American McGee on Publishers: "News Flash: Things Cost Money"

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American McGee on Publishers: "News Flash: Things Cost Money"

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McGee may seek additional funding from publishers for his Ozombies Kickstarter project.

"Apparently, in view of what's happening with Double Fine, my honest suggestion that Spicy Horse might seek additional funding above and beyond what's raised on Kickstarter, is a bad thing," says the game developer with the most patriotic name, American McGee. He is speaking of his own Kickstarter project: Ozombie, and he is issuing a "News Flash" to people who think games with a scope as big as Ozombie and Broken Age can be completed with a "mere" 1 million dollars in Kickstarter funds.

"Just want to say to all the press, public and others who are gnashing their fangs at Kickstarter, Double Fine and anyone they think look "fishy," you can't have it both ways. You can't complain about big publishers and their bad business models, then when an indie developer lays bare their business model and struggles, crucify them for taking risks and being honest. In both cases the hyperbole is through the roof and completely unproductive."

McGee just wants us all to just chill out. He says that fans get angry of pretty much every business practice ever, no matter the actual merit or detriment of it. "Why are we so bent on finding enemies and destroying them? What's happened to civility and constructive debate? Could it be true... all this video-game playing HAS had a significant psychological impact on us all?"

He stresses that developers are just people trying to make a living, and "Publishers aren't the spawn of Satan." He says that the games we play cost huge amounts of money to create and market, and the balancing act of game development is incredibly complex. "Simply put, this shit is hard."

Ozombies has raised $125,000 of it's $950,000 funding goal, and has 32 days left in its Kickstarter campaign (at time of writing).

Source: American Mcgee's Blog

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The Escapist, why oh why do you persist in putting a megaphone in front of this idiot?

Hey, I hate publishers because they shit on Devs. If the Devs are fine with going publishers, I am too.

That being said, if you set your Kickstarter for a certain amount while being aware your game will take more money, it's entirely your fault for being completely incompetent.

marurder:
The Escapist, why oh why do you persist in putting a megaphone in front of this idiot?

The thing is though, in this case, he's right. Everyone needs to take a step back and calm the fuck down on the internet nerdrage. It's far less productive than a civil conversation.

if an experienced developer goes onto kickstarter and says they can make game x for a certain budget thats what people expect. if they then in the case of broken age for instance expand the scope so much that they run out of money despite getting more than they asked for by many times asking investors to just "chill out" about it is insulting. its extremely poor planing and team leadership.

that said i have no stake in either game mentioned in the article and i consider kickstarting an investment. the 10 or so games i have backed i accept that some of them might go belly up and never get released

News Flash: If you cant do the project on the money you are asking for, then just goto the publisher in the first place.

Edit: And, if nothing else he should be thanked for all but telling people not to waste their money on his kickstarter.

crucify them for taking risks and being honest

Honest as in, saying 'give us this money and we'll make a game' and then several months later admitting that the game you're making is way too large for that money? The Double Fine people didn't even promise us a large game.

I'm okay with kickstarters finding additional income sources (although if you're Peter Molyneux and you kickstartered specifically because 'it allows us to avoid publishers' and then afterwards you immediately sign up with a publisher anyway and admit that you'd have made the game even if people hadn't kickstartered it, then it's a little dicey) and I believe that we might well be in a situation where we realise these games are a lot smaller than we think they're going to be (Lots of people believe Project Eternity is going to be 60 hours, but I'd much rather not be optimistic about that. I'm pretty sure they've never mentioned time. It could be 15 hours. It could be 10) but it's still the developers job to be as honest as possible about what they can do with the money before we give it to them

Phrozenflame500:
Hey, I hate publishers because they shit on Devs. If the Devs are fine with going publishers, I am too.

That being said, if you set your Kickstarter for a certain amount while being aware your game will take more money, it's entirely your fault for being completely incompetent.

Well to be fair, judging how much time and money it takes to a produce a game is a really hard skill and you hear about developers delaying games and running out of budget all the time, it doesn't have to be incompetence. The thing is kickstarter isn't this magic thing that makes everything easier and because you taking money directly from the consumers before having the game (in something of a charitable way) developers have to realise that there's responsibilities that they've got to manage through that and being good at estimating game cost is one of them.

