Hidden Path Drop Early Access Game Windborne

The alphafunding/Early Access model has given us some of the biggest games around, but it’s still a gamble – especially in bustling genres like the Minecraftbut. Hidden Path Entertainment, the Defense Grid and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive folks, took to Steam Early Access last February with Windborne [official site]. It was Minecraft but prettier, with quests and treasure and things to befriend. Now they’ve stopped development and pulled the £20 game from sale.

Hidden Path simply didn’t have enough money to finish it, they say, claiming they invested ten times more money into development than the game ever made back. That means they can’t give refunds, but they are offering more copies of Winborne to owners so they can share it.

Hidden Path explained in the announcement:

“We’ve been trying very hard over the last year to pull together the resources needed to take Windborne farther in its development. We reinvested every dollar earned on Windborne back into the game, but haven’t been able to afford to continue it at the level required to make significant progress. We worked to have a smaller team continue to work on the game, but that also became more costly than we could afford. There have been many near opportunities to partner with others to continue development on Windborne, but they never fully materialized and at this point, it is likely best to recognize that we don’t have the resources to continue development and end our efforts to continue Windborne’s development.”

They say they won’t release Winborne’s source code, for others to continue making it, because they hope that one day they’ll find investors who’ll fund finishing development.

They aren’t offering refunds because they don’t have the money, but are giving every owner five copies to gift to pals. Or maybe this now-limited quantity of games will become the new gold standard on Steam’s weird market economy. Apologising for cancelling a game by giving people more copies of that game is a bit odd, but folks can still play it. Folks who bought the ‘Order of the Dragon Membership’ bundle o’ cosmetic items and perks also get three copies of Defense Grid 2 Special Edition (which usually costs £15 apiece) and three Defense Grid: Containment bundles (same). And… that’s it. That’s the end. Sorry about your £20.

As this isn’t the first Early Access failure and won’t be the last, do protect yourself. When looking at Early Access games, ask yourself: would I still be happy with my purchase if it stayed in this state forever? Because it might. I do worry about you.

Here’s the dream Hidden Path sold:

69 Comments

  1. Yachmenev says:

    Well, that’s the risk with any early access/alpha funded game. For every Minecraft and Prison Architect, there will be a bunch of these. I really like the Defence Grid games, so I hope Hidden Path can keep their shop open for other games at least.

  2. egattocs says:

    News like this always makes me think. I’d love to know what the numbers are like for Early Access games vs ‘normally’ produced games.

    Early Access is used to fund the creation of the game, so a certain number of customers will have purchased the game during production. Then some more (presumably) will purchase it once it’s complete.

    ‘Normal’ games obviously just make all of their sales after it’s complete (with the exception of the odd Beta etc. of course).

    I just wonder how drastically the numbers are changed when games are sold during production, are most copies sold whilst in Early Access, or do the big numbers come in after completion like with a normal game.

    I realise it’s unlikely there’s a straight forward answer here, but I’ve always wondered when I see stories like this.

    • Xocrates says:

      A quick google searched provided the data for Sunless Sea: link to failbettergames.com

      “In the first 31 days, we sold 54,210 copies across all distributors – more than during the entire seven months of early access.”

      I would expect this to be pretty close to the default case.

      • egattocs says:

        Ah, well that answers that then. Seems my Googling leaves a lot to be desired!

        Thanks for that, good to know.

      • Sam says:

        I wonder how that compares to games that have existed in Early Access for longer.

        SteamSpy estimates put Kerbal Space Program at over a million sales a couple of months before 1.0 launched. They have requested their data now be hidden on SteamSpy so we don’t even have that rough estimate for post-launch sales.

        Based on no evidence at all, I’d guess their post-launch sales spike was far smaller in relative terms than Sunless Sea. Kerbal is better suited to being played before it’s done than Sunless Sea due to the lack of narrative focus. Having been available for slightly longer than Early Access on Steam has existed there’s been plenty of opportunity for people interested to have already bought it.

        • Xocrates says:

          Yeah, for games with a very strong Early Access footprint, like Kerbal or DayZ, I would expect the spike to be proportionally smaller, but even then I would guess they would get more sales post release than in an equivalent period on EA.

      • Baines says:

        It is likely only the case if people really like your game. Sunless Sea received great press.

        Mind, people are apparently still buying Spacebase DF-9, so who knows….

  3. kool says:

    There should be a clause in the early access contract that developers has to release the source code if they just stop development and pull the game. That would make it possible for the game to be finished in some way eventually, and it could mean less of the awful early alpha moneygrabs that keep getting released.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      While well-intentioned, I’m pretty sure this sort of clause would just cause devs to release their unfinished games rather than lose control of their source code. Or they would just never declare defeat and leave it in Early Access limbo forever, rather than doing the responsible thing and shutting it down so they stop taking people’s money.

      It would also be pretty much impossible to enforce. The source code is not stored in Steam by default, so they could just upload any old thing — or nothing at all. Even signing a contract is useless unless someone takes them to court for it, and given that many Early Access games are the sole title for a brand new studio, they could just as easily shut down the studio and evade their legal liability.

