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Development Info Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #26: Placating the Angry Mob

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

In conjunction with the launching of the Torment Kickstarter, inXile have published a Wasteland 2 Kickstarter update to placate those who might be upset about the fact that they've begun to develop a second game before finishing the first one. Here's an excerpt:

To those outside the industry, it might seem odd to launch another Kickstarter before Wasteland 2 is done. We understand that it raises some questions, and we want our Wasteland 2 backers to understand the decision and to have access to all the information that has led us down this path. The goal of this update is not to convince you to back Torment; the goal of this update is to answer one simple question. Why now?

One of the keys to success for a small game company is being able to create continuity within the development team. It takes a long time to get a team put together, and it takes an even longer time for a team to settle in to new working relationships, a new engine, new systems, and a new asset creation pipeline. A team’s knowledge and experience grows a lot during a development cycle, and all of that knowledge gained is lost if we let the team break up when a project ships. To address that issue we have developed a very simple strategy that has already worked for us on dozens of titles in the last 25 years. Here is a quick explanation of our development team-structure philosophy:​

inXile, with all of our internal employees and outside contractors, consists of enough people to be considered about the size of a team and a half. This is by design. We always want a small and efficient team (the “half team”) to design both our product and our product development plan. This is called pre-production. It is the most important time in a project’s life cycle. This is the time when we want to make sure we slow down and get it right. During this phase we don't need all the engineers and 3D Artists on the project, it is mostly concept art, design and dialog writing. When this process is completed and we are ready to roll into full production we want to have a large team of people ready to make the game. If the planning was done well during the pre-production phase we can be very efficient during production and leave ourselves with plenty of time to iterate and make amazing games. If there is no pre-production done, and the full team is trying to create the design and development plan as they go, months, if not years, are wasted. Having a full team try to start a project when the pre-production has not been completed is like stacking up a giant pile of money and lighting it on fire. This same philosophy served us quite well at Interplay in creating some of the best RPGs of all time.​

It's a thoughtful gesture (and also a good way to advertise the Torment Kickstarter to any of the Wasteland 2 backers who might not have heard of it yet, heh heh). Of course, it doesn't look like this issue is bothering as many people as we might have assumed, if the new Kickstarter's performance is any indication.
 

Kem0sabe

Arcane
Joined
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Location
Azores Islands
It´s a good strategy to run their company, i know this well enough directing projects, even if you are leaking money, you should have your people working and multitasking on other projects, it optimizes returns down the line.
 

Oesophagus

Arcane
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Well I'm guessing the work on W2 now consists of implementing into the engine. And anyway, Fargo getting dat jewgold can only be good
 

TripJack

Hedonist
Joined
Aug 9, 2008
Messages
5,132
It's a underhanded shit strategy from where I'm sitting. This is a company that has never proven itself, a company that never made a quality game. I see a more likely explanation for launching this project before finishing W2: they are afraid that W2 will turn out to be a disappointing heap of shit and that no one will ever want to give them jewgolds again.
 

Infinitron

I post news
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Codex Year of the Donut Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
It's a underhanded shit strategy from where I'm sitting. This is a company that has never proven itself, a company that never made a quality game. I see a more likely explanation for launching this project before finishing W2: they are afraid that W2 will turn out to be a disappointing heap of shit and that no one will ever want to give them jewgolds again.

Does that demo look like a heap of shit to you? If not, apply Occam's Razor.
 

Wizfall

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Yep the W2 demo is good.
I hope they will not lose focus on W2 though because it"s still my favorite expected game.
 

Jaesun

Fabulous Ex-Moderator
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Yep the W2 demo is good.
I hope they will not lose focus on W2 though because it"s still my favorite expected game.

All the people they need to work on WL2 at this stage are already full steam ahead. The people that have finished work on it don't have anything right now, er didn't have anything until the Torment KS when insane.
 

Wizfall

Cipher
Joined
Oct 3, 2012
Messages
816
Yep the W2 demo is good.
I hope they will not lose focus on W2 though because it"s still my favorite expected game.

All the people they need to work on WL2 at this stage are already full steam ahead. The people that have finished work on it don't have anything right now, er didn't have anything until the Torment KS when insane.
Yea i have read the update.
But you know if Torment raise more than W2...i just hope it will not "shadow" W2 especially since some money raise in the kickstart come from W2 offer.
Moreover i think you always need to make quick fix/adjustment during development so i hope the "other team" will still be very available or "into W2 mood" to do it.
 

BobtheTree

Savant
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Nov 22, 2011
Messages
389
Makes complete sense. Why fire people when you can have them prepare the next game for the team? You keep employees who are happy with job stability, you reduce bottle-necking the macro workflow of game development and deliver your next product sooner to your fanbase. Smart from both a creative and business end.

