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A Customer Letter

Discussion in 'General' started by DontCareAnymore, Oct 2, 2015.

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  1. DontCareAnymore Trainee Engineer

    • User was warned for this post!
    Dear Space Engineers Developers,

    I purchased your game in May of 2014 (over 500 days ago). It was recommended to me by a friend, and it seemed quite appealing when I looked into it. At the time, my $20 seemed fairly well spent. Since then, I have played the game sporadically, however I have logged over 800 hours in the game according to Steam. Averaged out, that is 1 hour and 36 minutes per day, over the last 1.4 years.

    Yesterday I decided to pick up the game again and try out the 3-4 months worth of patches I let accumulate while I did other things. I was quite excited to try out the Jump Drive, Pirates, Derelict Bases, Autopilot, Sun Rotation, etc. I decided to start fresh: a new Survival map. I checked all the feature boxes and loaded up the "Crashed Red Ship" map.

    I spent the next 30 minutes digging a little hole inside the nearby asteroid (to avoid the comet bombardment) while I salvaged the red ship as fast as I could. I had dug out my little home and set it up with a Reactor, an Oxygen Generator, and Storage. Realizing I needed a ship to help me salvage the Red Ship before comets disintegrated it, I decided to excavate a new chamber inside the asteroid for building my first small mining ship.

    That is when the game started going down hill.

    Death #1

    I died as I was building my miner. How, you ask? Apparently, I got too close to a wall. My suit energy was fine. My oxygen was fine. I literally just instantly died while trying to maneuver near the wall of the asteroid. My first thought was: "Seriously?... They haven't fixed the instant-death clipping bug yet?" (keep in mind, I was playing Single Player mode).

    Annoyed, but still willing to play, I Respawned.... 19,000 meters away (I had neglected to build a Medical Station, because I thought I was safe inside my own asteroid). So, after respawning, I started moving back towards my home at 104 mps. It took me ~3 minutes of just sitting. As I moved closer, I saw what seemed to be a passing ship I'd never seen before. I decided to ignore it for now (I needed to try and retrieve my corpse for the materials I was carrying).

    Death #2

    Finally I got back to my base, and just as I got out of my cockpit...

    I died. Again...

    Hearing explosions, I waited till my corpse drifted around, bringing to view my very first Pirate Drone. It was spitting Gatling fire and a seemingly endless supply of missiles at my Respawn Ship. I thought to myself: "Wow... that is a very large, very heavily-armed drone to spawn in the first 45 minutes of the game."

    So I clicked "Respawn"... again. This time I was over 24,000 meters out. Again, getting up to max speed, it took me about 4 minutes to get back to base. This time, of course, I kept an eye on the drone (which was already moving to intercept me). I bypassed it outside its weapons range, and quickly scurried into my asteroid base. I did, however, note that every single trace of my old Respawn Ship had been destroyed. There wasn't even floating debris.

    I watched as the drone came within 100 meters (very close) of my asteroid. I felt safe though, because (luckily) it didn't fire. I decided to go and try and retrieve my corpse and materials.... but they were gone. They had despawned, apparently. There was no other explanation, considering I died inside a small chamber inside an asteroid.

    "Okay..." I thought to myself... "I'll just go salvage more materials from the crashed Red Ship," which, luckily, the Pirate Drone did not attack.

    Then it hit me... the Drone was literally parked outside my front door. There was no way for me to leave. I thought of my options... I could drill another hole out the opposite side of the asteroid, but for what purpose? All of my items were in THIS asteroid. I could not salvage the Red Ship for components to create a weapon because the Drone was effectively guarding it.

    I was trapped.

    Death #3

    Finally, I found myself wondering: "Maybe the drone won't attack me? Maybe it only attacks ships?" So I slowly edged towards the open doorway. As soon as I saw the tiniest fraction of the drone, I ate an instant missile.

    I died... again.

    After Respawning, I went back to my ship, pressed T to enter the cockpit, and the game crashed to desktop.


