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Default Jeff Vogel - Why all Our Games Look Like Crap

August 24th, 2019, 15:54
It's an intriguing stance for him to take, perhaps not the way I would have gone but whatever works for him is ok by me. Personally I don't think his games look all that bad, and I was hopeful for some upgrades after the kick starter, obviously that didn't happen and now I suspect it never will. In any case, keep making games and I'll keep buying/playing them!!
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August 24th, 2019, 17:18
Because he's complacent and has been so for the past 20 years.
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August 24th, 2019, 17:51
Originally Posted by forgottenlor View Post
I doubt highly that either of those games was just made with 50k, that is to say, I bet the people who made those games basically worked a full time job with no pay to get their games made, for a year or more. I've supported a huge number of kickstarters, and a lot of games where things are being Kickstarted for under 100k, people are basically working for free, hoping that the game will payout when its finished. In the cases you listed above, I'm sure they did. In other cases people have worked 1, 2, 3 years and they get very little back. That maybe okay for someone who is young, but a guy supporting a family will think twice about going that route. He hired a sound engineer and an artist for Queen's Wish, whether that justifies the 95k or whether he got something worthwhile for his money (with the art I definitely think he made a poor choice) is another question.
Of the games I funded that were not hugely successful, well most of those developers I've never heard from again. I think the experience can be quite discouraging if one is not a Darkest Dungeon developer.
I didn't claim those games were made with exactly 50k. I specifically mentioned the dev of Ghost of a Tale had been working on it for close to a year prior to the crowdfunding and that probably wasn't the total cost. It's a ballpark figure, but it's in the same ballpark as Queen's Wish. When you consider that, the difference in quality between the games I mentioned and Vogel's stuff is striking.

If those guys basically worked a full time job with no pay for a year or more to get their games made like you suspect, that only makes me even more impressed with what they accomplished and less impressed with Vogel's excuses.

His list of "reasons" could be applied to any indie developer and used as excuses in the same way. When I read through that list though, it's obvious he's just rationalizing. He's definitely complacent, and even if he wasn't, I don't believe he has the talent or the know-how to achieve much more. Therefore, he gives us stuff like "Remember we're a tiny company, like most indie developers." and "We Need To Maintain a Consistent Look".

I'm not trying to bash the guy. I just don't think he's being completely honest with himself and others.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:06
Originally Posted by you View Post
I thought about this a bit - one thing i've observed over the years is that different generations have different talents. Jeff probably doesn't know how to use modern tools for making 1/4 decent graphics. I suspect the person who made Ghost of a Tale learned how to use those tools (perhaps friends, internet or maybe school) and has some natural ability to make the sort of graphics he needed for his game (it was perhaps the knowledge/talent that allowed him to pursue making the game).
The person who made Ghost in the Tale, Seith, has worked at Dreamworks. He knows a lot about how to make great looking graphics and animations. What he did know little about is programming. He had to learn that from scratch basically. He also had to learn Unity in the process. So, he is coming from a very different direction. His game was bound to look great as that is where he is very good at. Fortunately he also picked up quite a bit about programming and Unity to turn it into an actual game that is worth playing.
Jeff on the other hand appears to know very little about making a graphically good looking game and appears to have no interest in that either. I'm sure that if in all these years he is doing this, he would have spent some time on improving his skills in this area, he could have made Queen's Wish look a lot better.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:32
I have no idea why I have to always bring this up before anyone else, but there's a huge difference between making party-based RPGs and single character games.

Ghost of a Tale, Underrail, Age of Decadence, Eschalon etc etc etc etc are all single character games. The developer does not have to spend time developing their engine for serious party-based mechanics, pathfinding and balance, hence they can concentrate on aesthetics more.

Now look at the party based games that come out by 'sole' developers… Grimoire, Spiderweb games, Knights of the Chalice, Legends of Amberland etc etc etc etc, every single one of them taking heat for their graphics and very little else.

I'll be happy to listen to the constant diatribes about graphics more when someone develops this elusive great looking party based game on a shoestring budget, but not before.

Yes, Queens Wish is a step down, according to first impressions, but it's his SEVENTEENTH unique game, I think that's the reason the 'niche fans' are willing to give it a shot and not abandon someone just because the people who never played any of those SEVENTEEN games are rushing to dump on him… YET AGAIN…

And finally, games like Ghost of Tale are not 'solo' games, just as Vogel's games are not 'solo' games, they are small development teams with one very dominant developer, much like how when cheap films get made, sure people will say "[insert director] made this themselves on a shoestring", but, yeah, other people were involved too. Games that are literally only one single developer and zero other people are for sure a different ball game. And even at this level there's a vast difference between someone with Dreamworks contacts and someone with 'economy' contacts
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August 24th, 2019, 18:34
As JDR said, I find it hard to believe that the $100k went to the enhancement of the engine and the graphics. If you look at his KS updates, he describes the typical Spiderweb development process (previously done without KS money).

Spiderweb games are developed in three phases. First, we work on the game engine and system. This takes 3-5 months, depending on how much of the game is new. In Queen’s Wish, almost everything is new.

Then we write the game world, which is about six months. Then 2-3 months of porting to Windows and testing. Then we ship! (And then move on to the ports to mobile.)
If you look at the updates for the project, the development of the engine happened within that normal (non-Kickstarted) schedule, as did the rest of the development stages. So, business as usual. Then we are expected to believe that the $100k was spent on the graphics and sound for this? Pull the other one, it's got bells on it. You could hire two full-time junior graphics guys for a year with that.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:39
I'm sure it'll be better than being given $10m to make a talking simulator that had zero connection to the expectation of the kickstarters.

