Precinct - from the creators of "Police Quest" (Canceled) project video thumbnail
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$85,756 pledged of $500,000 goal
By Jim Walls
$85,756 pledged of $500,000 goal

Update from Rudy Marchant

Hey guys,

Rudy Marchant here, community manager of Precinct. We received some additional information on the Reddit AMA a couple of days ago and, while some questions were answered, clearly it didn't have a lot of impact on the pledges so far. There are still many open questions which need answering and I would hereby like to share my opinion on the information we have so far, both on the game and the new funding model, as well as what I am recommending to the development team to finally get Precinct going, and going strong like the other Sierra projects over the past year.

What did we learn about the game itself? It has been stressed several times throughout the AMA that Precinct will be an adventure game, driven by a story. It will include procedural aspects such as court hearings, briefings and so on, but also story-driven missions with action around the driving (Jim particularly enjoys the driving interface by the way) and occasional events where you're going to have to make split second decisions. The game is pretty linear in that the player needs to follow a trail of clues to solve the case, but is not as linear as the old Police Quest games in that the case can be solved in different ways, depending on the decisions the player makes. To further enhance the replayability, there will also be side-missions, which don't directly impact the story. It is not a sandbox game though, but a story-based game, like the old adventure games.

To me that certainly shed some light on what to expect from the game itself – a good mix of adventure and action, pretty much like the old Police Quest games but more modern and with more variety. I would like to get a bit of info on the story and protagonist itself, but I don't need to know in advance if there's going to be a diving scene, or an airport or such specifics (although Jim did reveal that a SWAT team will also be in the game). Maybe you guys would like to ask these kind of things, and you will be able (see below), but what matters the most to me is that at least it won't be some first-person shooter where all you do is race around the city and chase bad guys. It's a story-driven adventure and that should have been made clear from the very beginning of the project. But now we know, better late than never.

That brings us to the new funding system which, let's be honest here, is what keeps many backers from pledging again or at least pledge a lot less than during the Kickstarter campaign. Sure, the intention with this system is good, as stated during the AMA – "Our goal is to give people who pledge as little as $1 a copy of the game to reduce their financial risk and show progress early on. We really want to give the entire community a voice in the production and that's how we tailored the new campaign." That is all cool and I see their point, but without the time limit and non-refundability until either it gets charged when reaching the next stage or the developer decides to cancel the project (without specified conditions), many get the impression it is just a money grab with no obligation for the devs to commit themselves.

I would like to address several things here. First is the time limit. Many people seem to think they're going to have to wait forever before getting anything, if they ever get anything, and meanwhile their money is pledged. Even if it's 1 dollar, it just doesn't feel right. Well, first off there actually IS a time limit and that time limit is defined by how much longer the devs are willing to work for free. Keep in mind that money only gets charged when the stages are reached. With currently only a good $10K pledged and already several months of preparation for Precinct behind them, I can say the first stage of 25K better be reached very soon. Same counts for the other stages – there is probably more time to reach those of course, but those guys would still like to get a pay check every now and then so, no, development will not run into eternity. As for specific dates, I think it's pretty hard to set those – it's the gaming industry, not to mention crowdfunded, so it is near impossible to pinpoint exact dates. Besides, that's how you get Kickstarter projects that get entirely canceled despite missing the target by just a fraction. I know a date is set for the first stage though. I will for sure ask what timeframe they have in mind for the next stages. They should have an estimate about that.

Then there is the issue of pledging without having the guarantee to actually get the game if the 400K doesn't get reached. That's barely an issue in my opinion though. First off, there is no guarantee that through Kickstarter you'll get anything either. That has already happened many times, so obviously people are even more cautious about this new system. The difference is that with this staged crowd funding, the development team isn't asking the backers to pay everything up front and hope for the best before development even started. They do it piece by piece and the backers can follow progress, provide input and pledge as it progresses, or even simply wait at te sideline until they like what they see. So yes, it is in fact safer than Kickstarter.

Here's how I do it:

I usually back projects (Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, Pinkerton Road, Hero-U, SpaceVenture) with around $100 (yeah, I'm a pretty big fan, lol). I will also do so for Precinct but in this case I split my pledge into parts according to what the stages are worth to me, going from small to big as development progresses. For example $5 until the prototype is reached, add $10 until the Vertical Slice is reached, another $15 until the Demo gets released and the final $60 for the whole game release. If at any point I dislike how development goes, I can chose not to pledge more and wouldn't be out as much money as I would paying $100 in one time as with a normal Kickstarter where I may get nothing at all. Here I would still have what I pledged for so far and possibly more since a one dollar pledge still entitles me to a copy of the game if the 400K gets reached. Of course if you want to be 100% sure to either get the game or not pledge anything, then that's possible by only pledging after the demo gets released, but if too many people do that then obviously it will be hard to get to that stage of development in the first place.

