by Two Guys From Andromeda
I have no problem with waiting until it's completed, just keep us further updated every one or two months so we know you are still there!
Thanks for the lengthy update guys! It can not be said you have forgotten us in all the work! Like everyone else here, I would rather wait and see a great game that you are happy to share with us. If I wanted some piece of digital garbage that is full of noise and bugs, I can buy an EA game for XBox. Take your time and this old backer will be waiting. And don't worry about Serena tossing a hissing fit, as long as Riggo and I are around she has far larger targets for her wrath! And Nelson, we have heard he secretly harbors a collection of "Carpenters" records so don't worry about him either!
Regarding wages, rent, etc.: as far as I know, they're doing this in a virtual office. Cross-country and even cross-continent. And it seems that some of the team members are doing this pro bono for now, with the option of being hired afterwards, if this takes off.
@Frogacuda: It's not really a lesson about anything till the game comes out, is it? If it blows, then sure. It's a lesson about not backing next time around. If it rocks, I couldn't care less about having my homely mug in the game, getting to vote on death sequences or getting "exclusives" (along with several thousands of other people). I backed for a game. I see nothing here that makes me doubt we're getting a good one.
Less honest people would probably have just taken the money and been over the hills by now if it's "fallen off the radar". I think it's quite commendable that they're still fighting. Screw all the engine room business you get with crowd funding. It's second to that. I pledged for a game above all.
Also, the word "redemption" is seriously heavy. I dunno why people are being so dramatic all of a sudden. It's not Duke Nukem Forever.
Well...Apparently I'll be one of the few voices of dissent here because I really don't think the booster club type "take as long as you need" comments are helping at this point.
I don't think anyone here is going to deny that Scott and Mark do fantastic work with many elements of their design/graphics/comedy. There's a reason I still play SQIV to this day, after all.
That said, this update is shocking and more than a little alarming.
We're just shy of the project's 2nd anniversary after being successfully funded and they're roughly 1/3rd of the way into it?
We already know money's in short supply or gone. After all, what was supposedly holding things up around 9 months ago was them losing a programmer because he had to move on to another contract to keep food on the table.
There hasn't been another influx of cash that I'm aware of, so...
Let's hope they prepaid the voice talent, or no telling what's going to happen with that.
Considering the 1/3rd statement, the apparently fiscal situation...and the fact that Chris/"interns" aren't even able to deliver on the SVRewards thing....I'm thinking the 9 month estimate is on the "implausibly optimistic" end of the scale unless they eventually get tired of the whole thing and take the "screw it, we're done" route some other developers have followed.
If they had the money...It's very obvious the team desperately needs a project manager that can at least get the team on a hard schedule for milestones at least internally rather than this meaningless "soft" release dates and whatnot.
Scott, Mark, I've loved your work since my first "big box" SQ back when I was a kid, but I I'm honest, this is probably the kickstarter I' most concerned about from what I've seen to date.
Happy to wait. As long as you're still making it, I've waited this long. I want you to be happy with it too.
I doubt that anyone is honestly thrilled by the prospect of waiting another year, but I am pleased that a projected time frame for release has finally been given, as it allows one to manage expectations, so I appreciate the openness and transparency of this update.
With that said, if this is the time that's needed to deliver a quality product, then I'm happy to wait. It's important to remember the words of Shigeru Miyamoto "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad."
I can imagine that everyone on the development team is just as frustrated with the delays as the backers are, if not more so because they also have to contend with that feeling that they're letting down the people who placed faith in them. I say just plough on and deliver something that you can truly be proud of, and then you'll be vindicated.
Sometimes I think, with all this talk of engines and whatnot, and all these adventure game Kickstarters having taken place at broadly the same time, it's a shame that the various teams didn't just club together and share resources to make one point 'n' click engine that they could all use, instead of all this duplication of effort. Then again, I don't know anything about programming, so perhaps they would have had different needs which would make this unrealistic in practice.
