Star Citizen – The Long Con

Star Citizen – The Long Con

long con: A con-job that requires a certain amount of effort and as a namesake, is usually in it for the long haul. Gaining someone’s trust for a number of months and then when the stake is in your court and you have their complete trust–taking advantage of it.”

BREAKING NEWS (09/24/15) :Layoffs and fallout at Santa Monica studios.


Since the beginning of July, after weeks of research into this project, I decided to write a blog post based on my findings, opinions, concerns etc. The blog that started it was, Interstellar Citizens. I already knew, going in, that I was going to attract the ire of the rabid and vocal White Knights (supporters of the project) who lash out and attack anyone who even puts together a sentence in dissent against the project. However, what I hadn’t planned for, was the widespread coverage that it would get in the media and which would suddenly get everyone talking, asking questions etc.

During the course of almost three months, I have written four more blogs.

The bane of any investigative reporting, is that you get overwhelmed with so much material that before long, it all gets really long-winded and you can’t even get around to the TL;DR version.

So going forward, I’m going to start doing these micro-blogs in my spare time so that they are shorter, to the point etc. Given the impending legal action, that format will also serve to better chronicle the proceedings as I will make public whatever the legal system allows (e.g. if a judge grants request to have something sealed, I can’t disclose it).


This is a crowd-funded game pitched back in 2012 by Chris Roberts on Kickstarter. At first, it had reasonable, yet lofty goals, which I will refer to as “vision 1.0“.

Shortly after raising the money ($500K, for which they raised $2.1m) they were asking for, they continued to raise money while increasing the scope of the game to what we now know to be “vision 2.0“.

Despite making several claims that at $6m, then $20m, the game could be built, as of this writing, approaching four years this Nov 2015 and $90m later, there is still no “game”.

In fact, running through an analysis of everything promised in both of the aforementioned visions, they have yet to deliver even 25% of what was promised. Yet, as of this writing, the project which was to be delivered – complete with backer rewards – by Nov 2014, is now one year late this coming Nov.

It is all nicely chronicled here in my Interstellar Breach blog.


The issues of contention here are many, but the most vocal ones voiced have more to do with the crazy scope of the game, than what backers were originally pitched. Yes, arguably, some backers did expect the game to take longer, and cost more. However, we don’t care about them. What we – and the Feds who oversee issues of consumer fraud care about – are the initial promises made and which haven’t been met.

In between attacking me, attacking my games, saying I am a prejudiced and biased competitor (which is hilarious, but addressed at the very end of Interstellar Breach), the very vocal White Knights will also try to convince you that this v2.0 was the game that was pitched, that your funding (aka pledge) was destined to be lost (as a gift) etc.

It’s all pure nonsense. And it’s nicely explained in this blog post by a gaming industry legal veteran.

In fact, a cursory glance at the FTC website – or just pickup the phone and call them – tells you that much (1, 2). To the extent that just a few months ago, aside from an FTC victory earlier this year, yet another crowd-funded project was successfully prosecuted in Washington State almost a year after first being filed. This was done at the State level, unlike the Federal level which falls under the purview of the FTC and the FBI (depending on merit and severity). The key issue here is that, given how long it takes for the Feds to investigate these things, it appears as if the States are now getting in on the act since it’s quicker. Which makes sense, considering that the recently passed SEC Regulation A+ means that accountability is coming to crowd-funded campaigns because it is currently an unregulated business which many have fallen prey to.

UPDATE: This blog was originally written earlier this month and was awaiting legal clearance as well as the results (e.g. by our sources in Australia and Germany) of some research material. During that time, as part of this and having spoken to several people, both on the business and legal side of crowd-funding as well as consumer fraud, Kickstarter made news when they announced on Sept 21st, that they had reformed to a Public Benefit Corporation. Here is a quote from their statement:

Until recently, the idea of a for-profit company pursuing social good at the expense of shareholder value had no clear protection under U.S. corporate law, and certainly no mandate.

At a glance, this doesn’t mean much. But to those of us in the sector and who have been calling for accountability, this is huge. And a clear indication that the largest crowd-funded source in the industry, acknowledges that there is a problem with accountability in the sector.

You see, it’s all very simple. When you ask for money to produce something, you have to produce and deliver it. The law does not allow you to change the terms of that promise, let alone run off into the sunset with the money. Unfortunately where accountability is concerned, if you can’t find the con man who conned you, then you’re out of luck. And if you do, usually you call the cops, report it to the FBI, or if it’s a company operating as a business, you can start with the FTC. Though the FBI is usually better and should be your first option. Why? Because they simply don’t mess around. Nothing strikes fear into mortal men than a call or visit from the IRS or the FBI.

And when it comes to crowd-funding, as the FTC has stated the following:

  1. Keep your promises when crowdfunding. If you promise rewards, give them.  If you promise refunds, provide them.
  2. Use the money raised from crowdfunding only for the purpose represented. If you collect money for a specified project, like creating a board game, use the money only for that purpose. Don’t use it for personal purposes or to start another project.


I don’t even know where to begin….

1) They have failed to deliver the project promised to backers since 2012.

2) Said project is now almost one year overdue and from the looks of it, is two to three years away from completion. Assuming that i) they build the tech to power the game ii) they don’t run out of money

3) Other than the Citizens Card, thus far, they have failed to deliver other backer rewards promised.

4) They continue to sell ship concepts, knowing fully well that a) the total modeling workload, according to my sources, spans almost two years worth of work left to do b) there is currently no “game” with which to fly most of these ship models. Other than of course the Arena Commander module which is an embarrassingly poor and buggy mess and which most backers aren’t even playing; according to this poll.

5) Due to my blogs and all the chatter, they have now decided to continue the premature release of shoddy work product in order to somehow skirt around the non-delivery liability issue and hide behind the “guarantee of performance” clause.  With the Social Module (with a single map, ArcCorp) released less than a month ago, and which was over a year late, it joins the Hangar and Arena Commander modules as yet another disjointed, incomplete and broken mess of a product. This is what I previously stated.

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 $90m 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.

In case you were wondering, according to the crowd-funding campaign, at $5m, they promised to deliver 70 star systems, and $6m, there would be 100. Each one of these has a landing zone powered by this Social Module. Thus far, they have only released only one. One (!).

For context, this complete “game” consists of the following modules: Hangar, Arena Commander (space flight), Social/Planetside, Star Marine (fps), Squadron 42, Persistent Universe (derived from Arena Commander 2.0 w/ multi-ship).

Note that SQ42 is a separate bonus product at the $6m raised. It however relies on components from the other modules for operation.

6) Having failed to meet their own deadlines and promises, they quietly modified the ToS which backers agreed to when they gave money back in 2012. Let me explain in the shortest possible form.

In the original (aka “vision 1.0”) game they pitched on Kickstarter, which 34,397 backers pledged $2,134,374 to help bring this project to life, they had an “estimated” release date of Nov 2014.

According to their  ToS v1.1 of 08/29/13 they said if they failed to deliver within 12 months of Nov 2014 (the original Kickstarter estimated delivery date), they would issue refunds. At the time, this non-delivery period would kick in during Nov 2015.

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.

Since that time, having already i) missed the Nov 2014 delivery date and ii) embarked on the increased scope (aka “vision 2.0”), thus extending the delivery date for the project, they surreptitiously made another changed in ToS v1.2 of 02/01/15 (which remains the current one). The previous section was moved; and now reads:

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 withineighteen (18) 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.


Again, this is an absolute fallacy that continues to be propagated by them and those who are motivated to distort the facts and conceal the truth. Here’s the thing, openness, is related to transparency and disclosures. The fact of the matter is that the “openness” these people speak of, is related to the regular community updates about the project. Well, here’s the thing. These were paid for, by backers.

@ $2m “Regular community updates”
@ $3m “Increased community updates at the RSI website”
@ $4m “The RSI website will feature a monthly “Wingman’s Hangar” webcast from the development team”

So all these dev updates, Wingman updates, 10 for the chairman etc – they were all paid for. Aside from the subscriptions which some were actually paying for btw.

You see, even in private ventures, as an investor, you have the right to know how the company is spending your money. In public corporations, they have investor calls, disclosures etc. And any mistakes or appearance of improper conduct, can lead to legal action, even before the Feds (in this case the SEC or FBI) get involved.

In the case of a crowd-funded project, the fallacy is that crowd-funding backers have no such right. Well, guess what, that’s patently false.

This company was given millions of dollars to deliver a product. They have not delivered that product. And in all likelihood, the company – and project – will both fail before they even get to delivering even 50% of what’s promised. There isn’t a single pro developer on this planet, who after looking at what has thus far been delivered, compared to what was promised up to $65m funded, will say that they can deliver this product within the next three years. That aside from the fact that I still do not believe that have the tech to do the game they pitched. In fact, since my first blog, I have already proven that much by their own dev updates which clearly show that they were still attempting to build said tech. Four years later.

And with all the tips that keep coming my way from various sources, a leaked letter (UPDATE – 09/24/15: David reached out to me through back channels to let me know that his letter (not company property btw) was never intended to be made public. So I have removed it) sent to me anonymously and alleged to have been written by David Jennison (I don’t know who he is, but I did look him up) prior to his departure, is particularly eye opening (assuming that you haven’t been to their Glassdoor listing).

Though not unsurprising to anyone who has either worked with Chris Roberts or who has read the many media reports about his gaming industry failings, I have written about this very issue (cited in David’s letter) in a prior blog. It’s all there.

The number of stellar industry veterans (e.g. Travis Day, Alex Mayberry et al) who have come and gone from this project on short notice and under highly suspicious circumstances (nobody’s talking, but that’s what makes depositions fun) should be a cause for great concern for this project. These people, one and all (we have a running list), made up the star team attracted to the idea of being a part of something great, something remarkable, something exceptional. In most cases, they were uprooted from area studios with lofty promises, and as has been reported elsewhere, leaving behind projects they were working on. That also adds to the level of disruption that this project has wrought on the gaming industry proper. And it’s no secret because everyone in the industry has been talking about this very thing since 2012.

So, with the failure to deliver, coupled with the triggers in their own ToS (as per item #6 above), that “openness” should come in the form of how the money has been spent. Let’s set aside for a minute the fact that they surreptitiously modified the original agreement they had with backers and which clearly required them to issue refunds and financial accounting by Nov 2015.

Let’s continue with the openness discussion shall we?

In every venture, you trust the people that you give money to. Any financial arrangement, involves a degree of trust. We all trusted Chris Roberts when he came to us asking for money to build our dream game (dubbed BDSSE). Nobody thought twice about what had happened to Chris in over a decade (!) since he was gone, what he was up to (aside from making a string of bad movies, raising a family etc). No, he was neither rich, nor successful in Hollywood. This is a fact. What’s made him somewhat rich now, is this project and backer money.

So imagine my surprise when it was revealed to me that him being married to Sandi Gardiner, the lady who went on the record (they have since removed the original article, then posted a new one three weeks ago, Sept 1st) saying “although I’m not sure about the title VP as it stands for Vice-President and there isn’t anyone above me in the Marketing Department“, was a closely kept secret  – and which was never disclosed to any of the backers.

Have you seen the sheer volume of material that she’s been a part of in the community? To this day, most in that community either a) don’t believe that they are married or b) they discard it as being a personal matter. Completely disregarding the gravity and important of this single issue.

In fact, nobody even bothered to ask any questions when, out of the Blue, she was credited as the co-creator (!) of Star Citizen. An actress with zero ties to the gaming industry, zero experience in anything related to marketing of any kind and for which no record of such experience exists anywhere on planet Earth. The only tangible connection she has to the project, is being the wife of Chris Roberts. Period. End of story.

And when the investigators were done, to add to the mystery, it was discovered that not only had she lied (1, 2 @ 18:45 note: these keep disappearing but we have archives) about attending UCLA Anderson School of Management and having marketing credentials (1, 2, 3 <– this is new, we’re looking into it) from there, but that she was still pursuing her career while shooting personal projects, hosting reading sessions (1, 2, 3, 4) on company property (that’s the RSI/CIG conference room btw in those images and videos), using company assets, and in one report from our sources, backer money to fund it.

To the extent that shortly after my Interstellar Breach blog in which I first posted about the other movie, Elle, this thread appeared on RSI forums.

There was no official RSI comment anywhere in the community. No, instead, one of the RSI community members (thennessy-cig), in what can only be regarded as plausible deniability (so they can later say that it wasn’t an official statement), posted this disclaimer on a Reddit thread.

Hey guys, Elle was a short film Sandi directed on her own, outside of her work at CIG. No one from the office worked on it, and she did not use any of our in house equipment in the filming of it. No subscriber or backer funds were used at all for it.

I’m pretty sure that the only reason Berenice listed CIG on her resume was because she didn’t know what else to list for the production company.”

It’s  false.

The entire movie first draft was reportedly shot by an ex-employee named Brian Dickson, on RSI’s own equipment (Canon 5D cameras), and there’s proof of this. The invoices were all reported to have been billed to the company. Further, liability, insurance, SAG/AFTRA, signatory costs etc are all assumed by the company since Sandi, not being signatory, can’t personally sign anything related to any movie shoot. Only the company – of which she is an officer – can be a signatory. That’s how it works.

UPDATE: On Sept 21st, after another thread showed up on Reddit following this tweet I made about her shooting movies on company premises, a new thread appeared on Reddit with a group of people asking for an explanation. Shortly after,  Sandi made this tweet (in case they delete it, here is a screen cap) in which she stated thus:

no not shot at the studios and CIG was a mistake on the DPs resume – was under Gemini 42 and all extras I personally paid

Well, here’s the problem. Gemini 42 is a wholly owned subsidiary of RSI (1, 2). So she’s admitted – right there in the public record – that this is all true.

And before you start talking about them being married is a personal matter etc – don’t. She’s the “co-creator” of the largest crowd-funded project in history. She’s not someone in the sidelines, in the background or any of that. So her integrity and credibility are important. Plus, she’s a public figure. She’s right there, front and center of this project and is one of the people entrusted with $90m in public money and with zero accountability.

And she’s a liar; and by all reported accounts and allegations thus far, a fraud.

Look at it from the bright side, Chris is just incompetent and a liar. So there is that.

The third person in this circus, is this fellow, Ortwin. There is a whole history there between him, Chris, and failed German movie investment ventures. I had promised to keep this blog short (hey, I tried!), so I have trimmed that off for another blog. It’s a fantastic read, complete with translated court documents. Thanks to my German friends and contacts for helping out with that one. As soon as I publish that, it will all be clear why we should be asking questions about this project and the people we gave all this money to.

So these are the people we gave $90m to, who have yet to deliver any product and have thus far not accounted for any of this money.

UPDATE: After I had written this blog, my sources notified me that she has recently hired a new marketing person from the mobile sector on a three month probation period, with a view to this new hire replacing her in marketing so she can exit the company. More as this develops.


On Aug 21st, I had my CA attorneys, working in concert with my FL attorneys, draft a demand letter which was sent to RSI. That letter asked for three things which, by RSI’s own declarations in their ToS, backers are entitled to.

1) Accounting for backer money
2) An accurate completion date for the project
3) Refunds for all those who requested it

You would think that a company that was looking to do the right thing would find these to be reasonable. As I had posted before, we fully expected them to either ignore the letter, or tell us to go pound sand.

They exceeded my expectations. Here, please read their response which attorneys received on Aug 28th, and which I got to see on Sept 3rd.

The original version of this blog, contained detailed responses to each paragraph of their letter. But as part of my bid to keep this blog short, I removed them in favor of our Sept 14th response instead.


1) The “personal address” info he’s talking about, is related to the Zillow listing from one of my blogs. In other words, public record with no relevance or anything identifying any of the parties. It was there to show what backer money was being spent on. They never lived in such luxury before this project.

2) The issue with the first refund check is pure bullshit. If they sent it to the wrong address, it would have been returned to them. Even after a month. Despite that, I had my office call them to let them know that it had been received.

3) This part, I want to excerpt for context because it should concern every backer of this project.

Firstly, there is obviously no legal basis for your client’s request and your letter cites no such authority. Secondly, the ample information provided regularly on our extensive website, including monthly progress reports from each studio, published headcounts and the like, would enable any person familiar with the cost of game development to assess the proper spending of the funds raised. Your client claims to be such an experienced person, so we are a bit perplexed about this demand coming in particular from him.”

Just ponder that for a moment. In fact, when I made the above excerpt public, here is a response from a former backer who was lucky to have received a refund through my efforts. Quoted verbatim:

Is he serious?

When I was a Backer I had no idea (and still don’t today) how to “assess the proper spending of the funds raised” based on Bugsmashers, Around the Verse, 10 for the Chairman, Wingman’s Hangar and Meet the Devs. The monthly status reports told me nothing about how much money was spent on X, how much on Y, how much for this cost, and how much for that cost.

It’s interesting we had this conversation on your blog and in private and the conclusion was made that there were just too many variables and not enough information available to figure out how much money CIG has spent and how much remains. We came up with a ballpark of 2-3 million per month that CIG needs to make in order to meet obligations but that was based on pure conjecture. All of our discussions were based on, as Mr. Freyermuth calls it, “ample information provided regularly on our extensive website”.

No one can understand CIG’s financials based on anything they’ve published because all of it is marketing material. The conclusion is Mr. Freyermuth is lying, which isn’t surprising given Chris Roberts’ rampant misleading statements.”

Thing is, this is nonsense. No such information exists. And he’s saying that backers should rely on the word of people who have, time and time again, lied about one thing or the other with this project. That’s like telling the IRS you spent money on travel without showing the receipts of any airline tickets. This is precisely what everyone keeps complaining about, hence the calls for financial accountability.

4) The personal attacks were just laughable. First, I have no tax liens. The fact of the matter is that I tend to make too much (if the IRS says you owe close to $250K, you probably shouldn’t be complaining about income) money due to my various investments. And when you are self-employed and the IRS sends you a bill for under-reporting, the minute you dispute it – as most tend to do – they automatically file a lien (which goes in the public record) against you if the amount is over $25K. That’s a fact. It’s pretty much tantamount to how they handle rampant asset forfeiture. The IRS hits first, then asks questions later. And the liens they dug up from public records and which he is talking about, are from 2003, 2004. And they were removed (marked as satisfied) once the matter was closed, mere months later. It’s all right there in the public record.

As to the bankruptcy. That one was funny, especially considering that, even though it was recorded as discharged less than two months later, there’s more to the story than that, and an ID theft police report actually exists for it. And that was back in 1998 btw. And it was actually a huge discussion on UseNet back in the day.

And when you see someone who has a string of failed Hollywood and videogame projects, having been unceremoniously ejected from the industry, and whose last game was decades ago, talking about failures, you know that they’re clutching at straws. It’s rather embarrassing for them if you ask me.

So yeah, they had to go dumpster diving for dirt apparently. Whatever. Good thing I don’t have a criminal record, parking or speeding tickets etc, they’d probably have thrown a party.

And yes, I’m making their letter with this information public because, i) it’s going into the public record anyway, since it’s going to be in our complaint ii) unlike them, I have nothing to hide. I am surprised they stopped there, to be honest. In fact, we already expected this sort of thing, which is precisely why I wrote my Urban Legend blog once it became clear that we were headed for legal action and that attacking someone’s credibility was going to be the first thing on the table.

It should be noted that, around the same time of their letter, I had been doxed (some of the material wasn’t even mine) over on the MassivelyOP website (a click-bait site that is seemingly the premier Star Citizen media shill site) by one of the White Knights who had also done the same thing on Reddit. Facing the threat of implied legal action since doxing is criminal in every State, after them going back and forth with my legal and my office, MassivelyOp acted quickly to remove the material. Reddit had already removed it of their own accord.

I’ve been around the block for a minute. I’m an old school Internet denizen. I’m used to being attacked. None of this fazes me. And I have absolutely nothing to lose. So if they think that they’re going to stop me by sending their White Knight goons to attack me, try to discredit (that’s always hilarious) and/or harass me into silence, they’re shockingly naive. All that does is strengthen my resolve and proves to the world at large that there is something going on here. Attacking the messenger is usually the method employed when you want to bury the message.

So these are the sort of people that we’re dealing with.

Remember, I was once a backer who gave $250 to this project, right from the start back in 2012. And as I wrote in my Interstellar Justice blog, shortly after my first blog hit, and it got propagated, they refunded me without my asking, made it public both on their forums and by releasing a press statement. Something they haven’t done to any other backer. As in ever. They made it personal.


As they have been advised, we are left with no choice but to take legal action because it’s the only way that we are going to be able to get to the bottom of this, as they clearly have no intentions of doing the right thing.

In addition to that, we’ve already sent complaints and detailed (you think my blogs are detailed? If you knew half the stuff that’s not even made public yet, your hair will turn White) reports to the Federal and State authorities. As I’ve said before, what the authorities choose to do, is up to them. My guess is that given the sheer amount of money involved, coupled with the compiled material, there is no way they can ignore this.

While this has all been going on since my first blog, they have been quietly giving out refunds. Even to people who were refused refunds months before my first blog hit.

And barely a month ago, as he has done so many times in the past, Chris Roberts is still making promises (1, 2) that the game is now coming out in 2016. I remember back when he said it was coming in 2014. Then it was coming in 2015.

In my opinion, what has gone on with this project is tantamount to a long con. Regardless, given what has transpired with this project, it is clear that every single person who put money into this project, is now at great risk of losing their investment. RSI/CIG do not have the capability to develop nor deliver this product as promised. At $65m, they already had an insurmountable amount of work they promised to deliver. Seriously, take a look (1, 2). And they have thus far received $90m and climbing. Four years later, still no game, or anything that even resembles one. Not even 25% of a game.

Edward H. Smith lists the “six definite steps or stages of growth in every finely balanced and well-conceived confidence game.”

1. Foundation Work – The preparations, which are made before the scheme is put in motion, including the elaboration of the plan, the employment of assistants, and so forth.

They spent a year creating a very expensive tech demo.

2. Approach – The manner of getting in touch with the victim — often most elaborately and carefully prepared.

They announced Star Citizen at GDC 2012. Then released a movie of the tech demo in a Kickstarter campaign to incredible reception.

3. Build-up – Rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim, introducing the scheme to him, and filling him with so much anticipation and cupidity that his judgment is warped and his caution thrown away.

They have been doing a constant stream of marketing videos, convention events, concept and ship sales etc. All designed to keep raising funds and selling items for a game that doesn’t exist. This despite the fact that they had pledged – in writing – never to spend backer money on marketing or PR.

4. Pay-off or Convincer – An actual or apparent paying of money by the conspirators to convince the victim and settle doubts by a cash demonstration. In the old banco game, the initial small bets which the victim was allowed to win were the pay-off. In stock swindles, the fake dividends sent to stockholders to encourage larger investments are the pay-off.

The largely broken and buggy game modules (Hangar, Arena Commander, Social Module) exist for the sole purpose of convincing backers to continue pouring money into the project. This is evidenced by the money raised with each convention, each periodic ship sale etc. For example, the recent GameCom 2015 which proved beyond the shadow of doubt, that most of the funding comes from existing backers.

5. The Hurrah – This is like the denouement in a play, and no con scheme is complete without it. It is a sudden crisis or unexpected development by which the mark is pushed over the last doubt or obstacle and forced to act. Once the hurrah is sprung, either the scammer has total control, or the con fails.

Let’s start with the revision of the ToS and the surreptitious revision that added another six months to the accountability time line. Then work our way toward the reveals in the dev blogs which show the crisis in various parts of the project. The recent lockdown of the RSI forums making critical areas accessible only to backers, is part of giving them control over dissenting opinions.

6. The In-and-In – This is the point in a con game where the conspirator puts some of his money into the deal with that of the victim; first, to remove the last doubt that may tarry in the gull’s mind, and, second, to put the con man in control of the situation after the deal is completed, thus forestalling a squeal. Often, the whole game is built up around this feature, and just as often, it does not figure at all.

As I explained above, once they end up “delivering” a bunch of buggy, incomplete modules, probably meshed together to form some type of “game”, backers are likely to end up with a $10 box, at the cost of $100. And with no legal recourse whatsoever because they did in fact deliver a “box” as promised.

My next blog, “Star Citizen – The Great Internet Heist” is in progress and will be out next month; unless something really important happens before then. In which case, I will probably release an interim update.

UPDATE: While I was waiting clearance for the blog, a notorious and controversial White Knight (featured in this fiasco) posted a response letter he received to an FOIA request. Then, taking a break from attacking me, he proceeded to spam all the media outlets in an attempt to do what they always do: use the media to further an agenda of disinformation about this project. That seemingly failed, with spectacular results. But of course MassivelyOp created click-bait out of it.

This is the same guy who, last we checked, was over $20K (!) invested in the project, has been featured by RSI in the past, called out for his ludicrous and abusive Star Citizen advocacy, then subsequently banned from RSI forums for good measure. In fact, he’s one of the primary whales who continues to lash out at anyone, including other backers, who even put a sentence together that has any sort of dissent against Star Citizen. Go to any media or game forum where Star Citizen is the subject, and you’ll find him there. Guaranteed.

What’s even more curious is that they don’t even know how an FOIA request works. The agency responds to specific queries, and have specific exceptions to what they can, cannot respond to. Particularly an active investigation – if one does in fact exist. It says so right there in Exception #7.

Aside from that, I don’t even know where they get the idea from that RSI/CIG were under any active investigation.  I know I never said it; and I again clarified that in this tweet. And reporting a matter to the authorities doesn’t automatically start an investigation, nor will they even divulge that information even if there was. By their (these White Knights) submission, you might as well pick any company that’s been reported to the FTC, then send a FOIA request to the FTC asking for details. Good luck with that.

Simply put, it doesn’t happen like that. And another Star Citizen fan went to the trouble of actually trying to explain it, as have others.

The wording in the response is key. So let me quote it for context:

Our search of the FTC’s records did not identify any record that would respond to your request. If you believe that you have additional information that may help locate responsive records, please submit a new FOIA request with further details

The gist here is that they’re obviously worried, as they should be. Regardless of what happens to RSI/CIG via a lawsuit, State or Federal action or whatever, in my expert opinion, unless they cut and run, the project is completely FUBAR and there is absolutely no way around it.

ps: I have decided to fund an independent third-party investigation into this project.


506 thoughts on “Star Citizen – The Long Con

  1. Is there a thread of pending lawsuits against Derek? No news or posts for the past week by any one.

  2. Joschi: The sad reality is that the hardcore backers are drowning out the voices of the moderates who want answers. I mean, seriously

  3. I partly agree with that. But I’m neither a doubter nor a believer so I see press releases really critical. A good thing would be some pressure from the backers, in a positive sense. Tried to figure out some ETA’s, but there are simply too many maybe’s. For the purpose of the great developers involved into that project I would really love to see the final game. Unfortunately, I don’t see enough budget (left) to do so. Keep up your work Derek, appreciate it!

  4. Finally I heard something from Germany which was at least controversial: (German audio podcast)

    Teut Weidemann calls the game concept “pay to dream”. 🙂

    But it was really the first German publication I saw or heard of which included some doubts about the project.

  5. Joschi: Yeah German media are Star Citizen shills apparently. I can’t wait to see what all the media have to say when this collapses in the coming months.

  6. @dsmart: German boulevard press article: – your so called “campaign” was stated in particular. Just to let you know. Personally I don’t expect the final game at all before 2018 (if ! it comes to an end). I don’t like the way this is going (burning money for an armada of actors, facial expressions with blood maps in a space game (lol) and all that other nitches not belonging to a GAME overall). Hiring an actress as VP in Marketing without any qualifications.. no, I won’t spend any Cent into this until it’s finished! Finally, some props to you for pointing out things in detail and the time you spend on it.

  7. 16 vs 16 ships? Where’d you hear that? Last I heard from CR’s own weekly marketing videos was that they’re still struggling with having 16 players at a time (so 8 vs 8, or maybe 2 v 2 big multicrew ships) and upping it to 25 is now a “long term goal”.

    Considering how much time/money they’ve likely wasted (building a new company, redoing things excessively, branching code for pointless demos, paying for marketing and support staff years before they even have a proper alpha, not to mention all the mo-capped fps animations that seem to have been scrapped) they’re gonna need a HELL of a lot more money to put out both a $20,000,000 mmo with basic gameplay AND chris’s $100,000,000+ video game adaptation of Wing Commander: The Movie.

    They could still get it done (assuming no lawsuits in the next 3-4 years) now that derek’s thrown everyone into such a frenzy that they can actually embrace the image of a cult. Unless the refunds are coming in much faster than I think, the money will keep flowing until the whales go bankrupt or keel over from hype induced heart attacks. The game won’t match up to the vision

    Sorry if that all sounded mean to anyone, I still look at both sides and try to come up with best case scenarios, but it’s getting very hard to see everything as sunshine and roses unless you’re naive or delusional. =(

    Burried headline from Citcon; FPS delayed indefinitely.. again, along with the rest of the game’s foundation. Also Gary Oldman ate your lunch.

  8. Thank you DS for letting us know how much trouble CIG is in with funding.. I was able to buy $1200. 00 worth of ships to help out. Please tell others so that the funds may grow for SC.

  9. Maybe you should watch the whole video again, the card flips around a few times, you can see both sides. One side is blank the other is the generic proxid.

  10. It’s funny. I only started following Derek when I was curious about rumors where people left secretly, like executive producer Alex Mayberry, for personal reasons.

    I knew Robert’s failures, but oh boy, Chris sure sounded like a cultist propaganda leader in his letter, and with sharper people tearing apart his letter, his arrogance is public domain.

    Chris is so scared of Derek, this is amazing stuff. Now with Derek teaching people (that care to learn) the super basics of legal battles, I’ve learned amazing things in such a short time. I can only imagine the stuff Derek has waiting. Some other reasonable people try to teach zealots that something is wrong, but nope. “Ortwin torpedoes for retaliator bombers.”

    Anyways, I can confirm that refund requests are being asked if “an article prompted this request,” when they want to confirm the refund and close the account. I’m hoping they’ll just refund. I also didn’t get any fancy representative humor or name.

    If Derek is right that CitizenCon only has an AC patch to be released, there might be a flood of refunds afterwards. Who cares if 1-2 ships are now flyable, or maybe PIRATE SWARM is finally put in officially rather than an amateur mod.

    I was never impressed by the Gamescon retaliator multicrew demo. Except by the music. Still, art assets are useless overall compared to the underlying technology platform. And even if it works online, the game will just be 16 vs 16, slow-big ships shooting each other, and little fighters strafing around using mouse aim. Respawns taking you out of the fun unless someone has a $450 hospital ship around.

    The realistic end goal, gameplay-vision can been seen at this point, and it ain’t a $90 million game. It’s $20-30 million. I say, SCREW IT.

  11. Yeah, i found it in the end. That wasn’t the point of my comment though.

    The point was – someone asked for page or pages to be removed, that match that particular set of keywords (chris roberts letter analysis), on grounds of protecting their privacy.

    Sure, the keywords aren’t VERY specific, and it could’ve been anything.
    I just found it interesting and wondered if anyone’s aware of any takedowns.

    FWIW, there’s another Chris Roberts, a security researcher, that’s been popping up in news feeds this year, so it might’ve been a hit related to him, for example.

  12. That’s true, good point. Also given CR’s development track record (late, out of money – freelancer) it’s not uncommon. Also alarming for me was Wingman leaving…I know it’s old news, but when he announced his resignation after the rumours had started circling I was kind of luck…reallY?? WHY?? Erin can work remotely from Austin, Tony Z can work from Austin…but Wingman is mandated to move to Santa Monica or it’s his job?

    Anyway I digress. Escapist is moving forward with the investigation (I don’t have link I’m on mobile…kind of annoying to find, probably on here somewhere anyway I’d imagine).

  13. They are still lagging behind in net code. I think the maximum player count is like 16 or something? That’s not very good. I’ve heard that this zone system is supposed to let them increase player count and fix the netcode problems, but even if it works as advertised it will be delayed several months most likely. As a Star Citizen backer, I have come to expect this.

    Still, your response gives me hope that at least the technology to finish the game really is there, other than the netcode. Running the game over the internet is a whole different story, but this local demo is still a big step forward from what we had seen from cig for many months prior to the demo. As a layman, it seems to me like 2 of the 3 technological hurdles have been cleared, (big maps, localized physics) and now only netcode stands in the way. Does that sound accurate? Would you say that netcode is the biggest challenge, or that it is an insurmountable one? I have noticed that many games NEVER get netcode right, especially fps games. This is a big deal considering how long the fps ‘module’ has been delayed, and how important it is to the gospel of Christ Roberts.

    At this point, assuming the netcode is either an unsolvable problem or delayed as usual, the game still shows a lot of promise for the single player mode. If CR would stop being such a perfectionist and just simplify the fps gameplay, I feel like it wouldn’t take very long to release. I mean, they are building this game in the cryengine! If the fps played like crysis, and they are able to polish and fill out what we saw in the demo, and tie it all together, I would probably never stop playing the game.

    Hell, even if the fps was scrapped completely, and all we got was singleplayer freelancer with AAA graphics and newtonian physics, I would be getting EXACTLY what I pledged for in 2012, and it would still be 30$ well spent. The game was single player until the 5 million dollar stretch goal was hit, way after I pledged.

  14. Well it’s why I don’t give journalists the benefit of the doubt, been burned too many times as a company and by proxy through the industry.

    I’ve got my popcorn with extra butter and a coke, after all need something to wash down the salt.

  15. Ah, no, i was just looking for an analysis of CR’s letter someone posted somewhere here in the comments. Since i couldn’t remember where it was published, and trawling through the comments on my phone’s screen was painful, i tried googling it, then noticed the note at the bottom.

    Not sure if you’re familiar with the feature, but that’s the notice you see when a hit has been removed from the results, by Google, because someone requested it removed per EU privacy protection laws.

  16. ***BREAKING NEWS***

    The Escapist are not backing down, and have issued a statement to RSI/CIG.

    Update: The Escapist, notwithstanding Cloud Imperium Games’ notice and posting, stands by its coverage of Star Citizen and intends to continue to investigate the developing story. Since publishing our original stories, we have been contacted by, and are currently interviewing, additional sources corroborating a variety of the reported allegations. Additionally, if Mr. Roberts’ offer for The Escapist to “meet the developers making the game and see how we’re building one of the most ambitious PC games first hand” remains open, we take the opportunity to accept such invitation so as to hopefully provide the public with sufficient information and opportunity to vet such sources’ allegations and claims for themselves. We have also communicated the foregoing directly to Cloud Imperium Games.

  17. Meat:

    “As a game developer, could you tell me your thoughts on the multi crew demo? Did it seem like something that they could have faked, or does it seem like the technology is there and the only technical blocker left is network limitations?”

    It was real. But it was running in a controlled and local network environment while be directed by CR. Deploying to gamers, and running over the Internet is a whole different story.

    It’s not ground breaking, multi-crew is just a fancy word for having more than one player in the same vehicle. Most games have been doing that for decades. And we have that in LoD in less than two weeks.

  18. I respectfully disagree with you, and argue that it can in fact be both a scam and a failure.

    Speaking hypothetically, a big pile of money can easily be wasted and embezzled at the same time. It just comes down to epic mismanagement of the funds. The hypothetical embezzler might just take a bit of money from the till, convincing themselves that they’ll make it back somewhere down the line. There doesn’t have to be an overarching logic to his/her actions. The point isn’t to build a nest egg out of backer funds, but rather to abuse said funds for short-term gain with the hope that they’ll be bailed out with future pledges.

    Think of a gambling addict continuing to get deeper in the hole when logically they should cease the behaviour that indebted them in the first place. Once you start into a downward spiral, it gets easier and easier to keep going.

  19. That’s ok, but I think it is unfair to say there is no “game” right now. The game as a whole is AWOL, sure, and all we have now is a hanger module (whatever), a social module (woo hoo, a multiplayer hanger), and arena commander. I haven’t played much arena, since it makes my graphics card melt, but it was actually quite fun, although it was frustratingly hard to hit anything at first. They have updated it a few times, and added a few ships (although most are variants of other ships), but it is clear that arena commander is not a priority at the moment.

    What is currently playable is not much, but it is mostly functional and fun for at least some people. And it is a game. For 30$, it might almost be worth it for the arena alone if my computer could run it.

    The actual game, as in, anything more substantial than something that could be described as a module, is definitely taking a lot longer than CR predicted. I don’t think even the spermiest of whales could deny that CR is absolutely terrible at coming up with timelines, or predicting future delays.

    On the other hand, there have been indications that what we see in terms of content is merely the tip of the iceberg, and the main delay is solving the technical hurdles. What I am referring to is the 48 GB leak in May. It turns out that CIG had almost finished an entire fleet of alien ships for the single player campaign, without even a hint that they were working on this. I think that the project will live or die on whether or not they can solve the technical hurdles. Content doesn’t seem to be bottle necking the game.

    Of course, you mostly focus on the technical feasibility of the game, so that last paragraph doesn’t mean much. I am not a game developer, but the multicrew demo made the full game seem seem possible to me. The map was really big, big enough to do a space sim justice if they can fit them together with warp gates or whatever. The physics seemed to work fine, people weren’t sliding around as the ships moved. Getting into the big ship seemed glitchy, and it was obviously a pre done animation sicne it was the same every time, but that doesn’t really bother me much compared to the things that DID work.

    As a game developer, could you tell me your thoughts on the multi crew demo? Did it seem like something that they could have faked, or does it seem like the technology is there and the only technical blocker left is network limitations?

  20. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what it was spent on. Whether it was hookers, cocaine, mocap equipment, or asset artists – if the money is gone, it’s gone, with no game in sight.

  21. In other news… Requested a refund 5 days ago, per EU customer protection regulation, using the CIG support channels. Guess what i got in reply.

    Nothing. The ticket is sitting in their Zendesk, being ignored.
    The bright side is – at least they’re using Zendesk instead of CR deciding to build his own Best Damned CRM or whatever.

  22. meat: My “vanished” comment was related to the fact that it has been spent, but with no “game” (it’s intended purpose) to show for it.

  23. The section on Sandi Gardiner is interesting, since it seems like her linkedIn profile has been deleted. I am curious to see what your investigation will turn up, maybe those letters from UCLA were faked. If so, that is some serious fraud. On the other hand, she handles marketing, and that job handles itself for star citizen. Her qualifications or the lack thereof don’t change the fact that they have raised 90 million dollars, so even if she had absolutely no qualifications it hasn’t negatively affected the project, other than the cost of her salary not being worth it. Whales will be whales, so her job performance doesn’t matter much.

