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suejak

Twitter Tim: Amazing

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Suejak, what happened to you, man? How come you're so reasonable now? Does that mean I will need to unblock you? :/

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Suejak, what happened to you, man? How come you're so reasonable now? Does that mean I'll need to unblock you? :/

Ssssshhh. Don't look at it too closely or it will disappear.

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I liked your post better pre-edit. :P

This is getting off-topic now...

...so yes, Tim was awesome again, and funny. His tweets gave me some good chuckles. He taunted the mean Twitter spirits like Raz taunted his adversaries in Psychonauts. But at times he also became unusually serious.

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I liked your post better pre-edit. :P

I was worried it might be interpreted as mean-spirited (not intended) and thought better safe than sorry. ;-)

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Hmm, you can't judge a person properly from da net only. You'll want to meet in real and be/work/have fun (interestingly more extreme sports like climbing [or extremes generally] can reveal faster how someone is ticking) together for some time. I'm rather disappointed from Schafer's work on the first act of the DFA but i very much like Grim Fandango, so ... Dunno, in some way i still think that DF is one of the better companies out there but looking at their portfolio i also realise that i'm only interested in a few of their games these days which is okay as long as there at least is one title i enjoy. What i like about DF is that they are flexible and trying out new things (which partly might be due to that they need to).

The video games industry is slightly like the music/film industries and due to a younger audience some people are taking certain devs/celebrities' opinions way too serious. Schafer is entitled to his opinion like everyone else, it doesn't have an influence on my opinion about the DFA, Grim Fandango or other topics but it probably will get an issue once larger differences show up in a game design (which could only be a matter of time unless opinions get lost in waves). I prefer to differ between a person and his work.

What i've learnt from a number of projects is that famous names are no guaranty for good games. Actually when thinking about it, it feels a little bit like the other way around. Especially regarding Kickstarter more famous devs often were aiming too high and didn't focus on an overall smaller but more satisfying experience. Partly this is our(my) fault as well, as we also were expecting/wishing for the best, maybe there was too much pressure and the expectations were too high.

As for the budget, there are cheaper places in the world for developing games than San Francisco and other devs might have been able to accomplish more with the budget. On the other side attractive cities also easier attract talents/high profiles and enable options you otherwise might not have, so, it's a two sided sword and very much depends on the specific case, the size/current state of your company, etc. Anyway, for many people it's an interesting and comfortable way of living, if they can afford it. It might be true that DF took more luxurious options here and there but in the end i suspect that wrong design decisions were more relevant and, again, at least i also wanted something great instead of something cheap in the first place (although from a different point of view).

Oh, well, it seems like you can't have the good without the bad. In the end it's just about a video game (but it's also relevant due to it has been such a damn long time since ...).

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I'm still sighing for an extended length of time over people who seriously believe Tim pocketed a big chunk of the 3.3mil Broken Age's Kickstarter got, and that the game was made with the original 400k and THAT is why only Act 1 was released

"Corruption! A conspiracy!" they cry. But in actuality they just really underestimate how much developing a dang game costs, while also insulting probably alot of people in the industry by implying that their time and effort and skills aren't worth that much

That's not the form of the argument that I've seen - and voiced, and supported. No one "pocketed" that money. It's gone. It's in the game, for sure. Still, a simple 500,000$ production value Episode 1 has released after now far more than two years, the solid Moai foundation of the game notwithstanding. If you take a look at what King Art or Daedalic do with 300,000 to 500,000€ total budgets, at least SOME scratch marks will have to appear on some heads now that DF will easily exceed a six million dollar budget. This, however, is not something I wish to discuss in this thread. The topic is far more favorable.

