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Kickstarter reflection of succesful games in production

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Now that a good lot of Kickstarter projects have been in the works for a good while I thought it could be nice to reflect upon the feelings the current progress of those many projects have left on the backers in the contrast of backer specific information, backer loot and whatnot. I’ll just do the adventure games, but I’ve backed RPG’s as well.

Larry Reloaded: Now I pledged only the minumun to get the game, so I’m not eligible for any loot or aplha/beta access, but of what I’ve seen of the game I feel very positive, whit some minor reservations. The game should enter beta phase soon, and the release is pretty close. All in all, it looks like its turning out much better than I hoped. 

Double Fine
: As a friend of mine said, the game is feeling a bit secondary to him as he’s been so pleased with the documentary quality and I kinda agree with him. The game will turn out well, I think, but the documentary itself has somewhat overshadowed the game itself in my mind and the release of the game feels like a bonus to the documentary.

Tex Murphy: Backers have seen a lot of nice behind the scenes pics and there’s been a good deal of digital rewards that have been released as well. Overall the stars look like they’ve aligned right with this project.

SpaceVenture: I feel like I’ve not seen as much behid the scene stuff that I’d like, but overall the released artwork looks nice. All in all the game might be a very pleasant surprise, but there just isn’t enough information to fully say in one way or an another.

Broken Sword: seems to chug along as planned. Art looks good quality and overall seems to be on its way to turn out as a quality product.

Shadowgate: art looks fantastic and the music we’ve heard is even more so.

Jane Jensen’s Moebius: Backers have seen quite a lot of the Moebius and I have to say, that while the game sounds interesting, art wise it looks that the game might suffer a bit from its low budget. I have my figers crossed, but I do have a pretty clear idea of what my biggest dislikes will be about.

     
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Jane Jensen’s Moebius: Backers have seen quite a lot of the Moebius and I have to say, that while the game sounds interesting, art wise it looks that the game might suffer a bit from its low budget. I have my figers crossed, but I do have a pretty clear idea of what my biggest dislikes will be about.

I am interested to know what your biggest dislikes will be when it comes to this game? Are they art related? I have seen your posts on other forums, and I know you are a talented and experienced artist.

I tend to be someone who is a lot more forgiving when it comes to aesthetics. The writing and gameplay are my big things.

     
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I’m really excited for Tex Murphy. Everything I’ve seen of the project so far has made me feel like it’s going to be a worthy installment in the series.

I’m a bit torn on Moebius because while the game has been coming along quite well, a lot of it has left me underwhelmed. The main character hasn’t won me over yet, and the graphics are so-so. However, I’m hopeful that the story and writing will be fantastic and save the game.

I also backed several other adventure projects, but I’m not following the progress and am just waiting for the games to come out.

     
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Quest1 - 16 March 2013 07:35 AM

I am interested to know what your biggest dislikes will be when it comes to this game? Are they art related?

You are indeed correct. My biggest issues with Moebius are entirely art related, such as on the finished scenes it looks like some textures are rather low resolution (a pet peeve on mine in any game, as poor qulaity textures tend to stand out) and some of the character modeling as well. I still haven’t warmed on how Malachi looks like, but they’ve been taking the character in the right direction, at least from my opinion.

Now, of course gameplay and plot are important and I suspect I will like the game based on those alone as Jane is skilled writer, but still, the budget of the game is showing throug the art work, which is a bit of shame.

     

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Jane needed an extra 2-300k really.

I can already tell it’s going to be lambasted for it’s technical failings. Which makes me sad. But there’s only so much you can do with a tiny budget. Frown

DFA, LSL and Moebius remain my most anticipated, because of the pedigree of those involved, and because art/graphics are just not that important to me. 

     
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I think I mostly had my expectations in check when I backed, so most of these projects are shaping up better than I anticipated.

Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded: I never really cared much for the art in the Adventure Mob demo they showed during the campaign, but I backed anyway because it’s Larry and Al Lowe together again. So the developer switch ended up resulting in a much better-looking game. It’s also nice to see that, while it’s still basically a remake, they’ve been rethinking a lot of puzzles to make it work better.

Tex Murphy: This one has blown me away. I always felt like they’d make a good game, but having played Big Finish’s earlier casual games, I had very low expectations for it in terms of graphics and production value. But it’s shaping up great, it looks like a real, modern current-gen game, and I’m really feeling like they might even manage to make a better game than Pandora Directive, which would be quite the achievement.

Double Fine Adventure: This one is different because there were high hopes, but really no idea of what to expect. I’ll echo what tomimt said that the documentary has proved worthwhile on its own. I like the look of the game quite a bit, but the star of the show is going to be the writing, which we haven’t seen much of yet.

SpaceVenture: Visually, this one also well exceeded my expectations. I was under the impression the game would be 2D and pretty old-school, and they’ve created something that looks very nice so far. I only backed this for $15 because I was also backing Project Fedora, so I don’t get to see the non-KS updates, which are reserved for $30 and up. So maybe because of this, I feel like progress on this one is sluggish, and I have some worries about their ability to get it done before they run out of money. This one’s probably highest on my concern list.

