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Stellaris Dev Diary #212: PDXCon Remixed and 3.0.3

Hi everyone!

Two big things this week.

The first is that 3.0.3 has moved from beta to live on all platforms, with the full details available here. 3.0.3 includes numerous economic and AI adjustments, bugfixes, and two new sliders in galaxy generation to control pop growth behavior without the need for a mod. There have been a few more fixes added since the last beta update, so check out the patch notes.

The other is that PDXCon Remixed, an online adaptation of our annual convention, is kicking off!

PDXCon Remixed Logo

We’ve had a variety of events including the Treasure Hunt and Grand Campaign (praise snek) over the past few weeks, but the main events start this weekend.

I’ll list a few of the events of particular interest to Stellaris players, but the entire schedule can be found here. (insert link)

Friday, 21st of May:
  • At 20:00 CEST, the Announcement Show will have all sorts of news and revelations, you can watch at twitch.tv/paradoxinteractive. (The pre-show event starts at 19:30!)

Saturday, 22nd of May:
  • At 01:10, Product Marketing Manager Pontus Rundqvist will be hosting a talk called Fanatic Egalitarians: Bringing Stellaris to Consoles with our friends from Tantalus, Producer David Giles, Designer David Doe, and Programmer Adam Clarke.
  • At 20:00, the Paradox Awards show will be held, honoring the best community in gaming. Modders, community organizers, content creators and more will be highlighted and awarded for their amazing work with all our games.

Sunday, 23rd of May:
  • At 00:40, Community Ambassador Graeme “DJ Truthsayer” Crawford will host Defining Your Own Space: Making Great Stellaris Content, featuring some of the brightest stars of Stellaris content creation. ASpec, Enigmatic Rose, Old Man Mordaith, and Stefan Annon will give tips on making fun and engaging videos.
  • At 02:10, DJ will continue with How to Conquer the Galaxy Without Really Trying, with QA Lead Joseph Gardener, Embedded QA Byron Aytoun, Regunes, UMAR, and Stefan Annon teaching you how to turn a fledgling empire into an intergalactic powerhouse!
  • At 13:10, make first contact with some of the developers at Meet the Stars: Stellaris Dev Mingle on Discord.
  • At 14:10, DJ will host Fanatic Xenophiles: Creating Character for Stellaris, featuring Senior Artist Frida Eriksson and Artist Emma Jonsson. See how our worlds are populated with a growing array of fascinating creatures.
  • 14:55 brings us Fanatic Spiritualists: The Philosophy Behind Stellaris, where Live Content Producer Anders Carlsson grills Game Director Daniel Moregård, Content Designer Gemma Thomson, and myself (Game Designer Stephen Muray) about the stories being told through Stellaris, and how the game is designed to create those stories.
  • At 15:45, the Fanatic Materialists: A Look at Stellaris Tech panel, featuring Tech Lead Lorenzo Berni, Senior Programmer Gustav Palmqvist, Content Designer and Technical Scripter Pierre Du Plessis, and Former Tech Lead Gwenael Tranvouez will share their insight on how the technology behind Stellaris is created.

That’s not all, see the full list of events here to plan your agenda, with more updates following the Announcement Show.

There'll also be a Stellaris Virtual LAN Party on the Stellaris Discord all weekend! Join to play Community hosted multiplayer games (competitive and roleplay games), learn to play Stellaris from experienced community members, win some game keys, and maybe a chance to Play with a Dev!

Enjoy the convention!
 
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I won't lie; I was hoping there would be some updates on the longer-term direction for the growth mechanics and other tweaks in the works, but good news that the patch is fully released.
 
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It's announcements like these which constitute #NotADevelopmentDiary.

The first is that 3.0.3 has moved from beta to live on all platforms, with the full details available here. 3.0.3 includes numerous economic and AI adjustments, bugfixes, and two new sliders in galaxy generation to control pop growth behavior without the need for a mod. There have been a few more fixes added since the last beta update, so check out the patch notes.
That part might potentially be a dev diary.

Will continue to use my mod to remove the new processing overhead of the pop growth behaviour system which the sliders leave in place.

Nice to see the other fixes. Enjoy PDXCon!
 
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The link to the full schedule is broken for me. It just says “(insert link)”.

edit: refreshed and the link is there that sends me to the PDXCON Remixed page. But the “(insert link)” is still there.
 
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I'm confused. What was the point of the AI Feedback threads when none of the reported bugs and deficiencies were fixed during the Beta?
 
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sillyrobot

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I'm confused. What was the point of the AI Feedback threads when none of the reported bugs and deficiencies were fixed during the Beta?

Well, it gave those who wanted to donate time to a for-profit company something to do. Also, they can still use those reports as they slowly move forward either redeveloping the AI or getting someone to develop enough expertise in the AI to build out changes. Ultimately, they should at least identify unit tests / performance tests / benchmarks to apply.
 
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They explained up-thread - to collect information for further AI changes after this patch.
Then why make it a part of the Beta? That directly implies that the feedback will impact said Beta. It was either careless or disingenuous of them to phrase it in terms of the Beta. Either way, it is rather infuriating.
 
