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Post-release community engagement and support

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I'm just going to be pretty blunt here. CM's post-release community engagement (status updates, information, etc) and support (patches, feedback on reported bugs and issues, etc) has been pretty terrible.

1) The big problem is that the tracking of community-reported bugs and issues seems totally mishandled. There are many bugs that have been reported (and seem to be relatively easy fixes) that have never been patched, but more importantly, even so much as acknowledged. Some of these would be AI times, rain effects, co-driver audio mix issues, ability to disable AI in multiplayer RX races, sequential manual/H-pattern auto switching, etc.

2) Community engagement has been very, very poor. Other than notifications of the few sparse patches and a few notes that FFB is being worked on, we've gotten nothing. What is going on here? I'm sorry, but if I was in management on the DiRT team I'd be looking very closely at this. A title's success is heavily dependent on how its active community is treated and served - and by success I mean how much money it's bringing in for the developer/publisher. The frustrating part is this should be like the lowest-effort, low-hanging fruit for CM to be taking on right now.

To be clear, I'm only making this post because I see so much potential in DiRT Rally 2.0 but it's being hamstrung by CM's post-release handling. As an outsider I'm sitting here wondering why CM are dropping the ball on building on the hard work they've put into the title thus far and, simply, getting less return on their investment than they could be (all while pleasing their customers, too.)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ShodanCat said:

Some of these would be AI times, rain effects, co-driver audio mix issues, ability to disable AI in multiplayer RX races, sequential manual/H-pattern auto switching, etc

Every single one of these things you mentioned have been directly acknowledged as a known issue by either mods/dev's here, on reddit, on their twitter, or by Christina herself. Some have even been given rough timeframes like 1.4/5 releases

 

1 hour ago, ShodanCat said:

Community engagement has been very, very poor. Other than notifications of the few sparse patches and a few notes that FFB is being worked on, we've gotten nothing. What is going on here?

The engagement definitely hasn't been supper involved, but I see them respond to at least a few new concerns every day. What do you want them to do, go around repeating their general answers every single time the same question is reposted? Do you want them every single day to make an update post of "hey guys, our list of X-Y-Z bugs still hasn't changed!"

What do you want from this engagement? What do you expect to get out of it? I'm right there with you in that this game has awesome potential to be amazing that I'd like to see it achieve. But what do you want them to do? The loudest complaint is around is on the FFB so they have dedicated majority of resources that they can to that; and we all knew this wasn't going to be a quick fix. This could have been a bad decision compared to spending the first 2 patches focusing solely on the "easy" win fixes, or it may have been the right call - time will tell. I'll agree the AI should have been fixed along time ago, that seemed like an easy win but hey maybe it's way more involved than we know. 

Edited by Mike Dee
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mike Dee said:

There engagement definitely hasn't been supper involved, but I see them respond to at least a few new concerns every day. What do you want them to do, go around repeating their general answers every single time the same question is reposted? Do you want them every single day to make an update post of "hey guys, our list of X-Y-Z bugs still hasn't changed!"

Why overexaggerate in this case ? Nobody expects daily updates; and I´m pretty sure you are aware of this as well. I can only speak for myself, but what I would have liked are some status-updates; at least in the more pressing issues. Has Codemasters ever said if the FFB is how it was intended ? Or if it´s a bug ? If it is as intended, what were the thoughts behind its implementation ? If it´s a bug, what is the cause of the bug ? What exactly is the mentioned "headway" the devs have achieved in this matter ?

Or the Ai-Times. It was mentioned that changing these times will be a "huge undertaking". But again no word if these times are intentional, or due to a bug; at least in certain classes. Why not explain WHY changing these times is such a feat to accomplish ?

It just seems to me that the vast majority of the communication from Codemasters relies on REACTING (reacting to the stuff brought up by the community), instead of ACTING by themselves (for example by posting a Roadbook with more technical aspects every 2 weeks or so). To me it sometimes seems as if Codemasters is pretty shy (or maybe even unwilling) when it comes to REALLY talk about the more non-positive side of things.

