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ClapBedon

The Broken Age Timeline

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This post aims to keep track of key events and milestones in the Broken Age production, especially those affecting the schedule and budget. I'll update it as events unfold and keep it as factual as I can. If you feel like it, please use this thread to help me keep this post accurate, up-to-date, and typo free. However, I'm also hoping this is not going to turn in yet another discussion about what Double Fine should have or shouldn't have done.

February 2012 -- Launch of Kickstarter

March 2012 -- End of Kickstarter campaign, 3 336 371$ raised

April 2012 -- Episode 1

May 2012 -- Episode 2

June 2012 -- Episode 3, Main production team created

July 2012

August 2012 -- Episode 4, Concept drawings are shown

September 2012 -- Episode 5, End of pre-production, production begins

(21:55) Tim: "Who was it like, Myamoto? That thing was quoted: 'It only hurts until it's done. But if it sucks, it sucks forever'. You know? So, okay, we'll suffer now and we'll put the extra work that's going to make us great. Because no one is going to remember... No one ever says about a game, like, 'Oh you know, that game had a really reasonable production schedule. I really enjoyed that game, it was really moderately scheduled'."

October 2012 -- Episode 6, Art production pipeline changes

(25:40) Lee: "But I think, it's the type of thing where... if we can come up with a sketch of a plan that we think might work, then I think we should try it sooner than later. Because, fuck this sprint. Who cares? There's no publisher fucking us in the ass over it. The whole point is just there should be milestones as we make this game. As long as we're meeting Tim's goals for the project, as long as we think we can actually get it done, and as long as we're all willing to give it a shot, there's no reason in the world we shouldn't be flexible."

November 2012 -- Episode 7, Original 8-month release plan officially dropped.

(02:08) Isa: "I think there's still a lot of work to do still to understand really what the scope is. But it's coming into view. I think it's expanded a lot from what they originally thought. And when projects evolve like that, you need to really re-evaluate the plans. So having a clear plan in place that you can iterate on is a good start. So I want to get the tools in place, and help Greg get the tools in place to have a plan he can easily iterate on."

(25:08) Justin: "I need to find money. Because right now, it looks like the plane is diving a little bit, and we just need... We have time to pull up."

(26:00) Tim: "It just seems wrong to make it cost more than we got. Because we were so lucky to get the momey that we got. It feels like this moral thing to finish it for that amount of money or less. And I'm sure that our business guy would love for us to finish for less. But the game also has to be very good... and it is an important game for the studio. And strategically it's an important game for us because we own it, we don't have to share the money with any sort of other party, investor or publisher. You know, it's all ours. So it makes sense to make a very good game."

(28:40) Greg: "Utlimately, the number one decider on the schedule is 'when do we feel like we have a game that we're proud of?' So it's trying to figure out the best plan of attack to get us to the point where we're proud of the game and are ready to put it out. But I think we're safe to assume at this point that's it definitly past April. So we just kind of have to figure out when that is and how we're going to get there. We'll handle it!"

December 2012 -- Amnesia Fortnight, 0 249 853.15$ raised

January 2013

February 2013 -- Brutal Legend PC released, 0 916 593$ raised

March 2013 -- Episode 8, First Hour of Fun!

(04:10) Justin: "I don't know how much money is actually going to be enough. So right now my mandate is 'more'. Because I want Tim to completely check out, and when he feels the game is done, then it's done."

(05:00) Isa: "More needs to be done to really understand what's left to do and how long that will take. We're kind of refactoring all of our assumptions about that schedule."

April 2013 -- Episode 9, Marketing efforts announcing the name Broken Age with a trailer

(08:46) Greg: "It's a hard thing, because no matter what, showing the game publicly is going to eat into the schedule somehow. Whether it's a trailer or a demo, there's always going to be work that's done specifically for that that wouldn't have been done otherwise. But I think it's just a matter of... you've got to talk about your game. And you have to get out there. Otherwise, you might make a great game but nobody knows about it. So it's just kind of give or take of... Let's figure out the points in the schedule where we can insert these things with the least amount of pain. But also, to get the biggest positive effect for the game. And I think that just happens to be right now. Because this is when PAX is, and GDC and all the big conventions. So we want to take advantage of those things falling in line with our dev cycle."

(44:40) Tim: "Hopefully Greg is working on a PR plan for the rest of the project. But I'm mostly focused on... as soon as this is done, I need to get into the design realm and design the rest of the game. There's another designer that we might bring on and we're just going to lock him, and me, and a few other people in the back room, and just sit there for a week until the rest of the game is designed."

May 2013 -- Humble Double Fine Bundle, 1 276 369.61$ raised

June 2013 -- Double Fine's 90,000 friends video | Massive Chalice Kickstarter campaign | 2 Indie Fund games announced

July 2013 -- Episode 10, Game design completed, tentative release dates are known

(23:24) Tim: "Now I've got to wrap that up. But it's kind of undetermined right now because I need to know the scope that I'm designing too. And that's what Matt Hanson is coming up with now. He's coming up with what he calls the 'currency', so it's okay, 'you've got three cutscenes here, you can spend them here or you can spend them over here'. So I kind of need to know those constraints so I can wrap up the design."