    As for your demand for a look into their books, I won’t touch that. There is one thing that bothers me though. You keep asserting that 90 million dollars VANISHED (emphasis always yours), as if it was a known fact. Yet in this private correspondence you quoted, which I will re quote here, you and the former backer seem to have agreed that from what CIG releases publicly you can come up with a ballpark estimate of 2-3 million per month as the operating cost of CIG.

    “It’s interesting we had this conversation on your blog and in private and the conclusion was made that there were just too many variables and not enough information available to figure out how much money CIG has spent and how much remains. We came up with a ballpark of 2-3 million per month that CIG needs to make in order to meet obligations but that was based on pure conjecture. All of our discussions were based on, as Mr. Freyermuth calls it, “ample information provided regularly on our extensive website”.”

    Granted, that is a ballpark figure, but the fact remains that you can see a large sum of money being spent on game development. With 2-3 million dollars a month being spent on the game, this must be an incredibly inefficient scam. According to your best guess, any actual fiscal shadiness can only be a minute fraction of the funds raised. So the accusation is that this entire 90 million dollar project was started for the sole purpose of making a couple million dollars, significantly less than would be made from a successful project.

    Your other scenario make MUCH more sense, that Christ Roberts really thinks that he can do this, and that he is merely in over his head. You even said it:
    “Look at it from the bright side, Chris is just incompetent and a liar. So there is that.”
    Whether or not this is true will only be determined once the game is either out or has crashed and burned, but either way, what this means is that the game is NOT a scam, but merely destined to fail. It cannot be both at the same time. Either CR wanted to take the money and run, or he wanted to make the full game and cannot. I don’t think it makes sense to jeopardize your company’s reputation if you really think you can achieve what CR seems to think he can achieve, so logic dictates it is either a scam or a failure, but not both.

    Full disclosure: I backed Star Citizen for 30$ in the first month of the kickstarter. I have been around for every single scope change and missed milestone.
    I don’t go out of my way to defend Star Citizen, and I’m not attacking you here, only trying to discuss some points.

  24. As a general rule, people who screw up are usually loudest when defending their actions. People who steal are usually very quiet.

    CR & co. strike me as the loud kind, not the quiet kind, so i’m betting on them just being incompetent and arrogant, rather than thieves.

  25. Nick: “most of us are not fanatics, loonies, or basement dwellers” Exactly. Which is why how the other vocals members of the community have been acting over this whole fiasco, is what’s horrid because it taints even though who aren’t part of their bullshit.

  26. I think they put themselves up against a wall by doing what they did. If they don’t push forward with a lawsuit they lose a ton of credibility. If they do sue they will be forced to disclose a lot of stuff I am sure they would rather not see the light of day. They also will need to explain to all us backers where the money for the lawsuit is coming from. I for one will, without hesitation, ask for a refund if they pay for this with backer money. Of course this assumes that The Escapist doesn’t back down (which it looks like they will not do).

    I honestly think that they over estimated their fan base and thought that an army of people would force The Escapist into publishing a retraction.

    CIG has close to one million backers, most of us are not fanatics, loonies, or basement dwellers. We just tossed a few extra bucks at a game that looked like it might be fun to play. Reading the unhinged ramblings CR posted yesterday looked like the act of a very desperate man that is at the end of his rope.

  27. That thread was promptly closed because “it was devolving into mentioning the Escapist”

    Public companies release their financial information every single quarter. It’s readily available for investors & competitors alike to consume. It doesn’t prevent ANY BUSINESS from conducting business, or put them at a disadvantage. When video game nerds hear financials, they imagine 300 page excel spreadsheets. A simple Income Statement, Balance Sheet & Cash Flow statement would suffice.

    Basically, DiscoLando is a moron who has no clue about actual business practices, and should probably stick to breaking up fights on message boards…the only job which he is barely qualified to do.

  28. Not sure if this article was brought up earlier. I dug around for this info because I had this question in my head…

    Why is their ToS so vague on the rules about selling ships?

    Inside Star Citizen’s grey market

    The grey market has been brought up for a while now but it wasn’t until i read the above article that I started to pay more attention. Well, apparently this is how Roberts views the grey market:

    “It’s kind of cool in the fact it’s real-world economics at work,” Roberts says of Star Citizen’s grey market.

    “But it wasn’t intentional. It fell out of something we did as a creative design decision to make sure the persistent universe isn’t unbalanced.”

    At this point no one should care if it was intentional or not. Their lack of action against this market speaks for itself. So, another question immedately comes up:

    Could there actually be an incentive NOT to release this game?
    (at least anytime soon and certainly not in 2016)

    Quoted from the article:
    – ” I remember a video game developer once telling me it may be in Roberts’ best interest never to release Star Citizen, the way things are going.”

    This is in a way supported by “Nigel”, the middleman:
    – “The party has to end sometime,” Nigel says. “But the game seems a long way off, so I expect things to last.”

    The above are of course personal opinions but it does paint a picture. This is about so much more than a simple space game.I’m a developer..not a lawyer so perhaps I’m way off here. However, reading the ToS “V. Rules of Conduct.” it mentions:

    – “Exploit the Game (or any part thereof) or any of the other RSI Services, for any commercial purpose, including without limitation (a) use at a cyber cafe, computer gaming center or any other location-based site; (b) for gathering in-game virtual, items or resources for sale outside the Game; or © performing in-game services in exchange for payment outside the Game, e.g., power-leveling.”

    The last bit is interesting to me. If they’re currently abusing the “Gifting” system aren’t they “performing in-game services in exchange for payment outside the Game”? Since the section covers “the Website, the Game or any of the other RSI Services” as quoted from their own text, or will they use “in-game” as a loophole saying it doesn’t apply here?

    If the above does not apply then Roberts makes no rules about people using his game assets for commercial gain. And the only thing fueling this grey market is the way he keeps selling ship concepts for a crapload of money. It’s like a symbiotic relationship at this point.

    Sorry for the wall of text.

  29. Pardon my legal ignorance if this is incorrect, but couldn’t it possibly be easier for them to get the financials sealed if they are the ones bringing the case? Ie since they are willingly bringing forth this information to prove this story to be libel there is no reason to make it public since this is simply a case brought forth by CIG to protect their company?

    So then they could still have an accounting of their assets and potentially cleared of wrongdoing without any of it being released in any but the simplest of forms if at all?

  30. She claims the front on the access cards she was shown were not blank. I’ve seen companies issue both, blank and non blank ones, with the blanks often being temporary or an intermediate stage (unless they really are used only for access, as a key, and are anyonymous / handed out at the desk when entering the building).

    So yes, if she made up the part about the fronts, then she could’ve been shown a random RFID card.

    Still, i’d say that’s a pretty odd direction of thinking. What, someone bought 8 rfid blanks just to substantiate an article?

    We’ll see… Grab your popcorn and watch.

  31. I felt the same reading that Comm Link….completely rubbed me the wrong way and started me down this path of “what the hell is REALLY going on here”…here I am. Not going to shit all over Mr Smart either, I want to know what both sides of the story are as of right now and I can base my conclusion off that. I do find myself making some sense out of what I’m reading here.

    To address Mr Smart personally, I trust you know more than your detractors are implying…or why would you put yourself out like this….it’s the benefit of the doubt I give the Escapist article…having made sure to have properly vetted their sources so as to not completely F themselves if this thing got turned upside down.

    I know I wouldn’t make any move like this if I didn’t know beyond a reasonable doubt. I can imagine Derek doesn’t like to be wrong…so being this public about it gives me reason to believe he knows much more than he’s letting on.

  32. I do find the blatant “stealing/hiding money” to be a bit of a stretch…puts the people responsible at an unnecessary risk. Remember that part of development is paying yourself a salary, from which they will deduct the appropriate amount of income taxes. They will have to report to the IRS at the end of the year so their books will need to be clean. I don’t think this is a scam, I do think it got WAy out of their control both from a development standpoint and a fiscal standpoint.

    I mean people will only throw so much money at something before they start to wonder where the product their are paying for is.

    All I’m saying is that my uneducated guess as an outsider looking in this isn’t a “scam” to line the pockets of the founders. They are earning an income out of it yes, how much who knows…they aren’t “public” figures so their wages aren’t up for review. It’s a legit attempt to make the game they want, but as far as I can tell, things have become a little too big to effectively manage.

    Just opinion and nothing more. I try to look at both sides although from what I am seeing with their more aggressive ship sales and missed deadlines for modules (they are still alpha state modules and by no means final) that THEY set.

    It’s pretty clear that the divded development process they had been so proud of has failed them. Same with going with Cry Engine…seeing as they are having to modify it ALL to make it work for them game. Maybe a brand new engine would have been better served?? Longer yes, but people’s expectations would have been set and they could make the engine work in their favour. (or maybe had they known the scope they could have made a better decision on what engine to use…cry is pretty to look at, but I have noi dea how CR thought it would make for the kind of game he wanted to build).

    Anyway sorry I went on longer than I should have.

  33. Soren: Yes, but here’s the thing. They’re not stupid enough to sue anyone. Because ANY lawsuit ends up being about the money. And that ends up requiring financial disclosures.

  34. Derek has called it a “heist.” If true, there is embezzlement hidden underneath layers of spending “inefficiently.” Star Citizen has delays and a lack of progress or releases in order to hide the real activity, which is stealing money and putting it into personal accounts. The longer they draw out slow progress, the more money they steal. All they need is fancy videos to convince less intelligent people that they are making progress. AND b/c this is the 1st time anyone has ever attempted a project of this scale, newcomers will not doubt it.

    Derek, I hope your legal can release your next blog soon. This sounds not just bad, but nuclear decimation, and it will do irreparable damage to the crowdfunding model.

  35. Derek: I read up on the us libel law. It seems CIG will have to prove the allegations false to win. As this involves disclosing project finances in the crucial areas I would expect this will also remove any need on your part for legal actions against CIG.
    Is this a win win for you?

  36. I’ve posted here before, and share the same concerns as most people here. I’m currently a backer, and just paid the basic $45 package, which gave me access to what amounts to pre-Alpha access to some of the very basic systems.

    I was never tempted to request a refund until I read Chris’ ridiculous response. I didn’t even get past the first couple of paragraphs – there was no need. I usually read everything people write; “TL;DR” is one of the worst examples of intellectual decay on the internet. That said, his response was so unhinged that I felt I didn’t really need to read the rest.

    I’m reminded of the Star Trek: TNG episode where the tribunal is on a witch hunt, looking for conspiracies onboard the Enterprise, and at the very end, the prosecutor starts going off on this massive paranoid rant, and the judge realizes what’s happening and just walks out of the room.

    I felt like that guy when I saw the response from Chris. In a psychological way, I “walked out of the room.”

    I hope Erin can piece together SQ42. Even if it’s just an average game, it’s more than worth my $45. The rest of this project is fubar.

  37. Hey Derek,

    I really admire your balls to take these guys on….considering their white knight brigade. I never backed SC because I smelt BS at the start. I just don’t get the guys that are HAPPY they’ve dropped 5k-20k on vaporware. And to be fair, I played the shit out of out WC1-5, Strike Commander etc. But when Strike Commander back many many many years ago was delayed over and over again I got concerned then. After all as a high school student back then a full price game was a lot of savings – well by the time I got the game , I could’ve bought it at least twice over.

    I remember back many years ago (during the height of the Bill Huffman witchhunt) I sent you an email about wanting to get into game development. Fully expecting to get told I’m a troll you were so gracious and patient that I didn’t feel I’d taken up your time. Thanks man – I never went into game development but have carved out a good career in IT.

    Yes your game’s haven’t been stellar successes – but your vision has always been there! You shot for the moon and the tech at the time proved how hard it is to bring the fruition of every sci-fi gamers vision to fruition. AFAIK you’ve never had publisher’s throwing buckets of money at you.

    As for SC – even as a non-backer I’m really concerned! If this fails and my opinion is it’s going to – that just damages the hell out of crown-funding. If it succeeds I think it’ll be the most cringe-worthy game we’ve seen.

    I don’t want SC to fail, if Chris pulls off the game of the century; good on him! – like alot of backers I’d like to see accountability. I’d like to know if I had backed it at the start wtf my money is doing! They talk stretch goals for vision 2.0. ; fair enough if 100% of backers signing off on it, but they didn’t. The emphasis should be on delivering the original version. Hell some of the things CR has come out saying that’d be REALLY cool and I can’t see how he’ll deliver it.

    Thanks Derek – fight the good fight!

  38. They’ve pulled in 5 million since your July 4 “tech article” so they might make 100 million by Christmas if FPS crowd comes out to play (end of October is current target). Technically if Multicrew (which has been demo’d) and FPS (which is being play tested now) drops before November and gets released within the alpha Puniverse … it will have everything original game pitched – TOS won’t be completely fulfilled, but it will be much harder to say they didn’t get anywhere with the money.

  39. Could be, my Prox card at work looks just like that one in your first link,

    except I’m sure it doesn’t open up a CIG door.

    I mean you can see this guy’s Prox Card hanging around his neck here, looks pretty plain and lacking info on it from this angle. Looks a lot like

    Of course it could be my own bias that I run into a lot of journalists that screw up stories all the time. Sort of status quo for my industry. I kind of hope that CIG does sue, if it turns out that she was right, we probably get to peek behind the curtains, if it turns out she was another lying reporter, I get to enjoy watching her burn at the stake. Win-win for me.

  40. by the time the audit is done, either they got the funds to continue past jan or they dont. None of this is really relevant whether CIG accepts and audit or not. Everyone’s just waiting to see what the sales figures are in late Nov at the anniversary (4th now?!)

  41. The more this unfolds the more it smells rotten. I got a refund about 4 months ago . Alarm bells starting ringing when marketing showed they where desperate for more money and all the new content was centred around staged marketing productions , all fur coat and no knickers . And the Hollywood Budget Movie like Mocap shoot that went on for months ,my GUESS costing millions , while fundamental community concerns where ignored.

    All concern’s where and still are hidden away under the category of child as it was seen to interfere with revenue and marketing . Staff and community members made fun and belittled and bullied people raising concerns and moderation team took no action . This was a massive mistake by CIG it showed how insecure they are and how they seek to avoid difficult questions.

    Then Derek comes along asks some questions many of us silent backers where thinking. Cig has a knee jerk reaction to him. And again same reaction to the escapist article. Mean while always avoiding the million dollar questions. How have donations been spent and where is the promised content. These should be simple things to address , But CIG shock and horror response at the thought of this says a thousand words.

    They are trying to hide things and a recent article on there web site where staff members come forward to support management was telling .The fact that only a handful of staff members come forward to support there employers is alarming .And the ones that did where mainly inexperienced in the games industry and just counting there lucky stars they got a job they lacked experience for .

    I have seen producers age years in months in this development and Travis Day who I considered to be a very clever man seen the writing on the wall and knew it was time to bail. Also Ben the community manager been very quite in the community outside of his cheerleader role on ATV . Seems the only staff around the community and backers now is Disco Lando a random guy with no industry experience who made a few fan trailers .Again alarm bells should be ringing that CIG has left it to such a junior and inexperienced staff member to address the community. So glad I got a refund while I could I would suggest others try before its to late . Are CIG does the decent thing and get a private company in to audit there accounts and make the basic info public to people who donated.

  42. Here’s likely one reason that led to CIG giving employees building credential ID cards in order to prevent stuff like this from happening. Look at the staff. They genuinely look scared out their minds. Mark Skeleton has absolutely NO FEAR. That man could ask a Jihadist is he’d care to join him for a couple beers. LOL!


    By the way check out this stuff. You’re probably aware of it. I thought it was a treasured find consider CIG deleted the interview between Sandi and Chris. CIG can’t delete this because it’s part of the Wingman’s Hangar episode. Well, I mean they could technically but it would involve upload the video again.

    Wingman’s Hangar ep011 March 8, 2013

    Basically Sandi is going full educated (i.e. MBA). She should never go full educated if she doesn’t actually have the education. Check out Robert’s expression while Sandi’s speaks. His expression goes from smiles to “oh my god what the hell” face.

    Sandi: “I originally came to the states about 10 years ago. I’m studying a masters in business at the Anderson’s Business School in UCLA. And so I basically came across as a model and an actress even though I have my MBA in marketing, which is kind of what I’m doing on Star Citizen.”

    …And then the video immediately cuts to Chris saying “Keep on the game side” as if to say “Okay let’s tone down the embellishing, educational rhetoric nonsense.” He knows she’s lying and doesn’t say ANYTHING.

    Here’s another gem…

    Check out how Eric responds when Sandi jokingly says she might be fired for not playing Freelancer: “Oh what? I don’t think that’s going to happen.” (wink wink)

  43. So, the ID card thing by Ortwin is a bluff via semantics, just like the legal intimidation tactics. I agree that only employees would have one to begin with, regardless of how generic they look.

    Pay stubs being faked… I don’t know, nor would I know how that can be vetted. I do believe that Defy’s legal would vet the other employee backgrounds, especially for the job and race allegations.

    Derek mentioned marriage and divorce records on twitter, that was great. I hope Derek can reveal the source that made the $8 million remaining comment, or some way to validate the money at least without exposing the employee.

    I would also like to see Derek call out Chris’s “Austin studio will remain in business” comment, preferably with former employees revealing themselves, or something better. Derek has been specifically listing employees that left, and thus knows something that Chris is afraid of.

    This show is still a 1 up after another on this blog, RSI, many twitters. And thus, hard to follow unless you are at it all day. I am really itching for a massive retaliatory strike against the Robert zealots, but I can’t do anything without being outright forum banned, and them protected by simply threads being closed. I want accountability, damn it.

  44. Ruh Roh…did you check out the part in the Forbes article that it seems Lizzy might have mistaken a RFID door tag for an actual CIG ID card as her evidence that these sources were valid…

    I particularly like the part where she says…”Was told that the identifying information was blacked out. Wonder if it was a number” What kind of journalism is that? Of course my experience with most journalists is that they’ll tell whatever story gets them on Page 1 today, they can always just say “my source was wrong,” and put in a redaction on Page 7 tomorrow…

    Guess we’ll see tomorrow how this all turns out…

  45. If you think carefully about CIG, you will find that they are not that “successful” in term of their funding, the reason of course, is that they can only make money by making promise. The laundry list of stretch goals give them 90m cash, but they are also 90m tickling time bomb. The money they make from making promise will never be enough to fulfill that promise. The beast they invited to do their beating is beginning to bite back, once that happens, CIG will to devoured without mercy. Not that this whole thing is a con or not, it is SC have no choice but being a con. Such project was blow out it will take Microsoft and Sony 10 years to fiddle with, 90m CIG gathered is not even half of what was needed, now they are in a desperate position, the balloon cant get any bigger, the goal cannot handle another “stretch”. Each promise grow the project like factorial, the scope is already through GTA10, what comes next is only limited by “imagination”.

  46. GameOverMan: When desperate, people do dumb shit. Yes, it is posturing. Wait for my blog due out tomorrow or Tues where I take apart both his rant and the letter.

  47. It’s merely posturing. If even half of what’s been stated is true then being involved in legal action is the last thing CIG wants.

    All the major gaming outlets who were staying out of it will invariably end up reporting on the CIG vs Escapist story, posting links to the context (the original articles) and doing their own investigations of CIG, perhaps uncovering their own dirt in the process.

    Making the letter public is more likely to backfire on CIG than make the Escapist capitulate. I foresee a wave of negative publicity for CIG from the media in the run up to CitizenCon.

  48. kxmode: “What’s wrong with Ortwin? He’s a liar”, yes we know this already. Almost done with my new blog that goes live tomorrow.

  49. “And then you verified an unidentified employee by examining his “company ID card with the name blocked out.” You might be interested to know that CIG does not issue any company ID cards at any of its studios.”

    CIG doesn’t use a “company ID card”. They use a credential card to get into the building. All HID iClass ProxCard Credential cards have the same HID logo on the back but the person’s ID and credentials on the front. Otherwise they can’t get into the building.

    The employees shared the side with their credentials with Liz. The side in the CIG interview video is the back of the card. For obvious reasons to protect the employee credentials.

    What’s wrong with Ortwin? He’s a liar.

    Okay I’m out Derek…

  50. Ortwin has just dropped a massive demand letter in the “Chairman Response” as an update. I don’t know if the Escapist and Defy will wimp out, or take it to the face though. I want to know the truth of the project, but I see this as a bigger version of Chris’s response to potentially hide something. I sure hope Lizzy’s sources were real and factual, at least for her sake. This whole thing has been a 1 up over the other, and no one is playing all their cards at once.

    I really want to know what the hell is up with $90 million and so little progress, especially in the technology that runs the gameplay. I bet there are tons of art assets already produced, just like the leak, but that doesn’t matter. Zealots may not care, but I do. Derek, I hope you know something Lizzy doesn’t and will be able to reveal it soon. I find the timing of another ship sale DURING the Endeavor sale to be damning suspicious.

  51. “I get where you’re coming from, but it would be a mistake to think this issue is just Derek vs. Chris. Chris obviously thinks it is, and his completely unhinged tirade yesterday pretty much cements this.”

    It’s not just Chris who think like it is, but also his staff and supporters (who IMO made it so). As a result, enough people are munching on a nice red herring (or two!) while the real problem (if there is one) develops unchecked.

    “On the other side, however, there are people other than Derek working various legal methods to make RSI accountable. Derek is just the most visible one.
    Singling him out was probably the biggest mistake RSI could have possibly made. And while they’re single-mindedly attacking him, the shot that kills them will be the one they never heard fired.”

    I think they singled him out because there was really no one else to respond to. Those others are still staying in the shadows, leaving vocal Derek Smart as the only option. There was a bit of what he should have done, which was answering the allegations made, but you had to make it down a wall-of-text to find it. I get that delays in development happen and that people come and go – they’ve been fairly decent about keeping the backers updated about what’s going on in regards to delays of otherwise-imminently-released-content. And they have allowed for more community feedback in development than most other places would usually allow. They’re able to “get it right” in the end.

    My concern rests more in whether or not the Persistent Universe will be able to deliver on the hype being generated and the expectations raised. I think Squadron 42 will be good, though we know very little about it besides that it’ll be this generation’s Wing Commander. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about SQ42 next week, but I get the feeling most of it will still be kept secret. Maybe I should start shifting my concerns down from the PU and onto SQ42!

    I’m a neutral in all this (I still support the project that is Star Citizen, but I’m not on the Bash Derek Smart Brigade), but it’s slowly becoming an awkward place to be.

  52. A donation it is not. That is just semantics. No one is in any real doubt that the thing people bought/are buying is what they are being told they are buying. And of course the law doesnt work the way many people think it does. You cant hide behind the literal definiton of words and small print to make yourself immune from the law.

  53. robmc: that’s what I have been saying. A bunch of White Knights have completely tainted the community. It’s so toxic, that the noise level is all about them.

  54. I spotted this whole dodgy thing at $20m when CR decided he needed a Mo Cap studio instead of just hiring one. I voiced on the forums that this wasn’t right and there was another agenda here but was basically smashed by the White Knights. A Backer from the start with a ‘golden ticket’ that allows me to get ‘more invested’ in the game. Not likely – $35 is my loss TFFT

  55. Ok Derek. I’m sorry. But in all honesty, thanks for helping the star citizen community. It’s some tough love you’re dishing out, but when this game goes belly up, we’ll all know where it came from first. Wish I could play LoD, a game that looks great and is ACTUALLY OUT, but I don’t have the cash… Maybe around christmastime, yeah?

  56. max: stay focused. I am not accusing Chris of pulling off a con. This is about the game purported to be a “long con” based on what has gone on.

  57. Clint: I agree. David’s crew are top-notch and know what they’re doing over there. They don’t always get it right (but who does?), but they’re delivering as promised and my guess is that ED will continue to grow. It just needs to be a bit more accessible I think.

  58. star citizen is one of the greatest cons ever. Chris Roberts has my complete admiration for how he has been able to pull this off. But Derek Smart? Really? What good con has he ever pulled that entitles him to this opinion? I can’t even…

  59. Definitely. I mean the difference is obvious when a competent project manager and leader like David Braben, who never stopped delivering games… is able to couple ambition with ability, not biting off more than they can chew and diving things up into chunks which build on each other rather than the hopelessly broken parallel modules of SC, which will never fit together more than extremely clunkily. Knowing the Cobra Engine inside and out instead of having to hire away castoffs of a floundering CryTek sure help too.

    If anybody is on track to make the BDSSE, it’s Braben and his hardworking team. Their patch notes are pure nerd porn and it’s such an incredible contrast to CIG’s pompous blowharding and poor results. Leave it to a bunch of folks in Cambridge to make chumps out of Chris. The VR experience alone is an incredible achievement and will never be matched by CIG.

  60. Rafael: Yeah, they recently implemented that to prevent people from pulling up archived versions of their website and forums. Which is how we were able to do the ToS comparisons.

  61. “Page cannot be crawled or displayed due to robots.txt.”

    Went on a wayback machine to see if I could spot one deleted comment on a SC support forum at reddit(*/ ), and find myself confronted with that text. Later went into your twitter, just to find info that Sandra had implemented some new technology into blocking undesireds from reading and posting about.

    Can that be confirmed; that more backers money/resources are been diverted into something besides the freaking game? Or I just imagining things?

  62. I think we are beyond that point now. With no space marine since they cant even get player models right we are getting very close to the

    shut up and give me the money or SC gets it phase now. Leaks have sprung and it cant be plugged. Other than the faithful people have stopped looking at it and see it as a joke now. I do have a decent amount of money invested but once I saw how they leveraged one part of the community over another just to sell lti despite being terrible – I never gave another penny.

    when you purpose fracture your community to make money – well I walked away.

  63. I swear, when this whole thing crashes and burns, the cuck fanboys are going to blame Derek for “ruining” the game, just for pointing out the obvious.

    This whole thing is shady as hell. It’s the same red flags as Daikatana and DNF. There’s no excuse for Roberts to not have a game out by now. None! Elite: Dangerous was produced, funded, developed, and shipped, all in less time–last year! CIG should have a game that is *at least* as complete as Elite; with 10 times the staff and 30(!!!) times the funding, there is no excuse.

    All we hear from Roberts is goalpost shifting. Now he is saying the game was always going to take 5 years and he never promised a 2 year dev time. Then he whines about “game development is so hard and boo hoo hoo and hey remember Wing Commander that was cool right?” Yeah man, back on a Pentium 90! STFU with this nonsense.

    They want to add story campaigns, landable planets, fps mode–great! But make the damn game first. What are they actually ‘adding FPS’ to, concept art??? Then he opens FOUR friggin’ studios?! Who does he think he is, John Romero?

    In short, Derek called it, but we all saw the smoke. You’d be a fool not to be worried.

  64. Whoops! I forgot to link the reddit thread. So I’ll just rewrite this.

    Many people are finding it very suspicious that these negative reviews were all published at the same time, just a few days before the Escapist article was published. These reviews seem to be the primary source of the Escapist article as they are quoted almost verbatim.

    What do you think of this? Do you believe the timing and frequency of these reviews were a coincidence or were they intentional? Who do you think wrote them? Are they legitimate?

    Thank you again for always opening yourself up to questions
    Roger Williams

  65. A recent thread was posted on Reddit makes the sources used in the Escapist article rather suspicious. While there is no proof to confirm or deny any foul play, these negative reviews were all posted in a quick time span right before the article was created.

    What do you think about this? Do you think the timing of these reviews are a mere coincidence or do you believe they were intentional? If they were intentional do you know who might have written these, and why they chose to post them all around the same time?

    Thank you for always opening yourself to questions

  66. I’m giddy myself, I know how this will all all end for RSI but watching the events unfold is very entertaining. I’m awaiting your next article with rabid anticipation.

  67. While I certainly think that your fight for the right to refunds from CIG is worthwile, saying things like this will not help you. Claiming that your game is fantastic while SC is utter garbage makes this seem less like a worthwile cause and more like advertising.

  68. I get where you’re coming from, but it would be a mistake to think this issue is just Derek vs. Chris. Chris obviously thinks it is, and his completely unhinged tirade yesterday pretty much cements this.

    On the other side, however, there are people other than Derek working various legal methods to make RSI accountable. Derek is just the most visible one.

    Singling him out was probably the biggest mistake RSI could have possibly made. And while they’re single-mindedly attacking him, the shot that kills them will be the one they never heard fired.

  69. Holy Shit.

    I take back what I said about really wanting to like Chris Roberts. His first response to the Escapist article is to *attack the person who wrote it.*

    “Here’s a screencap of Liz F making fun of a feminist of Twitter. I hear she supports Gamergate. It’d be a shame if people would go pester her. Go forth, my flying monkeys!”

    What. An. Ass.

  70. Maybe a damn intern fresh out of college. But never a VP. Once you out of college for a few years your degree does not matter and resume of accomplishments do.

  71. Chris ignored Derek for months choosing to vaguely mention him and trying to divert any questions to his game. He’s only forced now to directly respond because a legitimate investigative media article was published, and it’s spreading to Forbes and other media outlets. CIG is heavily reliant on the media to keep fueling CIG’s hype car. This is the only reason Chris finally decided to respond.

  72. I don’t agree with you, Derek. First of all, if it’s not about right or wrong, what is it about? Aren’t you spending all of this energy trying to prove that their claims are wrong and yours are right?

    They keep raising money because people choose to donate. That’s what crowdfunding is: a donation. The end product is $40. Anything beyond that is gratuity with in-game benefits.

    I just don’t get the point of getting up in arms about it when they haven’t announced failure or disappeared from the face of the earth with everyone’s money. That is the point where promises are broken and not before. People aren’t paying for the company to be nice to it’s former employees that don’t agree with the vision for the project. They’re paying for a damn game, and all indicators point to progress regardless of what you’ve found.

    You’re doing a wonderful job driving traffic to your website and getting your views out there, and I can appreciate that. But man, you’re in danger of ending up as a flash-in-the-pan internet meme if this game releases and outdoes all backer expectations. You can’t ignore the possibility of CIG’s success, and the fact that it’s a possibility should stop any normal person from moving forward with this legal stuff. Wait until they fail in spite of astronomical crowdfunding, then pursue legal action. You don’t have anything to stand on until that point. You have a lot of words to say and former employees with strong opinions, but not a whole lot else.

    Some sincere advice…

    If they don’t succeed and it becomes public, please be careful. Your reaction to that will be what you are forever known for and peace be upon you if you aren’t thinking that far ahead.

    I hope that if they succeed you can make a meaningful gesture toward that team of hardworking individuals who want the same things that their backers want: a product to enjoy.

    Be well.

    P.S. I hope you don’t take this as “flaming” you. I’m simply disagreeing with you. I see as many people blindly agreeing with your views simply because you’re saying it as there are people who blindly agree with Chris Roberts. He’s doing what he’s going to do and in the meantime, we should all just wait and see what either happens or doesn’t happen.

  73. “None of the mechanics (research, science, medical) etc are implemented in the game. Which means, you are buying a ship today, in order to pay to build a ship you (or someone) bought previously.”

    If you consider what they said that would be false, because the mechanics were paid already when the 1 million dollar mark that unblocked the ship was achieved. So the additional money made from the ship sales should be to “add more content, more stuff”, additional to what was already paid, or putting more details in those things.

    Now, if you consider that they are running out of money, THEN, the digital Ponzi scheme applies, because they simply lied to people in the Stretch Goals and ship sales context.

    I believe is that under this belief, that they are running out of money, that you are taking your conclusions right? Because that, indeed, would make it a Ponzi-like approach, and all their sales and promotions to achieve new million dollars mark, were ALL based on lies.

  74. “No one is spending thousands of dollars on digital entities, they are spending thousands of dollars to fund artists creating those entities. This is called patronage”

    That’s why I said already that they made it with that 1 million dollars, when these ships were unblocked (meaning the budget paid them). No one is buying a ship to finance the development of that ship. The discourse was always that you are spending money to add “more content, more stuff” unrelated to the ship been offered at all, because THAT SHIP was already financed by the achievement of an earlier stretch goal.

    So, based on your wrong perception of the own offers that CIG made, you are trying to claim that the nature of the deal should follow patronage standards, so customer protection rules did not have to apply, and that because they are, its absurd.

    I am sorry, but you are been absurd, and out of context of the own offers that CIG has been making.

    Customers protection rules apply, make total sense, and FTC already settled this. So, its not an absurd… at all.

  75. Don’t think that the Planetary Landing of ED will prove DS wrong, because they are not targetting that level of fidelity on each tiny little thing for visual appeal, They are doing something, balanced. It won’t be the “holy grail”, but balanced and with a bit of imagination you can even consider that a kind of “holy grail” ;D

    And planets with skies, cities, etc., will certainly take a long time to appear in that game. Still… if there is someone that seems to prove focus and capacity and good management of budget, that guy has been David Braben. Besides, they have a good engine. They don’t need to make FPS mechanics in the style of CIG. They can make it totally different, without that level intended for CIG, but still good/pretty and balanced… boarding totally different, etc. etc.

    I trust that those guys will continue to deliver actual good stuff. I have no reason to do not believe. And if they fail on something, they did not make this absolute outrageous level of cash grabbing and false advertising that CIG did.

    One or two mistakes we can pass… Repetitive lies and misleading, trying to dumb-down the public is unnaceptable.

  76. You haven’t seen people who post their degrees behind their name? I know one who does that on almost anything she signs.

  77. Damn, Derek! How big must your smile be today? Clearly you are getting to Chris Roberts and he now sees you in every shadow… all of his enemies, all those doubters… clearly all controlled by Derek Smart! If he responded professionally, I’d have given him the benefit of the doubt. But wow, he comes off sleep deprived, on powerful sativa MJ, and paranoid as hell in his completely unhinged response.

    Clearly you’re on the right track. Proceed, sir. Putting this little scam to bed sooner rather than later might save a lot of potential backers money they could spend on proper games. Like Elite: Dangerous, which I’m afraid is about to prove you wrong on planetary landings. Aw well, ya can’t win ’em all! Still, competence and sound project management FDEV style make it a lot easier to achieve seemingly impossible things. Nutjobs like Chris Roberts at the helm won’t help much.

  78. Farjon: It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about the fact that they have made promises they can’t keep, have never kept, and they keep raising money despite being unable to deliver.

  79. I read the article before I read CR’s response, and thought to myself: “Great, it’s an independent website, so now he can’t just blame it on Derek Smart”. Then I read his response, and what did he do in that wall of text? Personally attacked the the Escapist writer (?!). And Derek Smart. I didn’t know if to LMAO or to cry.
    Anyway, Derek, good job on getting this ball rolling.

  80. Role of LTI is speculative at best, 1/10 ratio of Pc/NPc will dampen this, Permadeath and ship replacement will be complex.

  81. I’ve never interacted with you before, but it is clear you have not understood the point of my comment: critics can claim ship sales are EITHER a “cash grab” as in, a lazy effort which yields undue cash infusion, or a “money pit” a deeper hole which will only cost the company money. It cannot simultaneously ADD to the company ledger while also SUBTRACTING from the company ledger. The core of the perspective though, is that framing any of these transactions as anything other than a conversation between patrons and artists, particularly as one that is specifically consumer in nature, is where the disassociation with reality occurs. No one is spending thousands of dollars on digital entities, they are spending thousands of dollars to fund artists creating those entities. This is called patronage, as a token of appreciation, the funders get first access to these entities, with whatever inherent value they ascribe to that access.
    The patronage system went out of vogue around the time of the industrial revolution but is making a substantial comeback. Bespoke design and products are a hot commodity again, but attempting to apply consumer standards as opposed to other well established, commercial and art patronage standards to the business model is absurd.

  82. Mr. Smart, I don’t play this kind of games, (I’m more of offline games) but I saw all of this matter in the media, and looked for info about both sides. Chris Roberts says something, you say the opposite, and I have no idea who is right and who is wrong. Both sides seemed like reasonable to me.

    All of this seems to be summed (if I have understood all OK) in that Chris Roberts is trying to make a game which you say it’s undoable.

    The only question I have is: If you are right, why don’t let him try to end that game, and time will prove? if that’s the case, he would be finnished forever in the industry, and would owe you several apologies.

    Thank you, have a nice day.

  83. Right. When you’re the only person claiming something, your claims are invalid, because “surely we would’ve heard something from others by now”. Then, when others claim the same, they’re “parroting” or are “sock puppets”. Wonderful.

  84. Exactly. That’s what i’ve been trying to point out.
    The fact you’re putting a degree in your e-mail sig in the first place, paints a better picture of you than any fabricated degree 🙂

  85. Frankly, i didn’t expect a response at all.

    I’m a little surprised he responded, and personally. Must’ve ticked him off pretty badly. What i’ve expected was a silence, so the dust settles, then a press release intoned a la Twain’s “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Perhaps with a teaser for another concept ship 😛

  86. Zambooka: No, it’s false. And he just added more fodder for the lawsuit. It was the same issue that caused me to engage his friend, Eric “Wingman” on social media for repeating the same thing. He removed it.

  87. Ante: Remember how they responded to our legal letter? Right. So how did you expect anything meaningful today? We sure didn’t.

  88. DFront: We are actually ecstatic with glee that he responded. And in that fashion. Now people see what I’ve been saying all along that these people are being completely dishonest. He didn’t address a single thing in the article. All he did was attack and lie (nobody doxed him).

    Today, he has pretty much killed the project. Beyond a shadow of a doubt.

  89. People commenting on the Escapist’s article are not all in fond of your credibility. So far as I have seen, you reference your sources quite intensely, as if you’re making a scientific paper, not a personal blog. Have you done things in the past that made people not trust you? Just curious.

  90. How much of what he said about you was true? There was a lot on that was said, so I understand if that takes a while.

    That aside, it is nice to hear Chris himself address the issue (presumably without a PR filter), as for the most part, it had been you doing most of the talking (with a few brief responses from either Ben Lesnick or the RSI Legal Team). If RSI was in financial trouble, do you think they would inform their backers? When it came to that, CR denied things rather than debunked them – and there is a difference between the two. And I guess to be fair, would you inform people if 3000AD was in financial trouble, putting the status of Line of Defense in question?

    Next, what’s the endgame? Say you get what you’re asking – financial disclosures, the Kickstarter version of Star Citizen, and resignations of Chris, Sandi, and others – what happens then? OK, now (at that point in time) we know where the money went, now someone would presumably have to start over as the Kickstarter version of Star Citizen has long sailed for the current version that’s being developed, and someone would have to fill the vacancies that were created by those resignations. And then there are also the refunds to take into account, as a good number will probably then want their money back, burned by what just happened. The refunds alone may be a mess!

    I’m just a concerned backer who doesn’t want the starship to crash into the sun because 2 egos went at it and everyone else. was too busy picking sides to notice the ship is off course.

  91. This shit just turned into one giant hot ass mess.

    P.S. Since no one mentions it. No one puts their degrees in an e-mail signature, certifications yes but not e-mails. People display degrees in their office/work area.

