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The Visual Novel

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iffy
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by iffy » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:18 am

The initial schedule and scope always seemed too aggressive. Passionate and detailed artist with little that can be well-delegated even if familiar with such things, from a non-game company ('not even indie'). From some people starting from scratch and mostly winging it. What has been done over the last five years just as probably went through all the KS funding and then some. Game companies have spent far more in shorter times and not released a product even. So for the VN, having something released would be nice, even surprising. What isn't surprising as much is what got done, in how long, and at what cost. But certainly communication, and expectation-setting, could have been better.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by legitalltheponies » Wed Feb 07, 2018 12:42 pm

iffy wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:18 am
The initial schedule and scope always seemed too aggressive. Passionate and detailed artist with little that can be well-delegated even if familiar with such things, from a non-game company ('not even indie'). From some people starting from scratch and mostly winging it. What has been done over the last five years just as probably went through all the KS funding and then some. Game companies have spent far more in shorter times and not released a product even. So for the VN, having something released would be nice, even surprising. What isn't surprising as much is what got done, in how long, and at what cost. But certainly communication, and expectation-setting, could have been better.
This and medical costs are potential explanations as to where the money went, but they're still speculation and can only be speculation until someone tells us what exactly happened to the money. Part of this comes from visual novels being different from most video games. Fred was doing most, if not all of the art assets himself and the physical rewards were never sent out, leaving most of the cost to be with programming. Hiring programmers does eat a lot of costs, but this was for a relatively simple (from a game programming perspective) program in Ren'Py. I have no idea how much this would actually cost because no one has said how much it cost.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by iffy » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:37 am

Quite correct, and agreed, we don't know the accounting of it all. Also agreed, the communication has been lacking, and a number of other things such as it taking a long while to get something we still don't have. We are only assuming we'll get something eventually too. Not sure if anyone's seen this in particular, seems to provide some context as well (not that it excuses anything for anyone) Kickstarter MIA

For the MT VN, even though I don't agree with the conclusion (I like Fred's decision better) I think paarfi's personal opinion from earlier bears repeating, as it seems to cover a number of related issues: " I manage a software team in real life, and if this were my project and my business, I'd have pulled the plug long ago. Sometimes projects fail, in spite of everyone's best intentions and efforts. Nobody is ever happy when that happens, but you need to redirect scant resources to something more productive. I was a major backer of the VN, and aside from Fred and maybe one other team member, I don't think anyone has put more time and effort into it than me. But at this point, I'd rather have Fred spending his time putting out more MT comics than keep working on the VN. At some point you have to get real about it."

IMO part of how KS seems to be is that when backing an artistic endeavor (speculative or not) the funding is for a number of things including paying for the artist's time and effort, to work more on that project instead of other things. Whatever the 'displaced time' is worth, and whatever the value and potential chances at income lost by working on that project, and whatever the money is spent on, be that hiring or otherwise paying for people's time, on living expenses such as food or medicine or rent, for project art supplies, computers and powering them, buying software. But again, yes, not knowing is the thing. We can't be sure the entire 300K, and more, hasn't been spent directly on things applicable to developing the VN only. That is, all on the VN with nothing used to pay for artist's time and work and so on.

Still, even if the other costs of work and materials for the VN and people over x years hadn't used all the funding as we suppose it did, there is the aspect of paying the artist to work on something participants wanted to back. That won't be a valid consideration to everyone. And if it is, how much that is worth varies. Even more, whatever does come out of this endeavor, some will believe it worth something near 0 and others approaching ∞. The first group will be disappointed more and the second will see it as a bargain. Maybe if nothing ends up coming out of this, all the backers will get some bit of custom artwork equivalent to their participation contribution. Which some also would consider nothing and others infinite. Others don't even factor that or anything else as an issue. After all, many backed the project just to support the effort, and don't even much care about the game or the swag.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Rowandoll » Thu Feb 08, 2018 7:42 pm

At this point a post mortem, either from fred or signed off by fred detailing where the money went, and how this played out would be better than the current treatment. But since we're not going to get the base of what we paid for, the extra tiers that were sold, nor any of the physical objects that were rewards for pushing the game to 300k, as opposed to 20K, a detailed post mortem would be nice.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Darkbaldur » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:04 pm

So seeing this thread made me go back and even see what I backed the game for. As a rule I don't pack projects for more than I feel comfortable losing should this occur.

