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I'm sure Fred is still working on this

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Ryoga
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I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by Ryoga » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:43 am

I finally set up an account on the forums. And wow... Negative comments galore...
I don't see Fred giving up and not finishing the Visual Novel, but I do see it taking some time.
For the record, I am backer #1,116 (out of the 4,958 backers)
My reward is the Flash drive custom imprinted to look like Ping's earblade including Part 1, the Original Soundtrack and the "Megatokyo Visual Novel Development Artbook" PDF. Flash drive will be large enough add Part 2 and Part 3 of the game. This tier does NOT include participation as a Beta Tester, but includes Part 2 and Part 3 (if funded in this Kickstarter) as a digital download when they are released.

The keywords I saw was "when they are released"

I do agree that regular updates would help. Besides, Seraphim told us that at the rate Fred is doing the comic, it is necessary that we live as long as possible so we can see the final episodes. (https://megatokyo.com/strip/874). So understanding that the Visual Novel may take awhile isn't that big of a stretch.

TheOneElectronic
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by TheOneElectronic » Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:46 am

It already HAS taken awhile. It's been FIVE YEARS with nothing to show for it. None of the rewards have been shipped, not a one. We haven't had news on the game in like, two years.

How much more forgiving are we supposed to be? We've been given nothing and now we're being told to be grateful for it.

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paarfi
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by paarfi » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am

The game has not progressed any further since the last time I posted about this. Fred's life problems that are the cause of the delays have, if anything, gotten worse. The plan still remains to get the comics flowing at the rate promised to his Patreon supporters, then get the remaining backlog of megagear store orders shipped, then get back onto the visual novel. Fred has fallen short of the comic production target most months lately, and has only made a start on the shipping backlog, and that has left no time for vn work.

We are still hoping that things will improve, but I do not expect that to happen anytime soon. His mother's dementia has grown worse, as has his father's Parkinson's, and his father-in-law had medical problems late last year that have now left him struggling to walk. Fred and Sarah spend a good amount of time driving them to doctors and providing the care that the disabled elderly need. Fred's immediate family continues to have serious medical problems of their own that are expensive: with time, with the cost of health insurance, and with the high costs of what insurance doesn't cover. Sarah works fulltime, Fred has had to take a part-time job in addition to the comic, and they still struggle to pay the medical and regular bills every month. This not only takes extra time for his part-time job, but it also forces him to spend days drawing artwork for sale when things are really tight, as happened over the last few days with the Ashe drawing. And that time is time not spent doing other things, like the vn.

Fred does have a commitment to the vn work. But he can't just let his parents fend for themselves; he can't ignore the family medical problems; he can't just ignore the bills; and he can't totally neglect his young son on the things that any father should be doing. There is only one Fred, and there's not enough of him to go around to do all that needs done. The vn is one of the things that has had to suffer.

When Fred did the kickstarter he had no idea that these kinds of life problems were ahead, nor that the vn work itself would prove to be so much more difficult and time-consuming than he had thought. I've seen comments on the kickstarter page about people reporting Fred so he'll never be able to do another kickstarter again. I understand, but that just shows how little people some people understand Fred and his situation. He is embarrassed, panicked, frazzled, depressed, and in almost complete despair over how things have gone. There is no way he would ever do another kickstarter, and if he could go back in time and undo this one, I'm sure he would.

Similarly, I understand the people asking for refunds on the kickstarter pledges. The vn has been (at least thus far) a significant failure. But as someone who knows Fred and sees how he is struggling, I wish they wouldn't do that. It just makes things worse. You can fairly ding Fred for incompetence or poor planning, no doubt. But the kickstarter comments calling this a scam are wrong. Sometimes things just fail, inspite of our best intentions.

Fred hasn't given up though, and we're hoping things will improve and he'll be able to get back on it. One of our guys is working on getting our source control straightened out, so it's not like nothing at all is happening. But I still expect it will be some time at least before Fred's issues improve to the point where he can spend real time on the vn again.

