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Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned

A new Kickstarter update for Double Fine Adventure, aka Broken Age, outlines the current financial state of the game, but the update is for backers only, and not viewable by the general public (thanks nin). The post lays out some bad news about the game, as Tim Shaeffer reveals that that in spite of raising over $3.3 million for development, money is still tight, for as he puts it: "that didnít stop me from getting excited and designing a game so big that it would need even more money." He explains further: "I think I just have an idea in my head about how big an adventure game should be, so itís hard for me to design one thatís much smaller than Grim Fandango or Full Throttle. Thereís just a certain amount of scope needed to create a complex puzzle space and to develop a real story. At least with my brain, there is." He describes their wake up call when they projected they would not be done with the first half/episode of the game until a year from now, which would mean they'd need to cut the game's design by 75%. Realizing they couldn't go back to Kickstarter or a publisher, nor could they afford to absorb the overages, Tim explains they decided to release the game via Steam Early Access in January 2014 after some "modest cuts." Here's a bit on the plan:

We were always planning to release the beta on Steam, but in addition to that we now have Steam Early Access, which is a new opportunity that actually lets you charge money for pre-release content. That means we could actually sell this early access version of the game to the public at large, and use that money to fund the remaining game development. The second part of the game would come in a free update a few months down the road, closer to April-May.

So, everybody gets to play the game sooner, and we donít have to cut the game down drastically. Backers still get the whole game this wayónobody has to pay again for the second half.

And whatever date we start selling the early release, backers still have exclusive beta access before that, as promised in the Kickstarter.

I want to point out that Broken Ageís schedule changes have nothing to do with the team working slowly. They have been kicking ass and the game looks, plays, and sounds amazing. Itís just taking a while because I designed too much game, as I pretty much always do. But weíre pulling it in, and the good news is that the gameís design is now 100% done, so most of the unknowns are now gone and itís not going to get any bigger.

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52 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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52. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 4, 2013, 03:00 Falaffel
 
In all fairness the 3.3m$ is a false number.

KS Fees are 10%,
rewards was another 400k$,
shipping 200k$.
But the slacker backer income is 150k$.

So what they had to work with was 2.55m$. Which is still a nice enough number to create a game IMHO.
 
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51. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 22:50 Sepharo
 
Is there anybody in here that's upset AND kickstarted the game?  
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50. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 18:00 Vex
 
Tim Shafer's next pitch: a Double Fine documentary funded through kickstarter on how to fail at delivering a project through kickstarter.  
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49. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 17:29 HorrorScope
 
wtf_man wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 14:29:
[I'm not talking about a firm release date. I'm talking about what was "pitched" in order to get you to back the project.

It was pitched as an old school point and click adventure that would only need 400k because it wasn't going to be AAA. Therefore October of 2012 was a fair estimate. They got extra money and wanted to enhance it... fine... Spring 2013 was a fair estimate. (THEY set these estimates, not me). Now we learn that they designed it so overblown (Like a AAA title) that they ran out of money.

NOBODY asked for a AAA title, nor expected one. (Let alone a AAA schedule and budget). This is NOT what was pitched.

Having no plan doesn't excuse the scopecreep.

If they put out a nice little adventure game like they originally intended.... and had it out within a reasonable amount of time within their estimates.. I'd be backing almost any Double Fine project. Now, I won;'t back any more. The trust was broken, IMO.

When you are right you are right. Good thing I'm one of those pc players that don't like P&C Adventure games.

Also LOL rereading some of the pitch, as if they knew it could easily fail. We'll make a documentary and perhaps show you how all this blows up, lol.
 
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48. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 17:16 Creston
 
El Pit wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 15:47:
Wow. Reading that some of you guys think that the documentaries are worth the $3,300,000 made me scratch my head.

Yeah, so much that it's actually bleeding now.


I doubt anyone considers them worth 3.3 million bucks, but if you only backed 20 dollars and you're enjoying the documentary, not that hard to see why people feel fine with it?

Creston
 
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47. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 16:43 Mr. Tact
 
Jensen wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 13:26:
There was no plan. That was part of pitch.
And that explains them running out of money as something other than a total fail how?
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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46. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 15:47 El Pit
 
Wow. Reading that some of you guys think that the documentaries are worth the $3,300,000 made me scratch my head.

