Grouvcast Episode 7, Dad Games

We’re back this week with another episode of the Grouvcast! We talk about dad games, my Switch story, and other nonsense. Listen here:

On the topic of Switch defects my feeling is twofold. First, that all technology, no matter how well made, will suffer defects among a percentage of units. Second, that one person with a defective unit will make more noise online than the total combined number of individuals with perfectly working units.

On the topic of games for the Switch I have one answer: Blaster Master Zero came out today :wink:

ATi definitely used to be the best. The worst thing that happened to them was being purchased by AMD. I think the biggest problem with AMD cards and indie games is that it’s expensive to debug your game for every architecture and it might just be more cost effective to focus on one manufacturer, which happens not to be AMD.

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For anyone interested in the topic of kickstarter funding and why funded amounts are generally not enough this is a good article:

When crowdfunding reveals the realities of game dev budgets

Yeah, I don’t think I made my point all that well when we were talking about Double Fine. I disagree with Jess that Double Fine mismanages their money. I agree that the Spacebase project was a mess. It was mismanaged from a communication perspective, but I don’t know if we can really say they mismanaged their money.

If you watch the Double Fine Documentary, you would understand where a lot of the money goes during development. I look at it just from the perspective of a software engineer. It’s impossible to estimate projects correctly, and you always want to do things bigger and better as you go. While $3.3 million dollars seems like a ton of money, it’s nothing compared to other games of a similar size and scope. They make comments in the documentary how it’s one of the smallest budgets they released a game on.

Anyway, I could have rambled on more about this in the podcast, but I really didn’t. I generally think that communication is the issue in most of these troubled Kickstarter game cases.

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I think a major flaw of crowdfunding is that you rely on a group of people, the public, that don’t have direct experience with media production. A handful might but the vast majority are individuals investing personal money. And that’s what it feels like to them, personal. It’s hard from that perspective to look at a project you contributed personal money too and not feel shortchanged when things appear to go south. And since many crowdfunding sources are individuals with little experience funding a project there is little understanding of how costly productions like this are and that initial investments are seldom sufficient. Where an experienced producer invests in a project knowing that additional costs will be incurred, the average person doesn’t know or fully understand that. They just see a project they funded, that hit its (largely arbitrary) funding goal and wonder why more investment is suddenly needed. Furthermore, timelines are a problem. The average consumer doesn’t generally know how much time is required from pre-production or R&D, to design and production, to finalization and delivery really takes. People fund projects and wonder why five years pass before they receive their item, not fully aware that five years isn’t a terribly long time for a dev to compete a project.

Lastly crowdfunding causes issues for the developer. Where once you hand one to a handful of producers with specific demands, you now have tens to hundreds to thousands of producers who all have a stake in the project and have their own expectations and demands. This adds a significant layer of complexity to any project.

Largely I think most devs get a bad rap because we as the public demand certain things without fully understanding the nuances and complexities of the process. So you see anger and vitriol directed at devs because expectations were not met, without the realization that those expectations may be atypical or worse, unreasonable. There are far too many examples of public ire toward devs as a result of this that I can immediately list off the top of my head. And in most of the instances that come to mind, misunderstanding and misaligned expectations are the main cause of the turmoil.

When we as the public/consumer/producer in the crowdfunding scenario lack a firm grasp of how hard, how expensive and how time consuming even the smallest of projects is, there will always unfortunately be a certain amount of anger and backlash.