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Roberts Space Industries

Transmission

General

ID:

17727

Comments:

183

Date:

August 19th 2020

Star Citizen & Squadron 42 Roadmap Update

Roadmap Update

Hi everyone,



Star Citizen has always been predicated on open and transparent development. From day one, we vowed to share our progress with the community and open our doors to present the journey of creating the Best Damn Space Sim Ever. In the early days, that was much easier when we were one studio with a small group of developers. But as we’ve grown and expanded, so too have the challenges in showing our team and our work in a timely manner without disrupting the actual development itself.



You’ve seen us adapt to continue to show you our development progress: in the early days we spoke more and had less game to show. As the Star Citizen Persistent Universe Alpha became ready to show and you could check out and test our progress yourself, we spoke less and let the game speak more. But when you are literally doing what no one has ever done before and charting new territory in creating a universe of unprecedented scale and fidelity, there is no ready playbook and the reality is it takes time.




The Current Roadmap: Limitations

Several years ago, we unveiled the Public Roadmap – alongside our evolution to regular Alpha releases of more content, tech, and features – so that we could show you our estimated delivery of Alpha updates. However, in the two years since, the Public Roadmap, as an estimation of what will be delivered by a certain time, has become less representative of our actual progress. We have over 450 developers working tirelessly every day on Star Citizen and Squadron 42. And we are only showing a fraction of that because this current roadmap is predicated on an estimate of delivery.



Currently, features and content that we do not have a definitive release date for, even when they are being actively worked on, do not get displayed on the Public Roadmap. Some who follow us understand that just because something is not on the roadmap does not mean it’s not being actively developed. Others, however, believe that if something is not on the roadmap then it means that it is “delayed” or “cancelled.” This creates confusion in some cases and leaves us unable to properly communicate or present the actual work, simply because we don’t display something unless we have a good idea of when it’ll be ready for public consumption. Even then, because these are estimates, we still have to push things a quarter or two due to unforeseen issues or necessary pivots. It’s been unsatisfactory for us to be unable to show you more of our development progress because of that quirk of the roadmap. We have decided to change that.




New Public Roadmap: More Transparency

Our new Public Roadmap will instead do what we intended to do when we first deployed the current one: show you more of what we are doing. That means we intend to show you what our developers are working on every sprint. This is a big sea change. Instead of a curated set of features, tech, or content we have confidence in delivering by a set time, we want to show you everything…or nearly everything. There will obviously be things we keep behind closed doors, such as big spoilers like the [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] for Squadron 42. Plus, there will be some teams that are in R&D or ideation for things that are just way too early to talk about, and we feel revealing that would just create unhelpful noise and speculation. But our intention is to show you what every team at CIG is working on if we can.



One key point we want to emphasize with this new Public Roadmap is that this is a progress tracker. We are showing you what our teams are working on right now, and what sprints look like in the weeks, months, and quarters ahead. It is not a promise. With agile development, all of that is subject to change. Sometimes, as we develop things and we iterate and see the results of a sprint, we need to go back to rework code or design, or we find new challenges or opportunities that we didn’t see at the outset of the project, and need to pivot. We say it in the current roadmap, but need to reiterate it again, for the new Public Roadmap, the progress tracker will be fluid. It is not a promise of what we will work on. It’s our best estimate at the time we make it, based on the information we have at hand. It also indicates our strategic intentions and priorities, which themselves are also subject to change.



One of our overarching goals of this Public Roadmap overhaul is to show you what all our teams are working on so you can see the scale and breadth of work on our plates. You will also see our priorities, as obviously what is most important, urgent, or needed will be our immediate sprints, while after that will be what is next most important, urgent, or needed, and so on and so forth down the quarter or quarters. We know we have passionate and emotionally invested backers who are riding right alongside us on this exciting journey, and so we know that some of you will agree with our priority calls and some of you won’t. We know that and expect that. Internally, we have the same debates about what we want or need to tackle next. It’s an easy call to tell our Ship Team to work on the Prowler and our Actor Feature Team to work on actor status, two larger projects that both delivered in Alpha 3.9. Those resources largely don’t compete. But the call is a little (or a lot) harder when it comes to professions or careers: do we leave mining where it’s at and move onto a Tier 0 implementation of another path, or flesh out the mining loop more so it’s more robust? Mining fans will rejoice if we choose the latter. While they’ll be disappointed if we don’t. Once we expose to you all of what we’re working on, you will see just how much there is to develop and what our priorities are.



A Work-In-Progress Look at our New Public Roadmap

We are very excited about what this unlocks for the community in terms of open development, but we think a picture is worth a thousand words.



In the image below, you’ll find this means we’re pulling back the curtain farther than ever before and inviting you in to explore what our teams around the globe are working on, down to a sprint level. We understand the risks associated with this level of transparency, as it’s all a process that is very rarely seen by the general public. Despite that, we are excited to give you additive functionality to review our internal sprint schedules, identify if a feature is for SC, SQ42 or both, discover what happens to content that moves around, what feature took its place, and much more. Get ready to see how the sausage is made!



In addition to the Roadmap we’ve been using for some time now, we started accompanying the weekly publish with a blog post dubbed Roadmap Roundup. While Roadmap Roundup serves a great purpose in offering additional insight into why content may move around, it didn’t sit right with us that when we moved a feature, it just disappeared, without a persistent visualization that demonstrated where the feature moved to and that it was still important (just deprioritized). We also don’t visualize what features may have caused a change, or what content may have gained a higher priority causing the shift. This has been a problem that we’ve wanted to solve.



So, how do we address these needs? The updated Roadmap will focus more on breaking out teams and features so you can interactively see what is being worked on across all teams, as opposed to what features will make X release. We want to empower you with the tools to explore this information for yourself. It’s worth noting that the older style of Roadmap cards for Star Citizen patch releases will still remain, in addition of the new sprint-focused version, but it will be used specifically to highlight what features/content/tech we are aiming to release in each quarterly patch. Our intention is that this new view of our sprints will be the primary Roadmap we want you to visit regularly to watch development progress.





  • In this image, we’ve opted to use the Actor Feature Team as example. You’ll know this team best from features such as the Player Status System (hunger/thirst/etc.), the personal inventory system, body dragging, unarmed combat, and more.

  • We’ve broken up sections by teams, which when expanded reveal the various projects on their plate, the game the work is being developed for, disciplines involved, and a breakdown of their current and upcoming sprint schedule.

  • While this is a mockup of the new Sprint View for our development, what we are showing here is the actual current development roadmap for the Actor Feature Team. You’ll note that you can see the projects they are working on, the estimated duration of the work, and a short description. Disciplines refers to such development departments as engineering, art, design, and so forth.

  • As you can see from the tabs at the bottom, we plan to present to you an immediate quarter view to see all the upcoming work within a quarter for the dev teams, a half-year view (2 quarters), and a full year view (4 quarters), where that is available. Note that some teams, which are downstream from core feature teams, don’t know what they will work on until the core feature or tech teams commit to their sprints. So these dependency teams naturally will not have as much long-term visibility into their development roadmap as the more far-reaching core teams.

  • We of course want to get this out to you in a timely manner, so we’re currently aiming for the first iteration of the Roadmap to look similar to what you see in the image above. However, it’s worth noting that we’re exploring additional functionality to go even deeper – we look forward to sharing more on that with you as we get closer.

While you can see the format is going to change (we hope for the better!), our goal remains the same: build the best damn games ever alongside the best damn community ever. No compromise. We’re committed to that.



Head over to Spectrum to join the discussion and we’ll see you in the ‘verse!


- Cloud Imperium Team

End Transmission

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