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RobHaven
07-10-2013, 06:58 AM
There's no "non-Hex topics" forum, so I guess I'll post this here.

There's a blog I read that's all about KickStarter projects. Specifically, it tears apart video game KickStarters for various things the writer feels are terrible.

In the latest entry (http://davidgaames.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/what-the-actual-fuck-jim-sterling-edition/)*, the writer rebuts Jim Sterling's defense of Double Fine (http://www.destructoid.com/how-to-avoid-being-sad-about-kickstarter-projects-257598.phtml).

I thought this was relevant given the amount of money Hex raised (especially what was raised vs what was asked for) and the way they handled it. On more than one occasion, their team refused to promise more than they knew they could fulfill. For me, that inspires confidence. But I still hear a lot of calls for more features from the crowd. A lot of times this call is met by others saying, "I want a solid core experience before we tack on ancillary features!"
I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm rambling at this point.

* It should be noted that there's a handful of "f bombs" in the article (including in the title). Depending on your workplace, that may make it NSFW.

edit: fixed a typo

endlessfate
07-10-2013, 11:53 AM
Not to sound like everyone else, but I think Kickstarter is a great way to get the players involved in the game creation process. Kickstarter by itself is an idea that can be easily abused by a person or company. An example would be how Zach Braff is using Kickstarter to fund a part of his new movie. In actuality, I do not believe it would be hard for someone such as Braff to work out a deal with someone in Hollywood. However, games are a whole different ballpark where someone who has never made a game can get the money to fund their first shot.

We cannot forget that the consumer did not fund Hex by itself. We merely gave it extra money so it could have the features that would please us. Think of it less as were giving free money to a company, and more a loan where we want to see a return in investment with a great game.

Xintia
07-10-2013, 12:05 PM
I think Kickstarter is (potentially) the ultimate expression of "voting with your wallet." But I think we really need to see how some of the high profile gaming projects (Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, HEX) perform before we will really know what the "future" of crowdfunding is going to be. If projects like those are successful, I think the potential exists to permanently shift the paradigm of video game development and publication.

Icepick
07-10-2013, 12:18 PM
I think Kickstarter is (potentially) the ultimate expression of "voting with your wallet." But I think we really need to see how some of the high profile gaming projects (Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, HEX) perform before we will really know what the "future" of crowdfunding is going to be. If projects like those are successful, I think the potential exists to permanently shift the paradigm of video game development and publication.

If anything is going to change the status quo of game development, I doubt it will be kickstarter. Don't get me wrong, kickstarter is great and it's allowed a lot of great developers to make the games they want to make without a major publisher footing the bill and pulling the strings. But, even the amounts of money the most successful videogame kickstarters make (a little over $4mil for the highest) is chumpchange to the major publishers - just a fraction of what the big boys spend on marketing alone.
If anything is going to change the paradigm as it currently exists, it will be the ever increasing costs of next-gen development. Specifically with regards to crowdfunding, I don't think the success or failure of any one of those projects will really change anything. The concept of crowd funding itself is a fairly sturdy one, and short of every single major crowd-funded title failing completely, I think it's here to stay regardless.

endlessfate
07-10-2013, 12:19 PM
I think Kickstarter is (potentially) the ultimate expression of "voting with your wallet." But I think we really need to see how some of the high profile gaming projects (Star Citizen, Shroud of the Avatar, HEX) perform before we will really know what the "future" of crowdfunding is going to be. If projects like those are successful, I think the potential exists to permanently shift the paradigm of video game development and publication.

As someone who loved Ultima Online, Shroud was my first Kickstart so I have to agree with you.

Xintia
07-10-2013, 12:29 PM
But, even the amounts of money the most successful videogame kickstarters make (a little over $4mil for the highest) is chumpchange to the major publishers

Yes it is still "chump change" in the big picture, but Star Citizen is close to passing $15 million in total crowdfunding right now. Granted not all of that (or even a majority) was on Kickstarter, most of it was through their own web portal. But if these major projects end up crashing and burning, then it will do a lot of damage to the credibility of crowdfunding as a concept, regardless of the specific budgets involved.

jonsnow2000
07-10-2013, 01:09 PM
When I heard of the overblown Double Fine game I was really disappointed with Tim Schafer, and it reinforced my paranoia about CZE really delivering all they promised for Hex in a timely manner. It boggles my mind to read that they asked for 300k, then they got almost 11x that amount, and suddenly after a year they admit that they overspent and have to do some Steam Pre-Release shenanigans to keep the production afloat.

