Star Citizen – Scoops

Main Star Citizen – Scoops

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  • #4489

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    DEALING WITH LEAKS & SOURCES

    You mention quite often about having “insider reports” – what is the veracity of these reports? Are they reliable and proven so?

    I’m not needling you here. For info I was a backer since 2012 and recently got a full refund on this thing (thanks to your site).I used to be a fan but the progress and other things just wasn’t sitting right with me. I’m not cat calling for them anymore but I’d still like to see them succeed at some point before my retirement from the mortal plane.”

    My blogs and blog forum are littered with all the information that either flows to me, or which are based on my opinions and speculation as a seasoned developer. The people that I know who are either still part of the project, or who have since departed, have proven to be trustworthy. Even when I get anon drops to my Lockbin account, I tend to vet them via several sources before saying anything because on more than one occasion, I have received “bad intel” which the person intended for me to use and look foolish in the process. And I have actually spent quite a bit of money in vetting and/or researching material e.g. that whole Mae Demming tickle porn videos (btw, those videos have now been flagged as private on most sites that had them) issue had me paying for that information to be vetted that it was Sandi Gardiner. Same thing with a host of other similar materials in countries such as Australia, Germany, UK and here in the US. Which is why I’ve always maintained that the single worst thing that could happen to CIG/RSI, is for them to sue me; or for them to be involved in any lawsuit that brings me in.

    Those other guys, actually have an entire site dedicated to “documenting my predictions”. A site that not only contains a bunch of pure and utter nonsense; but material either taken out of context, or completely ignored because you know, anything short of telling the truth is them “losing” to me. And by all accounts, their worst fear is not that croberts was wrong; but that dsmart was right in any regard.

    Here is one of their examples of me being “wrong”: “CIG does not have the tech for seamless FPS transitions 14 november 2015

    Note that I made the comment in Nov 14, 2015. They didn’t have the tech at the time. The first anyone saw it in action was GamesCom 2016 (Aug 19, 2016). In a scripted demo running in a controlled environment.

    And how did I know they didn’t have the tech, without me being there? Because a source told me that it was non-existent, that they were making stuff up etc. And that was after Nyx (which most of us took apart), running in the CE editor, was shown on Aug 28th, 2015. And which we all saw they were fabricating stuff. To this day, and since then, nobody has seen anything of Nyx.

    All this despite the fact that, since last year, I have – in no uncertain terms – stated that the game as pitched could never be built, that neither game would see a 2016 release etc. But they ignore this and pretty much everything else, even as features are cut, non-existent, talk of an MVP is actually a thing etc; all simply because it goes against their narrative.

    The good thing about this industry is that when companies fold, NDAs become null and void, that’s when word starts going out in more places. While most won’t risk their livelihood by going on the record, they still talk; and the people they talk to are the ones who end up spreading what went on. This happens every single time. The stuff that I know, and which hasn’t even been made public due to the risk it poses to people still on this project, is the sort of thing that is so completely unbelievable that even if posted anon, nobody would believe it; even if it didn’t come from enemy #1 (yours truly).

    I’m not in this for kudos or any of that. I’m not in this because I want them to fail. I’m not going to post blatant lies, knowing they are in fact lies, or knowing that it would only leave me exposed to a lawsuit, regardless of my liability insurance coverage. I’m only in this because they made this personal, made it about me, and decided to wage a war with the one person who never saw a fight he didn’t like. And the more they try to harass, attack and/or discredit me, the worse it gets because like them, I’m simply not going to stop; nor can I be intimidated. And when the end comes – as I am 100% certain that it is – I’m not going to be jumping up and down rejoicing because the only thing that will be in it for me, is vindication (even though the fact that they can’t build the game as I stated, is already vindication enough)

    #4483

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN CUSTOM GAME ENGINE

    So yesterday someone pointed to a video interview that Brian Chambers, Development Director, gave at GamesCom 2016 this past August. At the 6:15 mark, he was asked about the progress of the game engine. He stated that the engine was “over 50% modified from the base CryEngine“.

    What follows below is my comment (posted on Frontier forums) following an exchange in which one person said “They needed to make their own engine, but it’s too late for that now” and then a Shillizen backer said “Considering that they stated they changed more than 50% of the engine Its accurate to say that they already did just that.


    I already knew that they were using CryEngine3 as the basis for the game. In fact, I wrote an entire section in my July 2015 blog specifically about that, and why the engine they chose simply wasn’t up to the task.

    Here’s the thing, when you use middleware engines, they are as-is. You rarely ever have to modify the source engine. In fact, back in the day, you would need a very expensive source engine (e.g. ID Tech5, UE, CryEngine etc) to even do that. Why would you need a source engine license? Simple: if the engine isn’t adequately suited for something that you need to support. And more often than not, it’s usually better to build your own engine, than to try and modify a middleware engine, because depending on how far you want to take it, you’re better off doing it from scratch if you already have the expertise to modify someone else’s engine using their source code.

    That’s why, even today, anyone licensing engines like UE4, Unity etc, rarely have to mess with the “guts” of the engine. They use them as-is; and if you want extended features (e.g. network, UI, scene management), you can find plugins which augment (are built on top of) the underlying engine without you ever having to mess with the engine’s source code. e.g. anyone wanting advanced networking/multiplayer in Unity5, will probably buy the Photon plugin. Similarly there are hundreds of plugins for it. So, more often than not, someone else has already done the “targeted” work for you. Want larger scenes? There’s a plugin for that. Want a better scene editor? There’s a plugin for that. Want better audio, networking, UI, matchmaking, shaders, progen terrain etc – you have so many options that you simply do NOT have to write ANY custom code for UE4 or Unity5, unless you want to, or have no choice.

    Similarly, when we licensed Trinigy (later bought and renamed to Havok Vision Engine), we didn’t need anything in the source license as we had no intentions of modifying the source because we already knew that the engine (bare metal, with very little fluff and/or useless features) was capable of doing exactly what we wanted. In the implementation of other middleware to “overload/replace” the built-in HVE implementation (e.g. Triton for water bodies, Silverlining for sky, clouds, atmosphere etc, FMOD for audio, Iggy for UI etc) we made minimal changes to the underlying engine in order to build our custom engine that powers Line Of Defense.

    So, our revision of HVE, coupled with the augmentation of third-party middleware which worked better with the built-in HVE versions, became our “custom game engine”. We didn’t even make .01% mods to HVE because the engine was quite capable of supporting the game I was building. In fact, it was because I was able to find such a C/++ engine, that I halted development of yet another in-house game engine for this game; as I felt that we were reinventing the wheel. We lost a little over six months of dev work on that; and which I wrote-off as R&D. CryEngine was a non-starter due to scene sizes and other limitations; Unity was C#, UE4 wasn’t out yet, and though I already had private access to it, I was advised (by Epic) not to use it for production work at the time, since it wasn’t ready and too many things could change along the way.

    In contrast – hence my alarmist warnings from last year – once it occurred to me that the new game scope CIG were trying to build could never be done on CryEngine3, I said so; right off the bat. I also stated that such a game needed a custom engine.

    Then it came to light that they were in fact using CryEngine3 as the basis for such a custom engine. This despite the fact that once you embark on such an endeavor, the further you go, the more you realize that you could’ve just written your own engine from scratch to build the exact game you wanted.

    In this interview that you linked, Brian says specifically: “over 50% modified from the base CryEngine”. Note that would be CryEngine3. And (just as I said in my blog), they stopped taking updates from CryTek awhile back due to the fact that their code base had forked so far off, that it didn’t make sense. Also they only have source license to CryEngine3. Which, btw, is why VR will never come to Star Citizen unless they go back in and bring up the now legacy (and broken) VR support they have in CryEngine3, up to the current standards. The game will never support VR anyway; so there is that. But I digress.

