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0.24 feedback :)

Discussion in 'Microblogs' started by tdev, Dec 5, 2021.

  1. tdev

    tdev
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    BeamNG Team

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    Hey community :)

    So, to clear some things up and do some expectation management.
    We are a small indie games studio and we really appreciate an open and transparent discussion with the community, so lets jump into it. I'll number them so you can use the numbers in follow-up discussions :)

    1) There are a lot of people involved into creating a videogame. Right now there are like 68 people working here and not everyone is working on the same things obviously. Please have a look at the credits screen to see the professions of everyone and all :)
    Creating a fridge will take some week for some experienced 3d artist/jbeam person. Creating a new game mode will take 2 months of dev time.
    Creating a new physics feature (i.e. tire thermals) is super complicated and we are continuously working on internal protoypes that never see the light of day because we are not satisfied with the outcome. It takes month of research on how to get things correct, then months to find a fast solution and then months to tune it. We are doing this to keep the quality up. We are always challenging ourselves on wanting to do things better. Sure, we could rush out 'some' tire thermals quickly, but that would not life up to our standards at all.

    2) Creating something new is difficult. At the beginning there is always a spark/an idea. I.e. Lets have an awesome overview map (because we need it for the missions system). Then there are like 2 weeks of "how could we do it" with relevant team members. That involves looking at various tech that we employ inhouse and what the limitations are and how it could fit to the outcome. Then we come up with a plan, and get going. Depending on how many disciplines are involved in the task (we need X hours of c++ work, Y hours of UI/CEF/HTML work, Z hours of lua work, etc) we go ahead.

    For example, with the bigmap mode (as called internally) it took us a while to figure out the best path possible. Initially we planned for a 2d map that would have run really badly (UI is running at 25 FPS) and would have had under-delivered in nearly all aspects. Going full 3D with the map presented a lot of challenges that we needed to solve:

    • The UI/gamestate management was always broken and evolved into complete chaos. Like the UI worked against the game engine to get things done. (I.e. 'hide' the loading screen 3 times in a row so it would eventually disappear reliably ...)
    • The 3D mode brings a lot of render problems with it: shadow flickering, tree imposters missing the top billboard, etc.
    • We needed to find an elegant and cute way to blend from a 3d camera into the mode (reusing the catmull-rom camera paths by one of our team was a genius idea :)
    • We wanted to deliver a 'base' polished experience. Meaning there should be sounds, the scrolling should be smooth, the UI should not look horrible.
    • Pause management: the new game mode would need to pause the game completely, breaking a lot of code in the middle.
    • Technical challenges (some are still unsolved) like rendering 2d text via SDF(Signed distant field) font rendering. This would have enabled us to display crisp and clear text with the 3d engine. Didn't make it in time unfortunately.

    We knew that all that would take longer and would eat up a lot of time.

    3) The initial release date was targeted to be mid-november. We did not achieve the level of polish and quality we wanted, so we started working hard on improving the experience in a lot of ways.
    The UI team worked nearly non-stop (Being in a videocall on a Sunday at 3am) to fix the most horrible things.

    4) Why so much UI work:

    a) Initially, we 'just' wanted to improve the bigmap mode, but came across so many technical problems that we needed to improve the base frameworks, change the flow of events internally. Lots of big things got pushed forward.

    b) It is not because of the 'design' only. We are trying to switch away from AngularJS 1.5 (released in 2015 ...) to VueJS v3. There are a lot of problem with the UI right now that cannot be solved with the existing way of thinking. The way the data is flowing throughout the game is unoptimized and horrible. We managed to optimize the level selector (there should be 0 lag by now), but the vehicle selector is like thousands of lines of code we will need to make sense of again first.

    c)
    Don't touch a running/working system. For us it was already broken in so many ways, it is just not so obvious to you, other than it being laggy/slow. We are trying our best, give us some time.

    d)
    KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle: We are trying to reduce the amount of UI 'states' to a minimum and improve the quality of those instead. For example, for the future we want to have one 'selector' that can display anything from: vehicles, mods, everything inside a mod, levels, spawnpoints, etc.