I really hope that CZE doesn't fall into the same trap. I spent 250 bucks on the Pro Player package, and ever since the KS ended I'm going back and forth in my mind if it really was a wise investment. On paper its awesome, but only if they stay on course. If they screw it up, I'm gonna be really upset, not only for the lost money, but also for the sheer potential this game has to be a major player in the TCG sphere for years to come.

Diesbudt
07-10-2013, 01:15 PM
When I heard of the overblown Double Fine game I was really disappointed with Tim Schafer, and it reinforced my paranoia about CZE really delivering all they promised for Hex in a timely manner. It boggles my mind to read that they asked for 300k, then they got almost 11x that amount, and suddenly after a year they admit that they overspent and have to do some Steam Pre-Release shenanigans to keep the production afloat.

I really hope that CZE doesn't fall into the same trap. I spent 250 bucks on the Pro Player package, and ever since the KS ended I'm going back and forth in my mind if it really was a wise investment. On paper its awesome, but only if they stay on course. If they screw it up, I'm gonna be really upset, not only for the lost money, but also for the sheer potential this game has to be a major player in the TCG sphere for years to come.

Well here is a difference for you. Hex already worked on this program and idea for about 2 years before posting it on Kickstarter to finish the last bit of funding so it can be released with the Polish they want. This isn't being built from the ground up.

MoikPEI
07-10-2013, 01:40 PM
Double Fine's Cankstankers began before pre-production and with no release dates. CZE's began with a demo and a beta release date. I'm figuring CZE had accurate data to make their Kackstorter with, and the delivery is more likely to be reliable.

Mr.Funsocks
07-10-2013, 01:50 PM
The difference with Hex is also what they promised. Most of it is adding maybe 4-5 guys to work on extra systems/ports to a game already basically on-schedule to finish, not a massively expanded game with a scope well beyond what a small team could accomplish. If one of the stretch goals had been, say, voice acting of every NPC part in the game, I would probably not have pledged, and just chuckled. That's not a "stretch goal" for a game. That's something you go into it planning to do from the start.

Killer.Mutant
07-10-2013, 01:51 PM
Hex's Kickstarter was a little strange in that it happened a few months before launch and not during the design stage. It looks like they were looking for a last minute cash infusion (possible to clear the deck of WOW TCG tournament liabilities) to get the game out the door, maybe build infrastructure (servers, customer service staff) make a promotional splash and not really fund the game per se.

A lot of people were... underwhelmed... by some of the stretch goals but they're all stuff that's sub-contracted (novel, web guide thing) or won't take any dev resources (Hexcon). So while they effectively pre-sold a bunch of boosters at a discount they didn't really mortgage the future all that much and didn't take on a bunch of new commitments they'd have trouble fulfilling. So barring some major screw-ups they should be in a completely different place than Double Fine.

ossuary
07-10-2013, 03:03 PM
I think CZE showed a lot more intelligence and restraint with some of their later stretch goals, something a lot of companies have failed to do (and suffered for). Yes, the "ooh, shiny, gimme!" part of my brain wasn't as impressed by them as some of the earlier stuff, but the (hopefully larger) rational part of my brain respected them for that decision. That restraint and mentality is what made me decide to back them.

On the whole, I'm really disappointed with Double Fine, and more importantly, the blind apologists who want us to think it's our fault for believing in the developers, mostly because those same apologists don't want to feel stupid for that same belief. Nobody likes to be wrong, especially when they have money riding on it. People will go a LONG way in their minds to make that kind of stupidity unavoidable, and not their fault. ;)

stiii
07-10-2013, 03:24 PM
The second guy's rebuttal is just so terrible.

First guy: Kickstarters have some risk you are NOT preordering a game, things can go wrong. Devs might well under estimate what they need so if it looks too good to be true it probably is.

