Author Topic: [Answered] non-refundable game  (Read 2424 times)

qdlaty

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[Answered] non-refundable game
« on: March 09, 2015, 04:40:38 pm »
Quote
CAN I GET A REFUND?

There are no refunds for Blockade Runner.

Before laying down your hard-earned cash, play the game to see if it works, visit the FAQ or the forums, and finally decide then if you'd like to help fund Blockade Runner's development.

Well then... Let's check the FAQ...
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Although we're developing the engine to support a larger universe, our development focus for 2013 is on the multiplayer sandbox portion to work out the kinks on ship systems.
I've also visited the forums. Actually I was so amazed by the game that I & my friend even bought blockaderunner.pl domain back then! :)

So... What are your excuses for not refunding the game today? Is it still non-refundable even if you failed (so much) in delivering what you promised?

PS: I think you should check if your FAQ is up-to-date once in a... Let's say - once in a year.
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The Sandbox Update (Postponed to 2014)
- You should also probably update that a little...
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 03:59:38 pm by Aaron »

Aaron

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Re: non-refundable game
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2015, 11:01:14 pm »
Nope, we're still developing the game, and the latest build of the engine from 2014 is currently available in the Founder Club forums.  A new series of releases for 2015 are on the way, awaiting for Zack's new streamlined process for releasing builds (Our old process was a waste of our limited time, with many hours involved to each and every release).  Our regular progress is posted on the Twitter and Facebook accounts, and Micah's Unity Standalones have been, and are still under production: see "Crew on Ships", etc).

You probably know all this, but since I don't put it front-and-center on the site:

A Bit of History:

Spoiler
2011: We jumped from our Liquid Cubed tech demo to trying to make a space game in XNA.  W28 was built with said spaceyness.

2012: We decided we didn't want to make just another "Minecraft In Space" and stretched out our limits in W71.

2013: Microsoft abandoned XNA, so we were forced to move to SharpDX and build an entirely new engine for Blockade Runner.

2014: With our new SharpDX engine, we decided to integrate Artermis as our object handler and CS-Script as part of our modding API.  Both required uprooting the game's fledgling netcode.

2015: The engine is re-stabilizing, but we're looking to upgrade our release pipeline via Bamboo and Stash before pushing new builds again.

A Bit of Information:

Spoiler
Team: Six siblings.  Three coders, three artists.

Focus: Without the manpower to make a lot happen quickly, we're instead focusing on the critical elements necessary to make a good game.  We saw that as a ground-up modding API (CS-Script), strong object-oriented engine (Artemis), and multiplayer netcode (involving both Artemis & CS-Script) in 2014.

Engine: If you want a unique gaem, you need a unique gaem engine.  A raw engine on average takes about three years, and Star-Made took four before Schema announced he was working on Star-Made in 2012.  We're only a year and a half into our new engine.  :-\

Funding: Blockade Runner made a grand total of $57,000 spread over almost four years.  We have not gotten rich in developing BR, nor did we intend to.  That's why we've funded it all this time out of our own pockets.

Promises: We want a fun, multiplayer game we'd want to play, and you'd want to play with your buddies.  We see making a good game like making a good board game, which often means that throwing "everything in" does not make a good game.  We're taking the time in building our new engine to refine what BR is (we don't want it to be a Minecraft in Space), and the Unity standalones are a part of that.

Gaemplay:  We've been refining the gaemplay, and anything we're unsure of we sick on Micah to test out in Unity3D (see: Unity Standalones) while Zack, Nathan and Gabe work on the engine.

Not having this information immediately accessible to Founders is a detriment to the supporters who are looking for information on the game's progress.   I'm too reliant on Twitter and the IRC to provide relevant information, and so I apologize that I haven't kept you up to date as well as I should, where I should. :-\

If you have any other questions, fire away and I'll be glad to answer them!  If you'd like to knock us over the head in how we could better provide information to the Founders, I'll take that too; just understand we're not interested in marketing the game beyond those who've already purchased while it's still "Alpha", and for that matter in a Prototype stage.
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qdlaty

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Re: non-refundable game
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2015, 06:07:17 am »
I don't mean to be rude, but it shouldn't be my concern if you decided to rebuild the whole engine.
When I decided to buy Blockade Runner 3 years ago I was promised playable sandbox multiplayer in 2013. Then (in 2013) you decided to move it to 2014, ok... But it's 2015 and here we are - without any playable multiplayer game. So I, as an user, a consumer, see that you lured me (& my money, which are much harder to earn in my country than in USA) with promise of multiplayer sandbox in 2013 and then again - in 2014. There are many sandbox and voxel games being developed now, it all is much different than it was in 2012.

