Roundtable: Support crisis for professional users

Discussion in 'Community Chat' started by FrostyCat, Jul 22, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Posts:
    3,408
    Just to let everyone know that I have written to @rmanthorp about the current situation and gotten a positive response.

    He said that YoYo is currently consolidating the GMS 1.x and 2.x teams, and it's a period of major change. With new beginnings on the horizon, perhaps it's more important than ever to raise our needs and suggestions now than our complaints.

    He also said that he and the rest of the team are reluctant to communicate because anything they say may be considered a promise and/or something that GM users will pile up on. So they're cautiously reducing to the absolute minimum they could afford, namely things that have already been agreed to internally and are not as likely to rile up further PR sentiments. That doesn't always mean it's lost in the queue, it's just not ready to go public. While they have a role to play, we too have a role to play when it comes to not disincentivizing public communication.

    So instead of looking in the rear-view mirror in horror, let's look ahead at how to improve and streamline. Here are my suggestions:
    • Release frequent, small runtime patches. Keep the quarterly rollups for larger updates (e.g. new exports, major IDE patches), but between those make weekly or bi-weekly runtime beta patches. They don't have to be comprehensive, just include all the fixes verified over the course of the week no matter what they are. The granularity makes it easy to work around bugs and detect regressions with lower turnarounds.
    • Get the publishing team subscribed to app store/API vendor newsletters and allow them to order urgent red builds directly. This cuts out the helpdesk middleman from the triage process of deadline-sensitive API and policy changes. These are ALWAYS top-priority items.
    • Break apart runtimes by export. This prevents export-specific problems from being held back by bugs specific to other exports.
    • Document the IDE plugin API. This can eliminate at least a dozen items off the existing roadmap, and help ongoing adoption and maintenance by third-party vendors.
    • Add an "I authorize this submission (or parts of it) to be posted on and evaluated by the GMC if needed" checkbox to the helpdesk form. This helps reduce the amount of trivial, non-internal tickets that helpdesk personnel need to handle directly. It could also be incentivized (e.g. Marketplace credits) to encourage community participation in these tickets.
    • Open-source the internal test suite. This allows users to test their own installations, find code examples, submit ready-made reproductions, and help regression-proof future releases. Again, successful pull requests may be incentivized using a bounty system.
    Most of these are pretty obvious on the surface, but they come with some potential PR baggage (e.g. being too reliant on users, privacy issues, unstable releases from frequent betas, etc.). It's important to voice what we can live with and what not so much. Personally I can live with all of them.

    Any other suggestions on how to put this behind us?
     
    csanyk, Arconious, rIKmAN and 11 others like this.
  2. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    283
    Like many other professional developers, I have been struggling to remain optimistic about the state of GameMaker in 2018. Unlike some, I don't have the option to move my entire business to a new engine or framework, no matter how bad things get.

    I chose to be locked into the GameMaker ecosystem and not once in the past 10+ years have I regretted that decision...until the sunset of GMS1 support became tangible in July. I was left in a crippling state of limbo between GMS1 and GMS2, unable to make the transition to GMS2 because of critical bugs and IDE issues that went unaddressed for months on end. This was a severe threat to my livelihood because the types of games I make require constant maintenance.

    Multiple attempts to follow up on nearly a dozen GMS2 bugs have never been acknowledged by the official support team:

    [​IMG]

    I was a day one customer, but it's taken 18+ months to get to the point where I can actually use GMS2 for commercial purposes (the 2.1.5 update released a few days ago fixed key issues).

    During that time the blatant lack of communication from YoYo Games and the opaque handling of support issues - especially among my professional peers who rely on GameMaker to put food on their table - has shattered my confidence in this engine. I'm extremely uncertain about the future of GameMaker because our legitimate concerns are neither being acknowledged nor acted upon.

    Professional developers require ongoing stability, frequent updates, and reliable support. And perhaps the smallest, slightest, most minuscule effort to engage with the community once in a blue moon wouldn't go astray? It's not difficult.

