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Tim Schafer

Tim answers questions on v1.0

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I don't get how you can disagree with what I said. You're looking at the same facts, drawing the same basic conclusion (bad communication), and the rest is whether you choose to make positive or negative assumptions about the intentions of the dev team.

The result is whether you're angry or sympathetic. It's tone. The substance is the same: they messed up communication.

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I don't get how you can disagree with what I said. You're looking at the same facts, drawing the same basic conclusion (bad communication), and the rest is whether you choose to make positive or negative assumptions about the intentions of the dev team.

The result is whether you're angry or sympathetic. It's tone. The substance is the same: they messed up communication.

Because you're putting it into oversimplified terms. I don't think they "messed up communication" I think they maybe messed up one small part of the communication which as far as I can tell not even the same part as you think they messed up. So our positions are identifiably different in ways that go beyond tone before you even get to the bit about incompetence or whatever.

Secondly, being angry isn't the same thing as making accusations of incompetence or dishonesty. Again, these aren't just moods, they are accusations, and I think there is some reason to suppose they are inaccurate, so my arguing against them is an argument against the substance if what you said, not just how you said it.

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I don't think they "messed up communication" I think they maybe messed up one small part of the communication which as far as I can tell not even the same part as you think they messed up.

It greatly depends on how you view Early Access,

vs Kickstarter/Patreon/Indiegogo and funding models.

Early Access combines Public Relations, Marketing and Development for "most" developers in the program, because they are actually selling the game early, not funding the development of the game.

If Tim, and anyone else wants to actually fund the game, that should not come through the Early Access funding, but through an independent process.

Early Access is payment for a final product, Early Access lacks any kind of legal mechanism on Steam to allow funding games, and likely won't support any future games from Double Fine Productions unless it can agree to those conditions. Of course, Steam doesn't have to specifically do anything, it's the laziest walled garden on the face of the planet at times.

Kickstarter, Patreon, Indiegogo, have these systems set up to accept donations, funds, or specific legal consumer protections in the case of a developer abandoning or not delivering the project as intended, Steam, does not. It is the difference between accepting donations, and accepting payment,

and Early Access is not where you put a back-burner prototype, that's what Greenlight is for.

Messed up communication is broadly speaking, a distraction from the truth, or the lack of truth. It would not have been as bad if anyone had proposed the idea of funding Spacebase DF-9 through a campaign to support a development team. But that does not seem to be the truth, because that did not happen.

the difference between missing a text, and someone losing their job or their life from messed up communication is absurdly relevant, because communication i's not "Messed up" it's missing. The entire month of June, July and August 2014, there was fractional communication from JP to backers and EA buyers. That's Messed up.

And by blaming consumers for the lack of attention, is a double bladed argument. you have to promote games when you want to sell games. And if you're attempting to develop games, you have to actually go out and log changes, present, communicated, the kind of thing that DF have done in every kickstarter so far.

Tim, JP and the other developers on the project need to create some kind of release plan for 1.0 and 1.0.1 to address questions that will come up.

Offering Refunds to people is one question that needs to be addressed, and answered carefully.

Source code release, does include art and assets, Steam Workshop plans, Moai specific Engine/Dev Tools ? Rights to clone or compile to other Platforms, e.g. iOS/Android/WP, permission to use art or modify code to compile in other game engines, etc.

Licensing will be a bit of a dilemma issue for mods as well.

and the possibility exists that this will spill over to other games under DF production, because dropping the PR ball so effectively is creating drama, unanswered questions, and speculation. People will jump to conclusions that DF is abandoning this project for another project, and it might happen to other games too. It's not a spurious claim, people are upset.

Tim Schafer being silent on the bigger economic issues is one thing i can fully appreciate, but JP could have brokered the idea of the game winding down at any time via this forum, online or anywhere else, or failing to meet any kind of milestones in development to warrant the shift in development. rather than what Tim said in reply, placing the blame of insufficient funds to warrant development, because that's not a reliable justification.

it's also months late for Tim, or JP to be coaching answers around the issue of communication, it's now PR and damage control, and facing this will be the response, as well as what questions to answer, what comes next.

Now, there's some debate over how JP and DF were running the project as a low priority back-burner kind of AF spinoff, instead of a proper priority game release, and that's palpable to people who are basically getting Alpha 7 with a rainbow and ribbons attached for the $30 they paid.

At the moment, version 1.0 reeks of fly-by-night developers selling out their investment so they can move onto other projects to everyone outside of the DF and SanFran / Indie Dev Bubble to the millions of users on Steam.

