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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Star Citizen: now officially a scam

Derek Smart was right all along:
YEAH, NO MORE REFUNDS. EVER.

I am just going to jump right into this one, no preamble, no foreplay, nothing. If you put money into Star Citizen, and you didn’t apply for or get a refund before end of 2017 – congrats you’re now a statistic in a long con scam. The End.

I saw this coming a mile away, over three years ago in 2015. And, like my other warnings, I issued a Red Alert about the implications. Some people listened, got a refund, and got out. Others were riding the wave of the project’s popularity due to repeated lies from Chris Roberts’ camp, and so just kept on giving them money. Hey, it’s their money – and we don’t care.

It’s now 2018, and all what I warned about has all come to pass. CIG has now gone on the record that, as I had accurately predicted, their TOS changes over the years were designed to rip backers off. Here are two official statements recently issued to Motherboard/Vice , Kotaku , Ars Technica , PC Gamer and others.

“Our Terms of Service provides refunds for 14 days after each pledge is made, but company policy is to refund anyone who has second thoughts for up to 30 days after their pledge, no questions asked,”
 – CIG

“The Terms of Service are not retroactive, but a huge majority of Mr. Lord’s pledges came after the TOS was changed to specify arbitration, and those pledges are under that TOS,” the rep wrote. “His pledges with new money on top of his earlier pledges required him to accept the new Terms of Service.” 
– CIG

Let me preface everything that comes next with these irrefutable FACTS:
  1. Star Citizen was NEVER billed as an Early Access game. Not even once.
  2. In Oct 2012 Chris Roberts asked for, and raised $2M via initial Kickstarter crowd-funding. He promised to release both multiplayer (Star Citizen) and single-player (Squadron 42) by Nov 2014.
  3. By Aug 2013, when the first hangar module was released, they had raised $16.7M.
  4. By Nov 2014, the month he promised it would release, after increasing the game’s scope significantly, they had raised $65M.
  5. Contrary to what some backers try to promote, there was NEVER a vote of consensus to increase the scope of the game. That scope creep came when Chris Roberts himself created additional stretch goals after the initial Kickstarter goal was met. And then he kept on doing it by making various feature promises, new ship JPEG sales etc.
Right. So now lets discuss why this backer lawsuit and his subsequent court loss is so significant now more than ever. I have covered the fiasco in three Twitter threads since news of this backer’s lawsuit broke. But first, a bit of history for context.
Now, I'm not happy about this. Chris Roberts is one of my design heroes. Wing Commander, the Secret Missions, and Wing Commander II are some of the games I played most heavily throughout the entire course of my life. But I had my doubts early on too, so much so that I did not pursue a potential opportunity to work on the AI design for what were then the wingmen in a proposed Wing Commander reboot.

And, you will note, I did not back Star Citizen even though I very nearly did so on three separate occasions. The problem that I always had with the project was what set off Derek's radar in the first place: I don't see how he can actually build this thing. Because I'm pretty sure I couldn't.

That's the thing about game designers. We're genuinely not jealous of those who have done better than we have. We admire the great ones. We try to learn from them, to understand them, to fully comprehend their designs. I get Akalabeth. I get Wing Commander. I get Doom. I get Fantasy General. I get Puzzle Quest. I get Fortnite, even though I despise everything for which it stands. But I still don't get how Star Citizen was ever supposed to function.

Labels:

104 Comments:

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 24, 2018 11:57 AM  

I see a similarity of attitude in DNC or GOP members, in ideological materialists, and in Star Citizen backers:

If you’re not one of us you’re by definition ignorant, stupid, crazy, evil, or all the above.

That’s what put me off it, as I discovered it later in 2015.

Blogger pnq8787 July 24, 2018 11:59 AM  

Now you've got me curious about what you don't like about Fortnite!

Blogger Out of Nod July 24, 2018 12:01 PM  

I get Fortnite, even though I despise everything for which it stands.

What does Fortnite stand for?

Blogger Daniel July 24, 2018 12:05 PM  

Jack Ward?

Which migHT Explain THE antipathy...

Blogger Were-Puppy July 24, 2018 12:05 PM  

Is the psychology something like people wanted this to be real so badly, that they let that override their discernment of what is actually possible?

Blogger S1AL July 24, 2018 12:07 PM  

My gut instinct tells me that a lot of people overlooked something you and Derek caught beyond just the fact that it can't work: the tech just doesn't exist. This is like trying to build Eve Online for Windows 95. And everyone just ignored that because of the awesome factor.

Blogger Servant July 24, 2018 12:13 PM  

Fortnite commentary seems worth a blog post by itself. Game hits my nerves in the exact wrong way would be interesting to see it deconstructed by a professional.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 24, 2018 12:15 PM  

I'd be interested in Fortnite commentary as well.

Blogger VD July 24, 2018 12:15 PM  

Now you've got me curious about what you don't like about Fortnite!

Fortnite represents the surrender of the FPS game designers. It's the literal antithesis of everything many of us did in that genre - for example, I was the first FPS designer to incorporate missions according to CGW. For 20 years, designers have been trying to design game experiences that involve more than "run around like a chicken with your head cut off".