    • Sam says:

      It’s a nice idea, but can’t really work in practice.

      Depending on what engine, middleware, or other existing code the game uses they might not have the rights to just release their work as open source. Even Id who make far more “from scratch” than almost any Early Access game had to spend quite some effort from programmers and lawyers to be able to release the code for IdTech4. That kind of expense is unlikely to be available to a developer that has just canned their game. As a counter-argument, the developer might have less concern for legal issues than an international corporation does and just throw their Unity project on Dropbox for the world to do with as it will. But in that case it would be unwise for anyone to put serious effort into continuing the project when the legal grounds are so weak that it might all fall away.

      It’s still relatively rare to announce that an Early Access game has been cancelled. Instead updates tend to peter out, with the developer just vanishing if they’re sufficiently small. If cancelling the game means giving up rights to your work, it’s even less likely that anyone would officially cancel their game. Everything will just be put on indefinite haiutus, like that webcomic you used to read in 2005.

    • Shuck says:

      I believe Valve has now said that early access games must have the resources to finish the game regardless of sales revenue. Which is also unenforceable, but hopefully will send a message to developers.

      • Baines says:

        The only message Valve has publicly sent developers is: (my words) “We don’t want to be considered liable if anyone ever sues you guys, so we’re going to tell you not to do that stuff, but not actually make any effort to stop you.”

        Developers that read between the lines can catch hint of: “After all, making an effort to stop you might be construed as us accepting some measure of responsibility. We don’t want lawyers to get that kind of ammo to use against us. Plus, it would be work and stuff. Maybe if we can figure out how to get the community to do it for us, without implying any accepted responsibility on our parts or making any more work for ourselves…”

  4. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    This bears out one of the biggest warnings of Early Access: Do not treat it as an alternative to Kickstarter[1].

    As far as I’m aware, Windborne decided to use Early Access both as their sole source of funding for the game, and as a means to judge public interest in the game — two functions that would otherwise have been done via Kickstarter. But unlike Kickstarter, there’s no initial declaration of how much money you need in total, and no assurances that you’ll ever raise that much before you start taking everyone’s money.

    Declaring a funding goal may be daunting — moreso if you’re early in development of an ambitious title — but a good estimate and an all-or-nothing crowdfunding campaign is the only true and honest way to crowdfund something like this. If you find yourself with too high a total for too niche a product and are balking at the notion that you’ll ever get Kickstarted, well … that’s probably an indication that you’re going to end up with a lot of disappointed buyers if you try to bypass Kickstarter.

    That’s not to say that getting properly Kickstarted is any assurance that you’ll complete it, or that your budget estimate was in any way accurate. But at least you’ll have a budget, and not a slow trickle of Early Access funds — a trickle that could stop at any time if word gets out that you’re taking too long, especially if the trickle means you can only afford one or two devs.

    [1]: or any crowdfunding platform with an all-or-nothing funding goal, but I’m using “Kickstarter” as shorthand throughout

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I fully concur, although it is so blindingly obvious I have no idea why any dev would operate in this way.

      That said, I did pick it up when I knew it was dead in the water – it’s just very lovely and relaxing.

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, using early access for crowdfunding is just a disaster-in-waiting. I can understand using it to generate extra funds beyond a base amount to further development past some core feature set, but using it to fund the base game is deeply problematic, even if it is tempting. And it’s definitely tempting – it’s a potentially much bigger audience giving money than Kickstarter, especially given the time you can have a game in early access, allowing for a continuous stream of revenue, with marketing efforts building on each other, rather than being a one-shot effort like Kickstarter. And since Kickstarter doesn’t raise full game budgets anyways, I could see how it could seem like a waste of time in comparison.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tam-Lin says:

      It should be noted that Hidden Path did try Kickstarter for DG2, but were unable to raise the money to actually make it; the only reason that it was able to be made was that someone with a lot of money stepped forward to allow them to do it. Making games without a publisher to fund things is hard, at least professionally. inXile Entertainment might have figured out a way to do so sustainably, using the profits of one game to fund the next, but that only works for as long as each game you make is profitable.

  5. Jenks says:

    I feel like early access should be used to give the most devoted fans the game during development, and not affect development other than feedback from players.

    Using it as a meter to determine whether or not to finish the game at all seems so slimy. To make this announcement during e3 so it gets lost in a sea of stories makes it even worse.

    If you want to see how much money fans are willing to give, and then use that to determine if you are going to make a game or not, use Kickstarter.

  6. eggy toast says:

    I got a month of Windborne for free at some point, I think because I backed Defense Grid 2 on Kickstarter.

    It was horrible, the worst Minecraft-esque I ever played. Upgrading tiers was a horrible slog requiring exponentially climbing quantities, every crafting recipe had tons of steps and took ages, and building was 0% adaptive, you had to build tons of different types of blocks just to begin making a wall or whatever. I hated it and was glad I didn’t pay for it. I can’t say I’m surprised or disappointed by this news.

  7. Sacarathe says:

    And who in this sad story had (or did not have) 30% of the revenue?

  8. wu wei says:

    When looking at Early Access games, ask yourself: would I still be happy with my purchase if it stayed in this state forever?