The last point, and probably the most important one, that I would like to make on the funding system, is the non-refundability. That is the one thing in my opinion where Kickstarter is better and it's a crucial point. Robert said during the Reddit that the non-refundability is implemented to prevent trolls from making fake bids. Sure, it keeps away trolls. It keeps away backers, too, and lots of them. Forget about the trolls, they come and go a few minutes later. But if we want to make our first target in time and actually get this project to effective completion, then what is needed is credibility so people can pledge with confidence. Confidence works both ways. Backers show they have confidence by pledging, Precinct needs to show it has confidence in its backers by allowing them to reduce their pledge or pull out entirely if they so desire. Get rid of the non-refundability – that's how you make this work. I had a long discussion about this with Robert yesterday. I believe that in the end I persuaded him that not only would it be good, but in fact necessary. If so, I would prefer that he tells that to you himself so it's official. The only thing here is that we can't just flip a switch to disable non-refundability. It takes a few days of programming and making sure it works with the payment methods. It's definitely on the table and I sure hope they will go for it.

Phew! And now the final part of this update (I tried to keep it short, really! lol). While I would love to see the project succeed, I do still have some questions myself both on the funding platform and the game itself. Questions related to things such as the stretch goals and the development time frame. I'm pretty sure that, after the Reddit AMA, many people still have other questions too, so let's get those answered once and for all. I would like to do this properly, so there's no doubt left about the game or pledging system. Please send any remaining questions (please try to stick to questions relating Precinct) to me at and they will be answered (my inbox will probably explode now, lol).

There, that's about it for now. I hope I shed some light on the pledging system and the game itself and that you feel a bit more comfortable about the project. I'm sure I don't just speak for myself when I say it would be a darn shame if Jim's project wouldn't get off the ground and even more so if even the prototype wouldn't be reached, so let's do this, guys. More updates coming soon.



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    1. Paskarl (k0SH) on August 27, 2013

      @Stacy D.: agree 100%!

    2. Warbird Games on August 25, 2013

      I heartily agree with my indie brother-in-arms Steven Alexander. I really want to see Precinct make it, but there are some things here that really concern me:

      1) Statistically speaking, the projects that succeed are the ones where the majority of the pledges fall at $15, which is why everyone puts the game download at that level. With the lion's share of your pledges at the $1 level, you will need FIFTEEEN times more backers than I did, and your minimum goal is many times higher than mine was.

      2) Kickstarter has the largest audience of crowd funding supporters, and most trusted payment platform, in the world. Your new system is like trading a corner shop in the Galleria for a 1/24 page ad in the back of the Wednesday paper. People have a hard enough time raising money here on Kickstarter. Raising the kind of money you're looking for on your own site using a payment platform no one has heard of isn't realistic. Have you consulted Chris Pope about their post-KS earnings from their own website? Trust me, it is a tiny fraction of what they raised on Kickstarter.

      I know Chris, Scott and Mark would help you guys regroup in a heartbeat, but you'll probably need to reconsider everything. I also suggest contacting David Bliss of the Funding The Dream podcast. He knows KS better than almost anyone out there.

      With the success of The Walking Dead (a similar decision based adventure game with a serious tone), and the fall season upon us (traditionally the best time to launch a Kickstarter), I think Precinct could be a slam dunk if approached correctly. But I really believe you'll have to change your strategy from justifying your current course to pulling everything down and re-launching a fresh KS with: a $15 tier to get the DRM free download, better reward tiers, a lower minimum goal w/ stretch goals to reach the top, and most of all TRUE interaction with the backers every day. The videos were neat, but they were all short excerpts from one long interview and it was apparent. Try instead interactive Google Hangout chats or at least videos where you answer questions from the comments. True interaction is what people are looking for.

      That's all I have. Thanks guys and I sincerely wish you and the project the best of luck. Send me an email if you need anything, I'd be happy to help out.

      -Stacy D.

    3. Mark L
      on August 21, 2013

      Yes, I agree with the sentiment that trying to create your own crowd-funding site was an idea worth trying (and one I contributed toward), but that appears to be doomed to failure for several good and logical reasons that others have enumerated at length.

      1) I believe it is time to scrap the present funding system and go back to Kickstarter. Other funding systems are less well-known, less accepted, and less popular, less visited, and less trusted.