And without a publisher, no-one is pushing you to manage your budget or milestone your development so it's part of the unspoken agreement of kickstarter that the developer successfully does these things by itself, even if it is hard. If you can't do it then kickstarter isn't for you.

I agree with his general sentiment, but the point he makes using Broken Age I partially disagree with. If the developer asks for $400,000 and gets $3,300,000 then there is no excuse for not being able to fund it. They claimed they could do it with around eight times less that amount so if they wanted to expand it they should have done it carefully to remain within budget.

Yes people get far too worked up on the internet, and far too easily. But with Broken Age I believe a lot of people have a point.

Makes sense. Besides, Double Fine isn't even asking people for more money. They're using their money to finish it and just putting the game on Steam's early access to try and recoup some of it. Basically, they're putting the game up for pre-order. Which they could have just said, and nobody would have been angry.

Besides, Schafer said at the beginning of this whole thing that he had no idea what he wanted to do, that he just wanted people to give him $400,000 to make an adventure game and see what happens, saying succeed or fail, it would be an adventure and would be documented. Kickstarter isn't a pre-order shop, every single project there has a chance that it could burn in flames and never come out, and you'll never get back what you invested. That's part of the risk.

You can't complain about big publishers and their bad business models, then when an indie developer lays bare their business model and struggles, crucify them for taking risks and being honest

Is making a zombie game based on The Wizard of Oz a risk? Seems like a pretty safe bet to me, then again he's only managed to get about 10% of the money on Kickstarter so perhaps not. Clearly he is blazing a trail unknown to me.

And yeah, Double Fine raised way more money than they apparently needed which mysteriously turned in to not enough money. Just how much bigger did the game suddenly get and why couldn't they see that the changes they were making were going to eat their massive new budget? I'd say people have a legitimate concern there.

Legion:
I agree with his general sentiment, but the point he makes using Broken Age I partially disagree with. If the developer asks for $400,000 and gets $3,300,000 then there is no excuse for not being able to fund it. They claimed they could do it with around eight times less that amount so if they wanted to expand it they should have done it carefully to remain within budget.

Yes people get far too worked up on the internet, and far too easily. But with Broken Age I believe a lot of people have a point.

400,000$ is nothing. It may be a lot to you but developers see it as just the cost for a very small studio.

You set the price on kickstarter low because you CANNOT expect to have 3-5 million dollars. You aren't a fortune teller. If the kickstarter fails, at least you got some money.

Its exactly like saying "I will build you a custom car for ONLY 100$" and believing him.

game development on the level they promised is NOT 400,000$. 3 million is in the lower end of the ballpark for a game.

In fact, office space for JUST 6 developers costs half a million dollars in equipment, licenses, wages & benefits, etc.

Game development means a game grows over time, no game tends to look exactly the same as it first starts out. There are many games who change entire mentalities mid development. It can be bigger, smaller, or mid sized. Problems could be encountered, the price shoots up to fix it.

Bioshock.

Half Life 2.

Prison Architect.

X-COM

Borderlands.

Sleeping Dogs.

All of these games had changed drastically during its development for one reason or another. Especially in a world where gamers want huge pretty games for the same price as a small mobile app.

Gamers can't have it both ways. They can't expect Skyrim and pay with spare change that a mobile app would ask for. They can't hate publishers yet somehow ONLY love big budget games only publishers can fund. Gamers are also far too removed from development to the point their huge unreasonable expectations are not grounded in reality.

Use a publisher? Now you are a "evil corporate pig who should die." Gamers hate you.

Use early Access or sell pre-orders with alpha access? Suddenly you are a scammer or greedy asshole who sells unfinished games. Still somehow a "puppet." Your game is also called shitty and that's why publishers won't touch it. Gamers still hate you.

Use kickstarter? Gamers give you spare change to try to create the second coming of christ. You suddenly find you don't have enough. Gamers still hate you because "games can't cost that much."