    The lack of an official reply to this thread in almost 2 weeks is a slap in the face to everyone who has shared their story.

    YoYo Games: Ongoing complaints that have been repeatedly brought to your attention over the years remain unaddressed today, and this collective outcry from professional developers is a clear sign that even your most invested customers have run out of patience waiting for you to get your **** together. The community is vocal about their concerns because we all care about this engine and we're committed to ensuring GameMaker's long-term success. Take our complaints seriously if you care about us in return.

    It's time for GameMaker to start living up to its reputation as a modern engine for professional developers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
    Elodman, csanyk, Mick and 11 others like this.
  3. appymedia

    appymedia Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Posts:
    70
    What kind of company hides away scared in the corner like a kid? Customers might want 'promises'? Oh no, we wil be held accountable.... Be glad your not in the freelance world YoYo, or any other business in fact, ridiculous. Also, here's a thought YoYo, ACTUALLY DEAL WITH THE SITUATION. An I don't mean after a thread like this is created and you start to panic about the PR and your owner gods, I mean when you know there's obvious issues and are just 'hoping they go away'.

    Consolidated 1.4 and 2 teams.... huuummmm from what? What crazy amounts of work have gone on with 1.4 in the last year? https://www.yoyogames.com/downloads/gm-studio/release-notes-studio.html 2 maintenance releases in the last year? Nice try YoYo, not buying it.

    To add insult to injury the Switch and another mystery 'export' are on the way, oh good. You can't support what you have now YoYo, behave will you. Ahh yes, revenue. Get that first, worry about the trainwreck after, right?

    Not having a go at you @FrostyCat by the way but I personally feel they are leading people up the garden path. I see comment after comment here constructively put together with various great ideas to help them and give them excuses, all of which YoYo have ignored, at some point guys you have to consider why your bothering with the effort, aren't you the customer? The pro's out there, ask yourself whether your paying clients would tolerate anything like how YoYo conduct business from you.... Remember, before this thread there's been many others like it, if YoYo can't work out how to fix it by now and handle customers they never will IMO.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
    csanyk, XanthorXIII, JeffJ and 2 others like this.
  4. XanthorXIII

    XanthorXIII Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    166
    I agree. I have a Game Developers meeting coming up quick here and I don’t want to do a talk about why I’m moving away from GameMaker. YoYo needs to give me a strong reason. Interesting enough before GMS2 was realeased there was a poll about scrapping GML and the vote was overwhelming Yes to scrapping it. GMS2 should be a red flag when it comes to listening to the community. It still used GML which was a let down.
     
    appymedia likes this.
  5. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Posts:
    3,408
    As I have already said, as aggrieved as each of us around here have been over the past year, continuing to grudge like this isn't a way to move forward. Ross has already offered me (and by extension all of you) the olive branch, and he is willing to pass on and discuss advice for changes to the workflow. Perhaps they too wanted to do the same things we're thinking of, it could be just that they're afraid of "hurting novices" and need reassurance that at least some sector of the community genuinely wants it. So please put down some discussion items of what those workflow changes should be.

    Say, give them some time to release 1.4.FINAL first, then we can organize a new, broader roundtable directly with YoYo staff on how to avoid a repeat of this.

    I'm willing to hedge my bets just one more time that they will deal with the situation this time. But please give them time to reorganize and come up with something concrete to say.

    Over the past year, the development team has been effectively split in two due to simultaneous support of GMS 1.4 and GMS 2.x, with every platform being effectively two exports in terms of effort. It is also my expectation that with twice the staffing and half the effective number of supported runners, bug resolution will be expedited following the release of 1.4.FINAL. With that still in progress, it's too early for conclusions.

    In the past, the YoYo development team was often criticized for being loose cannons with PR and baseless promises when we turn the heat on them. They've finally "grown up" in that aspect (perhaps due to Playtech), so I'd be cautious about suggesting that they go back where they came from.