I don't know how you could better provide information to the Founders. Honestly, I doubt that most of them are still interested in the game. Provide a playable multiplayer content and hopefully you'll get them interested again.

Your BUY and FAQ are VERY misleading. If someone is smart enough - he/she will notice that the game is in hibernation (or dead) state by reading FAQ with those 2013/2014 dates) and there's not really any build available. Not to mention the forums (That is 4th post in General Discussion in 2015 and there are already 3 posts in this topic). But what if someone is not that smart? ;) Someone could think that multiplayer sandbox is already available (since it's 2015) to download after you buy the game.

To me it looks like a mess. You started developing your own engine from scratch after getting international attention and selling 2013/2014 sandbox multiplayer promises. It's a risky move. Don't you worry that there will be too much competition (based on Unity engine and others) by the time you finish the product?

I think you could still get me interested in the game again, but I'm afraid there are some similar games around the corner (the fact that your game idea was great and that players already lost their interest in the game could be really tempting for other developers). Imagine what would happen to Minecraft if Notch decided to, for instance, change programming language when it just started to grow. Microsoft would probably have their own popular voxel game by now instead of buying Minecraft.

I don't really expect you to give me my money back (more ppl like me would come for their money), but for now I consider them wasted. You know, I probably won't have that much time for games when I get married and have a baby.

If you ordered a pizza with 45 minutes expected delivery time and the delivery guy knocked on your doors 2 hours later, would he be surprised you already ate something else? ;) Well, at least you would probably get both a (cold) pizza and a refund. "Sir, but we've changed the formula, baking process and everything! It's all to make it even more tasty!" ;)

Czorio

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Re: non-refundable game
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2015, 10:17:02 am »
Let's get this out of the way, they don't owe you anything. You knew you were funding a game in development, whose timelines are about as stable as a drunken hippo on a windmill.

"Sir, but we've changed the formula, baking process and everything! It's all to make it even more tasty!" ;)

Apples and oranges. "Sir, but we've changed the formula because our oven is no longer adequate for the new dough we are using. It's all to keep making pizza's for us to sell you."
"If you're in an equal fight, your tactics suck."

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Aaron

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Re: non-refundable game
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2015, 03:57:32 pm »
@Czorio

Well I think qdlaty's bigger point was that the old FAQ and website might be misleading (despite the warnings to try the latest version of the game, game is still in progress, etc), and as such I've set aside time for the few days to clean it up, despite a new site to soon replace it.  I'd like for qdlaty to be the last supporter to be confused about the status of the game.

@qdlaty

As for "changing the recipe", when we launched BR in 2011, it was after having followed Notch's blog for years as he took the essence of Infiniminer and built Minecraft from the ground up.  With every new blog post, we loved the bold nature of Mr. Persson, and just felt he was doing everything right as an indie:

Charging money for Minecraft only months after starting the husk of a game, and being totally open with the development and sales?  Unheard of!

The game he was charging money for was his first and foremost, and it was sold with the warning that it might not ever be finished?  Who'd buy such a thing!?

Given the prevailing uptight mentality surrounding the industry at the time, we were enthused with this crazy way to make a game.  No publisher pulling the strings, no "design doc" interfering with creativity.  This just seemed the way to go, and we wanted this to be the way we made our game.

Well, by 2012 we'd noticed that despite international success of Minecraft, there were glaring flaws in how Minecraft was made (as Notch would humbly point out), to the point that it'd take a re-write of the entire game just to fix half of the problems.  As a warning to other developers, Notch had made a blog post saying that if he could have done it all over again and to prevent the unending miseries in trying to provide new content, he would have built the game with multiplayer and modding functionality first rather than try to shoe-horn it in afterwards.

