The road less traveled..
The gamescom Star Citizen presentation
UPDATE1: Shortly after this post went live, Star Citizen was being demoed at gamescom via live TwitchTV stream. It completely solidified my opinion that this project is not only in trouble, but is never going to be completed as pitched. Pretty much what I said in my original blog back on July 4th weekend.
They were touting large, near-barren AC 2.0 scenes going from 8km and up to 8.7b km space (which is a postage stamp compared to my game worlds btw) in size, multi-crew ships (which we did back in the 2000s, and which has been working in my latest game for almost two years now; also Star Wars Galaxies had that) with clunky (ok – it’s alpha, I get that) controls – and not much else worthy of note. And even with local networking, and less than eight players, the networking issues were still very evident.
Nothing tangible on the once delayed/canceled Star Marine, nothing to show on Squadron 42. But oh, there’s a largely empty social module which is a great conduit to sell you more crap.
$85m+ and four years later. No “game”.
And he’s claiming to be making a game that’s supposedly “substantially better” than mine? I don’t think so.
UPDATE2: More obfuscation. Yet again. From this PCGamesN interview. “You’re not going to have 50 systems to adventure in, but I think most people are going to have a lot of fun“. Assuming that he’s not referring to the final Star Citizen universe size, do you know what the original Kickstarter pitch was, or the RSI follow-up? Here, let me refresh your memory:
3 million – Citizens with appropriate packages will receive access to the Star Citizen universe with 40 star systems for persistent online play upon release.
4 million – Star Citizen will launch with 50 star systems and feature an additional flyable ship, the Drake Interplanetary Cutlass.
4.5 million – Star Citizen will launch with 60 star systems.
5 million – Star Citizen will launch with 70 star systems.
6 million – Star Citizen will launch with 100 star systems.
UPDATE3: With the GC2015 event over, as I suspected and wrote below, the event comes with a fundraising spike, though the money raised is the lowest raised to date for a post-event fundraiser. Following the Friday reveal event, they raised about $750K between Friday and Saturday. The analysis says no new backers (citizens), but I calculate 2489 new backers between 08/06 – 08/08. Which means it’s mostly the same whales funding the game; and mostly those buying stuff to resell on the Grey market.
And he’s now gone on record with delivery dates in this GC2015 video, in which he states Social Module (end of Aug), Star Marine (end of Sept), Multi-Crew (end of Oct).
I have been refraining from saying anything to Chris about his gamescom comments because I think that he knows by now that a bunch of people are about to bring a world of legal hurt his way for all the shit they’ve pulled over there.
Adding fuel to that already raging fire, probably explains his abrupt pause right when he was about to, again, say something stupid for us to add to an already bulging evidence arsenal.
Then there’s this gem:
“I try not to get into any of that. I think people who talk about other people’s work… I don’t know what to say, other than, if someone spent so much energy focusing on their own stuff, maybe people would like their own stuff better. I don’t particularly pay much attention to him because it seems like the more people pay attention to him… “
As I said in a recent post, let’s be honest, he would have be several levels of high to call me out in public without anything worthy of note. Which is probably why he stopped short. My blogs alone have probably caused so much angst and consternation, that baiting me would be the path to mutually assured destruction if I re-engaged again.
And I make that MAD reference because I am well aware that engaging in conduct that involves public discourse with another developer, usually has a lot of downsides. You know, like politics and Hollywood. It’s not something that I do. In fact, I’ve never done it before my second blog about this farce because I think it’s disrespectful and poor form.
Chris, in your case however, I made the exception because you’re a *removed some choice descriptors here* who doesn’t care about the people around you, despite the public face you portray to the gullible cult fools who lap up your lies, hypocrisy and deceit. If you cared one bit about the lives you’re about to disrupt, the families you’re about to uproot, when this project fails – as most of us suspect that it will – you would make better choices.
“I think at the end of the day the game is gonna speak for itself, the content speaks for itself. There’s plenty of people who say, y’know, you can’t do certain things and I don’t listen to them. Especially, y’know, I mean, you have to listen to people who have actually been able to do stuff and that you respect. That’s not the case [here].”
That’s truly hilarious. I can ignore the jab because I know that you’re under a lot of pressure and not thinking straight. Plus it’s OK to be delusional about one’s own abilities (To wit: I build games. You build promises), even with a straight face. But here’s the thing, if you actually listened to the people who are building this game, you’d be in a better place by now. They’ve told you – time and time again – that it can’t be done. Even the people who built the engine you’re using, have told you the same thing. You chose to ignore them. And now, four years and over $85m+ later, you still don’t have a “game”, while those very talented people, are killing themselves trying to help you make good on lofty goals and promises made. They will fail; simply because they know by now that i) it’s a paycheck ii) you’re not worth saving
You did this.
