Send News. Want a reply? Read this. More in the FAQ.   News Forum - All Forums - Mobile - PDA - RSS Headlines  RSS Headlines   Twitter  Twitter
Customize
User Settings
Styles:
LAN Parties
Upcoming one-time events:

Regularly scheduled events

Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible

The Towns forums have another situation where Early Access has not gone well, as developer Florian "Moebius" Frankenberger announces he's leaving the project, even though many of the issues that have plagued the city builder since its 2012 Early Access launch remain unaddressed (thanks Strategy Informer). He explains that he was working for a percentage of the game's proceeds, so as sales have dwindled, so has his salary, leaving him unable to continue. He offers a ray of light for fans, explaining that a sequel is possible, and making it sound like there would be some sort of discount for Towns backers if that project comes to be. He explains the advantages they would enjoy from a fresh start:

A new game will give us the following advantages:

  1. we can implement all the cool things that are not possible at the moment due to how the core mechanics works in Towns 1
  2. we can also rise attention as this is a completely new game and a successor for once great runnning game
  3. this will also make it possible to have a financially sound basis for a long development of Towns2

I want to end this post by thanking you for reading this and for all your support in these two months. Again I'm sorry
that we had to pull the plug right here, but I sincerely hope you can understand why we had to make that decision right
now.

View
62 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 3 4 ] Older >

62. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 9, 2014, 09:05 Mad Max RW
 
Jerykk wrote on May 8, 2014, 03:33:
Read reviews, watch videos and make informed purchases. That's how you avoid broken and unfinished games. If more people did that, more developers would recognize the importance of quality and consumer trust.

Common sense is not allowed on the internet. I demand immediate satisfaction! KILL THE GLOBAL CORPORATOCRACY NOW!
 
Avatar 15920
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
61. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 16:05 Quboid
 
Verno wrote on May 8, 2014, 09:33:
Anyways while I think the consumer is short changed on Early Access crap, its up to them to make an informed decision.

I think that has to be the bottom line and evidently is how it's treated. Valve have made the best part of a million dollars out of Towns, they're not going to kill the goose that's laying golden eggs. I think they're on dicey legal ground as it is, they (as I read it) sell the final product and whatever that is, it ain't Towns. They should label it better, issue appropriate receipts and perhaps add a Kickstarter style all-or-nothing model. Not that that's perfect.

I nearly bought Towns for a few bucks, I think during the Christmas sale. If I had, I wouldn't be too bothered about the money and if Prison Architect, Space Engineers or Next Car Game gets canned, well, too bad - I knew the risks even if I don't agree with them. I certainly wouldn't actually take legal action, those threats on the Steam forums after every release are literally laughable.
 
Avatar 10439
 
- Quboid
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
60. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 15:29 jdreyer
 
Narf2029 wrote on May 8, 2014, 09:07:
Maybe what Steam needs is to keep 90% of the money from early alpha sales, and only give it to the developer when the game is done. 10% of the money going to the developer would give them some small income as they work but they should really already have most of the money they need upfront before they start a project like that anyway. More importantly, if Steam holds on to 90% of the money, they already have 90% of the money they need to give back if the developer cuts and runs, and it serves as a strong deterrent against them doing that.

That's an interesting idea. Maybe not 90%, but half of what they'd normally receive (their full amt minus Valve's 30%): "Half now, and half on delivery"

Of course, then we'll have a rash of games that are "done" and all the critical flaws and half-finished designs are "intentional."
 
Avatar 22024
 
"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
59. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 09:33 Verno
 
Quboid wrote on May 7, 2014, 16:49:
As far as I know no games on Early Access give any more reason to believe that they won't be finished than any other preorder, or that the contract is any less valid.

Sorry I was out last night and didn't see this until today. There is a big section in the FAQ about release dates and Early Access games themselves about what they are and are not. Specifically the section on "is this like any other preorder?". In terms of informing people if the product will ever be "finished" or not, that's too subjective for Valve to deal with on anything but a case by case basis. There are plenty of AAA games that aren't finished in my opinion too.

