Starbound health check

Hi guys

So it’s no secret that a bunch of early access projects have run into trouble lately. From running out of money to ceasing development for political reasons. It’s not the best time to be a part of the early access party and it’s easy to see why people are worried about the health of the Starbound project.

I wanted in no uncertain terms to assure everyone that there’s no chance of Starbound going that way. Not only is the development of Starbound extremely healthy. (More so than it’s ever been in fact, with more team members than ever and all of us in the same location). But Chucklefish could fund the development of Starbound for another 9 years at least. Even if we didn’t make another penny in that time. This includes all our office costs, salaries and every other kind of company expenditure.  Not only that but every member of the team is super dedicated to getting Starbound to where THEY want it to be. Which is 1.0 and beyond.

So why don’t we hire a bunch more programmers and finish Starbound faster?

I’m afraid it just doesn’t work that way, bringing on a new programmer requires a huge amount of invested time. Programmers need to learn the code base, they need existing programmers to teach them the code base. It takes months of getting up to speed to reap the rewards of that investment. Then you have a huge communication overhead as well as all the businessy time sinks that go along with a new hire. Not to mention finding room to house those additional hires (We would have to move to a bigger office!).

So I hope this is reassuring to the worried out there. Starbound is coming and you can check our progress on the Starbound blog and by opting into our nightly builds.

31 comments

  1. Now I can just post a link to this message the next time an angry and impatient gamer wanders into the forums and starts raising hell. Thanks, Tiy!

    Also, nine years? Wow. That’s like five decades in office puppy years!

  2. How about firing some of the artists on staff and giving their chairs to some coders. The artist to coder ratio is like a night out in my town with the guys to girls ratio.
    Verdict. SAUSAGEFEST

  3. Hello chuckles,

    To start off, I’m not good at English, but I’ll try.

    This type of game is so different of all the others. The things even beyond the game (the community connection) makes it more enjoyable. It’s like your playing the game with the developers.

    The reason why I wrote you is because you still show the potential to finish the game and beyond. It makes it really promising.

    Making unique things likes this always takes me to the question: “How did you get this idea?!”

    Maybe some people are dissapointed and angered about the slow development, (which I personally can’t see) but they have to be happy that you Chuckles keep on working on the game and actually can keep on working on it, because you made the right budget.

    If people keep complaining, it won’t help at all, it will even demotivate you. And it can get even worse. You chuckles can for example walk away with the money, but you don’t.

    I’m doing my study as media designer, but you pull me to the game designing road. It would be a dream come true.

    Maybe one day :)
    Dyon, 16

  4. Well said. In fact, Blizzard pushed the creation of Hearthstone with only a team of 15 developers for exactly the same reason, showing their initiative to take advantage of smaller teams. The outcome will always be better communication and less confusion. I can only imagine the nightmare large companies have to go through when they’re distributed globally. Sure there are tools to help keep people organised, but there’s nothing better than a chat with a cup of tea to keep everyone focused!

  5. I for one am glad you are taking the time to get it right, not giving into everyone pressuring you to finish the product now, regardless of its current state.
    You guys are awesome, keep it up!

  6. I can’t wait for this new update. I absolutely love Starbound and, even though there hasn’t been stable updates recently, I’m still proud to be one of the people that pre-ordered, and can’t wait to play it again in about 5 minutes! <3

  7. I fully understand where you are coming from about hiring new developers. I’ve worked for a small game developer and understand pretty much everything you said.

    It’s reassuring to hear that you guys are financially stable.

    If I could get one wish fulfilled, I would wish that instead of nightly updates to Steam, that there were weekly updates with change logs and a place for folks willing to help test to report bugs. I like to think that I had a small part (very small part) in helping Minecraft get to 1.8 thanks to their setup. I really loved the way they produced weekly snapshots of the game that they let folks who purchased Minecraft download and test out. It helps Modder’s get familiar with the code so that they can get started modding right away, etc…

    Maybe Starbound is too early in the development cycle for this, but I would love to see it implemented somewhere along the line.

    Keep up the great work guys!

  8. Good to hear! Unlike the most vocal of people, I always knew you guys were working diligently on Starbound. I’ve been waiting patiently for the new update, especially the new modding support, as that’ll make mods such as Starfoundry EXPLODE with possible content. Keep up the good work!

  9. I’ll wait.. that’s my main feature. As long as you guys don’t start Spouting ‘Soon™’ I’m OK. (referring to Duke Nukem: Forever. 😛 )

  10. yeah, about those nightly builds…it’s not really a good way of checking on progress since every time I try to run the game from the nightly branch, it crashes with the same error message. But the Starbound blog most certainly is a great resource for keeping abreast of the development.

