I'm another one of the relatively 'old timers' who grew up with the same games. I wasn't fortunate enough to work on Total Annihilation, but I was around for its lifetime and was fairly active in keeping up with things. I really like Total Annihilation, I believe it to be one of the greatest games of all time. However, like all fans, I was annoyed at Cavedog for doings things like, not fixing trivial bugs, not keeping code legacy free, and not coming through with ambitious promises.
Some random examples:
- Bomber scripts having the code for a metal cost per bomb, but not implemented.
- AI not having working Antinukes, even though they could build them.
- Pelican's base being below the waterline.
- The "next week for sure" downloadable minelayers.
In many ways, Cavedog did make statements or lead fans to having expectations that weren't fulfilled. In bad games no one cares. However, in a great game like Total Annihilation (and by extension Demigods), it leads to aneurisms, backlash, and bad feelings for everyone.
I see the same sort of behavior from Gas Powered Games, arguable the heir to Cavedog (a spiritual child if not a direct descendant). I’ve looked at the Demigods LUA and the same sorts of things are visible (lots of legacy code and sloppy notations), ambitious promises for release schedule, and lack of implementation of simple bug fixes (even when fixes for the code is posted on this forum).
I’d imagine this is because GPG is a business built to make a product that performs within a certain tolerance, with an expected amount of players lost due to minor issues. As a company this make sense, why spend resources to change Sedna’s healing coefficient for level 3 priests when less than 5% of your buyers will care, and only a fraction of that would change their behaviors because of it. Even though I can understand why, as a fan this drives me crazy. I’m sure that most of the vocal posters on this board (and most of Stardock) probably feel the same way.
Stardock is having similar issues as Cavedog did back in the day. Ambitious exciting posts were made, some of which weren’t fulfilled. Many vocal fans backlashed because they felt they were promised and owed things that weren’t provided. Eventually Cavedog stopped communicating with the fans. In keeping up with Supreme Commander, Dungeon Siege, and Total Annihilation: Kingdoms, the same thing was evidence, the Creators no longer communicated. It was unfortunate; many fans appreciate the information and are very interested by it. However, the continual negative feedback destroyed the Creators motivations, self-esteem, and patience. It was somewhat tragic, but predictable.
Stardock (again) is having similar issues, but things are a bit more stable. Most of the products Stardock is involved with have a much more stable and mature fan base. Stardock also has a lot more flexibility in its public relations. If a forum Admin at Cavedog was to be honest with some of the bad behavior on the forum, he might be fired. In contrast, if Frogboy wants to enlighten some of the obnoxious twits on this forum, well, I’m sure Brad would forgive him (I’m pretty sure Brad would forgive most things that Frogboy does). I don’t recall if Ron Gilbert made any forum posts, but Frogboy isn’t shy around here. He might arguably be the main community representative (not that I’m dismissing kryo or anyone else’s work). The last thing that really makes a difference is the financial situation, even if Demigods never sold another unit (highly doubtful), it won’t change what Stardock does (for the most part). They are fans, that help create great stuff, and I’ll continue to buy it.
At the end of the day however, Demigods is still a great game. Demigods will still be fun. Demigods is still going to have a place on my hard drive.
P.S. Please leave in the code for Adding/Removing Demigods (i.e., Occulus and the Demon Assassin). Just commenting out the part that includes the new Demigods would be best. I’m going to mod them playable when I get 1.20, and I’d rather it be easy.