Hero-U

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Re: Hero-U

Postby Spikey » Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:28 pm

There are no guarantees when you back a Kickstarter project, unfortunately, so when you "back" something, you should actually consider it a "donation" of which you will never see anything again.

Poor Coles, it is the same old story all over again.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Tawmis » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:25 pm

I imagine some kind of class action lawsuit can happen if the game never sees the light of day...

Unless there's some kind of clause within Kickstarter that says if you donate and the game never sees the light of day, there's nothing you can do.

Which doesn't seem like good business sense. Kickstarter probably just has a clause that removes them from any form of legal action.

After the last round of "Sierra" kickstarters and seeing how long they all took - I swore I'd never do another Kickstarter. (But the Toejam & Earl team decided to go with Kickstarter... so I was suckered in for that one).
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Re: Hero-U

Postby The Jolly Roger » Sat Apr 25, 2015 1:39 am

Tawmis wrote:I always kind of wished that these guys (any one of the Sierra people) recreated the SCI game engine (or close to it) - and gave us games like King's Quest IV, Colonel's Bequest, etc. Or even something more advanced like King's Quest V or VI.


Now that is something I'd like to see as well. New adventures with the old engines. Not necessarily graphics intense, but heavy on the story, characters, and/or humor. Lots of potential different story arcs would be a huge plus... :geek:

Tawmis wrote:Which doesn't seem like good business sense. Kickstarter probably just has a clause that removes them from any form of legal action.


From Kickstarter:
What should creators do if they're having problems completing their project?

If the problems are severe enough that the creator can't fulfill their project, creators need to find a resolution. Steps should include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers. For more information, see Section 4 of our Terms of Use.


https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use#section4

Basically, their reputation is what is on the line, and backers have no guarantees (like all investments).
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Spikey » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:56 am

Tawmis wrote:I imagine some kind of class action lawsuit can happen if the game never sees the light of day...


No, I think Kickstarter has those bases well covered; there are simply no guarantees. If " detailing exactly how funds were used" is enough to explain where the money went, then that is that.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Spikey » Wed May 06, 2015 5:31 am

For those of you not in the Sierra Help Facebook group, Corey Cole explained some of the situation in there;

"You make good points, but we did feel we had much choice in any of the changes we've made to Hero-U. Step 1: Decide to work with experienced developer's code base (but developer is very expensive).

Step 2: Said developer quits because our budget won't cover his consulting rate for a year.Step 3: Art director refuses to make the game like the original concept because it "looks like shit". We happen to agree, and go with it.

Step 4: After six months of work, the team can't get a single scene to look good in 2D. We make the expensive decision to switch to 3D. Lori and I stop paying ourselves and put all the money back into the budget.

Step 5: Two team members come down with debilitating diseases and have to leave the team. The art director burns out and quits. Now Lori Cole is art director as well as lead writer and designer.

Step 6: We find several fabulous new developers and begin to turn around the project... But see steps 1-5 to find out how much is left to pay them.

Step 7: We regroup and do a second Kickstarter.

Every step pretty much inevitable, but also most of them add quality to the game. We did not "decide" to switch from the 2D top-down Rogue-like to a full 3D adventure game. It was forced on us step by step either by team changes or lack of quality in the previous iteration.

This is, by the way, a normal and typical process for most big games: Warcraft Adventures - cancelled. Wildstar: Years late and tens of millions of dollars over budget. Blizzard's "Titan" - Tens of millions of dollars spent, years late, finally cancelled.

Quest for Glory V - Budget reduced from $900K to $600K before we started production. We refused to make a bad game (as it would have been with that budget), and Sierra cancels it. Later fan email causes Sierra to reconsider. They start over with a 1.5 year schedule and $2M budget. By the time the game launched, it actually took 3.5 years and $4.5M. (And it still looked pretty bad, because in the intervening five years, 3D just started being used.)

So yeah, we make mistakes constantly, but the most serious mistake I made on this project was setting the Estimated Delivery date based on the Kickstarter dollar goal and not on how long it would take to make a game, knowing that we would need additional funding to make a strong game. The estimated delivery should have been Oct. 2014, not 2013, and yes we would still be running a year late."
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Re: Hero-U

Postby The Jolly Roger » Sat Jun 06, 2015 1:37 am

Looks like Corey Cole needs a little extra boost to get things wrapped up. I missed the first round, maybe I can join the team this pass. :)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tr ... aying-game
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Re: Hero-U

Postby DeadPoolX » Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:06 am

Here's something else Corey Cole wrote on the Kickstarter page:

"So, yes, I made many mistakes along the way... but every developer has made many mistakes in the development of every game ever. Often they're necessary - we learn from them. In this case, if I had accurately projected the time, effort, and cost this game would take, we wouldn't have done it. If we had accurately listed those on the Kickstarter page, I doubt backers would have funded it. In the long run, mistakes happen and we move on from them. Only the passion is a constant."