Thank your Ryoga for the confidence and faith. And thank you TheOneElectronic for caring enough to still be checking on this. The support of MT fans like you are the reason MT is still going, even if Fred can't do nearly all that we all wish he could.
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Kezu
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by Kezu » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:07 am

Thank you for the update. I do understand family problem having just gone through heart surgery with my father the day after Thanksgiving. But sadly I know it is not going to get better from the list of ailments for his parents, as my grandfather went through dementia. It will come to a head eventually but there will be no up side to it in any form. I am a Patron supporter, and will continue to wait, but little updates like this show that we haven't been forgotten.

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darrin
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by darrin » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:12 am

paarfi wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am
One of our guys is working on getting our source control straightened out, so it's not like nothing at all is happening.
I was git admin at my previous job (before a bunch of us developers got downsized, and I was lucky enough to get an internal transfer to a different group within the parent company). I managed to develop a reputation for cleaning up user-level messes of varying sizes, and for keeping system-level things running smoothly enough to avoid messes at that level that needed cleaning up.

Obviously "give a random stranger access to our repo" is not really something anyone is going to do. And I have no idea if you're using anything close enough to git that I could be of use even if you did. (I am currently using TFS at my new job, and we used Perforce at the previous one before a coworker + I convinced them to switch to git, but I'd be surprised if you guys were paying for a commercial system like that. And I did poke very briefly at svn when we were doing due diligence that git was the one to switch to as opposed to alternatives.)

But if there a possibility for setting up some kind of sandbox where trust wasn't a dealbreaker, and if there were any capacity in which that one of your guys could use a second pair of hands and eyeballs, then I would be very happy to help in any way possible.
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by paarfi » Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:54 am

@darrin: You're hardly a random stranger, and we appreciate the offer. If our source control current guy has struggles, or if he finds he doesn't have the time to support it anymore, we'll be sure to reach out to you. Thanks.
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darrin
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by darrin » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:31 pm

paarfi wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:54 am
@darrin: You're hardly a random stranger
That's very kind. :oops: But in meatspace terms I kind of am.

More important, as a git admin, I know that it's almost never a two-man job... when you're trying to wrangle branches back into place a second set of hands is usually not going to help. :lol: So I thought I'd mention it even though I considered it a long shot.

I do have plenty of daily-wtf-level war stories I would be happy to share anytime. 8-)
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walkingeagle
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by walkingeagle » Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:28 pm

Perhaps people would not be calling it a scam if Fred actually communicated with them.

Fred. Not you, paarfi.

He took money for a project that is years late, with no progress for more than a year, and people still have to request the refund. Why doesn't he just give people the refund without them having to ask, since it's been such an epic fail?

Because he already spent the money, right?

For things that aren't the VN?

That's why it IS a scam, even if you don't like calling it as such.

Fred has personal problems in his life. Well, so do many of the people who donated, and so do many other artists who manage to get the work done.

It's just plain insulting that Fred can't be assed to sack up and speak for himself. I see him dicking around on Twitter sometimes, so you can't tell me it's just that he's working ever so hard on everything and just has no time to take responsibility.

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darrin
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by darrin » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:06 pm

walkingeagle wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:28 pm
Because he already spent the money, right?

For things that aren't the VN?

That's why it IS a scam
Any money that Fred (as project principal) distributed as salary -- either to himself (as artistic director), or to a programmer, or any other assistants -- is not an inappropriate use of those funds, let alone a "scam". Asking those involved to account for what they did with their salaries, after that portion of the budget was distributed as salary, is inappropriate.
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Yamipirogoeth
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by Yamipirogoeth » Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:08 am

Thanks for the update paarfi and please do give my regards to Fred and the medical issues he's facing. I went through caring for my mother after a several month scare with cancer (she beat it) so I can understand how taxing this can be on him with the issues you've mentioned.

Honestly, I can be very patient, so I can wait for Fred to get it done.

