Quote of the Day – How Not to Fight Big Dev

It’s worth it to get out from under big dev

-Gigabear, Massively OP Comment

I avoided posting about the whole DreamWorld Kickstarter thing in part because I have very little interest in MMOs that show up on Kickstarter… they are not universally bad, but the wall of disappointment that has been built up around them in general should be a warning to all… and in part because the red flags on this particular project… a comically low ask, sky high setting of expectations, no industry experience, “we’ve got all the answers” attitude, and a free art assets demo reel… made me want to avoid inadvertently giving it any more attention that it might otherwise have garnered.  Massively OP and MMO Fallout gave it more attention than it deserved.

They last game you’ll ever play… because it will never ship

I can’t say if the whole thing was a scam or just hubris, but I will write a sincere post of apology if any sort of game results from the campaign. (Though I will reserve the right to compare what was promised versus what was delivered as part of that apology.  Sincerity can cut both ways.)

Anyway, another day, another round of BS on the internet.  No news there.

But I was interested in who would back such a project, and specifically who would back it at the $1,999 or more tier, which had seven parties throw in.

I can see maybe bidding at a low tier if you want to go along for the ride with some middle age prima donna developer who wants to prove that they didn’t do their best work back in the 90s.  We’ve seen our share of that in the last decade.  I didn’t chip in on Star Citizen because I believed Chris Roberts could deliver everything he promised initially… much less everything he has promised since… but to have a ticket to the ride should anything interesting come of it.

But with DreamWorld you don’t even have that draw.  So who sets fire to two grand for a bunch of nobody’s promising the sky?  I was willing to bet that at least a couple of the seven in for that much were shills, there to make it look like a success early on, but then pull out at the last minute.  But they all stayed in.  So, unless there was a “pay you back after we’re done” arrangement, they actually believed what they were told and I was interested to hear from any of them.

And then one popped up over in the Massively OP comments.  Gigabear, who is apparently a serial backer of such campaigns, dropped “$2000+” on the project.  And the summary of their reason for backing iy… and why they would back other projects even if this one fails… was the quote above.

They want to get out from under “big dev.”

What utter self-delusional bullshit.

I can totally understand not liking the big game developers such as EA, Activision, Blizzard, Ubisoft, and whoever else you care to throw into that group.  There is a lot there worthy of dislike and distrust.

But handing a couple of grand to a project like this isn’t “sticking it to the man,” it is encouraging more half assed scams.

Meanwhile there are a lot of worthwhile indie projects that are done and looking for an audience, and only a few get the attention they deserve.  For every Valheim, which for $20 touches so many MMO sweet spots, there are a bunch of titles that never get the audience that would make them even a moderate success.

There were 10,263 new titles launched on Steam in 2020.  Surely one of them must have been more deserving that DreamWorld?

And yeah, I don’t want to become… much less encourage… that guy who complains about people buying a latte at Starbucks rather than the game they worked so hard on.  But when you aren’t even going to get a pretend spaceship JPEG… much less a tall soy caramel macchiato… for your two grand, it doesn’t seem like you’ve helped the industry at all.  You’ve merely encouraged scam artists to keep on scamming.

8 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – How Not to Fight Big Dev

  1. SynCaine

    I believe all of the major tier backers are friends/family getting the money back once it funds. Maybe 1% is someone with a lot of disposable income who stumbled into it and said why not. I’ve talked to a few of those in random mobile games, its generally they view 2k like I view $20, and there isn’t a lot of deeper thinking behind it.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – I assumed the big tier backers were all shills in some way given the joke level of the campaign. Then there is this person. I guess some people view money that way, though in my experience the rich who actually made their money made it by not pissing away even amounts that small to them. Those who are born into it tend to be more free with the cash… which is why the fortunes of families tend to fall off after a few generations.

    Still, no matter how much they pledged or how much it meant to them my point stands, backing this sort of campaign isn’t fighting big dev, it is just lining some small time scammer’s pockets.


  3. kiantremayne

    Is “Big Dev” a thing now? I have to admit that personally, if I want a large and complex project delivered I’m more inclined to trust a large team of seasoned professionals over a couple of rank amateurs with an attitude of “We’re the plucky underdogs! Don’t tell us the odds! We have our dream and the power of positive thinking!”

    I mean, they didn’t exactly fill me with confidence when asked about the whole “infinitely scalable because everything is in the client” approach. Their answer seems to be that they’ll use certificates to check that the application code hasn’t been altered. OK, that leaves absolutely no vulnerabilities that I can possibly think of (caution: above comment may contain sarcasm).

    And when your first stretch goal is a “merch store” to extract more cash from the punters… yeah, not building my confidence there either.

    You want to build buzz for the game you’re developing? Go the Valheim route. Give us a work in progress we can already get pretty excited about, and then ask for money to make it even better. When someone tries to build the buzz first, there’s no reason to believe they can deliver on their promise apart from their past record of success. And exactly who are these guys again?


  4. arhanta

    “Things are going great in every other project I’ve backed.” (Gigabear)

    If, instead of throwing away money for fun at a table in Vegas, you decide throw away money at a Kickstart project, all good. Spend it, enjoy it.

    However, if you declare that Star Citizen is going great… that is just a river in Egypt.


  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @kiantremayne – Yes… I mean some people have always been against big studios or pro-indie devs, but the fact that the corporations themselves behave like corporations makes them less likeable. Every story about crunch time or layoffs or workplace harassment or not paying bonuses because a title missed their MetaCritic goal by .01 riles people up.

    But a lot of that is no doubt because big companies get press while little start-up studios do not, and every start up I’ve worked for has been non-stop crunch based on survival and conditions are crappy and job security is non-existent. Indie devs can become asses when they make it big, just look at Markus “Notch” Persson. I had to mute him on Twitter he became such a tool.

    @arhanta – I certainly won’t tell people how to spend their money, but if they justify it with BS I tend to feel entitled to call it what it is.


  6. Sloth

    Agreed, this seems like the definition of vapourware.

    And some of their design decisions seem dubious. The networking architecture for instance:

    “We instead run DreamWorld as a distributed system, where it mostly runs on everyone’s computer”

    How exactly are they intending on getting around users firewalls/routers? If they are going to rely on uPnP then I think they’re in for a world of hurt. Elite Dangerous manages it (mostly) but limits it to a small number of players. I very much doubt it will scale to the degree they require.


  7. Sovereign Gamer

    https://bit.ly/GB032021 for more context on why the particular commenter comes off as delusional, because he is.

    His sole aim over the years has been to impose his size inflation fetish upon as many people as possible in MMOs, and got hit with bans of nerfbats to his size inflation in mainstream games.

    The logic is: if he becomes a high roller backer for a crowdfunded MMO, those who build that project are more obligated to listen to him instead of the unwashed masses. Because he needs to grief people with his size inflation and weird out as many people as humanly possible online.


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