Guard Frequency Episode 273 | A Staggering Development

Cits and Civs, Captains and Commanders, you’re tuned to episode 273 of Guard Frequency — the best damn space sim podcast ever! This episode was recorded on August 30, 2019 and released for streaming and download on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at

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6 responses to “Guard Frequency Episode 273 | A Staggering Development”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    A couple things that confuse me about this announcement: weren’t they already using “staggered development”? To elaborate, the roadmap each week shows 4 quarterly updates and progress being made on each quarterly update (albeit a focus on the current quarter since there’s presumably some dependencies). So weren’t they already staggered? Also, they already delay features out of a quarterly patch, which in effect gives more time for that feature. So it seems they’re already informally giving more than 3 months per quarterly patch? I’m not sure formally giving it a name makes will make much of a difference.

    My other point of confusion is what about technologies and gameplay features that are dependent on each other? Unlike Call of Duty’s alternating studios, making Black Ops isn’t dependent on making Modern Warfare. Let me make up an example: Let’s say the Medic profession is to be added in 4.0. In the current system, you could have gameplay related to medics in 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 … etc.

    But with “staggered development”, 4.1 can’t have any dependencies on 4.0. They may have “more time” but by my understanding of their faq, they aren’t making any of these quarterly updates bigger. So for the gameplay and technologies with dependencies, you physically can only have 2 updates a year, as opposed to 4 (since the intent of staggered development is to have more time with roughly the same amount of work).

    I suppose that makes me “Doubtful”.

  2. Ken from Chicago Avatar
    Ken from Chicago

    CQ #2 Nope. I’m still in the Believer category, optimistic, yet not blind to CIG’s faults and ready to provide constructive criticism.

    CQ #1 Nope. Crazy would be too simple and too easy.

    That was the TLDR answer, allow me to expand on it:

    So, first, let’s get it out of the way, Tony was wrong.

    Not only was Tony wrong but he was wrong in two *categories* of ways:

    1) Tony was contradicting himself, again. A Tony divided can’t stand.
    a. After years of complaining that Star Citizen’s roadmap was incomplete and omitting items, but when Skiffy said he thought Squadron 42 might be further along that what the roadmap said, suddenly the roadmap is the holy grail and sacrosanct with Tony countering the roadmap says S42 is still gray box.
    b. After years of complaining that CIG is dragging its feet with feature creep in development and that they should just release the game, suddenly Tony raises the boogeymen of the investors as “forcing” CIG to release Star Citizen “early” in 2021–9 years after kickstarter.
    c. Tony’s raises the spectre that Star Citizen will be dumbed down for a console port that pc gamers don’t want but then complains that it be exclusive to console players first—the dumbed down version that pc gamers don’t want.

    2) More simply, Tony was wrong on the facts.
    a. Tony raised the scare of a console port as if after years of pc development, that would be the only release, and yet:
    i. DC Universe Online had pc version and later a console port.
    ii. Neverwinter Online has both a pc version and a console port.
    iii. Star Trek Online also has a detailed pc version and a streamlined aka “dumbed down” version. Maybe you’ve heard of it.

    More than being wrong or contradicting himself though, the real question is what does Tony even want CIG to do?

    Whatever flaws Derek Smart has, at least he has said what he wanted CIG to do. After listening to Tony’s 40-minute screed live last Friday evening and the edited version on Tuesday, I still can’t tell. Bonus if anyone can point to where he said what he wants.

    This is podcast about answers not merely complaints. Otherwise, Tony would have himself guilty of berating Henry for a beating a dead horse about the same topic for about 40 seconds just before Tony himself did the same for about 40 minutes.

    Seriously, I’d like to know what Tony wants because he’s complaining about one thing not happening and when it does complains that it does happen. I mean after years of complaining about Chris Roberts’ management, when Roberts said he was working on coding, Tony complained that Roberts was working as some low-level programmer shirking his job as CEO. Which is it?

    The same thing happened back in May when Tony was rambling on incoherently about the Roadmap before Brian finally figured Tony was bemoaning the lack of game features, notably, salvaging.

    Speaking of salvaging, it finally appeared on the roadmap last Friday but, as usual, Tony was so obsessed on the negative he ignored it. But that’s par for the course, for the past 2 years Tony has had nothing positive to say about Star Citizen–not since 2017, if not further back. Every bit of Star Citizen news that’s released, Tony’s obsessed with the negative spin.

    (No, describing the $46 million dollar investment as “slick” doesn’t count. Grudgingly acknowledging something positive that Brian, Geoff, Henry, or Skiffy announced doesn’t count either.)

    This is what has me concerned. Tony keeps saying he want CIG to do well and launch Star Citizen but it’s harder to hear that because his actions keep shouting louder. It’s something I wrote about years ago about STO-ked and the fear of burnout. Tony said he’s moved on the Wheel of Attitude from Agnostic to Skeptic. Yet look at the wheel again:

    Heretics: “Former proponents who have lost faith in the project and were exiled from official channels after voicing their concerns too loudly or too often.”

    I don’t know about CIG’s forums but otherwise a former proponent who has lost faith in the project and voices concerns loudly and often? Sound familiar? But wait, there’s more;

    Haters: “Openly despise the project, assuming fraud and/or total mismanagement and actively seek out chances to criticize it.”

    Two weeks ago, Tony freely stated there was not any bad or controversial news about Star Citizen so he scraped the bottom of the barrel of reddit to read a Star Citizen-themed parody of the Lord’s Prayer. I haven’t heard Tony claim fraud but mismanagement? Loud and often. Seeks out chances to criticize it? Loud and often. Openly despise the project? I haven’t heard Tony state he was looking for bad news about Star Trek Online, Elite Dangerous, Dual Universe, Into the Black, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, No Man’s Sky or Descent any other game.

    Only one game.

    “Hater” is a pretty strong word. But does the description fit? I would say, to a “T”.

    I’m not saying all this to defend CIG or Star Citizen. They’ll do fine on their own. I’m concerned about the man (along with Justin “Chivalry Bean” Lowmaster), who 5 years ago, June 4, 2014, interviewed Chris Roberts with a broad smile on Tony’s face and joy radiating from his heart.

    Now Tony can’t say three genuinely positive things about the game he co-founded this podcast about, that you’ve spent hours each week for years studying, playing, commenting on, writing stories and skits and theorizing about … it’s okay to admit feeling hurt that the game hasn’t developed in the direction you wanted, certainly not at the pace. We’ve seen that a lot recently in movies, tv shows, comic books, video games. Pretending we don’t hurt only makes it worse.

    Tony, share your pain and draw strength from the sharing. If you can’t do that, then at least say, what do you want CIG to do?

    Pick a side, not for my sake but for yours. Left side? Okay. Right side? Okay. But being in the middle of the road trying to have it both ways. As Mr. Miyagi would say, you would get squished, just like a grape in traffic.

    1. Ken from Chicago Avatar
      Ken from Chicago

      Woops, I didn’t mean that the description “Hater” fit Tony to a “T”. I meant that the Wheel’s description of that category, the actions it describes for that category are what fit.

  3. seannewboy Avatar

    3 points to House Jeff for the Thunderdome reference.

    Wonderful show everyone.

  4. Ken from Chicago Avatar
    Ken from Chicago

    To be fair to Tony, while I disagreed with his points, as much as I could decipher, the root causes for his 40+ minute denunciation are real and didn’t affect just him. By the end of last Friday’s episode, it wasn’t just Tony who was feeling down, Henry, Geoff and Kinshadow stand-in, Skiffy was looking kinda glum as well. Let’s address what I think were the two reasons everyone was feeling blue about Star Citizen;

    Ultimately, I think it was the same two reasons:

    1) Management. Rarely do people complain about the game itself other than what they *think* the game is rather than a serious reading up on what it is. The real complaints tend to about the management of Cloud Imperium, the makers of the game.

    Most often, the complaints are about the selling of virtual ships for hundreds of dollars even when there’s no launch date–nevermind how many games have appeared, funded and crashed since the 2012 kickstarter alone. The other complaint is “feature creep”–nevermind that many of the features were part of the stretch goals of the original kickstarter.

    Those I dismiss mainly because I’m not forced to buy ships and I do remember the features being promised. That said, the company, and its CEO have made unforced errors that are enough to justify holding their feet to the fire.

    2) The other major beef people have with Cloud Imperium is the same reason common to most of the video game industry, the tech industry and business in general: Communication.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate. This is, IMHO, the real legitimate gripe with Cloud Imperium and most companies. The fail to appreciate the true importance of communication of being open and transparent. that doesn’t mean blabbing about every secret but admitting when they are holding information back and why they are doing so. Don’t pretend like you’re not when we can tell you are.

    That said, we saw them learning the hard way with today’s Star Citizen Live “All About Development”. It acted much like a do-over of last week’s Pillar Talk bungle. It helps that it had Jared, Todd and the man, Brian Chambers. They are all fairly forthright about dealing with the community and it was refreshing seeing answer fans’ question fairly forthrightly.

    Again, hold the company’s feet to the fire over and over again but open, clear communication is a win-win for the company and consumers.

    — Ken from Chicago

    P.S. Speaking of open communication, I just want to say, while we don’t always seen eye-to-eye, these days, about Star Citizen, I still enjoy and appreciate the hard work Tony puts into podcast and his takes on pert near everything outside of SC, including his run on Priority One and when he returns as a guest host. For that, keep up the great work and I truly do look forward to seeing more of your work with Henry, Brian and the immortal one, Geoff. You’re all a great team.

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