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Burningpet Feb 4, 2014 @ 2:19pm
My farewell
Ill start by admitting i never truly participated in the discussions here on steam. when the game launched on steam, i was on my long planned beforehand (it was planned for almost a year before the launch) honeymoon in an ecological farm in a swamp in guatemalla and had short times of electricity let alone an internet access.

when i came back i found such a mess, that i didn't know where to start. that launch was so bad, that i didn't even dare to post here. for neglecting you guys, the biggest community of this game by far, i have nothing but my sincere apologies.

(also, i must say that the steam forums interface is horrible and this must be addressed.)

As you have probably realized from the thread by Ragnar, i have departed from the Team and i am no longer an employee of SMP (technically, i was never an employee, i was a freelancer).

What i will not apologize for however, is for actions and decisions that were out of my control and ones that i struggled a lot to try and do differently. that said, i did think that despite the horrible launch, the game could still see a bright future and that is why i acted like everything is good. i truly believed that it will eventually be so.

You can dig out more information from the forums here:
http://www.townsgame.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11382&start=50

Regarding Dwelvers. SMP and I both share a small % from all the sales done through steam. and honestly, i can understand your argument about not wanting to support us.

However, Dwelvers will turn out to be a good game and its development is totally different than what i had in Towns. Rasmus is a talented and experienced dev and his attitude to the community and the game is far better. i truly think its devs like him that should be rewarded rather than being punished for things he isn't responsible for. you also must realize that when we signed with Rasmus, i really thought Towns was getting on track again. V14 was being worked on and there were new signs of life. Rasmus had no way of knowing this is how it will turn out.

If you like what you see in Dwelvers and do want to support Rasmus, you can buy the game directly from Rasmus, and neither me nor xavi will see a single dime from those sales. those will be going 100% to rasmus (our deal is confined to steam alone).

i have talked with rasmus and we have discussed about giving a good discount to Towns costumers who would wish to buy it from him and not finance xavi or me. i also must warn that we might even gift it for free, so i don't want you guys to go and buy it, even discounted, only to discover later you got an additional copy for free when/if the game gets on steam. this is a possibility. if its about only getting the game, you should wait!. if its about supporting a good guy and a talented dev, you should go buy it.

I will announce if Towns purchasers will receive a discount for Dwelvers direct purchase in the coming days.
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Showing 1-15 of 74 comments
ragnar119 Feb 4, 2014 @ 2:32pm 
Sorry to hear this, Good luck with the new team and project, but I must say, you or rasmus SHOULD NOT GIVE AWAY DWELVERS FOR FREE.

He did not have to do anything with this fiasco and actually didnt do anything wrong. It is unheard of that a totally different team gives away free games because they had financial support from a publisher that did another game that went wrong.
JackPS9 Feb 4, 2014 @ 3:33pm 
Good luck with the new project and team, my friend.
Sadly feeling like those two months of helping SMP here on steam getting people started on Towns was wasted time now, but least I got to meet some nice people so not totaly wasted.
muzzy (Banned) Feb 4, 2014 @ 3:48pm 
I think it would be better for Dwelvers to renegotiate the deal with SMP. Find another source of funding and pay back everything SMP has paid them, with a reasonable interest added so it turns into a loan. After ties with SMP are cut, Dwelvers would no longer be burdened by the history.

Might be easier said than done, though. However, finding a way out of the deal with SMP would probably be greatly beneficial to Dwelvers in the long run. Otherwise ♥♥♥♥ will hit the fan once they launch on Steam...
default_loser Feb 4, 2014 @ 4:53pm 
As someone who bought Towns and would check in from time to time to see how development was going without delving into any of the drama or personal stuff with the developers, I can hopefully give you a little bit of insight into how this looks from a relative "outsider."

