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Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Old 05-07-13, 02:45 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Double Fine is running a Humble Bundle for the next 2 weeks, and they're including a Broken Age pre-order if you pay $35 or more, along with 4 of their earlier games:
https://www.humblebundle.com/

Otherwise you can pay what you want for three of their previous games: Psychonauts, Stacking, and Costume Quest. Pay $1 or more and get Steam keys for them. Beat the average price and get Brutal Legend as well.

Broken Age pre-orders now cost $30 on their site, so paying $5 more to get the other games seems like a bargain:
http://www.doublefine.com/dfapay/
Old 07-02-13, 06:26 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I guess the game got so large that they're doing a beta/Steam Early Access in January hoping to get the funds from those sales for the rest of the game to improve efficiency and so people don't have to wait until 2015 for the full game.

Their projections early on must have been waaaay off.
Old 07-02-13, 07:44 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Yeah, I knew they were expanding the scope due to the extra money thet got, but they evidently went way too far in the other direction. Given how horribly they've mismanaged this project, I'm glad I did not back Massive Chalice. In fact, I think it's a real dick move to wait until the Massive Chalice campaign was finished before dropping this news.

Still, I'm looking forward to this game, whenever it does finally release.
Old 07-02-13, 07:45 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I am losing faith in Double Fine's ability to deliver. They need some better business people or project managers or something. Over $3 million and they can't even release an adventure game within 3 years, and need millions more to pay for it? That doesn't bode well for Massive Chalice, that's for sure.
Old 07-03-13, 01:21 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I didn't know anything about this big delay. Every one of my Kickstarters has disappointed me so far (well, except that Project Eternity, which I'm not really following). I'm still waiting for my damn Pebble watch!

I just gave to the T2 Pinball table, because I know that if nothing else Farsight will deliver a product in a timely manner. Everything else is smoke & mirrors as far as I can tell and I'm done with the lot of it.
Old 07-03-13, 07:16 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
I didn't know anything about this big delay.
That's because it was just announced.

Originally Posted by shizawn View Post
Yeah, I knew they were expanding the scope due to the extra money thet got, but they evidently went way too far in the other direction.
I think part of the problem was that they started working on the game before Tim was done designing it, so they were working on half-formed projections until now. Tim's design is just too big. The other thing is that they don't want to cut the scope, at least too much. Normally, if they were working with a publisher, they'd probably just have to cut the scope down until it fit the budget/schedule. Instead, they've been looking into ways to fund the expanded scope. The video mentions that the revenue from both the PC release of Brutal Legend and the Humble Bundle largely went to Broken Age.

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
That doesn't bode well for Massive Chalice, that's for sure.
On the other hand, I think the Amnesia Fornight bodes well for Massive Chalice, in that it shows that the Double Fine teams can deliver a finished product within a given timeframe and limited resources. I think this time they'll be able to finish the game design much faster, and will probably be more willing to scale back the scope if need be.
Old 07-03-13, 10:13 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
I am losing faith in Double Fine's ability to deliver. They need some better business people or project managers or something. Over $3 million and they can't even release an adventure game within 3 years, and need millions more to pay for it? That doesn't bode well for Massive Chalice, that's for sure.
Not only that, but they had $3 million to make a game they wanted to do for $400,000. That's dreadful.
Old 07-03-13, 10:30 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Double Fine pretty much gave birth to the video game Kickstarter project and now they're nailing the coffin shut.
Old 07-03-13, 10:43 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
Not only that, but they had $3 million to make a game they wanted to do for $400,000. That's dreadful.
The $400,000 game wasn't the same as the $3 million game. They didn't even have a game concept when the ran the Kickstarter. Once they got the increased funds, Tim Shafer increased the scope of the game in his head, and designed accordingly. The problem appears to be he increased the scope too much.

If it had stayed $400K, the scope would've been a lot smaller. It possibly still may have gone overbudget some, but likely in the realm of thousands of dollars, not millions.
Old 07-03-13, 10:55 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
The $400,000 game wasn't the same as the $3 million game. They didn't even have a game concept when the ran the Kickstarter. Once they got the increased funds, Tim Shafer increased the scope of the game in his head, and designed accordingly. The problem appears to be he increased the scope too much.