You lied – again and again – to everyone (including me) who trusted you and had faith that this time, maybe, just maybe, you would actually deliver on lofty goals and promises, instead of crashing and burning (yeah, those of us who were around, remember the EA and Microsoft exits well enough) once failure was imminent. You know, pretty much where you are now, after burning through $85m+ of crowd-funded money, without a “game” to show for it.
Here’s the thing, I’ve made more money in my career, than you will ever get to see, outside of crowd-funding. And seeing as you were flat broke prior to myself and the rest of the people who gave you $85m pretty much helped you get a new roof over your head, new Porsche cars and a mansion – all paid for by crowd-funding (including my $250) money, I’d say that you should be thanking me.
And even though my games aren’t the sort of games that are going to win any awards (actually, that’s not true because Battlecruiser 3000AD won a few back in the day), I am happy in the thought that a) I paid for them b) I didn’t blow (see what I did there?) someone else’s money on my bullshit dreams c) if I quit doing this, I can always, you know, go get a job instead of relying on public handouts. That’s what a sound education, talent and experience give you: a solid plan B.
And unlike you, through all the challenges, the disappointments, the noise and the pain, not once did it occur to me that I should, like a sniveling defeated coward, bail and go find something else to do. Then fail – yet again; only to come running back decades later, pan in hand, to the industry I abandoned and left with the carcasses of games (we still remember Freelancer. &^$%^#*[email protected] you!) I FAILED to deliver on as promised.
“We have a lot of people who work really hard on this, they’re very passionate about making everything possible for people that have backed it. Maybe it’s taking a bit longer than people want it to, but I think it’s going to be really good and it’s also expanded in terms of scope. I’m pretty confident that [none of the backers want] some small limited scope game. And the only person who probably would want that is someone who doesn’t want to have a game that’s significantly better than the one they’re making.“
You had every opportunity to make this right; but since you’re used to abject failure, you ignored the end result which would lead to the failure that you’re now facing again.
And while I’m at it, let the record show that, for the second time in as many months, you’ve admitted – on the record – to scope creep. Something that, just last month, July 20th to be exact, you were vehemently denying – again on the record as I wrote over here.
As to that last part, were you high? Aside from the fact that back in 2012 I gave you $250 as part of my contribution, here, let me quote the closing statement in my first blog (the one that started this discourse):
I have come to terms with the fact that, at my age, I will never be able to realize my dreams of building that awesome all-encompassing space and planetary combat game that I envisioned decades ago. And it wasn’t from my lack of trying, let alone expertise.
So I really do hope and pray that RSI can pull this off, because if someone like me, with all my experience and expertise on this very same subject and who has spent half a lifetime trying can’t do it without sacrificing something (visual fidelity, performance, scope etc) in the process, and they, with all this money and star talent can’t do it either, then it’s safe to say that it simply can’t be done. At least not in our lifetime.
So what you’re saying is that, back in Nov 2012 when I funded your project, said and wrote good things about my hopes for it, somehow – even though my own game was already almost two years in the making – I didn’t really want you to succeed with your game because I didn’t want it to be better than mine?
Yes, clearly, you’ve lost it.
Fact is, the only way that Star Citizen is ever going to be “significantly better” than the game I’m making, is if a) someone else – not you – were making it b) you actually have an angel chained in the basement of your mansion, and who is capable of making the impossible come true; since miracles tend to take a little longer.
And we all know that either way, it’s going cost a lot of money to pull off. And you no longer have that. Even so, there’s a big difference between making promises, and actually delivering on same.
You’ve had all this money, and a stellar team, yet, after four years, you still have no game and the much touted “persistent universe” (which btw, I was already building back when you were riding high on Wing Commander) is a pipe dream. Meanwhile, the game you’re probably referring to, Line Of Defense, already had a working persistent universe, back in 2011, and long before I was even $2m in. And I’ve spent a lifetime building those.
So go ahead, tell me again about how your pipedream of a game is going to be so “significantly better” when all you have – after four years and $85m – are two buggy modules. One of which, Arena Commander, even at its peak when a much touted patch was recently released, celebrated an average of less than 2000 players. Out of over 900K backers. That game?
“I think that’s the problem with today and the internet: people that are willing to be keyboard warriors and be loud have a platform they wouldn’t have had in the past. Then of course everyone likes sensationalists and people slinging mud around.”
Chris, what’s amazing to me is that you spent time slinging mud, then complain that the internet gives people the power to sling mud. Given your penchant for backpedaling on cue, this is hardly surprising. But here’s the thing; if you’re going to sling mud, do it the way that I do. Direct. No waffling. No pause. No fear. You know, don’t be a coward. That’s not the mark of a true leader. I’m a leader. You’re just a blundering fool who lost his way too many snorts ago.
Before all this, ahead of my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, after seeing the train wreck that you were turning this project into, as you well know, I reached out to you directly and through common industry peers, trying to get answers and to give you the opportunity to explain to me – a backer and your peer – what was going on, and what you were doing with our money.
