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I wanted to post my email to SES for public viewing. Maybe if enough emails are sent, the devs will finally start paying attention here. Comments are welcome and I'm hoping I will get a response from them eventually. Any response would be better than nothing.

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Hello System Era,

I am writing this message in the hopes that you will read it and reply, or at least take it into consideration.

To start, I very much enjoy Astroneer. The concept is awesome and it has great potential for expansion into something greater. The ability to sculpt the planets however I want is something that has kept me playing. Also, space is one of my favorite subjects and was what got me interested in your game in the first place.

Having said that, I have been met with many disappointments. The greatest of these is the fact that you, the developer and creator of the System Era forum, have no real presence in said forum. There are a multitude of posts on bugs and crashing issues (mine included) that have gone ignored. In your latest update, 1.1.2, a number of members have complained of crashing within the first 30 minutes of play which is generous to say the least. This was originally an issue in the 1.1.0 EFT 'beta' you held on steam that carried over to 1.1.2. Other members also posted this game breaking bug, who also went unheard. The latest semi-stable version is 1.0.15, which I have been able to play for several hours before crashing which would usually freeze the entire system requiring a hard reset.

I purchased the game after reading reviews on Steam, YouTube, and various other sites. After watching several YouTube game play videos and seeing the smoothness of the frame rate I decided that I would pay the $30 to get the game. I started playing version 1.0.7 which also had crashing and whole-system freezing issues. From that moment, I thought that this couldn't be the full release version of the game. I was wrong. Thus the second major disappointment. Astroneer went from alpha straight to a 1.0 'full release' without having a beta test to work out the bugs of the release version. From what I have read on the forum, the game was more stable in alpha than it was after 1.0. I have played many games over the years and very rarely have I seen a game that had more issues post-release than pre-release.

The third disappointment was that I was excited for a well-made game with a wealth of future updates from what seemed like a group, however small, of experienced developers. I have played many of the games that some of your developers had a hand in creating. The fact that quantity over quality seems to be the name of the game when it comes to Astroneer was very unexpected. For example in the latest update, we were given access to the extra large scrapper. A number of us were unable to use this because of the crashing issue that carried over from EFT. I couldn't get past the first two to five minutes after loading my save before crashing to even be able to craft it. Content updates are all well and good as long as the game is playable. Which at this point it is not. Many games that are worth-while and satisfying aren't pretty but they are more than functional. I am not saying the game is not worth-while but it has become less than satisfying.

I have enjoyed the game enough to the point that I went through the frustrating process of downgrading to a previous version so I could play a semi-stable version of the game. Which brings up an important point. If you are going to update the game and ignore the bug reports, at least give us the courtesy of including the previous version under the beta tab in Steam. Other games have done this simply because some players enjoy certain versions over newer updates. In this case it would give us, the players, something to fall back on in the event an update goes haywire.

Recently, a fellow member came up with some great ideas on how to improve communication with your player base. mystikro, a member of the forum had this to say, addressed to SES_joe:

"Choose a team of free QA testers/players that get early access to builds (daily, or as soon as you have one ready). I think steam can help you with this, they have beta codes and stuff where you can enter that and gain access to it. The community can enroll and log bugs for you guys (JIRA or anything open source). You get free QA, the players feel like they are part of the development." https://forum.systemera.net/topic/52701-is-astroneer-no-longer-supported-by-devs/

He continues further down with:

"And all you need is one QA manager. Someone to supervise the QA process. Someone that is active and interacts with the QA and the forum. You took refuge in the Discord server and don't really care for the users on Steam or on the forum. I think that is a bad approach. Get one community manager to have daily contact with the users so that the forum doesn't feel like an empty echo." https://forum.systemera.net/topic/52701-is-astroneer-no-longer-supported-by-devs/

None of this is unreasonable. In fact, this would be extremely beneficial to System Era. It would increase your player base which would in turn increase positive feed back and word-of-mouth advertising which is highly cost effective thus increasing profits. Currently, as I'm sure you're aware, Astroneer is $30 on Steam which in my personal opinion is at least double what is should be considering the state the game has been in for some time now.