    The real question is: would I still be happy with my purchase if the developer threw everything out and made a half-hearted second attempt (or even more) before quitting and going on to something else leaving me with something in even less of a functional state than what I’d originally bought?

    This has happened on at least two early access titles I’ve bought in on: “Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby” and “Under the Garden”. At least one of them had the decency to apologise profusely and take down its Steam store page.

    • pepperfez says:

      Aw, that’s too bad about Drop that Beat… . I hadn’t checked on it in a long time, but I was kinda looking forward to it.

      • wu wei says:

        Yeah, and the worst part is that Dejobaan’s response – and the fact they’ve worked on multiple games while this one languishes – has pretty much guaranteed I’ll never pick up another one of their games. Which is a shame because Drunken Robot Pornography looks to be totally my jam.

        But hey, life is way too short and the number of games far too many for me to need to spend time with the output of people I find problematic.

  9. Hobbes says:

    link to reddit.com

    ThatFuzzyTiger, obviously, is me.

    *drops the mic*

    January this year.

    Games Journalism is hard. I know. Investigative games journalism doubly so. I’ve been trying to highlight Windbornes’ problems for *five months* now and nobody considered it newsworthy.

    Now apparently it is.

    There’s -far- more to this story than is on the surface, but hey. Games Journalism is hard.

    • Shuck says:

      But that was simply the nature of early access, though, before Valve specified that developers needed to have the funds to develop a game regardless of the sales. (Although frankly, that still is the nature of early access, even with that being the case.) Games will get abandoned because it becomes clear it’s not economically viable to continue working on them. They were just one of many developers who over-promised and had to change plans, and “investigative journalism” wasn’t going to uncover anything beyond what they were admitting to that wasn’t obvious.
      Early access is risky, and unless as a customer you want to treat it as a donation, you should only buy games where you’re happy with their current state. Although even that is risky – it could easy change into something you’re not happy with.

    • wu wei says:

      I’ve been trying to highlight Windbornes’ problems for *five months* now and nobody considered it newsworthy.

      There are two compounding reasons for why this might be so:

      1. The problems with a particular project are often only obvious to those who are heavily invested it in. Games writers only have a finite amount of time to look at an always-growing number of games.
      2. It’s increasingly difficult to pick out legitimate complaints from the metric craptonnage of whining that gamers generate.

      • Hobbes says:

        Yes. I’m aware of those two factors. Now follow the reddit link, read the posts from Jeff Pobst.

        Finished? Good.

        Now perhaps you understand this was very, very legitimately newsworthy. Thanks.

        • wu wei says:

          I did read the link, but all I saw was the sort of comment I’ve seen about many early access titles, including highly successful ones, and not some smoking gun that shows a shadowy conspiracy among game journalists to protect the hallowed name of HPE like you think.

          It sucks and I’ve been burned by a couple of EA games myself. Hell, I enjoyed Defense Grid but refused to buy DG2 because they seemed to be pulling a scam with Windborne. I took my experience, combined it with the more reasoned comments of others and chose to never buy another HPE game again. What I didn’t do was start ranting that it revealed some kind of systemic journalistic corruption.

        • pepperfez says:

          I can see how the headline “Game Developer’s Optimism Proves Unsustainable” would warrant a prominent place among predictions of future solar visibility trends and reports of canine-on-human violence.

  10. EhexT says:

    Hidden Path were always shady when it comes to crowdfunding. Remember their absurdly convoluted and shady DG2 Kickstarter?

  11. Chaoslord AJ says:

    So sad really. It seemed promising – on paper and in-game.
    “Order of the dragon” was just an annoying mini-dragon following you around though. Can’t really say what happened with the lucre as other EA games are way cheaper and still deliver.

    Maybe you could add some background details to investigations when you do pieces about ea-titles like “86% chance to be made” as the Hobbes guy says such things are newsworthy.
    Don’t get me wrong, bashing Molyneux all day can be justified at times but it’s beating a dead horse really. Windborne’s and similars are the real offenders.
    “Under the ocean” didn’t even give out a load of copies when dying.

    BTW I now have those ultra-rare gift games for trading… :)

  12. v21v21v21 says:

    Well, to be fair, they //did// say so in the title…

    :P

    p.s. my god, I am //so// sick of this school of american voice acting.

  13. Hobbes says:

    The real story here is that sites like Eurogamer, RPS and Polygon and so on are not actually picking up on these things faster and earlier despite the warning signs being clear as day and being highlighted by people willing to do the investigative grunt work because “They’re indie developer darlings” and nobody wants to be the person who stabs the nice guy in the back, or in the front.

    * SpaceBase DF-9, the mess with the IndieFund and the very shady financials behind the initial startup there, nobody dug into that, but they should have. Instead it got glossed over because Tim Schafer, and everyone loves Tim Schafer right?

    * IGF nominations and the fact there were shareholders for certain games that recieved awards, the words “Conflict of interest” nowhere to be found? Most notably Fez, but there were a fair few other examples in the woodwork. But hey, it’s another indie darling and we don’t hurt those, right?