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That's not the form of the argument that I've seen - and voiced, and supported. No one "pocketed" that money. It's gone. It's in the game, for sure. Still, a simple 500,000$ production value Episode 1 has released after now far more than two years, the solid Moai foundation of the game notwithstanding. If you take a look at what King Art or Daedalic do with 300,000 to 500,000€ total budgets, at least SOME scratch marks will have to appear on some heads now that DF will easily exceed a six million dollar budget.
Double Fine's production cost for Act I has certainly been over $500,000. As taumel said, there's cheaper places to develop games than San Francisco. Tim Schafer said it costs $10,000 per month to pay one employee in San Francisco, and after looking for apartments in the bay area, I'd say that number is accurate, once you add in things like full medical and dental benefits, which is still insanely expensive in the United States, even after the Affordable Care Act.

Heck, studio apartments (meaning just a bedroom and bathroom and nothing else) start at the $1,000 a month range in the San Francisco bay area. The cost of living for that area is ridiculously high. That's why I chose to move to Fresno when I head back to California. The bay area is a double edged sword. The fact that the area is the Silicon Valley makes it a great place to have a game company since you're right in the middle of everything (which is good for making contacts and advertising your products), but the same fact also makes it extremely expensive to run a company there.

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I know we didn't want to derail this thread, but it's happened now, but not only is it probably unfair to compare the budgets and content of two games developed in completely different countries...

...but as has been said before, it is probably unfair to compare to a studio which is known to

a) produce a high portion of its work using unpaid internships.

b) use a commercially available game engine rather than building their own

and that's before even getting into how different the art styles are and what's involved in making them.

The fact is, there's no such thing as a cross industry standard for what $x amount of game entails, because every studio works differently, is in a different place, and each project is different in terms of what is involved in producing it.

I don't see the need for ANY scratch marks to appear on ANY heads, particularly since this has been one of the most thoroughly explained game budgets in history.

If there's a worry that maybe Double Fine are just 'slacking off' then here's a tidbit from Anna Kipnis' twitter feed the other day:

"Wow, we've changed and/or added 14859 files on Broken Age since the last team playthrough, which was not that long ago." (About a month ago, as it happened).

That's a rate of over 300 changed files, per week, per team member (very roughly)

Anyway, back to Tim being cool on Twitter.

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I think another potential perspective problem is that some people (though probably not Vainamoinen) are not distinguishing between different types of indie studios.

A lot of crowdfunded projects are kicked by the kind of indies who are small group of guys and/or gals making a game no matter what. There have been HUGELY successful kickstarter games like Shovel Knight, where the devs have revealed that they worked on the game for five whole months without any payment to anyone on the team, because they didn't have any money left to spend on paying people.

For some projects that can maybe work. It no doubt SUCKS, but it is a thing that can happen.

Tim Schafer's Double Fine is not that kind of indie. He/they operate independently from publishers, but if money ran out on broken age, Tim couldn't just say, "None of you are getting paid for the next five months". These aren't just his buddies that he's making a game with. These are his employees. He has a responsibility and an obligation. Moreover his employees are very talented and lovely people and he would probably like to pay them so that he could maybe keep them. And just think about how that would have looked on video. Ouch.

In other words, if Shovel Knight would have been a Double Fine pitch and received the same amount of money, it would have ran out of money, too, and probably had a lot of features cut, because simply deciding that no one was going to get paid for five months would not have been an option.

But I also agree with the comments about San Fran. I lived in Noe Valley for a short while with a girlfriend I had at the time who was a COO, and space in SF is not cheap. It is one of the most eye-bogglingly high priced places to live/work, but a good business location for the not-so-monetary reasons, and damn beautiful.

I have since moved back to Farmland, USA, where I can buy a five gallon bucket of whatever I need for a dollar.

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DFA has been a very smooth production, actually, even considering that people try to be on their best behaviour in front of the camera. Based on my meager experience in software development and from what I've heard, projects typically tend to go more like this (relevant bit starts at 4:40):

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...but as has been said before, it is probably unfair to compare to a studio which is known to

a) produce a high portion of its work using unpaid internships.

b) use a commercially available game engine rather than building their own

No, "a high portion of its work" has never been supplied to Daedalic by unpaid interns, and none at all to King Art as far as I know; and no, Double Fine did not "build their own game engine" - they used Moai SDK adding their own necessary tweaks, EXACTLY as Daedalic did with Visionaire.

some people are not distinguishing between different types of indie studios.

