Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion

Started by Oshyan, December 12, 2007, 07:10:04 pm

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Moose

I'd think that after the first few of those ten years you'd have wised-up to the way PS does stuff and saved yourself a load of stress - least that's what I did. So you really wish to see Terragen buried?

Kevin F

Quote from: Moose on June 24, 2008, 05:20:16 am
I'd think that after the first few of those ten years you'd have wised-up to the way PS does stuff and saved yourself a load of stress - least that's what I did. So you really wish to see Terragen buried?


I did wise up. I'm not stressed - just pissed off. I only use TG for a hobby anyway (no financial interest at all).
You missed my deliberately vague point - if I've waited this long I'm not going to want TG buried. In fact I'm incredibly patient. I raised the trading standards issue as a simple point of interest not a threat. As things stand now PS are selling a product with a completion date of last year. I think they should wise up.

jo

Hi Kevin,

Quote from: Kevin F on June 24, 2008, 03:26:38 am
Don't make matters worse Jo by replying to a very reasonable question in such a manner. i.e. "That's not what I said." ?? what's not what you said?


I didn't mean to cause offense, I apologise if any was taken. Just to straighten it out, "That's not what I said." was referring to sentence preceding i.e. I did not say that a problem had been found/identified. It doesn't help to take it out of context.

Quote"I think if you actually read what I wrote......." The Guy did and just asked a simple question, since what you said was not "pretty clear" i.e. what the issue was.


I felt that I had already described and exactly the situation regards the TP4 release, and I didn't feel it was necessary to go into detail about what the issue was. That doesn't necessarily give anyone useful further information, interesting perhaps but not useful :-). The poster was bringing up the issue of postponements, when I had already said what the situation was. I thought it was important to clarify that I did actually mean what I said originally, as there seemed to be some question about it despite it being clearly stated.

If it was confusing in my initial post, a "release candidate" is a version which is deemed ready for release, but we still put it through a testing phase in case something unanticipated springs up. It can happen, and experience has shown that even small changes can cause unforeseen problems if they are not tested before releasing to the public. With TP3 that process was rushed when it should been given a bit longer, especially given the magnitude of recent changes and so the memory leak problem got through. We can't just release a version with that fix because we need it to go through a testing process, and there were other important bugs we felt also needed to be fixed before a public release was made.

With normal alpha releases we can carry on going as usual, but release candidates slow us down because we need to be much more careful about what changes. That's one of the reasons we try and get together a decent number of fixes and changes before we start with release candidates. The testing process for release candidates does take some time, alpha testers need to get to grips with something over a reasonable period, and not everyone can drop what they're doing and get testing straight away.  The alpha testers are very helpful to us for making sure silly problems don't get through to the public where they cause more hassle to more people, and it's best not to circumvent that process. It usually works out badly.

We did warn that TP3 was likely to be an unstable release and recommended that people stick with TP2 if that was likely to be a problem.

QuoteI still can't believe that a product promised in Dec for release in Jan STILL is not ready 6 months later.


We've already explained why that was - multithreading. We made the decision that it was too important to not be in the final release, and it was a hard decision to make. It took longer than expected to implement, and it also threw into relief some serious problems with other parts of the renderer which needed to be addressed at the same time. We could have made the decision to go with what we had at the time, and it would have been slower and unstable.

To be straight up and unambiguous about it, with the exception of the memory leak which will be addressed in the TP4 release, the TP3 release is a considerably more advanced application than the application which would have been released in January. Everyone using TP3 is not behind where they would be if TG2 had been made final and released in January. Realistically if TG2 had been tidied up and a final release made then, we would still be where we are today ( probably behind because multithreading would have been put back a month or two ), except the price would have increased already.

Regards,

Jo

Kevin F

Jo, Thanks for the detailed reply.

I accept most of your points, but in my defense your initial reply did have an arrogant tone to it. Still sorted now.

I will take issue though with this:

QuoteI still can't believe that a product promised in Dec for release in Jan STILL is not ready 6 months later.


We've already explained why that was - multithreading. We made the decision that it was too important to not be in the final release, and it was a hard decision to make. It took longer than expected to implement, and it also threw into relief some serious problems with other parts of the renderer which needed to be addressed at the same time. We could have made the decision to go with what we had at the time, and it would have been slower and unstable.


[/quote]

If you read Matt's December announcement :

.....We will be releasing a Beta version of the product on the 4th of January which will include significant improvements not seen in the Technology Previews released so far:

- Efficient utilisation of multi-core and multi-processor computers for rendering........




Given the dates involved your reply don't wash.

nikita

Quote from: jo on June 24, 2008, 05:31:57 am
QuoteI still can't believe that a product promised in Dec for release in Jan STILL is not ready 6 months later.


We've already explained why that was - multithreading.

But that's not what Matt said back then. He talked about having every reason to believe he can make it on time. And since we're talking about the beta release, that means a version including multi threading and water transparency. Now you're saying that TP3 contains features that wouldn't otherwise have made it into TG2 yet?