    It was at this point I had an epiphany... "What the heck is going on?"

    "Why, after over 500 days has the wall-clip-death bug not been fixed, even for Single Player?"
    "Why are heavily-armed Pirate Drones allowed to spawn within the first 45 minutes? Why do they know exactly where I am? And why do they camp me forever?"
    "Why does the game crash whenever I try and Exit to Menu?"
    "Why do Interior Lights / Spotlights suddenly not work?"

    Why would the developers release patches that break simple, fundamental, and critical features of the game? It isn't playable. Space Engineers is effectively unplayable. I honestly feel the game has more broken aspects now than it did 500 days ago.


    Ironically, today (October 1st, 2015) my brother asked me if he should spend $50 on 2 copies of Space Engineers for himself and his wife. Thinking for a moment, I gave him the best advice I could:


    I may have given $20 to Space Engineers, but I've now caused it to lose out on $50. New features are great, but if those (and older) features become broken beyond belief, players will steer their friends and family clear of the game.

    Message to the Developers:

    There are solutions to these problems. The bugs can be fixed, but more importantly, procedures can be fixed. By 'procedures', I am referring to development procedures. For example: before releasing a new patch, someone on the Dev team should place every single block into a game... then test them. Low and behold: he would have realized: "Oh darn... the lights don't work." or "Oh darn... the game crashes on Exiting to Menu."

    You guys should have a cheap computer with the system specs of your target demographic. You can't just use your super-amazing Developer PC's to test whether there are bugs or not. Keep a test computer in the office running Windows Vista / 7 / 8 and use it to test each patch before releasing.

    Priorities should also be established. I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no excuse for the wall-clip-death bug still being in the game. It was there 500 days ago, and it's still here now. A game in which the player can suddenly lose (die) for absolutely no reason other than bad code, is intolerable.

    Regarding the Pirate Drones: give players the option of deciding when they spawn. For example, the player should decide whether they spawn after 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, etc. Please ask the Level Design team for their input on NPC's within the game. The Level Design team should know when it is appropriate to throw Gatling-missile drones at the average player (and it certainly isn't within the first 45 minutes of a new map).

    TL;DR: Test every single block in the game before releasing a patch. Ask the Level Design team to approve any NPC or AI additions. Fix game-breaking bugs faster than 500 days and counting. If you work for Keen, please read the whole post... not just the TL;DR section.

    Thank you for your time. I really hope the game can reach a stable state soon, especially with the coming planet addition!
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  2. DanDuncombe Apprentice Engineer

    "Test every single block in the game before releasing a patch"
    Isn't that what we players are here for? To test features and such? You do know that SE is an alpha... yes, I used that dreaded a-word...
    • Like Like x 12
  3. Hymirl Trainee Engineer

    Wow it seems almost daily you get people having a tantrum that an alpha game has some bugs. Actually most the complaint here is the user forgot to build a medical room and trapped himself in a cave.

    The pirates are a brand new feature, no its not finished yet. Sometimes it goofs and you need to restart your new game to get a start not in range of a base but the pirate carrier doesn't seem that bad... if you ignore it it goes away. If you fly past enemies you'll probably aggro it.

    Also build a medical room next time, the red ship has enough parts. Keen can't fix user error. :)
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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  4. Tony Hughes Junior Engineer

    Yes, it has 500 days worth of new features now and so 500 days worth more bugs. The last couple of months have been particularly shaky, with a lot of older bugs resurfacing, as they rebalance and change fundamentals needed for the introduction of planets, but that was to be expected really. Try making an omelette without breaking any eggs.

    As has already been pointed out here and will no doubt be pointed out repeatedly in this thread and others... the one thing that hasn't changed in the last 500 days, is it's still an Alpha Early Access release.

    Whether you're bored of seeing that answer or see it as an excuse for poor Q.A.; it is still true and yes, that should influence your expectations. If those bugs are still there in the final release then you and many others will have good cause to complain, providing you have actually reported the issue before final release.

