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Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition
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Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » Age of Empires / Rise of Rome / Definitive Edition » where did the money to make definitive edition go
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Topic Subject:where did the money to make definitive edition go
local boi
Clubman
(id: dragon14)
posted 11-09-18 04:49 PM ET (US)         
what happened to the money, what was the budget, where did it get spent

- orchestra and remastered sounds

- artists for new graphics

- programmers to make everything work

- marketing

- other

USA
katsup or mustard
AuthorReplies:
ephestion
Clubman
posted 11-09-18 08:21 PM ET (US)     1 / 16       
The musicians and graphic artists did their job properly.


"To love Christ -means not to be a hireling, not to look upon a noble life as an enterprise or trade, but to be a true benefactor and to do everything only for the sake of love for God." —St John Chrysostom
"When one returns to the Greek; it is like going into a garden of lilies out of some, narrow and dark house." -Oscar Wilde
"I don't think I'm smarter than you because you believe in God. I think I'm smarter than you because you're absolutely nuts. -Stormraider responding to me."
PhatFish
Mr. Beta
posted 11-10-18 11:07 AM ET (US)     2 / 16       
To be fair I think everyone did a great job except the game wasn't finished properly. Why do you want to know where the money went? There's little to nothing we can do about the situation in any case, unfortunately.



Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 11-11-18 08:43 AM ET (US)     3 / 16       
I still like AoE DE quite a bit, but time, time is a cruel master and Kronos is trying his best to stop me from having it.

Shigeru Miyamoto once said (apparently).
“A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.”


I like AoE DE a lot and I don't think it is bad by any means, but it could have been better.

[This message has been edited by Suppiluliuma (edited 11-11-2018 @ 08:44 AM).]

Fisk
Champion of AoEH
(id: Fruktfisk)
posted 11-11-18 11:56 AM ET (US)     4 / 16       
Shigeru Miyamoto once said (apparently).
“A delayed game is eventually good, a bad game is bad forever.”
Is it really though? I mean, I can think of a lot of games that were improved greatly upon post-launch. Even total fiascos like No Man's Sky have been subject to such overhauls, where things like graphics have been subject to great changes. However the thing that will live on in public memory is indeed the bad game we received on time, rather than the improved version we got months later.

As for DE, I hardly think the problem's that are in the game now are irreparable, and I think that is precisely what is bothering a lot of people. This game had a decent budget, and we did get a good deal out of it, beautiful graphics, a neat soundtrack and a modern engine which retains the classic AoE gameplay. Of course I can't say what troubles the developers ran into, but it feels like the resources that would be required to polish the product are a drop in the ocean compared to what has already been invested. Problem is, as soon as the game was crammed out on the store, it was really noone's responsibility any longer.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Pineapplefish
Cleidopus gloriamaris
Kataphraktoi
Clubman
posted 11-13-18 02:23 PM ET (US)     5 / 16       
I would have spent all the money on programming time and kept the graphics and music as is. Seems it was so lopsided in the latters favor that the ES guy who was working on the project even put some of his spare time in to work on it(mentioned on his blog post), something I quite frown upon when working for a mega corporation. Dont do any work for microsoft unless your properly compensated.

I doubt the game raked in cash which was then made off with if thats the titles suggestion.

I keep hearing no mans sky was greatly improved and watched some of etho's lets play on a recent update, but it seems to be the same poor game to me that it was on launch. But in this case I simply dont like the base game and its visuals one bit and will never like it no matter what updates they bring.

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
Fisk
Champion of AoEH
(id: Fruktfisk)
posted 11-13-18 03:12 PM ET (US)     6 / 16       
I'm not saying they fixed it into a 5/5 game, but at least looking at the graphical side of things NMS did see some nice improvement.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Pineapplefish
Cleidopus gloriamaris
Kenntak
Clubman
posted 11-15-18 02:34 AM ET (US)     7 / 16       
The graphics and music are great. I am disappointed with the pathfinding though, and don't think it was improved much if at all. In fact, sometimes when I activate a unit, I have to keep doing it because it does not stay activated. I have had units block each other while gathering resources, and get stuck. In addition, units are not very smart when it comes to attacking and defending. Anyway, the game is not finished, but could be really good if it was tweaked more.
PhatFish
Mr. Beta
posted 11-15-18 09:00 AM ET (US)     8 / 16       
The pathfinder was improved, but it's certainly not better than the original, it's worse usually. I see so many units getting stuck constantly it's hilarious and sad at the same time. That and the AI seems to still have issues and acts really weird at times, not very reliable.



Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 11-18-18 07:33 AM ET (US)     9 / 16       
I think the change in unit box sizes may have screwed up the pathfinding.

But you are right. Even if the AI could not be improved due to the game engine limitations, other issues (like pathfinding) could. I find it disheartening that M$ does not care anymore, as they are not funding nor releasing new patches/content.

[This message has been edited by Suppiluliuma (edited 11-18-2018 @ 07:34 AM).]

sulphuric99
Clubman
posted 12-09-18 09:53 PM ET (US)     10 / 16       
So here's a little bit of background on DE's production from my personal perspective as a "firefighting" programmer on the title. It should help give you an idea how troubled the production was, mostly on the engineering and production side. (I'm leaving a lot out.) I also worked at Ensemble on rendering/optimization for Age 3, the engine behind Halo Wars, and the rendering/graphics on Portal2/DotA2/CS:GO.

I helped out on DE because I didn't want to see an Age title be canceled, and because I was personal friends with one of the engineers who was critical for getting DE to be made at all. I don't work in the game business any more, so this is all ancient history to me now:

From what I understand, Microsoft Studios took forever to strike the contract with FE. It was a tough negotiation and it almost didn't happen. Money was always very tight, and milestone payments were sometimes late.

I did some small graphics/rendering/optimization work on DE once it officially began production (on tiny week-long contracts), but I wasn't involved full-time until mid '17. It was very cool to work on Age again, and I also enjoyed learning more about the original Age engine. Also, the artists at FE did an utterly amazing job - true pros. Of all the work done on FE, I think the artists set a new bar. Nonetheless, I *seriously* regret working on it full-time.

I was brought in full-time to help finish a title that was basically going to be cancelled in mid '17. The key event that caused the project to go completely sideways: The original network programmer spent many months doing basically nothing. Eventually, MS engineers rightfully noticed that nothing at all was being done on MP and threw a massive shitfit, which is when I and other firefighters at MS got tossed into the mix to fix up the MP, matchmaking, and UWP code. (How this person wound up on the credits, even after pretty much wrecking the project is beyond me.)

Obviously, FE engineering should have noticed in late '16 or early '17 that they were in way over their heads before MS had to yank the carpet out and pull in dozens of firefighters. I was not involved in the production at all during this time apart from some very short shader effect/optimization contracts in late '16 and early '17. (I mention this in case anyone at MS reads this. I had almost nothing to do with DE until mid '17, after the shit hit the fan so to speak. I was busy with two other projects.)

> I think the change in unit box sizes may have screwed up the pathfinding.

Yes, this was definitely part of the problem. Introducing the multiple facing angles and allowing units to move in any direction to their waypoints also changed things up enough that the original (very brittle) pathing code just didn't work at all anymore. When I got started on pathing, it just didn't function because other devs had busted the code while adding other features. The pathing and movement code even in Age 1 is surprisingly complex and is easily broken in obscure ways.

It didn't help that MS came in and started literally hacking up the pathing/movement code and basically breaking it. 95% of their changes had to be isolated to a branch and then removed because they didn't work - at all. The game wasn't playable for weeks at a time in late '17 because of this nonsense. This obviously slowed down production, because we couldn't properly test or play the game. Really, MS Studios made matter worse on pathing/movement.

This was a troubled, extremely stressful production and it's a small miracle DE shipped at all. Once the preorders had to be returned (because it was late by a few months) it was all downhill. Looking back, FE underestimated how many skilled engineers needed to be hired to work on multiple complex systems. What wound up happening was that all the very difficult, showstopper, or tricky problems got thrown onto a tiny handful of developer's plates, which caused them to task switch constantly. They also underestimated how much MS would push for late minute changes (such as passthrough villagers) and how complex these changes would be to implement and test. This should have been contractually just not possible, but the contract was too much in MS's favor (in spite of themselves). Finally, FE lost control over the code repo, which is death for a project like this because MS dropped in endless temporary programmers to hack things - which in many cases made things worse and slowed down production even more.

