I wish the CK3 team would communicate more like the Stellaris team.

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CollectorOfBolts

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I hope you realise you're reading a lot of specifics in the phrase "we had some deadlines"

I am fully aware that my post was dripping with unfounded assumptions to the point that I don't even count today's DD as vindication for any of them. Thank you for the response, though!
 
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Thanks for the reply! I would also LOVE to have open betas, it's been a really great feature in some of my favorite games (shoutout to Project Zomboid) and being able to try out a new version with issues as a "beta" is far less annoying than running into those issues on a full release.
For what it’s worth, Stellaris has been offering Open Betas for the releases that substantially rework existing mechanics. I have asked the devs there to make an Open Beta for every new version, but they said that the overhead of running an Open Beta doesn’t always justify the benefits (I disagree, but who am I), so they reserve it for larger, potentially very breaking changes.

I’m sure their team could share their experiences with the studios working on CK3, so they can decide if this idea is worth trying out for CK as well (I hope it is!).
 
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For what it’s worth, Stellaris has been offering Open Betas for the releases that substantially rework existing mechanics. I have asked the devs there to make an Open Beta for every new version, but they said that the overhead of running an Open Beta doesn’t always justify the benefits (I disagree, but who am I), so they reserve it for larger, potentially very breaking changes.

I’m sure their team could share their experiences with the studios working on CK3, so they can decide if this idea is worth trying out for CK as well (I hope it is!).
Very true. One other point, perhaps a bit under the radar, I think an open beta could potentially be a way to soften the blow that bugs have on reviews of expansions.

One thing I've seen over and over with PDX games is that oftentimes new bugs (sometimes gamebreaking, looking at you EU4) will come along with the free major update that comes with expansions. Often the changes in the patch and the changes in the expansion get conflated, and that leads to negative reviews. Being able to separate the patch and the expansion associated with the patch, even for a few weeks, might be worthwhile from a design standpoint (I'm not a developer, obviously not telling PDX what to do, this might be completely impractical).

It could (1) give more time to fix issues introduced by patches before the expansion releases, and (2) make clear that the features in the expansion are separate from the features in the free patch.

(tl;dr I know open betas might not be easy to do, but dang it I LOVE them and think they're a good thing.)
 
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:p If I had the info for you, I'd share it. That said, I hope you realise you're reading a lot of specifics in the phrase "we had some deadlines": it's a big team for a large game split across two studios in two offices aiming at ~3 new pieces of DLC next year + a free patch (per the floorplan dev diary) + aiming for a free patch this year. The 3-4 of us most active on the forums having deadlines at the same time doesn't mean we're all working on the upcoming patch, or even that we're all working on the same thing. There'll be a DD up when we've got something to say.

I make it to be ~2.5 months since Friends & Foes, not six. :shrugs: I don't know what you're asking for here, honestly: either we can mention things early to let y'all know what we're up to, but in that case don't expect lots of details coming quickly, or we can mention things closer to release with a steady drip-feed of DDs, but then don't expect to know about vague WIP plans far in advance, or we can put out filler DDs that might be interesting to some but not all, but then not all the posts'll pertain to future DLCs.

The current approach is to put out fewer dev diaries that generally have more to say, partially because folks got pretty vitriolic about most DDs that didn't laser-focus on a DLC, and to try to be more engaged in the forums, Discords, and Reddit in the meanwhilst. We're not radio silent, we're just not talking about upcoming DLC at the moment.

:) That's an interesting question! In my experience, I think it's usually when we've got something that's vaguely functional and has at least a placeholder version of actual UX available. It's sorta difficult to show things off otherwise - there's always paper prototypes, sometimes script prototypes, and the initial placeholder UX (i.e., the stuff Code makes in ~10m so there's enough for Design to work on), but those all tend to run into issues in DDs. It's easy to misunderstand a paper prototype (typically due to a lack of detail implying a lack of thought - this is something you see when anyone is given an early system with less than full context), script prototypes don't tend to show off much at all unless you know what you're looking at, and initial placeholder UX looks so god-awful that it can really sour people on a feature if that's all they've got.

