by Studio Fawn
It's very reminiscent of "Gauntlet", but looks good!
@Andrew - Thanks :) That's what it was patterned after....but along the way it ended up going down its own Bloomy direction (with room to grow, so hopefully there is a longer life alongside Memories for it).
I wasn't really sure how I was feeling toward Labarynth, but now the more I see of it the more I think I'd enjoy it a lot!
And I'm glad you continue to make updates to us. I can wait as long as we need to for Memories <3
Honestly saying backers won't get either unless they paid extra is kind of a bitter move given the time you spent on these other games was time that pushed back development on the game we actually backed.Telling a thousand people that their pledges weren't good enough because you wanted to work on something they didn't pledge for but to just keep being patient or just give it up it not great. It's been five years, to be honest I am half expecting to never get a game sine the other other projects that I haven't gotten from that long ago were from games that went defunct and shut down.
@Jared - It definitely came into its own unique strange thing haha. Bonus is I have a feeling some of the ideas for Labyrinth will make their way over to Memories too (such as adding another play mode and I was able to flesh out some side characters more).
@Natasha - Well, some backers will get Labyrinth (I haven't quite figured out the cut off line yet). And all backers will be getting Faucet once that is done (which is a smaller version of Labyrinth with a bit of a different story and slightly different overall gameplay framing).
But at a certain point I have to struggle with actually staying afloat as a creator and what is fair. I figure in addition to Faucet (and Prelude, once completed), Memories will be very worth the $10 that most people put in when it eventually comes (like I said, Memories is aiming at $30 now. If I were doing the campaign again I'd have not offered a $10 tier)....but for those that don't want to wait, they can pull the rip cord and just grab the full Labyrinth and enjoy that instead (still a great value at the $10, and they will get Prelude later on too of course).
The alternative was finding other work and part-timing Memories. But, from a backers perspective, that would have meant just a general slowdown without much gained. ((And realistically, if Labyrinth flops, I'll be needing to find other work anyhow while working on Memories....Labyrinth might have just been a stupid idea to attempt to keep the lights on instead of finding "a real job")).
Yup, most (all?) other games that have gone on this long have called it quits and everyone gave a big sigh and the creators moved on with their lives. I probably should have done that years ago (would have made life a LOT easier since I've been extremely poor during this...to the point of not being able to afford medical stuff or even basic clothes. Haha, people think I'm fairly strange since I always wear the same old long jacket, but the reason is my shirts have holes in them too big to sew up...not that I really go outside much. But I'm also lucky that I have family that cares about me that I'm able to get some help from in addition to taking on debt, which...again, pretty stupid of me).
Anyhow, all that is my own struggles, it isn't really a factor as far as fair dealing with people. The basic situation is backers bought into something that I said I'd do, and I intend to deliver better than I promised (if a bit slower)....along with some additional perks along the way to make up for the delay a bit where I can (so Faucet and Prelude before Memories is done). I can't give away EVERYTHING I do to make up for failing the way I have, but hopefully between the various bits it is enough for most.
Really, if you take a step back...and look at what Memories was at the kickstarter....a pretty buggy and half broken simple walk around trying to be an RPG....and the journey to here on fairly little money (programmer leaving 2 years into development and scrapping the engine....animators leaving....and so on and so on)....then look at what it is right now (a range of games of various sizes, Labyrinth fully realized and about to release....Faucet as a sister "artsy" experimental short chapter...Prelude, a prologue to Memories for free with a demo out but lacking polish which has been done now with Labyrinth and will get ported over....and then Memories, a fully arted out indie RPG with several HUNDRED individual screens and 70+ individual 3d characters I personally created...animated....and textured....no asset packs here from some random store....oh yea, and also Escape, a completed single player card game that needs a digital version some day).
It isn't just the project is years slow but MIGHT get done some day. No no, it's the project is years slow....but I've also created something insane. Sure I've done it in the least sensible way imaginable. But that is more a function of how events outside of my control unfolded as I did what I could to get past it (some ideas working better than others). I suppose when you are sailing along and your boat keeps springing holes and breaking, by the time you get where you are going it is going to have a lot of people scratching their heads asking "why did you make your boat out of patches?".