It seems in this case things occurred. So I don't feel like I'm owed anything or this needs to be made right. I backed the concept of a project and am curious to see what comes of it in the end even then with what it is. I know game making and any project is a tough thing to get into if you arn't able to dedicate more than a full time jobs worth of time.

That being said I feel like the production sketches... story boarding etc might be interesting to be shared similar to how the digital art book was described.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by legitalltheponies » Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:07 pm

iffy wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:37 am
For the MT VN, even though I don't agree with the conclusion (I like Fred's decision better) I think paarfi's personal opinion from earlier bears repeating, as it seems to cover a number of related issues: " I manage a software team in real life, and if this were my project and my business, I'd have pulled the plug long ago. Sometimes projects fail, in spite of everyone's best intentions and efforts. Nobody is ever happy when that happens, but you need to redirect scant resources to something more productive. I was a major backer of the VN, and aside from Fred and maybe one other team member, I don't think anyone has put more time and effort into it than me. But at this point, I'd rather have Fred spending his time putting out more MT comics than keep working on the VN. At some point you have to get real about it."
I have to wonder what Paarfi meant exactly when he said that and why he felt the plug should be pulled vs. trying a different approach. If they can finish that first hour of gameplay, there are other completely different directions where they can take the software development if they can bring themselves to scrap parts of the project that have already been coded. There have been a few visual novel builders that have come on the market since the project launched. I don't want to discount the massive amount of work that would need to be done even with complicated software, but it could be more doable and wouldn't require programming experience. My guess is that the main issue would be simplifying the art direction.
IMO part of how KS seems to be is that when backing an artistic endeavor (speculative or not) the funding is for a number of things including paying for the artist's time and effort, to work more on that project instead of other things. Whatever the 'displaced time' is worth, and whatever the value and potential chances at income lost by working on that project, and whatever the money is spent on, be that hiring or otherwise paying for people's time, on living expenses such as food or medicine or rent, for project art supplies, computers and powering them, buying software. But again, yes, not knowing is the thing. We can't be sure the entire 300K, and more, hasn't been spent directly on things applicable to developing the VN only. That is, all on the VN with nothing used to pay for artist's time and work and so on.
I can't believe that I thought of an artist's work as "free". That was stupid on my part.
Still, even if the other costs of work and materials for the VN and people over x years hadn't used all the funding as we suppose it did, there is the aspect of paying the artist to work on something participants wanted to back. That won't be a valid consideration to everyone. And if it is, how much that is worth varies. Even more, whatever does come out of this endeavor, some will believe it worth something near 0 and others approaching ∞. The first group will be disappointed more and the second will see it as a bargain. Maybe if nothing ends up coming out of this, all the backers will get some bit of custom artwork equivalent to their participation contribution. Which some also would consider nothing and others infinite. Others don't even factor that or anything else as an issue. After all, many backed the project just to support the effort, and don't even much care about the game or the swag.
Most of the problem with this idea is just how many people ended up backing the game. Fred sells his production drawings at about $200 eachish. There are 147 backers who pledged $200 or more. Drawing 147 sketches takes a lot of time and each sketch would cost a few dollars to ship. If he decides to do a print run of something and sign all of them, that's going to cost a fair amount of money plus the cost of shipping. Unless the drawings are like business card sized it's not viable.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Rapierman » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm

Nobody owes anything to anyone here. For those of you who contributed expecting that something will get done, it would appear that you forget the first rule of investments: Nothing is guaranteed. It's always a crap shoot. I won't shout at God if I put in $30 for some lottery tickets and all I get back is $8. I was the one who made the decision. I did the speculation. If I lose, it's nobody's fault but my own.

Ergo, if Fred can't get the job done, there's nothing I can do about it. I made the bet when I kicked some money into Kickstarter. I knew there was a chance that nothing would come of it, but I made the bet thinking it was worth a shot. It didn't happen. That's my fault and nobody else's. I will move on. I haven't put myself into a financial hole from this project. I won't be hurting in any way, shape or form. This was just a bet to see if it will happen. That's the way it always is when investing in anything: There's always a chance that you will lose. Fred may not make it on "Shark Tank", but I made that decision to make the bet, and that's all there is to it.

If Fred does eventually make it, I will celebrate with him. If he doesn't, then that's the end of it and we both go on with our lives. He doesn't owe me anything but the effort he put into it, and put it in he did.

