Tim Schafer Double Fails despite Kickstarter Funds

kbrickley

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It is unfortunate that such a high profile project is getting the bad publicity but hopefully the other developers will learn from this ... we have always had developers whose reach exceeded their grasp (Battlecruiser 3000, Duke Nukem Forever, etc) and it is always painful for their supporters when this happens ... I think this will highlight to any sensible developers the need for good project managers for their KS endeavors ... inXile and Obsidian seem to have followed that approach and Crate Software (Grim Dawn) seems to be carefully managing their resources to maintain their budgetary integrity

I think ultimately this says more about the developer Tim Schafer than it does about the general KS community ... although the way the hardware projects are treating their backers might doom future big ticket hardware projects ;)
 

FreiDOg

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Saw that in my email this morning.
Disappointing to say the least, they were originally targeting what last November, and now looking at getting half a game next January?

Delays are one thing, but building a game they so clearly couldn't finish with the money they'd already taken from people is frustrating. Still look forward to (someday) playing the game, but this is really poor on their part given the modest initial goals and considerable support.
 

LeninGHOLA

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He's been known to go over budget on projects in the past. Kickstarter projects really need sound financial guys to properly forecast this kind of stuff. Shameful, really.
 

drako

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I'm not sure that this has any broader implications on KS funded games. Other large projects seem to be doing okay with their budgets. I've only been following Planetary Annihilation closely but they seem to be sticking closely to the plan with good results.

I will say that the timing of this announcement sucks for those who backed that Chalice game. Pretty crafty of Double Fine to stay quiet on this until after getting more money for that project.
 

zamardii

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I'm pretty sure it hasn't "failed." What is being said is that they estimate that they will reach over budget mid-way through development so they are decreasing the scope of the game to compensate and perhaps seeking publisher support.
 

BatJoe

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Have never funded a Kickstarter. Never will.

Say what you will about publishers, but this proves having a watch over you is a good thing.
 

piscian18

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As long as the games good I'm not that bothered. I watched the first few updates and really could tell they were dragging their feet from an overall project standpoint but this isn't a real cookie cutter project unfortunately. Its artsy indie game and tim always seems to shoot a little too high.
 

LeninGHOLA

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Have never funded a Kickstarter. Never will.

Say what you will about publishers, but this proves having a watch over you is a good thing.

Games frequently go over budget whether or not publishers are involved. I don't see how this changes anything at all. They aren't asking us for more money.
 

BatJoe

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They aren't asking us for more money.

Not yet. But they are cutting features even though they got more money than they wanted. Clearly there is bad management over there. No wonder publishers don't want to do business with Tim.
 

LeninGHOLA

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Not yet. But they are cutting features even though they got more money than they wanted. Clearly there is bad management over there. No wonder publishers don't want to do business with Tim.

Yes, he isn't great at managing money. I definitely think he should have hired or contracted a project director with a track record of delivering a finished project on time within budget. Even so, being the first major Kickstarter success, they didn't have any experience handling scope as the project size grew. That and some of the backer rewards were crazy expensive. Tim is one of those guys with great ideas and a real passion for making games, he just suffers from Molyneux syndrome.

Luckily, backers still get the full game once the second portion is released.
 

piscian18

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Yes, he isn't great at managing money. I definitely think he should have hired or contracted a project director with a track record of delivering a finished project on time within budget. Even so, being the first major Kickstarter success, they didn't have any experience handling scope as the project size grew. That and some of the backer rewards were crazy expensive. Tim is one of those guys with great ideas and a real passion for making games, he just suffers from Molyneux syndrome.

Luckily, backers still get the full game once the second portion is released.

For what its worth I got all my back reward stuff shortly after the kickstarter. Posters t-shirt etc.

I don't know Tims got a big heart. I feel like a dick for saying this but I was watching some of the videos of his devs working and I was just like "uugh these guys are crazy inefficient". I don't know anything about the industry but from a task perspective if I was tha german guys boss I'd have already been lining up animator interviews. What he was spending weeks doing in some archaic software I could burn through in Flash in a day. Again Idk I'm not a developer I could be full of shit.
 