    * Hidden Path Entertainment and Windborne, this has been out in the open for five months, and clear as day that they had skeleton crewed the game, and that it was as good as dead, Jeff Pobst had even stated this himself on reddit. But clearly not worth reporting on because it’s Hidden Path and they’re nice, right?

    Mainstream games media needs to stop picking and choosing who it turns over the rocks on if it wants to actually stop getting yelled at for “Effiks in jurnalizm”, as much as I hate to use that term. Gods I hate it when -they- might have a point because they’re generally a bunch of loons but every time something like this happens I have to concede they might just have a point.

    *annoyed*

    • Sam says:

      The secret problem of reporting on bad Early Access games is that there’s a lot of them and it’s boring. SteamDB can list out all the Early Access games (all 491 of the devils.) Dozens haven’t had any update at all for months.

      I dug a little deeper into one, a Minecraft-like named Vox. It hasn’t had a content update in over 11 months and the user reviews on Steam indicate that it’s abandoned. The game’s site has vanished, but the developer(s) are still active on the discussion forum and just a week ago posted a video showing new features. So some kind of work is ongoing.

      Should sites be covering games like this? I think after the first article it would get boring and depressing very fast. Emails back from sad developers saying that they ran out of money but are still trying to make the game in their spare time. It turns out game development is hard and slow.

      I don’t know what the right way to handle it is. It is a big deal that people are spending real money on games that never materialise, but what more can games writers do other than repeatedly tell people to stop buying junk? Perhaps banning the phrase “it has potential.”

      • Hobbes says:

        Except there’s a difference between stories where there’s the element of doubt and ones where there is no doubt. I didn’t need much more than some chrome-fu and a bit of time to start unearthing some very unpleasant information surrounding the DF-9 mess, and the default agreement that was likely signed to get them their initial round of funding from IGF. HPE’s CEO -in person- admitted the state of the game in the reddit comment I linked.

        Investigating all of the EA games? Not necessary. Keeping a weather eye and being ready to react when things hit the fan, and being ready to inform and advise the consumer that a product might, just might not be a wise investment? Well if they can’t do that, they’re not doing -their job- as gaming media then, are they?

        • Sam says:

          Informing consumers about every poor quality game is impractical. Games journalists get literally hundreds of press release emails a week about someone’s game on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Greenlight, Early Access, or wherever else. The vast majority of them will never become the finished product that is promised. Should gaming sites post an article for every one advising people to stay away?

          Not only would it make for a very busy “news” writer, but it’s unlikely save any significant number of people from wasting their money. It would only help those that would have heard about and bought the game without the news article, but who managed to see the article before spending their money.

          I think the Indie Fund and DF-9 is a quite separate issue from Early Access games dying off – even though DF-9 did go on to die off. To me it speaks of how foolish Double Fine can be with money. The Indie Fund and various partners got an astonishingly good deal, likely seeing a ~20% return on investment over just two weeks from selling the bare minimum of the shell of a game to the alarmingly credulous Early Access public. That the project then ran out of money makes you give up all hope for Double Fine’s financial management.

          Maybe any article that mentions Early Access, Kickstarter, et al., should have a flashing marquee “DO NOT SPEND YOUR MONEY ON IMAGINARY GAMES.”

          • Hobbes says:

            It’s the difference between news and *news*. The three examples I’ve cited are legitimately “big ticket” items that could, and should have been picked up on, we’ve both clearly highlighted them ourselves (the IGF deal, by the way is even more egregious than you imagine, it’s a profit share that keeps going even when the game has made the loan back time after time). MSM however turns a blind eye because…?

            Like I said, they ought to be alert to this kind of stuff. Windborne was on the ropes since January, with clear evidence to highlight it, and yet nobody bothered, meaning for five months despite the best warnings of users alert to the event and privvy to the information the CEO disclosed, HPE continued to take in revenue from it.

            MSM turns a blind eye because…?

            *wry smile*

    • Baines says:

      RPS (and others) are friends with those people and/or like their games/products and/or like their messages.

      The Yogcast Kickstarter debacle received fairly tame, and even friendly, coverage despite some very shady actions on the Yogcast side. (And a developer claim that Yogcast may have simply pocketed a chunk of the project money.) Some YouTube personalities that would normally speak out on such a situation publicly recused themselves from speaking on the matter due to friendships.

      Even before “ethics in games journalism” became a poisoned well topic, there were games journalism sites that were quite happy to promote Anita Sarkeesian and stories positive of her, but suddenly switched to “that’s not gaming-related news” whenever anyone questioned her or negative accountings were made.

      As for the IGF, that was downright annoying. RPS covered some of that stuff at first, but decreased its coverage as the years went by. I don’t recall if it was RPS or another site that defended the reduced (and eventually dropped) coverage with an argument that effectively went: “Saying stuff doesn’t change anything and people are getting tired of hearing about it, so we are going to stop talking about it.”

    • pepperfez says:

      Mainstream games media needs to stop picking and choosing who it turns over the rocks on
      That’s literally impossible, though, so it doesn’t do any good to demand it. What you actually mean is, “Mainstream games media needs to align its priorities more nearly with mine,” which is unobjectionable (I want the media to share my priorities, too!) but not exactly a workable ethical standard.

