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DF Chris Remo

Episode 10: Part One of Something Great

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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.

I LOVE pixel art, and even I think you'd have to be crazy to expect DF to be making a pixel art game at this level. Maybe when it was just a $400k niche project, but not now.

Furthermore, all of Tim's old LucasArts games had a heavy focus on the visual design. It's utterly integral to the storytelling.

Also, good pixel art isn't necessarily any quicker or easier to create-- the modern pixel artist scene is very exacting, and I'm sure it was hard work back in the 90s, too.

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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.

I love the art style. You don't see many games that look like that and in the current game ecosystem the art style can make or break a game. People will give the game a chance or simply ignore it based on the art style alone. Art is very important and I don't see how anyone can see it as a waste.

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I LOVE pixel art, and even I think you'd have to be crazy to expect DF to be making a pixel art game at this level. Maybe when it was just a $400k niche project, but not now.

Furthermore, all of Tim's old LucasArts games had a heavy focus on the visual design. It's utterly integral to the storytelling.

Also, good pixel art isn't necessarily any quicker or easier to create-- the modern pixel artist scene is very exacting, and I'm sure it was hard work back in the 90s, too.

i guess i really AM crazy then, cause i totally expected them to be old school graphics ;)

and yes tim shafer/double fine are pretty much who they are because of the quirky design and art etc. thats why i am among the other top 15% of the backers, but i just think the quirky art etc. could have been conveyed for much less, like other adventure games coming out and thus ensured that more of tims vision could have been conveyed. but if he feels that the art is so important to his vision, that it would justify cutting content, then thats fine by me. im just not sure that thats the case. i get the feeling if he could start over, they'd go a different route.

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I have to ask the question -

Why didn't ANYONE right at the beginning of the design stage say - "This might be too much..."

These guys make games for a living and surely know that you can get X with this amount of Y.

I know I sound like a prick, but were people too afraid to tell Tim to scale back?

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At first I was disappointed that I have to wait an other year. But after this episode I realised, that this whole struggle for money to keep the game as intended is the major (positive) effect of being totally independent of publisher's support. A publisher would have cut the game down, so that I could be released in December.

With this decisions we get a DoubleFine (Tim Schafer) game as pure as it can get. And I'm happy with that. :)

I guess it's difficult to scale creativity.

And we get another ~10 episodes of this documentary!

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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?

I don´t think there is a need to be depressed. It´s more the curse of a Kickstarter with many many backers. You think big, you want to do them justice, you want to give them what you more or less promised - the full scale old school game on todays level. Ad to that that DF seems to be more or less working on fair terms (as in family frindly, weekends of ect.) i think it´s hard to compare to your average indy project that gets developed besides a day job or with tons over overtime.

In creative work many people don´t get payed fair. Look at a game like L.A. Noire as a prime example of how shit can be. What you see is not depressing, it´s giving hope for good working conditions in a job field that usually abuses peoples passion for the biz while others cash in on it AND keep the IP.

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I can totally understand how this has happened, and also totally support the decision.

Why are people complaining? They're getting the game for a small amount of money. It's going to be a large, large game, and backers getting it for the same amount of money that the small 4-team IOS-game would've cost.

And budgeting for a type of game that you haven't made for a decade, in a technique and engine which is new. Of course you're going to run in to unexpected problems. That's what doing something new is all about, and why they chose the kickstarter way. And the bigger the budget, the bigger the differences in budget are going to be. On a 400k project, a 30% budget increase is less then on a 4m project. So this isn't really unexpected. I think they've been aware of the budget for quite a while, and have been analyzing their workflow and have been adjusting every time.

We're getting something great, for a fraction of what it would normally cost. A documentary, and a great game. And then all the forum posts. The 12 year old in me, who read the my 'Adventurer' over and over again, to get some insight in my favourite company, wouldn't have believed the acces we get now. For me, this Kickstarter has been a great succes.

I think Double Fine is betting it all on Broken Age, and the only thing we should do is hope they will win.

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Game is looking stunning - will be happy to play it whenever you guys are ready, in whatever form. Thanks for another great episode.

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I'm not interested in playing the final game anyway! Once I had seen first screenshots of the smoothed graphics /engine, I knew that this is not the kind of "oldschool" adventure I want to play.

The only good thing about this kickstarter is the documentary! 2PP is doing an excellent job here!

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Nice episode guys! Ingenious structure: first you show us how great it looks with all those reflections and polish stuff and it kinda justifies having the game in two parts.

As for Steam Early Access... I don't think people trust this stuff (I know I wouldn't), all the games there are kinda wonky-shmonky. Why not release it as a episodic game like Walking Dead, only with two acts?

And to the guy who doesn't like the art style and thinks it's a waste of money: You backed the project because you wanted a Tim Schafer game, and this is what Tim's vision is. They're not making a game "like in the 90's", they are simply making a good adventure game. 20 years ago pixel-style graphics were simply the best means to express an artist's vision in a game, and it has changed since then.

