Sword of the Stars 2

Ok, I bought this game because a while back my friend told me that this game would be awesome. They told me it would be the next game after SotSE for playing space strategy games. Suffice to say, I feel lied to.

I have 2 monitors for my gaming pc, and the windowed mode bug made it impossible to play until i was told to hit alt-enter by Jam3. Once I got in the music was blaring and I found it very annoying that I could not turn it down other than turning down my speakers (I usually use vent and other voip programs while I play and have speakers a bit loud to hear people). But I was willing to forgive all of this if I could get into the game and play it. I forgave nothing.

My experiences with space strategy games is not that big. I have played a little of Space Empires V, which was very fun, and this game seems similar to it. I have never played SotS or its expansions, though I bought it before buying this game. I was hoping to play this with the other space strategy gamers on the site who have since left Sins of the Solar Empire. That being said, playing this game made me want to play SotSE even more. SotSE does not have the best of user interface, but I have always found it to be user friendly. With SEV being my only space strategy game knowledge before playing SotSE, I was able to get into the game without a tutorial or manual and really enjoyed it. I found things out by playing around, by testing strategies, by playing with others. I do not see this for SotS2. The UI is horrible, and comes to the table with a large amount of baggage. The people on here who have played the first game seem to be able to at least understand somewhat what is going on. As my latest game "similar" to this is SotSE, I am completely lost when trying to play it.

I am told that this game has great graphics, but I have yet to see any of it. My screen seems to like staying at a galaxy over view, and any amount of zooming in I do is just zooming in on a star. Comparing this to SotSE's view where you can zoom from galaxy, to solar system with star to planet well with a nice looking planet in the center, this just seems old. I understand they are probably different games, SotSE is a real time space strategy while SOTS2 is turn based. But just because you have a complex turn based game, doesn't mean you have to have a terrible interface. Civilization games have been having complicated turn based strategy games for a long time, and I have never felt lost in a civ interface. I think the biggest thing they messed up on is tool-tips. If they had added those on most interfaces, or at least the main one, it would of made the game 1000x better.

My little brother bought SOTS1 since it was on sale on steam, so I think I am going to install that and maybe play some co-op with him. I think I will uninstall this game tomorrow. Even if they patch it to beauty, the amount of time it will take and the size of patches needed would make it a waste of space between then and now. Waiting a few weeks to months for when they have a true "release" version come out might be good, since steam downloads games fully patched.

Sorry for the long rant, but I think I needed a space to vent all of this. I do not like wasting money and at the moment, this game feels like a waste of money. I hope in X amount of time to be able to play a polished version of this game with all of you and forget all of this mess. But for the time being I think I will go back to SotSE to get my space strategy game fix, since even with the exploits (pirate missions and such) you can still play a skirmish game and have fun and understand what is going on. Maybe I will cool down and give SOTS1 a try, but for now, I do not want anything else to do with this dev team. As a programmer for a bank, I know what jam3 means by release management. I write code and submit it to code review in August, and see it go live maybe in September or October if EVERYTHING goes well. And that is for my small to medium projects. Projects where I create a new section of the business and such can take months for each of the stages of the testing. It irks me to see this game released like this. As a programmer we sometimes have bugs slip through all the stages of testing and safeguards, but this is not a bug. This is just a failure to make a finished product. My heart goes out to the developers who were forced to release this early, but I also despise them a little for not building this game up with a better UI from the beginning.

Again, sorry for the long rant, I will go back to my dark little hole in the internet and leave you all in peace. Have a great weekend and Halloween.

-The Complex

Whew, glad I managed to not pull the trigger on the pre-order on this one. Hopefully they'll get it fixed up some time.

Just curious, but does anyone remember how the launch was for the original SotS?

Gunner wrote:

Whew, glad I managed to not pull the trigger on the pre-order on this one. Hopefully they'll get it fixed up some time.

Just curious, but does anyone remember how the launch was for the original SotS?

It was fine as far as I remember. I didn't play it much though as I wasn't too thrilled with the original product.

SotS was kind of a stealth launch if I remember correctly, certainly not much fanfare at all. It was pretty simplistic out of the gate (which is what they were touting at the time) and really became good after some expansions added a little more complexity.

