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Post by Dan @ 10:56am 15/10/12 | 44 Comments
The official website, and crowdfunding platform for the ambitious sci-fi title from Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts is now back online, after several days of operating on auxiliary power, reportedly due to an overwhelming response to the game's announcement.

Interested browsers can now access the site's community forums, but most notably, the real-time funding tally has been restored, currently showing pledges at US$695,110 --over 34% toward the lofty US$2million initial goal.

A blog update from Roberts features much love for contributors:
Wednesday morning we set out to prove that PC gaming and Space Sims are not dead… and prove it, we did!

We’re absolutely floored by the attention and humbled by your comments. We hoped everyone would be excited about the big idea behind Star Citizen and Squadron 42 — but we had no expectation about the kind of praise and interest we received yesterday.

The downside of all this attention was that the huge number of people from all around the world trying to learn about Star Citizen and make their pledge, crashed our custom crowd funding page and also took down the core community site.

Until then, we were on track to break crowd funding records. Now, thirty hours later, we’re only just getting the core site back online.
At the rate that funding looks to still be rolling in, the project appears to be firmly on track to reach it's goal. However, we can't help but remain a little sceptical of the game's longer term prospects.

The funding raised from crowdsourcing is only a fraction of the estimated US$11M reportedly needed for the game's development --which is expected to be raised from private investors-- and even then, that figure seems hugely ambitious given everything that Star Citizen wants to accomplish.

Does it say anything about the team's ability to deliver on a project of this scope and complexity, if they were unable to maintain a stable website for the announcement? Can supporters depend on the abilities of a star power developer that, despite his pedigree, has been producing films for the past decade, rather than making games. And most of all, can backers trust a crowdfunding platform that is seemingly free from independent oversight?

Make up your own mind, over on the official website:



star citizen





Latest Comments
Khel
Posted 11:23am 15/10/12
Yeah, it feels a bit dodgy to me that they're circumventing stuff like Kickstarter and rolling their own crowd funding platform. At least theres checks and safeties in place when I pledge money on Kickstarter, I don't feel so comfortable pledging money on their site.
Dazhel
Posted 11:29am 15/10/12
Yeah it's a blurry line though at some point it has to cross over from 'crowd funding pledges' into 'pre-orders for a game that may never see the light of day'.
MDef
Posted 11:57am 15/10/12
Uses the exact same payment methods and everything, only difference is that kickstarter doesn't get a cut of the final amount. A website getting hammered after being linked in a dozen newsposts around the internet is hardly surprising, and only the counter really broke, so I don't get how that factors into it at all.
Hogfather
Posted 12:01pm 15/10/12
Yeah, it feels a bit dodgy to me that they're circumventing stuff like Kickstarter and rolling their own crowd funding platform. At least theres checks and safeties in place when I pledge money on Kickstarter, I don't feel so comfortable pledging money on their site.

Yeh at least kickstarter requires completion I guess.

Doesn't mean that the completed game has to be any good though, just have the features outlined..
Khel
Posted 12:20pm 15/10/12
It also seems a bit dodgy to me that a lot of their rewards for the different tiers are ingame things, like a special ship ingame or ingame money. Not only is that a pretty intangible reward, but it also hinges on the game actually being made and coming out (and not sucking) to be of any value.

I really like the Kickstarter projects that have had cool physical rewards, bits and pieces of memorabilia and such, those are the ones that have tempted me to pledge more cos its cool one-off stuff that I'll get anyway, even if the game fails. I mean, I almost pledged a crazy amount of money towards the Tex Murphy one cos one of the tiers (think it might have been the $500 one) came with a Tex Murphy fedora signed by the guys making the game.

Ingame bonus shops or money or titles or whatever don't feel like cool rewards to me, feels more like those dodgy pre-order bonuses you get from places like EB :(
TicMan
Posted 12:30pm 15/10/12
I think this game is going to be awesome if it's built but I ain't pledging a cent to it. If they used Kickstarter I might be more inclined but even at that, I'm starting to draw a line with kick starting games.