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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by walkingeagle » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:40 am

darrin wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:06 pm
walkingeagle wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:28 pm
Because he already spent the money, right?

For things that aren't the VN?

That's why it IS a scam
Any money that Fred (as project principal) distributed as salary -- either to himself (as artistic director), or to a programmer, or any other assistants -- is not an inappropriate use of those funds, let alone a "scam". Asking those involved to account for what they did with their salaries, after that portion of the budget was distributed as salary, is inappropriate.
How very convenient.

Got any more asspats, I mean answers, for the rest?

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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by paarfi » Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:41 am

I'm going to ask everyone again to please be respectful. It's ok to disagree, but please try to be nice about it even if you think the other person isn't being nice to you.
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darrin
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by darrin » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:08 am

walkingeagle wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:40 am
Got any more asspats, I mean answers, for the rest?
Obviously not; I was focusing on the particular point that was clearly wrong.

Unless you're seriously claiming you would be ok with the shareholders of the company you work for showing up on your doorstep and demanding a complete accounting of everything you'd spent your salary on over the past five years?
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walkingeagle
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by walkingeagle » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:15 pm

Interesting how Fred has lots of time for Twitter, but seems incapable of speaking for himself. [snip]

note: Edited by paarfi to remove insults. I just asked everybody to play nice. If you have a problem with this action, please PM paarfi or another mod.

Ryoga
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by Ryoga » Sat Mar 30, 2019 12:17 am

paarfi wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am
Thank your Ryoga for the confidence and faith. And thank you TheOneElectronic for caring enough to still be checking on this. The support of MT fans like you are the reason MT is still going, even if Fred can't do nearly all that we all wish he could.
Thank you Paarfi for the update. Sorry I didn't get back to this sooner. I am my church's secretary and this time of the year we are busy.
I haven't had heart surgery (knock on wood). I have had 7 different surgeries on my legs and have spent a few years total in therapy, rehab, and learning to walk again. I understand better than most the struggles Medical Issues can place on people. I also understand everyone being upset that the Visual Novel isn't finished yet. I have faith that in the future Fred will finish it and we will see our items.
I will continue to pray for Fred and his family. I will also continue to pray that everyone gets their merchandise, once the game is complete.

"Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
Philippians 4:6

Sailor Monsaignor
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Re: I'm sure Fred is still working on this

Post by Sailor Monsaignor » Sat May 11, 2019 3:29 pm

[Disclaimer] I am not a VN backer, but I am just an long-time reader who started reading MegaTokyo while the page count was still in the two digits, Caston was aboard, and the layout was still the squared 4-cases one. To be honest I've pretty much lost interest in the comics with the collapse of the publishing schedule but I still catch-up once in a while, only to discover that there's only 5 or 6 pages to read, and then forget about it for a few month again. I am also a 1$-tier patreon supporter, because Megatokyo used to mean something for me, because I can afford it, and because I think Fred would use this money better than me. But I'd be a fool to give more. [/Disclaimer]

So this afternoon , while doing my catching-up I thought about the VN, went on Kickstarter to read comments about the current situation and they got me here for more details, where I read this :
paarfi wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am
When Fred did the kickstarter he had no idea [...] that the vn work itself would prove to be so much more difficult and time-consuming than he had thought.

THIS.

