Star Citizen: Whale-sized expectations

There is only one option for Star Citizen at this point; it’s going to be a huge explosion.

Now, that explosion could be a birth of an awesome MMO, or it could give us the greatest rage bubble burst of all time. Allow me to explain.

There are a good number of people who are $1000+ into SC already. A lot of that money is for pre-release insured ships, something that may or may not be possible post-release. Now sure, some of this over-paying is just general good-faith for the game and handing the money over to help fund it. Like any Kickstarter initiative, you accept that when you give $100, the T-shirt you get in return is not outright worth $100.

But there is a serious gap between even a $100 offer and being $1000+ into something. For all but a few, $1000 is a decent chunk of change to drop on a whim, so just with the wallet vote these people have some very high expectations, both for what their pre-purchase money has bought them and the game in general. How great does SC have to be to make you feel that $1000+ was money well spent?

If SC is released and you love the hell out of it for three months, those at the $1000 level effectively paid a monthly sub fee of $333ish. There is no MMO out today, including EVE, that I would pay a monthly fee of $333 for. Sorry, but no game is THAT good. I’ve said in the past I’d gladly pay $100+ for a newer but equally-great version of Mount and Blade, and I happily paid/pay $30+ for EVE, but again, there is a GIANT gap between a few hundred bucks and numbers in the thousands.

So the question remains; how long will you have to enjoy the hell out of SC to make that $1000+ initial fee ‘worthwhile’? It’s only after the tenth month that your ‘sub rate’ drops below a hundred bucks per month, and of late, how many people have stayed subbed to a new MMO for that long? Its one thing to hope an upcoming game is good, it’s another to wallet-vote that it’s going to be so over-the-top awesome it’s the next WoW/EVE.

On top of that, how many of the SC whales expect their pre-release money to get them something significant in-game come release? Early access to alpha/beta is nice, some forum fluff is just that, but is that REALLY what drove the whales to spend? I doubt it, and some of the SC ‘hype’ has suggested buying now gets you something special come release. So how special does that have to be? And if it really is awesome stuff like ‘bound’ ships others can’t get, what impact will that have on everyone else? The market for P2W games is pretty limited last I checked (at least outside of Asia).

However it ultimately plays out, SC will be an interesting story to follow, given the odds and the expectations.

61 Responses to Star Citizen: Whale-sized expectations

  1. We have a couple people in our EVE corp who have dropped serious money into SC, over the $1,000 mark. Given how much money it is bringing in, I guess there is a strong demand in some segment of gaming for a more PvE-ish sandbox space simulator. Or whatever it is aiming to be. That isn’t quite clear to me.

    I have adopted a “tell me when it ships” policy on it at this point. I hope it comes out well, but I am fine letting somebody else fund it until then.

    • SynCaine says:

      Yea I haven’t followed it much other than the high-level stuff, but if SC is indeed a more PvE-sandbox of EVE, and it actually succeeds (big if), I could help pave the way for a more PvE-based fantasy sandbox.

      Someone should write up how that might work… (and then have SOE come in and screw it up)

      • Kamuka says:

        I’ve been loosely following SC, but never had any hopes, considering how utterly shit pretty much every single MMO has been for years.

        You calling it a PvE-sandbox made me read up on it. (Note that the website seems to be about selling shiny spaceships instead of informing about the game)

        The good news: Seems there are EvE like zones of high and low sec and there will be PvP.

        The bad news: This game is going to suck. Its downfall is going to have its own name like tortanic. EVERYTHING about it screams “we could have made a good single player game, but made a shitty MMO instead”.

        It starts with instancing. They opted to make the game pretty instead of good, so it can’t handle a lot of ships. The proposed instancing mechanics sound like the worst we have ever seen. Go and read up on them.

        I bet the economy is going to be insanely fucked up, especially as you apparently can buy ingame money with RL money.

        The list goes on…

        I’m looking forward to you posts shredding this piece of shit in the making.

        Sidenote: The hyped forum crowd seems to be even more oblivious than pre SWToR release.

        • ROCK MELTER says:

          Here are a few clarifications for you.

          There are 2 separate games being made. Squadron 42 is a single player game. Star Citizen is a multiplayer game.

          The instancing is actually “cloud computing”. Everything that is being done for Star Citizen is being created by “Cloud Imperium” Games http://www.cloudimperiumgames.com and being done in the cloud. This is not a new concept and has and is being used for years now. This is a good thing.

          The Economy will work differently then Eve’s will for the simple fact that it can not be manipulated or controlled like Eve’s currently can. How do I know this? It is something that I have been doing for years in game, since BETA in fact). Their economy model is different then Eve’s so it is not an Apples to Apples comparison.

