AC, Social

Liquid game designers and rock stars

Today Stefano, co-founder and lead developer of Kunos Simulazioni, tweeted this:

Why is this highly interesting? Let’s have one aspect, but we will need a bit of background here. Most recently he started a poll in the AC support forum, asking for input and opinions about this selection of possible features for the further development. Didn’t end up that well, and I am sure this was one of the keystones that lead to his statement.

poll_lets_play_game_designer

Only considering the poll and first posts, we already learned something.

#1, Stefano currently is interested in the (forum) community opinions and wants to let them influence future game improvements. I can remember 4 occurrences where Kunos asked the community (penalty system changes, abandoned C++ API, two car polls) more or less directly for their input regarding decisions in the past years. So maybe it’s safe to say this is a special situation.

#2 this is a weird selection of features, both from a driver and developer’s point of view. Despite he added

Improvements on core features such as AI and Multiplayer are default actions that don’t even need to be included

many driver’s won’t find their favorite feature in that list. The demand for rain, night, driver swap and stuff is well know. Instead we find small and maybe wasted bits like “water/radiators interaction” and “change skin in pickup mode”, next to a huge effort like “VR Support”. Although this can be explained by different roles, it also might indicate that this isn’t just a random feature list, but the features that are both realistically possible and/or considered desirable by the developers. Later Stefano added

it’s very likely that all of these features will make into AC sooner or later, the poll is more a way to let all of us (devs and players) understand how different opinions can be from what we think

Yes, it’s as simple as that. Kunos – internally – decides what they want to do, and asks for preferences and input so they can deliver in a well appreciated order. Sounds like a good deal for everybody, what could possibly go wrong?

#3 Stefano also asked for a clean thread, you could say he defines the rules that seem suitable to achieve good knowledge about the driver’s thoughts regarding the proposed options.

Let the fight begin
(but keep it clean or I’ll turn you into a new “Simulation Expert” via perma-insta-ban)

To understand this completely, you will need much more background than can be covered here. An over-simplified summary: As a process of several years, Kunos got steadily more grumpy against drivers who demand their version of top features in a way that contains disrespectful manners, which ended up in a forum moderation announcement (you should read).

 

Even if you didn’t follow the poll-thread closely, this article’s structure already tells you that and how it went wrong. After almost 1000 interesting and helpful posts (basically “I polled X because”) it derailed, and few guys started “but we need Z” and so on. Stefano gives a warning

Next one that goes for a wish instead of a vote 3 days ban.. let’s see who’s the winner.

5 posts later the first “winner” was determined, 30 posts later the thread and poll was temporarily closed (so everybody could catch up reading about the bans). Roughly 30 minutes later Stefano just gave up. Personally, I think it was at this one:

i think rain and day/night is importent for a simulator

To their defense: apparently at this time a link to the poll was submitted to Kunos’ Facebook account. A lot of people who didn’t know anything about the moderation announcement or Stefano’s mood would flood the poll and post things. Honestly, you wouldn’t always read 50 pages of “I voted X” before you click and post something about the amount of light sources.

——

I can understand Stefano’s frustration here, but I’m not that sure if I can find anybody who is to blame. It’s safe to say, things are difficult: developer meets Facebook user (no offense), professional meets hobbyist, sometimes dreamer meets reality.

Kunos wants to communicate and even let users influence their business decisions. The community appreciates this very much. But it also looks like there are some requirements contributors need to effectively communicate with the developers. (At least) basic knowledge about cars, physics, game design, programming, game engines, project management, business, stuff like this.

Following this thought, you could think that one sensible direction is about a reduction of the communication base (that is: talk to fewer people hopefully representing the greater masses).

Speaking of delegation: Going even further and adding technical help, a combination of Liquid Feedback and some anti-democratic-rule-set could be huge. Kunos might not have the time for setup, administration or documentation, but they would only need one word and the (modding) community will be happy to engage.

A very different solution: Kunos, stop acting like pussies and start thinking like rock stars. Your decisions made your way, why would you suddenly need a community for that? It’s great to be in touch with you, but not for the price that you – as developers – get unhappy and eventually leave the simracing market.

And that would be too early: AC still needs some proper implementation of .. ha, got you.

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