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Diduz76

Some things I'd like to know before I back the project

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Hi! First of all, Psychonauts 2 is a great idea. I love it. I backed Broken Age for 100$ and I'm willing to do the same for Psychonauts 2, but there are some things that worry me after the last experience. This is not trolling, I'd really like to know these things. Here I go, please don't kill me. :-)

1) Are there stretch goals? We're getting to 3.3 millions pretty fast, is there a plan to use all the extra money in a clear way? I fear the "x10" Broken Age effect which could modify the original project too much.

2) Strictly linked to n.1: could we know the exact amount of money that Double Fine and the mysterious partner want to invest in the project?

3) Will the project use each and every Double Fine employee (50+ members)?

4) Strictly linked to n. 3: if the whole Double Fine will be working on the game, there could be no way to find extra money if the project goes overbudget. When this happened with Broken Age, Double Fine got the money by portings, other games and other projects. If the whole team is working on Psychonauts 2, you would be forced to sell the game in episodes to get the needed money. That didn't necessarily help Broken Age: I mean, episodic release was effective to finish the game but I don't think it really helped the game reception and balance. Not to mention that the genre of Psychonauts 2 wouldn't fit episodic release all that well.

I look forward to all the answers you are able to provide.

I'm here. My wallet is almost ready, but it's wary. :-P

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I fear the "x10" Broken Age effect which could modify the original project too much.

But wasn't it good that we got a better game than what was promised?

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I fear the "x10" Broken Age effect which could modify the original project too much.

But wasn't it good that we got a better game than what was promised?

That's... debatable.

Personally I feel it's good to stick to the original design of the game and use any extra money to enhance it (improved graphics, orchestral soundtrack, etc) rather than revise the scope of the project, which can spiral out of control - which, let's be honest, is kinda what happened with Broken Age.

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That's... debatable.

Personally I feel it's good to stick to the original design of the game and use any extra money to enhance it rather than revise the scope of the project, which can spiral out of control - which, let's be honest, is kinda what happened with Broken Age.

They were set to do a small, simple game for $400,000. They got more than 8x that amount. What exactly were they supposed to do with that money? Do the small $400,000 game and spend $3 million in enhancements? Come on...

With the amount they got, they had the opportunity to do a much better game than they set out to do. They took that opportunity, fortunately.

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Personally I feel it's good to stick to the original design of the game and use any extra money to enhance it (improved graphics, orchestral soundtrack, etc) rather than revise the scope of the project, which can spiral out of control - which, let's be honest, is kinda what happened with Broken Age.

I understand your point and agree there were some lack of control in the DFA-project and it should have been better managed, but I'm sure some of that extra money was used to enhance graphics, musics and sounds. I doubt Broken Age would have made people happier if it has been this mini-adventure game delivered on time, made with $300k on basics and almost $3M on graphics and music. People would have cried out "this is what you get on $3M? Yeah the pixels and soundwaves are perfect but the game is short and lacks x, y and z what you can find in any indie game made with budget of fraction of yours!"

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Based on Tim's answer to the scope question in other interviews, it shouldn't be a problem. Here is the main difference:

BROKEN AGE:

This project started with absolutely zero work done.

No writing done.

No design documents.

No art.

No prototype.

The game was conceived as some kind of small flash game (think Newgrounds size).

Reasons some people think it "got mismanaged" or "got too big"

--Making a 3.3 million dollar browser game is kind of a bizarre proposition. Unless DF was just going to pocket that money, it had to rescope.

--It did rescope, but ABSOLUTELY NO PLANNING HAD BEEN DONE, so it was all being done from scratch, on the fly, untested, no work done.

--Broken Age was the complete wild west

Also worth noting:

--Broken Age was one of the first major crowdfunded game projects. Commonplace concepts like "stretch goals" didn't exist then

PSYCHONAUTS 2:

Work has already been done (characters modeled).

Writing has been done.

Design concepts have been done.

Art/concepting has been done.

It is a sequel to an existing property, so a lot of the concept/story work is already done.

THE SCOPE IS ALREADY PLANNED OUT.

The idea and size of the game is pretty much locked at the size of the first game, maybe give or take a brain world depending on how much money is raised. But the psychonauts structure is such that adding or removing brain worlds is a very modular and easy stretch goal, if that even happens.

It's not even close to the same situation.

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That's... debatable.

Personally I feel it's good to stick to the original design of the game and use any extra money to enhance it rather than revise the scope of the project, which can spiral out of control - which, let's be honest, is kinda what happened with Broken Age.