I can't say that I'm particularly surprised at the delays if the engine and tool set really did end up being built from scratch. That seems to be a time pit many companies fall into, including major corporations like SquareEnix. How many years did it take them to get a single PS3 game out? And how long as Final Fantasy XV been in development at this point? The engine work caused such a huge problem with Final Fantasy XIII that the art team had made double the assets that actually were used in the game by the time it was ready. While the delays are depressing, I feel like it's good news that the story is already completely locked down, and most of the dialog is at least at the "tweaks might happen, but otherwise done" stage. It's important not to forget the overall picture of the game's design while dealing with technical delays, so while the big delay is a little depressing, I'm cautiously optimistic still. And honestly, I have so many other games to play in the meantime there's no rush. This is a known reality of Kickstarter (hi there Broken Age part 2!) so I'm not particularly surprised at the delay either.
Maybe keep some notes about the worst difficulties you encountered and the difficulties you could have most easily avoided, in hindsight. I think a nice long post/update/article 2-3 months after your eventual release date detailing your experiences completing this project could be both interesting to the general gaming community and useful to others considering how to build their own indie game.
With the number of AAA games getting delayed into 2015, what's another one? :) This will be my first 2GFA adventure, and the journey so far has been interesting to watch. Another 9-12 months isn't going to kill me.
I got a spot on my shelf for the SpaceVenture box right next to SQ 1-6. That spot will be there there in 2014, 2015.... Just make the best game possible. :)
You guys take as long as you need to make a game that you feel is special and the best game you have made. I personally think you are doing the right thing by taking the time needed to make this game, I mean isn't that what indie game development is all about...not being told when to release the game, taking all the time you need to make the game you want and what the fans want? A game that you can feel proud of? I am happy to wait as long as it takes for the team to release the game, I have faith in you guys and I am very confident that you will achieve what you are aiming for.
For the guy down below who said they never actually gave a release date, I encourage you to turn your attention to the right hand column. You will see February 2013 under the estimated delivery date. That was the original release date.
For the guys making the game, I think many of us are used to these enormous delays and screwed up budgets. But usually these are coming from new game companies who don't have a lot of industry experience.
You guys knew better than this, and if you didn't.. well, you really had no business making a game without a real publisher to keep you in line and provide the assets you needed to make the game properly.
You are abusing the trust that many people put into your project by donating their personal cash towards your project based on our nostalgia and trust in your past work.
I agree with Jason below, 100%. You have blown the budget completely. The way you are procedding with this game, and the whole "release it when we love it" mentality is not a viable business plan. If sierra had functioned that way after their initial success, you wouldn't have had time to release a sequel before the adventure point & click craze would have already been over.
The only reason we have 6 space quests is because guys like Ken kept you on the ball. if you had worked like this, we would have been lucky to have even gotten 2 out of you guys.
I hope you enjoy making this game together, because it will be the last game anyone funds you for. You may have several patient people willing to give nonstop praise here in the comments, but they are a minority of the 10,000 people who backed you. Doesn't it scare you a little how many people have moved on and given up on you at this point?
There is no way you will ever be able to raise half a million dolalrs again after this debacle. People like me will be right there to remind every single potential backer what a ridiculous mess this entire KS was.
The fact that two "veterans" had no idea what the requirements of the engine they would be using is, and didn't realize they would have to build some of the tools is pure naivety.
If I got hired at a company based on the promises you posted on this kickstarter, and was over 16 months late and only 1/3 of the way there (with some things, like voices, completely untouched) - I would be (rightfully) fired on the spot.
If you had gone to a regular publisher and pulled this crap, you *know* that there is no way they would have put up with delays and excuses like this.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. After watching all the various sierra teams strike out on their own and flop around like fish out of the water... it really gives me a new found appreciation for ken Williams. After his chat logs back in 98 and his actions around the sale to Cendant I had gotten the impression that he really didn't care about games, and only saw them as a way to make money. While that is still probably true, I now see that it takes someone with that mindset to keep people like you guys in line and profitable.
Sierra games had much larger budgets, and larger teams to work on the games. I think some of the negative comments thrown around are hilarious considering they're coming from people who have no clue the amount of work goes into even the smallest of games. These guys are doing their best to take a really small budget and stretch it so their game will live up to the expectations of idiots who think there is an "easy" button you just push and games are made.
Good to know guys, I appreciate your honesty.
Keep working on it at your own pace, I look forward for the finished game.
I think Irish's comment typifies how criticism goes over with the blindly devoted.
I also like how suddenly $561,637 is a "really small budget".
