Author Topic: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion  (Read 371876 times)

Harvey Birdman

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #525 on: April 13, 2008, 10:13:06 PM »
I'm not miserable...

We can fix that.   :D

dandelO

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #526 on: April 13, 2008, 10:33:20 PM »
Quote
If I were Planetside I'd give you all your money back and show you the door - bunch of miserable bastards the lot of you...

 :D

Offline rcallicotte

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #527 on: April 13, 2008, 10:54:17 PM »
Sheepskins.  What happened while I was gone?  Has everyone had a rough weekend?

This is what we get for being off-the-payroll Alpha testers.  Anyone ever want to do it again?  <evil laugh inserted here>
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 11:59:49 AM by calico »
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Offline PG

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #528 on: April 13, 2008, 11:07:56 PM »
Sheepskins.  What happened while I was gone.  Has everyone had a rough weekend?

This is what we get for being off-the-payroll Alpha testers.  Anyone ever want to do it again?  <evil laugh inserted here>

Sheepskins? :D. No the worrying thing is that it started with a one-time poster. But all with good intentions and much cheaper than a therapist. ;D
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Offline jo

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #529 on: April 13, 2008, 11:12:32 PM »
Hi everyone,

This isn't really my place, I'm just a developer, but I thought I'd say something. I do absolutely understand why people are getting frustrated - I haven't exactly enjoyed the last few months myself, but at last things are starting to come together now.

First off let me say something about progress. We're making fairly good progress at the moment. A lot of multithreading bugs were squashed over the last week or so, and things got a lot better. There are still some issues though and they need to be resolved. Matt was a bit hesitant to mention this here because we don't know how long until the remaining threading bugs can be cleaned up. They can be very difficult to track down, and what seems straightforward can be anything but. Adding multithreading is a big deal, and especially retrofitting it to a large and complex codebase is not the easiest thing in the world. Matt has been doing that work by himself, unfortunately it was impractical for us both to work on it, and I'm actually quite impressed that he's been able to do it as quickly as he has, believe it or not...

Obviously the delay has been far greater than expected, but multithreading along with the improvements to the renderer which allowed transparency ( amongst other things ) have taken a long time to get sorted. How long? Let me say this - we didn't even release anything to alpha testers for over 3 months. I myself didn't get any of the multithreaded code to work with until relatively recently. You can perhaps see why we haven't done incremental updates in this situation - we simply couldn't. The changes TG2 was undergoing were too fundamental.

Why don't we make alpha releases to just everybody? Because we need to keep feedback, problem reports and followups to a manageable level. It may not seem this way to you, but the public releases we make have been tested so that all bugs within reason have been resolved. When I say "within reason" I mean not part of some fundamental system which we haven't addressed for that release. It's not uncommon for us to need to put out a followup alpha release quickly when we find something wrong we haven't picked up. Alpha tests are basically the first time TG2 gets tried out "off our computers". We can't feasibly test everything just by ourselves, although we try and cover things as well as we can. There has been more than once that something has worked perfectly on my machines but not on one of the alpha testers. Having alpha testers allows some bugs to be shaken out quickly, with any luck with reproducible circumstances we can recreate ourselves for debugging purposes. For this to be effective we need to keep it to a relatively small group. Besides, if we released them to the public at large there would be people who wouldn't understand that the releases were alpha quality.

Believe you me, we're not holding back alpha releases which we feel could be satisfactorily used by a wider audience!

The point about allowing alpha testers to release images is to show that progress is being made. We can't release those versions which are being used to create the images, because right now for every nice looking image there's several more which haven't been able to be rendered to completion due to problems we're in the process of fixing. It isn't so much we want things to be perfect, right now we just want them to work the way they're supposed to.

The one positive in all this is that the multithreading stuff is looking pretty good. Render times are reduced considerably, dramatically in some cases. I used to hear how long a render took for some nice new image and shudder, now I sometimes find myself thinking "Hey, that's not too bad" :-). Don't get me wrong, it can still take a long time to render an image, but at least it's a long time rather than an eternity. Having the previews threaded is great too. We made a hard decision that we didn't want to release a beta without multithreading, but it has of course taken much longer than expected. In any case, the work needed to be done and TG2 is vastly improved because of it.

One big benefit of it for me is that for the first time TG2 is much more interactive while its rendering. I think this will make a bigger difference to people than you might expect. You may have seen me mention this before, but for TG Mac v0.9 I made the renderer run in a different thread to the UI and it was like night and day. Before that it was hard to use other applications while TG was rendering, it took an age to switch away from TG and if you accidentally switched to it when using other apps you had to wait again. Often TG would take a long time to come to the front when you wanted to check on progress. It really made doing other stuff while TG was rendering a pain in the neck. I was pretty annoyed when we found ourselves in the exact same situation with TG2. Right now however, things are looking much better. With any luck the alpha testers won't find anything wrong with this and we'll be able to keep it that way :-).

Anyway, like I said, it's no longer my place to do this kind of thing, and perhaps Matt will tell me off, but I hope that this has explained something to you. I'm not surprised that people are dissatisfied with how things are going, we don't work in a vacuum. All I can say is that with regard to the big changes we've had to make for the threading etc. there's finally light at the end of the tunnel, take that how you will.

Regards,

Jo

Harvey Birdman

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #530 on: April 13, 2008, 11:17:11 PM »
... No the worrying thing is that it started with a one-time poster...