If it had stayed $400K, the scope would've been a lot smaller. It possibly still may have gone overbudget some, but likely in the realm of thousands of dollars, not millions.
I already knew the reason why, which I thought was pretty obvious in Tim's explanation that went out to backers, but it doesn't make the poor management of their funds any better.
Old 07-03-13, 11:18 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
I already knew the reason why, which I thought was pretty obvious in Tim's explanation that went out to backers, but it doesn't make the poor management of their funds any better.
It does explain why the game is costing more than $400K though. You seemed to have been suggesting that the game they proposed for $400K (concept, scope, art, etc.) was the same they couldn't fund for $3 million. The reason is that they're two entirely different games. We'll never know what Tim would've cooked up for $400K, but it likely would've been a much smaller, less, ambitious game, with a smaller team, and any overages wouldn't have even reached $1 million, let alone $3-6 million.

As for "piss-poor management," I don't think that's the case either, unless you're blaming Tim solely for over-designing. Double Fine's management has been aware of the scope being too big for the budget/schedule since before Christmas, and they've had serious discussions on how to address it. Back then, they decided to use some of their own funds to help finish the game, and have done things (like the Humble Bundle, possibly the OUYA partnership) to provide those funds. Now that Tim has finished almost all the design, they were finally able to sit down and breakdown the game scene-by-scene. And again, they decided to pursue other funding options instead of cutting the game down. What's more, they did in a way that avoids underdelivering to the Kickstarter backers, or asking them for more funds.

Anyone watching the documentary videos will know that the team is doing some great work. The areas that they show in the video look practically finished now, although there's still a little polish
Old 07-03-13, 12:01 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I think this recent example kills any chance Tim ever had of getting Psychonauts 2 made.
Old 07-03-13, 12:17 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by mattysemo247 View Post
I think this recent example kills any chance Tim ever had of getting Psychonauts 2 made.
Tim's honesty has killed Pyschonauts 2 before. Tim has been upfront that the budget for that game would be more than they got through the Kickstarter for this game. When Notch of Mojang (Minecraft) approached them about possibly funding Psychonauts 2, they scared him off when they were upfront about the budget.

While Double Fine may never be able to secure enough outside funding to make Psychonauts 2, there's the possibility that in a few years they could self-fund it. The benefit of Kickstarter is that the developers get to retain all revenue from the finished game, instead of the publisher retaining nearly all the profit in the traditional model. If Broken Age and Massive Chalice both bring in millions more money than they cost, then Double Fine may be in a position to self-fund games, instead of going back to publishers or repeatedly back to Kickstarter.
Old 07-03-13, 12:32 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
Double Fine pretty much gave birth to the video game Kickstarter project and now they're nailing the coffin shut.
For Double Fine maybe.

Many of my non-gaming projects have either delivered, or if they are delayed, they are sending out regular updates on their status.

Only 2 projects crapped the bed, and just one of those two failed to deliver at all. Total investment was 7.00

For the game projects pretty much most I have contributed too is either on schedule or if they are delayed, there are regular updates:

Wasteland 2: Regular updates, some gameplay video released, in game assets are working Original due date 10/13

Faster Than Light: Released, fun game, put 15-20 hours into it.

Shadowrun Returns: Regular updates/game play videos. Official Release date July 25th, 2013. Original due date 1/13.

Banner Saga: This one seems to have some trouble, original release date 11/12. They are saying release date will be later in 2013. I'm guessing 4th quarter.

Grim Dawn: Original release date 8/13. They released alpha back in May.

Castle Story: Beta released in March. they update their developer page quite often.

Defense Grid 2: It is in development (Investor came in), I think the original payment was for another level added to the original DG.

Shadowrun Online: original date may 2013. They are doing internal testing on their games. Regular updates.