          …and I am a very loyal Eve p[layer. I have multiple accounts, I am in one of the longest standing corporations in Eve and also in one of the longest running alliances in Eve. So please don’t dismiss my comments as “hyped” when they are clearly not :-)

        • Kamuka says:

          I’m well aware of Squadron 42. How does a tacked on single player game not reinforce what I said? I have little doubt that Squadron 42 is going to be a weekend worth of decent fun, although the flight physics of a Wing Commander like space shooter will suck compared to the 13 (?) years old IL2.

          What the fuck about the cloud computing? I do not give a fuck about the technical details. What do care about is that instancing is both a terrible and obsolete mechanic for persistent world games. When it came out it did fix some problems with camped boss fights etc, but it came at the high price of distorting immersion and social interactions and should now be abandoned for other solutions like shared credits for a boss fight kill. The SC solution seems kind of similar to what PotBS did in many ways. Just go and play that game to see the huge drawbacks. It also isn’t a design choice, but a consequence of using the wrong engine. Cry engine might look pretty, but large scale engagements would melt any hardware.

          How is the economy being different from EvEs a good thing? EvEs economy is probably the most functional in the world, definitely better than the RL one.

          Riddle me this:
          You fly around in SC and meet a friend. You board his ship and he boards yours. You both lost your ship and get insurance for it. Do you now magically have four ships? Won’t this lead to deflation?

          You can literally buy money in game with RL money. How will this not lead to inflation?

    • ROCK MELTER says:

      A “PvE-ish sandbox space simulator” is how Eve Online started out. Over the last decade it has changed into what it is today which is nothing like how it started. This is not a bad thing for either game and the fact that at the time of me writing this it is over 33 million I would say that a LOT of people agree.

  2. Jenks says:

    I’m in for $155 between my Freelancer and my wife’s Aurora LN. Of course, she just wants to ride the turret of the Freelancer, so the Aurora will be mine as well for when she’s offline :D

    Almost everything is obtainable in game. You can’t get lifetime insurance, but from everything I’ve read, insuring your ship will not be much different than Eve – as in, not a big deal at all. My excitement for SC is at a 10, but I wouldn’t spend any extreme money on it like the people you mention. In fact, the only reason I even have a Freelancer instead of an Aurora is so I can fly day 1 with my wife.

    All that said, I do have a RL friend who spent just about a thousand on it. I think excitement just gets a hold of some people and they want to play the game so badly that throwing money at it while they wait is a game in itself. More power to them – they’re making a game I really want to play even better.

  3. carson63000 says:

    $1000 would be in the ballpark of what I’ve spent on WoW. Something like five years of subscription plus the boxes. And while I’m perfectly happy with what I got for my $1000 there – it was my main leisure activity for literally five years – I can’t imagine ever being SO confident about something upfront that I’d put up that cash without even having a chance to play it.

  4. spacepilot says:

    The devs have said repeatedly that the only reason to pledge now is if you’re passionate enough about the game and/or Roberts to want to actively help fund development. There is no ‘buying now to get something special at release’ unless they go back on what they’ve said many times in that regard.

    Once you get past the $60 client cost or whatever it is, you’re not actually buying anything beyond faster access to the same ships that Joe Blow launch-day purchaser will be able to grind for. It’s literally a donation.

  5. Krel says:

    I am in the $1000+ group for SC. I have been waiting for this game since I played the original Wing Commander games up through Privateer which came out in 93 or 94. The first MMO I signed up for was EVE, in 2008 or so – but I want to FLY my ship, that was the biggest letdown for me. The way I see it, I’m risking a chunk of cash for the possibility that SC will be the game I’ve been waiting twenty years for, and that’s 100% worth it to me.

    It also appears I’m not the only one, considering how much money they’ve raised.

    • kalex716 says:

      If it pays off its worth it to you, or just gambling on the dream of a game so good/enjoyable/enriching, its worth the 1000 bucks?

      Like people who play scratch offs.

  6. Mekhios says:

    We’re very exited about this game. Between clan members we have pledged probably $50,000 plus.

    • Billy says:

      I love you guys for doing that.

      I bought the cheapest package with Alpha access. I will get to play a much better game because people like you donated crazy money to the development.

      I can then buy all these ships with in game credits in a few months :-) You get them a little earlier but we all get them in the end.

      I think the ones who will cry are the ones who think that because a ship cost $1000 now that its will be a stupidly hard grind to get. It wont :-)

      • Krel says:

        I don’t think they’ve talked too much about how grindy it’s going to be to afford ships, have they? I know the $1 = 1000 credits has been kicked around, and that “ships cost backers less than they’ll cost in-game” but that doesn’t tell us all that much.

