Author Topic: A story of a dumb whale.  (Read 11941 times)

Meowz

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A story of a dumb whale.
« on: April 23, 2017, 12:57:44 PM »
I'd never though I'd be frequenting these forms let alone actually posting on them, so with that a little about me and well why I'm here...

I am starting to feel like there are over three thousand reasons why I am a idiot. I was in with SC since the 6mil mark and I went from a bit agitated over SC development (which started with SM delay silence and later heightened by the long Kotaku article), to increasingly angry when the ball dropped at Citizencon where they failed, and now I strongly suspect outright lied about, the progress of SQ42 and 3.0 (even more apparent after the newest schedule release). Be that as it may I try to not let my emotions rule my objectivity now. There is just a lot of gray area that is not conclusive on both sides currently, but the scale is shifting and fast.

SC as you know grabbed the hearts and minds of a lot for many key reasons. Some of my fondest childhood memories involved the X-Wing series games and SWG. SC landed at a critical time where general animosity was at an apex towards the big publishers. I, and many others, were fed up after what Sony did to SWG (my all time favorite game), and Activision merging with Blizzard (my childhood favorite company) where they fully embraced their "corporate identity" in every sense, and the countless watered down re-stamped titles of Assassin's Creed, Halo, CoD/BF series, etc...

Our feelings of anger against large corporations did not stem from logic, or reasoning. As as young teen I didn't read consumer reports, scrutinize financial deals, or study business management. All I knew, from rose tinted glasses, was that the companies that made the games I loved, where their customer service and consumer relations fostered personal connections to their clients, were replaced by the emotionless, "money grabbing" faceless mega corps like EA. Never before have I seen a company take so much constructive criticism, goodwill and passion from its community and throw it away while somehow managing to inflict personal insult to nearly every dedicated player than how SOE did with SWG. The fact that to this day there are two versions of SWG (Pre and Post NGE) being independently developed and funded should speak to this.

This is key to CIG, because nearly every whale I have spoken with has similar feelings as to why they pledged the amount they did and their justification for it including myself. CR played into this perfectly. I had no prior knowledge of CR, or any of his titles before SC. I've never played any of the Wing Commander games, but fans often speak of them in the very same emotional light as I do of the X-Wing, and TIE games. Its hard to fight strong rooted emotional positions with logic and numbers (just look at our current politics from both sides). So when DS arrived waving legal docs, statistics, press reports, etc... with what appeared as, to the causal onlooker, a personal vendetta, it was beyond easy to brush him aside as "some random guy that hates CR". Those that knew DS, or somehow took what he said as a personal attack against themselves lashed out in defense and became what we now know as the toxic "White Knights".   

CR told us what we wanted to hear, and Eric 'Wingman' Peterson put a personal face and feel to CIG. This and the professional and personable customer support staff (at the time)
brought me back to the days where, as a kid, I could call Blizzard back in 2000 and have a friendly chat with the sales rep and together we'd convince my mother why I just had to have that new copy of Diablo 2. This was well before my knowledge standard customer service protocol. Blizzard at the time, and early CIG fostered very much the mom and pop shop feel where you could go, not just for what you needed, but also casual conversation and a strong sense of local community. We felt like we were finally able to fight the colossal "Walmart" and support local business/social hubs!

This was a key fact that CR knows all too well. After all when I met him at CitizenCon14 he seemed like a generally friendly and grateful guy (who wouldn't be if they had been just handed 100mil for nothing?) I met my personal concierge who took my JumpPoint Vol. 1 and had it signed by the entire office then later mailed back to me for free. Not something that you could dave done for you now by Blizzard right?  We all too easily forget that level of personal interaction is inversely proportional to the customer base size. Even us "lofty concierge members" are no more than cattle, choice stock, but cattle to be milked none-the-less.

I never got too involved when the "He who shall not be named (DS)" incident went down, and casually brushed it all aside as just two polar extremes of a personal history gone wrong. Didn't put much stock into what he said either, no matter how valid his source material. DS may have well as come into the local mom-pop store and accused them of being the local cartel lords. Ironically, that is just how they would want you to feel if they were in such a position.