I do want to say that I do believe your intentions were good, and you seem like a good and honest person. The only thing I and many others know about you, however, is that you were one of the two people involved in Towns, and you are the game and graphics designer of Dwelvers. Obviously the lead developer has more influence than anybody, but when you're one of a team of two, the association is going to stick. I disagree with muzzy's post above in that, for most people who purchased Towns and felt burned by it, the ties with SMP aren't related to the funding Dwelvers got, but to the fact that 1/2 of the Towns team, who quit when the game was unfinished yet sold as a finished product, is now working on Dwelvers. Even in this post, you mention how bad the launch was and a vague thing about "decisions," but most customers' problem with the game wasn't so much the launch but the lack of updates for over a year after that.

Again, I don't mean to sound harsh; I'm simply saying how this will look to a lot of people, and how it looks to me. I don't know anything about the personal situation between the two developers, but I don't really see any reason to absolve you from responsibility for this game and assume with confidence that Dwelvers will be different.

So regarding the free game / discount. I agree with ragnar119 that rasmus is under no obligation to give his game away for free, and he shouldn't feel obligated to. That being said, he should understand the stigma that will come, deserved or not, from having you as a part of his team. In this sense, I think giving it to Towns customers is a good idea, as it will restore a good amount of goodwill and generate a lot of positive word of mouth promotion for his game. As far as a discount goes, I think it's important to understand one thing: the Towns community is probably the LAST place you want to try and promote early sales of an unfinished game to supporting a "good guy and a talented dev." For the record, I believe you and Xavi are both probably good guys and talented devs. But I can't think of anything you can do to convince me to buy an unfinished game being worked on by one of the two devs of Towns on the promise that it will be updated and supported in the future, and this is before we even get into the issue of any of that money going to you and Xavi. I suspect a lot of people feel the same. So I dunno, if it were me, I would either give Dwelvers to previous Towns owners, or just ride out the stigma coming from the Towns connection on the strength of the finished game. The discount thing seems like a solution that's not going to do anything in the long run - Towns customers either won't go for it, or they'll go for it and still complain. You'll still have the connection to Towns to mitigate, but no really generous act to generate goodwill and benefit from.
Agrivar (Banned) Feb 5, 2014 @ 1:22am 
Maybe I'm being naive, but somehow I don't associate the same level of blame on both guys. If Xavi's cut were somehow removed (Muzzy's plan looks good) I'd consider buying Delvers at some point. Not until it's done, of course, Ben does still have some blame and I can't see myself prepurchasing a game he's making again.
Agrivar (Banned) Feb 5, 2014 @ 1:27am 
@Burningpet

If you buy the game from Rasmus direct, do you get a free Steam key? I do like having as many of my games as possible on Steam and if this is the way it works, it does look more promising.
Cyborgt Feb 5, 2014 @ 3:50am 
Huh, I wonder why this thread never appeared in my comment notifications. Oh well, I see it now so there's that.

Originally posted by ragnar119:
Sorry to hear this, Good luck with the new team and project, but I must say, you or rasmus SHOULD NOT GIVE AWAY DWELVERS FOR FREE.

As much as i'd love to get something for free, I feel inclined to agree with this. Giving away that many free copies of a game for something which isn't really your (Rasmus' specifically) responsibility is kinda ridiculous, even if it would be an incredibly classy thing to do. I like the discount idea, but i'm not sure how effective it would be at winning over others that feel more burned on the issue than myself.

Originally posted by default_loser:
I disagree with muzzy's post above in that, for most people who purchased Towns and felt burned by it, the ties with SMP aren't related to the funding Dwelvers got, but to the fact that 1/2 of the Towns team, who quit when the game was unfinished yet sold as a finished product, is now working on Dwelvers.

I can hardly speak for everyone but I can certainly say (while i'm not happy about that either) that is FAR from the primary concern for me. Ben is only one person on a larger team this time around and the responsibility for how this game turns out will rest a great deal more on Rasmus than him. The worst I see as being likely from Ben's involvement in Dwelvers is progress slowing if he eventually decides to bail on the game. It's not like the game didn't exist before Ben after all.

Originally posted by default_loser:
Even in this post, you mention how bad the launch was and a vague thing about "decisions," but most customers' problem with the game wasn't so much the launch but the lack of updates for over a year after that.