    e) The UI work was rushed. Yes, it was, and we are sorry to release it in this state. What you see is like 30% of what we wanted to get done :(

    f)
    Why is the UI so weird now? Well, look at any other racing game / simulator around us, and they are all doing the same menu flow nowadays. We were the only outlier with a cellphone looking UI slapped on the side of the screen xD

    g) Why only dark mode? In a complex system, when you add configuration options, it makes everything even more complex as you cannot tune everything perfectly anymore. tl;dr: Rather one well tuned dark mode than a highly configurable but always half broken theme.

    h) We tackled some issues that were broken since years: gamepad navigation of the UI - was horribly broken before. (Not optimal yet - some improvements coming up in the next hotfix)

    i) The UI is completely open-source. Look at the game folder/ui to have a look. Press CTRL+U ingame to open the UI devtools :) - If you want to help us improving this, that would be awesome :)

    A lot of work is spent on non-obvious things like: Why does the minimap takes more time to render than the whole of italy? Why is FFB feeling crap when the minimap is onscreen? A lot of tiny things that all need to match up.

    5) Why the weird release date of the update and the split of it? We delayed 0.24 already 3 weeks, and it had to get out well ahead of Christmas for simply logistical reasons: We want everyone to have a bug-free experience upon christmas and we don't want to overwork our team throughout the holidays. Since we always change a lot of things in the game, and it's really complex, a lot of things always break. This requires us to spend a huge amount of work and effort to produce hotfixes for the most important problems ASAP.

    I.e. We broke the game initially for everyone with non-ASCII characters in their username (Everyone of the dev team should get some japanese chars into their username from now on ;) ) . We wouldn't have catched that problem if we din't release like we did. We worked the same day util 4am to release a hotfix so people could start the game again.

    The later release of the vehicle just before the holidays has a similar reasoning: "the new content cannot break the game so much as new features". So the vehicle team has more time to finish it up, create the videos, etc. AFAIK, it's not completely ready right now even.

    About the releases in general. The general flow nowadays is like:
    • 1 week of retrospective / what worked in the last update / what could have been done better / what needs cleaning up.
    • 1 week of "product requirements"/feature planning: What should the feature do, what are the bare minimum things, who is working on that. What are the strech goals, etc.
    • 4 weeks of pure development: focus on getting the work done.
    • mid-term evaluation of how everything is progressing, should we cancel some features for this release and focus our effort elsewhere? (I.e. we wanted to get a new launcher out this time, but we couldn't finish it up in time)
    • 4 more weeks of pure development time.
    • 2 weeks (ideally) Feature freeze: The team needs to have all the features ingame and after that day only bugfixes are being worked on. The QA team is the busiest in that time.
    • Release day: We need to have the 'go' from QA, the communications team, the changelog needs to be ready, the blogs to be written, lots of work and stress on that day.
    Before the release, there were hundreds of 'commits'/changes to the game by the whole team every day.

    6) About the expectation management bit: The content drop will contain one amazing new car among other cool things ;)

    We really appreciate all of your feedback, and its amazing that we get so much detailed, constructive things back that we can improve. Tomorrow we'll review/reply to around 40 pages of forum threads, socials, etc. :)

    Thanks for being such an amazing community!

    TL;DR: We're trying our best, give us some time to fix things properly <3
     
    #1 tdev, Dec 5, 2021
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
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  2. LucasBE

    LucasBE
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    Thank you for being so honest and open about your struggles and workflow, this is really welcome compared to other companies that keep their development behind closed doors, and I think most of the community will agree with me. You guys have delivered so much since the game's first release and I cannot express how happy I am to witness the development of this great game.

    I've heard a lot of people say it and rightly so : spending 20 bucks on BeamNG.drive was probably the best purchase of my life. Not only does it continue to surprise me every update, but seeing the company evolve as time goes by is also extremely satisfying.

    Thank you for being such an amazing company :D
     
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  3. Aerohead1999

    Aerohead1999
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    Thank you for being open to the community and expressing the amount of work involved with a detailed and amazing game like beamNG.Drive.
     
