Star Citizen – Black Knights Matter

Star Citizen – Black Knights Matter

“Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand. – Karl Marx”

Since I tend not to engage in meaningless discussions in places (the usual anti-social cesspools of malcontent) where they are likely to go South as soon as the shit-posting starts, I have decided to create this blog and enable comments (moderated) so that the decent and reasonable Star Citizen White Knights who can i) spell ii) construct a sentence that actually makes sense iii) make reasonable arguments without the usual personal attacks, harassment etc, can engage me in meaningful discourse so that we can, at the very least, reach some sort of consensus on what needs to happen going forward, what impact it can/will have etc.

But first, there’s a petition that a bunch of anti-social misfits are using to attack me. I feel that I should address it, even though that’s just going to draw attention to their pitiful attempts at attacking, harassing, bullying and otherwise trying to intimidate me. But it’s gaming, so it is what it is.

And so, once more into the breach. And as you read this, remember..

“Game developers are just human beings who happen to make games for a living.
If you want to hold us up to higher standards of conduct, then go ahead
…but don’t be surprised if we don’t uphold them”


OPEN LETTER TO ANTI-SOCIAL WHITE KNIGHT MISFITS

Hello Everyone,

Seeing as the creator of this petition listed me as the decision maker, we have been following this petition very closely.

I am writing this update, from the perspective of an avid gamer and in a manner in which I am sure you will understand, in order to make a few things clear so that we’re all on the same page going forward.

While I have the utmost respect and admiration for gamers from all corners of gaming, the one thing that I detest and abhor the most, are personal attacks, bullying, harassment and anti-social behavior.

Those of you who are not familiar with me, my history or my work, should probably do some more research, starting with this Gaming Urban Legend blog article. I tend not to compromise on these things; and there are NO exceptions to this rule.

YE OF THE OLDE SKOOL

As an old school gamer and game dev, I love this industry and couldn’t possibly imagine any other activity, work or otherwise, that gives me more satisfaction than being a part of a social group that encourages, sparks and promotes creativity.

Sure, we don’t always get along, let alone agree on most things, but that’s how society works. I have always advocated for gaming, promoted what I felt was right, while putting myself in the firing line during the most intense discourse.

For example, just two weeks ago, I was right in the middle of the #GamerGate controversy because, as an avid gamer, while we do have a bunch of anti-social gamers in our midst, the core of gaming is about fun and community, not hate, misogyny and all that nonsense. You can read more about that on this blog I wrote following the event.

THROWING OUT THE BABY WITH THE BATH WATER

That said, when this petition first went up, I reviewed it, then discarded it as yet another attempt by a minority (oh, there’s over 1000 of you? that’s so cute) group of  “gamers”, to troll me or otherwise use this as yet another platform to attack, harass and bully me into doing what they want.

I even had my researcher Google Translate every single one of the foreign comments because before writing this, it was important to me that I get the full picture before responding. Especially since a bunch of crazy German (big Star Citizen fans) gamers who don’t know any better, have been trolling our game forums, media comment pages etc with the usual bullshit that’s just said in a foreign language. This despite the fact that these clowns don’t even have a freaking clue wtf is going on.

So here we are:

Listen, and listen closely because I’m only going to say this once. If it doesn’t come across at first, refresh the browser page so you can say you read it more than once.

Attacking, harassing, bullying or otherwise doing and saying things which are designed to intimidate and/or cast me in a poor light, won’t work. It never did. It never will. And I don’t compromise on things like this.

Trying to attack, harass, bully or otherwise seek to intimidate the one person in gaming who has never – ever – allowed it, is a lesson in futility. That effort is better spent, in, you know – PLAYING GAMES!

THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEMES

The petition creator is simply misguided in thinking that the defamatory missive in her petition, not to mention the infantile “Bring it on, Derek” comment in her Aug 25th update, are the sort of statements that are likely to bring about change.

They are not.

In fact, that’s the sort of thing that I see in some forums, and media comment sections, read them, and keep on scrolling because there are people in this world who, living a life less ordinary, are best left alone to wallow in their obscurity, devoid of any attention other than the gratification of being in a group of like-minded nobodies in their small corner of the digital world.

That’s how utterly dismissive I am of such rhetoric and the people engaging in them.

There is a saying that goes like this, and you should probably look it up:

You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar

Trying to petition someone into doing something, while insulting them, making legally actionable defamatory comments etc is not exactly the sort of road to take if you want to be taken seriously.

After my researcher gave me the analysis of comments in the petition, though new ones have been added since I was given that report, it is very clear that the majority (by a wide margin) of the people in this petition are the same anti-social mob that give gaming a bad name, cast it in a poor light etc.

The same anti-social clowns who gang up on other Star Citizen backers over on the RSI forums at the slightest hint of dissent. Which is why, despite the best efforts of the RSI forum staff (who deserve kudos for their handling of the misfits in the ranks), those forums are completely out of control and resemble the battleground that the game is trying to build.

You clowns don’t belong in gaming.

As such, those of you with this mindset and who think harassment, attacks, bullying etc are the way to get something done, are simply not worthy of the “gamer” tag.

And you are most certainly not worthy of any dialog with me. In fact, I had my researcher write most of this missive, which I then edited for context, while injecting my own flair. You know, so at least those who are familiar with my no-nonsense attitude and way of writing, know it’s coming from me.

Instead of being let loose online, you misfits of the prerequisite age, belong in a juvenile detention center where you can be reprogrammed into how to be an upstanding member of society, treat people with respect etc. I blame your parents because this sort of behavior is bred and learned. And it’s precisely why aliens visiting Earth, won’t talk to us.

So the collective actions of you who are engaging in this sort of behavior displayed in the petition comments, are without merit, they won’t CHANGE A THING. But hey, at least you get to vent, engage in a collective circle-jerk right? I mean, it’s not like ANY of you even read the terms and conditions of the petition site before posting your comments. And with that, it is clear that this was more about attacking someone, than it was about petitioning him to enter into dialog, work together on a meaningful resolution etc.

THAT MOMENT WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU PICKED A FIGHT WITH THE WRONG PERSON

Unlike you anti-social misifts (you know yourselves), I’m a leader who gets to make tough decisions on a daily basis. I don’t always make the best or right ones, nor do I profess to be the beacon (I see myself more as the Deacon Of Discourse) of what is otherwise considered good (lol!) online behavior, but as a decent human being, and who was raised right, I always strive to be honest, fair, reasonable and unbiased. Even if those opinions are unpopular. And best of all, I tend to stand tall, even in the face of failure, worthy adversaries and seemingly insurmountable challenges.

In short, you clowns don’t scare me.

In conclusion, given the approach that the petition creator took, not to mention the rhetoric in the comments, my response to you is this:

Your time is best spent doing something worthy of meaningful results. Without meaningful or reasonable discussions, nothing you do, say, or write, is going to change what I have set in motion regarding this Star Citizen fiasco and my quest for answers and accountability.

The fact that you in this petition think that my actions were taken in an attempt to speak for all Star Citizen fans or to derail the project, says more about the sort of unbridled arrogance and displaced entitlement that are only found in gaming, than about the subject matter.

I currently have around 5K disgruntled Star Citizen gamers (like this person for example) in an internal dB who disagree with the White Knights who just want to bury their collective heads in the sand, give the project creators a pass, even as the project continues to head toward failure and a catastrophic loss of backer investment. So believe me when I tell you this, none of this is about just what I want.

Regardless of how this ends, and it will end one way or another, I am going to get the answers that I am seeking.

I am well known for never giving up on anything. And I have never – ever – engaged in any legal battle in which I didn’t prevail in some fashion or another. Not one. There are very good reasons for that; primary one being that I tend not to engage in legal battles if I didn’t have an exceptionally good chance of prevailing. It’s an ego thing, you see.

Those of you who are not part of this anti-social mob, and who have genuine concerns, are more than welcome to go to my blog and engage me in reasonable arguments as to why you believe that my actions will cause more harm than good to the Star Citizen project. I am notorious for being very reasonable and unbiased; so go ahead and engage me in meaningful discourse, and you may just be surprised at the outcome.

Don’t forget that RSI/CIG have thirty-days from receipt of the demand letter to do something completely and utterly stupid, which has been the pattern for quite some time now. So be prepared for what comes next, regardless of what general consensus we all reach in the coming days.

That is all. As you were.

#BlackKnightsMatter

358 thoughts on “Star Citizen – Black Knights Matter

  1. Hi jcr99,

    Thanks for your comment. You bring up some good point but please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we will agree on some of them.

    Please keep in mind, I do agree that indeed the deal is between the individual and the company. They pitched a project and both you and me individually decided to support that vision.
    I also agree that the number of backers is irrelevant. Any millionaire could have pledged $10 Million if they wanted to.
    But think about that for a minute. Have you ever backed a crowdfunded projects that imposed limits on the amount of money they would raise or accept from you? Project makers define a minimum but almost never set a maximum.

    Please follow my reasoning here.
    Take a look at the “Pebble” watch KS campaign.
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android/description

    The project makers only asked for $100.000 but instead they got $10 Million.
    Think about it. That is 100 times above the minimum amount they requested.

    Just to give you some contrast here the minimum amount of money to fund the SC project was $2 Million. At $90 Million SC is about 45 times above the base amount they requested.
    Consider this for a minute. If Pebble had asked for $2 Million like SC and got 100 times the money they asked, they would be a $200 Million project.

    Obviously the amounts are different but my point here is just to show you how a crowdfunded project can get way, way more funds then initially expected.

    Look. I understand your point of view. They stated they could deliver the game with $20 Million right? In your opinion they shouldn’t accept any more funds past $20 Million. I can agree with you on that. But I have yet to see a crowdfunded project that refuses additional funds. Pebble didn’t require 100 times the base investment. But they didn’t refuse it either. Torment is still accepting money. Same fro Shroud of The Avatar or Baldur’s Gate or Kingdom Come.

    The key thing here is that CIG never ever told the backers that when they reached $20 Million they would stop accepting funds.

    Now you and I may not agree with that, but from the posts I read from you, you seem like an informed person. You have followed other crowdfunded projects. So you do know that a project can often get bigger than initially expected and get way more funds then they asked for.

    So what I ask you is this. Is SC crowdfunding project any different than the others on this matter?

    One thing is sure, no matter the project most people expect the raised funds to be used on the project . So if a project gets $10 Million instead of $100.000, those $10 Million must be used to for instance, expand production.
    If a project gets $80 Million instead of $2 Million, those $80 Million must be used to deliver a better product.

    But this last point is just an opinion. I’m sure some would probably prefer if CIG delivered a $20 Million game and kept the extra money in the bank.
    But would that be the correct thing to do?

  2. Hi Derek,

    Been reading this week comments. Was looking forward to reply to your last post but had a touch week.
    Anyway, that change from 12 to 18 months is something that should be pointed out.
    Because that gives them extra time and people should be aware of that.

    Still regarding the release date, I think the confusion is that they gave an estimated release date for the alpha/beta (2014). As for the game release they were aiming for sometime in 2015. I’ll post my sources bellow:

    This is what is written in the Kickstarter page :

    “The people who pledge for their spaceships will get to test-fly them long before the general public. 12 months in, we will allow the early backers to play the multiplayer space combat Alpha, and then 20-22 months in they will get to play the Star Citizen Beta, adventuring around the huge open galaxy, well before the general public. We are going to limit our alpha slots to 200,000 as we want to stress test the game with real users, but will not be ready for the full load until we have finished Beta.”

    I mention this in a reply to Coke post above. 20-22 months after the campaign it’s late 2014. But keep in mind : for the Star Citizen Beta.

    Still by the end of 2014 we supposedly would be playing SQ42 and Star Citizen was supposed to come out sometime during 2015.

    The articles I mention are from late 2012 or early 2013 :
    Found this interview where they mention a final release of late 2014 early 2015.

    http://oculusrift-blog.com/star-citizen-and-the-future-of-relationship-management/722/

    And gameinformer also asks Chris Robets this question ::

    http://www.gameinformer.com/games/star_citizen/b/pc/archive/2013/03/13/interview-chris-roberts-charts-a-course-for-star-citizen.aspx?PostPageIndex=4

    And I quote :
    :”What is your target release window?

    Hopefully you’ll be playing the end of 2014. You’ll at least be playing the beta. At the end of this year we’re going to have a dogfighting alpha, which is going to let you get into space, matchmake, and play with the ships you’ve already pledged with. There won’t be an existing universe or a story but you’ll be able to fight. Basically we’re getting space dogfighting down.”

    So regarding the final game delivery date, it was always 2015. That is what they will use to defend themselves because they never confirmed you would get the final game in 2014. Only access to alpha and beta. And those are internal milestones that may suffer delays.

    So since the estimated delivery date is 2015, according to the TOS people will have the right to start asking for refunds by the end of 2016. (12 months)

    Anyway Derek. I think this is irrelevant. The key thing here is to determine :

    – If they can deliver the game in a timely matter
    – If they are using all the funds to build the game

    Thing is, if CIG can justify their delays and can prove they are doing everything in their power to deliver on their promise, I think they won’t have any issues.
    Given the release window provided they are still within acceptable bounds.
    But indeed they need to be accountable and can’t expect people to wait indefinitely.

    Anyway the release date is irrelevant.
    If someone has proof that they have used some money to fund other projects other then SC or has proof that they never intended to deliver the game within an acceptable time frame (2014-2016) then action must be taken.

    Derek, as a final note I would like to congratulate your effort. I imagine actions like this bring a lot of stress to both parties. But I think the goal here is beneficial.

    If CIG isn’t doing anything wrong they have the chance to come clean and at the same time this pressure will force CIG to focus on the project. After all people patience will eventually run out.

    It is better to get a clear image of the state of the project now, than facing issues later.
    The way I see it, this can actually be a good thing for Star Citizen supporters.

  3. Hi Coke,

    The confusion is that the 2014 release was for the alpha or beta content. Not the finished game. But don’t take my word for it. Here is proof from the Kickstarter page you point out :

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cig/star-citizen/description

    In the :”We need your support section” they wrote :

    “The people who pledge for their spaceships will get to test-fly them long before the general public. 12 months in (2013), we will allow the early backers to play the multiplayer space combat Alpha, and then 20-22 months in they will get to play the Star Citizen Beta (2014), adventuring around the huge open galaxy, well before the general public. We are going to limit our alpha slots to 200,000 as we want to stress test the game with real users, but will not be ready for the full load until we have finished Beta.”

    So 12 months from December 2012. That is 2013. And then 22 months later. That’s end of 2014. For the PU beta. Not the final game. The delivery date was never 2014. It was always 2015.

    Also check the pledge packages on the old site on the Internet Archive :
    https://web.archive.org/web/20121117043437/http://www.robertsspaceindustries.com/star-citizen/

    The thing is, everyone backing the project back in 2012 was getting alpha/beta access. The 2014 release was for that.

  4. That’s irrelevant. Lawsuits, like insurance, taxes etc are the cost of doing business.

    Further, there is nothing in my demand letter in which I asked them for anything personally related to me. My attorneys even made it clear that we’re not even talking about their defamatory conduct at this point.

  5. The petition, which just happens to be an attack platform, is inconsequential and irrelevant. That’s why I ignore it. It’s just the sort of arrogance that gaming is rife with.

    I never once proclaimed that I represented, nor spoke for everyone. That’s something some of you came up with all on your own.

  6. Yup. What they did was, they completely changed it and came up with the /tos/ link which was first captured in Aug 2013. And that one, as I mentioned, is the one that got the 12 to 18 months change.

    All original Kickstarter backers would have been subject to the ToS that was active in Oct 12 to the completion of the campaign. Then again to the ToS that was active at the time those in the campaign created their RSI accounts in order to be able to claim their rewards.

  7. I think what he is talking about…correct me if I am wrong…is that your actions could cause CIG to pay you money damages…OUR MONEY! Money we give CIG to either fulfill our collective vision of a game and I must mention the ongoing entertaining aspect of their informative videos and posts, art, behind the scenes access etc. We are CIG…their money is OUR money…we put it there for a reason….your lawsuit threatens all of our investments….does that make any sense?
  8. My contribution in the petition is only to say that you do not speak for me…I am “hopeful” that the project will be as it is promised but I am not so naive to think it will ultimately be exactly what I anticipate…however; the latest Gamescom footage of the game tells me that even in that state it will fulfill my expectations even if all the other future features fail…they are not promises to me..they are dreams of how Chris Roberts would like to see the game as we all do. We all know there are always technological limits but also know that in time they can be overcome.

    Anyway…it appears to me by your response that you are getting a lot of personal attacks and inappropriate messages…this is not at all professional or a proper way to treat anyone. I will not take part in any mud slinging on either side and can only hope that everyone will grow up and stop saying things that are not in the interest of effective communication.

    Be well, my hope is that your issues will someday be resolved and maybe, just maybe you and Chris Roberts can be men and have a beer to discuss your agreement to disagree on certain things and then go play Star Citizen….we can dream.

  9. “It was the community that voted to continue on this path.”
    There is no such thing of “community” in this deal. In one side you bring the TOS to the table. In the other, you contradict the TOS when you refer changes to the deal which involved a “community”. There is no such thing. The deal was made between the company and the individual. Not between the company and a group where “the majority vote and decide whatever”.

    Besides, go there and read again that 19 million letter. They were not “asking” the public. They were begging to the public voting to continue. Still it was a minority who voted, which is irrelevant. If one person said no, they should consider not having the green light to proceed, or imediatelly offered refunds to people, openly communicating that while asking.
    There is not a single negative point raised there, like, “it could delay the game in 2/3/4 years” or “as we expand we are going to need more R&D to figure out a way to deliver this”… etc. There is not the option or a statement that customers who did not like the idea would be entitled to a refund. Nothing.
    In fact, in these 19/20 million dollars letter they even tried to convince people that with more money, the core of the game would come faster.
    That was an act of bad faith. They broke their deal with individuals making polls just to justify their own actions to pursuit more cash, after all, expanding equals to taking longer which equals to more time selling ships, since they promised to stop with that “on release”.

    Polls to involve the community in what color this or that will have, are one thing. Polls that break a deal are another and are illegal. If they bring this argument of “we asked community” they will be categorized as acting in bad faith, not in good faith, not because “they asked community”, but because they clearly manipulated it to get approval to make what they wanted to make.

    “Now some may not agree, but the funds they have raised after that poll clearly show that the majority did want CIG to aim for a “bigger” AAA game so to speak. The amount of money they have raised clearly show that.”

    No. It does not show that. You can’t claim that this money came from the “majority” of people. The people who are bringing revenue to Star Citizen could actually be less people than those who voted in those polls. You just have to follow the project and see how their monthly revenue grows proportionally to what ship sales were made in that period. You always got 2k-8k, a little more, a little less of ships sold, generating the revenue of the month. It’s very possible that they are, in general, the same people. To be certain, only forensic accountability would tell. But, definitely, you can’t argue that “the amount of money they have raised clearly show that the majority wanted”. And once again, many between those who wanted, were meant to believe, that the game – its core – would come faster with more money raised.

  10. Joao:

    But in honesty, I see more of a conflict in the community then necessarily a conflict with CIG.

    We are 100% in agreement here. And this is precisely why I keep trying to separate the two visions (1.0 and 2.0) because it would be unfair not to make the distinction. In fact, I just wrote another comment in this vein.

    However, as creators, we hold the key. We get to say no. And the buck stops with us. Imagine if every game dev decided to shove every gamer requested feature into a game!! Thing is, once CR realized that he would be making money from these people who kept cheering him on, he lost all focus. And that’s the problem here that people keep either ignoring or not wanting to face. That is not how you manage a project! He could have stuck with vision 1.0, delivered on that, then continued on to vision 2.0. He would still have the money and the support of those who wanted to stick around for the riskier ride.

    The question remains. Are they doing everything in their power and are they using the crowdfunded money to deliver the vision, no matter how ambitious it may be?
    If there is evidence showing that they aren’t, that is what you and your team may end up proving in court.

    There is no question in my mind that they are doing both. And that’s why I said in my blog that I do not believe that he set out to commit consumer fraud. Stuff like that just happens. And that’s how people get caught up with the “fine print” of the law (civil or criminal).

    1. They are delivering work-in-progress modules; albeit slowly, behind schedule etc. This is using the money as intended.
    2. They are spending money on non-dev related things (e.g. marketing, PR etc). This is more of a moral thing, than it is legal. They just broke their own promises and pledge by doing this. And it’s up to the backers to hold them accountable for that. e.g. if they have spent $5m (which is conservative, given what marketing, PR, shows cost) that’s money that could have gone into the project to pay for things like audio, animations, art, levels, staff etc. Heck, that’s payroll for 40 snr engineers who, with benefits, tend to average around $125K a year!
    3. They have spent money on things that are completely unrelated to Star Citizen – and using crowd-funded money and resources. e.g. Sandra’s pet movie project is one such expense. No doubt a forensic accounting (now only possible through lawsuit or Federal action) will uncover such things. This is precisely why the IRS has specific rules and guidelines about business owners co-mingling business and personal funds, transferring of assets (money in this case) between entities etc. And is also why the FTC also has strict guidelines about how creators spend crowd-funded money.
    4. And if they have diverted funds from this project to personal coffers – other than payment for services – that’s jail time. Guaranteed.

    And one of the key issues of any lawsuit is that attorneys tend to call into question past conduct of the defenders. e.g. Chris and Ortwin have been involved in a few ventures here and in Germany which also led to similar issues and the loss of investor money.

    And has already been proven that Sandra, and officer of RSI and credited co-creator of Star Citizen, consistently lied about her credentials. In fact, though we have it, since my last blog Interstellar Breach, went up and after we sent them the legal demand letter, they have since removed one such YouTube instance – including both (1, 2) of her LinkedIn profiles – from the web, though this audio podcast interview (start @ 18:45) still exists.

    These all go toward a “pattern of conduct” which is the sort of thing that attorneys tend to highlight in cases like this. And the Feds, in all criminal cases, tend to dig deeper.

    Still I don’t have the full picture. One thing is sure Derek. If you have evidence that they have made false promises and used the money for things other than funding the project, then things are going to get hot for sure.

    Yes – and that’s pretty much where we are. And it could have all been avoided if they had shown good faith by allowing this accounting. I mean seriously, this is public money. Ask yourself why they are willing to put up charts about how much money they have raised, yet refuse to account for how that money is being spent. And that’s why, by all accounts, this is going to end up in court (assuming the Feds don’t get there first) due to their stance which I comment on here.

    I have seen some people try to make the argument that if they released this accounting to the public, that they would be distracted by the nitpicking the community would be doing. That’s a bullshit argument. How many people even read – let alone understand – the many dev updates being posted? And what’s wrong with backers debating HOW their money is spent? Hence this comment.

  11. Yes – that’s right. But most people keep trying to ignore this. And the reason is about obfuscation of the facts.

    Then they come up with the “estimated” release date. Which is all well and good. But in two months, it will be 12 months delay. And now it makes sense why they secretly changed that to 18 months in the ToS update. Which means that they changed it from Nov 2015 to May 2016. Just like that.

    This is the current version. They changed it between Sept 2014 and Feb 2015.

    VII. Fundraising & Pledges
    RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.

    This is the original from 2013 after “vision 1.0” was fully pledged (back in 2012 on Kickstarter).

    IV. Charges & Billing
    RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.

    And in the current ToS, here is a key section that ties into the above:

    VII. Fundraising & Pledges
    For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.

    Aside from that, as I already explained, the original Kickstarter with the Nov 2014 delivery date, was “vision 1.0”. Then once that KS ended, they continued to increase the scope of the project as he segued to “vision 2.0” and which he expected everyone to come along for the ride. Promising a consumer item A, not delivering or changing to item B without advising the consumer, is tantamount to consumer fraud. And the FTC is very clear on this.

    Aside from that, what’s going to really trip them up in any court case, is that KS has it’s own ToS which is what binds all “vision 1.0” backers. Anyone who backed the game on RSI website is “vision 2.0”. Even so, they are trying to tie even the “vision 1.0” backers to the bullshit and more restrictive ToS on RSI site. And as a “vision 1.0” backer, you had to agree to it, in order to create an account for the purpose of claiming your pledge later on down the road.

  12. First of all Derek. Completely agree with your post.

    But in honesty, I see more of a conflict in the community then necessarily a conflict with CIG.
    I mean, It seems the conflict is between backers that just want CIG to deliver the $20 Million game and those backers that want the $60 Million or more game. The backers that want a 2014-2015 game and those that are willing to wait a couple more years. 2016 or even 2017.
    Let me try to explain:

    Regarding stretch goals and fund raising after the initial campaign, the fact is, most crowdfunded projects continue to accept funds and even unlock new goals long after their KS campaign is over. Just as an example Torment and Kingdom Come.
    So CIG didn’t do anything different then others.
    It was the crowd that gave CIG all those millions. It was the crowd that accepted the TOS that indicated that there could be delays and the game could be delivered as late as 2016 or even 2017. So is CIG at fault here or is it just a question of public demand?

    – As proof at $19 Million they posted a poll asking the community if they should go on with stretch goals or not. A good sample of the community answered that they wanted them to continue with the stretch goals.
    https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/13266-Letter-From-The-Chairman-19-Million

    It was the community that voted to continue on this path. Now some may not agree, but the funds they have raised after that poll clearly show that the majority did want CIG to aim for a “bigger” AAA game so to speak. The amount of money they have raised clearly show that.

    – Regarding stretch goals they also pointed out that some of those stretch goals were longer term goals. Not necessarily features that will be in the game when it first comes out.
    But at the same time some of those stretch goals were already part of the plan. They were just setup as a stretch goal to give the community something to aim for. (simple gamification of the funding process)
    A couple of examples. The system unlocks. They never announced more number of systems than initially promised. The unlocked systems are just part of the list of systems they were going to do. Not necessarily new features.
    Another example. Procedural generation of certain content is considered a longer term goal for instance : https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/13783-Letter-From-The-Chairman-41-Million

    Then again, I completely agree with you Derek. The increase of the scope of the game made this a far more riskier project. They may end up not meeting expectations. But then again people gave them the money in hope they would get to play that ambitious game.

    The question remains. Are they doing everything in their power and are they using the crowdfunded money to deliver the vision, no matter how ambitious it may be?

    If there is evidence showing that they aren’t, that is what you and your team may end up proving in court.

    But until then, I can’t really draw a conclusion since so far, SC follows similar patterns as other crowdfunded projects. That is, they continue to accept funds after the initial campaign. And it seems they are working on the project.

    Still I don’t have the full picture. One thing is sure Derek. If you have evidence that they have made false promises and used the money for things other than funding the project, then things are going to get hot for sure.

  13. > The fact is that indeed CIG pointed out an expected release date of 2015 for SC. Not 2014. 2015 IS the expected date for a full release according to 2012 data.

    The 2014 release date was featured on the kickstarter page, the estimated delivery was November 2014 and can be found at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cig/star-citizen/description .This date was also featured on community websites at the time and accepted as the Star Citizen PU launch date on sites like the Star Citizen wikia.

  14. I agree. Those are standard expenses. Fraud would come from taking money from this project, and spending it on completely unrelated expenses (e.g. funding another unrelated project) or taking money from the company without reason.

  15. I like your analogy, but it comes from the perspective of an honest architect.

    As a thought experiment, let’s pretend you have an evil twin out there (goatee optional.) He makes promises he can’t deliver, but is fine raking in the cash.

    When facing him, the good clients get fleeced. The bad clients seem practical by protecting themselves – maybe they’ve been burned before.

    With this project, we really don’t know which kind of architect we’re dealing with. History indicate one type over the other. Hence the doubt.

  16. Very good points.

    However, please note that this very same disparity (“vision 1.0” v “vision 2.0”) is precisely what’s causing most of the confusion and extremist discourse. Which is why I offered some explanation in this comment. Let me know what you think.

  17. TL:DR I don’t know if somehow my post will be of some help or not.
    I notice that there are people that are big CIG supporters but I also notice that there are people that are exceptionally critic of CIG.
    One side calls the other fanboys. And the other side calls the other trolls or uninformed.

    Extremes are rarely right. There is always some truth in both sides. But blind faith from supporters and speculation from non supporters leads to nothing.

    One of the things I have noticed is that some of you are critical of crowdfunding no matter the project.
    So what is your point? Some projects do go well. Other don’t. Why are some of you just waiting for a failure?
    As for the other side, some of you blindly believe that these companies are looking out for your best interests. This is business.

    I’m willing to listen and I respect Derek Smart because unlike many here, he did initially support Star Citizen. It just so happens that he now believes (for his own reasons) that something fishy is going on and that CIG should be investigated.
    But I also respect Chris Roberts and the people working at CIG and understand the difficulties of game development that may push release dates.
    I understand what I signed up for back in 2012 and hope the game gets made. But I’m not blind. So I’m also keeping an eye on what is going on and interested to see what Derek and his investigators have found.

    I’m simply tired of the good old internet discussions that are completely void of actual information we can check.

    Most of the people here have little or no experience in game development so really your opinions or my opinion on how CIG should handle game development are just like the opinions of the millions of supposed “sports experts” watching a game on their sofa.
    In that regard I give far more credit to Derek. But still, Derek is not part of CIG. So the information he provides is just a perspective. It is not the full picture.
    On the other way, can we really be sure that CIG is indeed doing everything in their power to deliver the promise in a timely matter?

    Speculation, emotional ideals or morals won’t lead to anything. Facts will.
    Some of you claim you have all the facts. But as I’ve read comments from both sides of the equation it seems like most of you don’t have all the facts.
    Most of you do point out several facts, but omit others that don’t suit your views. So that doesn’t help getting the full picture.

    One small example. Some of you claim that CIG promised they would release the game in 2014. And other claim that they never gave a date. I initially believed that indeed the aim was to release the game in 2014, but after looking at posts from 2012, the TOS and other information available online, I got to the conclusion that not only was I wrong but also that both extremes are just twisting the facts to support their own arguments.
    The fact is that indeed CIG pointed out an expected release date of 2015 for SC. Not 2014. 2015 IS the expected date for a full release according to 2012 data.
    And they do have clauses in the TOS that indicate that they will provide a refund option if they fail to deliver the goods 18 months after the expected release date (2015). (i understand that initially they indicted 12 months so this may be a point of contention to bring up in court).
    But they do have a refund clause and they are still respecting the initial agreement since the deadline is 2016/first half of 2017.
    They also point out that in case they fail to deliver the product, that RSI will post an audited cost accounting to fully explain the use of the amounts pledged.

    Quote from the TOS :
    “RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.”
    “For the avoidance of doubt, following the Cancellation Period, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that, following the Cancellation Period, you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.”

    Still, the above is COMPLETELY irrelevant if they have misused the funds in any way. As Derek points out, if there is information that can prove CIG has spent crowdfunded money on “stuff” unrelated to SC, it means CIG has broken their agreement and obviously an investigation needs to proceed ASAP.
    But up until now everything has been pure speculation. Once Derek and his team move forward with the lawsuit we will have access to the investigation.

    Apparently Derek and some other people claim that they have evidence that can prove CIG isn’t following the agreement.
    And CIG obviously claims that they are following the agreement.

    I personally don’t have the full picture so, let the games begin. Instead of posting speculation criticizing CIG or defending CIG, lets see what these guys have to show. In the end, the facts are what really matter. Not what we personally want or believe.

    Sorry for my long post. But I feel this issue requires a bit more focus and less noise.

  18. The problem is who is keep feeding CIG to allow them to get this arrogant. Those concept ship aren’t worth anything to me, if I want some pretty spaceship I can crank out one and put on sketchfab, and Im not gonna lose them if CIG goes down. No game no money, is that simple. I never backed SC or any crowd fund project due to my ethical preference, If I was a backer I would demand refund when I find the stretch goals and associated practices act against my interest. Those who keep funding CIG in its late campaign are the rabid fanboys that is now, they are not the bright kind, sanity is an alien concept to them.

    BTW if CR is a dreamer, then the carefully crafted money making scheme would not suit his ideal of making an impossibly good game. As a dreamer with big ego, he may attempt to achieve some higher than life ideal and fail, but never should he allow this project to be turned into something else.

  19. Add me for your class action!
    Im a backer since 2012!
    Let’s kick the dirty CIG butts! IM pretty sure they have alot to hide!!
    Add me! Im ready for that action!
  20. “they would find enough areas where money has been used, which “contributed” to the project – even if it’s just driving costs from home to work.”

    You do understand that paying the employees and the management is part of what the backing is going toward, so someone pulling any sort of compensation from working on the game and then paying for their gas isn’t fraud. It’s called a salary and living expenses. And there are just general expenses that go into running a company that would inevitably come out of the backers money, such as rent for the office spaces. That again is going toward the final product of producing a game.

    Fraud would or misuse of funds would come from something completely unrelated to the production of the game. Not paying the people who make the thing.

    Basically your example isn’t misuse at all.

  21. Got off work at 10 pm last night. Went home, fiddled with my graphics cards settings, fiddled with the overclocking tuning a bit, rebooted, ran star citizen. Played for about 4 hours, trying out different ships, different weapons, different gamemodes. Played against AI, played against really good players, played against a bunch of noobs. Got smacked around, dealt out a little smack of my own. Managed to win a battle royale match, in a Cutlass! a Cutlass! The ship everyone says is a junk dogfighter and wasn’t built “as pitched”. Even Chris Roberts was critical of the design progression of the Cutlass, said it felt overscaled, too big, not a nimble dogfighter.

    As a designer (fully licensed Architect) I am very familiar with scope creep, design iteration, and all the frustration and difficulties of real world delays and cost overruns. I’ve had to go hat in hand to clients and explain unexpected challenges, unforeseen conditions, and explain why a project is going to take longer and cost more. The good clients, the clients I want to work for, are usually attentitve, understanding and intelligent enough to see that the best scenario following these turn in events, is to work with architect and contractor to tighten the screws, maintain focus, find a way to share the burden and see the project through. The bad clients, the worst clients, lawyer up and find a way to benefit themselves and only themselves in a bad situation.

    Clients can also be fired, sometimes it needs to happen.

  22. jfplopes:

    As I mentioned in this comment, I will share it in my upcoming “Star Citizen – The Long Con” blog due out soon.

    As to the other materials, now that we’re heading directly into a lawsuit, I won’t be sharing that material in public; only as part of legal filings (which will be accessible to the public anyway).

  23. Wow. Thanks Derek. Just read your post in the other blog article.
    Just a few questions.
    Can you share CIG response with us?
    Also, in the other post you state that you had access to information that proves CIG has spent some of the money raised on other “stuff”. Can you already share some of that information?
    Also, can you confirm you’re going to sue CIG?

    Looking forward for an update on this.

  24. Yeah, I’ve only been posting here, but thanks to gravatar (used it a few years ago to play the board game go) after my first post I received several dozen requests to change the password to a steam account I forgot I had.

    You can say it’s just a few bad apples, but cults require people like this. They skew the sense of normal and attack all dissenters so the “leader” doesn’t have to get his hands dirty. Worst part is, I don’t see a way for RSI to improve the situation… Removing and shunning “true white knights” from the communities they’re addicted to, could easily create an enraged new breed of “true black knights”.

    To anyone interested in how cults work, I’d suggest watching HBO’s “Going Clear”
    To anyone who doesn’t see a red flag after (how many?) broken promises of “two weeks” should watch the Tom Hanks comedy “The Money Pit” it seems relevant.

  25. I really wish CIG would cut their madness to a reasonable game. The game that was promised and should have been out by now. Even if it was smaller in size. But 95% of the supporters are still fine with all the delays and broken promises – and yet defend it with pink glasses. But what can you do… it’s their choice who they throw money to. If the project fails, let them fail. It’s almost like elections: each year the elect the same shit. And when you think “now they really should have learned the lessons” – no, they haven’t. You can’t help sheep. You just can’t. Also the terms of kickstarter allow a total failure of the project, if you can proof that you have at least tried. And I’m 100% sure, that if CIG really had to open up their finances, they would find enough areas where money has been used, which “contributed” to the project – even if it’s just driving costs from home to work. There is no way to win this war. But people who don’t feel comfortable with this project any longer should really request a refund.
  26. When the first time I read about their stretch goal and concept ship sales, I immediately recognized the fatal flaw in their R&D plan. They are building the tower from top down, growing the leaf without tree. Basically had everything reversed.

    If they have two brain cell bigger than their ego, they would put out SQ42 single player first, use scripted transition between Space and FPS. Instead of selling concept ships, they sell SQ42 the GAME the GAME damn it, 40usd a pop on steam. They could keep this SQ42 saga going with each year, offering new stories, new lore, new maps, new twik in the multi player, and of course NEW SHIPs.

    Mean while take the profit from game sale and work on that MMO thing. The should not bother with the seamless, you are not going to recreate a universe anyway, instead focus on how to synchronize events between Sim and FPS. Don’t bother to build in house engine, just work on the coordination between two different proven engine. Focus most of effort on content, this was how WOW became successful. With a tiny bit of sanity, they would have a basic MMO working after they already had SQ42 series 1 2 3 4 5 etc

    I would not push the limit of hardware, I would not exclusive to the so called PC master race. Start with 360 and PS3 level of graphic, and gradually improve over time. There would not be the best space sim or best FPS, there is only the best game. Ace combat is for the sim, and Halo is for the FPS, everything in scripted physics, some people can bitch, but more people will buy, 13 year old Johnny is not going to complain about technical scope of my game, they only know the gun feels like Halo, and ship looks like Starwar.

