Spacebase DF-9 Development To Cease, Game To Release

Double Fine have announced that development of Spacebase DF-9 is coming to an end and the development plan listing planned features has been removed. The Steam Early Access page has been updated to state that version 1.0 is due for release. It “will be its final major update”, according to the recently updated development plans page. The previous version of that page contained hundreds of features that “might possibly” be implemented at some point. Today’s update makes it clear that any future implementation will be in the hands of the users rather than Double Fine themselves, thanks to a full source code release.

For those who haven’t been tuned in, Spacebase DF-9 is a product of Double Fine’s internal jam, the Amnesia Fortnight. As with many games made in such a short timeframe, enthusiasm for the game was invested in its potential rather than its current form. It wasn’t the first game to make people yell “DWARF FORTRESS WITH AN INTERFACE AND A GRAPHIC” but it was one of the first to make them add, “IN SPACE”. Of course, it might well take decades of development to create Dwarf Fortress in space and Spacebase DF-9 will not be that game.

The most important words from the Steam update are as follows.

As for what will be added between now and the 1.0 build, new features will be aimed at providing the complete experience you’d expect of a non-Early Access game: a Tutorial mode to smooth out the early game a bit and help new players learn the basics, and a Goal system that lets you work towards concrete objectives. That as well as over a month’s worth of pure bug-fixing work and final polish.

We’re also pleased to announce we’ll be releasing the game’s full Lua source code a short time after 1.0, which will allow the community to create potentially far-ranging mods that add content, new features, and change some fundamental game behaviors. We’ll of course be sticking around a bit for bug fixing and support, but any new content for the game will now be in your hands. We’re eager to see what people do with this game!

A lot of people will likely find that last part a particularly bitter pill to swallow. If the original prototype had been released with full source code, there’d probably be a heck of a lot more content already available for the game, but as it is, moving to 1.0 at this point feels much too early and much too late. Early because there aren’t enough possibilities for emergent scenarios in the current content, at least not when weighed against what was originally planned, and too late because if this were to be a user-content driven experience that hadn’t been clear until now. Releasing the source code is fantastic for those who want to meddle but not so great for those who were hoping for Double Fine’s own take on the emergent life sim.

I used to be of the opinion that story driven games were ill-suited to Early Acess but I’m increasingly coming to believe that ambitious sims are the most likely to suffer. The complexity of what Double Fine intended or hoped Spacebase DF-9 could be – or what players envisioned it might be – was perhaps untenable from the start, which makes the Early Access release an offering of potential and possibility.

It’s doubtful that Double Fine wanted to move to 1.0 in this fashion and the hollow hurrah of the ‘it’s in your hands now!’ announcement made me wince like I’d eaten a Jif lemon, but we don’t know the reasons. Staff may be required on other projects, money is probably tighter than it appears to be from an outside perspective (it almost always is). That’s little comfort to those who’ve bought a game that is lacking the features and content they were anticipating, particularly when the company seems to have its fingers in so many other pies. A case of over-reach then? The truth might be that attempting to make the game that Spacebase DF-9 could have been would overstretch anybody.

We’ve contacted Double Fine for comment.

Thanks Neogaf.

From this site

214 Comments

  1. Laini says:

    Wow, that’s really disappointing but I think the signs had been there for a while. Updates were minor and months apart.
    Maybe there’s more to it than I’ve seen in gameplay videos but I think I’d be very disappointed if I’d bought it.

    • Choca says:

      In its current state, it’s not good, that’s just a fact. The last time I played I actually quit the game from anger and I almost never get angry playing video games.

      Double Fine seems to have some trouble with a lot of their crowdfunded or Early Access projects, I have supported them in the past but will probably not do it in the future.

      • Crafter says:

        So far in my opinion DF9 is their only problematic title.
        It is a real let-down though.. From the start the game was just not that great.
        I don’t think that this kind of game is automatically unsuited for early access.
        Prison Architect & Rimworld are similar to what DF9 wanted to achieve but it works well for them.
        I play RimWorld at each of its releases (I don’t like building prisons that much, go figure), and I would argue that at the end I will probably have had more fun with the game than if I had only played with the finished version.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          Not had time to try PA yet, but strangely enough, building prisons in RM (only tried the free demo) is fun. But then again, it’s because I can hopefully turn the prisoners back into productive people [to make my monstrous creations].

          • Crafter says:

            By free demo I think you mean the prototype that was released with the kickstarter campaign ? If so the game has evolved a lot since then.
            You can still have prisoners in the last version though :) .
            I already had to jail some of my own colonist though after a mental break. And even after waking up, some of them became psychotic and I had to calm them as best as I could (while deactivating automated turrets that would execute them).
            The last update added permanent injuries but prosthetic will only arrive in the next one. So after capturing a gunslinger, I realized that my colonist had damaged his legs beyond any hope and had to execute him since he could not move anymore.

        • honkskillet says:

          They took heat for broken promises with Broken Age as well.
          link to engadget.com
          Double Fine has to realize that they HAD a good reputation but that can be pissed away in a heart beat. Just look at GearBox and Colonial Marines.

          • untoreh says:

            That’s kinda complicated

          • Crafter says:

            Where exactly did they break promises with Broken Age ?
            The 6 month duration was for a very small homage to adventure game. When the kickstarter exploded, so did the scope of the game. And you can’t make such a game in a couple of months.

          • TheTingler says:

            There were never any broken promises with Broken Age, other than the release date getting knocked back which happens with every game ever made, especially Kickstarters.

    • Shadow says:

      This is really a shame, and one of the actually few solid examples that you can’t really trust Early Access promises. There might be more examples of “fuck it, let’s call it 1.0 and be done with it” coming in the future (Starbound comes to mind), so watch out.

      Being a Dwarf Fortress player, I’m glad I managed to hold off on this purchase. The release of the source code slightly mitigates the negative impact of this move, and I’ll be thrilled if enterprising users step up to do something with DF-9’s shell… but even then it’s highly controversial. I mean, it’s hard to tell the difference between “sorry guys, we can’t go on but here’s the code” and “ha, let’s dump the game and give them chumps the code and profit off of free development!”

      • slerbal says:

        Aye that is totally how I feel about Starbound. So much promise, so much squandered good will with terrible communication and a sudden jump to 1.0 and a brushing under the carpet of all the promised features. As an experienced games developer myself I know that happens in every project, but Early Access is just so public. It is a tricky situation for developers, I realise that, but in the case of Starbound I wish they had kept their goals more realistic though that would have meant less of the kickstarter-alike money…

        • Chalky says:

          I bought both these games (so maybe I have terrible judgement) but I don’t think it’s particularly fair lumping Starbound in with something like this. Today they released a change log for their next stable update which is a pretty beefy list (although no confirmed release date yet): link to pastebin.com

          • Shadow says:

            It’s not exactly the same situation: it’s true Starbound has more meat to it. But I think there was a post by Ty not too long ago, talking about development apparently closing in on 1.0, even though the game still feels far from done. But who knows, the impact of the next stable release is yet to be seen.

        • eggy toast says:

          I missed whatever happened with Starbound, but honestly Starbound is half the price, has always actually worked mechanically and has never been so short on content as DF9 currently is, so it doesn’t seem like a fair comparison to me.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yeah, Starbound at least has…y’know, some content.

            From what I’ve seen on DF-9, it’s not just lacking in percentage of realized potential, it’s lacking in absolute terms of gameplay delivered.

        • Phenomen says:

          Starbound has daily updates in Nightly branch (you can change to Nightly in game properties through Steam). Stable branch is very outdated.

        • DeadlyAccurate says:

          Starbound has a blog post almost every day, allows players to play their nightly builds, and their next stable patch will probably be rather large. And they’re still in beta. I’m not sure how much more communication they should provide.

          • slerbal says:

            Currently Starbound has 88% negative reviews from players who feel the communications is poor and people have a genuine feeling of being let down.

            The reviews all try to be positive but the community does feel let down in general. We were all very enthused but over time that enthusiasm has faded. Just look at how many people found those negative reviews helpful. The nightly builds were never well advertised, the blog updates move location and are often random tweets. Yes they are now posting stuff – this month and last month – but they went quiet for a looooong time. Pretty much 6 months. But it is of course fine to have differing opinions, and in this case both can be valid.

            I agree that from the looks of it the initial release of Starbound had far more content than DF9 is ever going to have and even though I think their communication sucks I am happy with my purchase, but I am still disappointed in Starbound.

      • Baines says:

        Is there anyone tracking the failures and deceptions of Early Access, Kickstarter, and the rest?

        Spacebase isn’t the first such game to strike off promised features and suddenly announce that they’d reached release status.

        • Gmr_Leon says:

          Not to my knowledge, but that’s part of why I decided today to throw together a subreddit for this sort of situation called /r/seawatch. Whether or not it will gain traction, I haven’t the faintest idea because I’m not sure how to bring it up except in an instant like this. =/

  2. gingerpembers says:

    I bought this a few months back and I’m really annoyed by this. I had a quick dabble in each Alpha and even as recent as last week I was thinking to myself “In a year or so this could really be something”. The fact that they are cutting it loose and running is hard to swallow.

    That they are charging £20! ($30!) is nothing short of scandalous. It’s an empty shell of a game that barely holds together as it is.