Anyhow, this is turning into a pretty rambling response haha. It's 5am :P
Long story short.... I'm trying to go about things as fairly as I can and live up to everything I've promised while trying to pick up the slack from situations I'm not really at fault for.... I don't want to take advantage of backers by trying to squeeze money out of them. BUT I also don't think it's fair to owe them EVERYTHING I do over so many years because they paid $10 :P At a certain point I have to draw some kind of line? Giving them 3 or 4 times the value of what they paid seems like an ok penance for being a bit late :P
OK, I've never commented on this Kickstarter for the 5 years or so it's been on my list. I check it every once in a while, but frankly I've let go of that 10 bucks and don't expect to see anything for it. Could have been worse monetarily, honestly, so the money is not a big deal.
Anyway, holy moly has this project gone off the rails. First of all I think a $20 price point for a Gauntlet clone (why does this exist?) is pretty insane. I like Gauntlet, and I would MAYBE give $5 for Labyrinth, if I ever bought it at all?
You have wasted time, energy, and resources on stuff that is totally beyond the scope of your mission. I hope it works out for you, but honestly I can see the future here. Labyrinth isn't going to sell well, and one day we will get a "project canceled" update.
I'm not trying to be mean; this is just a shot of reality.
If you're truly thinking Memories is going to happen, you need to buckle down and just finish the work. This idea that you're going to deliver "better than [you] promised" needs to die. Just deliver what you promised. Then, use the spoils from Memories to grow into something bigger. Stick to the mission.
To confirm: I was a $10 backer, if I continue to wait I'll get the completed Memories even though you're going to be selling it at $30?
@Paul - Yup, if you backed at $10 , you get the completed Memories, Prelude, and Faucet :)
@Joel - Haha yea, Labyrinth is a niche game from an unknown dev on a minor platform (style wise it is mirroring Gauntlet, but gameplay wise it is pretty different). I know it can (and has a good chance to) fail financially.....but -shrug- life happens the way it happens, no regrats.
But, if it fails, I'm not sure the reasons for that is the price point alone. ((Especially since in todays climate $20 for indie games isn't that unusual)). It will likely because the game wasn't polished enough and / or didn't get enough coverage and / or not fun enough. Labyrinth is a unique creature. Like I could have made some type of rogue-like clone and just tried to replicate a slick twin stick shooter....but I ended up doing....Labyrinth....
Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way! I don't do this for the $$$ (obviously).
It's ok if it doesn't match what you are looking for price wise. You'll still get to play Faucet once that is finished for free, which I expect will be enough for most backers. Labyrinth won't be going anywhere and will be getting updates, so maybe down the road it will peak your interest again (or catch it on a sale sometime, though I doubt I'd ever let it go to $5 haha).
Anyhow, project scope!
I'd say this project went off the rails almost exactly 2 years after the KS when it all came crashing down haha. Since then it has just been bumping around as we go down some hill :o Is there a cliff at the end of the hill?! Will we hit a tree?! Does it REALLY matter to anyone out there? I doubt too many people are THAT invested in the success of failure of this project because they put in $10 , 5 years ago.... :P
When faced with a situation that doesn't make a clear shot to a goal feasible....the only option is to try and get to that end goal in a more indirect way. That's essentially what the last year has been about with Labyrinth....
The real reality is that I can't afford to just sit down and finish Memories. I also see getting studio work as a dangerous option that would halt progress on Memories for a while (moving and getting up to speed with such a big change would definitely backburner Memories for a bit).
Labyrinth was the best choice to keep Memories moving forward. In terms of the project, I'm glad I took that rout. In terms of personal life, I'm less glad I keep taking these routs.
Sadly I'm too stubborn to ever give a "project cancelled" update (unless I won the lottery or something and could just pay off the debt I owe and go escape for a few years haha). So I'll just keep muddling along and moving Bloom forward till it all gets done. But that is more so for myself than for backers I guess, at this point I know most have written it off (and again, for the vast majority it was $10 , 5 years ago....I doubt a crappy meal you got 5 years ago haunts you much)
Anyhow, it always gives me a laugh at this point when people talk about the project not getting finished, as if that were possible given the type of person I am (it's a blessing and a curse :P).
Good news is with Labyrinth where it is, I think I have just about all I need to finish up Memories now. The next steps (after Faucet is wrapped up) will be taking what we did this last year and bringing it back into Memories (even got saves now! woo woo). Then I need a chance to sit down and grind it all out.