    If the game is going to be sim and FPS hydrate, I would completely ditch the joy stick because that thing is dedicated and obscure, mouse key board and console controller all the way.

    The above is from a complete n00b developer who worked 0 hour on game dev.

  27. Most of the SC backers gived up on the matter years ago, mainly due to unrealistic stretch goals, and the toxic fanboy community. Sane person would no longer exist on the CIG forum at this point, those questioned accountability was kicked out of the fandom long ago.
  28. zach:

    I get a lot of trolling (most create new accounts to do just that, leaving their primary accounts unscathed) and insults in my social media feed, and I have a zero tolerance policy for that sort of thing. Just like I do in my blog.

    Let me know what your Twitter account was, and I will review and unblock it of the content posted is as you say. And if it was a mistake on my part, then I apologize in advance.

    ps: I have to say this again. I’m not looking for support in what I am doing. Similarly, I am not speaking for everyone.

  29. If you think #2 is bad, then I don’t know what you can say about #3, I don’t want to believe what CR is doing, but I need to prepare for the truth I guess.

    The vary success of raising fund that permit them to expand scope often is the vary factor that kills them. Most of them had absolutely no experience to run a multi million dollar business, they are ok for their humble project before raising fund, if they suddenly got the money to build a cooperation they are in for the hurt. This is like the guy selling hot dogs at push cart immediately moved to the management position of hot dog factory.

    This is what happen you adopt to the edge egalitarian business model, traditional business practice would employee strict HR measures. It all come down to the investor had string attached.

  30. Derek,
    I am a backer who was actually listening to your arguments. Then I created a twitter account (I had never used twitter up to this point) just to comment on your link about the character artist leaving. ( I said something about how it was about the same amoutn of time he spent at every one of his other jobs on his linkedin. You then blocked me from your twitter only for having a new account “Oh look an egg account!” were your words. You’ve lost my support. You should really consider your attitude when all it takes is a reasonable comment and a new twitter account to get blocked by you. I realize you probably won’t let this go live on your blog, but I would at least like an email response with some kind of explanation for why I was blocked. I wasn’t even disagreeing with you just pointing something out from your source.
  31. Another example of another crowdfunded project doing ok: Planetary Annihilation, even though it was somewhat disappointing they released a full game first. Now they just released the (for backers free) expansion.
  32. The first thing that they do when reading a critic is to google the person and opening an internet investigation so they can find something wrong with that person, that they could use to discredit their opinion. And if they don’t, they start to create things. It’s pretty much a standard behavior of those people, and pretty much encouraged by members of the CIG Staff team like Swofford, Lesnick, Roberts and co.
    SC “community” is like a bunch of drunk in a bar, hijacking the place only for them and policing it and allowing to stay only who they approve, that follow their code, their behavior.
    And Roberts is like a bar owner that does not care with a bad reputation of his bar. While he can suck more money from the drunk, who cares. In defense of the drunk, he actually will kick out people who the “drunk” does not approve, or that are not “good for the drunk”. Like someone saying “Hey, stop to drink folks. That is not healthy” or “Hey bar manager, these guys are jumping in the throat of people for nothing, maybe you should control them more, not encouraging more madness selling them more drinks?”. Such person will be kicked out of the bar, if the owner is like Roberts.
    In the short term, Roberts earn more money selling more drinks, for a few people who drink more regularly. But in the medium/long term, the reputation of the bar becomes so bad, that they will be limited only with that public, never growing, and everyone with a little tip of reasonable behavior, will go to other bar, where they can have some fun, without been policed by drunk people, and where drunk people are controlled enough by the owners of the other bar, to do not ruin the environment for everyone else or potential new customers.
  33. In the last Polygon article, Chris Roberts gifted everyone with another of his statements that summarizes his entire career, which could be phrased as “I make shit, but put the guilty of that sh it in anyone else, but me, so I have ever to learn anything”.

    http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/8/31/9211969/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-star-citizen

    “We’ve got people around our company who get worried. Is this gonna happen? Are we running out of money? Will I lose my job? The stress that gets caused to other people that work for me is something that … it’s bullshit.”

    So, he say that “its bullshit” but then he says:

    “We adjust. If I’m not bringing in $3 million or $2 million a month, we aren’t going to have as many people working on it.”

    So, here, Mr. Roberts, you shown that you, once again, is the problem, not Derek Smart, not me, not anyone who criticizes your attitude on leading Star Citizen. Here’s YOU, making your employees worried about losing their job. You even told them how many dollars you should earn in a monthly basis, so, otherwise, they should start to be worried. How possibly you can manage a game development under these basis? People knowing that, regardless you earned 10 times the funding that was needed to make your dream with all the things that you imagined (said you, when you had 6 million dollars), are now, near of losing their jobs in case you don’t get such revenue, regardless how many more you made in the past.

    So, thinking in your employees that probably are living in a hell of pressure that you created just because your insane ego and that are totally unnecessary for the success of this venture, but chances are, is that its leading to his doom, I decided to sent these tweets:

    https://twitter.com/jcrg99/status/639521950176571392
    https://twitter.com/jcrg99/status/639519653019185152

    Because many of your employees after the confirmation of your insane way to manage your group, to motivate them, probably must be trying to find another job at this point, and people that can see how this obviously is gonna flop, should help them.

    So, I invite everyone to send to @RobertsSpaceInd more job opportunities to help those guys. We don’t need them suffering or enslaved by a money sucker full of ego (sorry if I used strong words… I have no respect by this kind of people who lie to everyone, from employees to customers and have more ego than responsibility with people’s life and the business as a whole).

  34. So you say there’s no difference between tax money, i.e. money that is being collected by state authorities under the threat of, in the end, imprisonment, and money that people (I’ve said it before: consenting adults) hand over to somebody voluntarily?
    Because, yeah, technically both is “other people’s money”. But apart from that, this is simply ridiculous, and you know it.
  35. None of that is of any relevance.

    Plus, I created a new discussion thread entitled “Meanwhile, over at the FTC…” and which wasn’t in a reply to anything. It was, by design, a separate thread.

    Then I explained why I posted it.

    And you’re still trying to debate the merits of my posting it and with the silliest of reasoning imaginable. Even for you.

    The fact that you still don’t get the context of 38 Studios collapse, and it being a “game studio” that lost millions of “other people’s money” is just astounding to me. Even when I’ve clearly pointed out the context I’ve used it for, as in RSI, a “game studio”, facing a collapse and loss of “other people’s money” is the sort of thing that makes me ignore comments.

  36. *sigh*….
    DS: “In an earlier comment someone was trying to float the idea that the FTC doesn’t focus on the issues being discussed here with SC.”
    – Which your link does nothing to disprove, as it’s about something entirely different than the issues being discussed here with SC.
    DS: “Then I come across an FTC article about something that happened over two years ago and which only just recently reached a conclusion.”
    – Well yes, which tells us precisely two things (as you state yourself a bit further down): FTC investigates stuff, and it takes them some time. The opposite would have been a surprise, this is like exclaiming “water is wet!” and expecting a surprised reaction.
    DS: “Which is why – as I said in my blog and comment – I took upon myself to go the legal route against RSI because it would be quicker than waiting for the Feds to get their act in gear, since it would take a lot longer. And the longer it takes, the more likely that RSI would have folded.”
    – By “folded”, do you mean “have given in”, as in granted refunds to KS backers or delivered a finished game? Then this comment would prove that you’re trying to derail the project, because otherwise you could have just waited for them to “fold” while the FTC was investigating. Or do you mean “folded” as in “gone bankrupt”? Then it becomes even more of a case for the FTC.
    DS: “I even used the 38 Studios debacle as a similar example in the Interstellar Breach blog.”
    – Yes, you keep bringing that up, while ignoring the numerous comments pointing out that this was a different matter entirely, starting at the fact that there was TAXPAYER’s money involved.
    DS: “There was no correlation.”
    – Then why post it?
    DS: “Seriously, how is it that you’re missing the point of my posting this story?”
    – Maybe because you adorned your link merely with, I quote: “meanwhile, over at the FTC…”?
  37. I agree that this is comparing two completely different things, but I see what you’re going for in showing that the FTC does actually investigate fraud and bad marketing practices. But again, none of the FTC cases that can be cited are anything close to what you are claiming with CIG. There is CLEAR fraud in those other cases, not so with CIG.

    You’re only argument is basically that CR has “lied” about release dates. And as far as I can find I can never actually find CR saying you’ll definitely have the game on (insert date). It’s always, we hope or we’re planning for or something along those lines. So that’s not a lie it’s an estimate, which they have failed to meet over and over I will grant you, but I don’t think that’s against the law or fraud. I’m guessing they can prove the reasoning behind every single delay with dev logs and by showing the actual correspondences they have had with the community where they informed them of the delay and why.

    Just looking at this in comparison to everything else the FTC does, if they are looking into it, it will be brief. And I’m guessing they won’t even see any reason to continue an investigation, because there is no clear-cut case of fraud here. That’s what they do, the clear-cut easy to see cases (and that still takes them multiple years). So your entire premise is a bit too nuanced of a case for it to be any sort of red flag for the FTC (and honestly I still don’t think you even have a legal case outside of getting original kickstarters refunds if they want, which I’ve never fought you on).

  38. The investigation was always public against Machinima and broke about a year ago (Jan 2014). The article you linked was more-so about assigning blame and a settlement offer because the case involved multiple parties.

    I agree that whatever correlation you’re driving at doesn’t make much sense.

  39. Of course the reason I post on this blog is because, like Derek, and many others here, I think that to some degree either we’ve been duped, or Chris Roberts duped himself. Nobody here wants this game to NOT exist, but our desires can’t MAKE it exist, no matter how badly we want it to. If this game goes down in flames, I will not be rejoicing, nor will I tell people “I told you so”, nor will I be happy that other backers have had their hearts broken.

    Indeed.

  40. Stavros,

    Thanks for the response – it’s refreshing to find disagreement voiced respectfully – it gives one hope for humanity in general, and speaks well of many of the backers. The poisonous ones are usually the loudest.

    I’m pleased to read your outline of their intentions with ship insurance as well – that corralled a runaway concern I had.

    Regarding the space walk thing and how it relates to my Sci-Fi preferences, I think that comes down to a Star Wars vs. Star Trek type vision. I subscribe to the Star Wars mindset, where the ship is an extension of the pilot, with more focus on combat. This game seems to be taking a hybrid approach that attempts to marry the dogfighter combat with more Trek-typical elements, like space walks, and action/socialization on space stations.

    Of course the reason I post on this blog is because, like Derek, and many others here, I think that to some degree either we’ve been duped, or Chris Roberts duped himself. Nobody here wants this game to NOT exist, but our desires can’t MAKE it exist, no matter how badly we want it to. If this game goes down in flames, I will not be rejoicing, nor will I tell people “I told you so”, nor will I be happy that other backers have had their hearts broken.

    But for all that, I won’t be surprised, either. This wasn’t always an unlikely project. CR made it unlikely with zealous overreach. It’s OK to dream big, but make it too big and the dream kills itself.

  41. wth are you going on about?

    In an earlier comment someone was trying to float the idea that the FTC doesn’t focus on the issues being discussed here with SC. Then I come across an FTC article about something that happened over two years ago and which only just recently reached a conclusion. Who said anything about a comparison? I even used the 38 Studios debacle as a similar example in the Interstellar Breach blog.

    The point – which you missed (shocking) – is that the FTC does investigate these things. As I mentioned in another comment, being a Fed agency, they’re not going to make their investigation public, plus it can take years. Which is why – as I said in my blog and comment – I took upon myself to go the legal route against RSI because it would be quicker than waiting for the Feds to get their act in gear, since it would take a lot longer. And the longer it takes, the more likely that RSI would have folded.

    Sometimes I wonder why I ever bother explaining these things.

  42. Hey Gary,
    first off – and please don’t take this personal – I get the feeling that you’re not that into Sci-Fi. That Gamescom presentation, specifically the multicrew part, made my mouth water. Taking off from some place, going out into space, actually being able to do something IN space as a character (not just as a ship) etc. is what I’ve wanted from space sims* for the better part of 20 years. If that doesn’t excite you as much, that’s entirely fine, but don’t blame it on Star Citizen.
    Secondly, you seem to be under a wrong impression about the community. People are very passionate about the game and will get mad, sometimes because of minor and pretty unreasonable stuff. But it’s not like you have tremendous amounts of griefers or a**holes in there. I’ve been having a lot of nice chats in the Social Module, and people are usually very helpful.
    Thirdly, you seem to have very little idea about the role of insurance (und other planned fees, such as hangar fees etc.). It’s basically a money sink for INGAME credits. Eve Online gives players the option to pay their subscription in ISK, in order to remove money from the game economy and combat runaway inflation. So no, you will not have to pay insurance with $. Frankly, I don’t think you even can, at least not directly – it’s possible to exchange a limited amount of real money for ingame credits, which I guess you could in turn use to pay insurance; but after all, you might also want to actually play the game and earn the credits for insurance therein. Either way, it’s been said multiple times that insurance will not cost much. And no, just for additional clarification: you will not have to re-buy a ship with real money.
    Lastly: community shows (the videos etc.) are not paid for from the $88 million in crowdfunding, but by subscribers – people who pay a monthly fee. Voluntarily, of course. Same goes for much of the content published in the community magazine – subscribers get to see it earlier, and they pay for the work that goes into editing etc.. It’s NOT taken from the development budget. (inb4 Derek: of course, we don’t KNOW that. But I’m tempted to take their word for it, not least because of “innocent until proven guilty”.)

    *it’s what I’ve wanted from real life, as well 😀

  43. ???
    You’re comparing apples, not with oranges, but with potatoes here. Wow, the FTC did something. Who would have thought: a government agency that doesn’t just pay their employees to sip coffee all day.
    I can only encourage everyone to actually read the article and comprehend what it’s about – and then draw their own conclusions as to what this has to do with Cloud Imperium Games, Chris Roberts or Star Citizen.
  44. Hi jcrg99,

    Regarding this point, I can’t agree with you.
    The project was crowdfunded. It is not your individual opinion or your contribution that funded the project. It is the combined effort of thousands of people.
    For instance, some people backed SC only for the single-player Wing Commander style campaign. They have no interest on the multplayer part of the project. But CIG can’t give one set of backers more value than another set.
    It is important that people understand what crowdfunding is before supporting a project.
    Stop thinking about SC for a minute. In any KS style crowdfunded project no one knows how much money will be raised. That is the reason why KS enforces a minimum value for funding a project but doesn’t require the project creators to set a maximum value.
    This is not open to interpretation. If a crowdfunding platform forced the project creators to set a maximum value then I would agree with you.
    But that is not the case. Back in 2012 there was nothing preventing CIG from raising $50 Million in the Kickstarter platform. So your argument that the initial backers didn’t support the $80+ Million project makes no sense, because no one knew how much CIG would be able to raise on KS. On top of that, of the initial $6 Million raised for SC, only $2 Million were raised on KS. In fact for SC the minimum value to “fund” the project on the KS platform was just $500.000. Most money was raised on CIG site.
    Fact is, what people supported was the development of a game with certain characteristics. And what people imagined back then is that with more money they could supposely do a better product. So no. There is no distintion between backers.

    Just to let you know. I don’t disagree with putting pressure on CIG. I’m simply pointing out that your argument is not valid for the majority of crowdfunded projects. But don’t take my word for it.
    Check the KS website and look at other projects as well.

    As for the game missing their release date, I won’t get into that. I will just point out that the expected release date for SC was 2015. Butt in their initial TOS, they clearly stated that if they missed that date, they would deliver the product in 12 months after that. If not, the backer could request a refund. So CIG has up until the end of 2016 to respect that agreement.

    One way or the other, I completely agree with you when it comes to voicing your concern.
    We both want results.

  45. Oh, I agree… when I said that I “hope it gets finished”, what I was referring to was the cobbled together train wreck we’re gonna get (if we get anything at all.) The show I’ll be buying all of AMC’s popcorn to watch will be SC’s flaming demise – which promises to be more epic than any of their proffered SQ42 battles.
  46. There are dozens, if not hundreds of threads on the RSI forums where people are VERY critical of various things – ship details, features, the way development is going, you name it. Yes, there are people who defend even CIG’s horrible style of communicating delays. But hey, it’s a free country, that’s their opinion. Of course, level headed people like you can’t be bothered with noticing these threads 😉

    Apart from that: even if you were right (which you’re not), it’s ridiculous to judge a game or a game developer by the kind of community they attract. No sane person would start slamming EA Sports because of the douchebags who orchestrated an outcry when women’s teams were introduced into FIFA. Things must look grim on the evidence front if the alleged behaviour of forum posters is used as “proof” that Star Citizen isn’t legit…

  47. Even tough this is of cause a valid viewpoint, you always have to ask: Is the law always right? Do you have to follow it blindly? Even if it leads into perish?

    ————

    Other Topic: In one of your comments below you say: “I am firmly neutral because as a gamer, I can’t take sides in that conflict.” and “I have no personal interest in Star Citizen other than I backed it in 2012 as a gamer and fan of the genre.”
    I have to disagree. You are not just a gamer. You are also a developer. A developer that develops a game with the same setting and a few similar features as Star Citizen (You even have a post comparing those two). You may have some valid points on Star Citizen, but don’t make us believe that you are “neutral”.

  48. Prediction:

    If this game ships, it will be an amalgam of the following

    1) Multicrewed space battles (done before in SWG: Jump to Lightspeed (am I the only person besides Derek who remembers this?!??!))

    2) Walking around in space ports (done in Earth & Beyond, many Star Wars games, and countless others)

    3) FPS (has its own genre of thousands of titles)

    4) SQ42 (a campaign of some kind with very few details, I assume using 1-3 above)

    So the glue that holds all this together is really just the promise that 1 through 3 will be “seamless”.

    So the question, for me as a fan of the space genre, is this: is the “seamless” portion of this game going to have the IMPACT on day to day gameplay that warrants these kinds of delays? The pieces are unlikely to be as high-quality as a game dedicated and built with just one type of gameplay in mind, so it seems we’re sacrificing an awful lot just so I can stand on the deck of a space station, see some dudes fly past me, and be able to tell myself “yup, those are other people.” (I did this in SWG from the observation deck of my ship years ago.)

    Are we going to be able to have a space dogfight with the same quality as the best that’s ever been made, be able to land at a spaceport and continue the fight as an FPS that’s comparable to the best FPS’s that have ever been made, etc., all without delays and loading screens, and all powered with the exact same engine? People believe this? That’s we’re going to have multiple AAA experiences rolled into one game without transitions, all powered by a single game engine that somehow will run on anything less than the Starship Enterprise? Even the Holodeck had limits.

    I’m not certain they could make this a single-player game, much less a persistent universe with multiple other players, so add network performance to the checklist.

    Say they have to sacrifice overall module quality at the altar of “everything in one gamespace”, then doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the project entirely? Having some poorly optimized, tweaked, half-baked engines making each piece of the pie substandard? Why didn’t they just use multiple engines that are optimized for the module types, and just have transitions? Maybe get that out the door, and work on this module unification later on?

    The more I read about this, the less sense it makes. I watched the Gamescom video where they flew out to the derelict spacecraft, did their little spacewalk, turned on artificial gravity and life support etc. Some things were impressive – I did like how the gravity is relative to the object space, for example. That said, am I the only person who felt like he would be bored to tears if I were forced to play that segment? It’s one of those ideas that sounds spectacular on paper, but when put in practice, the only word I could think of was, “And?”

    The cherry on top is that if somehow the planets align, and they pull this off, we get the reward of being able to play alongside a ludicrously toxic community – except unlike other online games with bad communities, the people in this one will be able to kill you and destroy your ship.

    Speaking of which, I’m a bit nervous about this concept of “insurance.” I’m paying real money for a ship that some guy can just blow up – so am I forced to pay real money for insurance, or real money for replacement ships? Is this the kind of game I can blow some cash on and have a consistent experience, or is every instance of network lag resulting in my death going to have me reaching for my wallet?

    The only thing this 88 million dollars has really seemed to get used for is a gigantic hype machine. The website, the videos, the PR, the conventions, the cult-like indoctrinations, the marketing-hype – if I had to guess where most of that money went, that would be it – they’ve made most of their progress on that front.

    The rest of the game, not so much.

    Sounds like I don’t want this to succeed, but I actually really hope it gets finished. And if it does, I plan on dropping some cash. This is going to be one hell of a show, and I want ringside seats.

  49. This is how a democracy works. You vote and either you win or you loose. And if you don’t vote at all, you vote for the winner. CIG has been pretty clear on from the beginning, that they are communicating a lot. And if you pledged before that, and you did miss the vote, because didn’t care to look in the webpage once a week, it is your god damn own fault.
    Point 1 is not valid. if “pros” could create fake accounts, also “contras” can.
    Point 1 + 2 see above
  50. Nils post is premised on the contention that 88% of backers supported the new project.

    Even if that 88% figure was accurate it would in no way give Chris Roberts and Co. the right to disregard the other 12 percent.

    Just because some people agree that something promised ought not be delivered (the original project as described in the Kickstarter) doesn’t mean that what was promised ought not be delivered.

    If you take money in exchange to develop and deliver a particular product then you have to do your best to deliver that particular product. You cannot change your mind and decide to deliver something else even if you have others who agree with you. Popular opinion does not negate the original contract.

  51. Herbert:

    Oh wait! You think that’s bad? Here is a wakeup call that’s hard to ignore.

    In a Kotaku interview just two weeks ago, Chris stated that the full game would be completed by end of 2016.

    In 2013, Roberts and crew announced plans to break Star Citizen into modules—playable slices of the game each based around a feature like a hangar for ships or multiplayer combat—that would be gradually released over time. They’ve released two of these modules so far, but bigger chunks of the game—like social features and the first-person shooter module Star Marine—remain out of reach. Roberts says there’s a roadmap, and that they plan to have the game completed by the end of 2016. He’s also publicly declared that the ever-expanding feature creep is a good thing, writing in a letter on his website last month: “Is Star Citizen today a bigger goal than I imagined in 2012? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not: it’s the whole damn point.”

    THIS is the game he recently said they are going to deliver by end of 2016.

    Note that the stretch goals commits them to 100 systems for which each needs a social module. To date, they have only released one buggy and empty one, ArcCorp, while showing another, Nyx which has more performance issues than I care to even highlight.

    2016. He said that.

  52. I have already been asked this question time and time again. It’s false. I already sent out a Tweet about it.

    Contrary to what is stated (below) in the Aug 31 Polygon article by RSI, neither myself (they aren’t legally allowed to send it to me) nor my attorneys have thus far received any reply to our demand letter.

    So that statement made to the media, is FALSE.

    LEGAL MATTER

    Last week, Derek Smart sent a lawyer’s letter to Cloud Imperium demanding that the company allow auditors to examine how the crowd-funded money has so far been spent and seeking guaranteed refunds for backers who want them.

    A Cloud Imperium spokesperson told Polygon that the company has responded directly to Smart’s lawyers. “Mr. Smart’s counsel is in receipt of our response,” said the spokesperson. “As a matter of policy, we don’t release private communications, but if the past provides any guidance, our letter should be posted any time now by Mr. Smart.”

    It’s pretty much similar to

    1) How they lied to the media back in July that I had somehow violated their ToS and that was the reason (among other things) that I was refunded without my ever requesting it.

    2) How they said that I had received a refund, when in fact it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt from the check, that it was generated on 08/24, sent via FEDEX, and received by me on 08/28.

  53. Ok I meant no offense in that comment, (and how the heck am I supposed to know that you know these guys?) I was making a more general statement to those reading through these comments so they wouldn’t think that just because the kickstarter didn’t fund that another space game bit the dust.

    And to point out that I don’t think SC is having any effect on games being backed or not.

  54. But those who only have a vested interest in a company really don’t have the legal wherewithal to ask for things such as financial documents, do they?
  55. Why are you telling me that Starfighter didn’t fund on KS, when in fact a) I already stated that here – and in my Twitter feed b) I know the guys, and even had a chat with one of them just yesterday actually

  56. My comment has more to do with having a “vested interest in”, than it does the legal interpretation of the word “investor”, which implies getting money back for investing money in something.

  57. Dear Stannis,
    I didn’t understand what Chris Roberts meant when he said he would adjust the team size to his incoming money.
    Either he needs a team that big to proceed, then he will run out of money.
    Or he doesn’t need such a big team, then why should it be so big anyway?
    Working with a smaller team will stretch the time line even more. Otherwise reducing content will… well… break other promises.
    These paragraphs of the interview didn’t really increase my hope for a finished product that can at least hold what was promised in 2012.
  58. Hello Mr. Smart.

    I read a recently released article by Polygon, I won’t link it out of respect for the notation it places on you and the fact this is your blog.

    One of the quotes is a person from RSI claiming a response was given for your recent lawyer’s letter. I’m curious what it said and wondering if you wouldn’t mind providing a copy of it for the public to see.

    Thank you. 🙂

  59. “Even if Chis Roberts guilty in the points mentioned above, he did it because 88 % of Backers said yes to “Vision 2.0.”

    I can bet that you are unable to prove the statement above. I can bet that you failed to understand that CIG made deals with individuals and “asking the community” to make another project (a vision 2.0) would require:

    1-) That only backers could vote in the poll (that was not the case, you could vote with whatever account created, not even needing a valid email address to create it – opened to backers of a certain opinion, add more votes to that);
    2-) As the deal is made with individuals, the poll should include a statement that in case of a person voting No, that person would be entitled to a refund – it did not happen;
    3-) The description of the poll should include the negative side, meaning, with the vision 2.0, it would lead to many years more of development. INSTEAD, Roberts mislead the public with statements that the expansion and motivation to bring in more money with more stretch goals, would make the core of the game coming faster. He kept telling this to his public, it kept been spread by the same fanboys in that time, who are now claiming that taking years more time was expected, to the point of people stating in the CIG Forums that the game wouldn’t come out by 2014 would be targeted by their moderation team and other fanboys as a trouble-maker/troll, and he kept telling that in interviews. So, yes.
    88% of a minority of the “backers” voted in the polls (and other made earlier which had less “yes, man” votes), about expanding scope, adding stretch goals. All part of a misleading show, with the company getting ok of a few fanboys to shield themselves behind it and point the finger to the rest, while finding more excuses to expand the time that they “can” sell expensive ships to the public.
    Fanboys are not “backers”. “Community” are not backers. There is no “community” involved in this deal. Just the company and individual backers. And in-game stats publicized reveals that the majority of the backers are not even playing the game, or testing, or making marketing for it, or even following their shows. They just want the final game, and this final game is taking too much longer than expected, because CIG made a business decision. This is NOT an “unexpected” thing that could justify it take longer. NOT without the approval of EVERY SINGLE BACKER. It was not a development requirement, and no “mediocre” game was promised, since the game as promised originally was praised by everyone, as the ultimate of the games. This was not an act of good faith to deliver what was promised in an estimate, per their TOS. It was an act of bad faith on business. Unfair business practice. Customer fraud.
    Willing to please a few backers, who spend more money in the game, regardless what other customers could think, is not “good faith”, its not fair business, and its not approved by the law (and curiously, break the own TOS of CIG).

  60. The pleasure is mine. This has been a good discussion. I don’t think we’ll come to an agreement any time soon, so this will be my last post but I wanted to thank you for taking the time.

    I find that when you can boil down a discussion to it’s essence you get to the basic questions of the issue and if those differ then coming to an agreement is a lot harder. In this case, you are certain CIG will fail, and I am not. With that basic belief, I can see the justification for all of your actions. With my belief, they don’t look so justified. No argument I present could change that viewpoint for you; I imagine that only a really really close look at CIG would change it for you. I’m certain you couldn’t change my view, for the same reason. I’m not saying I’m close minded, I try very hard to argue even the painful to concede parts of arguments to myself. It’s just I don’t see the impossibility of the project that you do, and I imagine that’s a result of your experience in game development. As such I wish you well and ask you to please be careful.

  61. No Starfighter didn’t fund with their kickstarter, but they are still developing, just now on an extended schedule. And I really don’t think that you can attribute the whole SC situation with Starfighter not funding. Starfighter is a rather limited scope game in comparison (just PVP) and speaking as a HUGE space sim fan I’ve gotta say I have absolutely zero interest in this. Now if there was a single player story then heck yeah, let’s go. But it’s the same reason I don’t play multiplayer AC. I’m not really a competitive multiplayer person and I would guess that a whole slew of space simmers fall into that camp.
  62. Here in my country all things that are sold online have an “estimate delivery date” tag.
    Still, if they are not delivered in that date and the company refuses to give refunds or solve the issue soon enough, it really does not matter a disclaimer or the word “estimate” in the offer. Or even that they have TOS saying that they are not entitled for refund or some funny clauses that company is not responsible for anything.
    In a court of law, the companies are obligated in these cases to pay the customer for the material damage (the cost that the person paid for the product, or any other related that the customer can prove that was due that delay), and the “moral damage”, which is related to the emotional damage caused by the delay (for example, a product long-awaited or something that was supposed to be a birthday gift to someone else, etc., in fact, they are usually paid by default, because courts consider the delay already a damage to the customer and the educational character to the companies, so they improve their services and do not repeat the mistake). In general, the customer, without even needing a lawyer in some cases (of if needing, the company usually have to pay for it in the end), earns the money back (up-to-date considering inflation, etc., since these lawsuits in general take around 2 years), and 10 times the price of the product as “moral damage”.
    If there are too many complaints to that company, then, the customer entity protection act, which usually results in millions in penalties, depending of the size/financial status of the company.
    Reading to what I read from FTC and customer laws in United States and don’t see it as more soft than in my country, and I think while delays of a product couldn’t be a “consumer fraud”, would still be a consumer issue, that could lead to the company to pay indemnities, not to the point that the company have to close the doors, but still…
    Obviously a delay of a product that did not involve yet a pre-order wouldn’t lead to any issue to the company. But a delay after they put the product into the market should. It does not matter if issue happen with services, or development. The idea basically is that companies must to be responsible for what they offer and have to be prepared to react, like putting an estimate delivery date well above the expected to deliver, already considering these issues. This way, authorities are able to control companies of abusing of customer for profit. It all depends of customers acting, going to court. When they do, it does not matter if the company bring 10 attorneys of the best office. When companies don’t deliver BEFORE or ON the estimate, there is no excuse. Estimates MUST TO BE worst case scenario, otherwise are a bait. And I really think that in United States, again, from what I read from its law and from what I understood from the CIG case, they promised to deliver BEFORE or ON the estimate, or in a worst case one year later. They disrespected ALL These worst cases, so, bringing the meaning of “estimate” to a court of law, considering all this context, I highly doubt that any judge will consider it a valid defense alone.
    Obviously will depend a lot of the arguments and how they are put, to explain the situation to a judge, I suppose, since it’s not yet, like here in my country, tested waters, mainly in games and kickstarter, where customers have no the culture yet, to pursuit their rights.
    But with logic and reason, CIG will fall in the same scenario i think. They are a company. They must to be responsible to what they offer. You can’t offer whatever to the market, bring to the table whatever estimate, take the money based on that, and later coming with lame excuses, because, again, excuses can always be produced for everything.
    For educational purposes, I think that CIG will lose any lawsuit. They have been openly abusing in public, which actually means, breaking the law, singing “the sky is the limit” after made an advertising along years that implied delivery, not many years more of wait. And the offer to play alpha/beta is not even something that really catch the attention of the majority of the backers. Roberts can’t claim that is delivering into his promises, when in fact, he is delivering broken mess to people play, instead a finished product, as described, growing after its release. He always try to defend that there is no feature creep or issue, because people are getting something to play in-between. He has been deceptive and lying. He knows, as the numbers transparently shown, that the majority of the backers are not touching in his earlier broken modules and are waiting for the final product to come (and losing patience). They don’t care to play alpha/beta for longer.
    Penalties maybe are not something that could lead them to bankruptcy, but yes… they will lost whatever lawsuit that be opened against them, all things considered. And as its a sensible market (the game industry), with a lot of sensationalism of press, etc., yes, a lawsuit against the company represents a lot of damage to the image of that company, regardless the end result.
    Anyone who worked in this industry know that, that losses are a certainty in this situation, for the company involved, so, if CIG keeps denying for accountability that they actually suggested that would give to the customers in their own deal, on failing to deliver (and failing to deliver in the context of an estimate given), they probably have something very ugly to hide, which made for them, better to risk losses in image and money in a court case than revealing it to their public.
  63. ” And contrary to popular belief, backers are investors”

    Can you please point to any legal precedent that actually backs this claim? Just wondering because I’ve never been able to find a legal definition that states such. Because unless you can provide such, then it’s just your opinion and not actual precedent.

  64. Your point #2 here is what really makes me bristle. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been burned by this behavior in real life, totally unrelated to gaming. A fixed number of people have an idea, start to build and fund it, things are great – then out of absolutely nowhere a bunch of other people come out of the woodwork wanting a piece, and wanting a say. Everyone has these pie-in-the-sky ideas, the idea morphs beyond any recognition, and the original group gets royally screwed.

    I’m still baffled as to why they simply didn’t deliver the original vision, then start bolting on the other stuff over the years. The only possibly explanation I have is that having a physical game to actually play would not have opened up the money sluice quite as effectively as simply selling an idea did.

  65. If you sum up the responses to derek’s calls for basic accountability, you may notice the more reasonable SC backers are spiraling through the 5 stages of grief. We’ve seen the denial, we’ve seen the anger, now many are at the bargaining stage.. Next comes depression and the sinking empty feeling that all their time, money, and emotions have been totally wasted. Then, eventually, acceptance. Keep up the good fight derek, SC needs to stop recruiting passengers into an already sinking ship.

    http://changingminds.org/images/kubler_ross.gif

  66. Today I read on “Rock Paper Shotgun” that SC was bragging & parading around it’s new “Social Module.” About fifteen seconds into it I said to myself, “Golly, this might someday be almost as interesting as every cantina from Star Wars Galaxies back in 2003.”

    Thirty seconds into the article and all I could think of was EvE Online’s famous “Walking in Stations” debacle.

    The Fail is strong in this one.

    I swear, watching modern game development is like watching the original “Mad Max” series. The explosions get bigger and the action faster, but if you take just one step back to look at the bigger picture you noticed the whole world slowly is devolving & decaying a little more with every scene.

    I find myself constantly hoping for the day that modern gaming catches up with where we were twenty years ago, because in many ways that would be an improvement. When PCs couldn’t compete with consoles for special effects developers made up for it with reach, tangible depth of content.

    What Mr.Roberts has clearly forgotten is that we never played “Wing Commander” or “Privateer” for the great graphics (hint: because it had none). We did not play it for the oh shiny or the particle count that made video cards beg for mercy. We played them for the story. It was one of those series where you actually enjoyed the cut-scenes, and missions were just a means of connecting parts of the story together.

    Meanwhile, we loved SWG in an oddly similar, yet different, way: We loved the story because we, the players, created it. It was a true sandbox like none other before or since then. Again, action scene were just there to connect the story parts together.

    SC, sadly, aims to be neither of these things. It’s action comes from any of a three dozen other generic shooters and it’s social angle is a glorified smartphone app.

    In the end all RSI is going to end up creating is “War Thunder” in space. You’ll have the elites, the people who do nothing but PvP all day in their unlimited insurance Pay-to-Win superfighters, preying upon and quickly driving away all the normal, average players in short order because they will never be able to compete. A few “clans” will form based on these big spending professional ganker clubs and, before long, that will be the entire core of game. Casual players will join, play for maybe a month, and then get tired of the crap & leave again. Numbers will drop away but – and this is the sickest part of all – the game won’t die. The big spender clique will keep propping up the game for years on end, turning it into their own private yacht club, growing smaller & more elitist with each passing month. RSI will continue to crap out new, more “l33t” ships every once in a while to keep the servers up & running.. Absolutely no one outside of that little group will give a crap about the game within one year of it’s launch, and RSI won’t give a crap because oh yeah they’ve already got the money. All the money. So long as that money stream never dries up then everything will always be “Working as Intended.”

  67. Ogre:

    You are missing one important key points. When CIG changed the scope of the game, thus increasing the time to complete and deliver, as well as fail to deliver the originally promised product, they entered the realms of consumer fraud. And that has a completely different standard. Which is why the FTC exists. If it was as cut and dry as you make it out to be, no company or person doing such things, would ever be prosecuted, there won’t be class action lawsuits for those sort of things etc.

    And since you’re not an attorney who is well versed in consumer protection law, you’re not going to be able to decipher or navigate through the complexities. The law, as it pertains to intent, trumps any/all EULA, ToS etc. Which is why in most cases like this, those are the first things that get attacked and taken out of the equation.

  68. Exittium:

    That’s what I’ve said all along. The community, for the most part, is completely toxic. Even the more level headed folks over there, don’t get any traction over there. Imagine what it’s going to be like if/when this game is ever finished (it won’t – but still).