They were set to do a small, simple game for $400,000. They got more than 8x that amount. What exactly were they supposed to do with that money? Do the small $400,000 game and spend $3 million in enhancements? Come on...

With the amount they got, they had the opportunity to do a much better game than they set out to do. They took that opportunity, fortunately.

I'm not saying they shouldn't have made a better game. I'm saying they should have had a much better plan for doing so.

Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be an issue here, so I guess the point is kind of moot.

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I'm curious about what total budget will be with the 3.3million, double fine's savings and mystery partners. So I can get more of a sense of the scope of the game.

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I'm curious about what total budget will be with the 3.3million, double fine's savings and mystery partners. So I can get more of a sense of the scope of the game.
They've already said - roughly the same as the original game, around $10-13 million.
...as we've previously said we need to raise at least the same amount that went into making the original Psychonauts, which had a budget in the $10-13.5m range.

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Oops. Corrected a typo. I meant to say it SHOULDN'T be a problem in last post. =]

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TFW you write out a whole post and then it gets lost O_O Bleh.

Sorry these answers are a bit smaller than they were in the first draft!

1. There are, we will talk about them next week or so. Essentially though the higher budget gives us more scope to make a better game, with more languages, more testing, and more people working on it.

2. We're unable to be explicit about the split there, however, with the $3.3m we'd get into the $10-13.5m range that we need to make the game.

3. Not at first but there is a chance it will later on yes. We still have Headlander and DOTT to finish, and we'l likely have other smaller projects going on alongside Psychonauts 2.

4. That situation you describe is a bit more complex than that, but we agree - we have no intention of dividing the game into chunks.

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EDIT: I spent 30 minutes to write a post, while Spaff was answering to me! :-P

Thanks a lot, I hope I didn't sound too negative.

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I guess before I back I have to ask what the actual pitch is, because I can't tell from the Kickstarter Fig page.

We know it's going to be a sequel to Psychonauts, feature 4 of the same characters (Sasha, Milla, Raz and Lily), and will be a 3D platformer with psychic powers that uses Psychonauts HQ as its hub. We also know the psychonauts aren't as competent as they like to think, but we established that in the first game.

So what will this game be? Does Raz have a specific goal? Is it something as personal as last time or just going on missions? Will we have to collect the same psychic powers as last time? Will there be new ones? Will there be new items and systems now that we're no longer in the camp?

What's the minimum spec that DF wants to deliver that would be enough to call it "Psychonauts 2". What are you asking me to back?

Because don't get me wrong, I love Psychonauts, and I've backed DF's projects so far, but I don't know enough about the project to know whether I should back it or just wait until it's out.

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I guess before I back I have to ask what the actual pitch is, because I can't tell from the Kickstarter Fig page.

We know it's going to be a sequel to Psychonauts, feature 4 of the same characters (Sasha, Milla, Raz and Lily), and will be a 3D platformer with psychic powers that uses Psychonauts HQ as its hub. We also know the psychonauts aren't as competent as they like to think, but we established that in the first game.

So what will this game be? Does Raz have a specific goal? Is it something as personal as last time or just going on missions? Will we have to collect the same psychic powers as last time? Will there be new ones? Will there be new items and systems now that we're no longer in the camp?

What's the minimum spec that DF wants to deliver that would be enough to call it "Psychonauts 2". What are you asking me to back?

Because don't get me wrong, I love Psychonauts, and I've backed DF's projects so far, but I don't know enough about the project to know whether I should back it or just wait until it's out.

Probably we'll learn a few more deets in the next 30-ish days. I don't think it's fair to imply that they "don't have an actual pitch", though. I don't see what grounds you have to say that. Sounds to me like all you want is details, which is fine and all, but there is a perfectly reasonable pitch here.

Re: Story - Tim said in at least one interview that the game will explore (at least) the following:

1) Raz dealing with Psychonauts inner turmoil. They are in a bad state of affairs and it sounds like Raz will be patching things up.

2) Raz's past/backstory and some further exploration of the curse placed upon his family and his/their struggle with it.

Re: Powers - Tim said that the most popular ones will probably return (e.g. pyrokenesis, TK, etc), but that there will probably be some new ones to freshen things up.

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I must've missed that interview then. I was just looking at the actual Fig page.

So let me rephrase that - I know what the goal is - make Psychonauts 2. I just don't know what the plan is - what actually is Psychonauts 2?

