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Supreme Cmdr

UC Dev Status - Ship it or give it another month?

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quote:


Originally posted by Spindoktor:

WOW. Thanks for the insight.

So the holiday season is missed. It sounds like the retail order mentioned is lost. Those 2 deals are sunk. Given that, why the rush to replicate now? Sounds like there is more than we know. Like perhaps that "retail order" is tiered, i.e. it gets worse (reduced furthur?) if its not fulfilled at some other future date (in lieu of missing the holiday).

Good luck in whatever you do SC. We as fans can only do what we do best. Game on when its eventually released!


The only retailer I know of which has stopped their order, is Walmart. And they have the game as a must buy and already said that it will go into their January buy. This all from Dreamcatcher.

No other retailer - that I'm aware of - has stringent rules for getting in product, like Walmart. And they being the largest chain, usually translates to a lotta business. Which is what gets publishers into trouble. The greed. Anyone remember the Strategy First fiasco of earlier this year? I've forgotten what sim it was they shoved into the retail channel, in Beta, and complete with known bugs. That, natually, killed the product, right there and then.

As I said before, at the risk of suffering backlash, I was willing to work with them. But no, they had to go make a unilateral decision to ship my game, then send someone - other than the primaries I signed a deal with - to notify me. Via PM no less.

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quote:

Originally posted by Supreme Cmdr:


The only retailer I know of which has stopped their order, is Walmart. And they have the game as a must buy and already said that it will go into their January buy. This all from Dreamcatcher.

Anyone remember the Strategy First fiasco of earlier this year? I've forgotten what sim it was they shoved into the retail channel, in Beta, and complete with known bugs. That, natually, killed the product, right there and then.

As I said before, at the risk of suffering backlash, I was willing to work with them. But no, they had to go make a unilateral decision to ship my game, then send someone - other than the primaries I signed a deal with - to notify me. Via PM no less.

Sounds odd, you're right! It doesn't sound quite as bad as the Take 2 thing, but eerily similar in some ways (the bugs mentioned in RC report don't sound that bad really being the main difference).

If some of things you mention above (1-5) are still true, then they couldn't ship it really...could they?

I've spoken to a number of devs for all kinds of publishers who felt pressured at some point to release a game too early, according to some measure of financial quarterly earnings thing. In other words, decisions on games being made by people who know nothing about games or how they're made. As a dev myself, practices like these make my blood boil.

The offers you made sounded fair and legitimate. But rushing a game to market with any of the above 1-5 points you made being true is just asking for backlash from some gamers who might try the product for the first time. It's...a poor business decision on their part.

Just curious: I wonder if other DC devs have been subject to the same type of "we're shipping, ready or not". Might be worth knowing if other devs have been similarly pressured, so you know if its status quo for them to just ship at a certain point or pressure devs into finishing quickly near the end of a project or at a certain timeframe.

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quote:


Originally posted by StormcloudCreations:

Just curious: I wonder if other DC devs have been subject to the same type of "we're shipping, ready or not". Might be worth knowing if other devs have been similarly pressured, so you know if its status quo for them to just ship at a certain point or pressure devs into finishing quickly near the end of a project or at a certain timeframe.


Hi Derek

I know a few of the DC developers and in fact am in contact with two of them. I'm not at liberty to say anything further because I don't want this to spread further than it needs to. All I care about right now, is making sure that a build of my game with a DRM signature, does not end up in retail channels.

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quote:

Originally posted by Supreme Cmdr:

quote:

Originally posted by StormcloudCreations:

Just curious: I wonder if other DC devs have been subject to the same type of "we're shipping, ready or not". Might be worth knowing if other devs have been similarly pressured, so you know if its status quo for them to just ship at a certain point or pressure devs into finishing quickly near the end of a project or at a certain timeframe.

Hi Derek

I know a few of the DC developers and in fact am in contact with two of them. I'm not at liberty to say anything further because I don't want this to spread further than it needs to. All I care about right now, is making sure that a build of my game with a DRM signature, does not end up in retail channels.