Another point I would like to make is about your Discord page. Wyvyrias posted:

July 19, 2017

"To make sure everyone is aware that we have a Discord server for the whole community! The developers (and Joe) are around as well and sometimes chat with us, too. We'll also try to keep you up-to-date about important events about Astroneer. Feel free to join if you haven't already (and don't forget to read #information)..." https://forum.systemera.net/topic/29926-astroneer-discord-server/

After becoming frustrated with the lack of communication from SES on the forum, I decided to join your Discord server and try to contact someone there. I became extremely confused when I read through your rules, specifically rule 10 and #5 under additional notes:

10. | Do not ping the developers. Face it, SES is busy and can't take care of the individual messages of thousands of people. Use the forums or talk to the community.

(5) Do not DM or ping anybody (especially not the staff/moderators) without a good reason (for example, you are free to DM a mod if someone is breaking the rules).

This is somewhat misleading regarding what was posted on the Discord announcement post on the forum. It seems to tie our hands behind our backs seen as any kind of System Era presence is non-existent on the forums, almost as if the community is expected to fix issues with the game or given a single choice and that is to live with said issues. That's like me saying to you, "Buy this overpriced car, with warranty, and if it breaks give me a call. Oh, wait. I forgot to tell you the warranty is void and I've turned off my phone. But here's the number of a plumber who I've never met." I don't want a refund, I want a working game. That's all. I don't think this is too much to ask especially when I paid my own hard-earned money for it, along with many others.

I believe Astroneer holds great promise for the future and even with all of the major issues it currently has, it is still a beautiful game. When it isn't crashing. I hope someone from System Era will respond to this email and the issues within resolved. I don't expect it to happen overnight. I understand that such things take time, energy, and of course money. At least take the time to read this as I have also spent my time and energy trying to get Astroneer to work, as well as money spent purchasing your game.

-Thank You,

GeneralMayonaise

Active System Era Forum Member

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i support this as an idea but i dont know if listing off disapointments would go anywhere, i have pushed for a while for some form of beta testers or an active cm, even if its a trusted member of the forums/discord.

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found this........ sending them these link too

 

support@systemera.net <support@systemera.net>;

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3 hours ago, diseasedmeat said:

i support this as an idea but i dont know if listing off disapointments would go anywhere, i have pushed for a while for some form of beta testers or an active cm, even if its a trusted member of the forums/discord.

I see your point but if they aren't going to pay attention to their community, then they should expect some backlash. Especially when some of us paid the full price of $30 for a product that wasn't complete in terms of stability at release. For that kind of money for an indie game, I expected more as did others. I would hope that my email would inspire others to send their own emails in an effort to get System Eras attention. At the beginning of my email, I asked them to at least consider what I had to say. I didn't demand that they respond.

1 hour ago, TaeLyn said:

Don't hold your breath on them responding right away. This will probably take some time, if they respond at all. I would hope to see some implementation of fixes for the problems we mentioned by the next update but don't expect to anything for the next 2-3 in reality. I truly hope they prove me wrong.

When players (I was one of them) had finished Mass Effect 3 with the terrible and rushed ending, there was a mass (no pun intended) outcry against BioWare and EA. After some time, BioWare agreed to release a DLC to improve the ending because of how many players spoke up. Granted, ME3 had a much larger player base and development team but the concept is the same. If enough players who are unhappy with the current state of the game speak up respectfully, then we might get a change. I do not support posts to the developers that are offensive or disrespectful and will not reference them in future posts/topics, as that paints the rest of us who are truly trying to make a difference in a bad light.

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Hey, I got mentioned, thanks. I just wanted to say that today the recent reviews on Steam dropped to 69% (Mixed), which is in "don't buy" territory at least for me. They were at 75% a few days ago. It's a shame that they allow that crashing bug in the game for so long. You'd think that such a bug would have the Priority to Blocker and be fixed within 1-2 days... but no. It just seems to be going on and on. And that's exactly the communication problem you mentioned. Not even one peep about it. Someone to say they are working on it or something. The discord is just as useless. The players there are talking about making roads or sky platforms... I would be interested in that stuff too, IF I COULD ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME!