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  4. Turbo49>

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    This thread isn't for that, ask here: https://www.beamng.com/threads/0-24-discussion-thread.83197/
     
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  5. stenyak

    stenyak
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    BeamNG Team

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  6. Turbo49>

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    6) About the expectation management bit: The content drop will contain one amazing new car, no new features or other content
    In the devblog, you (or the one who wrote the deblog) said:
    "And as a last little cherry on top of the update cake, we are also adding German and Polish localization."
    Will it still appear in the christmas update, or is it pushed back ?
     
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  7. aljowen

    aljowen
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    I don't follow the goings on around on the forums much these days (still working on mods though), so I have no idea what the general opinion is, but I am pretty happy with the new update. There is a lot of stuff in there, large amounts of it being non-trivial work.

    One thing that has always been true of BeamNG unfortunately is that there is a lot of half-solutions in the game, and with each update that situation has improved slightly, but not as quickly as new stuff is added often bringing new half finished solutions. While a 3d map is imo the better solution, the fact that you had no choice but to chose it because your 2d UI has too many long standing issues is a problem.

    I know the UI work has been a low priority for a long time (and with fair reasons), but if you are starting to spend time creating new UI features, its probably worth fixing the old ones first so you can reuse existing UI code that works rather than creating redundant systems and ultimately doing twice as much work. But... doing that isn't sexy and doesn't sell copies at next release. So its a difficult balance and one that will always be a hot topic.

    The current game is frankly better than its ever been before. If people are moaning about a lack of new stuff, that is probably some of the highest praise you can get in the early access game industry. Most games don't make it this far, or are released a much lesser product than BeamNG's current WIP status. As you basically said yourself, you are doing complex things on a fairly large scope, it takes time. Your effort is appreciated.
     
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  8. Theo Wilkinson

    Theo Wilkinson
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    This is what i love about BeamNG, and why its by far my favourite game and i barely play any other games. Everyone in the Dev team is approachable, open and doesnt hide anything behind password-locked zip folders (lol). I love how we know how nearly everything is done, the struggles etc.

    The game may not be physically perfect, as its still in development and an update has just been released. But, to me, it is perfect in every single other way.

    Good luck to all of you guys on the dev team, we all love your work, and just try your hardest to ignore the idiots in the update speculation thread lmao

    All I'd like to know is how the hell to make a gauge cluster screen :p
     
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  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster
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    so basically, you guys are god tier devs.
    good to know this game is always in good hands.

    i swear, i never regretted buying beamng off of fastspring on release day and experiencing the MOST USERS EVER, at a whopping 6000 something users i think at the time. boi that was a big release day. and even then when it was 15$, i made sure to give you give an extra 5$ bc i could. and to this day, i regret not giving you the full 50$ of the pre paid. i wish i was rich, id make sure to fund this game indefinitely if i win the lottery one day.

    man this game has grown soooo much since then, to think its almost 10 years since its first release already, wow.

    you guys have to be one of, if not LITERALLY THE BEST TEAM ive ever seen.
    the dedication you have for this... "game" bruh for me its the worlds best real life physics simulator.
    you guys deserves so many awards for the pure dedication you have, and professionalism, and just being able to keep up with everything.

    all i gotta say is, thank you. this game has literally changed my life, it started my life in 3d modelling as well.

    this update was maybe not what we all expected, but all along i knew you guys were doing good work. i prefer having stable KISS features then complex broken ones.

    honestly, id write a book about how many ways you guys are awesome and made my day better.

    after the next content drop, i hope you guys really enjoy that christmas break, you really deserve a nice vacation, the whole team. take care of yourselves above all please. even if this game is legendary status at this point xD

    Thanks for being the most awesome and best company, seriously this game couldn't be in between better hands.
     
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  10. fivedollarlamp

    fivedollarlamp
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    The BeamNG team is an example for all others to follow. You guys do excellent work and have had a profound impact.
    BeamNG does what no game has ever done before or since.
     
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  11. _Tanco

    _Tanco
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    Thanks devs for being so transparent about how this company works internally. I really appreciate how after every update you take more and more risks to add more and more complex features. Maybe the risk for adding a whole new UI in a such short time span was a bit too big to get everything polished and bug free but I don't care. This old UI really needed a revamp and the new in the actual state is already a big step forward compared to the old one, despite many annoying community members saying the opposite. Now everything it needs is more time to get polished, take your time im sure it will be worth it.
    To conclude all the energy and hard work that you (the whole dev team) spend on this game is what makes it so exceptionnal, and I guess the constantly growing number of players proves it (you get the community that you deserve).
     