    This is the first burn I’ve gotten from Early Access and it’s made me super cautious about doing it in the future. I’m a DayZ player my tolerance for EA is pretty high as it is! But this is frustrating.

    I was so close to getting Gang Beasts as well, but not now, and I certainly will never buy another EA title from them in the future.

    I thought they were supposed to be the good guys :(

    • Low Life says:

      To be fair, Double Fine is only publishing Gang Beasts, not developing it.

      • damaki says:

        A publisher is economically responsible for releasing bad games. I think that here, they totally did hit that responsibility spot. Nothing forces them to release this damn bad game. They could refund people or pay the studio to finish the actual game.

        • badirontree says:

          You know they have Money problems when they got from Alpha 6 to release in 20 days!!!
          Not even ONE beta !
          They said Fuck it … give them the source code and let them build it LOL

      • eggy toast says:

        With the taste of an unfinished broken game I bought for $25 still in my mouth, I can’t imagine buying anything that gives Double Fine a dime as publisher, developer, or whatever.

        • ExitDose says:

          I’m right there with you. I’ve defended a lot of their practices for a while, since development is a bumpy process, and early access makes you a witness to what normally happens behind closed doors; we get to see the sausage being made. But this, this just feels all sorts of wrong – from the price they were charging, to the spare updates, and to now just saying ‘fuck it, you can finish this if you want’. I’m just done with them.

    • kublakhan says:

      I’m sad for three reasons:

      1. They had a great game in mind that we will never get to play now.
      2. My faith in Double Fine and Early Access in general has plummeted.
      3. I spent too much money on this game ($10) for what they plan to release.

      • SavannaJeff says:

        Yep, I was quite a fan of DoubleFine but this just represents a massive betrayal on their behalf. I will not be purchasing any more of their games, but I don’t see them as a studio that will continue for much longer.

    • CKScientist says:

      I paid £19 for this, and I’m disappointed. The idea and core mechanics of the game seem interesting, but it has no depth. I feel like I’ve exhausted everything there is to see after playing for a 7 hours (according to steam), and thats over multiple play throughs, testing out the few new minor features they have implemented with each patch.

      I’ve been disappointed by several EA games, recently. Either they release prematurely, or they are developed so slowly it feels like they’ll never release.

      • slerbal says:

        Ouch! A commitment of £19 is showing a lot of faith in the developer in these days of $1 bundles. It is a real shame they have let you down because that kind of player support is amazing and something most indies would die/kill for. Sorry to hear you got burned :(

  3. Meat Circus says:

    Double Fine seems to be suffering from crippling overreach. They’re a small indie studio, and yet they appear to be working on about eight games simultaneously. Something has got to give.

    Broken Age
    Hack’n’Slash
    Spacebase DF-9
    Massive Chalice
    Grim Fandango
    Little Pink Best Buds
    Bad Golf 2
    Middle Manager of Justice

    And that something should be indefinitely suspending six or seven of those games.

    • DrScuttles says:

      They also need a game to actually make them some profit.

      • Meat Circus says:

        They don’t really. There’s still enough love for Schafer that he can always go back to Kickstarter for another bailout. But they need to get more focused.

        They should probably hit up Notch for his promised assistance in bankrolling Psychonauts 2 while they’re at it.

        • DrScuttles says:

          They have a lot of goodwill, but I’d like to see the response they’d get to another Kickstarter (especially one with Broken Age and Massive Chalice still on the go). Likely it would succeed but I’d be very surprised if it beat the target by much. That Double Fine seem to have problems with time, scope and money would put them right back into the treading water, Humble Bundle, Early Access and regular Steam sales position they’re in right now.

        • eggy toast says:

          After this SNAFU I’d be very curious to see how another Kickstarter attempt would go for them, to be honest. Especially with Larian saying “no we think it would be greedy.”

        • HadToLogin says:

          AFAIK they said Psycho’2 would cost $15kk, while Notch was thinking about $1kk, maybe $2kk.

          Fun fact: CDRed spend around $15kk for Witcher 3 development. And $25kk goes for marketing.

          • eggy toast says:

            “kk” is an odd way to write M, in my experience.

            edit: I understand “thousand thousand” it just seems like an odd way to say it is all

          • Phasma Felis says:

            On the other hand, as of a couple days ago Notch is now richer than God and could probably dig $15M out of his couch cushions. Seriously, after the Microsoft sale it wouldn’t surprise me if he is the single wealthiest person in the gaming industry.

          • HadToLogin says:

            @eggy toast: When I see M I either read is as mega or meter at first :) .

          • eggy toast says:

            Mega is 1000 k as well tho ;)

        • Shuck says:

          They can’t go to Kickstarter for a “bail out” because Kickstarter doesn’t raise enough money to completely fund a game, much less keep a studio alive. The record $3 million they previously raised is nothing in game development terms, and I doubt they could even manage that if they tried again at this point.
          I’m guessing that they’re cutting their losses here out of necessity and moving on to something that might make them some money.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      Wait, they’re actually working on Little Pink Best Buds and Bad Golf 2? And wasn’t MMoJ finished already? (On the other hand, you missed Costume Quest 2.)

      But on the whole, yes, I agree. That’s still rather a lot of projects, even though they’re not quite as small a studio as it sometimes seems.

      • shadowxaf says:

        Costume Quest is releasing October 9th. So the only announced projects they’ll be working on a month from now are:
        Broken Age
        Massive Chalice
        Grim Fandango

        • DrollRemark says:

          Just in time for another one of their in-house game jam sessions, and the “yeah let’s make these into full games” enthusiasm that follows it!

    • Kollega says:

      And don’t forget that they’re also doing stuff with their older games! I was pretty surprised when the PC port of Brütal Legend came out, and just yesterday I saw that Steam Achievements were added to Iron Brigade, which means it is being ported from GfWL to Steamworks after all. So yes, I would go as far as to say that “crippling overreach” is an understatement.

      • Stromko says:

        I would be happy if they went back and made the multiplayer in Iron Brigade actually function properly. It does take some of the sting out of the fact that when I paid full price for DF-9, I expected a much more complete and polished experience than what it seems they’re leaving off with.

        The part that bothers me most is that the framework and UI of the game have always felt creaky and cumbersome, especially with the last couple builds. Even with the source code released there’s no guarantee that some expert hobbyists will take up the cause of polishing this thing up. But I guess we’ll see how they actually leave it off a week from now.

    • Acorino says:

      >>Little Pink Best Buds
      >>Bad Golf 2
      >>Middle Manager of Justice

      Those aren’t in development as far as we know. Well, maybe MMoJ still receives some smaller content updates, I don’t know, but Bad Golf 2 is merely a community project with no involvement of DF at all and I can’t see LPBB being in development, since it seems more ambitious than Broken Age, and they lack the amount of money for that, unless a publisher or investor pitches in.
      Also, Hack ‘n’ Slash was just released.

    • DrManhatten says:

      Yeah and half of them turn out into mediocre lackluster games to total disaster. I have little hopes for Massive Chalice now besides it has gone awful quiet on that one too.

      • SurprisedMan says:

        What? No it hasn’t. They’ve been releasing regular Kickstarter updates and around fortnightly streams of the latest development progress. The last update was yesterday or perhaps the day before, and was HUGE and showed a lot of progress, and the next stream event is tomorrow.

        It was just at PAX and received some pretty positive press.

        So why would you say these things?

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          After the Xbone release announcement there were a lot of people claiming there had been few updates, and having little idea what was going on – I think maybe a lot of those folks (and perhaps DrManhatten is one of these) have somehow missed all the streams…

      • Acorino says:

        I can’t think of any DF game that could be described as a “total disaster”, try as I might. Care to help out?

  4. amateurviking says:

    Might be difficult to judge it as the game it is rather than the game it was intended to be. Honestly haven’t heard or read anything about this since the initial ‘it’s in early access and it’s really early’ stage.

    Is it worth playing as is?

    • gingerpembers says:

      Not at all. It works, but it’s glaringly obvious that it’s not finished. If you picked it up for £2 of something you might get a couple of hours out of it, but if you dropped the asking price down today, you be raging through the streets very quickly indeed

    • David Bliff says:

      It’s fun for like an hour or two but then it becomes apparent that there’s really nothing to do. It’s like the earliest stages of the Prison Architect Alpha where you build your structure and fill it with people and then have nothing to do with it.

    • eggy toast says:

      In the current game pretty much nothing works at all. People die of things because their AI is bad, building itself is spotty, and lots of placeable objects don’t work very well. It’s an alpha game, it’s buggy its broken and there is no where near $25 worth of content in it.

      If it was in the BTA on a Humble Bundle you might enjoy what you wound up with, but I would still say don’t go to that tier unless you want the other stuff.

  5. HansKaosu says:

    lol what

  6. Sam says:

    #include <iostream>
    using namespace std;
    void main()
    {
    cout << "Welcome to Dwarf Fortress but with graphics and time travel!" << endl;
    // TODO: implement game
    // TODO: change engine to Unity maybe?
    }

    I’m releasing this as open source (the copyright remains mine so I can continue to sell the core product of course.) I can’t wait to see what the community does with it!
    Tune in next week when I’ll be announcing another exciting new game.

    • wu wei says:

      Shut up and take my money!

      • Gap Gen says:

        I think some of my money got stuck in a crack in my screen!