    The reason that I went back and quoted (the forum trims multi-quotes) the entire comments (from you and Soliluna) in what you just now responded to with Brian’s comment, was because

    i) when you say they already did just that, I stated that it’s false. why? well because they did not make their own engine

    ii) when you say they changed more than 50% of the engine, I asked for cited sources because to my knowledge, nobody knew just how much modification they had done to CryEngine3 in order to come up with StarEngine

    Now we do. And it not only looks even more bad for them; but it also – again – proves me right when I stated last year that the game they were building could never be built with the engine they chose. Ask any tier 1 engineer, and they will tell you that no dev goes and modifies a source engine by 50% unless they are a) out of time to build a custom engine, or don’t have the expertise to do so b) out of time to switch to another engine c) have game assets which have slaved them to the engine they’re stuck with

    So, from the start, they thought vision 1.0 of the game could be done with CryEngine3. They were right. Then Chris increased the scope; which then put vision 2.0 of the game outside the scope of CryEngine3. They kept going with the CryEngine2 mod, until at some point, they reached “zero barrier” and could no longer turn back (port to an adequate engine such as UE4 or even CryEngine5, or build a custom engine from scratch).

    Now, according to Brian, in Sept 2016, they have modified CryEngine3 by about 50% in order to come up with a custom engine for the game Chris wants them to build. And it’s still a freaking mess.

    The problem is that even if they get to 90% modification of CryEngine3, it still won’t be possible for it to power the game that Chris wants because, not only will they never – ever – get to a 100% modification to make that happen, but that would also imply that they have completely replacedCryEngine3 with whatever abomination that is Star Engine. With all their resources and money, they could have built a custom engine – from scratch – in under two years.

    And they will still fail to build, let alone deliver the Star Citizen game promised. Since SQ42 doesn’t have all the ganky nonsense that is in SC, they stand a good chance of delivering on that, as I’ve stated time and time again. Unfortunately, not only are a multitude of backers already entitled to that game for free, but unless SQ42 knocks it out of the park, it’s never going to earn the income required to keep buying them time to continue with Star Citizen.

    In closing, I welcome folks to ponder this: They are using a heavily modified version of CryEngine3. CryTek are now on CryEngine5 (free). And even Amazon’s Lumberyard is built on CryEngine5 (free). So ask yourself this, how is spending all this money and dev resources to modify a source engine by 50%, a good thing – under any circumstance? It’s not. It’s a waste of time and money. Which is precisely why they are coming up with all these tricks to keep raising money; even long after they quadrupled the money they were originally asking for.

    This is the sort of thing that should make any reasonable and/or sensible backer, absolutely mad.


    So, I get your point that if they had simply written their own custom engine it would have saved them a lot of time and money, rather than going the long way round and rebuilding another engine a piece at a time.

    But why, in your estimation, would it not be possible for them to re-write Cryengine 3 to the point where it CAN support the kind of features a game like Star Citizen needs?

    Am I wrong that it would simply take more time and money (which they seem to have plenty of) or would this (shall we say less efficient approach?) present other obstacles that would make the task Sisyphean?

    1. Think of CryEngine3 as paint mix color # 1234
    2. You are building a house; and you already know what color you want it to be. That being color # 1234-drywall (note that paint is texture specific)
    3. You continue building your house, still intending on using color # 1234-drywall
    4. At some point, the owner has decided that the back of the house will use a different kind of wall texture (e.g. drywall vs concrete); so 1234-drywall isn’t going to work there
    5. The builders, with instructions from the architect, continue with concrete for the back of the house; even as the painters, having bought loads of paint # 1234-drywall, continue painting other parts with it
    6. Several months down the road, painters tell the architect that 1234-drywall simply isn’t going to work on that concrete back wall
    7. Seeing as there is no way to make 1234-drywall work on a texture which would require 1234-concrete, the painters set out to create the closest thing to 1234-concrete as possible, by doing their own mix. Not unlike how you can walk into a paint store and ask them to color match (they have computers for this) as close as possible 1234-concrete, derived from 1234-drywall
    8. The end result is that, as drywall (vision 1.0) is totally different from concrete (vision 2.0), the chances of that concrete back wall painting ever matching the drywall used elsewhere, are close to zero
    9. So the builder and architect decide to mix their own paint in order to meet with the owner’s specification. Along the way, they decide that the best way forward is to probably rip out the concrete wall or plaster drywall over it so that 1234-drywall works. There’s your MVP (drywall for the back of the house, instead of concrete).

    At the end of the day, as I mentioned in my missive, in order to come up with a custom engine which would make it somewhat possible to build vision 2.0 of the game, they would have to modify CE3 by a whole lot more than 50%. And even so, the underlying CE3 architecture is still going to be there because things like scene management, 64-Bit positioning, networking etc, are all the things they would need to either rip out and replace, or build on top of. And the time it takes for them to be doing all that, could have been spent building a custom engine which specifically does what they want.

    It is hard for a none programmer to quite grasp how horrendous it is to go back and modify someone’s code; let alone an engine built by several people. Which is why, last year when people were saying that opening F42-GER with ex-CryTek engineers was going to be the magic bullet, most of us who know better, just laughed. It’s been almost 18 (?) months since; look at what they have now.

    To be clear, I don’t envision there ever being a time whereby their CE3 FrankenEngine ever powers vision 2.0 of the game. I simply don’t see it happening. For that, would need to modify CE3 by 90% or more. Well, therein lies the rub.

    Let the record show that in my very first blog back in July 2015, I did say that it would take at least $150 million to build vision 2.0 of the game; assuming they had the tech, talent, time, and money. We’re at $124m and I have no reason to believe that they will ever achieve the promised vision 2.0 using that engine; even with $250 million.

    And that’s the reason why Chris declared the MVP. As I understand it from sources, he has been advised time and time again, that vision 2.0 is simply not possible with what they have. And the best they can hope for is to ship “something” (in this case an MVP, and/or SQ42) in order to buy more time. However, the risk there is that, given their burn rate around all these studios, contractors, overhead etc, there is no guarantee that they are going to keep this charade up for much longer. Once they ship whatever he thinks is an MVP and/or SQ42, it’s going to immediately change everything for better or worse.

    btw I don’t believe that Chris will ever come out and say that any version (e.g. 4.0) is the final product, hence MVP. He has thrown the MVP word out there simply as something that he can fall back to in the event that he is ever accused of never shipping the finished product. Just like he did with Star Marine, where he said that “it’s in the PU”, he will simply say that he already indicated that they will first ship an MVP, then build on top of it. That notion of “building on top of it” is the part where he gets to justify more time and money in order to bring his vision 2.0 to life. The fact that he made a bunch of promises, while not delivering on even 50% of them even with all the money, is going to get lost in translation along the way. Especially if he ever ships the SQ42 promised; which, as I understand it, is on just as much shaky ground as Star Citizen, seeing as – this point – they still don’t even have a complete “game” with everything promised in the stretch goals.

    The upcoming CitizenCon on Oct 9th is going to be more of the same. Neither Star Citizen nor SQ42 is going to be released this year. That’s already a foregone conclusion. Whatever shows up at CitizenCon is going to be of the same smoke and mirrors vein. If they ship any aspect of SQ42, we’re hearing from sources that it will be tagged as a “prelude” (most of us call that a demo btw) in order to keep the backers at bay, gauge interest etc. It will succeed as far as the hardcore backers are concerned; but most of us won’t care, as it won’t be the promised EP1 game.

    At the end of the day, none of this will matter. As gamers, all we can do is wait, watch, dissent, speculate, argue, fuss, fight etc until they either ship as promised, or fail completely. Those who are trying to quash dissent are the ones helping to spread the ludicrousness of this whole thing.