Jane Jensen was able to cope with a $435,316 budget somehow...Or let's see...How about Project Fedora/Tesla Effect with their $598,104 budget that included some pretty big name actors.
So no...This isn't a case of "stretching" a tiny budget to live up to expectations.
Worth pointing out that both Moebius and Tesla Effect are adventure games built on the Unity engine....As is Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded, for that matter, so...It's not exactly like they're blazing new trails in trying to get an adventure game to work with an engine not suited for it.
If they're having to reinvent the wheel as they claim, well...That's another mistake to chalk up since Unity has plenty of pieces that can be used for those purposes.
Or hell, they could've done what Wasteland 2 has done and crowdsourced some of the stuff they needed help with. Plenty of people have contributed models/components for Wasteland 2. They're even doing some of their localization work that way.
The bottom line is it's been two years and apart from the aborted SVRewards site and largely regurgitated updates here (which apparently are too much effort to commit to anymore), we're now learning they're a third of the way into the project by their own estimates?
I'll say it right now. There's no way this releases in 9 months. There's no way this releases in a year unless they rush through the remaining 2/3rds to push it out the door and be done with it.
And the concern I and a lot of other backers have is they admitted they were having financial issues 9 months ago. With that being the case, there's real concern as to whether they can stretch whatever's left to keep going for another year or two to see the thing through to completion.
Lol what is funny is that you've mentioned a game I worked on.
The budget is closer to 440K because of the amount of non-payers. Yes, you got that right. Some of the people whose trust is violently abused or whatever that was about simply DID NOT PAY. $440,000 *is* quite a small budget these days and if you think otherwise, you're the one who's delusional. Granted, I do not know if Big Finish or Pinkerton Road had similar issues. It may simply be normal for a Kickstarter.
Also, unlike Tesla Effect, I actually think a lot of the acting work here is being done more or less pro bono here. I can't verify it, of course, but the main reason they've been able to contract those actors is that Chris Pope represents most of them. So Rob Paulsen, Ellen McLain et al were assets that were already available, which is not the case with some of the talent Big Finish hired.
Also, comparing SpaceVenture with Moebius and Tesla Effect is a case of apples and oranges. We can rule out the latter game, as it's a first-person game. Moebius is closer, but does suffer from several problems that have been noted by several reviewers. I loved Moebius, but I hope Ace Hardway doesn't halt the action completely to take a deep breath and pop a pill every two minutes. And don't even get me started on LSL:R. "You watch in amazement as something really spectacular happens. Unfortunately, we didn't animate it so you will have to imagine it. And now back to our regular programming." That, and it's a cartoony 2D game. There's just no valid comparison here, even if the games use the same engine.
I agree, they may have had alternate options, such as crowdsourcing, along the way (though it's a worth a note they brought in pcj and Troels well into the process) and I'm sure they wish they could've done things differently. But I don't want to read a long sob-sob text where Chris Pope reaffirms they did mistakes and then cancels the whole deal. It frankly sounds like you're pissy about them taking all this stuff on the chin and continuing work on the game. What would you have them do? Announce that they're awful people and call of the game?
Some of the troubles they've been having are not financial in nature. I'll leave it at that because I don't know how much I'm allowed to "know". Considering you don't have the knowledge of what bogged down development from early on, it's fair enough that you judge from what you can actually see with your own eyes, of course. But honestly, even speaking as a fan, I think you're making some conclusions that are pretty much unfounded.
Are you actively looking to have the project canceled because you don't get things your way? The game may be delayed, but holy crap, talk about overreacting. I think they KNOW they've screwed up, so I'm not really sure being angry with them makes that much of a difference. Other than them taking the mud people are slinging around to heart, cancelling them game and, ironically, ENSURING with 100% certainty that you lose your money. Not really the most viable option here...
(I trust you can read past the inevitable typos - should've hired Josh Mandel for "proofreadeng")
All Kickstarter projects are plagued by a certain percentage of pledges that don't go through due to insufficient funds or what have you, so...That SpaceVenture was is somewhat irrelevant.
If SpaceVenture is getting their voice acting "pro bono" (and I believe you'll find Chris Pope does NOT "represent" them, he handles their social media presence), then that changes perspecitve dramatically as that could've been a large chunk of their budget.
And I don't expect a mea culpa, problems happen.