Where and how that will happen this coming year is up in the air ....but I'm not too worried about it. Hopefully on a boat, because I would find that very amusing :D
You're right. The $10 doesn't mean much to me, But, I have enough empathy to understand that $100 plus means a lot to the backers who gave you that much.
@Joel - Oh yes, the empathy of a cold hard capitalist....
Even within those confines it all sounds rather silly. Can you imagine getting a very early pre-order from Bethesda years ago....and the game being delayed several times (happens often)....but then, not only demanding what you pre-ordered, but also feeling you were owed everything they created until you had the original purchase in your hands?
You've managed to convince me to rethink offering it to backers actually (and the other person that was mentioning it). I'm not too sure where I stand yet (still mulling it over), but in terms of my obligation and what I've already done for the project....I'm worried that perhaps it may be an instance of "give an inch, take a mile", only that extra mile is rather detrimental to my own life.
Perhaps I've been trying to do too much in ways that simply don't make any business sense. Going as far with Prelude (I ended up creating a bunch of extra stuff for that, which I could have avoided).....heck, even making prelude (since we actually were just shy of the stretch goal for that).
Or expanding Memories ....or, really, even continuing with the game after things exploded a couple years into it (at that point it was really just another kickstarter that tried and failed, it made little sense to rebuild it all).
I do appreciate greatly that people jumped onto this adventure with me years ago (kind of, it feels oftentimes as more of a Faustian bargain :P Not with backers, per se, but more of this economic model of indie development with is fairly exploitative of creators.....but gotta get dem games right? ).
And those that went the far extra mile to really help out have been amazing. I don't really understand why they help the way they have, but it does mean a lot.
So for those, it really does go beyond just the economics of the situation for me (so I'm fine giving extra perks beyond what I plan for the physical rewards they are getting....even if it makes no economic sense for me to be doing that).
Anyhow, hmmm, yea, I need to consider things a bit more (like what I should do with Faucet, should $10 backers get that? I'm not so sure anymore). Perhaps I get caught up in the history a bit too much and forget I need to keep that cold hard capitalist empathy around more.
I dunno, just thinking out loud. I'll mull over it as I finish Faucet this month (though the story in Faucet is very applicable to the issue! haha. It is a criticism of this capitalism :P).
I hope you succeed. That's not from the heart of a cold hard capitalist.
To be quite honest, you've said this whole time that progress on Labyrinth is progress on Bloom. If that's not true, then you've been double-dealing: creating a different game for profit while delaying Bloom.
So, either all of us should get full access to Labyrinth as promised, or you none should. We supported and enabled you the time to work on both games. If we're not seeing the full results of that, then you've lied and cheated.
From November 2017, about a year ago, Update titled "A Small Detour."
" Plan Ahead
So, the general idea is to get this done ASAP and released. Ideally with online / local multiplayer if we can fit it in (but still looking into all that). Most of the art (wall types / ground types / characters / icons) are done....the biggest job left is making these labyrinth screens (aiming for maybe 75 total?) and then a little bit of scripting for characters.
Ariel is finishing up some other work he had to catch up on, but this next month he should be getting onto the few things we need to get it all up and running (it is amazing how much of Memories / Preludes systems we are able to use in Labyrinth....all we really need to do is cut some stuff back actually. Like our AI system and stimuli / emotions system is pretty overkill for what we need here).
It isn't really the ideal situation (I wanted to tackle these smaller projects after Memories was finished)....but, it seems like the best course of action given the situation.
Anyhow, let me know what you all think! :D I wonder if we can get it all done by Christmas...hmm. "
So something you indicated was near-feature-complete, with an optimistic view of getting it done by Christmas. Granted, you didn't specify *which year* but given it was 2017's holiday season, a discerning reader could reasonably be expected to think that it'd be 2017's Xmas. So one month of expected of development for Labyrinth. Now, a full year (12x the original projection) later, we see the game complete. You're obviously excited, and backers are being told that for that year of patiently waiting, we get the pleasure of being told we're not going to get it, except (maybe?!) some of us are.
This is not cold-hearted capitalism speaking. This is a backer voicing reasonable upset at your choice to allocate resources we enabled you to have towards another project, then stating that you don't think it's reasonable we bear the fruit of those labors (except, maybe some of us will.)