Ugh, I certainly do. Machinarium - a game the pretty graphics of which I consider, sans some FX, to be on par with Broken Age - didn't have a budget at all, so that's not where I set the bar. The truth is obviously somewhere in the middle. Maybe 2M$ are a great budget for a 2D adventure game (it certainly was for BS5). Maybe Daedalic would need 700,000€ per game if they did not use any unpaid interns (and they hopefully will stop now that it's mostly outlawed). Maybe making games in the US is 20% more expensive than in Europe. But even with thumbs up for all these maybes, Broken Age will still have eaten up an 8 to 10 million dollar total budget, possibly even more, before it is finished.

If people start considering that to be adequate, no 2D adventure game would ever be made anywhere, ever again. So I kind of resent the notion hoping to protect the genre...

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...but as has been said before, it is probably unfair to compare to a studio which is known to

a) produce a high portion of its work using unpaid internships.

b) use a commercially available game engine rather than building their own

No, "a high portion of its work" has never been supplied to Daedalic by unpaid interns, and none at all to King Art as far as I know; and no, Double Fine did not "build their own game engine" - they used Moai SDK adding their own necessary tweaks, EXACTLY as Daedalic did with Visionaire.

I'm afraid this is just naive. Back when this last came up as a subject, I did a little looking at Daedalic. Obviously not much of their development is public, but enough of it is to draw some conclusions. And while I don't remember the exact figures I do remember seeing that there are so many credited names, especially in the Art sections of the credits that it just doesn't add up. Either a lot of those names had so little involvement that they were hardly worth being credited, or a significant portion weren't being paid. We know that unpaid internships are extremely common in Germany, and we know Daedelic practices this so it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to suppose that quite a few people on the team weren't paid for their efforts.

The morality of this can be debated - but the economics can't. Their games are almost certainly as cheap as they are in part because they don't have to pay all their artists.

Secondly, it's naive to the extreme to compare Moai to Visionaire. For a start, Visionaire provides a complete front end through which adventure games can be rigged up. Secondly, it's an engine specifically designed with making point and click adventures in mind. Daedelic may have added bits to it, to their liking, but the fundamentals were there from the starts. Thirdly, a lot of these budgets from Daedelic would have been after they'd already established their Visionaire workflow, with only minor tweaks needed from project to project. So it's even less fair to compare them to Broken Age, where the first few months required a lot of work building the tools on top of Moai to enable them to use it effectively.

Moai is just a 2D framework, not particularly geared towards one genre or another, on top of which Double Fine built a front end (2HB) for managing the tool-chain as well as doing development on the open source to make it fit for the cross platform development they needed.

Not exactly the same. Not even close.

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I'm afraid this is just naive. Back when this last came up as a subject, I did a little looking at Daedalic. Obviously not much of their development is public, but enough of it is to draw some conclusions. And while I don't remember the exact figures I do remember seeing that there are so many credited names, especially in the Art sections of the credits that it just doesn't add up. Either a lot of those names had so little involvement that they were hardly worth being credited, or a significant portion weren't being paid. We know that unpaid internships are extremely common in Germany, and we know Daedelic practices this so it's not too much of a stretch of the imagination to suppose that quite a few people on the team weren't paid for their efforts.

The morality of this can be debated - but the economics can't. Their games are almost certainly as cheap as they are in part because they don't have to pay all their artists.

Is it not possible that they contract out a lot of art assets? Wasteland 2 has a ton of contracted art assets in it, for example.

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TL;DR: Online employer reviews tell me that internships are paid at Daedalic since at least 2013; however, the pressure and demands seem to be quite intense and they're certainly not having enough employees for their workload. I have no idea whether Daedalic contracts work out much; but I do know how their huge credits come to pass (they're listing the same people four, five, six, seven times under different categories). The comparison to Daedalic seems convenient; the comparison to King Art (TBoUT@500,000€ budget incl. engine) is shunned.