What I do expect is a reasonable degree of accountability and engagement with those that have actually funded the project.
I've said this before, but one of the largest problems the project has had has been abysmal PR/Community relations/communication with backers.
Had there been dialogue along the way, we wouldn't be sitting here two years later hearing that 1/3rd of the project is "complete" and wondering what the hell happened or what they've been doing with $500K for the last two years.
But having spent years asking the "uncomfortable" questions in journalism and working in PR for a Fortune 100 company now, I'll freely admit I'm a cynical asshole, so...Maybe I'm the only one looking at it that way.
Bottom line, I'd love to see another game from Scott and Mark and by no stretch am I demanding a release in the immediate future or even a firm release date.
What I AM calling out is putting out a postponed update about the "release of the game" in which, not only do they not even attempt to address the issues that have delayed the project so substantially, but only say they anticipate the remaining 2/3rd to go much faster as they don't think they'll run into any issues?
And then, despite (worse, Chris even says due to) people complaining about the lack of substance in updates, they decide they're not going to commit to regular updates and only post when they feel like sharing something?
I mean...I'm sorry, but to make that sort of statement when you already have people complaining that you're not forthcoming/communicative enough is worse than not addressing the issue at all
I'd like to see a more substantive update that addresses the concerns that have been raised regarding their ability to fund an extended development period, but...I'm not holding my breath since I know we'll never see it.
I've rambled long enough, so I'll leave it at this: If I had reason to believe Mark & Scott had the budget to support taking another year or two or even three to see the game through, I'd happily wait. At this point, however, I have some serious doubts about the stability of the project which I suspect the company isn't willing to discuss to allay.
When i first backed this game i mainly did it because i love point and click adventures and because i loved Sierra and pretty much everyone working there. Space Quest was a lot of fun so i thought yeah that should be nice, in the end every time i see a WIP of this game im like hey that turned out WAY cooler then i thought. So yeah take your time and make it right and cool, of course it would be nice playing it already but everyone who loves rushed shitty games can still buy a Activision and EA product yeah i am looking at you Battle Field 4 or should i say Bug Field 4 ? Just please don't make this Duke Nukem Never ever :p
I have to admit I'm still surprised by the number of people who think they're actually owed a game. All kickstarter let's you do is buy into a possibility. You aren't buying shares, you aren't buying a product. You're owed nothing. Hell, look at Double Fine. They got six times the money this did, and then released half the game, fifteen months late, and they had a full team. I'm not excusing the delay, but I'm not under any illusions about what it takes, and I'm glad risked my bucks for the possibility of this game.
People need to chill out. We're used to AAA game developers keeping to a certain timeframe (usually), but then what we get is bug-ridden garbage most of the time. Games take time when your an indie dev creating a full-length game like SpaceVenture. I have complete faith in and support for the SV team to give us something great. I'm busy enough that I don't really notice the time passing. There's plenty else to do and be distracted with while the Two Guys and Co slave away at creating something special for us. You can spout off other examples of games that have come out already via Kickstarter, but it doesn't always apply. QFI is still not out yet. Yes, its release is imminent, but keep in mind that the game was in development before the Kickstarter campaign. So was Mage's Initiation, and that's not finished yet either.
Every project has bumps in the road, some more than others. This isn't an issue or a danger to the eventual release when the people who are working on it are working as hard and as fast as possible.
@JasonJoyce: You deserve a proper reply to that, so let me try...
"All Kickstarter projects are plagued by a certain percentage of pledges that don't go through due to insufficient funds or what have you, so...That SpaceVenture was is somewhat irrelevant."
So something that happens to other Kickstarters is not relevant, but what... uh... happens to other Kickstarted games, per your last post, is... relevant? Colour me confused; I don't think argument holds up. The non-payers are as relevant here as everything else you choose to bring about about other Kickstarters.
"If SpaceVenture is getting their voice acting "pro bono" (and I believe you'll find Chris Pope does NOT "represent" them, he handles their social media presence), then that changes perspecitve dramatically as that could've been a large chunk of their budget."