    #4439

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    LATEST MEDIA STREAMS/INTERVIEWS

    16-09-06 The Great Game Debate

    16-08-23 Cranky Canuck – Coffee with Derek Smart

    ON-GOING LAWSUIT AGAINST CIG/RSI

    This has been in the works since last year, and I even mentioned this building in my “Star Citizen Year Four” blog (search for ‘building’) where I said:

    Through all this, the wasteful spending of backer money continues. Ranging from repeated iterations of once completed game assets and tech, to relocating teams to more expensive States; building new offices; spending millions of dollars on the same tech (MoCap, fps module) which bears very little relevance to the game being made; paying late filing fees for UK studios financials ( e.g. Foundry 42); spending money on investigators and legal in taking actions which amount to intimidation and harassment etc. It is a very, very long list we’ve compiled.“”

    So earlier this week, a Gameranx writer uncovered the public case filing, and got up to speed with the latest case filings. Last year, sources had told me that CIG/RSI were building a new location in LA in order to move. That location was to have a custom made entrance and/or foyer which would depict one of the larger ships in the Star Citizen universe. Apparently there was a dispute over the location build-out with the builders, electricians etc. In the end, it all fell apart. And as these things go, it looks like the builders ended up suing CIG/RSI, as well as the owners/investors of the building, over payment for services.

    Lawsuits are sometimes the unavoidable costs of doing business. So on the face of it, this isn’t such a big deal. Except for the fact that CIG/RSI is a company funded partly by crowd-funding (to the tune of $123 million to date), investor money, as well as various investor/bank loans – all of which make that $123 million public number way higher if you believe (most of us don’t) that it’s accurate.

    This, in addition to the on-going marketing and other frivolous expenses, is all part of the money that’s not going into “game development” as promised by CIG/RSI. For a company that’s rumored and estimated to be burning approximately $3m per month for it’s four worldwide studios which have over 350 employees and contractors, you would think that saving money would be a key goal. But hey, if you have an average of 2000 whale backers still funding an on-going train-wreck, you can basically do what the hell you want with their money. Especially if, despite promising financial accountability, you have thus far failed to provide it; and to the extent that you remove such promised accountability entirely from a ToS.

    But look on the bright side; backers eventually paid for a makeshift space door (completely unrelated to this legal action) at the new location.

    It’s interesting to note that amid all the controversy, the first lawsuit against CIG/RSI, comes from builders who, aside from wanting to get paid, aren’t even part of this on-going train-wreck.

    UPDATE (16-09-09): Gameranx now have more details about the lawsuit.

    LATEST CHRIS ROBERTS STRAIGHT UP BULLSHIT

    It never ends.

    Yet another German interview from this past GamesCom 2016 event has surfaced. If you thought the last one was bad, wait till you watch/read this one. Here are some choice excerpts from 26:24

    See his response about financial accountability? Yeah.


    Gamestar.de interview with Chris Roberts
    Sept 7 2016

    Q: Just playing the devil’s advocate a bit there in the last question, there’s been some criticism by some people, some from shady sources, let’s not talk about that, about you spending your money for different things and nobody really knows what for… I don’t know… um… Now there are some Kickstarter projects who kind of put a price tag to anything they do for people to know what their money is being spent on, have you ever considered doing that for Star Citizen?

    CR:
    Ehrrr no, that just sounds like, that sounds like a… a NIGHTMARE… I alre… I… I already have… you know… a lot of ARMCHAIR DEVELOPERS and all the rest of the stuff and ARMCHAIR CEOS… uhm… and yeah, you know… the input’s appreciated and good but you gotta… you gotta… run a project and you… you know… you can’t have a committee of one point four million people DESIGNING STUFF. We… we… put all the money we raise into the game, I mean we have three hundred and thirty people around the world, there’s four studios… aahhh… you know we do… I mean… hell we did VIDEOS where you walk around the studios!

    I mean… THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY PEOPLE, they all need to be PAID you know, it’s like, ADD IT UP, like it’s going… it’s going in the GAME, we’re contantly adding STUFF and building STUFF so ah… I think some people… like ATTENTION and so like to… say things… ah, but… ah… you know… we just… we focus on what we’re doing, we care about making the best game possible, and every dollar that we raise goes to making the game better, and that’s KINDA the pledge I made, I said that until the game’s COMMERCIAL we’re… all the money we’re raising is essentially going in and getting reinvested into the GAME and we sort of DETERMINE, ah… you know… how POLISHED and how BIG and how AMBITIOUS and EVERYTHING IS based on THAT and that hasn’t changed

    I mean the… you know… we did last year, you know, better than we did the year before despite, apparently, you know, having some CRITICISMS ah… so… I… I think the MAJORITY of people are… are HAPPY with eh… what we’re doing because, you know, they just want… I… I think MOST people got into this because they wanted something that wasn’t gonna be they’d play for a week and put away. I think most people got into this to have something that they could play for YEARS and so they’re like, ‘OK if you’re gonna build something build it RIGHT because I wanna play this for YEARS’, and so I’ve… for me that’s kinda what I hold true to… errhh… and that’s important for me…

    Because I also wanna play this game, I wanna be in this UNIVERSE and I want it to be RIGHT and you know you can SEE it when we were showing you the DEMO and I’m calling out to Erin, ‘THERE’S THIS THING AND THIS AND ALL THESE LITTLE DETAILS’ and then maybe on your side you’ll be like ‘alright, I didn’t… I don’t… I didn’t notice that’, but you know for me that’s kind of IT, it has to be this VISION so that’s… ummm… what I’m focussing on and uh… it’s the best way and the COMMUNICATION that I talked about SHARING what we’re doing goes on and the rest of it’s up to the PEOPLE but I don’t really wanna get into a situation where it’s ‘DO YOU WANT THIS FEATURE FOR SO MANY DOLLARS OR DO YOU WANT THIS FEATURE FOR SO MANY DOLLARS’, because I think at that point you’re gonna loose control of a singular vision and a really cohesive world ah… and ah… you know…

    I can tell you there’s a… you know… ah… there’s NOTHING SHADY WITH US, we’re straight up, I think… people that say things like that, they… you know… people was it… look in a mirror… something like that
    Q: Well I am looking forward to seeing where the game is going to be in one year, and if the HULL CLASS has not been released I’ll be bringing a certain UNCLE and we’ll talk some more
    CR:
    I actually think there’s a… there… there… there’s a GOOD CHANCE by… NEXT YEAR that there… could be a HULL CLASS… because we’ve got the MISC SHIPS, we’ve already got the STYLES and the basic, I mean once we’ve built one or two of the ships at SCALE like the STARFARER’S a big scale MISC ship, it’s much quicker for us to build the first, when we build the first one because there’s a whole STYLE and MATERIALS and SHADERS that you build for the different MANUFACTURERS… so the MISC… so the ahh… HULL CLASS is uh… I think… by the next time… by next GAMESCON… will be… you know… it… whether it’s FLYING right then it’ll be VERY CLOSE TO

    So…

    SANDI IS BACK ON SOCIAL MEDIA

    So a few weeks back, Sandi, the controversial CIG/RSI “VP of marketing”, posted that she was quitting social media due to harassment. That was odd. Especially considering that nobody had then seen any evidence of social media harassment. To the extent that I even wrote two (1, 2) blogs about it. Serious stuff.

    Amid all that, she was actually still on social media, liking and re-tweeting (mostly the same stuff she was apparently decrying) on social media. Not finding any such evidence, in what we believe to be a False Flag op, some idiots (1, 2) with new accounts (which I was instrumental in having yanked by Twitter) decided to start Tweeting her threats; no doubt in order to give the claims legitimacy – after the fact. But as these things go, I put a stop to that in short order. Harassment, real or imagined, is not cool. Period.

    But no worries though, the “Mother of Star Citizen” and “Leader Of Shitizens” is apparently back on social media. And that reminds me of an old Rodney Dangerfield joke he used to tell:

    “To give you an idea how well I was doing at the time I quit [he had given up on show business in 1949], I was the only one who knew I quit.”