Obviously, yes...hopefully they know that and would be smart enough not to actually ship a build like that. Hopefully.

And I wasn't intending to start rumors up about DC or their devs, but if the ones you're in contact with have similar tales to tell, then at least you know what to expect in future dealings...

Hope everything turns out ok.

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quote:


Originally posted by Antony:

What makes me curious is how DC is going to release the game when they know that a DRM exists.Is it possible for them to bypass this?


They probably figured that I'd scramble to release the RC2 build as a patch, once I got wind of it. Having done that with Take 2, I've got news for them. It ain't happening.

They ship RC1, they violate my contract. They violate my contract, two things (which I've done before), will happen.

  1. I will sue
  2. I will release the game for free on the Net and prevent them from profiting from it.

But I know they're not stupid enough to do it, so this is all speculation.

And no they can't bypass the DRM. And even if they did, it would be a violation of my IP. Which would spell even more trouble down the road.

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I dont understand these people.The game will sell even if it comes out later since the game is that matters to the people not the date it comes out.Anyway good luck Mr.Smart.

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quote:

They ship RC1, they violate my contract. They violate my contract, two things (which I've done before), will happen.

1. I will sue

2. I will release the game for free on the Net and prevent them from profiting from it.

But I know they're not stupid enough to do it, so this is all speculation.


Oh NOOO! I really wouldn't want number 2 to happen!

Please god no!

Haha, no but seriously...

This is a very delicate situation here and I hope things smooth out. I'm going to be checking updates on here until this thing is resolved! Do you really think DC would do something like that or is it just a scare tactic!?!? And here I thought, DreamCatcher Interactive, was a bunch of nice peace lovin Canadian game publishers from just around the corner.

All your hard work *flush*

God, I really hope their bluffing SC...

Good luck sir!

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They either have to be bluffing or are counting on Derek being crippled by complaints and getting the IP for a bargain.

And I really don't see number 2 happening.

Very odd situation.

All I can say is we are behind you, Derek, no matter what happens.

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quote:

Originally posted by Supreme Commander:

They ship RC1, they violate my contract. They violate my contract, two things (which I've done before), will happen.

1. I will sue

2. I will release the game for free on the Net and prevent them from profiting from it.


No Kobayashi Maru here. Go Derek!!

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quote:


Originally posted by Eclipse:

And I really don't see number 2 happening.


heh, not in a million years. And I don't think thats their intent either or they would have taken me up on my offer to buy back the rights or sell it to someone else. They're not a particularly dishonest group of people. Just clearly - like ALL publishers - misguided, CLEARLY disorganized and just want to push boxes.

I've been fielding emails all day about this and two from publishers. One thing I find curious is that this [game industry] is the only industry where you can't b*tch in public about your publisher's missteps, without being labeled a troublemaker, being blacklisted etc. In every industry, being it media, IT, govt. or wherever, stuff gets done all the time and either someone is suing someone or someone is b*tching about something or the other.

Fact is, I've so far kept within my contract with DC and done what I was supposed to do. I signed on for two games - one of which I had to literally shoe-horn multiplayer into, in under three months and I'm surprised the darn thing even works. That game [bCM Gold] was signed in December '02 and it shipped as planned in Q1 03 (March). Even then, it had a slew of problems which weren't even known at the time. The game shipped. No fuss. No muss. And to this day, I am still supporting both the 2001 BCM and the 2003 BCM Gold.

When I ran out of time for the multiplayer support in BCM and advised EB that I was going to drop it from the list, there was no problem with that. I didn't unreasonably hold shipping the game because I simply had to have it. I shipped the game as best I could and with all the important bits in, and I still got *****ed at by some in the public because it didn't ship with multiplayer.