Its not just the "evil" publishers who lost the ability to stick to reality. Gamers' higher and higher expectations, catch 22s, and double standards also drove us here. No matter what, gamers will always hate you and fight you every step of the way.

They know developer, and publisher relationships but they refuse to recognize what goes on in between in the lines other than Jim Sterling's "gaming publisher illuminati" bullshit that is only 10% of the truth.

Development is effected not just by a publisher. You have the licenses for tools, the licenses for engines and the headaches of its tech support which could delay production of your game and cost you money, the wages and benefits, the constant poaching of employees by bigger companies. Poaching, in turn, shoots up the price for employees.

If you pay an employee 50,000$ a year, and he jumps ship to another company for 75,000$, the price for his services must be at or above 75,000$. He won't want to lose 25,000$ a year for "helping the little guy." Since developers like programmers are not very common, that puts everyone in a bind.

Game development is not always a clear cut thing. Things happen, plans change. Its easy to say "ill do this" until you actually do it. Its easy to point to some nondescript evil entity in a suit that makes all your problems happen.

Game development is not simple, its not that tied down to plans, nor is it cheap.

Legion:
I agree with his general sentiment, but the point he makes using Broken Age I partially disagree with. If the developer asks for $400,000 and gets $3,300,000 then there is no excuse for not being able to fund it. They claimed they could do it with around eight times less that amount so if they wanted to expand it they should have done it carefully to remain within budget.

Yes people get far too worked up on the internet, and far too easily. But with Broken Age I believe a lot of people have a point.

But if they had made a 400,000 game for 3,000,000 million, people would be complaining that they stole the money and bought new cars. They kinda had to increase the scope of the project now that they overreached by this much, because you canīt spend 3 million dollars on a small pointīn click adventure, you need to do something more ambitious than that with that much money(or make several pointīn click adventures, until the funds run out). Only problem is, they lacked the restraint to stop when they had reached a concept that fitted in the budget, which is unfortunate and something they should have been able to foresee before they went ahead with the production.

He could take a step back and calm down himself. He is blowing things out of proportions.

In the case of Double Fine, they asked for 400,000 - 300,000 for a game 100,000 for a video. They believed they could make a game for that amount, but they got a lot more. So when it turns out they are going over budget it makes sense for the backers to be wary. It wasn't the backers that demanded that DF made a game for 300K, it was Double Fine who believed they could do it.

Sometimes it's not the customers who wants huge pretty games, sometimes it's the developers who get overly ambitious. That is understandable, but don't blame the players for being cautious. There is a big potential for scams in the area of pre-orders, kickstarters and early releases. One reason why people are sceptical is because some of these methods has been heavily abused in the past.

Agayek:

marurder:
The Escapist, why oh why do you persist in putting a megaphone in front of this idiot?

The thing is though, in this case, he's right. Everyone needs to take a step back and calm the fuck down on the internet nerdrage. It's far less productive than a civil conversation.

THIS!
Since a long time I agree with McGee.

Kickstarter is _NOT_preordering_!
It's supporting a project that could have unforseeable consequences and can go wrong at any time. Shit happens, all the time.
All KS Projects I supported did their best to project what was necessary to complete their goals within the forseeable workframe. But that is NO guarantee that these will hold true until the projects is completed.

Some people completely missed that part about KS.

Bostur:
He could take a step back and calm down himself. He is blowing things out of proportions.

In the case of Double Fine, they asked for 400,000 - 300,000 for a game 100,000 for a video. They believed they could make a game for that amount, but they got a lot more. So when it turns out they are going over budget it makes sense for the backers to be wary. It wasn't the backers that demanded that DF made a game for 300K, it was Double Fine who believed they could do it.

Sometimes it's not the customers who wants huge pretty games, sometimes it's the developers who get overly ambitious. That is understandable, but don't blame the players for being cautious. There is a big potential for scams in the area of pre-orders, kickstarters and early releases. One reason why people are sceptical is because some of these methods has been heavily abused in the past.

400,000$ isn't what they say was the cost of the game, its the minimum level of funding to be sent to them. Anything below and they don't get shit. You are FORCED to low ball your funding request.

