how it will work?  we are playing as Scandinavian peoples that have gone though a forced migration west due to the Huns and have ended up in Roman controlled lands.  Some end up being Roman soldiers, some are in regular conflict with the  Romans, and some are fighting each other.  The common thread that they share is war and it took approx. 1,000 years for Rome to finally fall.  How do you plan to reconcile and integrate the politics and cultural issues involved in getting these people to work together as a common nation against Rome?



Re: New Update - ATG development limps along - hoping for mid-2018 GA now...
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 11:11:17 AM »
I'm not Jon, but as someone who played a lot of the backer beta when it was still being updated - the beta game is basically only that "initial" 10 hours and is a lot of fun - I don't necessarily agree with his solution, but that 10 hours won't be boring. Its really unlike any other 4x game out there (still), and you have an interesting game where you put down temporary roots, exploit local resources, and then have to decide the best time to move on - you don't want to be trapped in the Winter in a bad spot. Instead of upgrading buildings, you gather and upgrade clans within your tribe with specific roles (and likes/dislikes).

Hopefully he opens up the beta to more backers - I think the game (untouched the past 18 months) is a lot of fun, and is really only lacking a metagame goal/endgame.
Humble
Windows 7  Pro SP1
English-US
i7-4770 3.4 Ghz, 16 GB Ram
GTX 750ti
1920 x1080

Re: New Update - ATG development limps along - hoping for mid-2018 GA now...
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2017, 01:28:13 PM »
My point was really time.  10 hours for act 1 means a single game played full through could take days or weeks.  This is fine if you're doing the game in a grand strategy style like crusader kings or Victoria. 

However, Jon doesn't have the manpower to do something like this.