Commit to excellence (CSM)
All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt
- Raised by: Dierdra Vaal
- Submission Date: 6 June 2010
- Meeting ID: 5.002
- Issue ID: CSM5:001
This is a proposal to ask CCP to evaluate their attitude towards Eve development and truly commit to developing excellent features instead of half-finished ones.
This years slogan of CCP was Excellence. They made posters and videos about it, and proudly displayed it at Fanfest. But for a company claiming to be dedicated to excellence, their eve-development does not reflect this. In fact, excellence is sacrificed time and time again to the big god of the release schedule and new features.
There are several recent examples of this lack of commitment to excellence:
- CCP introduced Factional Warfare, but introduced it full of bugs and with game design that was shaky at best. And ever since introducing it have given it almost no extra (and much needed) development time and after care.
- Dominion and Treaties. Dominion introduced a scalable, iterative system that would allow them to extend it and improve it. No improving has happened in the past 6 months. Even worse, the treaties we were promised seem to have vanished, and reliable sources indicate the Treaties development team was re-assigned to work on Planetary Interaction.
- The Tyrannis introduction. POS's shooting blues and a complete screw up of the PI materials market. Both problems were predicted weeks before the release by players and I would honestly be surprised if nobody in CCPs QA department considered it. Yet nothing was done in time resulting in the massive screw up that happened post release.
So what IS excellence?
Excellence is to go beyond what is merely 'good' or 'adequate'. In game design, it means adding features and extra's that arent stricktly required to make something playable, but make it more fun. This is illustrated by the following graphic:
As is common in software development, there is a subset of features that is sufficient to make something release-ready. Some features are more important than others, and the core features are usually identified at the start of development as 'Must Haves'.If it turns out that the development team may not have enough time, less important features ('Could Haves' and 'Should Haves' mostly) get cut. This way you can still meet your deadline with a functional product. However, as we established above, the minimum is never the same as excellence, because excellence is more than the bare minimum by definition.
Unfortunately, it seems CCP are content to STOP development on a feature when that feature is released. Even though parts of it got inevitably cut due to time constraints. This means they have not yet reached excellence.
This proposal requests that CCP's game designers (the pigs, not the chickens of marketing or finance) establish at the start of develpment at which point that feature is 'excellent'. This (by definition) includes more features than the core 'Must Haves' to make it release-ready. Although they can still release it when it reaches 'release-ready', they should continue development until that point of 'excellence' is reached. This does mean features will require more development time (and therefore money), but if you want to be truly excellent, that is the price you pay.
Maybe some ritalin too
In addition to CCP being willing to settle for stuff that is just adequate, they are also easily distracted by new shiny things. We can see this when the Treaties were shelved in favour of Planetary Interaction, and when Factional Warfare received no attention after it was released. The planners of CCP's development seem to run from one shiny new feature to the next like a kid on ADHD.
CCP will need to re-evaluate how much time is spent on old content and making that excellent, and how much time is spent on new features. Because due to Eve's competitive, single shard nature, small problems in various features may cascade and amplify eachother into big problems across the game. It is important that old features are excellent before it is too late and we're covered in a huge pile of broken, half finished content.
Is CCP's frantic release schedule to blame?
Are 6 months really enough time to develop new features AND improve old features AND fix bugs? While it is awesome to get two free expansions a year, isn't CCP risking quality in order to maintain quantity? Perhaps a release schedule of 9 months per expansion (so 2 expansions every year and half) will give them more time to develop existing features into Excellence, as well as developing new features into a good release-ready state.
What we would like CCP to consider:
- Continue developing features until they reach a predetermined 'excellence' level
- Re-evaluate the amount of time allocated to fixing/developing old content and reduce the nonchalant attitude towards re-assigning teams to shiny new content.
- Reconsider the total release schedule time: is it really sufficient to produce 'excellent' quality game design?
Relevant Forum Threads
- Related links:
For/Against: 8/1 (Against: Ankhesentapemkah)