Tim Schafer

Double Fine
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Everything posted by Tim Schafer

  1. Playing Broken Age with children

    Thanks for this amazing write up of playing Broken Age with your nephews! It's so great to hear! I wish I could give them some more Alex content, but we don't have any. How about this video of the real Alex talking at PAX? You could tell them that after he got back to Loruna, he founded a video game company called Harmonix and lived happily ever after. (Loruna and Boston do have a lot in common... :D)
  2. Tips for a Brütal Nööb?

    Did you miss the amazing sticky thread at the top of the page? RECOMMENDED!! http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/7759/
  3. Hello Backers of Adventure! I want to thank you once again for all your support, and to all the responses to our recent update about Broken Age being in Beta, you backers are the best! I also wanted to get your thoughts on something... Despite all the good progress we've made on the game, and our announcement about Beta, you may have noticed that there's a lot of negativity out there -- much of it is aimed at Kickstarter projects in general, but a whole lot of it is aimed squarely at us and Broken Age. A great deal of it stems from misinformation -- from tweets, forum posts etc, claiming that the project is dead, or that we asked for more money despite getting 'way more than we needed' to make the project. Our backers have always been on the frontline of that information battle, correcting those mistakes on forums, in YouTube comments, and sometimes even in the press! Thanks once again for having our backs, we're truly grateful. To help in that effort, many of you have suggested making our Double Fine Adventure documentary public so that people can see the real story of what happened during the production of this game. It's certainly a compelling idea to us, not only for the reason above, but because it fits in line with our mission to open the doors to development and be transparent as possible. However, since this documentary was an important backer reward, releasing it into the public is not something we would ever do before hearing from you, the backers, about how you felt about it... Good idea? Or no? If we were to share the DFA story with the outside world, I feel we could still retain some exclusivity for backers by releasing it publicly for streaming only, and at a lower quality than the downloadable, higher quality backer edition. Backers (and VHX purchasers) would also have exclusive access to extras and special features. We think that the DFA story and documentary is really special, and sharing it with the world could do some good, but what do you think? Taking care of our backers is super important to us, so we'd love to hear your thoughts! -Tim
  4. Hey, everybody! Thanks for waiting. I'm back from my travels and have some answers or near-answers for you. Hope you like them! -Tim From Frogacuda: Q: What exactly is it that the Thrush need and why do they need Shay to select it? A: The Thrush are an elite subculture in Loruna who have selectively bred and inbred themselves to favor certain traits like intelligence, which helped them political dominance. Too much inbreeding has led to negative traits emerging--transparent skin, fragility, and general creepiness. They are seeking out "fresh blood" in the badlands (where Vella is from) to restore some hybid vigor to their genepool. Though as the Thrushmaster states, it's not just about mere DNA, but something more holistic they can't synthesize. Not only can they not synthesize it, they can't even identify the exact component they're mising. But they believe that the instincts of a young boy, coming of age, are sacred and will lead them to the right choice. They also fetishize tall forehead implants, but that's just because they're creeps. Q: It’s said that only a boy like Shay, isolated for 14 years can make this selection, and yet it seems like he has nothing to do with how maidens are selected. The villages select the maidens. This seems reinforced by the reveal at the end that Vella’s grandmother is a member of the Thrush (a reveal which begs quite a few questions as well). Shay is just grabbing as many as he can and doesn’t seem to have much insight. A: The villages select who they believe to be the best of their town, and then Shay and boys in his position make their selections from those maidens. At Sugar Bunting/Talon Nebula, shay selected all the maidens, but at Meriloft/Danger System 5, Shay picked the other maidens over Twyla. As Reid correctly pointed out, Levina is NOT Vella's Grandmother. You're not alone in thinking this, though. Most people assume she is. We added a line to Levinas dialog in an attempt to clarify this ("Your grandpa is just stuck in the ways of old. Your Grandma was the same way, bless her soul.") but not everyone hears this line. Q: Why does everyone stop trying to kill them when the ships melt? A: Everyone in Loruna is totally shocked by the Mogs melting and is basically sitting at the controls with their jaws on the floor, not sure what to do. And who knows, maybe right after we cut away from Shay and Vella on the bridge, they started firing again. I also liked teallite's answer here. Q: Did all those maidens just die in the Mog and why doesn’t anyone care or acknowledge this? If they survive, then how? A: The maidens are shown (briefly) running out of the ship in the final cutscene, led by Safety Hexipals. That's their