I might just delete de discord app. I already don't like the political standing Discord has and I only keep it for the game. But there are better alternatives for voice chat, especially ones that don't have social agendas or try to police my think.

Anyways. I know they will eventually fix the game. But all this slouching will cause damage to the reputation of the game. And with low scores come less purchases and less money and less chances of them being able to pay salaries and thus less chance of reaching a higher potential with the game. The gaming industry is going through a crisis and this in no time to mess around SES. This is a risky strategy with so many game studios closing in the recent year.

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Your welcome, I did say I thought your idea was the best I had heard. I felt that it should be included because it made more than enough sense and would improve the game and SES as a whole. I only included part of it because if they were interested in reading it for themselves, at the very least it would get them on the forum.

I had no idea Discord was politically motivated. So disappointing when people take something that is supposed to make a feature better and use it for something entirely unrelated and unnecessary to its intended purpose. Thanks for letting me know, I will definitely not be keeping my account. Honestly, I really didn't want it to begin with. I'm not a fan of social media and don't have much use for a voice chat feature seen as I don't have a quality mic. Which really seemed like the only possible upside for me.

I really hope they do get it together, I would hate to see System Era go under. I don't want to see the game become one of those, "You remember that game... What was it called?" I certainly don't want the SES employees to lose their jobs, as I'm sure with today's internet based culture this could be a black mark on an otherwise impressive resume. I have worked customer service most of my life (which is really what responding to your community is) and I have seen several businesses either thrive or fail based only on customer service. It doesn't really matter what service you provide, if you can't bother to listen to your customers it's almost guaranteed they will find someone else who will. The only difference is we would probably lose Astroneer for good and that would be sad.

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Posted (edited)

Funny you say that. I worked in support almost my entire career. Not that I'm old or anything (mid 30's here), but I am good with understanding what the customer wants. I am not interested in telling any company on how to run their business, but when I care I want to tell someone in charge what might help to make things better. I did this were ever I worked. I don't know anything of the financial situation of SES and thus I can never demand that they do anything that will cost them. But the QA program would be breath of fresh air for them. You get free QA and the fans feel involved in the game. You can reward them with some symbolic meaningful gestures and prizes (in game or not) and your costs are minimal compared to how much good QA costs these days. SES needs only to employ one good QA / Community Manager. Put up some FAQ stuff that clarifies some common questions and then start dealing with the actual stuff.

I know not all players are good at QA, but, we can have a selection program, preferably by submitting an application form that would grant you access to the beta testing. A test can be also implemented on the many free sites out there that would allow you to answer some questions and stuff and report on some bugs included the test, for the developers to see that you have the technical understanding and are able to report a bug the correct way.

Another advantage is that the QA can also be used for fixes testing. So you allocate to the lead testers the fixes and then they can check the implementation and stuff. I mean, I would have no problem doing this every few days for 1-2 hours a day. That's something I'd do out as a hobby and not as a job and when I will have enough of it I can just pass the torch to someone else that might want to do it. If SES already has QA and active testers then I would say that they are not doing the greatest job. How do you miss the bug that causes the random freezes when it happens so often? That seems a bit sloppy to me and a community project would assist raising the quality at almost no extra cost. But you know, the management is generally inflexible, as it happens so often with companies so it really depends on what kind of management SES has.

Edited by mystikro

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The unfortunate thing is we're still talking about QA when the game was supposed to be a finished, polished product at 1.0. I'm still a huge fan, but... The last 6 months have been upsetting. It makes no sense that they gave themselves that milestone, and seem committed to the idea that the game deserved to be 'finished'. They're happy with the QA team they have, and they knew at 1.0 it wasn't ready. For some reason, they think pushing forward with new content should be the major focus of the studio. Like many, I disagree and would rather play a non-crashy sandbox with less content. But that's their choice. 

SES has made clear that this level of interaction is where they're happy. They supposedly look at the bug section of the forum occasionally, tweet Star Trek gifs at positive tweets, and sometimes jump into the Discord to give us half info, half bullshit. That's it. Fine. But it's so disjointed I don't understand where they get the idea that their level of interaction is 'great'. 