All the other big ones are having consistant updates including Star Citizen, Project Eternity etc.
Old 07-03-13, 01:11 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I'm a backer but I'm not upset. Sh*t happens. Everybody makes mistakes. They could have done a better job managing the budget, but there's no going back now. If it takes longer, it takes longer. I can wait.
Old 07-03-13, 04:58 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Tim's been posting some stuff on Twitter today:
https://twitter.com/TimOfLegend/stat...71341552762881
Double Fine is NOT asking for more money. We are fine, financially. We are using our OWN money to deliver a bigger game than we Kickstarted.
https://twitter.com/TimOfLegend/stat...80473345306624
[We raised] $3.4M. After fees&documentary&rewards, about $2M.
https://twitter.com/TimOfLegend/stat...81439457095683
We DO have some money now, from self-publishing our own games this year. Also, money we make from pre-release is ours too.
Old 07-03-13, 05:09 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
As for "piss-poor management," I don't think that's the case either, unless you're blaming Tim solely for over-designing. Double Fine's management has been aware of the scope being too big for the budget/schedule since before Christmas, and they've had serious discussions on how to address it. Back then, they decided to use some of their own funds to help finish the game, and have done things (like the Humble Bundle, possibly the OUYA partnership) to provide those funds. Now that Tim has finished almost all the design, they were finally able to sit down and breakdown the game scene-by-scene. And again, they decided to pursue other funding options instead of cutting the game down. What's more, they did in a way that avoids underdelivering to the Kickstarter backers, or asking them for more funds.
I disagree. They knew what their budget was in March 2012. They were still discussing the possibility of cutting 75% of the game's scope in July 2013. That is definition of "piss-poor management." Obviously, I don't know what the exact issue is, although I wouldn't be surprised if it was the inability of DF's business folks to rein in Tim. These are supposed to be experienced developers. Make all the excuses you want, but quality run projects in IT development do not blow their budget or timelines by this amount. And this is for an adventure game, one of the most mechanically simple game types to make. Something complicated like Massive Chalice could be a complete disaster.

And it's bullshit that they waited until after Massive Chalice closed to make that update.
Old 07-03-13, 05:23 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
I disagree. They knew what their budget was in March 2012. They were still discussing the possibility of cutting 75% of the game's scope in July 2013. That is definition of "piss-poor management." Obviously, I don't know what the exact issue is, although I wouldn't be surprised if it was the inability of DF's business folks to rein in Tim.
That seems to be largely it, although as I wrote before, they started working on the game before Tim was done designing it, so they were working on half-formed projections until now. They simply didn't know the scope. But when the game designer is the owner of the company, and can say, "hey, instead of cutting scope, why not funnel some of our own money into it."

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
Make all the excuses you want, but quality run projects in IT development do not blow their budget or timelines by this amount. And this is for an adventure game, one of the most mechanically simple game types to make. Something complicated like Massive Chalice could be a complete disaster.
If you were a backer and watched the videos, you'd know that the mechanics of the game are largely finished. It's the art and design for all the "rooms" and puzzles Tim designed that's driving up the schedule and budget.
Old 07-03-13, 05:28 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
That seems to be largely it, although as I wrote before, they started working on the game before Tim was done designing it, so they were working on half-formed projections until now. They simply didn't know the scope. But when the game designer is the owner of the company, and can say, "hey, instead of cutting scope, why not funnel some of our own money into it."
What you're describing is a broken process. I understand what they did, but that's not how you run a development project. Unless, of course, you don't care to have any controls over scope, budget, or schedule. I think they've proven that point.

If you were a backer and watched the videos, you'd know that the mechanics of the game are largely finished. It's the art and design for all the "rooms" and puzzles Tim designed that's driving up the schedule and budget.
I am a backer, but I have not watched the videos. I may at some point when I have time, but to be honest, I don't really care that much how their sausage is made. I'm an IT project manager for a living, I pretty much know how this stuff works. Might be a good example to show any PMs I'm mentoring, though, as to what not to do.
Old 07-03-13, 09:02 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
What you're describing is a broken process. I understand what they did, but that's not how you run a development project. Unless, of course, you don't care to have any controls over scope, budget, or schedule. I think they've proven that point.
I think they do have controls over scope, budget, and schedule, as they recognized as far back as December (and really even sooner than that they had inklings) that they were over scope, which would cause them to go over budget and schedule. However, their response was to provide more funds themselves to keep the higher scope.