  92. I agree with Derek from the start it was no con.. but somewhere down the line CR his vision got.. skewed.
    Larger idea’s greater vision blah blah yada yada (Derek explains it best in his blogs)

    If and I say if CR had followed the same road as David Braben with Elite Dangerous,
    (you love it or hate it I do not care) and focused on the PU with the money they got.
    Or Squadron 42 and Just simply made all that there would now not been any real trouble.
    With the game released and the money they generated with that, they could start working on improving the content.
    But no CR had to go the route of a vision that basically a technical pipe dream.
    And I give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did not used backers money for personal gain, or his wife for that matter.
    But one thing is for sure that new vision made him burn more money then he could have.

    But the latest article from the Escapist Magazine… starts to show a different story.
    I already got my refund and today I forced my brother to do so also.
    That ship is sinking fast, and no concept art will help them.

    Yet a other space sim down the drain

  93. Imagine you’re running a bakery. You put up a sign that says “10 loaves of bread for $10”. A guy walks in, hands you $10 and you tell him to come back an hour later for his bread.

    So he comes back an hour later, and you haven’t even baked a single loaf yet. “Where’s my bread, man,” he says. You just point at the sign above the door, the same one you put up earlier, and tell him “another guy just walked in with $10 and asked me for 10 loaves of bread, it seemed silly to make 10 when i could make 20 in one go”. So the guy leaves yet again.

    An hour later, both guys come in and ask for their bread. All you’ve baked thus far is a lousy greasy falafel. You say “sorry guys, but 20 loaves, that’s just thinking small, i think we should wait for the next guy and do 30.”

    At which point do your customers go “wait a minute…”
    If you’re Chris Roberts Baking Company – apparently, never.

  94. Zero professionalism especially when he writes “The person who is famous for being… …Derek Smart.” Yeah not going to repeat the stuff in the middle, it really ticked me off. This is not the kind of person I’m going to support or hand my money over to. It’s game over for Chris Roberts as far him getting any funding from me.

  95. The writing has been on the wall for a long time. The first seismic upheaval back in the Spring of 2014 portended the problems to come. Back then a few current (at that time) and recently axed employees lamented that if the game never got made Yoko Gardiner would be a major reason. Anyhow–feel free to use this image should you wish:

    The similarities are mind boggling. 🙂

    You sure have been getting shit on by the Knights of CIG. Hope folks are dropping some coin on your game out of curiosity.

  96. OMG! That very image was mailed around Warthog when everything started to fall apart 🙂

  97. Well this is funny, in Chris his response he says this ” …and then finally ending up by doxing myself, my wife and one of my daughters with this sequence of tweets. ” and the link to Sandi. So he just came forward telling us it is indeed his wife.


  98. Saw that. People are commenting that the words by the anonymous people are parroting what you’ve already reported. I wonder if that’ll prove to the naysayers that all is not well in CIG land?

  99. These are some serious claims in this article and they are echoing precisely what you have been stating. I think at this point the question is how far will the government investigation(s) go and will anyone end up in prison.

  100. Gotta hand it to the Escapist to be the first official media resource to have the balls to run with this. If lots of other online outlets follow suit, the real fireworks will begin.

    And it’s all data I read here first!

  101. I am old pro too. The reply from CIG/Ortwin you mention here was ridiculous. Regardless of where people strand on the matter it was a childish reply indeed. I urge people to read it if they haven’t.

  102. There is a professionalism standard here we can expect to be met.

    We expect proper project planning and reporting at the very least.

  103. ***BREAKING NEWS***

    Original article:

    How they vetted their sources:

    The podcast discussing the article, what was left out etc:


    1) Chris Roberts response to TheEscapist article (you won’t believe it)

    Legal threats and posturing:

    2) Nobody doxed Chris Roberts. It’s false:

    3) He data mined our social media feeds and grabbed stuff out of context to attack myself, the researcher, and the author. This is the Harper issue he completely skewed.

    4) TheEscapist defends the article

    5) This is how it came to this:

    6) Analysis of CR’s rant and official letter to The Escapist

  104. Or there is a third option Derek: CIG is hitting the saturation point for ships. I would wager that a good number of backers are melting older ships to fund the newest, shiniest ship on the block WITHOUT adding additional cash to the equation. They may be bored with their Avenger or 325a or Constellation. Maybe they want to adjust their future play style or profession. But all in all, I bet we see a lot more of these net zero dollar concept ship transactions in the future. And that spells disaster for CIG.

  105. 1… million… dollars… that were achieved to make that ship and whatever silly mechanic that it will bring (and don’t make mistake… will be silly, specially in the day one, when in fact,with the money gathered, they should be extremely deep).

    And now they sell them for $900 top.

    Ridiculous profit gathered from the stretch goal. Even more ridiculous profit gathered from the ship sale.

    Don’t need to make math to see how cash grabbing that is.

    And all this “profit” certainly is disappearing from the project, due easy tactics that probably are in place there.
    At least, from the perception of the public it already disappeared. All this dumb people keep saying that is important to buy to help to pay the cost of such ship made.

  106. “And let’s say more people where involved with the pipeline the total design can not cost more then $60,000
    He has to sell around 60 of those ships to get it going.”

    And what about that 1 million dollars that they achieved just to make the ship (since it was achieved with a stretch goal mark?
    Was it just bonus for the devs, so ship sales are needed “to pay the cost” now?

  107. Wait… I thought that this ship was stretch goal, and obviously, the game which is associated with it… And by definition, it means that the stretch goal mark achieved is already paying for the cost to develop the ship in the first place.

    So what a hell are you folks are talking about, of having to sell the ship to pay the cost of it, when it was already done in the stretch goal?


  108. So much for the motion capture studio being a good investment. I was highly skeptical of the decision for them to build their own motion capture studios rather than simply renting access to an existing one. It seems like to me their claims of making money by renting out the studio to others were spurious. However, maybe Sandi was able to make use of them for her own video productions.

  109. Can’t help but notice Oculus Rift is still on the SC bucket list.

    Interesting, then, that one of the devs stated on Reddit (a year ago) that they’re ditching VR support because – his words, albeit paraphrased, not mine – it’s not well suited for the experience.

    Supposedly, because of transitions and cut scenes, and perspective issues or something.

    I don’t know, don’t look at me, when i’ve asked whether they’re on drugs or something, and how can a space sim / FPS be unsuitable for VR, i got downvoted to oblivion.

    It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact the engine they’re using has almost zero support for or support from VR tech makers, now would it? 😉

  110. Either way, the fact that fake positive and fake negative reviews have been popping up “suddenly” invalidates all of them.

  111. Farming is fairly easy as a gameplay method. I think Farmville has blazed the trail on that one (or the farms in Warcraft too). Plant…wait…click…repeat.

    What makes this ship bizarre to fathom, is the fact that there will be griefers with LTI ships who do NOT care about perma-death of their characters, crashing into and blowing up Endeavors for lulz.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say that someone in a Retaliator could easily destroy an Endeavor. So why wouldn’t they? (Honestly, my interaction with nearly all fellow backers have been overwhelmingly negative, I’m inclined to blow up every ship I see on the premise I probably wouldn’t have liked that person anyways.)

    Just think of Grand Theft Auto Online. Everyone drives around in superfast armored cars because driving anything big, slow, and goofy is an invitation to get blown up or shot at.

  112. There comes a time in every CIG croney’s life when they have to stop, think hard and make a decision…

    “Should i buy a jumble of pixels worth one HTC Vive? Or two? Naaah, one will suffice, two would be sensationalism.”

  113. Ponzi scheme similarities (quotes grabbed as needed from the Wikipedia entry):

    – “Ponzi schemes occasionally begin as legitimate businesses, until the business fails to achieve the returns expected. The business becomes a Ponzi scheme if it then continues under fraudulent terms. Whatever the initial situation, the perpetuation of the high returns requires an ever-increasing flow of money from new investors to sustain the scheme.”

    Vision 1.0 was the original legitimate offering. Stretch goals and inability to meet the original goals, even when the funds ballooned well beyond the amount they initially said they needed, makes this a legitimate comparison.

    – “Initially the promoter will pay out high returns to attract more investors, and to lure current investors into putting in additional money. Other investors begin to participate, leading to a cascade effect.”

    In this case, the “returns” could be analogous to the staged demos, constant videos, and the early Alpha release of the few game systems that are functioning. One-sided media coverage helps this along. Word spreads to other gamers who see how cool this could be, and throw their cash in the pot as well. The momentum builds.

    – “The “return” to the initial investors is paid out of the investments of new entrants, and not out of profits.”

    This would be the fact that each ship sale raises funds not to build that ship, but rather to fund the build of previously sold ships, not to mention just to keep the lights on and keep development running apace. At this point, if donations stop, the game collapses.

    – “If a few investors do wish to withdraw their money in accordance with the terms allowed, their requests are usually promptly processed, which gives the illusion to all other investors that the fund is solvent.”

    This attribute is met by their recent sudden willingness to refund donations. They’ve been very careful to make sure the media reports on how trouble-free those refunds are, reinforcing the appearance that everything is on the up-and-up. They’re counting on the number of refunds being relatively low in the overall scheme.

    So how does this unravel?

    – “When a Ponzi scheme is not stopped by the authorities, it sooner or later falls apart for one of the following reasons:”

    – “1) The promoter vanishes, taking all the remaining investment money (which excludes payouts to investors already made)”

    This would be the company simply closing its doors. Certainly possible.

    – “2) Since the scheme requires a continual stream of investments to fund higher returns, once investment slows down, the scheme collapses as the promoter starts having problems paying the promised returns (the higher the returns, the greater the risk of the Ponzi scheme collapsing). Such liquidity crises often trigger panics, as more people start asking for their money, similar to a bank run.”

    I think this is the way things will go, but not for the exact same reasons. The “panic” won’t be people demanding money back, but simply the donations slowing down so much that the burn rate of the company eliminates remaining capital, triggering the collapse.

  114. @Dan and jcrg99:
    – It IS vague. Read “Kristoffers” two comments on the mixing of fact, rumours and opinion, I won’t repeat it for you. Mr. Smart himself says: “It’s opinion”.
    – Just short of a million people spread across 100+ (could be less, doesn’t make a difference) countries does not constitute “the public” in any meaningful sense of the word. They are a (rather small) group of individuals who voluntarily (!) give/gave THEIR OWN money to a private company. You may think and say that’s foolish and a waste of money – fine, that’s your opinion. But you – and Mr. Smart – are deliberately using the term “public money” in a way that implies an extra need for accountability, while constantly ignoring the fact that the primary purpose of crowdfunding is to replace one “big” investor with hundreds or thousands of “small” ones. The lack of judgement displayed by some crowdfunding investors – which is worrysome about crowdfunding as a whole, not just with regard to SC – does not suddenly transform these many small investors into “the public”.
    – If only to clear this up: I backed this game for SQ42, at a level that I would spend on any other AAA title – around $60. I’m not a huge fan of MMOs, but a big fan of epic space operas 🙂 I don’t quite get why anyone would spend the equivalent of a small car on digital spaceships, but whoever does it is free to do so, just like all those idiots sending money to televangelists and the like. And yes, the possibility of failure is something I have factored into my decision of how much money to pledge for this game, and whether to do it at all. However, you’d frankly have to be blind to not see that they’re making progress.

  115. I know EVE Online is not exactly a Space Sim, but is a really good space game. I played it for 3 years and have 1464 hours ingame playtime, and I am still full of ideas what to do next. I dont recall you mentioning EVE ever. You always talk about true simulator games, but I would welcome your opinion about EVE online as a game, and EVE online in the scope of this: (EVE + dust514 + valkyrie soon has all of it)
    1) space
    2) planetary
    3) exploration
    4) trading
    5) combat (both space & planetary)
    6) fps

    +1) I think industry should be a point in here too, or is it included in the trading point?

  116. Or more close to the genre, Jumpgate Evolution. That project was identifiable as dead for over a year before the forums finally got taken offline, yet there were posts about potential “features” and hope for the game until that very day. The current RSI forums remind me very much of how those looked and read.

  117. In another legacy forum that I frequent, the discussion of the Holy Grail of space combat sims came up. Chris came up with the BDSSE (Best Damn Space Sim Ever) moniker for his.

    Here is my post in its entirety.

    Most of us wanted a Wing Commander or hell, Freelancer, even back in 2012.

    Then Chris lost his mind.

    For as long as I’ve been in the genre, almost 30 years now, most of us developing games for it, have been searching for the Holy Grail or the BDSSE of space games.

    And the definition has more to do with features and gameplay, than it does content.

    1) space
    2) planetary
    3) exploration
    4) trading
    5) combat (both space & planetary)
    6) fps

    Seamless space <->planetary transition is more of a technical thing, than it is a feature (which has to imply functionality, not form).

    The size (100 vs 1m places to explore) of the world, the number of player assets, are all content, not features.

    To date, my Battlecruiser/Universal Combat games are the only games that have ever actually found the Holy Grail. As hard as that is to believe, it is an indisputable b[fact]b. There is a freeware version of Universal Combat CE on Steam. Go check it out.

    The things that have been missing in those games are:

    1) the visual fidelity

    2) fps inside capital (carrier, cruiser, transport) ships

    Neither of the above are part of the core requirements for the Holy Grail. They are just “i[nice to have]i” features.

    When I wrote my Interstellar Citizens blog, I outlined this.

    What Star Citizen “vision 2.0” was attempting to do, was all of the above. Except the planetary part. Their method of landing zones, is not the same thing.

    Elite Dangerous hasn’t done it; and never will, due to what they were shooting for. And their planetary access is also limited in terms of what they are planning on doing for accessing planets.

    Despite how it looks, it’s not as simply to do as it sounds. It is a horrendous amount of work that’s very complicated to pull off. And anyone attempting it, gets to find out the hard way.

    I spent decades search for it. Even back then, it was an insurmountable task. I started chasing this whale in the eighties and didn’t get truly serious about it until around 1987. My first release – a total disaster – was in 1996 with the original Battlecruiser 3000AD game. That’s roughly nine years. And when you compare now to then, it is easy to imagine how difficult was due to having to build all the tech for the game; as opposed to having all the tech (engines etc) now.

    It wasn’t until 1999 that I closed the loop on that first gen when Interplay released Battlecruiser 3000AD v2.0.

    None of those games came even close to the Holy Grail definition because the total immersion of fps wasn’t there.

    I added fps in 2001 when Battlecruiser Millennium was released.

    In 2004 when I released the first Universal Combat, this was my attempt to re-invent the series with better technology. And since I had honed the series to take focus away from one capital ship (the Battlecruiser MK1) and it’s complement of crew and support craft, this new direction was to set the course ahead.

    The original UC game set the baseline for the series going forward. I already knew that all I was missing was the fps mode inside stations, ships etc – as well as better graphics.

    However, once I started down the path of completely overhauling it for the next major game release (then Galactic Command Online), I came to realize that with the genre pretty much dead, and the numbers dwindling, if I was going to make one more game, I simply couldn’t risk it being a super complex all-encompassing game.

    That’s why I had put it on hold and did GALCOM Echo Squad (fighter combat only) exclusively for Turner in 2006 and later the SE version in 2008, refreshed again in 2014.

    By the time I went back to GCO in 2009, I had come to the sad realization that my beloved genre, and the one that gave me everything that I have today, both personally and professionally, was all but dead.

    So I never went back to GCO.

    Instead, as I did with GCES, AAW/AOA, I decided to go back to the drawing board, start small and build up. That’s how I started working on the designs for Line Of Defense back in 2009, but didn’t get around to starting actual dev work until late 2010.

    I explain the current series footprint in this comment, where I am taking LOD and the BC/UC series, and why.

    With all this money and talent, Chris had everything he needed to make this game. The original “vision 1.0” could have been made for $5m and still win. By the time he got to $50m, had they built the tech like I did, from the ground up, they would have made the Holy Grail a reality.

    But here’s the thing. That’s not the game that Chris was shooting for. He was shooting for his original vision of Freelancer, but with all the craziness (I mean, seriously, look at this: 1, 2) that he had cooked up since he exited the industry. That was his BDSSE.

    And all three (me, Chris, David) of us have different visions for what we think an all-encompassing space combat game should be.

  118. Dan: According to our tracking, this has been the worse ship sale to date. So either whales are getting nervous, or they realize that the ship sucks. Here is one explanation of why they may think it sucks.

    My sources tell me that they are being flooded with refund requests. They don’t have a choice now but to give them, due to the potential for legal and Fed action due to non-delivery.

  119. Thanks for the effort. So which is it (this ship sale)? a cash grab or a money pit? They are exclusive by definition.

    By this estimate, a written schematic ship design can be developed into the concept art (including preliminary 3d modeling) presented at the time of the sale for a nominal cost of ~$60,000. No wonder Ben says its not a significant drag on other development, concept sale paid for itself in the first hour, 1 point for “cash grab”. The next phase of development is likely murkier to cost, the presumption is that the pipeline they discuss frequently on ATV makes developing latter ship assets a more efficient process, 1 point to cash grab, but with multiple tech iterations rendering old assets obsolete, the refactoring of existing assets has likely set this efficiency back on average, 1 point to money pit. With the fidelity required of the game, size likely matters a great deal to cost, and this ship is a big one, 1 point to money pit. It does however seem to share an awful lot of similarities to other MISC ships, perhaps there are embedded efficiencies to their Corporate Identity style guide ship development format, 1 point to cash grab. The new gameplay modes integrated with this vessel though also seem like significant further scope expansion, 1 point money pit.

    Now if you are saying this whole game is a money pit into which cash grabs are thrown … perhaps attempting to frame this project in a commercial context is wildly inappropriate to begin with. Consider the artist’s dilemna as presented by this classic silent film by Thomas Edison

  120. Yeah, it’s not just me. So we have a new term to describe the Star Citizen funding process “Programmatic Ponzi

    “Because now were mired in a Programmatic Ponzi. They need to sell those $900 ships today to fund the coding of ships sold two years ago (Starfarer anyone?) as well as the base game.

    It’s going to be years before the coding of the $900 Endeavor begins and that is just art elements.

    Plus they have to find a way to interject the Endeavor ship gameplay elements into SC (farming on the ship, research, etc).

    And when it comes time to code the Endeavor, how are they going to fund it? By selling more concept ships that you won’t see for years, I presume.

    There is no possible way this is sustainable.”

  121. I just got up to speed on everything, read all your blogs on Star Citizen. I am very concerned. Thank you for bringing some accountability to this project. I don’t usually comment, but I suspect a silent majority are with you. The vibe and atmosphere surrounding this game is reminiscent of when Hellgate London went under.

  122. So that live spreadsheet… It looks like the numbers for hourly tracking of UEEFleet has gone down for what appears to be the first time (from a peak of 765,524 on Sept 29 to 764,543 on Oct 1). Now there seems to have been some discussion around what this poorly explained number actually meant in the past, but it seems to be agreed now that it represents the number of backers with game packages (i.e. backers expecting a product). I might be reading too much into this, but could this be the first relatively large batch of backers (~1000) requesting and receiving refunds? There doesn’t appear to be a corresponding dip in funding (though the hourly increase delta does appear to reduce), so possibly this ship sale was timed to coincide with the reporting of the bleed out caused by backer refunds?

    In other news I got my refund today, so I only have professional curiosity (I’m a game dev too) keeping me watching this train wreck now.

  123. According to our metrics, this has been the worst ship sale ever. So either whales realize this is a rubbish ship, or they are getting nervous about putting any more money into this project.

  124. DFrost: Here’s the problem. In order to roleplay, you need underlying mechanics. e.g. this Endeavor. None of the mechanics (research, science, medical) etc are implemented in the game. Which means, you are buying a ship today, in order to pay to build a ship you (or someone) bought previously. If this game had any chance of seeing the light of day, in two years for this ship to be in the game and completely implemented, someone else would have paid for it through some other sale. It’s a digital Ponzi scheme.

  125. Roger: I have a new blog, but it won’t be out for a few weeks. Besides, who knows what hilarity will come out of CitizenCon on Oct 10th?

  126. Actually they only made an ETA for the game advertised originally, with a few stretch goals there were specific about saying that the thing would come on release, like 100 systems, for example.
    All the rest could come in whatever date that they prefer.
    But while a shell of 100 systems and barebones of mechanics after 5 years of development, could be considered as “covering” the original promisses that were related to an ETA, I have no doubt that they will receive only disappointment for this result, specially with the things taking longer after this “release”.

    And here is their problem. While they don’t announce that the game is “released”, they can’t claim that delivered into their promises, because, it’s there, in the rewards, the words “finished game” – “estimated deliver date 2014”.

    So, basically, they can claim that what they delivered is the “finished” game, while they are saying that its still under development and its not public release, its not the “finished” game.

    And while you could think. Ok. But what is the problem? Its just a matter to label “finished” one of these days. Heh! Well… There is another thing that they promised that would happen too. With the “finished” game, “public release”, ship sales must to end and “everything must to have the possibility to be acquired by gameplay”. All that, and tons of things yet to be done on top of the “finished” game. Check mate.

  127. You are all focusing in the minor part of what happened. The whole situation and how they handled it, is what tells a history about the reality of those professionals and who they really are.

  128. “Ex: Latest tweet about new ship being released for $900, that just the upper package containing every attachment possible, the ship is $450.”

    Yes Derek. Stop to sensationalize. It’s just $450. Not 30 times the value of a copy of a full game, just 15 times more expensive. True bargain.

  129. I’d alluded to it, but I recall having *considerable* antipathy for you back in the day. You really do seem a lot more likable now. Maybe you’re older. Maybe I’m older.

    But even if you weren’t:

    People need to stop asking, “Is Derek Smart a nice person?” And start asking, “Are these things Derek Smart said *true*?”

  130. One thing that it’s important to notice, that these features and this ship (as well as other similar) were not told, when, would come out.
    Technically they can release them for PTU and then for the game, 10 years after release, 20 years… who cares. lol

  131. “this sale demonstrates the progress they’ve made”

    Oh! That’s a whole new level of bullshit 😀

  132. No amount of effort can save this if CR is in charge, developers in this case are just labors, when leadership is in rot, the entire business is in rot.

  133. What does Pentagon spending, Europe’s VAT tax and US incarceration rates and Star Citizen all have in common? We dunno, but Stavros does! Tune in tonight for “It’s a Conspiracy!” on Discovery.

  134. IMHO, BC3000 failed because of feature creep. Derek kept cramming more and more stuff in until the manual was 164 pages long and most people just said “Screw this, I’m gonna go back to playing X-Wing.” And BC3000 was his baby.

    I suspect that it is for this very reason that Mr.Smart has had his senses sharply attuned to the scent of feature creep ever since then. So when SC started down the dark path of sprouting new features faster than warts on a toad it was only natural that he’d be one of the first people to put together exactly where it would lead to: Because he’s been there himself.

    Metaphorically, when William Burroughs tells you to stay away from junk, take his word on it.

    Now there are ways to bloat a game into a beautiful monster that works without collapsing under the weight of feature creep. Look no further than “Crusader Kings 2” for a model of how to do it right: Start with a basic game at a reasonable price. Deliver said base as advertised. Once base game has sold enough copies then write an expansion pack for it. Those who want it will buy it. Price expansion packs reasonable to the amount of content they contain (read: Spending $1.99 for some better graphics is reasonable. Spending $1000 for space ship pixels should be grounds for children to file for divorce from their parents.) Each expansion pack makes the game a little larger, a little more complicated, a little deeper… but none of them are mandatory, and none of them slowed the development & release of the basic game in any way. You’ll note that “The Sims” franchise does this too and, despite EA being evil incarnate, we can easily see that this system works.

    Again, IMHO, I think – as many, if not most people here, do – that if RSI stuck to “vision 1.0” then none of this would be happening. It was a basic game, realistic in scope and something you could play for an hour without having to get a 2nd mortgage just to stay competitive in PvP. Likewise, I think if BC3000 had just toned down the ambition, added a tutorial and spent more time on being user friendly than being “epic” then it, too, would have sold a lot better.

    You look around today and, as much as it may disgust our sensibilities, the fastest growing industry is casual gaming (aka Smartphone games). These are games that a third grader could play. Heck, some of them look like they were designed by 3rd graders. Why is this doing so well? Because the demographic of the “average gamer” has gotten older. Much older. Your main sales group isn’t 14-16 year old guys living at home with nothing but free time and obsession. The new gamer image is 30-40 years old, probably married w/kids, and certainly doesn’t have 6+ hours a night to devote to gaming. He (or she) needs their games to be easier, shallower, and faster. They just don’t have the time or energy for “epic” anymore. As least without a “save” feature.

    One last key difference: Mr.Smart has clearly learned from his past mistakes. Mr.Roberts… not so much.

  135. How, exactly, is he supposed to do a proper investigation when the entire crux of these many months worth of blogs has been that RSI is deliberately obfuscating everything about their progress, management, and (most importantly) financial situation? In fact, the entire reason this has gotten to the point of lawyers being involved is this willful concealment of all requested information solely on behalf of RSI.

    If they have nothing to hide then why hide everything?

    You ask Mr.Smart to provide proof that RSI is collapsing under it’s own hubris, yet what Mr.Smart has done is simply ask RSI to prove that it isn’t. RSI has thus far responded with enough personal character attacks to fill a presidential election campaign and… that’s pretty much it.

    I fear the hubris may be the all-too-correct word, as well. Mr.Robert may be able to command his fan club to do his bidding with a wave of his hand, but that won’t do him a damn bit of good when a lawyer shows up to shove a sheaf of court orders into this face. What is he going to, then? Tell his little minions to troll the prosecutor on Reddit? Send someone to dox the judge? He has surrounded himself with such a thick aura of fanbois circling him in perpetual adoration that he can no longer see the rest of the world beyond them, or the fact that it doesn’t give a crap about his “dream.” What’s even more frightening is that he probably thinks they can shield him from that world and the people in it. Cheap personal attacks in a courtroom are about as useful as a squirt gun in an nuclear war. I don’t think Mr.Roberts quite understands that.

    Of course, a lot of people are missing the obvious: Giving someone $90 practically overnight is akin to winning the lottery. Now consider that while reading this:

    Does any of that behavior sound familiar?

  136. Yes, let’s get Jim Martin smashing ArcCorp collision bugs and relinking Star Marine reload animations stat! Surely you are familiar with Brooks’ law …

    You care a great deal about the costs, you’ve said so repeatedly. The entire premise of this exercise is an attempt to demonstrate wayward cost management with substantial enough scope creep to yield an entirely different project from the initial pitch. If you can’t put a benchmark on expected costs for promised products, how can you begin to formulate an accurate comparison demonstrating fundamental divergence? Without proximate cause and in particular provable foreseeability there is no fraud.

    My concern with this particular sale is the additional gameplay systems Tony Z has been dreaming up. Farming? Comet spotting? Respawn fees? Scope creep isn’t really slowing down …

  137. The reviews he’s mentioning are the brand new 4 and 5 star positive reviews on Glassdoor. Funny that only the positive reviews mention fake menial employees who’s name rhyme with “Derek Smart”. They also seem strangely like the rhyming names seen constantly on the SC Reddit threads…..

  138. I’m ready for a new article with more information Mr. Smart. Has legal cleared you to be able to release more tidbits?

  139. Let’s (for fun) do a rough calculation what it may cost..
    CR want a new ship let’s call it “HMS Titanic” with all the trimmings
    So first the concept designer begins drawing the design of the ship.
    After CR has his usual tantrums about how the ship has to look, it goes to the 3D artist.
    The 3D artist starts working on making the ship from concept to a 3D asset.
    After that whole ordeal because again CR has his tantrums and rambelings about HIS vision.
    The ship get’s Incorporated in to the game animation, ship modules and a whole lot of other stuff.

    The whole process will take about 5 months according to some sources at RSI (dev vids and so on)
    So ok the average salary of those people in this little project… (and I take the highest average)
    Concept Designer is $87,349 a year
    3D artist is $79,990 a year
    Video Game Designer is $95,856 a year

    I probably forget some folks in the production pipeline but hey doing this for the heck of it right?
    Anyway the concept designer takes a week to design the ship (thanks to CR his tantrums)
    So his week salary is $87,349 divided by 12 months divided by 4 week comes to $1,819.77 a week.
    The 3D artist takes 3 weeks to get the ship ready (CR tantrums, vision you know the drill by now)
    So same calculation $79,990 divided by 12 months divided by 4 week comes to $1,666.45 a week times 3 is $4,999.37 for 3 weeks.
    That 4 weeks down the drain, and there still 16 weeks left of the 5 months.
    So with out the long calculation the Video game designer will cost $31,952.
    So the total will be $1,819.77 + $4,999.37 + $31,952 = $38,711.14.
    That the price of the project, yeah I know things are missing here off course but I am close.

    Anyway let’s say the STANDALONE SHIP – ENDEAVOR MASTER SET – LTI goes through the same design pipeline.
    And let’s say more people where involved with the pipeline the total design can not cost more then $60,000
    He has to sell around 60 of those ships to get it going.
    But wait, like Derek said it does not exist yet… so why would you buy it it has totally no value.

    If CR had kept his original vision and the game was ready near it release date, it would have made more sense to create P2W ships.
    They would cost around let’s say $25..
    Still money grab but hey not really different then other games do it nowadays.
    And those games work and are ready and mostly succesfull…

    Go figure

  140. I agree, and I originally had included that some good developers are literally stuck in such environments, but it hurt the flow of my statement.

    It’s a sad fact that there are some star developers on this team contributing to what is essentially a death march.

    People in general, not just developers, get satisfaction from the things they build and accomplish. It’s sad that when the day comes, the only thing these developers will be able to take with them for years of effort are lessons learned.

    Still, it’s something.

  141. I have, and i know, i’m just pointing out the fact the credentials she’s claiming make no sense, and even if they were making sense, what’s the point of signing your emails with a degree, whether fake or not?

    What good is that going to do? Will the customer feel safer that he’s in her competent hands? Or maybe be intimidated by them?

    My point was – her credentials are irrelevant, the fact she’s using them in the first place (and how) tell a story.

  142. Klaus: Nothing funny about it. They all pop-up during the week of people getting fired, laid off, quitting.

    I don’t see any names rhyming with Derek Smart. And what are you implying? That I wrote them? haha, very funny.

  143. Klaus: Yeah we know that. But from my perspective, from the legit ones I’ve read, they mirror stuff already told to me and posted elsewhere.

  144. It’s funny how suddenly all these negative review pop up. It is also funny how the names in some of the reviews rhyme with “Derek Smart”.

  145. “If *the Devil himself* appeared in a puff of brimstone and told me my mechanic was ripping me off, I’d naturally be a little skeptical. But if he then popped the hood and explained in detail where the guy was cutting corners, eventually I’d have to come to terms with the fact that it was more important that I’d need to find a new mechanic than worry about exactly who tipped me off.”

    That is hilarious. 10/10 for Analogy. Would compare again.

  146. I use the sports analogy, and let’s pretend CIG is a football team.

    In one season, the General Manager quit citing personal reasons. Then the coach quit, at which point the owner had to hire his brother to coach the team. Then the announcing team, the play-by-play announcer and color man quit…and the play-by-play gets a temporary ban from the team forums for talking about his new team. Then the owners’ wife becomes the new play-by-play announcer and there is a new color man, except the new play-by-play man gets fired partway through the season because the owner’s wife is a tyrant. Also, the owner’s wife is AWFUL at providing color commentary, and has all the charm, sweetness and raw charisma of a metal-spiked pink buttplug.

    Along the way the hitting coach quit, the pitching coach quit, the trainer got fired, the and the fun and hairy team mascot now does play-by-play with the owner’s wife in the booth. Did I mention the team sells out every game? EVERY SINGLE GAME. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

    What we have left is the owner meddling with the coaching staff continually, his brother coaching the team and the wife and mascot announcing the games, and the fans…some of who have paid $15,000 to watch this team, are basically, “Yeah, this happens all the time! You should just chill out, man.”

    I guess Star Citizen fans are also lifelong Cleveland Browns fans, because I cannot think of a single business that has been so unusually chaotic where nobody thinks anything is amiss.

    I actually want this project to succeed, and I think that combining a shooter and space sim isn’t the hardest thing in the world nor impossible to pull off, but any adult with a functioning brain who knows how business works looks at this shitshow and thinks “None of this inspires confidence.” That’s the bottom line: Nothing that has happened can be viewed as a positive. For all we know, they have $40 million in the bank, but the turnover and instability makes me think that the quality is suffering.

    Oddly enough, the thing that inspires the MOST confidence in me is that they can release a ship like the Endeavor, and they will raise a metric shitton of money for it. So as long as I sit on the sideline, watch ship sale after ship sale succeed, and they rake in money…that’s actually good for me. Like I said, I’m not here to watch out for yours or anyone else’s money. I am OK if they have to brute force their way through the next 17 months holding ship sale after ship sale to keep the money flowing.

    So everyone, please buy an Endeavor. Buy two! I won’t…but that’s irrelevant and you’d be foolish to think otherwise. 😉

    What the white knights also do not seem to grasp, is that CR’s micromanaging is NOT a good thing. I swear to the heavens, there was a thread on reddit where they talked about loving Chris Roberts for micromanaging the project. MICRO-managing. Folks, he made a good game and pushed the hardware of my 386 DX (33mhz for the win!) twenty years ago. I think he’s competent enough to helm this game, and he does have a clear idea of what he wants…but he’s not f*****g Steve Jobs.

    Here is the gist of what I wrote:

    Smart people surround themselves with smarter people, share their vision, and enable their success. Period. Nobody who is of any quality MICROMANAGES.

    Well that got downvoted to oblivion, which should tell you who you’re fighting against. I guess the people on the subreddit have the kind of shitjobs that require micromanaging or don’t have business degrees, because I don’t know anyone with half a brain who thinks micromanaging is good.

    Chris’s vision is actually crystal clear: Best Damn Space Simulator Ever. How he’s going about implementing it seems flawed because I guess he’s a control freak. Apparently he works 60+ hours/week on a routine basis. I think his hair has actually started turning grey from this project…he could actually enjoy himself for a moment, lower his stress level and live longer, and most importantly push the project forward at a more rapid clip if he spent more time and focus on hiring the right people in the first place, then trusting the talented people he’s hired.

  147. No idea what that’s supposed to mean as a whole, but B Sc. is bachelor of science (doesn’t say which), MBA is master of business administration, and Grap dip ed is graduate diploma in education.

    As to the sig itself… I’ve got an M Sc. in computing/electrical engineering, but have never used it in a signature, nor see the point.

  148. It’s easy to put up fake reviews on glassdoor. Just as it is easy to send fake accounts/ tips anonymously from a burner email.

  149. Gary: And some people stay in a toxic work environments because it’s hard to find work in some areas. Especially since you’d have to move as a result. If you haven’t yet, oh man, you should check out the new Glassdoor reviews.

  150. Almost every event in human history that has the ring of a conspiracy theory can be adequately explained by the existence of selfish, ignorant people in a position of power.

    I think CR had a vision, but he lost his way because he has no ability to rein himself in, and a long history of proving exactly that. One element for failure.

    I have a strong hunch his wife has been the devil on his shoulder through much of this project. Her motives are purely selfish, with the additional problem of them not being aligned with developing the game, but rather furthering her own personal career agenda. Second element for failure.

    If the company culture is as toxic as we are hearing, there is a natural ecology shift over time. Good people leave, because they know they are good enough to get work, and they understand what a quality environment is. The bad people stay, because they maintain or further the toxic environment, or they themselves have bought into the hype. So that turns the staff into a self-maintaining shit-show. Third element for failure.

    So now we have: a deluded, self-appointed messiah, a self-interested harpy riding his coattails, and a toxic and/or deluded development team. It does make it look like a masterminded plot, but human failure can account for the whole mess. Change any 1 of the 3 elements I outlined and the project would immediately have a better chance. Change all 3 and it can be resurrected entirely (although it still won’t be done in time.)

    Conspiracies do occur (Enron, etc.) but in this case, I think it’s just a boatload of failure.

  151. kxmode: don’t waste your breath. I already found that and others; and they are all in my blogs. White Knights love revisionist history.

  152. Arm and a leg: Yeah, it’s a complete farce.

    Thanks for stopping by. The comments here are moderated. So even when we do agree, there is no shitposting, abuse or anything of the sort. Just civil (sometimes heated) discussions. Of course the downside of moderating a discussion forum is that posts get delayed, due to awaiting approval.

  153. Tom: Don’t give me that bullshit. It’s a money grab. There are many other things they could be doing to deliver a game. The artists and modelers who are putting these together, could very well be working on Star Marine, Social Module etc.

    And I have no idea what it costs them to make. And I don’t care.

  154. YXZ: Answer: you don’t. It’s bullshit. They just want to sell these ships to raise money, knowing full well that there are no game mechanics or features to support (research, medical) them.

  155. YXZ: The issue is that Chris pitched a game and chose an engine that was incapable of powering it. Back in “vision 1.0”, they could have stretched it. Then “vision 2.0” came along. It went downhill from there. Read my first blog, Interstellar Citizens for an idea of what I’m talking about.

  156. Dave: Do you know what “pending” means? No? Look it up and quit wasting my time. I could’ve replied to someone else instead of having to explain this to you.

    And if you were paying attention, you’d know that you don’t file a lawsuit without first giving the other side and opportunity for remedy. And I didn’t send them a letter until late August.

    And nobody cares what you think. You don’t have to read the blogs and you certainly don’t have to take of if seriously, let alone respond. Yet, here you are.

  157. You put the demand letter and their response on the internet, so how can you be all up in arms about the content being released ? They probably put that content in there as they knew you couldn’t resist but make it public.

    A lot of the stuff you are bringing up makes a lot of sense, but trying to sensationalize every bit of info isn’t helping you credibility. Ex: Latest tweet about new ship being released for $900, that just the upper package containing every attachment possible, the ship is $450. They’ve always offered packages with everything in it with a slight discount, they haven’t changed their way of doing things, but your tweet makes it sound as if they are doing things differently now…

  158. We really need to put this whole “3 year vs 4 year” nonsense to rest. The only way to do that is to quote Chris’ words. So with that in mind I found a quote from him admitting, in writing, that Star Citizen’s development time started a year prior to Kickstarter (development is development; regardless of whether or not it was a game or a tech demo).

    October 19, 2012 “We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal”

    October 19, 2015 – according to Chris – will mark Star Citizen’s 4-YEAR anniversary. If you have a problem with that go talk to Chris Roberts about it.

