I know that creative and inspired teams can do great things but ... for example Wasteland asked for $900k which is barely a budget for a SNES game. What I assume people expect though is a Fallout 3 level game. I'm guessing Fallout 3 cost $10-15 million to make.
I don't know what the original Lucas adventure games costs to make in the early 90s. Double Fine asked for $1mill? I suspect that's close to what those original games cost. Things have changed. I'd argue it would be challenging to make those same games but at today's expected quality for the same price.
Of course I hope they all do great and the games all rock and there's certainly plenty of smaller awesome games to be made. FTL for example. But, for certain games, sequels, or games that are supposed to be very inspired by older games there are expectations I think the developers will have a hard time meeting.
They're using unity so they making big savings right away, but are constrained with what that engine can do. And that's fine. I think most people who backed it want a game that's true to its roots rather then has the latest graphics etc.
Finally Kickstarter doesn't preclude additional funding sources. $900k might have gotten them half way there with the assumption that they can get additional sources of funding after that point. bear in mind that they will be getting sales to people other then current backers after they release.
I think the key thing though is that a small focused team, using an engine like Unity can get a lot done, and the constraints will be excepted by a community who is far more interested in a classic RPG then the latest graphics.
Lots of AAA teams use existing engines like Unreal. It still takes them teams of 70 to 200 people a couple of years to make all that content.
My point is Unity may br great but it's not really the solving the harder issue in games, Asset Creation
As for expectations you might be right. Time will tell.
As I have personally pledged to some projects there I can tell you what I'm expecting from the projects. I want them to deliver good gameplay - and good gameplay equals good ideas - not great AAA visuals - and those cost a lot.
I've also backed Elite:Dangerous - they wanted 1.25kk pounds - a massive amount of money - Have you seen what did they manage to do with Frontier First Encounters? Check how many people worked on it, I estimate that given realistic expectation of what we might get - we can have massive value for our money out of kickstarter.
Hell... Another World (one of better games of all-time) was on SNES - and it cost the fraction of what Wasteland raised.
Fallout 3 is just a shadow of the glory of previous games.
One good example of an RPG made with a "modern engine" that would give a lot of freedom to the player would be Vampire:Bloodlines - although it had a fair share of bugs - it's one of best examples on how a great gameplay and story can be.
Most of the NPC's have 1-2 lines of dialogue with NO interaction with the PC?
You are viewing those old RPG's with MASSIVELY ROSE TINTED GLASSES.
Seriously, just go play one of the old games. Look at how little character customization you have. How little story option you have. There is no variable dialogue, no choices to make, it's simply a story on rails.
What a ridiculous claim to make.
Sorry man, stories in old games were MUCH better, the plots were much longer - i don't even have to go to SNES.
Fallout New Vegas is a prime example of how a game can play - on same engine - I believe that last good game from Bethesda was Morrowind. And please, seriously Fallout 3 is supposed to have deep story or dialogue? Compared to fallout 1 or 2 it's a very poor attempt (note. I have finished Fallout 3 and New Vegas).
Also character customization has litte to do with game depth - i could still argue that few Final Fantasy games had way more customization. Hell even bethesda's Daggerfall was way more customizable than Fallout 3 - also Fallouts 3 story is a very small main quest on rails as you have put it. It's really weak compared to New Vegas - I bring this reference multiple times to show you how bad fallout 3 is compared to New Vegas on same engine.
The attitude you present here is precisely the reason why developers want to use kickstarter to fund their games compared to publishers - they have the same worries about how games are.
Also you raised some interesting points:
- What's that, an entire kingdom capital has 6 single story buildings and a castle with 10 rooms?
- Most of the NPC's have 1-2 lines of dialogue with NO interaction with the PC?
Agreed, but i fail to see how abundance of dialogue options are supposed to make up for good gameplay? - it is in reality a lot more complicated. Bethesda style sandbox games got really dumbed down - the plenthora of options is really a meaningless facade.
