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The Dragon King, an innovative open world RPG


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#1 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:32 PM

Aloha everyone, my name is Captain Andrew Brewer of NeoGenesis. We are an independent video game development company whose goal is to pioneer techniques that combine education and entertainment via the video game industry. As Captain and lead Imagineer of NeoGenesis, I head project development and fund everything out of my pocket. A relative newcomer to the video game development industry, I am a self taught quantum physicist turned video game developer. I have spent the last 11 years researching quantum mechanics and have developed a graphics rendering algorithm based on popular string theory. While highly theoretical, this algorithm has opened a new dimension of simulation programming and modeling techniques. This algorithm provides the framework for an unprecedented level of customization and interaction within our virtual worlds. This has led to the development of the granule modeling and rendering system, a physics based rendering method that mimics the interaction of molecules on a much larger scale. With each granule controlled by the string theory algorithm, our virtual environments are 100% interactive, there is nothing that can not be manipulated down to a single granule. This system provides the basis for our video game OS.

As awesome and game changing as this all sounds, development has hit a stand still due to a lack of funding, in other words I am broke. Now before you roll your eyes and turn away from this post forever, let me assure you that I am not asking you for money, well not directly. I have decided to use Kickstarter, a creative project funding website that connects projects to potential investors. I need to build the awareness of this project and I am asking for your help in doing that. Take a look at what we are actually doing and help me spread the word. Of course if you decide you would like to pledge money to the project, I won't stop you. I can answer any questions you may have so feel free to ask them. Thanks for listening.

Edited by Captain Andrew Brewer, 05 July 2012 - 08:00 PM.

Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

Sponsor:

#2 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 06 July 2012 - 03:29 PM

Aloha everyone. Does anyone have any input into my project? Over 50 views and not a single response, where are all the indie supporters?
Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#3 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3101

Posted 06 July 2012 - 04:42 PM

You seem to be long on text and short on actual game. I saw a video on the Kickstarter page, but I wasn't sure if that was for your game or for the artist's portfolio reel. (I suspect the latter). In the absence of anything concrete, there really isn't a whole lot to actually give feedback on. You can write all the textual plot synopses and rough outlines you want, but they're not of much use for feedback purposes until there is an actual gameplay prototype. I'd say, start with your renderer. You make some claims of strange new rendering tech, so give us some screens and videos of that.

#4 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:22 PM

Thank you for the feedback, it did inspire me to remove any info related to my renderer. The whole point of using Kickstarter was to get money to complete a creative project and right now my renderer is a jumble of theory and code that is not ready for demonstrations. With that out of the way it becomes less theoretical and more "concrete".
Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#5 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3101

Posted 07 July 2012 - 08:03 AM

Well, it's still not very concrete. Here's the thing: writing text is easy. Making a game is much more difficult. Without a gameplay prototype, all you have is an idea, and I doubt very many folks would contribute to your campaign with just an idea. I recommend that before you launch your campaign, you get a playable prototype up and running, something you can use to show the world that you can complete this thing if you just have funding, and that what you are working toward will be fun and engaging. If people can see progress beyond the idea stage, they will be much more motivated to contribute. Kickstarter isn't just "free money"; like any other money, it has to be earned. In this case, you earn it by building confidence that your project will succeed. You can't do that with pages and pages of plot synopsis and area descriptions; you can only do that with actual gameplay.

#6 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 07 July 2012 - 09:33 PM

I have to disagree with you at this point. A game design document is usually the first step in the development process and what you see on Kickstarter is the abbreviated GDD. The game itself is not impossible by any standard and there are numerous examples that can testify to this. It sounds like a catch 22, I can only get funding if I have produced something, but I can only produce something if I have the funding to do it. I do have people working on the proof of concept animations, but we won't have a demo to show until we can get additional funding. The goal is to leverage what we do have against the known capabilities of today's leading edge companies and produce something that is completely plausible. I do appreciate the feedback as it is helping us to evolve the current staus quo into what it should be and not the elitist only mentality it currently is.
Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#7 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:42 AM

I have to disagree with you at this point.