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Great example of incompetence:

It’s perfectly reasonable that Double Fine can’t and won’t work on Spacebase at a loss for an indefinite amount of time, yet it seems unreasonable to have gambled so highly with the money and goodwill of the game’s audience. In order to support a five-year development project with a small team in San Francisco, Spacebase would have had to consistently bring in money equivalent to the biggest Early Access successes; ie, “the alpha-funded games that inspired it.”

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/09/22/tim-schafer-spacebase-df-9/

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A solid response to the "It's like Minecraft!!" argument (aside from the fact that Minecraft was never called "early access"):

One reason I never bought this was the price. 30 bucks may have been a good price for the game as they envisioned it, but what was there from videos I saw was probably worth a third of that. Perhaps they should have took a cue from Mincraft and sold the game for reduced prices early on, and then upped the cost as the features filled in.

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Great example of incompetence:
It’s perfectly reasonable that Double Fine can’t and won’t work on Spacebase at a loss for an indefinite amount of time, yet it seems unreasonable to have gambled so highly with the money and goodwill of the game’s audience. In order to support a five-year development project with a small team in San Francisco, Spacebase would have had to consistently bring in money equivalent to the biggest Early Access successes; ie, “the alpha-funded games that inspired it.”

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/09/22/tim-schafer-spacebase-df-9/

Also, complete rubbish. The biggest early access games were bringing in tens if not hundreds of thousands a day. In order to make its numbers DF9 would have had to have been a fraction as successful - just a bigger fraction than it was.

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Great example of incompetence:
It’s perfectly reasonable that Double Fine can’t and won’t work on Spacebase at a loss for an indefinite amount of time, yet it seems unreasonable to have gambled so highly with the money and goodwill of the game’s audience. In order to support a five-year development project with a small team in San Francisco, Spacebase would have had to consistently bring in money equivalent to the biggest Early Access successes; ie, “the alpha-funded games that inspired it.”

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/09/22/tim-schafer-spacebase-df-9/

Also, complete rubbish. The biggest early access games were bringing in tens if not hundreds of thousands a day. In order to make its numbers DF9 would have had to have been a fraction as successful - just a bigger fraction than it was.

What are you basing all of that on?

I think RPS point is based off of this Tim Schafer statement: "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."

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Great example of incompetence:
It’s perfectly reasonable that Double Fine can’t and won’t work on Spacebase at a loss for an indefinite amount of time, yet it seems unreasonable to have gambled so highly with the money and goodwill of the game’s audience. In order to support a five-year development project with a small team in San Francisco, Spacebase would have had to consistently bring in money equivalent to the biggest Early Access successes; ie, “the alpha-funded games that inspired it.”

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/09/22/tim-schafer-spacebase-df-9/

Also, complete rubbish. The biggest early access games were bringing in tens if not hundreds of thousands a day. In order to make its numbers DF9 would have had to have been a fraction as successful - just a bigger fraction than it was.

What are you basing all of that on?

I think RPS point is based off of this Tim Schafer statement: "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."

"similar success" is a pretty vague statement. The way I read it is that by similar success he meant enough success to sustain longer term development. The biggest alpha funding successes were phenomenally huge successes. All it takes is a little ballpark maths to figure out they could have sustained a small Dev team on a tiny fraction of the success that Minecraft or even a much more modest success like terrain enjoyed. Again, not getting into possible pricing blunders here, just saying that the idea that DF was banking on success at financial levels like the most successful alpha funded projects is easily debunked.

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There has been quite a bit of disingenuous topic-framing in this massive slough of discussion and rage-ranting, and none of it (that I can see) is coming from the developers, i.e. the folks you'd normally expect to see trying to reframe the debate in a variety of lights.

Despite all of the "PR-speak" and "tonal implications" ballyhoo on the forum being trumpeted by vociferous detractors who have made following this latest development in the game such a massive chore, there is one point that these detractors seem keen to ignore. There is a game, and it is being released. Just because you don't feel like the game was completed to your satisfaction doesn't mean it isn't there.

Heck, I don't feel like the game was completed to my satisfaction, and I would even agree that the price point is currently inappropriate for what Alpha 6 delivers (I, too, am dubious that 1.0 will do much to fix this)

However, I've also noticed that somehow the pessimists and alarmists have managed to gain one important beachhead in this debate that is built entirely upon extraordinarily flawed logic. And that is that most debates (that I have read) frame the completed game as a failed experiment, because development stopped before an entire dev-plan document was realized. They call the game "abandoned" because the development cycle wasn't as long as was nebulously hinted at many moons ago.