From a design perspective, Fortnite represents the designer throwing up his hands and saying "fine, chickens, run around all you like." It's a brilliant, well-produced piece of shit.

If a certain development deal goes through, I plan to break new ground in precisely the opposite direction.

Blogger VD July 24, 2018 12:18 PM  

Is the psychology something like people wanted this to be real so badly, that they let that override their discernment of what is actually possible?

They had no idea what is and what is not possible. But they chose to believe Chris instead of Derek, me, and other pro skeptics because they wanted to believe. And, just like the Peterson cult, they could safely dismiss our criticisms as "jealousy".

At this point, I regard anyone who dismisses criticism as being based in jealousy as fundamentally dishonest. It's a deeply stupid and deeply dishonest response.

Blogger Damelon Brinn July 24, 2018 12:20 PM  

I wonder if some people stood by it longer than they otherwise would have because Derek was sounding the warning, and they didn't want him to be right.

Blogger Eli July 24, 2018 12:21 PM  

"If a certain development deal goes through, I plan to break new ground in precisely the opposite direction."

I really hope this happens. The FPS genre needs to be saved.

Blogger Steve July 24, 2018 12:22 PM  

Pretty amazing how crap STAR CITIZEN still is when you compare it to ELITE DANGEROUS, which only raised a tiny fraction of the amount lavished on Chris Roberts' cashgrab, yet launched a working game nearly 4 years ago and has steadily improved since then.

But then, as dickish as David Braben is reported to be, the guy knows how to manage a project, and isn't trying to be a celebrity.

Blogger S1AL July 24, 2018 12:24 PM  

It does appear that all the design creativity moved from FPS to MOBA when it comes to soft-mission aspects.

Blogger Doug Cranmer July 24, 2018 12:25 PM  

OT but I know people are interested here.

Q is back posting.

Blogger Out of Nod July 24, 2018 12:27 PM  

@Were-Puppy We call it "summit fever" in mountaineering

Blogger qualitycontrol July 24, 2018 12:35 PM  

I always thought Star Citizen was a scam/failure. However, Star Citizen was about more than just the game. It was about breaking the publishers stranglehold on AAA games. It seems that it is a failure. Thank god for the success of Kingdom Come.

Blogger VD July 24, 2018 12:37 PM  

But then, as dickish as David Braben is reported to be, the guy knows how to manage a project, and isn't trying to be a celebrity.

He's not dickish at all, in my experience. He's a total pro, as developers go.

Blogger Anno Ruse July 24, 2018 12:50 PM  

The Fortnite developers have hit upon a perfect formula for the modern gaming market. The entire premise of the game is creating "Youtube montage" moments.

Blogger John M July 24, 2018 12:54 PM  

qualitycontrol wrote:I always thought Star Citizen was a scam/failure. However, Star Citizen was about more than just the game. It was about breaking the publishers stranglehold on AAA games. It seems that it is a failure. Thank god for the success of Kingdom Come.

What the freak is the point of "breaking the publishers stranglehold on AAA games"? Publishers have become stiffening of creativity precisely because they have to constantly deal with shitty developers who promise the heavens and yet can't even deliver basic stuff. Like CIG. There's no reason why your Activisions and Ubisofts can't co-exist with your Warhorse Studios that provide a different kind of experience.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 24, 2018 12:57 PM  

My middle son loves Destiny and Fortnite. Fortnite is the lowest of expectations, so he has nowhere to go but up.

Blogger YIH July 24, 2018 12:58 PM  

Bingo: https://infogalactic.com/info/Chameleon_(video_game_console)
And now people are ponying up millions on Indiscamscam to "preorder" https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_VCS_(2019_console)
something that won't deliver for at least a year...
If it ever does. MPAI.

Blogger Steve July 24, 2018 12:59 PM  

He's not dickish at all, in my experience. He's a total pro, as developers go.

Ian Bell was very unflattering about him last time I checked in on his blog. Granted, that was donkey's years ago and I don't know either chap. Braben's libel suit did seem a bit OTT at the time. OTOH, Ian Bell does seem to be a bit of a strange guy, while Braben's work on ED speaks for itself.

Blogger IrishFarmer July 24, 2018 1:04 PM  

Vox, is counterstrike closer to your ideal of FPS then?

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 24, 2018 1:06 PM  

You can’t be an effective project manager and a go-along-to-get-along guy or a fanbois.

PMs are paid to produce within hard constraints.

Blogger DBSFF July 24, 2018 1:14 PM  

VD wrote:At this point, I regard anyone who dismisses criticism as being based in jealousy as fundamentally dishonest. It's a deeply stupid and deeply dishonest response.

Dishonesty and/or projection.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer July 24, 2018 1:16 PM  

I'm simply amazed the guy was able to raise $65 million dollars. In fact, I just double checked to make sure I read that correctly. How many people contributed?

