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Episode 10: Part One of Something Great

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"I feel like we want to show what making games is really like....and this is what making games is really like." - Tim Schafer

It's been great to see all of the inner workings of the gamedev world, I think this is an amazing reminder that making games is difficult, and in the long run I think it'll be a nice little drama point in the overall documentary. As a fan of course it bums me out that I won't get the game for another year, but as a realist - this is really their best option. Best of luck, and boy ... I really don't envy Greg having to come across some of the vitriol that I've been seeing in the overarching gaming community about this :( - would love to buy the guy a round.

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I'm starting to wonder if the problem is actually that the game is too cheap. They asked for $15 to get the game, because they thought they were making a fairly small game. They got far more money, but set their sights too high as a result. The kind of game they're making doesn't seem like a $15 game, it seems like a full scale game by now.

Though it still seems like the problem is just that they either made it too big, or significantly underestimated the time and money required to make the game they had in mind.

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Not judging, and I want this to be the best game possible ever.

But food for thought:

A small budget game, “Machinarium” was developed over a period of three years by Amanita Design with a budget of 1,000 dollars.
In the end, the game (Superbrothers S&S EP) ended up costing "around $200,000" over the course of 18 months.

To me it's more worrying for any projects beyond Broken Age; if they all end up costing several millions.

I don't claim to know anything about game design, let alone budgeting for it, but doesn't the majority of costs associated with making a video game involve manhours, pure and simple? It's impossible for a game developer to make anything for 3 years and a $1,000 bucks. That's just a passion project that a few people probably worked tirelessly (and for free) in their spare time. That's completely different from Double Fine, who has to pay many, many people's salaries. If everyone was working for free, sure, they could make this game for $1000 (just the cost of a few voice actors and a few days in a recording studio that would have to be operated/rented for free).

Anyone who is not in a high level position at a game developer of Double Fine's level really shouldn't bother giving their opinion. It's a waste of time

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The new gameplay footage looks really great. Although I've liked all of the art I've seen so far, I was really surprised at how good the lighting / visual effects / etc. look.

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Not judging, and I want this to be the best game possible ever.

But food for thought:

A small budget game, “Machinarium” was developed over a period of three years by Amanita Design with a budget of 1,000 dollars.
In the end, the game (Superbrothers S&S EP) ended up costing "around $200,000" over the course of 18 months.

To me it's more worrying for any projects beyond Broken Age; if they all end up costing several millions.

I'd like to see the sources on that Machinarium figure, but I'm guessing they weren't paid during all those years and probably working 100 hours per week. Also, hard to compare the games since Broken Age isn't out so we don't know how much content there is, while Machinarium is a pretty short game as is Botanicula.

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I can see now why publishers won't touch the company anymore.

You have not worked in a computer game company obviously. Everyone gets delayed because the vision and the dream gets too big for reality. I have worked in several (incl. DICE) and the story is always the same... "Please give us more money and more time, because we are onto something great". The publishers knows this is happening on regular basis and this is not a reason to shun any company, as long as they finally delivers and the sales are big enough. One and even two years over original budget and time is quite common. Most companies, unlike Double Fine, does not express all this to the public though, so it is rarely known that there were serious delays from the first and early pitches and dreams.

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"Let's do the bucket puzzle. How do you get the bucket from the hermit?"

"He could be using it in other ways... it could be his toilet."

Which brings us to the all-important bucket cleaning puzzle. Please? :)

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nice episode.

understandable solution.

a little concerned that the calibre of part 2 might suffer if part 1 makes no money.

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Unsure how I feel about the split up.

I'll probably just wait til April and play the whole thing in its entirety.

Already made my thoughts known on this whole thing in the other thread.

Just wanted to point out that there's one shot of Shay walking in a huge room in the spaceship that for some reason gave me that old Full Throttle feeling. It was the first time I felt this game. That was nice. I have no doubt this will be an impacting and memorable game.

Just kinda disappointed in the path that it's taken to get there. Usually it wouldn't be a problem, cos you hear about a game, it finally gets made and then you buy it. But I don't think you ever buy... half a game and then wait a couple of months for the rest of it.

If it was a regular game with a regular release (no KS, no backer forums, no doco) and I heard "NEW TIM SCHAFER ADVENTURE GAME!" then 15 months later heard "BUY THE FIRST PART AND THEN IN A FEW MONTHS WE WILL FINISH THE SECOND PART!" it'd be like what? What are you talking about?

I'll echo that I also feel bad for Greg. His concerns were absolutely 100% on the money. He's a smart, smart man. Perception is everything.