We took this warning to heart.

To start with modding, multiplayer, and a strong foundation meant a lot of work with little to show for while it was being done.  To do as Notch suggested, a hand-made engine would be necessary to make the game we wanted to build, and it'd take time (we just hadn't realized how much time).  We tried up until W71 to keep up with the "release early and often" model, but we quickly realized it wouldn't allow us to move far enough away from Minecraft's shadow.  We had to either make a "Minecraft In Space" akin to many of the competing space voxel games, or set about building the new engine as early as we could, lest we face a Minecraft/KSP debacle of: "gaem requires a sequel to fix the problems", money, fame, & fortune be damned.

Our passion for Blockade Runner comes from building a quality, truly fun, multiplayer & moddable game that integrates voxels at its foundation for creative freedom.  We never set out to make 'Minecraft in Space', and in the years since launching the game we've quietly evolved its concept to be something we feel stands apart from the rest, and hopefully be well worth your $10 and patience.  Considering that Valve, Blizzard, and Nintendo have always been our inspiration for quality in developing Blockade Runner, it stands for good reason we'd match their longterm thinking and long development cycles to "get it right".

tl;dr

We tried to follow Notch's footsteps when we started.  We ended up choosing to follow his advice instead.  We're not making a "pizza", but a game we hope will stand the test of time, and hopefully you'll want to be playing with your children.

Q&A

Spoiler
I was falsely lured by promises!
As explained above, we've tried to do what we felt was best with the game's direction to deliver on the end-game promises.  The game is still on-going in development, and you were warned before purchasing that the game came "As is".

I never received a playable product!
W28, W71, Micah's Unity Standalones, the New Engine builds

I can play earlier versions, but they're not a complete game!
Hence "alpha", in development, etc.

I want to play the newest version!
We're finally approaching "stable" again, with the only thing holding it up is our automating the process of releasing new builds so we're not wasting hours and hours of precious development time for each build we release.  The long delay is due to our foregoing (and therefore, failing) the promised "sandbox builds" in 2014, and instead having integrated Artemis and CS-Script deep into the game's code.

The FAQ and other pages are horribly misleading!
This is being corrected this week.  We'd long been planning a switch to a new website, but the wait for the CMS we're looking to switch to (ghost.org) to mature is taking too long.

You guys look like a mess!
We put our efforts towards development of a game instead of our appearances.  That said, for the sake of the Founders we'll try to take some time to tidy up.

Unity3D means your engine is kaput!
No, it's not.  Our custom game engine is flexible, built off of low-level DX, and streamlined for our game's unique purposes.  That said, with platforms like Unity3D maturing, we can easily tie into any one of them if it were to become necessary.

You don't need a custom game engine!
Yes, you do.  If you see an original ground-breaking game that's not "Early Access", it's usually with a custom engine at its back.

You're too slow at making a game engine!
Star-Made's engine took four years (2008-2012), with content made afterward.  Space Engineers took five~ years (via Miner Wars' VRAGE engine, 2008-2014), with content made afterward.  We started our new engine in 2013, and are probably about halfway done with it.

When your engine is done in 2016 2017 2048, it'll be behind everyone else!
It'll also have been built for modern hardware (DX12, 64-bit, SSD) from the outset.  We're on schedule, but aiming for the longterm.

You guys don't have enough sales to make this game!
We greatly appreciate your financial support for the game, but we've always been self-funded.  We charged money for the game to eliminate any perception of the game being a hobby or freeware.

There's too much competition out there already!
Good, a healthy market!  When Blizzard was developing Starcraft back in 1995,  there were over 70 other RTS games in development.  Blizzard released Starcraft in 1998 as a graphically inferior game that was way behind schedule.

Nobody will care when the game is released!
Welp, we're gonna make a game we think is fun and unique and hope others agree.  We're glad the folks at Grinding Gear Games never listened to such nonsense when they spent 7 years making Path of Exile!

You guys suck at marketing, even if you make a good game nobody will know about it!
We'll worry about the marketing when we're clearly getting close to launch.