Take mass effect as an example - its a shooter with fairly linear gameplay (although it manages to hide this fact well), but it tells a really really good story - It is not a sandbox game by any means but its really good - because it managed to deliver great experience overall.
This is what old games did really well, they delivered massive gameplay - and this has nothing to do with graphics, choice options - its the experience that counts - and for me personally Fallout 3 was a very poor experience - your story might be different obviously.
Gameplay is made up of all those things and you're taking one tiny part of what makes it up and calling FO3 terrible because you didn't like its gameplay mix. It's without a doubt one of the greatest games of the last 5 years. It's just that you don't like it.
Personally I found NV tediously linear. It's a big loop that you go from start town and follow the road round to the dam. Every part of the main story was 'urgent'. End of exploring. Add to that I never felt any attachment to the courier. To me NV had very few unique large locations and was unfinished. Camp McCarran, Caesar's camp, Forlorn Hope, the casinos and the Nellis AFB all felt characterless and empty, as if they'd meant to put a lot more effort into them but hadn't had time so just filled them with unscripted NPCs. Even Novac needed more character. There were so, so many NPCs that were just nobodies. The arena was a total waste of space, a great concept that hadn't been fleshed out.
Conversely I thought FO3 was amazing, you had to roam all over the map. It felt as if you should set up in certain locations for a while, so you got to know them. Every place was packed with unique NPCs and there were practically no areas just crammed with 'anonymous' NPCs apart from areas you'd actually expect them not to talk to you like the BoS compound. You got a house. There was no constant urgency to follow the main mission until the late stages. I loved it. I like being told a story as I play and having too many choices means the story and characters inevitably become extremely shallow, to me, the NV story was shallow.
So based on two totally different aspects of game play we have two totally different opinions. I still enjoyed NV. It was just very shallow and didn't give me the wasteland survivor vibe that FO3, imo, did so well.
Then again nothing beats Vampire:Bloodlines which is one of best examples of how a modern RPG could look like.
And back on original topic - this is what some of kickstarter games are about - made for an audience like me :-)
I think about exploration and emergant gameplay, something SNES games almost never gave.
I suppose if your definition of depth is purely story based and can be fulfilled through a linear, one-story-fits-all game, then those SNES games can be deep.
On the other hand, if you want control over the story, many sandbox style games will feel shallow. Batman: Arkham City gave you a great sandbox with tons of things to discover and the story was fantastic. But your control over the story was minimal, limited to pretty much whether to do a side mission or not. You had absolutely no choices that affected the core story at all. Infamous 2 was similar. You had a lot of area to explore and interesting side missions, but you had only about 3 real choices and they lead to only 2 endings. The story was deep, the sandbox was wide, but your control was minimal.
I think there are great games on both ends (and in the middle) of this spectrum, but "sandbox depth (or width)" is very different from "story control depth".
Also, there is a story on rails. Whee.
Yes, there are hundreds of those cookie cutter dungeons and there are towns to roam, but the same is also true of panning over Google Maps and nobody is saying that is a deep game.
In skyrim challenging an NPC to a drinking game, passing out and waking in another city having desecrated a temple, a quest opening from this.
In skyrim again, finding an abandoned lighthouse, a mystery as to what happened to the occupants, sadness again upon finding their fate.
In morrowind a quest for the thieves guild, steal an elderscroll, for what reason? That quest was great, well written, engaging. Nothing cookie cutter there.
And of course FO1/2 or Arcanum have great moments like this, and all the games mentioned have their failures, boring and quests, dungeons of limited scope. But the modern Bethsesda games have depth, they may be deeply flawed, grand experiments perhaps doomed by their scale, but dismissing them as shallow seems a mistake.
So what classic RPGs differentiate themselves significantly from this?
In FO3 in particular the cookie-cutter nature isn't so much that everything looks the same, it's that while there might be half a dozen emails to read on terminals in a ruined building, there's barely any context and almost never any resolution.