I played SotS2 a fair bit today (6-7 hours maybe) and I'll be putting it back on the shelf until a few more patches come out. While I am not raging at it, I did run into a some CTDs while doing innocuous things, which puts it over the limit for me.

I like a lot of the things they do in the game and it's too bad that they released in an unstable state. I really hope they can fix the problems a lot of people are seeing because I think there's a good game here somewhere.

One of these days I'll stick to my promise to never ever buy a game on day 1.

Nightmare's post makes me sad. I pre-ordered as soon as it was available for pre-order, myself. Haven't finished downloading it yet.

Man, the internet reaction to what is going on right now is incredibly divided and actually fascinating to watch (not talking about here--we seem rather... mellow).

On a practical level, this is just an excuse for me to learn more about Distant Worlds. Still, I can't wait for the patches to roll out. I'm betting it'll probably be another week or two until things have settled to a playable state

Hypatian wrote:

Nightmare's post makes me sad. I pre-ordered as soon as it was available for pre-order, myself. Haven't finished downloading it yet.

It makes me sad too. I try and give space 4x games every benefit of the doubt, can look past some minor UI stuff, am willing to troll forums for workarounds to bugs and information that should have been documented. I especially gave it an extra pass because of Paradox, who as we all know, kind of has a track record for releasing messes (and patching them up into brilliance). But, at some point you just have to say that it's not quite ready. And this isn't.

Complex, I wouldn't feel lied to if I were you. Your friend was probably equally deceived.

As for me, I liked setting resources and research speeds up to maximum in SotS1, turtling, building gigantic awesome dreadnoughts and then either steamrolling the universe or... not. Really it was the journey more than the destination.

I thought SotS2 would be virtually the same except the ships would look way cooler (and they do). I was wrong.

Well, I'm glad that I didn't preorder. Now I'll be able to wait and see if it turns out to be good after patches before deciding to buy it. Maybe it will be fixed by the time I have enough cash to get a computer that can run it decently.

I picked up SotS1 since it's only $5. Right now I'm waiting to see what happens with Monday's patch with SotS2 and then I'll decide if I want to try to take Paradox up on their refund/compensation offer. I don't want to have $40 tied up in this to have it not really playable until an expansion or two comes out or worse, have Kerberos go under and never get it finished.

LiquidMantis wrote:

Right now I'm waiting to see what happens with Monday's patch with SotS2 and then I'll decide if I want to try to take Paradox up on their refund/compensation offer.

Which offer is this?

Here you go.

Of course they don't they're giving refunds, just that you can email and ask.

I am disappointed. I mean, what's to say? I still remember old school games; I'm willing to put up with a lot. But this a pretty big fail. I'm going to wait for the fixes, but man, what a disappointment out of the gate.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Complex, I wouldn't feel lied to if I were you. Your friend was probably equally deceived.

Sorry, want I meant by that isn't that my friend lied to me. The promises and hype built up around the game was a lie. With the per-release reviews and beta testers all singing the game's praise, and then it comes out like it does? Something does not add up. Though I will say that this friend also convinced me to buy UT3 on day one since it was going to be "the next UT2k4 for PC LAN parties". Yeah, that game on release just did NOT work with LAN. Heck we couldn't even setup an online game for us to play in. After spending 6 hours straight trying to get a game going at his house I was never able to go back to UT3, even though I am told it is patched all up and such. I even bought the black edition on steam so I can easily install it fully patched. Those 6 hours of bitter memory are still in the way. Luckily I stopped trying on SOTS2 after an hour or two.

So in short, if your friends start over-hyping a game to you, take a second and stand back. Be weary of being an early adopter. Things could go horribly wrong.

Pre-release reviews?

Whatever you want to call this:

jam3 wrote:

One of the best overview/demo's so far on Angry Joe.

I guess I should of called it Pre-release overview/demo?

A preview? A hypefest?

To be fair Joe's also warning people off the game right now. A little late for many of us, but he's not pulling any punches.

yeah I saw, but I also saw that in his preview they had a non greyed out menu. So to be fair, it could be less about joe and more about who showed joe a more complete game then what we got. Though ten to one the menu in the preview probably was not fully working which is why they removed elements from it in the game we got.