They try to pull some sophist hocus pocus, focusing undue attentions on one or two obscure yet optimistic claims from early development, while patently ignoring the fact that yes, a game is being released, the final form of which has yet to even be seen. With their woefully incomplete and inaccurate claims thus laid, they further complain that Double Fine's decision to build this game as long as funding existed amounts to some sinister exploitation of their money that has had no payoff. Upon this flawed thesis they build pages and pages of arguments constituting a massive, accusatory dossier delineating all the ways in which Steam Early Access and Double Fine incompetently, dishonestly and downright evilly mishandled their $25. All this before the final product is even released, the absence (or total worthlessness) of which their entire argument relies upon.

All of this is just so much impotent bellyaching, good only for wasting an afternoon in intermittently vocal discomfort.

The facts are these: Double Fine never released any promises of what Spacebase would be. They said a few things here and there that bespoke a desire to develop it far beyond what ended up happening, but no matter how much you twist their words to justify your inane outrage, Double Fine delivered on all that they promised, which is a game. It may not be a particularly amazing game, given its brief development, but nothing more was ever implied to exist under any circumstances. For an anecdotal example, I effectively purchased this game after reading two or three lines about it, and never was under the impression that I was guaranteed to receive something more genre-defining and ground-breaking that it already was in Alpha 6. I hoped for it, of course. I am disappointed now that it looks like it won't happen, but I am pretty effing far from externalizing my disappointment into personal or professional attacks on the game's developers.

Speaking of, from the time I've spent on the forums today, Double Fine appears to have the patience of the Buddha when dealing with the sheer weight of sadly uninformed, unnecessarily aggressive (somehow both passively and actively), utterly reactionary tripe that has been bogging down their forums.

Ultimately, you can claim (accurately in this case) that the game didn't live up to anyone's expectations. You cannot claim that the developers willfully misled you. You have a game for your cash, or will have. It has already been stated that there will be support for bugs in the future. The fact that it may or may not be overpriced for its level of depth is an unavoidable side effect of the lack of funding that was generated for the project in an experimental process that nevertheless succeeded in creating a game.

If you want to complain about mismanagement in development, planning or PR, at least acknowledge the extant product, and the final iteration of it that you haven't yet seen. Anything less is a willful and rhetorical misconstruction of the debate, and makes your statements into a tantrum.

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Could you debunk it for us?

I already did, but briefly: ballpark pessimistic figures, assuming 4 team members full time costing 10k per month, and assuming double fine get to keep a modest 10 dollars out of each sale once you account for taxes fees and discounts, it would need an average of 4k sales per month. The most successful alpha funded projects were much, much more successful than that (I'll let you look that bit up). So unless my numbers are off by a factor of dozens, consider it debunked

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Hmm, being pros and when this is your daily business they should have known what they're running into, at least to a certain degree. It's not like Dwarf Fortress/Prison Architect/... weren't around already and i suspect there is a financial difference if you're running such a project as a small Indie or @DF.

I like both TBS and RTS-games (well, some of them) but i also think that their audience very much depends on the level of complexity these games offer. The more complex, the smaller the audience might be because these games aren't this easy to handle compared to other genres. On the other side if the level of complexity isn't good enough, you won't be able to please the niche as well. Dunno, there are more aspects to be considered than just this.

I'm not this interested in Prison Architect because i don't want to manage a prison, at least not this one, maybe a prison with aliens/monsters/psychopaths/... and Dwarf Fortress looks and plays, well, like Dwarf Fortress. Therefore it does make some sense having a well designed RTS core with some nice gfx and controls in a nice setting but i wasn't into the gfx and i didn't like the idea of building a 2d space station in 3d space. I still might have bought the game some day in the future after it matured enough or in a good sale (when paying for maybe starting a game just once feels okay).

I remember that i also thought that the game was priced a little bit too high for what it was offering. If it's the same amount, it still is (considering the current state). Last but not least the experiences with the DFA and other Kickstarter games also had an influence on me. I'm more selective where to invest my money nowadays. I'm willing to give money in advance only for stuff i really want and/or have a good feeling about (doesn't matter if it's Early Access/Kickstarter or whatever).

Well, shit happens.

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KestrelPi: For the time being, I'm convinced by your ballpark numbers. It all seems a little bit pulled-out-of-the-butt, as they say (who?), but then again, the same is true of the comment in the RPS article (probably).

Here's another great comment from the RPS forums:

#include

using namespace std;

void main()

{

cout << "Welcome to Dwarf Fortress but with graphics and time travel!" << endl;

// TODO: implement game

// TODO: change engine to Unity maybe?

}

I’m releasing this as open source (the copyright remains mine so I can continue to sell the core product of course.) I can’t wait to see what the community does with it!