Moebius: I was never super interested in this one, but I backed it anyway. What little they’ve shown looks about how I would have expected, and I’m neither especially impressed with it, nor am I disappointed. It looks fine, but I don’t think it’s going to be a particular highlight for the genre.

After these, I stopped backing adventures for a while, until some of them get finished, so I didn’t back Broken Sword, or Shadowgate. I did end up making an exception for Dreamfall, though, but it’s too early to really reflect on that one.

     
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Frogacuda - 16 March 2013 10:02 AM

SpaceVenture: Visually, this one also well exceeded my expectations. I was under the impression the game would be 2D and pretty old-school, and they’ve created something that looks very nice so far. I only backed this for $15 because I was also backing Project Fedora, so I don’t get to see the non-KS updates, which are reserved for $30 and up. So maybe because of this, I feel like progress on this one is sluggish, and I have some worries about their ability to get it done before they run out of money. This one’s probably highest on my concern list.

I share my budget concerns as well on SpaceVenture. I backed at 30$ level, so I’ve access to their developers diary and those really don’t make the development seem any more rapid. Sure, there’s some concept art, but not anything ground breaking.

     
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It would also be nice to hear of the smaller Kickstarters like Jack Houston, not just the star vehciles, as I admit I’ve personally backed mainly projects with names behind them.

     
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When Jack Houston posted 7 months later that they would be starting soon, I realized it was never coming out, or if it does, it’ll be a mess. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but I’ve more or less written that one in the “L” column on my Kickstarter history.

When I started this Kickstarter thing, I always looked at it as a hedged bet and an investment in the genre as a whole. I figured that some of these games would disappoint me, but as long as most of them didn’t, it will have been worth the overall investment, especially if it sparks continued renewed interest in adventure games. So I’m not going to lose my mind if there’s a bomb or two in there.

     
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Of the major ones I’ve only backed Double Fine Adventure, Broken Sword 5 and Hero-U. I’m pretty confident that Broken Sword 5 will turn out great, somewhat confident in Double Fine Adventure (zero interest in the premise, but Tim Schafer has an excellent track record, so…) and so-so regarding Hero-U. What I’ve seen so far hasn’t been that exciting and they seem to be struggling with a low budget for an ambitious project.

     
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Budget concerns seem to be the main worry with almost all the projects, even the big ones like DFA. In hindsight the unofficial policy of planning the game to spend all of the money you raised may have its downsides.

Tex Murphy seems to be the curious exception to that. I have no idea how they’re doing what they’re doing for so little money. I’m guessing some of them must be working for free.

     
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I backed SpaceVenture, DFA, Larry Reloaded, Moebius, Hero-U and Broken Sword 5. I pledged $100 to each, except Moebius, for which I only pledged $20 (empty wallet), but I didn’t ask for any rewards, just the digital download of the games. The only physical rewards I’d be truly interested in would be original artwork, but those tiers were too expensive for me.

It seems that most projects are struggling with their budgets, which is a real shame, because I can only assume that the success of the kickstarters will have a significant impact on the future of the genre. I hope they won’t have to make so much compromise that the game quality suffers too much.

So far I’ve been pretty happy with the visuals we’ve seen, and I tend to be quite unforgiving when it comes to aestethics. I can see where Tomimt is coming from when it comes to Moebius, but visuals have never been what’s impressed me with Jane Jensen’s games. Anyway, I think Moebius is gonna look better than any previous Jensen game, and I’m pleased they’re doing 2D backgrounds, so I’m happy overall.

     

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Not much to say that hasn’t been already said.

Except, I hope people do keep an open mind regarding final products. Seeing some people have poor impressions of progress on Moebius has me a bit concerned. I’ve found the background art to be beautiful. And if people are concerned about the artwork resolution in the monthly updates, well, Jane probably scales down the images when she puts them into pdfs. You’re not really seeing how it will look “in-game”. Plus the 3D models are very much a work in progress.

A bonus of kickstarter backing is that you see “how the sausage gets made”. What we need to keep in mind is that the sausage doesn’t look like sausage until the end. So guys, please don’t lose faith in this one based on the things I mentioned. Moebius is coming together very nicely. Jane has been especially candid and consistent in showing their progress on Moebius. The alpha build should be coming within a few weeks as well. So even with the low budget they are managing the development well. She’s taking a risk showing rough footage to you. Please be understanding that it is just that - rough. But certainly people can provide constructive criticism to her in the updates.

Jane is a master storyteller. If there are some technical limitations from the lower budget, I can certainly live with that. All these games are probably going to be a bit buggy and have rough edges on the technical side. What I care about most is the story, the characters, the puzzle design, and just the experience of playing.