In the comments for his latest video, some people link to a dev's blog post. In there she mentions that a good chunk of the dev team left over the year so people had to do double shift to get the game out. While that might be understandable in that they didn't have the people to get a more complete game out, I wonder why didn't they hire new people over the course of the year as people went out. I know in my projects it seems counter productive at times to bring in new people and have to not only get them up to speed on how we work but where we are in the project. But lets face it, having more hands on this project in the end could of helped. They could of hired a few to just get the release stuff all straightened out and working, making sure correct versions were going live and such. I wonder if maybe the publisher stopped them from being able to hire new people?

I guess in the end we can throw blame at whoever we want, it doesn't change how the game was released and the damage to the reputation. And if blame is ever settled on one party, what does it matter? In the end what matters is reputation, and right now the dev and pub's rep is down. Hopefully they can patch this game up to beauty and patch their reputation with it.

It sounded like there were some serious financial issues at play, such that they couldn't just hire additional devs. By some accounts, Paradox stepped in and pushed a hard release date as a way to salvage the project, assuming that sales would buy them enough time to continue to polising/fixing/de-bugging/developing.

HedgeWizard wrote:

It sounded like there were some serious financial issues at play, such that they couldn't just hire additional devs. By some accounts, Paradox stepped in and pushed a hard release date as a way to salvage the project, assuming that sales would buy them enough time to continue to polising/fixing/de-bugging/developing.

Maybe if their game was closer to done, had a better pedigree and was in a more popular genre. This thing needs a LOT of work, and I can't imagine them making that big a profit off it even if it came out flawlessly.

Martin Cirulis[/url]]Hey folks! Helluva weekend eh?

Welcome to the perfect storm of cockup made up of 40% Murphy's Law, 30% Chaos, 20% Overambition and 10% wishful thinking. And you have our deepest regrets for what it is worth as none of this was part of the plan.

I am tempted to go into full blown explanations but a) that starts to smack of making excuses and b) in reality I think the biggest things on people's minds right now judging from your posts is "Who's responsible?!!" and "What's going to be done?!!" And even when its time for explanations I am sure you would all rather hear about it in the context of "How this won't happen again".

That latter question is an easy one and best gotten out of the way quickly. "Who is responsible?"...I am. Half my job at Kerberos is to be the one that makes the hard call. What gets prioritized. What gets pulled. What gets released. What get accepted. And in many ways, what gets said. When push comes to shove, I am the one who makes the deal with the devil. When something is supposed to be watched, its me who has to know the answer. When the switch got thrown on the wrong build, costing many of you an extra big download and letting loose an extra buggy code base, I was in traffic instead of giving the yay or nay myself. That should not have been...hell I should have insisted nothing moved until the right code had been there and confirmed multiple times. Instead I blew it and bad things happened.

So lets set this straight here. When you are dealing with SotS2 this weekend and wondering quite rightly "Who is to blame for this?!!" The answer is me. NOT Paradox...NOT Steam and certainly NOT my team. All of those forces have been exemplary in helping deal with a bad situation. When it comes to who should be at the end of anyone's fingerpoint, it's just plain ol' me.

Ok...so now onto the real important thing...The Future of SotS2 and what you can count on.

First of all the bad news...Thanks to various factors we are now sitting on top of a pile of blown apart code and unstable features. The first thing you can expect though is stability. There will be an update tomorrow which will set right much of the chaos created friday in terms of crashing and keeping you from playing that game. What it WON'T do is magically add back in every piece of functionality. Gods know I wish that I had that magic wand but the reality is that path leads to more chaos and more broken gameplay sessions. Remember that part where I mentioned making the hard calls? This is another one of those. As much as the team wants to throw themselves at this like crazy people, I am not going to ok that. Instead we will go about this in a relatively sane and orderly fashion with regular updates that make sure everything that goes back in is as stable as possible before you see it. Oh I am sure some stuff will leak through, but at least that will be dealt with quickly and cleanly. Sorry to just put the hard facts to you straight without flowers but I think we are somewhat past the flowers make it all better stage of this relationship

What this means to you...