BTW, failure is never a failure if you learn something from it. I'm sure that Fred will learn something from this that will make him a better person.

For now, however, let's just all go on with our lives. You make your decisions. I made mine.
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Rowandoll » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:14 pm

Nobody owes anything to anyone here.
Except Fred who solicited funds for a project, solicited additional funds for an expanded project, and promised physical rewards at specific backing tiers.
For those of you who contributed expecting that something will get done, it would appear that you forget the first rule of investments: Nothing is guaranteed.
Except in the case of investments, there is transparency of accounts, comparison with the prospectus, and the possibility of redress in case of fraud.
It's always a crap shoot. I won't shout at God if I put in $30 for some lottery tickets and all I get back is $8.
Mercifully, Fred is not God. Otherwise We'd still be waiting on the completion of the Third Day.
I was the one who made the decision. I did the speculation. If I lose, it's nobody's fault but my own.
Do you really believe that the odds of Fred completing a project match a state lottery?
Ergo, if Fred can't get the job done, there's nothing I can do about it.
We don't know if he can or can't. He hasn't said anything, just as he hasn't said what he used the money for.
I made the bet when I kicked some money into Kickstarter. I knew there was a chance that nothing would come of it, but I made the bet thinking it was worth a shot. It didn't happen. That's my fault and nobody else's.
Except Fred. Who collected $300,000 and didn't produce anything. He's hardly blameless. More, since he's not providing information as to how the money was spent, or what happened, it's more than just the investors that are to blame.
I will move on.
Okay. And?
I haven't put myself into a financial hole from this project.
Good for you.
I won't be hurting in any way, shape or form.
Also good.
This was just a bet to see if it will happen.
For you, clearly it was.
That's the way it always is when investing in anything: There's always a chance that you will lose.
And receive disclosure, and in the case of fraud, redress.
Fred may not make it on "Shark Tank",
How is that relevant?
but I made that decision to make the bet, and that's all there is to it.
For you, that's true.
If Fred does eventually make it, I will celebrate with him. If he doesn't, then that's the end of it and we both go on with our lives. He doesn't owe me anything but the effort he put into it, and put it in he did.
I'm glad he doesn't owe you anything. As with most investments, an explanation is the minimum owed, and if fraud is determined, redress.
BTW, failure is never a failure if you learn something from it.
It would be easier to learn something from it if there was a detailed explanation of what happened, and where the resources went, so further projects could learn, rather than hiding in silence.
I'm sure that Fred will learn something from this that will make him a better person.
As he hasn't said anything yet, we'll never know.
For now, however, let's just all go on with our lives. You make your decisions. I made mine.
Good. Now we never have to hear from you again.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by legitalltheponies » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:38 am

Rapierman wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm
Nobody owes anything to anyone here. For those of you who contributed expecting that something will get done, it would appear that you forget the first rule of investments: Nothing is guaranteed. It's always a crap shoot. I won't shout at God if I put in $30 for some lottery tickets and all I get back is $8. I was the one who made the decision. I did the speculation. If I lose, it's nobody's fault but my own.

Ergo, if Fred can't get the job done, there's nothing I can do about it. I made the bet when I kicked some money into Kickstarter. I knew there was a chance that nothing would come of it, but I made the bet thinking it was worth a shot. It didn't happen. That's my fault and nobody else's. I will move on. I haven't put myself into a financial hole from this project. I won't be hurting in any way, shape or form. This was just a bet to see if it will happen. That's the way it always is when investing in anything: There's always a chance that you will lose. Fred may not make it on "Shark Tank", but I made that decision to make the bet, and that's all there is to it.

If Fred does eventually make it, I will celebrate with him. If he doesn't, then that's the end of it and we both go on with our lives. He doesn't owe me anything but the effort he put into it, and put it in he did.

BTW, failure is never a failure if you learn something from it. I'm sure that Fred will learn something from this that will make him a better person.

For now, however, let's just all go on with our lives. You make your decisions. I made mine.
Most of this thread has been asking for a pie chart.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by AzurePanda » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:49 am

As someone who threw all the money they possibly could at this KS when it was funding, I was always praying for that 500k stretch goal. I remember even begging in the comments to move it down to $300k since we hit that. I've been patiently awaiting the rewards, an announcement about the game, anything really. This forum is great, but it's a bit of a pain to have to come here instead of having consistent communication on the actual KS website. That makes it much easier to keep track of.