  69. Jason:

    It’s all about the context. And personal attacks differ from name calling and hyperbole.

    I’m sure that you know how to use your browser’s search bar to find the petition. I am not going to link to it. I responded (in this blog), as did someone else. We move on.

  70. Stannis:

    I never quoted. I paraphrased.

    Regardless, the context remains the same. Point being, at that burn rate, the project is not likely to survive in the long term.

    And if he has money in reserves to complete the game, why then does he still need to make $2m – $3m per month in revenue to sustain the current team size? This is precisely what he said when Colin at Polygon asked “Roberts scoffs at the notion that the company will run out of money before the final game is delivered”

    It’s not going to happen. We keep a pretty healthy cash reserve. We managed our expenses based on the revenue we bring in. We have our development timeline and we know what we’re doing. We adjust. If I’m not bringing in $3 million or $2 million a month, we aren’t going to have as many people working on it.

    Yes, dynamically adjusting team sizes is standard. We all do it. For example, at the peak of Line Of Defense development, we had around 16 people in the team; mostly content creators due to the sheer
    amount of content in the game.

  71. Creedrave:

    No, that’s not what consumer fraud (1, 2) is. Delays of a product is not consumer fraud per se. Promising a product, then not delivering, is.

  72. ChrisGG:

    You can’t be serious. Go away with that nonsense. It has no place here.

    And I am not evading Nil’s question. I am not required to respond to every comment. And if I were avoiding it, it wouldn’t have been approved, and we wouldn’t be having this discussion. There was nothing for me to respond to, as I indicated. If you feel so bad about it, go give him a hug.

  73. No I did not think that you are part of GG. You made it clear how you stand to GG. But then please remove your pin on twitter. The first thing we see is use of the GG tag. “If u r #GamerGate or anti-GG, Ho Lee Cow, Jesus H. Christ himself or whoever; follow me. I like having meaningful discussions. #NOFEAR”

    But you still evade Nils question.

  74. “they’re still selling virtual ships and he’s saying that if he’s not making $2 – $3m per month, then he would have to cut things down. I mean, seriously, am I the only one who finds so many things wrong with that?”

    You have misquoted.

    He actually said:
    “We have our development timeline and we know what we’re doing. We adjust. If I’m not bringing in $3 million or $2 million a month, we aren’t going to have as many people working on it.”

    Roberts has always said he adjusts the team size to suit the development timeline and funding level. That is why he used external contractors. Hence the size of the development team adjusts dynamically.

  75. Im going to attempt to sum up what’s wrong with Star Citizen, most details explained in Smart’s blog and discussion comments.

    1: Technical challenge
    The concept of Star Citizen as it is proposed now is near impossible for current technology and the finance of a kickstarter company. The original proposal was a very well achievable game, the multiple stretch goal in recent years blow up the complexity far exceed their R&D capability, and far beyond their financial strength.

    2: Irresponsibility to early backers
    People backed SC in 2012 and people back SC in 2015 are after totally different games. If I buy one thing, I am entitled to receive that one thing I brought. Spend early backer’s money on stretch goal is equivalent of business decided to use my money to buy something else for someone else

    3: Misuse and potential abuse of fund
    Appoint relative in paid position aside, Chris Robert may use the fund money for his personal luxury or benefice of inner group. A large portion of reserve was utilized for purposes not related to game development. Imagine if he borrowed 80m form an investor and immediately brought himself mansion and Lamborghini, the next morning police will knock on his door.

    4: Total R&D rot
    This is the biggest problem of SC due to mismanagement of a project on this scale. Stretch goal after stretch goal, 30m, 60m, 80m. The money piled up, time passed by. No game. Not even a sign of the original goal. This project is in total search and development rot. Because they are tying to build a scraper upside down. Without the established core system, they are working on assets first, mechanic second, control system and database last… The concept ship you all see are called assets, they are the last part in a proper R&D sequence, right now they are having fun building concept ship, tomorrow they will have horror to build the game around the concept ships.

    5: Ethic of concept ship sale
    Concept ships are in game assets, if I go to a restaurant order a dish, I been given ingredients, what I will think? Asset is not the game, it is the last bit of window dressing put on a stone and steel fortress. The mental trick CIG employees is to sell concept ship in the name of funding SC development, in process deliver an illusion of tangible product. That the backer will feel like they got something anyway. When in fact they been given nothing but paper weight. And all those concept ship they dished out will hunt them later in development.

    6: Fanboy community
    Star citizen has one of the worst fanboy cult ever. If any of you spend time on the CIG forum, you will realize their hostility toward any criticism or doubt. CIG forum had a rich history of banning anyone dear to question on sight without explanation and without mercy. You don’t even get a warning, the moment you express some politically challenging opinion, the moment they shot you. Many stay confused for a while to realized they get banned, it does not matter you give them money, they can kick you out of SC system if they felt you are useless and dangerous. SC community as to date is a church dedicated to “Christ Robert”.

    7: Ego size of galaxy
    Chris Robert has the ego size of galaxy. CR had a history of failing project due to unrealistic ambition, he was cased out by Microsoft for making too many ambitions games. His cinema career is another proof of his frailer at leadership. The man had lofty ideas ahead of time, the problem is he does not know who he is: “Robert Space Industry”. What about “Darth Lucas” or “George Skywalker”? Any modern epic entertainment has its fanboys, but in this case is a toxic combination of fanboyism fueling the ego of CR. A very few case when fanboy insanity incorporated into the business itself.

    8: Estimate aftermath
    There are three possibility of how this project will fail:

    An overhyped undelivered game, this is the best out come for SC saga. The game will be out but will be disappointing, will likely become another star war old republic online.

    Development in crisis, due to finical and reality check, they are unable to complete the original vision and forced to scale down the scope. The end product would be on the line of Duke Nukem forever.

    Total destruction, CIG collapse overnight, accounting in the red, gaming news breakout, internet in shock. Game Industry earthquake. Crowd funding model fade into obscurity

  76. So I went digging into refund information from both the actual kickstarter campaign (the one literally hosted by *kickstarter*) and then the pledges hosted by CIG themselves on their own websites.

    For a quick rundown, Star Citizen started as a Kickstarter campaign. When the goal was met, by the [Terms of Use pre October 19th, 2014](https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012), the conditions were as follows:

    * The Estimated Delivery Date listed on each reward is **not a promise to fulfill by that date, but is merely an estimate** of when the Project Creator hopes to fulfill by.

    * Project Creators agree to **make a good faith attempt** to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date.

    * Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.

    * Project Creators may cancel or refund a Backer’s pledge at any time and for any reason, and if they do so, are not required to fulfill the reward.

    —————————————————-

    Let me focus on this one particular line — *”Project Creators agree to make a good faith attempt to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date.*

    I checked into the legal jargon of “good faith”, and in a nutshell, it as such:

    *The burden of proof is not on the person to prove his good faith, since he has no burden to prove anything. The Government must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the person acted with specific intent to defraud as charged.*

    Thus, the onus is not on CIG to prove they are not acting in good faith, but for the prosecution to prove *beyond a reasonable doubt* that CIG is not acting in good faith. Which they will not be able to do.

    Furthermore, I decided to look into CIG’s Terms of Use as well, since anyone who pledged via CIG’s website would fall under a different set of terms. **The above is only for people who pledged via the kickstarter.com campaign.**

    Reviewing [CIG’s Terms of Service](https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos/10), specifically section VII: Fundraising and Pledges, it states:

    * The Pledge shall be earned by RSI and become non-refundable to the extent that it is used for the Pledge Item Cost and/or the Game Cost, with your Pledge being applied as follows: first to the Pledge Item Cost, and then on a pro rata pari passu basis (this means on equal footing) with all other contributors whose deposits have been deducted by the relevant Pledge Item Cost, to the Game Cost.

    * RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of **your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.**

    So this means at worst, CIG agrees to refund a pledge if they miss a delivery date by 18 months.

    I decided I’d actually dig into the legalities of the entire thing to see if there was even something to stand on, and based on the legalities of “good faith”, there are none. Or at least, it is up to the prosecutor to determine CIG is somehow not acting in good faith. Which they won’t be able to do.

    Anyways, thought I’d share my findings. There’s some goodies in the Terms of Use from kickstarter themselves, and the Terms of Service of CIG’s that really puts this whole thing to rest pretty immediately.

    See you out there.

  77. I avoid most articles that has star citizen, with comments. Its truly embarrassing for me to call myself a gamer. I see the comments half these people post, and its cult like. If they sniff that you dont like it or you insult it or even say one minor bad thing about it, they attack you like a bunch of vultures feeding in the desert. They babble and spew stupid shit. I bet half of them foam at the mouth while defending something, that really Robert has been secretive about, and deflects everything questioned of him or cig thats negative. On that i will note, i personally dislike roberts. I feel he’s a con man, and his track record of “popping smoke” just solidifies what i think of him
  78. “the one thing that I detest and abhor the most, are personal attacks, bullying, harassment and anti-social behavior” yet you keep calling them “anti-social” “misfits” “clowns”, does not really make sense, does it? Also, could you please provide a link to the source of the petition in question so people can make an opinion on their own?
  79. Justin:

    Any post that has any inkling of a personal attack, gets deleted. I never saw it, so I have no idea what was in it. As I have explained before, my social media person vets the comments, trashes inappropriate ones etc, leaving a clean queue for me to respond to. And in the past hour, I have been responding to today’s batch. I just also saw a link reminder that I have 4 large posts from several days ago that I had completely forgotten about.

    I wasn’t “petitioning” Chris. I was “calling him out” on bullshit and lies, using swear words. There is a difference.

    And the reason I edited the swear word is because this site, like all my other sites, are WOT verified and swear words will reduce the rating based on how people deal with it. I didn’t change it because of any other reason; especially not because anyone protested.

    We all deal with people based on merit, that’s just how it works. Chris has lied his way through this whole project and misled people in the process. Sandra is a fraud; and RSI has engaged in what can only be described as consumer fraud based on how they’ve handled this crowd-funded project. I don’t owe them any respect whatsoever.

  80. Pappa:

    I believe you are referring to this comment I made to Breakleft.

    Here’s the thing about financials. It is a crowd-funded project, the highest ever. That sort of thing comes with a whole heap of accountability issues and totally different standards.

    Do I agree that they should be made public? Yes. Why? Well, he has been touting “open” since day one and ALL this money came from the public. So what’s the big deal exactly? Sure it’s not a public company, but it may as well be, given how money was raised. And contrary to popular belief, backers are investors, and as such, have every right to know where the money for something they funded, is going.

    Because I realize that they may balk (for whatever reason) at making it public, that’s why I offered the compromise of making it available only to a third-party firm and which would be funded by me. If everything is fine, then I get to say so, without making it public. But we don’t believe that they will do this. Which is why we got the Feds involved, since only they can make them do it, outside of a costly and time consuming lawsuit.

    Issuing me a refund has nothing to do with my calls for accountability. And even if I get tossed out of the lawsuit, I have many other claims that I could raise. Plus, I have a very large group of people who have not been refunded and they can stay in the lawsuit, since we’re funding it. So refunding me did nothing really. It didn’t even kick me out of the game, since I still have access to it via other means other than the account they banned and refunded.

    For the record, I have no ulterior motives other than the accountability for this project. Remember, all I did was write a blog which the media picked up. Then RSI made it personal by kicking me out as a backer, then made it public (in the media and on their forums) in an attempt to cast me in a poor light and send their WKs after me. That backfired spectacularly as we’ve now seen. Of course, once they declared war on the last person on God’s Earth who never backs away from a fight, they got my full attention. The rest is history.

  81. Stavros:

    Clearly you have no clue. One trip to Google shows numerous lawsuits against game companies for various things. Most are either lost or settled out of court.

    And again, if you think that this has anything to do with “missing deadlines”, clearly you’re not paying attention.

  82. YXZ:

    As I’ve said before, if they survive 2016, I would be very surprised. More layoffs are coming.

    And funding is slowing down, despite what anyone says. e.g. they have been selling Vanguards these past days. They made about $500K in 4 days. They average $250 to $280 apiece, with $100 of upgrades. If you average that out, then under 2,000 backers have bought those ships. And they are probably the same whales who have to have everything. And most of the Aug revenue came from the GC2015 reveal.

    He just went on the record again, in the Polygon interview, saying that they have reserves, and that they have money to finish the game blah, blah, blah. Yet, they’re still selling virtual ships and he’s saying that if he’s not making $2 – $3m per month, then he would have to cut things down. I mean, seriously, am I the only one who finds so many things wrong with that?

  83. Joao:

    The original game, aka “vision 1.0” on Kickstarter, had an anticipated release date of Nov 2014.

    They changed the ToS from 12 months to 18 months for the refund if they fail to deliver.

    And thus far, “vision 2.0” has no fixed release date. So that part is meaningless. And that’s one of the reasons why I asked for a release date in my demand letter. It is also the reason that the attorneys are going to attack the ToS and get it thrown out, as per FTC guidelines which govern such anti-consumer legal issues.

    Since 2012, Chris has told one lie after the other about release dates. Just two weeks ago, in the Aug 18th Kotaku interview, he said the game would be complete by end of 2016. Given the state of the three modules released thus far, not to mention the astounding amount of worked left, I have no reason to believe that the game will ever be completed before 2018.

    No, we have not yet received any response to the letter. Once I have it, I will be add it to the new blog that I am writing; as well as my reaction to it and plan going forward.

  84. Breakleft

    Except that usually in order for the law to act, someone has to initiate the process. The law is a gun but someone pulled the trigger. I’m certain that others are making FTC complaints and whatnot, but with your very tall soapbox you have been doing an effective job, and the media has as well, of painting yourself as the shooter.

    That’s just the inevitable consequence of someone standing up and saying “…hey, wait a minute! That doesn’t sound or look right”. It is what it is.

    But I can’t help but question it when you say you have the project’s best interest at heart. You admit that Chris probably was genuine when this all started. Your letter demands refunds, a deadline, and forensic accounting, those are the issues. If things were left there, that would be that.

    I don’t see how that absolves him from responsibility and/or accountability. He made mistakes, and he has to be held accountable and thus pay for said mistakes. That’s usually how that works. And all those things that I am asking for, are not insurmountable by any means. And however he chooses to deal with it will end up being all on him.

    Yet your articles talk about whether or not the game is possible. If what you want is availability of refunds, a deadline, and forensic accounting, why bring that up?

    Simple. It sets the stage for making the case as to why an accounting, deadline, refunds are needed. You can’t just ask for those things without explaining one arrives at this junction.

    Why is the viability of the game even part of this discussion? It’s not something that can be defined. You might be an industry expert but even industry experts are notoriously wrong about what is possible and what isn’t inside their own industry. Ambition is always opposed with skepticism. The game will only have be proven to be possible or impossible once CIG says “here you go” or declares bankruptcy.

    That’s not how that works. I have spent three decades building massive games; and in this genre. I think I am the utmost authority when it comes to that because thus far, nobody else has ventured to build games as massive as the Battlecruiser/Universal Combat series of games. And that’s a fact.

    And this is no more wrong than experts positing on national TV about something in their field that they are either promoting or debunking. It’s an occupational hazard. I’ve been there. Back when I started working on Battlecruiser, I faced the same thing (it’s all out there and I mentioned it in my Urban Legend blog). So I know precisely how it feels.

    Chris has had similar issues in his past that are different from mine. Again, it’s all out there.

    To that end, even the challenges they are now facing, and most of which have been indicated in their dev blogs, are proof-positive of what I’ve been saying in my blogs.

    And this has nothing to do with whether or not Chris succeeds or fails (I have no shadow of doubt that he will) to build the game he’s pitched. The issue is that the “vision 2.0” game that he has promised is what has put the project at risk and left him open to this sort of aggravation. He could’ve built “vision 1.0” and moved on to the next thing. And in order to get money for his “vision 2.0”, he misled a bunch of backers who just wanted “vision 1.0”. And that’s really the crux of the matter.

    On twitter and on comments pages, you are constantly agreeing with people who talk about watching CIG burn to the ground. The only thing saying “Star Citizen as it is now pitched is impossible” accomplishes is making people afraid to back the game and annoying existing backers. Which causes harm. Making this lawsuit and FTC interaction a public matter instead of doing it without fanfare and blog posts, causes harm.

    Actually no, it doesn’t cause “harm”. As public figures, we have to be prepared to deal with the derision that comes with the territory. Especially in videogames. We all have to deal with it.

    I don’t exactly understand what you are getting at here. Does this relate to your demands? If you could explain where this fits into things, I would really appreciate it.

    It speaks to the suit if they choose not to refund the original KS backers, and the RSI ToS comes into play (since we are ALL subject to it). If that happens, the attorneys are going to get that shredded easily enough and that’s going to open a massive can of worms as I previously explained. And it will be on all on him.

    I have previously agreed to refunds for kickstarter backers being a reasonable request. RSI refunds, I’m more hesitant about. I think that it could open the door to a lot of RSI money running away simply out of speculation of failure, which would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    We are in agreement here. Which is why I’m not going to argue about the RSI ToS as per “vision 2.0”. My primary focus of refunds is for the original KS backers. Anyone who is a “vision 2.0” backer who wants to go after them, are free to do so on their own time and dime. As I don’t believe that the project will be completed as promised, my guess is that he’s going to be ready for that firestorm when it happens.

    ps: Thanks for your reasonable arguments. It’s refreshing. Not to say there haven’t been others; but yours tend to be more focus and aren’t devoid of clarity.

  85. Hi Mr. Derek.
    Just a couple of things I would like to understand.
    I was checking the initial antecipated release date for the full game that CIG pointed out back in 2012 and the date they mention is 2015. According to their TOS they do mention that they have a refund policy if they fail to deliver the product one year after the antecipated schedule. So 2016.
    Is this the information you have as well? Just to confirm, Could you please point out where they mention they would release the full game in 2014? i
    If it’s 2016, isn’t it too soon to move with legal action?

    And by the way. Have they responded to the letter your lawyers sent? if not are you going forward with the legal process?

  86. ChrisGG:

    I have NO idea what you’re going on about.

    I’m not, never was, and never will be, a part of GG. I am firmly neutral because as a gamer, I can’t take sides in that conflict. Did you even read my SPJAirplay blog?

    I have no personal interest in Star Citizen other than I backed it in 2012 as a gamer and fan of the genre. I am no longer a backer. My current stance is from a completely different standpoint (which I am simply not going to repeat again) because what they did is wrong, and threatens to cause long-term problems for crowd-funding as well as the space combat genre.

  87. But I think it would be fair and honest (as you claim to be in the GG environment) to answer in an appropriate way. If you search followers for your cause, then that´s not the right way.

    It does not boil down to law. If this would be the case here, there should be more topics than the game Star Citizen that need to be addressed or discussed. But your blogs are always about Star Citizen. There never was a discussion about i.e. Zoë Quinn. You want to be part of GG than please take part in its history.

    Therefore the logical consequence is that it does not only boild down to what the law says and allows but that you also have a personal intererst in the Star Citizen matter.

  88. I agree. However, what we agree on, is largely irrelevant where the law is concerned.

    Except that usually in order for the law to act, someone has to initiate the process. The law is a gun but someone pulled the trigger. I’m certain that others are making FTC complaints and whatnot, but with your very tall soapbox you have been doing an effective job, and the media has as well, of painting yourself as the shooter. When the deadline was missed, a decision had to be made; Raise a flag and notify the fed, or allow things to continue. Everyone has the choice to report. Because that decision exists, the motive of the one deciding is relevant. Maybe not from a legal perspective, but at the very least, on a level where I decide whether or not I like you(I know you don’t care about that, but I do). To be fair, you started sounding the trumpet in July 2015, well after November 2014. You gave them a chance, and I appreciate that.

    But I can’t help but question it when you say you have the project’s best interest at heart. You admit that Chris probably was genuine when this all started. Your letter demands refunds, a deadline, and forensic accounting, those are the issues. If things were left there, that would be that.

    Yet your articles talk about whether or not the game is possible. If what you want is availability of refunds, a deadline, and forensic accounting, why bring that up? Why is the viability of the game even part of this discussion? It’s not something that can be defined. You might be an industry expert but even industry experts are notoriously wrong about what is possible and what isn’t inside their own industry. Ambition is always opposed with skepticism. The game will only have be proven to be possible or impossible once CIG says “here you go” or declares bankruptcy. On twitter and on comments pages, you are constantly agreeing with people who talk about watching CIG burn to the ground. The only thing saying “Star Citizen as it is now pitched is impossible” accomplishes is making people afraid to back the game and annoying existing backers. Which causes harm. Making this lawsuit and FTC interaction a public matter instead of doing it without fanfare and blog posts, causes harm. Echoing rumors, calling Chris Roberts a “sniveling defeated coward”, none of this seems like it’s for the good of the project.

    btw, if you haven’t noticed, I have been trying very hard to distinguish between the original “vision 1.0” 2012 KS backers ($2.1m) and the “vision 2.0” RSI ($88m+) backers because I realize that the RSI backers were subject to completely different visions and schedules for the game.

    I agree and have previously given my support for your request to offer refunds to Kickstarter backers. I will say that in my first post, I talked about how there were flags back from the very first minutes of the kickstarter pitch video that foreshadowed “vision 2.0”. Not blaming anyone who didn’t notice, but there were signs from the start.

    The shady part is that they changed their ToS from 12 month time to refund, to 18 months. Yes – we have both versions.

    I tend to read the ToSes of what I sign up for and yes, I noticed when they changed it to 18 months.

    Anyway, according to the attorneys, where RSI trips up is that even the KS backers needed an RSI account in order to claim their (yet to be delivered) items and game. Which is precisely why I said to issue refunds to people who request it. Due to the RSI account issue – which is why they made me subject to both (1, 2) of the ToS – the distinction between the two backer types is blurred. And in any court case, it’s going to be a steep hurdle to get over.

    I don’t exactly understand what you are getting at here. Does this relate to your demands? If you could explain where this fits into things, I would really appreciate it.

    I will give you an example. When I took over QOL and the Alganon game back in 2010, they had been selling the game – while in Beta etc. As I needed to get it finished, and re-targeted for F2P, the first thing I did was issue refunds to everyone who had bought the game. No questions asked. And that’s the same thing that I was asking RSI to do for the KS backers who have more of a legit claim than the RSI backers.

    Your thoughts?

    I have previously agreed to refunds for kickstarter backers being a reasonable request. RSI refunds, I’m more hesitant about. I think that it could open the door to a lot of RSI money running away simply out of speculation of failure, which would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  89. Hahahahahaha – no. It would be an absolute first if you managed to get any investigative authority in the world, let alone a court of law, to indict a game developer because they’re missing deadlines. Just to put into perspective what we’re talking about here: there have been games you could preorder that got delayed multiple times (I’ll say it again: GTA V for PC). There have been games that shipped without promised features, even without core features. Games have been sold with collector editions that didn’t contain what the description said they would. As we speak, the retail DVD version of Metal Gear Solid V is being released with ZERO game data on it – Konami is wasting an entire DVD to press the Steam launcher onto it. And we’re not even starting on the multiple bad ports from console to PC, buggy releases, unoptimized performance etc. etc.
    Apart from the occasional shitstorm and the even rarer bad sales fiasco, no developer or publisher I know of – feel free to point me towards sources saying otherwise – has ever been held legally accountable for such things. And you know that. I mean, heck: even the guys from X:Rebirth never saw the inside of a courtroom, and that game is said to have actually BROKEN people’s PCs!
    You claim that the difference in question is that Star Citizen is crowd funded; so please, show us the game(s) or other Kickstarter projects that were delayed and where anyone got indicted. Apart from that one case you keep citing, in which the developer took the money and never developed ANYTHING – which is definitely not what CIG is doing, I’ve been receiving content from them for the past two years. Two and a half, if you count the non-playable stuff like artworks, concepts, video shows, interviews etc. etc.
    You’re chasing windmills, but that’s OK. To each his own.

    P.S.: Didn’t you announce you were going to go on vacation?

  90. I’ve been reading your posts Mr.Smart, and I’ll admit that this is probably the best one in terms of trying to understand where you’re coming from.
    (the comment, not the blog post)

    I’m going to stay anonymous for now, but I will say I’m pretty significantly vested in star citizen – and I do believe in the project. That being said, this is the first post I’ve read where I can say “yeah, okay. I get where you’re coming from”, but you have made it difficult to see things from your perspective when you’ve included all the personal attacks against CR in your previous posts.

    I think the problem is I feel if CIG did release their financial reports, one way or another they would end up in a PR nightmare. You’ve gotta understand, the forum community at SC is pretty toxic, with the possible exception of the private forums. People would pour over CIG’s financials nit-picking everything and just further divide the already extremist atmosphere of black and white knights.

    Also, I’m not sure I completely understand the basis for which you are suing. You’ve received a refund — you can’t just refuse to cash a check, you have a duty to mitigate your loses. Did I miss something? (not being facetious, I really don’t know)

    Will I agree that CR has lost credibility with respect to release dates? Absolutely, but at the very least I feel he’s been pretty open and honest about those setbacks. (Except Illfonic, I’ve had a feeling for awhile that they probably delivered garbage and now CIG has to clean it up – he almost admitted as much in the Polygon article)

    Finally though: do I agree that every backer has a right to see CIG accounting? No. — and perhaps that’s coming from someone who runs a business and knows what it’s like. I do feel like you’ve got an ulterior motive and while that doesn’t negate any arguments you’ve made (you’ve made a few good ones), you sometimes make it difficult to hear our your position without getting defensive.

  91. I don’t see how it’s repeating yourself to address the concerns Nilson raised. Even if it is, then perhaps link to the specific points you’ve already stated that directly address what he was asking you, because clearly he, nor I, have seen them.
  92. Since it seems my other post wasn’t “approved (at least it never showed up from hours earlier, but my other post just did now), I’ll try again. To be clear, I wasn’t trolling, I wasn’t insulting, I did however accuse Derek of being a hyprocrite in a statement he makes in this blog post. If I’m wrong, I would appreciate a response from Derek to clarify his point then. This isn’t an attack, I’m providing some perspective from someone on the other side of the fence.

    Mr Smart, you state here:

    “Trying to petition someone into doing something, while insulting them, making legally actionable defamatory comments etc is not exactly the sort of road to take if you want to be taken seriously.”

    If you truly believe this to be the case, then why did you call CR “a lying, fraudulent, egotistical, ***hole” (you edited yourself a few days later after people started calling you out on it), among other things. Even though you edited it, throughout your posts you make some pretty harsh accusations towards both Sandi and Chris, and CIG in general. You have vehemently attacked them throughout all your blog posts that have to do with Star Citizen.

    You dish it out, then turn around and say such actions are unproductive because people are now doing it to you. If you had approached this entire thing in the way you are now coaching others to do towards you, then in your words this would have turned out much more productively.

    “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”

  93. Breakleft

    What I do think he’s talking about though is that strictly holding them to their original, blatantly bad timeline even before it was missed doesn’t lend much weight to the argument that you are only being supportive“.

    I agree. However, what we agree on, is largely irrelevant where the law is concerned.

    btw, if you haven’t noticed, I have been trying very hard to distinguish between the original “vision 1.0” 2012 KS backers ($2.1m) and the “vision 2.0” RSI ($88m+) backers because I realize that the RSI backers were subject to completely different visions and schedules for the game. The shady part is that they changed their ToS from 12 month time to refund, to 18 months. Yes – we have both versions.

    Anyway, according to the attorneys, where RSI trips up is that even the KS backers needed an RSI account in order to claim their (yet to be delivered) items and game. Which is precisely why I said to issue refunds to people who request it. Due to the RSI account issue – which is why they made me subject to both (1, 2) of the ToS – the distinction between the two backer types is blurred. And in any court case, it’s going to be a steep hurdle to get over.

    I will give you an example. When I took over QOL and the Alganon game back in 2010, they had been selling the game – while in Beta etc. As I needed to get it finished, and re-targeted for F2P, the first thing I did was issue refunds to everyone who had bought the game. No questions asked. And that’s the same thing that I was asking RSI to do for the KS backers who have more of a legit claim than the RSI backers.

    Your thoughts?

  94. That’s a cop out response Derek. You’re not doing this solely because you think they may, at one point, have broken the law. If you look at the start of how this all began, it’s clear this was a personal opinion of yours and when you didn’t get your way you escalated it. You didn’t even address the heart and point of Nilson’s post.
  95. I don’t think he’s getting into revisionism. I see that a lot and it bothers me. No, Social module was not on time. If you say “I’ll do it tomorrow” every day, eventually you’ll be right, and that’s what CIG has done with the social module.

    What I do think he’s talking about though is that strictly holding them to their original, blatantly bad timeline even before it was missed doesn’t lend much weight to the argument that you are only being supportive. This isn’t a very good comparison, but it’s somewhat akin to when you say “I’ll do it in a second”, then your child starts yelling about you being late 3 seconds later. There’s not much good faith there.

    You keep saying nobody cares about how long a game like this should take, and the only thing that matters is their original delivery schedule. That seems unfair to me, and a good reason why many projects get pushed out the door unfinished. Perhaps the law cares about the original delivery schedule, but it seems frustratingly hostile to refuse to factor in the reality of developing a game like this.

    I can understand why you say that comparisons to any other games out there aren’t valid. It makes sense. It’s too big to follow the common indie path, and it’s too independent to follow the common publisher path. I ask then, if we have nothing to compare it to, how do we know it’s going horribly wrong? If it’s the only game of it’s type we have no reference to what a “good” example is and what a “bad” example is. It’s the only example.

  96. Not sure what you’re talking about not being true.

    They claimed they refunded me back on July 13th.

    I had already written the Interstellar Discourse blog since July 10th, and on July 13th, I sent out a tweet that I was awaiting legal clearance. The blog went live a few days later. I never changed the original July 10th creation date because that’s when I wrote it, not when it cleared legal.

    After the news of the refund went public (by them), I wrote the Interstellar Justice blog immediately and it didn’t go live until July 17th after clearing legal.

    Despite their claims, I never got that refund until this past weekend. And as seen on the check, they wrote it on 08/24.

    What was the point you were trying to make?

  97. Not entirely true though, CIG/RSI did not refund you until after second article/ after you said it had cleared legal on twitter.
  98. Hello Mr. Smart

    I have an other Topic, I like to hear your opinion about. I think its the point most of this discussion is about.

    There is a difference between being right in the sense of the law and beeing just/fair.

    You might be right in the sense of the law (I am not an expert in US-Law [I am from Germany]). It might be a case for the FTC and FBI if a company promises one thing and delivers something (slightly) different. I might be illegal or fraud to change the scope of a project if there is more money than anticipated (Vision 1.0 -> 2.0 as you call it). I don’t know. It might be.

    But is it fair to point the finger? Even if Chis Roberts guilty in the points mentioned above, he did it because 88 % of Backers said yes to “Vision 2.0. They saw how much money they made and said: Yes, try it.

    I noticed that in the comments below. Most of your arguments are based upon: The law/my attorney/ the FTC / the FBI says … While most “pro-SC-comments” say: We know all this, be we still want CR to try it. Look at this post, look at that video, look at that patch. They are making (slow) progress, that all we want, even if it fails in the end.
    Of cause there is always a minority that thinks otherwise, they should have the possibility to get their money back.

    Is it so hard to step back, even if you are sure that you would win in court? Is a victory in court always justice? I don’t think so.

    Greetings from Germany

    Nils

  99. It’s all in there, and I’m not going to debate the merits of each bullet point. When you promise something, then don’t deliver; that’s consumer fraud as the very basic level.

    Again, please stop talking to me about vision 2.0 because I don’t care about that. And most of us with a fully functioning brain, don’t either.

  100. So from your link:
    Consumer Fraud – Deceptive practices that result in financial or other losses

    Please explain how this applies because:
    You chose the amount of money to give to SC
    You were told you were buying a game that was still under development
    You were told the game is subject to change during that development
    and You were told that the delivery date is an estimation not a guarantee.
    You knew all of these things BEFORE backing SC and choosing how much money you wanted to give them to develop the game.

    They are actively developing the game they promised with continuing updates on that progress. So again unless you can prove your accusations that CR or other members of the SC development have stolen development funds (ex your claim that CR paid for [even if its a small portion] his house/car/private movie from KS funds) then there is no consumer fraud. Just a backer that’s unhappy with changes/delays that are a natural part of software development. It is okay to be upset about these things even wanting a refund. But being upset does not make it fraud.

  101. Nope, you’re wrong. Every single statement I’ve made about the project, I have backed up with publicly available sources all stemming from CR’s own words.

    And again, you guys keep trying to push this nonsense narrative about how long a game like this should take. Nobody cares about that. The game originally pitched, had a fixed delivery schedule. No amount of revisionist history is going to change that. Ever. And my Interstellar Discourse blog explains why nobody can compare this game’s timeline and chances of success to that of other games.

    I did tweet (1, 2, 3) about space games yesterday. And no, Starfighter Inc didn’t fund.

  102. Yes, actually I do believe phase #2 is where they were since this past May. And that’s precisely why I don’t believe that the company, let alone the project, will survive if/when funding comes to a halt. As long as they keep making money, I believe that they will plod on, regardless of the chances of success. They have no choice.

  103. Derek,

    In your opinion, do you think that the developers on Star Citizen have reached that phase where their work can lovingly be described as a “Death March”?

    It’s a loaded dev term, however, with a couple of possible definitions:

    1) Death March (Perception) – where the developers believe the project can’t succeed for various reasons, but they continue in the slim hope they can squeeze something out

    2) Death March (Literal) – where project logistics dictate beyond the shadow of a doubt that the project cannot be completed, but the devs may not necessarily be aware of this, so they continue the work

    It’s a sad phase of development, and I’ve been involved with both types in my current company. We’ve got a lot of code in the graveyard.

  104. You are continually taking statements made by people critical of your witchhunt against Star Citizen/Chris Roberts, pick out one little bit that was stated, twist that beyond recognition and use it to repeat the same things over and over.
    “Breakleft” has given you a number of well-researched figures – on what happened when during crowdfunding, on when which amount of money came in, on what features were promised at what point. And how that relates to scope increase, more features etc. You don’t even blink an eye at those.
    Breakleft has given you his motivation – which, if the SC forums are any standard, is shared by many among the active community – for backing this game, which precisely WAS that the scope is NOT limited to what you call a “vision 1.0”. (Btw., that’s not why I backed – I’m mainly interested in the SQ42 part of things.) You ignore that sentiment completely.
    You demand accountability, from a game company that, although well beyond their initially announced timeframe, is still well *within* what you’d expect from development time for a game the size and scope of SC. Did you demand accountability from Rockstar Games when they delayed the PC version of GTA V at least three times? Using money that was taken from PlayStation/Xbox sales, money coming from people that don’t even have anything to do with PC gaming? Isn’t that an even bigger scandal than consenting adults handing money to a company that keeps them in the loop on what’s going on, in order to (hopefully) get a game that they want?

    But it doesn’t stop being contradictory there: you claim that you do not want, I quote, “to hurt the company or to kill the project”. Yet you are going about this thing as if that precisely was your intention. If SC is bound to fail (because scope is too big, because the engine isn’t up to it, because Mr. Roberts has bought a private jet from backers’ money – pick one, or all, I don’t care) then it will fail either way, FTC involvement or not, backer refunds or not, Derek Smart or not. If SC does not fail (and I’m quite certain it won’t), it will not be because of your actions – it will be because CIG was a more financially responsible company than you thought, and at most you will have been a bump in an otherwise smooth ride.

    One last word: before the Star Citizen Kickstarter, you know what was deader than a zombie who had his brains shot out and been buried under a burning oil rig? The space sim genre. All that was left was the X-series, and let’s not talk about their latest installment. Now we have Elite:Dangerous (which, arguably, would probably have come either way). No Man’s Sky is on the way, both Everspace and Starfighter, Inc. have hit their Kickstarter goals. If you want, you could also count games like Fractured Space or Dreadnought. As someone who likes Sci-Fi, space, and space battles, there are actually alternatives to buying games from the 90’s on GOG now. And that is largely due to the interest sparked by SC, with some credit surely going to E:D.

  105. And I think “any indie team working weekends could have put together on a dare” is a touch hyperbolic

    Why yes of course it is. That was the point. 🙂

    In all seriousness, you do have a point about buggy triple A games. However, given the “no publisher” platform that Chris built all this hype on, it is easy to see that there is a lot more to it than that. Especially if you run into the same problems that publisher controlled projects have.

    The issue here is that after four years and $88m+, vision 1.0 (as I said in this comment) of the game would have been built by now. Instead, we have this mish-mash of stuff from vision 2.0. We just expected more; and that’s what I’m saying.

  106. Everything you wrote is spot on, Tom.

    However…

    Many Kickstarters, including this one, are structured with Stretch Goals, which are inherently an expansion of scope…

    They sold a world, not a game…

    Talk about scope creep, that’s what Kickstarter is all about

    The critical issue here is that the stretch goals for vision 1.0 of the game, were met at $6m. There is no getting around that. At all.

    Once you take this into account, every single excuse goes out the window. All of them.