Yeah, so much that it's actually bleeding now.

 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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45. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 14:29 wtf_man
 
Jensen wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 13:26:
As far as I know, Kickstarter doesn't let you set a release date based on the amount of money you receive, or set any sort of flexible release date. That is more of a problem with Kickstarter than this project.

I'm not talking about a firm release date. I'm talking about what was "pitched" in order to get you to back the project.

It was pitched as an old school point and click adventure that would only need 400k because it wasn't going to be AAA. Therefore October of 2012 was a fair estimate. They got extra money and wanted to enhance it... fine... Spring 2013 was a fair estimate. (THEY set these estimates, not me). Now we learn that they designed it so overblown (Like a AAA title) that they ran out of money.

NOBODY asked for a AAA title, nor expected one. (Let alone a AAA schedule and budget). This is NOT what was pitched.

Having no plan doesn't excuse the scopecreep.

If they put out a nice little adventure game like they originally intended.... and had it out within a reasonable amount of time within their estimates.. I'd be backing almost any Double Fine project. Now, I won;'t back any more. The trust was broken, IMO.
 
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44. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 13:26 Jensen
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 09:13:
They ask for $400k, get $3.3M and they still didn't have enough money? While I understand they added things not in the $400k plan because they raised more money, it does not excuse running out of money.
There was no plan. That was part of pitch.
wtf_man wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 09:23:
The original game was supposed to be out fall of last year, then got delayed to spring of this year. That was the scope that was pitched.
As far as I know, Kickstarter doesn't let you set a release date based on the amount of money you receive, or set any sort of flexible release date. That is more of a problem with Kickstarter than this project.
 
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43. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 12:56 HorrorScope
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 04:32:
The problem is that they didn't really have a plan going into the Kickstarter. They figured they'd get a small amount of money and just make a small adventure game. Then they got significantly more money than expected and expanded their scope to match. If they had maintained the original scope, backers would have undoubtedly been disappointed with the final product not reflecting a $3 million budget. Basically, they had to start the project from scratch after the Kickstarter ended, wasting valuable manhours on preproduction that should have been done before the Kickstarter was even launched.

That makes a lot of sense. Someone suggested perhaps Kickstarter you can only go over by x %. In that case it saves them from what you explain, it also has other benifits as well. As we know as the # gets higher and higher the promises get larger and larger with stretch goals, perhaps this program works better not getting caught up in all of that. But this won't happen.... because it is generating revenue, it just should happen, if nothing more than buyer protections.
 
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42. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 12:24 Mr. Tact
 
Yes, their plan was limited. But they had experience building games like this before. And had done some preliminary research/investigation and come up with a number. You would have hoped they had some idea what they were doing -- apparently they didn't.  
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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41. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 12:12 Mad Max RW
 
Beelzebud wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 10:48:
This would be like if the guys that made FTL decided to program an advanced 3d engine, and model their universe out in it, because they got a shitload more money than they asked for.

They got over-funded, stayed true to the game they pitched, and no one got upset because their game was really great.

Exactly! FTL was already in development and had a solid design doc to follow. Double Fine's adventure game Kickstarter was just that, a "Double Fine adventure". It was an open idea with nothing to back it up until after they raised the $3.3 million. And it appears to be falling apart because of the precious lack of early organization. That's why I didn't pledge for this project but have for others.
 
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40. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 10:48 Beelzebud
 
This would be like if the guys that made FTL decided to program an advanced 3d engine, and model their universe out in it, because they got a shitload more money than they asked for.

They got over-funded, stayed true to the game they pitched, and no one got upset because their game was really great.
 
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39. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 09:23 wtf_man
 
Even though I like Tim, and I'm sure that the game will have his famous humor... I find this extremely disappointing, and probably won't ever back a Double Fine project again.

The original game was supposed to be out fall of last year, then got delayed to spring of this year. That was the scope that was pitched. Designing something so huge, running out of money, and delivering half a game 6 months from now is completely and utterly irresponsible.

Oh well. Lesson learned.
 
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38. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 09:13 Mr. Tact
 
They ask for $400k, get $3.3M and they still didn't have enough money? While I understand they added things not in the $400k plan because they raised more money, it does not excuse running out of money.