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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?

Well what I understood from the episode is slightly different

They need 6 million in total, that is they already have 3 million from kickstarter, they got another million along the way, so they need about 2 additional millions. Not additonal 6 millions. I think this is what they imply!

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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?

I think the point was 6 Million total (not 11.3), also the original 3.3 million would have had money taken out for Kickstarter and Amazon (10% from for those two alone), and the rewards, AND paying for the documentary which has been awesome. I'm pretty sure the cost of those was listed in a early production update or similar.

If you want to play the numbers game, I work in the software development industry where a ball park cost for each full time engineers worth of development is over $330,000 USD per annum leaving you with around 18 man years worth of development if you had a full 6 million. I'm not in the gaming industry so I'm not sure if animation/audio/art/etc are more or less expensive then just engineers but it is probably on the more expensive side. So after the costs involved maybe we are talking 10-12 man years worth of development if they had 6 million, now look at the size of the development team in the documentary and you might start see how the timeline leads to this.

So what kind of game do you get for 10+ man years of development? Well I CAN wait to find out! I'm certain given DoubleFine's catalogue of games and the catalogue the staff have worked on, and from what we've seen so far on the documentary that it will be as awesome as the documentary and for many backers it didn't cost much but a handful of bucks and some patience.

So maybe we should be worrying more about how to ensure this gets the money it needs to be awesome by promoting it rather then whinging...

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May anybody here explain the term "oldschool" (in terms of adventure games) to me?

And why do I need so much money for such a game? I don't think that old-school game designers had that much money back then.

...

I feel like we are kept in a stupid loop.

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May anybody here explain the term "oldschool" (in terms of adventure games) to me?

And why do I need so much money for such a game? I don't think that old-school game designers had that much money back then.

...

I feel like we are kept in a stupid loop.

old school adventure most generally means "point and click" adventure in any form (full 3d, 2d)

it may also refer to either pure 2d or 2d background with 3d-Characters point and click. (broken age seems to be this type)

in its most hardcore sense (not counting zork type text adventures) it means 2d vga (or worse) graphics point and click adventure. (i was hoping this game would be THIS type, and you wouldnt need that much money for it)

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(i was hoping this game would be THIS type, and you wouldnt need that much money for it)

Perfect! That's what I hoped, too!

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As for Steam Early Access... I don't think people trust this stuff (I know I wouldn't), all the games there are kinda wonky-shmonky

I'm not sure what you mean... Early access is for games in progress and (what is essentially) alpha funding. Of course the games on there are 'wonky', they're still being developed. A lot of them are shaping up incredibly well. So... What's not to 'trust' exactly?

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Great Update! It's a shame that the game will take longer, but yeah, better late than bad.

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As a backer I had no expectation of the release date for Broken Age...and in any case, any commitment you might have given for the original Kickstarter pitch was meaningless as soon as the funding and scope for the project exploded beyond all expectation. Whatever impression I had of the scope for Broken Age when I pushed that backer button, when I committed my money in other words, has been blown out of all recognition and it looks like instead of a cute little Android nostalgia trip I'm going to get a massive, unique, artistically breath-taking love-letter to what made those old adventures great. I'm over the moon. My value for money is through the roof.

So I'm in complete support of this decision. The game is looking really stunning. For the paltry amount I backed this project, to receive these documentaries and a final product that looks as if it is going to rock is the bargain of the century. I don't care how long it takes.

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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?

Quite a lot actually! When you price a job like this, it’s generally done by overhead costs per man / month (you should probably know that). In this case I would hedge a bet it’s somewhere in the region of $10k - $12k. So for fifty people @ 10k, there’s half a mill gone in one month. I don’t think fifty people are working on it though, but you can see where the funds go. This 10k covers overheads inc. salary, overtime expenses, rent, utilities, internet, cleaners, drinks, office supplies etc. the list goes on.). Then you factor in the initial software, hardware outlay required specific to the project and then the external production costs which include contractors, music, marketing etc. Bagel alone probably costs 4-500 dollars per day as a contractor. To be clear, these figures are all approximate, I don’t know what their specific costs are, but you can see how it adds up very quickly. Running a studio is not cheap!

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Watching the documentary it made me wish that a similar one for Psychonauts or Brütal Legend existed. The development of these two games was so much more dramatic compared to that of Broken Age, I thought. Somehow 2PP and Double Fine managed to fix this problem. Broken Age's development may be just as dramatic now, so I don't feel like that anymore. ;)

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I read through a lot of the comments on kickstarter and here and found some people that wanted to raise their pledges afterwards.

You can't do that on Kickstarter but in some other way HERE:

http://www.doublefine.com/dfapay/

I supposse this money goes directly to REDS. If not: Please correct me (or make it go to REDS)

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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.

It's this fundamental misunderstanding of how costs are assessed that is one of the biggest disconnects between the games industry and the people who buy the games...and something I hope the DFA documentaries will go some way towards addressing over the long haul!

