Hope everyone's doing well and getting ready for the holiday season. December was always special around LS-RP, I remember all the treasure hunts and winter/Christmas events we used to hold. I'm looking forward to seeing something like that in-game again as we celebrate the season... next year.
It's been quite challenging over the last few months to keep track of the remaining work. Trying to keep tabs on all the features in my brain has proven quite inefficient, so instead of trying to remember what I'm supposed to be doing and which features are left to develop or test, we made a list. This list itemized every single outstanding feature or activity we've yet to complete before the server is launch-ready.
As I was compiling this list a few weeks ago I realized that even that isn't enough. Really, is the trucking system the same as a phone call? Much different; so we started adding estimates to everything. 4 hours to finish phone calls, 16 hours to finish trucking, 2 hours here 4 there and so on. I've done estimations on an enterprise level in the past and it's a known secret that at the start of the project, unless you have a thorough specification, they're just made up numbers. Nobody knows and everyone's guess is meaningless, you're just working in a ballpark.
Since we're nearing the end of the initial development, we're in a different position and it's much easier for us to list out all the things we've yet to do. So we've done that, and estimated how much it'll take. Based on these numbers, we realized that we've underestimated the amount of work remaining when we scheduled the release for Q4 2021. With the rest of the leadership, we were facing the following options:
Option 1: Release in Q4 2021.
We release in Q4 2021, as late as possible, but still meet the deadline. This gives us the pros of keeping up on our promise and taking advantage of the hype the LS-RP project currently has. The downside of this option is that we'd be releasing a game mode without a lot of important features and with a lot of potential bugs, since we'd have to be adding new features all the way to the launch date. Lacking features and bugs will result in a disappointed community and a potential loss of players.
Option 2: Postpone the release for the 2nd time.
We delay the release a bit. This allows us to work on features we deem essential but didn't manage to complete just yet. We have enough time to properly test these features (shoutout to our staff by the way - you've done amazing job testing so far). The dreaded disadvantage of going with this option is that we won't deliver on our promise that we'd release Q4, which can lead to the community being disappointed, leading to a potential loss of players.
Which one would you choose? Let me know.
Since we started deliberating postponing again, I had to go back and read my statement when we had to postpone to Q4. Here's a quote from that post:
At this stage we're unable to fulfill our original self imposed deadline for release of "Summer 2021". This is due to a series of reasons, but they all boil down to the fact that we don't want to release something we feel wouldn't have the standards we're trying to achieve. We're working hard to deliver a server which shake the RageMP scene to the core, and we can only do that with a rock-solid foundation. That being said, we're currently aiming to release in Q4 of 2021. Unless we encounter major roadblocks, we should all see each other in-game this year.
As I'm reading that I realize that we're in the very same situation now - how come though? Did nothing change since September? There's been no major inactivity for any of the devs or leads, or any "major roadblocks" I could think of that'd cause this delay. I tried to identify the reasons why we're delaying again and this is what I got:
- We underestimated the amount of work remaining. The estimate that we should be done by Q4 was not backed by any real numbers, but rather a "gut feeling".
- We've added new things to the scope for release. Those things were usually features which we deemed essential but forgot about them early on; or were only made aware of them now.
- We spent a lot of time focusing on detail and polish of existing features.
- Personal and professional obligations of the team, although this one was kept to a surprising minimum during Q4.
After hours of deliberation, we chose option 2.
We've taken several steps to make sure this is the last date we give you. We wanted to work towards a concrete date instead of a vague time range ("summer", "q4").
- As mentioned previously, we made an itemized of all remaining features and activities until we're release-ready.
- We've added a estimate in hours to every remaining item or activity.
- We're accounting for a % of risk dedicated to fixing bugs and unforeseen difficulties. This risk is currently set to 10%.
- We've created metrics to monitor whether we're ahead of, or behind schedule. This allows us to play with the scope and reevaluate our current assignments if we're falling behind schedule.
Based on these steps and metrics, we came up with the official release date of LS-RP:V on February 24th, 2022.
With the release being postponed by just a bit over month and a half, we're looking for ways to keep the community engaged with what we're doing. Here's some milestones you can look forward to in the near future:
- Character Customization made available ahead of launch, first for Patrons and later for the general public.
- Character Applications made available ahead of launch to the general public.
- Staff Reinstatements opening ahead to get ready for launch.
The concrete dates of each will be announced separately at one point or another; but we're aiming to release the character customization server this week. There's a few more things we've up our sleeves to keep the community engaged, but I don't want to announce them just yet as they're not as thought through as the rest. If you have any ideas yourself, my inbox is always open.
I'll try to include a progress update where it makes sense when I write these posts. This should give you the idea of where we are in terms of the schedule and how much work is remaining in different parts of the code. Here's the current status:
I've been on a mission to be as transparent as reasonably possible during the development of LS-RP:V. I had a lot to learn from the SA-MP days and I sincerely hope that the information we give you is keeping you excited during the wait; whether it's snippets, blog posts or just random talks on Discord. It's hard at times as we don't want to give away too much for several reasons. Sharing this progress update is yet another step in trying to balance out communication, element of surprise and competitive advantage.
I understand any and all feelings of frustration at the announcement today. It's not fun news, but at the same time it's good news. It allows us to work on delivering what we've initially set out to make. I'd like to express my gratitude to the entire staff team who has been actively engaging in improving the server's features and standing behind the project the whole time; to the patrons who keep our infrastructure bills on time and to the community for believing in the project. Thank you for being understanding.
If you'd like to be closer to the action, consider joining our discord at https://discord.gg/ls-rp, where we post snippets of our work.
Kind regards and happy holiday season,
on behalf of LS-RP Staff