      2) Re-think your incentives and reward tiers carefully, using suggestions from fans, successful campaigns, etc. Have rewards that get people excited. Think in terms of 'impulse buy' (to use marketing jargon) - if I'm planning on contributing $20, what might tempt me to bump it up to $25? Digital artwork? Soundtrack from the game? OK, now that I'm considering $25, what might push me over the edge and go for $30? I would suggest small increments like that, especially near the bottom, for people considering a bare minimum pledge.

      3) Come up with a little more substantive information about the proposed game from the very beginning, and do not assume your audience knows anything about Police Quest or similar games, and explain from ground zero. You've already got the attention of the fan base, but it is not enough, and to get those that are not fans, you will have to explain concepts, game mechanics, etc., as if the person has never played an adventure game before.

      4) Clear, frequent, ongoing communication is essential. If you don't have time yourself, find someone who will do some of it for you. Plan ahead, before even starting the campaign, a few bits of information, media presentations, write-ups, or etc. that you can release, things that should happen, work that should be done, etc, preferably day by day but at least week by week, during the active campaign. (This is called critical path planning - I'm not an expert, but if you aren't either, consider finding someone that can help you with this - it can make a big difference).

      5) I would suggest extending the deadline somewhat, and going for a 45-day or 60-day campaign. That way, if a really popular campaign 'grabs the spotlight' for a few days, you still have time to recover.

      6) There is NO number 6. :-)

    4. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM
      on August 21, 2013

      The biggest problem, as others have said, is with the current funding system. I say scrap it, regroup, ask Rudy and other backers who've backed several projects for advice, and come back in a couple months with a better pitch. Maybe put money into the "proof of concept" and release it as a playable prototype or video. Rework the tiers, and make sure that the reward structure is enough of a "carrot-on-a-stick" to entice people to back more than the base cost of the game (which was really too high to begin with). Kickstarter, despite its flaws, is the best crowdfunding platform out there. As I believe someone said below, why reinvent the wheel when you've got something like this?

    5. Missing avatar

      Bob M on August 21, 2013

      @Rambutaan I agree with you 100%. That would have been my list as well. The only two things I might add would be the addition in #2 of a physical boxed collector's edition option just like every other Sierra alumni release has had (and frankly, the removal of all of the other physical items as they didn't seem appealing at all) and in #5, the daily participation of Jim and Robert. In the original campaign, days went by without updates and many questions and suggestions seemed to get completely ignored. It almost seemed as if Jim just wasn't very involved at all and Robert didn't seem to have a good handle on how a Kickstarter campaign worked. Every day in a Kickstarter is critical and that means compelling updates, communicating with the community for hours at a time through the comments section and most importantly, working with the media to secure coverage that builds as the campaign goes on.

      This campaign started off with a neat video about Sierra history and the whole story of someone like Jim that didn't come to games through the traditional route is a great one. That story never really was told in an interesting way or in a way that garnered all the coverage it could have during the campaign. I truly want a spiritual successor to the Police Quest series and I'm willing to pledge generously to get it. As I have said many times, however, it has to be a legitimate Kickstarter campaign and not some shady third party website with uncertain timeframes and zero accountability.

    6. Rambutaan on August 20, 2013

      Main issue: None - except the flaws in the new website have made me lose faith somewhat.

      1. Needs to come back to Kickstarter. Many backers, rightly or wrongly, will either not contribute much or contribute at all on the new site. Kickstarter acting as a third party gives people more confidence when contributing funds. While going it alone may have been worth a try as an experiment, it hasn't worked.

      2. Clearly thought-out tiers and pledge prices. The early confusion with the tiers made things a bit of a mess - also the fact the cost was quite high compared to other adventure game Kickstarters didn't help either.

      3. More gameplay videos, mock-ups, prototypes and videos about the game. While the videos about Sierra history was interesting they should come second place to actual info about the game.

      4. A dedicated Community Manager - a voice for the backers. Lack of communication from the developers may have hurt this project in the early stages. Appointing of Rudy has addressed this issue but now we're not on Kickstarter.

      5. Clearer messaging and passion from the developers. Most of the things mentioned from the developers are sharing old stories. Backers need to know you're passionate about this game, knowing that you really want to succeed - that you know the game like the back of your hand. One thing I enjoyed about the Coles with their Hero-U posts is that they're always talking about game design concepts and how it would apply to their game. That gets people interested I believe and proves to people that you know what you're talking about. That you're speaking from a position of authority.

