Ant Simulator Dev Says Partners Blew Money on Bars and Strippers - Update

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Ant Simulator Dev Says Partners Blew Money on Bars and Strippers - Update

Eteeski founder Eric Tereshinski has cancelled Ant Simulator after accusing his business partners of spending crowdfunding money on alcohol and strippers.

Update: Eric Tereshinski's business partners, Tyler Monce and Devon Staley, have stated that the allegations are completely false. In fact, they claim Tereshinski had taken complete control of business accounts and transferred company funds to his personal bank account.

"It's completely false," Monce says. "I don't know why he's painting that picture, but the reality is that anything that was spent in a bar or restaurant was very reasonable in nature when you look at any business, including video game companies. It was part of our operating budget, it's not anything that was excessive. It was all reported to the IRS. The picture he's painting about that is 100 percent bull****."

Monce and Staley's theory is that when Ant Simulator started growing in popularity, Tereshinski wanted to take the profits for himself, which they opposed. At this point, Tereshinski allegedly took control of bank, social media, and website accounts, which removed any opportunity for embezzlement. After making his recent accusations and leaving the company, Tereshinski edited the Eteeski home page to consist solely of biographies of Monce and Staley.

"The important thing to realize is that the ETeeski team wasn't just us three," Staley said. "We had a lot of contractors. Nine or ten people who worked on this game. Models, rigging, our environmental art, and our human art, were all done through contractors ... He's making this claim that we spent all this money on expensive entertainment, and that's completely false. We paid all these people who worked for us."

Source: Game Informer

Original Story: Video game projects are cancelled all the time, and even crowdfunding support can't guarantee success. But game development rarely closes as dramatically as Ant Simulator did last weekend. In a new video, lead developer Eric Tereshinski claims the project is ending after his Eteeski business partners spent campaign money at bars and strip clubs.

"This is going to be the worst video I've ever had to make," Tereshinski said. "I can't work on Ant Simulator anymore. I recently found out my ex-business partners were secretly stealing company money. They had secretly spent the overwhelming majority of both our Kickstarter money and the Ant Simulator investment money on liquor, restaurants, bars, and even strippers. This is the reason it has become exceedingly clear to me that I cannot have my career associated with these guys."

Ant Simulator's goal was to let players build and fortify ant colonies by taking direct control of worker and soldier ants in a giant natural setting. Funding seems to have been provided by a Kickstarter campaign for Ultimate gamedev tutorials, independent Ant Simulator crowdfunding, and limited early access preorders.

"I'm very pissed off I lost money," Tereshinski continues. "I lost over a year in work. And I lost a game that I loved, and I was proud of, and I was really looking forward to releasing on Steam and PS4. It was supposed to be my first big step in really taking a shot at making video games as a career. But I have to start over now."

Tereshinski adds that he cannot continue Ant Simulator's development independently, since his work was contracted under Eteeski. Which is a shame - Ant Simulator's screenshots and videos looked gorgeous, and the concept could have made for a highly unique game. Tereshinski is currently looking into ways to provide Ant Simulator refunds to early adopters.

Source: Softpedia

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Of course the image that shows up first is a spider, might've peed a little (or a lot, I'm not saying which).
That said I imagine this is how many kickstarter projects end.

I'm not an expert on law but I'm pretty sure he can sue that business partner to the god damn ground because he pretty much embezzled funds and that's not okay thing to do in business.

also fuck these pieces of shit! as a person who dreams of making stories just the thought of having those dreams crushed by mooching asshole pisses me off to no end. I hope they are sued for everything they have.

tf2godz:
I'm not an expert on law but I'm pretty sure he can sue that business partner to the god damn ground because he pretty much embezzled funds and that's not okay thing to do in business.

also fuck these pieces of shit! as a person who dreams of making stories just the thought of having those dreams crushed by mooching asshole pisses me off to no end. I hope they are sued for everything they have.

What someone says happened and what actually happened not always the same thing. It's worth remembering there are two sides to every story, doubly so in the internet

albino boo:
What someone says happened and what actually happened not always the same thing. It's worth remembering there are two sides to every story, doubly so in the internet

True, and if you want to set a narrative there's few options more memorable than hookers and booze. That said, this is the kind of thing that defines libel laws, so it's a very dangerous stunt to pull if he's not confident in those accusations.

tf2godz:
I'm not an expert on law but I'm pretty sure he can sue that business partner to the god damn ground because he pretty much embezzled funds and that's not okay thing to do in business.

Assuming he has any money to do that and that they have anything worth taking.

Assuming everything he says is true, the kind of people who blow other people's money are rarely the kind of people who invest it in tangible assets. However, the police would certainly be interested in such spending habits if he's telling the truth. Getting the money back might be a lost cause, but no reason those other guys can't end up in the slammer for their trouble.