        Frankly, CIG may not have figured that out yet. I expect you’re right, tho – there will be cries of “It’s too grindy! There’s not enough grind!” no matter what they choose to do. :)

        And, I am very VERY happy that everything will be available in-game. Offering credits for real money (aka EVE’s PLEX, etc.) is a good way to handle it – I am ok with PLEX and I am ok with this.

  7. kalex716 says:

    People are going to learn a lot about game development as they watch this project go from start to…. wherever-it-ends-up.

    I’ve been in the games industry for not a particularly long period of time, only since 2006. But I’ve never worked on a single game, that ever looked exactly like the game that was pitched in the original design documents. In fact, the only ones that ever stayed close to the initial visions, were ones that got cancelled due to being over time, over scoped, and over budget.

    Most of the stuff in video game design docs, gets cut, rescoped, re imagined, or “post poned indefinitely”. Its risky enough just telling people about all these lofty scribblings on word docs, its something else entirely to monetize them.

    They can’t possibly know right now with where they are at in pre-production, if most of what they want to do will ever make it into a final product some day, but are collecting mountains of money just to try.

    That takes balls.

    • spacepilot says:

      Why do the lofty scribblings need to be “monetized?” What happened to build a game and sell it for 60 bucks or 100, if you want to argue inflation?

      That’s something I don’t get about this new generation of devs. Make a fun game for a targeted audience (i.e., stop trying to sell it to soccer moms and sandbox nuts simultaneously) and “monetization” will happen because a good game will sell to its intended audience. Especially with Steam and the like where it’s easier than ever for people to discover games that lack AAA marketing.

      I’m sure someone will say “games cost a lot more money to make now” and my answer to that is why. Why do they cost more to make when they’re not as full-featured as games that were made long ago? Is it graphics? Maybe the devs and executives are overpaid? Maybe there are too many games being made, and the reality of such a bloated industry is that it’s not supportable/sustainable anymore?

      Or maybe none of that, I’m not a dev. But I do get tired of hearing devs say we can’t do that, we can’t do this, it’s too expensive and boo hoo when in fact the games made in the past have more and better features than the games being made currently.

      I can’t prove this but one reason I feel like people are throwing money at Roberts is because he doesn’t sit there and talk about monetization and what he can’t do and how unrealistic all the expectations are. He talks about the kickass game he wants to play and make.

      The fact that they are collecting mountains of money just to try speaks volumes about 1. how much nostalgia there is for a Roberts game and 2. how shitty the casual-obsessed game industry has become for old school players.

      • kalex716 says:

        Dude, he is selling people snake oil at this point.

        The likelyhood of him delivering on the dreams he’s propagating in order for people to drop 1000 bucks on crap in a cash shop THAT DOESN’T EVEN EXIST YET is the biggest exploit i’ve ever seen a game company do. I know thats not his aim. He wants to make good on his lofty visions, but every game developer thats ever failed has wanted the same thing. But games fail all the time, for hundreds of reasons, and they are not always solved by money. The scope on this is too huge out of the gate.

        At least when you buy a 60 dollar pet in a normal F2P game, you actually get a pet.

        Right now, all you get from CR is the promise he might be able to make it in a videogame in the next few years, maybe, if we of course keep giving him money. All they have, is some primitive tech, an engine they are licensing, and a bunch of design doc ideas for a videogame.

        I can pick 5 random people on this blog, buy some pizza, and a sack of weed and in a weekends time we’d have design docs for a pretty bad ass video game too. The ideas are the easiest part. Execution is everything.

        • ROCK MELTER says:

          Star Citizen is running on the CryEngine which is a proven gaming engine with a proven gaming platform. So the game engine, the Star Engine already exists.

          How do we know this? The first version that is playable is usable CryEngine right now in the alpha hangar release. The next release is going to be out in a few weeks. So this is a proven technology not snake oil.

          How do we know he can deliver?

          When a person wants to build a new movie and they want to use Kodak Film to produce that movie on do you question the fact that the movie can not be produced? Of course you don’t. Movies are produced every week and you go to the movies to see them just like a lot others do. If you don’t then perhaps you should :-)

          …and while your at it download the hangar module for Star Citizen and you would already know that the game engine works…

          ANYWAYS…

          Design is NOT the easiest part and Cloud Imperium games http://www.cloudimperiumgames.com has hired some of the best people in the world to do each part of the game to make sure that it does NOT become anything close to what your implying.

          Here is some proof for you since people like you seem to or tend to need such things.