Again, I don't mean to sound harsh; I'm simply saying how this will look to a lot of people, and how it looks to me. I don't know anything about the personal situation between the two developers, but I don't really see any reason to absolve you from responsibility for this game and assume with confidence that Dwelvers will be different.

Well first, speak for yourself since you can't possibly know what "most customers" are thinking.

With that out of the way, fair enough. I certainly can't blame you for being cautious after what happened with Towns. That being said, I still think you're attaching more responsiblity for both games to Ben than I believe is warranted. Not that he doesn't bear a great deal of responsibility for the situation but with the way you're talking it's as if the only way things could be fine is if he quit or Rasmus did something radical to bury the hatchet.

As for his point about the launch, I don't think he was suggesting that was the biggest problem with the game. That's just where everything started to go horribly wrong since they released an unfinished game and got called on it. It is a little ridiculous that he's falling back on that "planned vacation" argument though. We heard it back then and it didn't matter so it hardly seems important to mention now. If there was a planned vacation then there shouldn't have been a launch at that time.

Originally posted by default_loser:
In this sense, I think giving it to Towns customers is a good idea

Again, i'd love to get something for free as well but i'm not entirely sure that course of action would generate enough "buzz" around the game to make up for the lost potential sales. It ceretainly could, and a good DK style game is something people have been waiting for a long time but the good will from that gesture would have to be worth at least 200k additional sales (or however many were actually redeemed from the giveaway) to work out for them financially. It's possible if the gameplay appeals to a wide enough audience but that's pretty rare for an indie game in such a niche market.

Call me a fool if you like but I think I could be plenty happy with a significant discount on the game and some assurance that Xavi wouldn't be getting any money from my purchase. As much as this whole Towns situation has sucked, it's not enough to put me off EVER buying unfinished games.
default_loser Feb 5, 2014 @ 4:12am 
Fair enough! I honestly believe that, despite the bad launch, if Towns had been updated regularly and genuinely improved, you wouldn't have nearly as many dissatisfied customers. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but this is an assumption I am comfortable making.

Re: assigning blame between the two devs: maybe I could've been clearer, but I guess my point is that I can't really pick and choose who to assign more blame to here. There's only two devs, and we're only hearing from one of them, and what we're hearing is pretty vague. For this to go on for over a year after release, it just doesn't seem right in my mind that one dev was doing everything wrong while the other 1/2 of the team tried his best to do everything right to no avail. While I agree that it certainly does seem that he was more dedicated to finishing the game than Xavi, I don't really have much of a choice other than to assign him part of the blame. While I won't pretend to know how game development works, him being listed second on the site as "Game and Graphics designer" seems to suggest that it's a pretty big responsibility, and it's something that I just wouldn't be comfortable supporting until I see a finished game with adequate post-launch support. About me being unforgiving - once bitten, twice shy. But to be honest, if Dwelvers gets released and it's a good game and there's none of this drama, then I'm obviously going to be much less cautious of whatever Ben works on in the future.

Re: giving the game away to customers: I think I said enough on that in this thread (and the other), and I guess it just comes down to a difference of opinion. I'm no expert, and you may be right about giving the game away not generating enough positive buzz in the end. Like I said though, giving a discount seems like a strange thing to do considering the experience people have had with Towns, so maybe a better idea would be the discount applying after release? I think people would be more appreciative of it if they didn't have to gamble on another unfinished game. Maybe the discount being post-release was the plan all along, though, so I might just be wasting my e-breath.
Last edited by default_loser; Feb 5, 2014 @ 4:12am
Burningpet Feb 5, 2014 @ 8:38am 
"If there was a planned vacation then there shouldn't have been a launch at that time."

Which is exactly my point and why i have repeatedly hinted about it.

Regarding updates. this is an important thing to note and i am glad you have brought that up.

1 - You cannot possibly imagine how i felt when i saw my little baby goes to flames just because the guy in charge is operating out of fear and greed. this was my first serious game project and one that i knew can decide my fate in this industry.
Also, you must realize that this naturally carried on and have damaged the rate of development.

2 - That said, the only reason this game ever got any updates post steam release is because i practically had to "force" xavi to keep working on it and he even admitted it so himself.