True, I should've chosen my words more carefully. We may not be dealing with 100% pro bono, but I don't think they're paying full price for those people. If they are, they would've blown the budget from day one and that did NOT happen. Around October, Chris Pope confirmed that the only reason for the delay was found in the programming department. I have no reason to believe the money is gone. But their budget IS arguably responsible for the current delays, since they cannot bring another Unity developer on board, but have to make do with the staff they already have. I've offered my services (pro bono), but would need a Unity licence and a licence for the asset server. To me, that goes to show that the delays are being affected by the budget. Not the other way around.
"And I don't expect a mea culpa, problems happen.
What I do expect is a reasonable degree of accountability and engagement with those that have actually funded the project.
I've said this before, but one of the largest problems the project has had has been abysmal PR/Community relations/communication with backers."
I *partly* agree, but for the past few years, I've known Chris Pope and the Guys to be completely transparent, and they answer you best as they can when you ask them about something. I'm privileged in that I can Skype any of them when I choose to, but most of my communication with them has been going on in public on Twitter, so there's always a channel there. I suppose that transparency comes at the price of one having to ask the questions. I agree, the PR could've been better, but at this point, I can't fault them for spending the majority of their time on actual game development. But yes, you're right that the dialogue could possibly have been better. However, the game might have been even more delayed had they spent more time on PR. Double-edged sword, cause if they’d had a person on board solely to do PR, THAT would probably have made you go “Well, they’ve clearly blown the budget on all the PR” instead.
“What I AM calling out is putting out a postponed update about the "release of the game" in which, not only do they not even attempt to address the issues that have delayed the project so substantially, but only say they anticipate the remaining 2/3rd to go much faster as they don't think they'll run into any issues?”
Problem is, they’re only human. Some have mentioned how they’ve been out of the business for more than a few years and while that’s true, that’s partly why we all pledged. So I don’t find that very relevant. But I honestly don’t think they anticipated it would come to this. Did they see it coming too late? Probably. Was that a mistake? Sure. Do I blame them? No - their plate is already full. They’re still trying, so I’m gonna remain positive. If they had thrown the towel in, however… that’s when you’d see me disappointed.
“And then, despite (worse, Chris even says due to) people complaining about the lack of substance in updates, they decide they're not going to commit to regular updates and only post when they feel like sharing something?
I mean...I'm sorry, but to make that sort of statement when you already have people complaining that you're not forthcoming/communicative enough is worse than not addressing the issue at all”
Sometimes, there’s just not gonna be anything spoiler-free to show. I can deal with that rather than them spending ages to blur out spoilers in screenshots, videos or whatever. I liked the regular updates. Even the “no-substance” ones because they served to remind me that the project is still ongoing. If there’s no more stuff to show, the only way to accommodate the naysayers is to do more meaty updates more rarely. An odd decision, maybe, but I think the argumentation for it makes sense and hey - the negative people in here are finally getting SOMETHING they want. Enjoy it.
“I’d like to see a more substantive update that addresses the concerns that have been raised regarding their ability to fund an extended development period, but...I'm not holding my breath since I know we'll never see it.”
No, of course we’re not. Asking them to pretty much lay out their budget for all to see goes way beyond what even the backers on the highest level are “entitled” to (again, owing to Kickstarter’s terms and conditions, we have no claim to anything whatsoever). It would also lead to even more baseless cries about a blown budget and mismanagement and would likely result in the cancellation. Maybe, once the game is out, I’d like them to do a sort of retrospective like someone else suggested. This whole process would make better documentary material than most stories of game development.
“I've rambled long enough, so I'll leave it at this: If I had reason to believe Mark & Scott had the budget to support taking another year or two or even three to see the game through, I'd happily wait. At this point, however, I have some serious doubts about the stability of the project which I suspect the company isn't willing to discuss to allay.”
I’ve enjoyed reading your “ramblings” and I hope my responses have at least provided a little food for thought. While I agree that this is not a pitch-perfect example of a Kickstarter campaign, I STILL trust the Guys and I just urge everyone else to. You’ve only really got anything to lose if they become convinced that no one wants the game, and that’d be a damn shame. But no, I don’t believe we’ll be seeing the information you want to see any time soon. Simply because the negative backlash would be way, way bigger than what we’re seeing right now, no matter which numbers they put forth.