    I get death threats from Shitizens all the time; but that’s not important, right?

    SHITIZEN #1 IS HELPING WITH SECURITY FOR CITIZENCON 2016

    Because of course he is. Makes perfect sense.

    Yes, you read that right. Wulf Knight aka Dick Wulf aka The Wulge (that’s him in the back!) a married man, who was said to have been caught (and reported to CIG/RSI) sending inappropriate images (read: dick pics) to a female member of the Star Citizen community, while engaging in questionable chat conduct – and manipulating the game’s ship sales, is now somehow helping to organize the security for the upcoming Oct 6 event.

    That went over as expected; to the extent that following the outcry (which probably fell on deaf ears back at CIG/RSI, seeing as him and Ben Lesnick are buddies from back in the day), he protected his Twitter feed.

    Then there’s this gem. And then there’s that.

    Naturally, it didn’t take long for the veiled threats to materialize once I jokingly posted that I was going to attend the event.

    Just read this shit. READ IT! 

    I even once wrote an entire blog about him; so I’m guessing he’s still pissed at me.

    This incident is just another fine example of how CIG/RSI simply have no control over their own community’s messaging; and that the toxicity that is now widely known and written about, comes from within, due to the very people who are the direct link to said community. But don’t worry though, before long, none of this will matter. Wait and see.

    #5224

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    IS AMAZON THE NEW STAR CITIZEN PUBLISHER?

    So TheAgent is back with some info that even I find it very hard to believe, let alone absorb. I have reached out to my own sources for some confirmation. Will report back when I hear more.

    so amazon is 100% their publisher now

    welcome to the jungle, motherfuckers

    I know everyone has said, no no, Lumberyard is free or whatever

    but they just got a huge cash injection and programmers and support from amazon

    so there you go

    all severs are free. new patcher by amazon. new devs from amazon. new higher up execs are all amazon. no more dreams. mvp early 2018.

    and they just tossed all the dead weight devs. goodbye, tony z

    expect to see amazon partnerships everywhere this year, like the AMD days of old

    btw according to rumors amazon is going to take a loss of $700m over 3 years in their games division in order to make it a viable product going forward

    Basically, if true, then the circle is complete, and this is the Freelancer (1, 2) debacle all over again, and which happened mere years after Microsoft bought Digital Anvil and booted Chris Roberts off the project.

    I have to wonder how on Earth any publisher – let alone Amazon – would look at the state and notoriety of this project, let alone the largely toxic community, and find it to be a good investment.

    For one thing, very few devs are using LumberYard; not because it’s a bad engine mind you, but because, well, UE4 and Unity5 are so far ahead, it’s not even funny. Plus, regardless of all the wonderful (they really knocked it out of the park, when compared to what they originally pulled from CryTek) things they’ve done with it, LumberYard at its core, is still based on CryEngine 3.x which very few devs actually used; when compared to other offerings.

    Not to mention the HUGE liability Amazon would be saddled with, nor the inevitable lawsuits (from either whales or State and/or Fed officials) and backer backlash they are going to be facing when the final chips fall and the game promised, and for which they have received over $145m to date, isn’t delivered.

    It beggars belief. But this is the videogame industry; it’s not supposed to make any sense.

    In my Irreconcilable Differences blog from Dec 2016, I wrote about how I thought it makes sense that CIG switched to LumberYard. At the time, from what we could tell from the 2.6.0 build (which first had the LumberYard logo), and sources, they hadn’t actually switched at all; other than the move from Google Compute Engine to AWS. The current 2.6.1 build still doesn’t have any evidence (if you have access to LumberYard and Star Citizen 2.6.x, and you know what to look for – go look and see) that they have in fact made a “switch” beyond that move from GCE to AWS.

    Note that they never gave backers ANY forewarning about the LumberYard switch back in December 2016. This despite the fact that for most of 2016; they were already contemplating the switch. Which isn’t all that surprising, considering all the information they tend to either withhold from backers or communicate poorly.

    To wit, in the past 24hrs, they have discontinued (1, 2) yet another aspect of the project which most backers have come to rely on for information about the project. Yes, they have now canned – without notice or forewarning – the monthly studio reports. These were detailed reports which, despite being mostly bullshit and inconsequential fluff, the backers could still use in their wet dreams about all the crap (none of which – six years later – has come to fruition mind you) they’re going to be doing in a largely vaporware game.

    It’s hilarious that my first Star Citizen blog from July 2015, Interstellar Citizens, was written due to what I had read in an earlier monthly report and determined that they were i) fucked, and couldn’t deliver on what was promised ii) making shit up on the fly iii) lying to backers in order to continue raising funds

    As I type this, there is still no public schedule for the much awaited 3.0 patch (which was really coming by Dec 19th 2016). At the time, I had said (1, 2) that it was pure bullshit, and that it didn’t even exist. It’s now March 2017 and the next 2.6.2 patch is supposedly coming around Mar 23rd. That’s basically the end of Q1/17. This despite Chris Roberts going on the record and saying that they share with backers the same internal schedule they use.

    So taken at face value, the absence of a 3.0 schedule basically means that it doesn’t yet exist as a build; thus no schedule. Either that or they won’t share it because then backers are going to hold them to it. All of which makes sense, seeing as even when they started doing schedules in Dec 2016 in order to give backers even more false sense of security, they tend to remove items from the schedule without warning or notification. So basically, for all intent and purposes, despite what was promised in 3.0, they could very well take any patch higher than 2.6.2 and call it 3.0.

    Back in late 2015 when this whole thing fell in my lap, and Chris decided to “face the devil and give it a face” by calling me out for writing a blog that went mainstream, I had taken legal action in which I asked them for three things. Their legal “come at me bro” response; was basically as worthless as the medium it was written on. I had asked for:

    1. Refunds for backers who asked for itThey resisted this until a brave backer, reading my blogs, decided to get State officials involved after they refused his refund. The end result basically proved what I had been saying all along that the ToS (which has been revised several times and skewed in favor of CIG) wouldn’t hold up to any legal scrutiny if backers were being refused refunds. I wrote about this in detail in my Star Citizen Refund Debacle blog. And just like that, compared to previous years, refunds were a thing.Not to mention this recent case brought by the CA District Attorney over the Lily drone crowd-funding fiasco. That case, like other State actions against crowd-funded projects, sets yet another standard and precedent for what I believe is coming down the line for Star Citizen if they continue along this path of non-delivery. It’s just too big to ignore.

      There’s also a slightly technical issue that forms a second front in the DA’s lawsuit: the fact that they went with an independent “pre-order” strategy rather than an established crowdfunded development site like Kickstarter. That makes Lily’s money qualify more on the side of internet sales than investment in an idea (something Kickstarter and its projects are always careful to explain), which exposed the company to certain consumer protection laws.

    2. A schedule that backers can rely upon as an indicator for when they would get the games paid forThey refused to do this until Dec 2016 during a major backer backlash after they – again – missed the 2016 ship date for both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, then never gave any forewarning. Then, out of the Blue – without forewarning – there was a schedule. And it was largely bullshit because not only was it not even complete, let alone detailed, what they ended up releasing in 2.6.0 and 2.6.1 barely contained what was promised, but also contained a slew of things that weren’t even in the schedule to begin with. Which means that they were just sharing what they felt was enough to keep backers on a leash. The practice continues in the current 2.6.2 schedule.
    3. The promised financial accountability promised in the ToS which they used as a way to gain backer confidenceGiven the controversy surrounding the claims of monies $145 million to date raised (1, 2) for the project, not to mention the Red flags in the filings of the UK entities or the disparity in the funding chart (which doesn’t appear to take into account backer refunds, bank loans, and investor money), it is highly unlikely that outside of a lawsuit (whale backers, investors, State and/or Fed officials) that backers will ever get this financial accountability. And the arbitration clause in the ToS pretty much represents the first hurdle for whale backers because only investors, State and Fed officials can get around that, as they are not bound by the ToS.

