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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Dark Triad: Conspiracy - Development Halted and IndieGoGo Refunds

Default Dark Triad: Conspiracy - Development Halted and IndieGoGo Refunds

June 27th, 2013, 11:28
Azurite Games has decided to halt development on Dark Triad: Conspiracy due to financial difficulties. Backers on IndieGoGo will be refunded. The kickstarter was also halted a few months back so this comes as no surprise.

They also posted a unity demo of the game.

We saw that working with XNA would take us another 8 months to add basic features, and this wasn’t feasible due to our reduced budget, until the point that the amount of money that Miguel and I could add has been used up. It’s been 14 months where we’ve spent about $40K and we would need to spend the double to finish the game. Miguel had let go some of his clients to dedicate more time to the project, I left my job to dedicate more time to the project, and made some freelance translations to pay all team members.

But the money issue is a wall that we can’t overcome at the moment. That’s why we have decided, with the utmost regret, to halt the development of Dark Triad: Conspiracy.

First thing we’ll do in the coming months is to refund the backers that supported us through our official website and Indiegogo. Once we’ve done that, we’ll post a note so everybody rests assured of our honestity and can claim if there were any issues in the refund process.

Does this mean the game won’t ever be finished? We can’t ask this question now. What we know for sure is that we already stopped making the game with XNA, as every little feature required weeks or months to be implemented as we said.

We made a test with Unity these last week, and we know that if could give Dark Triad: Conspiracy another try, it would be the way to go. Unity has a stable environment and many add-ons that make things much easier. We’ve made a little tech demo to try it out, with no prior knowledge, and the results are very convincing. We didn’t want to say “Goodbye” or “See you later” without showing you some bits of this test, so we’ve posted a video so you can see the results. There’s no FX, no props, just a small map David Lopez designed for the game. Imagine what we could do with more time… and money.

But, as we said, we don’t have these dollars to move things forward. Maybe in the coming months Miguel and I are able to save up some money to continue the development of our CRPG. Currently, the team has been dissolved, and only our Lead Programmer, Jose Manuel Alcaraz, will stay with us to make some tests with Unity in the coming months. Depending on the results, we’ll see what we can do.

Finally, I want to thank of all you for bearing with us all this time since we started sharing news about Dark Triad: Conspiracy. It would be irresponsible and dishnoest on our side to tell you to keep following up the forums for new updates. We won’t update them anymore for the time being. If we manage to retake the project, you’ll be the first ones to know about it by sending you an email. Nothing would make us happier, believe us. You’ve given us the energy and fuel to try things out until the very end, so we deeply appreciate your sustained support. You are the best, guys, sincerely.

And as I said before, I hope this is a `See you later` rather than a `goodbye`. Let’s see what the future holds in store, maybe a rich businessman from Abhu Dhabi or Qatar approach us, one never knows!
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June 27th, 2013, 11:28
This is a pity, but I don't think they were ever going to get the funds to make a game of the magnitude they wanted. And it didn't help that they'd spent so much time going down the blind alley of developing their own graphics engine. At least they've switched to Unity now (as many pledgers had suggested (you guessed it!?), although it took Fergus U to finally convince them, it seems) and perhaps they can continue to work on the game in their spare time.

Even using the best tools though, making an RPG in this genre is a huge undertaking and small development teams should take a close look at projects from more established developers and ask themselves why these are $m plus projects.
Last edited by Roq; June 27th, 2013 at 11:40.
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June 27th, 2013, 13:56
Sad to hear that, but this project really was horribly, horribly uncoordinated and clueless. That's why I only pledged 14$ or so. They were very passionate, but that's simply not enough.

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June 27th, 2013, 22:18
Shame. One promising project went to waste too. But enthusiastic projects like this requires at least 500.000 $ to finish. Which seems a little unattainable for an unknown developer. I think Brian Fargo, MCA, Josh Sawyer and other famous devs must encourage people to invest money into these projects.