Second guy: game devs know what money they will need and how dare you non game devs suggest otherwise! Other than the ones that don't those guys are conning you!

Icepick
07-10-2013, 03:24 PM
Hex's Kickstarter was a little strange in that it happened a few months before launch and not during the design stage. It looks like they were looking for a last minute cash infusion (possible to clear the deck of WOW TCG tournament liabilities) to get the game out the door, maybe build infrastructure (servers, customer service staff) make a promotional splash and not really fund the game per se.

A lot of people were... underwhelmed... by some of the stretch goals but they're all stuff that's sub-contracted (novel, web guide thing) or won't take any dev resources (Hexcon). So while they effectively pre-sold a bunch of boosters at a discount they didn't really mortgage the future all that much and didn't take on a bunch of new commitments they'd have trouble fulfilling. So barring some major screw-ups they should be in a completely different place than Double Fine.

I thought all the stretch goals were great, personally o_O
First I've heard of anyone being disappointed with them!

MastrFett
07-10-2013, 05:55 PM
I thought all the stretch goals were great, personally o_O
First I've heard of anyone being disappointed with them!

Yeah I was really excited by most of them. In fact, a lot of the stretch goals were reasons I kept upping my pledge to finally land on King.

Mr.Funsocks
07-10-2013, 06:09 PM
I think the main "excitement" from the stretch goals was the free stuff we got, not so much the game perks. Authenticators, woooo! VIP program, ahhhhhhhh! So impressive! It only takes a minor development commitment, which was going to happen anyway. We just got it earlier. Which is as it should be.

Free set 2/3 packs, bonus starters, extra copies of exclusive cards? yespls. I'll be excited about that.

Badger
07-10-2013, 09:38 PM
Thanks for the link - I love his blog!

Parzival
07-10-2013, 11:52 PM
I think it was a very shrewd move on CZE's behalf using Kickstarter at such a late stage. Most importantly for a Kickstarter, they had something to show, it wasn't pie in the sky design dreaming, they had a working alpha.

As Cory mentioned in one of his updates, he was as happy with the money as he was with the fan base and I think that's telling. CZE I'm sure could use the money to invest in infrastructure for a Global HEX but as important is dedicated fans, who are struggling to contain their enthusiasm for two months.

For his dream of a digital TCG/MMO Cory needs a fan base, a large one to make the thing work - he got it oh and made some money at the same time, well played.

I've supported early design Kickstarters, two big ones, Project Eternity and Torment and so far I'm impressed with their professionalism but I know the risks, they could post tomorrow that they have run out of money that's the risk of investing.

Shadowelf
07-11-2013, 02:31 AM
I thought all the stretch goals were great, personally o_O
First I've heard of anyone being disappointed with them!

Yeap same here and not only that, but they didn't succumb to backer's desires for more content/stuff, and kept them up the point where they could deliver in time and not on game's expense. Also by not opening pp/gk tiers, showed that the KS was not a money grab, but the push needed to polish and finalize an almost ready project.

Atomzed
07-11-2013, 02:47 AM
Also by not opening pp/gk tiers, showed that the KS was not a money grab, but the push needed to polish and finalize an almost ready project.

Fully agree. I also see it as indication of the following strength as a company:-
1) Good planning. They must have done their calculations and figured out the maximum amount of backers with life-time benefits the company can accommodate for the game.
2) Stuck to their decision. Despite the many calls to open up more PP/GK slots (some people are even willing to pay at a higher rate for these accounts), they held fast to their initial plans. This is important as it shows that they were willing to forgo financial gains to deliver on their promise (no more Kickstarter accounts beyond what is offered up front).

Of course, companies can go bust any time, and it's a risk to kickstart any projects. But from what I seen so far, I'm fairly confident of CZE ability to deliver.

Milamber
07-11-2013, 06:12 AM
Damn I still remember monkey island fondly!
That game was fantastic, i mean what could be better than insult sword fighting.... That's right drunk pirate insult sword fighting!

Diesbudt
07-11-2013, 06:21 AM
I think the main "excitement" from the stretch goals was the free stuff we got, not so much the game perks. Authenticators, woooo! VIP program, ahhhhhhhh! So impressive! It only takes a minor development commitment, which was going to happen anyway. We just got it earlier. Which is as it should be.