      • Hobbes says:

        No, pepperfez, don’t attempt to twist my words. If gaming press wants to pick fights with Peter Molyneux it should also be prepared to pick fights with IGF or Tim Schafer or the other people guilty of chicanery.

        If MSM wants to champion causes, good for them, but they need to be entirely sure that when they do that they’re prepared to understand that in doing so they can’t selectively champion a cause because putting one person on the crucifix is acceptable and putting another isn’t. That’s hypocritical.

        If they can’t, then they’re no better than the mob they decry when they make asinine comments like “Gamers are dead yo”.

        • wu wei says:

          If they can’t, then they’re no better than the mob they decry when they make asinine comments like “Gamers are dead yo”.

          Do we really need to go over how no one in games media ever wrote or said such a thing or are we only criticising the selective sight of the MSM?

          • Hobbes says:

            The latter, though feel free to play semantics, I am merely referring to the umbrella incident where for simplicities sake, a lot of very similar articles just happened to crop up *grin*

          • wu wei says:

            When Company X announces their brand new AAA title, you’ll see a bunch of similar articles about across a number of sites and no one will scream collusion.

            When a bunch of emotionally stunted assholes make a developers life a living hell because she’s not making True Games, why wouldn’t you expect to see a bunch of similar articles about how maybe this idea of a Gamer Identity is a corrosive one?

            GG wasn’t a reaction to the “Gamers are Over” articles, the articles were a response to it.

          • Hobbes says:

            Except the idea of the identity being corrosive is fundamentally dishonest as an argument from the outset. Over the last twenty years people who play games have been struggling with great difficulty to become more inclusive and to expand their reach and their demographic. At the point when finally gaming is expanding outwards, and becoming this brilliant, all inclusive thing that means “we are all gamers”, regardless of ethnicity, gender, background or social status, suddenly because there’s been this relatively small spat due to a few people in the press getting their panties in a bunch over some issues about keeping personal stuff personal, the media seized on that to create a narrative whereby they could suddenly create this story whereby gaming media could “become more relevant” once more.

            Much like the US style of political polarisation, the narrative was created and very clearly defined of an “us” and “them”, where if you didn’t entirely agree with the concept that the gamer identity was entirely corrosive and should be shed you were some kind of misogynistic monster that ought to be locked up for hate crimes. It’s a narrative that for some time several very liberal/left-leaning MSM sites ran with *hard* and made a point of attempting to promote this tribal atmosphere, which wasn’t helped by the crazies on the internet who pretty much demonstrated why I feel that the internet should stop being Anonymous. I am -for- Real Names being attached to literally everything, wholesale. I’d love to see what would happen if everyone at the same time lost their veil of anonymity. My guess is they’d stop swearing, they’d stop being as aggressive, and there’d be a sudden outbreak of civility.

            It’d also put paid to a lot of the trolling and junk you see right now, if everyone was -actually- accountable, but hey. Maybe it needs things to devolve further into a cesspit before governments finally realise that the internet needs to stop being the wild west. *shrug*

        • pepperfez says:

          If MSM wants to champion causes, good for them, but they need to be entirely sure that when they do that they’re prepared to understand that in doing so they can’t selectively champion a cause because putting one person on the crucifix is acceptable and putting another isn’t. That’s hypocritical.
          Supporting one thing and opposing another thing is hypocrisy? Or criticizing one instance of bad behavior and not every single other instance of that behavior is hypocrisy? Or criticizing one instance of bad behavior and not every single other instance of every single bad behavior is hypocrisy? Or are you just going to declare Actually Ethics and go home?

          • Hobbes says:

            I see what you did there. And no, I’m not biting. If the MSM want to take a bite out of Peter Molyneux for Chicanery, fine. I’m fine with that. But they don’t get to pick and choose at that point because subject A happens to be worthy of putting through the wringer (Pete) and Subject B is worthy of a pass because he happens to be a nice guy (Tim). That’s called hypocrisy. Y’know, when you claim to be on the side of consumers except when, y’know, you’re not. Or do I have to draw the argument out in wax crayon for you?

            Try being intellectually honest for a change, it’s refreshing. :)

        • RobF says:

          You should probably find better sources for your news because you clearly haven’t a fucking clue how the IGF works.

          *winky eye face*

          • Hobbes says:

            Then do enlighten us, oh knowledgable one.

          • RobF says:

            Dude. The whole “IGF is corrupt” stuff is an elaborate concoction by people on the internet, all winged out from a) the idea that everyone must be corrupt so therefor *scrawls a diagram of people who once spoke to each other on twitter* and b) trying to find something, anything in Phil Fish’s stolen accounts, quite probably as some sort of justification for doing that to someone in the first place and thinking it’s perfectly reasonable. Like just about every other odd conspiracy theory born of our resident fringe, it’s been debunked a thousand times until people are blue in the face.

            The reason the “mainstream media” haven’t reported it is because it’s actually bollocks! And they know it’s bollocks. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just the internet invented a thing and now everyone’s expected to either report on or debunk the fantasy and nah, we’ve all got lives to get on with.