Blogger S1AL July 24, 2018 1:16 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger S1AL July 24, 2018 1:19 PM  

'The Fortnite developers have hit upon a perfect formula for the modern gaming market. The entire premise of the game is creating "Youtube montage" moments.'

I'm sensing a correlation between Vox's disdain for Fortnite and the fact that he watches football and not basketball.

The fact of the matter, though, is that sometimes people do want the simplest version of things. There's plenty of room in the market for both. The good news is that there's no need to compete with the huge games for that niche.

Blogger Sliver July 24, 2018 1:22 PM  

Derek Smart has never been right about anything. Someone should ask him how Line of Defense is coming along.

Blogger Nikephoros II Phokas July 24, 2018 1:24 PM  

Fortnite and PUBG are way more strategic and original than Call of Duty 12.5 and the rest of the current crop of generic AAA FPS of today.

They're not my favorite but they're better than Battlefield SJW.

Blogger IAM Spartacus July 24, 2018 1:25 PM  

I get Fortnite, even though I despise everything for which it stands.

Fortnite caters to just running around and kill everyone.
AKA it will be success full because MPAI.

You have to admit it's a great business model as there will always be idiots.

Blogger FP July 24, 2018 1:42 PM  

The most interesting part of the battle royale craze is that the PUBG devs credited with making it popular, are suing damn near everyone who makes a battle royale game, including the Fortnite devs because they make the basic engine PUBG uses.

As for SC, anyone who remembered Starlancer and Freelancer from ten years earlier was wary of (or should have been) Roberts' claims. I got flack from a guy in 2012 for just saying I'll believe it when I see it and can play it. I learned later he spent $1k backing the game.

https://infogalactic.com/info/Freelancer_(game)

Blogger mike July 24, 2018 1:55 PM  

Good to have him back.

Blogger Warunicorn July 24, 2018 2:10 PM  

I never tried Fortnite despite its popularity. Not sure I understand the appeal of the so-called "battle royale" genre but different strokes for different folks, I guess.

/goes back to playing Octopath Traveler

Blogger Andrew Brown July 24, 2018 2:17 PM  

I quite like battle royale games, there's a lot more strategy involved than the classic CoD search & destroy or team death match. That being said, Fortnite is utter trash. The sniping kind of phases out at long range, the CQB is just jumping around with a shotgun (that shoots worse than a sawn-off) and when you try to take on certain players, they build a fortress in a matter of seconds. All that completely ruins the shooting aspect in the game.

I'd like to see a game combine real time strategy like C&C and a great FPS game. Battlefield 4 had that idea in mind with the commander role, where you could spot enemies and call in a missile strike, but they never took it any further.

Blogger GK Chesterton July 24, 2018 2:30 PM  

Given what the man has accomplished in the past ending on this note is sad.

Blogger ace July 24, 2018 3:20 PM  

,Fortnit represents the designer throwing up his hands and saying "fine, chickens, run around all you like."

In the Fortnite derivative Realm Royale, when a player dies he literally transforms into a chicken holding a white flag. Pottery.

Blogger Tallen July 24, 2018 3:36 PM  

So, Battlezone 2?

Personally I've always been a fan of the original Planetside and the Enemy Territory games.

Blogger qualitycontrol July 24, 2018 4:14 PM  

@20. John M
I guess you got a good point. However, I'd say that convergence is a much bigger issue than devs promising the impossible. That being said, a Star Citizen that succeedes in just being a new Freelancer with polished gameplay and graphics would have legitimized and benefited crowdfunded games.

Blogger wisdom wizard July 24, 2018 4:17 PM  

Two interesting events today:


1. Q has returned.


2. Demi Levato is hospitalized for a heroine overdose. Might be nothing, but suspicious timing with the Bronfmans finally rolled up in the NXIVM scandal.

Blogger Doug Cranmer July 24, 2018 4:53 PM  

Regardind Demi Levato, the second sentence in her Wikipedia article is:

"After appearing on the children's television series Barney & Friends as a child, she received her breakthrough role as Mitchie Torres in the Disney Channel television film Camp Rock (2008) and its sequel Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (2010)."

And given Neon Revolt's coverage of the Hollywood anon's chan postings of what really goes on in Hollywood ... well there you go.

Fucking Disney.

Blogger Michael Maier July 24, 2018 4:53 PM  

VD wrote:Now you've got me curious about what you don't like about Fortnite!

Fortnite represents the surrender of the FPS game designers. It's the literal antithesis of everything many of us did in that genre - for example, I was the first FPS designer to incorporate missions according to CGW. For 20 years, designers have been trying to design game experiences that involve more than "run around like a chicken with your head cut off".

From a design perspective, Fortnite represents the designer throwing up his hands and saying "fine, chickens, run around all you like." It's a brilliant, well-produced piece of shit.

If a certain development deal goes through, I plan to break new ground in precisely the opposite direction.


Except that's what the entire MP world has gone towards since HALO 2 went on XBL.

"Thinking? It's a SHOOTER!"

Blogger Joseph Maroney July 24, 2018 4:53 PM  

Hospitalized celebrities usually means they're getting put back on the program.