With a lot of the open world RPGs now we have the illusion of depth in that the scope for exploration is vast, there's a lot of variety in the visuals (because we have lots of memory and storage now), but limited variation in flavour. If we had significant effort invested we wouldn't have stuff like the 'took an arrow to the knee' meme.
Obviously we can't hold everything up to be something which it isn't here. Even Fallout 2, which I count as being one of the best games ever I've played (once they worked out all the bugs anyway), had lots of repetitive wilderness encounters along with all the great special stuff. I think the key differentiator here is that didn't try to give the player a massive world with relatively little content, they gave enough to make you feel like you were exploring, but not enough to make it tedious.
On topic, I'm glad people are putting themselves out there to pitch game ideas to the public. Even if of the half dozen games I've backed on Kickstarter none make it to production I can't say I'll regret having put money into them. I've gotten my money's worth just from the updates which have come out of some of them (particularly Project Eternity and to some extent Clang).
And I compare it to the "Hello Traveler! (Push X to Continue)" diaglouge that 98% of NPC's in SNES games provide, and I'm just shocked that people think those old games had depth.
They spent years writing the surrounding material for Oblivion.
Just because you steam rolled the main story and chose not to explore, to read and experience that world doesn't mean there wasn't depth.
The difference is, in those old SNES games -- there is no depth to experience outside of the linear story. It's the story...and that's it.
A game doesn't have to offer narrative choice, or customization, to somehow be "deep". A story on rails can be an amazing game if the way you interact with it deepens your engagement with the story. (I'd say that's very much the case with ChronoTrigger.)
>the original Lucas adventure games costs to make in the early 90s. Double Fine asked for $1mill
I'm just curious, why are you comparing game development 20 years ago to current day standards? Is it just because games were much simpler back then?
One of the guys from Hello Games did an AMA on reddit a little while back (creators of Joe Danger) . While he didn’t give a dollar amount, he made it seem like it cost several hundred thousand to develop. For what it cost, I'd say those guys did an awesome job.
For the big studios is about huge and complex environments that are indeed very costly to do. That's what sells in consoles for $59 a piece.
But they refuse to try to make any other kind of game that does not bring the same profits.
The end result is a series of similar games and no innovation in new genres or no new titles of other not so popular genres, because we want that but we are not profitable enough for the studios. Only Halo after Halo and Madden after Madden. We don't want that.
This is a dedicated group of people voting with their wallets to get something that the big AAA studios will not give them.
Different and engaging gameplay at a smaller scale than big budget games.
Of course the environments will not be as detailed as the big budget games. But the gameplay will be different.
The rules will be broken. We will get something like Braid, Limbo or Bastion. We will never get that with the Big Studios.
Just to be clear: Did you mean the budget for a SNES game back in the day, adjusted for inflation, or a new game today, with SNES quality?
And I get the impression that a lot of people think game dev is just plugging a bunch of graphics into a game engine and a little bit of scripting, with some level design.
 Interesting to see that paypal froze a payment until they could be assured that a game was actually being released. There's not much information on the pre-order page (http://www.winterkewl.com/games/yogscast/) (and the forums link has an expired certificate).
Depending on the household, what follows is probably either loads more whining, the parent arranging some kind of deal involving chores and vegetables, or the parent acting as a broker ("give me $15 and I'll use my credit card"). In the end, the kid ends up with their copy of Minecraft, and promptly begins either building things or setting other peoples' things on fire.
Imagine that scenario, but instead, the kid believes they are preordering a game that their heroes are making. Perhaps if they are a bit older but still naive, they understand that the game does not yet exist, but they cannot fathom the possibility that their heroes will not follow through. I can easily see that scenario playing out almost the same: "Mom/dad, can I please please please have the Yogscast game? All my friends are ordering it and it's only $15 and it's going to be amazing and blah blah blah..." The parent probably won't read far enough into it to understand that it's a Kickstarter for something that doesn't exist yet, and will do whatever they usually do in these situations.
