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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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Fine - I just don't really appreciate the implication that I'm taking part in a pointless discussion. I have been on the backer forum a long time now and I've been paying close attention to what's going on, so if someone says something that is wrong or misleading I'm going to correct it. That's just something I find very hard not to do.

Maybe the person won't change their mind. Maybe they will (contrary to popular belief, this does happen sometimes). But also, newcomers come to the forum and would read a whole lot of inaccurate, angry posts going unchallenged unless people respond. Sure, I may get frustrated at explaining over and over, and maybe some people will find that tedious, but those people are under no obligation to take part. Just please don't criticize my decision to in a way that implies that I don't understand what I'm doing when I say these things. I know how discussions on the internet go - this isn't my first rodeo :)

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I think that the part of this whole thing that bothers me the most is that Tim in his statement keeps touting this bullshit premise that he made a game that was "too big."

We've been watching the doc. We know the story arc and locations were planned from pretty early on, and if anything have only been pared down since. We also know that they realized very early on that their process for creating art (and background in particular) was too labor intensive and that they couldn't afford to sustain it. And we all watched as they ignored the problem and hoped for a miracle, but even though they kind of got a couple of them it wasn't enough.

It was absolutely a failure on the part of the producers. They should have revised the way they were building backgrounds. That doesn't mean abandoning the art style, even, just simplifying certain things.

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I think that the part of this whole thing that bothers me the most is that Tim in his statement keeps touting this bullshit premise that he made a game that was "too big."

We've been watching the doc. We know the story arc and locations were planned from pretty early on, and if anything have only been pared down since. We also know that they realized very early on that their process for creating art (and background in particular) was too labor intensive and that they couldn't afford to sustain it. And we all watched as they ignored the problem and hoped for a miracle, but even though they kind of got a couple of them it wasn't enough.

It was absolutely a failure on the part of the producers. They should have revised the way they were building backgrounds. That doesn't mean abandoning the art style, even, just simplifying certain things.

Exactly. The "designed a game too big" line is just a leader taking all the responsibility for his subordinates' screw-ups.

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I think that the part of this whole thing that bothers me the most is that Tim in his statement keeps touting this bullshit premise that he made a game that was "too big."

We've been watching the doc. We know the story arc and locations were planned from pretty early on, and if anything have only been pared down since. We also know that they realized very early on that their process for creating art (and background in particular) was too labor intensive and that they couldn't afford to sustain it. And we all watched as they ignored the problem and hoped for a miracle, but even though they kind of got a couple of them it wasn't enough.

It was absolutely a failure on the part of the producers. They should have revised the way they were building backgrounds. That doesn't mean abandoning the art style, even, just simplifying certain things.

Exactly. The "designed a game too big" line is just a leader taking all the responsibility for his subordinates' screw-ups.

If you wached the documentary which you havent so you dont have any right to talk about anything. You know that it was the leader aka Tim Schafer that kept writing more and more story because he felt it needed to be that big to make a good adventure game. And thats why the game became way too big for the kickstarter funding. They already solved the funding problem by the pre-release and some minor cutting. Even a project like Leisure suit larry reloaded went 100% over budget they had about 500k-700k from kickstarter after costs and they used 1.25 mil to create it. But the only thing you care about is crying like a little kid and don't know anything real about the project.

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I think that the part of this whole thing that bothers me the most is that Tim in his statement keeps touting this bullshit premise that he made a game that was "too big."

We've been watching the doc. We know the story arc and locations were planned from pretty early on, and if anything have only been pared down since. We also know that they realized very early on that their process for creating art (and background in particular) was too labor intensive and that they couldn't afford to sustain it. And we all watched as they ignored the problem and hoped for a miracle, but even though they kind of got a couple of them it wasn't enough.

It was absolutely a failure on the part of the producers. They should have revised the way they were building backgrounds. That doesn't mean abandoning the art style, even, just simplifying certain things.