The aim of the Discord, whilst it is now official, is still in line with the quite old habits of it being an innocent place for basic game chat. The mods are die-hard fans, as are many of the senior members. If the political comment was meant within the SES server, I totally agree that 'dissent' from the 'party line' is often met with backlash, but you'll never be silenced for offering a differing option. 'Political' is a bit of a stretch, but it's an offcial social media platform. If there's an actual political issue, I haven't bumped into it yet. 

 

As a fellow grown-up, I'd suggest doing what I've done after a couple of years of this shit. Just walk away until the game is good. They won't listen. Ever. If it isn't, that's however many dollars you didn't refund down the toilet. But I've already had my money's worth. 

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Blind Io said:

If the political comment was meant within the SES server, I totally agree that 'dissent' from the 'party line' is often met with backlash, but you'll never be silenced for offering a differing option. 'Political' is a bit of a stretch, but it's an offcial social media platform. If there's an actual political issue, I haven't bumped into it yet.

No, I didn't mean the politics of SES, I don't care for their politics. I meant the politics of Discord and their disregard for free speech. Discord was supposed to be a platform but somehow they made themselves a publisher and from my point of view the world would be better if they would go away as a service. GET WOKE GO BROKE. But that's another story. I just want to play games but somehow Discord thinks it is fine to tell me what I should think or how PC I should be. Whatever. I will be uninstalling Discord soon anyways. I only remembered I had an account when I saw that this game has a server and wanted to check the discussions. But I see no reason to continue using the service moving forward from here.

As for the part where the game and Discord are both concerned, I was talking on the server today and I noticed that the people there don't even really know that the freeze bug is occurring? So that was disappointing. The bot spams the forum as a place to log bugs, but when you log the bugs I don't see any dev commenting or requesting additional info? It feels rather futile that there isn't a two way communication going on. Feels almost like class division. Some of that "elites won't talk to the plebs and working class" that is currently going on in the world. Maybe my perception is skewed, but I don't really see devs replying in the bugs section, if someone can show me I will gladly read the links where my conclusion is shown to be false?

Anyways, I have not played for a week now and put the game aside because I cannot play it due to the bug. I will come back to it when they fix it. If they don't fix it I'll just leave a negative review on the Steam store page and say I donated the price of the game to charity, because I certainly did not get anything from my money so far (I bought the game a week ago about the same time the bug appeared). So far it's been a donation and not a transaction in my experience. I do feel a bit of disappointment but I'm willing to wait a few more days for them to prove me wrong. I'm not unreasonable.

Edited by mystikro

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in gaming politics is a wasteland just forget about it to each his own  and use Discord for what it can do for you,

 on the crash thing i found out the guy who handle the forums wass out of town  and should  be back today according to the Discord monitor i talked with last night so just hold tight ... to day i am going to uninstall then reinstall from the steam site as it may have been a corrupted file in the patching....we will see.

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8 hours ago, mystikro said:

Funny you say that. I worked in support almost my entire career. Not that I'm old or anything (mid 30's here), but I am good with understanding what the customer wants. I am not interested in telling any company on how to run their business, but when I care I want to tell someone in charge what might help to make things better. I did this were ever I worked.

I mean, I would have no problem doing this every few days for 1-2 hours a day. That's something I'd do out as a hobby and not as a job and when I will have enough of it I can just pass the torch to someone else that might want to do it. If SES already has QA and active testers then I would say that they are not doing the greatest job.

I completely agree. Speaking up didn't always fix the problem but at least it brought some attention to the issue. It didn't always make me the most popular employee ever either :D but at least I tried. Same with the customer side. When I was younger (30s as well) I always wanted to be a beta tester but now I would definitely do it as a hobby as well. That last part goes without saying.

5 hours ago, Blind Io said:

The unfortunate thing is we're still talking about QA when the game was supposed to be a finished, polished product at 1.0. I'm still a huge fan, but... The last 6 months have been upsetting. It makes no sense that they gave themselves that milestone, and seem committed to the idea that the game deserved to be 'finished'. They're happy with the QA team they have, and they knew at 1.0 it wasn't ready. For some reason, they think pushing forward with new content should be the major focus of the studio. Like many, I disagree and would rather play a non-crashy sandbox with less content. But that's their choice. 