What did they like and want to emphasise? What did they dislike and want to change? A Psychonauts 2 that focuses on the combat system could be very different to one that focuses on platforming. Perhaps the goal is to focus on character reactivity, collectables, or psi powers. Or maybe they just want to take all those systems and update them based on what they learned the first time?

The pitch page doesn't tell me any of that stuff. I know what I liked about Psychonauts, and I'm free to assume all sorts of stuff based on what the original was like, but I'm not the one making it. What matters is what Double Fine wants to do with it.

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Yeah, I think I get where you're coming from. I just think there is a difference between "what can I expect as far as similarities/differences from the original" and "I have been told nothing about what this game even is". I mean, when they announced they were making Costume Quest 2, maybe we didn't know the specifics of what would be the same/different, but we had a pretty good idea of what to expect.

Or maybe you are the type of person who wants to see some gameplay video or something first? I am like that for some pitches, so I couldn't fault you for that.

Based on the pitch, it sounds like one of the things they want to highlight is being a colorful 3D platformer, since that is a genre that a lot of people still really want but are largely not getting much these days (and I would personally agree with that). I don't see any reason why the balance of platforming/combat/exploration would change. It was pretty good the first time. I would expect maybe some improvement to combat controls/systems, though. They had no idea what they were doing with action combat when the company first started and only got it sorted out for Psychonauts when they hired Brad. But they have a lot more action experience under their belts since then, so I'm not worried.

Still, I'd understand if you're the type who would like to see a little prototype action or at least a scenario design first, though.

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Yep, you've about summed it up. I don't need a full on gameplay video yet - I'd completely understand if they's not far enough along, but hopefully there's some news forthcoming in the next couple of days.

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I'm kind of against any lavish stretch goals. This is the start of a very big project. Let's not increase scope before the inevitable bumps in the road have even made themselves known.

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Regarding scope... I do think we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that the game might get significantly delayed. That's just game development and this is unusual in that we have a teaser trailer in PRE-PRODUCTION. 2018 seems an age away. But let's not all act surprised if 2018 comes around and we're still waiting. I'm happy to wait, but this is going to be a tricky PR tightrope for DF once again. I'm ever so glad they are attempting it though.

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Regarding scope... I do think we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that the game might get significantly delayed. That's just game development and this is unusual in that we have a teaser trailer in PRE-PRODUCTION. 2018 seems an age away. But let's not all act surprised if 2018 comes around and we're still waiting. I'm happy to wait, but this is going to be a tricky PR tightrope for DF once again. I'm ever so glad they are attempting it though.

Honestly that was my first thought as well ("Fall 2018? Would roughly 2.5 years be enough time?") but from what Tim's said from the interview, they're pretty confident about it. That is not to say I'll be outraged if it's delayed of course, I'm just glad it's happening :D

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Regarding scope... I do think we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that the game might get significantly delayed. That's just game development and this is unusual in that we have a teaser trailer in PRE-PRODUCTION. 2018 seems an age away. But let's not all act surprised if 2018 comes around and we're still waiting. I'm happy to wait, but this is going to be a tricky PR tightrope for DF once again. I'm ever so glad they are attempting it though.

Honestly that was my first thought as well ("Fall 2018? Would roughly 2.5 years be enough time?") but from what Tim's said from the interview, they're pretty confident about it. That is not to say I'll be outraged if it's delayed of course, I'm just glad it's happening :D

I think it's enough. Psychonauts took 5 but when you remove the time needed to develop a 3d game engine, come up with an art style and main character designs and iterate on the basic gameplay and focus just on developing the new story assets new gameplay elements and asset design, I can imagine a 2-3 year Dev cycle. But we should assume 4 and be pleasantly surprised ;)

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I'm certainly going to back, but for me there's more stuff I'd want to know before investing, which otherwise might be something I'm interested in. It's odd that DF cannot disclose how much money they + investor are on the hook for, while at the same time asking for investments. Typically an investor would want to know that kind of information. Either there is a fixed amount of $$ already invested, or it's dependent on the success of the crowdsourcing. Both are relevant stats.

For example, as a prospective investor, I'd be very interested to know whether we have $9m already locked up. So that's $12.3m (minus fees/rewards) if the project barely gets funded. If the project looks to be doing very well (eg $5m in funding so far), my investment looks better because I get the same back end while knowing that there is more money going into the project. If the budget will not go above 13.3m no matter how high the crowdsourcing, then I know that more success does not lead to a higher expected return. I think this latter scenario is what's happening, the outside investor is sort of guaranteeing to fill the budget so long as 3.3m is raised, but a more successful project leads to less investment from that investor/DF. It's not a big deal, but it's asking a lot of people to invest (assuming they don't do it out of love).