How many people can honestly say they expect millions of dollars of kickstarter funding? hidden under layers of utter shit?

No one, that's who. Gamers can't expect bare minimum to fund a game to fulfill all their expectations from a company like Double Fine.

Steven Bogos:
"Simply put, this shit is hard."

A-men, people seem to think that it's all fun and games (mind the pun) and that you can totally just make games and expect overnight success. Unless your name is 'Tim Schafer' or you're doing a 'spiritual sequel' to some kind of property the people aren't even going to give you a second look on Steam/Greenlight or Kickstarter.

I think there's a huge disconnect between what developers expected from these kickstarter campaigns (creative freedom) and some of the less pleasant realities (fewer amenities). If you've "only" got 3-4 million dollars to spend, maybe you won't have a nice office space or the latest and greatest tools. And maybe anyone in it purely for the money will get poached away by a big studio, but that begs the question: why was he/she working on this project in the first place? These kickstarters are supposed to support works of love and devotion. If it's just an alternate means of funding the exact same decadent development practices, I think these people are in for a very rude awakening.

MrHide-Patten:
A-men, people seem to think that it's all fun and games (mind the pun) and that you can totally just make games and expect overnight success. Unless your name is 'Tim Schafer' or you're doing a 'spiritual sequel' to some kind of property the people aren't even going to give you a second look on Steam/Greenlight or Kickstarter.

At the same time, some people think that wanting to make a game entitles you to the funds and trust to do so. A lot of the very best indie games were labors of love pain-stakingly created by 1-3 people over the course of several years. I think a lot of kickstarter donations are looking to assist with that development model as opposed to propping up or extending the existing one. I can see where American McGee or Tim Schafer might chafe (...) a little under those expectations, but there are two sides to this "we're not in big publisher Kansas anymore" realization. I think funders realize we won't be getting AAA graphics, 60 hour games, and the best in quality assurance. I'm not so sure these big-name developers realize they won't be getting the salaries, benefits, and security they're accustomed to either.

Ultratwinkie:

Legion:
I agree with his general sentiment, but the point he makes using Broken Age I partially disagree with. If the developer asks for $400,000 and gets $3,300,000 then there is no excuse for not being able to fund it. They claimed they could do it with around eight times less that amount so if they wanted to expand it they should have done it carefully to remain within budget.

Yes people get far too worked up on the internet, and far too easily. But with Broken Age I believe a lot of people have a point.

400,000$ is nothing. It may be a lot to you but developers see it as just the cost for a very small studio.

You set the price on kickstarter low because you CANNOT expect to have 3-5 million dollars. You aren't a fortune teller. If the kickstarter fails, at least you got some money.

Its exactly like saying "I will build you a custom car for ONLY 100$" and believing him.

game development on the level they promised is NOT 400,000$. 3 million is in the lower end of the ballpark for a game.

In fact, office space for JUST 6 developers costs half a million dollars in equipment, licenses, wages & benefits, etc.

Game development means a game grows over time, no game tends to look exactly the same as it first starts out. There are many games who change entire mentalities mid development. It can be bigger, smaller, or mid sized. Problems could be encountered, the price shoots up to fix it.

Bioshock.

Half Life 2.

Prison Architect.

X-COM

Borderlands.

Sleeping Dogs.

All of these games had changed drastically during its development for one reason or another. Especially in a world where gamers want huge pretty games for the same price as a small mobile app.

Gamers can't have it both ways. They can't expect Skyrim and pay with spare change that a mobile app would ask for. They can't hate publishers yet somehow ONLY love big budget games only publishers can fund. Gamers are also far too removed from development to the point their huge unreasonable expectations are not grounded in reality.

Use a publisher? Now you are a "evil corporate pig who should die." Gamers hate you.

Use early Access or sell pre-orders with alpha access? Suddenly you are a scammer or greedy asshole who sells unfinished games. Still somehow a "puppet." Your game is also called shitty and that's why publishers won't touch it. Gamers still hate you.

Use kickstarter? Gamers give you spare change to try to create the second coming of christ. You suddenly find you don't have enough. Gamers still hate you because "games can't cost that much."