    And as I’ve said, as a game developer and investor, increasing the scope, increases the time to completion, which in turn increases the amount of money needed. And all of those three things, increase the risk of failure. Anyone who read yesterday’s Polygon article and is still convinced that
    this project isn’t in trouble, either a) doesn’t know enough about this process b) is so blinded, that they refuse to “get it”

    Seriously, LOOK at those vision 1.0 stretch goals on Kickstarter. Then look at the vision 2.0 augmented stretch goals on RSI website. As I said in my Interstellar Citizens blog, there is no way in hell that game, as pitched, is ever going to see the light of day.

    While failure is subjective, as I’ve said before, this project will fail in one of many ways. Primary one being that it won’t meet the expectations of many, due to all the hype that has built up since 2012.

  107. It’s now four years (this Oct), $90m coming up, and thus far, all we have for a game, are three buggy modules with content levels which any indie team working weekends could have put together on a dare.

    That’s a little unfair, I think. In quantity, yes, the content levels are low. But isn’t it the case that you need to have a little bit of an idea of what you are aiming for, then you build the tools to make that production go quickly?

    I’m not a developer, though I worked as a tester for a lotto machine developer and worked pretty close with the devs, that seemed to be their way. Make something that works then figure out how to speed doing more of that up. Plus there’s the spool-up time. I imagine that when you are expanding your staff a lot of stuff previously built has to get thrown out to make room for a more rigid code structure that a very large international team can work on without the code looking like a schitzophrenic cat copied it from thedailywtf. I believe the term is refactoring.

    I mean, they started with 3 functioning ship types in game and are well over 20 now, and 5 game modes before variations. It’s a space game and ship variety is bread and butter above landing locations. It would be nice to see some more levels though, sure. And I think “any indie team working weekends could have put together on a dare” is a touch hyperbolic. Sure indie teams at gamejams and whatnot have pulled off some crazy stuff, but give a little credit, and the leak showed that there is plenty waiting for it’s time to shine.

    As for buggy, well, I gotta say they aren’t any worse than the current industry standard for AAA. Look at AC: Unity or the Arkham port or any other recently-filled diapers that publishers have called finished games, some like Evolve don’t have significantly more content than Arena Commander right now. That’s not much praise, but it is something. I play Arena Commander every time they put something new in (and I report bugs). It is a fun, engaging experience where technical hurdles rarely get in the way. Lack of variety? Certainly. But it’s playable, and enjoyable.

    There could definitely be more, but what we have now isn’t awful.

  108. Just saw the new gameplay….it looks like something from Doom 3…But hey man I’m waiting for to see how RSI responses officially to your lawyers. This is gonna be something big and us Black Knights got to stick together through the tough times. See you on twitter.
  109. Many Kickstarters, including this one, are structured with Stretch Goals, which are inherently an expansion of scope. Is it really Creator sourced Scope Creep if the funding model is explicitly premised on Scope Expansion through unlimited voluntary donations? From the very beginning this particular project had some very audacious scope expansions on offer: More bases, more systems, more ships, more weapons, more aliens, more combat types, more ship customization, more gameplay types, more features, more immersion … all before the initial campaign even closed at just north of 6 million. Less than 6 months later that number was doubled, pulling in a million a month with additional content and particularly additional complexity.

    Content is one kind of scope expansion that can be perhaps discretely measured and therefore accounted for, whereas more complex functionality less so. Should close project tracking show it is the unique systems at the promised fidelity level CIG has chosen to develop which have caused core delays (GIM, GOST, GCE, Modularity, seamless instance transfer) all to host now nearly 1 million backers then the rest of the funding and content is mostly noise and flash over an overly audacious program to begin with. Particularly since they have been working on solving the 64-bit precision to enable large scale maps at the AAA fidelity level they promised to deliver in and only recently conquered and implemented it.

    When the project hit 10x the initial funding number, stretch goals were finally cancelled in favor of Chairman deep dives explaining gameplay and world design … the sort of detailed, nuanced and inclusive ACCOUNTABILITY which keeps backers interested, inspired and confident in the world being built. 60 million is a fairly reasonable number for limiting feature expansion and substantial deliverable content (roughly a quarter of GTA5’s production budget) And yet, as no new ships are being dreamed up, only existing concepts rolled to production and variant releases offered, backers continue to pour in money to support quality and detailed content, now up to 88 million. Honestly NOT expecting the project to continue to grow seems unreasonable. You predicted growth, but also now predict chicken-little levels of implosion because of delays, however, I believe they may have strategized correctly in two major aspects: 1. They sold a world, not a game, and people believe in that world, are seeing more of it every day and every week through amazing transparency and inclusion, and continue to support the progress towards that vision. 2. Delaying FPS may prove to be a rather smart tactical decision. No one likes delays, but FPS is a whole new niche of gamers, a very discerning and fickle niche. And first impressions with a new crowd will be worth a considerable amount of new backers, so ensuring that release is at least decent instead of a cluster of what Travis Day rightly panned as sub-standard head-bobby motion sickness inducing failure for modern FPS, may yield yet an even larger bump as new segments of gamers find a world they would like to participate in with their favorite kind of gameplay. Expanding user base where there was none before is where truly successful disruptive tech companies shine, CIG has an opportunity to bridge niches where other games have failed.

    As an interesting parallel: I happened meet the Potato Salad Kickstarter guy a few weeks before his big event. A $55,000 party that grew out of a 10$ slightly amusing post and has launched him on a whole new career. He came up with the idea to throw a party because how else are you going to blow 55k on a starchy side dish and meet all your crazy obligations and also maybe do something good and inspiring and funny for others to enjoy and be a part of? Talk about scope creep, that’s what Kickstarter is all about.

  110. @ Breakleft

    Thanks for the well-written post.

    For the record, when I refer to White Knights, I am referring to people who are quick to not only defend every single aspect of the game, its development, its creators etc, but also who attack any dissenting voice.

    I don’t know who you are, but from your post, I don’t see you as a White Knight. You’re just a backer who has faith in the project. Nothing wrong with that. A lot of us used to be like you.

    I don’t want to build any old game. I want to build a universe. I want to build a game I’ve always wanted to build but didn’t have the tools to do until now. One that you can fly off a carrier fighting a heroic war on the front lines, but also one where you can muster out and find your own fortune among the stars wherever your spaceship takes you. I want to share this experience with my friends and fight against real opponents in space and not just AI. I want this to be better than any game out there and I want to actively push the boundaries of what you can do in a game.

    Yes, that was for vision 1.0, which is what he pitched us. Back then, he felt that he could build that game and needed $500K. Then $6m, then $20m. It was always a different financial goal, following by the prerequisite statement and promises.

    And I can tell you, right off the bat that these statements are going to be his undoing.

    As for your demands. I have to admit that I don’t see a problem with offering no-questions refunds to Kick-starter backers. Even a 100% refund request rate would set them back only one month in funding, for a significant boost in PR. Nor do I see a problem with a firm release date at this point. I have no idea of what date the “estimated delivery” stated in the ToS means, whether that’s November 2014 or if it’s allowed to be changed, but at this point I think a target date would be not be a problem.

    This is how I feel as well. And I even stated thus in my Interstellar Breach blog.

    The issue with the release date is that unless he commits to one in a legal setting, he’s just going to keep going. Just last week, in a Kotaku article, he stated that the game would be 100% complete by end of 2016. I mean, seriously? Looking at the social/planetside module, which has one shoddy, buggy, horrid performance etc. Not to mention the fact that they have 100 of these to do, as per the stretch goals; who he hell believes that? It’s now four years (this Oct), $90m coming up, and thus far, all we have for a game, are three buggy modules with content levels which any indie team working weekends could have put together on a dare.

    Which is why I offered this statement as to why they’re doing this now.

    I have an issue with item #1 though. The forensic accounting. There’s plenty of evidence that they are making a good faith effort to produce the game. Continual posting, relatively frequent updates, alpha releases, interviews with staff, photos of staff, released art. A waterfall of evidence about where the money is being spent. The law and accounting, is a big scary thing for me, and I am afraid that a forensic accounting of CIG expenditures could open them up to loophole vulnerabilities and invite lawsuits for not crossing Ts and dotting Is, regardless of whether or not the money has gone where it is supposed to. And there are certainly those out there who would. You aren’t the only shark in the pond, Mr. Smart.”

    This is a very fair statement, and to be perfectly honest, in the strategy meeting with the attorneys (from two law firms), this was discussed because they asked me if I were prepared to deal with the fallout if this company and/or the project, collapsed as a result of either the lawsuit or a Fed investigation.

    I hesitated. Why? Because, as I’ve said in my blogs, though Chris has lied, miscalculated etc I still do not believe, for one second, that he personally set out to defraud anyone. But consumer fraud has very basic guidelines associated with it. And so, precisely what you stated, is the sort of “gotcha” that could cause serious problems for them.

    And that’s why we only had those three demands, and we didn’t file a lawsuit right away etc. We felt that if they didn’t comply, and we filed a suit, worse case scenario is that if we win (as I 100% suspect that we will) the ability for them to turn over their accounting via discovery, they will ask for a protective order preventing us from disclosing it. I was OK with this because all we wanted to see is how the money had been spent, to ensure that no malfeasance exists, and that they can in fact finish the game if funding came to a halt. And if they ask for protective order, the accounting will be right there in the court docket, but sealed. Then they will have a bigger PR nightmare on their hands because they’d have to explain to backers – and the world – what they are hiding, when in fact this money was from crowd-funding and was raised publicly.

    And it is because I didn’t want them to have any reason (money, legal bills etc) for not providing it, that’s why, in the demand letter, I offered to fund it. The same way that I previously offered to put up $1m of my own money to hire accountants and an exec producer for the project. And this would be done by a third party firm who would go through it and without any agenda (hence outside party).

    I don’t understand why people are burying their head in the sand and trying to quash any and all calls for accountability. I know – for a fact – that if we ever ended up in court over this, the outcome will cause the catastrophic collapse of this company and project, given what we know now – most of which isn’t in the public yet. If I wasn’t that confident, I wouldn’t be writing these blogs, opening myself to all this attacks, abuse, lawsuit etc. I have been in this industry for too long and I know how these things go.

    My goal is not to hurt the company or to kill the project. I just want answers. And telling me that I’m not a backer, so I’m not entitled to anything is just pointless because I have every right to figure this out. I have made a living and career out of this space combat genre and this impending disaster threatens to undo all the work that a bunch of us have done these past years to re-ignite the genre. As I type this, lots of space combat games, even those by stellar teams (1, 2) are having a hard time getting crowd-funded because since 2012, Star Citizen has literally sucked the life out of those efforts with lies and broken promises.

  111. @ Eric

    1) We sent them a demand letter. They legally have 30 days to respond. As I’ve said before, their response will determine what form a lawsuit will take. Until then, there is no lawsuit

    And the matter was already reported to both the FTC and the FBI. I am aware of both, as I’ve stated before. Which is why I said in comments (1, 2), that regardless of a lawsuit or not, the whole thing will be over by the time it even gets to trial depending on what the Feds find.

    2) Because when you promise one thing, don’t deliver, then change the scope – seemingly on a whim, while not delivering – that’s consumer fraud. And the FTC is clear on this. I am not going to backup my claims in public, that’s what lawsuits are for.

    3) The type of product is irrelevant. The FTC setup an entire division to tackle crowd-funding scams. At the bottom of my Interstellar Breach blog is an entire list of companies they have gone after, the outcome etc.

    4) Easy. I don’t.

  112. heh, I think it’s more of the fact that they somehow, foolishly, think that by returning my money, I am no longer a backer. As such, I have no claim. Well, the attorneys already shot that one down a long time ago. Hence the demand letter.

    And like the refund check, which today he claimed I already received (they cut it on 08/24 and I received it on 08/28 at my office), as of today, we haven’t received any response to our legal letter.

  113. So those of us who funded the initial $2.1M kickstarter, and even those funding up to about the initial $4M or so who thought they were going to be playing SQ42 in November 2014 based on what was touted as a project already 1 year in… screw us, yeah? When funding carried on apace after the $20M mark (aka the “we don’t need private investors breathing over our shoulder now” milestone), the scope started to run away to crazy levels… bearing in mind that without the initial promises and funding there wouldn’t have been a robertsspaceindustries.com to act as a continuous funding platform to get to that point, their maintaining funding straight after the kickstarter finished kinda implies that they saw the interest garnered in those first days of funding and just wanted to see how far they could push it, rather than getting to work on a product.

    Bit shifty in a *lot* of people’s eyes… and kind of the definition of a bait and switch.

  114. Which law invalidates the terms under which they refunded you then? Serious question, I would love to know which law does that. Or heck, which one even gives the letter you sent any weight? Because to be frank, Jack Thompson wasn’t new… doesn’t mean jack though if they’re going by personal belief rather than law though thus why rather than trying to praise your lawyers, its better to be aware of the actual law rather than taking their word for it.

    Again, serious question. If you think you have something here I don’t see how this question could be seen as trolling. Its merely an effort to educate myself on your side of things here.

  115. Mr. Smart,
    I am a backer who is in for over $1500, and I have over 3000 posts in the RSI forums. I have been around since the beginning (though I didn’t back on Kickstarter). I guess that makes me a White Knight.

    I understand that the best way to be rational is to not attack the arguments of those you are debating, but to attack your own arguments until you can attack them no more. That’s how I’m trying to approach this. It’s very hard for me to not post instinctively and defensively about all this, I didn’t know you whatsoever before the July 4 blog post, so I’ve only really known about you in a context that appears antagonistic to my personal goals.

    My philosophy regarding crowdfunding is that it’s akin to gambling. I throw my money into the deep blue sea; Sometimes I am rewarded. This isn’t my expectation for everyone, nor do I expect the law to treat it this way. It does mean that when crowdfunded ventures fail, I’ve already resigned that money as gone, and my grief over the failure is lessened.

    I think it’s clear for anyone to see that CIG has made some rather troubling missteps along the way. The biggest one, I think, was their initial delivery estimate. It was evident to a very large number of people that the delivery dates weren’t viable from the start. I think a lot of backers who defend CIG do so because of this. I came to terms with a November 2014 release date being missed three years ago. It didn’t seem like a surprise to me because I thought the date was overly ambitious the whole time. I’m not a legal expert by any means, but I thought this would be something that could bite them later. It seemed like an easy save to post far-out deadlines, yet they didn’t, and this perpetually confuses me.

    They could have even set a short date for an easier deliverable. Something like November 2014 for the dogfighting alpha, and left the rest ambiguous. This is what Oculus did, Kickstarted their prototype and left the consumer version up in the air.

    As for expanding the scope, or as you have started calling it, vision 2.0, I’m less bothered. In the Kickstarter pitch video (within the first three minutes, link), Chris Roberts says this:

    I don’t want to build any old game. I want to build a universe. I want to build a game I’ve always wanted to build but didn’t have the tools to do until now. One that you can fly off a carrier fighting a heroic war on the front lines, but also one where you can muster out and find your own fortune among the stars wherever your spaceship takes you. I want to share this experience with my friends and fight against real opponents in space and not just AI. I want this to be better than any game out there and I want to actively push the boundaries of what you can do in a game.

    Quotes like these signaled the intent of CIG to me. It told me since the beginning that the scope of SC would be “As much as possible, whatever that is”. And I supported that. I saw the stretch goals come in continuously, 6 million in the first month, then 13 million by July. That’s the first Letter from the Chairman that talks about the idea of funding the game fully from crowdfunding. The estimate back then for the total game was whatever Kickstarter raised, plus 20 million in investment. That meant between 22-26 million. They raised that 3 months later.

    I wasn’t surprised when they didn’t close the shop at 23 million. That was the theoretical budget. Like I said before, I always believed their aim was “As much as possible, whatever that is”. And the fans bought that goal too. Here is a poll from when it became apparent that they would succeed in raising the full game budget via crowd funding. They literally took a poll of whether or not to continue with crowdfunding, and the poll said, by 88% (Source) keep going. The money came in exceptionally fast after that. It’s worthy to note that they got 12 million dollars between then, October, and the new year of 2014. Another third on top of their budget.

    What do you do in a situation like that? Your goal is to be as ambitious as possible, how do you decide to close the money tap when you want “to be better than any game out there” and your fans are literally throwing money at you? Closing the tap might have been the responsible thing to do, but I can see the temptation of keeping it open and seeing what happens, plus the desire to appeal to your fans, and above all, an ambition to make the best game ever.

    Where do you go from there? That extra 12 million can’t go to private jets and sports cars. It has to go into the game, but you’ve got the game paid for. This is the point in time when I’m guessing “vision 2.0” happened for you. These stretch goals between 20 and 35 million make up for:
    -Facial capture rigs
    -Public transport
    -Enhanced alpha
    -Enhanced Multi-Crew
    -Enhanced Squadron 42 storyline
    -Robust Mining
    -Robust Salvage
    -Robust Exploration
    -Robust Electronic Warfare

    If I had to peg down where the biggest balloon in vision happened, it’s there. There are a few other stretch goals later that expand the gameplay, but this is by far the area of highest density of game expansion. Right after the fans said they wanted to keep funding beyond the initial estimate.

    TL; DR: From the beginning Chris said he wanted this game to push the envelope of what was possible. After it was clear they would make their funding goal, CIG asked the community if they wanted to continue crowdfunding. The vast overwhelming majority said yes. Once the money is earned, it has to go somewhere. Yes the scope increased, yes the deadlines were missed, yes they were really crappy deadlines to start with. Yes, that’s what I want, and yes, even if it’s impossible and mismanaged, I want them to keep trying.

    As for your demands. I have to admit that I don’t see a problem with offering no-questions refunds to Kick-starter backers. Even a 100% refund request rate would set them back only one month in funding, for a significant boost in PR. Nor do I see a problem with a firm release date at this point. I have no idea of what date the “estimated delivery” stated in the ToS means, whether that’s November 2014 or if it’s allowed to be changed, but at this point I think a target date would be not be a problem.

    I have an issue with item #1 though. The forensic accounting. There’s plenty of evidence that they are making a good faith effort to produce the game. Continual posting, relatively frequent updates, alpha releases, interviews with staff, photos of staff, released art. A waterfall of evidence about where the money is being spent. The law and accounting, is a big scary thing for me, and I am afraid that a forensic accounting of CIG expenditures could open them up to loophole vulnerabilities and invite lawsuits for not crossing Ts and dotting Is, regardless of whether or not the money has gone where it is supposed to. And there are certainly those out there who would. You aren’t the only shark in the pond, Mr. Smart.

    Thanks,
    A backer

  116. not sure who told you they need the consent of ALL backers but they lied to you. That’s not how crowdfunding works. Majority rules and while there is certainly a notable % of backers that are upset over the delays/expanded scope they certainly don;t make up the majority of the backers. And even a lot of those that are upset about the delays still want them to continue pushing forward in the direction they are going. You have a serious ego problem if you think your opinion matters that much. No one persons opinion matters that much not even CR himself. While he certainly has more sway than anyone even he has to answer to the majority.
  117. Hi Derek,

    Im a new backer for star citizen and only just slowly started to come across your posts and struggle with SC – what actually happened between you and the development staff?

  118. just let him do what needs to be done because its gone past 2014nov a 88million should of had ptu out buy now so troll a troll bridge and move along
  119. I also have problems with the sc forums i tried too get help with the fact i cant play the game after 3pm uk time since patch 1.0 I stated what the problem was and all hell broke out all the trolls trolled me so i told them in a nice way to go fuk themselves because at this point pledging for a game that you cant play is wrong in the end they banned my posts and i still cant play after 3pm and most people like me cant get to their PC till kids are in bed or wife is home, also i like to say thank you for speaking up for the people who cant
  120. I am framing this in terms of tone prior to the message: I am legitimately curious what you are trying to do here. I am asking things as neutrally as I can think to word them. To frame my statements and my reason for asking: I am pledged to Star Citizen at a $250 level. I own 2 ships. I personally have few gripes about the game.

    What I am working from: You mention that CIG has until the 24th of September to respond to your letter. You heavily insinuate in the following: “And I have never – ever – engaged in any legal battle in which I didn’t prevail in some fashion or another. Not one. There are very good reasons for that; primary one being that I tend not to engage in legal battles if I didn’t have an exceptionally good chance of prevailing,” that your response to this, would be legal. You also said on the Polygon article that was published this morning by Colin Campbell, that there was no lawsuit. You have heavily alluded to the FTC case of Erik Chevalier, on numerous occasions, and even mention a number of assets that you say are owned/paid for by Chris Roberts. You have openly stated that Star Citizen is consumer fraud and provided a link to a series of definitions relating to various forms of consumer fraud.

    Question 1: So, I am taking all the available information to mean that you personally have no interest in filing a lawsuit against CIG, that you will instead pursue filing a complaint with the FTC, to try and get CIG investigated by the fed?

    Question 2: The catalyst of the FTC investigation into The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, seems to be that Erik Chevalier cancelled his project. With Star Citizen ongoing, and assets having been produced, the case as to whether this is fraudulent or not, comes down to there being a lack of work having been done. Again though, there has been work done, and one can see that. How then can you conclude that there is a malicious attempt to defraud consumers, with conjecture alone? Because frankly, without there being a stop to work, or a clear link between Chris Robert’s current personal finances (Current being key here, because Roberts has a long history of work and plenty of things he could be drawing royalties or other money from, that could potentially be paying for his current standard of living, whatever it may be) and the Star Citizen project (Information that, and this is nothing personal, you just can’t have without having violated a few laws yourself), I can’t think of anything here that you could have to back up your claims.

    Question 3: Do you have any other cases of kickstarter projects being investigated by the FTC? For example: was there action levied against the Yogscast for their failed project (I suppose that would have to be from the British equivalent of the FTC, but still). That seems like it would be a much better analog for what is happening with Star Citizen, if any action were taken. The Doom project was investigated, because of there being a rather unarguable action taken by Erik Chevalier, as to whether or not he’d finish his project: He cancelled his project. That isn’t the case with Star Citizen, so what precedent do you have to take the action?

    Question 4: How can you justify a hostile response to people you deem as being hostile to your own opinion?

  121. Dear mister Smart,

    I would like to inquire the reason for all this time and effort to attack Star Citizen, and not ?

    Is there any sensible reason for this, or is it just because Star Citizen is a space game as well?
    Or is it because they are so succesful with crowdfunding?
    Is it because you think they will fail, that it never can be achieved?
    Is it a selfless reason because you are worried for all of the people that spend money on it, or is it a more selfish reason?

    With all the information you wrote down, and it’s quite a lot, i still can not pinpoint the reasoning.
    I’m curious what it is, please?

  122. You were not advertised a finished product. You were advertised a game under development. This means things can and will change including delays in production. Adding features to the game does not suddenly make it false advertising. Missing a “deadline” that was an estimation, does not make it false advertising. Just because you may not like sometime, does not automatically make it false advertising.
  123. Although ‘accounting’ and ‘accountability’ sound similar, they are not the same thing. With no proof (anonymous sources? really?) or even hints at any malfeasance to take the money and run (the kind of accountability Kickstarter is most concerned with) and more than ample proof they are still building the BDSSE, it’s safe to say Feds will find that indeed, they are still building what was pitched, a video game. Every two weeks they issue patches and updates, new ships are flight ready in game every 6 weeks or so and now they have started expanding the world step by step from the hangar on out. From Tony Z’s latest post they even have a pretty reasonable progression for expanding the Social Module in specific steps of scalability. Here’s a quick graphic to help you understand if you are having difficult with it. http://i.imgur.com/ATtMD03.png The Tardis represents the workaround they will have for being able to access different worlds from one hangar, temporary until they expand to star systems with jump points.
  124. I can’t speak for other but I can – as someone who backed for $930 – speak for myself as to my reasons why I went from White Knight to Black Knight. It’s basically comes to honesty. Chris Roberts pitched a game that for all intents and purposes no longer exists. And he kept perpetuating this dishonesty but saying things to the press that were blatantly not true. I continue to backer Shroud of Avatar and other titles with no problems; many of those way past their deadlines. Why? It’s not because I’ve backed for less. Money isn’t really the issue. It wasn’t an issue in Star Citizen; that $930 was play money. I continue to support them because NONE of the creators have lied. As far I know Richard Garriott has been honest about his game. The same is true with other creators. Of all of the games I backed Chris Roberts is the only one to just flat-out lie. That’s why his game has $88 million.

    All that said this is why I got a refund of my money. I no longer believed Chris or trusted anything he said. And the game he pitched on Kickstarter is not the game he’s making now.

  125. It’s sound more and more like that $250 check is “hush and go away” money. You’re obviously much “Smarter” than that. Did you see what I did there? 🙂
  126. Reading the feedback is painful, especially the “it HASN’T been in development for 4 years” bit and then followed up with a paragraph saying why. For fuck’s sake Chris himself stated they were already a year into the project in a 2012 interview. Chris’ quote needs to be plastered into Backer’s brains so they understand facts.
  127. I will refer you to my comment on your post in the thread we have been going back and forth in. (once it has been passed through moderation of course, I assume these will both be posted at about the same time and that you will likely have read the top post first)
  128. Unfortunately, I have only this to say to your twitlonger post; “and”. Despite some great efforts from Mr. Smart (for whom I have gained a lot more respect through my debates directly with him) a large portion of people in this thread continue to twist and warp whatever is said to fit their agenda. Chris Roberts is a human being who says a lot of what he says without script, without lawyers, and without concern for it being dissected. He likely types up statements that he feels convey what he is trying to say only revising for spelling and grammar, not political correctness and extreme precision of language. He will read it how he meant it to be read and see nothing wrong, a lot of his community will do the same. There are always those who interpret what is said differently but that doesn’t mean that it was actually meant that way. Throughout your post I saw zero “proof” of him intentionally lying to, misleading, or defaming anyone. I have honestly tried but fully failed to see this “false advertising”, “defamation”, “fraud”, and “lies” but I have genuinely failed. CR has always had the utmost love for his projects and endeavors and has even sunk large sums of his own money into them in order for them to be realized. If he promises us something and we give him money, and then keep giving him money, and then form a community around it, and give him more money then I, with every fiber of my being, expect that he will expand his vision and make the biggest, most amazing project he can envision with his growing funds. When he says things at different times, he isn’t canceling out his previous statements, he is editing them or fully adding to them. When he says “Will it take longer to deliver all this? Of course! When the scope changes, the amount of time it will take to deliver all the features naturally increases. This is something we are actually aware of.” and “Finally there is one very important element – the more funds we can raise in the pre-launch phase, the more we can invest in additional content (more ships, characters etc.) and perhaps more importantly we can apply greater number of resources to the various tasks TO ENSURE WE DELIVER THE FULL FUNCTIONALITY SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.”, he is not canceling it out he is doing both. And do both he has, they have expanded into multiple studios and largely widened the scope of the game together. If he only increased scope, it might have been 8 years before a new estimated release rather than only extending it by 2 years. So as this page reaches the point where extreme precision of language and political correctness become the primary points of “evidence” I nothing left to contribute. I quite enjoyed this while it was a discussion between mature and intelligent individuals with common sense but as that time closes I must say my farewell.
  129. So I’m going to do another top post because apparently the first one got buried.

    Some idiots are passing around this image in attempt to insinuate that Line Of Defense is in the same non-delivery state as Star Citizen.

    Which prompted me to create a nice – factual – post for them.

    You’re welcome.

    ps: Ignoring the message, while seeking to attack and disparage the messenger, never works. As in never. m’kay?

  130. Well it’ll be interesting to see how this turns out and even if he’s not shit hot I expect he’ll have legal contacts and counsel that do fit into that bracket. You don’t spend nearly 30 years in a profession and not learn a thing or two and make a few friends along the way. More worryingly though is I expect not only is there a lot of legal expertise behind CIG but even more commitment. They aren’t going to rollover for you, it’ll be the fight of your life for sure. They’ve got their reputations on the line not mention an IP to protect.

    Personally I think legal action to force their hand at this point in time is a bust. The only way you’ll meaningfully impact development is sowing discontent ie. Your usual controversial blog every couple of weeks and snipes from twitter to keep chipping away at moral and plant the seed of concern amongst more backers. Eventually you’ll make a stink so bad that the authorities have to look at it.

  131. @ Chris

    Thanks for your letter. My respond to key parts of interest appears below.

    Star Citizen is just as ambitious as your Battlecruiser was back in the day, but its ambition looks bigger because of the improved technology available today. As it stands, Star Citizen is the gaming world’s last, best chance at seeing the genre that Battlecruiser tried to birth come to fruition. If Star Citizen fails, it could be another twenty years before anyone tries again.

    While true, I worked on that original BC3000AD game by myself for many years. Even when I finally landed with publishers who wanted me to trim the scope, I still stuck to that original vision. Right up to the fateful day in Oct 1996 when it was released prematurely by the then publisher.

    Yes, even though I had to build all that tech from the ground up, since there was nothing available to license, Star Citizen has the luxury of readily available off-the-shelf software and tools to make the game that Chris originally pitched back in 2012. As I mentioned in my blogs, the CryEngine3, though primarily built for fps shooters, was quite capable of powering that original game. And with access to the source code, they could still customize it in order to extend it to do what they wanted. We’ve done the same thing with Line Of Defense.

    He also had the luxury of raising the money to do that original game, and a reasonable amount of time in which to do it.

    Instead of sticking to this, he ignored all previous promises, got greedy, and that’s how we ended up where are. If this was a publisher funded game, or one with investors pulling the strings, he’d never have got away with it.

    Also, comparing BC3000AD to Star Citizen is not a fair comparison. That original game was much larger in scope, and even the spiritual successor, Universal Combat (and it’s several derivative versions), is much larger in scope than Star Citizen could ever aspire to be. The biggest hole in the comparison is that SC does not have true planetside worlds. Only a landing base (social/planetside). And this argument is precisely why I created this Line Of Defense v Star Citizen blog in order to explain these differences.

    Even LOD is nowhere in the same scope as any of my previous games. Though my plan is to build it up over time, I knew that it would be a 10+ year goal to do that. That’s why LOD is smaller in scope and since it takes place in the established game world, I can expand it via DLC until one day it matches the feature set of my previous BC/UC games. Even with command of capital ships complete with crew complement as seen in those previous games.

    So Chris has the chance to do the same thing. But he didn’t. Instead, by increasing the scope, wasting this money, he exponentially increased the risk of the game either i) not delivering on promises made ii) suffering a catastrophic failure and incomplete

    If you are right, a few thousand people will get refunds, Star Citizen will fail, and your name will disappear back into the dusty vaults of video game history. If you are wrong, and Star Citizen fails or
    reduces in scope because of the funding they had to spend on fighting you, you will be vilified by roughly a million people, and will have damaged a game which is trying to deliver the same thing as your original dream
    .”

    By Chris’s mistakes, Star Citizen is now destined to fail. There is no doubt in my mind about this. The only question now is, when and in what form that failure will take.

    1) If Star Citizen fails because I’m right, it’s on him.

    There is hardly any (aside from the insider sourced info that I am privy to and which the public isn’t) issue that I’ve raised, that wasn’t raised before. In fact, there are dozens of media reports about all of those things. I just happened to be an outspoken, well known developer, putting a face to the problem – and at great risk.

    I touched on this in another comment reply over the weekend.

    2) If Star Citizen fails because they had to spend money fighting me, reduce the scope etc, it’s on him.

    For the amount of money he has raised to date, I don’t believe that either side is going to spend more than $1m in legal bills (the prevailing party will be entitled to pay the other side’s reasonable legal fees) to see a resolution, because this matter is not that hard to resolve.

    In fact, if it costs more than $250K for either side, it would be because of all the effort they will put into fighting me over this accountability issue. Regardless, they have White Knights willing to buy concept ships. So they can quite easily fund their defense. And they won’t have to cut the game’s scope as a result of not having funds to fight a lawsuit. That’s just crazy talk.

    I asked for three simple and reasonable items. Those of you ignoring this are the sole cause of the impending legal issues.

    You should be appealing to him to give you – the backers – what you are entitled to. It’s not that hard. But I believe that the reason most White Knights are not doing this is because i) fuck Derek Smart ii) deep down, they know that I am right and for me to be proven thus, goes against the “fuck Derek Smart” mantra

    As to being vilified by a million people. Please. You’re forgetting who we’re talking about here. People don’t scare me. I always have, and always will stand up for what I believe in.

    Most of the backers of Star Citizen had never heard of you before very recently, but now most of them think of you as a miscreant and a fool. You could change that. Stop chasing CIG around. Stop threatening them, and stop railing against a game which is only trying to live up to the same ambitions as your Battlecruiser. If they fail, fight for refunds then, but in the meantime, help them. CIG have the biggest team of experts ever assembled to work on a project of this scope. They have suffered delays, but they are still well within normal development time for a AAA game. Every time they have delivered a module, or showed us a live demo, it has shown progress toward the final goal. Please Derek, just come aboard for the ride. If the game ends up like the ones I listed earlier, we can fight for refunds together.

    Again, this goes back to whether or not I care about what people think of me. I don’t. I know who I am, and that’s all that matters to me. What people think of me, doesn’t change who I am.

    I am one of the original architects of IDGAF in the gaming space. And it’s not just me. It’s simply a sociological and psychological trait (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) that I simply do not possess.

    I am neither threatening, nor chasing them. Everything I’ve said I will do, I have done or currently doing. There is a difference.

    Also, asking me to wait and see how the whole thing plays out, is the sort of thing that arrogance is borne on. It doesn’t work that way. If that were the case, most of the cases in courts wouldn’t be there. There comes a time when you have to make a choice. Especially if there is clear evidence of wrong doing, as happens to be the case here.

    So waiting to “see how it goes”, is pointless because if I’m right, and this either results in a catastrophic loss, or a failure to deliver on promises made, what exactly is the recourse? Once the damage is done, the money gone etc, that’s it. The End. There is no recovery.

    And for the last time, people need to stop with the comparison to other AAA games. The comparison is pure, unadulterated bullshit. So rather than type it all up again, I am just going to excerpt portions from item # 8 in my Interstellar Breach blog.

    =====
    8) Despite the length of time for various types of game projects, a four year span for a game of this scope is not unreasonable. However, there are people out there throwing up all kinds of charts for various triple-A game (e.g. WoW, Halo, Mass Effect etc) expenses and development periods, in an attempt to compare to Star Citizen, thus justifying the costs and schedule.

    For reference, back in June 2014, Kotaku wrote a detailed article about this. You should probably read it for context. And in July 2012, ahead of the Star Citizen Kickstarter, Polygon wrote a similar article about the state of AAA game development, costs etc. Well before this, Luke Ahearn, wrote a detailed article about budgeting and scheduling game development. It’s quite the read. And if you still have time, and really want to see even more eye-opening analysis, go read this one.

    And so, in all those discussions, those trying to make this argument are forgetting (how convenient) that those games they are trying to compare Star Citizen to, are:

    * structured designs
    * have publishers pulling the strings and calling the shots
    * have experienced and seasoned producers and developers – who are familiar with the game, genre and tech used
    * have specific goal-oriented budgets – controlled by said publishers
    * those people were not making a game that requires putting the entire development team on a goal-post moving, technological scope-creep tread-mill with a seemingly insurmountable end-game for something they had never before attempted to develop
    * not managed or produced by someone who has a history of making huge claims about over-ambitious games, then not delivering on same

    So yes, that comparison argument is devoid of any merit. As a 30 year industry veteran, I have funded, developed, and shipped over a dozen games, and I have vast experience and qualifications in various game development disciplines. So it’s safe to say that I know what I’m talking about. You don’t have to listen to what I have to say – and I don’t care, because I’m going to say it anyway.

    The facts are that:

    * this game was never pitched as a triple-A game
    * not everyone signed up for this grand “vision” back in 2012
    * if Chris Roberts had asked for anything resembling a triple-A game budget back in 2012, he probably won’t have received funding because the scope of the game back then was not in line with that pitch.

    Who dare makes such a claim, while asking for $500K to build a triple-A quality game? Go ahead, show me one single instance of this ever happening.

    Aside from that, right from the start, either Chris Roberts and co lied about how much longer (two years from the Oct 2012 Kickstarter) it would take to build the game, or he created this lie on-the-fly once he figured out a way to keep raising money, while not delivering a finished product. And the FTC is very clear on this, even aside from crowd-funding. He raised money to build and ship a specific product, to be delivered to backers within a specific time frame.

    Nobody cares about what the average development time for a game is. We only care about what was promised. Period. End of story.

    Yes – in the world of software development, especially games, delays can and will happen; it is a given. However, this has gone beyond mere delays because now, it is the scope creep and the technological hurdles associated with it, that are causing the delays. A delay that, if he is to be believed, is most likely to see the game released well beyond 2016. Assuming that it ever gets completed; or as promised in the feature set.

    Once funding crossed the $2.1m mark, as the narrative and pitch for the game changed, everything said was a blatant attempt to continue raising funds, for a “vision” that Chris Roberts now wanted to build and to compete (1, 2, 3) with triple-A games, while lining their collective pockets with backer money.
    =====

    In conclusion, your letter is very much appreciated, and your well constructed thoughts are duly noted.