You need to get popular like [X] and [Y] if you want to be the next Minecraft!
We're setting out to make a quality game we think would be fun to play.  We're not interested in being the next Minecraft. Edit: Not meant as a dis on Minecraft, but a fact that we're not delusional enough to assume we're going to trigger a global phenomenon.

Too many people are copying your 'idea' for BR!
Nothing original about voxels in space.

Why don't you tell us your original ideas then!
We're a long ways away from being done.  What sense would there be in giving the 'competition' new material to work from?

Why continue selling the game as Early Access then?
This is a question we've wondered recently.  Notch's Early Access model is ill-suited for our agile, yet slow and quiet nature of development.  We want the game to be sold on its own merit, and after years of watching the rise and fall of Early Access, we're convinced that the EA sales model is (with rare exception) built almost entirely on hype and disappointment despite the best intentions of the developers.  Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but we very much regret that the toxic nature of Early Access was the introduction to Blockade Runner for so many people.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2015, 04:57:14 pm by Aaron »
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Cy83r

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Re: [Answered] non-refundable game
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2015, 03:33:01 pm »
qdlaty, Development Release Games like this and others are, first and foremost, investments; treat it like stock.

Frankly, between this and Space Engineers, the only two incomplete games I've poney'd up and purchased in the past few years, I don't know which project will pull ahead despite SE having much larger content and an ostensibly more rapid update track.  There's some evidence that the developers of SE are starting to gel past the core gameplay phase despite glaring flaws that have existed since the game's inception.  Comparatively, the Mangament here is taking the time to not only rebuild the game's core into a platform that will be technically supported for the foreseeable future, I'm guessing roughly two decades or so, they are also clearing coding obstacles out of the way now while still prototyping features.

They've made significant features progress which has been plainly outlined in their updates, we just can't dig into it with our own hands yet.  If this were a cash-grab, this forum wouldn't exist anymore and the management would not continue to put the effort they do into maintaining the current low-key public relations with unhappy investors such as yourself (I've been there too, multiple times).

As it stands, there seems to be, IMNSHO, enough progress to make a conservative estimate of playable releases happening late 2015 to early 2016.  After this coming winter period, my gripe meter is going to start ticking up again and I'm sure ZANmgt won't be very happy with themselves either if the delays last anywhere near that long.

As it stands, your sunk costs are ten dollars, an hour's worth of very simple work in my parts- I payed twice that for a more immediately accessible game like Space Engineers and am slowly becoming unimpressed with the hype it was given that caused me to spend the money in the first place; I'm not even sure Keen should have released Medieval in such a basic state when it shares so much of the core content it lacks with SE.  Maybe it's brand loyalty, the mystery box effect, and a bit of stockhome syndrome kicking in, I don't know.

Regardless, ZAN's optimism and media exposure occurred at a time when voxel games where new and fascinating in the media cycle and Notch established the lower bar for success well after much of the nitty-gritty frustration was well and past and out of the journalists' collective radar.  All get-rich-quick narratives are fabricated for entertainment, profit, malice, stupidity, or some combination thereof; it's my opinion that a person who believes that kind of narrative deserves to get mad at having their gratification delayed or even denied, but I'm a spiteful asshole who's grown to embittered hate of pretty much everyone I love.

My advice to you: get mad, let it simmer, and watch your investments like ZANmgt's product for any signs of overt failure and call them to task when they fail- not a year later.

Good catch on the prospective dates FAQ issue though, that sort of thing does need to be maintained better here.
Jibreel: Yeah but [Hufer] that's like [Axis] complaining that his Toyota Camry is stuck in the mud and you responding "Well my M1 Abrams doesn't seem to be having much trouble."

Aaron

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Re: [Answered] non-refundable game
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2015, 12:13:36 am »
Quote from: Cy83r
Good catch on the prospective dates FAQ issue though, that sort of thing does need to be maintained better here.

Spoiler
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wad67

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Re: [Answered] non-refundable game
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2017, 10:14:59 am »
I could have purchased roughly four curry pies with that $10 all those millennia ago.
I like to think that blockade runner will never actually come out, so that I may be pleasantly surprised when it does.