At some point with all this Kickstarterness happening we're going to become hundreds/thousands/millions of private investors without the rewards of being investors (equity). Business and particularly game making is a risk and if existing publishers and investors with deep pockets can't see the potential of a project then you have to wonder about the viability of the project.
Dan
Posted 12:38pm 15/10/12
Uses the exact same payment methods and everything, only difference is that kickstarter doesn't get a cut of the final amount.
Same payment methods yes, but that is far from the only difference. With Kickstarter and the other popular platforms. For example, the reported funding and number of backers is not being independently verified anywhere.

I'm not saying there's any reason to suspect any nefarious behaviour, but there is very little to stop them faking the tally, and presenting an inflated value in order to attract more interest.

There's no requirements for their pitch to have any kind of warnings, and those kind of things that established third party crowd-funding platforms have been making mandatory.

Crowdfunding is already a pretty shaky proposition, and all I am saying is that this kind of solo implementation only adds even more risk.
Dazhel
Posted 01:06pm 15/10/12
At some point with all this Kickstarterness happening we're going to become hundreds/thousands/millions of private investors without the rewards of being investors (equity). Business and particularly game making is a risk and if existing publishers and investors with deep pockets can't see the potential of a project then you have to wonder about the viability of the project.

Yeah this sums up my feeling with Kickstarter and crowdfunding in general- it's great when things go to plan but I reckon the fad will wear off after a few high profile projects inevitably go boom before they finish. I have to say bravo to mobs who manage to convince the masses to shoulder a large portion of the risk in exchange for no equity though.
MDef
Posted 01:18pm 15/10/12
Put it this way: More suspect, and certainly far less worthy projects than this have made it through kickstarter before. You're not wrong, but I think the main turn-offs for people are a lot more superficial than you describe. And you know, these guys actually coded their own website and updated it daily in the month leading up to this thing - which is reason enough for me to respect their vision, if nothing else. The working prototype demonstrated at the conference was certainly something, too.
Still, I can see why the reasons you listed would make it a tough sell for people at first glance, especially those with no prior interest in FL or WC.
Hogfather
Posted 02:20pm 15/10/12
Uses the exact same payment methods and everything, only difference is that kickstarter doesn't get a cut of the final amount. A website getting hammered after being linked in a dozen newsposts around the internet is hardly surprising, and only the counter really broke, so I don't get how that factors into it at all.

Kickstarter projects are required by the kickstarter agreement to deliver the product, or refund the backers. If it doesn't meet the goal, I know nothing is happening to my wallet. As a backer I know how it works and I know there's a third party making sure the rules are observed.

The question for me is WHY roll your own crowd sourcing platform. Sure there's the 5% cut to kickstarter but I imagine that this would be more than recouped by people being less hesitant about the crowdsourcing platform, not to mention the cost of building the website and funding software.

Just seems suss to me; I'll buy it if it comes out probably, but they won't get a pledge.
Dazhel
Posted 03:02pm 15/10/12
Kickstarter projects are required by the kickstarter agreement to deliver the product, or refund the backers.

That's one part about Kickstarter itself that I find dubious - has it ever been tested?
Presumably if a project is asking for money then they actually need money so by the time it's determined that the project isn't going to make it the money has already been spent, yeah?

Sure Kickstarter says not delivering can open the project up to legal recourse by the backers, but by that point it sounds like you'd simply be suing a broke company with a trashed reputation.
Gloth
Posted 05:21pm 15/10/12
I think I am happy with a $50 gamble on JUST THE CHANCE of a new freelancer.
Hogfather
Posted 06:41pm 15/10/12
That's one part about Kickstarter itself that I find dubious - has it ever been tested? Presumably if a project is asking for money then they actually need money so by the time it's determined that the project isn't going to make it the money has already been spent, yeah?
Oh absolutely, but at the very least you have a leg to stand on for a claim.

