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Greg Rice

Production Update #1: Where does all the $$$$ go?

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Of course, it's very difficult to compare: working processes are different now, tools are more efficient, the roles have changed, salaries as well (and probably not simply in line with inflation) so it's very hard to compare how much adventure game a team of 11 (plus outsourced stuff) for 1 year gets you now compared to a team of 13 (plus a whole lot of additional staff) for however long Full Throttle took, for about the same amount of money.

Making the comparison is fun, but there are so many variables that it's perhaps not particularly telling. :)

Yeah man, those credits are everyone who worked on the game at all. Our core team will be 11, but there will likely be people who come on the project for a couple days or outsource for a month that get credited. And yes, that 11 does not count musicians, actors, and other shared company resources like our localization producer, test lead, etc. It's a good solid amount, about the size of the Stacking team.

Thanks, that's more or less in line with what I thought, then. It'd be really interesting to know somewhere down the line how that core team breaks down, but I'm sure that'll be coming soon. :)

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Actually around $21,414 was lost in failed transactions. The $110,000 of premium pledges didn't have Amazon and Kickstarter fees taken out and then Kickstarter's 5% comes out of the amount after Amazon fees are out. So it should have been a bit higher. Still, really good and we thought for sure more would fail. That's less than 1% of the money!

As for team size, that's not for the full year. We keep the team small during pre-production as we don't really have anything for people like sound guys or animators to work on early in a project.

Amazon says it's 3% or less over 100K?

https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/helpTab/Amazon-Simple-Pay/Creating-Managing-Your-Account/Amazon-Payments-Fees

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Hmm, I did the maths to account for the $110,000 not being deducted by kickstarter, and the final game budget comes to 2,225,375.56 for me. I have no idea why its lower and not higher than the original budget.

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Actually around $21,414 was lost in failed transactions. The $110,000 of premium pledges didn't have Amazon and Kickstarter fees taken out and then Kickstarter's 5% comes out of the amount after Amazon fees are out. So it should have been a bit higher. Still, really good and we thought for sure more would fail. That's less than 1% of the money!

As for team size, that's not for the full year. We keep the team small during pre-production as we don't really have anything for people like sound guys or animators to work on early in a project.

Amazon says it's 3% or less over 100K?

https://payments.amazon.com/sdui/sdui/helpTab/Amazon-Simple-Pay/Creating-Managing-Your-Account/Amazon-Payments-Fees

I think that's for individual payments taken from us, rather than the collected payment for Double Fine. i.e. an average of 5% was taken from our payments, then all the money was paid to Double Fine.

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I think that's for individual payments taken from us, rather than the collected payment for Double Fine. i.e. an average of 5% was taken from our payments, then all the money was paid to Double Fine.

It's calculated on the amount of money you transact over a month. It's not done on an individual level.

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Hmm, I did the maths to account for the $110,000 not being deducted by kickstarter, and the final game budget comes to 2,225,375.56 for me. I have no idea why its lower and not higher than the original budget.

I guess you subrtacted 10% for Amazon and Kickstarter together while it was 5% first and then 5% from the rest.

But do you really think they made a mistake and we should control them? ;)

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I think that's for individual payments taken from us, rather than the collected payment for Double Fine. i.e. an average of 5% was taken from our payments, then all the money was paid to Double Fine.

It's calculated on the amount of money you transact over a month. It's not done on an individual level.

Hmm, reading the page what you said seems right, but it's not a very... clear explanation of the fees, to my eyes. Maybe there's something we're both missing.

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I am still amazed so much of it went to fees. Damn that's allot of cash......

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Thanks for the transparency, much appreciated! Really helpful for those of us who are hoping to form an independent business one day.

Looking forward for the next update from Double Fine!

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The fees SEEM like a lot. But then that gives you an idea of how much pressure developers are under when working with a Publisher.

"Sure, we'll give you $15 million to make this game. But it better be good enough to make at least that much money for us back, when we take our 70%+ cut of sales! We'll help you promote and distribute it, and we can have regular meetings where you can explain to us how your game is on track for making our millions back. Good luck! Don't mess up! Or take too long!"

Okay, maybe it's not QUITE as sinister as that. But I can imagine that in comparison, handing off 10% in fees in advance is quite relaxing.

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I'm just wondering how do you calculate shipping costs, I haven't received any survey from the Kickstarter yet. Are you just count all pledges that has +10 bucks to they initial reward level?

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I'm just wondering how do you calculate shipping costs, I haven't received any survey from the Kickstarter yet. Are you just count all pledges that has +10 bucks to they initial reward level?

I wondered this too. My guess is that it was estimated, somewhat, based on the +$10 pledges, and that they were given a quote for bulk shipping the stuff from the fulfillment company.

