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Greg Rice

Episode 15: Evergreen Games

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Hey everyone, remember that awesome Double Fine Adventure documentary that kept you all up to date on what’s going on with the Broken Age team? We’d understand if not, what with all the

that’s been going around lately, but IT’S BACK!

Behold, the first post-Act 1 launch Double Fine Adventure episode. This one follows the time from the backer release of Act 1 all the way up through the public release. It does get into spoilery territory with discussion of the Act 1 ending, so if you’re holding off on playing through the first act until the Act 2 is complete, you should stay away from this and all future documentary episodes as well (though you really should go play it!). Soooooooo, here goes!

[vimeo]91628466[/vimeo]

Double Fine Adventure Downloads

To those of you who have been patiently waiting for downloads of the documentary episodes and its wonderful Terence Lee soundtrack, those are now available on your Humble download pages! That can be accessed by the link originally mailed out to you or by navigating to the bottom of your Humble library.

If you didn’t back at a high enough tier or have a friend that really wants to get in on the Double Fine Adventure fun, we have a solution for that as well! Just head over to http://brokenagegame.com/buy/ to find a whole new suite of stand alone and bundle purchase options for the documentary! And those tasty tunes are available on Terence’s Bandcamp site.

Double Fine Presents

Recently we announced a really exciting new initiative to help out other independent game developers called Double Fine Presents. The first game released as part of this program was MagicalTimeBean’s Escape Goat 2, which is now available for PC, Mac, and Linux and is a toooootally awesome puzzle platformer. Check it out at escapegoat2.com.

Today we’re excited to announce the second official Double Fine Presents game, LAST LIFE from Rocket Science Amusements. This one should be of particular interest to you all, as it’s an adventure game that launched a Kickstarter campaign just moments ago. It is super stylish, full of mystery, and is something we’re really proud to be a part of. The trailer is below, but check out lastlifegame.com for more information or to back the game!

Controls

If you’ve loaded up Steam recently you may have noticed a Broken Age update and wondered what magical treats lay in store for you. Well, in anticipation of our additional platform releases, we went ahead and pushed out both controller and touchscreen support! The new controls are in beta, so we’d love to hear your feedback over in these touch and controller forum threads.

That's all we got for now! We're digging into Act 2 work as we speak and will share more on that in the next update!

Show Notes

00:15 - You really shouldn’t watch this before finishing Act 1 of Broken Age.

03:00 - Grim Fandango was released October 30, 1998

03:15 - http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/broken-age-review-embargoes/#!DmTd3

10:45 - Broken Age’s current metacritic: 81

17:35 - Bent, get in touch for some free chocolate

21:48 - Check out Episode 4 of the documentary to relive the art jam from 18 months ago

25:51 - You can see in the bottom left Bagel’s iphone is propped up. Scott stayed on the phone for a long time listening to the ideas and pumping people up.

32:24 - Dave is animating on Massive Chalice now!

32:30 - The unannounced project is Costume Quest 2![vimeo]https://vimeo.com/91583418

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First I see a hack 'n slash trailer from the 90's, now a new broken age episode!? Today is a (double) fine day indeed.

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Hells to the yeah, finally a new episode. I thought you guys forgot about us. :)

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Finallyyyyyyy thank you :P, yes, excited

Also, question,

Does anybody know why steam doesn't post sales publicly? Is there a business reason for this or?

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Oh you mean that wasn't the full game and there was more work to do and y'all stopped working in it for a bunch of side projects instead and there's actually more game that is supposed to be released next month?

omg! :P

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Can't wait to watch the new episode, and I've really been hoping for controller support, so this is great news.

One problem I'm having though, is that the documentary downloads and the documentary soundtrack are not on in my Humble library. (I'm $100 tier). I still only have the game and the game soundtrack. Was this update just posted a little bit prematurely or is there something wrong with my account?

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More episodes! Seriously, always an exciting part of my week. Exciting to see the post launch musings and how things are shaping up for Act II.

Ha! I remember reading that Steam review about the Spoon having more personality than most AAA protagonists right around release. Golden!

Re: The difficulty level. I know this received a lot of response of these forums, but personally, I enjoyed it. I actually got a friend who had never played a game to play Broken Age and she, having no experience in the logic of adventure games and game mechanics in general, was able to get through Broken Age at a reasonable pace (close to my par) and also, enjoy it. That should say something about the intuitiveness of how it was designed.