There are disappointments for kids of all ages on Kickstarter :)
Like the other guy said, I'm expecting a play experience similar to Fallout 1/2.
However, if I end up getting nothing, that's OK. Backing a project on Kickstarter is a gamble. This is obvious to me but the rest of the world doesn't seem to get it. I can only hope that people adjust their expectations a little after a few spectacular splats, rather than, say, throwing around lawsuits and ruining the whole idea for everyone.
Through a pretty herculean effort, we launched on time in February. Since then we've sold almost 250,000 copies across iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, and grossed somewhere in the region of $1.5 million.
So yeah, I'd say it's working for some people. Did backers know what they were going to get? I don't know, Zombies, Run! is a very original idea so we couldn't just say "It's like X but with Y." But they seem pretty happy as far as we can tell.
Overall - really impressed by your product!
Yes, and just for 2012. Oh well!
Yes, they should be providing more updates for the people who might buy it. I think the backer-only updates were listed as features since that was presumably one of the big draws of the doublefine kickstarter success.
But RPS: do some journalism and ask someone who did back it? Or email the project? For a story titled "where are they now", having half the entries be "they protected updates so dunno, lol" is annoying.
In my opinion, the games that are still far from being released are doing just fine by not marketing themselves a little too early. If I'm not mistaken, games typically ramp up their marketing efforts much closer to actual release dates than during the development process.
Kickstarter enables a different method of capitalization, sure, but I think the game development process remains consistent as with other types of funding available to developers.
What bothers me reading through this is the rather pessimistic tone vs an objective one
It's basically a complete game at this point, just polishing and minor bug fixing left. (Well, maybe the devs secretly plan to add additional features, but certainly nothing feels missing.)
Kingdom of Loathing + word games = pretty much my dream combination.
they were successful for the developers (and only those were selected).
for the funders there really is not much closure yet to say anything about the future.
They already have so much time put into development and the point of a kickstarter for games is not to make a bunch of money on the kickstarter. It is to make a bunch of money on selling the game since a publisher isn't basically taking everything on the actual sales of the game. Then there is more money to be made on actually getting to own the IP because you didn't get gouged by a publisher.
If they were going to run off with the money they already should have by now. At this point it is really in their interest to finish the game.
It isn't a guarantee of course, but it seems much more likely now then it did when the games were initially funded.
And maybe this is wrong and the future of game development will shed those tendencies. Looking historically on game development, rushing a product out of the door to meet a release date has rarely produced a good game (anyone heard of E.T?). So the question might be, what alternative do we have between rushing a product for relase date, and waiting until it is "done", which might mean fifteen years to find out that the game is rather crappy (duke nukem forever). We can also look at development processes like Debian, and compare a static release schedule with a dynamic one.
Let's say a company plans to make their game in 1 year with 5 developers paid $60,000 each, so they raise $300,000. Every month of overrun costs them $25,000 in salaries, and if they don't have cash in the bank on pay day the employees don't get paid.
At Blizzard or Valve this wouldn't a problem, they've got oodles of cash in the bank. But the whole point of going to kickstarter is because you don't have oodles of cash in the bank.
DNF wasn't done. IIRC, the developer gave up, sold what they had, which was tidied up and shipped otherwise as-is. It's another example of shipping a product before it's "done". ...and sometimes an idea just doesn't work out, no matter how much effort.
I'm guessing in both cases it's because the best raters get the best access from companies.
Same problem probably exists in other industries too.
Pricing plans, gold editions/collectors editions etc are all planned for much later in the cycle - all revenue comes post/near game launch.
That is what I was aiming at, perhaps it wasn't clear in my original post, I plead sleep dep.
For how long have we been doing that? Is crowdfunding games a 2012 thing?
It seems to me that most of these problems are communication problems. You just got a backing of XXX hundreds of thousands of dollars and don't want to disappoint with some bad news, but that's a poor long term strategy. People are surprisingly forgiving if they feel like you're telling the truth and you're doing your best to make good on your promise.