    Except GML is what people used time and time again during the closed beta, even when JS was introduced. I was there, so I know what's going on. If you want to talk about listening to the community, that would be it.

    Quite a bit of the time, the "vocal rookie" sector of the community plays a huge role in undermining GM's continued development and egging YoYo on in the wrong direction, and I didn't pull my punches the last time that topic was brought up.
     
    TheSpydog likes this.
  6. GMWolf

    GMWolf aka fel666

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    3,164
    Whoaaaa, so that's actually disclosed now? Damn I've been trying to keep my mouth shut for so long!
     
  7. Tthecreator

    Tthecreator Your Creator!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    702
    Wait how did I miss that? was that actually implemented in the closed beta or just announced? I'm guessing it's not available anymore then even to closed beta users?

    Anyways I don't want to just ask that question and stray away from the topic. I'm also not a 'professional user'. It's just a hobby for me.
    GM 1.4 is over now. Let's see if they can get past the massive flux of support tickets in two months, after that we can complain about that issue again.
    Maybe they can make a thing on your bug tracker/yoyo account where you can select what you are using gm for and then give you faster support based on certain options?
    Or a premium support option. (I'd guess the community would go absolutely mad over that one)

    I'm still working on my own personal 'sunset'. I have a huge asset that I eventually want to port to gms2 but I want one last big gms1 release. So for at least the next few months I'm still stuck on gms1. I hope by that time gms2 is pretty bug free. I haven't used it much, so I also haven't encountered that much bugs.

    GM is just in an awkward pricing spot. It's a continually growing and improving software so you keep needing money. A singe time purchase, non-subscription based model just doesn't fit with that development model. So they just had to pump out another version of game maker. Also they do offer new subscriptions options now. They are now sitting on a pot of gold from all the people who upgraded to gms1 in a relatively short amount of time. But they will have to keep using that pot for years so they just don't have the amount of resources as it might seem they have... I'm not saying yyg is poor (far from it) but they just still have to manage their resources in a smart way.

    That said, common IDE and runner bugs should be unacceptable and everything should be done to stop those. Also a little bit more community engagement would be nice. (just seeing some of yy's accounts more often). What I see in this thread are just people who want you to get your sh*t together. So just do that YYG. (If you are even reading this)
     
  8. XanthorXIII

    XanthorXIII Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    166
    Is JS even an option? I’m not familiar enough with although I probably should. Is there ever a chance we’ll see it at some point or is the idea to transition to C# which what everyone including Grandama is moving towards?
     
  9. FrostyCat

    FrostyCat Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2016
    Posts:
    3,408
    Let's not derail the topic again about language additions we want out of GM. We will all have different opinions on what those are. But if we agree that YoYo's current development flow doesn't work for us, then we should discuss general changes to that flow that will make it work for us again.

    Besides, if you agree that it's best to support existing exports well before expanding to new platforms, isn't it also best to support the existing language well before expanding it or adding support for other ones?
     
    MissingNo., 00.Archer, JeffJ and 2 others like this.
  10. XanthorXIII

    XanthorXIII Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    166
    (Back on Track) Well I think one of the bigger improvements they can do is maybe a monthly developer blog or something on changes that are being done to improve things in GameMaker. For example, if there is a new feature that is going to hit production, talk about it in advance, maybe get some more of us testing it out before releasing it. Maybe work with a few of us so that we can get tutorials out. Like the Youtube Content creators so they can prep with that stuff ahead of time(Not sure if this is going on). For the release cycle, it might be better to do Bug Fixes on a monthly schedule for the Runner/IDE and then new feature releases at the beginning of each quarter to give time to get bug fixes during that quarter in case something major breaks. And if at all possible, bring back the Stable/Beta Channels, maybe an Experimental Channel(But would be required to sign an NDA).
     
    JeffJ and Andrey like this.
  11. Tthecreator

    Tthecreator Your Creator!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    702
    They already kind of do this. Not with all features and they could certainly do it more and as you said in advance? I'm personally content with the roadmap IF they kept updating it. (we have some past examples in which they dont)

    Any closed beta is over, there was another mac one for a while but that's also over now.