Where did the money go? At 100k, as others have said, I'm sure it would be ok for those to be his wages. Sure, you could hire random graphics guys, but will they have a clue about how those graphics effect the gameworld?

If you want to make him out to be a fraud for taking 100k to make a game for his fans, please be sure that you were one of the donators before you complain…
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August 24th, 2019, 18:42
Have a day off Lackblogger. You're talking bollocks about things you're clueless about, as usual.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:44
So you didn't contribute to the kickstarter then…
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August 24th, 2019, 18:50
Nope. Because I didn't believe he was really interested in Kickstarting a real advancement of his shovelware. Which he clearly wasn't. Why you think I need to have paid to have an opinion on the matter, I've no idea. But please don't explain, for Christ sake.
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August 24th, 2019, 18:57
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
his shovelware.
LOL.

Move along…
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August 24th, 2019, 21:13
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
My dream is to make an text adventure one day, but I fear that no-one would play this these days.
Not many will, for sure. Of course, not many played the original games, either - the market was comparatively microscopic back then.

Text Adventures UK has tons of them and even some sort of application for making your own. From their website:
Textadventures.co.uk is a community of interactive fiction game makers and players. All games here are either playable in your web browser, or as an app for your smartphone or tablet. Almost all are free, and you can even make your own, using our free software…
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August 24th, 2019, 21:13
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
This is a thing I agree with to 200 %.

My dream is to make an text adventure one day, but I fear that no-one would play this these days.
I don't know what scale you have in mind (by "no-one would play it" if you mean you won't sell a million copies of it, you're absolutely right), but there's a ton of tools for writing text adventures these days and robust communities who play and talk about them. You just have to go to the right places. Here's one good spot to get you started: https://ifdb.tads.org/
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August 24th, 2019, 22:08
Just posted the first hour of gameplay on youtube (permission by Spiderwebs Press agency). And just for you guys I made this one in english this time, as there isn't any other preview around yet as far as I have seen.

loading…
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August 24th, 2019, 22:14
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Just posted the first hour of gameplay on youtube (permission by Spiderwebs Press agency). And just for you guys I made this one in english this time, as there isn't any other preview around yet as far as I have seen.

loading…
Nice one kordanor

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August 24th, 2019, 23:09
I keep almost trying a Spiderweb game.

One day…
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August 25th, 2019, 05:54
Jeff Vogel is Ellis Studios except he got away with it. Had Ripper been on the job in 1995, he would have pointed out that every Vogel game smells like the same shite as the last one
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August 25th, 2019, 07:35
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Jeff Vogel is Ellis Studios except he got away with it. Had Ripper been on the job in 1995, he would have pointed out that every Vogel game smells like the same shite as the last one
Lol. No - I was very overtired yesterday, and not in the mood for taking any crap. I think calling Spiderweb shovelware was unfair (though I do think he was pushing it during the remakes of the remakes period.)

I don't think there's anything truly shady about Jeff. I do think this is not really what Kickstarter is for - essentially for an established company to get an advance on business as usual, which I think is the truth of it. To me, KS is about asking people to take a risk with their money to allow something to made, which otherwise could not be. I don't think this "kickstarted" anything, and I think the suggestion that it was to finance development of a new engine, and new graphics was… disingenuous.

He's no scammer though, and I'm sure he'll deliver an actual game, as promised. The other buggers are trollscammers (troll and scam at the same time - double your pleasure), and I don't want them getting their claws on any Watcher's money.
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August 25th, 2019, 07:57
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
As JDR said, I find it hard to believe that the $100k went to the enhancement of the engine and the graphics. If you look at his KS updates, he describes the typical Spiderweb development process (previously done without KS money).



If you look at the updates for the project, the development of the engine happened within that normal (non-Kickstarted) schedule, as did the rest of the development stages. So, business as usual. Then we are expected to believe that the $100k was spent on the graphics and sound for this? Pull the other one, it's got bells on it. You could hire two full-time junior graphics guys for a year with that.
This is kind of a weird line of discussion. Vogel never said that the Kickstarter money would be used to make Queen's Wish any more higher-production-value than any of his previous games, nor would/should any of the many screenshots shown in the campaign have led anyone to believe that was the plan. There was a line in the campaign that said "art is expensive", but presumably the reason he said that is because he needed new art due to changing the perspective of the game - not because he was getting higher-quality art. And there was no deception there, he provided plenty of screenshots of what to expect. The "professional sound" stretch goal was never reached. To me, the KS seemed more like a pre-order really, but a pre-order that puts a lot more money in Vogel's pocket, since he doesn't have to pay the Steam Tax on them, which is good.

Personally, as a backer, I figured the money was always going to go to the same place that (I assume) the vast majority of Spiderweb's revenues always go, which is the salary of the two employees (Vogel and his wife). They live in Seattle, a stupidly expensive place, and refer to themselves as successful, so I would assume their combined yearly salary (paid to themselves) is over $200K, probably well over. They've got 2 kids and property records show they live in a $1.4M house. The KS money is not some huge amount that would go really far.
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August 25th, 2019, 08:09
Having said that though… I'm also tiring of his seemingly continuous stream of humblebrag / lesson posts like you said on the 1st page And I don't think other developers should follow his "lead" on, well, probably not much of anything.

He strikes me as someone who's too scared to do anything more elaborate or risky, because of the chance that it might upset the precariously-balanced apple cart he's got going on. Maybe he could afford to take some risks if he wasn't living in one of the most expensive areas in the country (and why? he works from home…)
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