The fact you regret offering a $10 tier when you launched this project is irrelevant. Some of us (myself included) backed you during the first *two* failed projects as well. You offered a $10 tier because your project wasn't going to succeed without it. You put a year of your dev time into a project which we were told was a direct inheritor of most of the work from Bloom, and that development on one would push development on the other. You made this clear to allay concerns that Bloom development would be sidelined for Labyrinth... and now we find out that not only is that true, but also, we're not getting Labyrinth (except some of us are.)
I think, if you wish to not alienate your userbase here, you need to reconsider what you're doing and what you owe your backers.
I - and I believe most of us - wish you well, but your decisions in this regard can mean the difference between success and failure of the IPs you eventually release.
@Kaeroku - I've done a poor job explaining the situation....
1) The money from backers ran out years ago. I live in California, 30k doesn't last 5+ years....Labyrinth was not made with money from backers. Even the engine stuff was done outside of support from backers (Ariel joined after everything collapsed and the money was gone).....and outside of a couple characters, the rest of the art assets are new....
2) Labyrinth has furthered the development of Memories. From general bug fixes, to feature implementation (saves, merchant system, and so on), to some new assets (of which I'm not sure which will carry over, but I'm sure I'll bring some along), to performance increase (like the stuff we did recently to handle objects differently).
It's why I did it this way, to move on multiple goals at once.
BUT at the same time, Labyrinth isn't Memories. It was built on the same fundamentals, but it isn't anywhere close to the same game.
3) I owe backers what they paid for.
Perhaps that is something I've been slow to realize (and that you've all helped me think about more and understand recently). From Prelude to wanting to give additional games...and even continuing to push Memories further than was wise. For some reason I felt overly guilty about the delays of Memories, so perhaps went too far in trying to make up for it (while also sending mixed signals to what people were owed).
I'm still undecided how far I'll walk back the earlier announcement. A large part of me still wants to go further in showing appreciation by giving Labyrinth and Faucet to some degree (especially to those who contributed more), but I also realize that is sending mixed signals and not exactly fair (perhaps to myself, and other backers as well?).
4) Waiting is not a cost. That you have waited longer doesn't mean I'm accumulating debt. The delays are simply an unfortunate reality of how this project has gone....and to try and place the blame entirely on me is rather unfair (remember, when the kickstarter ran we were up 2 more team members, and they heavily influenced the scope that was promised).
Essentially I've been left holding some rather heavy bags for quite a while.....a couple people have stepped up to help out (like those that came over to the Patreon), but for the most part people have shrugged. Which is fine, but then to ALSO complain that the bags aren't in your room fast enough ...and I haven't cooked you dinner for free is ridiculous.
And that is why I talk about cold hard capitalism.
Because when something goes wrong, you throw your hands up and step back and go "woa woa, I'm just a customer here!! I PAID for a PRODUCT and I expect that to be fulfilled as the market demands! AND NOT ONLY THAT but I also expect free products as an apology! WORK!"
No regard for the conditions....or the circumstances of how things got here....or anything beyond a removed consumers perspective (despite being fairly aware of what has happened, since I give pretty steady updates).
And normally that would be fine, that is how things work.
But I suppose it bothers me since that isn't how I've been handling this at all (and I could have, long ago). Legally, within those boundaries of cold hard capitalism, I could have just walked away when things went bad. 2 years in, when the programmer left (and the animator had left long ago) and it was essentially over....I could have made a post saying "it's over, see you later" and gone to find decent paying work and continued on however I felt. Just another failed project, oh well, capitalism.
But instead, I stayed....and I did everything I could to keep things going and took on the entire project (including what was promised when the team was much larger). Even in areas I could have stepped back on (like the prelude, since, again, we technically fell a bit short on that stretch goal) ....I continued with, since I had said I would.
A few times I asked for extra help, but like I said before, outside of a couple people there hasn't been much additional support coming.
It's my intention to fulfill what backers paid for. I'll see that finished (to a degree even greater than I promised originally, that $10 game is now a sprawling $30 one far beyond what I proposed...in addition to Prelude)
But to sit there and demand even more (beyond what you paid for).....while I'm trying to keep this thing afloat....over a new game I created as a way to try and help pay for development .... whew, that's rough, that's really rough. It rubs me the wrong way in all the worse ways.
