Hi Everyone,Sorry I didn't respond earlier to the news the Yogscast announced earlier this week. I was traveling for work and didn't really have time to get online and make a proper response. Like I said, our partnership was dissolved so of course they didn't (and didn't have to) tell me anything about it so it came as much as a surprise to me as anyone.
I do think the TUG team have a lot of similar goals, and if that's the developer that the Yogscast have chosen to continue Yogventures with then I hope that NerdKingdom will do their best to reach the goals the Yogscast have for Yogventures and if they do then hopefully everyone will win and get the Yogventures we all wanted to see happen.
I will provide a detailed breakdown of all the funds we received from the Kickstarter and how we at Winterkewl Games used every cent towards making the game. I need to consult with my accountant to make sure I don't miss anything and that it's all formatted correctly etc, but here some rough numbers to hopefully shed some light on what the funds were used for.
After all the backers had a chance to fulfill their payments, and all the funds were collected out of the $567,665 that was pledged, roughly $415,000 of that was actually transferred after the Kickstarter fees and Amazon fees had been collected. We met with the Yogscast when the kickstarter ended and everyone agreed that the entire net should be used to create the game as much as humanly possible. So we made a plan as such.
- $35,000.00 Concept Art / Sky boxes / Environment Textures (Senior matte painter / concept artist from PDI Dreamworks)
- $35,000.00 Concept Art / Character Designs / UI Design (Senior Character Designer Treyarch)
- $35,000.00 Modeling (Senior Modeler from Dreamworks)
- $35,000.00 Textures / Surfacing / Shader development (Senior Surface Artist from Dreamworks)
- $35,000.00 Animation (Senior Animator from Dreamworks)
- $35,000.00 Programming / Unity Development (Myself Unity Developer)
- $15,000.00 Unity Developer part time / intern
- $100,000.00 Programming / Application Architecture / Back-end Server Code / Voxel Engine (TBD, we were courting several programmers with lots of game experience over the course of the Kickstarter)
- $3500.00 Legal Fees Contracts
- $1500.00 Accountant Fees
- $15000.00 Hardware (PC computers)
- $5000.00 Software Licenses
- $15,000.00 Escrow for expenses related to development like buying Unity Assets etc.
- $50,000.00 Physical Rewards creation and Shipping
Unfortunately, right off the bat we had one major incident that happened that we could not fix. Our good friend and matte painter really terrific artist that created most of the concept art with environments on the Kickstarter page, he left PDI to work at LucasArts. LucasArts wouldn't give him a carve out in his contract to work on Yogventures so he couldn't work on the project any longer.
This is a very good example of how my inexperience caused some problems in the development. Because we had worked out a contract that guaranteed each of the principal artists a $35,000 lump sum payment, and we didn't make any clear clause on how and why someone could legally stop working on the project, The artist in question got paid, worked for about 2 weeks and then stopped working on the project. We had no way to force that person to pay back any of the funds and it was a bitter lesson to learn. Always get every possible scenario in writing or you will have no legal recourse.
When Lewis found out about the artist incident he was rightly confused and upset, as a result he lost faith right away in my ability to run the company from a business standpoint and basically required that all the rest of the Kickstarter money that hadn't been spent be transferred to them right away. In the end we negotiated that to $150,000 would be transferred to the Yogscast with the understanding that they would use that money exclusively to create and ship all the physical rewards, AND they would help hire the main programmer that we still didn't have on the project.
The whole fiasco left a bad taste in all parties mouth and we could immediately feel tensions beginning to take the place of what was once just excitement and joy to be making such a cool game. In hindsight I wish I would have let Lewis manage all of the funds from the very beginning and essentially just taken a profit share contract from them so that there wasn't any of the confusion that happened later.
Time went on we began developing in earnest but without our main programmer and no funds to hire one it became clear that more of that role was going to be filled by me than I ever intended. Not to be daunted though I worked tirelessly for the next 18 months as did all of the people listed above. We never had another person drop out of the project and all of those artists produced a huge number of assets and for prices that by their normal work a day rates were really really low.
Unfortunately, too many design changes and my in-experience as a project lead and programmer were what's to blame for our company never really making what it was we set out to make. I am extremely proud of everyone that worked on this though, and even though the game wasn't finished what we were able to accomplish is a creative and artistic vision of a voxel world that hasn't been done that many times before. The character work and the props and textures all the concept art it was really lovely work and those guys should feel proud of what they did.
Anyway, I'm not sure why the Yogscast felt "shackled" to us, but I still feel honored to have worked so hard on this project for all of the backers and fans. Our business model may have been naive but it's still one of the best things I've ever made from scratch and for that I'll always be grateful to all the backers.
Since the money was all spent either directly on development of the game or paid to the Yogscast to handle physical rewards and "licensing fees" I'm afraid Winterkewl Games has a negative balance at this point. We don't have any of the money left and as such can't really offer refunds.
I understand the frustration of that, but we put in I would say much more than a "Good Faith Effort" we literally gave it everything we had and then some to make this game happen. So, like I said all of those numbers are not completely vetted, once I get all the data formatted I'll come back and post again. I do hope that sheds some light on where everything went though, nothing was scammed, no one and I mean NO ONE has gotten rich from this effort or is even better off then when we started, except for all the memories and the great feeling it was to see your support and try and make a great product from it.
Thanks again for everything, and again my deepest apologies that we weren't able to finish the game ourselves. I really hope the Yogscast's plan with TUG works out and all the backers get a great game they deserve. ~Kris