Free set 2/3 packs, bonus starters, extra copies of exclusive cards? yespls. I'll be excited about that.

Actually some of the development things for stretches were big and caused be to go from king --> Collector.

- VIP program; with the "test card draw" system added.
- Crafting system at launch
- Playback support
- Tablet support
- Motions/more particle effects
- Novel

All these I liked as much as the "free stuff" and "extra dungeons" on release

RobHaven
07-11-2013, 06:24 AM
The second guy's rebuttal is just so terrible.

First guy: Kickstarters have some risk you are NOT preordering a game, things can go wrong. Devs might well under estimate what they need so if it looks too good to be true it probably is.

Second guy: game devs know what money they will need and how dare you non game devs suggest otherwise! Other than the ones that don't those guys are conning you!

I'm not entirely sure what you mean; can you elaborate on this at all? I actually thought the article was well written and that the author made a lot of valid points.

Justinkp
07-11-2013, 07:37 AM
Interesting articles. I happened to see this one at almost exactly the same time, touching some of the same ground but focusing note on the double edged sword of over funded kickstarter.

http://indiegames.com/2013/07/when_crowdfunding_reveals_the_.html

Hex handled this well as they had plenty of reasonable stretch goals to put the surplus money into which they'd planned to eventually create anyway.

Diesbudt
07-11-2013, 07:39 AM
Interesting articles. I happened to see this one at almost exactly the same time, touching some of the same ground but focusing note on the double edged sword of over funded kickstarter.

http://indiegames.com/2013/07/when_crowdfunding_reveals_the_.html

Hex handled this well as they had plenty of reasonable stretch goals to put the surplus money into which they'd planned to eventually create anyway.

Which in hindsight it was great that a lot of the popular tiers were limited. Otherwise I feel Hex would have become way over funded and no more stretch goals to release and such.

Justinkp
07-11-2013, 07:56 AM
Which in hindsight it was great that a lot of the popular tiers were limited. Otherwise I feel Hex would have become way over funded and no more stretch goals to release and such.

Maybe, but more than most games I think they could have easily come up with more useful features. There's still tons of great things that can be added piecemeal while for many games over funding means significantly scaling up and changing what you originally planned. I think Cory could have found plenty to do with another few million ;) And if not they have enough features to add that simply using extra money to hire more people to get them done faster likely would have been possible.

ossuary
07-11-2013, 08:42 AM
I for one am hoping that the VIP "fish bowl" feature eventually gets rolled out to all users, as I think it's a fantastic and useful deckbuilding tool that out to be standard... but that's another issue. :)

Avaian
07-11-2013, 09:00 AM
I for one am hoping that the VIP "fish bowl" feature eventually gets rolled out to all users, as I think it's a fantastic and useful deckbuilding tool that out to be standard... but that's another issue. :)

I agree, for $4 I feel the packs and VIP Tournament are enough to make it worth the value. The 'Fish bowl' feature feels almost redundant added on.

arastor
07-11-2013, 09:21 AM
I agree, for $4 I feel the packs and VIP Tournament are enough to make it worth the value. The 'Fish bowl' feature feels almost redundant added on.

*nod nod* I don't really see the point of adding such a basic feature to VIP. Also would compare poorly with Infinity Wars which has the feature for free.

stiii
07-11-2013, 10:03 AM
I'm not entirely sure what you mean; can you elaborate on this at all? I actually thought the article was well written and that the author made a lot of valid points.

The issue is he is attacking a strawman and takes a very adversarial tone. He seems outraged that that the author who is not a game designer would comment on this at all. The problem is the first author is talking to kickstarter backers and not to game designers in the first place. ( as saying first and second is awkward I'm going to use Jim for the first article and David for the second. Because these are probably their names.)

Jim's article says roughly three things,

1) You are making a donation not a pre-order. Here he is saying you are not adversarial to get anything at the end. Unlike if you order a game off EA. the release might get pushed back but you will get the game in time.

2) If they aren't asking for much money this is probably a sign they don't know what they are doing. This is pretty obvious but needs to be said. Kickstarter really encourages you to promise the moon in order get money off as many people as possible.