jobs. Clarifying something from Reid's post: The Thrush did not all die in the explosion. In fact no one did. Hope mentions that the Red Hangar was fully automated. Mirko: Q: One thing I do not get about the ending is why Vella and Shay think it may be a good idea to have a meltdown of both ships. A: Vella states her intention to melt both mogs "before they breed" so she's just still trying to finish the job she set out to do: Kill Mogs. It's true that Shay isn't given a good reason to do this, except for the believe he shares with Alex that he's sure Vella has some reason to do what she's doing. And his desire to use the hugging arms to bring the ships together so he can jump between them. I liked Taekon's answer here too. Q: Another question (not about the ending in this case): I was a bit shocked that Vella just went into the room with the fusion orb, while in Act 1 Shay had to wear a protective suit. Was that also a fake danger? A: Yes. If you use the bomb on Hope, Vella asks her if the orb is radioactive, to which Hope replies,"No! Well, we told Shay it was so he would stop playing with it. " But Shay believed it to be true, so he really wouldn't go in there without the suit. Diduz76: Q: Shay seems to have forgotten that his parents are human. Is this part of the SPLARGH treatment? Is this part of the whole Thrush “therapy”? A: Deep down, Shay knows his parents are human. He just developed a way of relating to them that was cut off and distant, and this habit affected how he saw them. His parents contributed to this by being busy all the time, communicating to him only through the ship's intercom system, which made them look all fish-eyed and round. Also Shay's age made him vulnerable to this sort of distancing. Shay says on the beach "I mean, I guess I always knew my parents were people... It's just been a while since I thought of them that way." It's really just a literalization of something we all go through with our parents, I think. There's a point in our lives where we all realize our parents are just human beings. Q: In act 2 you’re supposed to solve Shay’s puzzles using the clues accessible by Vella, and vice versa. Is there a real mental connection between them? This is not clear and many gamers/reviewers think it’s a just a cheap way to make the game harder. I’m sure there’s a narrative reason, because you’ve deliberately used this approach several times, especially in the final puzzle. A: I always see the role of the player as the intuition of the character. The character is still who he or she is--Shay, Vella, Ben Throttle, Indiana Jones, etc. They are things they want, things they will or won't do ("I'm not putting my lips on that!") but the player is inside their head, giving them ideas. Pick up the hammer. Open the door. Then the character makes up their own justification--"Sure, why not. I could always use a hammer." So in this case, Shay and Vella have a sort of shared intuition. And you're right--it's not fully explained in the game. I didn't really think it had to be. We don't say for sure what the connection is between Shay and Vella ever--what does "shared intuition" mean? Why does shay seem so obsessed with "rescuing" the helpless creature that turns out to be Vella? Were they distantly related? Cosmically bound together? Not stated. Up to the player to decide. But the link is definitely indicated in the game when the two players talk about "going with their intuition." So, that's the most specific answer I can give you! Also, as Diduz76 says, DOTT! KestrelPi: In other words I could make a film or a book of DOTT and explain exactly how they solved all the problems on screen/paper so that the viewer understands. But right now I feel like I could do that with BA without making some very heavy assumption about the nature of the connection between Shay and Vella A: If I were making a film or book of Broken Age, and I wanted to provide a more literal, less metaphysical explanation for the unattributed knowledge, I could easily make it clear that when Shay was young his mom wasn't so busy and Shay spent more time in her room. He saw the picture and the correct wiring patter there (or he saw it on the board in the picture when he was actually there) but he forgot it. Playing with the Hexipal wiring unearthed this forgotten memory, though he doesn't know where it came from. And Vella saw the scrap of paper with the musical star chart in a pile of papers in Alex's ship that we just couldn't see from the camera angle we had, and maybe Alex was idly humming the "return to previous destination" song as she walked around the pyramid. There is at least one "time passes" moment in their relationship, right before the Act 1 boss fight, where a lot of this stuff could have happened. True, it's not shown in the game, but this is my book and/or movie and I can do what I want! Well, I hope that answers some questions at least! Thanks for playing, everybody, and thanks for caring enough to ask these questions! Tim
  5. PS Thanks everyone for helping with answers so far!
  6. Hi y'all! Just noticed this thread! Great questions! I'm traveling right now, but when I get back to office I will answer them all (at least I think I can) but I need access to my dialog database so I can use actual dialog from the game to explain things. In my mind, this is all explained in dialog (especially with Levina, Shays Mom, Marek, and the Thrushmaster). But writers always miss something, so we'll see. Talk to you nxt week! -Tim
  7. Question for Tim