  159. The 6 Stages of Blackknightery:
    – Skeptic
    – Dissenter
    – Investigator
    – Black Knight (enlightened devotion to the truth) <- Me
    – Crusader Guardian <- Derek Smart
    – Spanish Inquisition (When a legal issue is brought before the court with the prosecutor prevailing)

  160. In her signature she put “BSc. MBA Grap Dip Ed.” Does anyone know what that means. As to her conduct it could have been handled much better. She has in the past been nice. She was for my case – Maybe because I asked for a full refund in the early days when the number of people asking was much smaller.

  161. My two main problems with this article are that it didn’t exist and I didn’t hear of this blog BEFORE I handed over my money through the RSI website. At least the damage done was minimal (Although still significant.) compared to some other people who have invested what can only be described as a small fortune.

    Good luck with your investigation and I hope you find something useful.

  162. I don’t think you understand the problem. I believe this was strictly targeted at the Cutlass owners pissed off about the ship. The Cutlass was marketed as a dog fighting capable pirate ship with the ability to haul booty. In reality it sucks and will need a fighter escort as it is simply too slow, very cumbersome, has a huge profile and a bit lacking in firepower for its size IMO. They don’t want that piece of shit so they could melt and lose all their original benefits from backing early or they can CCU. Here is the tricky part, price points. Most will downgrade for a dog fighter they can actually use in arena commander. The other options are more expensive (Freelancer,Hornet are 10 bucks more). This is a blatant cash grab directed at Cutlass Black owners. The fee makes it so its only a few bucks more to upgrade a ship versus downgrading.

  163. Physical items hell they have yet to give the in game stretch goal items that were supposed to be the first components off their new “pipeline” that would be useful today in game. That would be the $52, $55 and $56 million dollar stretch goals

  164. This ship concept was a stretch goal voted on by the community, this sale demonstrates the progress they’ve made on following through on that particular promise. As an experienced game developer, what is the rough value of this particular concept, with all its variants, modules and new gameplay modes (farming, observatory, hospital/respawn) as in, what do you think it the manpower costs to build the assets and code the functionality? Thank you.

  165. Now that is all too encompassing, what kind of game universe that plays a research facility? To make sense of this aspect require far greater “modules” for dogfight and FPS. Every game’s “research” was a part of LURE never a part of SYSTEM, In Star Craft and Civilization you tell some none-exist people to do “research” is the same as Power ranger change outfit. It is something you can only observe as an outsider, you are never able to perform such thing. How exactly do you make content and mechanic around this “research”? What is its effect on the game universe? I said before the role of all these shooting ships were already difficult to define, throw in hybrate and in class variants such as the Cutlass Freelancer, Strategic and tactical bomber are only going to make things far worse, because these things require a far too detailed universe to justify their existence. With things like Endeavor they need to cramp in an RTS for it to make sense.

  166. It seems we are getting into programming 101 here, Im sure these problem are not related to the difficulty of all encompassing space combat game. This kind shit would never happen with EA or Blizzard, nor it will ever happen with obscure Korean or Chinese MMO, nor it will ever happen with any online or off line game. If CIG is having trouble to do basic things in the textbook, then they are no where capable to do all the fancy things to run the show. Remember the time estimate of needing additional 2-5 years was assuming they had a team of expert who know how to do shits. Now we get monkey on the type writer, this would laterally take forever.

  167. If there is a pending lawsuit why has no papers been filed, these things are publicly available. I see no record of such a thing filed. Its been what 3 months since this all started it doesn’t take that long to at least file for a lawsuit whilst evidence is gathered. I see no records any where. So all i’m seeing is words in a blog – nothing more to blink at….

  168. SC is a record in many fronts, never once had a game build a franchise to this level buy selling promises, the game is still pre-alpha and you get this late sonic level zealot running around, remember it took SEGA several installment in 10 years to make a Chris Chan, we saw hardcore fans of overrated game, never saw hardcore fans of non-existing game. MLP is shit but at least MLP exist.

    Im getting a feeling that SC as its current state is running a religion, it is no longer a business. What CIG done all these year was cultivating faith, all the promo video, all the concept ships, all the big talks of how this game was great were agents of worship. I wonder if people will still cling on to this even after its eventual implosion, because death threat level of devotion to faith can no longer be penetrate by fact, the man’s soul was departed from reality, there is no turning back after this point.

    I think after the implosion of SC not only it will wash the landscape of crowd funding, it will become a topic in psychology and social science.

    A question remain is was the cult of SC intentional or a natural progress of things that out side of control? We are getting into conspiracy now. Was there a master mind that piloted all of this from beginning or just dumb luck?

  169. Chris wanted me to let you guys know that the Endeavor – which they have yet to build – for a game that doesn’t exist, is now on sale.

    The price? I’m glad you asked. But I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

    Every Star Citizen off his meds, needs one of these for the fleet. You would be supporting a great cause. Glue sniffing is a no-contact sport.

    Church of Christ Roberts of the Latter Day White Knights & Minions” commands you all to get one.

  170. Someone (not me) posted a new rumor today about more layoffs, consolidation etc. It’s a doozy.

    It’s simple. They’re doing two things:

    1. Slimming down because they are running out of money. When you find that you’re burning close to $3m per month, and you barely have 90 days worth of cash left – with no long term growth (no viable product), you have no choice. Suddenly your $3m a month goes down to $2m or even $1m depending on how deep the cuts. And you can’t cut too deep without affecting the project.

    2. Cleaning their books of bloat in order for it to look attractive to investors (yes, sources tell me they’re looking, no takers so far) during the months of traditional cash infusion (e.g. Citcon, Christmas) from whales.

    Problem here is that no investor is going to take on a ***videogame*** project with a $90m liability on the books, looming legal and/or Fed action and Chris Roberts at the helm. And all the noise and articles going up about this project being FUBAR aren’t going to help either.

    As of yesterday, 4 more people are now also out of work in the West Hollywood (LA) office; with more to come. The Austin studio is going to close soon. They have no choice but to reduce the number (currently 5) of studios if they want to trim costs. The problem they have with this is that there is no way this project gets completed in any meaningful fashion without at least 3 (US, Germany, UK) studios, given how the development is distributed. This is not going to help their burn rate because putting back 1 stick of gum to save on a $100 bill, is not going to help because all you do by saving $1m per month, is extend the payroll of those left by a few months. Then you’re back where you were previously if you are not making enough money to sustain the new burn.

    This industry is smaller than those on the outside think. Most of us know each other – especially the key players. I have a 30+ year history in it. And despite what raging fanboys on the Internet think of me, like Chris, I go way back with a lot of these people. So I know quite a bit about everything that is going on. Most of which I have no intentions of making public since that’s just going to tip their hand. Hence the lawsuit.

    There is a reason why anytime something new shows up in my blog or my social media feed, there is a new article. e.g. the state of the project, the departures, layoffs, Sandra’s pet projects shot with CIG equipment, paid for by a CIG subsidiary etc are just a tip of the iceberg.

    The mistake they – and most (esp White Knights) are making in all of this – is that they’re underestimating my reach and influence. Not to mention my credibility with the industry at large. The more they attack and make it about me, the more noise I will make. The more noise I make, the more traction it gets. There is a reason for that.

    This is not about people liking me. Anyone who knows my history knows that I simply don’t care enough about angry Internet people to care what they think of me. They can’t hurt me, and they don’t scare me. I’ve been very consistent about this. I don’t set out to win points. And if people think they can attack me and get away with it, or that I’m just going to take it lying down, they’re just incredibly naive.

    This project is FUBAR. It will never – ever – see the light of day. And if by some fluke it does, it won’t be like anything they promised. Either way, they’re screwed.

    As I said in my latest blog (Star Citizen – The Long Con), any senior developer or producer who looks at what they’ve promised to deliver and who thinks they can deliver this game within the next three years and for anything less than $150m, deserves to be out of a job. All you have to do is scroll down this page to see what remains to be delivered. Then compare to what has been thus far: 4 years + $90m later. I was being generous when I said they had delivered 25%. A friend of mine at a large publisher, sent me a message saying he pegs it at 15%.

    Aside from that, they have already helped me prove the case I was making with my first blog (Interstellar Citizens) of July 4th weekend. Four years and $90m later, they still don’t have the tech to build the “vision 2.0” game they are promising. Every single dev blog they have written, plus insider sources, proves that. They’re still building a tech and game in tandem. Which is why even the 1st episode of SQ42 is now pegged at almost 15 (!) months away, despite what Chris has been saying publicly. It was supposed to be out by now.

    And most of the funding spikes have come promises made. Promises which, along with the delivery schedules, have been consistently broken. Looking at this live spreadsheet, it’s easy to see how/when those spikes occur.

    I already commented on precisely what I think they’re doing now.

    And it didn’t have to be this way. They had a workable game in the original “vision 1.0” from 2012. Then Chris lost his way and decided to go all-in with “vision 2.0” once they figured out they had enough momentum and hype to keep getting money.

    The biggest problem is that at $90m, they have to deliver to 700K+ pre-existing gamers who don’t have to buy it again. Elite Dangerous sold over 800K units one year after release. The SC business model is not sustainable.

    And the “sunk cost fallacy” is what keeps driving the whales to keep putting money into the project. Though some are starting to raise alarms now that more and more stuff is coming to light.

    It didn’t have to be this way. They made a crucial mistake when they freaked out after my first blog, and made it personal. Then issued a bogus press release (like the crap they’re now releasing) making it look like I had somehow violated their ToS, thus warranting the closure of my account and subsequent refund. Only to come to realize that I’d never even downloaded the game. As in ever. And I explain why that is.

    So they had to backtrack on that one. Then tried to shake the narrative to “he was using Star Citizen as a platform to promote his game”. Which is just hilarious to me.

    The entire purpose of my even mentioning my games (I also mentioned ED) is because I have a long history of building engines and massive games. You don’t ask a brain surgeon about nuclear fission. It’s all about context. And it’s the reason that expert witnesses exist in some legal cases. Go ahead and put a brain surgeon on the stand to testify about the safety hazard of a workers comp lawsuit filed against a co running a nuclear facility. Good luck.

    Then they doubled-down with their bullshit response to my demand letter. And I made it public specifically to let the world see who we’re dealing with, despite their unflattering personal attacks in it. To the extent that three (one called my attorneys directly) of the attorneys who reached out to us to help Pro Bono, said they’d never seen anything like it before and that it was completely out of line. But Ortwin, the co-partner in this venture, is an entertainment attorney and a shyster. So that wasn’t surprising because we expected their response to be bullshit.

    They’re in so much shit right now, they’re not going to be able to find enough buckets to bail out.

  171. RyanC: It’s true. It is 100% fact. In fact, the clue was there all along since back in 2012. Watch this goddawful pitch video and take note at 00:37. That’s her and his two kids. And yesterday, someone dug up more information about her and tweeted it.

    And she’s head of marketing because, well, she’s Chris’s wife. No other reason.

    Here’s the thing, most White Knights have already come to the realization that it’s true. However, they’re still trying to promote the denial and the “so what?” narrative. It’s hilarious and sad.

    Meanwhile, since I’ve been going on and on about her credentials, she’s making the #1 social media rookie mistake: trying to deflect it by posting rubbish. I told her that at this rate, she might as well whip out her AAA and AARP cards as well. She tweeted something about being on a Dean’s list. Nothing to do with marketing. Nor a degree (let alone two that she claims to have). And certainly nothing about the non-existent degree from UCLA.

  172. Apparently, they believe that people changing in-game items somehow “dirties up” the database and someone then has to clean it up. Or whatever. I don’t know, i’m as baffled as you.

    It’s as if they think account data is stored in an excel sheet or something.

  173. “I think the really unfortunate part of all this is the potential damage to crowd funding trust if Star Citizen doesn’t pan out.”

    Maybe it’s simply time to move away from crowdfunding.
    Think of it as part of an evolution. If crowdfunding is starting to look shady to people – maybe it’s because it is getting overly shady. Which means it has to go as a model/paradigm.

  174. “What the hell happened to you?”

    He got older and wiser.

    “Facts are still true no matter who says them.”

    Ad hominem is the most common deflection tactic. And not just in this case.
    It’s up there, right next to the straw man argument.

  175. “Why do you think EVERYONE is doing crowdfunding these days?”

    Because it’s less of an obligation, because it’s a legal gray zone, and because it’s easier to swindle fans than an investor? ;P

  176. Walter: LOL!! Yeah, I’m five years older since Alganon. 🙂 I still manage that team and game btw. Got it on Steam a few months back too!

    Yeah, the thing with White Knights is that they’re in complete and utter denial, sparked by them being text book cases of sunk cost fallacy. Oh, and Stockholm’s Syndrome for good measure.

  177. Just like to let this here:

    These are the skills and capabilities of Sandi Gardiner, which was dealing with customer support in that time too, besides Marketing, paid with backers money and promised by his own advertising (The Pledge), to treat the backers with the same respect as a publisher.

    I wonder if that is the way that publishers were treated by Roberts and co. in their career.

    Definitely the degree of Marketing and “Health”, that she publicized to justify her position today on twitter, did not help her here. Besides, in my book, last that I heard people with a degree, first work in trainee or beginner positions, instead been assigned as VP of Marketing, managing HR and in the past customer support too, possibly earning a good share of profit with one of the higher salaries in a company.

    Obviously, nothing to do with nepotism, right?

  178. Imagined what made a guy which have a lead role, experienced, to be pissed of to the point to forget about the bad implications for himself, when sharing his feedback? Since I already know the behavior of the people that he was dealing without their masks shown to the general public, I understand perfectly the situation.

  179. “Atmospheric flight”

    Just fixing this. This is not part of their promises, feature list.

    “campaign / story missions”

    Fixing this too:

    This was in fact the game that would be produced if they achieved 2 million dollars in crowdfunding from different sources (Kickstarter and their own blog). While it was described in the advertising, it was described that they would make only the Squadron 42 part, if only 2 was gathered. The game that you mentioned, the so called PU, was an addition if they passed the 2 million dollars mark. Which happened pretty fast.

    And the premise of raising more funds, as advertised by the company, is that you would get everything in two years, Squadron 42 + PU, and hitting the higher stretch goals would guarantee that.

    “By the time their monstrosity is shoved out the door (if ever), it’ll be old news.”

    You are definitely right here. And you would be surprised WHO would agree with you here. Just look to this statement:

    “Really it is all about constant iteration from launch. The whole idea is to be constantly updating. It isn’t like the old days where you had to have everything and the kitchen sink in at launch because you weren’t going to come back to it for awhile. We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal. Any more and things would begin to get stale.”

    The question is. Knowing this reality of the market, specially how the market/people behave and stating such word of wisdom when was convenient to tell people that with less money he was capable to deliver into his promises, including time, basically, why Roberts throw away such reality? Is he not worried anymore with anything but money gathered from a few whales, regardless the sentiment of all the rest? What made him believe that wont get stale now? Because he releases alphas and demos? This is bullshit. Who pays attention to their numbers, can see that just a minority of the backers have actually been following their development, participating in their forums and playing the game. An absolute majority don’t make anything like that and seem only waiting, quiet. So how possibly it won’t get stale for them, the majority of his public? Fuck the majority of his public? That is the whole thing that does not makes sense, with who have that knowledge and still, ignore, pursuit more money, more cash grabbing and more ridiculous features, demanding a lot of rework. That only fits with someone looking or interested in money. Then, their attitude starts to make sense.

  180. And don’t forget about the metric shit-ton of physical items CIG needs to deliver eventually. Boxed games, posters, hardbound books/manuals, USB keys, ship models, etc. All of which have already been promised to and paid for by backers. These are not going to be cheap.

  181. I don’t believe it started off as a con. Perhaps even (though doubtful) that had they only got the $500k, maybe they could have delivered. But as more people put into the pot, the more they had to deliver, and the less they could actually do. What would have been in their best interest was build their original base game, and then build off from there with all the extras.

    However, now it is a con job, and they are just trying to find a way to expand their capital after spending all their money for basically nothing. More than than just hurting people who invested, they’ve hurt any other project that would seek out crowdfunding, as people will be less likely to donate through that system. Chris Roberts has done great harm to the indie market.

  182. “essentially 850 engineers employed for a year…or roughly 275 for 3 years.”

    Man power does not matter when you devote a large portion of it to staging shows and not doing presentations out of a working code base. Most of that code will be thrown away.This is just manpower for development This is not including the overhead of maintaining three different branches of code. Demo, Main, Star Marine. Many WK want to say its only 2 but there are branching for demos (despite what CIG alludes to) or else we would be able to do what they did in game.

    Add to that the time for merging branches, regression testing, folding in updates to cry engine because of massive changes to the engine on top of iterations of developement, I would say at least 30% of their programming and engineering/artists have loss over a year in man hours. You can’t get that back and WK don’t realize that and/or do not think it is an issue.

  183. In the respects of ship stats, I don’t think that they never set anything in stone earlier, and specifically related to that, I think that they were clear in their advertising, so, I don’t see that as a fair statement.
    In the respect of asking taxes to transfer/change ownership of a vehicle (spaceship) it has precedent in real life. At least in my country, whatever time that you transfer property you have to pay taxes, be a car or a home. In general who pay it is the interested party, in other words who is “buying”. In case of an exchange, usually involves two parties (two personas or a person and a car store for example), and at this case, a deal is made, that could involve one assuming all the transfer costs or sharing each one an equal part. So, it makes all sense to me, giving to this a second thought.

    BUT, morally speaking, the reason that they gave for that is bullshit. Like if they deciding yet if it will be credits or real dollars or whatever that will be used as tax for such transactions. If its just specific to in-game credits, I would be ok with that. But that been real dollars, its bullshit. Wasn’t the purpose of buying ships for real dollars just an excuse for donation and for fun, as stated by their advertising? So now, suddenly, it became an “exploitation” of people willing to exchange their ships and MUST to pay more real dollars for that? This is an absolute abuse, a total disrespect with the consumer from a company that all the time demonstrates that their deal is all about one-street road, where only they are important, people have to have all the patience of the world with them and they don’t give up of anything in favor of the customer.

    Example: They require for everyone (not just who voted for expanded scope) having to wait for longer for a new project that they decided to build in the top of the original one (and curious enough, this “new project” jeopardized some features of the original one, like the coop single player, and I am sure of it, a more limited PU mod private server scheme, the first confirmed and the second they gave one or two tips about such direction).
    But here’s the thing. Since 11 months ago (or less if you consider that they could start to gave such opportunities already during Beta), people should be able to acquire everything by gameplay without the need to spend more real dollars. So, it’s totally unfair that they expanded, obligated everyone to have more patience but still hamper the experience of everyone in favor of a pay wall living for longer. And don’t tell me about the REC bullshit. Because is that what that thing is. Bullshit.
    And the craziness is so huge that Ben Lesnick, 11 months behind of the schedule were people should be acquiring everything by gameplay, comes to public and start to claim that he couldn’t give away credits because that would mean lose millions of dollars in real money! lol
    They lost themselves. They simply do not recognize that are in debt and that they don’t have the votes of everyone, but just of a minority, for all this expansion that they made. So, they are totally looking only to the money perspective. It’s an obvious reflex of what their focus actually is.

    It’s simply an unfair business practice, disrespectful and embracing for years, the “privilege”/vip approach giving much more benefits for who spend more real dollars over all the rest, which in the end of the day, could have much more impact to spread good words about them, than a few whales spending crazy quantities of money. Guess what. In the medium/long term, this kind of disrespect will come back to bite them, as more these people who spend less, feel hampered, fell like second class citizens and conned. All that assuming very optimistically that magically they will pull this behemoth of. Still, their attitude is always under this direction.
    They are the gods. They do whatever they want, regardless how unfair they are and only looking to their benefit and not to the benefit of the customer. That is very amateur view that has not space in the modern market, and in the medium/long term, such thing that is in their veins, like in the blood of the attitude of this company, will come to bite them and destroy them for good. Because that is what happen with a starter company that screw with the majority of its public in favor of a few. They ended destroyed by a bad reputation, brought from the mouth of all those people that became second class citizens and were treated badly, just for the sake of a whales party that brings more benefit to the leaders of the project (personal profit) than for the project itself.

  184. death threats huh? not really surprised about that..
    But where is the official ramblings out of the corporate mouths of RSI.
    Prank or what ever! the first thing that they had to do go on the forums and defuse any stupid idea’s those idiots might get.

    Any respectable company would at least say something.. I can not find it.

    And in my opinion that guy should be prosecuted in what ever country he lives.


  185. They’ve had Cross Chassis Upgrades available for a long time, also being able to unmelt a ship was something you could do by sending a ticket to customer support. The only thing changing is they are creating a system that will allow people to perform these tasks more easily themselves. As for downgrading a ship, this has never been possible, the only way you could do this was melt your ship then rebuy a new ship. If you want to downgrade a ship, but keep the perks that you got from purchasing it a long time ago (some of these perks are no longer available for purchase), it’s might cost you a small fee. (final decision hasn’t been made)

    Definitions: Cross Chassis Upgrades: Ability to change your ship to something else
    Unmelt: Get a ship you thought you didn’t want anymore back.

  186. I am literally straddling the line here.

    One: I do not a stripped down version of this game. If that means they are going to raise millions of dollars in ship sales, well welcome to America. I don’t think it’s my place to tell you how to spend your money as much as I don’t think it’s your place to tell these people how to spend theirs. If I felt preventing people from making bad buying decisions fell on me, I’d be a perpetually busy person.

    Two: Your interference has the potential to lead CIG down a path to creating a stripped down game. They can say “Hey, we delivered our game” and not be lying. If I wanted a ship-to-ship only combat game with precious little depth, I’d be playing Elite right now.

    Three: The White Knights who back this game are insufferable. They literally love this game the way a three year old loves his mother. “Mommy is great, mommy is so smart, mommy is perfect” that they have abandoned all rational thought.

    They cannot explain how the person from April’s “meet the devs” put in her two week notice. They cannot rationally explain how multiple producers have left/quit this project to go work elsewhere…MID-PROJECT. Yeah, they may not stay around forever but I think lasting more than a year is not asking too much.

    Personal reasons? Can someone explain how quitting your job (presumably with benefits) makes personal reasons make any sense? I know when I’m having trouble in life, what usually sorts it out is quitting my only source of income.

    I am not a fan of you, or of these white knights. P.S. White knight seems to be a pretty fancy word for “myopic fanboy.”

    Just the idea that they hired a model/C actress to head up marketing…who does that? Seriously, in this economy where the U-6 unemployment rate is hovering around 10%, who goes “I want someone with zero industry experience and who cannot provide insight and guidance based on past projects, to manage what amounts to one of the most important things we do…SELL THE SHIT OUT OF THIS GAME!” Of course, they have a marketing budget of zero, which tells me how much faith they have in this person.

    How would you even meet her? If I started a business tomorrow, am I searching LinkedIn for models? What keyword would trigger HER resume coming up. I want to start a business, then hire Alyssa Milano to run my marketing department. Maybe I can get Tara Reid to head up the art department.

    Can someone please tell me the story of when CIG interviewed Sandi Gardiner? The internet seems to be scrubbed clean of Chris Roberts marriage, which is impressive, and if she is in fact his wife…that’s just so insane. It took a chance to humanize and share their lives with the backers and has literally turned it into something that is now such an elephant in the room, that if it escaped now it would be pretty damn strange.

    If true, I bet 85% of the people backing this game, would be floored to learn they are married. Again, either she’s ex-CIA and has done a great job covering her tracks, or someone over there is a pro at SEO.

    I will also say, that most of them have not been in, or worked in the business world. Phrases like “run rate” mean, to them, how fast you can sprint. They don’t get accountability. They don’t get the idea of “groupthink” that exists when everyone thinks the same thing. That being said…

    …as a private enterprise they are under no obligation to provide YOU with any of that. Again, free enterprise. Crowdfunding is this whole new thing, and I’m sure the laws and precedents are being written with every new case, but even if they were to be investigated, they results of that investigation should remain private. You can have your cake (accountability), but you do not get to eat it too (poring over the financial details).

    I have always liked working for private companies, because shareholders suck and all they think about is quarterly profits. I do not want that to change, but there should be someone with a CPA attached to their name keeping track of things.

    They should WANT to provide that information, and I would think backers/investors would care but I know that about 5% of their backers would be able to do anything with those numbers and I am being generous with the 5%. Very generous.

  187. Im very confused now, what is this “downgrade” they are talking about, and why this is sensitive to web design? Manually edit database? WTF is going on? Is this how you install or remove gear? What other game in the universe had a tech trouble with doing that?

  188. Well, here is a nice sample for the advertiser from lovely germany: it’s material from 2003/2004 to promote the sells for the vip mediafonds. The promised results are mind blowing – to know that Ortwin was involved and that this was nothing sort of a problem is just ridiculous.

  189. I think the really unfortunate part of all this is the potential damage to crowd funding trust if Star Citizen doesn’t pan out; it’s unfortunately perplexing to me that successes are starting to be exception.

    I accept that crowd funding is not buying a game. Development is complicated and things go wrong and over budget, but if they can’t pull something together with 90M (close a triple AAA budget), that’s a little frustrating.

    The aggravating part is that crowd funding seems to be becoming a false profit when it really could have been the saving grace of the industry. I suppose I still hope for their success (though I am not a backer or anything of the like), but between this and merely looking at the unmitigated ambition of the project (which seems to lack realism for their team size) it’s not good signs.

    Is it too much to wish for someone building a decent playable game for 90M? There is something wrong with the industry when that’s too optimistic, and that worries me.

  190. Mr. Derek Smart

    What the hell happened to you? What happened to the loud, aggressive jerk I used to love to hate back during the Alganon dust-up?

    You’re still loud, you’re still aggressive, but I think I’ve turned a corner in that I don’t think it matters if you’re right. I really want to thank you for bringing this to light and compiling the information.

    The Escapist article you pointed to is positively crawling with White Knights now. “You’re citing Derek Smart as a source?” they crow, “Article instantly invalidated! You can’t trust a word that guy says, he’s been a troll for as long as there’s been an Internet!”

    Facts are still true no matter who says them. And bullshit is still bullshit even if it’s from a guy I really want to like (sorry Chris).

    If *the Devil himself* appeared in a puff of brimstone and told me my mechanic was ripping me off, I’d naturally be a little skeptical. But if he then popped the hood and explained in detail where the guy was cutting corners, eventually I’d have to come to terms with the fact that it was more important that I’d need to find a new mechanic than worry about exactly who tipped me off.

  191. Honestly, I do not think you can reasonably say that it does not matter how much money they raise.

    What if they raise another 40 million? 60 million? What if the world just throws money at them? (which is really what seems to be happening, and almost defies logic)

    Are you arguing that they either are incompetent to complete the game, or, rather, that they are unable to fund completing the game?

    Or do you think that it is both?

    There obviously seems to be a large talent pool at CIG that can produce amazing assets. No one can argue that.

    The scope of the project is large, granted, but is that not the standard that you yourself would attempt, given the same resources they have access to?

    I mean, gun to your head (its an idiom, and maybe not the best choices of words given the events of today), wouldn’t you yourself attempt the BDSSE if you had unlimited resources?

  192. It’s true that it may be easier to con crowdfunders, but is it not also the smarter way to fund projects?

    Why do you think EVERYONE is doing crowdfunding these days?

    Derek himself is doing it through early access games (Which is just a slightly different way of saying buy something before its complete because you believe in it), it’s just the SMART (See what I did there) way to fund your projects.

    It comes with its own set of problems of course, such as people seeing incomplete versions of your product, and some demands for more publicity then a published title might have (Think Fallout 4, I mean we didn’t even hear about it until a few months ago!).

    I DON’T, however, think it says
    “i’m really not sure i can pull this off and i don’t want to be caught with my pants down”

    I think successful crowdfunded games are basically a statement of a wide selection of people that are saying “I want this, and I think you can do it”

    There’s a reason the saying goes “Put your money where your mouth is”.

  193. This has to be the most absurd “technical” explanation i’ve read all month.
    And it would’ve been one even if i weren’t a backend developer.

    Also, this gem of a comment:
    “Apparently you’ve never spent a day in the internet mines, shoveling database.”

    It’s so bizarre i can’t figure out if it was a joke or serious.
    Hopefully the former, but somehow, i don’t count on it.

  194. Here’s the 6 Stages of Whiteknightery:
    – Interested
    – Backer
    – White Knight (blind devotion; completely devoid of any critical thinking)
    – Zealot <- Accelerwraith
    – Psychotic Zealot <- Carlos "cyberkada" Bott
    – Prison Riot (NEW. This is when a Backer goes to prison for breaking the law; you know like killing someone or burning down their house because they didn't like what they said about their favorite thing)

    Hopefully nobody graduates to Prison Riot. o _ o

  195. Looks like some people are finally waking up and deciding that the money and emotional capital spent is no longer worth it. This thread has a large number of posters in it upset. Apparently RSI is constantly changing how certain ships work and that has people who bought these ships understandably pissed. So RSI will let you change your backer package if you aren’t happy with the changes to the ship you bought.

    Lo and behold, it seems a new problem has arisen with this “fix”. People are doing it “too often” so to stop “abuse” RSI has decided to start charging youmore money for the privilege.

    Let that sink in for a moment……

    First off, RSI is constantly changing basic things that should have been set in stone 2 years ago. That should be red flag #1. Second, and most importantly, RSI can change their mind every 5 minutes and we are just supposed to sit there and accept that development will take an extra 3 years with no complaint, but if a backer who trusted them years ago to come through on their promises changes their mind they have to pay a fee to do so! Anyone still sitting on the fence here has probably been impaled by a picket and unable to move at this point 🙂

  196. “It is my understanding that CR had backers lined up prior to the kickstarter, but with a crowd funding campaign as successful as it was, he decided not to go that route.”

    What, because it’s easier to con crowdfunding backers than venture capital investors? ;P

    Low blow, i know, but that’s precisely how it reads. Crowdfunding mean less obligation and less accountability. On one hand, from a business PoV, of course you’ll rather take the lesser risk option (for you). On the other, it says “i’m really not sure i can pull this off and i don’t want to be caught with my pants down”.

  197. P.F/: It doesn’t matter how much money they raise, the project is FUBAR. There is no coming back from that.

    They will raise some money from CitCom. Like they did with Gamescom. But at their burn rate, it simply won’t matter. It’s too late. Which is why they are doing layoffs. I reported earlier today that people have been let go from the West Hollywood office as well.

    And no investor or publisher is going to put money in a project with $90m+ liability on the books, looming Federal & legal action and with Chris Roberts at the helm.

  198. Wow… these are such fun to read through. The Farce is strong with this one. The OP of that thread reminds me of that poor ROTC kid from the end of Animal House who tries to calm the panicked crowd by screaming “STAY CALM! ALL IS WELL!” right before he gets trampled.

    It does give me some hope though that more and more posters on the official forums are challenging some of the more outrageous claims and ostrich-like behavior. Though I noticed that even most of the Black Knights make it to point to say how much they hate Derek Smart…. even though they are stating nearly all of the the exact same points you’ve been bringing up. Oh well, I suppose as long as eyes are being opened and a dialogue is being started that is all that matters.

  199. Glad I never put money into Sham Citizen, shame to, could have been a nice game. The only good thing about this whole mess is I’m enjoying sitting on the bleachers, eating my popcorn (far far far away), and watching Derek Smart dump bags upon bags of RSI’s bullshit behind an industrial fan aimed at right back at them. Keep up the good work Mr. Smart, I’m rooting for ya.

  200. It is my understanding that CR had backers lined up prior to the kickstarter, but with a crowd funding campaign as successful as it was, he decided not to go that route. (based on statements CR & co made)

    If funding is truly running out on the crowd funded side, is it not conceivable that those same backers might still be willing to fund, now that much more of the game is complete?

    Also, money running out in the next month seems to be unlikely with the incoming cash flow from citizencon in just over a week. Lets be honest, regardless of how you feel about their methods, the live demos bring in a massive amount of cash and interest in the project. If they can deliver a fraction of what they are talking about just for this show (And I’m sure that they will derek, you can say what you will, people will still be impressed and want to be involved), just based off previous live events they have done October will probably be one of their most profitable months yet. I would not be surprised if they bring in at least 4 million by the end.

    Christmas will most likely see them cresting 100 million, regardless if they even release SQ42 or not.

    You have to admit, the hype train is very much in favor of star citizen at this point.

    I am starting to think of Star Citizen being the BDSSE as tinkerbell. If you clap loud enough and believe hard enough she will live.

  201. All the assholes aside, thanks for checking into what maybe a Mickey Bricks style long-con or, at the other end, a highly ambitious dude that just fucked up again and again and again…I too contributed and want the kick-ass game to be a reality. But I will be beyond pissed if this is a frickin’ hoax. But I think answering the question of which it is can be furthered significantly by just asking what have other companies spent to produce their games of a similar nature? The Star Wars games would be the first place to look. We also need to factor in the MMO aspect of this so then who are the ones to check? CCP obviously. 85mil is serious a shit load of cash…essentially 850 engineers employed for a year…or roughly 275 for 3 years. So yeah, they DEFINITELY should have been able to put something our for release by now. Further, I always expect there to be some feature\mission creep with stuff like this – after all, we are human and therefore, eternally and infinitely flawed – but still, if RSI is\was truly serious about putting out a product, one would think they’d take a 100k from the 85mil to add one PM to the mix so they could manage a roadmap and get a base version released. Then, one you get traction, grow it from there much like was done with EVE. Just my $0.50 (inflation)…

  202. Streamlining is an euphemism for laying people off. It’s like people using the PC “undocumented immigrant” instead of illegal alien.

  203. Well put. That truly is the core of the issue.

    And it’s not just about backers ponying up – everything seems to be aligned and intoned that way. Don’t say bad things about CIG and SC, they’ll lose backers and we won’t get the game! Don’t sue CIG and SC, they’ll have to pay up for legal services and we won’t get the game! Don’t tell people not to buy concept art for non-existant assets, there won’t be any money for the assets!

    And on and on and on.

    I haven’t even thought of looking it that way until you’ve mentioned it.
    Spot on!

  204. Gary: yes. each spike corresponds to an event. That event is based on promises made. Those promises keep being broken. They get to still keep the money.

    Think about that.

  205. rob: no publisher will touch a project with a $90m liability + potential lawsuit looming + potential Fed investigation looming + Chris Roberts at helm

    Not to mention the fact that this game, any version of it, is still another 3+ years and $100m+ (at the current burn rate) away.

  206. we are still researching into that. we have some stuff from Germany which are being translated by some friends of ours helping with the research. if you have any material you’d like to share, please post the links.ty

  207. Ugh… Every time I read one of the linked to RSI forum threads I see the same thing, White Knights with their heads so far in the sand they may as well be exploring for oil. Here’s a prime example:

    This game has been in development for 3 years and its the biggest game ever to be built. Other games of similar size take 4-5 years, some have taken a little longer. SC would have been released by now under its initial design of what is basically now Elite: Dangerous.

    So given the facts I’ve said here, SC should be released year 2019 at the earliest given the comparison to other similar games.

    So you feel fucking lucky that CIG is aiming the PU finished late 2016 at the earliest. We’ve realised this since Gamescom 2014.

    Who can say such nonsense with a straight face? For starters, there’s that “3 years” lie again. It seems we actually get an admission from a WK that the initial vision was doable, and in fact, already done by someone else. Biggest game ever? Not even Roberts is making that claim! . And finally… so he, and presumably everyone else, is ok with a 2019 release date now? Talk about sado-masichism… No one bothered calling the poster out on any of this.

    And here we come to the ultimate cognitive dissonance of the thread. The overwhelming bulk of the replies love these sham conventions because….. it brings in more backers and more money! (Like an Amway conference) Don’t these guys realize that’s whats wrong with the SC direction in the first place? These newer backers and their new cash ruined the original vision and even ruined vision 2.0 in my opinion. What do they think will happen when a new batch brings more money with them? Will we see them clamor for vision 3.0? Now with mobile phone support, Candy Crush-like matching games and Clash of Clans-style invasions?

    No one even touched on the fact that having convention appearances to hype a game that doesn’t even have a real alpha is beyond insane.

  208. This is for both Kxmode and DSmart. Read that promise again in the ToS, the terms of that promise haven’t been reached yet. You are crying wolf before the time is up so that if/when they are due to share this information you will say it’s all because of you!

  209. Read that promise again in the ToS, the terms of that promise haven’t been reached yet. You are crying wolf before the time is up so that if/when they are due to share this information you will say it’s all because of you!

  210. Wow – if you pay attention to the column that lists how much money they made on a specific day, you see the large numbers directly correspond to events – Gamescom, demos, or most often, ship sales.

    They’ve created a system that allows them to print money on demand.

    I’m feeling some cognitive dissonance here – I’m either sad that they’re taking advantage of people, disgusted that people are falling for it (and HARD), or angry with myself for not thinking of it first.

  211. well I was going to buy at the anniversary date, but no longer. The delays are becoming unreasonable and reading your blog now I understand why. thanks 😀

  212. Assuming you’re right, what will do you think will happen once CIG ran out of money?
    Will they find new investors or even try to sell the whole thing to a big publisher?

  213. “Stretch goals ended damn near 30 million dollars earlier.”

    This to me is the heart and soul of the issue. They’re holding this “game” hostage. Backers feel if they don’t keep ponying it up, the project will dissolve. Some don’t care, but many do. Is their money worth less than the money of those people who keep chanting that they can afford to lose it?

    The stretch goal dollar amounts were never calculated accurately. They don’t have enough money to finish. They need more. When does it end?

  214. I’m not inclined to believe that i can convince you.. not when others, with more patience than me, have tried to reason with you and failed.

    Fact1: I based my opinion of you on your posts, not on the crap that others write about you. Your responses to me are in the same vein as your other responses.. always on the defence, always ready to strike back.
    Fact2: You yourself are guilty of insinuating stuff without proof, just think about all the comments you made about the fact that your vendetta wasn’t caused by your banning, but by the actions “of a certain someone inside CIG who did something terrible to you”. Just state “who did what” and show proof of their actions.
    Fact3: Your behaviour is just as toxic as the pro SC commenters on all the other fora/comment sections (where do you get the time to respond “everywhere???”). This behaviour invalidates the points you try to make. Your personal attacks on people, your zealous responses, your flooding of all things SC / DS related.
    Fact4: I never said i trusted CIG and their accounting, nor did i say i believe they’re ‘evil at heart’. The only thing i’m saying is that the only way to get to the bottom of this is by keeping the discourse ‘clean of toxicity’.

    or in simple words: “act like a scorned kid.. be treated like a kid”. Currently you’re acting like a kid so i can’t take you seriously 🙂

  215. Any words on the blog about the movies of CR and his pal Ortwin and the strange ways of collecting money (nearly 500.000 euro) for this adventure? I just asking, because I’m very interested in your findings compared to mine… Ever get a chance to take a closer look on some of the “selling docs” from the banks (vip 3 and vip 4) during the years 2003/2004?
    And why the f… seems no one showing at least a bit interested on this matter? Hello?