Anyways while I think the consumer is short changed on Early Access crap, its up to them to make an informed decision.
 
Avatar 51617
 
Playing: South Park, Dark Souls 2
Watching: Enemy, Network, Wer
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
58. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 09:07 Narf2029
 
Maybe what Steam needs is to keep 90% of the money from early alpha sales, and only give it to the developer when the game is done. 10% of the money going to the developer would give them some small income as they work but they should really already have most of the money they need upfront before they start a project like that anyway. More importantly, if Steam holds on to 90% of the money, they already have 90% of the money they need to give back if the developer cuts and runs, and it serves as a strong deterrent against them doing that.

Of course, then we'll have a rash of games that are "done" and all the critical flaws and half-finished designs are "intentional."
 
Huh? I'm sorry, I was thinking about cake.
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
57. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 07:42 Tim Collins
 
People are using this damn greenlight program as a jobs program...why finish when i make a salary.  
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
56. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 8, 2014, 03:33 Jerykk
 
There has never been any guarantee that a game will be finished. Plenty of high-profile, full-price games have been released in broken and unfinished states. X: Rebirth, Sword of the Stars 2, every MMO ever made... when you buy a game sight unseen, you get what you pay for. Early Access at least tells you straight up that the product you're buying is buggy and unfinished. Anyone buying said product should be well aware of the risks involved. If they aren't willing to accept those risks, they shouldn't buy it.

Read reviews, watch videos and make informed purchases. That's how you avoid broken and unfinished games. If more people did that, more developers would recognize the importance of quality and consumer trust.
 
Avatar 20715
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
55. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 21:31 Quboid
 
I understand the problems and I don't have answers. How do you define a proper release? That's what E.A. is promising so if you think it's fine, what is it? Under the present system, at what point do you give a refund? When it's a scam, when it's fraud: how many borderline cases will there be? How many hysterical over-reactions will there be? How many relatively unsuccessful frauds get away with it because they don't go viral and only scam a few thousand people?

Valve is not selling an alpha build, Valve is a finished product and if what they are selling can't even be defined then the system clearly is not working.

If you preordered Titanfall on Origin, played the beta and it was then cancelled, would you shrug and say "oh well, that's $60 I'll never see again"? Plenty of companies have offered beta access to those who preorder and some of these have even been actual betas and not demo-with-excuses. How have they done it? I presume it's because they aren't relying on the money from pre-orders to finish the game and as much as I'd like indie games to succeed, if they can't make that promise then they shouldn't make that promise.

They could do a lot more, but Valve could just relabel the Early Access section and avoid having to define the undefinable. Don't sell a finished product with early access, make it a proper crowd funding system and sell the idea of funding a project with potential which has access to development builds as a perk.
 
Avatar 10439
 
- Quboid
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
54. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 21:17 Dades
 
Cutter wrote on May 7, 2014, 14:45:
You really don't get how consumer protection laws work, do you? You really have zero clue what fraud is, right?

Your internet lawyering is very weak, stick to your day job kid. No one is going to prison because a video game project fell apart, are you 14 or something? Maybe you can ask the government for another law to protect you from people who point out how ridiculous your comment is.

Little whiners like you who just want to be offended at something on the internet are hilarious. Yeah forget publishers like EA who do worse consistently, lets string up those indies because their 200k game fell apart! It hurts to laugh this hard.

- DADES - This is a signature of my name, enjoy!
 
Avatar 54452
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
53. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 20:17 Kosumo
 
NKD wrote on May 7, 2014, 18:48:
Quboid wrote on May 7, 2014, 17:31:
Scenario B) Developer overpromises, game turns out okay, but developer did not technically live up to his obligations, refunds for everyone!

Can we call that the Start Citizen scenario?
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
52. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 20:12 Stormsinger
 
Quboid wrote on May 7, 2014, 10:23:
Who on Earth will preorder or otherwise crowd-fund Towns 2? Oh who am I kidding, loads of people will.

