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Offline Benjamin  
#1 Posted : Friday, November 18, 2011 8:18:34 PM(UTC)
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This thread is to inform you about the upcoming changes. We will write more details over time :)

First of all: Sorry for all the delays, but plans have changed quite a lot in our company. We are doing a lot of focus on the game projects (both by us like SoulCraft and ArenaWars) plus we are supporting several teams already using the Delta Engine to create games in iOS and Android (go to the Marketplace if you want to become one of those teams). In the past we gave each team a version and then had too much work supporting it over the long run, so we wanted to bring everything together again with v0.8.6 and v0.9.0 and v0.9.1, which horribly failed. Not only could we not provide all the features needed by the game teams, but mixing code bases, games and different demands always leads to delays or tradeoffs. We basically cut all the advanced features in v0.8.6 and could not bring them back yet (will take a while until we have full 3D content support for example).

We are still working hard on the Delta Engine (just more game focused right now) and once the games are released (which are all in the next few months) we plan to back port a lot of the features written by the game teams needed for their games into the Delta Engine, it will benefit all of us. But there is a tradeoff, which was also kind of forced on us by the fact that Xamarin did not want to provide a cheap easier alternative for Delta Engine users anymore (first it looked all good, but then only a few weeks back they backed off and now we are were we were before with the game teams). The tradeoff is that we won't provide the planed Marketplace (was supposed to be launched this year) to the public now, but delayed in Q1 or Q2 2012 when all of the current game projects are done and we feel more proven and powerful with the engine.

What does this mean for you? Well, we don't really like the fact that our loyal Forum guys and supporters of the engine are kept in the dark. So we want to be more open again, provide daily releases now (called Nightly Releases ^^) whenever there is a easy change or important fix, you just have to wait a day or two instead of 1-2 months until the next major beta release. If you want to create an iOS, Android or WP7 game, just contact us via the Marketplace page and we can figure something out on a case-by-case basis.

In the wiki we also started porting more and more pages over, but this is an ongoing process, we have hundreds of pages we need to prepare for the public wiki ^^

PS: The next nightly release will be sometime this weekend if important fixes are needed, otherwise every day next week when changes are happening. The process is not 100% automated yet, but we are pretty close.

Edited by user Friday, November 18, 2011 8:19:27 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Offline saviilsy  
#2 Posted : Saturday, November 19, 2011 9:08:31 PM(UTC)
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This is starting to look a bit flimsy, sorry for me begin a bit negative here.

Key points from the posts :

1. Public version for Delta Engine is developed less
2. Major features hangs on the enthusiasm of Your game teams to back port them to Delta Engine
3. iOS, Android and non native .NET platforms hangs on a big IF considering You are looking for alternative solution to Xamarin (which IMHO is wrong since Xamarin is industry proven, has free emulator nowdays and has quite stable runtime and compilers)
4. The build solution for markets are pushed further by quarter(s) ...
5. ... which could mean the 1.0 is being pushed further too
6. All coupled by the fact that release schedules are already slipping (yes yes, I know it's beta but no need to advertise the dates if One can't make them keep)

Sorry to sound pessimistic but I(we?) as developer(s) need a "stable" base for developing a game into. I'm aiming to develop a semi-ready game in about 6 months, but if the engine I'm writing on keeps shaking what will become of the game. It's not funny to wake up in 6 months to a reality that the engine drops support for advertised platforms and need to port the code to another engine/platform like MonoGame.
Offline Benjamin  
#3 Posted : Saturday, November 19, 2011 10:35:19 PM(UTC)
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Well, I think you look at this from the perspective like if the Engine was complete. Maybe we did not communicate this well in the beginning, but all we have released so far are beta builds and things change over time.

About your points:
> 1. Public version for Delta Engine is developed less

True, but we made this choice very early (in fact even in 2009). Our development team is just not big enough to provide every single feature needed. Game teams always have their own needs and focus. With a engine it is hard to focus everything. So we develop with examples and learn from mistakes and improve constantly.

> 2. Major features hangs on the enthusiasm of Your game teams to back port them to Delta Engine

Yes, this is certainly not how we planed it. But there are two sides to this. If we just have bunch of crappy games and port back the features into the Delta Engine early, it won't be useful to anyone wanting to do serious stuff. So the game teams take a little longer with SoulCraft, ArenaWars 2, etc. but building a useful starter kit out of a complete powerful game is much better in the end.

> 3. iOS, Android and non native .NET platforms hangs on a big IF considering You are looking for alternative solution to Xamarin (which IMHO is wrong since Xamarin is industry proven, has free emulator nowdays and has quite stable runtime and compilers)

I think you misunderstood maybe. We use Xamarin and Mono all day and we will support it as long as it makes sense. Currently we have no alternative for iOS or Android, we just thinking out loudly for the long term because we don't think the "Xamarin" way will persuade the masses. Some people will like it, but 99% of students or private hobbists won't want to pay thousands of dollars each year.