  216. I don’t think this start out as a con originally, somehow it gradually become one in the process of harvesting more money. What happened can still be a mystery before the con is imploded, but one thing for sure is the cause of every ill fate of this project is CR himself. What kind people propose himself as an immortal entity in the show? CR’s behavior is on the level of teenager fan fiction writer, it was this kind of arrogance that derailed the SC and all kind shit gone wrong. I think everyone in CIG is treating him like a kid that cosplaying in a comiccon, he is a hill bully with cool toys, Sandra is his mom. This kind of mentality to handle a 90m business is equivalent of 90m set on fire. Form all that promo video, Im increasing getting a message that says: Everyone come to play with cool kid Chris Robert, we are all assuming the role of some star fleet officer in a sand box at a public park.

  217. come on this is just because this game will leave you out of work the game is a sim of life in the year 3000 and thats what i have backed and i will wait for it even if it dose not come out till 2020 and i have to spend 1000 on pc tec to play it i am 32 and i dont want just a game i want a vr life in something akin to star wars

  218. heh, don’t look at me, I’m not the one doing those things. I keep trying to focus on Star Citizen; others keep trying to focus on me and my games.

    And yes, I agree that they should have focused on SQ42, got that out, then go crazy on everything else.

    And no, the current dev path is the wrong approach. There isn’t a single industry producer or lead developer that I know, and have spoken to, that agrees with their approach. Seriously, why does anyone think I wrote that first blog, talking about specifically that.

    To wit: Four years and $90m later, they still don’t have an engine to power the game they’ve promised. Let that sink in.

  219. That was not mine but it echoes my sentiments exactly but people don’t feel its an issue. We were demoed multi-two Gamescoms in a row and have yet to see it in our hands. The fact that isn’t an issue and they readily report all the time devs spend staging is amazing to me.

  220. Are people talking more about concerns, doubts, and questions regarding Star Citizen, or are people talking more about the accomplishments of Derek Smart and the accomplishments of Chris Roberts?

    I have yet to see the concerns, doubts, and questions about Star Citizen addressed, assured, and eased. Instead, I hear more about how Derek Smart is a jealous failure and how much a joke Line of Defense is. It shouldn’t be about you, Line of Defense, or the 3000 AD series. The success or failure of the previously mentioned has nothing to do with the success or failure of Star Citizen.

    I’d rather have discussions on how to make Star Citizen the game it’s supposed to be (or salvage it into something that’s presentable, depending on how dire things really are), but nowadays, that quickly morphs into Derek Smart and it all goes downhill from there (which may or may not be what RSI actually wants) – “LOOK! DEREK SMART!” is easier to address than the possibility of ghost towns in the Star Citizen Persistent Universe, after all.

    On the topic of Star Citizen, I think they should have tackled Squadron 42 first, then slowly shifted to the Persistent Universe as SQ42 neared completion, but that’s the opinion of an outside layman – I wouldn’t know if the current direction is the right way or not.

  221. Jesus christ, these perpetual deflections are starting to get really tiring.

    “You’ve got your refund, what are you fighting for?” — What does that have to do with anything? Does that magically make all the CIG and SC issues go away?

    “You suck as a developer!” — Aaaand?

    “Your games were a failure too!” — Which… somehow makes SC less of a failure?

    “You never launched the game!” — I wasn’t looking down when i stepped into dog poo. That must mean my shoe is actually clean.

    “Elite: Dangerous didn’t stick to the release date either!” — Which… magically makes SC not sticking to the release date okay?

    … and on and on and on.
    I can’t even read that crap anymore. I’m honestly surprised at how you’ve still got the patience to reply to it.

  222. Thorne: The SEC won’t have a file unless there is an active investigation. And if there is an active investigation, they won’t release any information (e.g. via FOIA) which would taint it. It is similar to why the Warrant Canary was created by tech companies in order to get around govt. orders of compliance.

    So atm, all they have are the many complaints which – I know for a fact – have been filed since I posted how to do this back in July.

    As to the attorney. The reason that I made the letter public is because I wanted to show the audacity and conduct of the people we are dealing with. SEVERAL attorneys (who I don’t even know) have reached out to me in email (one actually called my attorney) to let us know just how unprofessional they thought the letter was. Two offered their services – Pro Bono – if I needed it. And in those discussions, the theme was the same: this kind of response is what you’d get form a shyster or ambulance chaser.

    I know I have nothing to hide, or I would not have released it. And even so, I would have redacted those parts. There is always a reasonable explanation for everything. And that letter they wrote, was already expected. Which is why I had written this Gaming Urban Legend blog ahead because I knew they were going to try and attack my credibility, my credentials, my talent, my past industry shenanigans etc. Take it all away, and the expectation is that we cut to the chase. But we didn’t think that they’d go this low.

    As my attorney said in his response, it’s all just a deflecting tactic. They will fail.

  223. Andreas: Yes, it’s true. The reason being I paid for a “game”. There is no “game”. So what am I supposed to play exactly?

    The choice is up to each individual if they want to play that half-arsed crap they have, or wait. Most of us have dozens of Steam games we bought and have yet to play. So what? e.g. there are no less than six games I backed but haven’t touched. e.g. Shroud Of The Avatar, Stasis, Into The Stars, Satellite Reign

    So what does my not downloading or playing the game, have to do with anything? How does it take away from my quest for accountability? Or for me to comment on the messed situation that the project is now in?

    For the record, I have access to no less than seven accounts through friends of mine and to which I have the credentials. That’s how I was able to check out the last AC flight model (still a mess) and handling, as well as the Social Module.

  224. He wasn’t asking a question that I could see. He was offering suggestions. I read it and moved on. I don’t have to respond to every single comment.

  225. Rayvyn: I think I have addressed this before. If I was making 2D platformer games, I won’t have the experience and talent needed to make an accurate deduction about why I think this project will fail, due to insurmountable goals, lack of tech, talent etc. So my games – and my 30+ (!) experience in making huge and vastly complex games – are the only yardstick that I can use. After all, you don’t ask a brain surgeon to comment on rocket science.

    And your post was approved because in your colorful language – which showed your blatant disregard for facts or any sensibilities – you highlight exactly the stupid argument that White Knights are making.

    Line Of Defense is in Early Access. Which means that it is still in development. It’s nowhere near finished. It has bugs (not so many now). But as with my over a dozen games, it stands a much better chance of being completed and delivered than Star Citizen; which will never see the light of day.

    There is no fair comparison between the two games. Other than visual fidelity, there is nothing special about SC today, tomorrow – or ever. That’s a fact.

  226. Exitt: Yeah, before I broke the news – again – nobody knew what was going on at Santa Monica. So the media started hitting them for comment.

    Their response is the usual PR bullshit. It’s rubbish.

  227. Nice connection, but that pattern is hardly unique to Riot or, potentially, CIG.
    It’s something of a norm, where notorious bubble-bursting failures are concerned.

    Most recently, i’m reminded of MtGox and Karpeles.

  228. Mark: Thanks. What some people are missing is that this whole thing was never about me. I wrote one blog based on my observation. They made it personal and lost their minds in the process. Then tried to make it look like I had done something wrong, using this farce to promote my game etc. That proved to me that they had something to hide. The rest is history. This was all on them.

    I don’t care how many people hate me, I know I’m right and that in time, I will be vindicated.

  229. Its been going on the whole time but the last few status updates its really blatant. A large amount of development resource was being diverted from development to support staging the demos for conventions. Multiple personnel from multiple studios and the last report said they were preparing to support yet another demo at citizencon. I made a post saying they need to chill with conferences and staging demos and only show things that are doable in the current release.

    A mod moved it and modified it to a concern and made it a poll. 18% agreed it was a concern the rest said the demos were paid for by subscribers not backers. My point was even if that is true:
    A: Subscriptions don’t cover the cost for the developer time
    B: Nothing can get back the time spent on staging code that will essentially be thrown away

    Somehow they feel the demo code is rolled into the main build and usable. It isn’t. They also think having three different builds (staging, main, Star Marine) doesn’t come with a significant amount of overhead. I don’t believe for a second they used the main build for the demo despite some saying they didn’t branch. If that were true we would have seen all that weeks ago.

    They say the demos are need to continue fundraising. Stretch goals ended damn near 30 million dollars earlier. Why does he need to continue raising funds versus focusing on finishing?

  230. Are you high right now? What are you going on about them “controlled the narrative”. If you mean they control is with incessant lies, then yeah. I guess.

    You can’t talk about “success” where there is project that stands zero chance of seeing the light of day.

  231. Breakleft: I was torn about it. So I went digging. Once I discovered that he had posted it to a Reddit thread, I was cleared (by legal) to post it. Then he pulled it, and reached out to me to remove it from my blog. So I did (see the update), though people already had archives of it in various places.

  232. Thank you for this. I wanted to invest when it first came out, but so glad I was broke. There’s a lesson in all of this… more money isn’t always the answer. And, don’t be impressed with a flashy video.

  233. Hi Derek,

    in the RSI letter its being argued that you didn’t install the game. I couldnt find a reply from you on that topic. Is it true?

    Thank you,

  234. The “product” is a loose collection of tech demos.
    There’s really nothing more to be said about it than that.

    I can’t spak for Mr. Derek, but i have been trying it out ever since the Kickstarter days. It was a piece of crap. It still is a piece of crap. Yes, that’s a personal opinion from a backer. Take it as a data point – you haven’t even offered one to substantiat your claim of “majority”.

  235. You’re still not getting it, jcrg99.

    The *EU LAW* says you are eligible to a refund *no questions asked* up to 14 days *after the delivery of goods*, i.e. the finished game.

    The TOS is irrelevant.

    The right to a refund in EU is unwaiverable. Even if the TOS said you cannot ask for a refund, you would, as a EU citizen, still have a right to refund.

  236. I got a nice laugh out of the Iraqi guy comparison, I remember seeing that live back during the first Gulf War and laughing my ass off. I read some of your comments about “Star Citizen” and many of them seem right. There is feature creep but you expect that a lot these days. I also read your comments about “Elite: Dangerous” and there was feature creep there to but they did deliver. I’ve played Elite:Dangerous and it is a wonderful game with lots of stuff to do. Of course all games get boring if you play them long enough but I think “Elite: Dangerous” will be around a while especially with the new features they’re adding in a month or so. Here is where I take issue with you. You criticized a game you don’t think will deliver, that’s fine. But in doing that you tried to promote your own game and that is just not right. What makes it worse is that the game you promoted while putting down a game that hasn’t been released yet, and that game you promoted turned out to be a huge pile of stinking crap. That game you promoted has so many bugs in it and the vase majority of people who played and reviewed this game have also come to the same conclusion. That game you promoted is a huge stinking pile of crap. I just wish you could have stayed on topic and not tried to promote your own game in comments about another company.

  237. Having been an indie dev for almost 15 years, I could make a decent wager that an indie game of this scope with Roberts at the helm probably wouldn’t see the light of day. $90M is just too much to keep a focused, consistent vision on a game design with 500+ employees and meet the sort of deadlines required for a project of this scope.

  238. Mr. Smart,

    First and foremost, please excuse any typos as I am writing this from my iPad connected via RDP.

    As you had told me in your previous blog, my rather brief analysis of the situation barely scratched the surface of the troublesome actions taken by Cloud Imperium Games. I think at this point, reading the rather unprofessional legal response from Cloud Imperium Games’ counsel, the actions they have taken including the firing of employees as well as effectively shutting down every thread on their forum regarding their financials, and the rather suspicious development of this “Gemini 42” production company under Sandy Gardner with the same principle address of Cloud Imperium Games Santa Monica it is pretty simple to say that the actions speak even louder than the evidence against them.

    As I am currently at my company’s East Coast headquarters I took a trip to D Street NW here in Washington and stopped by the SEC to see if I could obtain some information regarding Cloud Imperium Games and they were unable to find any filings with the SEC during the allotted time that I had for visiting the SEC.

    The reason I bring this up is that, in a now deleted thread, I made the point to say I took a trip to the SEC to see if I could garner some information on CIG because we, as backers of the company, have a right to know because while we may not be investors in the traditional sense of the practice in that we didn’t pay for a piece of the company, we still payed in a way that is far different than say pre-ordering a game.

    I was challenged in this thread by someone who said “if you pre-order Uncharted 4 that doesn’t give you the right to see Naughty Dogs financials” but not only is a pre-order a totally different type of transaction but I can get a ho,d of Naughty Dogs financials and if I am not mistaken, they are published on Naughty Dogs corporate site.

    This is similar to how I own a Tesla Model S P85D but I don’t invest in Tesla, I do however read their investor information which includes filings for earnings ( for the record) so this is not only an issue of CIG hiding something but an issue of most people not grasping the gravity and implications of the situation.

    Cloud Imperium Games’ actions speak far more than any statement they could have made. You were willing to pay with your own money for the forensic accounting yet this was rebutted in such a way to make it seem like no backer has the right to know the financial status of CIG.

    I have a feeling CIG is burning through cash flow at an unprecedented rate and the dramatic downsizing now occurring is a result of that. Viewing Glassdoor reviews of the company suggest it is not a healthy environment nor does the letter regarding the one person who quit.

    I have a few thousand in the game and while I cam afford to lose the money, others cannot and this is why I now fully support the endeavour to determine what exactly is happening at CIG.

    As I stated before, I am in the Aerospace, Defense, and High-Tech industries and that’s really all I can draw on when trying to piece together CIG. We make breakthroughs all the time and deliver things that others say could not be done but the applications are different. There’s a saying I like to use, “we promise the moon but aim for the stars” but CIG is promising the stars and there is no way they can deliver on their promises given their financials and technological limitations. Not to mention the corporate environment of CIG.

    CIG pretty much promised what I can say is likely everyone’s dream science fiction multiplayer game but poor management, execution, and likely extreme misuse of the funds will likely result in CIG’s collapse.

    What also sort of gets at me is that their so called counsel who is one of the most unprofessional I have ever seen, decided to bring up the fact you filed for Chapter 11 protection. There are a number of reasons an entity might do this and it is completely irrelevant to what is trying to be achieved here.

    I sincerely hope that you are able to get to the bottom of this Mr. Smart. I am really good with numbers (minus statistics; I can do extremely complex math but statistics gets me every time) a d the numbers din’t add up and the actions of CIG are actions an entity would take to try and hide something.

    The collapse of CIG, the largest and most ever crowdfunded project won’t just have repercussions on the video game industry but it will likely kill any and all confidence in crowdfunding which has been a source of many great products over the past few years.

  239. Doesn’t CIG call this “Streamlining” as do most other businesses with they start “clearing space” and laying off individuals..

  240. Feature creep is what will kill SC. They started out with a fairly modest (compared to what it’s grown into) vision of what was basically an online version of Privateer, or an MMO version of Freelancer’s multi-player, pick whichever example works best for you. Then they started adding stuff on. Atmospheric flight, a full FPS component, campaign / story missions, and so on. They got ahead of themselves and bit off way more than they can chew, and I agree that they’re in full-on crisis mode.

    A shame. It looked promising at first, but as the years went by and they kept selling non-existent ships for exorbitant amounts of money, my fraud sense started tingling. The fact that Roberts’ reaction to the rather room temperature response of the gaming media to the very underwhelming and grossly delayed Arena Commander module was to throw a temper tantrum and threaten to withdraw all media access to the project turned the warning buzzer into a klaxon.

    Sad thing is, even IF our senses are wrong and the project releases as advertised, it’s going to be too late. Elite Dangerous has met with success, and is expanding into atmospheric flight and planetary exploration very soon. No Man’s Sky (the one I’m excited about) will be released with full exploration of millions (even billions) of randomly-generated planets and interstellar phenomena. Even some of the smaller projects like Rogue Galaxy and Starpoint Gemini 3 (I’m a fan of that series) look quite promising as well.

    By the time their monstrosity is shoved out the door (if ever), it’ll be old news. Plus, have you SEEN the Wing Commander movie? Roberts made Uwe Boll’s horrid video game adaptations look halfway decent with that cinematic travesty. Sorry, don’t want that guy anywhere near my games.

    Ah well. At least the meltdown is / will be fun to watch. StarFanBoys are fun and easy to rile up.

  241. Mr Smart, I have to say I’m impressed with your dedication and honesty to this cause. I appreciate your blunt personality on the matter as well.

  242. Derek:

    RE: When I offered $1m back in July to bring accountability to this project in order to prove that I was right, people thought I was bluffing. Now I’m just going to spend it on legal action, investigation etc.

    Reminds me of this scene from the 1996 film Ransom

  243. After seeing the down sizing and all that is going on it does make me wonder about the future of SC — It looks like it would be everything I would want to see in a spacesim, Personally I did expect a lot more from CR, but hey I am an optimist shoot me for having hope in a project right?

  244. dsmart:

    “Back when I gave Chris money, I didn’t – for one minute – take into account the fact that he was going to revert to his old ways and screw up again. I was willing to give him a chance. ”

    May I ask what Chris did back in Wing commander days that caused issues? I thought WC was a success

  245. This whole thing reminds me of a notorious mobile gaming company from the early 2000’s in my country. Figured that you could use an entertaining watch, they made a documentary about it, and how their speed blindness resulted in them wasting 20 million dollars for parties and marketing, without them being able to produce a single competent mobile game:

    Not encouraging you to engage in any form of piracy, just mentioning that certain immensely popular video website has all of it uploaded.

  246. “You, and several of the pro-SC commenters, fall into that category.”

    No. I don’t fall in that category. I am sorry if I am not convinced to change my mind easily as you would like, by whatever salesman argument or things like “hey, this is jcrg99, he is a sexual harasser of members of CIG Staff”, or “what you are talking about, did not you see the official answer of Ben Lesnick saying that its all a conspiracy and nobody is concerned?”, just because there are more than one replying to me the same bullshit.

    “On a deep personal level i distrust people who are overzealously, without any display of doubt or the capacity to change their stance, attack or defend a cause. You, and several of the pro-SC commenters, fall into that category.”

    Your analysis was very superficial and weak to you take conclusions. I took around 4 months to raise my suspicions about the project and 3 years more to have my current conclusions about the project and its leaders. I went deep in an investigation. Very very deep. I gave to CIG the benefit the doubt and tested the waters. Just to see their reaction that corroborated my suspicions. Basically everything that I have been saying along these 3 years, are all happening (faster than I actually expected myself).

    You are just a bad judge, as most of people are. I am not.

  247. 1. What’s your problem with Sandi Gardner? She might not have any experience in the gaming industry, but – wife of Chris Roberts or not – she’s doing a fantastic job as VP of marketing. There are 90 million pieces of proof for that

    A drug dealer make easy money pretty soon and pretty fast too. Its just sad that they all die younger.

    2. As “Kristoffer” points out in a very early comment, this is all still very vague.

    No. It’s not. It’s your point of view that probably is or biased or very superficial. I mean very very very very superifical. To the point of not understanding basic statements of laws and authorities.

    3. You continually misuse the term “public money”. What the Pentagon is spending on the F-35 is public money – money coming from VAT, income tax etc. etc. from ALL people within the US, collected under threat of imprisonment and watched over by a group of elected and accountable representatives (in theory at least). CIG’s funds are not public money.

    Semantics. They are not “public” money of the public of a country, but they are money from their “public” (backers), for which they are accountable for in the event of non-delivering in the period promised. Which everyone knows that they won’t deliver, because they already announced it. Announced this and many other things that they said publicly that, without noticing (apparently), they are breaking laws and their contract, when making such statements, which all sound great to play the fanboy hero, the macho-alpha-nerd hero that answer to dissents with so much courage and bravery, slapping in the face of the concerned public, as well as sound great too, for attorneys which are willing to check-mate them.

  248. Why fight the fight RSI wants you to fight rather than the one you want to fight? RSI has controlled the narrative throughout the entire argument.

    Wouldn’t it be better to control the narrative back to where its about the success of Star Citizen rather than the achievements of the accusers and accused?

  249. Money given by the public in exchange for the promise of a future product (BDSSE) == public money

    In other words, not money supplied by private venture capitalists (who are well experienced in deciding where to risk putting their money and, believe it, would have had so many checks and balances, pre-agreed deliverables and delivery dates in place to protect their investment and prevented the pivot to Vision 2.0 and unregulated capital wastage), but by Joe Shmoe who misses the space sims of his youth and feels that $60 in 2012 in exchange for Squadron 42 in 2014 is a good deal… Star Citizen (aka the Persistent Universe) was just the icing on the cake for many.

    What would you describe money in exchange for a promised product? A donation? 95% of the backers (making up $1.7M, or 81%, of the top 2M funding target) that made the original Kickstarter happen were primarily the lower-end backers ($30-$125 brackets, i.e. the affordable downloadable full game -> AAA game with season pass price points). The have-nots are not generally in the habit of “donating” money to the haves without there being an exchange of goods… It was disingenuous of CIG to keep pushing more and more expensive packages out there to the whales to keep the funding going.

    The vast majority of backers gave what they felt was fair monetary exchange for a game (as evidenced by the average funding amount of ~$90) and anyone that says otherwise is the type of person to go to the first busker they see in the street and hand them $100 without sticking around to listen to the music they play. To quote a saying, “A fool and their money are easily parted”.

  250. I’m not talking about the rsi tos, I’m talking about the EU law Rharann quoted. Now, I have no idea if it’s true or not, I’m no lawyer and only read what he posted, but if true that’s amazing! Hopefully someone’s translating these blogs for non any English speakers.

  251. I’m a little concerned about the Jennison letter, and specifically that you left his name involved. Isn’t making that sort of thing public with a name attached a potential industry death sentence for that guy? I imagine it’s hard to hire a guy who has been known to talk about the failings of your company when he leaves. Easier to just not hire him and dodge the liability. Do you have a reason why you left his name attached?

    Otherwise it seems we are in for an interesting next few weeks.

  252. Yup, that’s where we are. Unfortunately, that’s all part of the narrative now. Remember that they made it personal right after my first blog and for which they issue press statements, tried to make it look like I had violated their ToS etc. And Ortwin’s letter is proof positive that this is where we are now.

  253. No. They contain personal and privileged information. e.g. two were email exchanges with RSI customer service. Two were checks (old and new). I already made the new check image public, after redacting it.

    So there really isn’t anything in them that would add anything to their letter because the references in the letter, already indicates what the exhibits are.

  254. Alan: I don’t respond to comments that are a waste of my time and which have been covered in my blogs. That’s why I didn’t respond to Horn.

  255. It seems that by allowing this to be personal, the debate has gone the way RSI wants it to. It’s becoming less about issues and concerns regarding Star Citizen, and more about how much of a failure the accused and the accuser are. To me, this shouldn’t be about you, your games, and how much of a success or failure both have been. Yet that’s exactly where this topic seems to be heading. It’s gone from “Is the Persistent Universe destined to fail due to overambition?” and “Delays happen, turnover is common, and we’ve posted progress reports highlighting our development advances.” to “Chris Roberts is a failure and a liar. He bankrupted Digital Anvil, he couldn’t make a successful movie, he lied to Kickstarter backers, blah, blah, and blah.” and “LOL what has Derek Smart produced that’s worth noting.”

    The sideshow has become the main attraction. I don’t see how that’s going to benefit anyone – not the backers, not the developers, or anyone else – with a stake in this project. This may feed a few egos, and the way this is going, the only winner in all this is going to be one of those egos.

    Can this get back to concerns regarding Star Citizen?

  256. “It’s a very tricky area right now as there hasn’t been enough court time for crowdfunding to create much precedent ” This is a statement that pertains to the first of Mr. Smart’s demands (ie accountability) nothing else. So bringing up other things. such as marketing, has ZERO to do with my original statement. If that wasn’t clear I’m sorry it was confusing.

    On that note, the links to the FTC say absolutely nothing at all about the rights or entitlements of the backers. That is the phrasing that I am contesting. I have been through this with Mr. Smart a couple of times now, and the FTC link (which is a blog with recommendations not actual guidelines) speaks more of precedent of how to avoid being investigated by the FTC, nothing about backers rights, privileges or entitlements. If you are insinuating some sort of entitlements out of her statements well that is just patently false. If you are referring to something other than:

    Please actually give me the link.

    “There are elements that shown that CIG broke many laws already. Here, there is no question, no doubt, the proofs are irrefutable”…… and yet no arrests have been made, so I guess the feds don’t agree that this evidence casts no question, or doubt then……

  257. My initial sadness persist.

    1) Santa Monica events can be caused by bad leadership/project “illness” or it can be provoked by the stress caused by this process. From the info I can see either option is equally likely. You can argue that is is fair to “attack” a project and that it should be able to weather the storm if it is healthy but I have seen few suchs project in reality.

    2) Austin events can be either caused by uncontrolled burnrates or part of a “lessons learned” where distributed development has proved ineffective. Right now the many job openings in Germany favors the latter explanation – in theory we could be looking at a planned but perhaps not internally communicated GB/EU consolidation of the project production streams.

    3) Budget and burn rates is the most important worry. It is likely that they are burning funds to fast, since I could see the leadership culture focusing more on content, fidelity and techincal problems that on budget. However I have a personal suspicion that CR will be willing to shop the project for more funding via more conventional channels if he feels sufficient pressure.

    To sum up it makes sense to continue seeking disclosure of the project viability (funding, content, realistic timeplans). I still wish it could be done in a way so the process would minimize the effect on the project team. The current process does the opposite. My plea is that these public and unconfirmed leaks could stop and that clarification is sought in the legal process you have initiated. If feel the current strategy is both using a surgical strike and a nuke. Lets trust in the first so there might be something to salvage afterwards.

  258. i am in the EU, if i request a refund will it only be for ship packages or fees paid for subscription as well?

  259. I don’t know where you got this notion but as an outside reader with no invested capital in this game and i read the whole post and some of it’s links, i still don’t know what Derek does or what his game of his your are referring to he is trying to promote.
    I am sorry mate but you might want to reconsider and check your bias…

    This does sound fishy and if the company would have made themselves more accountable with explaining where all that money went, this post will not have been made i think.

  260. Alright, I’ll try again, basically the same three points I made a few days ago.
    1. What’s your problem with Sandi Gardner? She might not have any experience in the gaming industry, but – wife of Chris Roberts or not – she’s doing a fantastic job as VP of marketing. There are 90 million pieces of proof for that 😉
    2. As “Kristoffer” points out in a very early comment, this is all still very vague.
    3. You continually misuse the term “public money”. What the Pentagon is spending on the F-35 is public money – money coming from VAT, income tax etc. etc. from ALL people within the US, collected under threat of imprisonment and watched over by a group of elected and accountable representatives (in theory at least). CIG’s funds are not public money.

  261. Hello again Derek,
    Some suggestions for your blog
    1 – Do a FAQ. Maybe about you(which would have some stuff from the Urban Legend blog entry, but mostly about this entire RSI/CIG thing. It’s getting a bit long and alot of posts to go through to find stuff. Especially for people just popping in.
    2 – Seperate fact, rumor and conjecture/assumptions. Right now you are mixing them heavily which isn’t doing anyone any good. Except if you want to confuse people. Fact would obviously be “they replied to my legal letter and here is the Dropbox link”. Fact is NOT that Sandi is Chris’ wife because that’s not supported by facts made available to us. You may have those facts, or you may be lying, but stop writing it as an accepted fact for everyone else. The number of times you’ve stated it without stating or revealing facts reminds me of Baghdad Bob and the old practice of “repeat a lie enough times and people will believe it”.
    Rumor would be “Pugh and Alyssa got fired because of this leak”. Right now it’s not even a fact they got fired, Pugh didn’t write that on his Twitter and CIG hasn’t commented. But there’s alot pointing to it. But it’s definitely rumor why they got fired. As I understand it laws in LA prohibit giving details on it from CIG’s side and as you say, the people effected don’t want to burn any bridges so they’ll probably never say so all we’re left with are rumors. Remember how quietly Will Lewis left when Disco came on, still not official why and no comment from him either. (read Toasts awesome reply on the matter here –
    And conjecture/assumption would be “Santa Monica studio is in full crisis mode as a result”. Goes without saying, without a web camera, keylogger or direct e-mail access that can only be an assumption. So is “Ben Lesnick cannot be trusted” which may be seen as slander, especially when said about a community manager.

    And some thoughts on “cause and effect”.
    Step 1) You say there’s something fishy, dodgy and even illegal going on at CIG.
    Step 2) You recieve and post a leaked e-mail from a former employee to back it up, which it really didn’t. As you point out it wasn’t backed up or endorsed as an actual, proper mail, and the content of the mail was “someone with proper management skills should run this project, not Chris!”, it was not evidence or even hinting of illegal wrongdoings.
    Step 3) People are rumored to have be fired because of the leak.
    Step 4) You use that as evidence of step 1) which isn’t logical at all. Any company in the world would investigate and fire an employee who would leak information to someone they are in a legal battle with. Even if it’s a fact that they got fired over it, it doesn’t prove that there was something “fishy, dodgy and even illegal” going on before step 2. Step 3 was a result of step 2, not 1.

    Also “Alyssa Delhotal and James Pugh were reportedly fired under suspicion of leaking information to me. Since I don’t know ANY of the above people, it’s patently false.” – just because you don’t know them doesn’t mean they haven’t been feeding you information, you said it yourself, you’ve gotten some information from anonymous “burner” e-mail accounts. (not that I’m defending CIG on this, Pugh is awesome and it sucks hard, but I just want to get facts straight and assumptions cleared up!)

    Everyone would be so better off if you seperated fact, rumor and conjecture. I don’t buy “trust me, I got this” more than I believe “Star Citizen will release in 2016”.

  262. OK, so when I posted this I hadn’t seen the latest news about CIG… ouch! Not sure I should have joked about that now.

    So I popped over to the SC sub-reddit to see if there was any more news and saw a thread discussing it. Amazingly, there I’m reading things like…
    “Alyssa? She did marketing stuff, right? She was also very abrasive. Some people like her attitude, some people hated it.”
    “He (James) was a good community organizer but really? I’d by lying if I said I missed him”
    “Anyone with any life experience knows that companies go through ups and downs all the time, and people are fired or quit on their own volition. THIS IS NORMAL.”
    “Why is this putrid cesspool of a talking point still being displayed on the sub? Can we just… not?”
    “DS just screwed the guy who wrote that letter. That is the thing I am getting out of this.”

    Let’s (inhumanly) forget for one second that these are people who had jobs, lives and adult responsibilities (and possibly familial obligations) who have been fired / felt obligated to resign… let’s forget that some of the community may have not particularly liked or disliked them… that one of them was elbows deep in organizing a major publicity event… that this is all happening on the same day as two other people (allegedly) resigning on the spot and news that a major subsidiary studio responsible for the PU portion of the title may be downsizing significantly, if not closing shop altogether. The amount of cognitive dissonance required to voice these opinions on a public forum whilst suppressing these snippets is staggering!

  263. @siding with people:
    The point of that sentence was to warn about bias in responses to people who seem to be on your side, but during closer inspection seem to have some serious issues. Seemingly siding with these people detracts from the core argument and wrecks the foundation of the discussion. People just won’t take derek seriously if this happens.

    @law comprehension:
    I assure you that i have no problems understanding the law.. and there’s always legal if i’m stuck somewhere. But the point was made in a discussion on online discourse, not a discussion on law related matters.
    If in an online discussion you state “i know something but i can’t talk about it’ its information not to be used in the argument. Don’t even state the fact that you know something until you can post it and have proof. It will detract from your argument.

    I’ve read your posts on this board, on reddit and other sites that follow this discussion. The point you may have gets lost in fanatic discussions that hold no merit whatsoever. On a deep personal level i distrust people who are overzealously, without any display of doubt or the capacity to change their stance, attack or defend a cause. You, and several of the pro-SC commenters, fall into that category.

  264. Saw that CitizenCon “will be held at the Runway Visitor Park at the Manchester Airport, featuring a Concorde jet as a backdrop!” That can’t be cheap…

    I find the name of the Park interesting. “Runway”… almost sounds like Runaway. I wonder if Chris, Sandi and Ortwin plan on hoping on top that Concorde jet and fly off toward some unknown island with the remaining millions of backer money.

  265. That did not make sense to me… I read:

    “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these Terms of Service, you may cancel your Pledge for any reason within 14 days of the date on which you made your Pledge if your Pledge is for Virtual Goods (as defined in Sec. 11 below) (“Cancellation Period”).”

    So, its 14 days after you made your pledge, not after the completed game. And there is no mention about been or not part of EU in their TOS, so, it should be for everyone.

  266. I agree. But I am not sure that they never were more specific and mentioned something more about the number of landing zones for release, in their shows, trying to answer questions with hype purposes (misleading, in case less lz comes out on release – whatever they call “release”). That would require a research.

  267. 2012-10-19

    “You have stated that you expect to have an Alpha up and going in about 12 months, with a beta roughly 10 months after that and then launch. For a game of this size and scope, do you think you can really be done in the next two years?

    Really it is all about constant iteration from launch. The whole idea is to be constantly updating. It isn’t like the old days where you had to have everything and the kitchen sink in at launch because you weren’t going to come back to it for awhile. We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal. Any more and things would begin to get stale.”
    “While Star Citizen is developing faster and faster with the menpower rising and R&Ds finishing.”

    They barely started. “faster and faster” LOL

  268. I’d like to hear your response to this Mr. Smart because the guy has a point……hope you post this but I think you won’t.

  269. “you should instead offer advice from your own turbulent history so other designers don’t repeat the same mistakes.”

    That was exactly what he did in his first blog.

  270. “I backed SC fully aware that it’s release date was set for [2018], I would rather have a game released that is fully completed with very little bugs then a game that follows the blizzard models, that is release a unfinished product full of bugs.”

    See you in 2016 with the sentence updated above, if they really go much further in that year. That will be an accomplishment.

  271. MKDAWUSS: Those exhibits were just the customer service emails and the scans of the refund checks.

    They made this personal. I wrote a single opinion based technical blog. They freaked out, refunded me, closed my count. Then for good measure, issued a press statement to make me look bad and as if I had done something to violate their ToS.

  272. (I’ll have to see if this works, since it wouldn’t let me connect/login via any of the above features [Facebook, WordPress…)

    Is this still about Backers vs. RSI or is this now morphed (devolved?) into Derek Smart vs. Chris Roberts? To me, it seems like the more things develop, the more personal it gets (and I’m not so much talking blog/media responses, but also the legal ones). Instead of addressing concerns about the situation, it’s become more about abusing the plaintiff – congratulations on those who shifted the frame on the conversation and kept it there. Or something.

    In the RSI letter, are the mentioned Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and 4 available? In the interest of proving or disproving claims made by RSI.

    I’d really be interested in seeing the blog entry where everything gets laid out in an encyclopedic manner (unless, of course, it’s not recommended for legal reasons), as it sounds like there’s still a collection of information that has yet to be unveiled.

    Back to the topic of Star Citizen, I’ve had concerns about the Persistent Universe far more than Squadron 42 (as the latter is basically a current-gen Wing Commander, and we’ve seen how those have turned out). The PU is a far more ambitious project. If Squadron 42 turns out great, I can settle for that in the event the PU becomes a flop that fails to meet expectations and fantasies.

    At least right now they have things to show for their efforts. I also understand that things do take time to develop. With everything (except for what they can’t show us just yet!) being out in the open, things like that can get lost on the masses.

    If this ends up being one elaborate scheme, so be it, but all I can do is act on what I know at the moment.

    As to where I fall on this entire argument, I’m a neutral. There are things in both camps that I agree with and disagree with.

  273. A diamond will generally shine, even through several layers of muck.
    A turd will always be a turd, no matter how much you polish it.

  274. “the other is trying to break new grounds and add things into a sandbox spacesim that has not existed in the past”

    Probably won’t in the future at this rate, either (badoom tish!) 😛

    Seriously though, trying to be all games for everyone, even with $90M (in fact, I’d say *especially* with $90M, reasons to follow) is not a way to successfully make a releasable product. Why? Because in 100% of video games there are many corners cut and liberties taken with cameras, physics, animation, etc, because they can “cheat” our perceptions and ensure that a product can be released within a budget of time AND money. CryEngine takes plenty of these liberties in the service of making the graphics as pretty as they are, which is why CIG has had such a devil of a time getting anything released that lies outside of the engines capabilities… they’ve been busy trying to make the engine do things it was never designed to do within the constraints of (a) the technology itself in the sense of it being an FPS engine that was designed to be licensed to other game developers and (b) the hardware on the market… at this point, I suspect there is a very high percentage of backers looking at PCs capable of running the game shown during the Kickstarter campaign wondering whether they’ll even be able to run SC, because it’s looking increasingly as though CIG has basically thrown (b) out the window.

    Why “even with $90M”? Because that has given CR and CIG a false sense of security… the development budgets of COD, GTA and Destiny are renowned in the games industry, and they all attempt to focus on a few key gameplay features and deliver them to a very high level of polish. Their dev budgets (i.e. the funds set aside for programmers, artists, production staff, assets, mocap, running costs, overtime meals, etc) are significantly higher than that of CIG. In that sense, when some of us industry professionals say that the “burn rate” of CIG suggests they aren’t going to reach the finish line… we mean it. Even *if* CIG do somehow (miraculously!!) manage to get all the systems they have promised to a “feature complete” state, traditionally called the “Alpha” phase (they are NOWHERE near this their current promised feature set), they definitely do not look like they will have enough left in the kitty for polish without liquidating much of their fixed assets (i.e. sell of their non-essential studios, let go of now redundant staff), at which point I’d say they’ve underestimated how much redundancy pay they would likely need to shell out for their permanent staff… But once they hit Alpha, they still have stabilise the build across a wide range of use cases (“Beta”) and polish the product (“Release” or “Ship”).

    The amount of cash CR and CIG has been throwing around with their conventions, lavish offices, mocap and audio studios, no doubt extremely expensive development PCs, software licenses, well paid staff… the numbers simply don’t add up for anyone capable of thinking critically and with an ounce of experience in the games industry. Coupled with stories even I have been hearing (and I’m not even what I would consider particularly well connected in the industry), this is an extremely troubled project, and no amount of vitriol from CR, CIG and their totally oblivious and irrational fanboys, is preventing what appears to be a growing wave of concern for this project and what the implications of its failure might be.

    Wow, sorry about the length of that post… meant to just do the joke and leave it at that 🙂

  275. Well, I have sad news to report, regarding layoffs at the Santa Monica studio.

    Since my recent blog “Star Citizen – The Long Con” went live yesterday, apparently a lot has been going on at RSI/CIG brain trust.

    Key issue here is that I linked to a letter one David Jennison wrote when he quit working there.

