Had a few minutes spare to read some posts here.
Once again I see some people are really getting angry again, and that is a pity.
I have said we are working on things but of course that does not calm some people down. The problem is that we are working on some things that will be released at some point, and some things that may or may not be released (experimental). But experience has taught us to just keep quiet when we are developing things, experimental or not.
In the case of things we are developing that will almost certainly be released, we would really love to tell the community. And thousands of forum or website readers might be pleased about that. But in time, a few people (maybe a hundred or so) will begin to become angry and frustrated, if for example we were unable to reach our release estimate. Just look at the Scirocco. While we wait for me to improve things that will improve the Scirocco, we can see hundreds of posts of anger and frustration, so we are constantly reminded, never to post information about a future release, until we are 99.9% certain that we can make the release date. We made the Scirocco announcement when we were only say... 95% certain we could make the release date, and this has caused the most amazing amount of grief. We have only ourselves to blame, and a direct apology does not fix the mess we caused by this announcement. Most community members accepted our apology but you can just read the forum to see hundreds of attacks on our work rate, secrecy, rudeness and our general bad attitude.
In the other case, where we are working on things that are in an experimental stage, and may or may not turn out to be released in the end, it's even more important not to say anything. Because this would just raise expectations and excitement, that is highly likely to turn to anger once again, when some weeks of experimental work may possibly turn out to be unused in the end.
In the past, we did write development progress reports on our website, but sometimes we had to make changes, drop an idea here or there before release, sometimes adding something else instead. Sometimes the thing we were working on did not get released, but the backlash for such a thing is just too much.
Face to face I could say to someone, "this is what I am working on". And later I could say "I couldn't finish that, for this and that reason, anyway this is what we have come up with". There would be some kind of acceptance or discussion about that. But on the internet there are some angry people around! And they make it very very clear that they are very very angry! It really is a minority of people... most people out there reading the forums behave online just the same way as in real life, with some manners, and normal human respect. But some people really lose it and unfortunately they do so, very long and very hard. So in the end, it turns out that the best way forward is just to keep on working, ignore the angry posts and so on, remind ourselves, that is just a small minority of people, and just keep going. The less information we reveal about our development plans, the less there will be to moan about when something changes or we don't meet the expected release dates.
Even with all the arguments, moaning and anger about our apparent secrecy, it's still better to keep quiet, even though it would really be nice to be able to say things like "this is something we are working on, although we're not sure when it will be finished" or "we are taking a few weeks to experiment with this thing" for the sake of general interest. That really is what we used to do but experience has led us to where we are now. I don't think that will ever change, it won't be possible to go back to a time when we could give a lot more information about our plans. Because as the realism level goes up and up, it becomes harder and harder (and takes a lot more time) to make one small step. That is what we are doing, small steps, LFS goes forward a little bit more each year. It would be really great if we could work 10 times as fast or whatever, but we just have to go on at a sustainable rate, doing this work that we enjoy, and in the way that we want to work (not by moving into an office and employing people - that's not why we are doing this - and if anyone wants to do that you are very welcome to do so yourself - there are programmers and artists for hire and you can start up your own company).
Anyway, once again, we are working on things and expect some good releases this year!