If I'm honest, I also can't say I know many devs, especially outside of crowdfunded or early access titles, who open up the design process that early or that communally. To take one example: I don't think Royal Court, for all the problems it had, would have much benefited much from being opened up early on. There would've been a lot of helpful feedback, for sure, but there also would've been an inordinate amount of lobbying to scrap the 3D scene and past a certain (very early) point that just wasn't going to happen, which is just asking for drama. More to the point, though, a lot of the issues it had didn't stem from a lack of good input/feedbacking/iterative processes, they came from a combination of the same post-release turnover many large titles go through, us onboarding another studio remotely on our project, and the general chaos of a global pandemic. Opening development at an earlier stage wouldn't necessarily have helped it much, but would've given more time for people to get worked up about particular bits. So whilst I see what you're saying, I don't think that's quite the best way to go about fixing it.

My personal preference would, instead, be to do more work with things like open betas, or openly scheduling popularly voted bugs & suggestions from their relevant sub-forums to be prioritised in the yearly free patch. ^^' And of course, we're still trying to be more active in the forums and get more people from the team active too. That one's a very much on-going.
Wait, are you telling me that the very vocal group of folks that want y’all to open up your design process for their critique… might be overestimating the importance and value of their input to the design process.

That their overestimation of the worth of their feedback might lead to a positive feedback loop among them that turns some of them downright nasty, especially when they don’t think that the devs are responding to them “appropriately“ given how valuable and necessary they believe their input is to the design process?

Are you telling me that you all have a pretty clear design concept in mind and that you’ve got data that support your confidence in your ability to do your job as devs at least somewhat effectively???

I’m going to need a lie down. I’m shocked.

*note: some folks like @johnty5 want more formal communication for reasons other than attempting to play armchair game director. Let me be clear that my sarcasm isn’t aimed at folks who just have a different preference in update style than I do. :)
 
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Very true. One other point, perhaps a bit under the radar, I think an open beta could potentially be a way to soften the blow that bugs have on reviews of expansions.

One thing I've seen over and over with PDX games is that oftentimes new bugs (sometimes gamebreaking, looking at you EU4) will come along with the free major update that comes with expansions. Often the changes in the patch and the changes in the expansion get conflated, and that leads to negative reviews. Being able to separate the patch and the expansion associated with the patch, even for a few weeks, might be worthwhile from a design standpoint (I'm not a developer, obviously not telling PDX what to do, this might be completely impractical).
Yes, no matter how good the QA team is at their job, there is simply a huge difference in man-hours that the community can provide, even if it’s non-professional feedback. Catching gamebreaking bugs that are rare but nasty, or discovering exploits are things that the community is willing to do for free, and would help prevent another EU4 disaster. I think saving the review average on Steam is reason enough for Open Betas to be worth it.
 
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*note: some folks like @johnty5 want more formal communication for reasons other than attempting to play armchair game director. Let me be clear that my sarcasm isn’t aimed at folks who just have a different preference in update style than I do. :)
Thanks for adding this. Yep - I’m totally happy with the devs not giving two hoots about my random design thoughts. I want more communication for no more sophisticated reason than a child-like desire for the excitement of the new. :)
 
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Very true. One other point, perhaps a bit under the radar, I think an open beta could potentially be a way to soften the blow that bugs have on reviews of expansions.
One thing Paradox have been very, very firm on, across teams:

No open betas for paid DLC.
 
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I have asked the devs there to make an Open Beta for every new version, but they said that the overhead of running an Open Beta doesn’t always justify the benefits
I think saving the review average on Steam is reason enough for Open Betas to be worth it.
How could any of us evaluate the cost/benefit ratio when we don’t have the data? If the devs have said the overhead is too high, what basis do we players have for arguing with that assessment? How can we argue without the relevant data?

FWIW, my spouse was in games development, so I sometimes heard a bit about some of the internal discussions. My understanding re. open betas is that they are more marketing than anything else (from the studio’s perspective, if not the players.’).
 
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I think saving the review average on Steam is reason enough for Open Betas to be worth it.
I’m glad you’re a lot more optimistic on this than I am (this is not sarcasm), but I don’t think hosting Open Betas would “save” the Steam reviews average.

The only CK3 DLC that has a positive average, last I checked, was the free one. And when I checked, the most recent reviews said things like “well it’s free so whatever”.

I firmly believe that there is a vocal, toxic and abusive subset of players who will be unhappy no matter what. I have thought this since the day I had to explain to my partner that, no, all those threads on the Stellaris discussion page with “I thought PDX was based” titles were not misspelling “biased“.

I also think they’re part of the reason communication is, well, not to the level everyone wants.

Imagine trying to appease costumers who are jerks to you at your job (I know they’re not paid for forum time, so it’s even worse, imo). You have to grin and bear the smaller stuff since it doesn’t rise to the level of what your workplace considers actionable.