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Then why make it a part of the Beta? That directly implies that the feedback will impact said Beta. It was either careless or disingenuous of them to phrase it in terms of the Beta. Either way, it is rather infuriating.
Well clearly the beta was to do three things:

- test the pop mechanic adjustments with a playerbase bigger than they could do internally before a full release
- test the bugfixes (in case they lead to other bugs as sometimes happen) before a full release
- to collect feedback on the AI to inform AI changes in forthcoming patches
 
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Well clearly the beta was to do three things:

- test the pop mechanic adjustments with a playerbase bigger than they could do internally before a full release
- test the bugfixes (in case they lead to other bugs as sometimes happen) before a full release
- to collect feedback on the AI to inform AI changes in forthcoming patches

Yup, we've got some really good feedback from the open beta and it's informed a lot of decisions we're making. Just need more time to implement changes, test them, refine them, test them again, etc...
 
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[snip]
- to collect feedback on the AI to inform AI changes in forthcoming patches
You don't need a Beta branch for that. All the problems in 3.0.3 were in 3.0.2 and even 3.0.1 when it comes to AI.

So many of us have been waiting for so long for PDX to do something meaningful with the AI, then 3.0 comes and makes the damn thing worse than ever. Pop Growth gets the limelight while all around me I just see the AI collapse worse than ever.

So when PDX makes the most direct effort towards AI in quite some time by asking for feedback and then just moves on and says 3.0.3 is the last of the 3.0.* patches, it makes me enraged.

At the very minimum, they had to jump in those threads and make a few statements or make a meaningful statement in the 3.0.3 release.
 
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You don't need a Beta branch for that. All the problems in 3.0.3 were in 3.0.2 and even 3.0.1 when it comes to AI.

So many of us have been waiting for so long for PDX to do something meaningful with the AI, then 3.0 comes and makes the damn thing worse than ever. Pop Growth gets the limelight while all around me I just see the AI collapse worse than ever.

So when PDX makes the most direct effort towards AI in quite some time by asking for feedback and then just moves on and says 3.0.3 is the last of the 3.0.* patches, it makes me enraged.

At the very minimum, they had to jump in those threads and make a few statements or make a meaningful statement in the 3.0.3 release.
If they're asking a group of players (likely players with a lot of expertise, given those are the ones of the forums/likely to opt-in to a beta) for feedback on pop mechanics and bugfixes, why not also use that period to collect feedback on the AI too? It makes sense to roll those two things together while everyone's in "feedback mode" of running stuff in observer mode, playing games and taking feedback notes etc.
 
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If they're asking a group of players (likely players with a lot of expertise, given those are the ones of the forums/likely to opt-in to a beta) for feedback on pop mechanics and bugfixes, why not also use that period to collect feedback on the AI too? It makes sense to roll those two things together while everyone's in "feedback mode" of running stuff in observer mode, playing games and taking feedback notes etc.

Because you distract your testers and dilute feedback that you can use for iterative change in the beta. you also limit your pool of respondents unnecessarily. Not everyone has access to the beta (or wants to use a beta version) and had the call gone out to all users of 3.0.X, a larger pool of respondents would be available. It also sets up expectations by inference that simply were not true.
 
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Because you distract your testers and dilute feedback that you can use for iterative change in the beta. you also limit your pool of respondents unnecessarily. Not everyone has access to the beta (or wants to use a beta version) and had the call gone out to all users of 3.0.X, a larger pool of respondents would be available. It also sets up expectations by inference that simply were not true.
That's certainly a hypothesis about how a beta would work. Though, I don't think it's borne out by how the beta turned out. Two AI feedback/discussion threads - one running to five pages and one running to eight - seems like a decent amount of feedback to me. The QA comments since certainly suggest that they're pleased with the feedback they got.
 
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That's certainly a hypothesis about how a beta would work. Though, I don't think it's borne out by how the beta turned out. Two AI feedback/discussion threads - one running to five pages and one running to eight - seems like a decent amount of feedback to me. The QA comments since certainly suggest that they're pleased with the feedback they got.

Not really. Answer to the first set of questions (how is growth doing) effectively stopped when the second set of questions (how is AI doing) came out. Had they performed an iterative change to 3.0.3 and received more feedback, they had another week-long opprtunity for further refinement - and it does need it with a whole bunch of additional edge cases identified.

Also you didn't address (a) that it restricted the pool of respondents (I for one, do not participate in betas for for-profit companies unless they are paying me) or (b) that it set up inferred expectations of follow-up because it was presented in the beta.
 
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Not really. Answer to the first set of questions (how is growth doing) effectively stopped when the second set of questions (how is AI doing) came out. Had they performed an iterative change to 3.0.3 and received more feedback, they had another week-long opprtunity for further refinement - and it does need it with a whole bunch of additional edge cases identified.
What kind of interative change?

Also you didn't address (a) that it restricted the pool of respondents (I for one, do not participate in betas for for-profit companies unless they are paying me) or
I'm confused. Do you think betas are wrong (because beta are companies exploiting players by requesting feedback without offering payment)?

(b) that it set up inferred expectations of follow-up because it was presented in the beta.
People can mistakenly infer things. If they infer something that's not explicitly stated - and which doesn't subsequently turn out to be accurate - they should reflect on how they can make better inferrences in future, rather than lashing out.
 
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Nyrael

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Then why make it a part of the Beta? That directly implies that the feedback will impact said Beta. It was either careless or disingenuous of them to phrase it in terms of the Beta. Either way, it is rather infuriating.

Because it helps identify the problem sooner, which makes it likelier to get a fix sooner rather than later, and may help identifying other issues sooner rather than later. It's naive to expect that all non-critical reported bugs and issues will be solved soon after being reported. No software development works that way, non-critical issues often get fixed in the phase after they were discovered, unless all previous bugs and issues have been taken care of (which is extremely unlikely).
 
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