All this sounds like the Tech Preview was far from finished when beta release date was announced. It's not as if I wouldn't understand that programming takes time. But this "Let's wait and hopefully they won't notice that we could have never met the release date and the requirements by january anyway." strategy s... is frustrating. It's no big secret anymore so why not just admit it?

I like how TG2 develops and understand that it needed more time than expected - but I can't understand why planetside sticks to such... let's call it half-truths.

gregsandor

June 24, 2008, 06:57:33 am #845 Last Edit: June 24, 2008, 07:00:50 am by gregsandor
I appreciate all this discussion of timetables and as a Terragen user since version 3 or 4 there are probably few on this board with more interest (and less patience) in getting the new version.  As I only have one core I couldnt care less about multithreading -- I have different uses for TG.   Meanwhile, I see that some of the brightest are in this thread -- will you guys please head over to the thread I posted about animation and help me figure a way around some of the current limitations?  I'm only half-joking here -- I would really appreciate the help. After another cup of coffee I can rephrase this post so we can all have a good laugh about it, but for now this will have to suffice.  I have a project I'd really like to do with TG and am sure the braintrust here can find a way to do it.

jo

Hi Kevin,

Quote from: Kevin F on June 24, 2008, 06:15:31 am
If you read Matt's December announcement :

.....We will be releasing a Beta version of the product on the 4th of January which will include significant improvements not seen in the Technology Previews released so far:

- Efficient utilisation of multi-core and multi-processor computers for rendering........




Given the dates involved your reply don't wash.


My reply still describes what happened. We felt it was important to include for a beta release ( which is essentially feature complete ), I was mistaken when I said "final", sorry. I believe at the time there was some expectation this would be sorted out. There was however a massive underestimation of the time it would take to implement. Actually the initial effort on it did happen pretty quickly, and it looked promising, but the problem with multithreading is the nitty gritty stuff and the weirdness it can throw up.  It didn't happen the way we hoped, we're not happy things turned out the way they did, but that's how it is. If we hadn't included multithreading the release could have been on time.

And to answer to Nikita, who posted while I was writing this, there was no intent to deceive. Matt thought we would make the beta release date, that's all there is to it. Take it how you want.

And it is true that there is stuff in TP3 that wouldn't have been available for you to use you if we had cut multithreading and released in January. The multithreading is starting to get reasonably stable now. Let's say we'd released the beta in January, that means no major new features would have been added. It may have optimistically taken two months beta testing to get something we thought was ok for release - not an unreasonable amount of time. We would have needed to write some documentation. There would have been a release candidate phase that would have thrown up a few more things which need to be resolved, lets say another few weeks conservatively. Then we would have released, and I personally would have gone on a proper holiday for a bit :-). Then, before we could have started work on the multithreading there would have been a settling in phase where we were fixing bugs ( we'd like there not to be any at that stage, but inevitably something will slip through ) and addressing smaller feature and usability issues people were having with the final release. Not to mention a bunch of other non-development work which would have been needed. That could easily have added another couple of months before we could have started on the multithreading. Hindsight now shows us that it has taken about 6 months to get the multithreading to a reasonably good place, and if you add that on it's pushing us out toward the end of this year. So, if we had cut multithreading to make a January release when we discovered it was going to make things longer, then yes, it very likely would have been toward the end of this year before multithreading was available to users. From a UI perspective I could probably have got most of the things I've added in place and be moving on to new stuff, so in that particular area we would be about where we are regardless, but certainly from an underlying rendering engine perspective we are much further along.

That's not to say it's good we weren't able to release in January with all the features we'd thought, but it is a completely honest assessment of the situation as things stand from my point of view. There is no dissembling or weaseling going on. Second guess it if you will, but from my perspective that is almost certainly how things would have turned out. I'm not trying to deceive anyone by saying there is stuff TG2 is doing right now that it wouldn't have been if it had released in January. Is it how we envisaged things happening back in December? No. Is it all bad? I don't believe so.

Regards,

Jo

rcallicotte

Planetside (Oshyan, Matt and Jo), maybe you should take time off and get away from all of this for long enough to forget about it and come back with fresh eyesight to see that your repuation is at stake.  I believe you have integrity, but this isn't what is coming through right now.

Jo, while I know you are defending yourself against upset customers and I'm really not all that upset, it doesn't set well for anyone who has paid money for a promised product with promised and locked features to hear "...except the price would have increased already." 

It's easy from our side, since we're on the outside looking in, but that's my point.

I'm being completely serious.
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?

jo

Hi Calico,

Quote from: calico on June 24, 2008, 07:31:43 am
Planetside (Oshyan, Matt and Jo), maybe you should take time off and get away from all of this for long enough to forget about it and come back with fresh eyesight to see that your repuation is at stake.  I believe you have integrity, but this isn't what is coming through right now.


