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countzrow

The Future of Spacebase DF-9?

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Obviously, this is what you get for putting up cash on a beta project, but I want to ask a straight question to any DF reps.

Is Spacebase DF-9 no longer being developed?

As an optimistic and full package paying customer can I expect anything for my contribution or is it *poof*?

All the best,

One of the paying ones...

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1. You're kind of late to the "make an account just to shitpost about Spacebase" bandwagon, aren't you? Did you just now find out that the beta ended? There are threads and letters from the developers that detail the situation in full.

2. Can you "expect anything for your contribution"? Yeah. A copy of the game. You got that, right? Did you buy something else and not receive it?

3. There's a forum section just for Spacebase and this isn't it.

4. Even better, try support@doublefine.com or info@doublefine.com . You know, ask the people in charge of this sort of thing directly, instead of posting a vaguely titled forum thread that DF staff might not even see?

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Moved to the correct sub forum. Like CrashFu wrote, emailing support@doublefine.com is your best bet if you have an issue you want Double Fine to address. Additionally, you should have received a free copy of Hack 'n' Slash on Steam as recompense.

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Thanks CrashFu, very helpful. I've never seen a forum before...

I'm not late, I'm an early adopter. Just not a forum junkie. I heard they had laid off some employees and I was curious if this was going to impact a game I'd already paid for. I was plowing through the forums and didn't find any direct answers, so if you have a link or something... yeah, that would be great.

I will email the company directly, but thought it wouldn't hurt to look on the forums first. So glad I did.

There is a model for developing games like this and having people put down money in beta should actually increase the odds of funding the project, not shuttering it. Maybe there wasn't as much interest as initially anticipated, maybe there wasn't anywhere else to go with a space sim. I'm curious more than anything.

Nobody owes me anything, I'm just surprised and maybe a little disappointed.

Cheers,

Count

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Contacting DF's support is useless. There is no development team for DF-9 anymore and nobody's working on the game currently, the whole team was laid off.

Double Fine might eventually address some of the existing issues later, once other projects are finished and their programmers end up having nothing else to do.

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Pardon me, but do we know? We know team leader JP Lebreton was laid off. But the team wasn't just him, and do we know the status of the others? Anyway, even if they have not been laid off, in all likelihood the team had been dismantled even before the layoffs.

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Thanks CrashFu, very helpful. I've never seen a forum before...

I'm not late, I'm an early adopter. Just not a forum junkie. I heard they had laid off some employees and I was curious if this was going to impact a game I'd already paid for. I was plowing through the forums and didn't find any direct answers, so if you have a link or something... yeah, that would be great.

I will email the company directly, but thought it wouldn't hurt to look on the forums first. So glad I did.

There is a model for developing games like this and having people put down money in beta should actually increase the odds of funding the project, not shuttering it. Maybe there wasn't as much interest as initially anticipated, maybe there wasn't anywhere else to go with a space sim. I'm curious more than anything.

Nobody owes me anything, I'm just surprised and maybe a little disappointed.

Cheers,

Count

My previous post was really rude and I apologize for that; We've had to deal with a lot of trolls and dissenters ever since the announcement that Spacebase was getting its final content patch.

The short version here is that the game was not selling well, and because of that was going over its development budget.. like, way over.. and Double Fine sadly could not afford to keep sinking money into a game nobody was buying.

As of the final content patch, it has MOST of its anticipated features, just lacking some minor things like teleporters and flamethrowers, and some bugs show up here or there but the game is still mostly playable (and I for one enjoy it how it is now)... but I guess some people were expecting something else and are upset that more content won't be coming, other than player mods... or, quite possibly, there are some people who just have a beef with Double Fine and were looking for any excuse to be angry at them.

Sorry for jumping the gun and assuming you were another one of them.