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Just my opinion about the early access: games that worked well with early access (not only Steam) are usually systems based (i.e. Minecraft, Don't Starve, Project Zomboid) where it is fun to play around with it, even when it is not done. I am unsure if an adventure game (which is story driven) would be any fun.

Of course there are episodic released, such as Kentucky Route Zero and Telltale games, but I wouldn't call it "early access", but "episodic" (even if you buy a "season pass" - such as KyR0 and The Walking Dead - which is effectively buying one game with episodes delivered at different times). If you go through the episodic route, I really don't see any reason why it won't be a success.

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The internet is going to have a field day.

I think it will be really bad reception with reactionists. i.e. Journalists.

However, given WE don't need to pay any more, and we get the full vision of what Tim has in store, i don't mind either way.

The amount of money I've payed for a game which looks awesome already is nothing really.

Let's hope there are still enough people willing to buy the game who havent already bought it...

I continue to be fascinated by these videos. I feel like i've robbed someone, by the amount of quality coverage we're getting.

Keep up the good work!

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Let's be honest, this decision is not ideal. I would rather have the full game to play through. But, there are a few positives from this that I took away from it.

For one, Tim has shaped this game with the length in mind being equal or comparable to Grim Fandango which is a very long game. This is something I did not expect, I was expecting a much much shorter game for the money that they had raised initially. Of course, Tim was a bit naughty because he essentially designed a game beyond their means, but, I would rather have Tim have complete creative control of the story he wishes to tell than a chop-shop of a story he couldn't tell.

In addition breaking the game into parts be it 2 or more is fine with me. This worked well with me with the Walking Dead franchise with Tell-Tale games and look at the critical success that game achieved. In future I would like Tim to consider to keep making adventure games with perhaps this in mind so episodes can come out in much of the same fashion. I really don't want Broken Age to be the last adventure game that they do.

So, even though the news is not great I will support it as much as I am able to purely because I am a fan and I really want to play the game as intended and I am more than willing to wait the year or so for this to be achieved.

Now, I have seem some people mention about the cost of development and their concerns. Firstly for the money raised 'yes' an adventure game can be made, it just so happens that Tim had a much grander story he wanted to tell which went beyond their resources. His fault for sure, but, as backers you gotta trust the man otherwise you wouldn't of backed it. Being one of the first large invested game kickstarters also carries its own sort of pressures also, but in my opinion it's success also paved the way for many other studios to consider this route. So I am grateful if anything for the door people opened for games like Project Eternity and Torment games I think would never come to light without Broken Ages kickstarters success.

So for Tim, I appreciate your honesty in letting us know how things are going and the tough choices that have to be made. I also like the zeal behind not giving anything up. With that, you have my support and the support of many others to help realize your dream and in turn, ours.

Tsu

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I think this highlights the risks of starting a project without a clearly defined product or plan. I have no doubt that Tim is designing the best possible game he can and I'm interested in seeing the result but this was always a case of getting the money first, designing the game second and we're now seeing the effects of this.

I appreciate it's hard to invest significant time before funding is received but I feel the framework of the game should have been fleshed out quite a bit more so that the kickstarter target was backed by something a bit more substantial. Then when you get more than you expected you can add some more bits in.

Or at least design to your budget, we'd all like Tim to have infinite time and money but you have to deal with the reality as well.

Secondly I can't help but wonder if the project has over invested in developing a framework with which to produce this game. While I'm sure it's a desirable product for the studio was it really required/justified for this project? Couldn't it have been done more cost effectively using an "off the shelf" product even if that didn't have every nifty feature on the teams wish list? At the end of the day people signed on for a "regular" point and click adventure, I think they would have been just as happy if it didn't feature every special effect being mentioned in the doc.

Finally; what happens if part 1 doesn't sell as well as hoped? There is no more money in the KS fund and I don't readily see how DF could raise more money. If that happens I don't see how part 2 would be produced.

As much as I hate to suggest it I feel the right decision here would have been to significantly slash the content. The current path leaves us with the possibilty that the game could end up not being finished, which is a huge gamble.

And when I say a huge gamble I don't really mean for us. For most of us if the game was never completed it would be upsetting but nothing compared to what this seem to mean to DF as a company.

The other option was to release part 1 as the finished KS product and then run a second one to develop part 2. I agree that would have been unfair on backers to have done that unilaterally, however I wonder if these options shouldn't have been put to the backers and we voted on this referendum style. I agree it's Double Fines decision but it just seems to me that might have been a better way to go in terms of keeping the backers happy and maybe playing it a bit safer.

On a more personal note I feel I've already got my value for money out of watching the documentary. It's been a fascinating experience and a pleasure to see the inner workings of the team.

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i was just going out into the wonderful world of other gaming forums and the picture is quite grim it seems.

the news are spreading now and basic response seems to be "they got 8 times what they asked for and they still cant deliver. epic fail."

i hope this negativity, although i sort of agree with it, doesnt spread in the intornets and will hurt the game in the end. bad times indeed.

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