Its not just the "evil" publishers who lost the ability to stick to reality. Gamers' higher and higher expectations, catch 22s, and double standards also drove us here. No matter what, gamers will always hate you and fight you every step of the way.

They know developer, and publisher relationships but they refuse to recognize what goes on in between in the lines other than Jim Sterling's "gaming publisher illuminati" bullshit that is only 10% of the truth.

Development is effected not just by a publisher. You have the licenses for tools, the licenses for engines and the headaches of its tech support, the wages and benefits, the constant poaching of employees by bigger companies. Poaching, in turn, shoots up the price for employees.

If you pay an employee 50,000$ a year, and he jumps ship to another company for 75,000$, the price for his services must be at or above 75,000$. He won't want to lose 25,000$ a year for "helping the little guy." Since developers like programmers are not very common, that puts everyone in a bind.

Game development is not always a clear cut thing. Things happen, plans change. Its easy to say "ill do this" until you actually do it. Its easy to point to some nondescript evil entity in a suit that makes all your problems happen.

Game development is not simple, its not that tied down to plans, nor is it cheap.

Or, as McGee said

"Simply put, this shit is hard."

Very well put.

When a kickstarter is grossly overfunded the expectations of supporters skyrocket. You end up between a rock and a hard place. Deliver what was promised and have people bitch you out for it (3.3million on THAT???) Or up your scope and have people bitch because it's taking longer than expected, or more money than expected.

Why, may i ask, is it such a big deal for DF to be doing this or Spicy horse? I don't see anyone tearing shreds off the Occulus Rift guys for sourcing more funding from external investors... and it is EXACTLY THE SAME.

Yes, things. Cost money. But don't be supriced if you ask more money from your backers and they give you grief. That happens in any business. You make a film that goes over budget and the studio will ask a lot of questions and be up your arse coz it's their money your using. That's business. I am getting annoyed at devs thinking they're rock stars.

You can make any game with 100k or less. Much much less. If people want more game start a fundraising drive after its finished to upgrade the game cosmetically.

By Kickstarter rules don't these companies forfeit all of their funds if they don't deliver something? I mean you better have a Plan B.

Mick P.:
You can make any game with 100k or less. Much much less. If people want more game start a fundraising drive after its finished to upgrade the game cosmetically.

By Kickstarter rules don't these companies forfeit all of their funds if they don't deliver something? I mean you better have a Plan B.

Really? so the dev team salary is cut to mere pennies then? what about office space rental, or electricity? How about Q/A teams?
I don't think you understand what it takes to just run a business, let alone a development team.
This type of ignorance is why there are so many reactionary gamers out there. People who think that development is easy and cheap, but fail to realize things cost money. People who work need a salary, the lights need to stay on for things to get done, development teams need testers to find bugs while the programmers continue to write the game code, voice acting (if applicable) needs to pay its voice actors...
In short, shit adds up.

Got to side with American here, I can't see the call to arms against Double Fine in this issue. I see the issue, but it's quite small. This put it well:

What are backers worried about, in a proper perspective? With the way kickstarter works 90% of the time, you back a game (starting at maybe 2nd or 3rd tier), you get it for free. ALL of it. Anything else you can ask for? Developers usually STILL throw in more stuff, and that's now standard practice for kickstarter. I don't want to forget too, that the extras that kickstarter tiers provide come from that extra funding.

I think people, as in the consumers of this medium, are caught up in the '3.3 million' figure that they raised for this. Since Kickstarter is a crowd-sourced funding effort, and has no cap, this figure is more indicative of the amount of people interested in Double Fine; the size of the 'crowd' rather than some large sum that a few people brought together (which sounds more like a publisher's budget figure). I won't make assumptions, but I'll bet most backers only share the relation of liking Double Fine's stuff (and groups do give to kickstarters, and tend to buy up the highest tiers, or so I hear). I would actually like to see how many donations a popular kickstarter makes, but I'm not sure where to look, even if it was publicly available.

Against Double Fine, however, knowledge about what extra ideas are brought to the table, and of course, how much those ideas might cost to implement would have gone a long way in terms of transparency (aware that they try to be during the development, not sure if they did that here).