Anybody with a tiny bit on common sense knew it was coming right as the crowdfunding campaign was launched. Fred was, is and will always be a slow artist, this will never change. Remember when he left his job to become an entrepreneur and work full time on the comics in order to be more productive, while he was still able to consistently publish three pages per week, and be able to do some work on Warmth and other projects? Well, this is it. And then, 10 years later, as he had the hardest time trying to adhere to a regular schedule, he raises money for a visual novel for which he would not only be the only artist but also the main writer? The writing was already on the wall, if someone didn't saw it its only because they did not want to. That's exactly why I didn't back it up, preferring instead to wait for it to be released.
Then, instead of promising something doable in a reasonable time and try to overdeliver on it, he instead overpromised things that weren't realistic. I mean, a full character route for $5000, before the KS cut and taxes? How long can you have someone working for you with $5000? Two month if you're paying him a decent wage, three at most if you're cutting corners... The whole thing was getting out of hands, more characters, the length of the game was doubled and then tripled... He even teased his fans for more money with the promise of erotic content, a chance they didn't followed him there.
And once the euphoria of the campaign was over and he had to work on the game, he forgot his medication against feature creep and choose to reinvent the wheel. When he announced this "slow animation" thing, it was the time the trainwreck was officially under way. There's a reason full fledged visual novels studios with dedicated writers and teams of artists working full time on assets don't do it, but Mr. Frederick M. Gallagher III was going to prove them wrong, while also writing the game, working on getting his comics out and raising a child. All at once. Of course it could not go well, of course it would fail miserably... How else could it have turned out?
And then family stuff happened, work stalled and then stopped ans Fred went in full Piro-mode, half-hoping that by eventually working on it someday, it will work itself out, and half-hoping that people will forget about it.


I'm not going to add much to Fred's plate, having a take care of someone who have dementia is a nightmare. I have a relative who have Alzheimer's and I wouldn't wish it to my worst enemy. But he's making a mistake if he's thinking that those issues will resolves themselves if he manage to cope them long enough. We all knows that's its only downhill from here and that there's only one issues to those things :/ And, god forbids, who knows what will happen if Sarah's health problems come back... Let's be frank here, he may manage to get back to a weekly schedule, but anything beyond this seems improbable. You say yourself that he will most likely not work on the VN in the foreseeable future.
Thousands of people gave money to support this game, hundreds gave $100 or more, more than the price of a brand new game in shop, this is not petty money. Fred has obligations toward them, both morales and legals. And while he is still not in position to fulfil the later, he should do what he can about the former. The fact that there's no official announcement about the status of the game on the Kickstarter's updates is downright a huge communication problem, especial when most of those information are not kept as a secret but openly talked here. People shouldn't have to come to the forums to know about it. For once in his life Fred should break out his bloody Piro shell, act like a mature adult and take responsibilities for his actions. He should do write an announcement (or have someone help write it if its too much for him) admitting that he massively screwed up, do an overview of the situation, what has been done, how much money is left, and then explain what he plans to do about it. Because the whole "we're trying to release the book 1 Piro route" isn't fooling anyone, it may be enough to have Fred safe from lawsuit as a proof he did his best to fulfil his promised and that he did delivered something, but this isn't even a third of half of what was initial promised. It will content no one.
This is only my opinion, but I think that he should revise the scope of the game to something manageable, like the initial goal, and try to get it done in a reasonable time with what resources ha has left. And then maybe expand upon it. Because he dug his own grave when he sets up on doing this game without having fully realised what it meant as a venture. And from what I'm understanding, instead of trying to find a way of getting out, he's digging deeper and deeper, hopping that maybe if he dig deep enough he will surface in Africa or in Australia (or better, in Japan) where no one knows him.

I realise that I may be speaking out of place, as I didn't backed this game and in fact never believed in it and, paarfi, I know your role is to shield Fred from the negativity this situation create, and I'm kinda sorry to add mine, but please realise that each time you're answering for him, telling people that he will eventually come to work on if everything gets right, that he understand the situation intellectually but can't bring himself to do anything about it, even posting an explanation, you're enforcing the idea that he's just running away from it.



OK, this rants ended up being waaaayyyyyy longer than what I planed to write. But understand that as someone who saw this coming, the whole "Fred didn't realised what he was getting in" thing seems downright insulting. And seeing how hard Fred tries not to deal with the consequences of his attempt to get into the Kickstarter hype to fulfil his fantasy of a MegaTokyo visual novel seems insulting for the backers. They trusted him with their money, he owns them at least some explanations for this wreck.

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