          “John Likens, fresh off his design of “Iron Man 3” HUDs, walks us through his design process for the Star Citizen ship HUDs. UI designer, Zane Bien, and UI programmer, Brandon Evans discuss their contributions.”

          https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/13402-Inside-CIG-Developing-The-HUD

          This is just one example of many that the money is being well spent and that we will get something other then “snake oil”.

          Hope that helps you in understanding more of what you did not in the beginning. Have fun reading and catch you in “the verse” :-)

        • kalex716 says:

          Yes Rock, any first year student in game design school can get their hands on CryEngine, or Unreal, or any out of the box engine today and upload a tech demo with a dude running around an empty environment thats got walkable collision places in the scene in a weekend.

          That doesn’t mean they’re going to be able to make a fully featured, fully imagined, sci fi institution out of it.

          More movies fail to see the light of day, than ones that actually make it into the movie theatres.

          And likewise, more video games fail to ship as final products, than ones that make it all the way to publish.

          Do you know why? Because its really really hard to do. And the more crap you try to do, it gets exponentially harder.

          Fancy tech demo’s are nice, but when this thing has to start functioning like an actual video game, then we can judge it.

    • ROCK MELTER says:

      Very well put and I agree 100%

      The difference with SC’s approach is that they have the funding up front so that removes the lack of money or post poned problems that have effected others in the past.

      On top of that this is not being made from scratch. This is being made on an existing game engine. The tech behind this already exists and is proven. So the largest hurdle is already overcome.

      • kalex716 says:

        Actually most tripple AAA games get an approved budget for a development plan up front, the dev’s and publishers agree is enough to get them to completion.

        Very few have to drum up funds out of the indy sector during development.

        However, when plans fail, and features flounder, and things don’t work out the way you want to, money starts running out…. Then, developers have to drum up more interest, and get funding from their publisher again, or from other investors…. This is when things start to go bad.

        By this time next year, expect SC to be asking for more development money.

        If a project doesn’t get back on track at this point, it usually topples over, like that curt schilling project, and fails under its own poor development practices, and mismanagement.

        • Billy says:

          I doubt that SC will have too many financial problems.

          The original features planned were budgeted for $21M. They are currently sitting at $34. While he has added to the features, he has been pretty smart about it. 1/he said they all wont be in at release. 2/ many of them are self contained and wont affect development. New ships/motion capture studio/that machine to record peoples faces etc.

          Unless the dog fighting module proves to be awefull I can see them pushing $75 – $100M by release.

  8. Mekhios says:

    “That takes balls.” – Agree. And to be honest Chris Roberts is the exact type of visionary who could actually pull this off.

    • Krel says:

      I’ve actually never played a scratch-off lottery ticket. I played the regular “bingo ball” type lottery once back in college, when a bunch of us put $5 each into a common buy, we lost. :) Aside from that, I’ve never played the lottery, and I really don’t enjoy gambling. My wife is a pretty good poker player, though. :)

      A major part of the reason I’m willing to take this risk is Chris Roberts. As Mekhios said, he’s a visionary, and I am trusting his vision and drive to make this game happen. I’m a computer developer myself, although not in the gaming industry, and I know all about scope creep. I know the game isn’t going to be able to meet every single goal they’ve put forward, but I believe they’ll meet enough of them to where I’ll be satisfied with my investment.

  9. Dinsdale Pirannha says:

    It appears there are a lot people that love space-based games that also hate the current state of null sec cartels online, and are willing to blow huge coin on the small chance that it is better than Eve.

    CCP should take notice at the passion of hate for null sec cartels online (34 million and counting, which is 4 or 5 months of subs for Eve), for a game that has delivered nothing so far.

    What happens if the game is actually really good? I have spent nothing on SC so far, but am really hoping it is great, and CCP is very quickly left with their CFC friends, and the rest of the cartels, and no one else.

    • Mekhios says:

      @Dinsdale Pirannha
      Love the crazies that pop in here. BTW there are lot’s of people who don’t even play EVE who are supporting Star Citizen. SC is not a competitor to EVE anyway. You’re comparing a click-based one-second statistics based combat rule game (EVE) to an action combat simulator emphasizing location based physics and damage models.

      Null sec cartels have absolutely nothing to do with it. I see both games complementing each other and my pirate corp will continue to play EVE and also Star Citizen when it is released.

      • screecwe says:

        I disagree with Stat Citizen not being a competitor. While the games are almost entirely different types, enough of the background genre crosses over. There are a lot of people who got into EVE because they love Space Sci-Fi and there was nothing else out there worth playing in that genre. You’re going to see a decent sized chunk of population leave EVE once the SC beta starts going, IMHO, and even more come release. I’d guess 30%-35%.