Asking for more money is one thing, but asking for more money from a publisher is exactly why consumers are supporting Kickstarter in the first place!

So the publisher will just give you some money then? What's in it for them? I doubt they're after Kickstarter rewards. They're going to want a cut of the profit, and for that they're going to ask the devs to alter their artistic vision (if only slightly) so that the game will bring in more money.

Ipsen:

What are backers worried about, in a proper perspective? With the way kickstarter works 90% of the time, you back a game (starting at maybe 2nd or 3rd tier), you get it for free. ALL of it. Anything else you can ask for? Developers usually STILL throw in more stuff, and that's now standard practice for kickstarter. I don't want to forget too, that the extras that kickstarter tiers provide come from that extra funding.

So the big thing people are worried about is, what if Double Fine don't get their money? They aren't going to a publisher, they're putting it on steam pre-fund. Essentially they're asking customers to supply them money again. But it's fair to say that most of the people interested in the game have already put their money into it. What happens if there aren't enough people interested in putting money in (or more money in) that Double Fine can't finish the game? According to them they've only got enough money for 25% of the game (despite getting triple their asking price, and the asking price of kickstarter is meant to guarantee a finished product to the best of the producers ability).

Thats basically the extent of people's worry. If Double Fine had said they'd magically produced money from the air and were investing it into the game everyone would love them, but Double Fine didn't say that. What they said is they'd decided to make a game which was way bigger than their budget and now they were going to have to ask consumers for more money to be able to finish the game

I think it's rather the developers that missunderstand not the funders.
Kickstarter isn't there to pay for your fancy studio and pay dozens of top - salaries, that's just stupid to think.
It's there to support small groups. When we look at games it's there to support a small group of people who want to make a specific game because they love to make it. It's there to give them a living, pay their rent and food, so they don't have to work to make a living during the development of the game. But it's not there to fund AAA - titles, where you just don't want a publisher behind you nagging about stuff.

Edit:
Now i seem to have been missunderstood here a little.
I don't have anything against bis projects on kickstarter. I backed Star citizen, Planetary annihilation, Project Eternity and a good amount of larger titles myself.
What i rather meant is, while kickstarter should be used to make big projects to, it's main purpose is to make the development of something possible. It's not meant to be like a publisher.
Developers can't fund their projects on kickstarter and still expect to pay a luxurius office with that money, plus top salaries for everyone involved. If they want that, they have to go through a publisher. Now it is of course possible to make really big projects through crowdfunding, like star citizen, but in such a case, you have to make payment possible over a huge amount of time, not for one or two months. And you have to give people the feeling that the game gets better, because they back it. You can see it on the website of star citizen itself that the funding increased significantly, once they started giving stretch goals again. Massive Chalice, for example gave no stretch goals and shortly after it's goal was reached, the amound of pledges dropped significantly. They "only" made around 150 % (169 to be precise), which is a really low amount, considering they reached their goal only a few days after launch.

Well,
opinions.
If one guy made Gunslinger for 30 $, then 5 guys can make decent point'n'click adventure (look Deponia).
Problem is, no one asked for this, we asked for small indie old school point'n'click adventure and we supported it.
Now, all the extra money they got could be used for extra polishing or adding content they could t before.
To me it looks like Tim Grim and McFee are addicted to publishers whip and are unable to do game without some form of pressure.
Well, I think we should raise intarweb shitstorm, so they start a little crunching.
Crunching is unneeded if all the milestones are done smart, they were not smart with their money/time so it's time to induce crunch.
Backers are not some magical bag of endless money, they shouldnt play with only invent that provided developers sort of income with almost no strings attached, content -wise, and couple of bad boys full of themselves could ruin the whole Kickstarter scene and were back at Calls of Dutys #..

They should be sent to 4A studios in Ukraine(guys who made Metro:Last Light) for a little revelation.
I tell you now, 3 mill. is a lot of money and some teams in Eastern Europe would do wonders with that amount(IDK how much Witcher 1 cost'd but I dont think it costed more that 1 or 2 mills..)
Why Double Fine and McFee should have all the benefits of doing a AAA game for some big publisher, they are selling them-self as indie(indie=eating junk food, working all day and night, its passion)and should start to act as one..