            There’s many, many problems with the IGF over the years, this year was the first year I’ve ever known that hasn’t ended up in a fight over it because no-one ever fucking agrees with the IGF at the best of times. You’ve all gone and got confused with “people talk to each other” and “omg conspiracy”. Soz.

            As I said, you need to find better sources of news.

          • wu wei says:

            Out of interest, you’re not the same Hobbes who complained to Valve about Valve’s decision to put ARK in the daily deal, are you?

            The outrage there over a < 3 week old EA game not being heavily discounted is ridiculous.

          • Hobbes says:

            My name links to my profile, so what you’re doing there is trolling by another name.

            You could just be honest about what you wanted to say. You may wish to read my other posts on the matter too. I’m not in the keyboard smash brigade, but what the developers did was fairly scummy. That they’ve owned their mistake is nice and all but words are cheap, actions matter, if they actually do something meaningful like get their game removed from the daily sale then I’ll change my stance, otherwise I am entirely within my rights to call the move they pulled a scummy one.

            You know, you’re adorable, but you’re also picking a fight with someone who actually believes in, and backs up what they say. But feel free to keep trying to play PR games, I don’t mind.

          • wu wei says:

            I don’t click on names, I had no idea it was tied to your Steam profile until you mentioned it. I actually followed a link from the Steam subreddit’s coverage of the daily sale items, was reading the thread, noticed that post and asked the question in good faith here.

            You know, you’re adorable, but you’re also picking a fight with someone who actually believes in, and backs up what they say.

            That is hilarious coming from someone who just made a claim about my actions based on, what, mind reading powers?

            You could just be honest about what you wanted to say.

            Fine, how about the fact that you submitted a complaint about the behaviour of a developer to Valve when it was Valve who chose to make the game a daily deal is an interesting data point that heavily underscores that you really don’t have any idea about the way the systems you’re criticising actually work. So I’ll take RobF’s throwaway comment with a great deal more weight than your substance-less accusations any day of the week.

          • Hobbes says:

            Fine, how about the fact that you submitted a complaint about the behaviour of a developer to Valve when it was Valve who chose to make the game a daily deal is an interesting data point that heavily underscores that you really don’t have any idea about the way the systems you’re criticising actually work. So I’ll take RobF’s throwaway comment with a great deal more weight than your substance-less accusations any day of the week.

            *facepalms* Valve made an offer which the developers -took-, they had the option to refuse. You know, that thing called a choice? They were also given advice not to vary their price point, which I can also respect, but that’s left them in a somewhat difficult situation. The right choice would have been to refuse to get involved in the daily deal. The absolutely right choice would have been to have opted out of the Summer Sales wholesale (and before you suggest this is impossible, several developers have already confirmed they are not participating in the Steam Summer Sales, so let’s just discard that right away).

            You really should read the posts the Dev made on that forum, you really should read -my- posts, and you really, really should think before you type. Because apparently you’re not doing any of the above, and you’re making this a bit too easy for me, and I’m half asleep. Rob’s throwaway post has zero merit beyond “You’re wrong because I sez so”, and considering I did my research about the IndieGameFund documents around the time of the DF-9 mess? Yeah, I’d say whilst I’m not completely informed, I’d say that I’ve at least a rough outline of what happened, and I’m capable of joining the dots.

            You so far are just posing intellectually dishonest arguments for the sake of picking a fight. Which means I’m done with you. Present something more substantive or stop wasting your, and my time.

            Thanks.

          • Sam says:

            Just want to point out, I think there’s some confusion going on here with “IGF” being used to refer to both the Independent Games Festival (which gives out bits of perspex to developers they think are good) and the “Indie Games Fund” which invests in in-development games with a view to making a profit. The “Indie Games Fund” is actually named just Indie Fund, and their site lists every game they invest in. Here’s their details of DF-9 investment:
            link to indie-fund.com

  14. derbefrier says:

    this is what i have learned on how to purchase early access games over the last year or so.

    1. look at steam reviews.
    2. if the majority positive reviews are filled with phrases like “it has potential” “this game is gonna be so cool when it releases”… dont buy it. those are code words for “the game in its current form isn’t much fun but i hope it turns out good so i didn’t waste my money”
    3. if the majority positive reviews are filled with things like “this game is fun!” “theres already a lot of content” then it might be worth considering buying.
    4. always assume the game may never be completed and what you buy at that moment is what you get.

    using this system i haven’t bought any eA games in a long time. I did buy next car game this steam sale for 15 bucks but I used the method above. The positive reviews said the game was lots of fun in its current state but not much content. The negative reviews said it hasnt been updated in a while but still agreed the game was fun in its current state.

    I decided 15 bucks was worth it for a game that played a lot like destruction derby even if it only had a handful of tracks and 4 cars. The devs also announced a big upcoming patch this month along with the sale with new physics and stuff. I already have 8 hours in the game and have enjoyed every second of it. Even if that update never comes I am happy with my purchase because I bought the game for what it was not for what I hoped it could be.