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June 27th, 2013, 22:24
Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Shame. One promising project went to waste too. But enthusiastic projects like this requires at least 500.000 $ to finish. Which seems a little unattainable for an unknown developer. I think Brian Fargo, MCA, Josh Sawyer and other famous devs must encourage people to invest money into these projects.
I'm sad to say this but they would have probably squandered the money. They decided after their kickstarter, but during their Indiegogo campaign that their game's focus would shift radically (their words, not mine). They came up with an entirely new game concept. I had already pledged by that point. That's not only a bit facepalm-worthy, it's a huge blow to your backers. But then that's exactly the kind of thing that will happen sooner or later in the crowdfunding scene and it will make people a little more leery of unknown individuals/ studios.

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June 28th, 2013, 01:02
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
I'm sad to say this but they would have probably squandered the money. They decided after their kickstarter, but during their Indiegogo campaign that their game's focus would shift radically (their words, not mine). They came up with an entirely new game concept. I had already pledged by that point. That's not only a bit facepalm-worthy, it's a huge blow to your backers. But then that's exactly the kind of thing that will happen sooner or later in the crowdfunding scene and it will make people a little more leery of unknown individuals/ studios.
Not sure it was an "entirely new game concept", it was still an isometric RPG, but a lot of us had suggested that they move away from the well worn dragon/elf/dwarf fantasy stuff and come up with something a bit more original and they took that on board after the failure of the original Kickstarter.

I think some of these projects make life difficult for themselves by not doing enough pre-production work - they jump into the mechanics of making something and then try to hang an art style, world and story onto it, rather than starting off with the ideas first and then trying to find out if implementing them is feasible. Just like with a movie the script, the design and the planning needs to happen up front and you don't start shooting the movie when you haven't even decided what it's going to be about.
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June 28th, 2013, 01:13
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Not sure it was an "entirely new game concept", it was still an isometric RPG
eh yeah, but that's probably where the similarities ended. Things I remember from the top of my head that were new:

- "historical" RPG (despite the fact that it seemed pretty magic heavy still)

- centered on a single city, different districts becoming available as game progresses

- factions much more important

Again, it's their own words that the game changed drastically, I don't make that up.

but a lot of us had suggested that they move away from the well worn dragon/elf/dwarf fantasy stuff and come up with something a bit more original and they took that on board after the failure of the original Kickstarter.
They could have done anything they wanted after their failed kickstarter. The problem is they simultaneously opened an Indiegogo campaign. When I pledged, I didn't pledge for the "new" design (that wasn't even being talked about when I pledged). Since I was using PayPal, I would have had to contact them to ask for a refund. I had only pledged a small amount though for the very reason that their KS had seemed a bit chaotic.

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June 28th, 2013, 15:44
Same here. I had wanted to believe in them, I really did, but so much of their presentation seemed very confused. The switch to using Unity so late in pre-production just goes to show how unready hey really were. The seasoned developers seem to handle the issues that arise from Kickstarter level projects decently, but these small, untested devs often seem directionless. It might have been a blessing until the main ppl behind it get a solid outline of what exactly they want to do.

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June 29th, 2013, 00:35
Hi guys,

I'm Abel B. from Azurite Games (formerly Autoloot) behind Dark Triad: Conspiracy. First of all, I must agree with most of what you say.

We assume many mistakes during both preproduction and production time. There are so many things that conditioned this ending, but it all comes to bugdet in the end. Switching to Unity too late? it depends on how you see that. Obsidian will discontinue its propietary engine Onyx and move ahead with Unity. This "change" is not deadly for them. For us it was. Should we have started with Unity since the very beginning, we had found out much earlier what was possible or not technically-wise, and we would have had many features ready that would have taken us months to code in XNA. Isn't that we couldn't implement them, but the amount of time required was too much for our budget. And the problem now is that we spend all our OWN money (the contributions on the site and indiegogo, that we will refund in the coming months, amount to a 1% of the budget spent)

Of course having only one programmer, and then some part-time programming support guy didn't help much, but I think we the producers are the ones to blame for taking the wrong decisions. We also addressed a myriad of things, but this of course doesn't permeate to the public, what you can only see is if the game is launched or not. Also there are some issues due to unforeseen circunstances that affected some of our teammembers. When this happens, you can't replace them during their absence as would happen in a professional company.