    At the end of the day, as I always do, I will strive to make the right decision. Until then, we just have to wait until week of Sept 24th, which is when the 30 day deadline for them to respond to my letter, expires. If they respond sooner, as I suspect that they will, that means I get to make a decision sooner, rather than later.

  132. Don’t be silly. Ortwin is not a “shit hot legal guy”. He’s an entertainment lawyer.

    Also, it would help if, before making statements like that, or even offering legal opinions, that you actually have a clue or two.

  133. Indeed. The thing is that most of these people don’t even know who he is. And until most of us from back in the day start pointing out the dangerous repetition of patterned behavior, nobody pays any attention.

    Some of the reasons you cite, as precisely why I asked him to step down and let someone taken the reins and finish the game. Some were mad at me for that, despite my outlining my reasons in that second blog. And of course I can call for him to step down. It’s a crowd-funded project that’s doing down the drain.

  134. Hi Scott

    I agree with you on the FTC side of things, and yes, they can be a pain. The law firm (one of two) I am working with, has some attorneys who specifically focus on those investigations; and they have explained just how time consuming and expensive they can be. Which, funny enough, is precisely why it concerned me that by the time FTC get done doing whatever it is they are doing based on the reports, that it may be too late to save the project.

    I need to point out that the three items that I asked for in my demand letter are not that big a deal. If they are willing to be so “open” about development, then providing financial accounting shouldn’t be a big deal either.

    And yeah, as I mentioned in my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, the first version is always the toughest. However, there is no circumstance under which I am willing to give Chris a pass on this. He had the money and time to build a limited scope game that he pitched us back in 2012. Had he delivered that, then continued to raise money for improvements, nobody would be arguing about this and we’d be playing a “game” since last year.

    So it’s all on him.

  135. Another thing to note? The fact that the social module was never really truly meant to be a standalone module. Its going to need the persistent universe to do the vast majority of its promised functions (which they are largely keeping under wraps for now as a surprise). We have no idea what their progress on that is other than subtle hints as they flesh out the lore.The PU in turn relies on the other modules being completed to get the full features out of it thus why we’ve heard so little about it beyond little design points. The progress is actually kind of amazing from that standpoint and I’m positive we’ll be seeing A LOT at once not long after all the core modules are out.
  136. ” I did not back CIG and Chris Roberts so my money could be wasted on a radical lawsuit based off wild claims. ”

    Then you should have complained of CIG when they started to make tons of false advertising instances, as well as pretending that wasn’t in debt and shielding themselves behind a cult.

    Because you probalby were there applauding their attitude, now you don’t have exit, but swallow lawsuits, in the same form that customers had to swallow the disrespect of CIG with their own words for years stated and misleading the public, with the community protecting them to offend customer rights, instead demanding that they followed best practices to respect the interests of all backers, instead a few fans.

  137. “What could possibly lead you to believe you have a valid legal case here?”

    this: “Project Creators agree to make a good faith attempt to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date.”

    They didn’t make it. They expanded the scope. Without the approval of ALL individual backers. This is what you call bad faith on business.

  138. To be fair, what should be expected for launch should be 200 areas to visit. That because they promised to launch with 100 systems and Zurovec mentioned that they are planning at least two areas to be visited by system, in an interview.
    That means 200.
    Then, Zurovec mentioned that they have the vision for up to 400 systems “in the long term”. So, the 800 number, is something for the long term, after launch, which could be you know, 10/15 years, whatever.
    Still, 200 is a huge quantity of work. But the comment about making things repetitive makes sense. They could make around 20 handcrafted areas, and then spread/mix things to make them appear different, that was something that Zurovec also explained about, in the same interview.
    But still, I think that it will represent many years years of work. Let’s do not forget that social areas, is just one part of this game. There are much more features/gameplay, beyond just that.
  139. Have you missed the memo? Derek tried to talk to him and CIG, before it all started. And he was insulted with defamatory statements in public, as many customers were by that team in many forms, after raised legit concerns and demands, per their customer rights.
    CIG then lied in the situation. They lied about dissent backers AND Derek Smart. And clearly lied many times when advertising their game.
    If someone must to run and beg for a conversation, that would be CIG and Chris Roberts at this point.
    And to be fair, no “conversation” will help because Roberts cannot be reliable. Only accountability can prove if he is telling the true or not.
    In my opinion he lies not only to the public (which can be easily proven: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sn4h84) but also to his own employees about what he really thinks and predict about this project and his agenda. Ten years in Hollywood my friend. Ten years.
  140. “Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.”

    No Derek. I have to disagree here with this point of view. They won’t escape. Whatever they release, as we can see of the “possibilities” that they can do, that will be indeed incomplete, but here is the problem… due their open development, there are tons and tons of advertising (which includes statements in their website, interviews, etc.) that would end like broken promises and core expanded features promised for RELEASE, so, they can’t get away from that.

    Even if they pretend that disconnected modules or barely connected + 1st chapter of Squadron 42 + AC 2.0 pre-alpha tech demo, “is the game”, to escape from a lawsuit, is a very lame and easily beaten matter of defense, and I explain you why:

    https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

    1-) Stretch goal of 5 million dollars: “Squadron 42 will feature celebrity voice-acting including at least one favorite from Wing Commander and 50 total missions.”
    Stretch goal of 10 million dollars: “Cloud Imperium Games will build their own mocap studio to improve the quality of Star Citizen and Squadron 42’s cutscenes.”
    Stretch goal of 29 million dollars: “Enhanced Mission Design for Squadron 42 – The team at Foundry 42 has big plans for Squadron 42, and we’re going to provide extra funding to make it a true spiritual successor to Wing Commander! Squadron 42 can go above and beyond anything you’ve seen before. From opening with an epic battle instead of a training patrol to missions that seamlessly combine boarding and space combat, we aim to put you right into the action! Additional funding will let the team realize this, with enhanced mission design and more resources and animations to enhance fidelity.”

    So here we have everything related and advertised and promoted in exchange of millions of dollars, for the release of Squadron 42. As you can see, they even mention thigns like “from opening with an epic battle instead of a training patrol to missions that seamlessly combine boarding and space combat”.

    So yes… don’ thave that? They are breaking laws of advertising. And Squadron 42 is not like a PU, which things are expected to be added 10 years later. It’s a campaign with begin and end that must to come with everything as promised.

    2-) And here is one even stronger:
    Stretch goal of 6 million dollars: “Star Citizen will launch with 100 star systems.”

    Noticed the “launch” statement? Yes. 100 systems “for release”. They can and won’t able to claim that a tiny tech demo with 1 system (Stanton System) is “the game as promised/advertised” and supposedly released.

    There are just two few examples, of a direct and easy way to destroy any possibility that they could argue that they delivered the game, with what they are planning to do in the next months, until the end of this year, or even beyond in 2016.

  141. hello mr smart

    i think your blog does “push” CIG to release new footage sooner
    they released video of the new landing zone on the station Nyx

    also I would like to thank you for the moderation of the comment section on this blog, as I think it hast become more civilized (on both sides) as it was some days ago

  142. Derek, I’m sure you’ve had some lively exchanges with the lower life forms on the Internet. I’ve spent a couple of hours exploring down the rabbit hole as I try to understand what you’re doing. I think you and I met a few times over the decades, since I’ve been a game developer and on the periphery of the industry since your early days. I respect your opinion, and I offer my own. I’m one of those White Knights who is also a whale, into the game for over $7K, and quite happy to let Chris keep cranking away to get the game launched. A bright light of scrutiny is probably fine, but I believe that Chris and the other company leaders already feel tremendous pressure to deliver on their promises. At the end of the day, it isn’t about the money as much as their reputations. I know a lot of the current and former devs, and everyone has worked crazy hours to get them to this point. I’ve been involved in FTC investigations, and it only serves to enrich the lawyers. As you learned with BC3000AD, the first version is never really “done”, and I think Star Citizen will ship enough content in the next year to declare victory, but it will take years to truly satisfy our wishful thinking about the game each of us wanted. Best of luck to you with your latest project.
  143. Wait this guy wrote two things,Of Shadow and void in 2012 and the Social Module review in 2015. So why the sudden interest in reviewing pre-release games? Did he do a Line of Defence review? Because it would have been the same review except he would be negative about the Graphics to. This is all so pot blaming kettle. Line of Defence is not going to release summer 2015, It has no gameplay to speak of yet, and no interesting enviroments.
    So why all this attention on Star Citizen? I don’t get it.
  144. *shrug* New “Alpha Phase” social module is out as of yesterday for all Backers.. FPS should debut in “Alpha Phase” by December imo… weekly updates are being provided by Chris Roberts and the Devs specifically about the FPS. Waaaay too early for a lawsuit. The scope of the game is MASSIVE…. dwarfing the efforts of EVE Online and Elite Dangerous. They ONLY had 12 employees at the end of 2012 for this EPIC genre changing PC ‘Living Universe’. So they’ve barely had 3 years to get to the current state of development. I’ve pledged over $2,500 since 2013 and I wont stress about development until December of 2016 if nothing concrete has been deployed and established for Backers to test on. FYI… I have a A.A.S. in Computer Science and about to obtain my B.S. in Computer Information Systems w/ Networking Focus this December.
  145. The more I read about Chris Roberts, the more unhinged he seems. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in these development meetings – I bet there’s more than a few exasperated looks being exchanged between devs whenever Chris’ mouth opens. The strangest part to me is that he’s done this exact same thing before, numerous times.

    This is like having a guy who robbed 8 banks at gunpoint, who gets caught and imprisoned, get out a few years later, put on a mask and grab a gun, head into a bank with a note for the teller and an empty bag, and when people say “he’s going to rob the bank,” calling THEM out as if pointing out the possibility is an insult.

    I bet this project could be completed, in stellar fashion, if he were simply replaced. With almost anyone else – someone on the dev team preferably, who shares the vision but understands the business. But how do you extract the man who made absolutely sure to bake his name into the product? “Roberts Space Industries.” It baffles me that Derek is called out repeatedly for seemingly being this massive, black-hole-density egotist, yet when the evidence is examined, it doesn’t hold up. I don’t see “Smart Space Industries” all over his various game releases. I don’t see these massive public-relations campaigns and wild, wide-eyed “THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT” speeches when the scope of his visions are called into question.

    But Chris’ own ego does not come up as a topic.

    To the most die-hard defenders, consider this: the person people are vehemently, and borderline violently, defending, is the one man most likely to cause this product to fail. Let that sink in. Let the Disney-esque “follow your dreams” speech fall by the wayside for a moment, and realize this man took 88 million dollars of other people’s money to fund what amounts to a giant, self-service ego trip meant to prove to the world he’s not the failure that all available evidence indicates.

    If you’re truly dedicated to the Star Citizen vision, and everything it represents (and I think it’s safe to say EVERYONE posting here does, supporter and retractor alike), then don’t you want to see this product come to life?

    If you do, there’s only one man who is capable of bringing it down. And he’s spent the last few years making sure that’s exactly what happens.

  146. Aren’t you worried that their defence is likely to be extremely strong given that they have the expertise, Ortwin is a shit hot legal guy, and the funds?

    If you loose then you’ll end up paying a lot of money including their costs. The would thing likely last for years and have the potential to wipe out any reputation and companies you may have.

    For the disgruntled community yes it makes sense to do a class action IF they’be been refused a refund. But an individual who’s also a developer of the same genre of games? The risk seems way to high to me.

    I get that you have a tough time backing down from things – you’ve been trying to crack this gaming nut for the better part of 30 years. But sometimes your just better off letting things take their own course.

  147. It seems a little preemptive to go straight for the throat and attempt to start legal proceedings before even emailing CIG and requesting a refund.

    It’s pretty easy to get your money back. Just be polite. Highlight your concerns and be sure to tell them you want out.

    That’s what I did and although I haven’t received my refund yet, it has been approved.

    However if after all that you don’t get any joy then I’d use legal action as a last resort.

  148. Consider this… how much variety is there in a good many open world games? Now consider how open space generally is? This means that most the detail work is going into the ships and cities rather than massive sprawling landscapes that follow the principle of being able to travel to it if you can see it.

    Do I have any illusion that all 800 will be completely unique and there will be some modularity (is that a word?) in how they’re designed? No. There will be some copy and pasting going on with some shifting of locations but overall style being the same.

    As for performance issues, again, a lot of bugs and performance issues in modular programming aren’t revealed until after they are combined so I can’t imagine there won’t be tweaking that’ll apply to every level once its fixed up.

    As for my background? New to the programming field, worked with some factory camera software on the design side and QA work. PC enthusiast for 24 years. Trying to get my foot in the door further in the programming industry particularly gaming. I know enough to know the disadvantages and advantages of each methodology, enough of the basics to pick up on a good many languages (though particularly proficient in Java, SQL, and ASP.NET though working on C++) and have my microsoft certification in Software Development Fundamentals.

  149. That doesn’t make sense at all. There are three possibilities:
    1. Derek Smart has enough evidence to prove fraud etc. then he could go to court right away, no need to wait for a response by CIG. What should that be good for? If they really used backer money for private projects or whatnot nobody (expect some fanatics) would want that they get away with it. There is simply no need to wait for an answer. What do you expect? A confession? Hilarious.
    2. Derek Smart has some hints, people talking, some “screenshots” but no hard evidence. Then he needs the feds or the FTC or any other organisation with inspectors going through CIG books and find hard evidence.
    3. He has nothing beside some rumors, see 2, but more difficult to get the feds in (hence the class action).

    The most interesting part is, that he wants to sue them via a class action. He needs people going with him to court. Hence the database with backers who want refunds. That is the reason he wrote all those blogs. To show people that there is someone out there who wants to support them with actions against CIG.
    The second part is: If you only have some hints and some unclear information you wouldn’t make this public and give the company time to cover their tracks and find explanations for what you found. Even if you have access to a lot of information that is not in the public record, you would be plain stupid to warn them this way and give them month to react.
    Derek Smart started this in July and now he is going to wait until end of august. As an auditor I have plenty of experience with cases like that, if the company you inspect isn’t totally stupid or the prosecutor had really hard evidence you will find nothing after such an amount of time.
    The only thing they have to make sure now is, that if they used some of the money for shady business, that this money is back in the “Star Citizen” account and do some magic which I am not gonna explain in detail for obvious reasons.
    One thing I can tell you though: if the company owner(s) themselves have substantial financial resources you can cover nearly anything by putting your own money into an account with the option to withdraw it any time while giving the same amount of money to someone else. (there is a crucial part missing, I am not gonna explain that, but you can google it with the information I gave you).
    Even if something unusual remains, like some electronic depository transfers which you cannot explain in whole, as long as the money is back in the bank nobody will shut you down for this. You really need to find hard evidence, I cannot stress that enough.
    So the whole class action does only have one goal: destroying the project by squeezing out the money of them to fight him. He is more or less explaining that by himself with the answer to Craig.
    His attorneys told him that there is a chance that the court will listen to them. This is also in the answer to Craig some lines beneath this post.
    It will be ugly, it will be embarrassing, because there will be much personal dirt thrown around. And even if CIG wins everything there is a good chance, that this is the end of SC. Even if there is nothing wrong with what they did.
    If Chris and Ortwin are the smart people I think they are, they have an insurance covering such costs but you never know. And that is the whole story. And even if many of the Black Knights are upset and annoyed, I really don’t think that the would want SC end like that.
    So, now lets see if we can have a meaningful discussion here Mister Smart, I am an 37 year old husband with family and 17 years experience with auditing, controlling, consumer fraud etc. Sadly from Germany, hence my bad English My apologizes for that.

  150. Thank you for your reply,

    I think this topic has to be divided into three quotation, that are a bit mixed up.

    1. Is it possible to make this game happen?

    2. If yes, how much money do they need for that?

    3. Are they spending the money in a reasonable way? By “reasonable” I mean not questions like:
    -“Is it better to spend those $100k on FPS or on Ship design?”
    or
    -“It it better to spend those “1m on MoCap or on Planetsite level design?”.
    I also not mean:
    -“Is it reasonable to do public events. like that on Gamescom?” (I think yes, they made $1m in one week after gamescom, so it gained more than it did cost)
    I mean:
    -“Are they using all (my) money on the game itself (PR is “game” in my opinion) or are they spending it on something else / private (what is Sandi doing etc.)?

    I think 1 + 2 cant be found out in court. Only “time” can show that.

    And for point three:
    If you sue CIG to “force” them to allocate there/my money in the way YOU think is right, then I am not with you. I think CIG knows best how to allocate the money. There might be setbacks, there might be delays, and maybe some bad decisions (Illfonic?), but as long as all the money goes towards to make the game, I think any external interference is counterproductive.
    But if you after that one simple question:
    “Is 100 % of the money going into game”? (As already mentioned gamescom is also “the game”)
    then I will support your claim, because I want to know that too.

    Best regards

    Nils

  151. I have actually just now posted a comment on something a little above this that I really wish I typed here instead. I am not here to say that you are wrong or write, I just want to bring you to the table to negotiate directly with Chris Roberts, no demands, no threats, no accusations. The underlying point I have been trying to get across is that we don’t KNOW much for sure at all. A lawsuit isn’t necessary, it will only hurt. People in the United States like to jump into things farther than what is called for, there is no need for a lawsuit when a simple conversation between two mature and respectful adults can solve everything. I find it hard to think that Chris Roberts would be taking money for himself in all of this because of his history of sinking his personal funds into his projects. I have finally read the letter you sent him and it expanded my perspective a bit here. You take what CIG and CR are saying as personal insult and defamation because they are fighting against you by name. Consider that accusing a man who is trying to build his dream will be taken personally as well. CR would have a hard time claiming defamation because you have an entire organization name to pin things to, where as in your battle against CIG you are the name and face behind it. They have nothing else to pin things to, perhaps they could try and use the “black knights” but its still nothing official. When they say things, placing your name on it, they really don’t have much of a choice. Your “side” is the only one that isn’t uniformed. We are the backers, CR is CIG, the “black knights” are still backers for the most part, and you are Mr. Smart. Its simply how things ended up. With that said there have been large amounts of very literal defamation against you from the “white knight” backers and you have every right to defend yourself and be angry about it. I would not however say that anything Chris Roberts has personally said or anything official from CIG has actually been defamatory against you. I encourage you to try and look at their statements that fight against you objectively in this way, and to also consider that many of your statements could be considered defamatory against CR or CIG. Insulting their ability to complete their current endeavor and costing them community support must be extremely frustrating for them as well. If I could speak to CR as directly as I can with you I would be telling him the same thing. Unfortunately the scale of the overall community is too extensive for him to be able to spend any worthwhile amount of time with a single backer. Though Ben and a few other popular devs have been able to hold a quick conversation with myself and others from time to time, it has never been enough to make any really worthwhile results come about. I am begging you to please try and talk, face to face, with Chris Roberts and get this through in a civilized, efficient, and respectful manner.
  152. Perhaps a full blown forum will work better next time, I have noticed that it is quite difficult to navigate the comments here now that there are a large number. I am looking forward to your replies on those, maybe we will eventually actually get something worked out. I feel like if you and CR actually got together and talked this out (without either of you needing to worry about any potential legal consequences of what you say) then you would be able to reach an agreement along the lines of “we will show what we have left and how much we spend, if you calm down and stop the lawsuit threats”. As is usual, neither side here wants to compromise at all. This wont work, it never has, and it never will. There are a few ways to approach this situation that might actually have an outcome. The first is diplomatically, people generally only associate diplomacy with international negotiations but it fully exists on smaller scales everywhere in life. I believe a diplomatic and peaceful approach will have the best outcome for all of us. The next option is a lawsuit, this will likely only result in massive amounts of wasted time, money, and resources and seriously hurt one or both sides and everyone on it. The final option (which is all has really been done so far) is a cold war between the two sides. The flame war being brawled out across the internet are the proxy wars, the plays for evidence against the opposing sides is the information war, the propaganda from each is obviously the propaganda, and the lawsuit is the M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction). Lets take the rout history took because that one ended kinda ok(ish).
  153. @ Rholliday

    You just outlined the problem that everyone is now starting to get behind. And it’s those ifs and speculation that we get completely remove if we have complete and open accountability for the project.

    I don’t – for one second – believe that, as I type this, they have the money to FINISH this game. At all. And I’m going to do everything in my power to prove it.

    And yes, the minute this gets into a court room, the problems are going to increase exponentially. And that’s my single hesitation about all this. But the fact is, unless we sit back and wait, there is no other way to find out if we’re still going along for a bullshit ride or not. Other companies have investors and such to answer to. They only have backers who don’t have a unified person to spearhead such an effort. And because of that, they continue along this path, while ignoring calls for accountability.

    It’s better to know now what the risks of success or failure are, than to find out, six months down the road after people have given them millions more – that it was doomed to fail all along.

  154. Oh, I am certain that they are working on all the pieces. That’s not the issue. The issue is that if they had, even 10 of the 100 (let alone 800) levels for this module completed, they’d be showing them. I mean, they’re selling concept (!) ships, showing stuff that’s months away. So far with this module? Only ArCorp. But they’re still selling ships.

    I don’t, for one second, believe that they have more than a few of these social/planetside modules done. As you can see from the level of detail, it’s an incredible amount of work!!

    And it all goes back to what I said in my first blog. At this visual fidelity level, and given the time it will take, this is a $150m+ game, that’s still two to three years from “completion”. At best.

  155. @ Rogerio

    Where we are now goes beyond Kickstarter or the RSI ToS. So none of that applies. In fact, that’s why, even with various ToS and other similar protections, game companies still get sued. And most times, they lose. The issue is that unless a ToS is challenged in court, they can hide behind it until someone challenges it.

    My #1 goal is to completely, and utterly, shred (in court) both ToS the minute they are brought up as a defense for their actions. But we don’t think that any attorney is stupid enough to try and hide behind a draconian ToS because then they run the risk of it being tossed, thus leaving over 700K people with legit complaints. Even if they do pull that stunt, it’s just going to be a delaying tactic; albeit a dangerous one.

    I don’t take legal fights lightly and thus far, the reason that I have never – ever – lost one (even against two publishers) is because I only pursue them I have a legit reason to do so.

    Trust me, I got this.

  156. I already posted my thoughts on the module.

    And yes, those previously mentioned four beefy posts are still in my queue and I’m actually in the process of replying to them. I am hoping to get them all approved/replied to by end of weekend. The reason that I have not approved them is due to the way the comment system works, once I do that, I then have to go search for them. By holding them in the queue, I can approve + comment in one shot. So the comment and my reply both go live at the same time, just retaining the thread context.

  157. I have no intentions of cashing it. And even if I did, it still doesn’t absolve them of prior responsibilities. Don’t worry, my attorneys are not new at this.

  158. Can’t you just tear up the check? They can’t force you to legitimize their unsolicited refund by banking it.
  159. It should make for an interesting read, just don’t ruin for me cause my pc is having issues so I have not tried it yet. From the sounds of things however the community is impressed. On another topic however, I do not mean to be impatient but are there still any of those “beefy” comments still in the queue? I am very interested to hear your reply if its still coming, though I realize several of my points have been made others since my original posting. My apologies if you just haven’t had the time to reply as of yet, I am often an impatient individual.
  160. Hello Derek and thanks again for a great blog post!

    So, as far as legal options and outcomes that could be available, if as you said, the dirt is dug up and shows foul play, what can in fact happen?
    Are they not under the old Kickstarter terms and conditions?

    If they are found of something like: “Yes we took your “DONATION” money and spent it as we wanted… sue us!”
    Could something really happen to them since these were basically donations on Kickstarter? (not sure about website income though)

    Thanks and take care! 🙂

  161. Hello Mr. Smart,

    At first I want to mention, that I am not a native speaker, so sorry in advance for every spelling and/or grammar mistake I make.

    I am a Star Citizen Backer since early 2014. Since then I spend/pledged over 750 $. I make this post to ask you something.

    My expertise in game development is limited to the Sandbox Editor in Crysis 1. I remember two things from that time. When I opened it, I had that huge area of water, a few terraforming tools and a huge library of objects, trees, buildings etc. With that I could create levels within hours. Then I tried to create my own object (in this case a bridge). I used a 3D Program that could export to cryengine for that (cant remember the name) an it took me longer to design that bridge than actually build the level afterwards.

    I know we have only that two/three small maps, that even smaller Area on ArcCorp and the Hangars. And as you mentioned in one of your comments below and in your posts, you cants imagine that how is it then possible to create the universe they promised?

    If i transfer my own experience in level designing to star citizen, I assume that it takes just a lot longer to create all the pieces of a level that the level itself.

    So, how do you know that the majority of the designers are not working on creating those pieces? And once the have all the pieces and therefore a huge library with objects, they can churn out levels, systems and maps. they use the (small) Modules to test the mechanics etc. and in the background they work on the tools and assets to create worlds.

    With regards Nils (from Germany)

  162. That is understandable, 20 mil would very likely be a problem. But that is the reason I think the most we should be pushing for is what they have and what they spend. That way we, and CIG can determine whether there is or is not a problem, and then determine what, if anything, can be done about it. We all want to see Chris Roberts succeed, if there is a remote chance we can get him there then I believe we should be helping, not fighting. The way this discussion seems to be going is that we do not actually know all that much at all. The amount of “ifs” and hypothetical scenarios are really blowing this a bit out of proportion. While taking CIG into a courthouse would make us know more, it wont actually help get anything done. While “accountability” might make some people feel a little bit better if it fails, its most likely not going to get their money back. They took a risk investment, they will either win or lose on it.
  163. So they have released the first pass of the social/planetside module in the recent 1.2 update which, amid cries of foul, went live to all backers, not just those selected for participation in the PTU (Public Test Universe).

    Here is the release announcement by Tony Zurovec (He’s in charge of the Persistent Universe. Yes, he’s a fantastic developer who joined CIG a little over a year ago).

    Yes, I have played it since it was in the PTU.

    It looks outstanding! But as I’ve stated before, I don’t believe that anyone is going to be arguing about the visual fidelity of this game. So I’m not going to waste my time on that. As I’ve always said, they have a team of stellar content creators and developers who are stretching CryEngine3 to its full potential.

    From the standpoint of a game developer and engineer, an avid gamer and ex-backer (FYI. I am no longer an official backer. My office received a check directly from Ortwin via FEDEX yesterday. More on this in another blog due out next week; and in which I will post an image of the check, showing the 08/24 check date etc) of this project, I am very disappointed in this release.

    Why? I hear you ask.

    Simple. They are doing precisely what I predicted that they would do, now that all this noise that we’re all making has thrown this project, and its creators into the “wtf is going on!? spotlight, garnered the attention of the Feds via the many reports etc.

    Let me quote what I said in my latest Interstellar Breach blog on the matter; and the one that contained the legal demand letter they were sent last week.

    As far as this project is concerned, from my observation and experience, it is my opinion that if they ever ship a completed Star Citizen game, that is true to the “vision” they have been selling, it will be a game that could have been made in four years for $20m.

    Instead, with all this resource waste due to bad project management, scope creep, wasteful and improper spending etc, they would have blown through $86m+ and with zero accounting for where the money went. But hey, they shipped something, right? But since I don’t believe that the game – as pitched – will ever see the light of day, backers are going lose, no matter how this ends.

    Here is the crucial problem with this. The minute they deliver a “game” that fits the framework they have described, regardless of how buggy or incomplete it is, the legal hurdle of accountability becomes harder to get over.

    For example. You pay me $100 to build you a quality box. Then through delays you start getting irate, forcing me to deliver or face legal consequences. The end result is that I’m going to build you a flimsy box for $10. Now you have a box. I get to keep $90.

    You now have to decide whether or not it’s worth coming after me for building you a cheap flimsy box.

    How many times haven’t you ordered something online, received it, then had to return it because the quality or operation was not as expected? That’s what we’re facing here if we don’t push for accountability. Except in this regard, you won’t be able to return it; nor will you be able to get a refund.

    Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.

    Having seen what they released a few days ago as the social/planetside module, there is no doubt in my mind that precisely what I said above, is what they’re doing now.

    This module was in no way, shape or form ready for release. Yet they released it in order to – for the first time – make a deadline in order to “silence” critics like me in an effort to show that stuff is coming.

    I am just shocked that $88m+, 500+ people and four years later, backers to date, only have three largely buggy and incomplete modules, with network code that is still incredibly sub-par.

    And no, they didn’t meet this end of Aug deadline as many seem to think, and which White Knights are rejoicing over. This module is vastly incomplete, contains glaring bugs etc and there is no way on this God’s Earth that anyone can tell me that they didn’t know about these bugs ahead of the release, seeing how obvious they are.

    Worse still, they have to build 800 of these things. At first, it was 100. It’s now Aug 2015 and the 1st one – right out of the gate – is this beautiful, incomplete mess.

    And CR says the game will be complete by end of 2016.

    Take a look at the epic looking Nyx Landing Zone video

    . Yet another example of how spectacular this game looks.

    Now look again. See that chugging? Those are some of the performance issues that they’re going to be facing. And this is just one client in this “level”. Imagine what’s going to happen with 4, let alone 24 (or whatever client count they’re shooting for these days) clients in here at that visual fidelity level.

    Oh, and as I understand it, this is just a flyby landing zone. So yeah, all this work for what amounts to a glorified landing cut-scene in the social/planetside module. Most are going to skip it once the novelty wears off.

    And let’s not even get into the performance issues.

    Anyway, here’s the thing. We already saw this ArCorp level at GC2015 a month ago. And we know now that it was staged because the experience (from my play through and from other reviews) we saw then, is totally different from what they have now released.

    Let me explain staged:

    “In dev speak, the term “staged” means to have been designed and executed specifically for a different purpose other than that which would be experienced by a user.

    In this regard, even by the directions that CR was giving which in and of itself is part of the “staging” process, it was easy to see that the team of players only flowed the way they did because there was a director (in this case, Chris) in charge.

    Also, we saw the same client/user “sprinting” (actually is “positional rubberbanding”) in the 1.2 PTU just now released, that we saw a month ago in that demo. And of course, we didn’t see people falling through the world, clipping into geometry etc. Pretty much, most of what is in this user review of the 1.2 PTU wasn’t evident (at least not clearly) in that presentation.

    Finally, if you looked at the recent dev update, you will see references to merging code from the Gamescon build. That means they had a special build for that event and which was not part of the current dev pipeline.

    So no, that presentation was not indicative of the actual experience that a gamer would have. And that’s now evident in the 1.2 PTU which contains those same assets, levels etc. That’s why I say it is “staged”.”

    Aside from that, back in a Forbes interview (the same one in which he said the game would cost $20m to finish) from May 2013, CR claimed that this social/planetside module would be finished and playable in 2014, with the full game being ready for delivery by the end of 2014.

    It’s now end of Aug 2015.

    Which means that it is now over a year and a half late. You can actually chart this yourself, even if you ignore the interviews themselves. In fact, here is an RSI forum thread from Feb 2014 asking about the release of this module which was scheduled for March 2014.

    Like AC 1.0 which was released in a similar fashion, and almost a year later is still buggy for the most part, this social/planetside module is also incomplete and buggy. Which, from what I’ve seen, means that there is a very good chance that it could take several months for it to get into any decent working and complete state.

    So once they release what I believe is also going to be a half-baked Star Marine and SQ42 (Episode 1) and whatever the heck they think (my guess is that they’re going to peddle it as AC 2.0 / Multi-Ship) is the PU, that box mentioned above will be their delivery vehicle for the “vision 2.0” game.

    Hangar, Arena Commander, Social/Planetside, Star Marine, SQ 42, Persistent Universe (derived from AC 2.0 w/ multi-ship)

    At that point, regardless of the quality, they would have “delivered” on Chris’ vision 2.0, thus reducing their liability. You know why? Because there is a big difference between these two:

    i) non-delivery for something you’ve taken money for

    This one keeps them open to a lawsuit. More disastrous is that it subjects them to the invasive prying eyes of the Feds (especially the FTC and the FBI) for so many reasons that when the attorneys ran me through the list a couple of weeks ago in a strategy meeting, I was astonished. In fact, while I was focusing on the FTC, I had no idea that any part of this would even fall under the purview of the FBI.

    ii) delivery of something – anything – that has no guarantee of performance

    This one can get them out of a lawsuit, and possibly the invasive prying eyes of the Feds.

    However, as we have seen with lawsuits against game companies such as Sony, Sega et al, companies can still be sued if they are perceived to have intentionally shipped a shoddy product, false advertising a product etc. So depending on who would decide to pursue this, the risks are still there. Especially given the numerous statements that CR has made over the years about this project’s schedule, scope, funding etc, which are collectively going to make it a slam dunk to get this one in front of a judge if they end up shipping a rushed and shoddy product.

    The end result is that, if they “deliver”, backers are going to end up with a shoddy mess that took five (assuming they survive 2016, which at this rate, I have no reason to believe that they will) and $88m+ to develop.

    There are those White Knights already crying foul saying that they were forced (well doh!) to release this in order to silence critics (fuck Derek Smart!), that they met (uhm, no they didn’t) a milestone release etc.

    This is all just the usual noise.

    And they’re not saying:

    “Hey hang on! Why is this, after almost two year delay, STILL IN THIS CONDITION!!?”

    While I continue to applaud the stellar development teams who are doing everything that they can to create Chris’s over-ambitious vision 2.0 pipe-dream funded by other people’s money and with zero accountability, I am still holding him 100% accountable for the disaster that is now unfolding in full public view due to the direction that he has taken this project.

    While I have nothing against ambition, the fact remains that if you make promises to backers, then break them, you should be open about it and hold yourself accountable rather than making excuses.

    And part of that “openness” means showing backers i) how their money has and is being spent ii) why they should continue giving money and putting faith in the project

    I still believe that this project is FUBAR. And it saddens me to say it. I simply do not see how, from what we’ve seen thus far and what I know, they could ever hope to deliver on promises made for this “vision 2.0” game; let alone meet the expectations of those who funded an $88m+ epic dream of a game.

    At this point, I don’t even need to sue them because for all intent and purposes, I should just sit back and wait.

  164. @ Herbert

    That is correct. Everyone has the legal right to defend themselves. And when you threaten a lawsuit, thinking that a party – especially a company – is just going to rollover, is just foolish. Which is why, going in, I fully expect them to fight it; and we’re well prepared for that if I do go ahead with the suit.

  165. @ Herbert

    You read our minds! My social media assistant suggested the same thing yesterday, and we’re actually working it. It will be in the form of an FAQ (we already have the WordPress plugin installed) which I expect will be available sometime next week.

  166. There is no scenario under which they will have that kind of money left. None whatsoever. As I’ve said before, if they have even $20m (conservative) in reserves, I’d be very surprised.

  167. @ Ian

    That’s precisely it, and is what most of us on the outside looking in, have said over and over again.

    Also, the other side of that is the noise is now louder because I am the one who brought the dissent out into the mainstream. What most people seem to forget is that everything I’ve been writing about since my first blog of July 4th weekend, was already being hotly debated pretty much everywhere Star Citizen is discussed. Heck, look no further than all the media articles themselves, most of which are buried under all the hype that tends to rise to the surface, thanks to the PR and marketing hype machine generated by the company they hired and paid with backer money.

    As I see it, from a legal standpoint, this can go one of two ways:

    1) They ignore the demand letter or respond in a demeaning fashion. I move forward with legal action, starting with an injunction requesting the information, right off the bat.

    From what I know, this will result in a terrible outcome which, if I’m right, has the potential to outright kill the project.

    2) They ignore the demand letter or respond in a demeaning fashion. I shrug and do nothing as a result of my heeding calls from people to do just that.

    As I have no doubt that this project is in trouble, they do not have the capability to ship the game they promised in any reasonable timeframe or as a functional work product, the end result of my not taking action is either

    1) they deliver a sub-par product, while having been unjustly enriched by taking money to build a better work product

    2) they never deliver a completed work product, while having been unjustly enriched by taking money to build a better work product

    The thing is that in both of the above scenarios, outside of legal action by me or anyone else, the Feds (FTC, FBI, IRS) have jurisdiction. But they won’t take any action unless and until they get enough reports, doing a prelim investigation and determine that there was cause to do a full investigation to find out what happened.

    The difference between this scenario and the collapse of 38 Studios, is that there were investors, bond holders and the State of Rhode Island there to cry foul, take legal action, spark investigations etc. In this crowd-funded scenario, no such parties exist, only backers. And so legal action is only going to come from said backers in the event that the Feds either don’t investigate or don’t do anything at all.