The same people that still click on spam...there's a lot of truly stupid people out there, as P.T. Barnum observed.
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
51. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 19:30 jimnms
 
Towns was never on Steam Early Access. I don't even think Steam had the Early Access program back when Towns was released. I remember the shit storm it caused when it was greenlit and they began selling it while it was still in beta.

If Early Access was around back then, they didn't use it. I got the game in a bundle long before it was on Steam. It was distributed on Desura, and I played a few hours of it then. The game had potential, but it was buggy. When it was greenlit on Steam I was sent a Steam key, and when I activated the key it definitely did not have the Early Access banner on its store page.
 
Avatar 17277
 
MeanJim on Steam
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
50. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 18:48 NKD
 
Quboid wrote on May 7, 2014, 17:31:
And when those projects get cancelled, people who have already paid for the product in question gets refunds unless there is no one left to pay.

Eh, Early Access would just be terminated before they'd give refunds for Early Access titles that don't reach fruition. There are a lot of issues which make that impossible to really enforce in a fair fashion.

First Issue: how would you define a "release" version of the game? Are the developers required to implement every feature they've ever considered adding to the game? If they are just required to live up to what's on their Steam Store page, then it won't do any good because they'll just be super conservative in what they are promising. Couple example scenarios.

Scenario A) Developer underpromises, but despite not promising much, the game turns out disappointing. Developer lived up to his obligations, no refunds, even though everyone is super disappointed.

Scenario B) Developer overpromises, game turns out okay, but developer did not technically live up to his obligations, refunds for everyone!

It becomes a technicality issue rather than a customer satisfaction issue. Do you run a poll on overall customer satisfaction for the title? Who would vote yes when voting no means you get a refund?

Second Issue: games can remain in Early Access for long periods of time. That's enough time for a LOT of Early Access purchases and a lot of financial liability for Valve who have to refund out of their own pockets because getting money back from the developer would be damn near impossible.

Third Issue: Early Access titles are playable games, and many of them are in a state that you can get a lot of hours of enjoyment out of them. If it never reaches an enjoyable state, that's one thing. But otherwise it's like those scumbags who get a big screen TV at Costco for the Super Bowl and then return it for a full refund the next week.

Early Access needs to be understood by consumers to be a risky "early adopter" program, or it needs to be terminated. There is no way Valve can guarantee Early Access titles will meet all the hopes and dreams of the people buying it. And people need to decide accordingly whether to participate in Early Access or not.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
49. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 18:18 Quboid
 
Beamer wrote on May 7, 2014, 17:39:
What makes The Town unfinished? People here are saying they played it and enjoyed it. What makes it still Early Access? Couldn't they just just release something called v1.0, say it's the release version, and then have technically satisfied their obligations?

It isn't like plenty of other games don't get released missing features and with bugs.

The difference is that someone paid early? It's the risk you take. Unless it's a clear case of consumers being screwed, and there are few of those, Valve just needs to be more up front about the risks you take.
Honestly, people here seem to have enjoyed playing this game. That's more than I've gotten out of some of the polished, finished games I've purchased from Steam, and B&M, actually.


Given that it's now been "released" and is "finished", that's a very pertinent question.

There's a post by Xavi, one of the original developers. He says that he decided several months ago that it was finished. He then hired an additional developer and says he intends to hire another one to continue the development, because members of the community didn't consider it to be finished. Whether that's admirable commitment to listening to his customers or bullshit to cover mismanagement and avoid facing Valve's wrath is unknown.

I played the free version of it some time ago and enjoyed it and I added it to my Steam Wishlist for later (although I removed it in a later cull). It didn't seem particularly unfinished which is why I'm wondering how it took so long. Where do I draw the line between a bad game and an unacceptable game? That's tough. When the developer believes it's ready? No. As well as being utterly unenforceable, that doesn't work: every project I've ever worked on has had to be shipped before I'm truly ready and I wouldn't expect many developers feel differently. For Early Access, I think Valve should test it and make sure that the E.A. build is at an advanced stage and includes what it claims it will. At least then the nonsense ones (Earth 2066) would be weeded out sooner and those which pass the test but ultimately don't get released leave buyers with a decent beta (this probably applies to Towns, which I don't mean to imply is a huge travesty). This isn't beyond their resources.