They had main story points planned but tim also been writing since then and probably made extra stuff when he felt it was needed in areas. Also the art style was also a choise by Tim Schafer which he said he wanted for the game and he didnt want to go away from so that was also a choise by him. It needs to be a quality game and not cutting corners which is common practice on modern adventure games and why I think most of them dont even come close to the ones out of the 90's.

And my main point is still why is it a failure when they invest more of their own money in the game because they think they cant do the quality they want for the kickstarter money. Almost no computer game from kickstarter has stayed within the budget. Leisure suit larry went 100% over budget instead of 500k-600k they spend 1.25 mil on the game and that was a really small adventure they was already partly designed.

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Games going over budget is commonplace, I'm surprised that people think it should be different with double fine. Obviously we're privy to more of what goes on behind closed doors. But these kinds of discussions are bound to happen with many development projects. You may want to also note that double fine could have chosen to edit those discussions to appear more favourable or even removed them completely and staged a more palatable discussion (I run a post production house and you'd be amazed how editing can change the tone of something). From watching the episodes, you can see that, while they did edit it, the crucial parts of the discussion were kept. But the proof will be in product.

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I don't think DF has a say in editing. They probably only have veto power regarding game content and business secrets.

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Fine - I just don't really appreciate the implication that I'm taking part in a pointless discussion. I have been on the backer forum a long time now and I've been paying close attention to what's going on, so if someone says something that is wrong or misleading I'm going to correct it. That's just something I find very hard not to do.

Maybe the person won't change their mind. Maybe they will (contrary to popular belief, this does happen sometimes). But also, newcomers come to the forum and would read a whole lot of inaccurate, angry posts going unchallenged unless people respond. Sure, I may get frustrated at explaining over and over, and maybe some people will find that tedious, but those people are under no obligation to take part. Just please don't criticize my decision to in a way that implies that I don't understand what I'm doing when I say these things. I know how discussions on the internet go - this isn't my first rodeo :)

Ok, I'll keep that in mind for the next time :D

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I don't think DF has a say in editing. They probably only have veto power regarding game content and business secrets.

It would still have to be approved by either Greg or Chris or whoever's in charge of PR. Double Fine is the one who's contracting them after all. It's not a journalistic venture, they were hired to document, therefore they're following double fine's mandate. Which fortunately for us is to show it warts and all, or at least the interesting warts.

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It was actually 2PP that approached DF with the idea of making a documentary, not the other way around. This is very much a partnership and a joint project.

You can read about how it all got started here:

http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/how-a-film-crew-helped-begin-double-fines-kickstarter-revolution-the-story-

I stand corrected and thanks for the link. Although it is a partnership, I still wonder whether double fine still has conditions: like pre-approval of certain content for example. I think if double fine weren't happy with the content, I'm sure 2PP would respect that. Like Greg said in episode ten, he's responsible for everything outward facing, and while this documentary is only for the backers, it's still outward facing, so I imagine Greg would still have a say. It would be an interesting to know, although not a necessary thing.

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It was actually 2PP that approached DF with the idea of making a documentary, not the other way around. This is very much a partnership and a joint project.

You can read about how it all got started here:

http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/how-a-film-crew-helped-begin-double-fines-kickstarter-revolution-the-story-

I stand corrected and thanks for the link. Although it is a partnership, I still wonder whether double fine still has conditions: like pre-approval of certain content for example. I think if double fine weren't happy with the content, I'm sure 2PP would respect that. Like Greg said in episode ten, he's responsible for everything outward facing, and while this documentary is only for the backers, it's still outward facing, so I imagine Greg would still have a say. It would be an interesting to know, although not a necessary thing.

Eventually 2PP will be selling it separately (after the whole thing is done). I think they are letting it release as is, because they want the documentary to be a worthwhile piece of entertainment on it's own. One thing I have noticed, is that they tend to alternate between "sad" and "happy" episodes, which really helps with dramatic flow. Episode 9 was a very happy episode, so 10 needed to be sad to keep the narrative working. Unfortunately, that often leaves us backers on the "bipolar" wagon. We are getting a look at what happens, it's just edited in a way that makes the story better. (This is not intended as a negative, the doc would probably be boring if you didn't.) That also means we can probably expect some "unreasonable optimism" for episode 11.