  168. Even so, without any profits, if they have 44 million stored as a buffer and spend 1 million per month (granted it could very well be higher than this) then they would be able to go for 3 and half years at their current pace. Now if they spend 2 million a month, which I seriously doubt profits will balance it out, they will still be able to go for about a year and 8 months. Profits could very well push that time into the 2 year time-frame. At most, the only financial accountability that the community should be able to push for is an estimate of average monthly cost and how much they currently have remaining. Maybe monthly profits could be included but that still is a stretch to me. As a company they have rights to keep their info confidential.
  169. Derek, having closely followed the comments, I found that some questions are repeated over and over again although they have been answered numerous times.
    Have you thought about an FAQ section where you put these questions and a one- or two-sentence answer with a link where to find the full text? Numbered, so you can refer to the list items in those comments.
    Also, it would be a condensed but complete collection of facts you have published so far.
    (Examples: Development time so far, 2/3/4 years; no refund asked/offered/received etc.)
    In the end, I think it might save you time, even if you need some to create such a page.
  170. Dear Craig,
    even if this were no legal matter by now, in my opinion it would be unfair towards RSI/CIG. They also deserve to defend themselves prior to all the dirt being dug up.
    While Derek told them that he knows something, they know best whether he might be right about his accusations. (There were a few examples, which is enough to undermine Derek’s statements.)
    Derek’s actions so far don’t aim for personal attacks, as far as I understood. And privacy is a very valuable good these days, which has to be protected as much as possible. Thus, it is not necessary to publish each and every secret detail as long as Derek gets what he asks for. Which is not very much, if you ask me.
  171. @ Craig:

    Simple. It is now a legal matter, and there is simply no way that it’s going to end up in the public record unless it is part of a filed lawsuit.

    And yes, I do have access to a lot of information that is not in the public record. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have written so many blogs, made as many allegations etc while sitting around thinking that a company with $88m+ in funding (regardless of how much is left) doesn’t have the capacity to sue me. But the fact is, they’re in CA and anti-SLAPP laws (1, 2, 3) are very strict.

    Since RSI/CIG crowd-funded this project, with public funds, even aside from the jurisdiction that the Feds (FTC, FBI, IRS) have over the matter, they can’t sue anyone (least of all me) for commentary on the project. Not even for defamation, which has a much higher standard for public figures (which Chris, Sandra, Ortwin are) to overcome. In fact, that’s why I’ve been saying that it would be even quicker to get to a resolution if they sued me. Because right off the bat, it’s going to cause them insurmountable problems once we file a response that contains every damning piece of information that we have access to. And there is no way in hell, with all this evidence about this project, that they could ever hope to get the case tossed. Especially a class action.

    And for the record, I’m not out to convince anyone of anything. I don’t need anyone’s social, moral or financial support. This issue is very clear. Anyone who feels that they were misled and want their money back, can join in. If they don’t want to, that’s up to them because I simply don’t care what choice people make with their money.

  172. I think a major part of the reason you see so much backlash from defenders of CIG/RSI/Star Citizen comes from a sunk cost fallacy perspective. And in this case. you have people who have dumped thousands and tens of thousands being forced to consider they may have wasted it on a product that likely won’t be released, or released in any real, playable state compared to what they were sold. Usually at worst players spent 50-60 bucks on an incomplete or buggy game and they can then just write it off and regret it. Here we have people spending their entire savings or putting themselves into massive debt to the point of ruining relationships with their loved ones. The whole situation is just on a totally different scale from what we’ve all seen happen before in this industry.

    It’s pitiable and understandable when you keep that in mind, even though obviously the attacks and behavior aren’t acceptable or productive. It explains the kind of zealotry that has been going on though, more than the typical fanboyism you get with any games hype and release phase. So I’d definitely say continuing to ignore the detractors in general is the wisest course, as I don’t think what drives them is an urge to make you fearful so much as it is that they themselves are fearful of you being right about the entire thing. They’re the ones who are scared and lashing out when confronted with a potential truth. Years and thousands of dollars “invested” in something that won’t pan out.

  173. No, you’re wrong.

    These are levels. Not modules. There is a difference.

    The social/planetside module is what runs these levels. Pretty much the same way that AC has the space levels that you fly through.

    These social/planetside areas are no different from any other standard level in any game.

    If after looking at this ArCorp level of detail, you seriously think that they’re ever going to do 800 of them in any meaningful time frame, you’re seriously delusional.

    Just from the movie flyby in Nyx, it is clear to see the visual fidelity they’re shooting for. Any programmer worth his salt can easily see that it has a massive performance issue (you don’t even have to guess, once you recognize the telltale chugging in the scene) and that’s just one person flying through a scene. Imagine that with 4, let alone 24 (or whatever arbitrary number they’re shooting for these days) clients.

    And my guess is that you’re probably going to be able to skip that landing transition because after you’ve done it a couple times, the novelty wears off.

    And I have vast experience in building massive games; so I do know what I’m talking about. Do you?

  174. Dear Rholliday,
    while it may be possible that they have “stored away” half of the money, they have to pay monthly fees for the team and the office rent (and those small things nobody ever thinks of, but tend to hurt you in the end). Plus everything that is needed for travel expenses, shows and the like.
    So in the end, it is roughly a simple equation: total earnings / average cost per month = available months.
    This is the reason why it is just not enough to say “I don’t care if it takes two years longer”. Because when the money runs out, there won’t be any progress at all.
  175. I think it is quite clear where $88m of privately donated money is going, there is a ridiculous quantity of evidence showing us.

    Accountability as described by kickstarter:

    “If problems come up, creators are expected to post a project update explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is crucial. Most backers support projects because they want to see something happen and they’d like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding.

    It’s not uncommon for things to take longer than expected. Sometimes the execution of the project proves more difficult than the creator had anticipated. If a creator is making a good faith effort to complete their project and is transparent about it, backers should do their best to be patient and understanding while demanding continued accountability from the creator”

    Today, of all days, to argue lack of transparency at CIG … Nyx looks beautifully sinister, eWar design looks like sick version of rochambeau, ArcCorp feels almost real, all that detail about merging builds and FPS delay?! CIG is redefining transparency.

  176. “which is 1 of 800 they have to build by end of 2016, is new evidence that this is yet another pipe dream.”

    …you do realize they call these modules for a reason, right? This isn’t just PR speak, its because to are doing MODULAR programming. Its how its feasible to have so many studios work on the same game and why their biggest struggles have been getting a combined build going.

    Its also why they don’t have to build 799 more as you suggested. They just have to build the bits that are unique to those 799 if they haven’t already gotten started on that already. This is what makes modular programming so great. Once you’ve got the core, the pieces just start falling into place.

    Its a bit disingenuous for a programmer to avoid acknowledging the biggest advantage of the programming methodology they’ve chosen to use.

  177. >Star Citizen White Knights who can i) spell ii) construct a sentence that actually makes sense iii) make reasonable arguments without the usual personal attacks, harassment etc, can engage me in meaningful discourse so that we can, at the very least, reach some sort of consensus on what needs to happen going forward, what impact it can/will have etc.

    Mr. Smart, I have only one question and I’d like to consider this an RFC discussion:

    Why not simultaneously prove that your cause is righteous as well as convince a lot of SC backers to support you instead of standing against you? Allow us access to your evidence.

    In all sincerity, I truly feel like you are privy to information I have overlooked and I’m curious to know the facts.

    No attacks, no harassment, no abuse; just a simple question opening an incredibly meaningful discourse that will allow for a consensus going forward.

  178. “Yet you simply will not come forward with anything to substantiate these claims” Although this post was technically first this is the same argument I was having elsewhere in these discussions. You have proven X to be true (ex: You’ve proven there was a private movie made, We all know he owns a fancy house/car, etc. No one doubts these facts) But the you claim that because X is true then he must be spending development money to pay for those things. And this is the leap of faith most of us are not willing to follow you blindly on. You simply have not shown ANY proof/evidence/correlation/etc and most of us aren’t just going to accept it’s true because Derek Smart says it is.
  179. It seems to me that no one has stopped to think that maybe 88 million dollars in funds hasn’t actually gone anywhere at all, we clearly see the progress they are making. Whether or not you believe it will result in a successful project is irrelevant at the end of things. With the steady pace they have been chugging along and expanding it does not seem like they are exactly concerned about something like a potential drop in sales affecting them. Is it not fully possible that could potentially have half of that original 88 million stored away, waiting to be used when needed, and acting as a safety buffer?
  180. So apparently 1.2 is Live. So they made their release date. (yes for the first time) I’ll get to actually check it out here in….oh about 2 hours……dancing here I come 😛
  181. As I’ve said before, I respect people who are deserving of respect. I know that not all White Knights have this cult-like mentality. Which is why I don’t lump all of them into the same category.

    Like every aspect of social media – just like in gaming – you have some bad Apples who just ruin it for everyone. And that’s precisely why I created this blog post that we are in now, in order to attract the White Knights among us who, even if we don’t agree with each other, are capable of having a reasonable discussion.

    And so far, I have been very satisfied with the results. I just wish that we didn’t have to spend so much time moderating (OMG! you should see some of the crap that we’re getting. It’s like Reddit, and in some cases, 4Chan, Seriously).

    And because this is an RFC (for those of you who are not old school, it means Request For Comment) discussion, there a lot of posts that I have to respond to individually. Hence some of the delays. Contrary to popular belief, I do have two companies to run, teams to manage, products to oversee 🙂

  182. Oh, so you think that asking where $88m of public money is gone, is micro-managing? I’m sorry, do you even know what you’re talking about? And do you know what accountability is?

  183. Well, I’m not sure how a 20 year old incident that people remember differently, has any relevance to what we’re dealing with now.

    As I’ve said, Chris and Erik are friends from way back. So Erik had his reasons for “calling me out” in a public setting. But since I knew what he said to be false, that’s why I pushed back.

    You don’t see me suing or threatening to sue everyone on the Internet that writes bad stuff about me, do you? No.

    The comment by Erik was important to clear up because, aside from being false, it shows the same attitude that White Knights do when they try to attack the messenger in an attempt to deflect attention away from the matter being discussed.

  184. Your English was very good. So I understood everything. Thank God I don’t have to reply to you in German, it would be horrible; and Google Translate is not very accurate.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write. I know that English is not your first language, so the fact that you – and others like you – are trying to get through to me in a polite manner, despite our different opinions, cultures, countries etc, means a lot to me. That’s what gaming is all about.

    At the end of the day, I am confident that it will all work out. What form that will take, is left to be seen.

  185. Even though some people don’t like me, there are many who do, and those who do are the ones who have kept me in gaming for almost three decades now. I am notorious for being fair, unbiased and loyal. Which is why all these people who are new to me, via the SC debacle, are attacking someone they know nothing about. It the diverse opinions, and the fact that I respect even the White Knights who are telling me to knock it off, that we are having this dialog. I mean, seriously, why else would I be engaging in discussion? It’s not like anyone here is going to write me a check in support of what some perceive to be a “crusade” of sorts. Nor am I on Patreon asking for money to take legal action.

    No, I like to have meaningful dialog because I lot gets learned that one.

    For me, the consumer fraud part comes strictly from pitching one type and scope of game, getting the money many times over, then changing the scope. As any producer or developer knows, changing the scope of a game, means increasing the time taken to complete it. Increasing the time, means more money. And once the scope/time curve gets considered in a risk analysis, it clearly shows that the project then stands a higher risk of failure, than success.

    The Feds trump both the Kickstarter and the RSI ToS. There is no discussion about this, because it’s a fact. And all the Feds have to look at are the simple facts that I’ve laid out and which are all there. Once it is proven (and it is, quite easily) that they did in fact increase the scope, then never shipped the game within the allotted time, therein lies the problem.

  186. Indeed. But the exception here – and there are many – is that this is over-hyped $88m+ crowd-funded game. So the stakes and the bar, are very high.

  187. I posted this before, but you probably missed it. The law gives them 30 days to respond to the demand letter. So they have until the last week of Sept to respond. If they do. Until that time, we can’t do anything.

    We don’t believe that they will address anything in the letter.

    I am 99.9% certain that if they address item #1 (accounting) in the demand letter, they’re going to have very serious problem on their hands. However, the Feds can obtain that information anyway, regardless of a lawsuit.

    Item #2 (final delivery) he’s already addressed in the recent Kotaku interview, though, like every single interview in which CR has made promises – then subsequently broken or changed them – this is just one of those. The 1.2 release to PTU which contains the shoddy half-baked and buggy social/planetside module – which has even worse networking problems than the 1.0 kernel in AC, and which is 1 of 800 they have to build by end of 2016, is new evidence that this is yet another pipe dream.

    Item #3 (no-questions-asked-refund) is probably something they could consider, even if they restrict it to only the 2012 Kickstarter which is only $2.1m.

    At the end of the day, how they respond is going to determine what I do next. But also, a lot can happen between now and the end of Sept. For example, I could heed the advice of a lot of people, not take legal action, and just watch if they succeed or fail. Of course if I’m right and it all collapses – or they still don’t deliver a finished game in 2016 – well, nobody gets to say they weren’t warned.

    And before you ask, the answer no, I do not – for once second – believe that they have the ability to deliver the game they’ve promised. I’ve said this over and over; and from what I’ve seen after four years and $88m+, I am going to be proven right one day.

  188. “To be honest, I’m not “confident” that it will end in failure. I am however confident that it won’t end well for all concerned.”

    Could that not be said about any project where a large (or even small) community has a vested interest? In fact has CR himself not said on many occasions that “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

  189. I just want to say, in opposition to Derek, that I have nothing but respect for the “white knights” of SC. It takes an amazing amount of heart to defend the game you’ve always dreamed of to this extent. In real life I’d give any SC backer a big hug and apologize for the fact I don’t believe the game could be accomplished in this day and age, even with more money than any game budget ever. I just wish more people understood a cult is not just a sociopath using religion to cause suicide, but a natural occurrence related to being overly invested in a vision. To Derek, don’t see this as the flame war you received after battlecruiser. This is thousands of innocent victims (CR included) who need help. To any moderates, I don’t think I have to explain how SC might fit into this description…

    Definition of a Cult

    A cult has all of the following characteristics:
    1. It uses psychological coercion to recruit, indoctrinate and retain potential members.

    2. It forms an elitist totalitarian society.

    3. Its founder leader is self-appointed, dogmatic, messianic, not accountable and has charisma.

    4. It believes the end justifies the means.

    5. Its wealth does not benefit its members or society.

    Source: http://cultinformation.org.uk/article_caring-for-cult-victims.html

  190. I’m a SC TWK. I’m here to report you for posting without a high-enough post count. You have been banned from SC and the rest of the internet in general. I see you live in the US. We are working on exiling you from all UN countries. You will be exiled to Antarctica soon.
  191. Considering they have had a lot of the lore etc prior to actual development writing doesn’t happen overnight after all then they’ve built cig from the ground up. I’d say it’s really been in development as far as game play goes for two years and in that time they’ve grown from a small team to a pretty large one too I think it will be going much faster now. Just my opinion.
  192. I can agree with you both. But since your opinions are already well known and since some people feel CIG is not addressing these concerns then continuing on an endless debate over the next months wont help in anyway to get to the bottom of this. The way I see it, now is the time to move from words to actions.
    So either move on with the legal process or shut up so to speak. Words without deeds are worthless after all.

    One question if I may. I understand that starting a legal process is complex. But Derek are you already in a position where you could share with us if indeed you’re moving forward with legal action?

    Thanks for your time.

  193. The question is… are the subscription feed going to the “shows” only? Or the backers money? That is something that only accountability could shown.
    And if they promised to share how they spend the money in their TOS, in case of failing, that is something that they should/must to have how to prove, otherwise…
    Besides, there is no “damned” or “not damned”.
    The Frontier team for example, share information in the most simple and effective way than CIG ever did.
    All these “fans” show, “nobody” cares. Just start to take a look in their views, or in how much comments they get in their comm-links, or how much users they keep in their forums (if you have the time to count them – users – not posts). How many votes they got in polls who decided the destiny of this project.
    Totally, does not justify all the expenses made. Only for the sake of getting money from the same people, which in the end of the day, only cause the ruin of this project, because they kept adding features for that, kept delaying and breaking many of their earlier promises, some of them, unrelated with development requirements (like the LTI case).
    So, yes, they still could share meaningful stuff that would be much more effective to people know and understand what they are doing, that all that expensive and useless fluff to evangelize fanatics to become more fanatics. Just to people buy more and more ships.
  194. Heya. I don’t like you Derek. There, now that I’ve got that of my chest, on to the letter.

    Really a heartfelt letter by Mr Bagnall, and one which I agree with. My view is in the same line as his and I will share my thought process hereunder.

    Look, I get what you are doing / trying to accomplish and even though I think you are going by it completely and utterly the wrong way, so be it. I’m not here to lecture you or insult you, or tell you that the Church of Roberts will save your sceptic sole. I’m here to remind you having a dream, and chasing that dream no matter how impossible it may seem, is what life is all about. You know this better than most people.

    Chris has this vision/dream. You can’t fault the guy for his dream. You can’t fault thousands of people having the exact same dream. Damn dude, you have the exact same dream. Is he making mistakes, absolutely. No doubt about it. And I’m not going to try and think about some excuses or anything for him, damn I don’t know the guy and really couldn’t care less. What I do care about it his vision. I believe he is bona fide, although sometimes misguided, in his goals. But, Chris Roberts is not what is important here. You are not what is important here. The vision or dream is what is important here. There are a lot of people believing in this same dream that you and Chris have, and willing to take a risk (financially) to try and achieve it. I believe you made backers aware of their rights (even though I don’t agree with your view) and they may exercise their rights individually if they wish.

    You’ve stated that you don’t have a problem with the developers, but what you are doing are currently affecting them, and will affect them and their families severally if you indeed continue. If a backer could afford to spend a 100$ on a picture of pixels, they can afford to lose it, and if not, go to the necessary authorities to get their money back. 250 – 350 developers and their families can’t do the same. THINK OF THE CHILDREN 😉

    Don’t be CIG’s Take-Two. Rather let them fail from too much ambition that someone meddling and forcing them to fail. If CR is stealing or acting fraudulently, he will pay for his actions.

    Lastly, rather spend your focus on the positives in life. Einstein said: “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.” So stop chasing the facts, and chase your own dreams, or assist the thousands of backers in making their dream a reality 🙂

    Final lastly, fuck you, fuck Chris Roberts, fuck me, praise the sun!

    Ps: Thank you for reading this, I’m of to play games now so you really don’t have to engage in a conversation with me, I’m not here to debate. I just wanted to give you my opinion. Cheers.

  195. Thank you for reading and posting at least, it certainly seems there are DIVERSE opinions with a broad range of perspectives, and I hope you take them all into account when considering your own position.

    Do you consider the false part to be the premature pledgebreaking bit or the frivolous accounting bit? Is asking for a refund prior to a 50% timeline extension not considered pledgebreaking according to Kickstarter TOS? Is paperwork and spreadsheets really going to retroactively solve decisions that have already been made and paths that have already been chosen?

  196. I think that, while the letter is passionate and educated, it only brings points that are invalid. Also, with a strong sensationalism in general, about the games that we see coming in the game industry, which are much appreciated by much more people than SC is.
    I also doubt that “a million” of people is vilifying Derek Smart. Actually many are applauding his attitude, because, if the game industry have its flaws, Star Citizen is going to a new level of flaw, where it basically means, the end of a entire business model.

    It’s a shame that he talked about games that actually delivered into his promises, except by a few technical issues that lead them to cut out a feature. And if they are haunted by that, it’s easy to predict that many things will haunt Star Citizen, if they managed to release “something”.

    We should work to minimize the damage. Be preventive. And if things are going right, CIG would not have to suffer a lawsuit in the first place, to show that to their backers, after they, CIG, not accomplished with their promises. You can’t just say that “is working on that”. Chevalier told that for a long time, until finally, he had nothing anymore to pretend and announced the project cancelled.

    If CIG want to show respect, ethic, responsibility beyond their backers, knowing that they are responsible to control people that get addicted and can go to the worst levels of craziness for the game (like threatening other people because the game), responsibility with the crowdfunding as leaders of this banner (because got records in funding), they should have stopped with the cash grabbing, provided just a few packages to be sold, without “ship sales”, and would have provided more ways to people to acquire things by gameplay.

    Instead, they just come and do a “promotion”, where if you beat the level, changed to be hard, you would earn the possibility to “buy” a ship. What happened with beat something to earn something in-game? Is that a sin just because the game was not labeled as “released” yet? A label that should be added to the game since the end of 2014, so, they not only expanded the time frame in 2, 3 years, or who knows more, but also expanded the time that all the people who contributed with basic packages will have to wait to have fun. Meanwhile, the whales got all the “fun”, trying all the assets earlier, by obviously, absurd and inaccessible prices for the majority of their backers. That is pretty much ridiculous. That is worst of what any evil publishers ever would be capable to make in whatever of their games, released, or to be released. DLC, micro-transactions, all these things so many times discussed for decades as not that good for games, are nothing, near of these tactics of CIG of cash grabbing, and so far, been reproduced only by developers that have ties to Roberts.

    The whales are ok. Are happy. So, stop the ship sales, and make everything to be acquired by gameplay. And they what they say (“we just buy ships to help”) will be considered true by all the rest of people. No “rent” bullshit. No visible and clear pay-to-win.

    Then, we can start to talk or consider, that the only reason for all these delays, are just development issues. Then we can start to see good faith of the leaders of the Star Citizen project. Because they are not cashing more and more. And we won’t be able to associate a new module release, with more tries to grab cash instead really advance to the end game effectively.

    While the cash grabbing continues, while the experience of all the rest is hampered, contradicting speech of the own Chris Roberts in the past, there is no way to do not suspect a run for profit, instead a run for a release:

    http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/329349,star-citizen-interview-8211-chris-roberts-on-why-pay-to-win-8220sucks8221.aspx/4

    “Uh, I’m not necessarily against free-to-play as long as it’s done well. What I don’t like is sort of the zinger-style gameplay that hampers your experience to force you to basically encourage you to pay money. So I think that sucks. So I don’t want that.”

    He does not want that, but he is doing that and keeping that for many more years than expected. “To fund the game”? “Fund research”? This game never was pitched as a “research” project. It was always pitched as Roberts stating that had figured out everything, that knew how to make it, that his team were capable (just look to what we did with our tiny team – referring to the earlier gameplay shown originally).

    They lie obsessively. They ignore customers, point the fingers to them, after getting their money. And we should be ok with that? Because EA, Activision, whatever?

    No! Those “evil” are saints, near of what Roberts is doing. And there is no excuse. He promised to share the information in case of failing to deliver in time frame. He already announced that won’t deliver in the time frame and then, instead preparing himself to share this, “for the avoidance of the doubt” he changes the clause adding more time. That is fishy. Besides all other fishy attitudes that we saw they taking, after evidences of wrong doing and lies publicized by Derek Smart in his article.

    And I don’t need to go further to KNOW that those people lie. I have my own interactions, emails exchanged, and an entire situation that happened to me, that prove those people liars and pretending to people.

    They have no moral values and disrespect the law. They can’t be compared with any other “failed” developer that I knew. Or even with those that only care with money. Because, while they care with money, they care a little with their companies, to the point to avoid to screw the image of the company for personal profit. They don’t go so far. CIG is going to far.

  197. I think what they really mean is that backers have no actual ownership interest (unlike investors). Backers are technically licensees – in exchange for our money we get access to certain alpha features and a pre-order at the base level. Anything above and beyond that is essentially a donation, which includes a ‘free gift’ at certain tiers (like for example, I donated $50 to the local orchestra and got a free tote-bag, that kind of thing).

    That of course doesn’t mean that the people running the project can do whatever they want – they are still bound to the ToS terms and have duties and obligations pursuant to that – that’s why this push for transparency is important, IMHO.

  198. Dear Mr. Smart,
    For one, you’re absolutely right that it should not be that you just do locks because of this trifle.
    Secondly, I would like as an outsider also admit that mistakes have been made on both sides.

    A lawsuit would really destroy that dream, the dream of many sci-fi fans, like me and maybe even yours.

    In the 1990s, the golden age of space sims, there was for us German player four major titles that have each played had: X-Wing, Wing Commander and your game, Sir, Battlecruiser. The difference between all these games was that you had created a universe in which we could dream of the final frontier.

    Maybe I speak for many of the older gamers when I say that CR has this dream, your dream, revived. Like so many others I would hope that this dream with us live together and give him a chance.

    I’m not a developer, and may I also difficult to imagine the stress each of you has to have with the development of a game until it appears even perfect for a.
    This is precisely why I thought, just that you can understand the difficulties you are confronted daily.

    Ultimately, it was also true you have sounded the warning bell, many listen attentively now.
    These are the thoughts of a german gamer who loves this type of games for almost 30 years.

    I’m sorry for using my nativ interpunction and my really bad english. I’m a literary studies specialist, not an english major. 🙂

  199. I didn’t mean to suggest that you need to suck up to anyone. It’s just that, from my experience working in a professional environment, whenever there’s a “smack talk” exchange there’s usually a reason for it. Maybe someone was being a charlatan, acting unprofessionally, or just being a d-bag in general. Or sometimes it’s more personal.

    What I’m driving at, is whether the senior people at CIG have some bad history (even going way back to the 90’s) that you think backers should be made aware of when deciding whether to support your campaign. Ultimately the whole issue behind this is a question of trust – you’re saying we shouldn’t blindly trust what’s happening behind the curtain at CIG and ask questions about how backer money is being used, and I totally support that. But there may be people out there that are still on the fence that could use a little ‘push’.

  200. Yeah, but what’s to stop someone from buying the game, getting banned, demanding a refund from steam, and repeating under a different ip?
  201. Demos and weekly updates are the kind of accountability backers desire, and the kind of accountability that keeps us patient and continuing to fund. Micro-managing their expenses is not.
  202. Hi all,

    It boggles the mind how deep people stick there head in the sand (they should at least now sniffing at our planet core).
    Last year around December I was thinking hey let’s get on the hype train of SC and buy a glossy ship $70 worth.
    After a download that took like ages… AC0.9 or something) buggy as hell, and I was getting shot left and right by OP hornets… well in short horrible experience.
    But hey they had something that kinda worked right (yeah I was sticking my head in the sand)
    Then came AC1.0 that’s when I started to scratch my head I expected feature updates and bug fixes..
    What they delivered was worse and with a changed flight model… even worse.
    Anyways I left feeling sad but ow well they working on it right? (head, sand…)

    Kept my self bit up to date, Elite dangerous was out also so SC got on the back burner.
    But I started thinking about it bit more, having so much money so little to show.
    Something is not right here they never will make the release dates ever.. if they keep buggering around with more and more stuff.
    And how the hell will they be doing that with one game engine ( I myself am a amateur 3d “artist”
    and have a theoretical understanding of game engines yeah I read a lot)
    It all did not make any sense, to keep it plain and simple so many world and systems including
    the FPS .
    It would make the game(s) gigantic at least 100 GB or even closer to 1 TB.
    Sure procedural generating will help if that is the idea, but still..
    So how the hell are they gonna pull it off within or close to the time frames they say.
    And let not even start about the change of plans to make the game even bigger. (the 20 million game they promised)
    So basically I was wondering will this game(s) ever see completion.

    David Braben kept his promise with ED, Kickstarter November 2012 expected release march 2014.
    But they did not made in time so they released December 2014 only 9 months late.
    But it was what they had promised on the Kickstarter plus after the release they started on more development.

    And I quote wiki:

    On August 5, 2015 during Gamescom Frontier announced Elite Dangerous: Horizons, a second season of expansions due to arrive “Holiday 2015” and extend into 2016. The initial release of this new season will feature seamless planetary landings on airless worlds and will allow you to explore the surface of these worlds in an Surface Recon Vehicle (SRV).
    Although no official ‘roadmap’ has been published, further proposed updates to gameplay include seamless planetary landing on atmospheric worlds, and first person perspective exploration outside of the player’s ship, including walking around space stations, walking around ships, spacewalking, and boarding other ships. Multi-crew ships have also been mentioned by the developers as desirable.

    And I am just saying with EVEN less money so it makes you wonder. All over again

    After 3 years and not much to show for except very glossy but buggy paper.
    Yes it’s time that RSI showed how they are spending the money they received of backers and via the RSI website.

  203. So one Chris Bagnall wrote me such a well thought out and passionate letter, that I felt compelled to ask his permission to share it here.

    He wrote it before this blog we are now discussing where we go from here, went up.

    I didn’t think it fair to have him re-post the whole thing here. So, without further ado, here is the letter in its entirety.

    Since it is not a comment post here on the blog, I will be posting my response to his letter as a reply to this comment.

  204. It’s even worse than that.

    As I mentioned in my second blog, I reached out to him and his officers (even his PR person) before the first blog even went live. They just ignored me.

    What they didn’t plan for was the immediate impact that my blog would have and the traction that it would gain; all because a LOT of people were already thinking and talking about my very concerns, but they weren’t notable enough to gain any attention.

    And once people with varying amounts of information (which I spent quite a bit of money hiring people to research and investigate – before they appeared in my blog), it just went downhill from there.

    That’s why they freaked out, canceled my account – and just made it worse.

    Guess what? A bunch of White Knights were rejoicing about that move because that’s the mindset of these people. And that’s why, in this blog, I wanted to make the distinction that not all White Knights have a cult-like mentality; and that the toxic nature of even RSI’s own forums, are proof that it’s a group of people who are giving all other White Knights a very bad name. Just like how a lot of media people keep branding GamerGate – a group of gamers seeking change – a hate group, even though it isn’t.

    And if we sit back and say/do nothing, and the end result is less than expected, these are the same people who are going to flip over with a different narrative.

    Even if I don’t take legal action against RSI, the fact that I have already sounded the warning bell, should be enough – I think – to put them, and everyone on notice that we’re watching.

  205. That’s pretty much a portion of the population in every MMO, especially in the first couple of years. It’s one of the main reasons I don’t play most MMO’s, but I’m willing to wait and see on this one. Even if I have to wait another year or so after release so that all the toxicity can weed itself out to really play, I’m fine with that too. Waited this long already…
  206. No, not at all. I’m saying they are a time sink and developers – despite what the public thinks – DO NOT LIKE DOING THEM.

    They can stop the subs, and have the developers focus on getting WORK DONE. Ben is idle enough to take their weekly dev updates and post them. The same thing he does with the 10ftc updates.

    Most of us who know how software development works and who care about how money is spent, promises made etc, don’t give a toss about what constitutes “fan service”. We didn’t come up with this pledge to focus time and resources on “development”, Chris did.

  207. Yeah, tell me about it. That’s precisely why I will probably change LOD’s biz model by the time it is finally released. If someone is going to troll me, they may as well pay first.

  208. Take a moment to imagine how much fun it’s going to be playing a MMO with a community already this toxic. I can only imagine it getting worse as the hype train and crusades against all doubts continue.

    Derek’s MMO will probably get it worse as the hate surrounding it/him will last a long time.

    (To Derek) Rather than playing whack-a-mole delivering ip bans to the endless trolling I’m sure LOD will be getting, I’d suggest renaming it “Internet Flame Wars in Space!”. You could add factions, the ability to post walls of text, and let people hunt down all who disagree with them. Make it happen.

  209. Minor correction
    Unless you can show that that money from these subscriptions isn’t enough to cover those costs and they are taking money from the KS fund then you really can’t just say

    This is meant to refer to all of the development funds raised not just KS. Basically my point is development funds and subscriber funding are 2 separate piles of money. If you have any proof/evidence to the contrary then please share it otherwise you’re just guessing that they are taking development money for things they should not be. Maybe you really do have this evidence, but until you do something with it I think you can understand why people aren’t just going to take your word for it.

  210. OK, top post time.

    I just got a message from my social media assistant saying:

    “Just those five or six large ones you said to hold in the queue till you can get to them. The others are just the usual personal attacks, insults, accusations etc. I am still deleting those and doing the IP blocks”

    It’s amazing to me that, even with the notice above the comment box, people still feel the need to post completely and utterly nonsensical material. Mostly insults.

    This knowing that it will never – ever – make it past the moderation queue, let alone appear in the comments. And I don’t even get to see them.

    People, this site is moderated. You’re never – ever – going to get past that. Like, never. So save yourself the trouble.

    ps: we’re going to be testing a new comment plugin later today, to see if we should replace this one which doesn’t have links to individual comments, proper comment threading etc. So if you see something odd during a visit, that’s why.

  211. So your solution is for them to go completely silent until production is finished (thereby breaking another pledge of open development and continuous updates). Basically it sounds like in regards to this they are damned if they do or don’t damned if they don’t.
    Plus those that pay the subscription fee know that’s why they are paying it.
    Many of the fans loved the event and loved the chance to meet and interact with the devs. If anything it was / is fan service.
  212. I think you are missing the point that Mr.Smart is trying to have a open discussion with CR/RSI about the problems.Yet RSI/CR decided to publically badmouth him by posting the statement why he has got his refund.Derek tried to have a discussion and they choose to ignore him and let their fan-kiddies speak for them.
    Thats a pretty bad move for a company and speaks words about what they are trying to pull off , don´t you think?
    Bad behaviour from a company has to be made publically aware…otherwise nothing changes for the better.
    CR/RSI have still time to answer and clear things up …
    But if they stay silent they deserve no better then to let the lawyers and FTC do their thing.
    I fully support DS in this matter .
  213. 1 – you keep saying this but you have never once show any evidence. They have the subscriptions specifically in place to fund all of these extra things. Those are not part of the funding listed on the RSI site they are special funds raised specifically to pay for these types of shows and events. Unless you can show that that money from these subscriptions isn’t enough to cover those costs and they are taking money from the KS fund then you really can’t just say Because they have shows money the MUST be coming from the money raised for development. There is simply no proof/evidence to support this.

    2/3 Okay I did not see the movie title but as I stated just because she made a movie doesn’t provide any evidence/proof/whatever you want to call it that money was taken from SC to produce that movie.

    You keep making a lot of if X is true Y must also be true statements and Y is always money being miss-used. Pick any one of these cases where you are alleging money missuse and actually prove it is happening. You have never once done this.

  214. Yeah, pretty much what we’re all wondering. But don’t say it too loud, or you’ll just get yelled at.

    It’s truly mind-boggling to me that some people simply don’t get it. So I’m just going to whip this out again. 🙂

    “Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt – Robertson Davies”

    #BlackKnightsMatter

  215. After reading your post, I thought that I was going to be able to give a reasonable response. Until I got to this ridiculous and false part, realized that you were just wasting my time. So the only thing you’re getting is a post approval. Nothing else. There are so many reasonable posts that are worthy of my time, that I don’t believe spending more than a minute on yours, is time well spent.

    Breaking your pledge and commitment to the project prematurely, encouraging others to do so, and demanding frivolous accountability measures

  216. Hi Tom,

    In dev speak, the term “staged” means to have been designed and executed specifically for a different purpose other than that which would be experienced by a user.

    In this regard, even by the directions that CR was giving which in and of itself is part of the “staging” process, it was easy to see that the team of players only flowed the way they did because there was a director (in this case, Chris) in charge.

    Also, we saw the same client/user “sprinting” (actually is “positional rubberbanding”) in the 1.2 PTU just now released, that we saw a month ago in that demo. And of course, we didn’t see people falling through the world, clipping into geometry etc. Pretty much, most of what is in this user review of the 1.2 PTU wasn’t evident (at least not clearly) in that presentation.

    Finally, if you looked at the recent dev update, you will see references to merging code from the Gamescon build. That means they had a special build for that event and which was not part of the current dev pipeline.

    So no, that presentation was not indicative of the actual experience that a gamer would have. And that’s now evident in the 1.2 PTU which contains those same assets, levels etc. That’s why I say it is “staged”.

  217. I’m not sure, Derek, but the demo on Gamescon didn’t look staged to me with all the technical difficulties. But then again I might be wrong, since I’m not a dev. Do you have proof it was staged?
  218. I have no words. But I have this: *slow clap*

    ps: NPD is thrown about by a lot of people who have no clue what it means. Which is why, your commentary about “narcissism” passes the moderation muster because, fact is, most leaders and/or successful people are either narcissists or borderline. Countless articles (e.g. this one by Havard Business Review) have been written about this trait. What’s weird is that, while it’s easy to find these traits in most people – if you know what you’re looking for – these idiots use it as a personal attack against me, because some other idiot, not knowing what it actually means, used it once. And just like that, they learn a new word/term and it becomes gospel.

  219. 1. I don’t need proof. All I need is evidence (not the same thing) and it’s all right there

    2. Yes. And again, you’re deliberately distorting what I’ve written so that, once again, you can come back and claim ignorance. I even linked the photographer’s resume in that item, and which contains the name of the short (it was shown at Cannes I we understand) and is also a real movie that is NOT related to SC. Even CIG is right there in his PDF resume. Nice try.

    3. It’s public. You choose to ignore it and create strawman arguments out of what’s already there.

  220. That’s irrelevant. It wasn’t part of the pledge, nor the premise of this project. This was something they came up with. And it does add a LOT of expenses, wasted resources, delays etc

    e.g. the Gamescon reveal required engineers and people who should be at work on the game, pissing about in Cologne for an entire week. And that “staged” demo, as we’ve now seen with the 1.2 PTU update, is precisely as I said it was: staged. Meaning that the experience is not indicative of player experience. All that amounts to wasted time working on preparing for these events, when they could be working on the game.

    Even doing these dev updates I am sure is a burden on the teams involved. Not to mention the AtV video feeds etc.

    I could go on and on, but anyone who doesn’t think that ALL of these are wasted time, effort, resources, and money, truly doesn’t know how game development works. Just because you have backer money, pretty much an open check book, doesn’t mean you should spend it foolishly.

    Not to mention the statements – so many of them – about “spending money on development” and nothing else.

  221. I dunno, I thought #8 was pretty clear. Not to mention the demand letter itself. But if you explain to me what is unclear about #8 I can review it and see what changes are needed.

