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Stretch Goals are BS? What?

pcgamer eternity kickstarter stretch goals

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24 replies to this topic

#1
Luridis

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I ran across this article on PC gamer where Monaco designer Andy Schatz explains:

 

Kickstarter campaigns and the inclusion of stretch goals—promises made at tiers above the minimum funding goal—bluntly calling the latter “bulls***” and “the perfect way to make a game that’s insufficiently complete or bloated.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't content that can be created scale with development funds available? I mean, you can get a price quote for remodeling your home that includes a room by room breakdown. How many rooms you ultimately get remodeled would depend on how much is coming in that tax return.

 

I'm just curious where this guy's all-or-nothing ideology is coming from...



#2
Volourn

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He's an idiot. Next.


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#3
Valsuelm

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I don't think I've read a good article on PC Gamer since the 90s.


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#4
AGX-17

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Indie dev whining. Maybe because he doesn't have a $4,000,000 budget to work with.

#5
Keyrock

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While in some ways I do think that some stretch goals are tantamount to dangling a carrot in front of prospective investors, many, if not most, of the goals I've seen seem like reasonable additions/expansions that could be achieved with a higher level of funding.  Putting something tangible at a certain stretch goal level is, in my opinion, a more persuasive way to entice potential investors rather than just saying "extra funding will go toward game development".  You need to add some window dressing to make things look more attractive to people, that's just a fact of business.  For me, the bottom line is:  Does all the money raised go toward making the best game possible?  If the answer is "yes" then I consider the team making the project to be faithfully delivering on their promises to the best of their ability, and my trust has not been broken.  The fact of the matter is that more funding means the ability to hire more talent and/or for longer periods of time, and the ability to license and use more tools/technology/IP.  


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#6
uaciaut

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Tell imaginary George Ziets to write them an imaginary reply! D:

#7
AwesomeOcelot

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I agree to some extent, some games more than others. Stretch goals like platform support, modding tools, paying developers more, I think should have priority in some genres of games. I wasn't a fan of the dungeons levels and extra classes as stretch goals in Project Eternity, I think designers should have control about that. In terms of the dungeon, you can just make each level smaller, so you have some room to manoeuvre.

 

I think RPGs are different in the way they scale to other types of games, adding more writers and more programmers scripting to.flesh out Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity isn't necessarily going to make a RPG bloated, it's going to make it awesome. 6 axis shooters within a large universe like Elite and Star Citizen will also scale really well, you're not going to ever fill up that world too much by adding too many content creators.

 

The Defense Grid team did a great and realistic campaign in terms of stretch goals, their model wouldn't have resulted in the problems Andy Schatz worries about. I hope people take note of that kind of planning, and apply it to future Kickstarter projects.

 

Double Fine Adventure is a classic example of not being able to deal with going above expectations, at least as a campaign. Double Fine I think just said "you trust us", we;ll do something with this money, and for the most part I and other backers trust them.

 

I don't know whether it's possible, but I'd like developers to stop the stretch goals when they're not sensible any more and just say, we'll use spill over for the next totally DRM-free project.



#8
Bartimaeus

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If I was under the presumption that the supporters designed the stretch goals, what he said would make total sense. Unfortunately, that's not so, and similarly, it does not make sense.


Edited by Bartimaeus, 29 January 2013 - 01:43 PM.


#9
moridin84

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Well it's true there are probably been a bunch of kickstarters which added stretch goals simply because they reached their target and wanted to give people reason to throw more money at them. On the other hand, there are also kickstarters which ask for the bare minimum and then use the stretch goals too add more cool stuff. 



#10
rjshae

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^^^^ This. I don't think adding stretch goals has become a well-defined science yet; most are probably the product of a b.s. (brainstorming) sessions, which produce ideas that may not scale proportionately in the budget sense.

 

I wasn't really enraptured by many of the stretch goals for PE, but I understand why others really like them. :)

 

We haven't had a poll yet to list our favorite stretch goals. Might be interesting to see what the results would be...



#11
Karkarov

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He is right to an extent.  Sitting your goal at 500k then saying at 600k you will add 3 new classes is ridiculous.  It doesn't cost 100k to add 3 more classes, also the 3 classes may not even be needed to begin with ultimately facing the potential of being poorly balanced.  Then something like "For another 100k we will add an entire new continent to our game and double play time!" on a game with a 500k goal seems ludicrous and unbelievable.  If you needed 500k for your base game how do you expect me to believe you will double it's size for only 100k more?

 

I have seen plenty of things like both these examples in multiple kickstarters and personally I think stretch goals are bad in and of themselves.  Devs should give a realistic money goal that is a real estimate of what they need not a "I think we can actually get this then hopefully we find real funding elsewhere" and then just say "If you give us more we will use that money to make the game better in a number of ways." 



#12
Wirdjos

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Other than things like adding George Ziets, I imagined that the stretch goals existed as a statement by the devs that this is the game they wanted to make and this is how much it will cost to make, as opposed to the game they could make with a more reasonable/reserved amount. I never felt like (with P:E, I don't have experience with kickstarter otherwise) things were being tacked on with stretch goals. There were some, again like Ziets, that seemed to be added as a response to fan requests, but also seemed to fit the game advertised. The others just seemed like less guarded optimism. I don't think they ever expected to get so much money to work with.


