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For devs - bad communication is hurting the project


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Guys,

I love the studio and fully support the project. There is however one thing that troubles me - the style of communication with community.

 

It has struck me with uncovering the stretch goals. Writing just "if you give us $0.2 million more we will give you this content" is for a major part of people at the same level as saying "you have a unique chance to get ultra giga super DLC which cointains a key character for the whole universe. Just give us 15 bucks more."

 

People don't realize that adding each race or companion makes the game (and its creating and testing) more complex not lineary but exponentially. First time I've seen the strech goal list (or better the whole UPDATE) I was a bit afraid that some people might feel like you rip the game and use hype and psychological pressure to get more money. And I've already seen quite many people a bit pissed off by it. Unnecessarily.

 

Please, keep in mind that most gamers don't know nearly anything about game developement and that they are getting constantly hurt by style of communication big publishers tend to use - impersonal, swanky and with more or less hidden pressure techniques. Please, don't use this laguage. Please, always add some explanation to what is written below so that people know why you are asking for money or e.g why you made some design decision (remember Fargo's "social feature" foolowed by massive fanrage?). Without it the text might seem a bit devious so you risk you lose some people. And yet just 5 sentences might do the magic and convert suspicious/not-knowing people to your side.

 

Simply said. Be more personal and "empathic". Now I feel like I am reading some official press releases and that's not something I like. Please reconsider this.

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I was ready to argue against the thread title but I actually agree, adding a new character to the game is big work even for a text based RPG, it wouldn't hurt for Obsidian to say more about the logistics of it all. On the other hand I can totally understand why they're keeping the major details under wraps until the Kickstarter has run it's course, if they go spewing hard facts they risk people ragequitting over things like dwarves vs no dwarves.

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Yeah, I completely understand the need to not be too specific when it comes to the 'stretch goals' but I think a lot of people are getting the wrong idea that the margin of money between each stretch *only* pays for what you have specified in the goal, which I know to not be the case as is pinned at the top of the forum.

 

I think it's absolutely incredible what you are trying to get together, and I can understand the dilemma you probably faced at the beginning about what to put as the initial starting funding money.

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Project is 3 days old. Complaining about communication at this point is premature.

IMO it this the best time to say that to devs because they have the time to fix it. And since they made "a mistake" already it is IMO allright to tell them. Nothing more, nothing less.
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if they go spewing hard facts they risk people ragequitting over things like dwarves vs no dwarves.

I think a bigger worry is promising something that it turns out they can't deliver due to time or budget constraints.

 

It's true, communication hasn't been great. I don't know game design. Since reading their explanations that companions take a huge amount of work to implement, I can understand not wanting to include too many on the lowest budget but my first reaction to the stretch goals was that they were holding my new favourite companion since Merrill hostage. (I feel I've complained about things DA2 got wrong in a few topics here, I think I should balance that with something they got right)

 

Edit: For balance, I do like that J.E.Sawyer has been active in these forums since the announcement. I was all "oh man they are starting a kickstarter on a friday! People with real jobs don't work over the weekend, we're not going to get any replies until monday at the earliest!" but then I pretty soon realised that these devs are, if possible, even more excited for this game than we are.

Edited by novander

Does this unit have a soul?

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I actually think that's a very good point, the way video game communication has worked has always been rather odd, and continues to work that way less for efficiency than for convention.

 

Arguing for MORE DETAILS 3 days after a kickstarter launches isn't the most sensible, but arguing for a different way in which it's all presented so people understand the internal process a little better is eminently sensible.

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Project is 3 days old. Complaining about communication at this point is premature.

IMO it this the best time to say that to devs because they have the time to fix it. And since they made "a mistake" already it is IMO allright to tell them. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Except there IS no mistake (regarding communication. The mistake was they underestimated themselves. That's something nobody can predict). It was the weekend.

 

Do you really believe they planned to reveal something on saturday/sunday?

Edited by C2B
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Just because they aren't spamming the comments section on their kickstarter page or maybe because they were completely caught off guard by the lightning quick funding doesn't mean they don't know what it costs in terms of development man hours to flesh out a character or make a new race.

 

Give it some time people, there will be more information I'm sure. But they do have a right to a weekend no?

Edited by nikolokolus
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Arguing for MORE DETAILS 3 days after a kickstarter launches isn't the most sensible, but arguing for a different way in which it's all presented so people understand the internal process a little better is eminently sensible.

 

Besides two of those days were weekend days. You know, the days when no one at Obsidian is working.

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Could have always been less scant at the start, but yeah, will have to give them time.

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Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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I agree with the OP. It's apparent to me that Obsidian is excited and tense. They aren't going about this like it's a regular, normal project: they are hot and sweaty, it's their first date with liberty. So maybe Obsidian had best calm down and express themselves reasonably -- they know they'll get what they want and get it easily from us. We like them. If we didn't like them, we wouldn't buy their games. And we've been buying their games.

 

So perhaps Obsidian should communicate to us as if we're shareholders, because that's close to what we might be for them. The least comprehending among us would love better elucidation as to why they'd need three hundred thousand dollars more than 1.1 million to develop a single character race, class, and companion. It almost sounds like unfair and disingenuous budgeting. I'm going to give them anywhere from $20-120, but I'd really like to know why they're claiming they need hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

I don't want this money going to some cult, a political party, massage girls, organized crime, nor directly into their tidy little pockets as spending cash with the game being a minute twinkle of potential work. I want the money to go into the game and to reasonable salary expectations for them. While it's not much my business, I would foam at the mouth if their Better Business Bureau rating slipped because of this.