    For the record, I do NOT know this person. Not even on social media. And even when I reached out to authenticate the letter, I got a “no comment” from various sources.

    Apparently he had shared it with some people in order to explain why he was leaving so suddenly. And it looks like one of those people sent it to me using a burner email account which is now unreachable. Pretty much how various unknown sources have been reaching out to me since I started writing these blogs back in July.

    So today, multiple sources are telling us that the Santa Monica studio is in full crisis mode as a result.

    Sources are telling me that Sandi, wife of Chris Roberts, is pointing fingers and publicly blaming people in the office for leaking the letter. A letter which isn’t even company property btw. As the story goes, she called two of them “fuckers” in front of their co-workers. And as the word goes, it may have been during that altercation that two people turned in their key cards and immediately walked out.

    As it stands, two have quit.

    Lisa Ohanian (Ship Shape), gave 2 week notice.

    Paul Forgy, quit on the spot – and walked out.

    Alyssa Delhotal and James Pugh were reportedly fired under suspicion of leaking information to me. Since I don’t know ANY of the above people, it’s patently false.

    It gets worse…

    Meanwhile 9 people in Austin were informed that their jobs are being eliminated in October.

    Additional people are reported to be informed today and tomorrow.

    As I had mentioned a few weeks ago, multiple sources are telling me that the plan is to close the Austin office by end of this year. People let go so far are Artists, Engineers, and Designers working on the PU (!!!!!).

    Also, sources tell me that they are hovering around $8 (!) million in cash right now and still burning around $3.5m (!) per month. Which is why they are now initiating immediate downsizing company wide. Quietly. They are hoping that upcoming sales go well to tide them over in the short term.

    As it stands, credible sources tell me that they are going to run out of money at their current sales/burn by Q1/16, assuming they get some spikes from the upcoming sales and anniversary sale in November.

    Which explains the Endeavor ship sale that went live in the past 24hrs.

    During this downsizing, while consolidating global development in the UK, they are focusing on Squadron 42 because right now it isn’t scheduled to be ready for release for another 15 (!) months. At best.

    There is so much info coming in right now, that I simply can’t divulge all of it without putting people at risk. So I am getting on a call with legal in a bit. I remain torn between my loyalty to industry sources, and my need to alert the industry that, as predicted, as big as this crowd-funding effort was, it is still on track to be the biggest single collapse of an entity in the history of the industry.

    I have been sounding this warning bell since July. But I got incessantly attacked for it, and I am still under attack as a result.

    I will add another update once I hear back from legal. I will probably just throw up another blog since it’s so much stuff to wade through right now.

    In the meantime, to those of you affected by this, don’t even bother with attorneys or suing them. I got this. Just go find yourselves a new job, take care of your families and keep sending us stuff. This is a crowd-funded company and there are higher standards.

    Most of all :

    1) DO NOT TRUST THE MEDIA!!! If you want to know which of them to trust and/or talk to, contact me (anon is fine) directly at [email protected]. You deserve to tell your story and I 100% guarantee you that I will make sure that it gets out and goes into the public record via the legal system as you wish for it to be told. Remember, you are going to be around in this industry, working alongside the best of the best, for years to come. Don’t make light of that.

    2) DO NOT TRUST ANY OF CHRIS’S FRIENDS. If you make the single mistake of talking to someone who knows someone who knows someone, you may find yourself in violation of your exit agreement (if any) and/or NDA signed at hiring. So don’t do it.

    3) Ben Lesnick cannot be trusted. But you probably already knew that.

    – DS

  276. Toby: Sorry, you’re wrong. If they were making a game that was even close to BC3000AD or any of my games in that ilk, then maybe your argument, even without merit, would be worthy of discussion.

    There is nothing to be jealous of. They’re making a totally different kind of game.

  277. Another great article! Thank you DS for staying the course. You’re the only person who can hold CR accountable. Please don’t let the white knights deter you.

  278. Dear Mr. Smart,

    I appreciate that you use your time to investigate something that could very well affect every gamer in the future. I believe that critical thinking, let alone acting upon it, is something many people nowadays are not willing to do, because it can be pretty demanding to face reality and they rather savour an illusion until it is too late.
    Therefore I have the utmost respect for you taking this path for the good of this project, despite the harsh reactions towards you, because if we ever want to see a game like this being made in this crowdfunded form, the things you want to hold them accountable for are perfectly reasonable.

    I will follow your blog and hope that you will be able to shed some light on what really goes on with Star Citizen. Anyone who is willing to use their brain will understand that they are NOT communicating openly about the project, infact, with their blatant propaganda they are doing exactly the opposite of what they promised to the backers and that is what should make anyone really suspicious. But as said, to understand this, one would have to leave the comfort of the illusion that their porpaganda reinforces.

    Good luck Mr. Smart!

  279. I’ve played most of your games, but Steven is right even the fixed version is super buggy. It was greatly improved but so buggy.


    Marketing and advertising your products or services effectively is key to the success of your business. However, ALL businesses have a LEGAL responsibility to ensure that any advertising claims are truthful, not DECEPTIVE and that your marketing activities don’t break the law.

    “The Internet is connecting advertisers and marketers to customers from Boston to Bali with text, interactive graphics, video and audio. If you’re thinking about advertising on the Internet, remember that many of the same rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to electronic marketing. These rules and guidelines protect businesses and consumers – and help maintain the credibility of the Internet as an advertising medium. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has prepared this guide to give you an overview of some of the laws it enforces.”

    “The Federal Trade Commission Act allows the FTC to act in the interest of all consumers to prevent DECEPTIVE and unfair acts or practices. In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice IS DECEPTIVE IF IT IS LIKELY TO: mislead consumers and affect consumers’ behavior or decisions about the product or service.”

    “The purpose of the higher stretch goals is to ensure that the game-as-described is finished in the two year time period. ”

    So… considering the above, first the statements of the entity who oversees the matter in United States and then the statement of the CIG Advertising above, which was wrote in perfect english (because wasn’t me who wrote in my advertising, but Roberts on his own) could someone clarify to me, since now the “time will tell” period passed, in what way, the statement above from the CIG advertising is not a violation of the FTC Act? My question is because, despite it has been presented on CIG discussion for a while now (including with other similar discrepant instances of the SC advertising material with the reality, which includes their text, interviews, videos, etc.), Star Citizen fans claim that “there is nothing”, “there is no evidence that CIG broke any law”, and apparently, even CIG denies that they broke any law.

    So, if that statement is not a violation of the FTC Act (if you want to believe on that), what exactly would be?

  281. Just FYI my money is on it way

    Sorry for the delay. In order to move forward with the request as quickly as possible I just need to gather some information from you. Can you please provide as much as you can of the following information regarding your refund request:

    The reasoning for your request in summary
    Which pledges you would like refunding
    Which pledges you would prefer to keep, if any
    The total amount you anticipate
    Your current PayPal e-mail address
    Generally, we don’t offer refunds outside of the 14-day grace period. Having said that, I am not dismissing your refund query as we like to consider each request on a case-by-case basis.

    My simple reply was:


    Well I am from the EU so I am simple demanding my money back.

    My paypal account is [email protected]

    Kind regards,

    And they replied:

    Greetings, Razerwing.

    Thank you for your patience thus far. I am happy to confirm that I have actioned the refund for $70 via PayPal. This can take 5-10 working days for the funds to appear. Should you have any further questions or concerns let me know.

    As this was a complete refund your account has been permanently de-activated. Should you wish to return in the future you can create a new account with the same details.

    All the best,

    So that’s done and dusted, (if this is the right saying)
    Anyway thought it best to share it here, so any EU residents can follow.
    I did this via a support ticket and viola!.


  282. I post due to the fact of the seeing all the statements that are putting SC against ED, as far as I know (it’s my imo it will not change) one really can not compare the two games one is a pure spaceship sandbox game the other is trying to break new grounds and add things into a sandbox spacesim that has not existed in the past that I am aware of.

    I backed SC fully aware that it’s release date was set for 2016, I would rather have a game released that is fully completed with very little bugs then a game that follows the blizzard models, that is release a unfinished product full of bugs.

  283. Hi, I think there needs to be a bit of air which needs to be cleared.

    To deal with your backer rewards argument, I know you know full most of the backer rewards are heavily dependent on a complete game. Nor can you spend extra money to ship things separately. Only when the game is complete can a modding manual be written which will contain accurate information for users to develop mods for. A universe map can’t made without all the assets completed to define the locations of the universe. After all you don’t want an inaccurate universe map. The biggest issue here is the type of rewards they offered unfortunately is heavily dependent on the completion of the game it self. The rare exceptions being ship models – which can be made early. But you being a business man would be quite aware that you would want to ship all weighted items in one box, instead of many small ones to save money.

    The next issue is your own historical project of BC 3000 A.D – which it self took 10 years of development, had project overruns and was finally released was quoted by gamespot as, “It will go down in legend as the most bug-ridden, unstable, unplayable pieces of software ever released. ” If you wishing to be unbiased of the situation what would you have written about BC 3000 A.D considering you feel SC Was a long con? An Epic Con Job worthy of a movie deal starring the guys from Oceans 11 or the Italian Job? Did you also not give excuses at the time to investors of why the project was taking so long? Did you expect Take Two to wait two decades for release? I would also like to point out at that time you were quoted to saying, “done except for the manual”. SC might have been delayed from initial projections but it has not reached the levels you have achieved at that time.

    Personally I think your still sore about it, I know you wanted BC 3000 A.D to be great game. It was clearly seen your passion went into it, trying to make it as diverse and feature rich as possible, Unfortunately it is not an uncommon mistake to constantly keep adding and reworking mechanics, the same happened to 3D Realms with Duke Nukem. I know you are going to blow it off – but I think you subconsciously don’t want some one else to succeed where you have failed. You know first hand how difficult it it so to make such a project. You have used the excuse numerous times in the steam forums in Line of Defense- paraphrasing here, “Game development takes time, Game will be in Early Access with no foreseeable release date, Early Access games should not offer Refunds” etc. Yet you don’t want to extend that curtsey of your own reasoning of Line of Defense to SC.

    Deep down inside I believe you want to see such a project come to light, but only if you are the one making it. Chris is not some new kid off the block, he made his share of mistakes too – Freelancer before it was given to Microsoft was a hot mess. Microsoft did all it could to fix it up before release and some how it resulted with great reception and cult following. Wing Commander of course being the game which defined his career. Personally I think you also wished you had that sort of notoriety he achieved and still has in his golden years.

    Anyway long story short I wrote this not to put you down, but to show you only that you made the same mistakes. An instead of attacking the project you should instead offer advice from your own turbulent history so other designers don’t repeat the same mistakes.

  284. Did not find that particularly interesting to watch either, tbh (though I’m sure there are plenty of boring E:D vids too) – he just shoves all power to weapons at the beginning of the match and doesn’t think about it again. About the only other tactical decision he makes is to put power to rear shields when he turns to face a specific enemy (leaving the majority of opponents behind him).
    It was certainly more interesting to watch than the 1v1 already posted, but, since you mentioned it, I kept an eye out for “watch how he dodges CS missles”…

    and I don’t see any evasive moves, just a quick burst of speed… Seriously, that’s enough to shake off image recognition missiles in this game?

  285. “Witty responses to people who seem to miss some crucial mental capacity for logic and understanding do not strengthen your cause. Just check this thread for the walls of text/rambling that seem to make sense at first sight, but after careful analysis turn out to be nonsense. You probably know who i’m talking about 🙂

    Yes. I get used already with this kind of lame attacks. So, please, explain what exactly does not make sense, or what is the “crucial mental capacity for logic and understanding” that misses in my replies, since I am man enough (which apparently you aren’t) to when accusing someone, accusing it based on facts, reason, logic, instead cowardly and sensationalism.

    You should learn to do not have prejudice behavior, for whatever bullshit/lies that you heard about from SC fanboys or even coming (without any proof shown) from the mouth of people involved in a con. As all people should. If they don’t learn that, they don’t deserve to be clarified.

  286. “It’s a very tricky area right now as there hasn’t been enough court time for crowdfunding to create much precedent ”

    People must to stop to confuse “crowdfunding”, “kickstarter”, with the issue in place, which is very simple, CIG and its deal with their customers, plus their advertising.

    “you have never shown any actual entitlement for backers to have any access to funding.”
    No? Actually he shown many times. The problem is that basically you don’t understand what laws are involved (even that Derek Smart put them in their blogs, but apparently you dismissed, despite been the statements of the entity who actually regulates the matter in United States, so, that is the interpretation that matters about such laws).

    It’s very simple. There are elements that shown that CIG broke many laws already. Here, there is no question, no doubt, the proofs are irrefutable, and CR, the team and its fans, have been repeating a lot of nonsense in their speech, without noticing that they are not in the same page with the laws and the consumer protection entities when saying what they say. In other words, they fail to see (apparently) that are breaking their deal and the law.

    And based on these elements, CIG would have to dismiss them in some form, so the fines received (which are a certainty) wouldn’t lead the company as a whole, to bankruptcy. And for that, there is only one way. Accountability. So, I don’t understand what is so hard to comprehend.

    So, I invite, everyone, before trying to see and understand what Derek Smart shown in his blog, to educate themselves about the laws, and STOP with the nonsense that “they don’t apply, because crowdfunding”, because that is a urban legend that was already clarified by the authorities.

    If people educate about those laws (which are supposed to be to the general public to understand, instead lawyers, so, there is no excuse, its just spend some time and read), then, they will start to comprehend, which, it’s mind boggling, that they did not understand yet and still are looking to “evidences”, spreading nonsense like “judge will laugh”, “Ortwyn is a lawyer, so they are protected”, “there is nothing, there is no case or evidence”.

    I am going to repeat what I said before… these people are in another case. Derek is in one case, a consumer case, and they are in some kind of CSI case about a murder or something, so yes, I agree, definitely there is no evidence of murder.

  287. It’s a good law, but 14 days rarely is enough to you take a conclusion about been conned in this project. That is a good law, but way easy to CIG to deceive people during such period of evaluation of their project.
    The sad part is that everyone is entitled to a refund, in the moment that the CIG broke the deal themselves, but that is only achievable (everyone getting it) in a court of law, and with shady tactics, the owners of the project can actually try to do not pay the fines for customers, even that settled by a court.
    Still, I think that its valid that they suffer fines, because there is a huge impact, that or will must they learn to follow best practices to respect consumers, instead defrauding them, just because a few giving enough revenue support them.

  288. Let me make a metaphor: Saying Star Citizen is in devolpement for four years is like saying a three year old child is actually four years old because it was starting to develope at conception…
    Even this is false, cause the speed of developement of a child is constant. While Star Citizen is developing faster and faster with the menpower rising and R&Ds finishing.

  289. No insult intended, but I see that despite this: “during my previous work as projectmanager/accountmanager for the largest consumer fiber companie in the Netherlands”
    you have issues of reading comprehension of laws.
    If you did not have such issues, you wouldn’t need to write this wall of text talking about proof when they were shown, at least the most important that lead CIG to make them accountable (so through accountability more could be discovered).
    It was interesting to see too, you asking for Derek do not make insinuations, but then, making lame and baseless insinuations yourself. One of these cases of not following your own advice.

  290. This poll is unrelated to my statement. The only thing you see there is:

    a) roughly 10% of people who participated in that poll play the game.

    This matches up with the actual statistics, since only around a thousand players play AC every day (which is pretty low compared to the actual number of backers, this is true)

    b) 75% of the people did NOT select the point “I don’t like the gameplay”, so the disliking fraction is in fact the minority in this sample. In fact, you only proof my point here.

  291. So what about Peter Jackson? He made shitty b-movies in the past and guess what? 25 years later he made Lord of the Rings.

  292. Hi Derek,
    all I am saying here is that you are focussing too much on the company itself and are pretty much ignoring their product (which is the only reason why the company exists in the first place). The factual foundation of your blog above seems therefore rather weak, as you have not a good educated basis on which you draw conclusions regarding the deliverables of CIG (and no, watching someone play is not the same as playing something yourself, you should know that).

    The entire situation reminds me a bit of the movie “Life of Brian” which was highly criticised by high members of the church – which didn’t even bother to watch the damn movie. Kinda ridiculous, isn’t it?

    So how can you seriously criticise a company not delivering a product, if you haven’t even executed a proper evaluation of their work results so far? If you were to carry out a proper investigation (of which you seem highly interested in), I would expect you to analyze the actual product as well as the circumstances under which it is being produced. A good investigator always considers ALL available sources.

    So yes, it has very much to do with that, as ignoring the product damages your credibility in my view.

  293. Stavros:

    Not sure what you’re going on about, but my media assistant goes through all the comments and approves the ones that are within our guidelines (writing above the comment box). When I do my reply pass, I answer the ones that are in there. Some, not directed at me and which don’t require an answer, still get approved.

    No matter how good or long the post is, any single thing that can be construed as an attack, insult (e.g. one accused me of character assassination. I deleted that one myself) will be deleted. There are lots of dissenting posts here and which are approved. There is a reason for that. If people don’t know how to be decent and courteous, go post somewhere else. I have the same rules in my social media feed which I block people for the same reasons.

    Again, this is my blog. What I say goes. Anyone wanting their own pulpit, can go find their own. The Internet is a big place.

    That said, I don’t see any of your posts in the trash bin, and nothing in the spam filter. This is why people are encouraged to provide an email (even a burner). We have two very aggressive spam filters here for obvious reasons. But still, I don’t see any of your posts in their either.

  294. Interesting how entirely reasonable, albeit critical, comments get censored on here. And seeing as I’m posting from a different device and an entirely different location than usually, don’t give me any nonsense about falling into automatic IP blockers or anything.

    Well, I’ll leave you and your own little circle of cult followers like kxmode and jcrg99 to yourselves…

  295. Well.. i’ve been watching this from the sidelines for a while now and thought i’d chip in.

    Background: I am a backer (starter ship) from the end of the kickstarter campaign but only browse the CIG forums once in a while and start the client to see whats changed or updated. I’m not active within the community but i keep track of all things mmo/online space.

    I don’t have a problem with demanding accountability, i do have a problem with the way it has been demanded and how opinions are voiced. Seeing as you have quite the experience in online discourse i would have expected you to handle things differently. Now this is from my own experience, during my previous work as projectmanager/accountmanager for the largest consumer fiber companie in the Netherlands i used to spend my evenings handling webcare and getting my feet dirty in online tech forums. In about 7 years i’ve managed to rack up about 30k+ posts on the largest tech forum in the netherlands and after a rocky start i managed to get a grip on the responses (i was dragged through the mud daily) and my own behaviour (younger.. and easy to piss off)

    Here goes:
    1) If you have a point -> make it. Don’t insinuate stuff or give readers enough leeway to read between your lines. You seem to be a smart guy so you know the impact your words, or sentence construction, will have on a reader.
    2) Don’t write walls of text to prove your point. We have a saying at work “a smart analyst can translate a complex problem into an easy to understand 4 sentence explanation. A bad analyst needs 2 pages to explain the same thing”
    3) Stick to the facts. If you have proof -> show it.
    4) If you have no proof, or if you’re not allowed to show it -> don’t mention it. Nothing screams ‘fraud’ more then people saying “i have proof.. but i can’t”. If you can’t .. there is no proof.
    5) Avoid ‘circle proof’ -> This happens in my current job a lot. With ton’s of information pointing to itself, or to outside sources who – after careful analysis – turn out to also point to the original inside source, it’s easy fool yourself. Proof needs to be validated, if you can’t -> There is no proof
    6) Don’t cherry pick -> I’ve seen responses (from you and towards you) that focus on one question or sentence while the original post featured 10. By choosing to respond to just a small part of the question you automatically invalidate your own stance on the other questions raised.
    7) Be careful who you are associated with. I’ve seen you replying more positively to people who seem to pick your side. But that bias is dangerous in online discourse. Witty responses to people who seem to miss some crucial mental capacity for logic and understanding do not strengthen your cause. Just check this thread for the walls of text/rambling that seem to make sense at first sight, but after careful analysis turn out to be nonsense. You probably know who i’m talking about 🙂
    8) Be brutally honest, also about yourself -> I’ve read you saying ‘this isn’t personal’.. but it is. Just checking your twitter account and previous actions betray a deep emotional (often negative) connection to this debate. It is personal for you, as it is for the other people involved.
    9) Avoid “the funnies”. You’re making a serious statement here that has impact on yourself, cig and the community at large. Your behaviour and statements have a negative impact on my view of you.
    10) Hold yourself to a higher standard -> If you want to be ‘the voice of reason’-> act like it.

    All in all i wonder where you get the time to write/read and track all this stuff. Internet drama can be quite entertaining, but as soon as both parties have crossed the ‘im right.. and i will only send, not listen!!!!’ threshold it gets tedious quite fast. This discussion has overstepped those bounds about a month ago.. and i thought you would have recognized that.

    (add: posted as a reply the first time.. sorry for that)

  296. FYI John – In case you’re having second thoughts they do have a “no questions asked 14 day refund” policy. Since you wrote “days ago” that might be something for you to explore.

  297. And you realize that those dissatisfied are more likely to be vocal about it and respond to such polls right? While the satisfied majority go on with their lives. If it were an accurate sample of all backers, there’d be MANY more surveyed. Multiple thousands at least.

  298. Eric: I, like many, disagree with this notion. In fact, that’s how articulating experience works. You don’t use a piece of string, to show how powerful a hammer is. My games are massive and complex. I had to use them as the basis of that thesis because they are the experience baseline and the only games in existence that have ever done what they do. Good, bad or ugly, that’s a fact.

    And it was because of this nonsense that I wrote this completely skewed comparison to show that LOD and SC aren’t even in the same league and that people were just making noise as part of the deflection tactic. It wasn’t even fair to compare SC to my legacy Battlecruiser/Universal Combat games because then it would have been an even more unfair comparison, given the size and scope of those games. Graphics aren’t everything.

  299. You keep referencing that poll. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Y’see, Mr. Smart, that poll has been voted on by less than 1,000 people. 850 to be exact, and only 25% of which is admittedly dissatisfied. How damning.

    Let’s do some math here. So, 25% of 850 is roughly 212 people. 212 people think Arena Commander sucks. Interesting. Now, let’s see what percentage 212 people is out of the 764,380 backers…


    Wow. Incredible. Absolutely amazing. You blew the roof off with that statistic, clearly a vast majority of the backers are dissatisfied and don’t like the game. /s

  300. You can play follow the leader and hide & seek in the debris fields of AC too, just did it yesterday to McKetten, one of the better pilots that stream, maybe he’ll post it. Frankly the tighter turning and faster accelerations in SC result in more acrobatic performance, meaning evasion is just as critical a skill as targeting and delivers at least one of the promised aspects: skill based combat that is not 100% tactical/rochambo and certainly not level based. Proof is in the leaderboards, there is no dominant meta ship or controller – starter ships, looters and civvy builds are up there with the stock military options, JS and MK alike. Here’s McKetten grabbing Ace status in the lowliest starter, the original Aurora:

    Turreting implies maneuvering has no merit, which isn’t accurate, watch how he dodges CS missiles and makes hornets miss. Critiques which describe it as jousting are perhaps more apropos, with the better pilots have become skilled at simultaneous evasion and targeting resulting in higher % of wins in these situations (whether JS or mouse). A good pair of pilots locked in a such a furball (such as the SC video you posted, sure looked like they enjoyed themselves …) will make it last longer with their ability to anticipate and evade fire and as such, particularly in the deathmatch mode, will expose themselves to poachers, so smart ones will find a way to break off and seek other prey. There are tactical choices to be made, even if they aren’t spelled out in a spreadsheet for you.

  301. In regrades to you last paragraph Derek;

    I think you filling your first blog post with every possible chance of LOOK AT MY GAME LOOK LOOK LOOK MY GAME IS AWESOME was what set this off on the negative track from the get go. Regardless of whatever your intention was with that first post, to most of the world it came of as you trying to shill your game by drawing on the popularity of SC.

    It doesn’t matter if you are telling the truth or not when you say that wasn’t your intention that’s how most of us took it. So I am sorry but it was your actions that caused the massive negative shit storm that came your way. There were so many better ways you could have written that first blog and not started this whole endeavor on a downward slope.

  302. Quasi: Like you, we’ve been saying this same thing Ad nauseam – for months now. They simply don’t care because, well, facts are apparently irrelevant.

  303. Quite right. I have watched play videos from both ED (a complete game) and SC’s Arena Commander/Vaandul Swarm modules. To claim that SC is more complete is nothing short of laughable (note: as a backer I could download the SC modules myself, but with just a 120GB SSD I would have to delete every other game I have just to install a glorified tech demo. No thanks.)

    It’s funny how the White Knights claim that it’s ok to violate the Kickstarter terms as long as there is some sort of majority vote. I’m afraid the law doesn’t work that way. The terms on a Kickstarter pledge are a legally binding contract. Kickstarter even says so .

    It doesn’t matter if RSI contacted every backer and got “most” of them to agree to the changes. Even if 34,396 of the 34,397 KS backers agree to the changes, they are still legally held to the original terms! If that last backer doesn’t agree to the changes, and the changes are made anyway, then there are legal grounds to pursue for breach of contract. It may not even be possible to change the terms of the original contract even if 100% of backers agree. It has been many years since my Business Law class in college, but I remember the part about a contract not being legal if it requires one of the signers to break an existing contract.

  304. Right. Weird that. I thought I was clear.

    Anyway, point being, why spend money on legal bills, subject myself to abuse, personal attacks, time wasted etc on a bluff?

  305. Steven: You obviously never played it. So you have nothing to say about the game. And yes, it was in fact fixed – completely – before I released it for free. So I have no idea what you’re talking about. Or even HOW you could possibly compare that (a finished and shipped game) to SC (still vaporware fighting for relevance).

  306. I don’t think you understand what I’m saying.

    If you think that they think you are bluffing, fair enough.

    Just don’t state that you are bluffing in the previous sentence. It is very confusing. Hence me saying that it was either a Freudian slip or needed to be corrected.

  307. No offence but if you called that ‘fixed’…..
    Well, then you have absolutely no right to call the Star Citizen modules ‘buggy’

  308. I tend to watch CMDR Isinona’s E:D videos, as he (or she!) seems to give everything a fair try (rather than sticking to one tried and true formula).

    Isinona from April 2014 (Alpha):

    Ininona last week (v1.3):

    Looking at Isinona’s vids I honestly don’t know how the two games are comparable, but I’ll try (just in terms of ship combat, since SC has yet to release any meta-game or support trading, exploration, etc) –
    Elite is a deep tactical (power distribution, active module management, weapon groups, heat management, stealth, flight-assist, etc) and strategic (ship model, hardpoint loadout, shield spec, hull spec, countermeasures, etc) space combat game that uses a semi-Newtonian physics model in service of gameplay.
    Star Citizen is a shallow turret shooter set in space that, by sticking to a supposedly “realistic” fully Newtonian flight model, seemingly sacrifices any fun emergent tactics or entertaining viewing in favour of circle-strafe battles, even among its top players.

    How anyone can consider SC in its current form to be better than E:D in any way, even as of 18 months ago, is mind boggling…

  309. Having only recently (days ago) backed this game after loosely following it from the sidelines since it’s kickstarter, this is disconcerting stuff to read… I wont take sides on the issue because one, it’s beyond me as an individual, and two I know nothing of the history of your moral character or Chris Roberts, or anyone else involved in CIG. I took a chance at this without much investigation of the people behind it. Not to say I didn’t weigh both the negative media and the public and internal community praise it has received before I donated to it’s development… I mean, rich or poor $150 is $150. I mean, what was I thinking?

    If you’re right about all of this, ultimately this entire venture will fail miserably. Not because of a possible change in direction of the game, or in leadership necessarily… But when there is a huge public blast on someone specific or an entire company that hundreds of thousands of people have entrusted with their money (LOTS of money) to create something special, and they come out the other side of that integrity check upside down, it will have a permanent effect on the future of whatever might be completed whether it’s a perfect product or complete rubbish.

    This is a “dream game” for many of us, hell maybe even to you yourself, Derek. Yes, life will go on if this all comes crumbling down… But it’s really depressing to think that stuff like this has to happen. And in the same instance, it seems incredibly necessary as time goes on these days… Hopefully it all works out.

  310. I paid into the Elite premium beta at the end of April last year (ironically enough, just after SC failed to deliver the dogfighting module by the promised delivery date for the second time – I was on the fence with Elite before that) and caught the transition period where premium beta backers were allowed to play the “training missions”, which were just simple flight and combat scenarios. Having played Arena Commander a few days ago, I can safely say that SC is *still* not even near Elite’s alpha gameplay in terms of combat features, let alone the finished product.

    To top it off I haven’t seen much in the way of improvements to the SC flight model since I tried it last year either. The ships still fly as if they have no mass, the weapons seem to have bottomless pools of energy powering them and the sound effects are just pitiful, the gameplay constantly reverts to circle-strafing turrets in space, the UI is form over function… Contrary to what many white knights believe, this isn’t stuff that can be solved “later” – these define the gameplay experience and should have been nailed down early in order to iterate on them with alpha/beta backers.

  311. “Alpha and still better than E:D.”
    Both games started development at the same time. The combat of Elite have been great like it is today, since Alpha. The combat of SC sucks since it was released and never improved in any meaningful form. The leaderboards shown how poor is the level of participation. Even in the CIG Forums you only will find people giving reasons to do not play your “awesome” game that you claim to be better than Elite Dangerous, a game that have a lot more copies sold that SC have, since all that SC have, are the same 2k-5k people buying ships, again and again.

    “Not exactly great pilots either just using flying turret mode which isn’t exactly the best tactic either.”

    Just to let you know, those two guys are usual worldwide leaders in the CIG’s worldwide leader-board. If they are not exactly the best, imagine the worst.

    “They are not legally or morally required to provide that and it would cost money to actually work that out so why the hell should they provide it exactly? I never claimed exact figures, but calling it a con when you can SEE the money been spent on developers e.t.c. for the game is nonsense. No company provides this information…. so according to you all companies are cons?”

    They are morally required to provide that to their backers, considering that htey promised in the “Pledge” to treat their backers in the same way that they would treat a publisher. Show a publisher a lot of shows and fluff that they only show if the publisher to “pay them more”, instead the actual financial information, or a proper schedule of the project, with targets/estimates, etc., and he won’t be felt respected. You can be sure of that.
    And they are legally required to show too, because they will fail to deliver (And already announce that) the complete game by Nov/2015, that is what they mislead their customers to believe with their contractual statements, earlier interviews, etc. And not achieving that mark, they mislead by the same contractual statements that would show the financial information.
    AND, they changed that clause adding more time, which only makes them even more shady and proving that only made baits, both in their advertising and in their contract.
    Who disrespect laws and contracts when crowdfunding are accountable – that is what you will hear from the Federal Trade Comission, which oversees this kinds of regulations in United States. Didn’t like that? Write to your Congress Man asking him to put yourself in the place of FTC to oversees the matter.

    “Nope, try actually reading what they have said. CR has always said it will take how long it takes and they aren’t going to release it before it was done, that was one of the primary things he said about this crowd-funding model was that the game wasn’t going to be tied into strict release-dates, it would release when it was actually ready, unlike what happens with a publisher.”

    So… he always said… one of the primary things that he said… ok… here… From the Kickstarter page:

    “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”

    “The purpose of the higher stretch goals is to ensure that the game-as-described is finished in the two year time period.”

    I am trying to read where is there, in any place of that advertising message, I could find CR saying that this game wasn’t tied to any release date.

    “So, you’ve clearly paid no attention to what they have said, they never promised ‘on or before’ that date”

    From their 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”

    “and already contacted all the original KS subscribers (I am one) about the change in plans which would require a longer development period, which was HEAVILY supported by the backers.”

    I would be interested to see where is your proof that it was HEAVILY supported by the backers. But you shouldn’t bother because its irrelevant. They can change a deal with customers, just because some approves. That is not the nature of this contract/deal, between all individual backers and this company.
    To give you an example, since you clearly are a person with a lot of passion and a trend to be blind when discussing Star Citizen, if tomorrow they suddenly received a great number of requests to throw away this project to release it in a console, for example, they could get HEAVILY Support, in a pool for example, if all those people went there and voted and went in full force, more number than the own whales and zealots that CIG have today. Then, based on your own logic, they would be free to “change” that.

    This is against the purpose of crowdfunding. That is NOT the purpose of crowdfunding. The purpose of crowdfunding is to fund project X and deliver project X, in the way that it was promised, including inside a time. Whatever does not respect this basic idea, is at risk of lawsuit from consumers, because they are in their right to complaint. And there is no excuse for the company. The company will pay fines, because was their responsibility to set the right advertising, the right estimates, instead creating true and clear baits, and more clear baits that those who exist and were implemented in the SC project, simply does not exist. And its all against the law, as recently even attorneys of Federal Trade Comission came to public and make that VERY CLEAR, as well as the content of the lawsuits won in favor of customers against crowdfunding campaigns described and set the precedence (not a single case was won in favor of any crowdfunding company at the moment… all the cases the exist in United States against crowdfunded projects, were won by customers, and the fines were all related to these basic premises, that Roberts disrespect not just in actions, but by his own speech, trying to reinvent, or redefine the purpose of crowdfunding, different from what the actual entities of consumer protection defined it)

  312. Jack: The deflection and personal attacks are all they’ve got. Even those who want to look back at the original BC3000AD game are conveniently ignoring facts:

    1. It was my game. I funded it. The publisher only paid for marketing and distribution
    2. When they shipped it without my permission, I took legal action (the first time I ever did that to a publisher; I have since done that three times – and prevailed) and it was settled.
    3. I immediately fixed the game, and released it for free.

    It’s all neatly documented in this Urban Legend blog, and it’s all online. But disinformation is part of ignoring the facts.

    And I have always self-funded my games. That’s how I retain control over them, and make the games that I want to make. My deals are always marketing and distribution. Never – ever – funding to build a game. Ever.

    In that same vein, they keep trying to compare my upcoming LOD game, to SC by

    1) comparing graphics and laughing
    2) comparing a self-funded Early Access indie game to a $90m crowd-funded game with stellar talent (which was 500+ at one time)

    They’re not even trying hard anymore.

  313. Soren: Here’s the thing. I know it’s lost in translation, so I will repeat it again:


    This notion has nothing to do with the accountability that I am seeking. As I said in this comment, if I had started this a year ago, everyone is welcome to discard it as noise. But we’re four years in, people are talking. In the history of our industry, that has never been a time when this sort of negative noise around a project ended up with a finished project.

    Also, the only people who would say that my efforts tanked a $90m project, give me more credit that I am due. And they are just making excuses for failure. That being the case, every single game project that had negative discussions in media, forums etc, should have failed right out the gate.

    However, you are correct in thinking that the public forum does add stress. Well yes, that’s the nature of the beast. Let the record show that I wrote a single blog. Nothing negative about it. Just postulated on what I saw going on. Then they made it personal and declared war. And if you don’t think that their legal response, coupled with the personal attacks (now being used by unscrupulous media as click-bait fodder, as expected) is a clear indication that this was personal all along, then you’re not paying attention. Or maybe just not being fair.

  314. RE: As for delays and lateness, wasn’t it BC3000AD which you were developing that was SO LATE, the producers actually pulled the plug on it and released the game in an alpha state making it a complete abortion of a game? I would think you of all people should be sympathetic to delays in game development.

    You know I really hate this kind of illogical comparison. It’s like “If A + B = C and B + C = A then C obviously equals A.” What? They were NOT developed under the same conditions so its dishonest to compare them in the way in which you propose.

  315. BC3000AD was a product of a certain quality which was put on the market at a set price. Individuals could then make a decision whether to buy it impulsively, buy it after having done some research, or not buy it at all.

    BC3000AD was a very different scenario to a crowd funded project in which a specific product was promised and subsequently changed.

    Apples and oranges.

    Why is it people seem to ignore the obvious issues apparent here and resort to diversionary discussion?

    Derek Smart may or may not be the biggest wanker in the universe but that is not the issue here. The issue is whether one is accountable to deliver that which one promises to deliver in exchange for public funding.

    When talk continually does not match reality there is something wrong and there is much talk which has proceeded from the Star Citizen project which is clearly not matching reality.

  316. I have read most of your blogs and some of the referenced material. You present your case very well. Enough to convince me there is cause to worry – no small feat since I’m truly a fanboy and even liked the Wing Commander movie.

    But you may also be wrong. I have been a project manager for 15 years and have seen plenty of successful projects where you would still find lots of people complaining and predicting doom along the way.

    What I’m left with is sadness.
    Sadness because if you are right the project will most likely desintegrate.
    Sadness because if you are wrong your efforts will have endangered the project instead of helping it.

    I feel a less public investigation would have served just as well and put less stress on the project.

  317. Wow! SC is more feature complete then Elite? What fucking planet do you live on dude? The rate of progress on the SC project is a joke. Braben said we would be landing on planets in elite a year after release, guess what, we will be landing on planets a year after release.

  318. Not to be picky with words, but you state “It’s just a matter of seeing them call my bluff.” Really seems like a Freudian slip, unless you are not bluffing, in which case you should not specifically say that you are bluffing….

  319. “

    Alpha and still better than E:D.
    Not exactly great pilots either just using flying turret mode which isn’t exactly the best tactic either.

    “Is there? Awesome! I am not aware of that… So I have this simple question, tell us, please, the exact quantity of money that was already spent in the project and how much money is left?”

    They are not legally or morally required to provide that and it would cost money to actually work that out so why the hell should they provide it exactly? I never claimed exact figures, but calling it a con when you can SEE the money been spent on developers e.t.c. for the game is nonsense. No company provides this information…. so according to you all companies are cons? If not why are you holding CiG to a higher standard of accountability than every other country in the world…. including arms dealers….

    Exact amounts of money are not required, never have been. Claiming they are is simply a straw-man argument.

    “Delay? I thought that the game was even fully released already, according with your position.

    Ah, I see, you have a reading problem. That explains a lot.

    “I see a massive amount of shows and marketing going on there. Massive amount of work for things that are not really the good faith to deliver the full game, as promised, ON or BEFORE the estimated released date, which in fact, by their own speech, they contradicted their own TOS, claiming, several times, that the estimated released date, simply does not matter (except that they promised to achieve and pursuit that, in a good faith effort, in their CONTRACT with their own CUSTOMERS) lol”

    Nope, try actually reading what they have said. CR has always said it will take how long it takes and they aren’t going to release it before it was done, that was one of the primary things he said about this crowd-funding model was that the game wasn’t going to be tied into strict release-dates, it would release when it was actually ready, unlike what happens with a publisher.