Like I said, cold hard capitalism. I'm just a pawn pumping out a bit of entertainment. You paid your $10 and you want to see how far that stretches.....everything else be damned.
And all that is fine, you are just trying to get what you can. But, long story short, my answer is "nope".
Let's be clear here.
I don't care about Labyrinth or Faucet or whatever. I'd like to play Memories one day, but I don't think that's going to happen.
I've backed a lot of stuff on Kickstarter over these 5 years, and one thing I've learned is that backers feel like a cohesive community. The outrage isn't that I lost $10; the outrage is that 61 grand disappeared.
I was 5 years younger, and Kickstarter was a new thing for me when I backed this. Now-a-days, folks would have recognized that the money wasn't enough for the pitch and dropped pledges before it ended. Looking over the project page now with more mature eyes, it leads me to believe that the engine was basically done and that you guys just needed some help to push you over the finish line... which shouldn't have taken 5+ years.
@Joel - Haha, well, Memories is pretty far along...so I'm pretty optimistic about it :P
Anyhow, the other points.
1) After fees and splitting bits to the rest of the team, I got 30k personally. Pancakes and protection from elements / wolves for a couple years while working isn't free....
2) Yea, the amount raised was bargain bin levels for an RPG....still, I'm making it work (if slow). There is a common saying "fast, good, cheap....you can pick 2".
3) 5+ years....sounds long...until you remember that 2 years after the kickstarter the programmer left and 2-3 years of his work was tossed out the window (ouch). How did I manage to continue things after the money AND programmer was gone so far into the project? While also expanding the game content? I'm a demi god.
4) If you don't care about Labyrinth / Faucet....why are you giving me a hard time trying to get me to hand them out for free?! lol. Especially since most people are likely not interested in playing them (it isn't the same genre as an RPG like Memories)....and the purpose of the game was to try and get additional funds for finishing Memories.
Especially since if you don't believe Memories is coming, you could just ask for a copy of Labyrinth instead. Personally I think it would be a waste (since Memories won't be too much longer and it is the "main show" , so to speak). But, figured no harm offering it to those more frustrated.
Haven't demanded more. I was pretty clear that I'm fine with getting nothing, but I don't think that people who backed at a higher amount should get more and others get less. Either everyone should get the fruits of your labors, or nobody should. People who pledged less may not have the ability to throw another $20 at a project, and people who pledged more are already getting more as a result of that pledge.
As a result, if you're including Labyrinth for backers, you should include it for all backers. Letting some get it without paying more and others get it with paying more creates a pretty shitty scenario for those who you determine don't get the other game which is (mostly) built from Bloom parts.
I do still think that your choice to develop Labyrinth, using primarily Bloom assets, creates some obligation regarding Labyrinth to backers. When I say "you" I'm referring to the Studio producing Bloom (and other related IP) not "you" personally. As a backer, we can't know what's going on behind the scenes, where funds are specifically allocated, whether a creator is being responsible or not. We know we put funds towards an end product. We know that the end product was not delivered on time, and that the company producing that game said they'd be working on *another, related project* to help finish up Bloom. Then we hear it's finished, and it *is announced in the Bloom forum as a Bloom update* (just like when it was announced work was starting on it.) This creates a reasonable impression that this is Bloom-centric news.
To be fair, you could've done the side project, disappeared for a year, told nobody, and then released Labyrinth, and maybe if you wanted to gone back to work on KS. That wouldn't have been right. What you're suggesting *also* isn't really right, though.
Let's say there's a new studio producing a game. They raise 50k, promise a game in two years, and show progress working on this game sporadically for two years. Then they say they run out of money, maybe they really do. A couple years later a new game comes out by that company. However, they feel they've fulfilled their obligations to backers, they don't need to provide this new game to the people who paid them to help get their idea "kickstarted" (funny enough, that's not called "kick completed. Interesting.) So they go and sell that game. It's obvious on release that this game uses a lot of graphical and mechanical assets that were present in the game they kickstarted and never released to backers.
Do you think that would be okay?
Note that backers here don't currently have anything from you except promises. You're saying that you've got a feature-complete game which has used a ton of assets and *the development of which significantly materially contributed to the development of Bloom.* For all intents and purposes, Labyrinth *is* Bloom.