    Not sure why you're steering people away from the game really or feel the need to mention it here, other than you're doing it out of spite.

    While you may find it irritating to run into bugs that require testing and reporting, your brother and his wife may not feel the same way and might actually enjoy the process in ways you don't. Maybe not, but unless they try, they'll never know and you've probably deprived them of both the opportunity to find out and to experience a great game in the making. One that you've spent more than 800 hours enjoying.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Krutchen Apprentice Engineer

    "I jammed my face into an asteroid and snapped my neck because I have no sense of spatial awareness, the pirates killed me, and i had meteors on! I hate this game! ;("
    Also, what level design team? You are aware that there's procedural asteroids, right? I'll agree that a large ship pirate spawning and coming after you can be a bit much, but there's a large, open universe out there for you to play around in. You're not going to be able to tank every fight, and kill everything that comes at you right off the bat. You could have even had a small fighter parked outside of your base, slapping you around, and you'd still have cried foul.
    Yes, there's bugs, but there's also the cold hard fact about survival - Sometimes, you just really need to git gud.
  6. PsicoPato Senior Engineer

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  7. Sergeant Snuggles Junior Engineer

    Programming, adding to and indeed fixing a game from day 1 up until present day.....well that takes time. What did you think? that it was.......

    • Like Like x 2
  8. Ash87 Senior Engineer

    Has anyone replicated the bug he's talking about, where he dies by getting too close to an asteroid?

    No one has reported it under the change-log, and I find the bug report section is too cluttered for my feeble and slow witted mind.
  9. Spets Master Engineer

    It sound fun to me

    ...well maybe not that much. But you also come back in a bad time, last patch was a mess. not this one, the other before this one
  10. Sergeant Snuggles Junior Engineer

    To be honest, I have never even experienced this bug once in my 500 hours+ of playing. That is not to say that it is not there but I personally have never experienced that death happening. I havent even got up to the drones camping me yet but then I havent started a new world with them in yet so I was already prepared for the 4 bases that spawned within range of me on load....
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Dreokor Senior Engineer

    It was a really really really old bug that caused damage to the character in some instances of walking on an asteroid...about as old as when they introduced survival mode.

    I've never experienced that bug again. So I assume it was fixed a looooooonnng time ago...as It hasnt been reported for a long time aswell....It was present around the time OP claims he purchased the game.

    The rest is just drone complains, which can be solved by disabling drones. It's the "I forgot to turn drones off and they killed my and broke my stuff!I BLAME KEEN!" again or worse "I turned drones on and they killed me and broke my stuff! I BLAME KEEN!"

    What the OP suggest is actually completely unrelated to 2 of his 3 deaths, not to mention is it also extremely expensive and wont solve all issues, testing "every single block" wont solve a problem like dying by walking on as asteroid as the OP seems to be angry at that. He also seems to think that by having a low-end computer they will catch every bug with testing, this is a misconception, every computer is different...hardware configurations, manufacturers, even stuff you've installed/unistalled or have on your Pc running can affect these things this is why we test the game, It provides them with a broad array of configurations and makes it a lot easier and faster to catch bugs.

    And his suggestion of allowing the players decide when the drones spawn is rather dumb really, what's the point of them if you know where, when and how they are coming...pirates dont go "HEY DUD WE AARR GOING TO RRRRRRRAID YOU SO TELL US WHEN YOU ARRRRR RRRRREADY TO BEAT US"

    Would have been better if the OP actually reported the bugs instead of complaining here....along with the steps to recreate it.