    Well, I WISH I could tell you full time adventure games... It has been fun to reconnect with the world of adventure games (mostly) but I really don't like to do the same thing twice. I usually like to do the opposite of whatever I did the last time, in fact, because it's fun to try new things. So doing another adventure game is probably not the next thing I'm going to do, I'm sorry to say. Not set in stone though yet. So, never say never. I hope you like whatever it is we try next. And I hope you like Broken Age Act 2! Thanks for playing! -Tim
  8. Night of Adventure

    Hi there! Glad you're coming! Happy to sign anything, INCLUDING game boxes. I've signed a lot of weird stuff in my day, so game boxes are no big deal.
  9. As you can see here in this amazingly-well-written news post, Double Fine finally has a community manager again. And a fine and familiar one at that! Mr. James Spafford has been a friend of DF for years. He is a founder of The International House of Mojo, Idle Thumbs, and most recently the community manager for our friends at Media Molecule. (They miss him very much so please be nice to them if you see them.) Sorry we went so long without a community manager. But those days are over. Let's never talk about them again. Let us instead make fun of James for being English, making plenty of Marmite jokes, and occasionally speak of the great and glorious future of the Double Fine community! Love, Tim
  10. Thanks for all your feedback, backers. Feedbackers! This is all very encouraging! We will take all of your suggestions and use them to make a plan. A brilliant plan! And share it with y'all very soon. Thanks! Tim
  11. Why do you assume Lee got it wrong? How do you know he meant severe and not mild?
  12. Voice actors?

    Tony Plana is an awesome actor, probably best known now as Ugly Betty's dad, although he was also good on 24 and the cult comedy Bakersfield P.D. (watch it if you can!) Also Three Amigos!
  13. One last request...

    Hey, guys. There are a lot of cross-polys in the game that have bothered me since 98, but unfortunately mesh changes just turned out to be a big can of-- well every can on this remaster turned out to have worms in it, but the mesh can had those nasty little worms that swim up your genitals when you're wading in amazonian rivers, you know? Much worse than your average can of worms. So they focused instead on the dynamic character lighting, new textures, new controls, and all the other amazing features they got in. I have to admit, though, I never noticed Maximino's cigar until now. But now it's all I can see. THANKS FOR RUINING THE GAME FOR ME.
  14. Vella figurine

    Oh man, awesome! Nice work.
  15. Thanks for watching, everybody! About spoilers--you know, at first I was a little concerned about that in this episode. I was like, whoa. And then I was like, okay. It's always a trade-off between meaty content for the doc, and holding surprises for the player. I think there is no solution that is a 100% win for both. But in this case, I came to be okay with it, because it was only spoilery in that it showed snippets of new content, but it showed no actual puzzle solutions or big plot twists. Anyway, the end is coming up quick. Things are looking good, but I haven't thrown away that paper gun yet, in case I need it!
  16. I'm very proud to say that is a tattoo of a fairy. I believe one of the modern Disney ones--most likely Silvermist. I got it from my regular tattoo artist, my daughter. She really knows how to make them last, sometimes for an entire week!
  17. Tim answers questions on v1.0