It's like when a movie goes over budget, or is threatening to. Do you cut the scope to stay in budget, or increase the budget to match the scope of the project? Some great films have gone over budget, and it's not for lack of pre-production budgeting and planning.

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
I am a backer, but I have not watched the videos. I may at some point when I have time, but to be honest, I don't really care that much how their sausage is made. I'm an IT project manager for a living, I pretty much know how this stuff works. Might be a good example to show any PMs I'm mentoring, though, as to what not to do.
If you do watch them to see if they're suitable for your PMs, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of them in this thread.
Old 07-03-13, 11:05 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
It does explain why the game is costing more than $400K though. You seemed to have been suggesting that the game they proposed for $400K (concept, scope, art, etc.) was the same they couldn't fund for $3 million. The reason is that they're two entirely different games. We'll never know what Tim would've cooked up for $400K, but it likely would've been a much smaller, less, ambitious game, with a smaller team, and any overages wouldn't have even reached $1 million, let alone $3-6 million.

As for "piss-poor management," I don't think that's the case either, unless you're blaming Tim solely for over-designing. Double Fine's management has been aware of the scope being too big for the budget/schedule since before Christmas, and they've had serious discussions on how to address it. Back then, they decided to use some of their own funds to help finish the game, and have done things (like the Humble Bundle, possibly the OUYA partnership) to provide those funds. Now that Tim has finished almost all the design, they were finally able to sit down and breakdown the game scene-by-scene. And again, they decided to pursue other funding options instead of cutting the game down. What's more, they did in a way that avoids underdelivering to the Kickstarter backers, or asking them for more funds.

Anyone watching the documentary videos will know that the team is doing some great work. The areas that they show in the video look practically finished now, although there's still a little polish
I wasn't suggesting that at all, it's obvious that the game was going to expand a bit when they made more money. Letting the scope increase so significantly that a $3 million dollar budget somehow wasn't enough to fund their game alone is bad management.

Your attempt and explanation doesn't change anything at all, it just reinforces that the project wasn't planned very well.
Old 07-03-13, 11:40 PM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

I think I just need to get over the Kickstarter mentality that I'm pre-purchasing a product. If I want to help something get made (eventually), I'll contribute. Otherwise I'll wait till it comes out and buy it then. I'm never disappointed when a game is retail delayed to make it better; I shouldn't really care if this one gets dragged out for a couple of years I suppose. It's just that they've already got my money.
This just comes back to what I said on page one though : I never thought this project was even needed on Kickstarter. Sure it can get a game like Wastelands 2 off the ground and (for better or worse) get Leisure Suit Larry remade in HD (neither of which would have happened without KS), but Double Fine made a few wonderful XBLA/PSN games on their own with no outside help and without having a huge crippling budget; I think this could have happened on their own no matter what they say. And they probably would have brought it in closer to on-budget if they weren't playing with house money (which, let's face it : they were).

As for Jay G : Not wanting to pick on you or anything, but I am curious : You so vigorously defend just about every PC developer against any and all criticisms. Why do you take this stuff so personally? Sometimes Detroit makes a lemon, sometimes politicians are crooked, sometimes highly-anticipated Hollywood sequels are shit and sometimes PC game developers make poor decisions and mistakes with other people's money. It happens and when it does, criticism is warranted. You shouldn't be taking it personally.
Old 07-04-13, 07:08 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
I think they do have controls over scope, budget, and schedule, as they recognized as far back as December (and really even sooner than that they had inklings) that they were over scope, which would cause them to go over budget and schedule. However, their response was to provide more funds themselves to keep the higher scope.
And they still don't have enough. If they recognized the problem in December, it should not take until July to come up with a solution. And their solution is they have to hope money comes in from early access sales. That's amateur hour.
It's like when a movie goes over budget, or is threatening to. Do you cut the scope to stay in budget, or increase the budget to match the scope of the project? Some great films have gone over budget, and it's not for lack of pre-production budgeting and planning.
Yes, it is. Yes, some great films have gone over budget. Many projects go over budget or don't meet their original deadlines. That doesn't necessarily mean they were or were not well-managed. Trimming features in order to address isn't necessarily an indicator of poor management, either. But looking at trimming 75% of the scope as an option over 1 year into the project is a joke. That isn't paring back features in order to tame the budget. That's not knowing what the hell you're doing.

