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Default The Banner Saga - Post-Funding Update #35

July 7th, 2013, 03:54
The Banner Saga has a new post-funding update.


What does Gold Standard mean for the progress of the full game? With everything in our game functioning correctly with final art, we are now working almost entirely on content. Here's a rough outline of how development goes:

Pre-production (art style, broad design ideas, type of game)
Proof of Concept (mock up of what the game would look and play like, basic rules)
Vertical slice (placeholder work on key systems that are playable, to test for fun)
Alpha (most of the game is playable in a rough state, some features still missing)
Gold Standard (a section of the game is taken to completion with final work, all systems are done)
Beta (the entire game is laid out, needs polish and playtesting)
Launch! (the game is done! Or is it?)

Developers can do this in a lot of different ways, which is why the terms above can get confusing. Is something alpha or beta? What does that even mean? Indies especially will just go along doing whatever feels right at the time, but the above is our basic trajectory. Next we'll be creating content for the remainder of the game. This is generally where production starts to move really fast, no longer burdened with having parts of the game that "can't be completed" yet.


Lots of stuff has been going on in the Kickstarter community lately. I'm sure many of you have noticed Double Fine's announcement about splitting up their game into two parts. They've gotten some serious heat for this. Backers of Shadowrun have heard similar things about the content in that game, with the DLC being released much later.

First of all, I want to be clear that we do not intend to do something like this for The Banner Saga. When it releases it will be a complete product. We don't have plans for DLC at this time, and we will continue to support the multiplayer component. We also intend to continue on the sequels (chapter 2 and 3) just as planned.

I would also like to talk about my personal opinion on this, and I'd love to be open and talk like a normal person instead of a PR person in damage control mode. Can we do this? Without freaking out? You can disagree with me of course, just be nice about it.

This is hard. Like, way WAY hard. When we pitched the game we were hoping for enough money to get extra animations, maybe increase the length of the game. We thought we'd get, like, 2000 backers, not 20,000. A fine problem to have, right? Haha! Except that it's actually a huge problem. The hardest problem I've ever dealt with in my life. Now I know.

We thought now we could do everything we ever wanted for the game, and got too ambitious. We thought we could make the game in six months, and I'm still not sure what we were thinking. That was stupid. I wish I could take that back, all we needed to do was put a different date there and nobody would be complaining. Whoops. We ARE still doing everything we want, and it's taking a long time. I don't feel bad about that. That was the POINT, right? To dream as big as we could?
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July 7th, 2013, 03:54
Overreaching on the target goals with a Kickstarter budget? It's not like we didn't expect this. There'll be more to come, I'm sure.
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July 7th, 2013, 11:51
I think his entire post is great. People whine about delays, but I dont' really see it as that big a problem. I'd rather have a delayed great game with no game breaking bugs than some half ass attempt at a great game. It's not like the developers do it on purpose "Lets delay to create some negative buzz. Yay!". As long as the game arrives I'm happy.

Like Rjshae said, I expect there to be massive delays on loads of Kickstarter games. I don't care, as long as they aren't cancelled, THAT would make me sad (and maybe just a litttle bit angry…).
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July 7th, 2013, 11:55
Originally Posted by rjshae View Post
Overreaching on the target goals with a Kickstarter budget? It's not like we didn't expect this. There'll be more to come, I'm sure.
I expected this will happen with most kickstarters. Stretch goals and extra content doesn't help either. It's just extends development time. So I expect delays also.
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July 8th, 2013, 14:35
It was a very interesting post and I largely agree with the thoughts about Kickstarter.
However I think developers should also be taken to task a bit more. I don't buy it that you can't make a more realistic estimate about a likely release bracket. In fact, what I'd really like to see is a simple but mandatory business plan that has to be submitted with videogame Kickstarters: A dowloadable document or web form that lists what your plans for spending the KS money are. E.g.:
$XXXXXX salaries for the core staff of 3 for 24 months
(List of staff already present, needing to be hired, available funds)

$XXXX for 25 3D models incl. texturing and animation by contract artists
$XXXX for 5 musical scores by contract artists
$XXXX for Unity engine license

Schedule and milestones:
Already Done:
Month 3: Milestone 1 (Level creation tools completed)
Month 6: Music ready, combat and world movement alpha-ready)
Month 12: Whole game at alpha stage
Month 18: Ready for beta testing
Month 24: release

Something like this would allow backers (especially potential high-end backers) to get a better view on how thought-through the project is, and it would be a good exercise for the developers as well.
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July 8th, 2013, 20:44
This situation doesn't bother me all that much. I knew that I was taking a risk when backing the projects I did. I did that in hope that the developers would be able to deliver what they promised and when they promised. So far none has and I think that just proves that they aren't ready to make commitments they can stick to… that's fine with me, if they can't do it they can't do it, I'm sure they're doing their best and I don't care about other people's business plans and their particular money and time issues, that's for them to get headaches about, I'm just a customer.

I just won't back any more projects for the time being - if they can't make a commitment then I won't make a commitment by paying in advance either, it's only fair I think. If they manage to figure things out I'll reconsider. Until then I'm perfectly happy with buying any good finished product they may deliver whenever they are able.
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