I know most adventure game fans are looking for more brain stumping puzzles in Act II, and I wouldn't mind something more as well, but Act I was a delight to play and kept the story moving without any major hitches.

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Haven't had time to play act 1 yet, so thanks for the spoiler warning Greg.

Bookmarked for a later date. :)

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So far I don't see the documentary episodes and soundtrack in my Humble Bundle library. Am I the only one?

Otherwise: YES!, another surely to be awesome episode! :D

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Thank you, these are great. It was nice to get an idea of the financial situation as well.

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(...) Ha! I remember reading that Steam review about the Spoon having more personality than most AAA protagonists right around release. Golden! (...)

This. And big thanks to Double Fine and 2 Player for this excellent new episode. You guys and gals rocks, period.

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Bob Chothra! You've got to make it happen :)

Very interesting episode. Only half way through but great to see you all again. It's a shame the embargo stuff affected you. I guess there was a lot of excitement and anticipation around that backer-release date, and that effectively felt like the actual release date to most people who wanted to play it. Hopefully it didn't affect your sales too badly having the hype happen two weeks too early. And the negative people are just talking nonsense -- hopefully you know that anybody with any sense loved the game :)

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Bagel's evolving physical appearance is slowly morphing him into Broken Age Jesus.

Super transparent with the numbers sharing. Seems like that took some bravery. Huge props to you all for sharing that information with everyone.

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Thanks for the episode! I was starting to itch for an update.

19:00 "Way ahead of them" this makes me very very happy :)

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I don't know why this episode felt so much better to me than any of the others before, but it did. My new favorite. :)

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I really hate to see you guys down about a handful of grumpy jerks, your sadness is my sadness, so...

I LOVE YOU DOUBLE FINE!

Your pal for life,

Matt

ps- How about a Bob Chothra t-shirt? Maybe it'd be a business dude with suspenders holding a mug o' joe but with a Chothra head. I dunno.

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Awwwww I feel terrible for not contributing all my positive love for the game on launch now! Well, for what it's still worth, there's so much to love in Act 1. It's been a pretty amazing cycle for me, going from playing Schafer point and clicks as a kid, to resharing them with my own kid, to playing our first together in this. Now we're both equally psyched for Act 2, and I mean... looking back on that cycle, that's such a surreal but super special experience to go through. If I wear my backer shirt to get him from school he boasts to others about what it means. Anyone who might happen to read this from the team should know we're truly proud to be backers and players of the work you've all done.

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Can't wait for act 2!

Also I think you forgot that a lot of people are sitting on the fence and waiting for Act 2 before they buy the game. I personally know 3 people doing exactly that.

If you handle the embargo and review thing a little better this time so you can match reviews with launch, you'll get a second win.

Best of luck Red's team :)

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The most exciting thing thing in this episode for me was that the documentary will continue through part 2. Wooo!

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Its very sad, that Broken Age so unprofitable for Double Fine :-( Maybe Act 2 changes the situation. But on the other hand now they have powerful cross-platform engine for future 2D projects.

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I suppose I sort of hoped, from the beginning, that Broken Age wouldn't be released in the same way as a commercial release anyway. That it would be a community driven thing, as it was, with no embargo - but an early access program for the backers. And that perhaps DF would encourage backers to start dropping reviews early. While the larger review-sites would be encouraged to spend a little more time on the review, for example until the public release.

Specially since it wasn't a "full" release of the game anyway, and the unspoken proposition here was something resembling that: if you like the first part, support us and we'll make an even better part 2.

So I don't honestly think that breaking the embargo worked against you. Instead, I think suggesting it would be a courtesy to not write reviews off the backer access harmed you more. Since when you write for a big site, you are pretty much going to be forced to explain how the game is not "complete", that it ends on a cliffhanger, it may not be as good and polished as the reviewer's favourite game, etc. While a less ..serious and er.. less unfun or "professional" review would very easily get away with talking about what you actually get, what the game is about, what you're doing.