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  12. Agent_Y

    Agent_Y
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    It's already in game, if you are German or Polish, the game is automatically translated to this language, pretty cool
     
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  13. SKB

    SKB
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    This, i definitely felt. Running a sub par laptop, with just 4gb of ram in single channel, the map selector used to lag like crazy. After this UI update, albeit it is a bit unfinished or still wip, the first thing i noticed was that, that the map selection had become insanely quick. And yeah, the vehicle selector will probably need some more work, as some have said, in 720p or less, it's basically unusable right now,

    But i know, that all this will be fixed eventually, and this game, will end up better than most AAA games out there, mainly because of what this 'game' can do. To me, this isnt a game, because, well, I learnt how things react physically, and how friction works etc, and heck, i even learnt to drive using this game.. since if i do end up hitting something, the car doesn't just bounce back without damage. It's realistic. And that's what makes beam fun.
    I have real high hopes for this. And absolutely love the fact that you Dev's are clear with us players.

    Merry Christmas :)
     
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  14. joemamaa

    joemamaa
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    I LOVE IT SO MUCH super good update so far! when will you make the Bruckell Bastion thread? anyways can't wait for it! :) good job devs
     
  15. Turbo49>

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    Aaah, i thought localization meant map.
     
  16. joemamaa

    joemamaa
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    When I saw the update released I was in school in the last hour, I called in sick because I just couldn't take it.
     
  17. DaddelZeit

    DaddelZeit
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    Thank you all for this truly remarkable game, and thank you for being so transparent about the background flow and the development process as no other game dev team has been before :D
    The update is awesome: the "bigmap" even got me playing time trails ;) I've bought this game shortly after 0.5 released (~6 years ago) for 15 bucks and damn I wish I could've given more.
    You guys have poured so much love into this game and judging by some of the - mostly non entertaining - comments deep in the games files experienced a lot of frustration along the way :p

    Ever since I began modding, I tried just about everything that is moddable (never touched UI though; that's just beyond me) and my respect for you guys has just grown exponentially.
    From maps to vehicles, from LUA to UI, you guys just...argh I cannot even put it into words.

    Keep going, I wish you all the best!
     
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  18. baarry5444

    baarry5444
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    While version 0.24 might've been a lukewarm game update compared to previous major updates in my perspective, there is still one thing I can appreciate nonetheless: the staff members being open, transparent, and honest as much as possible (rarely do you see this in other game companies, particularly the larger ones). It is for this exact reason why I continue to have a optimistic outlook on the future of BeamNG. Apologies in advance if my feedback for this update so far was a tad too harsh and critical, but on the other hand, releasing the 0.24 update in its current state might've been better off to some extent, as it allows much of the community to corroborate the various bugs and issues for the developers to take note of before pushing a subsequent and likely the last significant content update of the year to address said problems.

    Ever since I found out about the game back in 2014, I have closely watched the development progress in the years since. Every single update to date has been a fun experience, no matter how controversial they may be in some aspects. As BeamNG approaches 10 years in development, I can hope that the game will be even better than before compared to version 0.3.0.0 from the early days. I truly admire the hard work and dedication that the staff members and developers have to face every time a game update is pushed out to the public, and that deserves respect in any case :)
     
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  19. vmlinuz

    vmlinuz
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    While there are a number of bugs in 0.24, there are also a lot of subtle polishes and fixes that I appreciate. For instance, the Burnside's front seats don't have those weird black triangles on them anymore, and the Bolide's stripe skins are fixed. The new SBR4 roof is a nice touch too - and did the old Pessima get partially remastered as well? I swear it looks better somehow but can't put my finger on how...
     
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  20. LJ74

    LJ74
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    Thank you for being open and transparent, it's what we love to see!

    Was really interesting to see just how much work is put into things and how late you guys stay up for fixing issues just for people to simply say they hate it lol, I for one am loving the new UI and can't wait till its more on the way of being complete.

    I also have had one thing on my mind since the update, why are some 3D models like the new Pessima outsourced from asset companies? Not saying there's anything wrong with that, I just found it interesting :)
     
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