        • ROCK MELTER says:

          I got into Eve at Beta because Earth and Beyond was ending. Eve was the ONLY other choice at that time that was a space themed MMO. It was NOTHING like EnB but it WAS space based. I don’t remember the exact numbers of people that came from EnB at that time but it was not a small number.

          Anyways, those people, and it seems 323,950 others so far agree that they are looking for an EnB type game. That is not a small amount of people. You have to agree that is a descent amount of interest!

          I never joined Eve for the PvP and in the beginning Eve was not pitched for that reason. Over the years that is what CCP has made it’s focus towards which it is not a bad thing since IT IS their game. It is just not what I am focused on. I think that Eve will loose a “chunk” as you say. They will be loosing my accounts, family accounts, some friends, corp and alliance folks so yes indeed a CHUNK.

  10. Halycon says:

    The game can’t live up to it’s expectations. It simply can’t in the time allowed. His design document calls for years worth of development. What he’s selling is the idea of something that’s 5-6 years of continued development away after initial release. The new grand idea of Space Colonization in Eve is 5 years away, and CCP spends more on development every year for Eve than just about anyone in the MMO industry does. Granted CCP could probably do it in half that if they weren’t also spending time on balancing and refactoring old assets, but.. CCP doesn’t also have to build all of the base mechanics like the combat model, the market system, or the physics engine from scratch. Roberts does. A finished and completed Star Citizen with the visual fidelity it’s going for is a 100million multi-year development game and it’s not going to get it. Whatever is released on Day 1 is going to be what everyone looks at and compares to the promises made.

    What I’m afraid of is that entire segments of the game’s hypothetical user base is going to find out that the features that are making their little nerd hearts go pitter pat and causing them to open up there wallets won’t be there till years after initial release. And then Roberts & Co are going to have a very large problem, do they try to develop to all the promises they’re currently making.. or do they develop toward the playerbase they’ll have after launch who are actually paying them money.

    And let’s not even go into the development hurdles that are going to slam into Star Citizen once it makes contact with the players. On the surface the game is just a Space Combat Sim, but once you open up the scope of battles and ship types it’s going for.. no one has ever built a game like it before. It’s got a year worth of balancing issues to figure out after initial release which aren’t going to be sorted in Beta because those type of issues are never solved in Beta.

    Granted, nowhere in any of that am I saying the base game can’t be good. It could very well end up being the greatest Space Combat Sim ever made. But Star Citizen is aiming be much more than a Space Combat Sim, and it isn’t going to get anywhere near it’s aim by initial release.

    • Mekhios says:

      Roberts has stated the development will be ongoing even after the release of the initial Star Citizen MMO module in late 2014 / early 2015. As to if he can do it with a 34 million budget that is a good question and only time will tell.

      My feeling is as long as he continues to engage closely with the SC community and be open and realistic about development goals the community will continue to support him.

      • Halycon says:

        Yes, he has to keep developing after initial release. I said that. But whatever he releases with is what the game will be judged on and what people will subscribe/play with. It’s Peter Molyneux Syndrome, the worst sin in game development is over promsing and under delivering. Even if the game you release is brilliant in it’s own right, no one cares.

        And Roberts isn’t planning on doing it with a 34 million budget. If he did the thing wouldn’t be released till 2018-2019 when everything he promised would be in the game is done. The figure he’s aiming at is closer to the 100million number I quoted.

        Star Citizen is going to burn a whole lot of people. It’s been wildly successful at gathering money through crowdfunding, easily the most successful project in crowdfunding history. But it’s done that by promising a dream game to a whole lot of different player groups. And there is no way, at all, it can deliver on those promises in a timely maner.

        And it’s the “timely maner” piece that is key. It doesn’t matter if Roberts actually does plan on finishing everything at some point down the road. What everyone is going to remember on release day and the days after is what THEY wanted the game to be isn’t there yet. Even with all the messaging in the world, when someone’s sunk $1000 or of their personal money into a project they are going to be very angry when they are told that their $1000 isn’t as important as someone elses $1000 and they’ll have to wait 2-3 years. All the goodwill in the world is going to go right out the airlock.

        And why? For the same reason you don’t loan money to your friends. At some point down the road you’re going to have to decide which is more important, the money you gave your friend, or your friend. And money is going to win out.

        • Mekhios says:

          The money pledged is already gone. Roberts can close up shop tomorrow and not owe anyone anything beyond the hangar module which fulfilled the conditions of the Kickstarter.

          If people are not in this for the long haul then they shouldn’t have pledged any money. If they are not prepared to show patience over the 2-3 years it takes to develop this game then they shouldn’t have pledged any money. If they are not prepared to see the project mature and develop over the next 5+ years they definitely shouldn’t have pledged any money.