When they [DC] - out of the clear Blue sky - decided to rebrand and refocus MY damn game, while in Beta, I didn't go up in arms about it. I thought about it, agreed, moved on. And I put up a good face in the public to cover up the deep seated discomfort I had in having to bypass my BC established franchise. In the end, only relying on common sense (since the BC games had gone beyond being about space sims) for some sense of emotional stability. And I never even breathed a word to anyone(until now), that they [Dreamcatcher] made this decision to rebrand and rename my game (the testers with access to Area51, know the story and how it all went down) WITHOUT even so much as informing ME first. The first time I even knew about it, was when they sent me a first pass box art with some ridiculously braindead name for the game. Yes, I was livid as hell. So no, this is not the first time they are springing stuff on me and without my consent.

UC was supposed to ship in late Summer and didn't because of that whole BCG to UC switch. I was still OK with it. I have a ton of money invested in this game and it IS in my best interest to ship it so that I can get that money back and hopefully turn a profit. DC didn't fund two years development of this game. They didn't invest two years of time and effort into it. I did, with my ragtag indie-to-the-end army.

We missed the second 11/10/03 Gold date because the game had known problems and simply could not be shipped. I continued working on the game and stamped out no less than 29 issues in the final Beta build, before moving on to the RC builds (with RC1 being the first submission). All this time, NOBODY said ANYTHING to me about going Gold by hook or crook, on 12/20/03.

In fact, they've known for TWO MONTHS that I was going on vacation from 12-22 to 01-06. So since the second GM date didn't happen, NOTHING prepared me for Christmas GM rush. After busting my sorry ass night and day and erradicating EVERY LAST item in the Beta list, I now had to contend with issues in the RC builds - which were the last road to GM.

After submitting the RC1 build for testing, I continued working on the remaining issues, which were to become RC2 (as seen in the vcf). If we were going to ship in early Jan, the game would have had to go Gold next week. Thats why I posted this thread poll in order to see if in fact the fanbase wanted a game based on the RC2 build or whether they were willing to wait. Had the latter been the case, then a GM would not have been announced until mid January, for an end of January ship date.

Then out of clear Blue sky, I'm in traffic downtown checking my emails on my PDA, when I get an IM that the RC1 build was good to go Gold. Thats how this farce started. Then knowing full well they didn't even *have* a GM build, they decide to go to replication today. with an RC1 build which had known problems (including a fatal crash bug) and a DRM signature.

And people wonder why I'm pissed? I have a helluva lot more time, resources and money invested in this product than DC does. I get paid royalties, which means I have to sell a ton of units to recover my expenses, let alone even think of turning a profit.

Forget about the whole E3 farce in May this year, in which, after making me leave my work, leave my family and go to LA, only to find that they weren't even planning on displaying the game. Instead, they had the booth filled with every conceivable me too title you could think of, some of which either (a) never see the light of day (B) not even sell anywhere near ANY of my games. Once I protested, they quickly errected a booth, dropped one of the games and hoisted up the BCG materials. Of course, my game got most of the traffic (as did Painkiller) and very good commentary from the public including the media. To the extent that they [DC] even told me that it was a good showing and they were surprised by the whole thing. Who made all that possible? Me. I, being the only person there who could play the damn game, talk about etc.

In the end, what do they do? They take out full page ads in most of mags, pimping Painkiller and God knows what else; not taking out a SINGLE ad for the game or doing ANY marketing for it - despite the clause in my contract. The closest they came was Amazon.com and some entry in the EB brochure. Of course, Painkiller didn't ship, got pushed to next year and I'm the one whose game gets to be hung out to dry (by shipping it prematurely) in order to pay for their silly mistakes. And this was a game they convinced me to rebrand and refocus, thereby not only increasing my dev time, increasing my financial risk and expenses, then not marketing it to the fullest extent.