  11. If you are going to keep funding Starbound for 9 years or so then it makes sense to hire more new employees now rather than later. Especially if you want to speed up development of post 1.0 updates. It may be a little more work in the short term but in the long term it will make things much easier. Moreover, it may be a good idea to hire someone whose sole duty is to train new employees. This way, current programmers won’t have to sacrifice time from development for new member training. It also might be ideal to create a sort of Starbound development handbook that you can give to new employees so that they need less training initially.

  12. Its been what, 2 maybe three years since I first discovered Starbound. The entire time since then, iv’e been watching development, I preordered the game and have over 300 hours clocked on it between Enraged Koala and the Nightly Builds.

    And all i will say is, there has never been a single time that i doubted progress or the legitimacy of the game. Yeah so, sometimes communication went a bit thin and major updates haven’t been out in a while but since the game was released into beta, if you compare that product with the one you have now i would go as far to say its better than most out of early access games. Keep up the good work, don’t let the impatience of people get you down because this game is really, really awesome.

  13. You guys are awesome. Thanks for giving us information often. Starbound is by far the best creation I’ve ever helped to fund. 208 hours played, not even a “completed” game, and I’m still loving it. Don’t fret about those that complain; you can’t make everyone happy. Keep doing what you do.

  14. You guys are doing a great job. I’ve opted in for nightly builds and log in every week or so to check out the changes. I’m really impressed at the work you produce. When do you expect the next official patch to go live? (non-nightly build)

  15. Thanks for clearing this up mate. This is great news for us. Indeed, the development looked good so far, but with the recent early access failures, and your desire to ship 1.0, I was abit worried that you might wanna finish this up quickly and continue somewhere else.
    But your assurance that you guys WANT to keep developing it, to an awesome state, and the (pretty cool) fact that you can keep running Chucklefish for YEARS… even without the fortune that (I hope) you’ll get from shipping Starbound… it’s calming.

    So, thanks for the update. Keep up the good work. Good luck.

  16. You guys should hire some of the more successful modders in the forums/mod zone. Pretty sure some of them are really good with code.

  17. Thanks for being one of the good guys Tiy! It’s reassuring how you guys have been putting so much effort into maintaining transparency over all these months.

  18. Looking forward to the final release of Starbound and some of the other Chucklefish games. Good luck!

  19. I don’t really know why people recently think that starbound is gone and that chucklefish is bad, and I don’t care :/ I have never lost faith in this game, and eagerly await its future 😀

  20. You are completely right in your decision. Adding more programmers is more hassle than it’s worth, and eventually you may have to lay them off again when there’s no longer any need for them. It’s very hard to strike a balance and know when to stop growing your team. I think the Single Responsibility Principle, so often used in the act of programming itself, might be applied to team members. If multiple members have to work on the same thing, there’s going to be problems, just like if you have to change a method a couple of years after you wrote it. We work hard to create small objects and methods that do just one thing, so we can avoid having to modify old code in the future and risk breaking things. We might be able to translate some of these design patterns to the managerial side of development too.

    The problem with computer gamers, by and large, is that they don’t understand concepts like these, and get very emotional about their hobby. When the biggest issue in your life is whether a gun in your favourite game does 20 damage or 24 damage, there’s a whole forest-for-the-trees scenario in play. Truly these are first world problems. And unfortunately hard working game developers seem to be getting the brunt of these irate manchildren’s attentions lately.

    I have a ton of respect for you. I know I could never do what you do; the criticism from all sides would tear me apart. So well done, good luck and best wishes to you, Team Starbound!

  21. This is common understanding among corporations and small companies alike. That throwing money and people at something wont make it stick on the wall. I hope the other people understand that too. I know your team’s passion and understand that you would want to make a game that even the creators would not get bored of. You guys inspire me all the way across the pond here in the U.S. and help give me strength to not give up on my pursuits as well. Thanks CF and Starbound team, and keep up the great work!
    Charles

  22. Hot News! Starbound will be in development for next 9 years! Joking 😀

    Tell us about future of modding Tiy 😀

  23. Thank you for the update, glad to know things are going well! Hope no one thinks the community is dwindling, we who supported, still support!
    -A Nobody

  24. Thanks for that, Tiy. Been with you from the start, back in 2012. It is great to see the dedication you guys have to the game and community is still going strong, that’s not something you see very often. Thank you, Tiy.

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