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Just because they aren't spamming the comments section on their kickstarter page or maybe because they were completely caught off guard by the lightning quick funding doesn't mean they don't know what it costs in terms of development man hours to flesh out a character or make a new race.

 

Give it some time people, there will be more information I'm sure. But they do have a right to a weekend no?

Agreed. They probably didn't expect to hit their goal over the weekend, and so now they suddenly had to prepare some extended goals during the weekend due to the unexpected funding rate.

 

During the following week, they will have more time to gather all ideas, organize them and present them to us. Give them time.

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Word on the streets (and on Something Awful) is that Sawyer is going to release some kind of blog today that gives some info on the world and such. Of course things might have changed since then and he'll released it on friday. Or never. :o

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Just because they aren't spamming the comments section on their kickstarter page or maybe because they were completely caught off guard by the lightning quick funding doesn't mean they don't know what it costs in terms of development man hours to flesh out a character or make a new race.

 

Give it some time people, there will be more information I'm sure. But they do have a right to a weekend no?

The OP's point wasn't about more information, but about the information we've got being presented in a way the lets the backers understand the weight of each stretch goal better.
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Project is 3 days old. Complaining about communication at this point is premature.

IMO it this the best time to say that to devs because they have the time to fix it. And since they made "a mistake" already it is IMO allright to tell them. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Except there IS no mistake (regarding communication. The mistake was they underestimated themselves. That's something nobody can predict). It was the weekend.

 

Do you really believe they planned to reveal something on saturday/sunday?

The result of it is that many people unnecessarily got pissed or confused (I've seen it too many times).

 

Could it be avoided? Can it be avoided in the future? Do devs want to confuse or piss off people? These are the key questions. Not if it was Sunday or Saturday.

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On that note from Sawyer

 

Before we launched I felt we were 50/50 on hitting our funding goal. I really had no idea what to expect. Kickstarter for funding games at the $1 million+ range is still pretty new/uncommon.
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The OP's point wasn't about more information, but about the information we've got being presented in a way the lets the backers understand the weight of each stretch goal better.

As the post you quoted mentioned, Obsidian was caught off guard by how quick they achieved the targeted funding. They probably did not anticipated that the stretch goal had to be revealed anytime soon. Yet, because the target was achieved, its important to have stretch goals to keep the momentum going and so they had to quickly put a list of them, they had no choice.

 

Over the next few days, they will have more time to organize everything and present them in a clearer picture.

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I have to ask myself where people like the OP live, or what they do for a living. As I write this, it is not quite 7am on a Monday morning in California where the devs live. The game was announced on a Friday, and no one could have anticipated the amazing response we have witnessed. The devs scrambled on Saturday to come up with some stretch plans, and you still expect more? C'mon people, they are human; they have families, they have things outside of work, do you expect then to work 24/7 and never have a "weekend"? Either you have never worked a day in your life, so weekends don't really mean much, or you are living on another planet...it's a game not a life saving procedure.

 

California--Weekend--Game just announced---give me a frikken break....

 

Okay, now get to work you guys. :ban:

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Guys... you realize that the project started on Friday?

 

You know that there was a weekend?

 

You realize that it is just early morning hours in the USA as I write this post?

 

Really complaining about anything at this point is just odd...

 

Lets have this discussion on Friday afternoon, after the whole week of business days...

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I have to ask myself where people like the OP live, or what they do for a living. As I write this, it is not quite 7am on a Monday morning in California where the devs live. The game was announced on a Friday, and no one could have anticipated the amazing response we have witnessed. The devs scrambled on Saturday to come up with some stretch plans, and you still expect more? C'mon people, they are human; they have families, they have things outside of work, do you expect then to work 24/7 and never have a "weekend"? Either you have never worked a day in your life, so weekends don't really mean much, or you are living on another planet...it's a game not a life saving procedure.

 

California--Weekend--Game just announced---give me a frikken break....

 

Okay, now get to work you guys. :ban:

I live in Europe, Czech Republic, thank you. And...

Do things properly, otherwise don't do them at all (or postpone them to better time when you are able to do them properly).

 

That's all I can say regarding the stretch goal UPDATE. Point of it all is that many people got pissed or confused by such a brief message which is asking for more of their money (It feels like promoting DLC and that's what everybody hates). If Obsidian had a free weekend and were unable to come up with more personal message then they should wait until Monday. Now they face damage control which is never a nice situaton.

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The stretch goals are absolutely fine. More money = more content and every penny of this cash is going into the game itself.

 

The only thing that the game really needs is some nice pics for the stretch goals. people love nice pictuerzzz. :3

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I kinda agree with this. Seeing how there is no publisher, and we are the publisher at this point, we should be told whats going on and whats the progress at almost every opportunity. At least the people that are paying to support the game.

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I say we cut them some slack. On the one hand it's great that we're all so pumped-up about this (I only found out about it, in-game playing D3, from Gfted1), but on the other Obz must be properly stunned by how quickly this has all happened.

 

I'm almost glad that it isn't polished and coordinated like the sort of synchronised goose-stepping you get from the big publishers, with PR creatures oozing about telling lies and hype. It's a load of talented devs who've just built a tunnel out of Stalag-Luft Publisher and they are working out what to do next. It's brilliant.

 

Yeah, explaining the cost of stuff is great, but if you have an even passing knowledge of this industry (I'm almost there at the 'passing knowledge' level) you'll know that 1.1 million isn't really a lot of money. It just ain't.

 

I'm as impatient as the next person, but some perspective here would be good. If we are still here in a months time (and I'm not criticizing the OP) then lets revisit the point.

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