Not only that, but as others have said previously the physical goods should have been shipped long ago, regardless of program development. I'm begging for my physical rewards here... I would be able to wait for the actual game much more patiently if I had them, Something, ANYTHING really to show for this. I am a huge Megatokyo fan. I throw money to Fred whenever possible. I have all the books, and I watch his live streams whenever I can. I love the story of Megatokyo and that's why I threw as much money as I possibly could at this. But it's been nearly 5 years. I just want what was promised. At this point, a completed part 1 doesn't even seem to be feasible, and that's really saddening as parts 2 and 3 were funded as well. Just release the physical goods, ship them out to us even without the game being finished. Include an official statement letter, detailing what happened, with a timetable of when it happened, and a comprehensive overview of where the $300k we invested went. It may not seem like much to some people, but for those of us who did all we could... Every little bit will help.

Personally, I should be receiving the Flash Drive of Awesomeness, a Beta-Tester T-shirt, the 11x17 Autographed Print, Soundtrack, and Digital Art Book pdf. Those are the things I pledged towards besides the actual VN. I wanted to go even higher, but couldn't afford it. I'm a bit glad I didn't now, but still. I'm begging you guys, I'm begging you Fred... Give those of us who are still die-hard fans, and still (semi-)patiently waiting like me, a glimmer of hope. Give us our physical rewards...

If all has failed, and there is no chance of anything, not the physical rewards or the VN game... Then just give us an official statement like I detailed above, and refund our money if we request it (since some people seem okay with not getting anything or a refund).

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by paarfi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:56 am

AzurePanda wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:49 am
I am a huge Megatokyo fan. I throw money to Fred whenever possible. I have all the books, and I watch his live streams whenever I can.
I'm sorry. Thank you so much for supporting Fred. If it weren't for folks like you, Megatokyo would have ended years ago. You really do make a difference for all of us. I'm so sorry that the visual novel has been such a disappointment, and I know it's killing Fred. I wish it had turned out differently. I get the your wish for closure on this, but Fred hasn't given up. Hopefully things will yet improve.
Rowandoll wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:14 pm
Rapierman wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm
For now, however, let's just all go on with our lives. You make your decisions. I made mine.
Good. Now we never have to hear from you again.
Folks, I understand there's a lot of disappointment and frustration here. But we're all friends here too. Please try to be nice, even if you think the other person isn't being nice to you.
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by legitalltheponies » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:23 am

paarfi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:56 am
AzurePanda wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:49 am
I am a huge Megatokyo fan. I throw money to Fred whenever possible. I have all the books, and I watch his live streams whenever I can.
I'm sorry. Thank you so much for supporting Fred. If it weren't for folks like you, Megatokyo would have ended years ago. You really do make a difference for all of us. I'm so sorry that the visual novel has been such a disappointment, and I know it's killing Fred. I wish it had turned out differently. I get the your wish for closure on this, but Fred hasn't given up. Hopefully things will yet improve.
Rowandoll wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:14 pm
Rapierman wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm
For now, however, let's just all go on with our lives. You make your decisions. I made mine.
Good. Now we never have to hear from you again.
Folks, I understand there's a lot of disappointment and frustration here. But we're all friends here too. Please try to be nice, even if you think the other person isn't being nice to you.
So Paarfi, are we going to get an update on where the money went? You've been dodging questions on that throughout this thread and it's the main question being asked in here.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by paarfi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:36 am

legitalltheponies wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:23 am
So Paarfi, are we going to get an update on where the money went? You've been dodging questions on that throughout this thread and it's the main question being asked in here.
Fred is a friend of mine, but that doesn't mean that we share details about our finances with each other. You are asking the wrong person.

I do plan to address one of your other questions later on though.

Edit to add:
I passed your question about the money to Fred. He said a lot of it has gone into production, into paying for tools and software and for music production, and also that taxes were not insignificant, not to mention some money held aside for the rewards. He didn't mention it, but I'd expect that some went to support Fred and family while he put his main business (the comic and store) on hold and worked on the visual novel instead.
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by paarfi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:40 pm

legitalltheponies wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:07 pm
I have to wonder what Paarfi meant exactly when he said that and why he felt the plug should be pulled vs. trying a different approach.
Ok, it's a fair question. Fred has said that he's looking at making changes to the current approach by simplifying the artwork resources needed. Let me describe a little further where we're at and see if y'all can suggest something.