KaOTiK

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I think it is crappy, but at the same time it isn't as clear cut as we think it is.

The original game he was asking the 300k for was going to be a basic simple game. When they made over 3m, he felt it wasn't right to deliver something so simple and opted to do a full scale game which meant the cost of the game for them just shot up a lot. Tim is known to take a bigger bite than he can chew in the past and this is no exception but at least he was trying to do the right thing instead of releasing basically a flash game and raking in millions of profit.
 

Youn

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Having just watched the documentaries I must say: I'm really pumped for this game and don't mind them getting additional funds and time.

If the game rocks then I think most people will forgive them and also understand that had it not been for kickstarter we probably would never had seen this beautiful creation.

Anyways, I'm mostly hoping it's a huge success commercially and they learn a big lesson about planning and continue making these great products. It's a really hard thing to do, in almost all industries. I work in MEGA architecture projects (some in Dubai, for example) and these are, 9 times out of 10, way under budget and need extra time. When they start to sacrifice quality to just meet that deadline, the stuff really suffers and looks like garbage.

Take the time, do it right, with patience and persistence. It'll be worth it more often than not. If you are just being lazy, well that's an entirely different thing, but it's pretty easy to spot that kinda behavior and I don't think that's the case with Double Fine.
 

Youn

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trying to do the right thing
Yes, no doubt... these folks certainly care. It looked like some almost broke into tears on camera as they talked about these things...
 
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I knew this was going to fail from watching their video and reading the kickstarter page. Tons of info about who they are and their dream but very little info about the actual game and hardly any footage.
 

piscian18

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I knew this was going to fail from watching their video and reading the kickstarter page. Tons of info about who they are and their dream but very little info about the actual game and hardly any footage.

It didn't fail it just went over budget the first half the game is coming in January. Keep up.
 

Demon10000

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It didn't fail it just went over budget the first half the game is coming in January. Keep up.

According to their campaign, $400,000 = Full game. Therefore, success would be a complete game.

I'd consider over budget to be $450,00 - $500,000.

Failure would be getting $3,300,000 and still not producing a complete game. This is a huge failure. They received almost 10 times what they were asking for and still couldn't produce what they committed to.

It's like giving Pizza Hutt $20 for a pizza and them bringing me a slice...
 

lilbabycat

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Tim is known to take a bigger bite than he can chew in the past and this is no exception but at least he was trying to do the right thing instead of releasing basically a flash game and raking in millions of profit.

And what happens when it is basically a flash game?

3.3mil to make a 2d point+click adventure game, there really is no excuse (other than hookers+blow).
 

LeninGHOLA

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According to their campaign, $400,000 = Full game. Therefore, success would be a complete game.

I'd consider over budget to be $450,00 - $500,000.

Failure would be getting $3,300,000 and still not producing a complete game. This is a huge failure. They received almost 10 times what they were asking for and still couldn't produce what they committed to.

It's like giving Pizza Hutt $20 for a pizza and them bringing me a slice...

The scope of the game increased dramatically with the additional funding. It's nothing like your analogy at all. It's more like more people chipped in than they thought, so more pizzas were ordered, but the pizza place ran out of money to buy more pizza, so you'll have to wait for the delivery driver to bring more.
 

piscian18

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The scope of the game increased dramatically with the additional funding. It's nothing like your analogy at all. It's more like more people chipped in than they thought, so more pizzas were ordered, but the pizza place ran out of money to buy more pizza, so you'll have to wait for the delivery driver to bring more.

Agreed its not a failure until the game gets cancelled.
 

limitedaccess

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I'm curious does the lack of any sort of accounting and/or financial breakdown of how funds are actually spent for these crowd sourced projects concern anyone? I do not mean specifically for this case but in general. While optimistically I think people want to assume that mismanagement is unintentional but as we know in the real world money often has a way of corrupting things.