Blogger ant becker July 24, 2018 5:07 PM  

Star citizen still shite, then? Shame as it had promise.

Blogger Silly but True July 24, 2018 5:07 PM  

It would have required them to severely modify the promise of seamlessness of tying the Squadron 42 environment to Star Citizen environment.

But the non ideal solution that would have allowed a path out of the deep hole was partitioning the galaxy into engine-supporting bites: instanced “sectors” that gated a maximum amount of players in the sector that their software could support. And focus like hell on maximizing that quantity because even then that’s such a far retreat from the initial selling pitch.

It’s fine if they wanted to allow the diehard Squad42 players who excelled only at single-player to interact with skilled pvpers and allow each an advantage over normies of either side; they were already allowing p2w so any semblence of balance in player experiences was going to be nonexistent.

Yes, SWTOR caught absolute hell for this. 16 players at a time was no one’s idea of “massively-multiplayer.” But it did well enough and so would Star Citizen.

I would think they could have navigated the simultaneous player limit a bit better than circa-2006 HeroEngine had been able to do though. Or maybe not.

Blogger ghostfromplanetspook July 24, 2018 5:21 PM  

Either way there would be people with million dollar ships lording over everything so on-top of being buggy it would also be completely unbalanced.

Blogger MrNiceguy July 24, 2018 5:25 PM  

I'm longtime fan of the space combat sim genre. (Spent a lot of time in college sneaking in to an unlocked classroom to play TIE-Fighter on the projector.) I was excited when I first heard about Star Citizen, but as the scope continued to bloat from huge to ludicrous, I quickly became glad I hadn't spent any money backing it.

I'm disappointed that Star Citizen will never become what was promised. I'd love to see a good space-sim MMO, something like Privateer with trading elements and different mission types and factions. New players could start out taking jobs running gun turrets and the like until they've saved enough for their own ship. Could be a great use of VR, too, since sitting in a chair wearing a helmet works a lot better in a space-sim than in most genres.
Something like this would certainly prompt me to spend some cash and dust off my flight stick. (And then start saving for a VR rig)

Blogger SirHamster July 24, 2018 5:25 PM  

wisdom wizard wrote:2. Demi Levato is hospitalized for a heroine overdose. Might be nothing, but suspicious timing with the Bronfmans finally rolled up in the NXIVM scandal.

Wasn't familiar with her, first music video I found had this branding scene that is an odd ... coincidence.

Blogger bob kek mando - ( don't ask, "Who mentats the Mentats?", ask instead, "Who shitpoasts the Shitpoasters?" ) July 24, 2018 5:54 PM  

weird.

i'm usually pretty good about picking up on song variants that are 'off' ( covers, live versions, remixes, etc ).

all this time, i've been mistaking Lovato for Katy Perry.

Blogger Doktor Jeep July 24, 2018 5:54 PM  

In the late 90s I tried to write a simple multiplayer spaceship game, with the novel idea of seeing other ships around that were being flown by other players. It was mainly an academic project to see if it could be done. I used Java heavy on RMI.
To this day I look at just about any MMO and have the opinion that we are lucky they work at all. I knew SC was not going to go well just on the promises being made and the mission creep. They should have created a core game just on the name recognition, one that simply worked first, then fleshed out all that pie in the sky later on the working core. They would have had their following and funding. Wold it have mattered in the long run? SC was IMO the last hurrah toward a concept that was starting to show its mortality around 2013:the great big MMO thing. There will never be another WoW. Not because it was that great, but because the market has changed and there are many more options now. Eve Online suffered long before as a niche game but its vector to obscurity was sealed when developers started to offer just as much character and skill customization but with the same amount of PvP as an FPS.
Then came the world of the micro transaction. The days of the great MMOs are behind us, but it's nobody's fault really. Just evolution.

Blogger Emmett Fitz-Hume July 24, 2018 6:01 PM  

@36

"I'd like to see a game combine real time strategy like C&C and a great FPS game. Battlefield 4 had that idea in mind with the commander role, where you could spot enemies and call in a missile strike, but they never took it any further."

I second that and would buy and play that game.

Blogger Silly but True July 24, 2018 6:03 PM  

They _had_ the damn low-tech conceptual model of what the game essentially could have been:
The 90s-era Breach 2 / Rules of Engagement suite meta-game.

Rules of Engagement would serve as starfighter engine (both single player and multiplayer) with sexy graphics.

Breach 2 would serve as first-person experiences: on based, as Privateer securing missions, perhaps even on capital ships boarding combat.

All they needed to add was an airlock between Squad 42 and Star Citizen. And then additional airlocks between Squad 42 space combat and manual player control, and likewise airlocks between Star Citizen space combat and manual player control.

The airlock serves to transform their Star Citizen data into useable Squad 42 data, and to transform their manual pilot character into space combat starfighter data.

I don’t make light of their design promises, but there’s workable concepts to build from.

Blogger Unknown July 24, 2018 6:08 PM  

First I would like to thanks Voxday and all the commenters here. Lurking on this blog has changed how I think and feel about politics for the better.