If they let Tim just design to his heart's content while starting development without a clear definition of their end goal so that they could evaluate changes in scope and budget appropriately, that is poor management.
Old 07-04-13, 10:44 AM
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re: Broken Age - New Double Fine Adventure Game Project on Kickstarter

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
I wasn't suggesting that at all, it's obvious that the game was going to expand a bit when they made more money.
It's not just that "the game expanded," it's that the conceived of a completely different game. The game they would've made with the $300K ($100K was budgeted for the documentary) would likely have had no similarity to the game they're making now. It would've been a different story with different characters, something to fit the smaller scope.

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
Letting the scope increase so significantly that a $3 million dollar budget somehow wasn't enough to fund their game alone is bad management.
Is the monetary amount important when assessing bad management. If they had gotten only the $300K for the game, and they overdesigned that, wouldn't that have been bad management too?

I do agree that Tim was a bad designer for going overboard, but I'm not sure that translates to bad management, since they've understood for a while that the scope was bigger than the $2 million they had from Kickstarter (after fees, taxes, and rewards, according to Tim), and have taken steps to address it by self funding instead of just cutting scope. I'm sure there are other games from the traditional publishing model that have exceeded their original budget, it's just that we hardly ever hear about it because those budgets and development processes are kept secret so often.

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
Double Fine made a few wonderful XBLA/PSN games on their own with no outside help and without having a huge crippling budget...
Double Fine has never self-financed a game, at least not completely. All the XBLA/PSN games had a publisher, which provided financing. Even the iOS game they released was done so with the help of an angel investor:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_...opment_history

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
As for Jay G : Not wanting to pick on you or anything, but I am curious : You so vigorously defend just about every PC developer against any and all criticisms. Why do you take this stuff so personally?
I didn't realize I defend so many developers. I can assure you I don't take any of the criticisms personally.

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
And they still don't have enough. If they recognized the problem in December, it should not take until July to come up with a solution. And their solution is they have to hope money comes in from early access sales. That's amateur hour.
They actually did come up with solutions earlier. They funneled the revenue from the Brütal Legend PC release into this game, and set up the Humble Bundle for additional funding. Part of the problem was that their earlier projections were based on incomplete estimates, partly because Tim wasn't finished with the design. It's only now that they were able to hash out the time/money cost on a scene-by-scene basis for the game. They are thus finding ways of securing more funding, and are apparently also reducing scope somewhat.

Originally Posted by Duran View Post
If they let Tim just design to his heart's content while starting development without a clear definition of their end goal so that they could evaluate changes in scope and budget appropriately, that is poor management.
They did start development without Tim having a fully realized design, or even concept, but that was because a publisher had backed out of proposed game shortly before the Kickstarter took off. So instead of firing anyone, they quickly moved the team over to the Kickstarter game, starting on basics like getting the engine up and running while Tim started the game concept and design, and building as they go. It's probably not the ideal way to develop a game like this, but it was the best option for them at the time.


For me, the way I look at the change is: how does it affect me? As a backer, as far as I can tell, the only effect is that I'm getting a bigger than expected game released at a later than expected date, but that I'll be able to play the first half sooner than that, if so desired. For whatever mistakes they've made, they're still trying to do good by the backers of the game.
Old 07-04-13, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
It's not just that "the game expanded," it's that the conceived of a completely different game. The game they would've made with the $300K ($100K was budgeted for the documentary) would likely have had no similarity to the game they're making now. It would've been a different story with different characters, something to fit the smaller scope.
Even more reason to criticize. Maybe they shouldn't have made such a drastic change from the initial pitch that people wanted to support. Sorry, but it just seems like you're full of excuses for them.

Is the monetary amount important when assessing bad management. If they had gotten only the $300K for the game, and they overdesigned that, wouldn't that have been bad management too?
Irrelevant to the current discussion, since that's not what happened.

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