And it's been a year since inXile's Wasteland 2 kickstarter. I don't think that is an unreasonable amount of time to begin prepping their next project.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Lost Hills bunker
Makes complete sense. Why fire people when you can have them prepare the next game for the team? You keep employees who are happy with job stability, you reduce bottle-necking the macro workflow of game development and deliver your next product sooner to your fanbase. Smart from both a creative and business end.

And it's been a year since inXile's Wasteland 2 kickstarter. I don't think that is an unreasonable amount of time to begin prepping their next project.

o_O

Has it been a year already??? :what:

Seems like yesterday to me... Damn.
 

hiver

Guest
It's a thoughtful gesture (and also a good way to advertise the Torment Kickstarter to any of the Wasteland 2 backers who might not have heard of it yet, heh heh). Of course, it doesn't look like this issue is bothering as many people as we might have assumed, if the new Kickstarter's performance is any indication.

Of course it isnt bothering that many people :D
Now.

-edit- not because of money. because that post is there.
 
Joined
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Lost Hills bunker
I don't see why would this bother anyone... In inXile, I see, my beloved Troika, only with better business savvy! They have heart and intent to make deep, complex rpgs, just like Troika, without catering to the lowest common denominator. And who knows how many great games can they produce before they too ultimately kick the bucket... :(
 

Anthony Davis

Blizzard Entertainment
Developer
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Messages
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Brian is telling the truth. Obsidian and other smaller game companies have a similar process.

The difference here is that Brian is coming to the fans and the gaming community to fund their next project instead of publishers. If a game developer is not constantly securing funding for future projects, they sink. Failure to secure funding for future projects means that you have to lay people off and start all over again once you do secure funding. This means hiring new people, teaching them how things are done at the company, learning on the job, learning to work together, all that crap HAS to be done and it has a very real cost. It is far more preferable to only have to do it once.

Ideally, your game company's development flow goes something like this:

PROJECT A, PHASE 1 - Creating the game pitch.
Very small team, maybe even just one person, though it could be a handful.

PROJECT A, PHASE 2 - Pre-Production, figuring out HOW you are going to make the game.
At this point, the game has been funded. A small number of Artists, Programmers, Designers and Producers begin working on creating the pipeline for the creation of the game. This is also where tricky development areas are tested and potential hazards are identified. This could even involve creating a proof of concept or a demo, sometimes known as a vertical slice. This phase is also where a lot of your tools are created or explored.

PROJECT A, PHASE 3 - Full Production.
The team should be full at this point. Everyone you need it on board and working towards a clear and final goal. The few individuals from PHASE 1 are usually done at this point and can be rolled off to the next project.

PROJECT B, PHASE 1 - Creating the game pitch.
Occurring concurrently with PHASE 3 of PROJECT A.

PROJECT A, PHASE 4 - Polish.
The people from PHASE 2 should now also be rolling off onto the next project. The people remaining at the point are usually some content developers and mostly programmers. Fixing bugs and polishing areas are the priority.

PROJECT B, PHASE 2 - Pre-Production, figuring out HOW you are going to make the game.
Occurring concurrently with PHASE 4 of PROJECT A.

PROJECT A is now complete, the remaining team members roll off and should be ready to join PHASE 3 of PROJECT B.

Does that make sense? I tired to be explicit here, but I can go into more detail.

Now obviously this doesn't always work out this way and like the old saying goes, no plan survives contact with the enemy. If a PHASE goes on too long or has technical issues, it can end up rippling and affecting other projects and other phases.


Another way to think about this is Troika. Troika tackled projects one at a time, and while I'm sure there were other facets to the problem, they had no secondary funded project to transfer to after Bloodlines.
 

Anthony Davis

Blizzard Entertainment
Developer
Joined
Sep 7, 2007
Messages
2,100
Location
California
I want a Torment stretch goal for Anthony Davis :bro:

No no no, I wish I could. I fear I already let down Brian Fargo when I had to withdraw from WL2. Running the family business is really tough and time consuming and I just was not able to give quality input. I would love it, but I fear it would be a waste of time for Brian.
 

jewboy

Arbiter
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
657
Location
Oumuamua
It really shouldn't be too surprising if Torment 2 is beating Wasteland 2 in terms of funding. Wasteland 2 was an 80s game that many of the backers (including myself) never even played. While Torment is a legend and one from the new millenium instead of the 80s. I won't say it was the only cRPG with a good story, but it was certainly the first and still the only one with a truly great story.
 

LordDenton

Augur
Joined
Mar 18, 2011
Messages
271
Location
USA
Backed without even watching the pitch video. :obviously:
 

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