Edited by Wirdjos, 29 January 2013 - 05:28 PM.


#13
Alexjh

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He is right to an extent.  Sitting your goal at 500k then saying at 600k you will add 3 new classes is ridiculous.  It doesn't cost 100k to add 3 more classes, also the 3 classes may not even be needed to begin with ultimately facing the potential of being poorly balanced.  Then something like "For another 100k we will add an entire new continent to our game and double play time!" on a game with a 500k goal seems ludicrous and unbelievable.  If you needed 500k for your base game how do you expect me to believe you will double it's size for only 100k more?

 

I have seen plenty of things like both these examples in multiple kickstarters and personally I think stretch goals are bad in and of themselves.  Devs should give a realistic money goal that is a real estimate of what they need not a "I think we can actually get this then hopefully we find real funding elsewhere" and then just say "If you give us more we will use that money to make the game better in a number of ways." 

 

Well to be fair it depends on how much the first continent cost... If to take a very simplified version of things, if gameplay and engine cost £100k, Music and sound effects cost £100k, Story/characters cost £100k and monsters cost £100k, leaving £100k for the continent, if you are adding a new continent thats in line and you just prod the music/story/character/monster guys a bit to get them to keep up with the new content.

 

Games are produced in many chunks of art, design, writing, sound and code, and producing, say, an extra continent, doesn't necessarily draw from all of those equally.



#14
Lephys

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All stretch goals are BS!

 

Also... all words are lies! u_u


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#15
Pipyui

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All stretch goals are BS!

 

Also... all words are lies! u_u

Meaning that all words spell the truth, meaning that, now written, I can never again trust either statement or the words that make them!  Darn you, Lephys!

On another note, PE was my first experience with kickstarter, and the stretch goals seemed pretty legitimate to me.  You get more funding, you can introduce more stuff.  Except that final "make a better game" stretch goal.  Where was the money between this and the previous stretch goal going to go?  That one was a little BS.  I suppose they didn't want to outstretch themselves with too large an order though.

Hah!  Ahhhh... :mellow:


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#16
cyberarmy

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I ran across this article on PC gamer where Monaco designer Andy Schatz explains:

 

 

Kickstarter campaigns and the inclusion of stretch goals—promises made at tiers above the minimum funding goal—bluntly calling the latter “bulls***” and “the perfect way to make a game that’s insufficiently complete or bloated.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't content that can be created scale with development funds available? I mean, you can get a price quote for remodeling your home that includes a room by room breakdown. How many rooms you ultimately get remodeled would depend on how much is coming in that tax return.

 

I'm just curious where this guy's all-or-nothing ideology is coming from...

Butthurt is strong in this one.

 

Im waiting for KS project that includes him and going to paste this everywhere if it happens...



#17
Althernai

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Cut the guy some slack -- his mistake was merely in not qualifying his statements to restrict them to scenarios like his own. What he says makes sense for an indie dev who works with a budget of order $100K, is unlikely to get additional manpower for the task and is unwilling to delay the release of the product. It does not make any sense at all for a company with on the order of 100 people and a budget of millions of dollars because they can hire new personnel or reposition existing ones. The one point that he makes that more or less scales is that the game should be designed from the start with all of the features that it will have. This might apply to some types of games (adding stuff to Tetris or Pong generally does not improve them), but not RPGs where the scope of the game is limited by the budget and personnel.
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#18
Lephys

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Meaning that all words spell the truth, meaning that, now written, I can never again trust either statement or the words that make them!  Darn you, Lephys!
On another note, PE was my first experience with kickstarter, and the stretch goals seemed pretty legitimate to me.  You get more funding, you can introduce more stuff.  Except that final "make a better game" stretch goal.  Where was the money between this and the previous stretch goal going to go?  That one was a little BS.  I suppose they didn't want to outstretch themselves with too large an order though.
Hah!  Ahhhh... :mellow:

Haha. For what it's worth, I think that "make a better game" "stretch goal" was essentially just a guarantee/promise that they'll reserve that bit of money for extra QA testing and any other lower-priority additions or improvements they can think of, once the core game has been completed. Which, even if they WERE lying about, it'd be kinda hard to tell, without going back in time, denying them that last stretch-goal's worth of funding, then seeing how much testing and improvement went into the game, then comparing the two.

That might be about the only valid point the article ACCIDENTALLY grazed. Of course, if anything, that simply means less certainty, not MORE certainty (that stretch goals are lies.) 8P

#19
Tsuga C

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Stretch goals are only BS if they've offered too much for too little and can't include features because they've run out of time to implement them or release them with a good number of bugs because they lacked enough time to properly de-bug the stretch goals.

#20
Lephys

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^ Even then, they're not really BS, unless you can prove a complete lack of effort. I mean, they're called stretch "goals," not stretch "prophecies" or stretch "legally-binding contracts."





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