To me, it's great to hear the design stuff and big programming hurdles are taken. It seems the project is finaly in a shape that you can estimate a time of delivery. And, that is great news. I chipped in to play this game when it's done. In the meantime, I have other things to do in life and gaming. Goodluck with your next and important step in development of the game. I'll be happy to read further updates!
Keep the good work guys, thanks for this update, rather you take your time than release thinks like moebius or lsr ...
Good luck guys, take your time to deliver us the best game possible!
Your fans from the SQ days have waited many, many years for a new Two Guys From Andromeda game; another one certainly won't kill us, and the knowledge that you guys are doing it without half-assing it for the sake of a quicker release, succumbing to clueless executive meddling, etc. is heartwarming.
I'm confident SpaceVenture will be worth the wait! Keep being awesome, folks.
I'm happy with the delay. I guess I passed through concern>worry>fear sometime last year? This is still a "better make it count" type of project, and things seem fairly stable these days. It's not like fancy updates or adherence to development-workflow-acronyms has yielded much good adventuring from other Kickstarters, IMO. Hopefully we've faithfully recreated the torturous development processes of the classics?
I liked the updates from Chris, and didn't really think they were 'too light' or anything. It would help to have more sense of scale... x out of x number of locations... is the whole game designed/written... Is Gary Owens still on board?
Yeah, about the only thing I "don't" like about this update is that we'll be getting fewer updates. I don't care if it's a simple "The game is being made, thank you for waiting", I like that. I don't care if there really isn't much to share that is spoiler free. It has honestly been a highlight for me to check on the updates every first and sixteenth of every month. I'm sad to hear it's not going to be that way.
As far as the game itself goes. I'm fine with you taking longer. I'm a very patient individual who believes that games these days are rushed out too quickly anyways. It's refreshing to see that degree of pride in your work. *claps*
Echoing the people who'll gladly wait until the game is finished. Take all the time you need and all the best with the family health care issues!
Try to finish it in my lifetime, that's all I really care about :P
Sounds fine. I've backed enough Kickstarter projects and worked on enough Software projects to know how it goes. March 2015-ish is acceptable. I absolutely *do* want a good game after all.
Looking forward to playing.
Don't usually comment on my backed projects, but count me in the "Take All The Time You Need To Make An Amazing Game" camp. Every game I have backed on Kickstarter has been delayed from a few months to over a year. Some of those games needed to be delayed longer and I have been very disappointed in their quality. Some of the games with ultra-delays turned out to be amazing and totally worth it. I want the latter from my Guys from Andromeda.
Bottom line here: I didn't use Kickstarter to "pre-order" a game with an exact release date. I used Kickstarter to give money to two guys who have developed games that I loved growing up with and that I know with the time needed can do it again. If I wanted to pre-order it, I would have waited until it was on Steam. So take the time, I invested money into SpaceVenture as a concept and I knew it would be a while until I played it. I don't want to play it now and be sad, I want to play it when Scott and Mark want me to play it so I can be amazed and recapture that childhood excitement.
Best of luck to the whole SpaceVenture crew! I'm behind you guys 100%
Thanks for the update!
In reply to exoScoriae and others: In general, your comments are completely true. Mark and Scott, despite decades of game-making experience, greatly underestimated the time and money it would take to make a new adventure game. Lori and I are in the same situation, although our specifics are slightly different.
So our "Estimated delivery" dates were ridiculously optimistic. That doesn't mean that the projects are ridiculous or that we won't deliver eventually. I know Mark, Scott, and their team are working very hard on their project; as are Lori, I, and our team on Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. With 20:20 hindsight, we could have all done better.
But do not assume that big companies are any more competent at getting games out the door. In 1990, Sierra had an established game engine, which cost millions, and all of the projects used it. As a result, we got games out in a year for under $1 million using those tools. By the late 1990's, they had to rework all of the tools for 24-bit graphics, 3D, and modern computers. The system development cost millions for *each* game, and the games themselves took years and millions of dollars to develop. Quest for Glory V shipped two years late and at triple the original budget. Sierra, with all its experience and expert developers, came nowhere close to accurately predicting either costs or schedule.
King's Quest: Mask of Eternity shipped the same year, far behind schedule and with massive cost overruns. They also had a custom game engine which ran into development problems - There was no communication to develop one engine for multiple games as there was in 1990. Let's also not forget that it was ludicrous to ship two major fantasy titles in the same year. Sierra did it because nobody at the company had any idea when either game would be complete. The following year, Sierra closed their in-house development.