Believe me, we understand the situation. We all wish things were otherwise. There is pretty much nothing you can say which we haven't said ourselves, long ago. Nobody wants a final release out more then we do, really.

QuoteJo, while I know you are defending yourself against upset customers and I'm really not all that upset, it doesn't set well for anyone who has paid money for a promised product with promised and locked features to hear "...except the price would have increased already."


We have always been clear that when TG2 final is released the price will increase. I think it's fair to say that it was in the back of our minds that promising multithreading and not delivering it is one of the factors in the decision to make sure it was in the final release. I think that's what you are getting at. If we had released TG2 final without multithreading and had to keep it at the current price ( 2.x updates being included in the Pre-Purchase price ), then decided to call a version with multithreading TG3 just so we could put up the price to what we had intended for TG2 final then I think people would have grounds for complaint.

If you're worried about features being locked, they pretty much are now on the track for a beta release. A couple of things which are underway won't be included in the TP4 release, and then after that it's full steam ahead with those and on to a beta, where the emphasis will be on stability, optimisation and working out kinks in the UI.

Anyway, I may have said it once before, some pages back, but this is the last post I'll be making to this thread. I've said far too much already, I'm just a developer not a PR guy ( in case you haven't noticed :-).

Regards,

Jo

Tangled-Universe

Quote from: jo on June 24, 2008, 08:03:51 am
We have always been clear that when TG2 final is released the price will increase. I think it's fair to say that it was in the back of our minds that promising multithreading and not delivering it is one of the factors in the decision to make sure it was in the final release. I think that's what you are getting at.


How about features like SSS (subsurface scattering) like I asked before (couple of posts ago)? They were announced as well but have disappeared from the site lately.

And what about the other questions from me in that post? Or do I not sound violently enough to invoke answers ;)
The underlying basis for most people's frustration are things like the quote here below but mainly because PS has the tendency to be overly-vague with information or answers or just ignoring questions like in this post from me: http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=2942.msg44777#msg44777
And lLike the information I asked following your post stating:  http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=2942.msg44820#msg44820

Quote from: jo on June 24, 2008, 08:03:51 am
Anyway, I may have said it once before, some pages back, but this is the last post I'll be making to this thread. I've said far too much already, I'm just a developer not a PR guy ( in case you haven't noticed :-).

Regards,

Jo


As an involved person I think you can't turn your back on the people here and walk away this way. They way some people react may not deserve a thorough answer maybe but this is not the way you/ps should cope with this.

jo

Hi,

Quote from: Tangled-Universe on June 24, 2008, 10:13:19 am
As an involved person I think you can't turn your back on the people here and walk away this way. They way some people react may not deserve a thorough answer maybe but this is not the way you/ps should cope with this.


Just so everyone knows, I am an independent contractor and my job is as a developer. I also do Mac specific support, because basically I write all the Mac stuff. I also do about 95% of the Windows specific development ( most of what Matt does is not platform specific ), but I don't do support there because there are others who can handle that, which isn't the case with the Mac support. I am not part of Planetside except as a contractor, and I have no financial interest in the business. Obviously I have a long history with Planetside, getting on for 9 years I guess, and I used to be involved in more aspects of things than I am now.

Due to my long history with Planetside I do feel responsible to users for certain aspects relating to Terragen, even if strictly speaking some of that responsibility is misplaced. I do of course feel responsible for the code I write and I take it very seriously when that does not work as it should. My responsibility there is really to Matt as my client, but of course software is written for people to use and if those people are experiencing problems from something I've written then I feel an obligation to correct that as soon as possible.

If I see something on the forums which I can answer and which has not been dealt with by Oshyan or Matt, then I do my best to answer it. Strictly speaking, I don't have to do this and it's not part of my job, but if I have a spare moment I try to help out. I don't read everything on these forums by any means. If you think something has not been dealt with, and it isn't Mac specific, then that isn't my fault. This is essentially why I said I had probably said too much already, and I would not be contributing further to this thread. In fact I will minimise my involvement with the forums from now on and just reply to threads on support issues. That's not meant to sound petulant, but dealing with this stuff isn't doing anything for my blood pressure :-).

Regards,

Jo

gregsandor

Jo I hope you'll be able to help in the animation threads i'll be posting...

PG

Does anyone know if Planetside has any external commercial benifactors? I'm not aware of any.
Figured out how to do clicky signatures

rcallicotte

I'd be shocked to discover that the Planetside team is living on our purchases of TG2 and TG .9.



Quote from: PG on June 24, 2008, 02:47:16 pm
Does anyone know if Planetside has any external commercial benifactors? I'm not aware of any.
So this is Disney World.  Can we live here?

neuspadrin

wow, simple question come back next day and theres whole debates and tons of posts on this thread.  wow.

anyways, didn't mean to cause all this commotion, it had just been a bit since you guys gave us an update and was curious how far out the next release was, as a non memory leak version would be awesome.