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Default D:OS has soured me on Kickstarter stretch goals

July 16th, 2014, 07:06
Just to throw some cold water on the general happy happy dance, Original Sin is a good game but…

Half of the Kickstarter's original stretch goals are not present! I'll likely be more cynical in regards to future pledges due in no small part to how lackluster/nonexistent certain features are.
  • 1. No "super dungeon", lair beneath Phantom Forest completely cut from the game.
  • 2. Day/Night cycle completely cut from the game.
  • 3. Kirill gets his own Orchestra? Not so much. Half the music is recycled from prior games due to Kiril being "sick".
  • 4. Henchman become companions… "they will have their own background, their own story to tell," etc. Color me unimpressed. Not to mention that there are still only two of these so-called companions.
  • 5. Cloth map is a low-resolution joke with unreadable font.
  • 6. …which wouldn't be half as bad if the promised digital map wasn't still a no-show.
  • 7. Collector's Edition Dice cut from the package.


Now, were some of these out of Larian's control? Possibly. But it doesn't take away from the fact that, at seemingly every step of the way, the game was continually scaled back in some sense from what was originally promised.
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July 16th, 2014, 08:02
True enough, although the only point that really itches me from your list is no. 2 — no day / night cycles, or in other words: no measured time or schedules. It is really a big feature that's missing, especially with the incredible attention to detail in D:OS.

I have never really played Ultima 7 (shame on me), and when I think of day/night cycles, I think of Amberstar/Ambermoon. Very simple system, but very fun and atmospheric:
  • at night and usually in dungeons your vision was almost zero so you had to make use of torches, lanterns and lighting spells to see where you were going
  • merchants in towns, trainers, taverns etc. had fixed opening hours
  • you could always rest in the wilderness or simply wait for a couple hours, e.g. in front of a store, to pass time
  • while initially you could only measure time by looking at the sun, later on you'd find a clock, which was henceforth a UI element.
D'artagnan mentioned other points in another thread (Witcher?).


I recall Larian giving some reasons for why they didn't implement it, like time restrictions and multiplayer difficulties (e.g. one player fights and is in a time bubble while time would pass for the other), but seriously: I'm sure that can be solved gracefully.

Larian also said, however, that they'd be committed to the modding community. Well, unfortunately I don't think mods can add "time" to the game because the groundwork is missing, but it would open so many more possibilities for a flourishing world as well as gameplay and I really hope they'll think of something to implement it yet. If it's too much work, they could put it in the addon that's hopefully coming…
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July 16th, 2014, 08:07
Good point. Physical rewards should never be cut, they should already be costed before the kickstarter even begins. Hopefully they do get the super dungeon in one day…
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July 16th, 2014, 08:37
I'm a software & database developer. Over the years I was involved in many IT - projects. Often the original user-requirement specification have to be adjusted over time, because
a) features don't work like you thought first
b) some functions are too complicated and have to be replaced by simplier ones
c) some functions are redundant or not needed at all (100/80 rule)
d) you simply haven't enough resources (men/money/time) to implement all things, so you have to concentrate on the important ones
e) the underlying business case can change over time, so that the software needs to be adjusted

So what are we seeing here?
Larian has just gone through a pretty normal software development cycle.
A very agile one btw. with much input (=new/changed requirements) from many alpha/beta testers. Respect!
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July 16th, 2014, 08:47
…all of which would be understandable if stretch goals weren't set up and promises made to begin with. You're comparing a Publisher model to Kickstarter which is flawed - backers receive no monetary return on their investment and as such only have the developer's promised content to go on.
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July 16th, 2014, 10:16
Yes, it's subject to reality like anything else.

It's not a fairy tale where every promise is kept - though I can sympathise with the desire for that to be true.

I'm not a big fan of this model either, but I know enough about the difference between a promise and reality to never expect everything to work out in the end.

I think the key is whether or not you trust the developers to make a game you want to play. If you do, who gives a shit, really? That's what's important.

Obviously, they'll do their best to keep their promises - and there's no way they're just throwing them out there for kicks (no pun intended).

If you believe it's about overt deceit, then you're not very smart. In that case, the game would have been very different - and likely not very good at all.

Given the success DOS seems to be enjoying, it's pretty likely we'll be seeing more from them. That's ultimately why I'd support them.

That said, I did NOT support them, because I've never trusted the Kickstarter model to change human nature. But, at this stage, I'm starting to turn around. Even if I've only seen a couple of games live up to their promise, it's obviously possible.

DOS is the first game I regret not having backed, because it's the first game that's not just a rehash of some archaic formula. They did something special with this game, unlike Shadowrun and Wasteland - which while mediocre to decent - don't really effectively show why the publisher model should be eliminated.

In the end, this game got made and it's a very, very good game.

You point is that it shouldn't have been backed? Because I can't agree.