In on topic news - the Sarkeesian video is now pinned on Tim's twitter... for how long has it been like that?

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TL;DR: Online employer reviews tell me that internships are paid at Daedalic since at least 2013; however, the pressure and demands seem to be quite intense and they're certainly not having enough employees for their workload. I have no idea whether Daedalic contracts work out much; but I do know how their huge credits come to pass (they're listing the same people four, five, six, seven times under different categories). The comparison to Daedalic seems convenient; the comparison to King Art (TBoUT@500,000€ budget incl. engine) is shunned.

In on topic news - the Sarkeesian video is now pinned on Tim's twitter... for how long has it been like that?

It's been pinned for the good part of 2 weeks-ish.

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TL;DR: Online employer reviews tell me that internships are paid at Daedalic since at least 2013; however, the pressure and demands seem to be quite intense and they're certainly not having enough employees for their workload. I have no idea whether Daedalic contracts work out much; but I do know how their huge credits come to pass (they're listing the same people four, five, six, seven times under different categories). The comparison to Daedalic seems convenient; the comparison to King Art (TBoUT@500,000€ budget incl. engine) is shunned.

1) I last looked at Daedelic in 2013, if they've started paying interns I would expect their budgets to go up accordingly

2) I took into account the duplicated names, at the time. The credits are still far longer even when you take that into account.

3) Double Fine also contracted work out: a lot of the animation. Clearly they're willing to do so where appropriate.

4) I'm not 'shunning' King Art, but I haven't looked into them as much, so I can't speak to them. What I can say is that from my impression of the one King Art game I played, the production values seemed pretty low: the game was fine, very good even but the animation was quite poor and sometimes very buggy even on the console port I was playing. Not to disparage the artists who worked on it, but it seemed pretty clear to me that less time/money was spent on the art direction and animation.

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In on topic news - the Sarkeesian video is now pinned on Tim's twitter... for how long has it been like that?

Since he posted it, or maybe since a few days after.

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Back on topic, here are the overnight dispatches from Tim's twitter feed:

https://storify.com/KestrelPi/the-legend-of-tim

Great collection. Tim's driving the "horrible person" point home far too much, but I simply don't understand why the girl neither apologizes properly nor shutsthefrickup.

Jesus, I really need to read up on "gamergate" so I have an inkling as to why people pester people.

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Back on topic, here are the overnight dispatches from Tim's twitter feed:

https://storify.com/KestrelPi/the-legend-of-tim

Great collection. Tim's driving the "horrible person" point home far too much, but I simply don't understand why the girl neither apologizes properly nor shutsthefrickup.

Jesus, I really need to read up on "gamergate" so I have an inkling as to why people pester people.

The most awkward thing about that conversation is that even she seems to realize that she doesn't have a leg to stand on, and yet she refuses to give up on it. Here is another conversation they might have had:

Girl: Kinda horrible how Tim thinks 1+1=2 and belittles people who think it's 3. Where does he get the right?

Tim: Please hold up two fingers.

Girl: Okay but why?

Tim: How many fingers are on the left?

Girl: One.

Tim: How many fingers on the right?

Girl: One.

Tim: There you go.

Girl: I see what you're saying, but it's not necessarily TWO though.

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I'm kind of d'aww (except not really) that she thinks gg is "doing pretty well", and that gg has "handled it* very well".

*(incivility( I think?))

honestly the nastiest stuff I'm seeing spews forth from people using the gg hashtag. Of course, it is possible that people are using the hash that aren't associated with the "movement", however most of the people harassing ToL's twitter seem to be associated with it (though they are also going into crazy paranoid territory over the BA funding). I also think it's telling that he didn't start getting pinpointed for harassment until he posted the FemFreq video.