For the most part, visual novels tend to basically be a text story (novel) with artwork (visual) added. The megatokyo comic already had artwork, and much (maybe most) of the story in megatokyo is told through that artwork rather than the dialogue. So when it came time to make a visual novel out of it, Fred tried to find a way to take the dynamic panel-by-panel artwork changes of the webcomic and translate that to a visual novel where the artwork is typically fairly static.

His answer was the "slow animation" approach that we have been taking. The characters move and gesture, their expressions change, their eyes move to look at (or away from) others, their mouths open and close as they talk, and their dialogue appears as word bubbles just like in the comic. It is surprisingly effective. We're able to still tell much of the story through glances, expressions, and other visuals rather than having to describe it all via text. It feels immersive and very like the comic, and it's the closest thing to a megatokyo anime that we're ever likely to get. When we did our "pencil test" preview release to beta testers a few years ago, the feedback on this approach was really positive.

Unfortunately, the amount of artwork that this approach requires has just killed us. When this project first started, Fred had other artists lined up to help. But they quickly discovered that, while those folks were really good, their stuff didn't look like Fred's -- it didn't look like megatokyo. If this were a totally new project, then they could have found a way to split up the work and deal with that. But everybody knew what Megatokyo looks like and the visual novel needed to look like that too. So Fred needed to do all the artwork.

For as much as I love Fred's artwork, he doesn't draw quickly. Even things like a slightly different expression on the same figure, or open vs closed mouth take longer than you (or Fred) would think. Scenes with a minimalist sketchy background in the comic needed something bigger and fleshed-out for the visual novel context, and those take a lot of work. Over time, we tried to organize things to reuse or slightly alter artwork for use in later scenes, but things jump around so much in MT that this hasn't helped nearly enough. Again, that would have worked a lot better with a totally new project where artwork reuse was planned for in the story, but megatokyo already exists and that was not at all in Fred's thoughts when he wrote the comic.

When the project first started, the kickstarter funds allowed Fred to work on this fulltime. Fred cannot afford to do that anymore. Any time Fred spends working on the visual novel is time he's not doing comics (where he also has a commitment to the Patreon supporters) or artwork for the his store (which helps pay the bills). So there is a huge pile of visual novel artwork for Fred to do, and Fred has limited time to do it. Thus our poor progress of late.

So the primary need of a different approach would be to reduce the amount of artwork that Fred needs to do, hopefully without adding other kinds of work that just offsets that.

On idea would be to keep doing the same thing, but try to cut back on the number of expressions and such. I am going to guess this is what Fred has in mind, but I question whether we can cut back enough to make a real difference without losing the storytelling ability of the visuals.

Another idea might be to replace the character art changes with text labels like "Largo grimaces" or "Tsubasa frowns". I don't really like that idea. It feels like it would not work well at all.

And yet another idea would be to revert back to the traditional visual novel style, by telling the story largely through text with much fewer and more static visuals. But that would require rewriting megatokyo as the equivalent of a light novel. Fred is a comic artist, not a prose writer. Even if he could do it, it would take a huge effort from him.

When I said that I would have pulled the plug if it were my business, this is part of the reason why -- that I'm struggling to think of an acceptable alternative that will fix things. Something that lets us get this done yet results in a game worth doing. Maybe one of y'all has a better idea though.
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Rowandoll » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:43 pm

paarfi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:36 am
Fred is a friend of mine, but that doesn't mean that we share details about our finances with each other. You are asking the wrong person.

I do plan to address one of your other questions later on though.
The problem being: The person who could answer the questions isn't saying anything at all. That's a huge part of the issue at hand. You present yourself as having an intimate understanding of what went on, and so far have been the only voice speaking at all. Telling us 'you've got the wrong guy' doesn't help the fact that the right guy won't speak.

Again, those who were promised physical items, should receive something even if it's an explanation of why they're not coming. The rest should have a detailed explanation of the timeline, the distribution of funds, what went wrong, and what could change in the future. That money went somewhere. There should be information from the source as to where it went. As of now, Unsung Story has provided more information than Megatokyo in terms of what happened, what's going to happen, and how backer rewards are going to be handled. But the more fred doesn't speak on these matters, the more it seems that he used his fandom to get out of a financial hole, and is hoping people just forget about the $300,000.