    Hi everybody. I want to apologize for the delayed response from me on recent announcement of Spacebase v1.0. Most of Double Fine’s publishing staff and I are currently attending Fantastic Arcade in Austin, TX, and have been trying our best to keep up with the situation via our phones while we’re on the road. But now that I finally have time to sit down with a laptop, I’d like to answer some representative questions we’ve seen on these forums. Here’s the first question! “How about an ACTUAL explanation of what happened behind the scenes?” We started Spacebase with an open ended-production plan, hoping that it would find similar success (and therefore funding) to the alpha-funded games that inspired it. Some of its early sales numbers indicated this might be the case, but slowly things changed, and it became clear that this was looking like a year and a half of production instead of five or so. With each Alpha release there was the hope that things would change, but they didn't. We put every dime we made from Spacebase back into Spacebase, and then we put in some more. Obviously, spending more money than we were making isn’t something we can afford to do forever. So, as much as we tried to put off the decision, we finally had to change gears and put Spacebase into finishing mode and plan for version 1.0. “What happened to the devplan? What happened to the beta stage? How can ANY game go from Alpha 6 to a “finished” 1.0?” In traditional development, “Beta” refers to a time when no new features are added but bugs are fixed. Things are different in early access where the game is in players’ hands at an earlier state, so the team has been fixing bugs all along as features are added. In the remaining dev time, there will be both bug fixes and new features so it’s true--calling it “beta” is a little inaccurate. But the amount of time fixing bugs is comparable to that of a traditionally-developed game. “I thought you said you weren’t going to silently pull the plug?” We are not silently pulling the plug. We are announcing our finishing features and v1.0 plan. I know it's not a lot of advance notice, but we're still here telling you our plan instead of vanishing quietly in the night. “If you were going to end development, why didn’t you tell us sooner?” One of the biggest lessons we have learned in this, our first early access title, is about communication. There should have been more communication to the players about the state of the game, and we apologize for that. But for us, it was never clear whether development was going to end because we always hoped that the next update would turn it around and allow us to extend development. So I suppose, ultimately, the answer was we always had hope we weren’t going to end it, until the end. “Why put the game on sale (while internally knowing that development of the game was stopping)?” Frequent sales are part of the Steam marketplace. We’ve had multiple sales throughout the game’s early access period in attempts to create a bigger audience for the game. As for the version of the game that people bought in this most recent sale, we are still working on it, fixing bugs and adding the final features to make the 1.0 version of Spacebase a fun and complete game. I understand that the recent announcement was a disappointment. It was for you, and it was for us. We wanted to keep working on Spacebase for years. But Spacebase spends more money than it brings in, and that’s just not something we can afford to do any more. Set up against the expectation of the game being in development as long as Prison Architect or Dwarf Fortress, it’s hard not to find fault in the game by comparison. But we continued to sell the game, and will continue to sell the game, because we feel that based solely on its own merits, Spacebase DF9 is still a fun, clever, hilarious, beautiful and complete game. It’s hard for me to see JP and his team get eviscerated on these forums, after I’ve watched them put their blood, sweat, and tears into Spacebase for the last year and a half. Telling you that they are hard-working and talented developers who toiled in good faith to create this unique work of entertainment probably isn’t going to change your minds about how you feel about this game. But I hope you might at least consider that no one is more disappointed than them that they will not be able to work on this game for years and years to come for reasons mostly out of their control. We have stumbled awkwardly through some new territory with this game, and in terms of early access communication we fell short. But we are still proud of the game in the end, and are happy to have it on the roster of Double Fine titles. I hope you are able to reserve judgment on version 1.0 until it comes out, and then enjoy it for the unique and entertaining experience that it is. Thanks for reading, and thank you for playing Spacebase. -Tim
  18. Wait, horror movie soundtracks are too easy, right? But come on, Goblin! http://youtube.com/v/wtXz3OlFwZA
  19. Tim answers questions on v1.0