There's a difference between something being more expensive than you'd expect and something being more expensive than quoted.

But I'm not even particularly annoyed about that, publishers are a different issue. If game development is so complex, why the fuck are people with no concept of the game or its audience butting in with their focus groups and statistics? I've hardly ever heard of a publisher suggesting a focus or mechanic that ultimately makes the game better. It's always the same story: "We want a male on the cover, and have him hold a gun" "You can't have that in a game, the target audience don't like that" "Put some multiplayer in there and make sure no freeloaders play it without paying first". The best publishers leave devs the hell alone.

We're over thinking this 'Shit is hard' thats a metaphor for life. Kickstarter is a gamble and if the games there need more help to get 'out there' from a publisher I see no problem...

Ok here goes some funny logic train: it gets the game seen/sold too more people and makes more money for the next cool game by those people you just paid money for a game that you must have really wanted but might have never been made weather kickstarter failed or suceeded? how does it matter that a publisher is involved?

Meh internet 101 this is getting dumb :)

BrotherRool:

If that's the case, it sucks, but the alternative provided isn't bad either, if one is concerned for the project as a whole. Irridium put it quite well; DF is reigniting some interest by the game by...well, getting part of the game out there. It has been more than a year since the kickstarter ended; I'm sure there are some (like myself) who missed out on the effort, yet are interested in the game. Backers get first AND second part, so they need not apply, but others can actually experience what the game is currently, and to some extent what will come. I see it as an 'expand the audience' move (done better than most publishers). Correct me if I'm wrong, however; I'm making assumptions that this is how Steam early access works.

Ipsen:

BrotherRool:

If that's the case, it sucks, but the alternative provided isn't bad either, if one is concerned for the project as a whole. Irridium put it quite well; DF is reigniting some interest by the game by...well, getting part of the game out there. It has been more than a year since the kickstarter ended; I'm sure there are some (like myself) who missed out on the effort, yet are interested in the game. Backers get first AND second part, so they need not apply, but others can actually experience what the game is currently, and to some extent what will come. I see it as an 'expand the audience' move (done better than most publishers). Correct me if I'm wrong, however; I'm making assumptions that this is how Steam early access works.

I agree that what they're doing is the best alternative having screwed up and made a game far too big for the budget you were given. And hopefully enough people will buy into the game on Steam to fund the project. But they were talking about it costing so much more money that Double Fine didn't have enough private money stored up to pay for it, nor was it a size that they could go back to the kickstarter people for. It sounds like it's an awful lot of cash and so there must be a risk that not enough people will want to buy in on Steam for them to be able to complete the game. And it's awful of them to get themselves in a situation where that possibility even exists.

luvd1:
Yes, things. Cost money. But don't be supriced if you ask more money from your backers and they give you grief. That happens in any business. You make a film that goes over budget and the studio will ask a lot of questions and be up your arse coz it's their money your using. That's business. I am getting annoyed at devs thinking they're rock stars.

Thank heavens that no one has asked for more money from their backers, then.

Still, if you're going to take a publisher post-KickStarter, make sure you've clarified that on the KickStarter page.

Amaror:
I think it's rather the developers that missunderstand not the funders.
Kickstarter isn't there to pay for your fancy studio and pay dozens of top - salaries, that's just stupid to think.
It's there to support small groups. When we look at games it's there to support a small group of people who want to make a specific game because they love to make it. It's there to give them a living, pay their rent and food, so they don't have to work to make a living during the development of the game. But it's not there to fund AAA - titles, where you just don't want a publisher behind you nagging about stuff.

It's there to fund whoever damn well asks for money.

Speak for yourself and your own funded projects. If someone was Kickstarting a AAA game I really wanted while under a publisher, I'd fund it.

You know, I backed "Double Fine Adventure" because I wanted to see inside their process through the documentary. In the pitch video Schaffer says "It may be great, or it may crash and burn. But either way, you'll get to see it all".