(I'm walking a fine balancing act here. These events occured over a year ago now. I'm writing this to help prevent others from working for a big publisher like MS Studios and making the same mistakes. Make sure your contract protects you well!)

-Rich Geldreich

[This message has been edited by sulphuric99 (edited 12-10-2018 @ 00:34 AM).]

PhatFish
Mr. Beta
posted 12-11-18 09:31 AM ET (US)     11 / 16       
Thank you for posting this invaluable information to the community. I never would have guessed when I entered the beta around mid '17, the state of development behind the scenes was this bad. I remember clearly being excited about the passthrough of villagers and congratulating the devs, seemed like pathfinding was actually being improved upon that point, and had high hopes on other parts of the game being finished properly despite the delay.

This doesn't forbode well for AoK: DE and AoE3 : DE... if they haven't already been cancelled.

Anyways, I am grateful we even got DE, it is still fun. My last online match was very exciting!



Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 12-16-18 08:33 AM ET (US)     12 / 16       
If i didn't read this I'd have never figured this out.

Thanks for sharing. I do feel that working with more advanced engines like AoEII and III would avoid having as many issues as with AoEI's but I don't know. I have never been dexterous in computer basic stuff.

This post has confirmed some stuff I already suspected, like how the whole project changes in AI and path finding were underestimated, not just by the staff themselves, but by the community at large.

But like it was mentioned, this is ancient history, what's left for M$ and FE is to learn from past mistakes and improve. We can dream what would have been of this game if there would have been more staff, funding and time to solve this. I have no complains about the artists, they did a top notch work. Visually the game is amazing!

[This message has been edited by Suppiluliuma (edited 12-23-2018 @ 05:51 AM).]

Kenntak
Clubman
posted 12-22-18 10:56 AM ET (US)     13 / 16       
Wow Rich, that was very enlightening and disappointing to hear. What a way for Microsoft to treat one of its flagship games/series. The art is great, but the game has some otherwise irritating flaws.
sulphuric99
Clubman
posted 12-30-18 06:20 PM ET (US)     14 / 16       
You know, we could easily have continued improving Age DE after it shipped. After spending many months on pathing, networking, and in the engine in general, we knew it pretty well.

In other words, we knew how to modify the engine without breaking the universe. We earned that through a lot of hard work, getting into the code and into the minds of the original authors at Ensemble. Random MS devs/contractors can only make trivial changes to the game logic without breaking 100 or even thousands of things.

But apparently MS management didn't think it was worth the additional investment. This makes sense from a short term, pure bottom line perspective. But long term, you've got a franchise to support, a brand to cultivate, and customers have expectations. Microsoft: You have damaged one of your classic game franchises by these short term decisions and the customers will not forget.
Kenntak
Clubman
posted 01-02-19 05:17 AM ET (US)     15 / 16       
It's a real shame, because the game is now harder to control, and units don't react intelligently, and path finding is not improved. I love the new graphics, but the old game had better control, and the units seemed to work more intelligently. For example, try running some scythe chariots threw some Sumerian chariots to have them destroy themselves. It's easier to control the scythe chariots in the old game. It should not be like this, control, unit decisions, and path finding should have been improved!!!
Suppiluliuma
AoEH Seraph
posted 01-06-19 07:46 AM ET (US)     16 / 16       
You know, we could easily have continued improving Age DE after it shipped. After spending many months on pathing, networking, and in the engine in general, we knew it pretty well.
As true as that could be, M$ has reacted in a very near-sighted way. And there are two things that really annoy me.

1- as it was pointed out already, the fact that M$ is not investing any resources in the game anymore. The game could be improved, albeit at a slow pace, by a skeletal crew that knew the code and intricacies well, but they are not eager to invest even in that.

2- the game could also be improved by fans, but as far as I know, modifying the DE is out of boundaries. If only russians and chinese were more interested, laws there are different, as hollywood and software companies are aware. We would see changes, even if M$ didn't allow them in the first place :b
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