    I'd like to paraphrase a question I got on the steam forums because I think it raises an important point. Basically, someone asked: "Why didn't you allocate more resources to Spacebase? Were the other developers not interested in helping? Couldn't you have handled this better, like Prison Architect?" Every employee has to be funded by something: A publisher deal, a kickstarter, an outside investor, or the sales of our games. (The last item is not a huge amount, and sometimes not there at all, so really the answer is the first three.) All of the resources you're asking us to throw at Spacebase are currently funded by one of those first three things. How would Midnight City feel we took a programmer they paid for to work on Costume Quest 2, and sent them to work on Spacebase? Would it be right to take someone paid for by the Massive Chalice backers and put them on Spacebase? People on Spacebase, if not funded by the original Indie Fund investment, have to be funded by Spacebase revenue. Or any money that we have sitting in the bank, which in our case is not much. Still we have put a lot of that kind of money into the game as well. And the biggest difference between Prison Architect and Spacebase? A lot more people bought Prison Architect. If you really want to compare Spacebase to another early access game, you need to find a similar story of a game that did not sell as well as was expected. How did they handle the lack of funds? We've tried to handle this difficult situation as well as possible.
  20. Tim answers questions on v1.0

    I have to take issue with your term, "taking the money and running." We took the money and invested it back into Spacebase. And then we invested more. We will not make money, or even break even, on this game. The biggest lesson for us here, and what we would be sure to do if we were to try early access again, is to clarify exactly what the "original promise" is at the beginning of the project for every one to see. We thought the open ended nature of the projects development was clear, but it was not clear enough, obviously. You're saying that if we had put more people on the project it would have been more successful? That is likely to be true. But people aren't free. And so we could only put as many people on the team as we had the money to pay. No, this is obviously not the plan for all games. Obvious since most of our games are not early access. But even if they were, we would be clear about which scope of the game is securely funded, and which portion is dependent on early access funding. Thanks for your questions.
  21. > GIVE EVERYONE ON THIS FORUM AN ENORMOUS, BOA-CONSTRICTOR-LIKE HUG.
  22. One poll to rule them all One poll to tease them One poll to pool them all And on the forums, please them. PLEASE MAKE YOUR FINAL SELECTION, DEAR BACKERS!!! Thank you for your vote.
  23. Hello, Backers of Adventure! Those of you who have been following along in the documentary know about the design vs. money tension we've had on this project since the early days. Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn't stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money. I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is. So we have been looking for ways to improve our project's efficiency while reducing scope where we could along the way. All while looking for additional funds from bundle revenue, ports, etc. But when we finished the final in-depth schedule recently it was clear that these opportunistic methods weren't going to be enough. We looked into what it would take to finish just first half of our game-- Act 1. And the numbers showed it coming in July of next year. Not this July, but July 2014. For just the first half. The full game was looking like 2015! My jaw hit the floor. This was a huge wake-up call for all of us. If this were true, we weren't going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75%! What would be left? How would we even cut it down that far? Just polish up the rooms we had and ship those? Reboot the art style with a dramatically simpler look? Remove the Boy or Girl from the story? Yikes! Sad faces all around. Would we, instead, try to find more money? You guys have been been very generous in the tip jar (thanks!) but this is a larger sum of money we were talking about. Asking a publisher for the money was out of the question because it would violate the spirit of the Kickstarter, and also, publishers. Going back to Kickstarter for it seemed wrong. Clearly, any overages were going to have to be paid by Double Fine, with our own money from the sales of our other games. That actually makes a lot of sense and we feel good about it. We have been making more money since we began self-publishing our games, but unfortunately it still would not be enough. Then we had a strange idea. What if we made some modest cuts in order to finish the first half of the game by January instead of July, and then released that finished, polished half of the game on Steam Early Access? Backers would still have the option of not looking at it, of course, but those who were sick of waiting wouldn't have to wait any more. They could play the first half of the game in January! We were always planning to release the beta on Steam, but in addition to that we now have Steam Early Access, which is a new opportunity that actually lets you charge money for pre-release content. That means we could actually sell this early access version of the game to the public at large, and use that money to fund the remaining game development. The second part of the game would come in a free update a few months down the road, closer to April-May. So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we don’t have to cut the game down drastically. Backers still get the whole game this way--nobody has to pay again for the second half. And whatever date we start selling the early release, backers still have exclusive beta access before that, as promised in the Kickstarter. I want to point out that Broken Age’s schedule changes have nothing to do with the team working slowly. They have been kicking ass and the game looks, plays, and sounds amazing. It’s just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do. But we’re pulling it in, and the good news is that the game’s design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger. With this shipping solution I think we’re balancing the size of the game and the realities of funding it pretty well. We are still working out the details and exact dates, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. This project has always been something we go through together and the ultimate solution needs to be something we all feel good about. In the meantime, I’m hoping you are enjoying the documentary and like the progress you’re seeing on Broken Age. I’m really exciting about how it’s coming together, I can’t wait for you to see more of it, and I feel good about finally having a solid plan on how to ship it! Thanks for reading, Tim UPDATE: Thanks for all the support and feedback you guys. I’m heartened to see so many of you understand that we are always trying to do right by the backers and make an awesome game. I’m disappointed to see some members of the games press taking content out of these forums and turning it into news stories. That’s definitely not okay. Especially when they put a salacious, misleading headline on it to attract readers. There are a lot of people out there who are not backers, who have not watched the documentary, and really don’t care about this game at all but are just waiting for some anti-kickstarter story to tell. Frustrating! Rather than responding to everything and attempting to clarify our position amongst people who have not been participating on our forums or following the documentary episodes that have been discussing this very topic over the last four months, we're going to invite the press to check out the game and let it speak for itself. That's also part of why we are excited about allowing everyone to see it earlier (after exclusive backer beta access of course!) rather than waiting to the very end. Anyway, you guys are the best, and I’m glad you got to see some more of Broken Age in that episode. It really is coming together well and I can’t wait for you to see more of it! If there’s a silver lining to all this news, it’s that it distracted people from all the filthy stuff Lee Petty said in that episode."
  24. What Double Fine Did For Me

