By Team SimRacingWorld
31 January 2005
Note: Reproduced from RSCNet.org forums, original post here.
No real info here but just some thoughts about the development process and how things can seem to be delayed, even though everything's going well.
I was thinking how it's strange that our estimates could be so far off, though i remember exactly the same thing happening at Lionhead. Around 6 months ago or so when we had the new suspension, fuel usage, and pit stops and most of the new cars and tracks, it looked as if it could be out so soon... "Just add tyre wear and fill in the scenery and do that final car". But it didn't really work out that way. Back then it was inconceivable to us that it wouldn't be out in 2004, which was the year we always hoped it would be out.
Each time we make a push to finish some things, they take longer than expected, create new opportunities, make pathways for old irritations to be sorted out, new ideas come up to make the quality better, new optimisations needed to deal with the higher resolutions, new ways to make use of more up to date technology, loose ends that need filling in and turn out to be a week long project in themselves and so on.
In beta testing i went for a long race, 40 laps if i remember correctly, and things just came up in there, though the race was fun, real issues came up, like the lack of pit lane speed limits, inability to change the settings while on the move, lack of blue flags. These things become very important in a long race and i found that with that hour and 15 minutes of driving, you have a lot of time to think, even get angry that you can't raise the front tyre pressures, for example.
These things that really stick out must be fixed before release, because long strategic races are exactly what S2 is about. Some of these issues i've fixed up now and I hope to be going for another long race in around a week from now when i've done a couple more of these improvements.
Eric's work expanded in the same way as mine, the higher standards of the later tracks forcing him to see Blackwood as an embarrassment, and feeling it's important as it's the demo track, and not wanting to release a game with that in it. The effort has paid off well in my opinion and i guess we'll show you some screen shots soon. When S2 is out you will actually like to drive on Blackwood again, if you're sick of it now as i was. Also the old RB4 now looks very blocky and not up to the current standard, so that's another thing he'll be doing. Also there are various updates and fixes to the other tracks still needing to be done.
Yeah it's a strange thing that we developers seem to get, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and push for the light, and the light shows up loads of issues you really didn't think of until that point. Like i said, something like this happened at Lionhead when we were working on Black and White, we thought, we'll make a three week push and we'll be finished - everyone thinking they had about 3 weeks left on their side. Then we discovered, there was no game play at all, and really no point releasing it at all. So suddenly the work started and a year later or so, out came Black and White.
The good news is how my list of major things remaining keeps getting smaller, and same with Eric. It's getting better all the time and we're actually getting there bit by bit. Of course i would only be foolish to try to estimate it now, because i can only guarantee that my estimate would be shorter than the reality.
I'm a bit dazed and confused from a very continuous 2 week stretch... about to have the evening and tomorrow day off... i've got a list on paper of people who sent me emails and i still haven't replied, because i couldn't ever make the mental switch to think for 10 mins / half an hour and answer them... i've been on a kind of long burn thinking of things, and doing them really fast so i don't need to add to my notes, so i can win the battle of trying to do things and cross things off my lists, faster than adding new notes! It's kind of exciting, and that's why i think things are going well.
I hear some people feel let down, but really they shouldn't feel let down, "disappointed" is ok but not "let down" because all we ever said is we thought it would be out last year. You should feel let down if we say something is going to be in S2 and then it isn't, but you shouldn't feel let down if we don't make the deadline that we are aiming for.
When we say things like "we can't give time estimates as they are always wrong" or "we hope by this time but no guarantee" we really mean it! We've learned by experience that this always happens. In the case of S2, it really turned into a bigger and better project that we had imagined before, so this was more true than ever!