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Stellaris Dev Diary #226 - Custodians & Next Steps

Hello everyone!

Today I thought we’d go back and talk a bit about the Custodian Initiative and what the future can hold.

The 3.1 ‘Lem’ Update which we put out about 2 weeks ago contained a lot of good stuff that we'd been working on for some months. We’re really happy with how you have received the Custodian Initiative and the first free update, so it’s really fun to see that things seem to be moving in a clearly positive direction.

The Custodian Initiative
With the Custodian Initiative we’re doing a lot of new things at once, and in combination with a lot of internal changes as well, means we’re still learning and adapting. One goal that we haven’t been able to quite deploy a solution for is how to better work together with everyone in the community. We very much appreciate your feedback and we like to have constructive or fun interactions with you, and we want to figure out how to make this process more effective for us. For example, we’ve been thinking about how to have more public-facing bug tracking where you could potentially vote for issues (the voting functionality currently exists in our bug forums, albeit a bit more hidden than would be ideal). None of this has any concrete plans right now, but I thought it was important to mention anyway, so that you can more clearly know that we’re very interested in figuring out how to better make use of community engagement and feedback.

If you have any thoughts, let us know! We are also interested in hearing if you have ideas on how you can organize yourselves in the community to promote ideas, bugs and suggestions for improvements.

Our primary ways of interacting with you are our forums, reddit and discord.

Future Custodian Updates
As we’ve mentioned before, we aim to release a new free update about every 3 months. These updates will sometimes be released together with a new DLC. The next update is scheduled for late November.

In the November 3.2 update, our strategy will be to be a bit less ambitious than the Lem Update, and to focus on a bit more safe improvements. Going forwards, we may alternate between safe and more spicy changes for these free updates. Even if we aim to make 3.2 a bit safer, there will still be some interesting changes to look forward to – like pretty significant improvements for the AI. We will talk a bit more about that in detail next week. We will talk more about 3.2 in the coming weeks after that as well.

After 3.2 we will be aiming to release a 3.3 update sometime in February. This update will be a bit more spicy. Among other things, the Unity & Sprawl rework, mentioned earlier in dev diary 215, is likely to be finished and tested by then. Given the spiciness of these changes, we’re also looking into the possibility of an Open Beta for them to help things go as smoothly as possible :) We will be talking more about that in the coming months, mainly after November.

Keep in mind that the Custodian Initiative is still in its infancy and things are prone to change, so try to be patient with what you can expect with future updates. Together we'll be able to make Stellaris even more awesome!


That is all for this week! Next week we will be back to talk about AI improvements for the upcoming 3.2 update.
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I really like the direction Stellaris' devs are pushing the development of Stellaris. It sounds like a careful, and constructive initiative. I just re-read the Unity & admin cap rework idea and it sounds like a very interesting proposal. I like how open and humble you are about it.

Stellaris definitely have a host of problems, from bad UI for sprawling empires to bad AI for late game, but I hope it can be the best it can be with time and care. A post some time ago by a player said Stellaris was thrown off track by numerous ambitious changes and ought to return to its source. Maybe. But building on that difficult infancy also seems a good idea.

As @Liggi just said, a roadmap on what the devs think they could bring us would be very appreciated.
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I'm quite interested when can we expect news on the non-custodian stuff, i.e. the next DLC whatever it may be.
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Any plans to share an updated roadmap soon?

It'd be really fantastic to see a general spread of upcoming priorities (in no particular order) for the team, just to get an idea of where the game might be going in the future.
in 5 years of stellaris this post is about the closest to a roadmap i've ever seen, so i'm pretty satisfied on that front ;D
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Honestly, a public Kanban board that just shows the high level "List" - split out with "Started" "Doing" "Done", with the ability for the community to upvote things in the "List". Allow the developers to add any context / updates (if/as they want too).

QA people submit the list items (probably could automate an import/export) - and every month or set period of time you pick the highest or "fixable" ones. A special column for "Complicated" to shove things over that you just don't have time for right now. Maybe you can commit to taking on 2-3 "Complicated" every period so they do eventually get dealt with.

Those picked issues just get moved to "Started", and every e.g. Week or custom period you update the movement of those items that may have moved to Started -> Doing -> Done.

Don't think would take a lot of time and would be very engaging for most of your community I think ^^

Example below - I'm sure Paradox would find a nice way to brand it and make it look like its part of a Stellaris UI :)

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Great news, really appreciate the sharing of the long-term plan.

If AI improvements come under the "safe" updates, then by all means wrap yourselves up in padding and polystyrene, don't go outside and make yourselves as safe as possible - personally, I really appreciate updates and improvements on AI and optimisation as much as any shiny new bells and whistles.
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You could use UserVoice (I think it was UserVoice). Users would link the issues from the forums/reddit then people will vote. Since people have only a limited number of votes, it makes them really consider what they want to vote for.

The forum is already a decent bug tracker, no need to have a github or another forum for that.
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Definitely do the public-facing bug tracking thing. It will lessen the impression that the userbase has of the game's issues being ignored by Paradox.
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