    So aside from the many rumors – and evidence – that the project is in trouble, whale backers ejecting like rats from a sinking ship etc, if Amazon has in fact taken on the liability and the role of “publisher” for this project, thus putting it under the purview of one of the Amazon Game Studios, to me, that’s the one move that’s going to cause the largest backer revolt yet. For one thing, as long as Chris Roberts isn’t in charge, any competent AGS lead producer will immediately have access to the game’s design and schedule, then see that i) what they’ve promised is all but a dream, and – as I’ve stated – simply cannot be built as promised ii) even if they chopped it up, scaled it down, and shipped both Star Citizen and Squadron 42, it likely won’t happen before 2020 – at best.

    The flip side of Amazon (who is apparently doubling down) being the publisher is that they stand a very good chance of stripping away all the lofty promises, while attempting to ship a game they can deliver – even in an MVP form. Unlike Freelancer, it won’t be such an easy sell to backers who have paid upfront – and in some cases thousands of dollars – for a completely different game.

    LumberYard needs a boost because it’s not widely adopted. But using it to sell AWS is a tough call because contrary to popular belief the AWS costs can be prohibitive – especially for multiplayer games. And when those games stop making enough money to pay for AWS, well, it’s sunset time. So in the case of Star Citizen, I just don’t see how AMZ buying or publishing this game makes sense. It’s a massive financial and PR liability. And if that were to happen, the end result is that those acting like they are in a cult will just end up blaming AMZ for ruining Chris’s ‘vision‘ if they shipped anything less than what he has promised – even as all indications are that he can’t deliver on said promises anyway. With $145m (if you believe it) to date in liability, what exactly would AMZ be buying for them to even recoup that; let alone make any money? All that money is basically pre-orders with very little room for further monetization. Not even if it came to consoles. It makes no sense for them to do it; which is why I find it hard to believe this rumor. But if AMZ is going to do this as a way of marketing LumberYard + AWS for games, it’s one heck of an expensive spend – aside from it being completely nonsensical.

    If you’re a whale backer, or investor in this project, and not already asking questions or trying to find out whether or not this very specific rumor is in fact true (in some form or another), you will only have yourself to blame for the end result.

    Stay tuned.

    #5174

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN – EARLY 2017 UPDATE

    The year has barely started, but the clowns over at CIG/RSI are making waves again, even as they come up with new and inventive ways to piss off their backers who have so far given them $141 million to make a pair of games (neither of which is even near completion). So, let’s see where we are barely two weeks into the New Year.

    THE LUMBERYARD NON-SWITCH

    You probably know by now, as I wrote in my last blog, Irreconcilable Differences, that after several months of delays, they finally rushed out the 2.6 patch in late December. Not only has it been confirmed that in 2.6 the switch was basically restricted to their use of Lumberyard’s abstracted access to EC2, hence the need for displaying the logo, but also that aside from some network performance improvements due to the switch from Google Compute to Amazon EC2 cloud servers, it had zero impact on the game. Same game. Same custom engine. Same bugs. Same performance & networking issues. Which pretty much explains why they didn’t even bother mentioning that – for almost a year – they were considering this switch, but never once mentioned it to the backers.

    As one joker put it: “The development is so transparent and open, that you can’t even see it.”

    STAR MARINE. TOO LITTLE. TOO LATE.

    The 2.6 patch also brought the once canceled and much anticipated, delayed, then canceled, fps module.

    Some backers were rejoicing that – after four years of promoting it – CIG managed to release a stand-alone fps game module built with an engine designed specifically for fps games. The end result? It’s generic, lackluster, buggy (hey pre-Alpha!), and uninspiring in every way. Needless to say, this one won’t be saving PC gaming any time soon. And if you believed Chris Roberts – even for a second – when he said that “it would be more lethal than Call Of Duty“, congrats; you’re a fool.

    Basically, this was just them ticking off another check mark in the list of documented promises, and which joins the hangar, Arena Commander, and persistent universe modules in their mediocrity (at least for a $141 million project). And if those other modules are anything to go by, this first release will also lack any meaningful content and updates for quite some time.

    Case in point, people are already using hacks to cheat. For a game that is in pre-alpha, you would think that these reports would be useful to CIG in order that they be identified and fixed. But no, that’s too easy and logical. So instead, they’re threatening to ban accounts. For cheating in a pre-alpha game. Yeah.

    And speaking of Arena Commander – which first appeared in 2014 – after all this time, not only do they still not have a plausible flight module, but in 2.6 they somehow managed to make it worse; if you can imagine that.

    SQUADRON 42. STILL MIA

    This single-player version of the game, and which was to tie into the larger Star Citizen (aka Persistent Universe), is still a no-show; and all bets about it even being released in 2017, are off. In fact, in a recent issue of German magazine, Der Spiegel, Chris was quoted as saying that it would “probably be finished in 2017“.

    Rumors have been swirling for months that not only is that module itself in serious trouble, but that it doesn’t even exist as a cohesive game. Just think, it was supposed to be coming in 2014, then 2015, then for real, in 2016. But so far, aside from the godawful Morrow Tour video from CitizenCon 2015, nothing of it has been shown. Not even a trailer or a demo.

    After seeing the likes of the recently released Call Of Duty Infinite Warfare and the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda, anything less than a spectacular showing of SQ42 – the game that Chris mostly cares about – will be devastating. But let’s not ignore the fact that Chris had gone on the record and stated that they had a demo “ready to go” for CitizenCon 2016, but they opted not to release it due to time constraints. I wrote about that in my Shattered Dreams blog.

    Other rumors say that only a prelude (aka demo) – not the full Episode 1 – will be released sometime in Q1/17. Seriously, we can’t wait. Though with some top level team members (e.g. Tom Johnson, Todd Pappy) on that project rumored to have either left or on their way out, one has to wonder how far along that module is at this point.

    A recent rumor that’s been floating around also suggests that SQ42 will probably no longer exist as a separate game as previously planned. Instead, the missions will be rolled into Star Citizen, thus making it just another game mode like Arena Commander and Star Marine. Yeah, it’s hilarious. Especially when you consider that they split it into a separate product earlier this year; no doubt in order to maximize sales, as well as spin it off as its own title; thus justifying a console port, as well as DLC (episodic content etc).

    To be honest, as a developer, and given the structure of the what they’ve built so far, I think making it a game mode and accessible via the Star Citizen menu, is probably a good call. Though it is mission based single-player, but originally billed to support co-op (which requires networking support), it makes sense. In fact, doing that could also enable them to bring back co-op play. But that would require revisions to the missions of course. And if nothing else, it would be consistent with the other game modules (hangar, persistent universe, star marine, arena commander).

    None of this matters anyway. Now that they are switching to Lumberyard – five years into development – they have bigger problems to worry about.

    THE DEV SCHEDULE

    Back in Dec, following the disastrous CitizenCon 2016 and anniversary community events, they released a dev schedule. Most of us – after we finished laughing – remained skeptical, seeing as we already knew that they did that only to boost backer confidence in the name of “open development”. Of course, aside from the fact that the schedule was just rubbish, they missed every single deadline contained within. Finally rushing to release a broken 2.6 patch, of which various promised items were removed. Which begs the question. Why bother? They are already notorious for missing deadlines; so how does releasing a schedule in which they continue that trend, change anything? It doesn’t. They only did it due to the backer uprising.