Tune in next week when I’ll be announcing another exciting new game.

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KestrelPi: For the time being, I'm convinced by your ballpark numbers. It all seems a little bit pulled-out-of-the-butt, as they say (who?), but then again, the same is true of the comment in the RPS article (probably).

Here's another great comment from the RPS forums:

#include

using namespace std;

void main()

{

cout << "Welcome to Dwarf Fortress but with graphics and time travel!" << endl;

// TODO: implement game

// TODO: change engine to Unity maybe?

}

I’m releasing this as open source (the copyright remains mine so I can continue to sell the core product of course.) I can’t wait to see what the community does with it!

Tune in next week when I’ll be announcing another exciting new game.

If it helps it seem a little less 'pulled out of the butt' I took the price, took off Steam's usual 30%, took off taxes that I'm aware of, and then took off a bit more just to be on the safe side to get to $10. That's probably slightly lowballed.

On the other hand, apparently the average cost of employing someone at DF is probably a bit more than 10k a month all told, so that might balance that out a bit.

The figures are probably off for all kinds of reasons. But they're probably not off by the orders of magnitude they'd have to be off for DF expecting top-tier alpha funding sales to make sense.

As for the comments, well I guess I just have a different opinion about what a good comment is ;)

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KestrelPi: For the time being, I'm convinced by your ballpark numbers. It all seems a little bit pulled-out-of-the-butt, as they say (who?), but then again, the same is true of the comment in the RPS article (probably).

It's not. That comment was written by an amateur programmer, most likely a student.

Here is what your program would look if it was written by a non amateur.

[

uuid(2573F8F4-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820)

]

/**

* Copyright © 2014, Double Fine Games

* All rights reserved.

*

* Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without

* modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

* 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright

* notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

* 2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright

* notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the

* documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

* 3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software

* must display the following acknowledgement:

* This product includes software developed by the .

* 4. Neither the name of the Double Fine Games nor the

* names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products

* derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

*

* THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY DOUBLE FINE GAMES ''AS IS'' AND ANY

* EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED

* WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE

* DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL DOUBLE FINE GAMES BE LIABLE FOR ANY

* DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES

* (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES;

* LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND

* ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT

* (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS

* SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

*

* FIXME #0: Implement the full game as given in the design spec.

* FIXME #1: Investigate the possibility of migrating to Unity

*/

library LHello

{

// bring in the master library

importlib("actimp.tlb");

importlib("actexp.tlb");

// bring in my interfaces

#include "pshlo.idl"

[

uuid(2573F8F5-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820)

]

cotype THello

{

interface IHello;

interface IPersistFile;

};

};

[

exe,

uuid(2573F890-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820)

]

module CHelloLib

{

// some code related header files

importheader();

importheader();

importheader();

importheader("pshlo.h");

importheader("shlo.hxx");

importheader("mycls.hxx");

// needed typelibs

importlib("actimp.tlb");

importlib("actexp.tlb");

importlib("thlo.tlb");

[

uuid(2573F891-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820),

aggregatable

]

coclass CHello

{

cotype THello;

};

};

#include "ipfix.hxx"

/**

*/

extern HANDLE hEvent;

class CHello : public CHelloBase

{

public:

IPFIX(CLSID_CHello);

CHello(IUnknown *pUnk);

~CHello();

HRESULT __stdcall PrintSz(LPWSTR pwszString);

private:

static int cObjRef;

};

#include

#include

#include

#include

#include "thlo.h"

#include "pshlo.h"

#include "shlo.hxx"

#include "mycls.hxx"

int CHello::cObjRef = 0;

CHello::CHello(IUnknown *pUnk) : CHelloBase(pUnk)

{

cObjRef++;

return;

}

HRESULT __stdcall CHello::PrintSz(LPWSTR pwszString)

{

printf("%ws\n", pwszString);

return(ResultFromScode(S_OK));

}

CHello::~CHello(void)

{

// when the object count goes to zero, stop the server

cObjRef--;

if( cObjRef == 0 )

PulseEvent(hEvent);

return;

}

#include

#include

#include "pshlo.h"

#include "shlo.hxx"

#include "mycls.hxx"

HANDLE hEvent;

int _cdecl main(

int argc,

char * argv[]

) {

ULONG ulRef;

DWORD dwRegistration;

CHelloCF *pCF = new CHelloCF();

hEvent = CreateEvent(NULL, FALSE, FALSE, NULL);

// Initialize the OLE libraries

CoInitializeEx(NULL, COINIT_MULTITHREADED);

CoRegisterClassObject(CLSID_CHello, pCF, CLSCTX_LOCAL_SERVER,

REGCLS_MULTIPLEUSE, &dwRegistration;);

// wait on an event to stop

WaitForSingleObject(hEvent, INFINITE);

// revoke and release the class object

CoRevokeClassObject(dwRegistration);

ulRef = pCF->Release();

// Tell OLE we are going away.

