I'm publically noting this previously internal discussion to all community members to keep you in the loop as to our new pipeline for distribution of Art Assets within the scope of the mod's future. There has been a drastic change and revamp to the Art Pipeline in the past few months and I'm here to explain how that pipeline affects you, the community member and what you should expect to see in the coming months.
Since I've been promoted to Art Director I've noted flaws in our system that I wanted to see rectified to increase overall quality of Art Assets being implemented into the game. This has been a grand undertaking as a reorganization of the entire art team has taken place, as now there is much more organization and streamlined workflow to be had within the development process.
This is a two-pronged system that benefits us, and you. The main benefit to us, as Devs, is that we gain a much more streamlined workflow and update process to dictate which assets will be implemented by whom, when, and in what order, to fill gaps in our current asset list. Remember, no asset takes a single artist to complete. Most things take months to implement a single, 100% Game-Ready Asset into the field and this is noted by a large gap between inclusion of new assets into the game since organizing free labor to get things done on a timely basis is a challenge in itself.
The first prong of this system is that by us taking more time to implement assets, we increase the overall quality and error-free geometry that will:
A. Increase the visual fidelity of art assets, and
B. Will decrease the possibility of crashing or performance loss due to un-optimized or error-prone geometry from entering the game in a mad rush to get them to you.
The second prong of this system is a more "real-time" inclusion of art assets, as they are finished. When an asset is game-ready, we will no longer wait till a new point release (aka. .4, .5, .6) but will release them in the sub-point releases such as .5.1, .5.2 and so on. This means in the simplest terms, that in every single hotfix, you may or may not expect a brand new shiny asset, or retextured asset to be implemented. This gives you the benefit of knowing that you don't have to wait months on end for a slew of new assets at once in a major release as they will slowly trickle into the mod as completed.
This helps us give the best quality and best performance, while also giving us the ability to immediately release assets as they are completed (which we want to do anyway. Who the hell wants to finish an asset, then wait to release it?).
This helps you because it will (in a perfect world) retain populations for longer periods of time between major releases as there will be more to look forward to with each update. No longer will update hotfixes just fix bugs or balance, but may actually include whole new assets for you to play with. This way, we don't essentially "shoot our load" into the community in a rushed fashion for each major release, but can finesse and optimize each asset and give you the quality you expect while increasing the amount of assets included on a more timely basis.
I hope this was informative and clarifies why certain premier assets were not included in the initial .5 release. This update will pervade through all future releases from now on.