    So here we are, week two of the New Year, and the first problem (shocker) was just made public via the latest communication to backers from Chris. They’re now talking about delivering 3.0 (aka The Jesus Patch) in 2017. The same 3.0 that Chris, according to these slides, said would be released before Dec 19th, 2016. No talk of 4.0 coming in 2017 now. The Reddit thread that popped out around it, contains the usual hilarity.

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="726"]Star Citizen 01/06/17 newsletter Star Citizen 01/06/17 newsletter[/caption]

    FOR SALE, ONE BARELY FUNCTIONAL FLAMETHROWER

    Quite a number of backers continue requesting and getting refunds. Some have made it public, while others are doing it quietly in order to stay out of the on-going fray. Even the hardcore backers who were once convinced that I was wrong about all this, that my sole purpose was to kill (yeah, hilarious, I know) the project etc are getting refunds. In the last 24 hrs, two made public that they had requested a refund. In fact, when this hardcore backer posted that he put in for a refund, he got attacked; prompting another backer ($7.2K) to put in for his refund.

    CIG have in fact been granting refunds – as indeed they should – or face the wrath of State and Fed officials who are long aware of what’s going on with the project. However, in the New Year, there have been some reports of refunds being rejected. We’re still looking into it; but it appears as if either they’ve stopped doing refunds in 2017, thus only doing those who filed before the end of 2016, or they’re enforcing the 2016 ToS refund criteria now.

    They’re rumored to be quite low on funds (it’s expensive to fund 4 studios and almost 400 people around the globe), so we already expected this to start happening eventually. With this much money at stake, all things considered, CIG is basically robbing Peter (new backers) to pay Paul (refunds). Which is how a Ponzi scheme collapses once the amount of money needed to give to Paul, exceeds what was taken from Peter – and spent.

    If after all these months of being warned you didn’t get a refund, well, you only have yourself to blame.

    Across the web, and on the official forums, many a heated thread has either been closed or flat-out deleted. A lot of the hardcore backers, already fed up with what is going on, are voicing dissent on a daily basis; even as they face incessant attacks from the anti-social Shitizens (the backers who are waging an Internet war of attrition against dissent).

    And even long-time backers are facing attacks and ridicule for even questioning what is going on. This thread popped on Reddit after a long time original backer ($8K vested!) was censored on the CIG forums for basically doing nothing wrong. So he got even and put in for a refund.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, in the past 24 hours, yet another original (2012) backer, Badger, a Golden ticket holder and the second or third oldest documented backer, also faced similar derision. Get this. A CIG staffer even threatened to close his account if he leaked the plot to Star Wars Rogue One movie. Yes, something that has nothing to do with Star Citizen.

    If you have been following my Star Citizen writings, then you should know that this won’t be the first time that CIG have taken action against a backer for something said outside of CIG forums. There was a media article about it as well. Anyway, the backer wrote an entire missive about it up on Google Docs; which he then posted in this Reddit thread. Well, go look and see what happened next.

    Basically, the backers – who just wanted a game they paid for and who are now seeking accountability, while voicing their dissent, are in an all-out war with Shitizens (who are fighting a proxy war for CIG), and even CIG community staffers.

    Aside from the wars going on in the backer community, CIG has also been scaling back on community activities. Last year they canceled the popular 10 For The Chairman programming (in which Chris answered questions from subscribers and backers), while scaling back on a number of other broadcasts. This new year has now seen the cancellation of the Reverse The Verse (weekly updates from the community teams) programming as well. And – get this – that has now been replaced with a Happy Hour broadcast in which CIG community members get to play the game on a stream. No, I’m not making that up.

    Note that all of these broadcasts are supposedly paid for by subscribers paying $10 or $20 per month. Yes, it’s hilarious. The RSI forum and Reddit threads are…well, go look.

    SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    Having failed to deliver the games promised and within the 18 month grace period following the Nov 2014 promised date, CIG have not only failed to release financials to backers as promised, but they also changed the ToS in June 2016, removing that requirement for new backers completely. That single action alone sparked a refund cascade, and which I wrote about extensively in my Refund Debacle blog. Since that time, seeing as the UK laws, unlike US laws, require companies to make their financials public, we’ve been paying close attention to the money being funneled into the UK from the US.

    After being late (like the other two entities) and paying fines each year, for whatever reason, CIG (UK) have recently filed their 2015 financials. Basically, CIG (UK) costs £15m (approx $18m) a year; which is almost 50% of the $35.9m raised in 2015. These financials are evidence as to why they need to keep raising money. Think about it. If this single studio cost this much to run in 2015; how were they planning to build a game for $65m, let alone $15m as they were saying merely two years ago?

    And my guess is that this funding amount is going to probably be higher in 2016 due to the increased head count as shown in this slide during CitizenCon 2016 this past Oct.

    Remember, for some reason, there are 3 (!) UK companies for this single project. Seriously. CIG (UK), RSI (UK), F42 (UK).

    Links for financials for all three UK entities: CIG, F42, RSI, and the complete (we think) list of companies setup for and/or associated with the Star Citizen project in some form or another:

    1) Cloud Imperium Games Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    2) Cloud Imperium Games LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    3) Cloud Imperium Services, LLC West Hollywood, CA <– The one is interesting. It is found on BBB, but is not in the CA Secretary Of State dB records
    4) Cloud Imperium Games LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    5) Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    6) Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, Austin, TX
    7) Cloud Imperium Games UK Limited, UK
    8) Foundry 42 Limited, UK
    9) Foundry 42, Germany
    10) Gemini 42 Entertainment LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    11) Gemini 42 Productions LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    12) Roberts Space Industries Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    13) Roberts Space Industries International Limited, UK
    14) Twin Brothers Production Inc, West Hollywood, CA
    15) Twin Bros, Germany

    The money flow for 2014-2015:

    Also, similar to how some States here in the US give tax breaks and financial assistance to some companies (see the 38 Studios debacle) depending on investment, jobs etc, we’ve been trying to find out how much financial or tax breaks CIG received from the UK; specifically the city of Manchester. This is something that some of the local businesses are also trying to find out, amid rumors that CIG may have sucked up most of it. To that end, when we came across the 2016 Science & Innovation Audit report from Manchester, which listed CIG as having a £1 billion turnover, we immediately jumped on it seeing as we knew it to be factually incorrect. In fact, given their yearly fund-raising, not taking into account bank loans (e.g. the NatWest loan in the UK), and investor money, the entity is barely a $35 million company. Assuming you go with gross revenue and not P&L.

    Manchester wrote back to confirm that it was in fact an error.

    But they also indicated that the US parent company had a £150 million turnover. We have no freaking clue where they got those numbers from either; so another query has been sent to them. We’re just hoping that whatever it is they filed with the UK officials, is accurate, because when the final end game starts to play out in the coming months, this is the sort of data that’s going to be crucial to following the money and finding out how they could possibly have raised – and blown through over $141 million (not including loans and investments) in five years – and never shipping any of the games promised.

    update 01/12/17: A response was received regarding the £150 million turnover amount. So basically they were just publishing data straight from CIG/F42 – with zero vetting.

    THE ROAD AHEAD

    If rumors and insider leaks are to be believed, not only are they now facing the prospects of doing layoffs (so far, we’re tracking over 20 people having departed in the past weeks) in order to curb spending, but even with SQ42 now a “maybe” for 2017, without additional funding or curbing their spending, not only do they stand a very slim chance of delivering on even 25% of what was promised, but they stand zero chance of delivering 100% of what was promised by Q4/2020. Back in July 2015, in my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, I opined that they simply couldn’t make the ultra ambitious game Chris pitched. And I further went on to say that even if they had the tech and the talent, they’d need $150m minimum to do it. That was at $85m. Clearly they neither have the tech, nor the talent; and even with $141m and five years in, by all accounts, they simply can’t build that game.