Assuming it's all true.

Goodness me that's a lot of assumption!

Unbelievable. As in I literally do not believe this.

Friends for 11 years and he had nooo idea what they were doing?! Friends since 2005 and what, they've been playing the long game? Used an ouija board to know that one day Kickstarter would be a thing and befriended this guy to steal his money? And I'm sure it wasn't alot if all they got was booze and strippers. Not like they stole enough money for a sports car or vacation to Hawaii.

I mean for fucks sake did this dev not check the receipts?! Did he not notice his friends of 11 years were going to the Spearmint Rhino every day for lunch? Or that they had literally not done any work for over a year?

Damn man call the Alpha Legion! These two must be Alpharius and Omegon!

I'm ashamed that this is the internet and no one has put up an image of Bender yet.

I'll do it.

image

Silentpony:
Unbelievable. As in I literally do not believe this.

Friends for 11 years and he had nooo idea what they were doing?! Friends since 2005 and what, they've been playing the long game? Used an ouija board to know that one day Kickstarter would be a thing and befriended this guy to steal his money? And I'm sure it wasn't alot if all they got was booze and strippers. Not like they stole enough money for a sports car or vacation to Hawaii.

I mean for fucks sake did this dev not check the receipts?! Did he not notice his friends of 11 years were going to the Spearmint Rhino every day for lunch? Or that they had literally not done any work for over a year?

Damn man call the Alpha Legion! These two must be Alpharius and Omegon!

... I have nothing really to say to you. You just mentioned Warhammer 40k. That always makes me happy.

...

Vulkan's awesome.

tf2godz:
I'm not an expert on law but I'm pretty sure he can sue that business partner to the god damn ground because he pretty much embezzled funds and that's not okay thing to do in business.

He can't, assuming he's not lying about any of it. The above article neglects to mention it but he addressed this directly in a comment below the video:

A lot of people are telling me to seek legal advice. I have. The problem is that these guys covered their asses in the contract. They'll say the drinks were for business meetings, and they have the paperwork/minutes to prove they had meetings (even though I know they were bullshit meetings). They went over the contract line by line with me and I reviewed the whole thing twice. I just didn't realize they had protected themselves, screwed me (like the fact that they listed themselves as consultants, so they aren't legally obligated to work on anything, but still have the rights to spend money ect.), and I had no idea what their plan was until it was too late.

I could try to sue them, yes. The problem is that the most likely outcome is that things will end up more or less the same as they are now. The only difference is that I would have wasted a lot of time and money on court and lawyer fees. Cutting ties with them is just faster, simpler, and safer. Besides, I'm really damn good at making games. I will make other games. They won't.

And thank you everyone tremendously for you support! It helps out so much to see everyone's comments of support. I've been in a really dark place for over two months because of this, you all have really made a difference for me. I was afraid to go public with this information, but it's really good to be able to talk with everyone here again.

If its true or close too then bloody hell, can't see him dropping the game entirely unless it really had a good reason and then wanting to continue to make more games.

Sucks to be him and really sad for the backers as well lets not forget them.

Thunderous Cacophony:

albino boo:
What someone says happened and what actually happened not always the same thing. It's worth remembering there are two sides to every story, doubly so in the internet

True, and if you want to set a narrative there's few options more memorable than hookers and booze. That said, this is the kind of thing that defines libel laws, so it's a very dangerous stunt to pull if he's not confident in those accusations.

According to lightspeaker in post below, the business partners had reason for spending that comes within the law. Sounds to me that this a dispute between the business partners about who is in charge.

If he knows they were covered by contracts, then he's made yet another, in what looks like a series, of blunders with these guys.

They're covered for expenses, even dubious ones, he's not covered for libel.

dirtysteve:
If he knows they were covered by contracts, then he's made yet another, in what looks like a series, of blunders with these guys.

They're covered for expenses, even dubious ones, he's not covered for libel.

Hard to say. If the strippers were covered under the contract terms, he can still mention them, it's just that there's no legal basis to sue over it.

This is why you don't ever let your friends in on your business ventures. Too easy to get stabbed in the back by people you're supposed to trust.

I suppose this is where know what you're agreeing to before signing it comes into play. Whenever I have to agree to something I make sure to read everything first before I actually agree to it. That way I know I won't be screwed over in some say. Hopefully everything works out well for the poor guy.

Seems completely plausible. Not necessarily true, but its certainly plausible. Would be smart to keep away from this project and demand refunds as a precaution if you backed it. I doubt it has the whole Star Citizen money cult thing going on so I doubt that they could get away with any appropriation of funds.

ObsidianJones:
I'm ashamed that this is the internet and no one has put up an image of Bender yet.

I'll do it.

image

If It makes you feel better I came to the comments of this article just to go "Bender, Bender, Bender! Bender, Bender, Bender!"

