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Tim Schafer

Broken Age release plan

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You mean like how Telltale releases episodes of games that could fail in the middle of the season of they don't sell well?

Telltale funds and schedules their entire seasons up-front, which is why they've been episodic gaming's only success story ever.

Then where are the rest of their Bone games?

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That's exactly what I mean, yes. Only there's a bit of a difference between Telltale and DF. The first doesn't have any obligation to release the next episode. DF is putting itself in a no exit situation and will have to develop and release the second half of the game no matter what happens.

Not true. Telltale Games sells a whole season even when merely its first episode has been already released. Therefore I think Telltale has as much an obligation to release the rest as Double Fine will have. I'm not sure how it changes the situation anyway. How wouldn't Double Fine be obligated to release the whole game otherwise?

Also, maybe I missed it, but I'm wondering how the boxed versions going to be handled. Are we getting half of the game at release, and the second part of the game as a DL content?

If that isn't obvious, then I don't know what is. Of course they send the boxes out after the whole game is finished. Wouldn't make much sense otherwise, especially considering the documentary is a part of the physical goodies, too.

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And I am completely amazed How people have Problems with simple math. That comes from someone who is really bad at it.

The Money= Personal Ressource. The more money they got, the more people can work on the game.

If the whole studio works on the game, it would probably finished sooner. They would also need more than 10 mio to pay for the salary.

Probably more. So the other Teams have to find their own money to do other projects as Brad did with Massice Chalice.

But those Budgets are completely seperate and can't be mixed.DF needs a current moneyflow, and can temporaly redirect money.

But ultimately the available Money defines the personal ressource and the time to finish a game.

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Lemmines: There's just something about the decision, the perception I think it's creating, that will be very bad for the game and for the studio.

I don't know how to say it well, if there is a perfect word in English for what I'm worried about....Broken Age may be viewed as a compromised game, THAT game, the game that went begging, an embarrassment, or a joke. And that would suck because I don't think the game deserves to be labeled in a negative light. It looks fantastic, a real piece of art.

It certainly takes courage for Tim and co. to take a step that is potentially embarrassing, and announcing this problem certainly is. Props. I just.... I think perception is a powerful thing, and the quality of the product may not overcome the negativity this is generating.

Every time I read that "we're still getting both parts", I don't feel happy as a result, I feel like I'm covering for something inherently distasteful in my mind. Like I'm accepting an excuse that I shouldn't accept. Somehow, although I would be getting less game, when I imagine hearing that Broken Age has been scaled down instead, I feel disappointment but there is no bad taste in my mouth afterwards, you know?

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This seems like a really risky move and I'm not sure if I can support it.

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If there's a silver lining to all this news, it's that it distracted people from all the filthy stuff Lee Petty said in that episode.

Your wish is my command. What?

cepFwxP.jpg

People need to remember what is important. :)

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This sounds like a pretty kickass idea.

If it works.

I think a lot of people are forgetting; we all knew there was a chance, even from the start, that the game would not be released at all. Tim even said that himself in the kickstarter promotion video. No one wants a "spectacular failure" that could potentially kill the company but hey, at least it would make for a good documentary episode.

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It's interesting that you note that the first Act would have originally released in July of 2014, but do not go into further detail on what you've done to bring it down to January 2014. Even more interesting is the "2015" release of Act II, but now it's April 2014. That's an entire 7 months earlier, at best! I'm interested in knowing if this was caused by cuts of the "scope" of the game, or just an efficiencies increase across the team?

To be clear, I'm fine with the release date, and releasing the game "early" in an episodic fashion.

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If there's a silver lining to all this news, it's that it distracted people from all the filthy stuff Lee Petty said in that episode.

Your wish is my command. What?

cepFwxP.jpg

I'm tempted to photoshop Lee's work monitors with pictures of dildos now. Dammit.

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I'm not sure why I have to think about the infamous Daikatana advertisement with the words "John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch....Suck it down" which turned into a punchline of many jokes because the game turned out to be crap. Also, the bigmouthed advertisement was a bit premature considering the many delays. Now, on the other hand, if Daikatana would have been great, awesome, the best shooter ever...I think people would have appreciated the cheekiness and bravado of the advertisment, adored Romero's self-confidence bordering on arrogance instead of laughing about the delusional overestimation of his own abilities.