Compare with how CIG explicitly states here:
For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of CIG’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any deposit amounts applied against the Game Cost as described above shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not CIG is able to complete and deliver the Game. In the unlikely event that CIG is not able to deliver the Game, CIG agrees to post an audited cost accounting on its website to fully explain the use of the deposits for the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by CIG hereunder, you agree to irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost in accordance with the above.
Bah
Posted 07:04pm 15/10/12
The question for me is WHY roll your own crowd sourcing platform.
What does kickstarter offer other than publicity, and when you have your own name, and the ability to link things on reddit and twitter... what do you need kickstarter for? Just ride the current hype train for "kickstarted" projects and save yourself 5% (or only $100 grand)
BladeRunner
Posted 07:13pm 15/10/12
I am not keen on the idea of my money not coming back if the s*** hits the fan. I suppose they do still have to pay their employees regardless of if the game succeeds of fails.
Nerf Lord
Posted 07:17pm 15/10/12
Keep in mind that Kickstarter (at least recently, they were looking to change it) is only available to US citizens due to Amazon's commerce rules. That's why there's all those alternatives such as Indigogo/Pozible/etc popping up. Though I presume that the dude is American.
Hogfather
Posted 07:44pm 15/10/12
What does kickstarter offer other than publicity

Dan answered your post earlier.
Keep in mind that Kickstarter (at least recently, they were looking to change it) is only available to US citizens

Dunno, when I go to Kickstarter I see projects funded in Brisbane: http://www.kickstarter.com/discover/cities/brisbane-aus?ref=home_location
Nerf Lord
Posted 07:55pm 15/10/12
Unless it's changed, the requirement was that there be one person actively involved who lives in the US, who's address will be used.

edit: This clears it up http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/10/kickstarter-crosses-the-pond-with-uk-based-projects-simplifies-international-shipping/
Hogfather
Posted 07:57pm 15/10/12
Unless it's changed, the requirement was that there be one person actively involved who lives in the US, who's address will be used.

Looking at their site its US and UK now.
Raven
Posted 08:02pm 15/10/12
Yeah, it feels a bit dodgy to me that they're circumventing stuff like Kickstarter and rolling their own crowd funding platform. At least theres checks and safeties in place when I pledge money on Kickstarter, I don't feel so comfortable pledging money on their site.

To be fair, Chris Roberts can manage a project - or knows a few people who can. One thing you'll be hard pressed to find is a Chris Roberts game running either over budget or behind schedule. In fact, Wing Commander 4 was targetted to an extremely optimistic 12 month development cycle - it missed it, but only by two months.

Remember that the budget for WC3 and WC4 was USD4m and USD12m respectively, most of which went in to the FMV production - at the time completely unheard of - and from WC3 Electronic Arts basically got a freebie as they then released Armada later in the year based on the WC3 engine. Also worth noting that 'Prophecy' basically kicked off Jeremy Renners career.

If there's a game designer that knows how to keep a project on target and under budget, I'd say it's Chris Roberts.
He might not be the best at marketing though, maybe developing an actual product that fans love for the money - given that Wing Commander (the movie as abhorrent to a franchise as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy movie) lost about 18 million dollars.
Nerf Lord
Posted 08:29pm 15/10/12
Does anybody know if there will be FMVs? The price seems pretty steep, despite me having some inkling of what goes into it. I would have thought that it would essentially be the same as their past stuff, just with higher poly counts on the models and newer render methods (and I know that talent and overhead costs money, but two million?). It's a shame that they couldn't do it with a gameplay basis and then raise the model quality etc as it gained success.
Khel
Posted 11:00pm 15/10/12
I'm not an artist, so I might be full of s***, but as I understand it making good looking low poly models can actually be more difficult than making good looking high poly models. I don't think its necessarily the quality of the content that slows them down and costs money, just the sheer amount of content required for the game he has in mind.