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Hmm, I did the maths to account for the $110,000 not being deducted by kickstarter, and the final game budget comes to 2,225,375.56 for me. I have no idea why its lower and not higher than the original budget.

I guess you subrtacted 10% for Amazon and Kickstarter together while it was 5% first and then 5% from the rest.

But do you really think they made a mistake and we should control them? ;)

Okay yeah thats what I did.

No I wasn't doubting DF maths at all. I just thought that doing the sums myself would just be a fun thing to do. And I am holding out for us to all be wrong, and that the actual budget is infinite!

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I am still amazed so much of it went to fees. Damn that's allot of cash......

i agree I discussed on the kickstarter page that they (ie kickstarter) should cap the amount of fees, it doesnt cost them anymore to host a website and payment system for a project of $10000 compared to one of $1000000. Im not saying they should do it for free, and I also agree that they can use this money to help the funding of smaller projects. On the other hand I think they should cap the max amount. Otherwise it doesnt make sense to have a 'successful' kickstarter project. It also kind of dilutes the 'super awesome new business model feel' into a more 'oh it's kind of the same business model' Look for instance at the pandora project : http://www.openpandora.org/ they did the same without 'the middleman' ....

BTW DF making this into a super open/transparent thing immidiatly converts it back to super awesome new business model feel'

Just my two cents. And now Ill stop and revert back to making silly comments.

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I am still amazed so much of it went to fees. Damn that's allot of cash......

i agree I discussed on the kickstarter page that they (ie kickstarter) should cap the amount of fees, it doesnt cost them anymore to host a website and payment system for a project of $10000 compared to one of $1000000. Im not saying they should do it for free, and I also agree that they can use this money to help the funding of smaller projects. On the other hand I think they should cap the max amount. Otherwise it doesnt make sense to have a 'successful' kickstarter project. It also kind of dilutes the 'super awesome new business model feel' into a more 'oh it's kind of the same business model' Look for instance at the pandora project : http://www.openpandora.org/ they did the same without 'the middleman' ....

Just my two cents. And now Ill stop and revert back to making silly comments.

How is taking 5% of starting funds and leaving rest up to the developer even remotely the same model as taking well (well!) over 50% of profits and having the power to withdraw investment at any time depending on how well the people that run the numbers think the project is going? Because that's what the publisher model is. I'm not saying it's 'evil'. But it sure is different!

Also, the assumption that it doesn't cost them more to host a payment system for a small project compared to a large one is false. Large projects which are backed bring in a large amount of traffic to the site, and they need to pay for bandwidth to support that traffic and keep the site running.

Finally, they're not a non-profit, looking to only make enough money to keep Kickstarter running. They're a business, and their fee is 5% for everyone. Considering the service they offer, that seems like a rather fair slice.

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I am still amazed so much of it went to fees. Damn that's allot of cash......

i agree I discussed on the kickstarter page that they (ie kickstarter) should cap the amount of fees, it doesnt cost them anymore to host a website and payment system for a project of $10000 compared to one of $1000000. Im not saying they should do it for free, and I also agree that they can use this money to help the funding of smaller projects. On the other hand I think they should cap the max amount. Otherwise it doesnt make sense to have a 'successful' kickstarter project. It also kind of dilutes the 'super awesome new business model feel' into a more 'oh it's kind of the same business model' Look for instance at the pandora project : http://www.openpandora.org/ they did the same without 'the middleman' ....

Just my two cents. And now Ill stop and revert back to making silly comments.

How is taking 5% of starting funds and leaving rest up to the developer even remotely the same model as taking well (well!) over 50% of profits and having the power to withdraw investment at any time depending on how well the people that run the numbers think the project is going? Because that's what the publisher model is. I'm not saying it's 'evil'. But it sure is different!

Well I was talking more about, letting people pay for a game by pre-ordering it. That has been done a lot, this is almost the same with the addition of a middleman.

*I must say I haven't bought a 'non-indie' title in years.

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I am still amazed so much of it went to fees. Damn that's allot of cash......

i agree I discussed on the kickstarter page that they (ie kickstarter) should cap the amount of fees, it doesnt cost them anymore to host a website and payment system for a project of $10000 compared to one of $1000000. Im not saying they should do it for free, and I also agree that they can use this money to help the funding of smaller projects. On the other hand I think they should cap the max amount. Otherwise it doesnt make sense to have a 'successful' kickstarter project. It also kind of dilutes the 'super awesome new business model feel' into a more 'oh it's kind of the same business model' Look for instance at the pandora project : http://www.openpandora.org/ they did the same without 'the middleman' ....