So this is what you Mr. Smart, and the rest here are up against. However, as I mentioned that feeling of a "personal relationship" with a company is inversely proportional. The more successful they become in their funding, and "customer base" (or rather donor base) the less personal they can be. As that happens, ever slowly do the rose-tinted glasses start to become clear which you are seeing the effects of in the latest, "CIG Your Marketing is Too Far Ahead of Itself " Reddit post.

This of course can be a major hit to the ego. We after all just put our good will in the hands of CIG, where every dollar was a vote in protest against "the suits", and a call for the return of the golden era of PC gaming. Well when those votes start looking like dollars again, dollars that could of been better spent, it makes you no less then to start questioning your own judgment. That is a hang-up that a lot get stuck on. For anyone in beyond their fiscally responsible means, even if it is budgeted purely for hobbies, you start to realize all the hard tangible products you could have gotten (after all, how many finished games can you get on Steam for over 3 grand?).  That paired with a lot of it won't actually be refunded, that is quite the hit to take for nothing. (I myself am looking at less than half of my pledge value if I refund my account due to subscriptions).  So its a balance between a guaranteed percentage loss, vs a possible total loss. Hope is a strong thing to abandon, but if I am here, I know for a fact there are way way more that its at least in the back of their mind with most likely all hinging on 3.0. Some of us are stuck wondering if it will even be too late by then.

So DS keep up the good work and the research, but know that as long as you approach CR from a the stance that he is a fraud rather than acting the impartial watchdog people will still easily be able to dismiss you. Which frankly is a shame, because there are a lot of issues here that deserve an explanation, but its ever so difficult to fight irrational emotion, with an urgent and seemingly slanted display of data.

StanTheMan

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2017, 06:55:48 PM »
I think most backers are in it because they like the idea of having a decent MMO set in space.

The "game" being controversial adds some tribalism.

Most don't have this personal relationship with CIG that others do, but they can be sucked in to spend more $ on newer ships and then it becomes harder to admit there may be something up with the project.


dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 05:28:11 AM »
I'd never though I'd be frequenting these forms let alone actually posting on them, so with that a little about me and well why I'm here...

Thanks for the visit and the write-up.

First, let me just say that, even though we make fun of those "other" guys, we don't generally refer to backers who believed in this project, as "dumb". There is nothing dumb about having faith in something, then trying to see it through - regardless of merit and/or degree of success. Similarly, some of the smartest people - including those who think they're smart - have been taken for a ride, played for a fool etc. It happens - and the people who perpetrate that sort of thing, are quite good at it.

Quote
So DS keep up the good work and the research, but know that as long as you approach CR from a the stance that he is a fraud rather than acting the impartial watchdog people will still easily be able to dismiss you. Which frankly is a shame, because there are a lot of issues here that deserve an explanation, but its ever so difficult to fight irrational emotion, with an urgent and seemingly slanted display of data.

Right. But here's the thing; all things considered, their actions, words etc - coupled with the fact that they've been caught lying time and time again, the case for fraud, scam or whatever, is evident. You can't sugar coat it, call it something else, or dress it up just because you want people to take you seriously. That's not how that works. The definitions of fraud and scam, are quite clear and not open to interpretation.

As for being "impartial", I never claimed, nor aspired to be that. We, as humans, all have our bias that comes out in a lot of ways. Some people do try to hide it, and they are the hypocrites and frauds in society. When I wrote that first blog in July 2015, I wasn't even biased; but I knew the effects that it would have, and the risk that I was taking. But I did it anyway. Nobody asked me to, nobody paid me to, and nobody saw it coming. The way the company reacted to it, going out of their way to lie, and paint a picture (of what they said I was doing) that wasn't even based in reality, is what set in motion the series of events that led us here. They drew first blood when they made this about me, and started a war they couldn't possibly win, against a guy who never saw a war he didn't like. And when I said that I would never stop, nor allow them - or anyone - to put me under siege, I meant it.