Silentpony:
And I'm sure it wasn't alot if all they got was booze and strippers. Not like they stole enough money for a sports car or vacation to Hawaii.

You seriously underestimate how much money a person can spend on those vices.

I remember the original SimAnt on the Apple IIe (shut up and get off my lawn :) ). Was a fun game, I always had fun playing it. Sad to see this one die because of the (reportedly) bad execs embezzling the money.

Can't say I'm surprised. Anyone else remember Flagship Studios and Hellgate London?

"Yay, we're funded! SUMPTUOUS OFFICE PARTIES AND DAILY TAKEOUT RUNS FOR EVERYONE! Fuck game development, we'll get around to it after the hookers and blow!"

They wasted all the company funds on hookers and booze ???!! but those are company assets and they would be irresponsible consultants if they did not use the funding to leverage all business resources

Silentpony:
Unbelievable. As in I literally do not believe this.

Friends for 11 years and he had nooo idea what they were doing?! Friends since 2005 and what, they've been playing the long game? Used an ouija board to know that one day Kickstarter would be a thing and befriended this guy to steal his money? And I'm sure it wasn't alot if all they got was booze and strippers. Not like they stole enough money for a sports car or vacation to Hawaii.

I mean for fucks sake did this dev not check the receipts?! Did he not notice his friends of 11 years were going to the Spearmint Rhino every day for lunch? Or that they had literally not done any work for over a year?

Damn man call the Alpha Legion! These two must be Alpharius and Omegon!

Unfortunately there truly are people who not only can, but -will- do this to people they call friends while lying straight to their faces about it. It happens all over the world and can happen to anyone. All it takes is trusting the wrong people. And sometimes people one thought of as friends just turns out to be assholes when they are put in a position where their greed and own desires get the best of them.

That said I don't doubt that he didn't pay attention to see what they may have used the money for since he may not have been economically savvy enough to notice it before it was too late. Some people just lack the knowledge to figure such things out at any rapid speed. The precise working of this studio's economic handling isn't known to me so I can't comment too much beyond vague guesses however.

tf2godz:
I'm not an expert on law but I'm pretty sure he can sue that business partner to the god damn ground because he pretty much embezzled funds and that's not okay thing to do in business.

Sue them for what? Presumably he had short term contracts, his reputation is damaged by this but that's a bit thin.

It's the customers which have to sue. Even with the new completely bullshit terms there is just no way for them to get out from under it now, they need to deliver product, refund or prove they spend the money in a good faith effort. The latter is obviously no longer relevant, so we are back at the old kickstarter terms. Deliver product, deliver money or be in breach of contract.

Funny. In most countries a quick visit to the nearest police station would put these thieves in their place.

But in the US of A you would have to sue and spend your own money to get some justice

Broken country.

The business partners have issued a response, so there does appear to be more to this than initially stated.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2016/02/01/ant-simulator-business-partners-respond-devs-claims-100-percent-bull.aspx?utm_content=buffer883c5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

So, it seems we're left with 2 possibilities:

1 - It's as the first guy said and his two business partners squandered a bunch of money and covered their asses with contracts and enough plausible cover to stop legal comeuppance.

Or

2 - The first guy cracked under the pressure, couldn't make a proper demo and decided to bail and frame it in such a way to make himself a victim and get the first hit in to make the others have to go on damage control.

Either scenario seems implausible and like the plot to a bad soap opera.

Frankly, I'm gonna withhold judgement. If it is as the partners say and the books are open/reported to the IRS, then whoever is lying will come to light pretty quick. Either way, someone's not coming out of this without a blackened reputation. Either a couple of scam artists or someone willing to throw their friends under a bus to save face.

Czann:
Funny. In most countries a quick visit to the nearest police station would put these thieves in their place.

But in the US of A you would have to sue and spend your own money to get some justice

Broken country.

I dont know what the country has to do with it, especially since all we have is his word that they even did anything wrong. And even going by his version of events, they seem to have covered themselves so nothing they did was illegal technically

Weresquirrel:
The business partners have issued a response, so there does appear to be more to this than initially stated.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2016/02/01/ant-simulator-business-partners-respond-devs-claims-100-percent-bull.aspx?utm_content=buffer883c5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

So, it seems we're left with 2 possibilities:

1 - It's as the first guy said and his two business partners squandered a bunch of money and covered their asses with contracts and enough plausible cover to stop legal comeuppance.

Or

2 - The first guy cracked under the pressure, couldn't make a proper demo and decided to bail and frame it in such a way to make himself a victim and get the first hit in to make the others have to go on damage control.

Either scenario seems implausible and like the plot to a bad soap opera.

