User Avatar Image

The Kickstarter thread

posted by Darth Marsden on - last edited - Viewed by 13.6K users

Since there's probably going to be a fair few Kickstarter projects that aren't done by Tim Schafer, I thought it might be nice to start a separate thread for all the little games on Kickstarter that don't get as much exposure.

For example: Feeble's Fable: The Legend of Runes by Atomic Chimp Games. Another point-and-click adventure game, but this one is going for more of a cute and charming feel. It definitely looks interesting, though they've nowhere near the backing they need. :(

And another: Americana Dawn by one guy, Max K. Lambert. It's a freeware retro-styled RPG about the French & Indian War and the American War for Independence. Kickstarter page is a little bare (he doesn't actually say what he needs the money for, for one), but it looks like an awesome game.

So let's see what other Kickstarter projects you think is worth shining a little light on!

1.1K Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I wasn't able to find it either. The only other place I found that quote was in Vainamoinen's post on the Adventure Treff forums.

    I've been meaning to write a reply, but I've been really short on time lately.

  • User Avatar Image
    Vainamoinen Moderator

    Nope, I didn't post it on the AT forums - but the post there indeed was my source for the quote. I asked for the exact context, but wasn't provided with it. The Daedalics have a very keen eye on that forum though (to the point where all the directors/PR people have and use a registered account there). Should there be any kind of offical denial that this quote is genuine, I'll delete that post up there quick as a flash. The information, however, has at least reached one other gamer community I know of.

  • @Vainamoinen said: Your stance is commendable, but it unfortunately is based on an incorrect assumption. For comparison, Daedalic Entertainment routinely makes adventure games much with the scope of the classics at a budget of 500,000€ per game with far less manpower and far less developed industry contacts, far more detailed graphics and animation, and they now release about two or three games per year.

    Daedalic certainly deserves all kinds of praise for constantly delivering quality games. I've played and (mostly) enjoyed the Whispered World, Deponia 1 & 2 and own both Edna & Harvey games, Chains of Satinav and A New Beginning. That they are able to produce those games with such modest budgets is impressive.

    I haven't seen more detailed graphics and animation in any of the Daedalic games that I've played than what little I've seen of Broken Age as a backer of DFA though. And that's certainly a huge reason why Broken Age is over budget now. Daedalic has found a place artistically where they can produce games that looks very pleasing visually with hand painted backgrounds with a great amount of details in them, but the characters are a bit flat in comparison. Background objects with movements are also fairly simple with mostly static objects that cycle through short loops of animation. I'm not an artist and don't know anything about the technical terms or what goes into producing them, but some of the things I've seen in Broken Age looks far more impressive to me as a layman. You have people spending days on making puffs of particles come out of a cloud when it's stepped on, custom creating facial expressions for one off situations and probably weeks or months on creating a realistic looking lighting setup that creates dynamic lighting on 2D rendered characters and reacts differently to different in game material textures. Sure it's insane, and I have no problem understanding that it doesn't seem fair to Carsten Fichtelmann, but I'm infinitely more excited about the visuals of this game than any Daedalic game.

    @Vainamoinen said: Tim Schafer still is my creative hero, but it is the very unfortunate truth that at the helm of Double Fine, in charge of any kind of project management, he is very obviously incapable.

    As CEO of Double Fine it's ultimately his problem, but he's not project manager on this project and indeed he has let his creative visions run off with him. I don't think they've lost control though, and as long as they're able to deliver eventually I'm actually fine with this. I rather he makes the game he wants than make it on the original budget.

    @Vainamoinen said: A 2D adventure game is about the most projectable game there is. 3.1 million $ as a starting point (Kickstarter percentage already deduced) is a gift from heaven. Eight months of planned production time (hence 387,500$ per month) was a rather tight schedule, but still doable. How could one possibly run an easy development project like this into the ground?

    Yet, what do we have now? An ETA of mid July 2014 at the earliest, bringing the originally planned 8 months of development time to at least 28 and therewith the original planned costs from these three million dollars to about 11,000,000$. That's the number you haven't heard yet, but that's the money development time will burn with their calculations when they take until mid 2014 to finish with the same staff strength. If they take until 2015 even, Tim will have blown up the tiny adventure game project to 15 or even 20 million. That's not a ludicrous calculation. I've worked as a project manager for five years now and I say that's what Tim is doing because he might have developed his creative skills a lot in these last years, but was obviously never interested in realistic project planning. Which is absolutely OK for a creative genius, but absolutely disastrous for a company founder.

