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 Author State of DarkSpace Development
Pantheon
Marshal
Palestar


Joined: May 29, 2001
Posts: 1702
Posted: 2016-03-18 10:18   
Hi folks,
You've probably noticed that DarkSpace has entered a stagnant phase of development, I'm here to clarify what that means for you and DarkSpace.

Rather than piddling around the bush, I'm going to get straight to the point. We have many, many ideas and plans in DarkSpace, what to do with it, where we want to take it, the trouble with all of it stems from the fact that this game does not make enough money to allow anyone working on it full time. All of us are volunteers - even Faustus. We volunteer our time where we can, when we can, and sometimes this means not at all. Life gets in the way, school deadlines, children are born, love is lost and found, jobs come and go, people gain, and lose interest. I'm sure we can all relate to this in some way.

The problem lies in the fact that whilst we've had only a few people sign up to donate their time in ways that are actually useful to us in the last 5-6 years, and whilst all of the content developers have been fantastic, there have only been a few programmers who have donated their time in addition to Faustus and myself, and all of them except Fattierob disappeared when they saw the task ahead. Literally signed up, were assigned tasks, and disappeared.

I think this is best illustrated with an illustration. The image below is the commit count from 1/1/2010 to now. You can see that really only myself and Faustus (and to note, Fattierob) have worked on the game in regards to programming. Please do not count this as lack of work from the content developers, they often do their work in bulk and submit it at once (if for example changing many ships or weapons).



With myself and Faustus unable to always work on DarkSpace (we need to have lives, see family, spend time with loved ones, enjoy ourselves) in meaningful ways all the time, it leaves DarkSpace with a lot of content to be put out there, but with no-one available to implement it. This is ultimately why development has stagnated.

We have people offering services for restarting servers, or moderating, or coming up with ideas, but the truth of it all is that we don't need anything but programmers; and every time we have attempted to get more, people just disappear.

Working on large code bases is hard, and often requires hours at a time (or even whole evening/days) to get anywhere meaningful, and as we have fulltime jobs elsewhere and lives to live, it becomes increasingly difficult to donate that amount of time (you try telling my girlfriend I can't work on the house because I need to spend all evening writing code for a game I don't get paid for!).

We ultimately do this because we love the game, and we want it to live as long as it can, and be fun for everyone, but it is very difficult. Faustus could just shut it all down and then we'd have no DarkSpace for anyone. Instead he's left it up so that people can learn from it if they wish to in the form of helping programming or content creation (some have even forged careers out of it), and so that people can enjoy it for what it is.

If any of you do want to help DarkSpace, really there are only two things you can do:
1) Play the game, and try and enjoy it as it is. We know it has issues, and #whateverdietyyoubelieveinhere knows we've worked hard to improve and fix what we can when we can.

2) If you're a programmer, help us. There's no pay, and sometimes people can behave a bit rubbish towards you, but you can help create something fun for others. This is the singularly largest thing DarkSpace needs.

Sorry if this isn't what everyone wants to hear, but it's the truth, and there's no point lying on the internet - people find out. DarkSpace is nearing 17 years old, not many games of this type get to live this long (if any), please bare that in mind the next time you think something is easy to fix and want to point fingers.

Best regards,
Jack
[ This Message was edited by: Pantheon on 2016-03-18 10:20 ]
_________________


Riley!
Chief Marshal

Joined: May 29, 2002
Posts: 256
Posted: 2016-03-18 16:06   
Thanks Jack,

After going over the forum the last few weeks I think this is the absolute best answer that could have been given to all the different posts regarding the state of darkspace and its development. I'm glad this game is still around.
_________________


Eledore Massis [R33]
Fleet Admiral
Templar Knights


Chatting in 'DarkSpace English'

Joined: May 26, 2002
Posts: 2677
From: tsohlacoLocalhost
Posted: 2016-03-19 00:16   
/me claps.

Thanks for typing that post out Panth, thank you for putting in the time (that is no joke or attemt to insult).

Sad but true, there is no other explanation.
That is the current state of darkspace. While most of us developers would love to do things, it (mostly) always require coding.

Jack, Frob and Faustus so far where our only sources who could write.
Reading; some of us developers could read and understand the stringcode and make adjustments but writing new methodes/classes/optimalization *ahum*. Writing code just wasn't for us.

So if you are able to Write (C++ is the language if i remember), and are able to donate TIME. Please look here
Oh and one thing that has always been said to our potential programmers; we always give credits.



p.s
To me:
DarkSpace it has been and still is One game i would love to see prosper, i am willing to volunteer to help work on it trough time and time again. It has been my first MMO to play in, and so far the only space/scifi MMO worthy to keep playing.