Unfortunately for you, he is right.

A game design document is usually the first step in the development process and what you see on Kickstarter is the abbreviated GDD.


Yes, it is the first step, but having completed the first step is not enough. Writing a game is far more complicated than writing up a design document.

It sounds like a catch 22, I can only get funding if I have produced something, but I can only produce something if I have the funding to do it.


You don't need to come up with a fully working prototype, just enough of a demo to show that you have somebody who can actually code, and aren't just spouting out words. I'm sorry to say it, but talk is cheap, and nobody will give you money based on just words (especially when it sounds like you're trying to throw out a whole lot of catchy sounding terms).

#8 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 08 July 2012 - 06:08 PM

Well I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn't automatically make it right. The idea that nothing good ever came out of a document of words is pretty ludicrous, i.e. The United States Constitution. If you are implying that the same principle that was used to create the Constitution does not apply to my game then I should probably show you how it does. Let me know if you are interested. I agree that only completing the first step to anything will only lead to failure and my own timeline puts this game at 75% complete. I am also well aware of the complexity with which an average game is written and The Dragon King is no exception. I totally understand the need to have a proof of concept demo for my rendering method and that is exactly what I am in the process of doing. As I said in my first post, I am broke and development has hit a standstill, hence the need for funding. But that was never the point of my post, only a fortunate side effect. I am looking for feedback for the game, not the likely hood of its success on Kickstarter. I find it hard to believe that a community of game developers have no feedback to give about the game. In any case, I am glad to be getting any feedback at all. I don't mind negative reviews as they can only serve to make improvements.

Edited by Captain Andrew Brewer, 08 July 2012 - 06:09 PM.

Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#9 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 08 July 2012 - 07:39 PM

The idea that nothing good ever came out of a document of words is pretty ludicrous, i.e. The United States Constitution. If you are implying that the same principle that was used to create the Constitution does not apply to my game then I should probably show you how it does


The US constitution was not an attempt to raise money.

I find it hard to believe that a community of game developers have no feedback to give about the game.


There is no game to give feedback on.

#10 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:39 PM

As it seems you are content on making statements without thoroughly reading what you are commenting on, I must remind you that I never asked for money to start with. I suppose you feel it impossible to give feedback on the GDD for any complete game then? If all you had were the words that described the concepts of Skyrim, would you say the same thing about it? The idea that it is impossible to comment on a concept is ridiculous.
Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#11 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2003

Posted 08 July 2012 - 08:55 PM

Hi. With all due respect, please understand that many people have made huge claims. Many of them have proven unfounded. We aren't accusing you of any dishonesty or wrongdoing, but many innovative approaches have proven unfeasible on current hardware or to have severe limitations. That's why for big claims people want to see some evidence. You don't need fancy artwork or for the demo to even relate to your game at all. nVidia did a real-time voxel rendering demo, and all it contained was a square room with a square pedestal in it, albeit with cracks and imperfections at a great level of detail. If the drawcard of the engine is physics (which can't be done by current engines), show off something. For example drop some simple objects on some simulated sand. Move them around. Show the physics in action. Or maybe a fire. I'm not sure what the particular drawcard of your engine is. Give people a wow factor to be excited about.

#12 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 08 July 2012 - 09:08 PM

I agree that we shouldn't just jump in and support something so fantastic without thoroughly investigating the claim ourselves and that even a simple proof of concept demonstration of my physics engine would go a long way to building confidence with my supporters. It is obvious that I am not ready for that demo yet, so apart from the physics engine, what else is there about the abbreviated GDD that stands out to you?

Edited by Captain Andrew Brewer, 08 July 2012 - 09:47 PM.

Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#13 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2003

Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:43 PM

I'm not an expert on GDDs myself, so I won't comment on that. If I were a contributor, I would want to see that you have programmers on board (even if it's contingent on money arriving by a certain date), and that there is a plan. Progress milestones, e.g. if this is funded people will get an alpha build and a t-shirt by xx/yy/zz.

Remember that the majority of potential contributors have never heard of you (unlike if a leading figure in the industry starts a kickstarter campaign), so projecting credibility is very important. The GDD is part of it. The above is part of it. And also statements about your company are part of it. Your list of core goals sound fine, but they also may give the impression that you aim unreasonably high. Items 1 and 2... sure, people will buy that. Items 3 and 4 address major world problems. It is reasonable to say you want to work towards solving these problems, but saying that you will solve them in this lifetime sounds unrealistic. If they are genuinely in your mission statement you will likely be too busy to make computer games in any case. Items 5 and 6 sound more like personal statements. Personal statements can be dangerous because they are divisive. People who have different opinions may be put off funding the project because of these.

That's my honest assessment, and I wish you well as I do anybody who posts on these forums. Creating something from your own hard work and perserverance is something that I respect both for the goal and because the challenges are always greater than we anticipate at the start.

#14 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:43 AM

Thank you Jeffery. I appreciate your thorough study of the page and I appreciate the honesty. I am in total agreement with you about needing a programmer and I am working through a list of potential candidates. As soon as select someone to complete this work I will make the necessary updates. I understand that the claims I am making seem unrealistic but I firmly believe that it is possible. The key is as you said, building off items 1 and 2. The technology exists and when I get the money to show you how to do it, I will. The video game industry is worth over 80 billion annually and all I need is .01% of that to break into it big. This is by no means impossible with what I am proposing.
Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#15 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3730

Posted 09 July 2012 - 12:44 AM

I suppose you feel it impossible to give feedback on the GDD for any complete game then?


You haven't even given a design document, or anything closely resembling one. All your Kickstarter page has is a plot summary and a few game elements (which by the way are NOT mechanics). A design document needs to stipulate how these will be accomplished as well.If Skyrim was described so briefly, I wouldn't comment on it either. But I can assure you that before any money was put aside for the project by Bethseda, Skyrim's design document would have been extremely lengthy.

It is obvious that I am not ready for that demo yet, so apart from the physics engine, what else is there about the abbreviated GDD that stands out to you?


Not really, it comes across as pretty standard fantasy fare.

#16 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29546

Posted 09 July 2012 - 01:24 AM

Your kickstarter page fails the 'alarm bells' test.
Before even bothering to read the game design blurb, the first question is, "Who are these guys, and can they make a game"? Until you've made me think, "Yes, these guys can make a game", then the effort gone into the rest of the kickstarter page is a waste of time.

There's no intro video or statement that answers this most important question -- I've got to scroll down 4 or 5 pages to find this.
And all it tells me is that you're a 2 man shop with no website and seemingly no prior games industry experience; a "captain" (manager?) and "commander" (artist/animator?). Ok... You're not even going to try and convince me that these two vague characters, given half a million dollars no-strings-attached, truly have the capability to form a new studio from scratch, without experience, and as their first title, produce an epic open-world RPG, in 2 years?

I don't predict you'll hit your funding goal without re-doing that page. You need evidence of capability.

A game design document is usually the first step in the development process

The first step for the design department. While designers are working on the GDD, the technical leaders are working on the technical design document, and the art leaders are working on pipeline designs, technical standards and visual direction, and so on. Also importantly, project management is scheduling the production phase to calculate the required budget and time-frame (where did you get the figures of Jul 2014 and $500,000 from?). All of that together is the pre-production phase, which is the first step -- the tasks inside that phase can largely be scheduled concurrently.

