Many of us have been round the Early Access block a few times now, strolled through Alphafunding Park a few times, and taken a pedalo out on Crowdfunding Lake. We’ve had some good times, haven’t we? And some bad too. By now we surely all definitely understand an important point with all this: you’re not buying a finished game. You’re paying for the dream of a game, or an early sketch of a game, or simply to support artists you like. Even when you’re playing these games, DayZ producer Brian Hicks reminds, “You are not playing DayZ, you are playing development builds. Early development builds.”
Replying to a DayZ forum thread titled ‘Has Anyone Else lost Faith in Dayz?’ (spotted by PC Gamer), Hicks gave a developer’s view of what’s happening here. Rather than cut his post up into little quotes to make myself feel clever, here’s the whole core:
You are not playing DayZ, you are playing development builds. Early development builds.
DayZ is 11 months into principle development, on what should be a 3 year standard development cycle. I can’t force you to be a fan of DayZ, but I can call this out:
Defining or judging what DayZ is by a build so early in its development is much a kin to judging a painting within the first few brush strokes. Hell, even Bob Ross’s paintings didn’t look great for the first few minutes (until you realized what it was he was making).
I can promise you none of your favorite AAA games played, or even resembled the final product that early in their cycles. (Okay, maybe some of the larger titles that push small incremental updates out every 12 months – but we all know those are special snowflakes)
Take a break, and come back in beta or even the full release. The Early Access period of development will have many peaks and low, low valleys. This is the nature of software development. Yes, it is stressful as heck – for all of us, but you get to be part of shaping the DayZ experience.
For me, its worth it – for some of you, it might not be. No one can fault you for that.
Of course, Bob Ross was quite committed to what he was painting. There was no risk with him. Bob Ross was unlikely to walk out of the television studio mid-painting. Bob Ross was unlikely to decide “You know what, I really dig what that Hieronymus Bosch guy is up to” and fill his serene meadow with cavorting nudes and hellbeasts. And if he did (I can’t say I’m an expert on his career), you hadn’t paid for it yet. Not that Bohemia are likely to do this, but they’re risks with crowdfunding in general.
These new forms of funding are wonderful and enable so many dreams, but not every dream comes true. We should all be mindful of that.