(23:48) Matt: "We're breaking up the game down by scene so we're able to put a value, a cost-value to each one of those scenes. And it gives up a better estimation of how long it's going to take to actually build those things. And it's just going beyonds what we had originally anticipated. And that was something that... we just were able to get to that realization by getting more inside the design."

(36:09) Tim: "As you know, we have a schedule problem. Which is that I've designed a game that is too big for the schedule that we have and the money that we've got. The other idea that was put forward recently was, what about we release part one of the game early? At first I was like, 'that sounds terrible' because the first half game end on such a cliffhanger. But as an alternative to cutting the game content in half, I do like that idea better."

(38:30) Tim: "But at least we have an actual, real schedule now that is not based on our hopes and dreams but actually has maths in it that shows that we'll be done by a certain month. January for part one and April for part two."

August 2013 -- Episode 11?

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014 -- Broken Age early access release (projected)

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014 -- Broken Age release (projected)

--

Pre-production: 6 months

Production: 20 months

Funds raised: 5 779 168$

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It makes for one hell of a story, that's for sure!

Nice work putting that together.

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Thanks for that. I think that's a really good summary. It doesn't read to me like a team that has sleepwalked into going over budget; they've known about the difficulties for some time, but they've just constantly erred on the side of making a better game and only making cuts where they're really needed. Could they have played it safer? Sure, but I think this way we're going to get something really, really great.

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Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for posting all this :)

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That first Tim quote is amazing. "No one ever says about a game, like, 'Oh you know, that game had a really reasonable production schedule. I really enjoyed that game, it was really moderately scheduled'." I remember hearing that at the beginning and it still perfectly summarizes the project.

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That first Tim quote is amazing. "No one ever says about a game, like, 'Oh you know, that game had a really reasonable production schedule. I really enjoyed that game, it was really moderately scheduled'." I remember hearing that at the beginning and it still perfectly summarizes the project.

Ya that seemed to be a bit of thoughtful foreshadowing of what probably would happen.

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Thanks for putting this overview together!

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excuse me, but what is the source of the "funds raised" figure?
A combination of the Kickstarter amount raised, the Amnesia Fortnight Humble Bundle, the Double Fine Humble Bundle and the Brutal Legend Steam sales added together. However, when I added them up I got $5,779,186.

This is not including the Super Backers ($110,000), Late Backers (About $160,000) or any of the Justin deals that were not publicly revealed.

EDIT: Nor is it including any fees. Kickstarter failed transactions is about 1% (Source: Greg). Kickstarter takes 5%. Amazon takes 5%. Humble Bundles usually have 65% given to the developer (Source: Chris). Then 2 Player Productions takes 15% of the amount left over (Source: Greg).

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that was my point. that figure is inevitably wildly inaccurate. you also forgot to mention the pledge fulfillment, which took about 400k if i remember correctly.

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that was my point. that figure is inevitably wildly inaccurate. you also forgot to mention the pledge fulfillment, which took about 400k if i remember correctly.

Taking all of those things into account, it would seem they have at least $4m at least directly going towards the game budget (my ballpark estimate puts it at about $4.1m) which means that if the $6m figure is accurate, they are looking for another $1.9m to budget to finish the project. That's making a lot of assumptions, though, so I think +/- 50% is fair. I'm happy to range it at $1-3m they're actually looking for.

That said,I would suspect it's not at the upper end of that, because from what Chris has been saying, they're not miles away from 100% funding, they just need to give themselves a leg up for the last bit. I think somewhere in the region of $1-2m shortfall is a reasonable estimate, then, based on the numbers we know, the numbers we can estimate, and the things that are being said.

Steam Sales have happened recently, so that may have cut that number down further, and also the release of Dropchord which while not setting the world on fire has been generally well received. I suspect that there will be more sources of revenue between now and January that they have factored into their calculation, and the Steam Early access will have the dual function of contributing further funds towards the total for development, and buying them enough time for more of their projects to start paying off in the first half of next year.

(My suspicion, based on little aside from my gut based on what's been said so far, is that they're after about $1.7 million, and that will be made up of Steam Early Access, Pre-January revenue from Merchandising and game sales, Post-January Steam sales and, if necessary, revenue from sales of their yet-to-be-announced projects during Q1 2014)

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@TrueStoryGuy: Thanks for pointing out my mistake. I've corrected the figure in the first post.

@Balck_Hand: The amount raised and the actual budget are two separate things. As you pointed out, it'd be difficult to estimate how much exactly went into DoubleFine's bank account and how much of that amount is actually spent on the game. Nevertheless, that number is useful as it gives an order of magnitude, so I'll leave it as it is.

Thank you everyone for all the positive feedback. I'll keep this post up to date if you still find it useful.

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This is great! I think this really helps to add to the narrative of the project. Great work!

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