    I guess It's easier to go
    than actually trying to solve anything.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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  12. Multiscooped Trainee Engineer

    I'd like to see us all just ignore these kind of posts, rather than responding en masse shouting down the dude for complaining about Early Access. While I completely agree that these kind of posts are just frivilous, the more we respond, the more it trends. Let's all just ignore them and move on. I for one am getting real sick of every new player buying SE expecting a bug-free experience only to get pissy and ramble on the forums as if their little 'essay' or 'customer complaint' is somehow more relevant than the last 150 people to do the same damn thing.
    • Like Like x 2
  13. Mosseman Apprentice Engineer

    We need that image detailing the stages of game development.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Dreokor Senior Engineer

    You mean this one?
    (Thanks @Nacon )
    • Like Like x 14
  15. Zyfe Trainee Engineer

    The only "ephiphany" you should be having is the one where you realize that this game is early access alpha, and the agreement you digitally signed when you bought the game said you understood that.

    Thanks for your wall of complain though, we need more of that on these forums. If you think the devs aren't aware that there are bugs, then you're just out of touch with reality.
    • Like Like x 2
  16. VanGoghComplex Apprentice Engineer

    Wow. And people wonder why gamers get screwed over constantly by early access, DLC, in game purchases, preorders, etc etc etc.

    Look at our apparent opinion of ourselves and each other.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Stiletto Apprentice Engineer

    I'm afraid that the chart posted here is quite accurate. 'Tis an oldie, but remains one hundred percent accurate still.

    • Like Like x 2
  18. Echillion Senior Engineer

    A returning player on "How to screw yourself over in your 1st new game"

    1) Have "roids on" on the crashed red ship scenario - nowhere to run nowhere to hide?

    2) Have "pirates on" with no back up and no experience of playing against them on a established game 1st?

    3) Not checking the forum and bug section threads to see what the "New to you" features and possible problems maybe?

    4) Blaming the game devs for your own short commings and stupidity?

    Personally I started a new game on easy start1 and made 2 saves of it one with pirates on and one with them off after sacrificing the fighter and the blue ship to the Carrier (which must be made of heavy armor?) I switched over to the save with drones off which still gives me the carrier and pirate bases to practice on without being overwhelmed by loads of drones as well? Also theres getting close to a wall and theres slamming into one as well?

    I'll end on this - One does not leap into the lions den without looking first otherwise expect to come out abit torn up or not come out at all?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
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  19. Dr. Novikov Apprentice Engineer

    A clever person would just move the red ship behind the asteroid, thus protecting the ship and himseld from incoming meteors. It's not Keen's fault, and not your fault there was noone smart enough around to give you a proper advice. Next time start the red ship's reactors and move it! Use an astreoid to shield it from meteors!

    Damn game! Should have un-neglected that for you!

    OMG! 3 minutes! Keen needs to fix that NOW! Keen, give that guy a personal teleporter! 3 minutes is atrocious!

    Did you have the "delete spawn ships" option checked? Again, not Keen's fault there was not a single smart person around to uncheck it. Or, at least, to tell you about that option.

    I just had an epiphany too. Games need some sort of an IQ test before letting people buy them.
    • Like Like x 3
  20. eldarstorm Junior Engineer

    Kind of ironic that he says they need to put bug fixing as a priority when we are in the middle of a feature freeze for focusing on bug fixes. I mean they fixed landing gears over the past few weeks, personally I never expected that to be fixed till after new netcode or much later.
    Also, have not had the asteroid kill me like that in ages.

    The spawn ship vanishing is probably due to the option that deletes spawn ships.
    My suggestion for pirates would be to leave them off till you get more built up, then turn them on.
    • Like Like x 2
  21. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

    I honestly never expected them to work this well -- not even once it's release ready.

    Or just don't enable the option unless you're prepared for some murdering to potentially befall you. SE is not a game that does a lot to hold your hand; it's nowhere near as brutal as, say, Dwarf Fortress, but it's not like Minecraft where you can recover from any losses just by punching trees.
    • Like Like x 1
  22. Leatherneck Apprentice Engineer

    I love when I know exactly what this this is going to be about before I even read the first post. So many assumptions by the OP, so little understanding of any game concepts, and it is all the big bad developers fault.