#17 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 09 July 2012 - 06:13 PM

Oh cool, I have attracted the attention of a moderator, this should be interesting Posted Image . I can definitely agree that at first glance most people will look at us and dismiss the project as highly unlikely to succeed. I totally agree that if I am unable to gain the confidence of supporters, the Kickstarter campaign will be dead before it starts. I do have to point out that I am only using the Kickstarter format as a method of sharing the project. I do appreciate the honest assessment for its likely hood of success, but as I said earlier, I am not worried about that. I also appreciate the limited assessment of my company and its structure. I see the formal titles have caught your eye, even if for the wrong reasons. Its not quite fair to say we have zero experience, but I suppose its just a matter of perception. It is entirely possible to produce an epic open world RPG in 2 years time, as long as project management is handled properly. Again whether you or anyone else will believe that we can do it is contingent on our being able to provide "evidence of capability", as you put it. Our GDD happens to be an evolving document based around our modified agile development method, so while I won't be able to say that it is 100% complete until the game is actually done, I can say that we are well into the technical design for each facet of The Dragon King. My timeline and budget figures are pretty standard "time and material" calculations based on our projected workloads. The current iteration of the Kickstarter page doesn't show the full extent of my network of developers, opting for a brief rundown of the key developers for this project and a short description of the network structure that creates the rest of the team. I have been getting mixed reviews about where to place this info on the page and you seem to agree that it should be moved closer to the top. I am going to be adding the intro video which will cover a lot of who we are and our progress in other areas, so I think I might leave the team info near the bottom. In any case, we will see.

Edited by Hodgman, 09 July 2012 - 11:52 PM.

Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#18 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29546

Posted 10 July 2012 - 12:03 AM

Oh cool, I have attracted the attention of a moderator, this should be interesting

N.B. we usually have a policy of not moderating threads that we've participated in, so I'm just another poster ;P
However, I did just delete the useless trolling comments between yourself and Lenny, I trust they won't reappear.

I see the formal titles have caught your eye, even if for the wrong reasons.

Indeed, and today I noticed the part in the description of your company promoting cannabis. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the decriminalisation of that plant and it's use for cultural purposes, however it is controversial in your country and irrelevant to your current business pitch... So, when Joe Public reads this, he's picturing "Captain and Commander pot-head on their pacific island, dreaming about having an e-studio". Hopefully that's an unfair stereotype, but you could avoid setting yourself up for this condescension by presenting a more professional front.

Edited by Hodgman, 10 July 2012 - 12:05 AM.


#19 Captain Andrew Brewer   Members   -  Reputation: 129

Posted 10 July 2012 - 01:07 AM

Thanks for that, I really don't want to start any trouble. I have to admit, I am concerned about how people might picture me after learning that I support cannabis but I don't think it bothers me enough to want to hide it either. You are most certainly correct about the unfair (yet partially true, I am not a pot-head) stereotype though and you make a good point about its relevance to the project. I know it won't hurt to remove it, but its part of another campaign that I am running to build brand awareness while generating some funds. Allow me to apologize in advance for posting that link if it is inappropriate. I think it is relevant although only indirectly related to game development, being part of our organic sales drive and marketing campaign. It is a tried and true method, but can be quite risky and I hope to capitalize on the advanced techniques I will be using. I would appreciate your thoughts on using this type of marketing tactic, unless of course this is not the right place to discuss this aspect of the project. In the end, good business sense will prevail and anything that doesn't contribute to the success of the project will be removed.

Edited by Captain Andrew Brewer, 11 July 2012 - 09:29 PM.

Aloha,
Captain Andrew Brewer
NeoGenesis
The Dragon King

#20 solipcoder   Members   -  Reputation: 300

Posted 10 July 2012 - 02:55 AM

It sounds like you have big ideas, and that the game is more well thought out than what we see on the kickstarter page. The problem is that even now it is a lot of text, especially when not accompanied by any images or videos. What I see is a pretty standard RPG with a plot that does not appeal to me.

You already said you are going to add a video, otherwise that would be my tip. Regarding access to the developer blog for $1, I think you should be happy if you can get people to read your blog for free.




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