Just my two cents. And now Ill stop and revert back to making silly comments.

How is taking 5% of starting funds and leaving rest up to the developer even remotely the same model as taking well (well!) over 50% of profits and having the power to withdraw investment at any time depending on how well the people that run the numbers think the project is going? Because that's what the publisher model is. I'm not saying it's 'evil'. But it sure is different!

Well I was talking more about, letting people pay for a game by pre-ordering it. That has been done a lot, this is almost the same with the addition of a middleman.

*I must say I haven't bought a 'non-indie' title in years.

I added to my previous reply, because I'm not sure of some other things you said, either.

But as far as this reply goes: a middle man is fine, as long as it adds value. Kickstarter has added the value of providing hosting for the updates and pitch video (which require a lot of bandwidth), having a site tailored for exactly this sort of pitch, having a system for ready DF to build and send out surveys for the rewards, managing the details of 80k backers, providing a message board for them to talk on during the funding process, dealing with account enquiries not directly related to questions about DFA (which Double Fine would have had to handle by themselves if they'd not had Kickstarter) and countless other fiddly things. I think they earned their 5%.

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Yeah i think need to think about the FEE's publishers take, then this is nothing. Its scary sometimes you hear how publishers almost take everything.

I think it was Frictionalgames you know the guys behind penumbra series and amnesia.

I believe it was one of their penumbra games with a publisher, they took almost all the money leaving almost nothing for Frictionalgames. Thats a shitty deal.

And all the money this game makes from day one is directly profits which can go to make another good game. Hopefully it will sell well. Would be nice with more adventure games.

Not entirely awake it seem, Frictional games not introversion lool.

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Probably alone in this but I'm really excited that they're collaborating with Fangamer for the awards (even if I don't qualify for any). I love those guys. It would be awesome if we'd be able to get some official swag through their store when the game is out.

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I don't think you should think of it that your money is going to ship T-shirts - your money is going to pay for (and ship) whatever reward you pledged for, along with some of it for making the game better. If you pledged at the $15 level then pretty much all of what you pledged really is going towards making the game more awesome (excluding fees, etc. of course).

Pretty much this. Provided that DF planned out the rewards sensibly - and I have no reason to believe they didn't - then this isn't a case of people who just signed up for a download subsidising some big backer's trip to hang out with the DF dudes. I'm sure each tier's reward was carefully calibrated so that the majority of the money from that tier went into game development and a portion went to providing the goods for that tier.

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Actually around $21,414 was lost in failed transactions. The $110,000 of premium pledges didn't have Amazon and Kickstarter fees taken out and then Kickstarter's 5% comes out of the amount after Amazon fees are out. So it should have been a bit higher. Still, really good and we thought for sure more would fail. That's less than 1% of the money!

As for team size, that's not for the full year. We keep the team small during pre-production as we don't really have anything for people like sound guys or animators to work on early in a project.

Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

I would also like to mirror the sentiments from some of the earlier posts about receiving some more numbers on how the budget it divided up for the project. To see how the resources are spent on music, production, design, and every other facet of the game is a subject that interests me greatly. Also what 2PP? While I'm not as interested in knowing how a documentary production is budgeted as I am for a video game it would still be interesting.

I am so glad that I backed this project! This should be such an interesting look into one of my favorite studios!

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Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

To be honest I think there's a cost/benefit compromise to be looked at there. I imagine you could take people to court or sic collections agencies on them to get the money back... but doing all that costs money in the first place. Unless you're talking about a fairly chunky donation, it's not going to be worth it - and even then, you're gambling that the person in question actually has the money in the first place.

I'd much rather DF spent the money on making the game than on becoming the big scary game developer that sends the boys around to shake you down if you don't cough up. And besides, by not paying these people have locked themselves out of this subforum and won't get any of the other goodies of the tier they pledged for - that's punishment enough.

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Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

To be honest I think there's a cost/benefit compromise to be looked at there. I imagine you could take people to court or sic collections agencies on them to get the money back... but doing all that costs money in the first place. Unless you're talking about a fairly chunky donation, it's not going to be worth it - and even then, you're gambling that the person in question actually has the money in the first place.

I'd much rather DF spent the money on making the game than on becoming the big scary game developer that sends the boys around to shake you down if you don't cough up. And besides, by not paying these people have locked themselves out of this subforum and won't get any of the other goodies of the tier they pledged for - that's punishment enough.

While I agree with you, it just makes me angry that people make promises to pledge and revoke on them. Just think of some projects that just barely reach their funding mark and then 5% of the backers become failed transactions.

Oh well, I guess that is just humanity for you:(

Edit: I just had a thought. Wouldn't it be Kickstarter's job to try and figure out why these failed transactions happened in the first?

