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BaloneyOs

What is the purpose of devs withholding information?

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Gurgel    1,121

Probably an effort to slow the reaction to these changes down when they think they may cause controversy. I sort-of understand that approach.

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45 minutes ago, BaloneyOs said:

I believe it's been like this since the beginning of EA. Why do the patch notes still deliberately omit critical information? How does this help players? How does anyone expect people to test the game when their base planning is mired by incomplete info?

they do not even include all the changes in the update notes. Dupe behavior, for example, has changed many times since the Expressive update but you see little of it mentioned even as a line item.

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pacovf    441

Because writing complete patch notes takes time. With the pace at which updates are coming, they likely don’t have the manpower to hunt down all the specific changes before announcing that an update is live. I honestly don’t even think they document this internally.

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BaloneyOs    248
1 hour ago, Gurgel said:

Probably an effort to slow the reaction to these changes down when they think they may cause controversy. I sort-of understand that approach.

But slowing down testing overall will cause more problems down the line. I also hope their design isn't that swayed by controversy but who knows.

 

24 minutes ago, pacovf said:

Because writing complete patch notes takes time. With the pace at which updates are coming, they likely don’t have the manpower to hunt down all the specific changes before announcing that an update is live. I honestly don’t even think they document this internally.

That would imply that they make changes without documenting them to begin with. I find it harder to believe that they don't plan out their changes before making them but it's understandable if like mentioned their programmer's donezo with their shift.

 

36 minutes ago, axxionx12 said:

Pretty sure they want to leave SOMETHING for you explore on your own...

I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't resort to that to give this game replay value.

 

36 minutes ago, Coolthulhu said:
  • Final values being a result of multiple tweaks, making it hard to remember how it all ended up
  • Different people doing tweaks and writing changelogs, with the latter not having all info at needed time (imagine trying to write a changelog when the person who has data you need has finished working for today)
  • Time constraints, so you can't just check it up by yourself

Thanks for the insight! Probably just gonna nope out of the forest biome start until things are made more clear at launch :D

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Giltirn    127

I do wish they would give more communication about their reasoning behind various changes. In particular with the wort nerf it would be wonderful to hear from the devs why they decided to do this, what role they think worts should have and their philosophy on how heat should be handled in general. Things like this would really help us give our feedback. Ultimately the point of EA is for us to weigh in on design changes, but this has to be structured around the intentions of the devs otherwise we are just shooting in the dark.

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tzionut    249
Quote

I do wish they would give more communication about their reasoning behind various changes. In particular with the wort nerf it would be wonderful to hear from the devs why they decided to do this,

Is simple for balance. Phosphorite was generated to much and was used too little (pincha pepper plants, converted to phosphor and feeded to azure bugs) you can only melt it and vent it to space. The input from the dreckos farm was to much if you combine it whit balm lilies. And most players will not use the fertilizer synthesizer due to the dirt requirements. To little players will cook algae for making dirt, same whit direct conversion from crude oil to natural gas.

As i said above the answer is balance.  

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Giltirn    127
38 minutes ago, tzionut said:

Is simple for balance. Phosphorite was generated to much and was used too little (pincha pepper plants, converted to phosphor and feeded to azure bugs) you can only melt it and vent it to space. The input from the dreckos farm was to much if you combine it whit balm lilies. And most players will not use the fertilizer synthesizer due to the dirt requirements. To little players will cook algae for making dirt, same whit direct conversion from crude oil to natural gas.

As i said above the answer is balance.  

Why not address why so few players are making fertilizer rather than providing a crippling nerf to one of the most important items in the game? People don't throw away algae and dirt because you use almost all those up in the early game and there at least for algae there are no renewable sources of it in any real quantity (pufts producing so little it is laughable). Dirt I understand is more readily available now with the ethanol distillery but the dupe time requirement for composting is high.

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Skrivener    139
2 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:
  • Final values being a result of multiple tweaks, making it hard to remember how it all ended up
  • Different people doing tweaks and writing changelogs, with the latter not having all info at needed time (imagine trying to write a changelog when the person who has data you need has finished working for today)
  • Time constraints, so you can't just check it up by yourself

^ Totally these, plus the distinct possibility that any specific value will change again soon and often. A dev codes first and foremost, but will hopefully try to document well, because it's good practice and makes everyone's life easier, but commit notes from which presumably the changelog/patch notes are derived are something written a lot and to go into detailed specifics is not practical or productive in most cases. I guess I would add another reason too, that someone may change values later and not note it, thus creating a confusing trail that doesn't match the result. This wouldn't be a good reason if that weren't likely to be the rule rather than the exception.

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Nebbie    296
2 hours ago, tzionut said:

Is simple for balance. Phosphorite was generated to much and was used too little (pincha pepper plants, converted to phosphor and feeded to azure bugs) you can only melt it and vent it to space. The input from the dreckos farm was to much if you combine it whit balm lilies. And most players will not use the fertilizer synthesizer due to the dirt requirements. To little players will cook algae for making dirt, same whit direct conversion from crude oil to natural gas.