    At this point, short of money laundering and similar shenanigans, anyone giving them money, knowing that they have zero incentive to complete, let alone ship the games promised, deserves to lose it. Enough is enough. And those backers fighting a proxy Internet war of attrition against dissent, are doing more to taint and tarnish the project and its community, than they can imagine. Even so, for those guys, no matter how this ends, the worst thing to them isn’t that Chris Roberts was wrong; it’s that Derek Smart was right.

    How did I get involved in this on-going farce? I’m glad you asked. It’s hilarious; and the sort of dumb thing that only someone like Chris Roberts would do.

    Discuss in the forums.

    #5096

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    Today’s Star Citizen leaks courtesy of TheAgent. Some I already knew and tweeted about. 

    • 2017 is now looking like the last full operational year for CIG (*from the perspective of 2 people who recently left)
    • several office/staff moves (including the Brno move, disco lando, ben, etc) are still planned
    • roberts joked at one point “the cheap labor must flow”
    • the “must deliver” deadline is still march/q1 of 2017 for the sqlude
    • might be much less than what was planned to be released (think less than an hour of story content, highly repetitive missions to pad playtime, grind, etc)
    • sqlude will include the new footage shot earlier this year of hamill
    • direction/management are being shuffled around, some people with no experience are now in charge of dozens of employees
    • several employees and execs are now gone, including cashing out on promised bonuses or other monies when they left
    • “If [we] didn’t have money in the tank for refunds, delay. Delay, delay, delay. Promise, then delay. That was standard, yes.”
    • had to cut one or several major characters from SQ42
    • additional mocap is required “to have the story make any sense” thanks to “constant” changes to the script
    • entire maps, levels, mocap, VA, music and SFX have been thrown out, reworked and thrown out again
    • what was promised for 2.6, especially networking, won’t be in until late Jan/Feb 2017 at the earliest (maybe midyear)
    • 3.0 networking is a massive, complete mess and won’t be anywhere ready for 2017
    • “They are walking the design back on a massive scale. Try and get a refund.”
    • ^ moma that one is for you because the guy who said it, lol, just lol
    • crunch time has continued now for over six months, some people over a year


    if you’re in this project for anything over $40, get a refund. get a refund like now. after 2.6 releases to the PU you’re going to have a hard damn time getting anything back unless you pledged for the SQ42 package only

    #5064

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    STAR CITIZEN UK FINANCIALS

    Seeing as five years and over $138 million later they have yet to ship either of the promised games, all eyes are on the Star Citizen project financials. Especially given the recent fundraising shenanigans (1, 2) that CIG has been up to of late. The US corporations are private entities, so they are not required to file financials. Those financials are only shared with investors, banks and similar parties. Backers of the project were once promised access to those financials if CIG failed to deliver the project within the allotted time. So far, aside from the fact that CIG have since rescinded that offer in the June 2016 ToS change, no backer has challenged them to produce the financials. I have written before that the state of their financials represents the smoking gun as it pertains to their ability to complete and deliver the project as promised.

    In the UK, where there are three (!) corporate entities, they are required to file public financials for the preceding year, by Sept 30th. Back on Sept 26th, F42 (UK), the entity with the liabilities, and which is tasked with making the game (as the developer), filed their accounting. It was pretty uneventful. The other two corporate entities, CIG (UK) which now owns 100% (1, 2) of both F42 (UK) and RSI (UK), as well as F42 (GER) didn’t file. Yesterday, RSI (UK) filed their accounting; leaving only the parent company, CIG (UK) which is currently late in filing.

    I had written back in my July 2016 blog about what appears to be the execs cashing out and selling back their shares to the parent company, thus taking out wealth from the company.

    There are so many holes in this whole thing that the minute I even make public everything I know, I would no doubt have pretty much impeded on-going investigations. So we wait. But while we’re waiting, here’s a nugget. Please ask them if it’s true that: after they founded a studio (Foundry42-UK) to help develop this game, and Chris pulled in his brother and childhood friends in from another company to head it, that less than two years later, another subsidiary (associated with the project) then turned around and bought the company back from those very people. Thus taking out a significant amount of wealth out of the project and putting it into the pockets of those very friends and family. While still paying his brother Erin, what amounts to almost $250K in yearly salary; not including benefits or bonuses – which aren’t disclosed. Aside from this being reported to be almost 3x what he was making at his previous company, it’s also 2x the average for a director in the Manchester region. And in case you forgot, this is a crowd-funded project.”

    In 2015, according to the funding chart (which is 100% inaccurate), the project raised approximately $35.9 million. That’s not taking into account refunds, investor amounts, bank loans etc. The RSI (UK) filing clearly shows that they are playing a financial shell game with the funding that’s going into the project. Arguably one would do this sort of thing not only for tax and liability reasons, but also as way to mask accounting anomalies and irregularities, while also inflating the value of the associated entities.

    Also it should be noted that not only is RSI (UK) operating at a loss (!), but also F42 (UK) – the developer – is holding a secured loan note with NatWest bank. And they blew through almost $20 million in 2015 alone. Can’t wait to see the 2016 numbers.

    Someone made a handy chart showing how the money reported in this filing, has moved around.

     

    When the parent entity, CIG (UK), files its accounting, we should have a much clearer picture of how the money – up to 2015 – flowed to the UK entities. It won’t tell us anything about the F42 GER financials, nor the financials for the two US studios. And when you think about it, the fact that backers have no insight into the financials – something they were promised – it’s going to be very interesting to see how those very people who are saying “it doesn’t matter“, react when the dust settles.

    List of Star Citizen related corporate entities

    1. Cloud Imperium Games Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    2. Cloud Imperium Games LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    3. Cloud Imperium Services, LLC West Hollywood, CA <– The one is interesting. It is found on BBB, but is not in the CA Secretary Of State dB records
    4. Cloud Imperium Games LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    5. Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    6. Cloud Imperium Games Texas LLC, Austin, TX
    7. Cloud Imperium Games UK Limited, UK
    8. Foundry 42 Limited, UK
    9. Foundry 42, Germany
    10. Gemini 42 Entertainment LLC, West Hollywood, CA
    11. Gemini 42 Productions LLC, Santa Monica, CA
    12. Roberts Space Industries Corp, West Hollywood, CA
    13. Roberts Space Industries International Limited, UK
    14. Twin Brothers Production Inc, West Hollywood, CA
    15. Twin Bros, Germany

    I am still of the belief that the project is on the verge of collapse; and the recent desperate cash grab plays into that. What is unclear is what form that collapse will take, how they will handle the wind down (e.g. from 4 studios and 350+ people), and whether or not the project will continue in some fashion following the downsizing. As of Nov 2016, they had 363 employees working at the four studios. That does not include the many contractors at third-party studios which are also working on the project. Though several (including no less than three high profile positions) have left since the chart below was shown by Chris Roberts; and many more are rumored to be on the way out.

    Seeing as F42 (UK) and F42 (GER) are primarily tasked with tech and Squadron 42 (the single-player game) development, it stands to reason that the two US studios are likely to suffer the most casualties; especially since nobody with half a brain really thinks Star Citizen is ever going to see the light of day.

    THE END OF YEAR FIVE

    Back when I said that neither Star Citizen nor Squadron 42 was going to be released in 2016; I faced quite a bit of derision and attacks. You know, all the standard things I’ve been dealing with since I got involved in this farce last Summer. Then came the August GamesCom event (I wrote about that here) in which even more lofty promises were made; topped only by even more lofty promises in the Nov CitizenCon event, and the subsequent anniversary event. The key takeaway from all those three Q4/16 events is that CIG created proof-of-concept tech demos, passed them off as being in the game, while promoting the sales of ship assets which aren’t likely to ever see the light of day. All designed to do one single thing: raise money based on LIES.