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Actually around $21,414 was lost in failed transactions. The $110,000 of premium pledges didn't have Amazon and Kickstarter fees taken out and then Kickstarter's 5% comes out of the amount after Amazon fees are out. So it should have been a bit higher. Still, really good and we thought for sure more would fail. That's less than 1% of the money!

As for team size, that's not for the full year. We keep the team small during pre-production as we don't really have anything for people like sound guys or animators to work on early in a project.

Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

I wouldn't make such a big deal out of it. The failed transactions accounted for 0.5% of the pledged money. That's one out of 200 people having their credit card maxed out/cancelled during the 30 days between the announcement and the funding. Or some other problems related to human errors. I'm sure those people whose payments failed didn't set out to be assholes. It's just that life happens and some of us can't always enjoy financial stability.

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While I agree with you, it just makes me angry that people make promises to pledge and revoke on them. Just think of some projects that just barely reach their funding mark and then 5% of the backers become failed transactions.

Oh well, I guess that is just humanity for you:(

Oh, for sure, it's really dishonest and just a terrible thing to do (unless there's mitigating circumstances - if someone unexpectedly gets into financial trouble after pledging I wouldn't think the worse of them for not being able to pay up). But at the same time I'd say we shouldn't feel bad about the few who let the side down, we should feel great about the many, many people who live up to their promises.

I guess the take-away lesson for people planning Kickstarters is to build in a little leeway for failed transactions.

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Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

To be honest I think there's a cost/benefit compromise to be looked at there. I imagine you could take people to court or sic collections agencies on them to get the money back... but doing all that costs money in the first place. Unless you're talking about a fairly chunky donation, it's not going to be worth it - and even then, you're gambling that the person in question actually has the money in the first place.

I'd much rather DF spent the money on making the game than on becoming the big scary game developer that sends the boys around to shake you down if you don't cough up. And besides, by not paying these people have locked themselves out of this subforum and won't get any of the other goodies of the tier they pledged for - that's punishment enough.

While I agree with you, it just makes me angry that people make promises to pledge and revoke on them. Just think of some projects that just barely reach their funding mark and then 5% of the backers become failed transactions.

Oh well, I guess that is just humanity for you:(

Don't assume that all of those backers (and it's not 5% of the backers, it's actually closer to 0.5%, a little over.) failed payments because they 'revoked' on their pledge. I'm sure a large number of them fall into the category of:

1) People whose payments failed and they couldn't get them to work, despite trying to.

2) People whose payments failed and they didn't realise that had happened in the week they had to fix it.

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Maybe I'm mistaken because I never really read the EULA's and other such fine prints when ordering and signing up for services online, but aren't we legally, contractually obligated to pay you (read Double Fine) for the amount that we pledged? That's seriously NOT COOL that some people would pledge to give money for a project and then fail to live up to there end of the agreement. I would much like to have more information on what you could do to receive the pledges promised from these "failed transactions".

To be honest I think there's a cost/benefit compromise to be looked at there. I imagine you could take people to court or sic collections agencies on them to get the money back... but doing all that costs money in the first place. Unless you're talking about a fairly chunky donation, it's not going to be worth it - and even then, you're gambling that the person in question actually has the money in the first place.

I'd much rather DF spent the money on making the game than on becoming the big scary game developer that sends the boys around to shake you down if you don't cough up. And besides, by not paying these people have locked themselves out of this subforum and won't get any of the other goodies of the tier they pledged for - that's punishment enough.

While I agree with you, it just makes me angry that people make promises to pledge and revoke on them. Just think of some projects that just barely reach their funding mark and then 5% of the backers become failed transactions.

Oh well, I guess that is just humanity for you:(

Don't assume that all of those backers (and it's not 5% of the backers, it's actually closer to 0.5%, a little over.) failed payments because they 'revoked' on their pledge. I'm sure a large number of them fall into the category of:

1) People whose payments failed and they couldn't get them to work, despite trying to.

2) People whose payments failed and they didn't realise that had happened in the week they had to fix it.

I was thinking more of what would happen to smaller projects that have failed transactions, rather than this one. I suppose it doesn't really matter considering how much money they received.

And people revoking their pledges I would have no problem with, sometimes financial situations happen. You have 31 to decide to withdraw from backing, if you don't decide to do that, then you decide to make a payment. Perhaps I should worded my post better.

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[del]Should there be a separate forum for admin posts like this so they don't get lost in the mix? Or perhaps made sticky for a week? I only found this post by searching DF Greg's history.[/del]

NEVER MIND! IT ALREADY IS! :)

Anyway - love it! Thanks for the info!

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