      To be honest I think there really is Kickstarter Fatigue even though people claim it doesn't exist. Or at least Kickstarter Cynicism. Everyone now have expectations of what is to be included on a Kickstarter project and everyone is more demanding thanks to more experience and exposure to KS. This doesn't mean it's impossible for a project to succeed but it just makes it that more difficult. Even with the above five steps addressed this project still might not make it the second time but I think it will do much better than on its own website. And that's the crux of the matter. If they're serious about funding for this game - we need to get back to Kickstarter.

    7. Leo S on August 20, 2013

      Ok, let's try to turn this into something constructive for the project.

      We've all been discussing all the problems (and I agree with most of them), but what seems to be the single core issue of this project and what are the (5 main) steps to turn this around to something you'd want to contribute to again?



    8. Missing avatar

      Bob M on August 20, 2013

      @light487 I think you are incorrect about how crowdfunding works. It's not the same as a charity where you hope for good things when you make a donation and simply walk away. It also isn't a donation towards whatever progress the campaign creator decides to make. It is a firm promise by the campaign creator to deliver something (in this case a game) if a certain amount of funding is raised.

      It's not a traditional pre-order service in that you don't go to Gamestop or Amazon and make a deposit or place a pre-order and then wait until delivery for the balance to be charged. It's also not backed up by a third party publisher or a retailer or even your credit card company. It is, however, a form of binding contract between the person seeking the funding and the people doing the funding. You're right that there is no guarantee that a game will be great or even that it will be finished in the time or financial limits originally proposed. That doesn't mean that if the game isn't ever finished that the funders don't have the ability to take legal action. It's no different than any other contract for future performance. The only reason there haven't been more lawsuits is that crowdfunding is fairly recent and frankly, most project creators deliver either exactly what was promised or something pretty close to it. The handful that haven't are currently facing the possibility of litigation and personal bankruptcy on top of the severe damage to their reputations.

      In any event, none of the things that you are claiming are deficiencies in Kickstarter are improved on by this unregulated third party funding website they created. If anything, it's less subject to scrutiny because the forum is locked to outsiders, the pledge collection tally is not independently verified like Kickstarter and there is nothing to prevent them from collecting on the pledges whenever they want. As others have pointed out, if they wanted to do a tiered or incremental approach, Kickstarter allows for that. In fact, American McGee just raised over $200k for the initial phase of his Alice animated series doing just that. He will likely come back to Kickstarter for the next phase in 6-12 months when he has something to show from the first round of financing.

    9. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on August 20, 2013

      If you think about what the true intent of KS is, which is not about pre-ordering a product, the staged backing system is actually very much in-line with the intent of KS. When you back a project, you are not pre-ordering a game.. you are supporting an idea or otherwise to be developed beyond the point it is currently developed. There are not guarantees that it will get made. There really isn't any obligation either, despite what some people are saying.

      With the staged system they have now, it is actually less of a lottery than KS is. As Rudy says, you can split your pledge over the course of the different stages.. $10 now.. another $20 in the next stage and so on until you reach the original amount you would have pledged for the whole project on KS.

      They just need to adjust it so it's refundable before each stage is complete... after that, it is more in-line with the intent of KS than KS is :)

    10. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on August 20, 2013

      You have to note that something is wrong here - your last several updates have no "likes" on Facebook next to them, which means people aren't talking about this in a good way at all...

    11. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM
      on August 20, 2013

      The sad thing is that I'm of the same mindset as Paskarl. I'm not enticed to give more than a buck right now and even then I'm not backing until I see more. If there are a lot more people who are thinking like this, then the first milestone will take forever to be reached.

    12. Leo S on August 20, 2013

      Same here. I've backed all other Sierra comeback projects; even went for the $250 level for Heroes-U. But I've found the rewards on this project uninspiring, so I only pledged at the $19 level. On the 'staged funding' relaunch, due to many reasons I've only pledged $1.

      I think the 'prices' for the rewards were kind of bonkers. $50 for a whistle? $100 for a poster? $250 for a faux badge?

    13. Paskarl (k0SH) on August 20, 2013

      I´m not happy with the new funding system too.
      I pledged a 100+ on kickstarter.
      But only because my money is gone if the project succeeds.
      Now I´ll not jump in before milestone 3 is reached.
      Win win for me: my money is only gone if milestone 4 is reached and the game will be made.
      Sure, if others share my oppinion the game will never be made because we´ll never reach milestone 3.
      But that´s the risk I can live with.
      And don´t get me wrong, I would LOVE to see a new police quest-like adventure game from Jim!