    But yes, I have already stated that, at the very least, they should do no-questions-asked refunds for all 2012 Kickstarter backers who request a refund.

  222. That’s not even relevant, is it? 100 systems was a stretch goal. TBH, I don’t even know how/when it climbed to 800. Regardless, the fact remains, they’ve raised money for 800. What they want to “start with” is irrelevant. Especially since CR, again, has now gone on record saying the game will be finished by end of 2016.

  223. I fail to see a problem there. They wnt to start with 40 to 50 systems anyway. So that reduces the locations for release quite a bit.
  224. Perhaps people are continuing to post something about the dev. times because item #8 does not explain this point clear enough. We have now an AAA pitch and for that, 2016 and even early 2017 would be OK.

    But then they should provide refunds to everyone who backed before they changed the scope if those backers want to be refunded. That would be fair.

  225. There was no provocation as there never needs to be one. It was just the usual smack talk; and not unlike what continues to this day.

    Not sure what them getting along has to do with anything. Most of us know each other. If you’re suggesting that just because we’re both developers, I should tow the line, then that’s precisely what’s wrong with how people are viewing all of this.

  226. Hello again, I just wanted to add something unrelated to my further comment, so I just post this in a new “topic”.
    You always say, that they shouldn’t use backer money for events like gamescom and so on, but I really ask myself if you just forgot about the subscribers?
    There are a huge amount of subscribers paying $120 to $240 a year so that CIG can provide extended community content, including those events.

    And they always charge money for these events ($20 for gamescom so 40.000$ in total).
    Given the fact, that I used to live in cologne and rented the room myself with some of my friends 1 year ago, the entry fee should have covered all expenses including the equipment and the hotel rooms. Don’t know about the flight costs because that highly depends when do you book your flight and what class etc., but those events doesn’t necessarily using backer money. Add the sales to that equation and they made a little fortune out of the last gamescom event.
    Because you said you want a meaningful discussion I really hope you address this issue, you might overthink this point.
    Thank you.

  227. Hello Mr. Smart, I hope you allow me to take part in this discussion and please forgive me my English, I am just a German girl with more talents in economics and science than languages.

    If we want to be fair we have to take into consideration that they scaled up their company for at least 1.5 to 2 years. Developing processes and structures for such a big company takes time. And there is a big difference in developing an indie game or something like wing commander III in comparison with the scope SC has now. Right now, I don’t see an issue with developing time, although waiting is always boring and annoying 😉

    And yes, they need longer than an already existing AAA studio and given the fact that they try to deliver something top notch they won’t be finished before they reach the 6th year of development, but everyone with at least a little project management experience wouldn’t expect them to be ready within 4 years with this pitch, tbh.

    And as others pointed out: What they have developed isn’t what they show to us right now. The leak clearly proved that. Why we don’t have access to this content can have many reasons, but only very naive people would believe this has nothing to do with money.

  228. Do you have any proof that the money spent on “the shows, the marketing, everything else they promised wouldn’t happen.” Isn’t coming from the subscribers and is being taken from KS funds? Because if it’s coming from the subscriber funds that’s exactly what that money is for.

    Do you have any proof that Sandy’s “pet movie project” is not SC related? Assuming it’s not how do you know funds were used from the KS project? Just because she made a movie that has no relationship to SC doesn’t mean she stole KS funds.

    Seems to me that if you wanted the ftc to act on this information you would make it public as it would cause a great number of us to actually agree with you at least on the point of wanting a financial investigation by the ftc. Yet you keep any proof of this hidden so we have no reason to believe anything you say is actually happening.

  229. You made a petition and got almost 1000 signatures. Congratulations. Your parents must be very impressed. Give yourself a cookie. I’m sure the PotUS will jump right this very important issue of global importance.

    Meanwhile, marijuana is now legal in 23 states (plus DC). This is because the pot petitioners got a tad more than 1000 signatures for their cause. This creates rather obvious evidence that our nation’s stoners are more rational, organized, motivated and effective than you are.

    You accuse Mr.Smart of being an attention whore (a point that I won’t contest, by the way) but the reality is that you are, too. The fact that your petition exists in the first place proves it. The only real difference that I can see is that:

    1) He actually has some experience with programming and video game design, and I’ve yet to hear your credentials on the issue. Now if Mr.Roberts himself wants to enter the fray, by all means break out the popcorn: That’s would be an argument worthy of pay-per-view. Yours, however, is not – you are not qualified for such a level of debate.

    2) He’s more effective at it… usually. Though he has yet to learn the axiom “The greatest insult one can inflict upon an enemy is to be ignored” when he does defend himself by (predictably) attacking his attacker he will, at least, cite numerous references, use real life examples, and not shy away from technical speak (which is something he knows) if need be. While you both do demonstrate a high level of vocabulary & writing style, you seem to be only propped up by sheer passion, which is hardly a substitute for real substance.

    Yes, Mr.Smart has his faults (Narcissism easily floats to the top of that list) but ignorance of the subject matter is definitely not one of them. He knows his material, he does his homework and he knows what he’s talking about. You, and your ilk, seem to be suffering from an all-too-common problem of our modern age: The inability to separate an opinion of character from a person’s actions or credentials.

    What do I mean by that? You do not have to like someone to respect their ability or accomplishments. Your opinion of a person does not change their actual IQ, nor does it validate or invalidate their claims. You don’t like Derek Smart. Fine, you’re entitled to your opinion. However, your little “anti-fan club” idea to give yourself 15 minutes of fame is only going to make you look vapid unless you can support it with something a little more substantial than your personal opinions.

    And what if you do get your wonderful 2500 signatures? What then? What will that accomplish other than giving you that warm fuzzy feeling of the hollow, fleeting attention of internet kiddies? Will it change anything? Will it somehow increase the SC development timeline? Will it make Mr.Roberts come by your house and pose with you for a selfie? Will it make Mr.Smart abandon his own blog and become completely silent & complacent with your worldview?

    The reality is your petition has less impact on reality than a single paper “Earth Day” flyer left on the front fence of a DOW Chemical factory on a rainy day. The reality is that if you were to actually print out all 1000 signatures of your petition and mailed them all to Mr.Smart the only thing you would accomplish in doing so would be ensuring that he would not have to buy any more toilet paper for a very long time.

    Yet a part of me thinks that you already know that and you just don’t care because, golly, right now people are paying attention to you, and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

    Also, look up “Post-Purchase Rationalization”

  230. Just because it hasn’t been presented in the public, doesn’t mean the proof doesn’t exist. In fact, against my better judgement, since I was supposed to hold that one close to my chest, Sandra’s pet movie project, is one such instance of questions arising from how backer money is being spent.

    There are many other instances including the sudden explosion of all these studios, all of which leads to excess and waste.

    Need I even mention all the money spent on “non development” work? The shows, the marketing, the PR – everything they promised would never happen and that the money would be spent on “development”?

    Well. One CIG employee has stated recently that this “pet movie project” Elle was done by Sandi in her free time, was not funded by CIG, nor did it involve any of the staff member’s time. What Sandi does in her free time on her own money is her business, not ours. That said, obviously we don’t know who’s speaking the truth; but there was no proof from your side either besides mentioning the (undisputed) existence of that movie. Supposedly we’re gonna hear more about that movie once it’s through post-production.

    Shows and marketing are paid for by subscriber’s money, and the money from subscription is *expressedly* for that purpose. We subscribers pay for those shows, willingly and knowingly. No backer money involved. Same goes for the trade shows. The big events (Gamescom, Citcon) are mostly paid for by entrance tickets, and the rest comes from the subscriber’s budget.

    You could argue about the number of studios; but don’t forget they’re getting a variety of tax breaks and government support in the various locations, plus you’re not going to move the good talent onto another continent. My own employer had to open a new site to get a bunch of good software engineers when they had the opportunity, because people were not willing to move even 150km away where the headquarters are. It’s just not working in this day and age where a good engineer can have any job he wants.

    One thing you’ve mentioned in various blogs is the supposedly “excessive” lifestyle of the Roberts family. Now, if backer’s money would pay for their house and chef I would agree; but do we actually know that? CR was rich before he started this endeavour, he poured a million of his own money into the kickstarter prototype; I’m sure he can afford a villa on his own. As long as he pays himself and Sandi a reasonable salary and nothing else, I think it’s none of our business how and where they live. As long as we haven’t seen their books, we don’t know that; but I find it awkward to look at the house and jump to the conclusion it’s all stolen backer’s money.

    In closing, one thing to consider is the fact that many of CIG’s employees, not the least CR, Sandi and Ortwin themselves, have put their careers and reputations at stake for this project. I’m sure they’re pretty aware that a project with this amount of funding is attracting scrutiny. I don’t know how it works in the US; but at least in Germany, a company this size must be prepared for official audits triggered by the authorities at any time. Authorities *will* check their books. I’m very sure that neither CR nor OF (especially not Ortwin!) would be stupid enough to perform fraud as blatantly as you think they are; like paying for their houses by backer’s money, or financing private travels and not-so-legal other forms of enjoyment. These are things an official auditor would smell from miles away, and people would be already in court if that were the case. Notwithstanding the fact that the project would be dead, and their careers at an end, if something fishy like this came up. These guys are rich enough to not having to risk that at all; and they’re also not stupid.

    Now I don’t want to rule out an elaborate scheme of laundering money in effective ways hidden from the authorities, because I can’t; but there is *no* indication for that. All the points you’ve mentioned are just too obvious for anyone to actually do. So lacking any proof, I continue to trust CIG to use my money responsibly.

  231. Hi Mr Smart.
    I’ve been following this discussions over the net and Although I realize you have good intentions I think that the fact that you’re making lots of articles and posts responding to criticism for your actions ends up hurting the case. Please don’t get me wrong. If you and the people you represent do have suficient information and the means to open an investigation to CIG then just go for it.

    I mean. You already made your point. Some people will agree with you and others won’t .
    Do you really think that An article on SC Black Knights helps in anyway?

    Look, you have lots of experience in the business. On court a change.org petition will be irrelevant.

    If you continue to handle this issue as an Internet discussion it will end up just being that.

    What matters here is the end goal. And that will only be achieved if people just stop pointing fingers and just go for it.

    The more we discuss this on multiple articles and posts, it gets to appoint that it starts to become irrelevant.
    I mean one defends one thing and the other defends another and we don’t pass from that.

    The only way to see who is correct is with the law. So by all means go for it and patiently wait to see how it goes.
    Once you have feedback from the legal process by all means if you so wish share with the community how the process his going. But without accusing or sharing your mindset. Just inform us with the evidence that came to light during legal process.

    That way we can all have a rational conversation. And in all honesty Mr. Smart, if you are correct you have my thanks for moving this process forward.

    But until then I think it’s better to just wait for the legal process to take its path.

  232. What I am continuing to struggle to get my head around is the sheer lack of content. 88 million dollars, four years of development, and what does SC have to show for it? An alpha version of a dog-fighting simulator, a small percentage of ships to view, even smaller amount that are actually able to be piloted, and a social module that, well, fails on almost every promise made by CR.

    Why do I say that? Why does MY view think that?

    We were promised, as backers, a living world. Release our sci-fi fantasies was thrown around a number of times. After four years and more money then I’ll ever see in my lifetime, we dont have anything to show for it. Instead we have continued performance issues, network code errors (that they themselves have said they struggle to work with, due to the engine!), and a general feeling (to me, anyway) that the game is heading for major cuts, or, worst case, cancellation of core features (I’m looking at you 100 worlds +).

    I dont think it is wrong for Derek Smart, myself, or anyone else, to question what has happend to all this money, why the delays, and why, after so long, we still do not have anything that resembles a complete game (By complete, I mean the core SC experience we were promised in Kickstarter.)

    A question that I find myself asking when I look at the old promises, the feature creep, the general direction change of SC, is: if CR and RSI have nothing to hide, why dont they open up their records to an audit? It would show transparancy, give everyone an idea on the direction of the game (dont even get me started on that sudden NDA slap on rule for the “social” module), and put our concerns to rest.

    Do I think they will do that? No. And why? Because I think that the higher-ups of RSI know that they’ve over promised and under delivered and that we will see more pushbacks before this year is over, or, in my view, postponement of core promises.

    This is my view, my thoughts, my statement. I’m entitled to it like everyone else who supports / supported SC.

    #BlackKnightsMatter

  233. Dang. That sucks. I know I personally would have reported the issue as harassment to the mods, especially if the only issue was post count (a ridiculous reason).

    I know I had to wage a similar war (more simply not letting it go when I saw it) against people using their leaderboard position to say that others do not have a valid opinion. Thankfully such an act has dwindled as of late/number of patches ago.

    People are people, some bring bad habits from other places or have their own skewed perspective on what they view as acceptable behavior. The only way to combat it is to hold yourself and others to a high standard, lead by example. Still a better game forum than many I have been apart of, though the influx of loads of random people varies the quality of posts dramatically.

  234. Lol this is funny why dont we just leave CIG alone and let them do what they do i mean DS if you dont like what they do get a refund and be done with it it will all play out how it was meant to play out whether it does good or ends bad we are grown adults here and maybe some kids with parental approval we know the risks and we also know the benefits nothing we do will affect the outcome all this bickering over your posts and stuff is useless but we also dont need someone telling us or warning us or whatever you want to call what your doing i mean i pledged to support the game and im ready for the consequences if it fails miserably and yes im to lazy to correctly punctuate and all that yibbity yabbity. toodles to you kind sir lol
  235. Thanks for the detailed response – I guess what I’m really asking is; was there something specific that happened which provoked a “smack talk” exchange from one side or the other? I don’t know much about social politics between developers so maybe this is a common thing between competitors or something, though Roberts seems to get along fine with David Braben (the guy that created Elite).
  236. The level of accountability on Star Citizen has exceeded every other kickstarter I have ever funded, included ones by close friends. (Redshift Sports designed and built a switchable seatpost for bicyclists desiring dynamic seat position while riding. Their project was delayed almost 6 months because they needed to scale production to meet demand. This seems like a similar problem to SC, obviously different since software != bicycle parts, but I imagine solving netcode capacity for nearly a million players in an ultra-high-fidelity setting has its own special challenges. During the delay we only got about 3 emails with updates in that time and my pledge gift was delivered as promised. It is a remarkable product that no one else could make so I’m glad i backed it and I am glad it exists. I don’t think it changed my life substantially that it was 6 months late, SC likewise, its just a video game)

    Comparatively, Star Citizen produces accountability materials on nearly a daily basis, weekly round-ups of tasks, monthly studio updates, detailed art and process videos, bi-weekly patches on game modules, on and on and on. The constant stream of content alone is already more entertainment than I’d expect out of a video game and the community contribution aspect is equally fulfilling. Fan-fiction, fan-art, fan-built-models and control schema (I built an iPad external controller which mimics their control layouts!) Getting involved in Star Citizen has been an amazing experience, especially as someone that hasn’t been a gamer for nearly a decade.

    As a backer for only the last 10 months, it’s easier for me to not feel like its been an eternity of waiting, so I went back in time on RSI through their comm-link feature and found a number of polls from before the Kickstarter closed which point to early backer inspired feedback on what the project should be. Those polls point to substantial demand for EVERYTHING; more ships, more game modes, bigger universe, story mode, open mode … it seems the feedback early on pointed Chris in the direction he’s gone and every change to the scope has been documented and detailed in a very comprehensive way. To me, accountability is explaining why things are taking longer, not demanding literal accounting materials. That kind of scrutiny is the kind bloated micro-management that plagues government, education and businesses the world over and produces no efficiency and no measurable benefit. In fact, it feels like an unneeded additional burden which will deprive the finished product of additional quality.

    My question to you is thus: As a later backer who has donated money for the vision and project I saw 10 months ago, why are trying to take my money to get the game you want instead of the game I want? I backed with my money, thinking I was supporting an already well-funded project with deeply committed backers in the hopes of making it even better. I agreed to the same Terms and Conditions and could not have reasonably expected earlier backers to attempt to pull their money out. Breaking your pledge and commitment to the project prematurely, encouraging others to do so, and demanding frivolous accountability measures instead of the very abundant, very genuine and very informative ones already in place undermines all future projects observing and learning from this process. I have learned soooo much about game development from Star Citizen and truly wished I had never stopped trying to make a light saber dueling game on pascal in 1994.

  237. Derek,

    We had a brief back/forth discussion on reddit, but you didn’t reply to this comment of mine, and I would like to hear your response:
    ================
    What could possibly lead you to believe you have a valid legal case here? I’ve read the letter sent from your law firm – and I still don’t get your angle.

    Let’s say for a moment that Chris Roberts & CIG are everything that you say. How does that instill in you any right to sue them for it? Have you ever even *read* the Kickstarter terms of use that was in effect when you backed the game?

    https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

    A few points that seem extremely relevant:

    * The Estimated Delivery Date listed on each reward is not a promise to fulfill by that date, but is merely an estimate of when the Project Creator hopes to fulfill by.
    * Project Creators agree to make a good faith attempt to fulfill each reward by its Estimated Delivery Date.
    * Project Creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill.
    * Project Creators may cancel or refund a Backer’s pledge at any time and for any reason, and if they do so, are not required to fulfill the reward.

    There’s also the section on ‘Accountability’ in Kickstarter’s FAQ – https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter+basics?ref=faq_nav#Acco

    So in short, you, as a (now former) backer of a Kickstarter project, were warned in every pertinent section of the website that the crowdfunded projected you pledged money toward **had no legal responsibility to complete the project**.

    You can say what you want about the Kickstarter model, but I have no idea how you think you have a legal leg to stand on with CIG.

    It sounds more to me like your actual beef is with Kickstarter and the fact that there essentially is no real accountability for project creators. You *might* have a case there, if you can somehow convince a court that Kickstarter simply “shouldn’t do business that way”, but it seems very evident that you are wasting your time & money – and much, much more importantly **our money** – if you foolishly proceed with a lawsuit against CIG.

  238. DS,

    I don’t think the 88Million they have shown in their website includes the deal they have with AMD. each ship, the AMD Mustang Omega cost $60 if you redeem it though if you melt it the cost is $0. I am not sure the money they got from AMD if there are any is also accounted.

  239. Perhaps I am simply inept tonight but I can not find a way to link directly to this comment. Would you be kind enough to provide me with said link?

    I am a man of my word and while most links you posted are dead I still believe the evidence does support your side of the story and will thus update my other posts mentioning Erik’s quote as promised. I intend to link to your comment as well so that there can be no confusion of your position on the matter.

    And as to the shame on me comment. It was a situation of your word against his and so I linked the quote of Erik as it shows what his word was. If it is false that’s on him. And yes I did look for details on that quote but as you posted here all the evidence of it not being true was removed by your own actions. So how you could expect for me to have found that information is anyone’s guess.

  240. #1 We really need to put this whole “3 year” nonsense to rest. The only way to do that is to take it from Chris himself. So with that in mind I found a quote from Chris Roberts admitting, in writing, that Star Citizen’s development time started a year prior to Kickstarter.

    October 19, 2012 “We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal”
    https://www.themittani.com/features/exclusive-interview-star-citizens-chris-roberts

    You might be inclined to respond with, “Fair enough. So how big of a development team were we talking about? As big as Bethesda? Or smaller than Hello Games? Exactly how far would you expect to get on a AAA high fidelity game? The game is getting done. Not as fast as I’d like but faster than most and you can’t or shouldn’t hold this game up to the same time standards as a game developed by a fully functioning game development studio.”

    To which I would reply: Those points are relevant if the plan from the beginning was for Chris Roberts to build a AAA-rated title and pitch it as such on the Kickstarter campaign. The problem is Chris did not pitch it that way and a recent interview confirms this to be true.

    August 18, 2015, “When we first started, we raised $6 million with crowdfunding,” Roberts told me. “That was a lot, but it still wasn’t what we were gonna make the game for because we had private investors lined up. At that point, we were thinking of making a much more contained game.”
    http://kotaku.com/why-star-citizen-is-taking-so-long-1724835913

    To clarify, at 6 million Chris said they were planning on “making a much more contained game”; basically a smaller game.

    Finding this information isn’t difficult. You can piece together the evidence of what Star Citizen was originally going to be based on interviews Chris gave in 2012 and 2013. The problem is when Chris got a lot of money he went batshit crazy. I don’t mean like he lost his mind, I mean the scope, vision, and ideas that he kept in check because of a small amount of money to work with blew up to unrealistic proportions.

    Everything that happening with Star Citizen is Digital Anvil all over again. Only this time the fallout isn’t going to affect a large, corporate mega giant like Microsoft, the fallout is going to affect backers – regular people – like you in addition to the countless thousands of indie developers who rely on Kickstarter and Steam to crowdfund their projects. Derek happens to be one of those indie developers. So yes he has a huge stake in matter sure CIG is on the up and up and that Star Citizen doesn’t catastrophically collapse.

    #BlackKnightsMatter

  241. I think it is fair to say every single Kickstarter I have backed has been delayed if not by months then by years. The worst was the Double Fine Adventure which did eventually get delivered but not until a full two years past the original projected completion date. I have another Kickstarter that is two years late and the developer has simply stopped posting. Another project the developer dutifully posts every month with updates but after three years hasn’t even delivered an alpha to people who paid for that privilege. SC is the least worst of the bunch as they have delivered two modules of four.
  242. So, DS, how’d you like the GamesCom demo….LIVE….in front of THOUSANDS of people? Oh, did I mention LIVE?
  243. Yes. But I use voice dictate the long ones. Then clean it up, copy and paste. So it’s not that bad. 🙂

    ps: I love writing 😉

  244. OK, that’s the last batch for tonight. I still have four (starFriend123, Eric Stolar, Materix, Rholliday) large ones which require a detailed response like the one I wrote to Renegade2092. I will get to those tomorrow morning.

    Thanks for participating everyone. Please keep those thoughts coming.

  245. I am not entirely sure where you got the impression that I am “unwilling to acknowledge that SC is breaking all the tradition IP development molds”.

    That’s not true at all. In fact, I have praised and cheered them on. And some of the evidence is all right there in my first Interstellar Citizens blog. You can even scroll to the very last page and see.

    To be honest, I’m not “confident” that it will end in failure. I am however confident that it won’t end well for all concerned.

  246. Yeah, there is a reason for that.

    The FB link is probably not accessible because of the custom (friends, friends of friends) settings.

    The nasty tweet is the one I mentioned in the post that I had deleted. I added it in case someone had online tools to extract a deleted tweet.

    The offending forum post is the original post that Erik made and which he deleted. Again, I added the link for context and so show where it was prior to being removed. Which is why I added the screencap version in my Dropbox.

    ps: you’re awesome! this is the second time today that you’ve called me attention to something like this. There is a reward in your future. Please send email to fleetcmd at 3000ad.com and I’ll issue you a free Steam key for LOD. If you are already a backer of that project, you can give the key to a friend.

  247. Yes, I agree.

    However, the key point missing here is that you can’t compare an $88m, 500+ company that has had access to so many resources, to a small indie dev team like ours. We have no choice.

    And the reason that I “stagger” released our game via Early Access is because we’re not big enough to handle the deluge of issues that we’d run into for such a massive game.

    Also, in addition to that, without focus testing, gamers can’t be trusted to “test”, they want to “play”. Like right away. Which is why, right off the bat, I didn’t give them any weapons of mass destruction. I gave them scene after scene to test. Until that was perfect, then we starting giving weapons, items etc to test. And the large Sept update is going to unlock aircraft (which is precisely when all hell is going to break loose), then vehicles etc. Note that we’ve had aircraft and vehicles in the game for almost two years now. There are lots of shots and movies on our media page. We just chose to hold off on unlocking them until we got all the underlying issues and features resolved and locked down first.

    So yeah, these are two different types of games, different size teams, different sized budgets. No meaningful comparison.

  248. White knight = overzealous irrational defender.
    Black Knight = overzealous irrational detractor.

    #NoKnightsMatter

  249. Stop. Stop. Stop.

    You people spreading this nonsense about game dev times, comparing it to Star Citizen are clueless. I wrote an entire section (item #8) in my Interstellar Breach blog, specifically for this reason. You should read it.

    The next post I see about this rubbish, is getting deleted. It’s bad enough having to sift through posts to moderate, without having to read all this regurgitated disinformation that keeps being spread around.

  250. @ Renegade2092

    (1) Delivery: you are openly questioning whether CR & CIG can deliver the game they have “sold” to people from a technical/engineering standpoint.

    That is correct.

    But qualifier to add is that I am talking about the new post-2012 version, let’s call it “Vision 2.0” for argument sake.

    In addition to the technical concerns in VIS2.0, though seemingly insurmountable, they are going to lead to lots of trial and error (which is where they’ve been for the most part), which leads to delays, and in which turn means more money needed. And without the money, the project dies. Or if it doesn’t, it will get scaled back in order to release before money runs out.

    (2) Money: you (as the lead voice) seem to intimate (noted: by comments made by CR himself) that this title could have been made on a much smaller budget than what they have collected so far via KS and their own crowd funding efforts.

    Again, a qualifier is needed. The original vision, let’s call it “Vision 1.0”, could have been made and within three years. Chris said so himself. Many times. And made many statements related to that, in addition to how much money it would take to do it. It’s all there. Nobody made this up. Those are his historical statements.

    To me it seems as though a lot of the issues you raise then branch out from these two key points. Please note, I don’t want to fight with you, I’m stating what I came away with from your postings.

    In fact, I personally feel, on a certain level, you may have a legitimate cause of complaint.

    Noted

    (1) Developer diaries. With all the information provided by CIG including their ongoing accomplishments and technical issues, they are representing a focus on actually creating/developing the game they pitched to the backers.

    This is largely irrelevant.

    And while they may be developing the game they pitched to backers, it’s not the game they pitched in 2012.

    What they are building now is VIS2.0. Which is not the same as VIS1.0

    There is a very serious distinction here and people should neither make light of, nor discount it.

    Point taken: Will it actually “look” and “perform” as they promised?? That remains to be seen.

    I don’t believe that anyone is going to be engaging in discussions about the visual fidelity of this game because we all agree that it looks fantastic. And that is more about content creation and the rendering engine, than it is about the game engine proper.

    Yes – there is a distinction. And that’s why no two games built with the same engine, can ever look as good as each other without stellar content creation teams involved.

    And perform is where it’s all going to fall apart. I think anyone who has been in AC 1.0 and now with the upcoming social/planetside module will attest to that.

    Setting graphics and performance aside, the issue of sub-par networking in this game, completely overshadows everything since it is, first and foremost, an online game which just happens to have an off-line mode.

    Also the point has been made (and it’s a fair one) that without publisher oversight there is no penalty or consequence to missing deadlines. Has this had an impact on development? I’m sure beyond any doubt that it has.

    Well yeah. However, here is the thing, this accountability is precisely why I’m doing what I’m doing. Not only in terms of the project scope, but also in terms of where the money has gone and whether or not the project can in fact be completed or is it now at a high risk of a catastrophic collapse the longer it takes.

    (2) Crowd Funding. Your assertions that there has been financial dishonest on the part of CR or CIG is an allegation that requires proof. It’s not fair to accuse this company of ill will based solely on your personal experience(s) as a game/software developer. In this age, we need direct proof, not assumptions, that this money is being used improperly or frivolously. If a target financial goal was set and they met or exceeded that expectation, that in itself is not a crime. In fact, any crowd funded project (yours included) in the world would welcome that scenario.

    Yes, but let’s get something straight. accusations are one thing, calls for accountability are clearly another.

    And my efforts have more to do with where the money has gone and why we still have no game, than it does about why they are continuing to raise
    money.

    Just because it hasn’t been presented in the public, doesn’t mean the proof doesn’t exist. In fact, against my better judgement, since I was supposed to hold that one close to my chest, Sandra’s pet movie project, is one such instance of questions arising from how backer money is being spent.

    There are many other instances including the sudden explosion of all these studios, all of which leads to excess and waste.

    Need I even mention all the money spent on “non development” work? The shows, the marketing, the PR – everything they promised would never happen and that the money would be spent on “development”?

    This is not stuff that I am making up. It’s all there for everyone to see.

    Note: My game is not crowd-funded. It is funded 100% by me.

    Yet still, I think it is prudent of you to spearhead the effort to secure refunds. I am not buying the “this money is being used for development” from CIG. Yes the money is most certainly, in the bank somewhere, if it wasn’t they would not be in a position to grant refunds to begin with.

    Here is where it gets tricky. As I’ve said before, if they have anything close to $20m in reserves from this project, myself and a lot of people who are familiar with this project, would be very surprised. Especially given what it costs to run all these studios.

    And granting refunds is not that big a drain. Especially if you are doing it selectively. What effect do you think granting 1200 people refunds has on a company that pulls in an average of $1m a month?

    What is a drain, is granting refunds to anyone who wants it. The effect of that is, if you bet wrong and think that most hardcore backers won’t go for it, you could be wrong and end up in a “run on the bank” type situation. Which is precisely why they’re doing it selectively, not advertising it etc.

    In addition to that, if after making several claims that if the funding stopped, the game would still be completed, agreeing to refunds runs the risk of also tapping into the funds needed to complete the game.

    And that’s not all. It is now Aug 2015 and it is clear that this game is not going to be completed before 2017, despite Chris’s claims that it will be complete by end of 2016. So, if funding stopped or slowed down, how exactly are they going to complete the game?

    There are those who look at the $88m figure and think that it’s money sitting in a bank somewhere.

    And don’t tell me that they don’t have budget planning and projection information internally, I’m certain they do. As a private company though, I understand CIG’s position. They are under no legal obligation to share their financial records with outsiders, given the fact that they have solicited and received dollars (crowdfunding is essentially donations) to make this game possible

    And this is the part that people keep repeating though it’s actually incorrect.

    While it may be a private company, the fact that it has raised this money via crowd-funding, means that its officers are held accountable to backers. It is absolutely NO different if this were just one person raising money for a potato salad, then not delivering.

    And that accountability comes from either the Federal govt (FBI, FTC or IRS) due to the amount of money raised and how it was raised.

    There is a big difference between consumer fraud and fraud in toto.

    Most people also don’t even realize that the FTC has prosecuted and closed many companies that raised money through investors. And those investments were raised via people who had to adhere to strict SEC guidelines. The SEC is also another Fed agency with similar powers.

    (ex.: you can ask the red cross: “What happened to my $10 donation for earthquake relief” – will they tell you? Very, very, unlikely).

    Bad example. As a non-prof, the Red Cross is accountable to several Fed agencies and watchdog groups as to how their money is spent.

    If an individual at this point in time has abandoned the project and wishes to extradite their initial investment or a portion of it, personally speaking, there should be a mechanism for that.

    Indeed. But they are refusing to do that. This despite the fact that they have misrepresented the project in so many ways, there is no point in even counting the ways anymore. We can all just accept it as fact and not waste time on that.

    Why CIG would cancel your backer membership without specifically outlining how/why you violated their TOS might be worth pursuing. As a backer myself, I don’t see how asking legitimate questions as to how and why target dates have not been met, is a violation of law.

    The issue is one of dishonesty.

    My first blog, Interstellar Citizens went up; then got widespread coverage and traction which they weren’t expecting (which is silly, considering who I am
    and the fact that a LOT of people were already getting the jitters about the project). They freaked out, got pissed. Took action.

    And that action was taken while hiding behind two sets of TOS. The Kickstarter one and the RSI one. Neither of which I violated.

    However, I don’t NEED to have violated either for them to kick me out and refund my money.

    Aside from taking action, they made it public by issuing press statements. Why haven’t they done the same for all the other backer refunds? Even the ones
    before me? They singled me out because they wanted to send a message, cast me in a poor light, distract from the issues etc. All they did was made it worse.

    Go ahead and think about that one for a minute.

    That being said, the teeth of the dragon, is CIG’s terms of service. At its core crowd funded projects (any if not all) are “buyer-beware”. The initial money I have invested in this project, I have personally written off. I was fully aware in October of 2012, when I pledged, that there was a possibility that SC would never see the light of day. Yet, I was willing to contribute financially to see if it was possible. That’s where I think our thinking (yours and mine) diverge. In my viewpoint it’s not simply an exchange of money for goods and services, crowd funding as per its agreement is a source of revenue to bring an idea to fruition, if at all possible. It’s not an investment, it’s actually a risk.

    Actually you are wrong on this point. And the FTC, who has the authority over this, says so. It doesn’t have to be an investment for it to be an exchange
    for goods and/or services. If that wasn’t the case, the FTC would not have setup an entire division dedicated to ensuring that crowd-funding doesn’t turn into elaborate scams.

    In fact, even the SEC got in on the act when they too came up with rules and guidelines (which recently went into effect) for equity based crowd-funding in order to not only make crowd-funding legitimate and hold the creators accountable, but also to ensure that investors don’t get ripped off.

    I don’t harbour any ill will toward you are CIG. In fact, I feel that you both have made some very valid points. I have personally adopted the wait and see spirit for this project. If that’s something you’re not motivated to do, then I understand your position.

    To be clear – again – I don’t harbor any ill will toward them. I go out of my way to express this. However, there is something amiss, and given everything
    that has gone on, and where we are now, unless something is done, it is my opinion that this project is going to be total loss. No question about it.

    Here’s the thing,

    1) what do I lose by just sitting back and waiting for it all to collapse?

    2) what do I gain by pushing for accountability in order to assured that #1 doesn’t happen?

    I don’t think most people are thinking straight. If #1 happens, #2 is pointless

    And if after everything that I have laid out, people don’t think that there is something fishy, then I have to copy a Robertson Davies quote which another backer (kxmode) mentioned in a similar forum thread:

    Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt

  251. Well, i can give you a perfect explanation. But let’s put everything in order.

    1) The game is in development 3 years (not 4).
    2) There are AAA projects, that have been in development for 6 years. So Star Citizen have 3 years ahead.
    3) Even so it is at it’s final stages of completion. We already seen all modules come together very nicely. The game base is ready. Now all they have to do is to add content and fix bugs. Which brings us to your last sentence…
    4) They have built not “only one”, but they SHOWED and gave for TESTING only one. They have already modeled and ready to be implemented assets of the game made by different offices. Why they weren’t already in the game? Because It’s not wise to add something, while you don’t have a solid, working base for that. Do you understand? Now they have that base, and progress in development making Quantum jumps.
    5) They even announced timeframes for upcoming events and the first one happened exactly as they stated – Social module in august. End of september – Star Marine. Multicrew – end of october. And, if i am not mistaken, i heard that 1st part of Squadron 42 in December. And of course Persistant Universe next year.

    So please, stop your actions toward CIG, they are pointless. And will only delay the development. The game is clearly progressing and ready to hit BETA.
    Sorry for my English, it’s not my native language.

  252. They’ve been struggling with the netcode for months now. From what I can garner based on news updates it wasn’t working well with the Cryengine base code and they have basically had to re-write it from scratch using bespoke code. I hope they nail it down soon as I suspect this is the major factor tying up so many human resources for the project.
  253. I want to share an experience I had on the Star Citizen forums. Derek mentioned in a previous post in the other thread that I was a “White Knight” because of my defence of the project and the amount of funds I have poured into it (US$7,000). I had a quiet chuckle to myself as I don’t really consider myself a “white knight”. There is a whole level above that – let’s call them the “True White Knights” (abbreviated TWK for this post). The best comparison I can make to describe a TWK is the South Park episode “HumancentiPad” and specifically “the Geniuses”. Keep that in mind and look it up.

    Anyway I digress. On the forums a year ago I was a semi active poster helping many new entrants into the Star Citizen Verse with information and FAQ’s that I had written myself. I also helped gather information to put into one of the many encyclopaedic documents to try and bring some order to the mountain of disparate information about the game.

    After a month or so I received a PM from a poster who demanded I stop posting FAQ’s on the forum. I asked what the issue was and he said I was not entitled to post information about the game as I only had 200+ posts listed on my forum name. I checked the details of this TWK and found they had over 10,000 posts. I also noticed that this poster had a history of lambasting new forum members with very low post counts (less than 50) and yet strangely had never been warned or banned from the SC forums.

    I called out this person on the forum as they criticised yet another new low post member and all hell broke loose. I was attacked both on the forum and via PM by numerous TWK’s all with post counts above 5,000. I stated in the forum that anyone should be allowed to post regardless of their post count. The original TWK had the gall to state that if I continued he would petition RSI to have me banned from the forum.

    That is when I realised there was a whole level of crazy way above everyone else on the SC forums. A number of my org members have been similarly attacked in the forums. Even worse the original TWK who threatened me is a well known and “respected” member of a number of Star Citizen live streams.

    Suffice to say I have basically stopped posting on the forums. It simply isn’t worth the drama plus I don’t want to feed someone who’s whole self esteem is based on their Star Citizen post count – most of which is regurgitated crap anyway.

  254. “Enhanced Alpha – We will use additional funding to build a wider alpha test than we had originally intended for the first phase of Star Citizen’s launch. The initial plan was to first launch servers in North America and then expand to areas such as Europe and Australia to decrease latency in these areas, perfecting the game as we improve the experience around the world. This funding will allow us to invest in a wider infrastructure for our early testing, spinning up remote servers earlier. Hitting this goal will also allow us to increase the number of remaining alpha slots. Extra alpha slots not only means more Star Citizens will travel the ‘verse at launch, but that we will receive more feedback and more stress testing. This in turn will allow us to better balance and enhance the Star Citizen experience!”