    So, you’ve clearly paid no attention to what they have said, they never promised ‘on or before’ that date and already contacted all the original KS subscribers (I am one) about the change in plans which would require a longer development period, which was HEAVILY supported by the backers.

  320. “What is already playable boasts more features and modifications than many fully released games. In fact, it could easily be argued that as there IS a playable game there, then they have fulfilled all of their original obligations.”

    “Certainly the feature set and combat are already far superior to say E:D which is a supposedly released game.”

    Ha! Ha ha ha! Oh, I thought that was a joke…

    In what way is combat in SC as deep or engaging, or in ANY way superior, to E:D? It’s shallow, the HUD is too “pretty” to be useful in a combat situation, the gameplay is turrets in space circle-strafing one another with what seems to be unlimited pew-pew… 4 (or even 3!) years in this stuff should be actually interesting to watch by now.

    And to echo johnsmith, how is the game better if they cannot manage to release the FPS module, given that their engine is one otherwise exclusively used for FPS… I have a little experience with game engines, and that tells me they’ve modified CryEngine so far away from its original state that what they have now is basically not only no longer fit-for-purpose, it is now fit-for-nothing.

  321. That’s a legal requirement in the EU that they have to publish on their website , I believe also from 2011/83/EC. It doesn’t change anything I said.

  322. I agree, however I would prefer to read facts instead of assumptions and misinterpretations of the truth is all. I maybe wrong but, just wanted to point out something I was sure wasn’t correct at first glance

  323. How is the game getting better and better if they cannot even manage to release the basic fps module? It’s been 3 years and still no demo.

  324. In no way they can produce anything until the end of the year, for which they could try to pretend that is the “finished product” or near of it.

  325. My banning in the SC forums has nothing to do with my effort to let people know about their wrong doings and constant disrespect of consumer rights.
    But that situation, which I summarized above, indeed, revealed one or two things to me, about those people, specially Sandi, Ben and Roberts, which, obviously, are CIG, in the end of the day, since their influence is bigger in the project.
    The rest was just starting to connect the dots.
    To give you an example, I was banned of other forums too, because the internet is what it is. Moderators are biased to “how many flags they get about one person”, specially if they are mods that actually “like” the Star Citizen project. They don’t really bother to double check, analyse, investigate, see who started what, etc. etc.
    So, if they got several flags against one person, that’s it. They made their minds and that person must to be wrong doing, or, in the best case scenario, they become biased to look to that person badly and at the first little mistake of that person after flamed (which fanboys do a lot against them, since they rarely focus in arguments about SC, but only focus on personal attacks), they “conclude” that those guys should be the right ones… this is very well know and its a strategy of the white-knights… from the beginning.
    And that’s exactly why the fanboys keep claiming that “I must be wrong” and “I have no credibility” because I have bans in more than one forum, when in fact, they were the ones, who in bad faith, did that, provoke that.
    Even in the Elite: Dangerous forums, I ended banned due actions of packs of Star Citizen fanboys (which I paid my banning time and later, clarified the situation to the FD mods, and they actually, banned those fanboys then – see how helps when you don’t have a biased moderator?).
    You don’t see me criticizing Frontier because of that, because of their mistake of falling in this fanboy trap that the SC fanboys created and spread along the entire internet, to “silence criticism”.
    My SC unfair banning was part of my history with them, but was not THAT, the reason why I know that CIG is doing wrong. It was what I learned from THAT, plus further investigations, and, as I told from the beginning, I have game development experience enough to know one or two things about what is reasonable to believe, and what is bullshit when comes from the mouth of such man, who wants your money and is just trying to convince you to give him (in the case of Roberts, under the “no matter what” basis).

  326. “With SC, I’ve seen constant progress, the game is gradually getting better and better, we are seeing more and more bits nearing completion. In fact most of the work that seems to need doing seems to be variable modifications, bug fixes and new features/more content. What is already playable boasts more features and modifications than many fully released games. ”

    “Certainly the feature set and combat are already far superior to say E:D which is a supposedly released game.”


    “In fact, it could easily be argued that as there IS a playable game there, then they have fulfilled all of their original obligations.”

    “In fact there is plenty of evidence to support that the money is indeed been spent as intended by the backers.”

    Is there? Awesome! I am not aware of that… So I have this simple question, tell us, please, the exact quantity of money that was already spent in the project and how much money is left?

    “As I’m sure you are aware, delays happen in game production, sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as planned. So far we seem to be about 6-9 months behind the original predictions.”
    Delay? I thought that the game was even fully released already, according with your position.

    “I’d like you to actually present any actual evidence of any wrongdoing.”
    Items 1 to 6 cover it. They are facts. What you could bring are “excuses” which are baseless and based only in talking of a man that already lied to people many times (or was just wrong, if you are naive enough to think under these lines).

    “So far we’ve seen a MASSIVE amount of work put into SC. We’ve seen the building they are renting and many of the staff and contractors they have hired.”
    I see a massive amount of shows and marketing going on there. Massive amount of work for things that are not really the good faith to deliver the full game, as promised, ON or BEFORE the estimated released date, which in fact, by their own speech, they contradicted their own TOS, claiming, several times, that the estimated released date, simply does not matter (except that they promised to achieve and pursuit that, in a good faith effort, in their CONTRACT with their own CUSTOMERS) lol

    “All the evidence we have seen directly contradicts everything you have been saying.”
    What evidence? Do not turn the table. We brought the evidences and the facts, which you refuse to see and want to claim to us that the “evidence” are shows made in exchange of MORE real dollars gave constantly to them… millions of dollars actually, considering stretch goals marks achieved, who allowed them to make them, plus subscriptions. And what you have in your hands, after 4 years, well… that video speaks for itself.

    “Certainly the feature set and combat are already far superior to say E:D which is a supposedly released game.”
    And the man wants to talk about “credibility”. Even between the majority of the white-knights and die hard fans, they would not say such nonsense.

  327. Ok I didn’t really know that (as I’ve never had to be in court I’d never really heard of the discovery phase) so thanks for the info. Do you know have the other crowdfunded cases (Chavalier and Altius) had any sort of forensic accounting or something similar that was made public record or were they able to seal their financials? I couldn’t find particular information on that.

  328. I’m not trying saying any of that, and if that’s how it came across I apologize. Just stating how it might get misconstrued by people who haven’t been keeping up with all this. (which I know you don’t care about, but it was more a response to what the above poster was saying than anything you have actually said)

  329. Steven:

    So far I’ve seen zero evidence for this been a ‘con’. In fact there is plenty of evidence to support that the money is indeed been spent as intended by the backers.

    uhm, you don’t need evidence of something that’s based on an opinion and hyperbole.

    Further, in support of that opinion, that’s why events that mimic the 6 steps of a “long con” were posted in support of said opinion. You don’t have to like or believe it. That’s your decision to make.

    Not going to comment on anything else in your post because it’s all been covered and said before.

  330. There are several big “bad smelling fishes” in that account of CR. In 2002, he created a film company named Ascendant Pictures and they get a deal with the german vip mediafond – this was the biggest player on the german market at the time. To get into the game (or better: the movie adventure) an investor had to pay 25.000 euro, they promised huge profits AND full tax refunds! The money was given away even without ANY sort of contract for the “movies”, including no signed paper for actors, set designers, kamera teams…
    Any of the Rising Star Companies under Ortwins control are nothing more than coverups for the money flow, companies thar never produced any film, any movie – just portals for the german tax authority, in order to keep them silent.

  331. Ben: I’m not engaging in circular or Strawman arguments on this matter. I respect and value your opinions. I have nothing further to add.

  332. Kerdac:

    We are being as aggressive as legally possible. Unfortunately, the legal system here in the US is completely messed up. And so there are lots of procedures which have to be followed.

    Also, nobody wants to waste time, money, resources to march into court, then have it settled out of court. It’s just a matter of them thinking they’re calling my bluff. Unfortunately for them, I’m not bluffing.

    As I just posted in this comment, I have every intention of seeing this to the very end.

  333. “the majority of the people who have actually played this game are quite happy with the progress. ”

  334. You are in the EU. The laws there are different than US. All you have to do is tell them that you are in EU and that you demand a refund. They have NO choice but to give you back your money.

  335. Actually, their current TOS already cover this situation of 14 days to get the refund, to respect this specific EU law:

    “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in these Terms of Service, you may cancel your Pledge for any reason within 14 days of the date on which you made your Pledge if your Pledge is for Virtual Goods (as defined in Sec. 11 below) (“Cancellation Period”). RSI Intern. Terms of Service 1/2015_Draft Final
    To cancel your Pledge during the applicable Cancellation Period, you simply need to notify us in writing of your decision to cancel your Pledge. The easiest way to do so is to complete and submit to us our cancellation form which can be found here. You can also cancel your Pledge during the applicable Cancellation Period by emailing us at [email protected].
    If you cancel your Pledge during the applicable Cancellation Period, we will without undue delay, and in any event within fourteen (14) days from the date on which we receive notice of your decision to cancel your Pledge, fully refund to you the amount of your Pledge. In accordance with applicable financial control and banking rules, we reserve the right to refund you using the same means of payment as you used to make your Pledge.”

  336. Sure they can release 100 systems with just a few landing zones done and call it “release” or “promise accomplished”.

    But hey… think just a little about what you just said. Sure they are “covered” in a lawsuit claiming that they did not release into their promises with that (except that it won’t happen, in any time soon, I mean, not even in 2017), but think just a little about other issues, like, perception of the public, expectations, etc.

    They are basically doomed if releasing 100 systems and just a few landing zones. It won’t matter to people, when you see a company trying to embrace itself in “semantics”, when mislead them, make them believe in BDSSE, rather release something later and complete than earlier and not complete, blablabla, etc. etc.

  337. It fits with the speech, almost like standard, with others that were shared in public, most recent and know example, was the revelations in that Kotaku article:

    It’s just me who thinks that this is not about perfectionism or been overzealous, but about to make the scheme so it take longer and longer to advance and achieve a “reality check” point (because you know, or have you noticed… as more time it takes, more profit those bosses will make, personally, from salaries, concept sales, etc., but hey… they need to make not just customers fools, but the employees too)?

  338. “I respond to any gamer, regardless of whether or not they bought or are playing my games. I know who I am, I know where I’ve been – and I know that I’m not above the very people who are largely responsible for how I got here.”

    You nailed it. This is one of the big issues with Chris Roberts. For some reason, he presumes that every single person who will give you any dime, must to be his fan. There is no such thing of a customer buying his product/service in his perspective.
    So, when you behave like a customer, it does not matter how mature, polite you are. You will end demonized and harassed by White Knights and Roberts and co. will applaud their attitude and will scream to the wind, how “all his backers approve this or that”, basically dismissing the opinions of thousands of people as non-existent.

    Want an example? Recently he has been saying that “you (all backers) asked for the expanded scope”. The thing is, neither in his funny pools made, it never got 100% of votes in favor of more expanded scope/stretch goals. And considering thousands of people, when he says or claim that is doing what all the backers want, he is simply dismissing thousands of people who give him money, which (for god sake) means millions of dollars to the project. They simply vanished. They don’t exist. All that exist are “fans” who will praise him and say “yes, man” to him, whatever he does.

    “The minute they (word is that Sandra made the call, and that she was 100% responsible for what followed) made it personal with Ben’s (Sandra’s pet) forum post, which was made at the same time as the press statement they issued – then refunded me – I knew we were at war.”

    It was just like happened to me in the earlier days. I decided to give feedback in their forums exactly related to the job that she performed (without considering whoever dealt with whatever there), so they improve their processes, prepare to deal with a mass of “customers” to come on the top of fanboys, in all intention to help them. Sandi Gardiner took that personally (as I have emails to prove it), and just like the fanboys who were pursuiting me (as they pursuit whoever decides to present gaps in the project in the hope to get their attention so solutions be provided), she probably made a lot of drama, convinced everyone that “I was harassing her”, “fobbing her”, and the “macho alpha pet” that you mentioned took the action and started to ban me, by his own report (another email that I have) without even reviewing the situation to see who was right and who was wrong. And later, without notice and without me doing absolutely nothing wrong, but commenting that was a leak of a Hangar video in an interview that Sandi made with a dev (which by their overreaction made me to believe that it was not a sneak peek, but just another mistake of the girl), I was perma-banned (the 1st perma-banned from their forums), and my text, related to the leak in the video was replace by a text, that I only can imagine was edited by her, with a text self-accusing me.. .something under the lines “I am a child looking for attention” – not the exact words, but anyway, I have saved it in an email too, because I sent them an angry email (obviously, how the hell I could not be angry with an attitude like that from a company that I was actually trying to support with a lot of my time), and then, those guys played the victim card. I was refunded (after my third ask), got another copy just to give to my cousin who lived with me by that time (a child) to play when released if he wanted, and I would let it go without any issue.
    But then, I made a visit through their forums, and notice that those people were making a party over me. Bullying me, demonizing me and spreading all kinds of non-sense about me, including fans an mods. And then, with those answers received by the dev team (including Sandi Gardiner, Ben Lesnick and Chris Roberts), and the circus that they build to corroborate with their decision, to play the game that “my banning was fair and they did the right thing”, and all kinds of nonsense spread, that I “hated the game”, that I “harassed sexually female of the project” and all absurds, and lies, later applauded/corroborated in public by Ben Lesnick, I started to understand and see many other things that my own wish for the success of that game, blinded me in that time. Its just a matter to connect the dots.
    And, I am like you. I respect people who respects me. And what they did, all they show, is not something that you do, with any customer, in any business, guess what someone that was willing and had been supporting you in full force, and just because they had people unprofessional, that does not know what “feedback” is, and what is the purpose of feedback, which has nothing to do with “personal issues”, you end demonized. So, definitely, I created (as they claim) additional accounts in their forums to 1-) defend me of the coward accusations that I was not able to defend me; 2-) to share information about customer rights that CIG was disrespecting and people (customer) should know about.
    So, from there, just like you, it became a war. But all started with THEM, but their tactics (and helped too by the white-knights) is always, ALWAYS, to turn the table so they play the victim card.

    So, yes. I see a trend here. I believe that their reaction against you in the first place, could have as source Sandi Gardiner, because she did something very similar with me, and was reported by ex-employees in public, to have this exact behavior internally.

    Which justifies why she went full force against me and got it personally. As a person unprepared, without experience, not capable to deal with feedback, plus, living under the shadow of been wife of the boss, and having to get some respect of her employees, which was difficult and probably is today, because their employees are more skilled and experienced than her, in the moment that I started to talk about gaps in the area where she was the leader, she considered that a threat to her position/job.
    To give an example, I also presented gaps in other areas of that project, that were managed by other professionals (like the writer of Squadron 42). And in these cases, the feedback was totally well-received, without any issue except by me receiving thanks and the acknowledge of such pros that they should pay attention to that, look into that, etc.
    What also did not help, is the fact that her experience is all about been a model/actress, living the Hollywood vibe, so, definitely, it helps in her personality that is more like to sustain a position of “celebrity” than to earn respect as a professional, who learn from mistakes, who accepts to improve, who does not put herself above of any customer, neither herself, nor any developer, because any professional, any serious professional know, that in the first place, in any company/customer relationship, if you want to put someone in a ‘celebrity’ pedestal or treat as such, that would be the customer.
    Obviously I never asked to be treated as a celebrity, but that is a fact, a motto that you should try to follow when doing business… whatever business. But if you keep the behavior of putting yourself above your customers and treating them like garbage, unless they agree and praise all that you do and never point any gap going on with your services, you will end burning the image of your company as a whole.
    Its just a matter of time, because people with the “customer” mindset instead “fan” mindset always are the absolute majority in any venture, and Star Citizen is no different.
    And today, you see all the attitude of this company, with any not satisfied customer, or even with any people who dares to just act as a customer with just a little of entitlement to require that CIG keep their own promises (“we are going to look into your history troublemaker” – they put that in their own forum rules, for example, “I have my hammer here, shut up” – kinds of jokes in their shows, etc.).
    It’s all about demonizing the customer and kick them out to do not affect “the community”… What kind of speech is that? A speech of someone that is not interested to implement a company providing services to customers, but instead, willing to build a cult over themselves.
    Those people (Sandi, Roberts, Ben) are false, liars and full of mask. They are disgusting. And I don’t know any forensic accountability to know that. I know that by my own experience with them.

  339. Holy fucking shit dude, let me do you a huge favor: just let it go. Let all of this go and forget it ever happened. The sooner you do that the sooner you can move on with your life and the less embarrassing this whole affair will feel later in life. Look at me, I let my RSI forums ban go in a healthy manner, and now I couldn’t be happier!

  340. Sorry but I can’t agree with this at all.
    If there was a game I have a problem with its E:D not SC.

    I backed both to the same amount, in fact E:D was slightly more.

    With SC, I’ve seen constant progress, the game is gradually getting better and better, we are seeing more and more bits nearing completion. In fact most of the work that seems to need doing seems to be variable modifications, bug fixes and new features/more content.

    What is already playable boasts more features and modifications than many fully released games. In fact, it could easily be argued that as there IS a playable game there, then they have fulfilled all of their original obligations.

    Certainly the feature set and combat are already far superior to say E:D which is a supposedly released game.

    So far I’ve seen zero evidence for this been a ‘con’. In fact there is plenty of evidence to support that the money is indeed been spent as intended by the backers.

    As for delays and lateness, wasn’t it BC3000AD which you were developing that was SO LATE, the producers actually pulled the plug on it and released the game in an alpha state making it a complete abortion of a game? I would think you of all people should be sympathetic to delays in game development.
    As I’m sure you are aware, delays happen in game production, sometimes things don’t happen as quickly as planned. So far we seem to be about 6-9 months behind the original predictions.

    Please also note, EU rules on purchases DO NOT cover pledges which are not considered purchases for this reason as unlike in a purchase you are not expected to receive the product quickly.

    I’d like you to actually present any actual evidence of any wrongdoing.
    So far we’ve seen a MASSIVE amount of work put into SC. We’ve seen the building they are renting and many of the staff and contractors they have hired.
    All the evidence we have seen directly contradicts everything you have been saying.

    Do you have any information beyond speculation to think this is a scam? Because so far you haven’t shown any. If you have please show it. Otherwise you are only affecting your own credibility and making it look like you are just jealous of what CR is trying to do.

    I sincerely hope this isn’t just a case of sour grapes on your part, but you’ve given every indication it is and none that it isn’t.

  341. Give a guy with experience making a B movie and games 20-25 years ago in the $100k range upwards of $70m to make a modern game. What the hell do you expect. I’ve heard rumors from fellow game devs that the Austin studio staff knows full well they’re on a wild goose chase. I just hope they release something… anything playable. I’ve wanted a Wing Commander sequel for decades.

  342. It does feel a little like you’re attempting to create a self fulfilling prophesy here though with you saying over and over that this game will fail and can never be made (and I know that is your professional opinion but I’m stating what some people may read into all this). And then you bring about a lawsuit that has the potential to majorly affect the company / game that you have been, seemingly, panning online for quite some time now……. Not saying you are doing this, but it can easily be seen as such.

    Again, (and I’m not saying they may not be reasonable demands here) you have never shown any actual entitlement for backers to have any access to funding. Just pointing out the the FTC says to not misuse the funds, doesn’t give backers any rights or entitlements. It’s a very tricky area right now as there hasn’t been enough court time for crowdfunding to create much precedent but I just haven’t seen any definition of backer that allows for this “entitlement.”

    And forcing them to state a release date gets into more issues as well. Because then we could get stuck with a very buggy game (or not working at all). So hard release dates only lead to Batman Arkham Knight on PC, not necessarily a complete game. .

    As far as the refunds that can become a pain in the butt too, (as I’ve noticed you’re having some issues with valve over this very thing) but since they aren’t going through another service it shouldn’t be as difficult to allow and I suspect this is what will eventually come out of this.

  343. Derek, I know it takes some time to gather the proper information and clarify the allegations against CIG to present the most effective case, but sue these jackasses already! Unlike you, I wish to see Star Citizens burn. I would like to see them have to forfeit the money raised, back to the consumers and I would like to see YOU be the one to see it through. My hopes are high that a legitimate case will be presented before the end of the year, when it might be too late and they can claim a near finished product. Please consider being more aggressive on this.

  344. I’d like to touch on a few things.

    First, people know me well enough by now to know that

    a) I tend not to lie. It’s not in my DNA because it’s not a good quality. It’s an ego thing being caught in a lie

    b) I have very strong convictions and my tenacity and resilience are legendary

    c) I tend to be fair, even if/when I’m wrong (which doesn’t happen very often)

    I’m not perfect, and I when I mess up I don’t make excuses. I own it, take the heat, move on.

    The fact is that, when I backed this project back in 2012, like I have so many others, I did so because, for me, it was more of nostalgia more than anything else. All that aside from my undying love for a genre that, despite a lot of challenges, failures, ridicule etc, made my life today, possible.

    This genre has afforded me a pretty good life, I have made many friends and acquaintances, traveled the world, raised a family, have very nice things etc. Despite all that, I remain connected to the industry at various heights, from the high-level execs, to the average unknown gamer. I don’t hide behind a PR mouthpiece. Which is why, being over-exposed and someone who can be engaged, makes me such an easy target for abuse, attacks etc. But I’m old school and I don’t intend to change the fact that I’m a gamer by trying to elevate myself above the very gamers who brought me this far.

    I challenge you to run a search on the SC forums and see how many times Chris Roberts has ever engaged the gamers who gave him this money. We did. And the results are startling. I will post them in my next blog.

    I respond to any gamer, regardless of whether or not they bought or are playing my games. I know who I am, I know where I’ve been – and I know that I’m not above the very people who are largely responsible for how I got here.

    Back when I gave Chris money, I didn’t – for one minute – take into account the fact that he was going to revert to his old ways and screw up again. I was willing to give him a chance. I felt that, like me, he had grown up, learned a lot of things and perhaps not tethered to publishers – the platform he was now riding on – he could maybe pull this off. And if he didn’t, it was only $250. I don’t even need to get out of bed for that amount of money. In other words, I wouldn’t miss it if the game was delivered and it sucked etc.

    At the time, it was vision 1.0. I’m not going to repeat everything in my blogs. You know all of it already, regardless of your feelings about it.

    I have never disclosed this before. What caused me to start looking into this, was because back on June 9th, 2015, I received a very long and detailed email explaining to me what was going on. Then days later, I got on a call with this person. By the time I was off the call, I was completely and utterly speechless. The picture basically was that Chris and co (which included Wingman and others he had worked with from back in the day) were pretty much back to their old tricks again and that the project had absolutely no chance of success with him at the helm.

    I have spoken to and communicated with no less than 17 people attached to this project. Both past and present. Most of them I didn’t even know before. But they were willing to talk to me because, despite all the shit that people post, I am very close to people in this industry. And one thing they know about me is that I am very loyal, I never – ever – breach confidentiality. And I can be trusted. Anyone who has access to my LinkedIn or Facebook lists, can see the caliber and quality of industry people in there. I don’t take this lightly because relationships are everything to me.

    That’s precisely why I had reached out to Chris, to get his side, before my first blog went up. He blew me off. I didn’t give up because, again, I wanted to be fair. I reached out to our common friends on Facebook. Same thing. Even LinkedIn and back channels (through his PR person, David, who I sent the first blog before it was even live) – all yielded the same result.

    Yet, he was having discussions (yes Chris, it all comes back to me eventually) with other industry people, telling them how I was out to “get him”, that I was “crazy”, “jealous” etc. He later uttered the similar sentiment in a Gamescon interview.

    As the story (I wasn’t there, so take this FWIW) goes, in one instance, Chris was sitting at a dinner table, laughing about how incredulous it was to him that gamers were paying so much money for concept ships. So they were going to keep doing it. Which, on the face of it, makes sense if you’re raising money. But think about it though. Anyway, I have full intentions of deposing EVERYONE who was party to such discussions – under oath.

    This, and a bunch of other yet to be disclosed events, are what led me to start digging and writing these blogs. I have tried very hard to be objective and to keep emotions out of it. Sometimes I fail, but I am only human and I don’t profess to be perfect.

    Still, in writing these blogs, knowing the potential for being sued if I write anything that isn’t opinion based or which is known to be false or intentionally malicious, I was still cautious. Particularly because I didn’t want to do or say anything which would caste, not only Chris, but also the project, in a poor light and cause people angst. Which is precisely why the tone of my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, was about my disappointment, the comparisons to ED and SC to my own large projects etc.

    The minute they (word is that she made the call, and thus was 100% responsible for what followed) made it personal with Ben’s (Sandra’s pet) forum post, which was made at the same time as the press statement they issued – then refunded me – I knew they had declared war (too much? yeah, but we’re gamers).

    Word is that several people told them that engaging me was a very bad idea, but said that she was adamant (as stated to me, she’s apparently the single most disliked person on this project, and Chris, for some reason is reportedly afraid of her) that they “come after me” and she made statements alluding to the fact that a) I already had a bad rep with gamers b) they had the support of the Star Citizen backers.

    This is the same person who has NO experience with the industry.

    And what she predicted would happen, is precisely what did happen. The mob came.

    Again, I wasn’t there. But when you think of how things have turned out, it makes you wonder.

    In fact, just last week, one of my researchers gave me a spreadsheet which has the public forum names of every single person who has ever engaged in this attack against me since July. They are ALL the same people. Only a few are new (we think they are alt accounts, but we have no proof). Most of these people, unlike some of us who tend to use our real names, hold on to their avatar/names like a badge of honor, so they keep them consistent everywhere.

    That’s the only reason why the tone in my follow-up blogs, changed, and I started to unleash everything that I was holding back. I still try to remain objective, but when the gloves come off, they come off. That’s how that works.

    Even by the time Wingman left, its reported that relations between him, Chris and pretty much everyone, was already strained. In fact, when Wingman made that off-hand comment (it was false) on the forums which I made him remove, someone (still at CIG) made the comment to me that “We don’t even know why he did that. It’s not like there’s any love lost between him and Chris

    I already knew about how Chris and Sandra were running the project and why people were unhappy with it. I know why some specific people were leaving, as more were coming (everyone needs a job). I knew the circumstances related to the formation of the German offices because, again, I have friends all over the world.

    It’s simple. When you piss people off, treat them poorly etc, they’re going to go talk to the one person who is brave enough and has the balls to stand up and take these people on. Me.

    That’s why I called for them to be investigated, for Chris to resign and let someone else (not me, I have no interest in that) run the project etc. Because when Alex left, it was clear to me that they wanted to keep the project within a closed loop. Probably in order to reduce the chances of leaks, accountability etc.

    Unfortunately for them, in this dangerous cat and mouse game we’re now engaged in, these people (past and present) are legally protected and are required to testify under oath about this project, why they left etc. They have NO choice. NONE.

    Heck, despite my convictions, as I stated again in a recent interview (not yet published), I said that I would even settle for Erin taking over the project, even though it’s unlikely that he is going to have that much influence over his brother. But the fact is, he is very experienced, it gives them an “out” etc. Even though it may cast Chris in a poor light if with Erin at the helm, the project turns out as expected (it won’t, but it’s a better shot with Erin).

    Everyone (industry and gamers alike) attached to this, has picked sides and playing the stupid game of “The enemy of my enemy is my friend“, ignoring all the signs that point to this project being doomed, being run into the ground, and has very little hope for recovery etc. More importantly, at every turn, and every step, the creators of this project have seemingly misled (revised ToS, ship dates, deliverables) backers and have yet to account for $90m in backer money.

    Unfortunately for them, I know enough to know that something is terribly wrong with this project. And each time one of my blogs is published, or I post something on social media, Sandra apparently loses her mind and makes everyone’s life a living hell. Have you seen the dynamics and body language people exhibit around her in some of those videos (compare to the ones with she and Ben only)? No? Look again. It’s all there.

    This was never personal. And even though they chose to make it personal, I keep trying to remain objective. You can even see the arrogance and personal nature of Ortwin’s response letter. And that’s precisely why I chose to make it public. This is what we can expect going forward because that’s just another deflecting tactic in attacking the messenger, instead of addressing the issues.

    People think that I am taking this too personally. But here’s the thing, I am human. If this didn’t effect me at a personal level, why would I care?

    Back in July when I offered up to $1m to hire someone to bring accountability to this project, some (who don’t know me well enough), thought I was bluffing. So now, I’m spending that money on investigations, legal action etc.

    As part of that, I am in the process of hiring a well known firm that specializes in investigative media reporting and research. By the time the dust settles, it’s going to cost well over $100K to get what I need before marching into court. But I am going to pay to do a complete and independent investigation of this project and all the creators attached to it.

    Then I’m going to make the entire results public, and attach them to the impending legal action. I am also going to hand it over to the State and Fed authorities because, if nothing else, it gives them an unbiased overview of what has going on, and also give a footprint of where to start looking and asking questions.

    People think that I’m doing this because I am a competitor? Fine, I can see how that would be the perception. But ask yourself this: why haven’t the media, who have all these resources, done anything thus far? Besides fluff pieces, soft questions etc? So now, I am going to take myself out of the equation.

    Regardless of how this ends, I know with 100% certainty, that I am right to be pursuing this and asking questions. Unfortunately, the only way that I am going to be able to prove that something is amiss, is by spending my own money and taking legal action.

    I asked them for three simple things. Basic things that all backers are entitled to, whether they want it or not. Them refusing, while engaging in personal attacks against me, is enough for any sensible person to start thinking carefully.

    All they have to do is provide these three things, and all this ends. It really is that simple. I am a man of my word, and have always been that way. I only want these things. Nothing more. Nothing less. And even if the project fails or succeeds, it won’t matter once these three things have been given to the backers and the gamers who are entitled to them.

    I will fight this to the very bitter end and at whatever cost.

  345. Reading all this and the older blogs of Mr. Smart well I have to say it is all disturbing to me.
    As more thing will come to light in the future I am not worried about SC don’t care about it anymore.

    I am more worried about the gaming industry if this is all a big fraud in the end, what will happen?
    It will be harder for starting developers, to even get started either via kickstarter or any other platform to raise money.
    I find even more disturbing that no Gaming website or magazine even asked about it..
    Well not before Mr. Smart started to blog about it.
    And it was met with skepticism or worse, most articles I found felt like well Mr. Smart is the bad person in all of this.
    I find this lack of media coverage also pretty disturbing.

    Good or Bad it does not matter any more, it is clear now that a lot of money is given to the company with little to show.
    Even I gave money via the RSI website there is no refund button I send out my support ticket to day to get a refund but my guess is I never get it back.

    So what next when this goes to trail, how will this all play out I am from the Netherlands so bear with me.
    I do not understand the U.S. judicial system it sounds to me as a long road to travel.
    So I hope Mr. Smart is able to talk about this some more in his blog for the non U.S. Residents among us.

    Mr. Smart you are doing the right thing here.

    With respect en kind regards,

  346. As has been stated here previously, the community can get rather negative rather quickly. So by telling their moderators to not allow talk about a controversial figure for the company right now should be applauded. This stops continuous streams of trash talking and bad mouthing from those who chose to make the forums a more toxic place (which thankfully I have yet to run into personally). Not to mention I have actually brought up Mr. Smart a couple of times with no problem and no ban / deletion. It’s all in how you phrase it and speak about him. If it isn’t bashing and name calling, they usually just let it slide, unless of course someone else then goes into the negativity. Then the thread is closed for trolling.

  347. Ok your rant was lovely there, but has little to nothing to do with anything I have ever posted on this blog. But really please let me know when any other video game TOS has only changed with the approval of all customers involved. Fair warning, that would be never. The company can change their TOS, that’s their right. It is our right to fight them on that if required, but changing it is their right as a company. And no, you or I as a customer of said company have zero say if and when that happens, but we do have the right to take them to court over it if we believe it is fraudulent (which is exactly what Mr. Smart is doing).

    And in your own mind, if they had intended for the timeline to be for both sections of that paragraph they would have mentioned the date earlier. In a legal document the preceding information carries through the form, unless changed / modified, so the fact that they didn’t reference the date until the discussion of refunds means that the date refers to the refunds and not the previous statements (this is from my lawyer during a contract negotiation, she may be wrong but I trust her). And just for the record, I also find the changing of the timeline to be suspect (why they didn’t just START with overshooting and say 24 months or 32 months and then hopefully deliver it early is anyone’s guess), but again the legality of that move is not for me or you to conjecture about since neither of us are lawyers.

    And it’s hilarious that you think that TOS must be clear for the customer to understand, also not true. The TOS must be legally clear and concise to be legally binding. It doesn’t matter if Joe Schmoe can read it and understand every word of it, it only matters if legal counsel can back up the wording chosen and used, to a judge. (which is apparently is about to be tested) But again as we both state our opinions don’t actually matter, so this is a moot argument.

    Clearly you have already made up your mind as to what is going on with CIG, the mafia, really?!?!? But with this, “when confronted with simple questions that are legit and should be answered, they act defensively in a way of never showing anything, never answering, and quickly or immediately, trying to create a scenario where who asked is a kind of demon in an ultimate evil plot against those angels.” Who is this “they” you refer to? Because from everything I’ve seen (and granted I haven’t seen everything so please feel free to enlighten me) but Chris and other higher ups are evasive in their responses, but not demonizing. But then again that may heavily depend on each of our definitions of “demonizing,” ie. inferring that CR is spending money on whores, coke and conducting business with the mafia is kinda of “demonizing” CR isn’t it? (just a little pot and kettle logic right there)

    I’m still having issue with all this talk of “fraud,” other than the missed deadlines (which happen in everything related to video games, just ask Mr. Smart with LOD and having to completely change the engine). Also the statement that they won’t be using money for advertising was a major thing that Mr. Smart stressed in our previous dialogue, but again that all depends on your definition of the word “advertising.” Does that include trade shows, in some people’s mind yes. In other’s minds, that is just part and parcel of doing business in the gaming world, so it’s a standard business expense.

    Anyway, I’ve never stated that we shouldn’t question CIG, nor CR. I am not a white knight defending CIG here, just someone trying to sort through all of this. And I haven’t, personally, seen really any evidence that screams fraud. There have been some missteps, and CR should really learn to shut his mouth when it comes to dates, but other than that I’m just waiting for Mr. Smart to show the rest of his evidence, which is supposedly damning. But until that happens I am holding off my judgement and remaining neutral between the two and just asking questions for further clarification.

  348. Mr Smart

    Thank you, I’d appreciate it if you would continue to make as many people as possible aware of their rights in the EU. I believe these laws were brought in to protect consumers for very good reasons.

    On a personal note, I’m very sorry you are receiving so much abuse from “fans” of Star Citizen with the obvious blessing of community team, I know you can handle it, but that still doesn’t make it right. I’m sure more backers would speak out in support of your position if they weren’t concerned about retaliation from the community team at CIG.

    A community team incidentally that actively tries to misinform consumers of their rights in the EU.

    I’ll decide if I’m a “fan” of something or not once I see a game and I reject any suggestion that these “fans” represent the majority of backers with their abusive behavior.

  349. Echo: The sad reality is that I have several of these emails/letters from ex- employees and contractors, but cannot make them public without permission. A lot of these people have families and they don’t want to taint their work history with what is surely going to become the largest gaming industry fiasco of all time. But in a court mandated depositions, they don’t have a choice, and they are protected by the law and bound to tell the truth under oath.

    Unlike the Denison one sent to me anonymously and which was posted publicly elsewhere by him, those others were sent to me by the very people attached to this project.

    As I’ve said before, if this sees a court room, we’re going to depose everybody who has ever been attached to this project. Even the person taking out the office garbage is open season. Even the now fired cook, is on the list, now that we’ve located him.

    When I offered $1m back in July to bring accountability to this project in order to prove that I was right, people thought I was bluffing. Now I’m just going to spend it on legal action, investigation etc.

  350. I understand landing zones will be in eventually – but not promised for Launch other than ‘100 systems’ in the crowd-funding campaign – what I’m saying is, there is a lot of work on landing zones which doesn’t need to be completed in order for them to deliver on said promise

  351. Zambooka: It’s in one of the statements (I’d have to dig it up) related to how they are being designed. Last I recall, each primary system has a base. That’s the whole point of trading and such.

  352. Rharan: Thanks, I already posted about that. I should probably make an announcement and pass it to the media so that those in the EU are aware of this and can get a refund if they so choose.

  353. Mr Horn: I don’t see what any of this has to do with that. Nothing I am doing or saying, is taking away anyone’s enjoyment of the “game”. That’s why some people love a game, while others hate it.

  354. Jennifer: Thanks for the kind words. It hasn’t been easy. But the good thing is that I have a lot of experience dealing with this sort of abuse. Plus I have a thin skin – and people don’t scare me. They never did.

    One way or another, we’re going to get accountability. Either through legal action, or through State and Federal action. I will fight this to the very bitter end because I believe that it’s the right thing to do as it will set a precedent that’s sorely needed.

  355. Kris: Sadly, you are wrong. I have no motivation to bring them out or kill the game. As I’ve said before, if you – and others – think that anything I do in my quest for accountability is destined to kill the project, and the company, then that’s on them. And if that happens, then it proves what I’ve said all along.

    I asked for three simple things that all backers are entitled to. All they have to do it comply. How hard is that, exactly? Just because some people don’t care about that, doesn’t mean that others don’t or shouldn’t.

  356. kylar:

    yeah, we know. I already mentioned it. They felt forced to release it because of all the noise I was making and because Chris, again, went on the record (Gamecom interview) saying that it will be out end of Aug, Star Marine end of Sept and AC 2.0/Mulit-Crew end of Oct.

  357. Barrow: Yeah sadly, this is exactly what they have been doing. And it’s the same mob who are trying to quash any/all form of dissent. And that’s precisely why, given my exposure and the fact that I am an old school developer who people tend to listen to, they ramp up the attacks. Even when you read the response letter from Ortwin, compared to ours, you can clearly see that this is the mentality that RSI/CIG project and condone. And that’s why I made the letter public, in the same way that I am going to make every single piece of court document public. They funded the entire company based on crowd-funded money, so everything should be visible to the backers and the world at large.

  358. kxmode: yes, it’s pretty much along those lines. Though the most important one involves a lawsuit and them selling the company. More soon.

    Some gamers from Germany already made comments (1, 2) about that. I have a lot of research material into that. It’s a lot of stuff; which is why I cut it from this blog because it needs its own.

  359. Quasi:

    Indeed. The thing is that it didn’t have to be this way. This is why, in a bid to be fair to Chris, I pointed out in my latest blog that we gave him money, not knowing what had happened to him back when he left the industry for Hollywood. People change, they get influenced. I had hoped that with age, he had somehow grown and learned from mistakes. However, as much as I still like (not to be confused with trusting him) the guy, I am very disappointed in him.