SES has made clear that this level of interaction is where they're happy. They supposedly look at the bug section of the forum occasionally, tweet Star Trek gifs at positive tweets, and sometimes jump into the Discord to give us half info, half bullshit. That's it. Fine. But it's so disjointed I don't understand where they get the idea that their level of interaction is 'great'. 

Very true, and it is upsetting. I've read a few posts that have said that Steam's EA system is to blame for allowing SES to upload a 'finished' product. Not that I'm defending Steam, I have a few issues with them as well, but it's not their job to police developers. Although, it may have prevented this fiasco if they did.

IMPO, with the cost bump to $30 at release (I didn't know about the game until 1.0.3, just what I've read in posts) it almost looks like they're in it for the money. That's all well and good, but not when they sacrifice the community they claimed to support. I'm not trying to throw around baseless accusations but that's just what is seems like (not everything that quacks like a duck is a duck analogy). I don't understand either how they could say they interact with the community. It's obvious they don't.

5 hours ago, Blind Io said:

As a fellow grown-up, I'd suggest doing what I've done after a couple of years of this shit. Just walk away until the game is good. They won't listen. Ever. If it isn't, that's however many dollars you didn't refund down the toilet. But I've already had my money's worth. 

2 hours ago, mystikro said:

Anyways, I have not played for a week now and put the game aside because I cannot play it due to the bug. I will come back to it when they fix it.

 

I have stopped playing the game as well, there is a serious memory issue going on that I've tried to resolve on my end but am unable to. I have 8 GBs of RAM on my PC. Before launching the game, the task manager shows I'm only using between 30-40% of my physical memory. By the time I reach the title screen, it rises to 80-90% without loading the save. After loading the save, the stuttering gets so bad that it looks like it's frozen. Even KSP uses less RAM than that on start up and it is a much larger game.

I respect your opinion on SES listening @Blind Io. You've been a member of the forum much longer than most of us, so you have much more experience with SES and their forum. I hope you're wrong though. I don't agree that I have gotten my money's worth out of the game but I hope to be able to.

2 hours ago, mystikro said:

I meant the politics of Discord and their disregard for free speech.

I just want to play games but somehow Discord thinks it is fine to tell me what I should think or how PC I should be. Whatever. I will be uninstalling Discord soon anyways

I am already going to delete my account with them. I am a huge supporter of free speech and don't appreciate being told that I need to keep my opinions to myself or to censor them. I haven't experienced this myself, the only reason I even registered for an account on Discord was to see if I could get in touch with a dev. Or someone in SES who would listen. It's a pretty much a non-issue though as I there wasn't a check mark to click to accept the rules. I mean come on, this is the internet we're talking about. There are trolls literally everywhere that get away with useless and sometimes offensive comments. All I want is to respectfully voice my concerns.

1 hour ago, TaeLyn said:

on the crash thing i found out the guy who handle the forums wass out of town  and should  be back today according to the Discord monitor i talked with last night so just hold tight ...

Where has the handler been for the last 6 months? Obviously, if he has been 'handling' the forums, he's not done a very good job. We'll see what happens, if anything, when he gets back.

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well the clean install was a bust maybe a new computer would work.

 

next stelp is to un install and do the back step  ...i think i gonna go fishing

 

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It definitely says a lot about the state of the game if you think you need to spend even more money on a new rig. Not that it's a bad thing, I know I need a new one pretty badly. It meets the recommended requirements for the game for the most part but I can't run many things newer than 2016-2017 because of graphics requirements. Someday dream rig....someday....🤩

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 June 6 /19  in the eft and lot of buggy issues have been taken care of in the summer update,,,,,1.2.8... playing on the EFT so i know the dev can get info on any bugginess that happens.

same Old computer but i did get a new video card  but not the latest  founds a nVidia GT 740 4GB 128Bit... at a real decent price.... and it made a world of difference ... and  until @. hits and more content and hopefully creative play happens i am happy with this... it you want a space shooter  a builders game in ot where you look also leave the gameplay as it is  there are alot of others space games out there that will fill the need to kill everything in sight.. leave this game for the nonkilling player ......

 

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