Since we're not allowed to ask you, and Fred clearly doesn't read this forum at all, what is the best way to get the post-mortem and physical item explanation? Even from the responses here, it seems that Fred would receive plenty of support from the fans if he said "I used it to pay a programmer and some medical bills. If I'd known about gofundme, I'd have done that instead", and those who are already disappointed in his treatment of his supporters would at least have some contact and an explanation. It's not the failure, it's the silence.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by paarfi » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:47 pm

Rowandoll wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:43 pm
The problem being: The person who could answer the questions isn't saying anything at all.
You posted too quickly. See edited post above. :P
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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by Darkbaldur » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:41 pm

Maybe this is something you all have discussed of line as it's your project. Not is it possible your over thinking things? I know when I'm not project and start panicking about delays etc. It helps too step back and look at it as if I'm not me. And try and see where I might be causing unnecessary delays through over thinking. If nothing else it helps clear my mind slightly.

Maybe since you both are so close and involved you are already stressed about it so your looking at it with that view.

Not sure how much that might help but as a long time fan I'm pulling for you to do way you can.

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by xion5139 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:25 am

paarfi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:36 am
Edit to add:
I passed your question about the money to Fred. He said a lot of it has gone into production, into paying for tools and software and for music production, and also that taxes were not insignificant, not to mention some money held aside for the rewards. He didn't mention it, but I'd expect that some went to support Fred and family while he put his main business (the comic and store) on hold and worked on the visual novel instead.
Fred got a lot more then the $20,000 he asked for this project he got a quarter of a million dollars. So if a lot of the money has gone into production then why after almost five years of development there is only about an hour of gameplay?

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Re: The Visual Novel

Post by xion5139 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:29 am

Rapierman wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:50 pm
Nobody owes anything to anyone here. For those of you who contributed expecting that something will get done, it would appear that you forget the first rule of investments: Nothing is guaranteed. It's always a crap shoot. I won't shout at God if I put in $30 for some lottery tickets and all I get back is $8. I was the one who made the decision. I did the speculation. If I lose, it's nobody's fault but my own.
Actually if you read the kickstarter terms of service backers are promised the rewards for the tier that they backed and can subject to legal action if they do not receive said rewards. This is not an investment or playing the lottery. Fred owes people!

AzurePanda
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:34 am

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by AzurePanda » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:24 am

xion5139 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:29 am
Actually if you read the kickstarter terms of service backers are promised the rewards for the tier that they backed and can subject to legal action if they do not receive said rewards. This is not an investment or playing the lottery. Fred owes people!
This... As much as I hate it. And as much as I never want it to be a thing that happens... I want what I funded!

xion5139
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:51 pm

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by xion5139 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:35 am

AzurePanda wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:24 am
xion5139 wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:29 am
Actually if you read the kickstarter terms of service backers are promised the rewards for the tier that they backed and can subject to legal action if they do not receive said rewards. This is not an investment or playing the lottery. Fred owes people!
This... As much as I hate it. And as much as I never want it to be a thing that happens... I want what I funded!
Amen

AzurePanda
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:34 am

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by AzurePanda » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:45 am

I'm even willing to wait longer for the actual game. I've waited 5 years, I can wait a few more months for a COMPLETE part 1.

That said, I refuse to continue to patiently await my pledge's physical products much longer. Those should have been shipped out years ago. Hell, the calendar was pictured for 2014 for goodness sake! (not that I pledged for the calendar, just an example)

xion5139
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:51 pm

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by xion5139 » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:26 pm

AzurePanda wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:45 am
I'm even willing to wait longer for the actual game. I've waited 5 years, I can wait a few more months for a COMPLETE part 1.