> 4. The build solution for markets are pushed further by quarter(s) ...

Yes, that is sad. But it is not like thousands developers are waiting for it. We are still early in beta and since demand is still low we can change our plans more often. We still want to provide the build system for professional teams, but we don't have an easy and cheap solution yet for everyone.

> 5. ... which could mean the 1.0 is being pushed further too

To be honest we don't have the ability to plan so far ahead while we still changing so much every release. We still are targeting v1.0, but it all depends on how "finished" the engine looks in 6 or 12 months. When it is all good and ready, the official release will come, otherwise we probably continue improving until it all is very solid.

> 6. All coupled by the fact that release schedules are already slipping (yes yes, I know it's beta but no need to advertise the dates if One can't make them keep)

Yes, bad communication on my part. Sorry about that. I always wanted to make the release despite of the other things going on, but reality kicks you in the butt.

Fazit: You are right, progress is slow, but that has not changed much over the year (in the internal betas we also focused on helping the game teams with their projects since that's how we can pay for developing the engine in the first place). We still want to make the best of it. Hopefully this post was not too long and boring to read ^^
Offline saviilsy  
#4 Posted : Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:59:39 PM(UTC)
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Sorry if I sounded a bit blunt before but I really see a future in DE and things posted didn't leave much bright thought left, especially when I have written thousands of lines of code for DE already :D

>Well, I think you look at this from the perspective like if the Engine was complete. Maybe we did not communicate this well in the beginning, but all we have released so far are beta builds and things change over time.

Of course this is not my perspective, I too am a developer and know the meaning of beta. It just worries me how things will develop in the future concerning all things You posted.

>> 1. Public version for Delta Engine is developed less
> True, but we made this choice very early (in fact even in 2009). Our development team is just not big enough to provide every single feature needed. Game teams always have their own needs and focus. With a engine it is hard to focus everything. So we develop with examples and learn from mistakes and improve constantly.

Yea true, but I for one don't even want an engine that is focused too much on some type of a game and neither I want an engine that tries to do every genre possible. I want a solid base to work on, basics, that's enough given that they are implemented well (heck I'd consider DE production ready if all the primitive stuff could already be deployed to ALL target platforms).

>> 2. Major features hangs on the enthusiasm of Your game teams to back port them to Delta Engine
> Yes, this is certainly not how we planed it. But there are two sides to this. If we just have bunch of crappy games and port back the features into the Delta Engine early, it won't be useful to anyone wanting to do serious stuff. So the game teams take a little longer with SoulCraft, ArenaWars 2, etc. but building a useful starter kit out of a complete powerful game is much better in the end.

Good points, but what about after the big games You have? I bet as a company You are aiming to forge money at constant and improving rate, games do that but not an engine(except UE3 it seems). Will Your teams have time to back port the features before they get sucked into developing a new game?

>> 3. iOS, Android and non native .NET platforms hangs on a big IF considering You are looking for alternative solution to Xamarin (which IMHO is wrong since Xamarin is industry proven, has free emulator nowdays and has quite stable runtime and compilers)
>I think you misunderstood maybe. We use Xamarin and Mono all day and we will support it as long as it makes sense. Currently we have no alternative for iOS or Android, we just thinking out loudly for the long term because we don't think the "Xamarin" way will persuade the masses. Some people will like it, but 99% of students or private hobbists won't want to pay thousands of dollars each year.

I too think Xamarin is WAY to overpriced for indies/students but it's a double edged sword. I for one would prefer stable/maintained solution for multiplatform release as to one that has yet to be proven effective. People using DE will surely build their game on windows first and then consider buying the stuff related to mp release(Your license, Xamarin etc). Can the free emulator stuff be made to work with DE? At least people would see how their apps run on the mobile platform before buying the licenses? This would help the issue a bit.

>> 4. The build solution for markets are pushed further by quarter(s) ...
> Yes, that is sad. But it is not like thousands developers are waiting for it. We are still early in beta and since demand is still low we can change our plans more often. We still want to provide the build system for professional teams, but we don't have an easy and cheap solution yet for everyone.

Agreed, good points. Though everyone would like to see the market stuff work, that sells this engine to masses IMHO.

>> 5. ... which could mean the 1.0 is being pushed further too
> To be honest we don't have the ability to plan so far ahead while we still changing so much every release. We still are targeting v1.0, but it all depends on how "finished" the engine looks in 6 or 12 months. When it is all good and ready, the official release will come, otherwise we probably continue improving until it all is very solid.