    This game, when it fails as I am 100% certain that it will (knowing that failure is relative), is going to have long term ramifications for the entire gaming and crowd-funding sectors. And when that happens, he gets to disappear again; leaving us behind to wade through the carnage.

    And the media already know that there is something fishy going on here, but as I said in one of my blogs, most of them are either i) hedging their bets or ii) have a long standing history with Chris and some of the players

  360. From the leaked letter:
    “He was not concerned with budget and memory. He was not concerned with time. He wanted what CR wanted- great looking screenshots. He dismissed my concerns about the time it will take to do characters like ships, tri count, and memory.”
    This is very alarming, and it is also exactly what you have been saying since July about CR’s way of favoring graphics above practical considerations and technology limitations. Well done, Derek.

  361. Scharmers: I’m going to be very honest here. When I saw the name, a flood of old school memories came rushing back all at once. I started laughing. Ah, good times. In fact, back when I was writing the Urban Legend blog post, you were one of the people who started making me laugh when I was writing certain parts of it. 🙂

    As someone from the back in the day who knows how I operate, and who like a bunch of people never let me get away with shit, all this should probably be reminiscent of the flamewar mobs from back then, who never – ever- agreed on anything. Regardless of the facts. People tend to pick a side, and dig in. But once in awhile, some – like you – amid all the madness, tend to be fair. Thanks for that. It’s one of the reasons why I remember some people from back in the day.

  362. I must admit I am interested to see how this plays out. If CR is indeed taken to court over this I must admit I’d be more than a little shocked as that def. is a whole lot of money they collected. I would never have even thought of such a thing happening in the gaming industry. Time will tell.

  363. “In case you were wondering, according to the crowd-funding campaign, at $5m, they promised to deliver 70 star systems, and $6m, there would be 100. Each one of these has a landing zone powered by this Social Module. Thus far, they have only released only one. One (!).”

    Just a quick question.. Where do they promise a landing zone in each system on launch?

  364. In the European Union, The Directive on Consumer Rights (2011/83/EC) replaces, as of 13 June 2014, Directive 97/7/EC on the protection of consumers in respect of distance contracts.

    Of interest is

    4.2.5. The binding nature of pre-contractual information “Accordingly, the information provided on the trader’s website should be binding on the
    parties and, if the trader wishes to alter any of its elements, he should obtain the consumer’s
    express consent” Time of delivery or performance “The agreed date would then constitute the ‘agreed’ time of delivery, as referred to in
    Article 18 (see also Chapter 7 on delivery).”


    “Article 9 gives the consumer 14 days to withdraw from a distance or off-premises contract
    without giving any reason.”

    “Accordingly, ’14 days’ in this provision should mean 14 calendar days starting from the day
    following the day on which the relevant event occurs (i.e., the conclusion of the contract or
    delivery of goods):”

    Basically all the above means that anyone spending money or RSI credits on the Roberts Space Industries website in the European Union after June 2014 can withdraw from the contract and obtain a full refund without giving a reason. This ability to do this will only cease 14 days after delivery of the completed Star Citizen game.

    The Roberts Space Industries terms of service has no effect on this ability as in the European Union consumers are prevented from waiving their basic consumer rights. They won’t agree willing, obviously but if anyone wants a refund in the EU, if you push it and know your rights they will have to refund you under the above.

  365. Derek,
    the majority of the people who have actually played this game are quite happy with the progress. Did it ever occur to you to first try the product before writing a long ranting blog about it? This seems quite unprofessional to me.

  366. I simply wanted to say thank you, to you, for taking what must be an enormous amount of effort and time to sort this sordid business out. Early on I felt that Star Citizen, as a project, seemed dubious at best and it seems clear now that this is so. You put up with so much abuse simply for doing what Ralph Nader would have done, what any hero of the consumer in days past would have done – something for which you should be cheered for.

    I, cheer for you. Good on you, Mr. Smart. It is a tiny thing, perhaps, this note. But as little as it is, I wanted to at least let you know that there is someone who feels you are doing something worthwhile and valid in terms of protecting consumers and investors in projects such as these.

    Go, Mr, Smart. Defeat that dragon. And maybe there will be less fraud in the future as a result.

    – Jennifer Reitz

  367. I’m a very result-oriented kind of person. Only one person have ever affected me with words alone (and that was 25 years ago!). For me it’s actual results that matter. And that goes both ways in this entire debate.

    Chris Roberts is very, very far from delivering the game he’s sold on us. Just looking at the state of the game now, 3 years after the KS pitch and you realise it’s years away. However, his past results like Wing Commander 3 and 4 are the reasons why I took the chance to pledge money for this. Not “invest”, since “invest” suggest I expect a financial gain which I really don’t. I helped fund the development of SC but I don’t hold any stakes or stocks and will gain nothing if it blows away salesrecords or just blows.

    Derek, you are very, very far from delivering on the things you’ve suggested at delivering – an FTC or even FBI investigation into RSI/CIG and a lawsuit to ultimately bring down the Roberts. You don’t even have to read between the lines to see that is your end game. So far it’s alot of words and promises but nothing substantial and no “smoking gun”, not publically anyway (and “trust me, we have proof” doesn’t do squat with me as stated earlier). And it wouldn’t be fair to bring up the games you’ve made over the years quite simply because I’ve never heard of them before and never played them.

    Either way, everybody loses 🙁

    In the end … I just want to play the game…

  368. Just a quick thing about the social module, what we are playing now is 6 months old. They released it because the 6 month old branch was stable and because star marine ran into some snags.

  369. SO last months blog was covered on I and maybe 2 others tried to attempt a defense of what you were trying to do. All i can say was i got threats in my private messages and a few e-mails that were strange.

    Needless to say the comments made on that board were 90% white knight a-holes who would just verbally (typed) abuse anyone who agreed with you or me are the other few who supported you.

    I will be content supporting Mark Jacobs and Camelot Unchained, he knows how to show accountability now (yes WAR was terrible).

    Thanks again Derek, people like you try and keep people like me safe from scammers and charlatans. Keep up the good fight, cause you are one of the few who will.

  370. Derek regarding “There is a whole history there between [Ortwin], Chris, and failed German movie investment ventures.” When I read this part it sparked a memory I had of reading an article about Uwe Boll and his connection to German tax breaks. It took me awhile but I found the article.

    I’ll quote key points from the article…

    “But crucially, the bizarre tax laws in Germany mean that any wealthy Germans who invest in a movie can write-off the production cost, delay paying their taxes and generally reduce their tax burden. When you disseminate all the boring legal business law surrounding it the bottom line is this – the German investors in a movie only pay tax on any RETURNS the movie makes, their investment is 100% deductible, so the minute the movie makes a profit, said investor has to start paying tax. Plus the investors can actually borrow money to put towards investment and write that off too. Assuming you’re a sharp enough businessman you have a potential goldmine in the making; a way to make money from investing in bad movies… “

    “The truth of it all is that Boll’s entire shtick is in essence, a sham. He’s not a bad director under the true definition. He just isn’t a director period. He’s only bad because he has no intention of trying to direct a coherent movie, let alone be good. All he needs is 90 minutes of celluloid and a good sales pitch for his investors. He’s not flying in the face of adversity Ed Wood style; he’s rubbing his palms at the awfulness of the dailies, thinking of how much money his fingers-on-chalkboard scenes will make in tax rebates.”

    “It is, in fact a carefully managed show, a performance with one purpose and one purpose only; to ensure the maximum amount of negative publicity possible for his project because Boll knows fine and well, the worse his movie does, the better return he will get from his tax break.”

    Does this about sum up the “failed German movie investment ventures” between Ortwin and Chris?

  371. “Further into the paragraph, they explain that if they fail to deliver in a certain time frame then you may request a refund of the “unearned portion of your pledge.”

    Ok. Now stop and think for a second in what you just said. And considering that this clause (the certain time frame) changed, unilaterally by decision of the company, without approval of all customers involved, answer me a simple question:

    What is the point of the clause then? Why such clause exists in the first place in the contract? If the whole purpose of the clause is to say that in a period of time this or that would happen, tying or not the further statements “for the benefit of doubt, sharing accountability” to that, which pretty much depends of the reader, and its ambiguous, because as I told you, many customer read that just in the way that I read to you – and customers are not attorneys, so, that’s why this kind of contract must to be clear and the customer must to understand that, without space to different interpretations, but then, they go there and change that time expanding to, whatever time they want… so what is the point of the clause?
    Think about that for a few seconds. A few seconds would be enough so you understand the issue, which basically transform contractual clauses in what is popular know as “bait” and which is considered legally as something “deceptive”, which mislead customers to help them to make their buying decisions, and that, you know, is against the law of United States. Doing that approach, both in their advertising AND in their contract is, alone, not considering other measures of possible scams that are going on, defrauding customers, its bad faith on business (which is funny, because they used the term “good faith” in their TOS too).

    “And I’ve never stated that this won’t end in some sort of potential accountability. I’m just reiterating that if you think you will have access to this financial accountability in any form I really don’t see how that could possibly happen.”

    I don’t want to have access to it. I want a thirdy party that has no ties to Chris Roberts and co. making forensic accountability and telling me that everything is fine. I don’t need or want to get my hands into the details. Probably neither Mr. Smart. Just the “its ok” is enough. Like we both or anyone who talks about that, woudl be satisfied if FTC acted first and told us that investiaged and they are ok, nothing wrong. Even Smart hoped that FTC could act, even knowing, that they are slow. Or FBI, you know. Any authority that could tell us that they are ok would be enough.

    The thing is. they are not ok in many things. With a lawsuit, they will pay fines because they did a lot of things wrong in terms of advertising, consumer laws, etc. They will have to pay fines for that, regardless accountability. Regardless if they are making business with the mafia, washing money, or just spending in cocaine, whores and pet movies, whatever. All these kinds of shit, would make me and Derek so surprised as anyone else. But, we can’t deny that, considering their trend to lie, and their overreaction when confronted with simple questions that are legit and should be answered, they act defensively in a way of never showing anything, never answering, and quickly or imeditally, trying to create a scenario where who asked is a kind of demon in an ultimate evil plot against those angels.

    So, I expect a lot of things wrong, regarding consumer disrespect, and they paying fines for educational purposes. But if worst things are going there, we should know too, why the hell not. But my intention, at least, is that with the payment of fines, they will learn. And will start to follow better practices. That is just what happened with many many companies in our world who started to make shit, until a lawsuit came and put them on track again. Its something very simple and common. Games are not special snowflake. All this romance about “Chris Roberts”, “crowdfunding”, “hopes and dreams” are pure blablabla. This is a contract between consumers and a company, and the company disrespected that in many ways, but at the same time, try to use this same contract to deny rights of customers, like if it does not work in both ways, its a one-way street road. And that is not what contracts with customers are for.

    All this bullshit of dev celebrity. And people shouldn’t “dare” to question them, because it “must” to be constructive. All this is the biggest bullshit that I ever heard. We are customer. We obviously should question and should make critics, regardless constructive. They were paid to deliver something, and did not deliver. What is all this show of “no case” is about? Again… A lot of bullshit. In a court of law, all this bullshit will be out of there. What matters are the facts, the law, not the excuses of “why they broke the law” ok?

  372. “which I played for 6 hours this weekend and 2 last night. loads of fun, especially mastering ”

    yeah yeah… ok… no doubt 1% of the backers loved this (“mastering”… shouldn’t you say “mousering”?):


  373. Thank you so much for the hard work you have put in to this investigation Mr. Smart. Normally this sort of thing is what the gaming media should be doing. Unfortunately, things like Gamergate and the Dorito Pope scandal have shown us that games media is so dependent on freebies and advertising dollars that they will never do a real investigation into ANY studio. To do so could jeopardize their “free” games, “exclusive” access, and most importantly, ad revenue.

    A few years ago I stumbled upon Star Citizen via some article or post (too long ago to remember). This was at the point after the Kickstarter had finished, but before they had even raised 6 million. The game was promised as something like EVE, but with a 1st person flight sim interface with nice (but NOT AAA) graphics. It sounded cool and easily doable with current technology. I mean, they were basically just going to make EVE look better and be more immersive. What could go wrong?

    This was also at the beginning of the whole crowdfunded-open-alpha phase that gaming is “enjoying” now where you pay a discounted price now during development, get full alpha and beta testing access, and then get the full game plus a few “extras” for being a backer. Sounded like a great deal. I plopped down $40 for one of the more modest packages. Since there was no actual alpha at the time, and the fact that I hate message boards, I slowly forgot about Star Citizen. Fast forward to 2015 and I see a link to “Interstellar Citizens” in the Twitter feed of a reviewer who’s opinions I trust.

    What I read stunned me. I hadn’t followed the “progress” of SC at all in the past two years, preferring to wait until they had something physical (in a virtual sense) for me to play. You methodically pointed out that the game scope had morphed into some unrecognizable mish-mash of star-fighter sim, Call of Duty, MMO, and any other genre they can cram in. That alone made me open my eyes and see what was going on, as all I wanted was the simple space sim with a dynamic economy I had been promised. Now, I don’t even think RSI is even TALKING about that deep economy. You remember, the one that was supposed to be based on whether or not players were able to successfully transport goods from planet to planet while avoiding pirate blockades. That was a primary selling point, now pushed back way behind other things that were later added.

    So it was clear that RSI was at best incompetent, and at worst, committing outright fraud. We may have had to wait nearly a month for “The Long Con”, but it too, was eye opening. I no longer sit in the “incompetent” camp. With the claim (and hopefully soon solid evidence) that backer capital is being mingled with personal funds…. Lets just say that there is absolutely no industry where this is ethical, and in the majority of industries this is downright illegal. Right now, I don’t even care if RSI is doing anything illegal, the amount of unethical things they are doing should be more than enough to form a mob of angry backers demanding action.

    If I may be so bold, I believe that the Hollywood connections Chris Roberts has will bear the most fruit when it comes down to investigating unethical/illegal behavior. Hollywood has been a cesspit of backdoor dealings and sliding money under desks for decades. The game industry is relatively new to this sort of thing, and if indeed CR is bringing this sort of sleaze to the game industry it can be far more devastating than merely undermining the faith in crowd sourced game development that you initially stated as the reason for calling RSI out.

    Sorry for the length, but there is so much wrong in what RSI is doing I can see why you need multiple novel length posts over months just to even scratch the surface.

  374. Ben:

    And I’ve never stated that this won’t end in some sort of potential accountability. I’m just reiterating that if you think you will have access to this financial accountability in any form I really don’t see how that could possibly happen.

    It happens all the time. Access to information that is material (in this case, where the money has gone) to a case is always accessible via a lawsuit because it can be requested through discovery. It’s a no-brainer actually. The key issue is whether or not they petition the judge to file it under seal. Since it’s crowd-funded money, it is highly unlikely that the judge will grant such a request. Which means once it appears in discovery, it goes into the public court records for anyone to access.

  375. Scharmers: Yeah the “long con” part can be regarded as hyperbole depending on how you look at it. It was just interesting to me that every one of the 6 parts, seemingly had a reasonable entry from the way the SC project has been run. In truth, I hadn’t made the connection at first, until I saw a comment post by kxmode. Then it all made sense.

    But yeah, though I’m getting flak from some people, I still believe that what I’m doing is right, and just. As long as what I’m doing is not illegal (which it isn’t) or legally actionable, I have complete confidence that it is the right thing to do. In the end, no matter how this plays out, I have full confidence that I am right, and that I will be eventually vindicated. It’s just a matter of time. I’ve been around a long time, and patience (mingled with tenacity) is one of my better qualities.

    ps: wait!!! SCHARMERS IS THAT YOU?!!?!?

  376. I find this odd, I feel like you are quoting my comment, but I don’t see my original comment anywhere in this comment section…..odd…..

    But anyway I don’t see the TOS as ambiguous, they start by stating that if they fail to deliver the game, then they will give an accounting of all funds. Further into the paragraph, they explain that if they fail to deliver in a certain time frame then you may request a refund of the “unearned portion of your pledge.” Seems pretty straight forward to me, and in my mind if they intended to actually link the two they would have. So in essence you are creating an inference with the dates that’s not actually written in there.

    But either way it doesn’t really matter what you or I think or how we read these statements. And really I think everyone can see that no matter what CIG might release even if they do follow through with the accounting it won’t be something that will satisfy you or Mr. Smart. Because even if they did release this information, you do realize it is going to be ridiculously generic right? Such and such amount to this team, or toward this module. They won’t get into anything specific.

    And honestly I really don’t see anyway through our current legal system that you or Mr. Smart, or anyone else for that matter, will ever see anything more specific than what they might release on their own. I mean an actual auditor commented on one of Mr. Smart’s previous blogs stating that without signing a NDA or something similar you would never be legally allowed to see such documentation.

    And I’ve never stated that this won’t end in some sort of potential accountability. I’m just reiterating that if you think you will have access to this financial accountability in any form I really don’t see how that could possibly happen.

  377. Given the impending legal action
    Will you be filing in CA? I have a PACER account and would like to track this.
    Have you received any restraining orders yet?

    we are left with no choice but to take legal action
    Is that the royal “we” or will your co-plaintiffs also be putting their names on this? Have you or will you form an entity to act in this respect?

    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
    TOS says you can’t get a refund until 12 months, but doesn’t say it is an automatic condition of the contract, only that 12 months is the reasonable delay after which you can ask for one NQA … that doesn’t require a lawsuit, just a reasonable e-mail.

    disjointed, incomplete and broken mess of a product
    which I played for 6 hours this weekend and 2 last night. loads of fun, especially mastering all the different available ships (av, horn:s-m, glds, gldtr, cutls, 300i-r, merlin, must:a-d, aur:b-l) 9 different varieties with additional 8 variants?

  378. Ortwin Freyermuth sounds like a WC Fields character. Its weird how the SC fans build him up into being some incredible hotshot lawyer, but so far his reputation is based on being friends with Chris Roberts. Anybody find any evidence of what a great lawyer he is otherwise?

  379. I’m reading all of this, but I’m not sure I’m seeing a con. I’m not seeing CR as the classic, evil Enron-style peckerhead, but rather a Molyneux clone who is better at raising money… and, perhaps, is only beginning to see the “PROMISE EVERYTHING!” trap close around him.

    So: incompetence, rather than malice.

    Still, kicking over the anthill on this one might make Roberts, Molyneux, and the rest of the old men trying to refund their youth on our cash think twice next time.

  380. Let me help you out:

    Sandi Gardiner and Chris Roberts
    no other staff.

    The question is now: Do you have prof, that Sandi used the office and the equipment without:

    1. paying for using the equipment and or the related costs
    2. performing this shots in her working time
    3. that using the equipment for example is not a “perk” in her working contract?

    to 3. I know some companies that allow using their property under certain circumstances. My wife is allowed to use the conference room after the company closes for her private meetings. She pays a small fee for it.



  381. The letter of the former employee that was leaked, once again, fits with all other statements that were already brought to attention of people in statements, including, in that article of Polygon.
    At this point, people denying how wrong the things are been managed and how possibly worst things are going on there, are certainly living in denial, and those, are hopeless.
    It’s very possible that Roberts and co. are just playing with the employees, asking them to redo things, so the venture take longer, meaning more time to “reality check” coming, meaning, a game that they obviously are not capable to deliver, coming half-assed and suffering with a great amount of criticism, as well as leading them, with the “release” event, having to let people “earn” everything by gameplay and stopping with the ship sales.
    Just look to the “reality check” of what they actually delivered so far. It’s far to be accepted by their customer, in general. And between the die-hard fans, the majority does not even play it, because its simply bad, and half-assed, bad designed by itself.
    So, definitely, in one hand, they have to delude customers, but also, the employees, and this micro-managing way, leading to Roberts making and setting how effective the development is going to be to deliver results, making all the decisions, approving/disapproving, is the easy way to control the thing to take longer to advance, which, coincidence, gives them more income, with more time available to make seasonal ship sales, to the same evangelized to buy.
    Who cares with promises, who cares with the majority of the public, if its just the minority are those who gives them free/easy money? Clearly that is the motto of CIG team, which they, obviosuly, adopt in close circles and reflect that in their strategy, not openly stating that to do not destroy for good the motivation of many employees that wouldn’t accept to work in such falsity basis.
    Its a long con indeed, lead by Roberts and closest associates (including members of his own family)… employees, backers, press and the general public are been conned.

  382. Vestinious: Yeah, unless you are in my list, FB messages go to “Other” section. I just found it and responded.

    As to your question, the links to Gemini 42 were cached and weren’t working before. I have since updated the article. Just search for this word to find the links: Gemini

    kxmode also posted some links in his comment as well.

  383. “Actually in accordance to their own TOS they don’t have that responsibility set to go into effect until the they are unable to deliver the game in total. It doesn’t actually state the 12 / 18 month timeline in that section, that only refers to refunds. ”

    Actually both clauses are clearly connected and, even if they only promised to share accountability in the “fail” event, under their perspective, they implied (opened to interpretation of general customers reading the thing) that this “fail event” would be not delivering in the estimate delivery date + 12 months (later updated to 18, which makes the clause, meaningless, a bait, as a whole).

    So, I have two news for you. When building a contract to general customer, mainly related to internet deals, you can’t:
    1-) Make it ambiguous
    2-) Make it meaningless, just a bait.

    So, basically, they will end accountable, due how they phrased those clauses, how they changed those clauses, to accomplish with the “promise” according with the interpretation of the customer, which in fact, was almost like a common sense.

    In past discussions in the CIG Forums, the backers were basically unanimous on saying that “people only could start to require anything for CIG, accountability for example, after passed that 12 months time after the end of 2014”.

  384. I think CIG calling their events “CitizenCon” is just a little too suspicious especially when most of the money is coming from existing Backers.

  385. I am not sure that “forensic accountability” is even necessary due the amount of proof of bad faith attitude to deliver ON or BEFORE the estimated delivery date, as described by their own TOS And by the Federal guidelines publicly shared by authorities, messages misleading consumers, lies, etc., which are all public record and those who claims that “it does not prove nothing” are simply ignorant about how consumer issues actually work and are evaluated, both by legal authorities and feds.
    They basically said that don’t care with what they presented and estimated, and many times, like if it was something ok and legal, based in a false premise (urban legend) of no liability because “its crowdfunded project”, which obviously is not true, and this is all about misinformation widespread, as convenient to give the freedom to crowdfund projects, to do “whatever”.
    And fans fail to see the lack of logic of what they claim. They claim that CIG is ok and is acting in “good faith” because “they are working in the game”, but that is simply, a “contract” that does not exist and they made up, out of the thin air, since the contract between backers and the company, is that CIG would show “good faith” to deliver ON or BEFORE the estimated delivery date (plus 12 months, in a worst case scenario, implied as the “fail to deliver” scenario, triggering refunds and accountability), instead their logic “good faith to deliver in whatever future or ever”.
    CIG did not make a contract of “we are going to try without schedule and the sky is the limit”. They made a contract stating, “we are going to do this by this period”.

    So, even that they are not a total fraud, they are obligated to accomplish with their promises, per the contract and per the advertising, and if they do not, they will have to pay fines in lawsuits… this is a certainty (and yes, we already know that they won’t accomplish, because they already announced that the game is coming, at least, one year after the “worst case contractual scenario”). And the fact that they pretend, lie, twist, dumb-down the public, and attack customers who are in their rights is more than enough evidence that a judge would need to show how they mislead the public, and how they have, possibly, worst things to hide, since they have a CLEAR advantage of not delivering in any time soon. More time, more personal profit from salaries/bonus from a project, that THEY could already had figured out that it won’t be ever accepted, under the circumstances (hype, advertising made earlier, etc.) by the market/press/backers, etc. So, they cash what they can, while they can, from who they still can (and here we see their entire focus on selling expensive concepts for those who are already backers, since a long long time, and usually getting the same number of people buying then, from what we can analyse looking to the grow of their main counter).

    The fact that they approve/disapprove pieces of art, leading to bad work/rework, etc., all this waste of time, and CR micro-managing, is another red flag that could mean that, the owners of the company, are more interested to make it take longer, for the reasons above stated.

    Obviously a forensic accountability is something necessary to discover worst things, but in the basics, clearly any lawsuit presenting the facts that you and other people already presented, are enough to lead CIG to pay strong fines in a court case, in whatever place of United States.

    And who says the contrary are absolutely clueless about how consumer issues are evaluated by the authorities, and could be even refusing to know and understand it better.

    For some reason also, the usual suspects who defend CIG (always the same people, in a group which never grows since more than 2 years ago – they are not that good on creating “new white knights”) think that an action only would be taken seriously, IF and only IF, the “long con leader” announced the project cancelled and/or went silence. The flaw on such argument is that, it would open a precedence (if that was “ok” and “allowed” after analysed by a judge, for example) where any con man, which manages to sustain itself in some form (selling expensive new concepts for example, receiving more money ‘to share’ information, for example?), would be able to keep a long con, basically, you know… forever.

    So, such argument is simply ridiculous and baseless, from people that lacks simple logic… totally.

    I can agree that FTC and other authorities could have “a filter”, not going so deep to investigate “long con” and just looking into actual “con” established with an announcing of non-delivering or disappearing without updates, because they are federal agencies… so… just imagine the millions and millions of complaints that they receive in a daily basis and have to deal, related to all kinds of business, but that simply does not mean that any customer would not have a case.

    And to be fair with FTC, they just started to check crowdfunding matters/complaints, so, it will take a while yet, so they start to go deep in “long con” matters like the Star Citizen case.

    The true is, they will deny and are just worried in making campaigns of marketing to dismiss whatever argument brought, against things that are seriously easy to see and notice when you look to the project objectively and based on consumer/marketing/ad and other related United States laws.

    I am going to give an example: There is a user in Massively Op, aka rioinsignia, which responds on twitter and CIG Forums by the aka Takaroshe, which lacks total logic and reason, when the subject is related to Space Sim games, specially Star Citizen. (it’s funny really to notice his total bias, because he always demonstrates that is never worried with Star Citizen matters, and dismiss everything, but will be the first to raise similar thoughts about worries, or even forced ones, when the subject of the news is Elite Dangerous – the main competitor of Star Citizen).

    But he is usually encouraged by the same group, as someone “mature”, with “reason”, and they usually speak to each other, making up conversations, to try to give to eventual readers, the idea that “its common sense by their mature dialogue, how Derek Smart is wrong, and how CIG made absolutely nothing wrong”… and when confronted by other more reasonable users, with arguments and federal statements that proves how wrong they are, they usually use their packs to simply get you banned from the places that they are, because you are “bashing” Star Citizen, so, again, only their opinions stay and are presented to the “eventual reader”. Clearly, a marketing agenda, that if confronted, they deny, but in their own statements (when not confronted and in their dialogues or even accusing others) they reveal what their agenda really is, and they will do whatever, to try to dumb-down the public.

    An example of how he and others usually twist the facts to fit in their agenda, you, Derek Smart, recently twitted about updates given by the developer of the game Limit Theory (also crowdfunded) after an year of silence of its developer. He, with the help of other usual suspects started their “dialogue practice to try to form the general opinion of the public” to claim that you, Derek Smart, hate the Space Sim genre, because you “bashed” in your twitter comment, the “Limit Theory” game, when you referred that after one year of silence.

    Then, someone (an eventual reader, probably a backer with knowledge about the issues going on), which they accused to be me (and that is always fun to read their try to minimize the problem as only “two personas in the world complaining about SC”), answered that this would not mean that you hate the Space Sim genre and after an year of silence of ANY crowdfunded project, obviously, it would raise even more questions than are raised against CIG, and he was even confronted by that user, which stated that he should imagine that happening with Star Citizen, 1 year of silence, if that would not be a reason to be worried or criticize about. His answer was basically that you, Derek Smart, was “uninformed” because if you bored to check, you would know that the guy behind Limit Theory was under “depression”.

    While we can feel sad by his difficult personal issue, he still got public money to deliver a project, and did not update anyone for more than an year, and, with all due respect, whatever long con man could simply come and say that “is in depression” and then, would not hold accountable for anything, after got thousands of dollars, (or millions of dollars in the case of Chris Roberts). Questioning one year of silence and such excuse that could be gave by whatever long con man, is “hate the genre”? Seriously? (to be fair, I don’t even require anything of the Limit Theory development, but definitely, his backers could or should, obviously, considering the situation too, since that is a “one-ma” project, but still, he promised something and had to deliver, anyway… crowdfunding is not a party, it comes with a risk for who is doing the campaign – as wisely stated by the Washigton GA in the settled crowfunding court case). Who hate the genre here? The customer? Or the lead of the campaign who burned the image of the crowdfunding not accomplishing with his own promise?

    So, these are just examples, of how they twist logic and reason, and show their 100% of ignorance about simple matters of law. They always follow the assumption, apparently, that games and crowdfunding are some kind of special snowflake, above the law, which allows developers making deals, disrespecting that deal, and then using that deal, which they disrespected in the first place, as “the reason” to do not give money back to people, between other attitudes. So, in their twisted mind, a deal only gives rights to one party, and the other, have no rights.

    And they use, whatever ignorant conclusion, to try to dumb-down the general public. For example, the FOIA request, which means absolutely nothing because FTC won’t share anything about an investigation in progress (even that is irrelevant to the issue if they are, or aren’t investigating, since its just a matter of their lack of resources, not because “they looked into it and concluded that CIG is doing ok” – which ONLY at this case, it would have meaning), they tried to use that as a campaign, so people “do not believe on you”, even that you, Derek Smart, never mentioned about any federal investigation going on, except that you contacted them (which anyone can do) and opened complaints, like many other backers did, and actually you made clear that is taking an action to try to prevent the worst, because in the end, with the natural slow pace of a Fed action due their resources/priorities and impossible demand level, will be too late to save the image of the crowdfunding/space sim genre of the SC disaster.

    And here is where they fail to see under a neutral perspective. Nobody needs to “believe on you”, because the statements that you brought in your articles, clearly proves that CIG is doing wrong, has been lied, and whatever they say today, won’t happen tomorrow, because this is simply, the standard. I followed this project enough, to know, that not a single plan presented by Roberts, short/medium/long term, worked. not a single one. All their plans failed or were totally changed and something very worst of what was imagined, came out.

    Seriously. Changing a clause, making it totally meaningless (just a bait) that starts with the sentence… “for the benefit of the doubt”… only means that you are totally ok in having doubts, right?

    The thing that you asked for is accountability to be sure that something “worst” is going on,, because, you have to be seriously naive to think that iss not, after so many lies and misleading messages of that team, after their defensive/gestapo attitude with backers, and even public disrespect of customers who were in their rights to complaint, because the company failed to accomplish with THEIR promise, so, basically, the “word of Roberts”, his “updates” means absolutely nothing at this point, because the fact that they mislead, lied to the public, etc., this is all fact, and public record, and they can’t deny, seriously, except by claiming that “it does not prove nothing”, which is fully based in their lack of understanding of how consumer laws/marketing laws are interpreted, evaluated/enforced, and what is required from a customer to prove when having their rights usurped. Pure ignorance. For example, here’s a brand new comment of the same CIG marketing puppet user rioinsignia (aka Takaroshe on twitter and CIG Forums):

    He says:

    “Smart is still making lots of allegations and accusations and has STILL yet to produce ANY evidence that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that CIG are acting illegally.”

    Probably, in the view of this people (I sincerely doubt that they are so ignorant and they are more like trying to dumb down more the general audience, not sure with what purpose, because the lawsuit is on the way anyway, and the “general audience” won’t be there judging the case, but instead, it will be a judge looking to the facts, instead looking to excuses), probably what he is asking for, and the only valid evidence here, would be a footage of Chris Roberts paying whores, drinks, whatever, and in the footage screaming “Yeah, fools, I am paying this with SC backers money”. Actually, I don’t doubt, if such unnecessary “evidence” was provided, he probably would say that “Oh, but that was just Roberts drunk and making a joke, that proves nothing”.

  386. I couldn’t get any of them to work unfortunately. Maybe it’s due to me being at work versus home?

  387. question:

    1) I have no comment regarding the existence or non-existence of any active investigation by any agency; State or Federal
    2) Complaints (several in fact) have been filed with State and Federal agencies
    3) My stance regarding legal action, is stated in my attorney’s letter, which is now in the public domain
    4) I have not been sued by RSI/CIG. They have no legal grounds to do so as they’d have a very high burden to overcome in any cause of action they bring. They are welcome to try.

  388. Mr. Smart,

    Can you clarify a few points for me regarding your involvement in any legal measures that are being taken? Reading the blog post, take away differing impressions of your level of legal involvement, and where you fit in the process. Is there an active FTC criminal investigation, charges, or complaint filed with the agency or others? Are you personally pursuing legal action, or building a case as a class? Have you been sued by CIG/RSI? Again, reading different parts of your post point to varying degrees of “yes” answers to most of those questions, but in the end, I am left unsure.
    Thank you for your time.

  389. Thanks for sharing.

    I found six active corporations where Ortwin Freyermuth is listed as a “Registered Agent”. My understanding is a registered agent in United States business law is a business or individual designated to receive service of process (SOP) when a business entity is a party in a legal action such as a lawsuit or summons.







    I wonder if any of these corporations have any business dealings with Cloud Imperium Games? Inquiring minds would like to know.

  390. Hi Kansokusha.

    I’m no longer a Backer of Star Citizen (I was among the fortunate few to receive a full refund), however I am very interested in CIG. Whatever happens to them and Star Citizen will have a shockwave effect on other crowdfund projects I’m backing as well as the whole crowdfunding / early access funding model. I’m hoping for a positive outcome. Unfortunately to get to that outcome some sort of legal action is required to force CIG to share financial information that they promised to share in an early version of their TOS. Basically they have a fiduciary obligation to full disclosure of how they’ve spend Backer money and what remains.

  391. I’ve been waiting for this post for a while and have to say… “that was it?” 🙁

    I’m a backer since KS well over $1000 into this project (but that’s also counting physical merchandise that they actually have delivered). I’m also at the point where I’m thinking this game won’t get done simply because they’ll run out of cash before they can finish it at this rate. If the social module showed anything it’s how far away they are from a playable multiplayer game. We’ll see about SQ42 later.

    And I’ve read your posts and agree with some of the stuff you say, but not everything. And that’s why I’ve been waiting for a “smoking gun” or something like it to prove that yes, things aren’t kosher over there. And I’m still waiting! All I’m getting from this blog is “this will blow up”, “they are doomed”, “we have proof”, “trust me” and “my anonymous source says”. Which is ironically close to how Baghdad Bob was back in the day. I’ve yet to see a single shred of evidence of anything actually illegal. There may be alot of shady things but no actual proof.
    Refunding you and throwing you out – not classy but not illegal.
    Changing TOS constantly – their game, their TOS, accept it or don’t.
    Making your wife (which still isn’t an established fact afaik) the co-creator of the game – if it got him laid, so be it, good for him, still not illegal.
    Purchasing a car with corporate money – illegal if true, but from where I’m sitting we only have you to trust on that one.

    So, all we have is “he said, they said”. And you constantly insunuating things like “the feds are on it, trust me” and the next day seeing a “we’re not on it.. as far as we can officially acknowledge” by them doesn’t really help the credibility. Good for you you don’t care about that 🙂

    Anyway, I’m sitting here with the popcorn kinda hoping the truth will come out but also hoping the full game will as well one day.

    PS: Maybe rephrase “Nothing strikes fear into mortal men than a call or visit from the IRS or the FBI.” because that may be true for a mortal american, not for me.

  392. You say that Gemini 42 is a wholly owned subsidiary of RS.
    Can you prove this as this to me is a very important part of the blog.

  393. Gemini 42 Entertainment

    Production Company – filmography
    – “The Wonderful World of Star Citizen” (2015) … Production Company
    – “Around the Verse” (2014) … Production Company (presents)
    – “The Next Great Starship” (2014) … Production Company

    Derek do you have an IMDBPro account so you can tell us who the (2) Staff members are as well as Affiliations?


  394. Toochan:

    Here’s the thing. People meet friends – and enemies – in all corners of gaming. It’s not something unique to it. So there is no point in highlighting it in any context.

    Also, the “White Knight v Black Knight” descriptions, are actually not derogatory. They could very well be “Supporters v Dissenters”, “Red v Blue”, or even “Military v Insurgents” in my games.

    It’s gaming. It’s allowed. Nobody gets to cry foul over it.

    And just because there are two sides, doesn’t mean anything. I have friends who are Republicans. As a Democrat, I don’t love them any less. Same thing with religion and any other social paradigm.

  395. What i see at the moment is one kid trying to destroy another kids sand castle, odd enough both kids are professionals over 40? Don’t get me wrong before you delete my comment. I was moderating forums for a long time and within i try to understand both sides before i step into, “trying” to solve problems on both sides. There i saw daily “I am right, you are wrong…no I am right and you are wrong..loop..flags..probation’s..flying scissors..drama queens”.

    As you stated here: “As the comments are moderated, if you’re going to waste your time trying to flame me, all you’re doing is just that: wasting your time. Because your comment will be deleted from right there in the moderation queue, never to see the light of day in this blog. ” a moderator you learn to make use of forum rules to keep the discussion open..and try to intervene if it gets dirty, using these. Here, you draw a line – my side..and the other side are all assholes that are not on my side. Warmest greetings from North Korea? I don’t think so, but i ask myself why. I may got an idea how you created the people from the other side:

    You forgot one thing while writing all the blog posts: That game you are “rave, rant and vent” about just not created stupid paying White Knights. Some fans started to get friends, good friends – no matter the money. You call people White Knights because they want to keep the thing that was partly responsible for their friendship, not the game itself at all afterwards – without SC, they probably never met each other. I don’t know if its some peoples way of life thingy to skip this part but for me in the end..this White Knights kinda helped me through a hard time of my life, got me back on my feet. Why should they not be angry if they’re sitting in a dreambubblesandcastle and some stranger is showing by trying to destroy it “for the better”. I would love to know the “real deal”, what its all about. Do i have to feel ashamed now getting new friends? I feel its my responsibility that you loose time on your game, instead writing these blogs.

    Let me quote a nice guy who once wrote this: “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.”

  396. Eric:

    I know Dan (actually spoke to him as part of the research for what’s going on atm) and was already aware of his article from back when he posted it. It just happens to be the only one of its kind ever written.

    You get credit for recognizing it 🙂

  397. So, who gets credit for that link to the Dan Roger’s Article?

    I remember linking it to you at some point. Did your people discover it before or After I linked it to you?

    Just curious 🙂

  398. Thank you and good luck Mr Smart. I never backed Star Citizen, but the outcome to this mess is hugely important to me. I’ve been enjoying the revitalisation of companies like inXile and Obsidian thanks to crowdfunding and I don’t want it to end too soon.

  399. Chris = Baghdad Bob? Really? I can understand why you need to wait for legal on that one… 🙂

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