After leaving me to do my development (its not like they could help), at this LAST minute, they saw it fit to screw up the release of this game, with a single foolish act of CAPITALIST GREED. As if I didn't have 3x their investment invested in the game. How many times have we not seen publishers pull this stunt? Only difference is, if they own the IP, they can do wtf they like. In this day and age where it is becoming more and more difficult for gamers to return games, at the end of the day, when something like this happens, the gamers suffer and the developers get dragged over the coals; while the publishers remain faceless. As if I did'nt have enough troubles in this regard.

I have shipped four games and with that first Take 2 fiasco, I have tried very hard to learn from my mistakes and swore that I would never let anything like that happen again. Who knew?

  1. BC3K - Take 2 released the game in Beta in 1996. At the time I was n00b and had no way of preventing it.
  2. BC3K v2.0 - Interplay signed this game and released it in 1998. No problems whatsoever with them. And if things were different for them, I'd still be there - not pissing around with Dreamcatcher.
  3. BCM - EB signed on this game (the first and only time they've ever done it) based purely on the sales strength of my games and left me alone to get it done. Shipped it in 2001. No problems whatsoever.
  4. BCM Gold - Dreamcatcher signed this in December 02 and I had to deliver it for a Q1 03 ship date, complete with multiplayer and a batch of other features. No problem. Did it. Delivered it. Shipped it. Like all my games, it made money, turned a profit yada, yada
  5. BCG - was to be my fifth BC game and here I am, faced with this rubbish. Again.

I have a right to ***** and moan and I don't give a rats ass if I get blacklisted. If publishers didn't screw over devs - especially third parties - we'd all be one big happy family. You won't have games being shipped in Beta. Not ready. Entire devs teams pissing off and going somewhere else etc etc. This goddamn industry sucks. It sucks like hell and a LOT of devs are quietly suffering at the hands of the injustice served up by a several unscrupulous publishers who don't give a damn about gamers or the games they ship. All they care about is the bottom line. To hell with everything else.

As it stands, I think they've got the clear message from me that I'm not pissing around. So, of course, there was no Gold announcement about this game (they only announced Arx Fatalis for Xbox) today. And now, in the interest of God-only-knows-what, I am faced with having to ship an RC2 build for GM; something I clearly did not want to do.

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Guest rtoolooze

Quote:

"I've forgotten what sim it was they shoved into the retail channel, in Beta, and complete with known bugs."

-------------------------------------------------

I sure remember what sim it was Derek, cause I purchased it from Wal-Mart. It was, "Strike Fighters: Project 1".

Man that thing did'nt even have all features playable. It was defintly a beta build. They finaly had us send in our CD's, to which they sent us the finished product. Can't remember how many months it took.

I hope that does'nt happen to UC!!!!! I have faith it will all work out in the end.

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Derek,

Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us what you have been going through. It makes me really miss your developer diaries (has it been 2 years already since the last one?).

Publishers will come and go, but your fans will always be here to support you.

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I'm new to this all but if it were me I would purposely delay the game just to kinda stick it in and break it off probly stupid for the money and all that but hey tomarrow I'ma buy other BC game I figure its gonna get worst before it gets better.

Rock on Derek

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WOW!

and I got my little fingers smacked for nerf batting the DC guys. And now this pops up, go figure. LOL

Good luck with the ensuing firestorm SC.

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Being a future game programmer,I am going to do a master in game programming,I am starting to be concerned about all this.Not only about the publishers but whether I should reconsider game programming and follow a different path.I mean how do I know that I will find work with all these things happening.I dont now people I am really afraid about my future carrier.One minute you have a job the next you dont.What are your thoughts on this?

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Seems like the ball is in your court now SC. DC have shown their hand. We know they can't possibly ship what they have.

Hold back and only go when you are ready. Seems like they tried to use a scare tactic.

It makes no sense though, why try and ship a broken game??? As you say, DC don't stand to lose any money whenever they ship.

You would think a publisher would want to release the highest quality product they can!