I mention Sierra because I was there, but I could give dozens of examples of major game companies falling completely on their faces, missing deadlines by years, and spending millions of dollars over budget. Wildstar, anyone? Its spend was approaching $100 million when I interviewed their several years ago. Carbine started development on it in 2005, I think for a planned 2008 or 2009 release. Wildstar is getting excellent reviews, so they may have placed the right bet. A mediocre game released five years ago would have just wasted all the money put into it.
Then there was the game company - started by major industry figures whose names you would all recognize - that asked Lori and me to propose a game design. We spent weeks at it, on spec, and presented what we still think is a great game idea. They decided they didn't need outside game designers, and instead had the executives and art directors do the design. That game cost millions and sold fewer than 1,000 copies in its first six months. It's beautiful; the game play is... let's just say "bad". Word of mouth got out quickly and the game failed.
Ref major films, William Goldman famously said, "Nobody knows anything." That is even more true in the game industry.
So yeah, if we'd been smart, we probably would have written some adventure game books rather than a computer game. We believed people when they told us how easy it was to develop a game under Unity. We thought Unity would replace most of that multi-million dollar game system development at Sierra. Instead, we found out that it is just a subset of what is needed for a full graphic adventure.
Making games is hard. Making great games is completely unpredictable. Planning a schedule for a large game has so many unknowns that nobody gets it right consistently. Finding great animators and programmers who will work for a fraction of their industry-standard paycheck is very hard. We are all doing the best we can.
How did Jane Jensen do it? She signed a publisher contract to supplement the Kickstarter income. And was still about a year late. How are Lori and I making a game long past the original deadline? We have key team members who are deferring pay while they support themselves with day jobs. We are borrowing money to keep food on the table and to pay other team members and project expenses. We hope we can sell enough copies of the game to pay for all that and hopefully reward our loyal team. But it's impossible to predict.
I'm personally a bit relieved that SpaceVenture is having such a hard road to release. It and Hero-U have had many of the same problems with engine, animation, and team. All it shows me is that we have not taken on easy or predictable tasks. Large-scale creative development is difficult, expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable. But I trust Mark, Scott, and Chris; they will finish the game and it will be good. It will also have cost far less to develop than any current AAA game from a major studio. I can say this because I know it's true of Hero-U as well.
But we are sorry that we listed an Estimated delivery date that we had no chance of making. In hindsight, even if we had gone with our very simple original plan (essentially an animated board game with a lot of text), we would have missed the deadline by six months. Instead we are making a AA game and missing by two years. It's the best we can do, and few others manage to do better.
I'm afraid there is some misunderstanding going on about "1/3 done", where some people are assuming that means that the other 2/3 will take approximately twice as long as the first, perhaps a little less because of "lessons learned", so 9-12 more months is still totally unrealistic.
A "vertical slice" of 1/3 of the game being nearly finished implies much more under-the-hood progress has been made, from custom tools to workflows that will largely be reused for the remaining part of the implementation. For instance, it was mentioned that the tools are now "nearly complete" so only minor tweaks are expected to complete the rest of the game.
As an analogy, suppose somebody were building a little single-story house -- the house has 1 out of 3 rooms totally finished, everying from paint and flooring to electricity and plumbing, while the other 2/3 rooms are just the frame... but *all* the foundation was dug out and poured as a prerequisite before getting that one room done.
I have no qualms with the estimated delivery date way off base and won't even budge if your soft release date falls through (even though I hope not, naturally).
I echo Jason Ferron's "complaint" that the updates will be fewer. :(
### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
### Dreamfall Traveller ###
Although I appreciate you guys taking the time to produce the "best possible game you can," I am now a bit concerned about the condition of the final product. Let me qualify this by stating categorically that I have no doubt that you guys will deliver a quality game. Full Stop.
My concerns are to do with the lack of creative and time constraints to which a typical successful creative enterprise must adhere to, and to which--apparently--KickStarter projects are not subject.
I loved the Space Quest series. Loved it! And I would pay money for anything that the "Two Guys From Andromeda" produce. However, as a game designer myself, I do understand that, although passion, skill, and creativity played the largest role; the value, quality, and success of those past games can also be attributed in part to other factors. Among these are the pressures to constrain the design and ambitions in order to deliver a practical product in time and on budget.