If that's not your point, then what is it? That Kickstarter isn't perfect? Congratulations for stating the obvious.

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July 16th, 2014, 10:29
This is why I can't stand estimating projects so far in advance. I work as a developer myself and was recently asked to estimate an entire project, despite such a thing being virtually impossible. There's simply no way of knowing what might occur.

I don't think I was too far off the mark, but I still dislike doing it. It feels like I'm promising something I'm not sure I can deliver.

Personally, I think we should all be a bit more straight forward, but then the PR guys will go mental as it'll be harder to sell.
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July 16th, 2014, 10:32
As I've said somewhere before, a big problem here is the lack of proper communication. Larian has been very good at this over the campaign and beyond but failed here.
They announced the day/night cycles not to be in and explained why, but afaik they didn't say anything about the other missing features. That's poor behaviour.
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July 16th, 2014, 10:56
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
If that's not your point, then what is it?
I think I made my point abundantly clear. I've pledged in full faith towards multiple projects, thinking (perhaps a bit naively) that stretch goals are set up with logistical forethought. I'll be far more leery of doing any such thing in the future; if a project interests me, I'll pledge the minimum required for a copy of the final product - no more, no less. If a project needs 1,2,3,4 million for full polish (and few fully-realized stretch goals) but only asks for $400k, I'll be content in only having pledged the minimum.

My point is, D:OS has soured me on Kickstarter Stretch Goals.
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July 16th, 2014, 10:59
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
I think I made my point abundantly clear. I've pledged in full faith towards multiple projects, thinking (perhaps a bit naively) that stretch goals are set up with logistical forethought. I'll be far more leery of doing any such thing in the future; if a project interests me, I'll pledge the minimum required for a copy of the final product - no more, no less. If a project needs 1,2,3,4 million for full polish (and few fully-realized stretch goals) but only asks for $400k, I'll be content in only having pledged the minimum.

My point is, D:OS has soured me on Kickstarter Stretch Goals.
I think I'm asking for a rational reason.

The game is more or less fantastic - or don't you agree?

Instead of focusing on the fantastic stuff you're getting, you're focusing on what you're not getting - and you seriously expect a feature list for a game in the making is a guarentee no matter what?

I don't understand, but that's ok.

Personally, I'd love it if money wasn't so important in this world - and that the Kickstarter model could be effective without trying to sell your product.

But given that's reality - I'm not sure what the alternative is. The reality of game development is such that you can't be sure exactly what you might be able to pull off. All you can do is hope and pray.

That, or you can provide goals that are boring and not attractive.

Is there some middle-ground? Not in a way that will come with a guarentee. We're talking about reality as that place where you don't have unlimited time or resources, and any significant feature is a gamble no matter how competent you are. This is why even the best games of all time have been delayed and delayed in the vast majority of cases. Game development is a very, very challenging enterprise when it comes to planning around time and resources.

The only relevant part of this is whether the final result is worth your money or not. That's the logical position, anyway.

Could it be better? Oh yeah.

But the Kickstarter model and crowdfunding is what made DOS possible. So being soured on it is pretty counterproductive if you have a brain.

What realistic alternative do YOU have to Stretch Goals? What would work?

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July 16th, 2014, 11:19
For kickstarter there is not even any guarantee that you'd get the game at all even if it is funded.

Still a company who promises strecth goals and don't deliver will lose trust of the people who paid for those no matter the quality of the product, and I am sure fewer people will pay for stretch goals the next time they launch a kickstarter… so it is a self punishing model in a way. Fail to deliver what you promise and you'll get people mad at you and lower your chances for the next attempt.
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July 16th, 2014, 11:22
Yes, people are stupid - but that doesn't mean there's a better way to make a huge and ambitious game without having to break a few promises.

The publisher model? Hahaha.

Early Access? Wouldn't change anything here at all. If these features were mentioned anywhere in an effort to explain the ambition, (ignorant) people would be pissed.

If developers don't explain their ambition or vision, the game won't sell as much - which means fewer resources to pay developers and add features.

It's not rocket science.