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I fear the "x10" Broken Age effect which could modify the original project too much.

But wasn't it good that we got a better game than what was promised?

That's... debatable.

Personally I feel it's good to stick to the original design of the game and use any extra money to enhance it (improved graphics, orchestral soundtrack, etc) rather than revise the scope of the project, which can spiral out of control - which, let's be honest, is kinda what happened with Broken Age.

The community was nothing but supportive of the notion of creating a larger scope game with the additional support that was received. It feels like the decision to make something more than a "400k game" was mandated by backers - it's hard to see it as anything other than the best decision that could be made with the perspectives and information available at the time.

Broken Age didn't spiral out of control. It was intentionally steered toward paths that brought more resources to bear on the game. The documentary showed that decisions to re-scope and extend budget weren't taken lightly, and as is typical in the industry were accompanied by hard meetings to make sure that things were justifiable and viable. Whether the outcomes align with anybody's individual tastes doesn't feel so relevant (particularly when the same creative forces would have been at work regardless).

When making games, there are so many variables and unknowns at play, and often, it's the right decision to make to take advantage of new situations that couldn't possibly be foreseen from the outset. It's not like building a house, or if it were, it's a house with vague blueprints where building materials, the laws of physics and size/shape/behaviour/limb count of the people who'll live in it are all different from that of any other house you've created before, and where a lot of those factors don't become visible until some point during construction.

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Based on Tim's answer to the scope question in other interviews, it shouldn't be a problem. Here is the main difference:

BROKEN AGE:

This project started with absolutely zero work done.

No writing done.

No design documents.

No art.

No prototype.

The game was conceived as some kind of small flash game (think Newgrounds size).

Reasons some people think it "got mismanaged" or "got too big"

--Making a 3.3 million dollar browser game is kind of a bizarre proposition. Unless DF was just going to pocket that money, it had to rescope.

--It did rescope, but ABSOLUTELY NO PLANNING HAD BEEN DONE, so it was all being done from scratch, on the fly, untested, no work done.

--Broken Age was the complete wild west

Also worth noting:

--Broken Age was one of the first major crowdfunded game projects. Commonplace concepts like "stretch goals" didn't exist then

PSYCHONAUTS 2:

Work has already been done (characters modeled).

Writing has been done.

Design concepts have been done.

Art/concepting has been done.

It is a sequel to an existing property, so a lot of the concept/story work is already done.

THE SCOPE IS ALREADY PLANNED OUT.

The idea and size of the game is pretty much locked at the size of the first game, maybe give or take a brain world depending on how much money is raised. But the psychonauts structure is such that adding or removing brain worlds is a very modular and easy stretch goal, if that even happens.

It's not even close to the same situation.

Y'mind if I quote this on tumblr? I'll link to it and everything.

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Based on Tim's answer to the scope question in other interviews, it shouldn't be a problem. Here is the main difference:

BROKEN AGE:

This project started with absolutely zero work done.

No writing done.

No design documents.

No art.

No prototype.

The game was conceived as some kind of small flash game (think Newgrounds size).

Reasons some people think it "got mismanaged" or "got too big"

--Making a 3.3 million dollar browser game is kind of a bizarre proposition. Unless DF was just going to pocket that money, it had to rescope.

--It did rescope, but ABSOLUTELY NO PLANNING HAD BEEN DONE, so it was all being done from scratch, on the fly, untested, no work done.

--Broken Age was the complete wild west

Also worth noting:

--Broken Age was one of the first major crowdfunded game projects. Commonplace concepts like "stretch goals" didn't exist then

PSYCHONAUTS 2:

Work has already been done (characters modeled).

Writing has been done.

Design concepts have been done.

Art/concepting has been done.

It is a sequel to an existing property, so a lot of the concept/story work is already done.

THE SCOPE IS ALREADY PLANNED OUT.

The idea and size of the game is pretty much locked at the size of the first game, maybe give or take a brain world depending on how much money is raised. But the psychonauts structure is such that adding or removing brain worlds is a very modular and easy stretch goal, if that even happens.

It's not even close to the same situation.

Y'mind if I quote this on tumblr? I'll link to it and everything.

I don't mind, though if you're talking to the DF hate squad I doubt it will do much.

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