The natives are restless and the discontent is close to the surface.


Jo - Good of you to take the time. I appreciate the fact you feel some responsibility to the user base and that it manifests itself so. Doesn't make me any happier about the scheduling issues but it's nice, nonetheless.

Offline PG

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #531 on: April 13, 2008, 11:28:33 PM »
Nice to here from the man in the action Jo. Sounds like you are making some significant progress, optimising code to split between processing cores can be a pain in the kaiser, not to mention different word lengths of different processors and operating systems. I sincerely hope that Matt isn't too hard on you, especially seeing as we have a programmer giving us news rather than the people who are supposed to be doing it. You really show your commitment to the project and the punters ;D
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Offline moodflow

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #532 on: April 14, 2008, 12:38:21 AM »
Many thanks Jo, you cleared up some things I was wondering about.  Sorry its taking so long, but hopefully it will be available as a beta soon.
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Offline nikita

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #533 on: April 14, 2008, 12:40:51 AM »
Only now I realize that information coming from Planetside doesn't have any value (too me). Considering past current delays and their corresponding announcements, "good progress" basically translates to "Release will be next week.. or month, or in 2009, maybe."

There's still nothing said about that ominous "complication" that turned an allegedly imminent release into the month-long delay we're currently experiencing. Maybe I don't even want to know..

Why don't we make alpha releases to just everybody? Because we need to keep feedback, problem reports and followups to a manageable level. [...] Besides, if we released them to the public at large there would be people who wouldn't understand that the releases were alpha quality.
I disagree. Put the download link on a simple html page somewhere well hidden where no one will ever find it (like the tgd-base) except those who got the link from this forum. A page that has a huge sign "Nightly Builds! No Support! Feedback will be ignored!"
Closed Alpha makes sense cause you still want to sell the software later on - but the pre-purchasers have already paid.

Believe you me, we're not holding back alpha releases which we feel could be satisfactorily used by a wider audience!
So Planetsides opinion is that "not usable by anyone at all" is better than "useable, but with bugs"? I don't see how this makes any sense. I also doubt whether the "wide audience" agrees with that strategy.

Anyway, Thank you for informing us :)

Harvey Birdman

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #534 on: April 14, 2008, 12:51:23 AM »
I'm afraid I share still nikita's skepticism. I don't expect we will see any meaningful accomodation of our criticisms/concerns.

Offline SilverCity

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #535 on: April 14, 2008, 02:30:01 AM »
I'm new to this forum and haven't read every post on this thread, so this may have been answered already. When Terragen 2 is ready for final release, will you make an announcement when pre-purchase prices will end?

Is there any indication of what the final price will be? Under $500.00? $500.00 - $700.00? $800.00 - $1,000.00? Similar applications run the spectrum from Bryce ($99.00) to Vue xStream ($900.00). 

Thanks.

Offline sonshine777

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #536 on: April 14, 2008, 05:32:24 AM »
Well I go away to work on a little video project and come back to almost 37 pages. ;D
I never said I was a prophet, I just had a theory. And a very weak one it appears. :'(
Sorry Harvey I tried.

Thanks for the explanation/update Jo.

Well I guess that's my two cents worth. :)

Offline Mohawk20

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #537 on: April 14, 2008, 10:53:41 AM »
Personally I am glad Jo got us up to date with the latest compliactions...

We tend to forget that the whole TG2 business is run by only 3 people!
Big companies bringing out new applications and software often have a whole army of programmers and pre-alpha testers behind the scenes.
These are just a few.

I think it's a vast achievement they made so far allready, and the lot of us wouldn't do it much faster (I couldn't do it at all  ;)).
We need to remind ourselves that, and have only respect for the work they do.
They don't like the delay any more than we do.


But that's just my oppinion...
Howgh!

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Offline rcallicotte

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #538 on: April 14, 2008, 12:40:45 PM »
I've been coming from Mohawk20's persuasion from day one.  I've worked on a few jobs that meant tight timelines with complaining end-users who ask for more and more and then complain when you give it to them late (because they added more requirements in the meantime) and complain when it doesn't work the way they never told you they wanted it to work.  It's not very satisfying and, in fact, makes it easy to believe these end-users should just try it without you.

We all have theories about how it should go.  But, if these are fundamental changes to the TG2 renderer (and this what has happened) then I'd rather play with the version I have until the fundamental pieces are together.  In other words, quit thinking that this new version is just an improved version of what you have already.  Instead, think of it as a completely and fundamentally new version.  So fundamental, in fact, that it has caused quite a delay.  The next update is probably an entirely new code base.

As far as being fearful about how Planetside will never come through, look for another software that can do what this one will do and then let me know about it.  If you don't find one, then let's keep asking for updates until we get the golden beauty in our hands.    ;D
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Offline nikita

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Re: Terragen 2 Release Announcement Discussion
« Reply #539 on: April 14, 2008, 01:19:11 PM »
We all have theories about how it should go.  But, if these are fundamental changes to the TG2 renderer (and this what has happened) then I'd rather play with the version I have until the fundamental pieces are together.  In other words, quit thinking that this new version is just an improved version of what you have already.  Instead, think of it as a completely and fundamentally new version.  So fundamental, in fact, that it has caused quite a delay.  The next update is probably an entirely new code base.

I don't think so: http://forums.planetside.co.uk/index.php?topic=2942.msg34609#msg34609

 

anything