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July 16th, 2014, 11:47
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
  • 1. No "super dungeon", lair beneath Phantom Forest completely cut from the game.
  • 2. Day/Night cycle completely cut from the game.
  • 3. Kirill gets his own Orchestra? Not so much. Half the music is recycled from prior games due to Kiril being "sick".
  • 4. Henchman become companions… "they will have their own background, their own story to tell," etc. Color me unimpressed. Not to mention that there are still only two of these so-called companions.
  • 5. Cloth map is a low-resolution joke with unreadable font.
  • 6. …which wouldn't be half as bad if the promised digital map wasn't still a no-show.
  • 7. Collector's Edition Dice cut from the package.
1. You sure? I've just started exploring the third map so… Dunno.
2. Thank god for that. It'd probably delay the release for one year more. No "puzzles" to solve at a certain second only boosted game quality upwards.
3. That is the main reason I can't put 10/10 on the game. There are nice scores in there, but with wrong instruments so I get irritated. I didn't expect Gothic 3 soundtrack quality, but OST doesn't match the quality of the game.
4. Too many of different henchmen offered in your "base" prevented this. I would also love to have sidestories of friends I make, but since there are 8435876583 of them…
5. Can't comment on this, I'm against cloth maps generally.
6. Absolutely agree on this. It should be a priority.
7. And agree on this too.
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Last edited by joxer; July 16th, 2014 at 11:57.
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July 16th, 2014, 12:31
I am also a software developer and I agree with Maylander it is extremely difficult to provide an accurate estimate. However, now that they have the engine in place and a bit of experience if they were to deliver a D:OS sequel with a similar team in place they should be able to be much more accurate in their estimates and also have an awareness of what are and what aren't viable stretch goals.

In this case despite not delivering on some of the stretch goals they have created one of the greatest crpgs in recent memory and so it is likely they will probably be forgiven this transgression

Originally Posted by joxer View Post
2. Thank god for that. It'd probably delay the release for one year more. No "puzzles" to solve at a certain second only boosted game quality upwards.
.
It wouldn't have to implemented that way. I thought it would be like U7 and Gothic 2 where the only real change is people sleep at night - and some characters might go for a midnight stroll. It also opens up opportunities for less savoury players to become petty burglars.
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July 16th, 2014, 12:45
And they would have needed to add a new sneaking animation for darkness, where the character is just covered with a black blanket.
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July 16th, 2014, 13:40
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
However, now that they have the engine in place and a bit of experience if they were to deliver a D:OS sequel
A sequel is instabuy for me. A KS project for a sequel is instapledge.
As obviously I don't mind they dropped some stretch goals. I do understand some people don't care for anything else and day/night cycle would be their #1 priority if they were making a game themselves, but well, to me it's a completely irrelevant thing and would never buy some game just because it has such cycles but is rotten in every other design department.

Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I thought it would be like U7 and Gothic 2 where the only real change is people sleep at night - and some characters might go for a midnight stroll. It also opens up opportunities for less savoury players to become petty burglars.
In tips and hints thread I've already explained that you'll have so much cash eventually that classic burglaring only when everyone's asleep is completely irrelevant. Pickpocket and barter skills are of no real use apart from piling up cash just because. You want to steal some nice item? Why? Crafting is (still) overpowered even with the latest changes and I'm hoping it'll get nerfed more.
Since burglaring is not nearly as fruitful as it could have been, day/night cycle would feel like eating not when you're hungry but because you want to eat so much that in the end you explode.
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July 16th, 2014, 14:17
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Just to throw some cold water on the general happy happy dance, Original Sin is a good game but…

Half of the Kickstarter's original stretch goals are not present! I'll likely be more cynical in regards to future pledges due in no small part to how lackluster/nonexistent certain features are.
  • 1. No "super dungeon", lair beneath Phantom Forest completely cut from the game.
  • 2. Day/Night cycle completely cut from the game.
  • 3. Kirill gets his own Orchestra? Not so much. Half the music is recycled from prior games due to Kiril being "sick".
  • 4. Henchman become companions… "they will have their own background, their own story to tell," etc. Color me unimpressed. Not to mention that there are still only two of these so-called companions.
  • 5. Cloth map is a low-resolution joke with unreadable font.
  • 6. …which wouldn't be half as bad if the promised digital map wasn't still a no-show.
  • 7. Collector's Edition Dice cut from the package.
1. The super-dungeon was separated in 3 smaller dungeons, apparently the remaining levels they're working weren't interesting enough
3. Not played enough to see the recycling
4. More companions are scheduled to be included in future patches
6. Some other digital rewards are absent yet too, like Kyril early work
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July 16th, 2014, 14:26
Personally I never cared about stretch goals, simply because they're out of my control. They only have a 'pool' system. I would prefer a model where you can put extra money towards specific additions instead. That way, if they decide not to implement one of the additions, they could (and should) reimburse those who put money in that addition, which is something that's impossible right now I think.
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July 16th, 2014, 14:39
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
They only have a 'pool' system. I would prefer a model where you can put extra money towards specific additions instead.
That would indeed be great. I just don't think stuff like that will be implemented by platforms like KS, because you need to keep the backing process really simple and neat to attract the masses.
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July 16th, 2014, 18:21
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
[*]5. Cloth map is a low-resolution joke with unreadable font.
The Ultima VII cloth map was written iun an unreadable font as well … So this doesn't count …
One had to get into the game to understand it …

And, by the way, I've had more than enough "super dungeons" in Divinity 1 … No, thanks, I'm fed up with that … I rather prefer "super open world" instead …
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