I can only compare this Codemasters-type of communication with the way other devs (smaller and bigger ones) are handling that type of thing. And that comparison sadly is not very positive for Codemasters; and those devs aren´t doing daily updates as well.

The Roadbooks would be great to talk about these things, and not only when a new patch gets released. Or not only when there is stuff to write about to make your game look good. The last Roadbook was 3 weeks ago. I would say that a Roadbook  one week ago or so would have been a great way to talk about this "headway" regarding the FFB.

Edited by Civarello
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@Mike Dee:

B u l l s h i t.  Their communication is bad. They don't even answer to easy questions about how they mean certain things.

Were you around at DR1 days? THAT was good communication. ShodanCat is ABSOLUTELY right.

Sad thing is, they not only don't know how to communicatie, they also seem to have forgotten how to code. It is so obvious the team is struggling with the easiest things. Not looking good.

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Its really kind of strange with the simple things. For example sweden, the very, very first thing you notice is: too bright! Why wasn't this the artists first reaction? Did he never play the game?

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2 minutes ago, bbbwww said:

Were you around at DR1 days?

And that was a completely different release model based around the idea of constant community engagement during an EA title?

You can call BS all you want, but there are plenty of sources even here on the board that directly address literally everything in their first comment. It may not be constantly addressing it or going into details as deeply as this community would like, but to say they haven't acknowledged those issues is a blatant lie. They have directly acknowledged every one of those issues.

There are plenty of problems with this game, and yes the comms could definitely be more detailed. No one is arguing that. But don't come in here and act like there is zero comms, because I don't have enough time left in this shift to go thru and link you to every single one just on these forums...

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Mike Dee said:

They have directly acknowledged every one of those issues.

They had directly acknowledged grip issue in D4. Not even in written form, but in video interview. And what? They never got back to this subject. Never answered for the same question after. Nothing has been fixed at the end.

Also, the fact people constantly asking for status of "well known issues" means, that communication is not clear enough. Answering on random question in random places I wouldn't call a proper communication/support.

And as others I really don't understand what happened. They had DR1, almost perfect product. It was enough to add new locations, improve physics. But it looks like DR2 is forked from other piece of software. Unfortunately a buggy one. It cannot be other way considering issues with controllers, sound, HDR etc. Who and why made such decision? Decision which makes customer base unhappy, which impacts sales? And please: do no rise argument, that nowadays sims are very complex software. Because complex doesn't implies uncontrolled development.

Edited by MaXyMsrpl
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Mike Dee said:

Every single one of these things you mentioned have been directly acknowledged as a known issue by either mods/dev's here, on reddit, on their twitter, or by Christina herself. Some have even been given rough timeframes like 1.4/5 releases

I follow the community pretty closely (as much as an individual can reasonably be expected to) and I haven't seen anything on the specific issues I mentioned. I'm not calling you a liar (although I would like to see a link to specific responses) but if I'm following things pretty closely and I have no clue about these responses - there's a problem there. For example (and this is just one possible way to go about it) but why not have a pinned thread with known issues and their status? Who can be expected to watch 15+ page threads like a hawk, all subreddit threads, AND twitter accounts (which aren't even linked here, by the way) to see information? I'm sorry but it's just terribly done.

Edited by ShodanCat
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2 hours ago, Mike Dee said:
3 hours ago, ShodanCat said:

Some of these would be AI times, rain effects, co-driver audio mix issues, ability to disable AI in multiplayer RX races, sequential manual/H-pattern auto switching, etc.