[ This Message was edited by: Eledore Massis [R33] on 2016-03-19 00:17 ]
_________________


Walrus of Apathy
Admiral
Templar Knights


Chatting in 'DarkSpace English'

Joined: August 07, 2005
Posts: 464
From: Dorans Basement
Posted: 2016-03-24 23:30   
I'm fresh back from an impromptu 6 month hiatus, and I'm ready to argue with Ent and Jim in Devtalk again anytime they're up for it.
_________________


  Email Walrus of Apathy
Alcedo
Chief Marshal

Joined: June 03, 2010
Posts: 126
Posted: 2016-03-25 01:51   
I understand completely what you are saying Pantheon, and most of us players have known this, and we appreciate the time and effort you and others have put into this game (like I mentioned to you personally a few times), but the fact is that DS was much more fun to play a few years ago than it is now. It's just a great pity that the game couldn't have entered this "stagnant phase of development" then. That's all I'm trying to say.

For me a playable game with fun and a (although small) playerbase is better than a game with no fun and almost no players.

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  Email Alcedo
Pantheon
Marshal
Palestar


Joined: May 29, 2001
Posts: 1702
Posted: 2016-03-25 05:34   
Quote:
On 2016-03-25 01:51, Alcedo wrote:
I understand completely what you are saying Pantheon, and most of us players have known this, and we appreciate the time and effort you and others have put into this game (like I mentioned to you personally a few times), but the fact is that DS was much more fun to play a few years ago than it is now. It's just a great pity that the game couldn't have entered this "stagnant phase of development" then. That's all I'm trying to say.

For me a playable game with fun and a (although small) playerbase is better than a game with no fun and almost no players.




It essentially doesn't matter what version we'd be on in any stagnant phase of development. Every version has had its issues that made it "unplayable" to many, and lack of development would have the same outcome as now. You're of course welcome to your opinion, but many here (as you will/have seen) will tout the same response but for a different version. Yours will be 1.5x, some will be 1.480, some 1.483, some another number entirely.
_________________


Alcedo
Chief Marshal

Joined: June 03, 2010
Posts: 126
Posted: 2016-03-25 10:36   
Quote:
On 2016-03-25 05:34, Pantheon wrote:
Quote:
On 2016-03-25 01:51, Alcedo wrote:
I understand completely what you are saying Pantheon, and most of us players have known this, and we appreciate the time and effort you and others have put into this game (like I mentioned to you personally a few times), but the fact is that DS was much more fun to play a few years ago than it is now. It's just a great pity that the game couldn't have entered this "stagnant phase of development" then. That's all I'm trying to say.

For me a playable game with fun and a (although small) playerbase is better than a game with no fun and almost no players.




It essentially doesn't matter what version we'd be on in any stagnant phase of development. Every version has had its issues that made it "unplayable" to many, and lack of development would have the same outcome as now. You're of course welcome to your opinion, but many here (as you will/have seen) will tout the same response but for a different version. Yours will be 1.5x, some will be 1.480, some 1.483, some another number entirely.



I understand, but the fact still remains that the game experienced a huge reduction in players with 1.67 and the versions that followed it. I'm sure the game would have had more players now had it stayed at 1.5x or even 1.6.

_________________


  Email Alcedo
Azreal
Chief Marshal

Joined: March 14, 2004
Posts: 2800
From: United State of Texas, Houston
Posted: 2016-03-26 22:59   
Ironically I logged in to get some screenies of Luth ships. I'm working on that kluth warrior model again. I have time, but wrong skill set. I'm more game art and level design. I know very basic c# but that's it and that's based on unity' s built in scripter.

Willing to learn it...But that's kind of the problem. It's Medusa. Too many good free engines out there.

If somebody were willing to have a few classes...take some of us through the basics.... maybe do more to grow a crop of what we need. Just a thought.

Any who...about that luth warrior.....I've been working a pipeline series on game dev on digital tutors. Zbrush, modo, substance designer, unreal engine 4 for final assembly. So I decided to redo that luth model. I'll run him through a simple maze, picking up power thingies, having to hack up or shoot some kind of native natural enemy. Thought maybe a human version vs kluth warriors would also be a nice twist. I have the base model of the warrior done. Getting ready to do the texture and paint job. I actually already have a level designed in unity, with a character script ready to go.

Thing is, all this is relatively easy doing it solo. Couldn't do that with Medusa though, which is why I be like..."Medusa? Ehhhh."
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Cold Death
Admiral

Joined: July 24, 2011
Posts: 106
From: Right behind you...
Posted: 2016-03-27 13:24   
Quote:
On 2016-03-25 10:36, Alcedo wrote:


I understand, but the fact still remains that the game experienced a huge reduction in players with 1.67 and the versions that followed it. I'm sure the game would have had more players now had it stayed at 1.5x or even 1.6.