And yeah, I have no doubt Chris Roberts can make a good game, I'm not really worried about the quality of the project, its just like Dan said though, when theres no third party oversight over the whole crowd funding process, how can you really trust any of the numbers you're seeing or the system you're pouring money into. I just don't think it sets a very good precedent, I think this whole crowd funding movement in general is such a fragile thing and all its going to take is one big scam or one big project to fail and leave the backers with nothing, for the whole movement to just collapse in on itself. Getting people used to the idea of pledging money through these independant, self-managed crowd funding portals is just asking for that to happen even sooner.
IVY_MiKe
Posted 12:00am 16/10/12
There are a few things that don't add up about it, but assuming the game IS made by 2014.
How will the game ACTUALLY PLAY?

My fear (assuming it doesn't faceplant) is that I fork out some cash, only to get the 'haha LOL an Aussie expecting to play a multiplayer game based in the States'.

He's got some of my cash now tho. I 'trialled' some of his earlier works, and given how much I enjoyed those, I consider it a late/guilt payment :P
Midda
Posted 12:06am 16/10/12
When I was watching the video, the moment I realised that the pledges were being done through their own site rather than Kickstarter, I immediately had reservations. As everyone's said, it seems dodgy, so I'll probably just wait until the game is out (assuming it comes out).
Hogfather
Posted 12:20am 16/10/12
When I was watching the video, the moment I realised that the pledges were being done through their own site rather than Kickstarter, I immediately had reservations. As everyone's said, it seems dodgy, so I'll probably just wait until the game is out (assuming it comes out).

And THAT is why the kickstarter fee is worth it - at least 1 in 20 people who may have otherwise thrown down will have reservations, unfounded or not.
Nerf Lord
Posted 01:15am 16/10/12
but as I understand it making good looking low poly models can actually be more difficult than making good looking high poly models.

Definitely true in my experience.
Nerf Lord
Posted 01:47am 16/10/12
From $695,110 (34%) when Dan posted this, to $748,243 (37.41%) now. While that's fast growth, it's probably their last big news day (unless they try again on its last day or somesuch), and I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make its goal.

Still, on the site it says that you have to opt out of not getting refunded if the goal isn't met, so I presume that they'll still be going ahead regardless.
Khel
Posted 02:20am 16/10/12
Yeah, I figured thats the other reason they didn't use Kickstarter, so they have no obligation to give the money back if it doesn't get fully funded, they can just take it and keep going anyway.
Twisted
Posted 09:18am 16/10/12
“Have Starship Will Travel…”
Stretch Goal 3
$5+ million Pledged
Increased Community Updates!
Monthly Dev. Team Webcasts
Monthly Town Hall Meeting with Chris Roberts
Star Citizens will get to play in the multiplayer Alpha (12 months)
Creation of Professional Mod Tools provided free to players
Star Citizens will receive access to the Wing Commander/Squadron 42 campaign (18 months)
Deep Storyline
On-Line Ship Marketplace
Max Missions
Star Citizens will receive access to the Wing Commander/Star Citizen universe for on-line persistent play (30 months)
Privateer-like gameplay
Multiple Star Systems to Explore
Does this mean they will only have these things if they reach these particular crowd sourced targets? Because if that's the case, they'll only have Privateer like game play if the community pledge $5mil...which is the only reason I would buy the game is if it had that :)

last edited by Twisted at 09:18:09 16/Oct/12
BladeRunner
Posted 11:41am 16/10/12
Just so I'm clear, this is a multiplayer space sim and not single player? I would prefer single player.
Nerf Lord
Posted 09:56am 19/10/12
Hogfather
Posted 11:37am 19/10/12
They have a kickstarter now - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cig/star-citizen?ref=live

Totally lost now.

500k fresh target on kistarter. 2M target on their own site, 50% done. Does this mean that 1.5M is actually a viable launch target?