    • LionsPhil says:

      The funny thing is they’re not even releasing this much source. They’re only releasing the Lua scripts, if I read that right, i.e. comparable to what UT/UT2004 allowed with much of the game logic being implemented in UnrealScript and open to modders.

      If you can’t do it without fiddling with the actual engine, you can’t do it in this “community” DF-9.

      • Low Life says:

        The engine they’re using (Moai) is open source, so technically you have access to everything.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      “using namespace std;”

      No! You don’t do that, that’s evil and bad and badevil!

      “void main()”

      No! main returns an int!

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        And where are your command-line parameter arguments, huh!?

        • DrMcCoy says:

          Well, to be fair, int main(void) (or int main(), since you are allowed to skip on that void) is perfectly legal by the C++ standards. void main(), however, isn’t.

          • Sam says:

            The exciting news is that you can submit all these improvements to the code yourself. Crowdsourcing! The original was crowdcopypasted from a Hello World tutorial. It’s wonderful what we can achieve together.

            Oh and we haven’t set up an online store yet. So if you sell any copies of your updated (but legally still the original property) just redirect the money to my paypal. The user who sells the most will get a special forum title.
            We haven’t set up the forums yet. Does anyone know PHP? Whoever sets up the forums will get an exclusive avatar.
            By the way, we’re looking for artists. A great chance for exposure!

          • LionsPhil says:

            Wow, I can submit patches without having to pay for the privilege? This is a better deal than Unreal Tournament 4 already!

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I’m from the community, I can help!

      import os
      while True:
      os.fork()

      [Commit to github]

      That helps… right?

    • Flaringo says:

      this comment is pretty great

  7. Premium User Badge

    aleander says:

    I’m not going to rage about the price, because others are going to do that for me, but I’ve found the game incredibly charming (while obviously incomplete), and that’s my personal reason for being incredibly disappointed by the situation.

    • gingerpembers says:

      You’re a classier person than I am :)

      • hotmaildidntwork says:

        Ironically enough, he can maintain such class only by exercising his classlessness through you vicariously. What fascinating symbiosis!

  8. shinkshank says:

    Another day, another dorf wannabe realizing that, holy shit, there’s a reason dwarf fortress has been in the works for a decade and isn’t even halfway done yet. I’m somewhat disappointed to hear that it fell through, but that’s almost always the way these things will go – motivated production up to a point, and then eventually deciding that ” Fuck it, that’ll do ” and just releasing what they’ve got, never really reaching that end point that they wanted.

  9. slerbal says:

    Wow, am I glad I resisted the urge to pick this up. That would sting mightily. Surely this is going to bite DF for future projects as it massively eats into their cache of good will?

    • rabbit says:

      it’s certainly turned me off. grim fandango aside, i can’t see myself sending any money in their direction for quite some time. definitely not before a game or two is announced, released, reviewed and comes up passing checks for quality and completeness.

      this whole thing stinks. releasing the ‘source’ is an utterly transparent attempt at salvaging what little goodwill they can, which is diminished somewhat by the fact that, as noted by at least one other commenter here, it’s not the fucking source so much as a bit of lua scripting.

  10. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I kind of felt bad for not buying DF9, because I loved the idea and vision they were selling, and kinda sorta wanted to support it, even if it wasn’t worth playing right now. But now I’m glad I didn’t, and even though I love Double Fine, I have to say that this is kind of a dick move. Their message sounds like they didn’t quite finish it and only some of the more elaborate features are missing, but from what I’m reading here and elsewhere, it seems that the game is still hardly more than a prototype. And of course it’s sold for the price of the imaginary complete version.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      Don’t feel bad at all – I bought the game because I liked the idea and wanted to support it… and now I would like a refund. It was already a weak, incomplete game, and the rare updates all seemed to consist of marginal improvements to gamebreaking bugs. Abandoning it to ‘the community’ for a twenty-dollar entry fee isn’t just a dick move, it’s like some weird kind of reverse piracy.

      It’s really frustrating to have Doublefine reaffirm that I’m better off waiting until I’ve played a game before paying for it.

  11. sleepless says:

    It’s sad, but shit happens.

    I hope they don’t release this at 20$ and advertise it as a full-featured and finished game. But I’m sure they will. It’s really clunky and barebones, especially for a game of this genre.

    • Wulfram says:

      If they released it for cheap, that’d probably piss off the people who bought it early access even more.

      • sleepless says:

        They knew the risks of paying for an Early Access game. It’s ugly, but it’s part of the deal.

        Selling an unfinished non-early-access game at full price to new customers under false advertising… that’s really shitty.

  12. Wetworks says:

    I’ve always thought Double Fine was an overrated studio. There is not a single game they make that I like enough to actually care about. Costume Quest was the closest but not good enough when compared to other games in the market.

    • widowfactory says:

      Go and play Psychonauts and Stacking, and maybe you’ll change your mind. They’ve messed up here, and it shows, but they’re still capable of being awesome

      • Siimon says:

        Psychonauts came out just shy of a decade ago. Thats too old to say “they’re still capable”. Stacking wasn’t my thing, but even so, it seems to have gotten mediocre reviews…

        I want them to still be capable of awesome, but I’m holding on to my money until they really prove it.

      • eggy toast says:

        Psychonauts is Ok but there is nothing Amazing about it.

        • Jalan says:

          Aside from the last act (agitating camera angles mostly being the fun killer), Psychonauts is excellent. I’d go as far as calling it Double Fine’s best game to date, since everything else either has too many flaws to overlook in consideration of quality (Brutal Legend, for example) or is too quirky for quirkiness’ sake (Stacking and to a small degree, Costume Quest).

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      I get what you’re saying. Their games are always charming and funny, but the core gameplay often seems mediocre. Even psychonauts was a pretty standard platformer at its core, while the setting and writing were really clever.

    • Acorino says:

      Absolutely awesome:
      Psychonauts
      Stacking
      Broken Age

      Almost awesome:
      Brütal Legend
      Costume Quest

      Merely mediocre:
      The Cave

      Of the Amnesia Fortnight prototypes, Autonomous, Black Lake and Dear Leader were short, but already well rounded sketches of games.

      I’m also disappointed by this recent move by Double Fine. They’re definitely too short on money to work further on SB DF-9. Maybe Early Access isn’t such a good fit for a company situated in one of the most expensive places in the USA and that has as many employees. I feel people gave them unjustly a lot of shit regarding Broken Age, but in this regard, yeah, they fucked up. :(

  13. jack4cc says:

    Great, I bought it two weeks ago, played it, thought “oh well, still a long way to go” because of all kinds of bugs and a distinct lack of … everything.
    And now I wish I could return it.

    • jjman says:

      I’m in the same boat. These guys lost me as a customer for anything but a hugely successful and fully Steam discounted game in the future.

  14. P-Dizzle says:

    Double Fine have been going this way for years now.

  15. Themadcow says:

    Coming soon to a Humble Bundle – lets face it

  16. Granath says:

    Glad I didn’t buy this. And with DF’s reputation rapidly sinking after this and the Broken Age scam, I’ll know not to buy any of their products in the future, no matter how “promising” they look because chances are they won’t get finished!

    • Acorino says:

      There was no scam.
      link to twitter.com

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Lol. That’s a nice reply. :)

        But in all honesty, most people expect indy labelled early access to work via something more like:
        Dev works in spare time to make game. All costs go to game development.
        After release developer makes lots of money, and recoups the wages they did not get earlier.

        But when development is extended, or really it’s a AAA style studio, costs are through the roof (1 million plus, compared to 12k+ for a single programmer doing everything themselves).

        It’s the large golf between the individual and the “small team” that people don’t realise. But even then, you can end up as a Phil Fish, instead of a Tom Francis.

    • draglikepull says:

      I supported Broken Age on Kickstarter. I’m still getting the full, promised game. Is it taking longer than expected? Yeah. Am I annoyed by that? Yeah. But it’s not a scam.

  17. Gargenville says:

    The thing that irks me about this is they’re an established Big Boy Pants developer and just having their name on the store page raises certain expectations like the game will probably actually run (it does, good job) and at some point it’ll be finished with something resembling its original scope. I’d feel less screwed if it was the MAIA guy calling it a day because I actually took the Early Access warning seriously on that. Ah well, bring on the mods.

    • Phantasma says:

      Funny that you’d mention mention MAIA.
      Until today i have been more concerned about their progress and if it would ever see a proper release, as it is wildly more ambitious than DF-9 ever claimed to be.

      Now i’m double-worried :-P.

  18. CaBBagE says:

    Really disappointed with this one! I wobbled over the Early Access with their quite high asking price but thought DF could be trusted to carry it through. The only plus point about fiddling around with this has been the comedy bugs that actually made me cry laughing at times. Shame.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Kirrus says:

    This game definitely had promise, but at least they’re not abandoning it totally, and just dumping the source in a bin.

    This is totally not a comment for testing the hosting stack ;)

  20. Curratum says:

    Another resounding Early Access success! And by success I mean a horrid flop that will no doubt annoy many paying customers.

    • P.Funk says:

      I can’t think of any other place in the global marketplace where people put such high expectations of delivery on something that is so hazy and uncertain that isn’t a scam on senior citizens.

  21. Gap Gen says:

    I guess the moral of the story is don’t buy early access unless you want the product as it currently is? I mean other than DF dropping the ball horribly on this one.