That's nonsense.

If you just keep the same version, it gets boring real fast. Case and point: DarkSpace right now. The last update was a year and a half ago. Prior to that, I remember updates coming out with less than a year between them.

It doesn't matter which version you run, if you don't improve the game to meet current standards in the industry, it's going to be stagnant anyways.

Lets be honest, DarkSpace doesn't stand a chance against it's competitors. EvE is probably the only game which is roughly from the same time period as DarkSpace, and even it was released several years after DS. Not to mention EvE gets expansions every month or so. It's just out of the question.

What keeps me from playing is mostly the lack of combat. Yeah, 5v5s might be fun, but I don't think that's what DS is about. When I go into the Metaverse, I want to see hundreds of players battling over a battlefield several systems in scope.

That's the reason many people play EvE, apart from the spreadsheets. Yeah, the game is mostly boring as snap and you mostly fly through HiSec or LowSec space to mine and deliver stuff. But once in a while, you and your corporation will get involved in a war. Or a skirmish. Or something. And that's what you've been preparing for. All those ships you have, all that experience you've gathered, it comes to use in massive battles that you participate in.

DarkSpace doesn't have this. The player-base is too small, fleets are too disorganized ( because the player-base is small ) and apart from combat, there isn't much to do. If I had a reason to log in every day, I would. But I don't.

My only reason is to check and see if anyone else is on so I can stalk them with my ship and maybe kill them once or twice before they log off because I'm being obnoxious. MMOs can't function like this.

DarkSpace, above all, requires players. Not keyboard warriors such as myself who log on to the forums every 2 months to regurgitate their opinion at others. The current community is stale. People don't have the time anymore to dedicate to this game. Most of us have moved on.

Get the word out there. Somehow. Advertising isn't as expensive as you may think. Sure, if you want to post an ad through Google AdSense on YouTube, it would cost you a small fortune. But you don't have to do that. You can start small and work up from there.

Additionally, the website could use some sprucing up. Get some new assets made and smack 'em in place of the old ones. Heck, maybe find a nice custom font to replace the current one. You don't need to change the layout, just made it look better.

Get active on social medial. Facebook, twitter, reddit, youtube, those are the places where you can advertise without having to pay a single penny. Not everyone who notices you has to play the game. Only some. But if enough notice you, those some will turn into a rather large clump of players.

And the last two things, you can combine them. Shove a "Share on Twitter/Facebook/Whatever" button somewhere. Even Google+ would be something.

Finally, I'd like to thank the devs for everything they've been doing for these past who knows how many years. This game has no right to be alive, considering it's age. And yet, it is. I want it to continue. When I get to uni, I want to have something else to waste valuable studying time on, and I want that something to be DarkSpace. So thank you, Palestar & co. I hope the next time I swing by I see something better to respond to. Something along the lines of "We need to expand the servers! Too many people are trying to get on!".

[ This Message was edited by: Cold Death on 2016-03-27 13:33 ]
_________________


Riley!
Chief Marshal

Joined: May 29, 2002
Posts: 256
Posted: 2016-03-27 13:59   
Quote:
On 2016-03-27 13:24, Cold Death wrote:
I want to see hundreds of players battling



Bring back the Fleet Admiral server!


_________________


Demorian
Fleet Admiral
Galactic Navy


Joined: October 06, 2001
Posts: 3403
From: Charlotte, North Carolina
Posted: 2016-03-27 15:00   
Most things are best illustrated with an illustration, Jack.

-Dem
_________________


Alcedo
Chief Marshal

Joined: June 03, 2010
Posts: 126
Posted: 2016-03-28 01:05   
Quote:
On 2016-03-27 13:24, Cold Death wrote:
Quote:
On 2016-03-25 10:36, Alcedo wrote:


I understand, but the fact still remains that the game experienced a huge reduction in players with 1.67 and the versions that followed it. I'm sure the game would have had more players now had it stayed at 1.5x or even 1.6.




That's nonsense.

If you just keep the same version, it gets boring real fast. Case and point: DarkSpace right now. The last update was a year and a half ago. Prior to that, I remember updates coming out with less than a year between them.

It doesn't matter which version you run, if you don't improve the game to meet current standards in the industry, it's going to be stagnant anyways.

Lets be honest, DarkSpace doesn't stand a chance against it's competitors. EvE is probably the only game which is roughly from the same time period as DarkSpace, and even it was released several years after DS. Not to mention EvE gets expansions every month or so. It's just out of the question.