    Why give the OP the time of day? I'll tell you why. The customers that bothered to actually learn the game mechanics enjoy the game, recommend the game, and understand this is Alpha. We're not mocking OP, rather we are here to tell Keen that we "get it" and we will keep on posting Bug Reports while they improve the game that is already pretty darn fun. OP's brother and wife are going to miss out on a great game, so hopefully they'll do more research first. This customer is almost 1500 hours in, and we're just getting warmed up.
    • Like Like x 5
  23. picklerok Junior Engineer

    I found where we are here:
    This thread definitely fits the description.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2015
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  24. Mix-martes86 Senior Engineer

    I so much love that graph, it never gets old. :D

    • Like Like x 5
  25. Dreokor Senior Engineer

    Well, I guess It's clear now.

    I think It's time to
    • Like Like x 2
  26. d3x0r Apprentice Engineer

    Replicated? Not really
    Experienced? Numerous times.
  27. Pyronymer Apprentice Engineer

    I've been sometimes inexplicably experiencing sudden damage while near objects in or on ships, including a few deaths, on specifically after going through a door almost directly facing onto a sideways internal corridor piece pretending to be a bunk bed in a hulk.

    It does seem to be some sort of clipping thing if you walk too close to a wall or between cramped objects or something.

    Also I've had some serious visual clipping errors while mining by hand.

    I'm not sure if I've experienced the sudden clipping damage thing with asteroids though. But then, I spend much less time rubbing up gently against their surfaces...
  28. BlackUmbrellas Senior Engineer

    Now that's just insulting; professionals aren't going to leave a well-known and intrusive bug like exploding landing gears in a final release.
  29. Dwarf-Lord Pangolin Senior Engineer

    It wasn't meant as an insult; I meant I wasn't sure it could be fixed. A game that has the kind of ambitious scale of physics simulation that SE has is going to be a Herculean challenge to make bug free, and I wouldn't consider it unprofessional if they can't solve them all.

    However, if they can solve the landing gear bug, then they might be able to solve anything else. :pbjt:
  30. a2457 Senior Engineer

    well, that chart has bean beaten to death a few times, and it still does not fit SE at all.
    the previous and current bug fixing round alone is enough to invalidate that chart.
    features are not complete, so it can't be in beta eighter.
    the concept was never made, as the features are built as the community requests features, so right from step one that chart is simply invalid bullshit.
    it ma stand true for other products, but not thisone.

    allso, players are here for testing, and giving feedback.
    the OP made a feedback.
    why flame it then?
    its a job well done.

    and i do agree, age old bugs should be fixed allready.
    the last few updates where perfect in that sense, as they did aim to fix some bugs.
    and they should do so in the future for a while.
    they have to be sorted eventually, and the argument that any new stuff can break any/everything...
    well, that is poor coding nothing more.
    if that is the case than the bug did not get fixed, just a workaround found.

    yess in this regard SE development team does not quite do a good job yet, but its getting better.

    as for the community :)
    well, its quite pathetic sometimes, thisone is a pretty nice case showing it off pretty clearly.
    the OP post is well made, while certainly a bit emotionally driven at some parts, the fundamental parts are solid and true.
    the game is in development for a time now, minor bugs should not exsist.
    and no, the chart does not apply. nothing you see on that chart applies.
    it ain't even remotely close to the development of SE.
    Show me where does it have alpha bughunting. nowhere.

    at beta it says developers change focus to bugfixing, and game content.
    well blow my whistle if its not what they had been doing for a while now.
    bughunting, then adding new features along, and then bughunting again.
    no, i do not think its in beta.
    nor is it in alpha.
    i don't think it has to be at any of those " milestones" or anything like that.

    why does some members think they should drive away everyone who honestly tells the truth?
    i have no idea.
    and i dislike fanatic fanboyism.

    and no, i don't hate this game.
    i like SE, but i do not like the way it has been developt.
    i do like the recent bughunting session.
    witch chould happen in the beta cycle according to the chart that does NOT apply to SE.

    suck it up.
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