For example if you found out that a project as part of employment expenses paid above industry averages would that change your perception? Or a portion of overfunding went towards bonuses? Both of which could be happening for all you know. What about outsourced work being contracted at a higher rate to someone with connections? Perhaps facility/equipment upgrades that are not necessarily directly related to the project? Money that has already been paid for producing/delivering backer rewards being shifted to other areas (likely the case with the Ouya)?
 

piscian18

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I'm curious does the lack of any sort of accounting and/or financial breakdown of how funds are actually spent for these crowd sourced projects concern anyone? I do not mean specifically for this case but in general. While optimistically I think people want to assume that mismanagement is unintentional but as we know in the real world money often has a way of corrupting things.

For example if you found out that a project as part of employment expenses paid above industry averages would that change your perception? Or a portion of overfunding went towards bonuses? Both of which could be happening for all you know. What about outsourced work being contracted at a higher rate to someone with connections? Perhaps facility/equipment upgrades that are not necessarily directly related to the project? Money that has already been paid for producing/delivering backer rewards being shifted to other areas (likely the case with the Ouya)?

In the backer exclusive videos they go over the finances a bit . Unfortunately I only recall the individual devs are paid about 50k a year though I think that includes health insurance which is around 5k-9k according to my recent W2(They started requiring employers to list Health insurance costs on your W2 as of this year).

I know they hired a concept designer to come up with the style of the game but I don't know how much they paid him.
 

kbrickley

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I'm curious does the lack of any sort of accounting and/or financial breakdown of how funds are actually spent for these crowd sourced projects concern anyone? I do not mean specifically for this case but in general. While optimistically I think people want to assume that mismanagement is unintentional but as we know in the real world money often has a way of corrupting things.

For example if you found out that a project as part of employment expenses paid above industry averages would that change your perception? Or a portion of overfunding went towards bonuses? Both of which could be happening for all you know. What about outsourced work being contracted at a higher rate to someone with connections? Perhaps facility/equipment upgrades that are not necessarily directly related to the project? Money that has already been paid for producing/delivering backer rewards being shifted to other areas (likely the case with the Ouya)?

Not really ... I look at a KS project as a preorder (for all practical purposes) ... as long as I get a product then they have met their obligations ... just like in the case of publisher preorders you can end up with some crappy games or games that you will play for a lifetime ... if they fail to live up to their promises or my expectation then I might not buy their next project (just like in the regular model) ... the ability to participate in the Alpha and Beta testing is also a big plus for me as I can try out the game and provide feedback early rather than after they have a finished product ... I am fine with that model but I pick and choose my projects (I currently only have 3 projects I am supporting: Grim Dawn, Project Eternity, and Torment)
 

Godmachine

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Lets all bash Kickstarter and no the developer who couldn't manage his work load.

Yea.. that makes sense.

I guess some people here don't think its worth remembering that Tim ALWAYS puts out delayed/over budget games .. this is what he's always done.

Kickstarter should however tell developers that if they take the money and do not produce a result that they will go for legal action to fulfill the obligation to their users.

However Tim says he's just going to split it into two games so whatever.
 

piscian18

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Lets all bash Kickstarter and no the developer who couldn't manage his work load.

Yea.. that makes sense.

I guess some people here don't think its worth remembering that Tim ALWAYS puts out delayed/over budget games .. this is what he's always done.

Kickstarter should however tell developers that if they take the money and do not produce a result that they will go for legal action to fulfill the obligation to their users.

However Tim says he's just going to split it into two games so whatever.

Some people have a weird stockholme syndrome thing with triple A publishers.
 
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why the hell does it cost even 400k to make a point and click game.... and before you say I don't know I've worked with udk a good bit and I'm a 3d modeler. I know the ins and outs, if this guy doesn't have a steady supply of hookers and blow I would be very surprised.
 

Zolishoru

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I'd like to point out a detail: the origin of the project. Initially, it was projected as a documentary about making a a game, and the crowd-funding was a a way to get money for the project. And by the status of the project, the supporters(and viewers of the documentary) will get a nice, detailed look of the ups and downs of the game making process, which was the original scope of the Kickstarter project.
 