I'm not sure if this all to similar with the situation Broken Age is in now, but: if Broken Age will turn out great, then to get it on Steam Early Access will in retrospect have been the right choice. Otherwise...nah, it was hubris. Admittedly, Tim always seems to like to play with fire. Huh. But he didn't promise anything else, did he?

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Then where are the rest of their Bone games?

Exactly. Bone is the one case where they did not fund the whole series up front. And look how well it worked out.

See also: Sin Episodes, Insecticide, etc.

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Wow, been reading comments on the news sites that leaked this and it's great to see that for nearly every knee jerk reaction and disappointed person there is a thoughtful and well written response. Definitely a lot of love our there for you guys.

It will be an ongoing discussion for sure. Need to keep on top of the Massive Chalice narrative and reiterate how multiple projects are funded independently, but I think it will be okay.

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Watching the documentaries of this team work has convinced me that you guys are determined to make a great game, maybe at the cost of ignoring reality a little bit, but a great game regardless. Because you've made me believe that, I don't doubt for a second that the decisions you've had to make are for the benefit of my experience and I am absolutely okay with this release plan. Plus the Cinderella story has me cheering for you.

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Thanks for the personal message, Tim. It's great to see the community being (for the most part) understanding and supportive! It makes me really happy and proud to be a part of it :D

It seems like most of the negativity that's floating around is from people outside the backing community, and it's hard to feel that their pre-release opinions should carry a lot of weight. I guess the only valid point is the whole "Kickstarter promises/timeframes aren't being met!" but since everybody was so open at the get-go about the jump in Kickstarter intake from $400k meaning that the project's scope/timeframe would shift dramatically, it feels like that's already been addressed and resolved within the community.

Of course, that's less visible to outsiders though...

I'm really wishing now (even more than before) that more people had voted (thread here to allow the backer content to be less exclusive.

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I know this won't be popular but in my opinion this is bad project management and bad planning from the beginning. I've been a project manager for a software company for 15 years and staying within scope is something I need to examine on every project and every day in my job.

The signs were there early on. You asked for $400k and got a lot more. Then in the first episode you said "Now I have to figure out what the game is" This implies the $400k number was come to with no assessment of what you planned to create. EDIT: Wanted to clarify I understand part of this projects goal was to create a game with the backers but the 400k number had to be derived from some sort of estimate.

Even if you look past that. Once you got the money you should of figured out how much budget you actually had. Because you didn't have 4 million after you take into account rewards and other project costs.

Then you plan what can we do with this amount of money in the time frame you set. As you design items into the project you say how much will this cost, how much time will it add.

So either none of the above ever happened or if it did happen the person doing this work needs to determine where it went wrong. I feel bad for the Brand manager. he said in this episode it is his job to control the public facing side of this company. You guys just created a ton of unnecessary work for him.

I'm sure it is exciting to work as such a creative company but you clearly need to invest in someone who is going to use the word "No" and be willing to use it no matter who he is talking to, even Tim.

These are my thoughts from an outside perspective. I obviously have no way of knowing what you guys do on a day to day basis and I could care less when the game comes out.

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The problem is that the whole design was finished just recently. In Episode 7 they already realized that they won't get the game done for the point in time originally planned. Doesn't seem to me that they were blind to the problems, but that without Tim's design done they couldn't properly estimate the scope of the game and how much longer it would take to get it made.

Maybe a certain irresponsibility is needed to achieve such ambition. It worked out in the end for Psychonauts and Brütal Legend, didn't it? As much as I liked Costume Quest and Stacking, I felt something was lost by them being made more consciously within determined resources.

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Pretty messed up that they posted the entirety of Tim's message to backers.