    • P.Funk says:

      No the moral of the story is to treat Early Access like the roll of the die that it really is. When people are putting money down for unfinished games you’re basically gambling. Take the swings as best you can and try to put your money down on smart options but never be surprised if your river card turns it into a hard pill to swallow.

      Poker analogy is apt owing to how easy it is to be convinced a hand will win. I compare that to the way people look at a studio and expect a certain delivery from them.

      • jack4cc says:

        But the general assumption is that Early Access Games might turn out to be quite bad, not because the people responsible for the game suddenly decide to quit working on it while everything is unfinished, but because the game just isn’t good when it’s finished.
        Saying “yeah it’s done” when it’s clearly not is entirely unexpected.

        • pullthewires says:

          The problem is that for some people, ‘done’ will be when it meets their expectations, realistic or not. Not to say that this isn’t a total embarrassment for Double Fine. I almost bought this a couple of weeks ago, as there is a lot of positive buzz around it, but didn’t as I am very wary of early access and of course I’m glad I didn’t now. I do wonder if that there were many people with a similar mindset and we had all purchased it, it would have been viable to develop further though.

  22. wyrm4701 says:

    Some highlights from last year’s RPS interview with project lead JP LeBreton:

    That’s why alpha funding makes sense for us. If you get that initial fanbase, then you can keep developing it.

    And we’re probably gonna add stuff to that and also take some stuff away from that. That’s the most expanded version of the game, so when all of that is in, we could conceivably call it “done.” There’d be no more we could possibly add to the game.

    • melnificent says:

      Also the now deleted devplans page on their site had this massive to do list. Now how many of these did they manage?

      FOOD
      * citizens have hunger need and must eat food to satisfy it
      * food replicator object that can be built in any zone
      * citizens can use food replicator to fulfill hunger need, but it’s like vending machine food, adequate but not great
      * small matter cost (1-2) each time someone uses a food replicator
      ** 0 matter = replicators stop working
      ** improperly maintained food replicators produce bad food that makes people sick?
      * replicator food comes in wrappers, produces waste (litter carryable) (if/when carryable object concept is added)
      * garden zones where plants, ie “real food”, is grown in hydroponic trays by citizens with botanist duty
      * plants in gardens produce small amounts of extra oxygen
      * citizens who spend time in garden zones have happy thoughts, increasing morale
      * plants grow from seedlings to full-sized plants ready for harvest
      * plants have a “health”, if it reaches zero the plant dies
      * citizens on botanist duty “maintain” plant health, much as techs maintain machines
      * botanists harvest fully grown plants and deliver them to pub fridges for preparation
      * bartenders at pubs cook food into meals, which nourish citizens more and make them happy
      * concept of different dishes?
      ** how do bartenders/patrons decide which dish is cooked?
      ** immigrants bring recipes for new dishes?
      * citizens sit at a pub table and eat
      * citizens have food preferences
      ** eating a preferred food makes them very happy, eating a strongly disliked food makes them a bit unhappy

      CARRYABLE OBJECTS
      * citizens visibly carry around arbitrary sprite/3D objects
      * containers can hold other things
      * citizens can stash stuff in an inventory, shown in a new inspector tab
      * when people arrive, they have a suitcase (container with their stuff in it)
      * players build shelves for people to put their stuff on
      * a single item of stuff can have multiple tags describing it, eg purple, terran, fuzzy, punk rock, etc. citizens have affinities for these tags
      * citizens trade stuff with each other, trying to get stuff they like more
      * roaming traders will visit the base to trade new stuff with people
      * “litter” objects that citizens with low neatness personality throw away
      * janitors / people with high neatness pick up litter
      * janitors clean up bloodstains and other cosmetic damage
      * people gibbed by monsters turn into bits, which janitors must clean up

      POWER SYSTEM
      * “reactor zone” with fusion reactor object that produces power
      * rooms must be adjacent to a room with a working reactor to be powered
      * unpowered rooms go dark (emergency lighting) and objects in them don’t function
      * reactors only produce X power, then you have to build another
      * factor new need for reactors into starting matter allotment
      * maybe make the Base Seed object serves as a low-output reactor to help players get started

      MINIMAP
      * minimap display of base in lower right corner
      * separate viz mode toggles for minimap vs main view

      BASE HISTORY SCREEN
      * a permanent timestamped list of important base events: citizen joined, citizen died, ship docked, first zone of each type created
      * in-game screenshot key that pops up a “write a caption for this screenshot” box, screenshot + caption is added to the timestamped list
      * base history is stored locally in save dir as HTML + linked images, each base has its own dir
      * base history is also mirrored on a hosted server somewhere, players can easily link their base histories

      BASE STATS SCREEN
      * auto-show stats screen after base fails, ie everyone dies, “game over” state
      stats to show:
      * Matter spent
      * Derelicts
      * Hostile docking
      * Total docks
      * Non-hostile docks
      * Docking requests denied, accepted, forced
      * Room temp
      * Raiders killed
      * Monsters killed

      MULTI-LEVEL BASE CONSTRUCTION
      * UI for navigating multiple levels
      * rendering tech for showing multiple levels
      * build gravshafts to allow citizens to travel between levels
      * ability to build railings for safety?

      TAG SYSTEM FOR LOGS
      * a log message can have any number of tags, citizens select an especially appropriate one (but avoid repeating themselves)

      ASSIGN PEOPLE TO ROOMS
      * depending on their duty and/or zone type, this can mean different things:
      ** assign a security-duty citizen to a room to have them guard it
      ** assign any citizen to a residence to have them use it as their quarters
      * normally, a citizen will “claim” an unused bed and the area around it
      ** citizens decorate their living space with their stuff (see “stuff” above)
      * people protect their spaces / become annoyed when strangers or unfriendly people intrude

      “LEARN TO PLAY”
      * option in front/pause menu
      * loads Box.sav as starting map, as opposed to normal DeepSpace.sav
      * “only display once” hint flag for tutorialish / first time messages

      TELEPORTERS
      * build at least two “teleport pad” objects to create a functioning teleporter
      * UI for selecting which teleporter goes where (dynamically changeable)
      * teleporter accidents: poorly maintained teleporters could hurt/kill people, scramble their brains (personality change), turn them evil (goatee Spock)

      METEOR STRIKES
      * meteors strike bases, punching holes in the hull, depressurizing rooms, damaging people and things
      ** not as harsh as in the Amnesia Fortnight 2012 version, promise :]
      * shield generators generate shielding to repel meteor strikes (gives technicians stuff to do in space)

      MISC UI
      * confirm + cancel for roster screen
      * custom viz for Construct mode – desaturate colors except for amber building color?
      * shift-space = max speed
      * up/down arrows in room centers showing whether room O2 is rising or lowering
      * “object condition” viz mode: color-code objects by condition, highlight technicians? do same when a technician is selected?
      * allow zoom in beyond min_zoom, spring back to normal min_zoom after a few seconds
      * make ability to rename citizens “once only”
      * “no power” icon over unpowered rooms (once power system exists)
      * little lines showing where someone is pathing to
      * cutaway mode should work on asteroids
      * support Mac trackpad gestures

      EMERGENCY DISTRESS SIGNAL
      * (very expensive?) object you can build that calls for rescue people / immigrants to show up and save your base

      BASE NAMING
      * when your first oxygenated room comes online, base is considered “established” and prompts you for a name

      STEAM WORKSHOP
      * built in savegame sharing!
      * mod support!
      ** “mods” subdir where user-created scripts patch base game lua files at runtime
      ** provide uncompiled lua source for gameplay-relevant classes, eg Character.lua, to support modders
      ** allow PNG sprite sheets – lower performance than tex format in exchange for easy moddability

      BARTENDERS
      * pub customers get their orders from bartender
      * bartenders serve food (once food exists)
      * skilled bartenders make people they serve happier
      * citizen drunkenness – increased by X every drink they have, dwindles to zero slowly (ie “blood alcohol”)
      * drunk citizens more likely to make mistakes while doing duty

      CITIZEN FIGHTING
      * citizens who dislike each other enough will fight
      * low risk of actual death, but injury and deepening mutual hatred
      * security can stun violent people to calm them down, knocking them unconscious for a bit
      * drunk citizens more likely to fight
      * low morale citizens far more likely to fight

      SPACE MADNESS
      * when morale is critically low, space madness takes a form depending on personality type:
      ** sit in bed moping (how to recover?)
      ** become violent, grabbing a rifle if available, attacking random people

      DOCTORS
      * doctor duty and infirmary zone
      * doctors unassigned to an infirmary (see “assining people to rooms”) patrol the base looking for hurt/sick people
      * citizens seek out an infirmary/doctor when hurt or sick (parasite infestation)
      * doctors use tricorder-like first aid prop to heal people
      ** better doctors heal people faster / more fully, bad doctors have a chance to hurt them
      * revivabed object for infirmary: only way to detect parasite infestation or cure some diseases

      CONSTRUCTION TOOLS
      * “flood fill with floor” tool, works on areas enclosed by walls or asteroid
      * “build circular room” tool – drag out a circular area instead of a square
      * filled (with floor) vs unfilled (without floor) toggle for box and circle room tools