    They had to say something to achieve the U$ 25 million mark. But who knows? Maybe they plan to start this “Enhanced Alpha” after release?

  255. Well, they made it pretty clear to do the rollout in stages in order to test network load and so on with a growing population. Flooding this new system with hundreds of thousands of people at once would be counter-productive. It’s what they did with AC 0.8, and it’s in fact what you do with your own game – limiting the amount of people playing by requiring payment, and locking certain features to focus testing on particular parts of the game.

    CIG has said they expect to open up the module to everyone within the next week, by which time the NDA will also be moot (arguably it is already after CIG showed footage on today’s AtV). I think it’s reasonable to expect a rollout happening in stages, and I believe you of all people should be able to understand this given the comments you gave in various places about your own way of doing EA for LoD. You want to test specific parts of your game, and thus it makes lots of sense to get known good testers in first, limiting the amount of gameplay on the focal points that need testing. You don’t let in everyone at once, because you know very well what’ll happen then.

    Disclaimer: I didn’t get an invite yet, and I’ll start to complain if I don’t get in in a week, but for now I think it’s perfectly fair to favor the really active testers first (note that the rollout doesn’t happen based on citizen number this time around; they invite people based on current activity in AC, bugreports etc.).

  256. Seems like its exactly what they stated it would be from Gamescom. But what exactly are these promises (which I assume you have copied somewhere) because to be honest my memory just isn’t that good.

    And they at least have that one other base from the multiplayer demo ready to roll, so there’s one more, only 798 to go! 😛

  257. Just to point out: ALL INVESTMENT IS RISK! So whether we are speaking of Kickstarter as an investment (which it technically isn’t I believe) or not, they are both risks. There is no such thing as an investment without risk, lowered risk, yes, but risk.

    Sorry just had to clarify that point.

  258. Hi Derek, just checking out the links in your reply to Eric Stolar and noticed the following:
    ‘This thread in my facebook feed’ goes to an FB error screen for an expired link,
    ‘Nasty Tweet’ goes to a twitter ‘this page doesn’t exist’ error screen
    ‘Offending Forum Post’ goes to the RSI signup screen (not sure you want to be encouraging people to sign up to RSI – might send the wrong message *chuckle*).
    Again no need to post this on the blog, just giving you a heads up.

  259. I realize that. I posted a detailed comment to you earlier stating my questions and concerns with Star Citizen. While I don’t want to rehash every point I made, I do recognize that there are elements to SC that make it unique. Isn’t PLC what you might term a tradition “Indie” while SC on the other hand, because of size and scope does not meet that mold. I’m not prepared to write it off just yet, as “dishonesty” or “fraud”. Yet, you seem unwilling to acknowledge that SC is breaking all the tradition IP development molds. Has anyone at anytime made a AAA game with crowd funded dollars? if so who? My point is, it does feel like this project is blazing new territory. You just seem really confident that it will end in failure.
  260. Sorry for the delayed response, my social media intern has been filtering through spam, crap posts etc so that the “pending” list is what I respond to without having to wade through all of them. As such, I’ve had to pick the shorter posts since I can respond quicker.

    Unfortunately that leaves the beefy posts by you, Rholliday, Materix, Eric Stolar, starFriend123 (in the Interstellar Breach blog) now sitting in the queue.

    The problem with the blog’s comment plugin is that a post is approved, it’s hard to go back and figure out if I had responded to it or not. So I usually just read, then respond to each one.

    So I am going to approve all 5, then go back and respond to each one since they are very interesting and worthy of a detailed response, given the time you folks took in writing them.

    So be patient 🙂

  261. Well, I won’t get upset if they miss it by a few days. Heck, I’m a developer. Do you know how many times I’ve had to scuttle a LOD point release because on release day we found a breaking bug? Several times in fact.

    My concern has nothing to do with whether or not they miss the date. No, it has to do with how they are releasing the update and the fact that it’s not complete, it’s devoid of anything resembling what they promised and which is over eight months delayed now. After this sort of delay, what I’ve seen and played (shocker! I have friends with accounts!) is very disappointing for an $88m project that’s now entering year four and none of the key components are in.

    So now we get to add social/planetside to the half-backed hangar and AC 1.0 modules. See a pattern here?

    THAT and the fact that they have to build 800 (!) of these hubs. And I thought 100 was bad enough. And we’re already in Aug 2015.

  262. There was nothing private about it. It all played out on Twitter and in this thread in my facebook feed.

    While discussing the Star Citizen matter with the attorneys, I mentioned Erik’s comment. They said to show it to them. I did. They asked if I knew the relationship between Chris and Erik. I said I did. And I explained it.

    Then they said OK, we’re going send him a C&D and ask for a retraction or we take legal action against him as well. This is the low tolerance stance I’ve taken with anyone who defames me over this Star Citizen farce.

    So the next day, Aug 24th. I sent Erik a nasty tweet. Something along the lines of “prove it or remove it” or I was going to shove my attorneys up his a$$

    He responded by apologizing if he remembered it incorrectly, and that he wanted no part of my fight with Chris.

    He then notified me that he had removed the forum post.

    Shortly after, since he had apologized and deleted the offending forum post, I thanked him.

    Not wanting to continue the drama, I deleted the tweet. Which in turn deleted the whole thread. I did this because some people, as is the norm with social media, were already starting to chime in. So I tweeted to him that we should delete our tweets in order to stop the drama. We both did just that.

    The End.

    ps: Don’t give me this shit about “actual truth“. If you were after “truth” you won’t have posted (as you said) that crap anywhere, without first obtaining verification. Instead, because it was said by someone, and which cast me in a poor light, people like YOU were quick to take it at face value in order to continue attacking me. Shame on you.

  263. Mr. Smart, I’m curious to know if you’ve been following Leafy Games – PULSAR: Lost Colony? While its a much smaller project in scope the elements are for the most part very similar to SC.
  264. *sigh*

    Can we STOP with the legal citations? It’s irritating and annoying to me when people use them, despite not knowing what they mean. I’m not slandering anyone. And hearsay doesn’t stand up in court. So no, I won’t be initiating legal action based on hearsay. I mean seriously, just stop and let’s discuss the ISSUE AT HAND!!

    OK here it is: Any post that accuses me of any wrong doing, is going to get deleted (not approved) – and the offender is going to get IP banned. We’re not here for that, and I don’t have time to deal with armchair attorneys.

    As to the comparisons between how I handle my game, vs Star Citizen, again, we’re not here for that.

    Aside from that, game delays are real. But the problems with Star Citizen go beyond delays. If you don’t know that, then you simply a) haven’t been paying attention or b) are in complete and total denial

    And as for my own game, like my company, it’s 100% funded by me. No investors. No partners. No crowd-funding. So I am accountable only to me. See the difference?

    Which is precisely why I made this post this morning so I can just cut and paste whenever some of you try to distort this discussion instead of focusing on the issue at hand.

  265. While I have been rather public about the fact I disagree with your opinions and your crusade I do value the actual truth when it can be verified.

    Can you prove your claim that Erik Patterson did indeed claim that “he remembered it incorrectly”. I have pointed out Erik’s claim many times, if it is false I wish to correct it. Show me his admission that it was fake and I will go back and add that info to anywhere I have ever posted about that comment.

    If you need time to ask Erik’s permission (sounds like it was a private conversation and I know you value such things) feel free to not make this comment public until you have had time to do so.

  266. As an avid supporter of star citizen ever since I first saw its trailer, I believe I can join this discussion without losing my head. I have been “fangirling” over this game for nearly 2 years by this time and am very satisfied with its development. A couple points I would like to make about your article here (not intended to insult you, merely some constructive criticism to help you appear more professional and respectful in your future writings) is that you blatantly and openly insult those who have signed the petition. Though it is true that many have insulted your person and your creations, which has no place in an orderly discussion, not all of us feel that that is necessary. The reason I personally gave for signing was “Mr. Smart has threatened a class action lawsuit against CIG (Cloud Imperium Games) which, if put into action, will divert funds from the community given to produce the video game “Star Citizen”. I did not back CIG and Chris Roberts so my money could be wasted on a radical lawsuit based off wild claims. However, with that said I fully support the use of my funds in the defense of CIG if Mr. Smart does attempt to drag CIG into court”. (On a side note, calling the petition signers “a bunch of anti-social misfits” does not present the connotation I believe you are trying to get across. The way I personally read the term “anti-social” is shying away from social interaction and remaining isolated, I believe “disrespectful”, “rowdy”, or “chaotic” may be a better choice for the next round. That is of course if you continue to sink to their level and engage in the exchanging of insults). On the subject of the scope of the game being beyond reach for the games current funding, I have full confidence in CIG’s ability to raise more funding through the release and sale of future modules, ships, merchandise, in-game currency, funding campaigns, etc. Bringing a company that is trying something risky or daring to court is only going to increase the chances of failure. When we invest in an unreleased game, we are individually taking a risk. It may be an unspoken one but the investment risk is there, if it is not realized by those investing then it is only due to a lack of thought and common sense on their part. Even if star citizen does not achieve its goal on its initial release or even for years following, what they will produce will be quite amazing I am sure. The currently released module (arena commander) is already a game in its own, it is more advanced and better looking than some full releases of games I have seen. More importantly it is already extremely fun. With the massive amount of progress already made on the game I don’t see a reason to do anything but invest in it further. I have always maintained that lawsuits for anything other than massive, blatantly intentional, or damaging issues is a massive waste of time, money, effort, and resources. As an aspiring game developer, I respect every game I see for what it is, what it wants to be, what it can become, and how it manages its community. Arena Commander is already a mid-level game as far as I am concerned, what it wants to become is almost picture perfect compared to my “dream game”, and I believe it can become exactly (or very close) to what it wants to be. As for how it manages its community, some increased moderation could prove useful in some areas. With that said, the incredible level of community and dev interaction and friendliness is almost unparalleled. A prime example of this community friendliness and love is a joke made is a recent “10 for the Chairman” release where Chris Roberts said “gift one, Jared gift one” referring to the “red one” incident at Gamescom that ended up as an internet meme. Both sides of this controversy have thrown around the term “minority” when referring to the opposing side. Now the portion of the community that has taken part in these jokes and deep interaction are a minority of the community, the group that has supported you is a minority of the community, the group that has spoken against you is too a minority of the community. The vast majority of the full backer community has not actually made it a point to take a side. I put this to either a lack of interest in following the detailed development of the game, or simple laziness. To the core of things however, the highly transparent development of star citizen is more than enough accountability for their spending. As for the release dates, if CIG was making the game they initially promised then I have full confidence it would have been released long ago. The game they are making, (or better put, the games they are making) far exceeds the initial plan. Bigger plans take longer to implement, the increased scope of star citizen is more than possible. That is not to say I will not need a massive PC upgrade to run it, nor that it will not take years and years to produce, but the technology to make it happen exists. Funding is fluid and may be short, or it may be beyond their hopes. The full scope of star citizen can be realized, the question is will it be possible with the money CIG will raise. As no court can know the future, that question is not one to be determined by any legal system but only by time itself.
  267. To be honest, it was just smack talk. What had happened was that around that time (I was with a publisher btw) while I was struggling to make the opus (later the 1996 disaster) that was to become Battlecruiser 3000AD, a lot of the magazines from back in the day, were doing comparisons to that game, talking about the developers, publishers etc. And as these things go and given the fact that we were all young and foolish, I may have said something, somewhere.

    Of course, as we were all a close-knit group back then, since there weren’t that many of us high profile game devs back then, word gets around. And as time passes, as long as it’s not in print (even so, media tend to lie – a lot e.g. that quote that some idiots keep passing around because it appears in my Wikipedia page, though it was printed out of context) people tend to forget. And before you know it, decades later, someone like Chris and Erik have recollections which are not only inaccurate, but are deliberately stated in order to create this unfair pattern of conduct in an attempt to cast me in a poor light in a “yeah, he’s done this before” kinda way. You know, deflection tactics which have no basis or relevance to the issue at hand.

    The analogy that I can come up with is like accusing someone of stealing chickens, then telling the cops that the thief also drinks beer. No correlation whatsoever.

    ps: Yeah, the SPJ Airplay event was interesting to say the least 🙂

  268. But it is always better in an argument (at least in my humble opinion) to be the bigger person and not fall prey to the want / need to sink to the level of the opposition.

    You can’t change what anyone else does, but you can surely change the way people view you, as a person, in how you react to your biggest detractors.

    But again, just my two cents.

  269. @Derek : Indeed… we are allowed to disagree !

    But … let’s say you keep fighting with RSI (Let’s say in a legal way)
    Beside using your money … You will use My money (as a funder) for the fight That is not quite good 🙂 Starcitizen is REALLY “the game of my dreams”

    @John Joe… let’s go for the clever way ! You are looking for a refund, i am looking for an other LTI account.
    DO you have a mail ? Can we have a deal ?

  270. The Patterson quote was the one I was thinking of; thanks for clarifying, and I’m glad to hear it was resolved! You mentioned that people are accusing you of doing “the same thing I was doing back then with Wing Commander.” If that’s the case then your detractors really are a bunch of idiots, as Wing Commander wasn’t a backer-funded kickstarter project. Out of curiosity, what was the deal with Wing Commander by your recollection? Obviously nobody can recall with any hope of precision what they might have said way back in the 90’s, but was there some kind of intellectual property dispute over Origin ripping off ideas from your Battlecruiser 3000 series, or was it just some “smack talk” between rival developers? I’m genuinely curious as I was too young to participate in the “golden age” of space sims back in the 90’s, and missed out on all the drama.

    Oh, and I just wanted to say (and this is a bit off topic)- you did an awesome job at the SPJ Airplay panel the other day! I’m so glad that there are developers out there that have a level-head about the whole GG issue, and you really articulated your points well. I also appreciated the fact that you kept the coverage going after the bomb threats started rolling in – lol.

  271. But that is fine, I don’t understand what you mean here. People who are not happy with the product call for a refund and are able to get a refund from CIG, on a case by case basis.

    I’m a backer myself and I am very pleased with how the game is turning out, even the delays.

    You said it yourself in your own post about your own game, delays are a part of making a game so just kind of bare with it.

    But back to your point. It is fine to say that you don’t like the product or to request a refund for the product, but what you are doing is slandering CIG’s name with here-say and taking legal action.

    What would you do if someone had the thoughts and actions like you have given CIG over your own game? I’m sure it would be a whole different kettle of fish, and for the record I am fully aware that your game is past the “stated release date” also.

  272. OK, two people who don’t agree with it, means it gets changed. Done! Thanks for your input. And I hope that you folks understood the spirit in which it was used. Plus you all owe me $20 (I had to pay royalties to use it!) 🙂

  273. I’ll join in with that complain.

    I find it a tad unprofessional, it gives the reader the impression that you are going to fight dirty or that you are immature in nature yourself straight of the bat.

    With the emoticon and following images I found it difficult to take the whole blog post seriously, as you are giving in to the immature attitude of others and showing immaturity yourself.

    Not the strongest start to a supposed “serious” blog post if I do say so.

  274. I read your Interstellar Breach blog post several times, Mr. Smart. I am not in disagreement that these things occurred. My question is in relation to how relevant some of them are (my opinion in standard development practice, of course).

    For example; scope creep. To many developers it’s a word only mentioned in hushed tones. Publishers do not like in house scope creep, as it has the potential to throw out either the release dates or the funding. However, as you know, in many cases the publishers are the ones who ask for increased scope … usually due to unforseen events in the initial plans for development.

    Some reasons include the technological scope of competitors surpassing your own product and causing the clients to demand the same (or better, ouch!). Another is because the client learns that your company has more resources / capabilities than was originally thought and wants to utilize them (usually expecting little to no increase in funding for the results :(). And lastly (also most often), because they change their minds and feel the initial plans are not sufficient for a full game experience (which results in some form of renogotiation, usually at the loss of the developers due to time constraints).

    However with Star Citizen, I believe we’re fortunate. I’ll give you a personal example. When I first saw the game (the outdated website with the descriptions pertaining to their expected scope), I was disappointed. You see, at the time I was looking for a first person space MMO (as many of us have wanted for years). And here was a game that fit all of those categories … except for the MMO part. Just a single player game (now known as SQ42) was being toted, with casual mention that if the Kickstarter was successful enough, they may consider a multiplayer iteration. I put them in the back of my mind and moved on.
    They got their funding though. And when I heard about the added multiplayer, now known as the persistant universe, they had me at hello. I’ve followed the game since, and spent an inordinate money on their vision later (at least compared to standard games).

    My point is that the funding reached these milestones because of the interest in a greater capacity of the original pitch. We backers funded it for this point. We all screamed at Mr. Roberts to move passed the limited vision and create this expanded game. We were the publishers, telling him to increase the scope.

    That’s not to say there aren’t people upset about the game not being out yet. Though this, I believe, is largely compounded by the fact their marketing strategy relies on witholding information so that when releases do happen, our interests are vaulted because of it. Similar to limiting ship sales on certain models, and the idea that some are only available at certain times of the year. No one can argue their marketing plan is not successful. As I said though, that doesn’t mean everyone is okay with it. Building hype goes hand in hand with impatience, especially if that hype is from limited information … and a year is a long time when you’re eagerly awaiting something, let alone several.

    I hope that (very long) explanation perhaps went some way to your understanding my perspective and why I think nitpicking on several “breaches of the Kickstarter” seem irrelevant to me. I want to talk about my other points, but there’s only so much room in your comment section. I look forward to your response. 🙂

  275. Let’s get one thing straight. I didn’t retract anything. The petition was flagged – by my PA – when it went live. That generates a support ticket on their end.

    I got an email which I then responded to as required.

    Then you posted in the petition the similar email YOU were sent by them, WARNING you that if your petition remained as-is, that you were opening yourself to liability. Did you read – and understand – the wording of that email they sent you? Please read it again.

    After they warned you, they closed the support ticket. That’s not a retraction on my part since I had nothing to retract. Feel free to show this post to the change.org person who sent you the email via the support ticket and have them explain it to you. Use this direct link.

    And the fact that you made their very own support ticket notice public, just shows the kind of person that you are. You are simply clueless.

    I am not in the habit of taking legal action against people who have no means to defend themselves. That’s a form of bullying. I’m not a bully. Even as I regard your goading, and is the sort of thing that if I take action, has the potential to turn your life upside down (you don’t know how horrible it is, until you get that first letter from an attorney), I decided to just led it slide. But if you continue along this pattern of conduct, you will leave me no choice. And then you will only have yourself to blame. And no, you’re not anon.

    To help you, here are some EFF resources on defamation which you should read (read this one first) before you decide to take on someone like me who has been around his very same block a few times. Your petition text is not Free Speech. Unless you’ve changed (I have screen shots of the original) it, what is there, is defamatory speech. If you don’t know what that is, please have someone explain it to you.

    And even as you continue to display arrogance, you want to continue goading me, rather than addressing the petition and the conduct of you and your followers have decided to engage in.

    As a result, you are the problem and as such, you can never be relied upon to be a part of the solution.

    And that’s precisely why I reduced your missive to nothing more than infantile trolling and not worthy of merit. Now you have my attention, enjoy it while it lasts; but you may not like it.

  276. ” Did I expect a full social hub? No.”

    And why shouldn’t you expect that for one single small map area, after 3 years of development?

  277. Hello, Mr. Smart. I am the creator of the petition you refer to.

    “The petition creator is simply misguided in thinking that the defamatory missive in her petition, not to mention the infantile “Bring it on, Derek” comment in her Aug 25th update, are the sort of statements that are likely to bring about change. They are not.”

    Infantile? You are certainly an amusing man, Derek, I’ll give you that. My invitation to you to respond to this petition with something other than a defamation claim (which you retracted, probably once you realized your claim is absolutely baseless) is absolutely mild compared to the ridiculous rants you’ve posted on your own blog, and your Facebook letter to Chris Roberts and other industry members was extremely infantile. All I can say to you is, don’t dish it if you can’t take it. Don’t be a hypocrite.

    You say “There is a saying that goes like this, and you should probably look it up: ‘You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar'”.

    Again, all I can really say in response to that is – don’t be a hypocrite. Every post you’ve made since you’ve began your crusade against CIG and the vast majority of backers have been drenched in vinegar.

    “given the approach that the petition creator took, not to mention the rhetoric in the comments”; “Trying to petition someone into doing something, while insulting them, making legally actionable defamatory comments etc is not exactly the sort of road to take if you want to be taken seriously.”

    You mean like all of your own posts which drown in rhetoric and defamation? You’re so far down that road that I’d never be able to catch up with you.

  278. There’s nothing logical about it. They have had $88m to spend. For that kind of money, they should have the infrastructure to handle the load. Amazon EC2 is not hard to setup and it’s not expensive.

    I have been railing about networking for months now. So no, I didn’t miss it. In fact, I mentioned in all my SC blogs. For game that is primarily multiplayer, for them to be having these sort of networking problems, FOUR years later, it’s inexcusable.

  279. Ok, again, simmer down. It’s the 27th, right? They always use the PTU for every update. There are always a limited number of backers that get to try these patches out sooner than others so that CIG can stress test and bug fix as much as possible before it goes live. I really don’t understand how this is a problem…..

    Now if they miss the date of the end of August by more than a few days then sure, get upset. As of right now, there’s no reason to get riled.

  280. I’m sure that you’re shocked I let that one through, huh? 🙂

    Again, let’s be clear. If you’re happy with the progress of the project, that’s fine. But if someone says they’re not happy with it, that SHOULD be fine too. You see how that works? Good.

  281. I doubt that it would avoid the specific people to sent their offenses anyway. Reasonable person, as you said, can understand that perfectly. And who knows already how those people behave, knows that does not matter how polite, humble, sheep you act, they will jump in your throat if they don’t like what you have to say
  282. Derecky …I spent a lot of money for Starcitizen !

    Believe me : I am old enough to send a letter by myself to CIG if one day i feel “concerned” about their job.

    For now i am happy about the game ! I have a lot of fun in the social module. I even hope we will share the popcorns inside my Idris the next year !

    As an attention whore (you can’t deny it 😛 ) I am sure you are enjoying this “fight” A LOT but … Give yourself a rest, just look inside yourself and calm down 🙂
    You could spend your time doing something more useful such as writing a book about internet and “flamewars” … or what about writing your own story in a science-fiction way ?
    You seem to be very very very very very very good at writing 😉

    I could throw more money at my screen for it.
    So for now …. What about having a good hot chocolat in front of “Captain Blood” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hkpo4RBSqoU (instead of calling your customers “liars” on steam :p ?)
    *you can delete this last one if you want or the entire post, as usual *

  283. Yeah, I’ve been around the block for a minute 🙂

    Yes, I have heard those stories as well. Since it has been so long, some people remember it differently than others.

    The way I remember it, it was just the usual smack talk that was prevalent at the time, and still is, now that I think about it. Back in the day, we all had .plan files, Usenet was a thing etc. So things may have been said (I don’t remember writing anything to anyone about it, let alone threatening legal action), but not in the manner in which some people are trying to remember it.

    And they are distorting this now because they are trying to bring up a decades (!!) old discussion (not unlike the many Urban Legends I wrote about) in order to say that what I am doing now with Star Citizen, is the same thing that I was doing back then with Wing Commander.

    Which is laughable considering that so very many space games have come and gone since then.

    In fact, I was so upset when I was informed that CR repeated the same story to a reporter recently, that I just told the attorney to send everyone a C&D, plus a request for retraction, if we ever see it in print form anywhere.

    Just this week, I subsequently Tweeted to CR friend, Erik “Wingman” Patterson who, back in July when this whole shit storm started, had posted the same nonsense on the RSI forums and told him that unless he could prove it, I was going to take legal action. He apologized saying that he remembered it incorrectly, then deleted the forum post (you can see the screen cap here). The matter was closed between me and him.

    I simply do not take too kindly to people doing stuff like this. If it is someone that I can identify, and I know I’m right, I have no qualms about going after them. People MUST be held accountable for their words and actions. There is no other way.

    This is just part of the pattern of conduct that these creators of the project – and their friends, family etc – have decided to engage in. It is a sad attempt to ignore the issues at hand related to the handling of the Star Citizen project, calls for accountability, accusations of consumer fraud etc. Since I’m a well-known and outspoken target, they’re trying to paint a bullseye on my ass as a deflecting tactic.

    And some White Knights are helping them do it. They will fail. All of them.

  284. It is kind sad to see things getting ugly. I cant imagine what this project gonna reveal in the future. Its going to be really ugly.
  285. They are stopping sharing of social module on their site only for exactly the reason I gave. They want those not invited to be able to still use the forums without the experience being ruined. This is a perfectly logical thing to do. The release itself is limited due to the need to test the network stability, which is actually having problems. I am actually surprised you haven;t jumped all over that one yet. But yes they are having networking issues yet again, and that’s exactly why they did a limited release.
  286. I second Ben’s point – if we’re looking for a reasoned discussion here then I think this image runs counter to that objective.
  287. @Ben, Now that’s a very good point. Much better than the first one. So how about this, if someone else complains, I will change it. How does that sound?

  288. Oh right, that makes it so much better. Not!

    An $88m crowd-funded game, which EVERYONE funded, is somehow now deciding which of those backers gets to see a critical and LATE module, and which don’t.

    So much for “open” development. If they’re that open, why not give everyone access? Why be worried of what “first impressions” would do if you have FAITH in the backers and have pledged to treat them with RESPECT?

    Give me a break.

    As to the NDA, you do know what it means, right? It’s a non-disclosure. You don’t have to sign an NDA for it to be an NDA. The text of the email message is an NDA of sorts; which is why they are enforcing it on the forums by now allowing images or videos to be posted. Go ahead and explain that one to me. I’ll wait.

    It’s bullshit for them to continue doing this. The PTU should exist and be open to ALL backers. Those who choose to use it, do so at their own risk; or they can wait for the final version to be pushed out.

    They did this PTU push in a sad bid to try and meet one – just one – milestone on time. And from what I’ve seen, played and heard – they failed. It’s rubbish.

    And for a game is supposed to have 100 of these areas, they’ve only built ONE in 2015, I want to see the argument made that they’re going to have ALL of them done, out, tested by end of 2016.

  289. Like I stated I don’t necessarily blame you for it, but if you’re attempting to create an atmosphere of reasoned discussion with people who clearly don’t already like you, then why start it with a large image that could be taken in an offensive manner? That immediately puts them on the defensive and prone to lash out.

    Just my thoughts…….(Just trying to help keep this civil).

  290. Keep up the fight! I’m amazed how the initial launch goes from Nov 2014 to the end of 2016 and everyone on the forum is just fine with that. Great. As long as everyone who feels that is unacceptable gets a refund.

    I’ve posted many times on the SC forum with concerns. I am never insulting. White knights insult me until my thread is closed for “drama.” I am currently banned! Game companies and white knights need to realize that criticism is just as good for a game as praise.

  291. Then don’t participate. My space. My rules. My flair.

    The emoticon (directed at the specific group I am addressing) is no more offensive than the memes in the post itself. It’s drama.

  292. “We kindly ask…” is NOT a NDA. They are trying to keep the amount of content leaked about the social module limited not to hide anything but to allow those that don’t want their first time spoiled to have a chance to see it themselves in game. No where in there was any threat of having your account banned or any such thing if you do show video online like would happen with a real NDA. And the we plan to improve this line was there form the initial announcement at Ganescon. Nothing surprising or unexpected there. So please stop referring to that email as a NDA because it’s not.
  293. Hi Derek. Good write up, and I appreciate the fact that you’re looking out for the best interests of the backers. Don’t let the harassers get you down!

    I recall you mentioned that you’ve been in the industry for a long time (since the 90’s I think?), about as long as the principle developers working on Star Citizen. Since the genre you guys work in have some overlap I assume you know a lot about Chris Roberts’ history and how his projects have worked out in the past. Specifically, I recall one of the guys who used to be with CIG (and has since left) said that there was some dispute between you and Origin, where you allegedly said in an email or something that they had actually stolen your work or ideas. Can you go into any details about this or whether it’s true, or any other shenanigans that Chris Roberts et. al. have been involved with in the past? Thanks!

  294. You like quoting KS so lets go ahead and do that.

    “When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.

    Throughout the process, creators owe their backers a high standard of effort, honest communication, and a dedication to bringing the project to life. At the same time, backers must understand that when they back a project, they’re helping to create something new — not ordering something that already exists. There may be CHANGES OR DELAYS, and there’s a chance something could happen that prevents the creator from being able to finish the project as promised.” [capitalization mine]

    “The Estimated Delivery Date is the creator’s estimate. The date listed on each reward is the creator’s estimate of when they will provide the reward — not a guarantee to fulfill by that date. The schedule may change as the creator works on the project. We ask creators to think carefully, set a date they feel confident they can work toward, and communicate with backers about any changes.”

    The original KS date was based on minimal funding. When they gained more funding the project changed and so did the release date. There is nothing in the KS terms or US law that prevents them from raising more money and expanding the game. As long as they are providing updates and showing progress on a good faith effort to complete the game they have satisfied KS terms. You may not like it but that doesn’t matter.

    You believe the game in it;s current form to be impossible but this is your opinion, it is not fact. You may end up being proven correct in the future but as of today there is no way to prove your opinion to be fact. Therefore any claim that they are not able to make the game has no legal standing and no bearing on KS terms of service. They are still activity working on the game, so they have not failed to deliver the game.

    So that leaves us with one avenue where you may actually have a true standing. You claim that Chris has spent KS funds on personal expenses: his car, his house, travel on a private jet, a private movie (did I miss any?). If any of this were true then you would have grounds for an investigation. Yet you simply will not come forward with anything to substantiate these claims. Now you poked fun on your twitter account about the guy claiming you owe a large sum of money in taxes. This person has provided just as much proof as you have about Chris spending KS funds on personal expenses and his claim of you being broke has just as much credibility – AKA zero.

    So I will be blunt – “Put up, or shut up”
    You say you refuse to provide proof because of a possible lawsuit, then please stop talking about it and just file already. You actually filing in a court of law is public information and while we won’t get to see the proof you claim to have it will at least show us that you believe you posses such proof and that it’s substantial enough to hold up. If you’re not going to file show us the proof of your allocations. Otherwise kindly stop making these unsubstantiated claims about money mismanagement.

  295. For me it comes down to the constant “road maps” that we recieve every other month, the push back in releases, and the ever-changing focus in the direction of the game. What I fail to understand is this game, even before Kickstarter, already had a years development utilising CryENGINE 3 during 2011, and, yet, we still have not seen a fully working segment of the game.

    Arena Commander continues to have performance issues (I’m sure you daily check the RSI forum, like myself) and alot of the ships remain missing. Yes, the graphics look nice, the flight model is a nice change, and, from a gamer PoV, it’s nice to dive into dog fights once more. However, its a long way away from being a full game.

    The social hub that has been promised for so long, shown in videos, and talked about in blogs and developer meets, has now gone live with a single (small) city that has no interactive NPC’s, upto 30 people in an instance, and is filled with bugs, place holders (textures, buildings, etc), and plenty of ways to fall through the enviroment box. Did I expect a full social hub? No. I accept it’s Alpha, its in development, but, to me, it feels like a rushed bolt-on because of the current scrutiny the direction of the game is going.

    Not to mention this sudden NDA tag, the “we’ll release a fully improved version in future” notice, and my concerns just grow. What happend to “open development? Why slap on the NDA now of all times?

    As a backer, granted trying to get his refund as I’ve lost hope in CR, I can’t help but feel the game is in direction trouble.

  296. I understand that this is your personal blog and all, but when you say things like “In an effort to engage in meaningful discussions with those who are vested in this Star Citizen debacle,” the last thing I expect to see at the top of a blog for meaningful discussion is a giant smiley waiving the bird in my face. I understand you feel you’re being bullied and name-called, but way to keep it classy Mr. Smart.

    Just not what I was expecting…..

  297. LOL!! Yeah, didn’t you get some?

    Seriously, the ONLY way to deal with people like this whose sole purpose is to taint and tarnish gaming, is to beat them at their own game, and do it better.

    I am sick of people thinking that when we use the term White Knights, that it is supposed to be derogatory. It’s not. However, since the vocal minority of the White Knights are LOUD anti-social misfits and bullies, those people are just tainting it for everyone. So, as a proud White Knight turned Black Knight, this is my stance now.

  298. Mr Smart, It has taken me some time to read through your blog post in its entirety and I must say, while I disagree with you on some points, I’m not going to dismiss your perspective on the situation. Filtering through the numerous points you outline in detail, I came away with essentially two core viewpoints (I’m not marginalizing you) (1) Delivery: you are openly questioning whether CR & CIG can deliver the game they have “sold” to people from a technical/engineering standpoint. (2) Money: you (as the lead voice) seem to intimate (noted: by comments made by CR himself) that this title could have been made on a much smaller budget than what they have collected so far via KS and their own crowd funding efforts. To me it seems as though a lot of the issues you raise then branch out from these two key points. Please note, I don’t want to fight with you, I’m stating what I came away with from your postings.In fact, I personally feel, on a certain level, you may have a legitimate cause of complaint. Let me outline two facts directly. (1) Developer diaries. With all the information provided by CIG including their ongoing accomplishments and technical issues, they are representing a focus on actually creating/developing the game they pitched to the backers. Point taken: Will it actually “look” and “perform” as they promised?? That remains to be seen. Also the point has been made (and it’s a fair one) that without publisher oversight there is no penalty or consequence to missing deadlines. Has this had an impact on development? I’m sure beyond any doubt that it has. (2) Crowd Funding. Your assertions that there has been financial dishonest on the part of CR or CIG is an allegation that requires proof. It’s not fair to accuse this company of ill will based solely on your personal experience(s) as a game/software developer. In this age, we need direct proof, not assumptions, that this money is being used improperly or frivolously. If a target financial goal was set and they met or exceeded that expectation, that in itself is not a crime. In fact, any crowd funded project (yours included) in the world would welcome that scenario. Yet still, I think it is prudent of you to spearhead the effort to secure refunds. I am not buying the “this money is being used for development” from CIG. Yes the money is most certainly, in the bank somewhere, if it wasn’t they would not be in a position to grant refunds to begin with. And don’t tell me that they don’t have budget planning and projection information internally, I’m certain they do. As a private company though, I understand CIG’s position. They are under no legal obligation to share their financial records with outsiders, given the fact that they have solicited and received dollars (crowdfunding is essentially donations) to make this game possible (ex.: you can ask the red cross: “What happened to my $10 donation for earthquake relief” – will they tell you? Very, very, unlikely). If an individual at this point in time has abandoned the project and wishes to extradite their initial investment or a portion of it, personally speaking, there should be a mechanism for that. Why CIG would cancel your backer membership without specifically outlining how/why you violated their TOS might be worth pursuing. As a backer myself, I don’t see how asking legitimate questions as to how and why target dates have not been met, is a violation of law. That being said, the teeth of the dragon, is CIG’s terms of service. At its core crowd funded projects (any if not all) are “buyer-beware”. The initial money I have invested in this project, I have personally written off. I was fully aware in October of 2012, when I pledged, that there was a possibility that SC would never see the light of day. Yet, I was willing to contribute financially to see if it was possible. That’s where I think our thinking (yours and mine) diverge. In my viewpoint it’s not simply an exchange of money for goods and services, crowd funding as per its agreement is a source of revenue to bring an idea to fruition, if at all possible. It’s not an investment, it’s actually a risk. I don’t harbour any ill will toward you are CIG. In fact, I feel that you both have made some very valid points. I have personally adopted the wait and see spirit for this project. If that’s something you’re not motivated to do, then I understand your position.
  299. Your first question is without merit and I painstakingly explained it in my Interstellar Breach blog. In fact, there is an ENTIRE section (item #8) on that. Please go and read it because I am simply not going to type it all up again.

    The issue has gone beyond scope creep because it has already been admitted. It’s more about promises made, the ability to deliver, required funding – and accountability.

  300. Do you provide popcorns during the show? :p :p :p
    Just tell me if i bore you with my comments… I will stop 🙂
  301. All right. Then for the sake of reasonable debate, I’d like you to answer some questions relating to some of the points you’ve made about Star Citizen that appear to be reasons for your involvement with the project thus far. I’ll keep it at one question per.

    Star Citizen had an initial release date of November 2014. This fact is not in contention.

    My question is this.
    “Why is this such a big deal from a development stand point if we compare the development cycle time line vs other delayed projects, such as Destiny or (insert almost any Blizzard game) as some relative examples?”

    From a scope creep perspective, we seem to be at the point where it has stopped in favor of completing what has been added since the original idea.
    As well, from a monetary perspective, an increase in scope with unexpected increases in funding seems quite typical of most projects as well.

    Pardon my assumption, but it SEEMS as though the issue has to do with the fact it’s a Kickstarter (which almost acts like its own publisher, in a sense) … since this behavior doesn’t seem strange to me from a development perspective.

    Other than the Kickstarter example, I’m finding it difficult to understand your point on this particular subject.

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