    Hey, man! When we met you in our offices, we had no idea what was going on! No idea of the stuff you were going through. You just seemed like a regular dude, hanging out. Not a problem in the world! That's pretty amazing. As a father, when I read the line " I would no longer be helping my daughter with her homework, or dancing around the kitchen with her, or playing video games with her, or making forts, or playing tee ball in our back yard. Now it was just silence." ...that really gets to me. Like a kick in the gut. I can't imagine the pain. But as a guy who has a divorce in my past (1992!) I do know a smaller part of it. I'm just happy you got through it, and found out what I did--that a better life is waiting for you down the road! Marriage is like waffles--you always throw the first one away, right? I'm especially glad that you ended up getting to spend every day with your daughter after all. What an amazing story. I remember the idea of flying you out to DF as one of the first things that Chris Remo did as our then, brand-new community manager. So that was a great thing that happened. As you know by know, of course Chris turned out to be a big jerk, and we had to send him off to Campo Santo. But I hope you and your daughter have the sense to play the Cave together, and not that tree growing simulator they're working on over there. (j/k Chris! Miss you!) Anyway, it's very humbling to us that we were fortunate enough to play a tiny part of a positive upswing in your life. Here's wishing you and your daughter and your girlfriend many more happy days! If you do play the cave, make sure she understand that poisoning your parents is really a bad thing. Tim PS Remo's a jerk!
  25. One thing that we could have done differently with the beta review embargo is treat the backer beta period like any other company handles their betas. Specifically, make everyone who wants the beta sign an NDA. Or click on a box that says you accept these NDA terms. That's what I had to do to be in the beta for Battle Block Theater. That's what you have to do for almost any beta. I'm not sure that would really make people happy, though. It would just make clearer the responsibility that comes along with exclusive, early access.