    • Hobbes says:

      At least NCG looks like it will pull through. From what I’ve seen Bugbear has had nose firmly to grinding stone and been busy busy. They’ve been posting up regular blogs with their devwork, and it’s understandable as to why the delay (they overhauled the entire physics engine). I’ve hope for NCG, and I enjoyed what I played of NCG at the time, so, not going to get bitey about it. I think that one will work out.

      Optimistic still, but hey, I think there’s a good game there.

  15. Stone_Crow says:

    Just as long as Hidden Path didn’t take all the money from Windborn and spend it on a completely different game… oh wait!

  16. Hobbes says:

    Since I had to split this off to a seperate post due to the reply system compressing lengthy responses down to tiny columns that make no sense…

    IGF the Indie Games Festival is a hodge podge of not very agreeing bunches of people all with their own competing agendas and a lot of them have varying levels of investment in the very games they are supposed to be impartially judging. Much like a lot of the gaming media and the games they cover, there’s a very incestuous bed that means that it’s not always clear what the degree of separation is, however, because most of the people tend to compete with each other, most of the time it doesn’t matter and the right games win through. Sometimes the overall governance fails and a game that’s pushed by a political bloc gets awards and crap like Fez happens.

    IGF the Indie Games Fund is basically a loan and revenue share system whereby you put yourself in hock, severely so, for a chunk of money to get yourself off the ground, it’s a bit like Kickstarter, but with less benefit and more likelihood that the game will fail because long run you’re still having to hand over a big percentage of your revenue to both the digital retailers -and- the fund profit share before you even get to see what little measly cut you have left. That is unless you do a Double Fine and pull some very shady risk manipulation whereby you move all of the risk onto the Early Access purchasers and off of Double Fine and Indie Game Fund. IGF make bank on this little manoeuvre, DoubleFine at least come out evens (though their reputation for releasing DF-9 took a hammering), and the customer gets screwed.

    However, very little of this got real critical scrutiny or real investigative journalism because most of the relevant press as Baines has correctly pointed out tend to like the parties involved, or are alligned, share the same sensibilities or political / social beliefs. Whereas I tend to have the mentality of “A pox on all their houses” because I tend to look at the whole mess that was “Effiks in jurnalizm” as being a whole load of mud flinging by both the internet and the gaming media where literally nobody came out smelling of roses. I’m old and grouchy, and I assume the worst in everything and everyone, thus far I tend to be correct far more often than I am wrong because of the fact that assuming the worst in humanity tends to be the right thing to do.

    That’s a sad state of affairs but there we are.

    • Yglorba says:

      > or are alligned, share the same sensibilities or political / social beliefs

      Please, go on. Go into more detail about this; it feels to me like you have something you want to say! I am very interested in hearing about the ideological conspiracy that you feel is leading the sinister MSM to ignore the brilliant revelations in ThatFuzzyTiger’s insightful Reddit posts.

      We all know (since we are all reasonable people) that John Walker reads every one of ThatFuzzyTiger’s Reddit posts, and that he then turns to his underlings and says “he’s ON to us! We must HUSH IT UP” and stamps a printout of your post with a bug HUSH IT UP stamp. But since you seem to be a highly-informed and knowledgeable person who is clearly neutral and unaligned on these issues (unlike your corrupt and IDEOLOGY-DRIVEN enemies you seek to expose), and since the deep wisdom exhibited by your decision to assume the worst in everyone naturally makes you the most qualified person here, I want to hear more about the sinister ideological collusion that you have uncovered.

      Yes, some might dismiss your accusations as outlandish, even bizarre, but the immense amount of evidence you have posted in this thread (including a link to a Reddit post you wrote yourself — a post that got eight, cound them, eight up-votes from strangers on the Reddit internet site; an offhand approving reference to the personal opinion of some “Baines”; and an angry hand-waving statement people are all just terrible, you know) has thoroughly convinced me of the rightness of your position.

      You posts in this thread are coming off as intelligent and world-weary and not the slightest bit unhinged at all; I find it completely convincing how you went on an extended rant about the obvious ideological corruption that concealed the problems with Windborne (doubtless John Walker’s attempts to advance some sinister Windborne-American agenda, though you didn’t really specify beyond a vague statement that it was “left-leaning”, above), then go on to shrug theatrically and say that you don’t really care that much because it’s just games journalism, right? A pox on both their houses, especially the sinister Marxist cabal that secretly controls Game Journalism from its hidden lair at the root of the earth.

      • Hobbes says:

        That was an awful lot of text. Was that good catharsis for you? I do hope so, because of the two of us, you’ve managed to make me look entirely sane. Well done. I’m the one who spends the time being the internet Tiger.

        I had to split off the reply onto a seperate thread because RPS’s forum software is about as sophisticated as caveman paintings, so apologies if you think this is me getting on some kind of pedestal or soapbox. It’s not, it was merely intended as a continuation to respond to Wu Wei, but bits of his responses have gone missing so ho hum.

        Still, as for anything else to say, well, it’s clear you didn’t -read- anything that’s been said, much less comprehend it, you surface skimmed, picked out a few bits that best fit your little diatribe and well, words. Many words. Entertaining though. Do continue!