CoUninitialize();

return(0); }

extern CLSID CLSID_CHello;

extern UUID LIBID_CHelloLib;

CLSID CLSID_CHello = { /* 2573F891-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820 */

0x2573F891,

0xCFEE,

0x101A,

{ 0x9A, 0x9F, 0x00, 0xAA, 0x00, 0x34, 0x28, 0x20 }

};

UUID LIBID_CHelloLib = { /* 2573F890-CFEE-101A-9A9F-00AA00342820 */

0x2573F890,

0xCFEE,

0x101A,

{ 0x9A, 0x9F, 0x00, 0xAA, 0x00, 0x34, 0x28, 0x20 }

};

#include

#include

#include

#include

#include

#include "pshlo.h"

#include "shlo.hxx"

#include "clsid.h"

int _cdecl main(

int argc,

char * argv[]

) {

HRESULT hRslt;

IHello *pHello;

ULONG ulCnt;

IMoniker * pmk;

WCHAR wcsT[_MAX_PATH];

WCHAR wcsPath[2 * _MAX_PATH];

// get object path

wcsPath[0] = '\0';

wcsT[0] = '\0';

if( argc 1) {

mbstowcs(wcsPath, argv[1], strlen(argv[1]) + 1);

wcsupr(wcsPath);

}

else {

fprintf(stderr, "Object path must be specified\n");

return(1);

}

// get print string

if(argc 2)

mbstowcs(wcsT, argv[2], strlen(argv[2]) + 1);

else

wcscpy(wcsT, L"Welcome to Dwarf Fortress but with graphics and time travel!");

printf("Linking to object %ws\n", wcsPath);

printf("Text String %ws\n", wcsT);

// Initialize the OLE libraries

hRslt = CoInitializeEx(NULL, COINIT_MULTITHREADED);

if(SUCCEEDED(hRslt)) {

hRslt = CreateFileMoniker(wcsPath, &pmk;);

if(SUCCEEDED(hRslt))

hRslt = BindMoniker(pmk, 0, IID_IHello, (void **)&pHello;);

if(SUCCEEDED(hRslt)) {

// print a string out

pHello->PrintSz(wcsT);

Sleep(2000);

ulCnt = pHello->Release();

}

else

printf("Failure to connect, status: %lx", hRslt);

// Tell OLE we are going away.

CoUninitialize();

}

return(0);

}

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Tim,

I don't know if you continue to read these posts or not. But in case you do, I hope you read this post and consider it very seriously. I have been a life long fan of your work since I was in my early teens and first played Full Throttle. I have loved and defended you and DF every step of the way, including what I felt like were unfair attacks on the Broken Age development. So I sit here a little disillusioned by what DF has ultimately done with Spacebase. You have attempted to answer some questions, but it is all very inadequate for a very indefensible approach that DF has taken. This is game abandonment. This is fan abandonment. There's no other way to slice it no matter how hard you and DF may try.

Do you realize there **were** (emphasize past tense) fans out there like me that were going to buy Spacebase once an adequate, more realized version of the game was released? It didn't make the money you were hoping for in early access? Wut? That's because there are a lot of people like me that were simply waiting for the game to be *truly* finished and released. Did you consider at all the potential sales once that happened? I was looking forward to a feature complete...or, at least, close to feature complete...version of Spacebase that I would have happily paid full price for. Not anymore.

Do you realize that literally every review of Spacebase on Steam is negative? No matter how much I scrolled down, I could not find a single positive review. Doesn't that tell you anything? Doesn't that make you embarrassed?

Do you realize that these sorts of actions seriously damage the social capital that you and DF have worked very hard to build up over the years? It takes years and years to build up enough social capital for people to trust you, but you can destroy that trust instantly. Do you realize how badly this will hurt your chances of having another successful Kickstarter, early access game, or any type of crowd-funding? Your Broken Age/DF adventure was so successful because people trusted you and DF to deliver. How can we trust you now after abandoning Spacebase after so many of your fans purchased it with the promise (whether it was directly promised or insinuated) of what Spacebase would become?

Again, I sit here disillusioned, writing this to a guy that was, in a sense, one of my childhood icons. I write that laughing at myself a little because I don't really believe in looking up to people in that way. But I suppose your games hit a special part of my adolescence, and I thought you were different. It doesn't mean you're a bad guy or that DF is a bad company. But it means that you guys aren't who I thought you were. It means that maybe you and your company aren't special or different like I thought you were.