    I think what @FrostyCat has done with summing up doable work flow changes is great and I suggest we should all make such digestible bullet points that @FrostyCat can add to the original post. It's way better than just complaining.
    So just to get started:

    Know who really, really needs to get support tickets trough. Companies rely on you and should be able to get support quickly for big issues. Hobbyists do too but way less.
    Be a bit more open to the community. Blatantly 'promising' things is not great but it would be nice to show your face on topics like these. (people like @Mike @rwkay already do this from time to time. Awesome!) Make a monthly development blog that doesn't only just cover the big features.
    Get some of us testing before releasing. This prevents you from releasing buggy and unpolished material.

    I just put these points down based on what I've seen other people write so if I misinterpreted something or should have not written something or written something differently then call me out for it.
     
    True Valhalla likes this.
  12. True Valhalla

    True Valhalla Full-Time Developer GMC Elder

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    283
    Mike & Russell are amazing and I know every professional developer has a deep respect for their dedication to GameMaker. It's truly unparalleled. I just wish I didn't have to burden them with bugs/issues that the support team fail to act upon so consistently...I know they have better things to do, but too often there's no other viable path to a timely resolution.

    I wish I could buy priority support that even came close to matching how helpful Mike & Russell are.
     
  13. joakimFF

    joakimFF Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    119
    Not so much complaints but rather a small wish list if a bullet point list is to be made.

    - I am fine with the Ultimate license price tag, but if we are expected to fork out 1500 $ a year for one license. Then I expect new console exports to be released in a timely manner. We are now almost what 1 ½ year in to the Switches life cycle? We are approximately 2 years away from the new consoles. And if we are to continue using GM then, those exports need to be released on par with competing engines.

    - Bring back the Console support forums on the YOYO Games support page, or make a dedicated hidden section on the GMC . So many issues and tickets could be resolved by fellow members.

    - Nuke the double click introduced in 2.1.5 from orbit.
     
  14. hdarren

    hdarren Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2016
    Posts:
    254
    I like the double click.
     
    BaBiA Game Studio and joakimFF like this.
  15. joakimFF

    joakimFF Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    119
    Some people like mumble rap but that doesn’t make it any less of an abomination ;)
     
    Tthecreator likes this.
  16. rIKmAN

    rIKmAN Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2016
    Posts:
    3,519
    This is why it should be an option we can toggle in the preferences.
     
    Micah_DS, JeffJ and Guy_Typing like this.
  17. appymedia

    appymedia Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2017
    Posts:
    70
    Although I'm not using GM:S2 anymore I did promise YoYo I'd repurchase it should they improve the product and deliver on what it should be able to do, a promise I will honour. For that to happen however I need to understand exactly what went wrong to bring things to this point in time, why their QA process is failing and letting awful bugs and silly slip ups through into releases and how they have improved it, probably a bunch of other things, things they will not be comfortable sharing I'd imagine. The hiding game needs to stop, proxying info is amateurish at best. Come and talk with your customers, I don't know how many times it has to be said...

    I was initially really excited with GM:S2 only to end up wasting a load of time when I discovered the state it was in once you scratch past the surface. You have potentially a great product YoYo but people won't wait forever and quite frankly you should be grateful people have waited as long as they have. Other engines are filling their feature / tech gaps, delivering regular bug fix releases and communicating with their communities. I've moved onto other tech and have been having fantastic time I'm sorry (not sorry) to say, the workflow isn't as good though overall but its improving at a rapid rate, not exactly the news you really need to hear right now.

    You'll end up losing your core users and advocates the way your going but its your product and if you want to flush it away then that is your choice.

    By the way I know I'm basically just moaning and venting, I can't help it, I'm over 40 and it goes with the territory :)
     
    csanyk, 00.Archer, MissingNo. and 3 others like this.
  18. SpicyCrab

    SpicyCrab Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2017
    Posts:
    34
    My only request is to stop locking me out of the program when their servers are down. It is incredibly frustrating to have clients waiting on you, having promises made, and the only thing stopping you from fulfilling your obligations is that the program refuses to open.