Every single one of these things you mentioned have been directly acknowledged as a known issue by either mods/dev's here, on reddit, on their twitter, or by Christina herself. Some have even been given rough timeframes like 1.4/5 releases

@Mike Dee, professional apologist and thumbs-downer of all critical content. 🤣

Can you show us where CMs have specifically acknowledged the AI times, rain effects and audio mix issues? I'm vaguely aware they have said multiplayer is being worked on, though trying to find that one obscure reference would be impossible for anyone not reading every comment of every thread. Oh, and gearbox auto switching was acknowledged, once, deep in a bug thread - by a dev who tersely replied that fixing it "wasn't that simple". Great.

Can you show me where they have specifically acknowledged two of the other major community concerns - namely the lighting model that continues to present significant problems for some people (mostly HDR console users), and tyre wear being a mostly worthless feature?

Do we have any idea what is scheduled for patch 1.4 or 1.5, or even a ball-park on when to expect them?

Codemasters don't operate in a vacuum where examples of good developer/publisher communications don't exist. Even they have proven it can be done.

22 minutes ago, ShodanCat said:

I follow the community pretty closely (as much as an individual can reasonably be expected to) and I haven't seen anything on the specific issues I mentioned. I'm not calling you a liar (although I would like to see a link to specific responses) but if I'm following things pretty closely and I have no clue about these responses - there's a problem there. For example (and this is just one possible way to go about it) but why not have a pinned thread with known issues and their status? Who can be expected to watch 15+ page threads like a hawk, all subreddit threads, AND twitter accounts (which aren't even linked here, by the way) to see information? I'm sorry but it's just terribly done.

You request is not unreasonable. Codemaster's seem to have a policy of making the absolute minimum public facing comment on software issues, which is both frustrating and concerning for fans of their games. 

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37 minutes ago, ShodanCat said:

but if I'm following things pretty closely and I have no clue about these responses - there's a problem there.

And this I 100% agree on. The overall comms are poor in that they rarely reflect everything happening, but just jumping into Christina's post history we can see a lot of answers. Here are the first 3 I find, and I know her twitter handle is just as active (plz don't have all these links embed themselves and make this unreadable...)

The overall thing though is that they do address stuff, but they are horrible in consolidating these responses. That is the real thing they need to do, but I'm pretty sure everyone has been asking for that since day one and the community has taken over on consolidating them... Sad that we have to collect the responses, but the responses are out there none the less.

52 minutes ago, bbbwww said:

So they made you believe it has to do with the Release Model? So only if a game is in early access the devs can communicate thoroughly with their customers, in all other scenarios this is not possible? How brainwashed can one be?

You keep going and making ad-hoc strawmen to fight, I'll wait for you to settle down and start addressing real issues that can be discussed instead of whatever else you want to focus on. EA titles tend to have deeper insights into the dev process, prod-releases don't. That isn't to say there is zero insights, and we do see them as well, but we will almost always tend to see less insight into things post-prod. Then you complain about not getting a follow-up response of a dev - who already told you everything, you just repeated your question like it would magically change how dev works because it "looks so simple". Have fun raging about the game, the rest of us will just enjoy not finding you in MP lobbies.

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Posted (edited)

I generally haven't gotten into these types of debates, been waiting patiently for something to happen, but now after two months I really am inclined to agree.  So far the only thing I feel was ever patched that I was affected by was the ultra-dark areas in stages like New Zealand during the day.  Second patch didn't seem to do anything that I am really aware of.  Sound cutting bug was reportedly fixed twice and yet it was not.  What is really going on?  I see these forums and it's people bickering among themselves about the way they think things should be, CM may make a post every few weeks or so.  Whenever I see those posts it's exciting, but they always result in actually providing no information or proper status updates so it's just a let down.

It's not like there's an overwhelming amount of traffic to these forums, thousands of new posts a minute.  Seems like a pretty tight knit community here, why for can't we get some greater engagement?  I work in IT as a career and when I'm working on something, whether it be part of a project or fixing a bug with some system, I provide status updates with what precisely I am doing and what I will be doing.  Somebody in CM knows who is doing what, but whose decision is it to keep the information super hush?  They're not gaining anything by this and it's actually gotten pretty tiresome.  