Maybe someday, you and your company will be able to build that social capital back up. Maybe someday, I will think about you and your company being special and different than all the others. But that will take a lot of time and effort. Like I said, it takes years to build up that kind of trust and only seconds and a bad decision to destroy it.

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You should pick it up when they release 1.0. Spacebase is pretty fun. They've done a good job building a little resource/social sim. I like it and it runs in linux.

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You should pick it up when they release 1.0. Spacebase is pretty fun. They've done a good job building a little resource/social sim. I like it and it runs in linux.

Would disagree, it's hard to get more than 2 or 3 hours before you exhaust the features and the replayability is very low, with very little variation between games. It's a $5 game at best, far, far from $25.

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Tim,

I don't know if you continue to read these posts or not. But in case you do, I hope you read this post and consider it very seriously. I have been a life long fan of your work since I was in my early teens and first played Full Throttle. I have loved and defended you and DF every step of the way, including what I felt like were unfair attacks on the Broken Age development. So I sit here a little disillusioned by what DF has ultimately done with Spacebase. You have attempted to answer some questions, but it is all very inadequate for a very indefensible approach that DF has taken. This is game abandonment. This is fan abandonment. There's no other way to slice it no matter how hard you and DF may try.

Do you realize there **were** (emphasize past tense) fans out there like me that were going to buy Spacebase once an adequate, more realized version of the game was released? It didn't make the money you were hoping for in early access? Wut? That's because there are a lot of people like me that were simply waiting for the game to be *truly* finished and released. Did you consider at all the potential sales once that happened? I was looking forward to a feature complete...or, at least, close to feature complete...version of Spacebase that I would have happily paid full price for. Not anymore.

Do you realize that literally every review of Spacebase on Steam is negative? No matter how much I scrolled down, I could not find a single positive review. Doesn't that tell you anything? Doesn't that make you embarrassed?

Do you realize that these sorts of actions seriously damage the social capital that you and DF have worked very hard to build up over the years? It takes years and years to build up enough social capital for people to trust you, but you can destroy that trust instantly. Do you realize how badly this will hurt your chances of having another successful Kickstarter, early access game, or any type of crowd-funding? Your Broken Age/DF adventure was so successful because people trusted you and DF to deliver. How can we trust you now after abandoning Spacebase after so many of your fans purchased it with the promise (whether it was directly promised or insinuated) of what Spacebase would become?

Again, I sit here disillusioned, writing this to a guy that was, in a sense, one of my childhood icons. I write that laughing at myself a little because I don't really believe in looking up to people in that way. But I suppose your games hit a special part of my adolescence, and I thought you were different. It doesn't mean you're a bad guy or that DF is a bad company. But it means that you guys aren't who I thought you were. It means that maybe you and your company aren't special or different like I thought you were.

Maybe someday, you and your company will be able to build that social capital back up. Maybe someday, I will think about you and your company being special and different than all the others. But that will take a lot of time and effort. Like I said, it takes years to build up that kind of trust and only seconds and a bad decision to destroy it.

I empathize, but this is a bit much.

They're a small studio, popular, but they're still a small studio. If you are a DF fan you know that they don't just make decisions lightly. They do actually think of their fans. You say there are a lot of you that would have purchased the game, where are on the numbers on that? I can't spend the hundreds of thousands to make a game in the hopes that someone will buy it. This works for an indie dev because they have no overhead and either have a job on the side or some other means to support. A small studio can't afford the same "luxury." They can shop the game around maybe to see if someone will invest, but if the money isn't there production can't continue. This happens all the time in games, we just have a front row seat thanks to Early Access.

I scrolled for about two seconds and found a few positive reviews, but that is neither here nor there. A glut of negative reviews have come about from people angry about the release of the game. Entirely justified and I get it. I'm sure they don't appreciate seeing people not enjoy their game and as a dev (not at DF or related in any way) who has watched a few games fold beneath him you asking if we're embarrassed kind of pours salt on the wound. We don't do this for the money, it's not a high paying job. A programmer could make twice as much elsewhere, an artist could make more doing graphic design or UI/UX, etc. We do it because we want to make something good and when it doesn't/gets shut down it sucks. Give them a break. It's ok to be upset and frustrated, but don't take it out on the devs.