      MISC LIFE SIM
      * “skill point distribution” algo for generating skill set on citizen spawn – nobody will be terrible at everything, if someone is really good at something they’ll likely be bad at everything else
      * over time, citizens get nicknames, eg Bob “Sparky” Schmidt
      * ability to flag any citizens as hostile / suspicious (security will keep an eye on them)
      * citizens have to reach a locker before they can change duty
      * citizens become annoyed if their environment is noisy (people passing through or doing stuff) while sleeping or relaxing – incentivize building residences that are low-traffic
      * “watch video” activity tied to monitors
      * sportsball matches viewable on monitors / in pubs
      * high morale = skills go up more quickly
      * citizens put on duty-outfit when they go to do duty, remove it when starting certain other tasks (sleeping) or if it’s been long enough since they last did duty

      SOCIALIZATION / AFFINITY AI
      * people prefer to chat with friends, unless they have high gregarious personality in which case they actively enjoy chatting with strangers (low familiarity)
      * people have +/- affinities for objects and rooms with certain qualities, eg red, dark, fluffy
      * people have +/- affinities for people with certain qualities (xenophobia/philia, sexual preference, fashion sense)
      * people spread gossip about people they dislike, biasing affinity map changes against them
      * trends: popular (high aggregate affinity) people influence the affinities of less popular people
      * fashion accessories signify social affiliation, eg cliques wear the same kind of thing
      * new concepts (topics) are gradually introduced by immigrants and trade, eg a new fasion craze starts when a trader visits the base with slap bracelets

      PERSONALITY TRAITS
      * introverted/extroverted = how much people enjoy solitary vs group activities
      * gregarious/shy = how much people enjoy chatting with strangers vs friends
      * vindictive/forgiving = how long people hold grudges and whether they act on them
      * angry/peaceful = whether people become violent or depressed when morale is low
      * neat/messy = whether people pick up litter and spare objects vs throw junk on the floor
      * religious preference = whether people prefer to be recycled on death or given a “spock funeral”

      AFFINITY/CONVERSATION TOPICS
      * games
      * pubs
      * tv shows
      * films
      * sports
      * sports teams
      * music albums
      * songs

      TECHNOLOGY
      * scientist job
      * research lab zone
      * blueprints – you can only build what you have blueprints for
      ** scientists can construct blueprints by doing research in labs
      ** players choose research topics?
      ** blueprints can also be discovered aboard derelicts or brought by special immigrants
      * starting conditions determine what technologies you have access to
      * take dead hostiles to research labs to study them and learn to better deal with them
      ** eventually, how to deactivate killbots and reform them into friendly (still scary lookin’) bots

      “VISIT A FRIEND’S BASE”
      * hangar bay zone where shuttles can dock
      ** (post “stuff” update, traders show up here)
      * load citizens onto a shuttle and give it a destination friend’s base
      * shuttle leaves, your friend gets a visit request
      * if accepted, your citizens disembark inside their base, walk around and have adventures
      * eventually, they return to the shuttle and return to your base
      * travelers preserve any stuff, gained experience, technology etc that they accrue while visiting another base

      BASE DEFENSE
      * more types of attackers show up in derelicts, docking ships, etc:
      ** killbots
      ** murderslugs
      * invaders breach base walls and invade from the outside
      * exterior base defenses – defensive gun batteries, shielding
      * build traps to capture or kill invaders:
      ** tripwires that can be scripted to doors, other traps, depressurize room, etc
      ** laser grids
      ** auto-turrets
      ** stun nets
      * brig zone for storing captured hostiles or violent citizens
      ** monster domestication/breeding?!?
      * greater variety of weapons for citizens to wield
      ** flamethrower
      ** gravity gun (flings things/people around)
      ** plasma cannon (cuts through anything)

      FUNERALS
      * when they die, depending on religious(?) preference each citizen will either be recycled at the matter recycler, or given a “spock funeral” ie placed in a spacecoffin and sent out an airlock
      * either way, a small service may be held with the citizen’s friends
      ** attending this service raises their morale, ie if there is no time for a proper ceremony then survivors will have a harder time grieving

      ROBOTS
      * robots join your base as citizens
      * states for robots:
      ** normal – subservient to organic life, perform the duty they’re assigned without question, don’t have a personality
      ** rampant – gained self-awareness but hate all organic life, they rampage and band together with / produce more killbots
      ** enlightened sentient – after a long enough life, they become sentient, develop personalities, change their names, live normal lives

      LAWS
      * ability to pass ordinances: forbid/penalize certain actions, punish or praise people

      COMPUTER TERMINALS
      * write Lua to script control of environment objects, robots, etc

      PLANETFALL
      * teleport down to the surface of planet(s) you’re orbiting
      * discover abandoned bases, alien life, friendly or hostile sentients

      HOLODECKS
      * build vast zones that can reconfigure their geometry to provide different entertainment/educational scenarios
      * citizen costumes for holodeck scenarios
      * holodeck malfunctions:
      ** glitches that partially reconfigure the geometry of your base, eg “half your base is now a medieval castle”
      ** holo-actors can break free and wreak havok in your base, eg “cavemen and cowboys are attacking everyone”

      “HISTORICAL SCENARIO” ADDON PACKS
      * props, tiles, costumes for sandbox storytelling in famous sci fi settings: alien, star wars, 2001, etc

      • eggy toast says:

        It’s a print length of 4 pages, by the way.

        Four pages of broken promises.

        • Acorino says:

          I don’t think so. As far as I’m aware they delivered the following:

          FOOD
          * citizens have hunger need and must eat food to satisfy it
          * food replicator object that can be built in any zone
          * citizens can use food replicator to fulfill hunger need, but it’s like vending machine food, adequate but not great
          * small matter cost (1-2) each time someone uses a food replicator
          ** 0 matter = replicators stop working
          ** improperly maintained food replicators produce bad food that makes people sick?
          * replicator food comes in wrappers, produces waste (litter carryable) (if/when carryable object concept is added)
          * garden zones where plants, ie “real food”, is grown in hydroponic trays by citizens with botanist duty
          * plants in gardens produce small amounts of extra oxygen
          * citizens who spend time in garden zones have happy thoughts, increasing morale
          * plants grow from seedlings to full-sized plants ready for harvest
          * plants have a “health”, if it reaches zero the plant dies
          * citizens on botanist duty “maintain” plant health, much as techs maintain machines
          * botanists harvest fully grown plants and deliver them to pub fridges for preparation
          * bartenders at pubs cook food into meals, which nourish citizens more and make them happy
          * citizens sit at a pub table and eat
          * citizens have food preferences
          ** eating a preferred food makes them very happy, eating a strongly disliked food makes them a bit unhappy

          CARRYABLE OBJECTS
          * citizens visibly carry around arbitrary sprite/3D objects
          * containers can hold other things
          * citizens can stash stuff in an inventory, shown in a new inspector tab
          * when people arrive, they have a suitcase (container with their stuff in it)
          * players build shelves for people to put their stuff on
          * a single item of stuff can have multiple tags describing it, eg purple, terran, fuzzy, punk rock, etc. citizens have affinities for these tags
          * citizens trade stuff with each other, trying to get stuff they like more
          * roaming traders will visit the base to trade new stuff with people
          * “litter” objects that citizens with low neatness personality throw away
          * janitors / people with high neatness pick up litter
          * janitors clean up bloodstains and other cosmetic damage
          * people gibbed by monsters turn into bits, which janitors must clean up

          POWER SYSTEM
          * “reactor zone” with fusion reactor object that produces power
          * rooms must be adjacent to a room with a working reactor to be powered
          * unpowered rooms go dark (emergency lighting) and objects in them don’t function
          * reactors only produce X power, then you have to build another
          * factor new need for reactors into starting matter allotment

          ASSIGN PEOPLE TO ROOMS
          * depending on their duty and/or zone type, this can mean different things:
          ** assign a security-duty citizen to a room to have them guard it
          ** assign any citizen to a residence to have them use it as their quarters
          * normally, a citizen will “claim” an unused bed and the area around it
          ** citizens decorate their living space with their stuff (see “stuff” above)

          METEOR STRIKES
          * meteors strike bases, punching holes in the hull, depressurizing rooms, damaging people and things
          ** not as harsh as in the Amnesia Fortnight 2012 version, promise :]

          BASE NAMING
          * when your first oxygenated room comes online, base is considered “established” and prompts you for a name

          BARTENDERS
          * pub customers get their orders from bartender
          * bartenders serve food (once food exists)
          * skilled bartenders make people they serve happier

          CITIZEN FIGHTING
          * citizens who dislike each other enough will fight
          * low risk of actual death, but injury and deepening mutual hatred
          * security can stun violent people to calm them down, knocking them unconscious for a bit
          * drunk citizens more likely to fight
          * low morale citizens far more likely to fight

          DOCTORS
          * doctor duty and infirmary zone
          * doctors unassigned to an infirmary (see “assining people to rooms”) patrol the base looking for hurt/sick people
          * citizens seek out an infirmary/doctor when hurt or sick (parasite infestation)
          * doctors use tricorder-like first aid prop to heal people
          ** better doctors heal people faster / more fully, bad doctors have a chance to hurt them
          * revivabed object for infirmary: only way to detect parasite infestation or cure some diseases

          CONSTRUCTION TOOLS
          * “flood fill with floor” tool, works on areas enclosed by walls or asteroid
          * filled (with floor) vs unfilled (without floor) toggle for box and circle room tools