Personally, in that situation I’d also be frustrated by the people who, because they act in good faith, assume others act in good faith. It sucks when someone tells me (even if trying to be helpful) “if you just do this, they’ll be appeased”. I’ve never known bullies to be appeased by anything their targets do, though they may move on if they’re not getting whatever prior kick they got any more.

I’d also not want to spend my time interacting with the jerk customers at my workplace. There’s no way I can please them, so what’s the point?

Thanks for adding this. Yep - I’m totally happy with the devs not giving two hoots about my random design thoughts. I want more communication for no more sophisticated reason than a child-like desire for the excitement of the new. :)

Yeah. Wanted to be clear, since you and I have different ideas of good communication.

Meanwhile, my dumb ADHD butt goes “ah, yes, less waiting with the uncontrollable urge to VIBRATE OUT OF EXISTENCE FROM EXCITEMENT.”
 
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I’m glad you’re a lot more optimistic on this than I am (this is not sarcasm), but I don’t think hosting Open Betas would “save” the Steam reviews average.

The only CK3 DLC that has a positive average, last I checked, was the free one. And when I checked, the most recent reviews said things like “well it’s free so whatever”.

I firmly believe that there is a vocal, toxic and abusive subset of players who will be unhappy no matter what. I have thought this since the day I had to explain to my partner that, no, all those threads on the Stellaris discussion page with “I thought PDX was based” titles were not misspelling “biased“.

I also think they’re part of the reason communication is, well, not to the level everyone wants.

Imagine trying to appease costumers who are jerks to you at your job (I know they’re not paid for forum time, so it’s even worse, imo). You have to grin and bear the smaller stuff since it doesn’t rise to the level of what your workplace considers actionable.

Personally, in that situation I’d also be frustrated by the people who, because they act in good faith, assume others act in good faith. It sucks when someone tells me (even if trying to be helpful) “if you just do this, they’ll be appeased”. I’ve never known bullies to be appeased by anything their targets do, though they may move on if they’re not getting whatever prior kick they got any more.

I’d also not want to spend my time interacting with the jerk customers at my workplace. There’s no way I can please them, so what’s the point?



Yeah. Wanted to be clear, since you and I have different ideas of good communication.

Meanwhile, my dumb ADHD butt goes “ah, yes, less waiting with the uncontrollable urge to VIBRATE OUT OF EXISTENCE FROM EXCITEMENT.”
Me wondering if the devs might have a tough time being active on the PDX forums more regularly because it feels like 1 in 5 threads atm are some spin on "How come there's not content for CK3 literally right now"
 
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Me wondering if the devs might have a tough time being active on the PDX forums more regularly
Have you seen how many threads Wokeg has posted to in the past few days? :)
 
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I make it to be ~2.5 months since Friends & Foes, not six. :shrugs: I don't know what you're asking for here, honestly: either we can mention things early to let y'all know what
iirc, it was said that F&F was essentially a love project done by an employee in their free time, so that's why I specified "scheduled DLC" Correct me if i'm wrong, though.

We're not radio silent, we're just not talking about upcoming DLC at the moment.
Maybe radio silent was the wrong term to use, but I don't believe anything has been said about the next DLC since it was announced in September. I mean, obviously i'm not in your studio and I don't know how quickly work is being done, but would 1 dev diary a month concerning the upcoming DLC be too much? Surely enough work is done in a month that it could create content for a decentish Dev Diary?
 
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How could any of us evaluate the cost/benefit ratio when we don’t have the data?
I can’t, which is why I said “I think”, not “I’m sure”.

What I do know is that the quality of the Stellaris releases that were beta-tested was far higher than the ones that weren’t. Whether that puts more money in PDX’s pockets is something I indeed can’t assess, but I know what I’m getting as a player, and that is a better product, and a few weeks of beta testing is an overhead I myself (not PDX) find a decent compromise. At least I know there won’t be a glaring problem destroying my save file.
 
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Have you seen how many threads Wokeg has posted to in the past few days? :)
I'm aware, and grateful for it! But as they've literally mentioned, not all the devs do. I've zero doubt this is due to a plethora of reasons, but I definitely think the oftentimes open hostility of this community towards the devs doesn't help.
 
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Me wondering if the devs might have a tough time being active on the PDX forums more regularly because it feels like 1 in 5 threads atm are some spin on "How come there's not content for CK3 literally right now"
I think it's more nearing the end of the year and winter holidays are approaching so everyone wants to wrap their work up before going on vacation. The Stellaris devs are very communicative, but they've also been very quiet the past couple of weeks (presumably polishing 3.6/starting on 3.7).
 