    The most egregious affront to backers, has to be the promise that 3.0 patch, which included elements shown in all of the above streams, was imminent. Heck, they even went on record, while creating an entire “Road To CitizenCon” video, telling backers that a demo/preview of Squadron 42 was imminent, but that they ran out of time to polish it. Now, with the year ending, not even the much delayed 2.6 patch has been released to backers, let alone anything of Squadron 42. And you know what, I already raised the alarm on ALL of this months ago, and again quite recently (1, 2, 3).

    This is what was promised in 2.6, which is already over six months late. They have yet to deliver it, even as they continue to shift the schedule.

    And this is what was promised in 3.0 for end of 2016 release.

    And even as I type this, there are backers who are vehemently denying that Chris Roberts ever promised 3.0 by year end. Despite his own word salad to that effect.

    ..so, it’s our big end of the year release. er so er yeah, so we’re gonna get it out the end of the year; hopefully not on December 19th but, er, like last year….but it is a big one, so, not making er, I got shot for making promises, but er, that’s our goal.”

    Note that back when I said the schedule was released in order to appease irate backers, and that it was inconsequential, again, I got attacked for it. But here’s the thing: since they first released it, they’ve missed every single milestone contained within. So it’s no different if they didn’t release it, since backers should just as well ignore it. And they keep making suspicious changes (1, 2) to the schedule page itself.

    When I wrote the Star Citizen – E.L.E. blog back in April, and pointed out specifically why I believed that the project was inexplicably doomed, that neither of the two games was going to see a 2016 release, some backers waved it out of hand, while others decided to heed the warning and go for refunds (you can read the resulting fiasco in my Star Citizen – Refund Debacle blog from July). Since then, hardly anything has changed that would serve to change that opinion. Heck, this year, all they’ve released have been bug fixes to the 2.0x kernel, an in-game shop for buying pants, some flyable ships, and one new base (GrimHex). That’s it. All year. And, despite the dispute regarding the accuracy of the funding chart, they appear to be on track to raise over $35 million in 2016. In a year where they are on track to raise half of all the money that all of crowd-funding did.

    As for Squadron 42, if they ever release any version (demo, prelude, episode 1 or whatever) of it, and it’s not stellar, they’re screwed because seeing as it’s built on the same engine components, it is going to automatically affect the larger Star Citizen game. But that won’t matter, seeing as they have already been paid in advance.

    At end of the day, it’s all been a pack of lies, and what I believe to be protracted efforts to mislead backers at every turn. Which, when you think about it, makes sense that they would revise the ToS in order to not only reduce their liability, but also rescind whatever leverage backers have in terms of financial accountability.

    At this point in time, what’s going to be interesting is just how those very same toxic backers who are attacking dissenting opinions, will react when they get wind of what is currently playing out behind closed doors. But that’s why we have the legal system, as well as State and Federal agencies who pay attention to things like this.

    You all had ample warning. Now you get to bear the consequences.

    Discuss!!

    #4905

    dsmart
    Keymaster

    THE SHITIZEN SCAMMER

    We know that all gaming communities have their share of toxic anti-social nutjobs, scammers etc. In fact, the average Shitizen (toxic Star Citizen fans waging an Internet war of attrition against dissent toward the project) is all of those things – and then some. I have written a number of blog and forum articles about them 0ver the years, and it just keeps getting better and funnier. So it should come as no surprise that recently the person we once thought was your garden variety citizen, turned out to be a scammer running a variety of cons in various MMO gaming communities. Heck, there’s a Shitizen (Fuzzy Modem, who is also now banned on SA), an alleged pedophile, sitting in jail right now.

    It all started with this thread on the Star Citizen forum started by one Deloria who was originally thought to be an 18 yr old Norwegian girl who backed the project when “she” was aged 14. At first, this person was only notable for the thread because shockingly it was neither deleted nor moved by CIG. If you scroll down to other posts here, you will see the posts about the growing dissent since CitizenCon. Well, after I tweeted that link, apparently Deloria got wind of it; then showed up on the SA (Goon enclave) forum – where we found out “she” had been banned since 2013.

    Even with the paywall ($10 to read the site), we get all kinds of stragglers over at SA, and we tend not to pay too much attention to them; only regarding them as lol fodder for the most part. But Deloria decided that she was now famous, seeing as not only had I tweeted and written about her forum thread, but also it was being discussed on the SA forum. What followed was the most hilarious case of self-own in recent memory.

    At first Goons were basically telling “her” to get a refund, that a “girl” spending $6K (which she said was her Confirmation gift from family) on a game that doesn’t look like it was ever seeing the light of day, was a bad idea etc. During all this time the “Curious case of Deloria” generated over 400+ posts. At some point, a pattern appeared to form, and it caught my autistic attention. So I decided to run with it. In the end, I found out that “she” was a middle aged dude, posing as a teenage girl. As soon as I mentioned that this person was a dude; some Goons decided to look into it.

    In the end it was discovered that not only was Deloria a dude, but also had been running various scams across several MMO gaming communities. So with all the background material collected, I made a single effort post about it. Deloria stopped posting; and shortly after, asked a mod on the Star Citizen forum to close their original thread. It gets better. He also reported the post I had made on SA, as doxing (hint: it’s not). That last part is as hilarious as it sounds; seeing as these clowns tend to use that word as they see fit, even as they scam their way across the Internet. If posting publicly accessible social media pages is doxing, well I’m guessing that all the websites, including mainstream media sites such as Ars Technica, Gizmodo etc which tend to do expose articles with relevant links, are all guilty of doxing. It’s bullshit really. This was basically exposing a scammer. Period. End of story.

    Anyway, below is the post that I made in its entirety, and as was originally written on SA. Enjoy.

    NOTE: Deloria was subsequently banned on the SA forum. Again.


    Once they get busted and outed, they are always quick to pull out the “harassment” and “doxing” card. It’s the oldest – and dumbest – game in the play book.

    No, you’re a scam artist who got busted the minute you decided to come back to SA and mouth off.

    The good thing is that you decided to try and prove who you were (a UK citizen living in Norway), thus giving everyone carte blanche to debunk it.

    This is all public, and most of it backtraced to what you posted. So if you even utter the word doxing, you’re getting temp-banned – again.

    This is where you claimed – at 14 – that you were gifted an Idris by your boyfriend who just happens to backtrace to this Facebook page

    After comparing to the previous Mann Facebook page – which freaked you out and you started sending out frantic PMs here – the question is: did a middle aged (approx 35 yrs old) man have a 14 yr old GF in 2013, or are you (Mann) all these alt accounts?

    And from your very own post here on SA, there’s that “Mann” surname again.

    Here is where it gets even better…

    Your Star Citizen profile, links back to an email (siobahnmahon) which backtraces to an account on the Crowfall site (one of the communities you frequent)

    And that Facebook account, was FB friends with Mann before you hid it after being busted here. And as of this writing, you are still in Mann’s FB friends list; better go hide that one too.

    This article was interesting though.

    You’re a scammer that’s been lurking in various MMO gaming communities such as Star Citizen, Black Desert Online, Archeage, Shroud Of The Avatar, TERA, Crowfall, Elder Scrolls Online obtaining money and items while posing as an Norwegian girl.

    There’s more – a lot more – but posting those will definitely be within the realms of doxing. Which is why I called you out as being a dude* the minute you showed up here; and others took up the mantle to look into it.

    Bear in mind that roleplaying with an online persona is perfectly OK. What’s not OK is using that to scam others. As far as your history shows, you’ve tried to raise $10K twice (once with a calendar for which you got over $1k). Not to mention all the other gifts you’ve got from those gaming communities. That’s not different from a garden variety 419 scam.

    * I have extensive AI experience; so pattern recognition is something that my brain is wired for. Your post patterns, sentence composition, context connectivity, and word usage, were a dead giveaway. The more you posted, the more obvious it became that you were a dude.

    ps: In case you guys missed it, the Facebook page for Shiv Mahon has an image of Deloria’s Star Citizen membership card.

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