Firstly to I best declare my own conflict of interest since I have donated 120 dollars to Star Citizen. I'm actually very happy that Chris Roberts has decided to try and make a space sim mmorpg on the scale he has. The only other comparable space sim mmorpg is Elite Dangerous. I do concede that he clearly did change the game he was selling as he got to higher tiers and the honorable thing would be to offer those early backers their money back if they wish.

The development of star citizen seems to be very open compared to most other developers. They have a very active youtube channel and you can find out on the website what tasks every team is working on if you wish! As a backer you can login and play the alpha 3.2 and there are plenty youtube videos showing gameplay from alpha 3.2.

I'm not an expert in game development but it doesn't seem obvious to me that Star Citizen will be unable to deliver a game. (Although I myself don't expect to be getting a released game in the next 2 or 3 years.)

Blogger Danby July 24, 2018 6:22 PM  

Unknown wrote:
I'm not an expert in game development but it doesn't seem obvious to me that Star Citizen will be unable to deliver a game.
That's what they're counting on.

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 24, 2018 6:24 PM  

The game you just described sounds like a 200GB program. I’m not seeing it. And with what you describe, how would manage multiplayer? You could limit players per server but how would manage the air locks you describe for players who want to stay together? Since Fortnite is the bitch in this thread, I’ll point out out that they can’t even figure out doing what you describe. Between Battle Royale, Save the World, and Playground Mode it’s a mess. Add to that the multiple game play selections within each mode? Not to mention multi-platform support? It’s a nightmare. I’m amazed the thing works as well as it does.

Blogger Gettimothy July 24, 2018 6:29 PM  

OT:QDrop

https://qanon.pub

Blogger lowercaseb July 24, 2018 6:33 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 24, 2018 6:37 PM  

That’s nearly 10 years of game development! In 2000 I lived in Austin Tx and knew several people who were employed programmers for Origin and I also want to say iD. Prior to that I knew a couple of guys at Bungie in Chicago back when they were still trying to support their move of Marathon from Mac to Windows. That was around 1995 or ‘96 I think. In both cases guys were doing such advanced programming they didn’t even the tools necessary to get the job done so they would first build tools! The Bungie guys back in the early 90s worked on shoestring budgets and produced some of the most advanced games of the day! Whole games that actually worked day one (without the tools OR the money) were being released in 2years or less.

Tech companies today have become bloated venture capital scams of the highest order and Star Citizen is just the gamer world’s most egregious example.

10 years....please.

Blogger lowercaseb July 24, 2018 6:40 PM  

Lets try that again...this time using English syntax and grammar in my reply.

Unknown wrote:Firstly to I best declare my own conflict of interest since I have donated 120 dollars to Star Citizen.

I gave them 60 bucks a few years ago. The way I look at it, it's 60 bucks for access to a tech demo. I sacrificed one triple A game for access to this, and I got some entertainment out of it. For $120 bucks...you sacrificed...eh...a years subscription to an expensive MMO. I wouldn't worry too much about it. You are getting entertainment playing with the toys in the sandbox. Neither of us are expecting a game anytime...so if it comes...that's just gravy. Otherwise, the game will disappear one day, but I'll gave milked what I wanted out of it.

However...I pity those who have dropped THOUSANDS of dollars. However, because of their blind faith...I get a sandbox to play with when I am bored (as long as I am willing to endure the 10 minute loading times.) I consider you and I in the mid tier of the Ponzi scheme. We gave out, but at least we got something back...and we are low enough that we won't get called in for questioning when the cops come calling.

Blogger Alexandros July 24, 2018 6:45 PM  

I don't have an opinion on Star citizen being a scan or whatnot, but I'm impressed by the tooling they showed off this far. From an engineering standpoint, the level design tooling looks like a fun as hell project to work on. Videogame dev isn't my wheel house, but seeing that stuff impressed me. Any Vidya software engineees that can comment on that stuff?

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 24, 2018 6:47 PM  

10 minute load times?! Please tell me you’re exaggerating....or using dial-up at least.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 24, 2018 6:48 PM  

"I best declare my own conflict of interest since I have donated 120 dollars"

I did some amount around 200$ IIRC.

I considered it a lost cause in late 2014/early 2015. A month or three past (end of) schedule is about all a developer can ever realistically do and still release a finished product -- ever, in my experience.

In retrospect, yes, even when I contributed, it should have been obvious that simply too much was promised for it to ever happen.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine July 24, 2018 6:51 PM  

"10 minute load times?! Please tell me you’re exaggerating"

Optimization? What's that? Not a thing for SC.

Blogger VD July 24, 2018 6:53 PM  

Except that's what the entire MP world has gone towards since HALO 2 went on XBL.

Except? Obviously. But Fortnite represents throwing in the towel and embracing the madness.

I'm not an expert in game development but it doesn't seem obvious to me that Star Citizen will be unable to deliver a game.

I literally am. That's almost literally been my title at two organizations. And it was obvious to me back in 2015. It was obvious to Derek, and it was obvious to a lot of people who just kept their mouths shut.