I guess I have made up my mind. I don't like it. I want an epic adventure like Grim Fandango or Full Throttle and I know eventually I will get it. But I don't want to finish Part 1 and then have to wait for the rest of the game to be finished. But then if I wait, then I'll have to avoid spoilers and the temptation to play a game that everyone else is playing. It's just gotten so messy.

Messy. That's the word to describe it.

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I'm totally fine with this decision!

Not only does Double Fine make great games, their inability to stay on budget makes for really good drama. This is all really good information for us fans to know, especially if Double Fine is going to keep doing more and more Kickstarter / self-funded projects. It's riveting to watch, but I do hope the company reaches a calmer, sustainable method of funding multiple projects at once.

The game looks great. :D

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How disappointing. A game that got 9 times the original budget can't even meet the budget and hasn't met its deadlines. To finish the game they need nearly 18 times the original proposed budget. You would think this is government work.

Explains why this episode was delayed too, so they could get the Massive Chalice money in before they displayed their inability to actually deliver on what was proposed with 9 times the original budget.

Agreed. I want this game made just like everybody else, but we're now into issues of trust.

I think in future I'm only going to fund projects where they just need money for the "final mile" of post-production.

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Is this plan only for Steam? I mean I was planning on buying another copy for iOS, so if you release the first part on there, then I would totally buy it, and part two to help the game out!

PS this means I personally am totally fine with the game being cut in two parts if it isn't actually changing the game's story/design. Just don't go Peter Jackson on me and announce a third part.

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How disappointing. A game that got 9 times the original budget can't even meet the budget and hasn't met its deadlines. To finish the game they need nearly 18 times the original proposed budget. You would think this is government work.

Explains why this episode was delayed too, so they could get the Massive Chalice money in before they displayed their inability to actually deliver on what was proposed with 9 times the original budget.

9 times the budget of a tiny game. They're still working on a freaking tiny budget, $3mil is about one quarter of the average AAA game. That would be like trying to own a house, and a car payment on less than 10K a year.

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Agreed. I want this game made just like everybody else, but we're now into issues of trust.

I think in future I'm only going to fund projects where they just need money for the "final mile" of post-production.

Is it a betrayal of trust if they decide they'd like to maintain a certain level of quality in the product?

The obvious alternative here would be to significantly reduce the content in (or "quality" of) the game in order to meet the current budget. I feel like most folks would have accepted that as "warts and all" as we see reality intrude on idealistic design goals and the game gets re-spec'd to fit.

Instead, they've got an idea for the game they WANT to release, and are looking for any alternative, however initially unpleasant, to make the game they think we deserve. If there's anything that fits within the spirit of the Kickstarter, it's this.

Imagine the two games:

The game they compromised to fit within the existing budget and timeline - releasing "on time and on budget" and probably very good - maybe even great.

And the game they're planning to make. The game that goes over budget and over time, where the first half took the resources of the entire other game.

Which game do you think will be better remembered in the long run? Which game would you rather have at the end? This plan produces a better game, full stop.

Trust will only be broken if they fail to deliver the entire product. If they tell us they're going to release the first half early in order to fund the rest and then end up with underwhelming sales that force them to give up on developing the second half - then we'll be left with a cliffhanger.

Honestly, I wouldn't feel ripped off, even then. Disappointed, but not betrayed. This Adventure has paid for itself already in my book. For me the game is just a bonus at this point.

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Drama! I love a little drama!

Fantastic episode, fantastic art and fantastic doc music.

Loving people's reactions and comments. :D

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The original 400k figure became irrelevant by the time the Kickstarter finished. They decided to scale the game up, overshot it, and are dealing with that now.

Part of the package that we paid for is a high-profile game that's not beholden to a publisher. Double Fine may need to compromise to get this game made, but the compromise will be on their terms. I'm sure countless games hit this kind of crossroads, and we never hear about it, because A. the publisher demands that they simply downsize the game and B. because there's not a camera crew documenting it.

We're not double-paying for the game and it looks like it's going to be the best game it can be, and probably one that couldn't exist except under this unusual model.

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I cannot call the navbot the printer-shredder anymore, he is more like a multiseat toilet paper dispenser now, but I still love it.

Regarding the decision, please don’t go Half-life 2 Episode 2 on us. Anything less frustrating is fine.

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Kickstarter: 3.3 million

'Got another million': 4.3 million

'Got another million': 5.3 million

'We need 6 million': 11.3 million????

As an independent developer I find this kind of depressing. Does it really cost 11.3 million to produce a AAA quality point and click adventure game? If everyone charges $100 an hour to the project that's still 113,000 hours of labor... 57 people working 40 hours a week for one full year.

What am I missing here?

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Would it be possible to get the "concatenated" experience when part 2 is out ? Like, an add-on to the first game, which fires up instead of first part's credits roll ?