Exactly. It doesn't matter if the content they posted is text or images, gameplay or story, good news or bad news. They copy pasted private forum content that we agreed at the start of this campaign would remain here on the forum. Granted, it was on an honor system and not under an NDA, but all that means is that what these journos did is not punishable, but it is pretty damn disgraceful. I hope the cheap journo points they scored are worth the bridges they burned.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/195509/Double_Fine_splits_Broken_Age_in_half_to_fund_completion.php

https://twitter.com/KrisLigman

http://kotaku.com/somehow-tim-schafers-adventure-kickstarter-needs-more-652014092

https://twitter.com/LukePlunkett

+10,000 internet fame to the first journalist to publish a story about how these journalists are assholes.

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Well, I'm pretty ok with this. I'll be happy for you guys to get the funds to make the finished product better.

I only have one issue with this plan, and it ultimately may or may not matter to me in the end but figured I would voice it anyway. The magic words DRM-free are a big deal for me on any KS I back, and you guys had it. That's great! You were always planning beta access on Steam...also fine, I didn't plan on playing beta versions. But now it appears that Part 1 will essentially be a timed Steam exclusive until Part 2 releases. That doesn't sit particularly well for me. Though thinking about it I am likely to wait to play the whole game in one go *anyway*, so how much it will effect me is kind of up in the air. I dunno, just figured I'd put that feedback out there. Shadowrun Returns ended up being very stupid about their DRM-free version and I don't want to see something like that happen here.

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I've been thinking about this more than I have any real reason to since the announcement went up.

Part of me, having recently re-watched the documentary, is entirely unsurprised. The very basis of this Kickstarter was ridiculous, given that there wasn't even a kernel of a game idea that Tim was pitching. Which was, of course, part of the point. The sort of irony being that much of the design phase of the production process, was specifically excluded from the Documentary for fear of spoilers. But from what we did see, we saw time and again, Tim's vision placing huge demands, and everyone on the team getting a little exasperated and giving a "well, it will all work out in the end" sort of response. A great example of this is when they decide that Bagel absolutely must do pretty much all of the art for the game, from original concept to painting, just leaving tweaks to be done by Lee and the rest of the art staff to merge it seamlessly into the game world. This immediately created a Bagel-sized logjam in the art production process for the game, and is only one of several examples of Tim's vision creating a situation that was destined to drive up costs and drive out the release date.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not mad about splitting the game into two parts. I'm not mad that they sat on this episode while the Massive Chalice campaign, which I also backed, ran. I'm not mad about the delays. I'm a Software Engineer myself, I get daily reminders that creative work just takes longer than you feel like it should. I love what we've seen in the 2PP documentaries and other content that was posted. I am looking forward to the game, and expect it to be of high quality when it's released. It already looks amazing, the details in the shading stuff that Lee showed off during the episode demonstrates a fanatical attention to detail.

In the documentary, it wasn't until right before Christmas, when the Kickstarter money was almost gone that anyone seemed to step in and ask the hard questions about the game's scope and everything else. I applaud Double Fine's Business Development guy for scrounging up millions of dollars to help the project along. A good BizDev team makes a small company work, even if most people don't recognize it.

Maybe that's part of the process. Tim waxes eloquently about the problems with Publishers interfering with the design process in the early episodes, and if the concerns about money and time had been at the forefront of his mind then, it would have doubtless resulted in a weaker design. Maybe it's the realities of Tim being the only designer who appears to be full-time on the project when he has a company that he needs to run. Whatever it is, there was evidence that delays were inevitable early on (that are easy to spot in hindsight), and I'm hoping that this early access stunt provides needed revenue.

I've always felt that this Kickstarter wouldn't be a success with the release of Broken Age. It won't be a success until the first multi-million dollar title that didn't require going to Kickstarter. I still believe in that dream. I am still eager to see Tim's vision. And while I'm going to try to keep myself from playing Broken Age until it's done, I don't begrudge them the early release. Particularly because they clearly intend to polish that release.

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So either none of the above ever happened or if it did happen the person doing this work needs to determine where it went wrong. I feel bad for the Brand manager. he said in this episode it is his job to control the public facing side of this company. You guys just created a ton of unnecessary work for him.

I feel bad for Greg because his comments in the latest video were spot on. Looking at the comments on blogs and forums this latest release change is a PR nightmare for double fine. All the goodwill they have been built has gone and there is a lot of negativity out there...