          If they thought otherwise then they have no one else to blame except themselves.

        • Halycon says:

          Have you ever dealt with customer service, ever? It does not matter if something will be done two years from now or tomorrow, all people ever care about is that it isn’t done now. For the time being the game hasn’t released yet, everyone is still looking at the bright shiny that “Will be”. But the moment it flips from “Will be” to “Is”, the vast majority of people are going to be angry that the part they are interested in being “Is” isn’t.

          Normally in game development when a feature gets pushed back or cut it isn’t a big deal, a publisher paid for the development and they aren’t out anything more than a wasted hope. But now real people have put up 34million into development of this game. And you’re flat kidding yourself if you think people who are perfectly okay with the “long haul” idea now aren’t going to be angry when what they want is 2 years out after initial release date.

          Crowd funded initiatives have already been sued for less. Star Citizen is not a happy happy field of flowers. And if you think it is, you’ve never picked up a history book or spent any time looking at human nature.

          I don’t mean to be doom and gloom, but some of the things here are so nievely optimistic I almost feel I need to be to even it out.

        • spacepilot says:

          “And you’re flat kidding yourself if you think people who are perfectly okay with the “long haul” idea now aren’t going to be angry when what they want is 2 years out after initial release date”

          Actually you’re kidding yourself when you presume to speak for anyone who isn’t you. If I never get to play anything beyond the current hangar module, that’s ok. Disappointing sure, but angry about it? Lol. No.

          Crowdfunding is a gamble, and anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that from the start deserves to lose their money with no fun in return. Conversely if I lose the disposable income I gave Roberts, it’s no different than the disposable income I’ve lost betting on the Giants.

          Bottom line is that I’d rather give ambitious devs my money and have them fail with it than give my money to devs who think remaking WoW over and over again (or making casual/social games) is a good idea.

          Positive change happens by doing/supporting something different, not by saying oh that will never work. And the MMO space is overdue for positive change.

    • screecwe says:

      Erm…he’s already pointed out numerous times that some features/components are meant to be there on release, and others are going to be pushed out post-release in order of importance.

      • kalex716 says:

        screecwe, is anybody keeping track specifically of these features?

        I would love to see a thread on their forum and watch with popcorn the fireworks that take place as the userbase tries to prioritize them according to the widely varied whims of the expectant.

    • dsj says:

      I’d be worried that if SC fails dramatically with a huge crash and disappointment that the entire process of using crowd funding for games could very well go down with it. Unlike a big developer taking a loss on a game and directing there anger and firing the studio people, here you have thousands of fans that go from happy promoters to mad-as-hell haters in an instant if things so south. That anger could very well be directed to all kickstarter projects in game development rather than being limited to SC.

      • kalex716 says:

        Theirs a reason why publishers like a sure thing….. And its not because they hate innovation, its because they’ve been burned time and time again on the lofty dreams of ambitious nonesense.

        • Mekhios says:

          Unfortunately publishers also like to give us trash like Call Of Duty and Sims Online. At least being independent gives developers free will to develop whatever they want. They propose the plan to the customer directly and we decide if we want to help crowdfund the game. Plenty of Kickstarters have failed because the public had no interest. It is a good barometer of what people actually want to play.

        • kalex716 says:

          Publishers like cames like Call of Duty, and the Sims because they are both well understood games to develop to, and well understood games by the community to buy.

          They are safe investments. On the other hand, ambitious dream games, that are trying to be sci fi institutions are exponentially more likely to fail at every turn. Thats why they don’t like spending their money on em.

          People don’t understand that yet. Enter SC, where fans are dropping thousands of bucks on the mere “idea” of a video game.

    • kalex716 says:

      Said this better than I could. I agree with you 100%.

    • ROCK MELTER says:

      I whole hardheartedly disagree. The game engine is already developed and proven. The rest is just design and rendering time. Nothing different then they do for movies or television. Add to the fact that they already have the first part of the game usable and working on the next part which will be released soon for testing it is exactly on schedule. So please get your facts correct before you choose to distort them. Remember, there are proven game engines being used here with people that know what they are doing while doing all the programming. This is not a bunch of noobs here toying with an idea, this is a group of gaming and movie professionals that are making a product from proven tools.

      • kalex716 says:

        You know nothing about game development. Or the engine they bought.

        Licensing an engine is only the start of your process. Its not a fully functioning “video game builder” in a box like you imagine it. In fact its hardly a boon considering what these guys are taking on. They have such lofty visions of space game, but also shooters inside ships, and on planets, they would actually be better off hiring brilliant engineers to make a custom engine to actually pull off what they want. I would actually think they have a better shot of success than using a pre fab engine.