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We know that it's going to have something to do with the map, and we also know that it's not content that's been covered by any previous expansions. The devs, for the most part, engage with forum threads pretty frequently. What do you actually expect to be hearing?
Dev diaries more frequently than once a month
 
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Dev diaries more frequently than once a month

...featuring what, though? If we start doing dev diaries about what we're working on as soon as we start work on it, we'd run out of stuff to say long before we even release it. So your choice is either us doing loads of dev diaries - taking time away from our development, I might add - with a whole bunch of filler, or us doing what we currently do and trying to fill in the gaps like we are here, in threads.

Dev diaries are not automatically good information just by existing.
 
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...featuring what, though? If we start doing dev diaries about what we're working on as soon as we start work on it, we'd run out of stuff to say long before we even release it. So your choice is either us doing loads of dev diaries - taking time away from our development, I might add - with a whole bunch of filler, or us doing what we currently do and trying to fill in the gaps like we are here, in threads.

Dev diaries are not automatically good information just by existing.
Just some ideas that would be less heavy on "developing content":

Direction of Work: Talking about the areas of the game you're currently working on, what you think works and what doesn't, and a general idea of "what" you're looking at. This would build on the type of content in the roadmap that we got a few weeks ago.

Bug Hunting: Talk about bugs that have been reported, how you've been able to fix them, maybe even make this one of the higher technical level ones that are code heavy. This could be sort of a more explanatory preview of patchnotes that specifically address existing issues.

Community Spotlights: I've seen this done on the PDX Facebook a bit, this might be something less for the devs and more in community management; feature and talk about a big and popular mod, maybe do a short Q&A with the modder about their process/goals/etc.

I've mentioned them before, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out the types of dev diaries that Project Zomboid has had over the past decade. They've been putting out so much information detailing their technical direction, creative direction, community involvement, etc.
 
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FishieFan

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...featuring what, though? If we start doing dev diaries about what we're working on as soon as we start work on it, we'd run out of stuff to say long before we even release it. So your choice is either us doing loads of dev diaries - taking time away from our development, I might add - with a whole bunch of filler, or us doing what we currently do and trying to fill in the gaps like we are here, in threads.

Dev diaries are not automatically good information just by existing.
Not automatically good, and a dud dev diary is annoying when you were so hyped to see cool new stuff, but weekly dev diaries were the format for much of ck2 and eu4 development outside of breaks
Loading screen art, tenent rework, ruler designer update, all could've been their own dev diary
 
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Just some ideas that would be less heavy on "developing content":

Direction of Work: Talking about the areas of the game you're currently working on, what you think works and what doesn't, and a general idea of "what" you're looking at. This would build on the type of content in the roadmap that we got a few weeks ago.

Bug Hunting: Talk about bugs that have been reported, how you've been able to fix them, maybe even make this one of the higher technical level ones that are code heavy. This could be sort of a more explanatory preview of patchnotes that specifically address existing issues.

Community Spotlights: I've seen this done on the PDX Facebook a bit, this might be something less for the devs and more in community management; feature and talk about a big and popular mod, maybe do a short Q&A with the modder about their process/goals/etc.

I've mentioned them before, but I HIGHLY recommend checking out the types of dev diaries that Project Zomboid has had over the past decade. They've been putting out so much information detailing their technical direction, creative direction, community involvement, etc.

Now see I like all of those ideas, but you gotta be aware that in the past when we have done dev diaries like that, the reaction has fairly often been quite negative. People get themselves worked up for dev diaries at PDS, and if they're not chunky and filled with goodies they get annoyed about that. For every you, who wants more dev diaries and a broader range of topics, there's at least one who will be unhappy that it's a dev diary not filled with stuff that we are directly working on.

Also don't let QA hear about a bug hunting DD, they'll be working themselves up for Anatomy Of A Bug Parts II through XI

Not automatically good, and a dud dev diary is annoying when you were so hyped to see cool new stuff, but weekly dev diaries were the format for much of ck2 and eu4 development outside of breaks
Loading screen art, tenent rework, ruler designer update, all could've been their own dev diary

That format only held when CK2 was in the runup to a release. Besides that, as identified there, they tended to be much less meaty DDs than what we do here. It's a stylistic choice, and whilst it's fine for you to prefer the other style I like to think there's also some benefit in having DDs be nice and t h i c c but somewhat more irregular. It makes it something of an event, you know?
 
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