Blogger lowercaseb July 24, 2018 7:10 PM  

DJ | AMDG wrote:10 minute load times?! Please tell me you’re exaggerating....or using dial-up at least.

I'm probably exaggerating a bit, It's probably 3 to 5 minutes. I've never timed it, but I do know I have enough time to boil a pot of water, make a cup of coffee and come back to a minute of load screen. It is very un-optimized and crash prone...but it was worth it when I found out that I could clip out of a space station by running at the walls and fly around in my underwear while using pitch and yaw jets apparently implanted in my nipples.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 24, 2018 7:14 PM  

I'm not a game developer, or any kind of developer. But from repeated exposure, I've gotten to know the stench of a failed development project.

Star Citizen is a failed project. It's now in the "lie and keep lying" stage. This will be followed by the "total collapse" stage, and then the "endless green fields for lawyers."
The money is already gone. Any that remains will be fed to the lawyers. Eventually, the few remaining assets, including your personal data, will be sold to Russian Mafiosi and Nigerian Spam Artists.

Blogger SirHamster July 24, 2018 7:18 PM  

Unknown wrote:I'm not an expert in game development but it doesn't seem obvious to me that Star Citizen will be unable to deliver a game. (Although I myself don't expect to be getting a released game in the next 2 or 3 years.)

Experts are telling you it's not happening.

Derek Smart's article says 18% of the promised 2 games has been implemented, 3.5 years after the original release date of Nov 2014.

Blogger Silly but True July 24, 2018 7:23 PM  

True. But I felt some obligation to include some of the main features of the _originally_ promised game. I don’t doubt that would be total install but rather as four separate 50GB installed size mini-games.

What they tried to do was a single scalable engine without “shards” that would handle individual pilots on starbase climb aboard their ship and then fly planet to planet engaging player piloted capital ships each manned by multiple players all without instancing.

And after seven years of development they can barely have a player screenshot their own ships.

Unfortunately I think some instancing had to be included.

Blogger Stg58/Animal Mother July 24, 2018 7:23 PM  

If the money's all gone, where did 65 million dollars go? I don't even think Bilzerian could blow that much money.

Blogger Zimri July 24, 2018 7:41 PM  

At least Sean Murray delivered a Gold product in No Man's Sky. And he carried on to add (some of) the features he'd promised.

Blogger Zimri July 24, 2018 7:43 PM  

Space-exploration as a genre is a joke in gaming, and an increasingly bad one. And the developers in this field have only themselves to blame.

Blogger David The Good July 24, 2018 7:50 PM  

lowercaseb: "...it was worth it when I found out that I could clip out of a space station by running at the walls and fly around in my underwear while using pitch and yaw jets apparently implanted in my nipples."

Yeah, the YouTube vids of that stuff made me laugh so hard that I count your $120 as worth it.

Blogger Solon July 24, 2018 7:54 PM  

Savage: Battle for Newerth did sort of like that.

It's been revamped, Savage: Ressurection, but the game is already dead. It was always kind of designed as a large-teams game, and then you try getting 12 random strangers on the same team to cooperate... Ugh. Reminds me exactly of my old WoW days with pick-up raids.

Blogger Solon July 24, 2018 8:03 PM  

To those of us who were the first on board the hype train that was No Man's Sky... The very mention of that game triggers PTSD. I spent a long time blocking out the memory of that kerfuffle, only to have you bring it back up so casually... Shame on you sir.

To be fair, they did (sort of) (kind of) get a working product out later, but I can't bring myself to ever go back to it. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

Blogger Silly but True July 24, 2018 8:17 PM  

Chris Roberts would caution employing one’s own spouse, family, and life-long friends on the development team is expensive.

Blogger Anno Ruse July 24, 2018 8:24 PM  

"Space-exploration as a genre is a joke in gaming, and an increasingly bad one. And the developers in this field have only themselves to blame."

I just don't know why people buy into this stuff. Nobody has made a game world as big as Rhode Island and we're supposed to believe that someone is going to code the final frontier? They promise you the moon but it's a procedurally generated empty moon.

Blogger owlish July 24, 2018 8:39 PM  

The last AAA game I bought the day it came out was Master of Orion 3. I don't really understand how "Join our closed Beta" sales can work, much less crowdfunded development.

Blogger James Dixon July 24, 2018 8:45 PM  

> ...and it was obvious to a lot of people who just kept their mouths shut.

It was obvious to an informed layman that without a major breakthrough in the technology it wasn't going to happen. Some people may have given him credit for being able to do that. I wouldn't have been one of them, even if I'd had that kind of money.

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 24, 2018 8:56 PM  

It’s funny you mention breakthrough. The last game omg breakthrough I remember being extremely cool if not perfectly executed was Chris Taylor’s Dungeon Seige. The non-loading, no-level world rendered quite well. If I recall correctly it was a legit breakthrough and was executed well. I seem to recall the inventory system and the party member management was pretty cool too. That was over 15 years ago!

