PixelTail vs Valve - Development Process


#1

Everyone who has spent more than a day in this community knows: PixelTail are transparent as fuck. I can seriously not think of anything I could remotely criticise about how open their development process is. If it was a house, it’d be made out of glass with tainted windows for bath- and bedrooms. The only thing left to open would be their internal nonpublic stuff but next to hiding secret projects I guess there are reasons for having internal nonpublic stuff.

Now compare that to our[citation needed] favorite Fort Knox of Game Development: Valve. Good luck getting a product announced with detailed info more than a week before it releases. Most of the info we have on Artifact are leaks or the work of Internet Detectives™.

Now both companies as I see them only have the customer and their experience of the end product in mind. Whatever they do, the result is aimed to improve the enjoyment of the game.

I’d have to do an indepth analysis of the public material to see how much experimental stuff goes on at PixelTail but it seems pretty planned to me. They have a vision, they work on making it real, they show their progress and communicate when the completion rate or direction changes for whatever reason (Valve needing them to rework inventory, hardware defects, personal or health issues, spontaneous catsack possession needing an exorcist to regain control of the body, just to unnecessarily list a few examples) and in exactly the way Steam Early Access was meant to happen, it’s a constant feedback loop with the community. The downside is some people getting a little worked up because that progress might not happen to the best of their personal interests.

Compare that to Valve, where basically everything is experimental until it’s shipped. And in some cases, even the shipped stuff later turns out to be replaced by something a little less experimental because they learned from shipping the old thing. Since Half-Life turned out to be a success, Valve has the financial stability to not need to rely on sequelitis or scummy money making tactics, AFAIK their microtransactions are on the ethically more acceptable side. (Disclaimer: I can’t remember ever having bought a crate/Mann Co. key or similar products. I’m not well informed or up to date on this kind of business.) So basically they can do what they want (Literally) and I wonder if there’s a single person at Valve knowing what everyone else is doing all the time, a Daily Dev Log like PixelTail might be impossible. (And they might argue that they prefer to work instead of writing about what they work on.)

I like to think about this contrast in the context of a (now rather old) quote from Gabe Newell about a hypothetically transparent Valve:

" We think that the twists and turns that we’re going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it until we can be very crisp about what’s happening next. "


#2

Pixeltail makes games, Valve makes money
¯\_(ツ)_/¯


#3

Proofreading again seconds after posting and you already comment a very general, common line, you’re a very fast reader! :open_mouth:


#4

My glasses give me +5 reading speed

EDIT: ok I’m going to actually read it now sorry

EDIT2: Read it. Kinda disagree with the Valve part TBH. They’ve been taking some very unpopular actions clearly designed to make money (CS:GO’s graffiti/gloves), killed Episode 3, failed to regulate Steam properly and their CS:GO updates can often be bizzare and out of touch with what the game needs/community wants.
Then again, other parts of the company seem to be working fine. Especially the Dota 2 team.


#5

I thought it was common knowledge that valve makes money, i mean crates, knife skins, glove skins for csgo and so on.


#6

How do you know this, the project management might just be comparable to the most fucked up Trello ever. We don’t know, they’re not transparent. :wink:

The efforts to solve this problem is one of the things they try to communicate more openly, I read a new blog post about how they’re changing the Publishing Process and/or Review System on what feels like a monthly basis. Not exactly a daily log either, though.


#7

Nah they killed it.


#8

They confirmed it to be cancelled years ago.


#9

Laidlaw releasing its official plot and Gaben’s continued refusal to talk about it whenever someone asks are both pretty big pointers.

All they did so far was cancel the already crappy Steam Greenlight and replace it with… well, nothing. Steam Direct is literally nothing except an entrance fee.


#10

This was supposed to be a thread about development transparency and whether or not one company could benefit from trying out the model of the other, not yet another recap of Valve Clickbait Headline News…