    For Daedalic who has their tools and have perfected their production cycle a 2D game is very projectable. For Double Fine there's a lot more to this project than creating a 2D adventure. They are making on a framework they have no previous experience with and has had to create tools from scratch. There's also a lot of optimizations involved with getting the game to run smoothly on both Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android. It might not be too exciting for anyone backing just for the game, but they are planning on releasing their tools publicly, which is an added bonus for anyone interested in using them to make games.

    I won't deny that this project has burned a lot more money than anticipated, but your calculations are a little off. You base them on their game budget having been $3.1M after the Kickstarter and that money running out after 8 months. After Kickstarter rewards and paying 2PP their cut, what they had to work with was $2.2M and in a backer update from earlier this year they were expecting to run out of funding by July, which makes about 16 months. That makes a budget well short of $4M with continued production until July next year. And then of course there's 2PP on top of that. And with design near complete and tool chain done and integrated I think they're looking at a more predictable future scope that makes the current $6-$10M estimate more accurate.

    @Vainamoinen said: Selling half the game on Steam won't bring ANYTHING near the necessary 6 to 10 million dollars. What you get in return will still just be a game with halfway adequate yet certainly cost effective graphics. It won't be epic in length. You will not be able to really see where that kind of money went, because it is a badly planned project in which milestones were always missed and the design stage was never final.

    They're not selling half the game on Steam though. What they're planning on releasing in January is a fully polished first act of the game. And if it's one thing I'm willing to bet on with this game it is that the graphics are far from "cost effective".

    @Vainamoinen said: You want Tim Schafer as the lead of your creative team, you really do. But without a superior slapping his fingers hard when he doesn't deliver on his milestones, I'm certain that failure is his constant companion.

    I know it seems like I'm disagreeing with you on a lot of stuff here, but you make good points and I don't think Tim Schafer will be remembered for his exceptional business skills. A lot of us wouldn't have it any other way though. I'm sure the business guys and marketing people at Double Fine are pulling their hair out in frustration over a lot of his decisions, but as long as they have enough of a rein on him that he's not running the company into the ground I think that letting him follow his creative vision is the best outcome. Double Fine has a lot riding on the potential success of this Kickstarter and they've built skills, tools and experience that would make any new adventure games a lot more cost efficient. Already some Amnesia Fortnight prototypes and the iOS game Middle Manager of Justice has come of their experience with MOAI. I'm very excited to see what might come next. Even more excited than I was when I heard that Telltale Games was making Sam & Max season 1.

    @Vainamoinen said: Nope, I didn't post it on the AT forums - but the post there indeed was my source for the quote. I asked for the exact context, but wasn't provided with it. The Daedalics have a very keen eye on that forum though (to the point where all the directors/PR people have and use a registered account there). Should there be any kind of offical denial that this quote is genuine, I'll delete that post up there quick as a flash. The information, however, has at least reached one other gamer community I know of.

    Yeah, sorry about that. I just skimmed through that thread and got that mixed up with your post. I didn't think that you would have fabricated something like that anyway. I don't know how Facebook works, but I'm guessing the most likely explanation is that Carsten Fichtelmann indeed posted that, regretted it and then deleted it.

    I'm not used to writing long posts in English and my Firefox spell checker suddenly isn't working, so let me know if there's a bunch of typos and nonsense in this post.

  • Gilbert, Schafer, Grossman, Tiller. What a mess. Although at least Grossman continues to work on entertaining and successful games on a regular basis.

  • He probably doesn't dare stop working on them, lest he release the fucking fury of his mother-in-law.

  • User Avatar Image
    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @flesk said: I haven't seen more detailed graphics and animation in any of the Daedalic games that I've played than what little I've seen of Broken Age as a backer of DFA though. And that's certainly a huge reason why Broken Age is over budget now.


    I'm really not so sure what to think of those graphics. It's essentially a bobble head technology they're using, which - compared to Daedalics 'real' animation - is certainly a bit faster and cheaper to churn out. I rather believe that the mere planning stage went on for the entirety of those last 15 months, wasting a whole lot of money on concepts and prototypes which were eventually scrapped. But there are many ways to burn money for nothing in such a project. Many, many.