        Graphics programmers will still have to write tens of thousands and thousands of lines of custom codes, custom renderer support, custom memoray stuff, and tons of optimizations. X1000 for this game thats trying to be so many things at once….

        Gameplay programmers, have to write every single feature outside of the base shooter stuff crytek ships with, all custom to their design specifications.

        Online programmers are going to have to spends thousands and thousands of hours writing tech to handle sharded home MMO style servers, but also client side servers and stuff for the “personal” ones they want to support.

        Tools programmers are going to have to write tons and tons of custom apps and editor functionality to accomodate and support all of the above.

        I could go on and on. That engine doesn’t save them squat.

        • ROCK MELTER says:

          Clearly you did not even take the time to look at anything that I linked for you. I tried very hard to give you the proof that you wanted but I can only guess as to why you would not even take the time to look at it. Either way it is your choice :-)

          I will not troll or debate with you what I know and what I don’t know as it would also do no good for you since you already have your mind made up. I totally apologize for wasting your time but hopefully I did not waste anyone else’s.

          Facts are that they have hired some of the best AND the best people out there for this job. Some of these big names like “John Likens” have already help create hundreds of millions of dollars for other projects. This is not made up stuff here but PROVEN facts.

          Anyways…I hope you find a game you like :-)

  11. red says:

    I’d drop 500 to play another MMO like vanilla wow.

    It confuses to this day why with all the money they were making that they didn’t fork wow into the wow sandbox and wow the theme park. Wow the sandbox was quite acidental from what i can tell. Share resorces between the two and make even more money in the long run.

  12. Kyff says:

    Well, it’s not really the fault of Star Citizen if the funders don’t get enough enjoyment out of their investment. Each and every one of them should be able to calculate what an investment of US$ 1,000 means in terms of monthly subsciption. Especially taking into account that you could invest the amount into a real business and pay the subscription from the dividends/interest while keeping the capital.

    • Mekhios says:

      Most people aren’t that smart/business savvy. On a side note I compared what I have spent on Star Citizen to World of Tanks. I’ve spent twice as much on WoT. ;)

  13. Mig says:

    I am honestly surprised there are not more games drawing these $1000+ contributions. So many adult professionals grew up playing video games. We spend ridiculous amounts of money on our other other hobbies, such as golf. There are also many “nerdy” activities that allow for higher cash sinks like Magic and Heroclix. I would also pay well over 30 a month, and I doubt we are alone.

    • Krel says:

      that’s a very good point. I fall into this category myself – I don’t play golf, but I have had a number of expensive hobbies, from building an off-road truck to RC airplanes to skydiving to computer gaming – in fact I would say that computer gaming is probably the least expensive hobby that I’ve had a major investment of time and money in.

    • Mekhios says:

      There is the “perfect storm” element for Star Citizen. Right place, right time, right target audience, right game. That target audience are the core pledgers who loved the Wing Commander games as young kids. That core target audience also has cash to burn and are mostly older gamers now.

      Some people have pledged upwards of $28K+. For many of us money is not an issue. We’re pledging for the Chris Roberts dream of star filled vistas and walking in spaceships. That dream must be infectious since 320,000 Citizens have joined and the RSI website is still generating upwards of $5,000 per hour.

      My feeling is that people either “get it” or “don’t get it”. If people are looking at this game purely from the persective of return of investment then they definitely don’t get it. On the other hand if you are pledging for the dream enjoy the ride for what will become the most impressive game to be released in over 10 years.

  14. zaphod6502 says:

    @Kamuka
    Do you feel personally offended that Star Citizen is in development? Or that it may threaten EVE? (It won’t). EVE players will continue to play EVE and SC players will play SC, There will be some crossover because some of us want to try something new and interesting. Amazing how the concepts of SC bring up so much anger in people.

    • Krel says:

      yeah, I don’t understand this either. If you don’t want to play SC, or you think it’s a pipe dream that will never happen, then don’t buy in. Could the project fail? Sure. Could it be crap? Of course. I just don’t get why people who aren’t interested in backing the possibility – taking a risk, for sure – get so worked up over it.

    • kalex716 says:

      Its one of the more interesting projects going right now in the entire games industry.

      That incites discussion and or argument.

  15. Krel says:

    here’s a couple of articles that relate directly to the discussion we’ve been having here, both interesting reading.

    http://www.tentonhammer.com/opinions/the-cult-of-star-citizen

    https://www.tentonhammer.com/features/interviews/chris-roberts-responds-to-cult-of-star-citizen

    • SynCaine says:

      Read the second piece, and based just on that, my doubts increase about the game. Just adding more people doesn’t directly translate to more work being done on a project, especially software, and he is strongly implying that’s how they are avoiding scope creep (also he tries to change the definition by saying since they don’t have a release date (even though they do…) adding more stuff is not scope creep, when it still is).