Something that would escape the problem you're running into with literally all the professional reviewers out there right now - that they're going to write a long treatise on their recent Monkey Island replay spree in the intro, just to show people how utterly hard core and masochistic you have to be to appreciate a slice of the "dead genre" creature, the ADVENTURE GAME WITH POINT AND CLICK. And so on.

Basically, because I really like Tim Schafer's dream about companies not having to rely on publisher support to release games as well - I think you should consciously avoid trying to use the channels the typical publisher funded games rely on. If that makes sense. I backed the game, I read reviews, I'm into games. Still.. I didn't read the reviews on the first day, I couldn't care less what Gaf and IGN says about it. There's also no way I would have bought the game from hearing about it only on IGN, n4g or Gamespot or something like that.

Because as a backer of the project, and as someone who cares about games - I don't trust anything people write on these sites any more. It's just too full of badly written text, from people who talk about their own feelings about their exclusive relationship with important industry figures. Or at best, you get the Shacknews doctrine: "I'm saying what randomly drops into my head, and it is therefore objective and true, because I believed it to be true at that moment". It's completely uninteresting if you actually want to read about the game, or find out about whether you like something or not.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that people with any sort of interest in a game of the kind that Double Fine makes - just won't be interested in the tabloid noise when thinking about making a purchase.

The fact is that this audience is out of reach of the typical publisher channels in the first place. That's why none of them want to touch the games you make. They can't use the usual tricks to sell it - so they don't see the value. It's not an instant value-proposition or an easy sell to buyers with extremely superficial preferences. So you cannot make use of that and expect this to pay off.

Instead, I think it will harm you, as well as start to encourage bad decisions for the direction of the game.

So for the next, and real release - I think you should consciously look into alternative ways to sell the game. This means finding magazines and outlets that people who /used to be/ gamers might look at. It means promoting the game with people who are critical and analytical when reviewing the game. You could for example start to deliberately show up and talk about game design goals in the large magazines and sites (they would be interested if you insist that they might draw a new audience with this). And promote your own backchannels for reviews. It's really easy to reach a lot of people now via face and twitter.

This means that the ones who really would be interested - who, like me, are put off by some jackass reviewer who thinks every sentence he writes sounds like Tennyson - would actually be possible to reach. Something that wasn't actually an option just a few years ago. So you shouldn't be too concerned about how avoiding IGN might suddenly result in "no one knowing about the game at launch".

It simply doesn't work that way with the games you make, for the audience that actually likes them. So unless you want to change the game - perhaps try changing the approach to selling it first? Just a suggestion. All the advertisement in the world would not make me buy a copy of USA Today, for example. You know.. "But it has a very witty political cartoon on the back, Jostein! You're interested in politics, right, so give it a chance!". Doesn't work.

I mean, you know what Kotaku is all about now. You know what kind of people go to IGN to read reviews. You can plead with them and hope for a "blessing" from the inner circle of the Megachurch. But it won't impress anyone who might be interested in what you're actually making.

Anyway, best of luck with act 2.

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Great episode! I don't ever tire of keeping up with the goings on at Double Fine. I can't wait for Act 2!

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That was probably the most 'raw' and self-revealing episode so far. Having seen the public/journalist reaction to the embargo situation as it was happening, seeing what was going on in the office is pretty heart wrenching. A lot of people were fucking brutal towards you, accusing you of hiding major flaws with the game etc. It's easy to see the situation from both sides though. Having an embargo on your lap while 90,000 people are already playing the game must be insanely frustrating.

And I never expected to be given any insight into the financial results or anything in that area. I don't think I've ever seen the Steam revenue/sales screen before. It's... Not grandiose.

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A great if not a bit infuriating episode to watch. Man, people are jerks sometimes.

Anyway, thanks a ton for the documentary and a whole lot of respect for team Reds and 2PP, as always!

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Well technically you can re-launch the game when Act 2 comes out, Dave.

Also, that video at the end...

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It seems felipepepe really got Tim down. No wonder. It's nice to see Tim be so honest about his feelings regarding him, as well as the honesty from the team regarding all the really unnecessary nasty comments.

Backing a game means you take it or leave it. You as a backer are the one taking the risk, and there are no refunds. Asking for a refund after you've downloaded and played the game makes you a jerk.

Thanks for the excellent episode, and the transparency included with that about how the game has done and what you're doing to fix bugs, etc. I can't wait for Act II!

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