Frankly, I'm gonna withhold judgement. If it is as the partners say and the books are open/reported to the IRS, then whoever is lying will come to light pretty quick. Either way, someone's not coming out of this without a blackened reputation. Either a couple of scam artists or someone willing to throw their friends under a bus to save face.

One needs only to look at the business expense receipts to know the truth of things. If there are multiple 1-2 person lunches at $60+, they were blowing the money on stupid shit.

I'm not going to say I told you so, because I want to see hard facts not just stories and accounts. Receipts, documentation, statements made by any non-business personal who attended these lunches(I'm assuming they were business/sales calls? Taking a potential client out for drinks or something.)

But this seems way more believable than Bender spending money on blackjack and hookers. Especially if the accusation of taking control of the company's bank accounts is true. Pretty hard to steal money if you don't have access to that money.

But even still...friends of 11 years and he purposefully cuts you out of your own business and you don't make a stink about it until after he blames you for something?! I dunno, maybe I have a different idea of what 11 years of friendship means...

Perhaps this whole thing is a scam. They all agree to blame each other and claim that the other person is a thief and that they covered their ass too well to take legal action. Then the three of them take the cash and go lay on a beach in Hawaii.

If people are sad about this game being cancelled, why not seek out the original Ant Simulator that was released many years ago. Maybe they can release an update of it, nothing like going to war against red ants or attacking spiders en mass.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SimAnt

So they are bickering about, what, like $10.000 in total? For more than three people over the course of over a year? How did they plan to pull off this game with that little money in the first place? Seems like they didn't need booze and strippers to fail.

I don't know, the response they give sounds more plausible than his, but I suspect it was a combination of both. He sees how they spend "too much cash" on meetings and other expenses, sees it as scamming him out of money, and then tries to cut them off and take complete control, which then leads to even more money getting wasted and the company going down, because it was just like 10K.

But then again, this is a kickstarter game, a kickstarter "simulator" game, and those are stupid scams anyway. Heck, I'm sure half of the shit you would do in this would have been just "lolz physicZ" and "lolz randomZ" anyway, so no big loss.

fractal_butterfly:
So they are bickering about, what, like $10.000 in total? For more than three people over the course of over a year? How did they plan to pull off this game with that little money in the first place? Seems like they didn't need booze and strippers to fail.

Indeed, the more likely scenario seems to be that neither party is actually correct and they're all just bad at business. One blames the others for frivolous spending, they blame him for taking the money, while the reality is simply that there was never enough money in the first place and they just don't understand how it went to quickly even if the spending was all perfectly legitimate. It's not like they'd be the first ones to screw up in that way, or the first to start pointing fingers when they finally notice there's a problem.

In fact, the Kickstarter page for their "Ultimate gamedev tutorial" is somewhat enlightening. There's plenty of talk about how easy it is to make games quickly and cheaply using free tools, but absolutely nothing about management, budgeting, workflow, or anything like that:

Doesn't game design software cost thousands of dollars? All the knowledge and tools will be 100% free and available on both PC and Mac. First of all, what better place to upload a video than YouTube? So watching the tutorial videos will be free. And for the software, people can sometimes be under the impression that game development requires a special computer or expensive software. This is highly untrue. Any modern PC or Mac computer handle the graphic requirements of game development. In today?s age of the internet, many free creative software tools are available and have already proven themselves in the hands of many successful indie game developers.

I guess they didn't know as much about making games as they thought. Maybe competent on the technical side, but completely clueless when it comes to everything else. They tried to follow their own advice, and this was the result.

What a shame. Game looks and sounds pretty nifty, and unique.

Li Mu:
Perhaps this whole thing is a scam. They all agree to blame each other and claim that the other person is a thief and that they covered their ass too well to take legal action. Then the three of them take the cash and go lay on a beach in Hawaii.

I would say this is closer to seeming more the case here. If we hear no more updates from either side, then maybe they wanted a way out of being held accountable for not delivering on their promise, whether purposefully or not. Staging a disagreement and a split that essentially holds no one accountable through a he-said-she-said circular script means that the focus will be on who is right, not how anyone will get any money or compensation back. They could easily have agreed that this would be preferable than collectively owning up that they have all failed their customers. Only time time will tell, unless it doesn't.

The Bucket:

I dont know what the country has to do with it, especially since all we have is his word that they even did anything wrong. And even going by his version of events, they seem to have covered themselves so nothing they did was illegal technically

I know of a country, Brazil where I live every now and then, where this BS wouldn't work. Contracts are deemed illegal if abusive and protecting your ass like that wouldn't work with most judges. I believe most of LA and Europe works the same.

Also you don't need to mortgage your firstborn to sue someone like in the US.

BoogieManFL:
What a shame. Game looks and sounds pretty nifty, and unique.

Yeah, the idea looked good. Of course, might have come out as rubbish in the end anyway.

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