If your trust is so easily broken after one misstep I'm sorry, I have nothing I can do for you. They've had 3 crowdfunding endeavors so far with Broken Age and Massive Chalice successes. They're 2 for 3 that's pretty darn good in my book. I can trust them pretty easily. They're a company who has done great work in the past, continues to do great work and has delivered on 2 campaigns. And you can't hold someone to a promise that you made in your own mind. A list of features they label as things they'd like to implement in game is not a promise. Now they could have communicated better and I think everyone agrees there. But Early Access states that you shouldn't back a game unless you like it in the form it's in currently because there is no guarantee it will see release. DF themselves stated that they'd continue developing so long as the funds and support was there. They have the support but no funds. Money doesn't come from nothing.

I hope with time to really think on this whole situation dispassionately you'll realize that it sucks to be sure, but it's not that bad. And I hope Tim answers some of your questions. Devs really don't do this stuff for themselves, we really do get a kick out of seeing people enjoy our creations.

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If your trust is so easily broken after one misstep I’m sorry, I have nothing I can do for you. They’ve had 3 crowdfunding endeavors so far with Broken Age and Massive Chalice successes. They’re 2 for 3 that’s pretty darn good in my book. I can trust them pretty easily. They’re a company who has done great work in the past, continues to do great work and has delivered on 2 campaigns. And you can’t hold someone to a promise that you made in your own mind. A list of features they label as things they’d like to implement in game is not a promise. Now they could have communicated better and I think everyone agrees there. But Early Access states that you shouldn’t back a game unless you like it in the form it’s in currently because there is no guarantee it will see release. DF themselves stated that they’d continue developing so long as the funds and support was there. They have the support but no funds. Money doesn’t come from nothing.

To be fair Massive Chalice isn't out yet, we can't buy it, and Broken Age was split in two parts (the second of which is still in development). Hack 'n Slash is the only technically complete product delivered in recent memory.

That said Broken Age and Massive Chalice are the first and last games I tend to back.

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@the hard working people thing:

I find such statements always kind of unlucky as they somehow imply that other people might not be working hard in their daily jobs too.

If humans have the chance to, they are doing things they are interested in the most and feel comfortable about whilst being able to afford a living. Then there is no difference if you're doing a job for the money, fame, fun or for altruistic reasons as it always comes down to rewarding you with whatever is the most important aspect to you and gives you the most satisfaction. If one dev gets a kick out of doing a software for free, it's just the same as another dev who wants lots of money from his work. But for the people you're trying to describe it's easy to identify their dream jobs. Without a family, you stop caring about how many hours you're working on your projects and silently you might be hoping that your boss isn't gonna notice that you would do the same work also for less or even for free, especially when you're a perfectionist.

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It's astounding to me that people consider Broken Age and Massive Chalice to be crowdfunding successes.

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"If your trust is so easily broken after one misstep I'm sorry, I have nothing I can do for you."

I can probably agree with this. I wouldn't say that my trust of DF is COMPLETELY broken. But I will think twice before funding something that's not made or finished. I still love Tim and his creations. There's a part of my adolescence that will always be indebted to Tim. I still love DF. I think they make amazing and unique experiences.

BUT...

This wasn't just "one misstep". This was a BIG misstep. DF left a lot of fans out in the cold with Spacebase. Even when I heard early buyers of Spacebase talk about the long releases between alpha builds, I still had no doubt in my mind that DF would come through. I mean, this was DF. This was Tim Schafer. There was no question that they would make good. So the possible extremeness of my reaction came from the complete shock I had when I read that DF...of all developers...probably my favorite and most loved developer...was doing something I never thought in a million years they'd do: They were giving up on a game that many, many people already committed money to because these fans of DF trusted DF to come through. It was like a punch in the gut. And also to hear the craziness that made DF believe they wouldn't make their money back (whoever at DF wanted to give up Spacebase because early access numbers weren't high enough need to have their business degrees revoked...I strongly believe there are a lot of people like me that were waiting to buy the game once it was actually finished).

So yes, it was one misstep. But it was a BIG misstep. And yes, I still have love and trust for DF. But there's no question that it has diminished as a result of this misstep.

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If your trust is so easily broken after one misstep I’m sorry, I have nothing I can do for you. They’ve had 3 crowdfunding endeavors so far with Broken Age and Massive Chalice successes. They’re 2 for 3 that’s pretty darn good in my book. I can trust them pretty easily. They’re a company who has done great work in the past, continues to do great work and has delivered on 2 campaigns. And you can’t hold someone to a promise that you made in your own mind. A list of features they label as things they’d like to implement in game is not a promise. Now they could have communicated better and I think everyone agrees there. But Early Access states that you shouldn’t back a game unless you like it in the form it’s in currently because there is no guarantee it will see release. DF themselves stated that they’d continue developing so long as the funds and support was there. They have the support but no funds. Money doesn’t come from nothing.