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Mark Cerny's Method: Myth #1 - It is possible to plan and schedule a game's development.

People, go back and watch the Kickstarter video. You weren't promised a game at all. "Either the game will be great or it will be a spectacular failure caught on camera for everyone to see."

The game may yet be great, or it may yet be a spectacular failure. Either way, it's caught on camera for everyone to see.

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Do it! Development needs to keep its momentum and more cash will make that happen. It's worked for tales of monkey island (which is a great game) and back to the future and walking dead (hmmm...notice how these all seem to be telltale games), so why not Broken Age? Very sensible decision, what's important is to keep the game to its original vision with as little compromise as possible. I say do it! :-)

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I don't know how a company that's supposed to be a professional organisation designs a game that's ten times larger than the resources they have available, particularly one that was sold on getting an 'old hand' at adventure games to get one last crack at it. They've known there were scope problems since the beginning of the project - we were seeing videos about the scope problems back last year, and clearly that problem wasn't taken seriously or else we wouldn't be in this situation. What's worse, it's sucked up funds that other teams from Double Fine could have used to make new games.

I'd be glad that I at least got a documentary series out of it if 2PP hadn't gone to like a three-month release schedule, and it looks like I'm at least going to get half a game, but still. This is bullshit, and it reflects badly on Tim, Double Fine and the Kickstarter process. At least now we know why Psychonauts and Brutal Legend took so long and still released unfinished.

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For me, the documentary and "Adventure" so far has been well worth my investment as a backer. The game has always been a bonus.

I will be interested to see how much of a game Part 1 turns out to be.

That is to say: would Part 1 be "Enough" by itself, with the "whole thing" being Double Enough (which is equal to one Tim Enough), or will Part 1 feel like "half of what I expected"?

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I don't know how a company that's supposed to be a professional organisation designs a game that's ten times larger than the resources they have available, particularly one that was sold on getting an 'old hand' at adventure games to get one last crack at it. They've known there were scope problems since the beginning of the project - we were seeing videos about the scope problems back last year, and clearly that problem wasn't taken seriously or else we wouldn't be in this situation. What's worse, it's sucked up funds that other teams from Double Fine could have used to make new games.

I'd be glad that I at least got a documentary series out of it if 2PP hadn't gone to like a three-month release schedule, and it looks like I'm at least going to get half a game, but still. This is bullshit, and it reflects badly on Tim, Double Fine and the Kickstarter process. At least now we know why Psychonauts and Brutal Legend took so long and still released unfinished.

I understand your concern, but all of this is for the better of the project. Tim Schafer received 3.4M to make a game for us -- We're getting a 6M game and a documentary to boot. Sure, we have to wait longer but I'd rather have a better game that I waited for, than a shoddy game quickly. Grim Fandango came out over a decade ago ... What's another 7 months?

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I'm a weirdo, but I would actually argue for the other direction. Forget releasing in Acts or halves -- release by the chapter! Paragraphs even (i.e. super-early Alpha/Beta straddle access). Release whatever you have now! It was good enough for some old guy with the last name Dickens, so it's good enough for Double Fine. That dude had it sweet -- C. Dickens got paid by the word for long drawn-out serial stories in newspapers, AND got his audience to make major plot decisions for him midstream. Then he had whole books at the end, which he could resell all over again! The usual writer's business model (write a whole novel and pray for a paying audience at the end) is really stupid by comparison.

If anything, you aren't using us backers as a resource enough. USE US! I'm sure there's people here who would love to sign an NDA and pay money just to test early releases for you. There might even be artists who would pay for the chance to have their work and name in a released DF game. Maybe they're a tiny minority, but they do exist, and right now you're missing out on their revenue and product supporting contributions.

For the whining backers: remember that we didn't just pay for some shiny disk at the end of this, like we do with most games. We paid for ACCESS to the whole process, and we've already gotten that in spades. If a good game comes out on the other end then you might actually get disappointed, because that means the process you joined from the beginning will be over. It might be a satisfying ending, but you will miss it anyway. It's harder to say goodbye to a visit the longer it lasted.

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