I bolded and italicized the two most important sentences there. It shows how the Coles were purposefully deceitful in their actions.

They'd like everyone to just smile, laugh, and call it a "mistake," all the while feeding them more money. I'm sure some fans would be foolish enough to do just that.

Fortunately, it seems that the majority of backers on the Hero-U Kickstarter are very disappointed, angry and upset with the Coles.

Maybe if this truly was gross negligence and ignorance on their part, I could forgive them, but it's obviously not. The Coles intentionally deceived their backers in order to get their funding (which they've already used up with nothing of any value to show for it) and if there's one thing I can't forgive, it's someone who lies to my face and takes my money in the process.

I feel sorry for anyone who falls for their BS a second time and gives them more money. If anyone here is thinking of doing that, please don't. Spend that money on something you'll see a return on or if you really feel the need to give money away, hand it over to a charity.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Tawmis » Fri Jul 01, 2016 11:22 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:Here's something else Corey Cole wrote on the Kickstarter page:


Poop. Do you realize how happy I was when I saw your name under a new post? I was like, "Awesome! DPX is back!"

And then it's this. I was hoping for a fun post. Not a depressing one.

:)
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Re: Hero-U

Postby DeadPoolX » Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:23 am

Tawmis wrote:Poop. Do you realize how happy I was when I saw your name under a new post? I was like, "Awesome! DPX is back!"

Thanks! :D

Tawmis wrote:And then it's this. I was hoping for a fun post. Not a depressing one.

:)

Yeah, sorry about that, but I felt it needed to be known.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Tawmis » Sat Jul 02, 2016 3:07 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:
Tawmis wrote:Poop. Do you realize how happy I was when I saw your name under a new post? I was like, "Awesome! DPX is back!"

Thanks! :D
Tawmis wrote:And then it's this. I was hoping for a fun post. Not a depressing one.
:)

Yeah, sorry about that, but I felt it needed to be known.


Understood. I am sure I can safely say you're not alone in feeling huge amounts of frustration over these Kickstarters.

I honestly don't think a single Kickstarter I've backed up has EVER been on time, except the Veronica Mars movie one. (And even that one was a little late, if I remember correctly)... but certainly not a few YEARS late, like these others (Hero-U, SpaceVenture, primarily). I got so burned out on Kickstarters - that I swore to never back another one up. But then, naturally, one half of the team who made Toejam & Earl (which, like these Sierra related games, hearkens back to my childhood memory) suckered me into backing them.

But at least there isn't a high expectation anymore. They give an "Estimated Date" and I tack on a few years and hope I live long enough (being the old man that I am!) to see these Kickstarters I backed, actually come to fruition.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Rath Darkblade » Sat Jul 02, 2016 9:55 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:Here's something else Corey Cole wrote on the Kickstarter page:

"So, yes, I made many mistakes along the way... but every developer has made many mistakes in the development of every game ever. Often they're necessary - we learn from them. In this case, if I had accurately projected the time, effort, and cost this game would take, we wouldn't have done it. If we had accurately listed those on the Kickstarter page, I doubt backers would have funded it. In the long run, mistakes happen and we move on from them. Only the passion is a constant."

I bolded and italicized the two most important sentences there. It shows how the Coles were purposefully deceitful in their actions...


I am not so sure that the Coles were being purposefully deceitful.

First of all, to deceive someone, it goes without saying that you are doing it on purpose. If it's accidental, then yes - it's not what they're expecting - but then, it's not what you were expecting either. So while it may be incompetence, it's not criminal, so there's no deceit.

Secondly... I don't know if the Coles have done this (i.e. had projects that went years behind schedule) in earlier projects. Have they? If they have, then there might be something to this claim of deceit. If not - i.e. if this is the first time that one of their projects has come in behind schedule and above budget - then there's a first time for everything, and hopefully they'll learn and manage it better next time.

Finally, what Corey is saying here, he is saying with the benefit of hindsight and with the benefit of knowing what the final product is like. We don't know, because all we've seen is fairly unimpressive mock-ups. Perhaps the final product is unbelievably wonderful, amazing, bravo - and if so, perhaps the Coles were justified in taking their time over it, polishing it, putting gloss on everything.