I’m not being a fanboi. I just think that Jane often gets criticized way too much in the adventure community. Gray Matter had all sorts of well-publicized development problems out of Jane’s hands, but people still let themselves lose a bit of faith in her despite knowing Gray Matter’s history. So try to give the same benefit of the doubt to Jane as you do to other devs. Smile

     

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Frogacuda - 16 March 2013 12:51 PM

Tex Murphy seems to be the curious exception to that. I have no idea how they’re doing what they’re doing for so little money. I’m guessing some of them must be working for free.

Maybe it’s because the Access guys have a little more business savvy than some of the other Kickstarter-figureheads who were always just on the ‘creative’ side?  Plus, having FMV meant they’ve had to work to a strict schedule for a lot of it so they’ve probably had to do plan ahead a lot more than most.

At the time I regretted not backing Jack Houston or Pinkerton Road, but now I think it may have been for the best (same with DFA, though that’s more because the game doesn’t look like it’s my sort of thing rather than how the project’s going).  Hero U’s the only one I backed I’m worried about getting done but the Coles seem like they’re being fairly transparent about everything, so I can forgive a few deadline lapses.

     
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Interesting thread. Let’s see… *pulls up list of backed projects*

DFA: The documentary has been really great and gives huge amounts of insight on game development and Double Fine. It’s been well worth my pledge and I don’t really care about the game itself anymore at this point (anyway, it’s a Tim Schafer game; I don’t expect to like it much).

Moebius & Mystery Game X: The Moebius art shown has been so-so, but then again the 3 GK games looked pretty awful, so I’ll survive if the other elements are good. The recent voice samples sounded great (as expected with Bay Area Sound in charge). I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. I couldn’t care less about MGX at this point. We’ll see what it is when it’s finally announced, but speculating stopped being fun 6 months ago. (I still believe that the people who’ve convinced themselves that it would be GK-related are in for some disappointment.)

Larry: Huge surprise. I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about this one, and after Paul Trowe’s antics and the change of developers I was expecting a train wreck, but things got considerably better once Josh Mandel became in charge of the PR / Kickstarter updates, and it looks like it’ll be released soon-and the alpha footage shown looks great (and really funny).

Project Fedora: They finished filming recently. They haven’t shown much yet, but things seem to be moving along nicely. Fairly optimistic.

Quest for Infamy: If the second demo is any indication, things seem to be progressing nicely. The combat system still makes absolutely no sense to me, though.

Lilly Looking Through: They haven’t shown much new, but their progress reports give the impression that things are moving forward. There’s no reason to think that the full game won’t have the qualities and charm of the demo, which is good enough for me.

BS5: I haven’t been watching that one very closely. Seems to be doing OK?

Hero-U: Ouch. Since the Kickstarter ended, they’ve changed the art style, the engine and pretty much the entire team, and the release date has been pushed to “When it’s done”. Budget seems to be a problem. (Ironically, if they had made all these decisions before launching the Kickstarter, they would probably have raised more money than they did and wouldn’t have had these problems…) Meh

Dreamfall Chapters and Mage’s Initiation are still too fresh to discuss here.

     

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OneFlesh - 16 March 2013 02:04 PM
Frogacuda - 16 March 2013 12:51 PM

Tex Murphy seems to be the curious exception to that. I have no idea how they’re doing what they’re doing for so little money. I’m guessing some of them must be working for free.

Maybe it’s because the Access guys have a little more business savvy than some of the other Kickstarter-figureheads who were always just on the ‘creative’ side?  Plus, having FMV meant they’ve had to work to a strict schedule for a lot of it so they’ve probably had to do plan ahead a lot more than most.

I also think that Chris Jones, having experience as CEO for over three decades, is business man first and creative guy later, while it’s the other way around for many other Kickstarters (- maybe not so much for Tim Schafer and Charles Cecil who also have the business experience.)
However, I suppose (but I don’t really know) that Jones as CEO of TruGolf is using many of the TG resources (Big Finish Games is in the TG building, they are shooting in the TGwarehouse,...) and is maybe also outsourcing some of the TG employees to work fulltime or part time on Tex Murphy. The also seem to be on a very tight and efficient schedule.

Regarding the kickstartes I backed (DFA, Tex Murphy, Moebius/Mystery Game X, Broken Sword, Lilly looking through, DFC), I’m not really concerned about any of those. They all seem to be coming along pretty nicely and seem to are going to fullfill most of my expectations or even succede them.
Moebius might not look that pretty on the graphic side but still looks like it could be a very pleasent gaming experience. And let’s see how MGX is going to look, maybe it’s going to blow us all away graphically. Wink
Broken Sword has been in development before the Kickstarter and I think it will be a great entry in the series (- although I have never been the biggest fan of the BS games myself).
As others stated, DFA is worth the price alone for the documentary but I’m really curious to know more about the game because it’s still kind of a mystery to me. The graphic is very unique and I think in the end the game could be a very pleasent surprise. (I’m not one to underestimate Tim Schafer.)

     

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