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Haha, I like the way you put that, "unreasonable optimism" But I think you're right. I too have been feeling that the production will go onto a more positive track, and a corner is turned, so to speak. I believe other backers are probably hoping for the same thing. I definitely want to see more production focused content in the next episode, but am not adverse to the unfolding drama. Triumph is around the corner. I will say this for 2PP, their editing is awesome and there's some nice camera work too.

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I still wonder whether double fine still has conditions: like pre-approval of certain content for example.

Yes, most likely other DF projects are strictly off limits. There's probably NDAs involved and whatnot.

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Tim mentioned once what is considered off-limits for the documentary:

Not sure what to make about some of these complaints that the documentary is not going into enough detail. I think this is the most transparent game development process that's ever happened in the history of games, so to say that we asked 2pp to "tone it down" is...well I just don't know how to respond to that. It's just not true. We've only ever asked 2pp to refrain from story or puzzle spoilers, or things that might get us sued or otherwise put the business in serious peril, and I stand by that decision. Other than that, we're discussing some pretty sensitive topics, like budget and schedule, on a project that's at a point where you would NEVER usually hear public and frank discussion about budget and schedule.

I think he's right. Consider what the aforementioned PA Report article says about 2PPs experience of working with Sony:

Shooting promotional videos about games like inFamous and Uncharted 3 had been a creative challenge for the team; Sony was understandably reticent about showing any of the negative effects of working on on large, big-budget game releases, and there were rules about not showing anything branded in the videos. So if someone in the shot was wearing a shirt with any kind of logo on it, it had to be blurred out. Often, the videos were shot in bland, featureless rooms. Videos were often cut up by the legal department, and then the marketing department. “What it creates is this atmosphere where you almost have to sit people in front of a green screen. It creates a bubble, and inside that bubble it’s like this artificial world. You don’t get to see how things actually happen because you don’t get to exist in a real space,” Levering said. “Video crews that come in to do projects, you can’t even walk around to shoot anything. You end up having this sterile, controlled environment that’s boring and doesn’t allow for any investigation or expression.” Videos would often consist of a designer in front of a logo talking about how they make the characters jump. “You’ll understand that anyway when you play the game, and then it has no value,” Asif Siddiky said.

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Tim mentioned once what is considered off-limits for the documentary:
Not sure what to make about some of these complaints that the documentary is not going into enough detail. I think this is the most transparent game development process that's ever happened in the history of games, so to say that we asked 2pp to "tone it down" is...well I just don't know how to respond to that. It's just not true. We've only ever asked 2pp to refrain from story or puzzle spoilers, or things that might get us sued or otherwise put the business in serious peril, and I stand by that decision. Other than that, we're discussing some pretty sensitive topics, like budget and schedule, on a project that's at a point where you would NEVER usually hear public and frank discussion about budget and schedule.

I think he's right. Consider what the aforementioned PA Report article says about 2PPs experience of working with Sony:

Shooting promotional videos about games like inFamous and Uncharted 3 had been a creative challenge for the team; Sony was understandably reticent about showing any of the negative effects of working on on large, big-budget game releases, and there were rules about not showing anything branded in the videos. So if someone in the shot was wearing a shirt with any kind of logo on it, it had to be blurred out. Often, the videos were shot in bland, featureless rooms. Videos were often cut up by the legal department, and then the marketing department. “What it creates is this atmosphere where you almost have to sit people in front of a green screen. It creates a bubble, and inside that bubble it’s like this artificial world. You don’t get to see how things actually happen because you don’t get to exist in a real space,” Levering said. “Video crews that come in to do projects, you can’t even walk around to shoot anything. You end up having this sterile, controlled environment that’s boring and doesn’t allow for any investigation or expression.” Videos would often consist of a designer in front of a logo talking about how they make the characters jump. “You’ll understand that anyway when you play the game, and then it has no value,” Asif Siddiky said.