Seems we're at a one patch a month cadence, with the patches thus far being quite underwhelming, and the things people want the most not even being addressed.  Doesn't seem much better with the F1 games either, people await bug fixes for some reported issues but once they announce the following years F1 they stop touching the previous years.  Dirt Rally 3 may be released while we still await bug fixed for DR2...  and to this I say no, the madness has gotta stop.  I want DR2 to be fixed up proper though with no regular updates basically seems like nothing is happening, hard to stay properly motivated. 

I actually haven't even reviewed the game yet on steam, figured I'd wait a bit until they patch some things.  But not much has really changed from the original release, and that's disappointing.

Edited by lilfurbal
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Posted (edited)

An official bug tracker forum thread where only the CM can post wouldn't be a bad thing.

Bug/status(investigating/working on) 

Would give easy enough overview for people to check out what's acknowledged and what is being worked on. 

Edited by bogani
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IMO it's the hope that kills you. Clearer communication on what is and isn't being looked at / worked on would be a great improvement.

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Posted (edited)

I'm really disappointed with the communication levels. No word of a lie, it bothers me more than any of the issues with the game (which I consider to be excellent, with only fairly minor issues and plenty of scope for improvement).

 

The issues that people are asking about have been fairly consistent since launch: FFB, weather patterns, lighting, graphics on low end consoles. Instead of the odd comment of "we're looking at it", would it be so much work (2-3 months after launch) to write a blog post addressing these points in detail? There must be reason for all of them, I'm not one of those shouting "CODEMASTERS SUXXX" or calling them "lazy" (nothing annoys me more than this one), so be it not perfected because of time or a gameplay choice, there's a reason for each of the main issues people have. They may not be possible to address in this game either, which isn't the end of the world, but at least have the conviction to be open about it IMO.

 

However, people attacking @Mike Dee for showing that it's not a black and white situation, we're somewhere in a grey area between, are way out of line. Anyone saying Codemasters are silent are simply wrong, there are replies and interactions out there, albeit it not to the depth some of us would like or as accessible as they should be.

 

That said, I did expect better communication for this 'minimum 6 month support', especially as we're nearly halfway through it and the improvements to the game have been appreciated but limited. No doubt things are being worked on, but what is a priority and what isn't is barely known. Take the weather patterns, it'd be fairly simple to tell us why it's different to Dirt 4 and whether there's any scope in adding new weather options or times of day (e.g. not possible in this game engine OR same team is working on new environments to keep to release schedule as priority OR it's high on the environment team's priority list OR we don't have time to work on it, it's on the list but low down so no guarantees).

 

Edit: an example of amazing dev comms from a much smaller team: https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/168-developer-diary/page/6/?tab=comments#comment-759356

Edited by RodgerDavies
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, RodgerDavies said:

 

Edit: an example of amazing dev comms from a much smaller team: https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/168-developer-diary/page/6/?tab=comments#comment-759356

Aye, 1C/777 was one of the Publishers/Studios that I had in mind when I said that Codemasters´ way of communicating is pretty subpar compared to other Studios/Publishers out there. Their Developer Diaries are awesome. Since 2012 there have been 222 Diaries, the last one came today.

I was pretty hesitant to further support Il2 after what happened with Cliffs of Dover. But in my opinion 1C did a pretty good job on the last couple of "Battle of...."-Sims, and I am happy that they (finally) acknowledged the awesome work that Team Fusion did for Cliffs of Dover some time ago. So for the last couple of years I had zero problems supporting 1C/777 and their work on the Il2-Series.

Edited by Civarello
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1C/777 is brilliant at this and is basically a model development team for a small/niche simulation product, IMHO.

Also, thank you guys for keeping this (mostly) civil and contributing to the discussion. I hope it continues and more importantly, I hope someone at CM takes notice and considers a change-up in their MO.

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