When CIG - as a company - went to the media and flat out lied that I did something that I didn't, their backers gave them a pass. Then some of those very backers took upon themselves to "tow the company" line by coming after me because I was now the enemy for being that guy who spilled the Apple cart. This despite the fact that many people - including media - were already saying most of what I was warning about. Those very same toxic backers have threatened my life, harassed me, review bombed my games, setup a hate-sub on Reddit where they attack me 24-7, doxed me and my family etc. All for what? And I'm supposed to do what? Stand idly by? Then croberts himself took all that one step further and wrote the most damaging (to himself, the company, and the project) manifesto imaginable; and which just served as rallying call to the toxic backers (Shitizens) who increased their attacks across the Internet.

By their words and actions, I believe that the project is a fraud, and outright scam now. There is no getting around that, nor sugar coating it. I've said this time and time again. If I'm wrong, or they think that I have committed defamation etc, surely a company that has raised over $150 million in free money, could have spent less than $50K to prove me wrong. When you consider the lengths these people have gone to, in order to stifle and control the message, one would think that they would have done it by now. And it's not like I haven't engaged them in legal rhetoric - at my own expense. While some of these very backers were spending money on JPEGs and a dead game, I was spending mine on legal bills on a project that I no longer backed.

The interesting thing about all this, as I wrote here, is that back in 2015 when I spent my own money on legal action in order to get them to do three things which I felt would have gone a long way to building good faith, they literally told me to piss off. Yet, less than two years later, not only have they then turned around and done two (refunds - which they had no choice in, and which became possible due to my "noise", and providing a project schedule) of the three (the third being providing the financials promised) things anyway. The flipside of that is, not only did they take my writings seriously, but it also caused them to make the most egregious changes to the ToS possible. Those changes not only revealed what I had feared, and written about, but also set the stage for the showdown that's now playing out, and which is coming to a head soon.

At the end of the day, gamers can do what they want with their money; but this has gone beyond backing a game, when you consider the fact that not only is the funding chart pure and utter bullshit - a fraud onto itself - but also the mounting evidence that some backers are using the project as a way to launder money. At this point, there is no "game" at stake. What's at stake is about money, and who stands to lose or gain either by the continuation of this farce, or by profiting from the Grey market money laundering.

Regardless of all this rhetoric, one thing is certain, the game - as pitched - can never be made. They neither have the tech, nor the experience, nor the talent. And now, they've apparently run out of both time and money.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 05:38:40 PM by dsmart »
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

StanTheMan

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 05:51:21 AM »
I think understand why you say it Derek, but surely a very large % of the Backers accept that the game will not be delivered as described and excuse this because, well they believe that is consistent with industry standards for the development process.

Regardless of the validity of that, it isn't (likely) to allow CRoberts to avoid the law, nor should his actions be viewed in isolation of his history elsewhere ( as you have pointed out numerous times and in great detail). 

On the ToS changes, given that they had Freyermuth involved in this project from the start, it is difficult to reconcile those with any view that he is an especially competent in this area of the law,  unless the holes in the TOS were  deliberate.  Freyemuth could have written the TOS to  lul certain types of backers into an increased confidence in the project and he and Chris were  gambling (which is being extremely generous to them because they have made plenty of mistakes and you could argue for a more watertight TOS from the start  in anycase)



« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 06:02:00 AM by StanTheMan »

dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 05:57:03 AM »
I think understand why you say it Derek, but surely a very large % of the Backers accept that the game will not be delivered as described and excuse this because, well they believe that is consistent with industry standards for the development process.

Right. Except for the fact that any publisher or competent dev would have canceled this project long before now; instead of continuing to drag it on six years, and to the tune of $150 million later. There is simply no precedent for that. It's a flawed premise that "believers" continue to project; despite the fact that is pure, and utter nonsense.

Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

StanTheMan

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 06:07:04 AM »
I am being lazy here, but does what happened with 38 Studio's MMO, Copernicus have any significance to the Star Citizen project ?

dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2017, 06:20:18 AM »
I am being lazy here, but does what happened with 38 Studio's MMO, Copernicus have any significance to the Star Citizen project ?

Not really. That was just another in a long list of failed projects and studio that bit off more than it could chew. By the time the dust settled, the studio collapsed, the project died, people were charged with fraud, people went into bankruptcy etc. And it wasn't even crowd-funded.