Things would have been different. But in typical fashion, and the arrogance that you display in everything you say and do, you chose to ignore it because you were already safe in the thought that you had built a cult of freaking idiots who would fight your public battles for you and against the likes of me. My guess is that you and them never planned to be dealing with someone who isn’t a coward, and who can, you know, actually construct two sentences together without reaching for a dictionary and/or pain medication.
“I think the game’s going to speak for itself. I definitely know that what people care about is a good game more than anything else. At the end of the day, if it’s a bit late and it’s great, that’s what counts. If it’s crap and you push it out the door, it’s crap forever.“
Really? You had one job.
A job you wanted $20m to do. As I wrote here, in detail, we gave you that.
Then you went crazy; and somehow, with your posse, figured out how you could continue riding the gravy train while finding new and rather inventive ways of getting more money, while NOT delivering on promises already made.
This is not about you. It was never about you. This was about a work product that over 900K people gave you over $85m to build. Nobody gave you money to live out a lavish lifestyle (I don’t even have a cook, and you have a cook!?), blow the money on bullshit, squander most of it on shit that has NOTHING to do with BUILDING A GAME etc
Yes, we know. All of it. And it should come as no surprise to you that in the very near future, all of this is going to come to a head and everyone will see that truly, the emperor had no clothes. And all the people who are pandering to and enabling your bullshit, are going to be first in line to tear you to shreds. That’s the bed you’ve made; and that’s the one you get lay in. I hereby pledge to bring the sheets.
As I wrote earlier, you’ve already been caught waffling about scope creep. In one breath, you are denying it, while in another, you’re admitting it – while blaming the backers for your irresponsible decisions.
And despite your disinformation team’s and White Knight cultists attempts at downplaying it, we are well aware that you have already started scaling back parts of game in more ways that one. And as I wrote here, the SQ42 cut is just one aspect of it. We’re all waiting for the other penny to drop.
You go on and on about accountability, yet dodge the tough questions. Which explains your cagey attitude and avoidance tactics at gamescom this year. You refuse to answer direct questions about this project, what happened to all this money, whether there is even enough (there isn’t) money left to finish this project etc.
Yet, you wonder why your crowd-funding has fallen off a cliff in the past two months.
And it’s about to get a whole lot worse. You wait and see.
Now you’ve blown through $85m and the people with more than two functioning brain cells, know better than to give you ANY more money until you can deliver a substantial part of the game they already gave you $85m to build.
You’re at gamescom. Again. And yet again, you’re going to pull the same shit that you guys do at all of these shows. That being, show some fancy footage specifically designed for the cult to lap up, sell it like it’s actually a work product worthy of note, let alone release worthy, then try to sell more shit for a “game” that DOES NOT YET EXIST AND WHICH BY ALL ACCOUNTS, NEVER WILL.
So after blowing through $85m – and still no game; then knowing that to finish the game will require more money in order to deliver on original promises to backers, you have to keep raising money in order to deliver on that. Without any additional or sufficient money, there is no way in hell you can deliver on the original promise. And you’ve already said just that – on camera, and on the record.
And with that in mind, most of us are still having a hard time trying not to compare all of this to an elaborate Ponzi/Pyramid hybrid scheme. Here is an excerpt from Investopedia:
A Ponzi scheme is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers. One difference between the two schemes is that the Ponzi mastermind gathers all relevant funds from new investors and then distributes them. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, allow each investor to directly benefit depending on how many new investors are recruited. In this case, the person on the top of the pyramid does not at any point have access to all the money in the system.
Here’s the thing, no matter how this whole thing plays out, the game’s up. Period. End of story.
As I wrote in my Interstellar Justice blog, when your team yanked my RSI account, then tried to LIE about why it was done, you made it clear that you had something to hide, and that I was the last person you wanted poking around in your business. I also warned you that all you did was strengthen my resolve to get to the bottom of this; and that, win, lose or draw, someone – it really doesn’t matter who – was going to get sued before the dust settled on this.
And regardless of who gets sued first, the end result will be the same: we WILL get to the bottom of what you’ve done with all this money, and this project. We will uncover all your lies. We will uncover what happened to every single penny of the $85m you were given to build this game.
You will never – ever – get away with this. And I will make sure of it.
You had one job. And in typical fashion, you blew it. Again.
ps: See the ad that I use as a caption for this piece? That’s a reminder that I’ve been down this road before. That “flair” ad was the brain child of my publishers, Take Two (the old guard), from back in the day when I was a young, Green, game developer out on a limb, and out of his depth, attempting to bring an ambitious project to completion. You can read (see p8) more about those lofty goals here in this Next Generation article from 1998 . That’s what happens when you’re staring at failure in the face, and in an industry that is quicker to remember your failures, than your successes.