What keeps me from playing is mostly the lack of combat. Yeah, 5v5s might be fun, but I don't think that's what DS is about. When I go into the Metaverse, I want to see hundreds of players battling over a battlefield several systems in scope.

That's the reason many people play EvE, apart from the spreadsheets. Yeah, the game is mostly boring as snap and you mostly fly through HiSec or LowSec space to mine and deliver stuff. But once in a while, you and your corporation will get involved in a war. Or a skirmish. Or something. And that's what you've been preparing for. All those ships you have, all that experience you've gathered, it comes to use in massive battles that you participate in.

DarkSpace doesn't have this. The player-base is too small, fleets are too disorganized ( because the player-base is small ) and apart from combat, there isn't much to do. If I had a reason to log in every day, I would. But I don't.

My only reason is to check and see if anyone else is on so I can stalk them with my ship and maybe kill them once or twice before they log off because I'm being obnoxious. MMOs can't function like this.

DarkSpace, above all, requires players. Not keyboard warriors such as myself who log on to the forums every 2 months to regurgitate their opinion at others. The current community is stale. People don't have the time anymore to dedicate to this game. Most of us have moved on.

Get the word out there. Somehow. Advertising isn't as expensive as you may think. Sure, if you want to post an ad through Google AdSense on YouTube, it would cost you a small fortune. But you don't have to do that. You can start small and work up from there.

Additionally, the website could use some sprucing up. Get some new assets made and smack 'em in place of the old ones. Heck, maybe find a nice custom font to replace the current one. You don't need to change the layout, just made it look better.

Get active on social medial. Facebook, twitter, reddit, youtube, those are the places where you can advertise without having to pay a single penny. Not everyone who notices you has to play the game. Only some. But if enough notice you, those some will turn into a rather large clump of players.

And the last two things, you can combine them. Shove a "Share on Twitter/Facebook/Whatever" button somewhere. Even Google+ would be something.

Finally, I'd like to thank the devs for everything they've been doing for these past who knows how many years. This game has no right to be alive, considering it's age. And yet, it is. I want it to continue. When I get to uni, I want to have something else to waste valuable studying time on, and I want that something to be DarkSpace. So thank you, Palestar & co. I hope the next time I swing by I see something better to respond to. Something along the lines of "We need to expand the servers! Too many people are trying to get on!".

[ This Message was edited by: Alcedo on 2016-03-28 01:06 ]




I agree with you, but I think you misunderstood my point. My point is not to stop development of DS, but if it really has to stop, then at least stop at a popular version. Any game would be better off if it stops development during a version with a playerbase, than stopping in a version without one.


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Fluttershy
Fleet Admiral

Joined: September 24, 2011
Posts: 778
From: Fluttershy
Posted: 2016-03-28 03:07   
I offered to help with programming a while back but you guys were scared to death to show more than small snippets here and there. On top of that, I'm generally disliked and got bored and fed up with the game and players in general so I've moved on to other things.

Would it help at all if DS was remade in another engine, one with a large community and plenty of support and which might be more likely to get the attention and help that it needs? An engine that largely takes care of memory management and networking for you?
_________________


TroyMars
Chief Marshal
T-Roy! and Friends


Joined: July 05, 2005
Posts: 251
From: Kentucky
Posted: 2016-03-28 04:09   
Quote:
On 2016-03-28 01:05, Alcedo wrote:


I agree with you, but I think you misunderstood my point. point is not to stop development of DS, but if it really has to stop, then at least stop at a popular version. Any game would be better off if it stops development during a version with a playerbase, than stopping in a version without one.





Rolling back the game won't also bring the players back. That's not how this works; that's not how any of this works.
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Pantheon
Marshal
Palestar


Joined: May 29, 2001
Posts: 1702
Posted: 2016-03-28 09:06   
Quote:
On 2016-03-27 15:00, Demorian wrote:
Most things are best illustrated with an illustration, Jack.

-Dem




Do you have an illustration to illustrate that?

Quote:
On 2016-03-28 03:07, Fluttershy wrote:
I offered to help with programming a while back but you guys were scared to death to show more than small snippets here and there. On top of that, I'm generally disliked and got bored and fed up with the game and players in general so I've moved on to other things.

Would it help at all if DS was remade in another engine, one with a large community and plenty of support and which might be more likely to get the attention and help that it needs? An engine that largely takes care of memory management and networking for you?




The game engine isn't the problem at all. The content editor is a bit tricksy to work with, but the game engine itself is just fine. The only problem is lack of free time to work on it. Doesn't matter if it's Unity, UE4, or any other engine - at some point you still have to write code, and that requires time.
[ This Message was edited by: Pantheon on 2016-03-28 09:08 ]
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