Double Fine isn't asking for any more, and they've put considerable funds of their own into the mix already. They're doing this because they want to stay independent and I don't really mind that. Even if the game were to crash and burn, I'd still feel like I had gotten what I came for.

All things being equal, this doesn't really bother me in the least. It's not like they're asking anything else from backers, the game is still going to be made and will likely be a love letter to this style of game once it's done. The only thing at fault that I see is Tim was honest in a venue that loves to persecute. A venue that loves to see heroes fall. In short, he took his message to the internet.

Three Million dollars is a LOT of money - STOP - if you are one person. Double Fine has 65 employees. That reduces the per-person number down to less than 75 thousand dollars per person. Broken Age is projected for release in January of 2014, and the project started in earnest after the end of the Kickstarter in March 2012. So nearly two years of development time paying for 65 people means that if that money went only to their salaries and nothing else every person would earn less than 37.5 thousand dollars a year. That's not bad money, but it's not making anyone rich overnight. But it's not just 37.5 thousand dollars a year salary.

They have to pay for office space, water, electricity, and whatever they use for heating. They have to license technology to make the game, the engines and all. Kickstarter takes their fee, which averages out to be around 9%. So right off the bat Double Fine had a 330,000 dollar expense. They need to buy the actual physical technology to program the game on. There are untold other costs that I have no knowledge of because I admit that I am not a game maker and I have no right to bark about what a company will do with THEIR MONEY that people GAVE them as a DONATION and not a payment.

Everyone needs to calm their collective Omni-Tits. At no point does Kickstarter promise anything at all, other than to use the money it brings in for the purpose advertised, after Kickstarter gets their fee. Tim Schafer isn't rolling around in a Scrooge McDuck style vault, drinking diamonds while he jerks off onto money that he stole. Tim Schafer is probably as you read this sitting at a desk or a table, working on a game that he wants to make, wondering how he's going to secure added funding that he needs to get it done and good so people will have another quirky and fun game that the Major Studios and their Publishers would have wiped their asses with as they either make another call of duty or try to find a way to turn "Thoughtful Introspective RPG: The Tale of Great Storytelling" into "BroPG: Tits and Guns, Muthafucka!"

Amaror:
I think it's rather the developers that missunderstand not the funders.
Kickstarter isn't there to pay for your fancy studio and pay dozens of top - salaries, that's just stupid to think.
It's there to support small groups. When we look at games it's there to support a small group of people who want to make a specific game because they love to make it. It's there to give them a living, pay their rent and food, so they don't have to work to make a living during the development of the game. But it's not there to fund AAA - titles, where you just don't want a publisher behind you nagging about stuff.

I think that it you who misunderstands Kickstarter. Go to its website and read up on what it is for. The words "small group" won't be found. Paying rent isn't there either. Kickstarter is to help fund projects, large or small. Artists cost money, as do competent programmers. There are some indie developers that make games on a shoestring budget, but that is not the only type of project that you'll find on the site. There is no requirement for developers to live in penury to minimize budget requirements.

Project Eternity: AAA Developer making an old school game. Continuing to take donations on their site after a successful Kickstarter.

Star Citizen: Space Sim Golden Age developer coming back to make AAA space sim on modified CryEngine 3/4. Got $6M from Kickstarter, and has gotten another $6M so far on their own site. Continues to run promotions to increase funding.

Now that second one is particularly relevant to the discussion, because there is no fucking way that Chris Roberts could have gotten the money he needed purely through a Kickstarter. Because he took the path that he did, he has raised enough money to make a true next gen experience without having to give up control of the project to a publisher or pay the administrative overhead and overblown marketing costs that AAA games usually incur(which is why they cost so damn much to make).

Kickstarter goals should never be mistaken for a budget. Chances are that anything much more involved than FTL will cost more than what you can realistically ask for on Kickstarter. If you're lucky, you get more than you expected(note: not the same thing as your starting goal), and you can finish the game with just what you pulled through crowdfunding. If not, then you have to find another way. Like Obsidian. Like Chris Roberts. Like Double Fine.

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