To be fair Massive Chalice isn't out yet, we can't buy it, and Broken Age was split in two parts (the second of which is still in development). Hack 'n Slash is the only technically complete product delivered in recent memory.

That said Broken Age and Massive Chalice are the first and last games I tend to back.

The latter post is correct. There is a gap between being successfully funded and being a successful game. Horribad games get funded on a daily basis now, sadly, but that doesn't mean they're goo games. It just means, like with Spacebase, whoever was doing it got enough sucker/fans to buy into their idea. Broken Age had to be broken into two parts. They raised something like, what, $3m for it and that wasn't enough to maintain the development of a complete point and click adventure game? I mean I am pretty certain Pillars of Eternity is a much larger scope game and hasn't had to dip back in.

The problem is that you're blaming the victim here. DF wasn't doing a normal early access game and that has been established. This was their experiment and they didn't let us in on the idea that this was an experiment until they decided to not experiment anymore.

We've all sadly been Schafer'd.

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Obviously, spending more money than we were making isn’t something we can afford to do

Once upon a time, this was called "development." I get that there aren't infinite resources, but I feel like DF should have planned to get this to a point further than it is, even if it didn't do everything they hoped. There's always things that get cut from a product, but I just don't feel like this was anywhere near "complete."

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It's astounding to me that people consider Broken Age and Massive Chalice to be crowdfunding successes.
I'll consider BA a success after part 2 comes out. Right now, it's a pending success.

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It's astounding to me that people consider Broken Age and Massive Chalice to be crowdfunding successes.
I'll consider BA a success after part 2 comes out. Right now, it's a pending success.

It's a crowdfunding success no matter how it turns out! No matter how it was funded! Kinda like one of those games you win just by participating huh.

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It's astounding to me that people consider Broken Age and Massive Chalice to be crowdfunding successes.
I'll consider BA a success after part 2 comes out. Right now, it's a pending success.

It's a crowdfunding success no matter how it turns out! No matter how it was funded! Kinda like one of those games you win just by participating huh.

Well no, I'm operating on the assumption that the second part is as strong as the first. It could be horrible in which case I'd not really consider it a success, but that would be surprising to me.

I've backed my share of disappointing or failed projects, alas. They haven't really soured me on the whole concept, but this one kind of has soured me on Early Access. It just feels like watching half a movie and not getting to see the end.

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Obviously, spending more money than we were making isn’t something we can afford to do

Once upon a time, this was called "development." I get that there aren't infinite resources, but I feel like DF should have planned to get this to a point further than it is, even if it didn't do everything they hoped. There's always things that get cut from a product, but I just don't feel like this was anywhere near "complete."

In addition to what early access buyers contributed, I believe the game received investment from Indie Fund and others like Morgan Webb of $400,000 (apparently they got their money back and presumably a profit within two weeks).

http://indie-fund.com/2013/11/spacebase-df-9-recoups-investment-in-two-weeks/

Spacebase DF-9 went into open alpha last month and recouped the entire $400k investment two weeks from that date. 85% of the revenue came in via Steam Early Access, and the other 15% via direct sales by Double Fine.

$400,000+ goes quick. Also assuming sales, tapered off pretty quick after that

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Obviously, spending more money than we were making isn’t something we can afford to do

Once upon a time, this was called "development." I get that there aren't infinite resources, but I feel like DF should have planned to get this to a point further than it is, even if it didn't do everything they hoped. There's always things that get cut from a product, but I just don't feel like this was anywhere near "complete."

In addition to what early access buyers contributed, I believe the game received investment from Indie Fund and others like Morgan Webb of $400,000 (apparently they got their money back and presumably a profit within two weeks).

http://indie-fund.com/2013/11/spacebase-df-9-recoups-investment-in-two-weeks/

Spacebase DF-9 went into open alpha last month and recouped the entire $400k investment two weeks from that date. 85% of the revenue came in via Steam Early Access, and the other 15% via direct sales by Double Fine.

$400,000+ goes quick. Also assuming sales, tapered off pretty quick after that

I don't understand it when people talk about the early access sales tapering off. Yea...they tapered off because it's early access and the game is far from complete. The early access sales were probably something like 10% of the sales you would have actually seen if you had actually finished the game and released it. There are a lot of people like me that were just waiting for DF to release a decent final product. Again, isn't this what game development is? Isn't this was business is? You're not supposed to make a bunch of money BEFORE a game is finished. You're supposed to make a bunch of money AFTER a GOOD game is released. It appears by Tim's response that he and DF have forgotten this important fact.

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