Sure, we all know that those time and budget constraints are not always reasonable, and we all know that given a bit more of it, we can always do much better. However, this is not the same as a complete lack of such pressures. (For an example of this, see what two other very creative guys pulled out of their ass when given virtually unlimited funds and cart blanche at production, mangling a beloved and very popular sci-fi classic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Matrix_Reloaded)
In summation, let me say that I love your work, I respect your approach, and hope (with some trepidation) that the graciousness of your backers in giving you the funds, the leeway, and the time to make your dream project, does not go directly to your head. I rather see you produce the "best game we could do in X time," than end up with an all-but-the-kitchen-sink-and-a-bag-of-fries "Space Quest Reloaded."
Keep up the hard work, guys! Glad to hear you're not rushing the game, I'd rather have a good game than a quick one.
Thanks for the update. Take as much time as you need. Space Quest was a labour of love and it shows. People will be far more annoyed if you release the game before it's ready.
Kckstarter isn't a pre-order scheme. It's an investment. And like any kinds of investments you do, you should be willing to lose that money you've invested - it's always going to be a crapshoot. So I find the people complaining about getting their game late to be disingenuous - if you didn't know what you were getting into, you should have never bothered to kickstart this at all.
For me, I gave to Mark & Scott due to the years of enjoyment I got from their previous games. So even if I lose that money, it's ok, because at least I gave them another shot at making a game they wanted to make.
@Grimfarrow: Kickstarter is indeed an investment, and as an investment, you expect it to be treated responsibly and with respect.
However, people are not "complaining about getting their game late"; people are frustrated because they invested in an enterprise that seemed sound in principle, with a well thought-out and reasonable and realistic project plan, and trusted that Mark and Scott could execute on that plan.
Not being able to do so reveals that the plan was not as carefully composed, and reduces the "Two Guys SpaceVenture" to just another "crapshoot," by-the-seat-of-your-pants project in Kickstarter. I can imagine how this can disillusion a few.
As much as I respect and admire Mark and Scott, the funding they received wasn't a gift. I did not throw money at them to go play, as thanks for their past work. I, and many others, believed in Mark and Scott's potential, passion, drive, and creativity to follow through on this project, and want to see it succeed.
By your same token, I find that people who support and cheerlead bad planning and lackluster project execution for the sake of not disappointing their heroes, are naive at best. Don't you know that by rewarding this behaviour, Kickstarter will never move past the unreliable, amateur "beg-a-thon" reputation it has earned?
In the end, you are right, this is just another Kickstarter crapshoot: over-promised and under-delivered; where the hint of a successful funding went straight through people's heads and turned the project from a practical possibility, into a pie-in-the-sky "dream project" where everything and the kitchen sink is thrown in, for good measure.
*THAT* is what is most disappointing.
To Mark, Scott, and the rest of the project team: You guys have great creative potential, and your past work was outstanding. Just do your best and deliver a good project; and consider the true possibility that this may involve toning down your ambitions. Always remember that the success of the Space Quest series was not attributed to having every technical or creative element you ever dreamed of.
Thanks for promising to update us less frequently, that feels good.
I believe you will finish and that it will be good, whether that's 2014 or 2016 I don't care, just as long as it's done and reminds me of Wilco ;)
The one thing I have disliked on all the projects I have backed is the lack of regular updates. Just a quick, "We are still here, things are still moving." once a month is better than waiting 2 or 3 months between something substantive.
By your most optimistic estimate, the game will be two years and one month late by the time it publishes. That, and your pledge to give us fewer updates is what I find most grating.
For some reason I feel sorry for you. Just imagining all the pressure from the fans. But please, take your time, stay frosty and make a game YOU guys want to make. I almost forgot it's even in development, so I can cope with more waiting. Hell, I've been waiting since SQ5 release. And for all the fans - hype is your enemy.
Updates should be provided at least once a month. Why are you worrying about whether they're "drool-inducing" or what cool things you can share in each update? Just give progress reports at least every month, whether there is something "drool-inducing" or not. This update was better than usual with more specifics and the nice bullet points, but the most recent update (July) slid backwards in quality.