There’s a game that took longer to develop and more money than expected. Microsoft was backing it. I think they were pretty hands off with Taylor but I might be wrong. I wonder what happened to that guy.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 24, 2018 11:57 PM  

They’ve burned closer to 165 million...

Blogger Looking Glass July 24, 2018 11:59 PM  

On Fortnite, it's actually far worse of an event of "giving up" than Vox even went into.

https://infogalactic.com/info/Fortnite The IG page hasn't been updated since the Battle Royale mode came out, but it was actually a completely different game. A game that probably wasn't going to sell too well, but it'd have had a niche. Then they put together a new mode in probably a week, tossed it up as Free with cosmetic micro transactions and lucked into a massive payday.

It's very possible Fortnite is the biggest "dumb luck" payday in gaming history, replacing PUBG, which was clearly one of the dumbest luck plays you've seen as well.

Now, there's a bit more to this story, because what makes the games work is the user interaction. You are only locked into a match so long as you're alive, which creates a situation where if you die early, you can be onto the next match in under 30 seconds. This makes it a very good streaming and/or party game. The second thing is that it allows for Mobile + Console + PC cross-platform gaming. Fortnite is ruining WiFi routers all over the world right now.

So, the actual game play is from another game, the design is from another designer, and they're making amazing money while in complete sell out mode. I don't fault them their money, but Fortnite is probably a career ender for most of the design staff. Suits will make money, staff will deal with low morale, but everyone outside will think it was brilliant.

Blogger Alexandros July 25, 2018 12:05 AM  

Zimri wrote:Space-exploration as a genre is a joke in gaming, and an increasingly bad one. And the developers in this field have only themselves to blame.

Elite Dangerous says "hi." It was exactly what we asked for.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 25, 2018 12:09 AM  

If you have any experience of project management - something a lot more people have, compared to those with game development experience - then you could see the signs a long way off.

The scope has changed constantly. Deadlines for delivery of specific features have been repeatedly moved. Many have been abandoned completely. Trivial “achievements” like jpegs have been used not only to sucker the whales but to replace promised serious technical milestones.

Combined with the fanatical True Believer jihads against any and all expressions of doubt or skepticism, one could easily predict the end based on general principle without any specialist insight into game development.

That reliable knowledgeable specialists in the field were also extremely skeptical simply reinforced that conclusion.

But as above, even before I had enough time observing to reach this conclusion based on evidence, the stench of the jihadi fanbois fanatical bias prevented me from putting any money in.

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 25, 2018 12:13 AM  

I remember when Nestle hired SAP to implement their ERP directly instead of consultants and then SAP sub contracted to first I think Deloitte. $5Billion later and it still wasn’t live. You ain’t wrong about project management, RMtm.

Blogger Jack Amok July 25, 2018 12:49 AM  

Chris Taylor’s Dungeon Seige... I wonder what happened to that guy.

Gas Powered Games was bought by Wargaming (World of Tanks) a few years ago. WG recently closed the studio (too long time-to-market on their AAA game). Chris is starting to contemplate a new start-up. I tried to get him in touch with Vox a while back, but I don't think anything ever came of it.

But he was busy then. Might be different now, but don't know if Vox is still interested...

Blogger DJ | AMDG July 25, 2018 12:54 AM  

I’d get behind that cooperative project in a heartbeat.

Blogger Jack Amok July 25, 2018 12:54 AM  

It's very possible Fortnite is the biggest "dumb luck" payday in gaming history, replacing PUBG, which was clearly one of the dumbest luck plays you've seen as well.

Games are funny that way. Look at how much money FarmVille made. But there is skill involved. You can't turn around a new gameplay mode quickly and cleanly without some Dev and PM skill. I dislike Fortnite as well, but I don't dismiss their skill at pulling it off.

I mean, compare it to Star Citizen - the first bar a designer has to clear is designing a game that can actually be made.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 25, 2018 1:02 AM  

According to the Derek Smart blog linked in the OP, the total funding currently stands at US$186,000,000.

Is there anyone here who thinks that Vox, given over 5 years and two hundred million smackers, would not have delivered something at least approximating what he promised?

Biggest scam in gaming.

Blogger Bibliotheca Servare July 25, 2018 1:15 AM  

@Anno Ruse

"...Nobody has made a game world as big as those island..."

Um...that's not correct.

Rhode Island is approximately 3,144 KM squared (1,214 square miles). That's the size you're claiming no game world has matched or exceeded.

Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall(s) game map is 160,579 KM squared. Granted the map is heavily reliant on random generation, but that doesn't change its size.

Guild Wars Nightfall is 38,850 KM squared, though that's an estimate; nonetheless unless the estimate is off by about 35,000 square kilometers, it's still significantly larger than Rhode Island.

Fuel (a console racing game) is 14,400 KM squared, and holds the Guinness world record for biggest environmental size in a console game.

Your point is unaffected by the inaccuracy of your statement, of course, because yes, game devs *do* promise the moon and fail to deliver.

But my inner sperg couldn't risk letting your inaccurate statement remain uncorrected.