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OP, as I am sure you have noticed, the forums are dead. The few people trying to mod the game are struggling because from what I hear the code is atrocious for what were supposed to be professionals. The game doesn't even have close to the amount of 'anticipated features' and you may get 1 -2 hours out of play before you literally run out of content because the game is essentially a skeleton. Double Fine found early investment to the tune of $400k and was able to pay that back in a very short period of time. The game was updated, rarely, over the course of a year with each patch being pretty content light. DF banked on their reputation to use the Steam Early Access program to essentially kickstart this game. It appears they made no plans beyond the initial $400k acquired from investors. As the final F-You they released the source code and told the fans to make their own game out what skeleton had been constructed in a year.

My suggestion would be to try it, you might like it if you enjoy very little content and extremely annoying bugs. There is a game in development now that already contains most of the features promised by the devs and is still in early access for less than the initial (and current) price of SB DF-9. It is called The Spatials and it look extremely promising. It has base building, a large research tree, planetary missions, some minor RPG elements with characters, and is being actively developed - and by that I mean there are updates released fast and thick, not once every third month. The only people who come to these forums are those who hold Tim Schafer and DF as Gods. He made some funny adventure games in the 90's and a couple of mediocre but 'quirky' platformers. He never made simulations or base builders. But on the bright side due to Spacebase DF-9 and other dead-beat devs like them Valve has changed the early access policy to not be so consumer un-friendly.

tl;dr: You got screwed, take it and go on.

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We know the whole team was dismantled, although we don't know if they were all fired. They did lay off quite a few people though, so there might not be anyone left who was involved in the game's design. This would make it very unlikely that the development would ever continue beyond simple bugfixes.

Hey guys, unfortunately there's currently no team dedicated to Spacebase or plans to further patch the game. We've noted this issue though and hope to get to it should programing bandwidth free up.

You can find the above quote here: http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/15918/

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As the final F-You they released the source code and told the fans to make their own game out what skeleton had been constructed in a year.

And as the final FINAL F-You they never provided a license with the source code. Everyone making mods are infringing on Double Fine's copyrights in a way that's an actual crime (at least in my country, Finland).

They need to grant us a license that states what we're allowed to do with the code, but it appears they no longer care now that the gaming news sites aren't writing about this fiasco any longer.

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OP, as I am sure you have noticed, the forums are dead. The few people trying to mod the game are struggling because from what I hear the code is atrocious for what were supposed to be professionals. The game doesn't even have close to the amount of 'anticipated features' and you may get 1 -2 hours out of play before you literally run out of content because the game is essentially a skeleton. Double Fine found early investment to the tune of $400k and was able to pay that back in a very short period of time. The game was updated, rarely, over the course of a year with each patch being pretty content light. DF banked on their reputation to use the Steam Early Access program to essentially kickstart this game. It appears they made no plans beyond the initial $400k acquired from investors. As the final F-You they released the source code and told the fans to make their own game out what skeleton had been constructed in a year.

My suggestion would be to try it, you might like it if you enjoy very little content and extremely annoying bugs. There is a game in development now that already contains most of the features promised by the devs and is still in early access for less than the initial (and current) price of SB DF-9. It is called The Spatials and it look extremely promising. It has base building, a large research tree, planetary missions, some minor RPG elements with characters, and is being actively developed - and by that I mean there are updates released fast and thick, not once every third month. The only people who come to these forums are those who hold Tim Schafer and DF as Gods. He made some funny adventure games in the 90's and a couple of mediocre but 'quirky' platformers. He never made simulations or base builders. But on the bright side due to Spacebase DF-9 and other dead-beat devs like them Valve has changed the early access policy to not be so consumer un-friendly.

tl;dr: You got screwed, take it and go on.

It is amazing how little a team of highly paid professionals gone done in a year.

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Thanks everyone. I appreciate the posts. I kind of wondered how things were going and those are some helpful details. I am looking forward to playing the latest version, and I'm sure a lot has been fixed since I last tried it. I just know there were some significant issues. I'll go play a little and see how the experience goes.

Thanks CrashFu, you seem like a good guy. Appreciate you sharing some insight.

All the best everyone!