As i said above the answer is balance.  

The trouble is that now you need your wheezewort dupe-accessible normally, which acts to further lower its cooling potential because you can't surround it with pure hydrogen.

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CannedSmeef    164

Detailed patch notes are always always always better than vague descriptions.

Side note, why do dupes only get a 2% work speed buff in light?  Like that's basically negligible, why even implement that as a mechanic?

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BaloneyOs    248
1 minute ago, CannedSmeef said:

Side note, why do dupes only get a 2% work speed buff in light?  Like that's basically negligible, why even implement that as a mechanic?

2% of a high skill dupe could be significant depending on the job, and a single light source could buff multiple dupes with no hard cap. It's a mechanic that scales up exponentially over time while lighting costs decrease over time.

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tzionut    249
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The trouble is that now you need your wheezewort dupe-accessible normally, which acts to further lower its cooling potential because you can't surround it with pure hydrogen.

You only need an conveyor receiver and a sweep arm. No dupe acces :) 

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cpy    278

2% faster work in lit area, that's like not even worth reading in changelog :D

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Grimgaw    492
4 hours ago, Giltirn said:

a crippling nerf to one of the most important items in the game?

Important to you. I hardly ever used them.

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miauly    116
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Coolthulhu said:
  • Final values being a result of multiple tweaks, making it hard to remember how it all ended up
  • Different people doing tweaks and writing changelogs, with the latter not having all info at needed time (imagine trying to write a changelog when the person who has data you need has finished working for today)
  • Time constraints, so you can't just check it up by yourself

As someone from the same side, I would consider as a subtle attack on professionalism any reasons implying that they think including all info is better and they can't get their process around to do so. But then I don't work in game dev which indeed might have standards where all this is just an unavoidable standard rather than a sign of gaps in process organisation.

As a person who was once in charge of writing release notes, I would offer a different explanation. The notes are this way on purpose, and the purpose is to communicate changes better. And there are three benefits I could see.

So first, from an engineering point of view, stating the same changes as detailed description of what was done, i.e. "pips now do so and so" will contain the same info as "pips are more picky" but with less details. But from communication point of view, "picky pips" contains "what for" in addition to "what". It is very subtle, and I think it is on purpose as dev told us many times the reason why they refrain from stating their whys - they want us to continue imply all possible whys and invent our own and discuss them.  So they are most subtle they can be to communicate to us the additional information - "we added these rules to restrict". The wording contains the intent - we wanted to nerf. We did not simply add the rules that we were meaning to add all the way but omitted before due to time constraints. We have actually read all your posts on wild farming, considered your opinion carefully and this change is intended to address it.

Then second, this way of communication is more clear to most people. While players of ONI, especially those active on the forum, will grasp something like "branches now grow 10 days instead of 7" maybe even better than "branches now grow longer", most readers have much easier time grasping the latter. So it might be that patch notes are written like this for better readability. But then they could add details after formulating the basics.

Then third, let's consider a new player coming to the game. There are two options - either include pip planting rules in the encyclopedia or not. In the first situation, player comes to the game, sees a pip, wants to know something and opens the text. They start to read and get tired and quickly feel they're having a hard time understanding and it feels like reading a book on CS and not playing a game. At the same time they do not feel good about closing the page - it's in the game, so it needs to be known, so they need to read it. Then they possibly just consider the game being too hard and not fun and close it. In the second situation, player comes to the game, sees the pip, opens the encyclopedia and sees some vague text and basic info - eats this, prefers this temp. Nothing relevant, close. Then they notice pip plants seeds. So at some point they try to use it. But then they notice some ordering. Now if it does not interfere with player's plans for this planting, they're just happy and feel smart about coming up with a way to use pip nicely and progress as they wanted. If it interferes and they are not happy with how pip plants, they either try to find out rules or go to google. So now when devs post the notes this way they are testing - if player notices and goes debug, will they find out the rules? How quickly? If they google, what they will find? How fast will they understand? All of this is perfectly laid out in Wild Planting 101 thread. So withholding the info may be to make the gameplay smother and easier and not harder.

Edited by miauly
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Guinaro    31

The first thing about testing out things. Is needing information about what to test.
Being unclear in wording in in-game documentation is all fine and well.
But this is Alpha testing.
If you say Tree Branches take longer to grow. I need to know exactly how long: simply to find bugs in the system.
E.g. If they expected 10 days, and it takes 12. Somewhere there is a possible problem. A problem that will never get diagnosed, cause yes branches grow now in 12 days instead of the expected 10, which was more than the 8 days previously. And to the tester it feels longer.
Gamewise it shouldn't pose a problem, and you would possible get feedback on it being simply too long. But an underlying bug would never be detected!
Furthermore somebody coming late to the testing has also issues. Tree branches take longer to grow. How long was it previously?
E.g. Previously it took 8 days, but the tester doesn't know this. And the tester now concludes that branches grow in 6 days. Yes, it seems to take a long time, so is the test a success? Nope cause it needed to be 10 days, but tester didn't know this, didn't know that originally it was 8 days, and probably assumes it was 3 or 4 days.
Again gamewise it could be a good result, but your game has a bug, which you will not know about, until you get somewhere else an issue, that had the necessary information for testing given. And when fixing the bug, a whole lot of issues could pop up, due to unexpected changes as those other systems rely on the same programming.