Stiler

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I do think that in the future Kickstarter might make it a rule to start providing an investment data to backers, just a tally of where the money is going and what not.

So people don't see like, "Ferrari, Vacation in Maui, etc" but actually see where the money has went and can see how things are being spent.
 

rudy

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I know a guy who backed this lol,

one thing he said after this news was, something to the effect of maybe the rest of the industry knew more about Tim than we did and that's why they wouldn't give him money.
 

kbrickley

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I do think that in the future Kickstarter might make it a rule to start providing an investment data to backers, just a tally of where the money is going and what not.

So people don't see like, "Ferrari, Vacation in Maui, etc" but actually see where the money has went and can see how things are being spent.

Except we aren't making an investment ... KS is essentially a donation system or a preorder system (depending on the project you support and the level you support it at) ;)

You should definitely pick the projects you support carefully or we become as bad as the publishers by supporting lots of mass market crap ... but if the project creator can pad his numbers so that he makes extra money then Bully for him ... that is, however, none of the supporters business as long as he or she delivers the actual product that was promised (or some reasonable facsimile of it) :cool:
 

Stiler

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Except we aren't making an investment ... KS is essentially a donation system or a preorder system (depending on the project you support and the level you support it at) ;)

You should definitely pick the projects you support carefully or we become as bad as the publishers by supporting lots of mass market crap ... but if the project creator can pad his numbers so that he makes extra money then Bully for him ... that is, however, none of the supporters business as long as he or she delivers the actual product that was promised (or some reasonable facsimile of it) :cool:

I'm fully aware it's not an investment, but the point of kickstarter is still to get people to fund the development of said games/movies/books/whatever.

You can bet that when these things start to fail, especially big ones, you'll start seeing lawsuits roll in.

Being able to see where they are spending money can help enlighten the people as to what is going in the development of the project and also it gives people a looking glass to see the ocmpany isn't just funneling the funds into things people wouldn't "want" to be helping them do.

Imagine for example if Tim took money from this kickstarter and pumped it into buying himself a new car and other things, wouldn't that be something the people that gave money to make the game would want to know?
 

Verge

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I'm fully aware it's not an investment, but the point of kickstarter is still to get people to fund the development of said games/movies/books/whatever.

You can bet that when these things start to fail, especially big ones, you'll start seeing lawsuits roll in.


I like how you say "when."


There have been people critical of kickstarted from the get go. Why would you send money to somebody with little to no business pedigree or knowledge on completing projects for nothing more than a dream? Kids with too much money IMO. There will be many more failures.
 

Serpent

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I like how you say "when."


There have been people critical of kickstarted from the get go. Why would you send money to somebody with little to no business pedigree or knowledge on completing projects for nothing more than a dream? Kids with too much money IMO. There will be many more failures.

Funny you say that, since its Tim schafer who has that. That said, I didn't kickstart this. Never was a fan of Timmy. I did, however, Kickstart Sui Generis, and it is looking pretty good out there.

I also kickstarted Worlds of Magic. But that second one, I don't know. I kickstarted it because of pure nostalgia. If it completes, it completes, if not... well, atleast it was only 20 bucks. And if it does do a good job, I'd be glad to have helped.

Looking at their forum and site, they look like they have things together, and I'm just hoping for the best. I don't visit it enough to really tell though.
 

Derangel

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As someone who backed the game, I'm fine with the delay. I would much rather have them delay it and look for additional funding instead of just releasing it half-assed with tons of stuff simply missing like Star Command.
 

rudy

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I'm fully aware it's not an investment, but the point of kickstarter is still to get people to fund the development of said games/movies/books/whatever.

You can bet that when these things start to fail, especially big ones, you'll start seeing lawsuits roll in.

Being able to see where they are spending money can help enlighten the people as to what is going in the development of the project and also it gives people a looking glass to see the ocmpany isn't just funneling the funds into things people wouldn't "want" to be helping them do.