    I don't feel that having this EVER happen is an acceptable feature of a professional quality tool, and I say that as someone that works full time in the IDE on professional contracts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
    COWCAT, csanyk, Guy_Typing and 11 others like this.
  19. csanyk

    csanyk Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2016
    Posts:
    815
    I just found this thread... referred by a friend. I wouldn't consider myself a professional game developer -- I've maybe made all told around $200 in my life by making games and assets for GameMaker. But I do consider myself a serious hobbyist.

    I wrote this post for my blog and published it yesterday, after revising it many times since GMS2 released its public beta.

    https://csanyk.com/2018/08/gms2-grievances/

    TL;DR: By far my most serious problems with GMS2 are
    1. the lack of response from YYG Support to trouble tickets (6-8 weeks just to get an email, usually saying "Sorry for the delay, are you still having this problem?)
    2. Major stability issues with the IDE: it crashes when I suspend Windows, I've had it corrupt my project files even when it didn't crash, when I was using GMS2 to work on a project I had checked into version control with GitHub.
    I have numerous minor gripes about the IDE from a UX standpoint aside from this, but the above make the application basically unusable for me.

    It's especially bad that YYG have elected to drop support for GMS1.4 so quickly, especially when GMS2 has such devastating shortcomings with regard to stability and project corruption.

    I love designing games, developing games, and being creative with this tool, and I love GMS. I've been a user since 2010, but I can't see continuing with it if I can't rely on it to be stable and keep my project files intact.
     
    TrunX, XanthorXIII, appymedia and 2 others like this.
  20. BPzeBanshee

    BPzeBanshee Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Posts:
    9
    My first experience with the shoddy support came up when I found that the IDE for GMS 1.4 couldn't package .deb files properly and several tickets had been reported on it and left for years in advance. That may have been finally resolved by now but I gave up on building anything serious for Ubuntu after waiting several months since correct metadata is a strict requirement for software center distributions.

    Most recently, I started getting crash reports for a game I helped develop on Steam back in February where the game was trashing memory, leading to strange behaviour and eventually a R6025 Runtime error due to a bug in the runner somehow being triggered by a midboss appearing, despite the code on my end being used in other games with apparently no issue. I debugged the game for months trying to figure out and reported it as a ticket to YoYo in June since the 1.4 sunset wasn't due till August.

    They let the bug sit until after the 1.4 sunset in August to even look at the ticket, asked me to reupload the data I put in the ticket request in the first place because they lost it, then wouldn't look into the issue under 1.4 but silently fixed the runner bug for 2.1.5's release. I still have no idea how my code managed to trigger the bug in the first place, and migrating to GMS2 with these projects would lead to inheriting GMS2's problems, namely the poor performance in windowed mode I've been experiencing with it since beta which I also mentioned in the ticket and was not adequately addressed. I'm also worried the common code could be ticking time bombs for the other games my group has on Steam and the only real solution would be to rebuild the games in Unity which I'm just not willing to do.

    To top it all off, the generic "Rate your experience" email that came through once the ticket was closed led to a link saying I couldn't rate it because it was closed anyway (chicken/egg syndrome?). It's like they didn't want my opinion or didn't care.
     
    Guy_Typing likes this.
  21. Nocturne

    Nocturne Friendly Tyrant Forum Staff Admin

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2016
    Posts:
    6,233
    This is turning from a discussion topic into a "let's vent" topic. Please, YoYo Games are aware of all the issues that have been brought up and are working as hard as they can address them. Most of this work is being done behind the scenes on improving bug management and prioritising of issues and fixes, but over the coming months this will hopefully translate into bug fixes, stability fixes and improved QA response time. So, since I can't really see this topic going anywhere that hasn't already been covered, I'm going to close it for now.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice