Guard Frequency Episode 120 | On the Receiving End of an NDA

Greetings Citizens and Civilians, you’re tuned to episode 120, of Guard Frequency — the best damn space sim podcast ever! This episode was recorded on Friday 13th May 2016 and released for streaming and download on Tuesday, May 17th 2016 at [Download this episode]

Geoff, Tony and Lennon are back in the hangar, trying to avoid all the mess from the leaks to bring you another round of Guard Frequency goodness. In this week’s Squawk Box we discuss the worst ways to die in space! On the Flight Deck we see what news has landed from your favourite space-sims as we cover our usual trifecta of games including:

Next, we debate… well, we’d love to tell you, but we’re under NDA (we’ll get Geoff to leak the debate topic later), and finally we tune into the very, very large Feedback Loop and let you join in on the conversation.

This Week’s Community Questions

  • Are NDAs necessary for maintaining the integrity of the process and the developer’s Intellectual Property, or are they a holdover from the old way of doing things that has no place in open development?

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

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8 responses to “Guard Frequency Episode 120 | On the Receiving End of an NDA”

  1. L-Wook Avatar

    I don’t have a problem with the Avocados and the NDA, for a week or so! I understand the process and the improved efficiency, but I would appreciate if they gave us more details and pics. In standard PTU waves they never hid the patch notes.
    In a business sense their puppet master strategy works well, they starve us for while then hit us with new content and a surprise and watch the funding spike! A steady trickle of info and updates would not realize the same financial success. That’s my opinion as someone in the retail business.

  2. Bootcha, the SA Former CIG Investor Avatar

    The NDA is, unfortunately for the open development projects, still a necessity in this industry. Code, tech, art assets, design workflows, and several other intimate cogs on a project have ownership, and since most of these are digital they are at risk of being used elsewhere without credit. At this level, the NDA protects dev house and, more importantly, the trench devs from their work being stolen without fear of legal reprisal. What it sounds like is the point of contention is “what else” is being covered under NDA.

  3. Tarka Avatar

    On the subject of CIG’s use of NDA:
    I believe that CIG are basically damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If there was no NDA, no matter how many times they stressed how the amount of bugs is expected, there would still be some trying to create “drama” about it. We saw this previously.

    Sure, in a perfect world, such an open development project wouldn’t have people dramatically throwing their arms up at every change, or grabbing the pitchforks and rope. Instead, everyone would understand and appreciate the very nature of “Alpha” development stages (i.e. stuff is missing / designs aren’t set in stone and is therefore subject to significant change).

    However, we don’t live in that world. The last year of “drama” has shown us that there are parts of the internet that just aren’t ready for that level of transparency and isn’t willing to show much in the way of patience. They don’t care about the difficulties that can occur during development. They want it NOW.

    So, the only thing CIG can do is at least try to keep a lid on some of the initial “drama” that occurs with an intiial PTU rollout, by imposing an NDA. Although, one could argue that such attempts are undermined by the fact that imposing an NDA creates its own drama. But there you go.

  4. Amontillado Avatar

    No, to both counts.

    NDAs are not necessary but they can have a place in open development projects.

    I don’t think anyone expects a open development project like Star Citizen (for example 🙂 ) to open its doors wide and allow the general public no holds barred access to their entire production. Some things need to be kept private and there MAY come times when a few members of the community can help the project contingent to being granted access to sensitive information. In these cases NDAs are appropriate.

    I think NDAs can have value even if there is no intention to sue violators of them. Firstly they communicate that the issuer means business. “Hey folks, we’re serious here, don’t leak this!” The signers know that they’ve signed an NDA and it may give them pause and cause them to tighten their lips. Secondly, an appropriate response to a violation may be to revoke the violators access and never trust them with access again.

    Addressing CIGs use of an NDA for the first wave of 2.4 testing…

    I’m on board in regards to the value of having a closed, dedicated, focused group of testers that are less costly and more efficient than the general backer population. CIG’s criteria for inclusion seems on point and by reports, it has gone very well.

    I’m less convinced that the NDA is necessary or beneficial. CIG’s communication via its Community Team has been that the NDA is in place so that CIG can find the feedback all in one place. Really? Can’t they simply instruct their testers that the only feedback that they will regard is via a designated, official channel? Can’t they discipline themselves to only look and regard that specific feedback?

    I find that explanation wanting. There should be a higher threshold of need / benefit to institute an NDA in an open development project as there is a cost to the backer community.

    The community team has offered that their PTU process hasn’t really changed much, that the Evocati are simply a first wave of PTU testing with a fancy name and an NDA. The NDA however, fundamentally changes the nature of the test. It is no longer a publicly observable test, it’s decidedly a private one that leaves the general community of backers just as much in the dark as if the test were being done by the internal CIG QA team.

    What would the situation be today had there been an Evocati group, but no NDA? Would patch 2.4 still be in the hands of internal QA or would it instead be in the Evocati’s hands with all of us watching and talking about it?



  5. seannewboy Avatar

    Excellent show everyone, really loved the opening scene.

    As for NDA, i think it is an essential part of Alpha’s, and closed betas. It has no place at all in open beta’s. That said with the open development nature of the crowdfunded games including SC/S42, it all gets a bit fuzzy. Should a company that is making any crowdfunded item be secretive, perhaps to people not contributing money, but certainly not inside community.If you are still trying to get more money into the system, NDA’s should be used sparingly i would think.

  6. MrEightEx Avatar

    Great show as usual guys!

    On NDAs I don’t have a super strong opinion but I lean more towards them being ok and semi-necessary. But I see and agree with both sides as well so, I’m really of two minds here.

  7. BrckWallGoalie Avatar

    Regarding memorable deaths in Sci-Fi. Tony, you ignorant FAY-FAY duh PEE-yen. How could you forget about poor Wash?

  8. Sao Saoldian Avatar
    Sao Saoldian

    Great show guys and terrific opener!

    There are a lot of great answers here regarding the NDA. I would only add that the NDA is not just for 2.4. The Avacados may be used to test things in the future that may never make it into the game. For example, a system for crafting space pony saddles may be designed that CIG wants a known, dedicated, and committed group to test for viability in game. Likely, the Avacodos will reject such a clever system and, due to NDA, no one will know that such a system was ever designed, in a perfect world scenario. Thus, this protects CIG from backlash and creates a comfort zone to be able to test crazy or controversial ideas before revealing them to the “entitled” backers.

    And in regards to the dev timeline for this game compared to other games, the horse has been beat to an unrecognizable smear of goo. CIG is building a universe to rival Star Trek and Star Wars, both having been around for 30+ years. They share what they share. Oh look, squirrel…….

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