Also Raz0rfist (google him. His rants are epic, and he is a "maestro of profanity" [to paraphrase of John C Wright's description of him] in the very best way) would have sensed that I had failed to defend Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall, and he would have judged me through the Internet. Lol. *sheepish expression*

Blogger Elek Seed July 25, 2018 3:33 AM  

@VD

> I plan to break new ground in precisely the opposite direction

You don't have to, Bohemia Int already did with the Arma series. The only issue is with the MP focus - while they have some good campaigns now, they are an afterthought, they think people mostly want MP. A lot of people, like myself, are more interested in great storylines in SP than competing with each other. As a writer and publisher, I can imagine that - putting a good story in the SP missions - may be your strength. You really should work with Bohemia Int on that because they cannot really write a good story. It is mostly just we help these guys fight those guys, oh, we got betrayed, so we now help those guys fight these guys...

I think the concept of FPS is at some level a dumb thing in itself. The correct approach is infantry simulation, which is what they did. In an FPS, if you are shot at, you start running in zig-zag. In an infantry simulation, if you are shot at, you hit the dirt in cover.

BTW I haven't heard much about SC, only that it has what Elite:D is missing, getting out of the ship and walking around on an athmospheric planet. Hope they will deliver it eventually.

Blogger VD July 25, 2018 4:40 AM  

Chris is starting to contemplate a new start-up. I tried to get him in touch with Vox a while back, but I don't think anything ever came of it. But he was busy then. Might be different now, but don't know if Vox is still interested...

Last time we talked he was at Wargaming. I don't know if I have his current number. Send it to me. I'm always up for working with Chris.

Blogger James Dixon July 25, 2018 5:31 AM  

> Is there anyone here who thinks that Vox, given over 5 years and two hundred million smackers, would not have delivered something at least approximating what he promised?

Look at what Vox did with Alt*Hero with $250K. Now imagine that ten fold. Yeah, it's somewhat apples to oranges, but...

Blogger VD July 25, 2018 5:41 AM  

Look at what Vox did with Alt*Hero with $250K. Now imagine that ten fold. Yeah, it's somewhat apples to oranges, but...

Also, I actually know games and game development. I knew nothing about comics nine months ago.

Blogger Resident Moron™ July 25, 2018 6:04 AM  

For the record, Vox;

I am absolutely confident you would have delivered far more than promised.

That’s not brown nosing; it’s simply the facts of your history.

Blogger Dirk Manly July 25, 2018 6:12 AM  

"Consultants"... If you want a project to never come in, and at 10x over-budget, hire some consultants to do it.

Personally, I recommend Dogbert. At least he'll admit that his whole reason for showing up is to rip off as much $$$ as he can from your business.

Blogger Seth July 25, 2018 9:10 AM  

Natural Selection 2 combines RTS and FPS. Asymmetrical teams, one player on each team plays as a commander with a top down view. It has tech research and build orders on top of aliens running through vents fighting space marines in FPS. Has a dedicated player base still years after its release.

Natural Selection 1 was a free Half Life 1 mod (the most impressive mod on the engine IMO).

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion July 25, 2018 9:44 AM  

If I liked the game, I'd have no problem devoting 200G of HDD space. I'd probably dedicate an SSD to it.

Blogger Expendable Faceless Minion July 25, 2018 10:05 AM  

Another secret DNRC member?

Blogger justaguy July 25, 2018 10:28 AM  

There is a managerial issue from this episode: a successful developer who has pushed through boundaries in the past now gets near total control through a kickstarter and has little to no corporate oversight-- and he crashes spectacularly! Obvious point on $ people wanting metrics and oversight?

Blogger VD July 25, 2018 12:55 PM  

There is a managerial issue from this episode: a successful developer who has pushed through boundaries in the past now gets near total control through a kickstarter and has little to no corporate oversight-- and he crashes spectacularly! Obvious point on $ people wanting metrics and oversight?

Not really. Chris always had trouble finishing anything when he didn't have a strong producer. I don't think you understand how much the $ people interfere beyond establishing metrics and holding developers accountable to them.

I mean, we're talking "I don't like the color of the lasers" interference. In a freaking tech demo.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants July 25, 2018 5:05 PM  

H-E-R-O-I-N. Heroine means female hero. I've seen 900 ppl spell this word wrong in the last 2 days to the point I'm losing my mind.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants July 25, 2018 5:11 PM  

Locator has been an addict with eating & cutting disorders since her early teens. She's been to rehab numerous times for her cocaine, weed, opioid, alcohol addictions, as well as having a rotating cast of 24/7 minders/sober coaches.
This is not unexpected. In fact, I expected her to be dead by 20.
All of those Disney/Nick kids, Joe Jonas, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Bella Thorne, Amanda Bynes, etc. Have heavy drug & alcohol usage and a couple have suicide attempts under their belts.
I can't believe that Zayn Malik from One Direction hasn't OD'd on the heroin yet.
Young Hollywood is a total mess.

Blogger Zeroh Tollrants July 25, 2018 5:12 PM  

*Lovato. 3xs I fixed that, and it still auto-corrected. I hate auto-correct with a passion.

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