Count

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Hi countzrow,

As Flesk mentioned, you should also have a free copy of Hack 'n' Slash from Double Fine. It's a thank you for being an early supporter and an acknowledgment that SpaceBase development did not last as long as hoped. (Tim Schafer and JP LeBreton gave some short explanations here and here, if you want to read what happened with Spacebase, but essentially it's as CrashFu summarized.)

Hack 'n' Slash won't show up in your Steam games list automatically; you have to redeem it by going to the Gifts section of your Steam inventory as explained here. Let us know here on the forums if you have trouble, or contact support@doublefine.com

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A Team was working on SBDF 9 for a year. Game did not receive enough funds from early access "long term" to support it's development and could not fund the team. They have announced no one is working on the game. Supposedly / figuratively each employee is paid 10 grand a month. So lets take a look at the team shall we?

Ew0Jc97.jpg

Project Lead JP LeBreton

Senior Producer Gabe Miller

Lead Programmer Matt Franklin

Lead Artist Jeremy Mitchell

Graphics Programmer Ben Burbank

Programming Kee Chi

Patrick Conner

Nathan Martz

Ben Peck

Character Modeler Jeremy Natividad

Interface Design Jake Rodkin

Animators Elliott Roberts

Ray Crook

Chris Lam

Materials Kristen Russell

Additional Art Derek Brand

Razmig Mavlian

Geoff Soulis

Frederik Storm

Sound Designers Brian Correia

Camden Stoddard

Music Chris Remo

Lead Tester Tony Lo

Twenty three people were or had worked on Spacebase DF9. And they were expecting early access to fund its development for around five years is how the story went. How is this financially feasible with that size of a team? Looking at this now I am beside myself. As a contractor myself and knowing my budgets and limits I'm to make calls as to how many people I can staff and how much material I need so on and so on. I even have to make the call to hire in people that can fill multiple roles so as to avoid over staffing (Bloating). And what did a 23 crew team bring within a year? A skeleton game, six updates and minor bug patches. Also mind you the game still contains bugs ( http://spacebase.amloessb.com/ This is a bug list that was left unfinished.) and crashes. Do I also need to direct your attention to Linux and Mac owners, they have it the worse.

There are one man / part time game developers out there that have created games that far surpass what this 23 crew team did. That's the big question if you really want to get down and gritty. Who really worked on this full time and why was the output so lacking?

team.jpg

team.jpg.1ca839a630db60d76ccd81282975a72

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First off, the $10k/month amount was a very rough estimate, and it's not how much an employee is paid, but how much they cost the studio, which is a different thing.

Second, there was never a 23 man team, as I'm sure you realise. The team was 3-4 people for the most part except for a brief opening stint to get the first alpha rolling, and they used resources available within the studio at large for specific things they needed at the time they needed them, because that's what medium sized multi-project studios do.

For a game that's just been in development for one and a half years (if the time from AF2012 to Early Access is counted as dev time, which a certain portion was, but probably not even close to the entire stretch) with an average of 3-4 developers on it, that's not bad at all. Most one-two man teams either spend a lot more time on their game, or produce much smaller games in their scope or production values.

I'm not saying the game is brilliant and that there's no flaws in it. There certainly are missing desired/expected features (whether that expectation/desire was fully realistic or not I'll leave as a whole different issue), bad performance and bugs with the game and disappointments with the handling of the communication about it. But the game is far from all out bad. It's not an incredible must-play game, but it's not a total dud - in fact, for the most part, it's still an enjoyable game.

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Second, there was never a 23 man team, as I'm sure you realise. The team was 3-4 people for the most part except for a brief opening stint to get the first alpha rolling, and they used resources available within the studio at large for specific things they needed at the time they needed them, because that's what medium sized multi-project studios do.

Right, development is always about rolling people on and off the team, depending on what stage things are at. Programmers likely aren't on the project during the initial management and layout phase which is a lot of producing, art, and writing. Those people start to get pulled out once material is available for programmers to hack around in, etc.