    14. Paskarl (k0SH) on August 20, 2013

      "It has been stressed several times throughout the AMA that Precinct will be an adventure game, driven by a story"
      Most important news for me in the AMA session!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    15. eXoScoriae on August 20, 2013

      Simon - at least if I pledge $1 on KS I don't get charged that dollar unless the campaign succeeds.

      Here I am buying a lottery ticket.

    16. eXoScoriae on August 20, 2013

      I posted in a previous comment that there seems to be a heavy misunderstanding between why some games are successful and some aren't. A majority of the time a game begins to fail and it look like it is not going to suceed on kickstarter, I see either the community or creators begin to wonder out loud as to why it's not working for them. When American McGee first posted his pitch for Ozombie (which later had movie rights, an animated cartoon, and multiple other things tagged to it that did more harm than good) he didn't even have concept art, he didn't know how the game would play.... there was nothing. Nothing more than a game title and his "vision". He then had the audacity to publically write, "Well... Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo got millions of dollars for their idea,s so why isn't it working for me?"

      And that is very simple - not every developer has a built in fanbase like Tim Schafer or the credentials of being a major publishers president and developer, like Brian Fargo.

      You have to come to Kickstarter with the ground work laid out. Scott Erickson below seems to thing that projects like 2 Guys from Andromeda were full of "hollywood and glitzy videos". Well, if you honestly believe their web cam sessions and sense of humor was glitzy, then I suppose their pitch video worked pretty well on you.

      What they did that worked so well was create milestones within the funding goal that led to working concept demos. All you could do was walk, maybe pick up one item and use it, and talk to someone. It was incredibly simple, but it gave the backer the opportunity to say - Hey - I can imagine myself playing this. It gave a feel for the very basic mechanics, the very basic art style, and it made the project "real".

      The hand drawn concept screens work towards this, but they aren't the same thing. And that is just about all that was provided here. The stretch goals are meaningless. For another $100,000 you will make the game "more immersive". Oh... goody. For the cost of an Indie game in the sierra style, you can make this game "more immersive". What does that mean? it is a buzzword. Other projects give VERY specific stretch goals. At $15 extra, you get a second character. At $55k extra, a second city opens up. At $150k extra you get a character creator with so and so voicing the protagonist. All I see id that if you guys got a million bucks it would just be "more" of everything. More locations, more polish... just more.

      If you were in a pitch meeting for a developer. And you told them you needed half a million bucks to make your game. And you were riding the whole success on Police Quest... but using a totally different name due to licensing issues, and all you had was a few hand drawn pictures of macing a guy.... do you think they would fund you? If they entertained the idea, and then you turned around and said - for another $100,000 we will make it "awesomer"... do you think they are going to throw that money down?

      The benefit of crowdfunding is mitigation of risk, nostalgia, and the potential to tap into large groups of people who are excited to be a part of something they are interested in. Kickstarter is not dead, games still hit the million dollar mark when they get the right people excited. But the gold rush of naivety is over. You have to come to the table prepared and ready to make a game, pretty much already making that game the day you throw your campaign up - so you can show progress. If it looks like you have put up a webpage asking for money, and now you are just sitting back waiting for it to show up.... that's not going to work with a lot of people. There is a reason that so much funding comes at the end of a campaign - it is because people get interested in the beginning but decide to watch where it goes for 30 days.

      When they log in a few weeks later and see character designs, location mockups, a video of animation or even a playable demo in some cases - they say, "Wow, this is happening and I like where it is going". And they pledge.

      This project never evolved. Some interesting interviews were posted, but the game that was presented on day one of the campaign was the exact same thing laying on the table, 30 days stale, at the end.

      Half a million bucks is a lot of money. I don't see a half a million dollar effort here or on the new site. And I sure as hell don't like it when the primary concern (the game never reaching full funding) is dismissed by the spomes person as "barely an issue". Those words right there locked me out of ever pledging to the new project. If you think it is "barely an issue" that this game may not every reach full funding, then you are delusional.

    17. Missing avatar

      Simon on August 20, 2013

      The recent successful game Kickstarters haven't come here with just an idea for a game and a few concept arts. But at the very least, proof of concept and an idea of what the game is. What this Kickstarter FAILED to do until it was too late was present the idea of what the game is. IMO, that has mostly been rectified.

      There are exceptions. Double Fine Adventures, the one that started it all, only really had an idea. However, there was one huge thing going for it. Tim Schafer. A lot of people probably supported that Kickstarter not only because it's an adventure game, but also by the reputation of the man behind it. If anything, when you bring in the issue of "No guarantees that a Kickstarter project would succeed", this one is becoming prime example on why people aren't as willing to opening their wallets now. Especially for 'just an idea'.