Remember, the Coles are programmers and game developers, not project managers (not as far as I know, anyway). For just two people to create a game that is up to the standards of today, without a game studio company at your back, is incredibly difficult. There are many things that a game company does that we just don't see: there are accountants, cleaners, managers, caterers, admin staff etc. - the unsung heroes who make every day a little more bearable for the programmers, and who take care of the every-day humdrum boring stuff so that the creative people - the designers, programmers, artists, musicians etc. - don't have to and can focus on making the game.

I know these things, because I've worked in accountancy in the medical field for nearly a decade. I and the other accounting staff took care of the everyday running of the accounting process, so that our manager could focus on the big picture - projecting costs and profits for the coming year, and planning ahead. That way, the medical staff could rest assured that the financial side was taken care of, and could focus on treating people without the fear that the company was about to go under or get taken over, which would put their jobs at risk. :)

The same thing happens in a game studio, but behind the scenes. We don't get to see it, but it is vitally important. When that support structure is taken away - as happened to the Coles (and to Roberta, and Al, and so on and so on) - then the developers and programmers etc. have to create their own structure, if they want to go on making games. Some of them are better at it than others; but you can't expect people, who have worked their whole lives in programming or game design, to suddenly (and overnight) become experts at accounting and managing and admin too. It simply doesn't work like that. ;)

To give another example, a few months ago, I finished writing a book. But there are other tasks that need to be figured out before publication: I needed a cover design, which I outsourced, because I can't draw. I needed to apply for an ISBN. I needed to find a good accountant, who will take care of the big picture in case this project goes under. There are a whole bunch of people who work on this project, and yet only my name (as the author) goes on the cover. But I make sure to properly thank them in the book. :)

I'm sorry if it seems like I'm preaching. I know I have this tendency to digress. Sorry! :oops:
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Re: Hero-U

Postby Tawmis » Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:10 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:First of all, to deceive someone, it goes without saying that you are doing it on purpose. If it's accidental, then yes - it's not what they're expecting - but then, it's not what you were expecting either. So while it may be incompetence, it's not criminal, so there's no deceit.


I have to agree with DPX here! Because Corey said: "In the case, if I had accurately projected the time, effort, and cost, this game would take, we wouldn't have done it. If we had accurately listed those on the Kickstarter page, I doubt backers would have funded it."

That right there - is saying, "If I had accurately listed that this game was going to take more money than I was asking for, and it's going to take five or six years..."

So, I agree with the DPX. The initial Kickstarter was a little deceitful in nature. They knew, going in, by the sounds of it - that they would need way more time than what they said - and that they'd need more money than they were asking for.

Rath Darkblade wrote:Secondly... I don't know if the Coles have done this (i.e. had projects that went years behind schedule) in earlier projects. Have they? If they have, then there might be something to this claim of deceit. If not - i.e. if this is the first time that one of their projects has come in behind schedule and above budget - then there's a first time for everything, and hopefully they'll learn and manage it better next time.


Yes, but reading what he said - it doesn't matter - it sounds like, from the very get go - they knew this was going to take longer and require more money. This doesn't sound like something they discovered after the fact. Otherwise it would have been written more like, "We grossly underestimated how long this project would take, and how much money it would require."

Which is not what they wrote. What they wrote made it sound like they already knew, as I said, from the start, that it was going to take longer than they were saying, and require more money than they were asking for.

Now, I am not disagreeing with you that there are tons of other funds - catering, other staff to hire, etc - but all of that should have been projected prior to the Kickstarter to get an accurate amount of money required; which it sounds like to me, they did. But still undershot the cost, in hopes of getting people to fund it, and perhaps believing in the "Stretch Goals" might cover the cost, or know that they'd have to ask for more after the fact.

Rath Darkblade wrote:To give another example, a few months ago, I finished writing a book. But there are other tasks that need to be figured out before publication: I needed a cover design, which I outsourced, because I can't draw. I needed to apply for an ISBN. I needed to find a good accountant, who will take care of the big picture in case this project goes under. There are a whole bunch of people who work on this project, and yet only my name (as the author) goes on the cover. But I make sure to properly thank them in the book. :)
I'm sorry if it seems like I'm preaching. I know I have this tendency to digress. Sorry! :oops:


Yes, but imagine this -

Imagine you said, "Hey folks! I am writing this cool book - but in order to get it published I need to raise $3,000! And I could get it done in one year!"

So people pour their hard earned money to you, and after a year, all you've given is the first chapter of your book to people.

Then you say, "You know what, I need about another three years to finish this book! And probably another $3,000!"

Another year goes by, and then you say:

"I knew this book was going to take me four years to write, and that I'd need $6,000 to fund my book - but I knew if I said that, my book would never have gotten funded."