*Fingers crossed* I too would like to see a stable/final release like in the original schedule.

>> 6. All coupled by the fact that release schedules are already slipping (yes yes, I know it's beta but no need to advertise the dates if One can't make them keep)
> Yes, bad communication on my part. Sorry about that. I always wanted to make the release despite of the other things going on, but reality kicks you in the butt.

I think it is not bad communication. To be honest if Your time taken in these forums reflect the state of the engine in the future we have nothing to worry about. Honestly, Your support in these forums is top notch ThumpUp I think the problem is that You put a monthly release schedule active in the first place. That creates pressure from both sides: You have to release it in time X, and we bitch about the release around the time X. Just release stuff when ready, then nightly release stuff is great though and should fix this :)
Offline Benjamin  
#5 Posted : Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:32:38 AM(UTC)
Benjamin

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Thanks for all the feedback.

About the engine development costing money: Yes that is obviously not an easy problem to solve because it takes many years until we will profit from many users. But right now we are on the way covering all of our costs by just applying 10-20% of the development costs of each project currently being developed (in house and external). 1-2 more projects and we are good. Obviously it would be much easier to hire more people if we would make some money with the beta release already, but that is very risky. Right now it is much easier for us to just focus on profitable projects and give the best support we can do for them.

We will make some videos explaining how the build system work in the next weeks. I am also talking about at the iPhone Dev Con in Cologne in 2 weeks.

I think overall the hardest problem for the Delta Engine is that just providing the basics won't be enough. It needs to be amazing and powerful to convince people using alternative solutions right now to switch in the future. This is obviously a long stony road ahead, but we got some great milestones in the past and future. Even simple stuff like the ZombieParty game from 2010 that just worked without any code changes on iPhone, iPad, Android, WP7 and PC. While SoulCraft and ArenaWars 2 are very optimized for the target platforms (thus contain code specific to each platform, but not much), everything else (projects, samples, tests) works amazingly well on all platforms without having to change anything. But in order to make this all possible we have at least 10 times the amount of work to do instead of just writing stuff once for one platform ..
Offline HellBlazer  
#6 Posted : Sunday, November 20, 2011 2:16:56 AM(UTC)
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So am I understanding correctly from this that the Mac and Linux versions are more or less put on hold for now?
Offline Benjamin  
#7 Posted : Sunday, November 20, 2011 6:34:41 AM(UTC)
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No, we just need a project where they are needed and work on them will continue. Currently all projects are either for Windows PC or mobile devices.
Offline saviilsy  
#8 Posted : Sunday, November 20, 2011 4:44:16 PM(UTC)
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Hmm just wondering, what is the priority of support when one buys a license for delta engine? Is it greater priority than Your games?
Offline Benjamin  
#9 Posted : Sunday, November 20, 2011 6:00:27 PM(UTC)
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It is very easy, the more we benefit financially the more we can do support :)

Other than the fact that it is obviously much easier to support guys in our office as supposed to external teams ^^
Offline Benjamin  
#10 Posted : Monday, November 21, 2011 4:13:06 AM(UTC)
Benjamin

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BTW: The first nightly release v0.9.1.1 is now up and can be downloaded at:
http://deltaengine.codep...eControl/list/changesets
Offline Benjamin  
#11 Posted : Thursday, November 24, 2011 4:38:13 AM(UTC)
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v0.9.1.2 has just been pushed, it contains many smaller fixes to rendering and lots of code refactorings. Tools are not included in this release, please wait for v0.9.1.3 tomorrow for the updated SampleBrowser and ContentManager.
http://deltaengine.codep...eControl/list/changesets

I am also still testing automating the nightly releases (that is why there was no release the last 2 days, aside from the fact that not much changed). Got now basic functionality of extracting feature and bugs from our planing tool into the hg commit message :)

I will also add the same functionality to the roadmap so people can understand better what is in each release.
Offline elasto  
#12 Posted : Saturday, December 31, 2011 9:13:31 AM(UTC)
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Can you give a new ETA for v0.9.2?

Is the holdup just wanting to tidy up tons of small bugfixes or is there a more serious problem afoot?
Offline Benjamin  
#13 Posted : Saturday, December 31, 2011 10:07:31 AM(UTC)
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Hey PG,

v0.9.2 is done since yesterday (the build system works very well now), but I have not done any changes to the engine itself (only worked on tools and services). That is why there were no automated releases since v0.9.1.6. I will just checkout some reported issues today and then upload v0.9.2.

Obviously work was also a bit slow over the Christmas days ^^
Offline tst5  
#14 Posted : Saturday, December 31, 2011 5:48:46 PM(UTC)
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Btw: v0.9.2 is out now ;)
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