      The bar, thanks to those famous 'failures' has been set much higher. Just an idea isn't enough. Communicating, presenting, and marketing the idea are now very important to get something funded.

      Which makes the elephant in the room still a HUGE issue for this campaign. For the most part, there is absolutely NO incentive to pledge more than $1. If, by some miracle, it hits the game level, that $1 would give you the same benefits as someone that would pledge $100. At least with Kickstarter, there is a sense that if you support more than the minimum, you'd get more benefits and swag to go along with it (from physical rewards, or access to the Beta that isn't available to people under a certain about). Now? The way things are going, it's a wonder that they don't need $25,000 just to get to the proof of concept level.

      Yes, Kickstarter has its risk that, as the format matures, are becoming more apparent. Everyone points to the high profile failures. But with all the risk with Kickstarter, the way this new crowdfunding scheme Precinct is going with, the risk are even greater! Not less.

    18. Missing avatar

      Billy on August 20, 2013

      Their other site claims the concept demo would cost $25,000. I don't think it is out of the question to ask the team to perform 5% of the work before asking for my money. And there are many, many kickstarter projects which say "We've done this much on our own, but now we need more money to finish up."

    19. Scott Erickson on August 19, 2013

      You need a game or the funding BEFORE you get to Kickstarter? To quote John McEnroe, "You cannot be serious." I'd bet considerable sums of money that less than 2% of computer game campaigns on Kickstarter, big or small, have had even a 25 percent finished game or the funds to produce it professionally themselves. That is Kickstarter's raison d'etre, for crying out loud.

      I doubt even Chris Roberts has the bank (or the cajones, if he does have the cash) to personally fund his vision for Star Citizen, and that game is probably not even one-tenth finished yet, if I read the forums correctly. Yet folks are buying both real-world and in-game merch for a product that is little more than vaporware at this point. The only difference I see here is that Jim and co., like Joe Friday, came at this in a straightforward, non-Hollywood way. Contrast that with Two Guys from Andromeda, who put out a lot of glitzy videos, promised demos every $100K of funding reached (I've seen 1, and it was underwhelming), and nonetheless reached their goal. It's less about substance, and more about style and marketing.

      And crowd funding works a lot like derivatives were supposed to - spreading the risk to a lot of different people, rather than to a single individual. Again, that's Kickstarter 101.

      The elephant in the room is that, sadly, not enough people are showing up to support this game, no matter what the funding model. My personal take is that there has been an abundance of nostalgia titles with Kickstarter campaigns recently (Two Guys, Tex Murphy, Elite, Star Citizen, to name a few), and maybe what is needed is a little time. And *sigh* some more glitz and glamour...

    20. Khalaq on August 19, 2013

      An excellent and inspiring update, Rudy. Thank you for that.

      I am definitely interested in seeing this game published in high quality. I am definitely a big fan of Police Quest. I am definitely hurting from the current U.S. economy. Seriously, if it weren't for long-term unemployment, I would have already thrown my money at you folks (again). As it is, I'm going to jump back on the bandwagon dollar. I am hoping that more will be coming from me to you in the near future, but in the meantime, I want to give you SOMEthing.

    21. Atarun
      on August 19, 2013

      I have pledged $15 on the new website (with considerable effort, considering the bugs and the mess that serves as customer support).
      I do not think I will pledge a single dollar more, even if tiers go by and I like what I see. There is simply no incentive for me to pledge more than I already have. I am not so rich that my own pledge would make a big difference for the campaign and no matter how much I pledge, it will make no difference to me.
      The "no reward" paradigm is likely already hurting the new campaign already, but it will be worse in the long run.

    22. Leo S on August 19, 2013

      I'd really suggest the Precinct team to not waste more time/effort on reinventing the wheel and to stick with your expertise, which is making a game, and not mess around with creating a new crowdfunding platform.

      Reconsider kickstarter or check out Indiegogo.
      By going with either of those two platforms, you can leverage all their time tested tools, systems, community and communication channels. You don't have to pitch and explain your platform to your fans, writers, bloggers, etc. Talk about the game instead.

      Spend your time on Precinct. Make it desirable, then everything will just fall into place.

    23. eXoScoriae on August 19, 2013

      One of the biggest problems with this campaign seems to be misunderstanding why kickstarter works for some games and why it fails for others. It is evident in the current "funding" system, and especially obvious in this last update:

      "Then there is the issue of pledging without having the guarantee to actually get the game if the 400K doesn't get reached. That's barely an issue in my opinion though. First off, there is no guarantee that through Kickstarter you'll get anything either."