The Star Citizen fiasco has far more reaching and damaging implications.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

Ghostmaker

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2017, 07:33:05 AM »
I'm reminded of how much people detested Bobby Kotick at Activision for his ruthless, control-the-costs mentality and a casual disdain for gamers.

And then Tim Schafer had his meltdown, and it came out that Kotick himself had warned about Schafer. All of a sudden, we found ourselves stuck -agreeing- with Kotick. We may still not like him, but he was absolutely right.

I'm wondering what Kotick would make of SC. I'd pay good money to sit down and listen to a frank discussion of it.


dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2017, 07:37:13 AM »
Indeed. And it's interesting that someone asked this over on SA. My response

Quote
Quote
MinorInconvenience posted:
Thank you to all who answered. But if this is technologically impossible, why aren't others in the industry (other than our dear Dr. Smart) speaking out? Are they silent because there is a one in a million chance CIG can pull it off? Or just run of the mill cowardice?

Professional courtesy. Game companies promise more than they intend to deliver on a regular basis. Glass houses, stone throwing, etc.

Not to mention your average developer will get black-balled for speaking out; Its a shitty industry run by petty, shallow people.

Yes - that's basically it.

And the once or twice when devs have mentioned - and backed me up - on the premise that what they promised simply couldn't be done, they got vehemently attacked. e.g. the developer of Ascent.

As I wrote in this "A story of a dumb whale" post earlier today, there is no doubt in my mind that they're actively running a scam now, and that they know - fully well - that they can't deliver on the promises made.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

BigM

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2017, 07:49:50 AM »
Meowz congratz on finally opening to the light. Being an old gamer and long time windows tester who has been into testing and helping to create good games with as little bugs as possible. So not being a developer I may not understand everything going into making a game let alone a great game. But what I have seen in development and how games are designed and made gives me a little understanding how these games need to be made. When it comes to DS and the first post I read by him made complete sense to me. He clearly has the knowledge how these games need to be made.

Then when I started to read the attacks coming his way it was an easy choice to understand who was in the right here. The attacks really are one of the most mind boggling things I have seen in a long time. Being from IRC and all those years of DDoS attacks I have seen a lot of stupid shit. Yet I must say the attacks toward DS is just another of those stupid things I have seen online. There is no real response to DS other than attacking him if you want to silence his opinions. He has told the truth through this whole CR debacle.

Once I read the history of CR and noticed a really big problem with him. He has NEVER RELEASED a game. He has failed so many times it just doesn't compute how anyone could give this guy money let alone 150 million and actually think he will create and release an awesome game. Which comes down to the scam part of CR and his project. It clearly looks and smells like a scam and I expect to see a few people going to jail at some point. Just the simple fact CIG has never filed a lawsuit against DS shows CR knows he would lose in court. Believe me, DS has pushed for CR to take him to court. The one thing I really would like to see is how much money these crooks have put into their bank accounts. That will show how big a scam this really was. Considering CR and his wife started this thing broke. Hell just CR hiding the fact he was married should have been a big red light! Why the hell hide that fact? Makes no sense really!

But anyway welcome to the light side and lets get our popcorn ready because it will be fun watching this whole thing crash!

dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2017, 08:23:39 AM »
Not to mention that the nutjobs (e.g. James Brand) parked on the Reddit hate-sub, amid the death threats, now-removed doxing, campaigns to harass my wife and family etc, are all crying foul. And we have lots and lots of posts - all imaged for posterity. This is just a sampling. And it's always the same handful of people.

- harassing my family

http://i.imgur.com/ott7Un2.jpg

http://i.imgur.com/JV9znAV.jpg

- death threats

https://twitter.com/dsmart/status/648532737989681152

https://twitter.com/AgentGB1/status/652974058502549504

http://mmofallout.com/derek-smart-indie-devs-and-death-threats/

- doxing

https://archive.is/lwXnt/4dc20577cea553c809069836a8a2f815c7a4ed36.jpg

https://archive.fo/vMPyZ

- review bombing

http://www.dereksmart.com/forum/index.php?topic=15.msg1182#msg1182

- attempts to disrupt my business

http://www.dereksmart.com/forum/index.php?topic=15.msg1336;topicseen#msg1336

- pretty much everything else

https://archive.fo/KIiu1

Aside from their latest in which they attribute every "Derek Smart" to me; to the extent of accusing me of having committed crimes, wanted (I'm apparently hiding in plain sight) by the police etc.