Which is exactly, what pretty much went down.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby adeyke » Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:40 pm

I share Rath's view that it isn't an admission of intentional deception. To me, that first sentence ("In this case, if I had accurately projected the time, effort, and cost this game would take, we wouldn't have done it.") is saying that they themselves didn't realize how big of an expenditure it would be and that if they'd been better at estimating that, they wouldn't have taken on the project. So the statement is putting the blame on the too-low Kickstarter goal on their poor estimation skills, rather than on intentional deception.

Of course, you can still say that it's irresponsible of them to so grossly underestimate the scope of the project. Or you could hold that they were intentionally deceptive in their Kickstarter pitch and are now also being intentionally deceptive by trying to blame it on a poor estimate. But I don't think that statement actually serves as a confession of intentional deception.
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Re: Hero-U

Postby DeadPoolX » Sun Jul 03, 2016 4:56 pm

Rath Darkblade wrote:I am not so sure that the Coles were being purposefully deceitful.

First of all, to deceive someone, it goes without saying that you are doing it on purpose. If it's accidental, then yes - it's not what they're expecting - but then, it's not what you were expecting either. So while it may be incompetence, it's not criminal, so there's no deceit.

Criminal or not, that's not the point. Based on what Corey wrote, it stands to reason he KNEW (or at least had a good idea) that they wouldn't be able to succeed with the funds gathered.

Maybe deceit is a strong word for it, but at the very least, the Coles weren't transparent and honest. When asking people to fund your project, you need to be upfront about the costs and timetable. If you're not, you'll not only piss off your fanbase (which is essentially what they've done), but you'll destroy your reputation.

Rath Darkblade wrote:Finally, what Corey is saying here, he is saying with the benefit of hindsight and with the benefit of knowing what the final product is like. We don't know, because all we've seen is fairly unimpressive mock-ups. Perhaps the final product is unbelievably wonderful, amazing, bravo - and if so, perhaps the Coles were justified in taking their time over it, polishing it, putting gloss on everything.

But Rath, that's part of the problem. They have NOTHING to show for themselves except a barely functioning alpha demo. It's not like they've done most of the work and have taken longer to refine their project.

Rath Darkblade wrote:Remember, the Coles are programmers and game developers, not project managers (not as far as I know, anyway). For just two people to create a game that is up to the standards of today, without a game studio company at your back, is incredibly difficult.

True, but that's also not my problem. As someone who paid money to see a project through, I don't need to "understand" the difficulties involved or accept their lack of experience and knowledge.

You can't ask for money, run over-budget, ask for money, have nothing to show for it, and then say: "Well, we didn't know what we were doing, so our bad."

That's just not acceptable.

Rath Darkblade wrote:There are many things that a game company does that we just don't see: there are accountants, cleaners, managers, caterers, admin staff etc. - the unsung heroes who make every day a little more bearable for the programmers, and who take care of the every-day humdrum boring stuff so that the creative people - the designers, programmers, artists, musicians etc. - don't have to and can focus on making the game.

Actually, I understand that quite well, but even so, that's still not problem. The Coles needed to plan ahead and budget. If they couldn't do that, then they've failed. It's not my responsibility to accept ineptitude from a project I've backed.

Rath Darkblade wrote:...but you can't expect people, who have worked their whole lives in programming or game design, to suddenly (and overnight) become experts at accounting and managing and admin too. It simply doesn't work like that. ;)

Then learn it before you accept money from backers, produce nothing, and then ask for money. If that takes years of work, then so be it.

Again, it's not my responsibility to accept their lack of experience or knowledge. It is, however, their responsibility to be able to carry through on their promises and produce something their backers have paid for.

By your rationale, Rath, anyone should be able to bill themselves as someone knowledgeable in a field when in reality, that have no understanding or experience in that very same field. That's called fraud and is very illegal.

Tell me, Rath, would you be okay with a building contractor taking your money, and four years later, virtually nothing has been done to construct your home? How about the fact this same contractor didn't know anything about his so-called business and despite having already taken your money (and continually asking for more), he tells you he doesn't really know what he's doing and that he's "learning as he goes," but wants you to be patient and accept this.

No, you'd be furious. You'd probably sue and be well within your rights to do so.

So why should I calmly accept that the Coles were, at best, completely inept and at worst, deceitful?
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Re: Hero-U

Postby OmerMor » Sun Jul 03, 2016 5:32 pm

a) I don't think they were being purposefully deceitful. I share Rath and adeyke's view on this.
b) I don't admire the Coles for their project management skills. I love them for creating some of the best games I ever played. For carving some part of my childhood. And for being the cool people that they are. Nothing will ever change that.
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