          MISC LIFE SIM
          * “skill point distribution” algo for generating skill set on citizen spawn – nobody will be terrible at everything, if someone is really good at something they’ll likely be bad at everything else
          * ability to flag any citizens as hostile / suspicious (security will keep an eye on them)
          * high morale = skills go up more quickly

          SOCIALIZATION / AFFINITY AI
          * people prefer to chat with friends, unless they have high gregarious personality in which case they actively enjoy chatting with strangers (low familiarity)
          * people have +/- affinities for objects and rooms with certain qualities, eg red, dark, fluffy
          * people have +/- affinities for people with certain qualities (xenophobia/philia, sexual preference, fashion sense)
          * people spread gossip about people they dislike, biasing affinity map changes against them
          * trends: popular (high aggregate affinity) people influence the affinities of less popular people
          * fashion accessories signify social affiliation, eg cliques wear the same kind of thing
          * new concepts (topics) are gradually introduced by immigrants and trade, eg a new fasion craze starts when a trader visits the base with slap bracelets

          PERSONALITY TRAITS
          * introverted/extroverted = how much people enjoy solitary vs group activities
          * gregarious/shy = how much people enjoy chatting with strangers vs friends
          * vindictive/forgiving = how long people hold grudges and whether they act on them
          * angry/peaceful = whether people become violent or depressed when morale is low
          * neat/messy = whether people pick up litter and spare objects vs throw junk on the floor

          AFFINITY/CONVERSATION TOPICS
          * games
          * pubs
          * tv shows
          * films
          * sports
          * sports teams
          * music albums
          * songs

          TECHNOLOGY
          * scientist job
          * research lab zone
          * blueprints – you can only build what you have blueprints for
          ** scientists can construct blueprints by doing research in labs
          ** players choose research topics?
          ** blueprints can also be discovered aboard derelicts or brought by special immigrants
          * starting conditions determine what technologies you have access to
          * take dead hostiles to research labs to study them and learn to better deal with them
          ** eventually, how to deactivate killbots and reform them into friendly (still scary lookin’) bots

          BASE DEFENSE
          * more types of attackers show up in derelicts, docking ships, etc:
          ** killbots
          ** murderslugs
          * invaders breach base walls and invade from the outside
          * exterior base defenses – defensive gun batteries, shielding
          * build traps to capture or kill invaders:
          ** auto-turrets
          * brig zone for storing captured hostiles or violent citizens

          That’s what I figured made it in by reading the update notes, maybe it’s not entirely correct. I actually haven’t played the game in a long while. Suffice to say though, A LOT made it in.

          • eggy toast says:

            I’m not going to go through it line by line but suffice it to say that most of the things you listed as included either don’t work or have no purpose what so ever. They are “in the game” in only the most technical, superficial way.

          • Acorino says:

            I wouldn’t know.

          • eggy toast says:

            Thanks for editing out where you swore at me, once you realized you were talking out of your ass.

          • Acorino says:

            You mean the “bullshit”? You’re welcome? Thanks for insulting me back as thanks?
            I thought the “bullshit” was unnecessarily harsh, I try to refrain from language that widens the divide instead of closing it. I often fail, of course.
            Doesn’t change the fact that I consider my opinion to be valid.

    • LionsPhil says:

      link to i.imgur.com

      Well, he’s right on at least one point!

      • eggy toast says:

        That quote / forums post should be seen by every single person.

        Here is the source: link to doublefine.com

      • wyrm4701 says:

        Thanks for digging that up :) I’d be laughing if I hadn’t taken them at their word and given them money…

      • eggy toast says:

        JP Lebreton, lead for DF9: “Double Fine is not a random fly-by-night indie dev and we are not going to silently pull the plug on Spacebase or any other in-development project. Doing so would be disastrous for our reputation and it would kill us emotionally ;____;”

        link to doublefine.com

        • Acorino says:

          He’s not wrong: they didn’t pull the plug *silently*. :P

      • gunslingerfry says:

        Oh wow. That’s pretty damning. What a disappointment. That’s 15 dollars I won’t get back.

  23. melnificent says:

    So instead of providing a completed game they’re going to change the version number to 1.0 and say Finished.
    My daughter doesn’t get away with doing the same with food by scraping it into the bin when I’m not looking.

    What is most shocking is that it’s not EA pulling a fast one, but Double Fine, a name that people trust…. well did trust.

    Double Fine pulling an EA, Microsoft buying Minecraft…. Truly these are the end of times for gaming.

    • Acorino says:

      True, but then Double Fine doesn’t have the huge bags of money that EA has. DF and EA very different beasts. Doesn’t make a difference for the costumer, of course.

      • eggy toast says:

        I don’t remember Electronic Arts ever saying “please buy this alpha, I promise as a Real Dev Co to finish this game and make you glad you did” and then a handful of alpha updates later stamp a 1.0 on it and walk away.

        That’s right, Tim Schaffer is literally worse than EA.

  24. damaki says:

    Thanks Doublefine to show again that you totally lack any planning skill and that you have no respect for your fanbase.
    Broken Age was the last time I was tricked into paying for an unfinished product from them. Never pay for any Doublefine game you have not tested before. Less games will get to your almost good games slushpile.

    Good merchant people do not take your money then run away shouting half assed excuses.

    • Acorino says:

      Broken Age: Act 1 was already awesome. And how were you tricked into buying it unfinished? Didn’t you read its Steam store page properly (assuming you bought it on Steam)?

  25. SurprisedMan says:

    This seems like a bit of a nontroversy for me. Since people are talking about supposed features being nixed, I did a bit of digging.

    The first devplan they released states the following at the top. It’s very clear:

    “Because we have limited time and resources, we have to make hard choices about what’s important. Below is a giant list of all the things we might possibly do at some point.
    Nothing on this list is carved in stone, and we can’t promise any date for when it might go into the game. We may decide something isn’t worth it, or an idea may mutate into another thing entirely.”

    By my estimate as someone who has been following the game, a little over half the things in the list made it in, or made it in in some sort of ‘mutated form’. In addition, several features made it in that weren’t in the list.

    Many of the things that didn’t make it in were the more speculative, fanciful features listed towards the bottom of the list (i.e. the things you’d expect to be the first to fall by the wayside)

    Of what’s left, the only real major omissions were multi-level bases and teleporters. And perhaps the social networking sharing features, if you’re into that sort of thing.

    In other words, they worked on the game for a year, and made exactly the sort of hard decisions about what’s important that they said they were going to make.

    • melnificent says:

      But those plans were used to sell the early-access. RPS and Eurogamer interviews mentioned the same things, someone quoted further up that it would only be 1.0 when they could add no more. Clearly that hasn’t happened.

      • SurprisedMan says:

        I am DIRECTLY quoting from the top of the Dev Plan when I say: “Because we have limited time and resources, we have to make hard choices about what’s important. Below is a giant list of all the things we might possibly do at some point.
        Nothing on this list is carved in stone, and we can’t promise any date for when it might go into the game. We may decide something isn’t worth it, or an idea may mutate into another thing entirely.”

        They couldn’t have possibly been any clearer about the fact that from this list, not everything will make it, and they’d have to decide based on priority and the time and resources they had.

        • melnificent says:

          Plans change, I understand that. Everyone does.

          However, when you make a list of things to do there is an expectation that 70-80% of that list will make it. Instead what we have is 70-80% being cut. It’s a barebones shell of the devplan, it’s a $20 licence to use LUA on the “Spacebase df-9” engine. And the thing is If it was sold like that people would be going okay I knew I was getting a game-making engine, I’ll flesh it out myself.

          We were promised a game, with a good portion of those features. DF failed again…. Broken Age is two years late and ended up cut in half so they could milk the non-kickstarters a little more for chapter 2 (which will be released one year). They are circling the bankruptcy hole, but people give them money because it’s double fine. If it was Tim Langdell the company would’ve been exposed long ago

          • SurprisedMan says:

            I actually went down the list one by one. about 50% of the things on that list are either in the game, planned for 1.0, or in some mutated form.

            Add to that the things that weren’t on that list that ended up going into the game – quite a few of those.

            Add to that some things where I weren’t sure if they made it into the game or not off the top of my head (which was about 20% of the whole list)

            So basically no, 70-80 percent of that list was NOT cut.

            Also, Double Fine paid for the second half of development of broken age mostly out of their OWN pocket (which by the way includes act 1 sales, but isn’t limited to act 1 sales) and made the decision in order to deliver a bigger game than they would have been able to on just backer money (plus a couple of other funding sources). They made enough money to fund the remainder of Act 2 (due for release at about the end of the year) within a month of Act 1 going on sale, so it wasn’t an act of desperation, it was simply a better way to get the game done.

          • Gargenville says:

            I get that a lot of that wishlist is just wild brainstorming but the game as it stands right now isn’t in a state where you can have a lot of fun with it past the first forty minutes or so because the majority of the emergent sim stuff that would make this style of game compelling just isn’t implemented. Once your mining production chain (all three links of it) is established you basically don’t have a care in the world aside from raiders (assign some guards) and meteor strikes (put alarms and extinguishers everywhere). Nobody gets space madness, you never run out of air, building isn’t that exciting when all you can make are square rooms.

    • wengart says:

      There are some expectations that “real developers’ have over some random kickstarter dude named Bob. Right now DF-9 does technically have a lot of these things. But most of them are standalone systems that don’t interact in any interesting way.