Imagine for example if Tim took money from this kickstarter and pumped it into buying himself a new car and other things, wouldn't that be something the people that gave money to make the game would want to know?

I agree, one of the oldest tricks in the books is simply, get someone to invest in you, be it kick starter, ventrure capital, or even just taking out a loan to start a business. Then pay yourself really well, like 200k / year. Company falls apart but you lived great for as long as you could stretch it out for. Then go think up a new idea and try again. Serial startups. You never have any reasonable ambition in the first place.
 

rudy

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As someone who backed the game, I'm fine with the delay. I would much rather have them delay it and look for additional funding instead of just releasing it half-assed with tons of stuff simply missing like Star Command.

The thing is time is money the longer they drag it out the more its going to cost, if they are already having trouble and running out of money do they think they are suddenly going to find some huge untapped market of people who are interested in investing more after they showed they couldn't even make good use of the massive amount of money they were given?
 

Derangel

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The thing is time is money the longer they drag it out the more its going to cost, if they are already having trouble and running out of money do they think they are suddenly going to find some huge untapped market of people who are interested in investing more after they showed they couldn't even make good use of the massive amount of money they were given?

It's not exactly a massive amount. If we were talking 8, 9, 10+ million then that would be a massive amount. 3-4 mill is on the small side. Anyway, he probably can find more funding or they will have to pay for it out of pocket. You can't rely on Shafer to complete a project on time or in budget, but you can never fault his determination to see a project to it's end. For now I'm not that worried. We'll see what happens as the rest of the year goes along.
 

kbrickley

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I'm fully aware it's not an investment, but the point of kickstarter is still to get people to fund the development of said games/movies/books/whatever.

You can bet that when these things start to fail, especially big ones, you'll start seeing lawsuits roll in.

Being able to see where they are spending money can help enlighten the people as to what is going in the development of the project and also it gives people a looking glass to see the ocmpany isn't just funneling the funds into things people wouldn't "want" to be helping them do.

Imagine for example if Tim took money from this kickstarter and pumped it into buying himself a new car and other things, wouldn't that be something the people that gave money to make the game would want to know?

Is this a function of software only on KS or just the amount of money tied up in games ... Games are only the sixth most funded category in terms of projects (although they are number one in terms of dollars):

Total Funded projects - 44,515 (595 million dollars)
Music - 12,340 ($74 million) ... 1 project over 1 million ... 21 projects 100K to 1 million
Film & Video - 10, 603 ($124 million) ... 2 projects over 1 million ... 112 projects 100K to 1 million
Art - 4,483 ($22 million) ... no project over 1 million ... 7 projects 100K to 1 million
Publishing - 3,821 ($27 million) ... no project over 1 million ... 16 projects 100K to 1 million
Theater - 3,001 ($15 million) ... no project over 1 million ... 4 projects 100K to 1 million
Games - 1,919 ($134 million) ... 22 projects over 1 million ... 175 projects 100K to 1 million
Technology - 805 ($59 million) ... 7 project over 1 million ... 130 projects 100K to 1 million

Technology seems to be the higher risk than software in my book ... the risk for software is that we get bad software as many of the projects are small projects ... technology is much higher risk as we get failed tech companies all the time ... software also continues to work (usually) even if the original company goes bankrupt but if tech breaks down after the company is gone you are SOL

Given the problems in the transition away from desktop computing I would love to see Intel and NVidia combine forces to create a small VC fund for gaming ... perhaps they could hook up with Valve's Project Greenlight and have users vote on projects to support ... they could then grant the monies from their fund ... the game could release through Steam with Intel, NVidia, and Valve splitting half to two thirds of the revenue until the VC money is repaid and then it could go to the standard Valve model with one third for valve and the rest for the program distributor

The above model would allow more projects to be made and they could be targeted specifically at the desktop and laptop market ... Given the total KS projects to date are only $130 million for gaming, the fund wouldn't need to be excessively large (maybe start at $300 million or so) ... AMD could do something similar for consoles, if they wish, since their success is less tied to the desktop and laptop space now :cool:
 
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