Smiles

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Twenty three people were or had worked on Spacebase DF9. Were or had worked on game.

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Twenty three people were or had worked on Spacebase DF9. Were or had worked on game.

That was just at the beginning. It was a 3 to 4 man team, as has been stated by JP himself on here. Jake Rodkin wasn't permanently designing the interface, Chris Remo wasn't constantly recording new music, Gabe Miller wasn't spending all day, every day, "producing", etc. etc. The figures for what they needed and when are all broken down here:

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/15832/P45/#369851

Short version: They needed 5,000 sales a month to keep developing (Prison Architect has had 14,000 a month for two years, on average).

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Twenty three people were or had worked on Spacebase DF9. Were or had worked on game.

That was just at the beginning. It was a 3 to 4 man team, as has been stated by JP himself on here. Jake Rodkin wasn't permanently designing the interface, Chris Remo wasn't constantly recording new music, Gabe Miller wasn't spending all day, every day, "producing", etc. etc. The figures for what they needed and when are all broken down here:

http://www.doublefine.com/forums/viewthread/15832/P45/#369851

Short version: They needed 5,000 sales a month to keep developing.

Addendum - if 5k sales per month sounds over-optimistic, it isn't. What they actually needed was an influx of sales at the beginning, which would have been a lot more than 5k sales in the first couple of months. They got that. Then they would have needed the long tail, which was sustained sales, which would be less than 5k per month, but averaging out to 5k per month over time.

This isn't particularly big figures, much smaller than the more successful early access titles. Yes, one can very easily question whether they started on early access with enough content, and if they made the right decisions regarding communication and updates - I don't think anyone disputes that some big mistakes were made.

But the idea that their expectations for sales on this project were just out of control unrealistic doesn't seem to hold up. Their expectations were modest in comparison with similar projects, but the game flopped. It's that simple.

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the game flopped. It's that simple.

Yeah, but why couldn't they just pay the programmers with magic beans...????!!!!!!111

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Gotcha so the whole 10k a month per employee is only for Broken age workers? And how much was being given per month to the workers on Spacebase df 9?

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The same, since that's the cost per person to run a studio in San Francisco. It cost 10,000 per month per employee (that's not just salary, it's the cost for salaries, health insurance (which is full medical and dental), incidental insurance in case an employee gets hurt on the job, each employee's share of rent/taxes/utilities, etc) but there were only 3 to 4 people permanently on the Spacebase team at a time. Plus, since Spacebase wasn't a profitable venture, the employees who worked on Spacebase were spread out over other projects, so the total cost was absorbed somewhat, which allowed Spacebase development to go on for longer than it would have if it had the manpower of Broken Age behind it.

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This. This is the future of Spacebase DF-9. It had so much potential, and now everyone's just floating around :(

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This. This is the future of Spacebase DF-9. It had so much potential, and now everyone's just floating around :(

Nice video. The wonderful newbie trap of one O2 generator only supporting 2.5 people instead of the stated 3 - good luck surviving with just one...

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Hey, just saw JP has a patreon rather than get stuck in another studio job. FYI for any JP fans out there.

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This. This is the future of Spacebase DF-9. It had so much potential, and now everyone's just floating around :(

Nice video. The wonderful newbie trap of one O2 generator only supporting 2.5 people instead of the stated 3 - good luck surviving with just one...

yeah.. about that.. this game just feels like one big screw-you-for-buying-our-stuff. :| newbie traps PAH

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Hey, just saw JP has a patreon rather than get stuck in another studio job. FYI for any JP fans out there.

I noticed he is supporting Zoe Quinn, so I won't be supporting him. I am not paying someone to keep someone up who makes a living being a professional victim. Since the whole GamersGate thing and the launch of this ridiculous Crash Override thing it seems to be easy to make money off being an alarmist on both sides. I guess I would profiteer off all that publicity too.

Either way, that is way off topic. The game is dead, don't buy it.

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