Peter

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At 1:15PM EST today, I got this from them

quote:


Derek,

Thank you for the email clarifying this. As we did not receive the RC2 build that Eric confirmed we would receive by today, we are proceeding this afternoon to replication of the RC1 build, as we previously informed you.


We have advised them that on Monday and attorney in Canada is going to be filing a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) preventing them from shipping the game into retail because it would damage the property, my rep etc. Hopefully that will get done before they start shipping it into the retail channel.

Since they don't want to wait, now they're going to have to wait for at least two weeks until the court hears the case for the removal of the TRO.

btw Eric is my attorney. And no, he did not confirm anything with them. He simply told them that he had talked me into sending them a GM based on the RC2 build for replication. They were still insisting on going Gold this weekend. And I've told them that if they ship RC1 into retail, there will never - ever - be a patch for it. Ever.

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Derek, that sucks, outright.

But would the TRO be able to stop them? since if they send it off for duplication isn't it out of there hands. This bites, i don't want to see UC wrapped up in courts, i guess we either will see the game with no support ever, or we won't see UC for a long time.

This is a shame, but its more then understandable why u went for a TRO.

-Good Luck to you Derek-

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quote:


Originally posted by IceBladeTSW:

But would the TRO be able to stop them?


Yes. Especially since there will be delay from the replication to the time the units get to the stores, then from the stores to the shelves. Not only will the TRO be effective, a trade press release (from a PR firm I use) is going out on Monday. Because it is a trade release, everyone, including publishers, media, investors, retailers etc, will get to see it. And if it gets served after they've replicated it, they've just dug a deeper hole because then they'll never ship it and I'll never have the TRO lifted. I own the IP and DC don't have a leg to standon.

The game was delayed only TWICE. Once, was their fault (and thats easily proven, since I didn't ask to change my game from BCG to UC). The second time was a factor of game development. Its not like we're talking months or years of development here. We're talking weeks and they want to shove this game into Q4 in order to meet Christmas. Thats just not gonna happen if I can help it.

[ 12-20-2003, 04:38 PM: Message edited by: Supreme Cmdr ]

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While I'm at it, to the twits (who can't post here of course) posting over here, below is my response:

quote:


I just got an email forwarded by CAT. There was no forum lockdown. Earlier this morning, new registrations were disabled while the DB and the site were backed up. This is standard because we don't prune the site and tend to back it up weekly.

You can still read the forums, but in order to post, you have to be registered. This has not changed.

And Shingen, I know you can't help yourself, so the rubbish you are spewing is hardly surprising. Everything I have posted on my forum is FACTUAL. And the first time DC comes out and denies any of it, I will simply post ALL the emails going back since December 02 as proof of what is going on. They know I'll do it, so this is not an idle threat. I have NOTHING to hide and the facts I post on the site are just that, facts. They have an RC1 build. I own the IP for the game. They do not have my permission to replicate it. The submission CDs are clearly marked indicating that they are not for distribution. All builds have a DRM signature (Digital Rights Management) and if they ship and you buy the RC1 build (1) it will expire (2) it only contains the Beta test scenarios (3) contains a path to an incorrect mp executable (4) contains all the problems currently listed in the version control file - none of which are in the RC1 build.

The game is not ready. They ship it, you can go to them for support because we are currently updating the registration DB which means that unless you have a serial number, you won't be able to download any patches. And I have this morning invalidated all the serial numbers I generated and sent to them. In other words, they ship a dud, you'll be buying a dud. It will never, ever be supported.

Thats that.


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Please keep us posted on this Derek. I fear I may need to cancel my pre-order if they actually do ship it. I don't want to pay for a piece of useless software.

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Man, I'm sorry Derek, this is all really too bad. I wish that DC would just actually listen too you. They may have missed the Christmas rush sure, but if they release RC1 build, they are just screwing themselves out of sales even more. Also, the future reproductions for releasing it early would be devastating. DC needs to understand you know what you are talking about, and stop this nonsense. I just hope it isn't too late, good luck Derek.

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