Valve being more upfront would be fine. Well, it has resulted in a system which I consider to be rubbish and bad for PC gaming, but if it was made clear that this was crowd funding or otherwise didn't - as far as I can tell - promise a final product then I wouldn't have ethical complaints with it. They're trying to have the benefits of both preorders and crowd funding and leaving us with the downsides.

Edit: jdreyer, the UK has lemon laws in the Sale Of Goods Act 1979. If this applied to software, Steam would have to operate very differently. Early Access would be more complicated but I'm pretty sure with E.A. products Valve is guaranteeing a final product even if they don't intend to. I've bought games on Early Access: the receipt implies that Valve owe me one completed game and the product page states that the E.A. build isn't that.

This comment was edited on May 7, 2014, 18:24.
 
Avatar 10439
 
- Quboid
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
48. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 18:14 jdreyer
 
RE: the conversation among Beam, Vern, & Cutter: Some states have lemon laws, forcing a seller to take back and refund or replace a defective product. I wonder if that would apply in this case? Or does the disclaimer nullify something like that?  
Avatar 22024
 
"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
47. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 17:59 HorrorScope
 
Yeah knowing a little more about the story it's not as bad as first thought, they are looking for further development, obviously this one got sideways on them. I read the total against side of this as just more I hate EA. I hate Greenlight. I like both, these games shouldn't be breaking the bank and if you research and take the risk, you should be ok with the whole idea. Some will always fail.  
Avatar 17232
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
46. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 17:50 SimplyMonk
 
Well... development did stop. I guess that means ship?

Probably the press this has gotten inspired them to cover their ass so if a case is ever brought they can say they released the game. Oddly enough the release date says Nov 7, 2012 which I'm guessing is when Early Access started?

That doesn't seem kosher, but this should be a lesson in supporting Early Access games if nothing else.
 
Avatar 55902
 
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
45. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 17:39 Quboid
 
They've released it, by some miracle the final version is on Steam.

If I was the cynical sort, I'd suspect they slapped a "final" sticker on the last build that compiled but thankfully I'm not, so I'll be picking this up.
 
Avatar 10439
 
- Quboid
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
44. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 17:39 Beamer
 
Quboid wrote on May 7, 2014, 17:31:
Beamer wrote on May 7, 2014, 17:18:
There's zero chance Valve can guarantee Early Access titles get an official launch. Zero. That's not how anything works. Ever. Anywhere.

That's just not realistic. Projects get canceled for being bad. Projects get canceled because people quit. Projects get canceled because companies go out of business.
Nothing is going to change that.

And when those projects get cancelled, people who have already paid for the product in question gets refunds unless there is no one left to pay.

Valve can go into crowd funding and set up a "hope for the best" system but they have to label it as such.

FWIW, I believe that you are/were a lawyer and that alone is making me hesitant but I think I've got a pretty tight case: Early Access isn't crowd funding and shouldn't be held to as low a standard.

What makes The Town unfinished? People here are saying they played it and enjoyed it. What makes it still Early Access? Couldn't they just just release something called v1.0, say it's the release version, and then have technically satisfied their obligations?

It isn't like plenty of other games don't get released missing features and with bugs.

The difference is that someone paid early? It's the risk you take. Unless it's a clear case of consumers being screwed, and there are few of those, Valve just needs to be more up front about the risks you take.
Honestly, people here seem to have enjoyed playing this game. That's more than I've gotten out of some of the polished, finished games I've purchased from Steam, and B&M, actually.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
43. Re: Towns Dev Leaving; Towns 2 Possible May 7, 2014, 17:35 jdreyer
 
They should just release the source code and let modders pick it up and finish it.  
Avatar 22024
 
"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
Reply Quote Edit Delete Report
 
62 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
< Newer [ 1 2 3 4 ] Older >


footer

Blue's News logo