    @flesk said: Daedalic has found a place artistically where they can produce games that looks very pleasing visually with hand painted backgrounds with a great amount of details in them, but the characters are a bit flat in comparison. Background objects with movements are also fairly simple with mostly static objects that cycle through short loops of animation.


    It's certainly true that they re-use a lot; it's certainly true that they don't make adventures "from the ground up" any more; their engine is fixed, and it took them many a year and many a game to get the darn thing running halfway properly. Also, there's the constant rumor of grinding interns and very low payment for their employees. So it's not as if there aren't grey to black patches in the way Daedalic operates. If you explain how they're so darn cost effective, you could certainly say a few unpleasing things.

    @flesk said: Sure it's insane, and I have no problem understanding that it doesn't seem fair to Carsten Fichtelmann, but I'm infinitely more excited about the visuals of this game than any Daedalic game.


    It's funny, because I really wasn't. The last update showed some really interesting scenes though, so I'll reserve final judgement for later. Still... it IS a cutout/bobble head type of animation, and it IS more cost effective than hand drawn animation in any case.

    @flesk said: As CEO of Double Fine it's ultimately his problem, but he's not project manager on this project and indeed he has let his creative visions run off with him. I don't think they've lost control though, and as long as they're able to deliver eventually I'm actually fine with this. I rather he makes the game he wants than make it on the original budget.


    I have great trouble bringing Tim's "We're fine financially" tweet in line with what is happening right now. The game has turned episodic; only 30% of funding will have come from the backers; the first half will be Steam exclusive even to backers; it will be sold on the "Early Access" channel, which is unfitting for the advertised "fully polished first half" of the game and rather tries to suggest a kind of exclusivity. These are the same measures a desperate publisher would revert to when a game's budget is exploding, including the cliffhanger. So what have we gained through Kickstarter and the coveted independence? Nothing. For the project which supposedly is the big bang of crowd funded games, that's absurdly disappointing.

    @flesk said: I won't deny that this project has burned a lot more money than anticipated, but your calculations are a little off.


    I've seen this calculation elsewhere yesterday and I do agree with it mostly (although 2PP will likely earn more money through the now insanely prolonged development cycle). And I do agree that they'll very likely finish this project in a 6 to 10M budget should such funds be available to them.

    @flesk said: I'm sure the business guys and marketing people at Double Fine are pulling their hair out in frustration over a lot of his decisions, but as long as they have enough of a rein on him that he's not running the company into the ground I think that letting him follow his creative vision is the best outcome.


    I hope it, I really do. But if Schafer doesn't get this kind of money through his lord and savior Steam, we're LOOKING at a company run into the ground.

    By the way, all's well concerning Tim Schafer for Doug TenNapel:
    Just like I encourage Schafer to keep fighting for his game, I encourage the donors to keep fighting for what Kickstarter stands for in games. Kickstarter can’t fail. We can’t let it fail or the bad guys, the anti artists, will win.
    Wow, just wow. The bad guys. The "anti artists". The Kickstarter Nazis so to speak. It's us or them!! Stand together for patriotism Christianity heterosexuality Kickstarterism! If you ever had doubts that this guy brings his political views into gaming, well... here we are. No, TenNapel, I won't cheer to Tim Schafer for being a bad businessman. Because there's nothing for anyone if games are too expensive and never finished. And Kickstarter "stands for" absolutely nothing any more if the dire self inflicted financial situation forces independent studios into the exact same bullshit decisions of a publisher. Tim is not dreaming the dream, he's ruining it!

  • @Vainamoinen said: I didn't know half of it. This from the facebook page of Carsten Fichtelmann, Daedalic founder [my translation]:

    snip

    Alright, that does put things in perspective... thanks for posting that! I've assumed Daedalic's games were MUCH more expensive to make than that. And this does shed a very weird light on DF.

  • They spent too much time lighting cigars with $100 bills.

  • User Avatar Image
    Vainamoinen Moderator

    Broken Age
    An episodic, 30% crowd funded, Steam exclusive adventure game
    BY DOUBLE FINE

Add Comment