Whole thing just seems ad hoc as s*** now?
TicMan
Posted 01:12pm 19/10/12
I dont get whats happening now.. shame because I would have donated if it was on kickstarter in the first place.

At least it's resurged my interest Eve again!
Dazhel
Posted 01:39pm 19/10/12
Totally lost now.500k fresh target on kistarter. 2M target on their own site, 50% done. Does this mean that 1.5M is actually a viable launch target?Whole thing just seems ad hoc as s*** now?

You're asking questions! Stop asking questions and just throw more money at them!
kos
Posted 06:11pm 19/10/12
It also seems a bit dodgy to me that a lot of their rewards for the different tiers are ingame things, like a special ship ingame or ingame money. Not only is that a pretty intangible reward, but it also hinges on the game actually being made and coming out (and not sucking) to be of any value.

So it has come to this, people are paying to win before games even exist these days?
BladeRunner
Posted 08:11pm 19/10/12
You can get the $30 kickstarter thing with out the citizen card, Called the Digital Scout. I will throw money at that pledge.
Nerf Lord
Posted 08:44pm 19/10/12
3,000 backers on kickstarter in less than a day, versus 11,000 on their own site in something like two weeks. Don't know if that's an endorsement of people just being more excitable by the kickstarter brand, or just feeling that kickstarter is more trustworthy than the webpage.
Dan
Posted 09:35pm 19/10/12
The current rate the Kickstarter is trending at would see it tipping the $2M by itself http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/cig/star-citizen/ but tough to figure how the previous backer count might affect its progress.

Agreed that it does seem disingenuous that they set the Kickstarter goal so low though, when that clearly wouldn't be enough funding alone for it to happen.

It was definitely a mistake to try and go it alone, at least it might ward off others from trying that method.

Maybe I need to exercise a bit of Hanlon's Razor, but I find it difficult to believe that they had motives other than not having to part with 10% of the tally. Wanting to engage with backers more than crowdfunding sites would allow them to seems like a bit of a crock, as there are plenty of ways to incentivise rego on their own site to people that were keen enough to back them.

Anyway,, I still genuinely hope the game gets made as advertised, but I remain more sceptical of this one than most other high-profile games Kickstarters,
Khel
Posted 09:35pm 19/10/12
I don't get it, will they be adding kickstarter pledges to the counter on their own website? Or do they want 2.5 million for it now?
Nerf Lord
Posted 09:50pm 19/10/12
Their main fundraiser is doing better than I expected really, and towards the end people like me will probably jump in without even knowing if they necessarily want it, it's just so damned hyped by you lot :P (I've kickedstarted something like $85 worth of stuff lately with this damn 'limited time' mentality, despite being broke, it's an amazing way of getting users to pay and advertise).

Tbh I don't have a problem with them holding their own fundraiser, if I was in their situation (being more professional devs than the common indie products) I'd probably be attracted to do the same. Though that being said, Planetary Annihilation, Castle Story, and Project Eternity all look top notch as well, and two of those have experienced game dev teams.
Nerf Lord
Posted 04:13am 20/10/12
Khel
Posted 04:41am 20/10/12
Dunno if thats enough to really make anyone care, some game I've never heard of that had 1200 backers and raised $25k. I backed a board game on kickstarter that had more support than that.
Nerf Lord
Posted 04:53am 20/10/12
Yeah I'm not worried, it seemed relevant though. It sounds poorly planned (programmer had to go back to his other job, other programmer quit, leaving some other guy holding it all?), and I doubt that the larger ones will be handled that way.
eski
Posted 10:03am 20/10/12
The funding raised from crowdsourcing is only a fraction of the estimated US$11M reportedly needed for the game's development --which is expected to be raised from private investors-- and even then, that figure seems hugely ambitious given everything that Star Citizen wants to accomplish.


The multiple funding sources make a little more sense in the context of this statement.
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