      As others have pointed out, there *is* a guarantee that you will receive something through kickstarter. There was a very high profile case in which a guy failed to deliver, ran out of funds before completing the promised output, and was sued and lost very quickly.

      And why is that very real concern "barely an issue"?

      At no point has this update, or any other, actually entertained the very real concept that funding flattens out before $400k. If I put money into this, and it doesn't reach $400k - I am stuck with some "vertical slices", maybe a playable demo... Those aren't things I pay for. Those are things that game creators give away for free in order to get people to buy their games.

      Nobody wants anything less than a finished game here, and you can see from the amount of money that has been pledged that this is obviously a concern.

      The solution is quite simple. You don't take a single dollar of anyone's money until you have a game, or enough money to make one.

      There is a reason publishers don't blindly throw money at projects in small increments without mitigating risk as much as possible. We aren't publishers - we are game fans who are being pitched a game that isn't "market-worth" much more than $20-$25, but being asked to fund it in multiple stages, with no timeline, at a level that is exponentially higher than the current level.

      It is only going to get worse from here unless there is a complete paradigm shift *very* quickly.

    24. Leo S on August 19, 2013

      That raises another question... how will your online store work, if most of the swags will probably not make sense without the completion of the game. Do people preorder the items on the store and the items will only be manufactured if the $400k level is reached?

      Or will you be spending yet more of your limited resources (time/brain/monies) to filling up and maintaining the store as a possible revenue stream? I hope the store won't become a distraction.

    25. Rudy Marchant on August 19, 2013

      When it comes down to rewards, I guess the question is what they are going to charge in the store and what they are going to do with the proceeds. Are they going to sell stuff at production price, allowing people to, for example, buy the game and T-shirt for 30 bucks (just using a random number here) instead of the KS tier at $135, or are they going to include a sales profit and include it in the development budget? Definitely a question to be asked in order to know whether or not enough may be raised.

    26. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM
      on August 19, 2013

      @Jeroen: I'm not gonna bother suing them. I was only in for $75 for that project (which is a small amount when you think about how much I've put in for some projects) and I knew the risk going in that it was a possibility. Still, it really pissed me off when Kickstarter said that they could do nothing to recitify the situation.

    27. Missing avatar

      Billy on August 19, 2013

      It's not necessarily a bad idea to do staged development, but it would be an uphill battle to convince Kickstarter backers to repledge on a new site even if it were equivalent to Kickstarter. Since it is isn't, I'm not the least surprised the project is failing.

      An important aspect of Kickstarter -- and the reason in my opinion why Kickstarter is vastly more popular than Indiegogo -- is that no one is charged unless enough funds are raised to make a successful project. The new site does not guarantee that. Kickstarter also provides 3rd party verification for how much funding was actually raised. In case the project fails (and several do), Kickstarter provides a forum backers can use that won't vanish in the night or be vindictively moderated.

      Yes, the primary reason Kickstarter backers pledge more than the minimum is because they believe in the project and want it to succeed. However, the number of backers who will donate more than the minimum for 100% purely altruistic reasons is very very small. Perks are essential to entice donations more than the minimum. They do not need to be expensive, or even physical, but they need to be there. Simply put, you need a better answer to "Why should I pledge more than 1$" than "Otherwise we won't have enough to make the game."

      My suggestion: The people creating this project have had long, successful careers. They should put in $25k of their own money to create a concept demo and a coherent explanation of what the game would be and why backers should fund it. They should plan in advance for how they will manage and publicize their campaign, and AFTER they have done so, relaunch the project on Kickstarter.

    28. Jeroen Dekkers
      on August 19, 2013

      Wow. I luckily haven't had any problems like that yet.

      You're right of course. Even if the project owner is responsible, who will make them accountable? You'll need to hire a lawyer and sue them.

      I'm still convinced that a site like Kickstarter will be better for a project than setting something up yourself.

    29. Leo S on August 19, 2013

      Let's not be naive and take crowdfunding as 'free donation' either. You will be selling the game produced if you get the $400k, right?

      So when you mention that you'd pledge at the $100 level to those other (similar/competing) projects, you'd probably be getting the Collectors Pack which include physical boxed set, maybe tshirt, poster, etc. Now why do you expect your 'fans' to spend the same amount on your project with significantly inferior reward?

      If you feel that the cost of producing the reward is too expensive, maybe you need to work harder to source them or set the project's sights higher so you get the economy of scale to bear these costs more efficiently.