Don't forget that this is all over a fucking video game.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 05:09:31 PM by dsmart »
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2017, 09:16:32 AM »
Remember the harassment that Curt Schilling faced after the 38 Studios collapse?
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

Craigerz

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 09:18:37 AM »
Right. Except for the fact that any publisher or competent dev would have canceled this project long before now; instead of continuing to drag it on six years, and to the tune of $150 million later. There is simply no precedent for that. It's a flawed premise that "believers" continue to project; despite the fact that is pure, and utter nonsense.

Perhaps that is the reason CIG has not thrown in the towel. If they are to avoid allegations of fraud or wrongdoing, knowing that quitting would only prove it true, there is no other choice but to keep going until an exit strategy presents itself. Tumbling down the rabbit hole..

dsmart

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 09:21:59 AM »
Right. Except for the fact that any publisher or competent dev would have canceled this project long before now; instead of continuing to drag it on six years, and to the tune of $150 million later. There is simply no precedent for that. It's a flawed premise that "believers" continue to project; despite the fact that is pure, and utter nonsense.

Perhaps that is the reason CIG has not thrown in the towel. If they are to avoid allegations of fraud or wrongdoing, knowing that quitting would only prove it true, there is no other choice but to keep going until an exit strategy presents itself. Tumbling down the rabbit hole..

Yes - and that's precisely what is going on atm. And the meager funding that's coming in through whales and whatnot, helps keep them afloat a bit longer; even though it's hardly enough to sustain 4 worldwide studios and around 300 staff and external contractors.
Star Citizen isn't a game. It's a TV show about a bunch of characters making a game. It's basically "This is Spinal Tap" - except people think the band is real.

StanTheMan

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Re: A story of a dumb whale.
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 04:31:05 PM »
Meowz congratz on finally opening to the light. Being an old gamer and long time windows tester who has been into testing and helping to create good games with as little bugs as possible. So not being a developer I may not understand everything going into making a game let alone a great game. But what I have seen in development and how games are designed and made gives me a little understanding how these games need to be made. When it comes to DS and the first post I read by him made complete sense to me. He clearly has the knowledge how these games need to be made.

Then when I started to read the attacks coming his way it was an easy choice to understand who was in the right here. The attacks really are one of the most mind boggling things I have seen in a long time. Being from IRC and all those years of DDoS attacks I have seen a lot of stupid shit. Yet I must say the attacks toward DS is just another of those stupid things I have seen online. There is no real response to DS other than attacking him if you want to silence his opinions. He has told the truth through this whole CR debacle.

Once I read the history of CR and noticed a really big problem with him. He has NEVER RELEASED a game. He has failed so many times it just doesn't compute how anyone could give this guy money let alone 150 million and actually think he will create and release an awesome game. Which comes down to the scam part of CR and his project. It clearly looks and smells like a scam and I expect to see a few people going to jail at some point. Just the simple fact CIG has never filed a lawsuit against DS shows CR knows he would lose in court. Believe me, DS has pushed for CR to take him to court. The one thing I really would like to see is how much money these crooks have put into their bank accounts. That will show how big a scam this really was. Considering CR and his wife started this thing broke. Hell just CR hiding the fact he was married should have been a big red light! Why the hell hide that fact? Makes no sense really!

But anyway welcome to the light side and lets get our popcorn ready because it will be fun watching this whole thing crash!

It makes sense to hide you are married to Sandi when she is prostituting herself to sexually inadequate and frustrated males from whom you are trying to extract cash.

Trust me, many many years ago as a student (business) , I used to sell my own shit mail order to a scotsman (computer programmer) who also paid me to allow him to eat it because he thought I was a sexy female student and he was into S&M.  I made a lot of $ providing "services" to this fella for 5 years or so.....

I agree it is a red light for CR and Sandi to have hidden their marriage though.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 04:33:24 PM by StanTheMan »

 

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