This plan means that you folks can expect at least 2 or 3 updates a week over the next month or so that will gradually make this game into what it should have been when the switch was pulled on friday. Soon after that you can expect personel in black suits to arrive at your house to flash a red light in your eyes. After that you will find yourself happy and enjoying the best release day ever and none of this will ever have happened.
Ok fine...I am a lil shakey on the last half of the plan but what I can tell you is that by the end of this period you WILL have more additional content than you would have under more ideal circumstances. Every update will go out with some thank you for your patience...some badges, extra maps, new nose art, more background entries. Basically whatever can be done alongside the priority path will be put in as well. The people out there who know Kerberos know that we support our games not just for weeks or months but for years. For all of you people new to us, please let me assure you that despite how your purchase may look at the moment, you can look forward to years of support. I would ask that you consider not giving up on us because it will literally take the end of the world for Kerberos and Paradox to give up on SotS2.

What I would like to ask of you...

Oh I know that is hardly what you expected to hear right now, but before your temperature rises, please hear me out becuase this portion is in reaction to ALL the posts I have read which seem to subdivide into certain clear groups.

If you are a Kerberos and/or a SotS fan then please just enjoy the game as you can over the next few weeks. I know you want to help as much as possible but to be honest you should NOT be rewarded for your support with more work. Your feedback is appreciated but in no means are you expected to act as testers or hunt bugs. Literally your patience and continued support is more than enough.

If you truely feel like you have been dumped into an unannounced beta test on this game, then please, I ask you to put the game away and not look at it till someone fires off the "all done" flag. I am not going to tell you that you should not feel this way. What I am going to say is that if you feel this way then you should not feel victimized any more than if you had made a pre-order and then been informed of a delay. I know this does not make it all right but at least it should make it clear that no one wants to use you as a beta tester nor was that ever the intent.

And finally, if you are in the camp that still feels robbed by the time you have reached this point of my post I can only offer what I can. We are fixing it and we need folks to either cheer, step aside or get out of the way cause vitriol is not going to help right now. If you demand a refund then I completely understand and you can be assured, the cost of that will make it directly to us. We will feel your "voting with your dollars", you can be sure about that and we accept that as fair play. On the other hand, if a free copy of the orginal SotS will help tide you over while we get this game shined from turnip to jewel, then please write to "[email protected]" and we will set you up. If nothing else, if you are not familiar with how we support our products, you can play it and then ask the old-timers how much it changed over the years and that may reassure you.

So if you are still with me after this long post...let me summarize.

a) cockup
b) my fault
c) will be Completely fixed
d) fun stuff in many updates
e) Understanding of your position
f) Apology again and underserved request for faith and patience from people who don't know us.

That's about it folks. I hope this helps in some way or another. If enough people care, I will try and post a "Ways I can think of to prevent this from happening ever again". But otherwise its sunday and I got a whole lot of work to get done for tomorrow's update.

Once again, Regrets and our deepest thanks for whatever patience each one of you can offer.
--Martin Cirulis
CEO/Creative Director
Kerberos Productions

Ah! You beat me to the punch; was just about to post that. I really feel bad for Kerberos. I mean, I know it was their fault and all, but reading the dev reaction here just makes me so sad.

I want to feel bad, but I think it is rightful of me to feel deceived instead. They seem to be claiming that they botched the code when they uploaded the beta build and now cannot patch it up. Like they are claiming that they actually had a working copy of this game that was intended to be deployed, and now that it wasn't it cannot be fixed. This doesn't really add up, to me.

What seems to actually be happening is that they knowingly released an unfinished game, then claimed they 'accidentally' uploaded the beta and that all will be right once they release the newest build. Only they knew all along that the newest build was totally broken. They needed to release in order to generate enough money to complete the game.

No, no, you're right. I'm referring to the blog post by one of their devs:

Dev Blog[/url]]Good morning all. I am in Vancouver, BC and it is 10:14 am on Saturday, October 29th, 2011. The last survivors of my team, including me, were up until 5:30 am this morning working on Sword of the Stars 2. I got back up just now to see what the status of our website and forums might be. Answer: still absolutely crushed, so overwhelmed with traffic that we cannot even see/read posts, much less log in or respond.

So, looks like this website and “social media” like Facebook and Twitter are the only medium of communication until we somehow get that sorted. To the few Sword of the Stars 2 fans who have chosen to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and the few who know where this website is, congratulations: that means that you get to know what’s going on, because I am literally the last woman standing at this point.