To keep the moving parts down between a stand-along install of part 2 (and reducing room for bugs), each part may have its own saves, and inventory may not been carried over from part 1 to part 2...

It's about the feeling of continuing the story instead of having to look for where the second part is installed. The menu art may be even different based on the latest played episode (a bit like how HalfLife 2's menu background scene changes) if you plan to have different art for it (I think just slapping "2" somewhere in the menu is not the sexiest option, so you probably planned for different art).

As for my feelings on the decision on splitting things up: I backed a DoubleFine story told with DoubleFine art. You can have it come out in 6 out-of-order episodes if you want (as long as Jar-Jar is in none of them). Heck, you can even have me buy half of them, I've already gotten more than my contribution's worth. I've paid for Psychonauts thrice already[1], so I could as well buy 3 different games/parts next time.

[1] Once on steam to get the game. Once on Humble Bundle to get it DRM-free. Once more on Humble Bundle to get the DRM-free native Linux version. Please don't release a digital collector's edition. Wait, no, please do !

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personally i'm a bit upset at how this game has been handled. i was getting kind of miffed at earlier episodes where the problem of going over budget became apparent. i funded this game to have an old school adventure game and definately would have preferred a longer game with everything in it with old school svga (even vga) graphics. and i mean i would have actually preferred old school graphics.

all the budget seems to go into technology and art, which in my opinion seems secondary (almost a waste). i was looking forward to a long adventure, tim shafer style dialogue and originality. not an art show.

and im pretty sure you dont need 11 mio to make a top adventure game. all the sweet adventure games coming out of germany surely didnt cost 11 mio.

the quest for infamy adventure game i also backed on kickstarter got like 70k raised and that game seems really good. DF i think mismanaged the funds and/or placed resources in the wrong areas (art). they should have just made the art like in dott and full throttle

i might be in the minority though, not sure. just voicing my opinion.

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I'm fine with the part 1 and part 2 plan for the game. I don't want content to be cut so I'm fine waiting for the whole thing to be completed.

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all the budget seems to go into technology and art, which in my opinion seems secondary (almost a waste).

...as opposed to...?

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As long as you deliver in the end and the game is the second best adventure game I've ever played, I'm fine with this.

I guess this happens when you're not tied to publishers, but that's what we wanted and paid for, right? Unlimited creativity.

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I don't usually post here, even read the forums much due to lack of time but I really am upset when I see comments like "this is a disappointment" or "this is a waste of time" because what I see here is people passionately working on something they believe in and trying to deliver the highest quality product that is possible. Even more, they stick with their values, like they don't think about getting money from a publisher or something similar.

I don't know what kind of world those who are disappointed live in but in the real world I live in, this combination is an extremely hard one to accomplish and I'm quite happy how they decided to solve it. I fully support splitting the game into two acts, heck I'm even okay for paying for the second act!

Many people said this already but even just the documentaries are worth all the money I put into this project. I just want to thank you to all those hard working and honest people at Double Fine.

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all the budget seems to go into technology and art, which in my opinion seems secondary (almost a waste).

...as opposed to...?

as opposed to the devs working on easier to do low budget (old school) animations and background art and having A LOT of it to incorporate all that tim wanted to show and tell his story.

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I don't know what kind of world those who are disappointed live in but in the real world I live in, this combination is an extremely hard one to accomplish and I'm quite happy how they decided to solve it. I fully support splitting the game into two acts, heck I'm even okay for paying for the second act!

Many people said this already but even just the documentaries are worth all the money I put into this project. I just want to thank you to all those hard working and honest people at Double Fine.

in the real world i live in people who consistently waste resources close shop.

its just sad to see the project suffer so much because of the huge expenditures for the art, that to my mind wasnt planned to begin with and in my eyes is a waste. it seems like the RTS mechanic of brutal legend. its a part that no one called for and hurt the game in the end.

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First: great episode! I agree with all those people who say that the docs are worth the price of admission alone.

Second: wow! What a difficult decision this must have been. I agree with it wholeheartedly, but of course felt some disappointment when I first read Tim's note on Kickstarter.

But then I was thinking, while watching the awesome footage from the game in this episode, how long it has been since I've felt the feeling I get from a 2D Tim Schafer adventure. That was a freakishly long time ago!!! So I figure: this decision means the game will be better, maybe even approaching the level of genius that was Day of The Tentacle or Full Throttle, then I'm wholly and fully on board with this decision.

Can't wait to play this game (or part of it), can't wait to see more awesome game footage, can't wait for more documentary episodes, can't wait!

Broken Age gets 'broken up'? Well... this just may be the smartest move you've made. :)

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