That said, I refuse to continue to patiently await my pledge's physical products much longer. Those should have been shipped out years ago. Hell, the calendar was pictured for 2014 for goodness sake! (not that I pledged for the calendar, just an example)
Some people do not have the luxury of time to wait indefinitely for this game to come out. It will not be a few more months for a COMPLETE part 1 I can tell you that right now. To quote the kickstarter "Each part will offer four to six hours of gameplay per playable character (though this will vary, depending on story branching). The base goal for this Kickstarter is to raise enough funds to cover the production of Part One of Megatokyo the Visual Novel with Piro and Largo as playable characters. Additional playable characters and the production of part 2 and 3 will be stretch goals. Release dates for Part 2 and Part 3 will be announced if and when they are funded." As paarfi said they have an hour done of Piro gameplay after almost five years of development. So yea I doubt a COMPLETE part 1 will be done any time soon and the rest of the game getting done is frankly impossible at this point.

legitalltheponies
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:30 pm

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by legitalltheponies » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:32 pm

paarfi wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:40 pm
legitalltheponies wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 8:07 pm
I have to wonder what Paarfi meant exactly when he said that and why he felt the plug should be pulled vs. trying a different approach.
Ok, it's a fair question. Fred has said that he's looking at making changes to the current approach by simplifying the artwork resources needed. Let me describe a little further where we're at and see if y'all can suggest something.

His answer was the "slow animation" approach that we have been taking. The characters move and gesture, their expressions change, their eyes move to look at (or away from) others, their mouths open and close as they talk, and their dialogue appears as word bubbles just like in the comic. It is surprisingly effective. We're able to still tell much of the story through glances, expressions, and other visuals rather than having to describe it all via text. It feels immersive and very like the comic, and it's the closest thing to a megatokyo anime that we're ever likely to get.
I was a little concerned when I saw this initial approach when Fred was pitching it. I thought it might have been meant for cutscenes or something similar. Then I thought it was an interesting thought experiment that he’d discard a few months in. Actually, I was surprised when you brought it up in this thread, I just thought that Fred was doing art for something more normal. I’m shocked that it’s still the main approach after four and a half years, a few hundred thousand dollars, and no product and that very little thought has been put into changing strategies.
When we did our "pencil test" preview release to beta testers a few years ago, the feedback on this approach was really positive.
The main takeaway I had from that was that the beta testers liked the approach, but were more concerned with getting the game than getting the game in that format.
So the primary need of a different approach would be to reduce the amount of artwork that Fred needs to do, hopefully without adding other kinds of work that just offsets that.

On idea would be to keep doing the same thing, but try to cut back on the number of expressions and such. I am going to guess this is what Fred has in mind, but I question whether we can cut back enough to make a real difference without losing the storytelling ability of the visuals.

Another idea might be to replace the character art changes with text labels like "Largo grimaces" or "Tsubasa frowns". I don't really like that idea. It feels like it would not work well at all.

And yet another idea would be to revert back to the traditional visual novel style, by telling the story largely through text with much fewer and more static visuals. But that would require rewriting megatokyo as the equivalent of a light novel. Fred is a comic artist, not a prose writer. Even if he could do it, it would take a huge effort from him

When I said that I would have pulled the plug if it were my business, this is part of the reason why -- that I'm struggling to think of an acceptable alternative that will fix things. Something that lets us get this done yet results in a game worth doing. Maybe one of y'all has a better idea though.
The only viable option is to revert back to the traditional visual novel style. I’d say to start doing that after you release part 1, but as you said further up the thread there’s a half a year of art cleanup to do. There’s nothing now. Fred learned to write for comics on the fly and can learn to write prose if he wants to. It’s going to be less effort for him to write prose than to continue…this. If he goes back and plugs in available artwork into a more traditional VN program, he’ll be done before he’d be able to do the slow animation and he’d have the foundation for working on other routes and work on selling those. He might even be able to recoup some losses.

A lot of the appeal of the VN was seeing things through other characters’ perspectives. I don’t really care about the VN looking like a comic or being animated, I just wanted to see Ping’s perspective. Fred’s been wasting resources on stuff that only the dev team actually cares about.

There's an acceptable alternative that will fix things- it's been there all along. It's right in front of you. VN Maker is like $60 on Steam. Fred already has a lot of art that he can use and has already purchased music. You can do this, but you have to change strategies.

cidjen
Posts: 224
Joined: Fri Dec 29, 2017 12:13 pm

Re: The Visual Novel

Post by cidjen » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:32 pm

On the other hand, if the first released part gathers some sales momentum, after all I don't think only backers wait for it even after all these years, it could bring some money and resources back;
Similar to what happens now with the comic, with the help of Patreon, having gathered momentum, the subsequent additions to the VN, split into manageable chunks and sold/backed separately (with some schemes to reward the long-term high-bidding KS backers - like free pass to watch the development on Patreon - while non-KS backers could be backing it on Patreon to bring the fresh money in) could help this VN project gather back the lost momentum.

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