Thanks for that Acorino! That's exactly the point I'm trying to make. The fact that Double Fine is not trying to censor 2PP's documentary means we get to see all of the problems faced by the team. I bet if we had a fly on the wall perspective in another studio it could well be much worse, and you'd be scratching your head as to how the game ever got released.

I've worked on a lot of film projects where the budget gets cut and suddenly your awesome vision goes down the toilet. So kudos to the Double Fine team for pushing forward, by hook or by crook, to stay true to the vision, because trust me, you don't want the other option. I'd rather spend more money on the project and eat instant noodles for a year than waste my time on a crap project ;-)

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I don't write in here very much because... well just because. I heard about this awhile ago first when I was out of town from one of those news stories on the web. I remember feeling strange about it at the time, but was sure it must have been details left out. I was happier when I logged in and read this post to begin with, and now after watching the episode even happier.

It's always hard to deliver a project exactly how you imagined it. I don't work in games, but... I do understand this problem. I still can't wait to play the game. When the final product is there, and people can play it, this whole situation will then just be another chapter in the story of how the game was made and not the indie destroying colossus that some people have chosen to characterize it as (people are silly).

Also can't wait for the next episode!

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...not the indie destroying colossus that some people have chosen to characterize it as (people are silly).

:D

Welcome to the internet

:D

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I never post. I'm too jaded about discussions on the Internet. However, I would like to say that SurplusGamer is a champion of rationality and good manners. so thank you for your tireless work to beat down ignorance and typical Internet overreaction. As someone who visits the forum regularly to find news about Broken Age, his posts (and others like it) are a breath of fresh air.

No one will care about any of this if Broken Age is a good game. That's the bottom line.

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I never post. I'm too jaded about discussions on the Internet. However, I would like to say that SurplusGamer is a champion of rationality and good manners. so thank you for your tireless work to beat down ignorance and typical Internet overreaction. As someone who visits the forum regularly to find news about Broken Age, his posts (and others like it) are a breath of fresh air.

No one will care about any of this if Broken Age is a good game. That's the bottom line.

Thanks! Equally, people have every right to post their concerns, even if I sometimes find the specifics of what they're saying frustrating. I think the discussion IS worthwhile, in the end, and even if it isn't, it's going to take place whether we want it to or not, so it might as well be based on the best available info. :)

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I never post. I'm too jaded about discussions on the Internet. However, I would like to say that SurplusGamer is a champion of rationality and good manners. so thank you for your tireless work to beat down ignorance and typical Internet overreaction. As someone who visits the forum regularly to find news about Broken Age, his posts (and others like it) are a breath of fresh air.

No one will care about any of this if Broken Age is a good game. That's the bottom line.

Seconding this. He always says just what I'm thinking only much more eloquently. :)

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Hello, Backers of Adventure!

Those of you who have been following along in the documentary know about the design vs. money tension we've had on this project since the early days. Even though we received much more money from our Kickstarter than we, or anybody anticipated, that didn't stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money. I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so it’s hard for me to design one that’s much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. There’s just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is.

So we have been looking for ways to improve our project's efficiency while reducing scope where we could along the way. All while looking for additional funds from bundle revenue, ports, etc. But when we finished the final in-depth schedule recently it was clear that these opportunistic methods weren't going to be enough.

We looked into what it would take to finish just first half of our game-- Act 1. And the numbers showed it coming in July of next year. Not this July, but July 2014. For just the first half. The full game was looking like 2015! My jaw hit the floor.

This was a huge wake-up call for all of us. If this were true, we weren't going to have to cut the game in half, we were going to have to cut it down by 75%! What would be left? How would we even cut it down that far? Just polish up the rooms we had and ship those? Reboot the art style with a dramatically simpler look? Remove the Boy or Girl from the story? Yikes! Sad faces all around.

...

I want to point out that Broken Age’s schedule changes have nothing to do with the team working slowly. They have been kicking ass and the game looks, plays, and sounds amazing. It’s just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do. But we’re pulling it in, and the good news is that the game’s design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and it’s not going to get any bigger.