STATE OF THE GAME: At last word, there will be an update today (Saturday) which contains a few key fixes. There will be another update on Monday, which should be a more in-depth pass to give the game overall much greater stability. Once the Monday update is live, we will have a better idea of the schedule of updates to come in the month of November. I also hope that once business hours on Monday roll around, we can get the forums back up.

STATE OF THE TEAM: Exhausted in every way. It has been extremely difficult to lose so many team members over the course of the last year. It would be hard enough to miss them as people, but as developers their absence is even more keenly felt. We’re still alive and working, but the programmers have had to put in 12+ hour days to try and compensate for people who aren’t there. We’ve pushed it as hard as we can, and no one has the resources to push any harder.

STATE OF ME PERSONALLY: Possibly irrelevant, but…I have mixed feelings. I’m a mother of two children, and no one knows better than I do that birth is a painful business. Even in the absolute best and healthiest deliveries, there can be a good deal of blood, mess and screaming. And if a birth does not go well, it is dangerous to the child AND the mother.

On the other hand, in game development as in life, sometimes there are times when the baby just has to come out or die. Both my children and I are alive today because when it came to a hard decision, the doctor was willing to use a knife to insure our survival. The release of this game was much the same. It was a thing that had to happen, and because of it the game and the team now have a chance to live that they would not otherwise have had.

The team will heal, given enough rest, nourishment and support. The game has taken its first breath, and it will live. And exhausted and battered as I am, I have faith that it WILL be loved, and it WILL be supported, not only by me and my team but by our community and our publisher.

So, while I am extremely tired and more than a little bruised and bloody, while I am extremely sorry that this did not go smoothly, I am also glad that the first day of release is over. Better days will come. They always do, when teams and games are given proper support.

That’s it for now. To all the people who are there for me and my team, through the good times and the bad, thank you. You guys know who you are.

For some reason I find, "SotS2 was an emergency C-section" a little easier to swallow than, "we goofed, LOL!" Especially since I find it hard to believe everything'll be perfect in one month.

I'll give them the benefit of the doubt (not that it matters one way or another what I think, I doubt we'll really ever know what happened) and try it again in December.

Not like there's nothing else to play.

Between this and Elemental, I won't be buying anymore day 1 or near-release purchases that aren't first completely validated by reviews attesting to their level of finish (though I will keep my Skyrim pre-order alive). At the rate I play games anymore, I should just wait until the following holiday sale anyway.

That said, I still really want hope this gets patched up into a fine state because I am craving a game of this type (space 4x, moderately deep, good replayability, and some decent spectacle). I'll re-load the game in a month and see what's what.

I'd be a bit more peeved if this were a major studio releasing something helplessly broken (see Rockstar: GTA IV). But this is damn near an indy studio, releasing games in a niche genre. I have a little more patience with them, and honestly, not that upset about $40. Especially since I'm still getting a game. That said, I'm certainly not going to be buying any more games by Kerberos or Paradox until people can tell me that they actually work.

I showed them my disgruntlement by buying SotS1. :/ I'll keep an eye on the forums but I'm just going to put the cork back in this one and let it age and hope it works out better than Elemental. I've been neglecting BF3, Rocksmith, and Forza thanks to being sick and the wife being away for business.

I only preordered this because I thought the bonus DLC was on par with one of the SotS1 expansions. I didn't realize it was just ship skins. As has already been stated, I'm done with preorders without substantial bonuses like Amazon's $20 credits. It's becoming way too common to have customers unknowingly finance last stage development. I've got to quit getting sucked into the hype. I'm considering cancelling my Skyrim preorder to wait for the initial impressions. Anyone have any idea if the Amazon map is just tschotske crap?

I'm still down for CK2 on release day (which I will probably regret). Sengoku released delightfully bug free, which is probably a first for them, so I have a little hope. Actually, there are a few games they are doing that I will probably get day 1: CK2, Warlock, Cartel, Magna Mundi. Half of those are done external to Paradox (Cartel, Warlock), so I am probably setting myself up for a repeat of SotS2. MM is being done by a bunch of modders, so who knows how that will go.

Yeah, I am insane. But Paradox is one of the few publishers putting out interesting games now, even if you have to wait for them to get all patched up.