The same goes for e.g. Wild Planting Rules: maybe it is intended for 4 plants, 3 empty rows, 4 plants, 3 empty rows. And in our game it is 3 plants, 4 empty rows, ... . A developer may have only tested if the pips still plant seeds. Not the actual mechanism, as testing takes time, and that is why they have us.
If you do not know what you need to expect you can not do proper testing.
So I do agree with there needs to be more information.
Also documentation wise: it's good to know at any stage of the game, what expected behaviour and values are.
Yes they do take away some mysticism about the game, and provide Min/Maxers more data.
However not all of that actual data needs to be ingame. The min/maxers will always flock to out of game resources to get their fix.

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miauly    116
Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Guinaro said:

The first thing about testing out things. Is needing information about what to test.

In most common QA this is exactly the case. Anyone who's doing testing is going to come for a spec and then beat you with a stick if something is not in the spec.

But for games, they do not need branches to grow for 12 days. They need player experience to be roughly the way they intend - that is in this case, they might want trees to be used early-game instead of coal and then abandoned for petroleum (for example). So if people play and come to forum and complain - we do not need petroleum or solar now, we can do trees all the way and fuel rockets with them please fix fix fix, then they will know - branches are too quick. It does not matter if it's 8 or 12 or 20 if it makes trees OP. Same way, if people come and say - we no longer plant this stuff, we only do coal, useless plant, useless buildings, please fix fix fix - it again does not matter if it's 8 or 12 or 20. You might say - well why don't they calculate things again things like we do before they code numbers in the game, why make us to count nosh beans against wheat? Well in the case of nosh beans it might be somewhat straightforward to calculate the comparison, but usually there are too many things in place to calculate. Position in the research tree, temp convenience, exhaust dealing convenience, availability on the map, on different types of maps, and all of this not just of this particular game element but of everything in production chain. Some people claim planter boxes are useless, then Saturnus comes to the thread and now you know for sure they are not.

So it may be that they are not making us test the numbers because that might simply not be relevant. If they wanted to code 8, coded 12 by typo (a weird one) and no one complains - it might just be fine to stay 12.

I remember one time when it looked like the scenario you describe - they wanted one number and coded another by mistake. It was when they made skill points slower - the wording in the notes suggested that they did not intend it to be that fast and just made a mistake (now this again can be added to my explanation why they use words and not just numbers). Notice that time they fixed it without complaints from players on the forums and without telling us the exact formula for the experience for dupes so we could test like QA do.

And frankly, I still believe they do have QA people who test the game in debug vs the spec and do it better than we can do. So we can here stick to playing and pointing things that stand out of the gameplay, not going in debug to verify everything in the release notes and in-game info.

Edited by miauly

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Coolthulhu    953
54 minutes ago, miauly said:

As someone from the same side, I would consider as a subtle attack on professionalism any reasons implying that they think including all info is better and they can't get their process around to do so.

Time constraints and processes with some extra wiggle room for devs are common in agile teams and aren't really unprofessional. Patch notes are extra work and extra "synchronization", so it's reasonable to expect them to suffer a bit when there's important work to be done.

What I would consider actually unprofessional is assuming that the average user who cares about patch notes is slow enough that vague, unspecific notes regarding number changes are preferable to exact ones. Those aren't complex formulas, just one number into another - having "(x->y)" after the number, as in "changed the number of bulbulatrons in hyperdrive (8->10)" surely wouldn't interrupt the thought process of an average user, especially the kind of average user who cares about patch notes. ONI isn't a mobile app or data entry software.

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goatt    283

I guess exact numbers will take away the fun of discovery as a player. But for a game tester / monitor, he / she will require more.

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miauly    116
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Coolthulhu said:

What I would consider actually unprofessional is assuming that the average user who cares about patch notes is slow enough that vague, unspecific notes regarding number changes are preferable to exact ones.

Well, I know that of myself that I better grasp things spelled out than numbered out. That's why I usually include both when I write if I intend to give all the information. I don't consider that being slow, I consider that being a basic human trait, the same that is the base for mnemonics working for people for example. I might be wrong here as this is not exactly my area of knowledge, but that's what I got from my own investigation into "how to communicate in writing to be more easily understood by people". Notice I did not add any negative connotations in the original post to being word-oriented vs number-oriented - both can be an advantage and a disadvantage, just in different situations. And to my knowledge the latter is more rare. Not to mention that it's not a binary but a scale.

Edited by miauly

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