Wondering if maybe I should start tweeting stuff like, "Stepped in pizza, lol. Still good. #gamergate."

and "Wow, Winter is Coming. No foreals, it's like, getting dark super early. #notyourshield"

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Reading those tweets makes me want to get a twitter account and send Tim a picture of the Grim Fandango themed earrings I made.

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Well, just do it (and post them here as well!!).

There's more trouble brewing, what with Spacebase DF-9 suddenly being "1.0"...

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I'm really pissed off with how this is being reported by some people, as well.

Way back early in development they posted up the first draft of their dev plan. At the top they stated:

Because we have limited time and resources, we have to make hard choices about what’s important. Below is a giant list of all the things we might possibly do at some point. Nothing on this list is carved in stone, and we can’t promise any date for when it might go into the game. We may decide something isn’t worth it, or an idea may mutate into another thing entirely. We’re sharing this with you because we want to give an idea of where the game is headed!

When I look at the list, I can see that at least half of it is in 1.0 in some form or other, the stuff that isn't in at all is mainly the super-speculative stuff at the end of the list, and there's a bunch of stuff that made it in that isn't even in that plan.

This is the literal definition of a nontroversy.

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This is the literal definition of a nontroversy.

I at least agree that the controversy shouldn't instigate a discussion about Double Fine primarily - but rather about "Early Access".

Double Fine complied with the sense and regulations of Early Access to the utmost degree, even leaving the game in a somewhat playable state when funds ran out. That's, by definition, the Early Access service, development goes on as long as enough people buy an unfinished game. It's time to rethink the responsibilities of the billion dollar publisher, who hasn't done anything yet for his 30% share of the proceeds.

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Reading those tweets makes me want to get a twitter account and send Tim a picture of the Grim Fandango themed earrings I made.

Doooo eeeeeet......

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I've had a few drinks, so I'm probably quite drunk, but sometimes I think Tim might be getting a little over his head a little with all these projects.

I think people worry that he's building a house of cards to fall and crumble, and that these projects aren't going to get properly finished.

Tbh, he probably should have said less things. People just look for an opportunity to jump on shit no matter what the intention.

Me though? I got waaaay to many other games n shit to play so I don't really care either way. Screw all this drama crap. I enjoyed Broken Age part 1 and as long as I get a part 2 eventually I'm just peachy.

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The thing is, I've really liked their more open approach. I've enjoyed the interaction, the insight into development and so on

But too often it seems to be used as a weapon against them

I have a lot of angry, confused thoughts about this now so I'll just schytt them out in the order they occur to me.

*Maybe Early Access isn't good for DF. It did seem to help with Hack 'n' Slash but I feel like it might have affected sales.

*It doesn't seem to have done DF-9 much good, but I wonder would it have got made any other way?

*It pisses me off that the price of being more open is opening the gates for anyone who has seen bits of the story to draw poor conclusions that seem legit but don't stand up when you have the whole story. Double Fine is getting what I consider an underserved reputation for breaking promises that were never made, underdelivering in situations where they've actually made steps to over-deliver, and begging for money when that's the last thing they're doing.

*I worry that a few more of these is just going to make Tim throw up his hands and say 'well, we tried the openness thing and look where it got us.' and so now Wonka's going to close the factory to the public and it'll go back to the old way of long periods of silence followed by releases, so nobody ever has a thread to tug on and weave a false narrative with.

that would be a greaaat shame

*Maybe they don't always help themselves. Sometimes announcements do seem abrupt. This one did. But I can't fault them for TRYING to be communicative...

*Ugugugh I don't know.

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I got DF-9 for free before it was released on Early Access, so I'm happy with what I got. ;)

I can understand the disappointment, though. I feel that more was suggested. Still, calling them con artists, DF9 a scam and similar stuff is, of course, absurd.

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I get the impression that a decision on this was made very recently. There was that post from JP not quite a month ago saying that they were not going to drop development on it.

But then Notch got $2.5 billion dollars and gave it all to Tim so he could make Psychonauts 2, so development on all other projects immediately stopped. #TrueFacts

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