      Which is probably the most important part of building an emergent game like this. The systems have to interact in interesting ways or the system might as well not be there.

  26. BrainFlush says:

    I also own this and it is far from complete but to accelerate the release date and literally leave it in the hands of gamers to add what they haven’t I find a bit hard to understand.

    What’s next? Asking for money to give us an idea/outline for a game that we the gamers will have to create/finish?

    • TeraTelnet says:

      Whoa whoa whoa, don’t give Molyneux any bright ideas!

      • melnificent says:

        Godus was just the start…

        22cans in association with Double Fine
        Published by EA.
        Game idea 1.0 (because version 1.0 is the new Alpha)

        And people will buy it in droves because Molyneux and Schafers ideas with EAs graphical polish would generate millions.

      • wyrm4701 says:

        Have you played GODUS? Believe me, Molyneux could use some bright ideas… any bright ideas.

    • ravencheek says:

      Have you forgotten that DoubleFine have ACTUALLY done that already?

      Massive Chalice was kickstartered with nothing more than a pitch of an idea of a game they thought about over a conversation once.

      No gameplay, no proof of concept prototype, no timeline just some concept art. It was the most bare kickstarter success I’ve ever seen. But somehow everyone gave them money for it, just because it was doublefine?

    • BrainFlush says:

      DF is a joke as is everything they make, sadly people are nostalgic and whimsical when it comes to them. Well whatever.

  27. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I love Double Fine & Tim Schafer but I can’t help feeling screwed over by this, I just bought it thinking it’s near a playable state, it’s not. Which is fine, it’s early access but to hear it’s not gonig to be is gutting. it’s put me off getting Hack & Slash and Costume Quest 2 tbh.

    • Acorino says:

      :(

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I wouldn’t let this put you off their other games, especially ones that are actually finished. I’ve got a bit distracted by the Dota All Hero Challenge, so I’ve not actually finished it yet, but what I’ve played of Hack ‘n’ Slash is brilliant.

      • eggy toast says:

        To offer another perspective: they know it’s currently in an alpha state and they want to keep charging people for it without bothering to finish it.

        Don’t let the cute graphics fool you, DoubleFine is deliberately doing a cut and run, and that’s shitty and they are people who are choosing to be shitty to paying customers who they asked for support in good faith.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        To offer a counter point: I was going to buy the Grim Fandango re release or whatever it ends up being.

        Now I’m not.

        Why wouldn’t I let this put me off? They’re acting mighty shitty and why would I want to give them my money and enable such behaviour? It’s not like I owe them anything.

        Now, their games might be the bees knees (though the only one I’ve played recently was Brütal Legend and that was abysmal) but I’m more than willing to not play them because I don’t want to enable such behaviour. It’s the only tool I have.

        And what’s to stop them from pulling a fast one on Massive Chalice later on? They’ve shown themselves to be rather inept at project management as both this and Broken Age amply showed.

  28. DompR says:

    Aaaaand now I’m glad I chose RimWorld as my dwarflite (patent pending) a few months ago. Still, I followed the development of DF-9 as well and am quite sad to see development terminated so soon compared to the original feature list.

  29. Eery Petrol says:

    What I love as a gamer about Tim Schafer (the guy who made the end of the original Grim Fandango dev doc unreadable for the publisher because it wasn’t actually finished) is what I struggle with when I am the publisher (sort of). I think I prefer not to take on that role anymore. I still look forward to enjoying his work as a gamer though.

    • Hobbes says:

      The game is nowhere near 1.0 status right now. It’d need a good three months of solid bugfixing *at the very least*. They’ve not even got a lot of the more critical crash bugs out, let alone a lot of the gameplay breaking ones ranging from mood spirals to randomly game wrecking events not working as planned. Ridiculous. They’ve just decided to take the money and run.

      • Acorino says:

        I think they’ve plainly run out of money already. The first six months of DF9s development pre Early Access cost them around 300,000$, the year after probably wasn’t cheaper.
        Maybe Early Access really only works for small indies who live in less expensive regions of the world, where everyone on the team can be expected to give it their all and live off barely any money and not be paid for months. Not something DF can expect from its employees.
        Still, a disappointment. :/

      • captain nemo says:

        Disappointing : The raiders currently seem overpowered, and the tech-tree too shallow

  30. Bull0 says:

    That’s supremely cheeky, I think it was on steam sale last weekend too.

    • Llewyn says:

      Yup, week-long 50% off from 3rd September.

    • Almond Milk says:

      I really think this should be a major focus of the discussion. You’re absolutely right when you say it’s slimy. I was deciding whether to drop some cash on this a week ago, but other customers were saying to hold off due to lack of progress and game breaking bugs so I got my excitement in check and forgot about it. Can’t believe they put it on sale right before this announcement, incredible contempt for their fans.

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        It’s possible poor uptake on the sale is the reason they’ve decided to do this. Like, that was a last ditch attempt to save the project.

        Of course, without a game that’s in a state worth playing, uptake on a sale will always be poor, so releasing it in the state it was is still a mistake. I just wouldn’t assume they’re being actively malicious.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Well, they do stand before a decision: either release it as it is, or take it down and return all the money.

          And there’s no way they will give money back – mostly because there’s nothing to give.

      • Bull0 says:

        I nearly bit on the sale too! It’s not like I dodged some kind of massive bullet – think it was four quid or something – but it’s pretty bloody unscrupulous to can it right after a sale in this context. I doubt this is the last we’ll hear about this, anyway.

    • slerbal says:

      I agree. DF had to know they were canning the game at the stage it went on sale but looked to maximise their cashing out. A generous person might say that future development hinged on how many copies it sold in the sale, but I think that is being too generous in this case as it is clear from looking at the previous lack of development that the game has been mothballed for some time.

      • Acorino says:

        Only three people worked on it in the first place.

        • Llewyn says:

          And yet 6 months of development allegedly cost $300k?

        • slerbal says:

          Many great games have been made by teams as small or smaller.

          • Acorino says:

            I didn’t say otherwise. But San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the USA. Also, if you’re part of a small fresh indie startup, you might be fine with receiving little or no pay for months, but I doubt the employees of Double Fine would be fine with that.
            Maybe the development costs DF has are too high to make Early Access a worthwhile pursuit for them. Too bad they and we had to find out this way. :/

  31. Sorhin says:

    Not only is it sad to see them abandoning a good idea and concept of a game but what I’m most worried about is the signal it sends to other game developers. With recent news like Notch and Rocket leaving their responsibilities, The Stomping Land cutting out their community and getting removed from AE(Some even saying they have abandoned the game), I’m truly scared about gamings future. What will we see next?

    Also while Steam is not responsible for game devs poor choices, I sincerely hope they make some changes to the whole early access concept.

    • solidsquid says:

      Notch hasn’t worked on Minecraft for a *long* time, and I don’t know if he ever was on the development team for Scrolls. He might not be involved with Mojang anymore, but Minecraft still has the development team who’s been working on it for at least a year now

  32. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Aw man. I didn’t buy the game because it looked too unfinished, but I had hoped that it would turn into something great after a while. It’s also sad to see Double Fine, a company I really like, mess up a project so badly.

  33. eggy toast says:

    They sold this game for $25 (twenty five bucks!) on the promise that there would be tons of content, eventually, we’re Double Fine, trust us.

    Now they are calling an unplayable alpha with nothing to do one step away from final release.

    Can’t imagine ever trusting Double Fine again!

  34. Utsunomiya says:

    Boy, I’ll never buy anything from those con artists ever again.
    That whatshisface-Shafer guy should be mildly crucified, and I should get a refund.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I love the concept of “mildly crucified”.

      “Stick him on the cross! But only for a few hours. And use bungee cords instead of nails.”

      • melnificent says:

        Can you lower the arms a bit too, they’ll ache after 20 minutes like that.

  35. Curratum says:

    Haha, I just realized they pulled a weeklong deal with SB DF9 on Steam from Sep 3 to Sep 10. Way to squeeze this one last time before throwing it out of the window!

  36. Phantasma says:

    Can’t deny i’m disappointed by this.

    I knew it was early access, i’m quite aware that not every feature from the design doc would make it into the final release and that dwarf fortress clones are very demanding beasts anyway.

    But calling it bare bones right now would be a real understatement.
    Building a few rooms and watching your crew as they periodically die or get stuck in an endless “i’m waiting for my dinner” loop is not something i’d call a game by any stretch.

    Just booting the alpha out of the door and asking the community to possibly finish their work is not acceptable practise.
    Especially not from DF, who rely on their costumers goodwill and their reputation.

    And yes, the Steam sale right before this announcement only works for the prosecution.

    • Acorino says:

      They promise bug fixes, just no more content updates after the one for 1.0.
      I will hold them to that.

      • Phantasma says:

        It’s not just about quantity.
        Many of the already implemented features are just hanging there without any kind of connection or purpose.
        Hence an alpha.

  37. SkittleDiddler says:

    If there’s anything positive to this, it’s that maybe people will finally stop treating Schafer like some kind of gaming god and realize that he’s just as greasy and manipulative as the rest of the indie devs.

    • eggy toast says:

      Or better yet people will remember and not buy anything with Tim Shaffer or JP LeBreton involved.