3) There is a big gap between failed to deliver the product on time and is directly trying to scam you. Most of these kickstarters are really trying to make a product but they still might fail for various reasons. This ties back into the second point.

He says other things but I don't see any dispute on those points.

Then David's article takes a bunch of out of context quotes and replies to them. He quotes the “You are making a ‘donation’, not a pre-order” as if this was his full argument rather than a title heading! Jim explains in more detail what exactly that means but David doesn't bother with that because it is much harder to attack what he is really saying. He gets really hung up on the word donation.

"“If a game developer isn’t asking for a million dollars, they might be asking too little” - Jim

And this is where I stop taking your bullshit lightly. Fuck you for this. The amount of money requested tells you nothing about how realistic their goals are. " - David

This is just massive hyperbole. Maybe how much was asked for isn't the perfect metric to work out if their goals are reasonable but it does tell you something. Saying it tells you nothing is just absurd. He is also pulling out the I'm a game dev so I know better than you card. Which sort of makes sense but here we have a real example.

David then moves onto defending the poor little game designers who just have no option but to include more bells and whistles if they get more money, its what people expect! This undermines the idea that game devs know better.

"“Not to mention, it’s tempting for a studio to deliberately lower the bar in order to make it more appealing to potential backers.” - Jim

So not only should you not expect developers to know what it will take to make a game, but you should expect them to outright lie to you about their best guess because you wouldn’t accept how much it really is anyway. So we shouldn’t be upset with Double Fine; we should be slapping our knees, laughing and saying “well, you got us! I can’t believe we fell for that. Three million to make a game, HA! Can you even imagine what we would have gotten for $400,000?! They goofed us good!”"- David

More massive hyperbole. Jim says you should be aware that it is tempting for people to do this. Which is obviously true. And David trys to tell us these people are pure angels and would never do this? This is particularly incongruous with later statments about game dev conning people. Jim takes a much more middle road where it is temping for humans to oversell and then gets attack for both suggesting too much and too little of these people?

RobHaven
07-11-2013, 10:30 AM
"“If a game developer isn’t asking for a million dollars, they might be asking too little” - Jim

And this is where I stop taking your bullshit lightly. Fuck you for this. The amount of money requested tells you nothing about how realistic their goals are. " - David

This is just massive hyperbole. Maybe how much was asked for isn't the perfect metric to work out if their goals are reasonable but it does tell you something. Saying it tells you nothing is just absurd. He is also pulling out the I'm a game dev so I know better than you card. Which sort of makes sense but here we have a real example.
I'll re-read the article, but I didn't get that at all from it. Maybe I was reading between the lines (because I've read the blog from the beginning and I know his stance on things), but his primary point is that there isn't [or at least shouldn't be] any correlation between the amount asked for and the scope or "deliverability" of the project. And I completely agree that to imply, suggest, or in ANY WAY convey the message that it takes money to make quality games, you're doing the entire industry a disservice.


David then moves onto defending the poor little game designers who just have no option but to include more bells and whistles if they get more money, its what people expect! This undermines the idea that game devs know better.
Again I'll need to re-read, but David constantly takes a "more money does not equal more features" stance in all of his articles. He usually refers to a magic feature-machine that you put money into and it spits out perfect coding (or something like that). Similar to what Crypto actually did, David usually preaches a "use money to polish your product, not add more things onto it" stance.

I also don't think David takes accountability away from the developers. His overall message is that developers are taking advantage of a disparity in knowledge, and consumers are too eager to buy in. We all - both sides - should know better. Developers need to stop being assholes (whether intentionally or incidentally) and consumers need to wake the F up.

I'm not defending the author because I like his writing, I'm defending his points because I wholeheartedly agree with them. Whether or not they were articulated in such a way that all members of any audience (not just those familiar with his writing) can really get a feel for his positions is surely up for debate. I can't defend against that because I'm "too close," so to speak.

Regardless of how any of us feel about the article itself, I think we can all step back and appreciate how Crypto handled their KickStarter. If nothing else, this article made me really think about their stretch goals and how well done their KS really was.

stiii
07-11-2013, 10:56 AM
My main issue is he is directly attacking the other guy but not really responding to what he is saying.