        • Yglorba says:

          Thank you, I think I shall!

          You know, you’re adorable, but you’re also picking a fight with someone who actually believes in, and backs up what they say.

          You haven’t backed up a single word you’ve posted in this forum. You’ve indicated that you believe a lot of exceedingly stupid things, and backed them up with angry emotional outbursts like the above at anyone who questions your bizarre, sweeping declarations about an industry you’ve repeatedly shown you know nothing about. I have no doubt that you believe in what you say, but I think it’s fair to say that the general response to that here has been along these lines; you need to realize that no matter how desperately you want something to be true, and no matter how many times you repeat your absurd accusations, simply saying them does not make them true.

          While I treated you with the comedy I think you deserved, I did give you a chance to cite actual evidence for the extreme and bizarre claims you’ve been making above; you responded, as expected, with nothing. Maybe there are places where you can get away with that? But not, unfortunately, here.

          • Hobbes says:

            See. You’re still digging. And I’m still laughing. So once again, I’m going to point you to a reddit link. This time however, I’m going to give you a hint.

            The key thing is not to look at my post. My post is entirely irrelevant. Apparently as you are incapable of such a simple thing as using reddit properly, I shall endeavour to help you in this matter.

            link to reddit.com

            Again. What is irrelevant is my post. I am merely the one asking the question. What’s newsworthy, what is evidential is the response. See the little highlighted name in blue marked Jeff Pobst? That means that it’s a verified account. The verified account that belongs to the CEO, that’s Chief Executive Officer, of Hidden Path Entertainment.

            Now. Having established that little element, perhaps you’d like to read -what- he said, and then, and here’s the key bit, when he said it, now look again, in the context of the things I’ve said. When you’ve done that, you can go away, sit in the corner, and have a good long think about things. Don’t come back until you’re ready to talk like an adult, because if I have to draw things out with a wax crayon again, I may turn a bit less civil, and in the face of your conduct, I’ve been more than patient.

            Now begone, before you win a prize for your stupidity.

          • Hobbes says:

            To further clarify, he could not host the AMA without submitting his credentials beforehand, so, by him being the AMA author, that essentially means he becomes a “Verified” user. Just in case anyone is wondering what I’m referring to.

          • RobF says:

            None of that even vaguely explains your fantasy world versions of how the IGF or the Indie Fund work for people tho. As I said, you seem to think you know what you’re talking about there but you really haven’t got a clue.

          • Hobbes says:

            Second time Rob, and you’re still not offering anything with any substance. Is that your final answer, or are you willing to offer a better one?

            As for the Indie Fund. I’m not going to do your detective work for you yet, I already did that when the mess with DF-9 came out of the wash and I’m not in the mood to repeat myself multiple times (I already discussed it on the DF forums as it is), I’ll let people get over the fact that they clearly can’t reddit first and then if you’re going to talk -to- me, you can try it with a little more civility and respect. Otherwise we’re done too.

          • RobF says:

            What’s to offer of substance? You’re wrong. There was no “political bloc” that got Fez awarded prizes at the IGF, that’s something you’ve read somewhere or made up yourself but it has no resemblance to reality. Fez won the IGF simply because enough judges thought it was a fucking great game. I’m sorry that isn’t anywhere near as interesting as your version but it’s the truth. Despite the weird internet shit-on that surrounds Phil Fish and Fez, a -lot- of people fucking love it. That’s how it walked away with the prize. No political bloc, no politics, just a lot of people loving a game. I’m sorry that’s not enough but hey.

            And the idea that Indie Fund is a bad deal, “like Kickstarter but with less benefit” when the Indie Fund -isn’t just about money- but help, support and all manner of other peer to peer assistance from people who’ve been in and around the business long enough to make enough money to put into the indie fund, never mind owt else, simply belies sheer ignorance. That the vast majority of Indie Fund games recoup on day 1 or as close as means it’s a very, very smart choice for devs with games that are a good fit for what the IF are trying to do. Nothing you’re saying suggests you have even the slightest clue beyond internet tittle tattle about the subjects you’re lecturing on here and no amount of attitude can salvage that, soz.

          • Hobbes says:

            I’m going to defer -somewhat- on the first half of what you’ve said, because I do like Fez, but there’s the stink about some judging panels being shareholders of games in the nominations and I don’t think even you can entirely wave that one off. But fair enough, I’m going to let that go.

            However.

            You’re talking cross paths about Indie Fund. See, what you’re talking about is Indie Fund in general, I’m talking about Indie Fund specific to DF-9. I have done my research there. In that instance it’s you who have “No fucking clue” to use your words. But I’m not going to do your detective work for you yet. You’ve been an arse, and I don’t have time for people who act like arses. If you want to figure things out, perhaps you might want to do a little simple math and read the agreements and work the rest out yourself. It’s honestly not hard. Or we can put down the fencing sticks, act like gentlemen and I might be convinced to explain where I’m going with this.

          • RobF says:

            I don’t think you understand. I don’t need you to do any detective work for me.

          • Hobbes says:

            Then we’re done, because you clearly have no idea what you’re on about as regards the DF-9 mess. ;)