The wisest thing is, should we work again on the game, do it in silence until the game is advanced enough to be kickstarted or launched after having addressed past mistakes. To end this post, it is said that in the US, companies regard with good eyes when entrepreneurs have failed some times on their projects, as you learn more from your mistakes than things done right.
There's always a reason for failure, be it that we are destined not to make rpg games or that the next attempt will be much better.

Whatever it may, thanks guys for at least taking the time to follow the game updates.

Abel B.
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June 29th, 2013, 01:51
Hi Abel

If one thing was clear from the project, it was that you and your small team were passionate about making games. And I think those of us who backed it, did so for that reason. Making good software and especially decent RPG games is fantastically hard, that much should be obvious to anyone.

I very much hope you will continue to develop RPGs and you surely can not be said to have failed just because the first iteration of your ideas didn't work out - it certainly doesn't sound like you are all going to give up and become estate agents or something . As you suggest larger companies have the funding to iterate and so it's not so crucial for them to get it right off the bat and indeed if you follow the development of very many software projects they tend to follow misdirection after misdirection - Diablo 3 being a very visible recent example.

As for Kickstarter, it's hard to say what's going to happen in the next few years as there are some pretty suspect projects out there and the pledgers expectations are pretty high.

In any case, I hope you will report any progress here, as I think it's safe to say lots of people will continue to be very interested in ideas and progress. We also tend to have some useful (and much not so useful ) things to say.

Good luck with everything!
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June 29th, 2013, 12:59
Ey Roq, thanks for your kind words.

Your feedback guys has been very valuable, we've learned many things along the way, and we'll sure let you know if something good comes out of our future efforts.

Regards,

Abel B.
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July 1st, 2013, 07:30
Hey Abel,

it's kind of unfortunate that the project collapsed. However, I'm still waiting for my refund. You had 30 backers on Indiegogo. It shouldn't take you a week to refund them.

Next time I hope you do two things:

1) show more responsibility towards other people's money

and
2) bring someone along who makes decisions that are final. That's a way to avoid squandering money too.

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July 1st, 2013, 08:42
Originally Posted by Sacred_Path View Post
2) bring someone along who makes decisions that are final. That's a way to avoid squandering money too.
That's a bit unfair. Software development is about iteration, in the same way as every creative endeavour, such as painting or novel writing, are. Noone gets everything perfect from the get go. If we try to constrain crowd funding projects to do exactly what they say on the tin, then the result will be crap, if anything actually gets released at all. The fact that they listened to their backers and changed so many things is a good, not a bad thing. And none of these projects proceed in a straight line from start to finish, we all make mistakes and have to fix them, it's the nature of the business and part of the reason it's so exciting.

P.S. A week hardly seems unreasonable for refunds, probably it needs to go through Indiegogo and it's often harder to unwind a transaction, since they probably don't have an automated pipeline for that.
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July 1st, 2013, 08:54
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
That's a bit unfair. Software development is about iteration, in the same way as every creative endeavour, such as painting or novel writing, are. Noone gets everything perfect from the get go. If we try to constrain crowd funding projects to do exactly what they say on the tin, then the result will be crap if anything actually gets released at all.
I think, if someone had kept a tight rein on this project, it would have become clear that they cannot afford to develop everything by themselves from scratch and then go from there, with all the manhours that entails - not if the crowdfunding fails anyway, which needs to be considered as well. The decision to use Unity could have come earlier; I think people like Feargus would have offered their advice even before a kickstarter campaign was running.

The fact that they listened to their backers and changed so many things is a good, not a bad thing.
I'm not so sure there. Some of the advice they were ostensibly thankful for were very basic things about i.e. making an RPG. Also some of the questions they asked in the middle of a campaign to finance the game made me wonder if they really had planned the game's design thoroughly prior to launch.

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July 10th, 2013, 02:56
Sorry to necro this, but I still haven't received my money. They shouldn't need to take up a loan to refund us. We're talking 875$ total.
WTF? Did they spend it on food?

Everything that can go wrong with a kickstarter did go wrong with this one. Ah well, lesson learned. Never give money upfront to an unknown developer, even if they are passionate, seem to have a solid concept and can show ingame footage. Good job guys.

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July 10th, 2013, 04:48
Have you dropped them a line to see what's happening?
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July 10th, 2013, 13:04
I posted on Indiegogo and the forums. We'll see.

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