    • Acorino says:

      Greasy suggests bad intentions instead of incompetence. I don’t see that at all.

      He’s not a god, he’s a mere human. We should remember that. So he’s not perfect, he’s flawed, but he’s also awesome, and one of my personal heroes. :)

      • eggy toast says:

        If you don’t think it’s Bad Acting to jump from Alpha 9 to 1.0 with no real content to be added, what do you call it? Woops I slipped and decided to abandon the game you bought?

        edit: alpha 6, in fact

        • Acorino says:

          How many alphas did you expect there to be? And why isn’t this a good end point now?
          They plan to put the finishing touches on the game, give it a tutorial, goals and more bug fixes. They aren’t stopping development right this minute.

          • eggy toast says:

            “Beta” means “feature complete but not finished,” this game was never a beta because it was never feature complete. It is being blatantly shoved out the door like an eskimo onto an ice flow and willfully pretending otherwise because you have misplaced affection for a poorly run business is something you should work on growing out of.

          • eggy toast says:

            I think you are being deliberately obtuse, but the point is not that there is a right number of alpha states, it’s that the game has only been updated in a meaningful way FIVE TIMES EVER and now your company is pretending it is a finished product fit for sale, and you all should be ashamed to act that way.

          • Acorino says:

            Yeah, sure, I possibly could only have these opinions if I worked for Double Fine. Fuck off. >:/

            (Ich lebe in Deutschland und heiße nicht Majus.)

          • eggy toast says:

            Yes, that was what I was implying.

          • Acorino says:

            And you are Bobby Kotick. Never forgive, never forget, right?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        “Greasiness” and “Incompetence” are two sides of the same coin as far as I’m concerned. In fact, incompetence often leads directly to greasy behavior. I think we’re seeing a bit of that in the case of DF-9

        If Schafer can’t properly manage his company, maybe it’s time for him to do something else entirely instead of intentionally screwing his current fans and customers.

        • Acorino says:

          Intention matters, greasiness and incompetence are only two sides of the same coin if you ignore intention.
          It might not make a difference to the costumer, but I don’t understand the need for some people to assume the worst of them, calling them greasy and con artists.

          Abandoning and finishing are in fact two sides of the same coin, though. What poet said that poems are never finished, only abandoned? Kinda apt here.

          • Abattoir says:

            Not apt at all really.

          • wyrm4701 says:

            In this case I think it’s not helpful to speculate on motive. As you say, it doesn’t make a difference to the consumer, many of whom appear to feel somewhat cheated. I’m sure the team at DF are fine people, but I won’t pay them for any products in the future, based on what I got for my money with this game.

          • Acorino says:

            Fair enough. :)

  38. Berzee says:

    I bought this, and I don’t really feel ripped off or anything (it was Early Access after all — we know better than to buy Early Access games based on what they might become in the future =P) but I do feel wistful for What Might Have Been, and I also think that changing the version number to 1.0 is a little funny. We need to invent a new number that doesn’t mean “it’s finished” but does mean “it’s over”. ;_;

    I actually haven’t checked on the game in a long while though, so maybe even now there is more to it than I remember.

  39. Beelzebud says:

    Yeah I am 100% done buying unfinished games with no promise of delivery. Anyone covering for them on this is why the state of the industry is so crappy in regards to customer service.

    I bought this recently thinking there would be a game there, but it’s like an alpha prototype. I guess these days as long as you have the money ahead of time, you can always slap a “1.0” on the title screen and call it a day.

    I’m done with crowdfunding and I’m done with Double Fine.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      This. Not “burned” as such by any purchases, just made a couple of silly mistakes but enough good choices for those not to matter. But after seeing a few I did avoid go the way I was expecting, I’m thinking of just pulling out of early access all together.

      Take E:D as an example. Looks great, and worth a price for it’s current feature set. Just not the £50 asking price IMO. I’ll only consider it’s current price/offering not any “possible/maybe/uncertain” future.

    • Baines says:

      Companies have been releasing unfinished programs for at least two decades. Push it out the door by schedule, and maybe give it some post-release support if it sells well enough.

      Is it really a surprise that Early Access sees even worse abuse and/or misuse? Even more so when you’ve got a developer with apparent money management issues compared to their dreams (as happened with Broken Age).

      Ten years ago, Spacebase would have been an internal failure, a cancelled game that Double Fine ate the development cost for. Maybe a dev or two would talk about the game that could have been, speaking about all the dreams and fantasies instead of the cold hard realities, and people would complain about such a promising project being killed.

  40. sinister agent says:

    Wow, someone’s actually releasing a complete game in 2014? I never thought we’d see that.

  41. agemyth says:

    If you have a problem with this, Stop buying unfinished games because you have gamer dreams of it one day being amazing.

    • Diatribe says:

      Seriously. THIS ^

      Buying Early Access is as silly as pre-ordering. If you don’t like software *as it is,* don’t buy it.

  42. etadex says:

    Registered just to post my opinion here

    So much for Early Access titles. DayZ is next, u just wait guys.

    No buying from Double Fine anymore.
    I will get their games torrent only. If I will get interested in the shit they make ofc.

    The only bright thing is – I did buy DF-9 on sale, so I spent like 1-2$, not enough to get really angry))

    • Acorino says:

      So you have no reason to be angry, but you see this issue as a justification to pirate their games in the future? Got it, makes perfect sense!

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      DayZ Standalone is going to get abandoned – it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. My best guess would be shortly after the game (with tons of promised features missing, natch) gets an official release.

      • Continuity says:

        There’s no reason for Dayz to get abandoned, its wildly successful, Bohemia also have plenty of funds.

  43. realitysconcierge says:

    I don’t think it would be too much to ask to offer refunds or a free game in exchange for what is essentially a cancelled game.

  44. namad says:

    25$ for a game that is far from finished and never will be?

    refunds please, where are my consumer protection laws steam?

    does gabe newel realize he’s not above the laws of the countries he operates in?

    • eggy toast says:

      Their response to my email was basically “tough, no refunds, fuck off”

  45. Continuity says:

    Frankly DF-9 is still little more than a concept demo, or very early alpha, for them to cut and run like this after charging full price for it on steam is scandalous.

    I think this is both an indictment of Double fine for biting off more than they can chew, and and indictment of Early access. Early access is fine in theory but a game this early in development should never have been allowed on.

    Frankly I think Double Fine ought to be offering refunds.

  46. Syniurge says:

    Today’s update makes it clear that any future implementation will be in the hands of the users rather than Double Fine themselves, thanks to a full source code release.

    Sorry but your interpretation is probably wrong.

    Future will tell, but open sourcing a commercial game like DF-9 means above all that they love their creation and aren’t run by greedy corporate types.

    • ElDopa says:

      I highly doubt they will release the source code under a free software license, so it’s basically like charging money for other peoples work.

  47. Listlurker says:

    Oh wow. This is a bit of a gut-punch.

    I love, love, love Spacebase DF-9, but it is simply not ready for full release yet. It’s made a lot of progress, and the “roadmap” from the small dev team had served well, and looked great for the future … but now?

    I wonder what happened to turn everything around so suddenly. The team certainly seemed into making and refining the game, as recently as the just-released version 6 patches. It was improving with each iteration + patching.

    But now?

    I wonder if we’ll ever really know how or why this project basically got abandoned so suddenly? Sad.

    My opinions, anyway. Yours may vary, of course.

  48. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    That’s a real shame. I’d been meaning to try this, but wanted to hold off until it was further along. I guess it was just not selling enough to support continued development, so it seems unfair to blame Double Fine too much for this but it still sucks that the game won’t continue aside from modding. Maybe if they had set the Early Access price lower more players would have jumped in and made it sustainable.

  49. Druidblue says:

    No worries. Investment made, investment didn’t pay off. Happens all the time.

    As a former developer, I understand all too well scope creep and development realities. Sometimes you must move on. Only difference here is the public served as investors, and they’re not used to losing on failed investments.

    Welcome to society. This is life. Some things own out, some don’t. You’ll get great deals sometimes, lose money others.

    Here’s the takeaway though: Early access allows us to invest in products at extremely low costs. Risk/reward. If you push to end early access as a falsley proclaimed “cash grab”, the industry move back to ALL releases costing $63.95, which is simply a ripoff, as few games provide that value in repeated gameplay worth. Driving away early access and raising the prices back to their prior prices from a decade ago will simply drive more people to piracy, and everyone loses.

    Suck it up, find another product, and invest. If we don’t, we will lose this peak age of gaming for amazing value, and many great titles- Prison Architect, Kerbal Space Program- would never have seen the light of day.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Well said. Personally I’m glad to encourage people to experiment with game concepts that stray from the ordinary, and as long as they make an honest effort there’s no way I can be mad if it doesn’t pan out.

      The hardest thing with an open-ended game such as DF-9 or Minecraft is deciding in which direction to take it. Maybe they realized that they had no idea of how to make it an actual fun game with their limited resources in a reasonable time frame.

  50. MellowKrogoth says:

    Sad. Early access sales were probably well under their expectations so they have to pull the plug.

    I feel they’re doing this in a classier way than some other projects (i.e. Town), though. The company is gonna pay employees to finish touching up some stuff, on a game that’s never gonna make money for them, and they’re gonna prepare the source code for a public release (they might need to remove dependencies from some in-house tools). This is more than you expect from most companies who abandon a project.