      Thanks for the links, good stuff.

      • Krel says:

        Yes and no – I’m a software developer although not a game programmer, I’ve been doing it for about 15 years now (since college, anyway. :) ) so I’ve been involved in lots of software projects over the years. You’re right, just adding additional bodies to a project doesn’t always mean more work is being done; however, if what you’re doing is modular, especially if it’s VERY modular, it can make a big difference. In the case of SC, there are a bunch of separate pieces that make sense to break out.

        Some examples – if you’re designing, say, ten different ships, you might have five different guys doing that work. Want to do twenty ships? If you hire five more guys, they’re not trying to do the same work as your first five – it’s similar, but separate distinct stuff that can be done in parallel.

        Another example, on a larger scale, is the Squadron 42 game itself., SQ42 is the Wing Commander style game that’s sort of the precursor to the SC online universe. It’ll use many of the same assets as SC itself but it has its own storyline, mission structure, etc, like a WC game. It’s being done by a studio in the UK – they’ll plug in pieces that are built for SC as appropriate, but it’s separate development. You could say the same about some other areas, ie. the economic engine, that sort of thing.

        Scope creep is always an issue, and I think they have definitely had some. Many things are less “creepy” than they look, though. If they continually add new gameplay features, that’s not so good. SC needs to lock down the core that it’s harder to add additional developers to, and I hope they’re doing that, but it is a little hard to tell sometimes. As much as I’d love to see planetary flight it would be a bad choice for a stretch goal. Maybe for SC 2.0, in a few years.

        On the other hand, if having extra money allows you to accelerate development in ways like I described above, ie. hiring more people to do asset development, that’s a good thing, and many of their goals have been of this type – “unlock the Origin 890 Jump, a luxury yacht, blah blah blah.” Costs 100K to design (guessing, I don’t really know how much it costs to design a virtual space ship ;) ), and it’s a reasonable goal.

        It seems to me that most of the stretch goals were simply things they’d already planned to do, it’s just a way to gamify the crowdfunding.

  16. Xavier Melhoff says:

    After reading all the comments , my conclusion is that I don’t agree with any of them. Star Citizen is basically a boat with a hole in it that requires vast amounts of money. For what is the need of so much funding? 75% is pocekted as profit under the guise of donations. 25% is used for game development, t-shirts, coffee mug promotional items. When you purchase this game, it won’t just cost you 40$ MSRP. You have to pay for the electric use to run your PC, 200-500 watts every day. The snacks you have to consume to maintain caloric intake required to keep your head up and brain functions processing many computations. This could be many hours seated in front of computer. Also, consider the cost of detergent to wash clothes that have been exposed to perspiration due to intense moments in gameplay. Washing clothes will increase 3 fold weekly. Is it really worth it to spend so much money on a digital experience? In conlusion, Star Ciizen will fail due to pressure from congress to introduce a bill to curtail hedonism. We have seen this happen in the past which resulted in mass protests, looting, riots in Asian countries when the outbreak of popular game titles emerged. Society is not ready for this and crowdfunding by people with no moral compass will continue despite the warnings and a game doomed to fail for lack of meeting high expectations.

    Another view is this game is a like a coiled piece of canine excrement waiting to be stepped on by a deep tread work boot. This results in difficulty to extracate the impacted doody within the treads by scraping it on the corner of a curb. Furthermore, using the nearby grass as a brush to under-tickle chunks will fail. What needs to be done to remove copius amounts of this coprolite is use of a stick or cooking utensil to gauge out the brown mass from inbetween the deep treads. It takes many attempts. This process mirrors the experience anyone will have with Star Citizen.

    No legitamate reason a game should cost many millions to develop. The designers are only paid 25k per annum. They churn out sub-par in-game objects. Of course the game owner keeps 95% in pocket and disappears. Can’t be mad at him because you only donated to game without any contract to receive anything. This is possibly the main reason there are so many airplane accidents and high rates of alcoholism.

    These things happen and people don’t realize it’s too late when it’s already happened. Best example would be walking into a custom made balloon shop. You look for the big blue brown ones and just want to fill them up with air and let it out. Not realizing you are really looking for lobster and have a desire to lick them and juxtaposing the urge to the balloons. You are then conflicted with licking the ballons or the lobsters and due to frustration you smack the lobster off the table. You see how that works? Crowdfunding is dangerous and risky. You can lose and feel dumb later for a long long time.

  17. Ronald says:

    More like a whale sized dump

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