I'm not terribly happy with the idea that you're selling a Bloom-based game and not releasing it to backers. Obviously I can't force your hand, but I certainly don't support the idea on principle.
You're right. You owe the backers what they paid for. Where is it? More than a year with zero Bloom news (if your position is that Labyrinth is *not* Bloom.) Development which you claim went towards Bloom is being released in a package for sale which is not included with Bloom. Sounds like a dodgy side-step to me, and I know I'm not the only one here. Although, considering how late the project is and the low attention it has received, it's possible the reason you're facing less backlash is because there's simply not that many eyeballs on the issue.
I don't like what you're doing. It doesn't strike me as a thing a company of integrity would be doing. I certainly don't like the way that you appear to be trying to justify it to yourself. You'll do what you think is right. I don't like the way you rephrased my statements as a "demand" when I've been trying, throughout, to patiently explain my concerns without toxic language, this leaves me with the concern that a satisfactory resolution is unlikely.
Can I have the option of a full refund of my pledge instead of any of your IP that I might otherwise get as a part of my pledge? Again, I know it's something I can't make you do, but I think I'd be a lot more comfortable with the integrity of the decisions your making if that option were included.
@Kaeroku - Haha if you ignore all the updates and basic math of costs and how much was raised.... and look at it all as though you were buying a pre-order from a larger company, then sure you will come to pretty strange conclusions.
Why someone would want to willfully twist the situation to be something that it's not is a mystery to me.
It is silly to suggest that I feel we have fulfilled our obligation to backers. Obviously that isn't the case and backers are owed Memories and the rewards of the various tiers.
I'm not too sure why you seem to be pretending that Labyrinth is a replacement for Memories though. As if I suddenly did some type of sneaky swap of a lesser game. I've been very up front with what is going on and why. Ideally it would have been great to just focus on Memories and finish the game and be done, but that wasn't an option given the situation.
Also you seem to just casually ignoring the Prelude demo I put out right before switching over to Labyrinth. That was a demo of where the engine redo for Memories was standing at the time.....let alone the mountain of assets I show between updates (I've shown the world map, and plenty of material).
So....it is all very strange that you are trying to spin this into something it isn't. As if we have been secretly developing a game that may or may not exist with plenty of money and no other events, just 5 years of silence and then a stealth game out of nowhere that isn't what was kickstarted.
Like I said, the only way you could come to that view is if you willfully ignore EVERYTHING I have put out over the years as I've developed. While also pretending that the money was enough to last years....as if we have just been chugging along with a bank account full of backer money and "diverting resources" in inappropriate ways.
It's just so removed from reality I'm not too sure what to tell you :P
"If you don't care about Labyrinth / Faucet....why are you giving me a hard time trying to get me to hand them out for free?! lol."
Could you point out a quote of MINE where I asked for Labyrinth for free?
"removed from reality"
Well, that *one of us* is seems clear.
I backed at $25 and would like all three games (but what is Faucet?) and of course the unique kickstarter item for Memories.
I do not think it's unfair to not give lower tier backers this game, but at the same time I think that the potential word-of-mouth and goodwill it creates will probably outweigh the downsides of the lost revenue of people that would otherwise have bought it. And it will definitely prevent any possible negatives from those who do think it's unfair.
Because realistically.. how many even read this update? 300? Let's say it becomes 500 in 2 years. How many have pledged at the lower tiers? 250? How many would buy Labyrinth? 50?
BUT, if you give it for free and it's good and reminds people, maybe up to 1000 people download it and spread the word.
I wish you success with Labyrinth and I hope it will support you for the coming time.
And good luck with the surgery :)
Hey, it seems you've decided to give Labyrinth keys to all backers as I just got one. I appreciate it. Thanks!
I haven't played Gauntlet in forever so this should be interesting.
Hi. I am a $25 backer for Bloom: Memories. I'd be delighted to support Labyrinth, too--and today I received an email saying a key to Bloom: Labyrinth should be attached (thank you). But no key was attached. And the download page link took me to an error page on itch.io.
I had the same thing as Dennis. E-mail about a key, but no actual key and link to a download page at itch.io that errors.
@Dave - Yea, I figured it wasn't worth all the confusion. I have a feeling I'm pretty doomed though haha.
@Dennis - Private message sent with a new key :) Should be set.
@Bernie - Same, check your message for another link :)