    30. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM
      on August 19, 2013

      I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap. I had one project that essentially "took the money and ran" and Kickstarter did nothing but tell me to contact the project creator.

    31. Jeroen Dekkers
      on August 19, 2013

      Right that's kickstarter. But the project owners have an obligation to the people who pledged:


      Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

      Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.

    32. Serena Nelson - Hero of the AGRM
      on August 19, 2013

      I'm still far from sold. There's just WAY too many red flags for me to even go in for a buck at this point. My biggest problem lies with two main things: the non-refundability (which I really do hope Robert reconsiders) and the crazy approach to the "tiered funding". The combination of no reward system (which means no incentive to give more than said buckazoid), the fact that you're asking us to pay for (as Jeroen said) "prep work", and the fact that it's pretty obvious at this point that it'll take forever to even reach the first $25K milestone I fear that the project is dead in the water. I know Rudy's doing his best to get things back on track, but really it's a matter of "too little, too late".

    33. Rudy Marchant on August 19, 2013

      From the Terms of Use of KS: "Kickstarter is not liable for any damages or loss incurred related to rewards or any other use of the Service. Kickstarter is under no obligation to become involved in disputes between any Users, or between Users and any third party arising in connection with the use of the Service. This includes, but is not limited to, delivery of goods and services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties, or representations associated with campaigns on the Site."

    34. Jeroen Dekkers
      on August 19, 2013

      I still think the biggest difference is that backing something through kickstarter, the project owners are obligated to produce what they committed to. At this moment all the money people are pledging on the site is going towards the first milestone. After that if no more money comes in, the only thing people will have is what's produced up until that point. That's (besides no ability to withdraw your pledge) where my biggest problem is with this project. It feels that people are now funding your "prep work" instead of development for a new game.

    35. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on August 19, 2013

      I don't think Kickstarter was the problem for most people; I don't think many people were very enthusastic about the pitch, or the level of personal interaction with the backers. I know several who feel their concerns were ignored or evaded.

      I don't think the new funding system is doing this project any favors, either - I think a lot of changes need to be made at a fundamental design level, and a new PR approach. The coverage on the gaming sites was there - but obviously the enthusiasm for the project from potential backers was not.

      You wrote a great missive here, Rudy, and I wish you and the rest of the Precinct team luck.

    36. J
      on August 19, 2013

      Oh looks like the legal documentation has been moved. That's good

    37. J
      on August 19, 2013

      You guys have shot yourselves in the feet

      What's going to happen is the site will spent a few months sitting at below $15k, at which time you guys disband and run away with the $15k

      The only way this game would get made is to do another kickstarter, either with better preparation or with a prototype, or with a cheaper goal

      But making your own site, with no tiers, and no refundability, and barely any community, you've gone stale already
      Not too mention the website is mostly legal documentation... on the home page

    38. Zombie Pug on August 19, 2013

      The new funding system is this project's achilles heel. If they wanted to go the staged funding route, why didn't they do it on Kickstarter? I've seen a few other projects run Kickstarter campaigns to fund a proof of concept ideas. Get the $25,000...make the proof of concept...and then come back for part 2 and get the money for the vertical slice or pitch for the whole game. Then you would have had something tangible to show people and I guarantee the Sierra fans would have jumped on board like they have for the other Sierra projects. One last note...I'm not going to spend $100 on a video game. I would, however, pledge $100 for a game and some cool swag you can't get anywhere else. Not having rewards is part of the reason that the current campaign is lagging behind the Kickstarter one by $75,000.

    39. Rudy Marchant on August 19, 2013

      That's the whole idea, light487 - a stage gets reached, the money gets charged. As long as it isn't reached, people can still pull out if they want. It's actually a no-brainer.

    40. light487 - Kickstarter Junkie on August 19, 2013

      Hi Rudy,

      Thanks for the update and I really like your idea about splitting up the backing amount into smaller parts. It really makes a lot of sense and could only work with this type of funding model.

      In regards to refundability, what I'd like to see is the ability to cancel the pledge up until the next stage is reached.. so say I pledge $10 now, I should be able to cancel up until the $25,000 goal is reached and then my $10 is "locked in". Now after this point, I could pledge another $20 for example.. and I should then be able to cancel this $20 amount up to the time the next funding goal has reached but not the original $10.. I am now locked in for $10 regardless even though my total pledge amount would be $30 at that point. Then when the next goal is reached, I am locked in for $30 that can't be cancelled/refunded and so on.

      I think that could work.. what do you think?