With this shipping solution I think we’re balancing the size of the game and the realities of funding it pretty well. We are still working out the details and exact dates, but we’d love to hear your thoughts. This project has always been something we go through together and the ultimate solution needs to be something we all feel good about.

...

Okay...my thoughts.

(I must confess I didn't read the whole thread - something about Werewolves and Vampires?... I don't care... )

When I signed on for the Kickstarter (Before the goal was reached BTW) the promise given (by Tim Schafer) was never for a great game, or even a game. It was to be a part of a journey and get to see how it went.

IIRC it was $300,000 for a 'game' and $100,000 for a sort of documentary to see if it could be done?

The Kickstarter raised nearly 10 times that.

IIRC too - the promise was never for a great game. In fact I seem to recall that we were told (up-front) that it could be a spectacular failure.

At this stage I would say the project has both succeeded AND failed.

And that's a good thing.

Why?

Since the Double Fine Kickstarter Adventure it seems to have become all the rage for practically every man and his dog to sell concepts on Kickstarter and sell games in both "Alpha" and "Beta" stage.

And while I support the idea (Except selling Alpha and Beta as if they were complete!) - the reality is that many of these projects are totally unrealistic in terms of what they promise (features), time frame and budget.

In the case of the Double Fine Adventure, we have a known developer with a respected name and a professional studio who have 'failed' to deliver a project on time and in budget.

The project has suffered from project creep (or bloat?) and the and experienced designer has over-reached himself.

I am sure, like me, many of you have watched many subsequent projects on Kickstarter?

That is important. That is exactly what we need to see. That is exactly what many people involved in the current trend of 'crowd funded development' (both developers and backers) need to see.

$3.3 million dollars might seem like a lot of money - but what does it actually buy you in terms of game development these days?

That's something many 'gamers' need to see.

(As an example Camelot Unchained only asked for $2 million http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/13861848/camelot-unchained?ref=live - realistically what can that deliver?)

And, if you are given $3.3M what sort of pressure does that put you under to succeed?

That's something many 'developers' and 'gamers' need to see too.

So, I think even the 'failure' here is a success. I have no doubt Double Fine will deliver something. How and when... doesn't really matter to me.

Whether it's good or not is yet to be decided.

But frankly the lessons learnt here are important. IMHO The Kickstarter Double Fine Fine Adventure really opened the Pandora's Box on crowd funded development. And I hope the results can at least help close the lid a little again - restoring some kind of balance to the force of realistic promises and expectations?

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Remember when Orson Scott Card Predicted that "The nets would be where our world leader would eventually come from?"

i occasionally find myself laughing at how wrong he got it, such as when reading parts of this thread.

I know this thread is really old, but I'm busy and catch up when I can. Just wanted to add my two cents that this pre-release strategy has not made me lose any confidence in the team, and if anything, it only increases it as it demonstrates evidence that DF is a group of innovative problem solvers. All the drama that the press and backers have made over this is a bunch of horse caca.

Thanks to Surplus Gamer for providing the level-headed arguments for us all.

cheers!

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At the end of the day, many of us backers signed up for this Kickstarter to experience a Tim Schafer point-and-click adventure game. If that means waiting a bit longer for a truly great game, then it's worth the wait and certainly worth the initial Kickstarter investment.

And if Act I leaves me feeling despondent and suicidal until Act II comes out, we'll still live because it'll be worth the wait.

I have a lot of faith in Tim and the rest of the Double Fine team. If we're going to get this done right, we shouldn't cut corners and sacrifice quality.

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So it sounds like 2015 for Part 2. Is that correct ?

Last I heard Tim said hopefully this year. Which I think is realistic - there's only one all-new area by the sounds of it, so most of the work left to do will be animation (the most time consuming), any new music, puzzle design changes, voice recording, etc. I'd guess a lot of the design work left to do is done now and they're into building it. I would guess it'll be out towards the end of the year, with a possibility of slippage into 2015 - but being on a budget I think they'll try to minimise that.

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