I don't see how it can be anything but poor project management, plain and simple. And if these guys with all their experience can't get it right, I'm not sure what it says about them or the gaming industry in general. Plenty of us have marveled at how anyone could spend $100m on a game. And yet, here are some experienced guys who said they could make a game for x, got 8x -- and STILL didn't get it done.

I feel like there should be so much more to say about this, but I can't figure out what it is...
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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37. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 08:39 InBlack
 
For those who have pledged: I seriously hope you get your game and this KS delivers. Tim Shaeffer is one of the few people who still commands a certain modicum of respect in the gaming community and he is skating on thin ice here.  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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36. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 06:14 eRe4s3r
 
jacobvandy wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 03:14:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 01:53:
Just saying, projects like these should be flagged as a different kind of "risk" than projects where the developers CLEARLY have a clue what they are doing (Project Eternity comes to mind..)

Why? So you don't have to read anything about what you're donating your money to? Maybe you shouldn't even bother with Kickstarter, just wait to see what pans out and makes it to a Steam release...

Uh, because it's the moral thing to do? Kickstarter is a large platform. You can't just let developers say there is no additional risk when they suddenly end up with 10 times more than they originally planned for. In fact KS should clearly put a warning on overfunded projects saying that funding that drastically changes scope can massively impact risk projection and delivery date.

And like I said, I *did* read the KS and didn't pledge exactly because of this. ^^

But you can't expect everyone to know what a design document even is. This whole drama in the KS comments could have been avoided with clear language (And more importantly, clear communication from the developers)

And I don't mind what Double Fine is doing.. I didn't invest into it exactly because this whole thing came with announcement. (at least to someone who worked in game development however shortly and freely ,p)
 
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35. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 04:32 Jerykk
 
ViRGE wrote on Jul 3, 2013, 03:12:
At least this is more a matter of scope/feature creep than it is just outright going over budget on a fixed scope. The outcome still isn't great - having to sell a game early is a bit troubling regardless of everything else - but at least backers are getting more bang for their buck than was originally planned.

Still, it's a sign that Double Fine needs to bring in a strong project manager to keep their projects on task. This kind of directionless scope creep should never have happened.

The problem is that they didn't really have a plan going into the Kickstarter. They figured they'd get a small amount of money and just make a small adventure game. Then they got significantly more money than expected and expanded their scope to match. If they had maintained the original scope, backers would have undoubtedly been disappointed with the final product not reflecting a $3 million budget. Basically, they had to start the project from scratch after the Kickstarter ended, wasting valuable manhours on preproduction that should have been done before the Kickstarter was even launched.

I can't really blame them too much. They were the first big videogame Kickstarter so they couldn't learn from others' mistakes. Honestly, I'm fine with them releasing part of the game early if it results a better finished game.

On a side note, I'm not worried about this happening again with Broken Chalice. They seemed to have a clear plan and design doc going into that Kickstarter and the lack of stretch goals showed their reluctance to promising more than they can deliver.

This comment was edited on Jul 3, 2013, 04:37.
 
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34. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 03:49 Jensen
 
KTR wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 23:56:
nin wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 23:35:
Whoa whoa whoa...just because you're not interested doesn't mean other people aren't. I find them very interesting...

Pardon my initial tone, but I don't really care about a documentary of a game's development, but each to their own though.
The documentary was a large part of the pitch:
So, whatís gonna happen? No one can say for sure. But here is my promise to you. Either the game will be great or a spectacular failure caught on camera for everyone to see. Either way, you win. What can possibly go wrong?
It's probably not a good project to back if you don't want to see the documentary.
I'm enjoying it, so I've gotten more value for my money because of the delays.
 
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33. Re: Broken Age Budget Tight: Steam Early Access Planned Jul 3, 2013, 03:42 saluk
 
KTR wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 23:34:
Isn't a large chunk of the money going to some stupid documentary?

A lot of people are much more interested in the documentary than the actual game. Part of the initial pitch was, yes the project may be a big disaster, but you get courtside seats to watch it crash and burn. A large portion of the backers already basically feel they have gotten their moneys worth out of the documentary. As a wannabe developer, it's been one of the coolest things I've ever watched - even in the last few depressing episodes.
 
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52 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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