3 - the only reason those Updates were far from satisfactory, was because i ultimately failed at forcing xavi.

i was also incapable of doing more than just painting more blocks, adding more items, redoing art and scripting. i simply have no access to the source code and xavi refused to hire a new programmer, even back then. and what this game needed was not more blocks, or more items, it needed fully realized, finished features.

4 - people noted that instead of making improvements and expanding the current features we were jumping a head to add new ones are somewhat correct, what they don't realize, is that most of the features that people criticize Towns for lacking were ones i specifically listed before xavi and declared them as mandatory if he wants to call this game Finished about a month before the release. needless to say he disagreed.
muzzy (Banned) Feb 5, 2014 @ 10:51am 
Originally posted by Burningpet:
2 - That said, the only reason this game ever got any updates post steam release is because i practically had to "force" xavi to keep working on it and he even admitted it so himself.

Ouch.

So basically, he had already lost the motivation to continue working on the game even before the launch happened, and he launched it to get the "final" version out? Or did he lose motivation only after the launch? I suppose it must've happened before the launch, if he suddenly considered the game to be finished.

Well, this sure explains why the game just kept getting worse (apart from bug fixes and things that didn't change the game functionality). It all makes sense if the man himself was no longer interested in what he was doing.

It bugs me that Xavi himself isn't saying a word about the whole thing.
Hyrus Feb 5, 2014 @ 10:59am 
I wonder if the Xavier Canal on Linkedin is Xavi, because over there it says he's an employee of http://www.match-ag.com/ , in the IT department, since 2007. Maybe he never took the game more seriously than a hobby and saw the opportunity to cash into that through Steam.

Which would mean he doesn't give a ♥♥♥♥ about the crumbling of Towns, and would explain the lack of communication.
Last edited by Hyrus; Feb 5, 2014 @ 11:00am
muzzy (Banned) Feb 5, 2014 @ 11:18am 
Hyrus, probably not the same person. There are multiple Xavier Canals and even more than one Xavi Canal out there. Can't make the match with a name alone, especially not with just a similar kind of name.
Burningpet Feb 5, 2014 @ 12:46pm 
Not the same Xavi.
Cyborgt Feb 5, 2014 @ 1:32pm 
Originally posted by default_loser:
Fair enough! I honestly believe that, despite the bad launch, if Towns had been updated regularly and genuinely improved, you wouldn't have nearly as many dissatisfied customers. Of course I can't speak for everyone, but this is an assumption I am comfortable making.

I'm sure that's true. After all, if it eventually got fixed people would at least have had a decent game in the end. Now they just have an unfinished mess that will linger in their games library for as long as Steam lasts.

Originally posted by default_loser:
Re: assigning blame between the two devs: maybe I could've been clearer, but I guess my point is that I can't really pick and choose who to assign more blame to here. There's only two devs, and we're only hearing from one of them, and what we're hearing is pretty vague.

I can understand that. When there are only two people to blame, it seems logical to split that blame evenly among them. Perhaps i'm being more forgiving because i've always had an outlook where 2 man teams like that were really only 1 man teams because of problems like this:

Originally posted by Burningpet:
i was also incapable of doing more than just painting more blocks, adding more items, redoing art and scripting. i simply have no access to the source code and xavi refused to hire a new programmer, even back then. and what this game needed was not more blocks, or more items, it needed fully realized, finished features.

A graphics designer is certainly an invaluable member of the team but they're not a coder (though there are plenty with the skills to be one.) The game's progress in terms of overall polish ends up having a lot more to do with the work of the programmers than those working on the art assets. For instance, if the AI is being ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ or the game continually crashes; that's a problem with the code.

Originally posted by default_loser:
Re: giving the game away to customers: I think I said enough on that in this thread (and the other), and I guess it just comes down to a difference of opinion. I'm no expert, and you may be right about giving the game away not generating enough positive buzz in the end. Like I said though, giving a discount seems like a strange thing to do considering the experience people have had with Towns, so maybe a better idea would be the discount applying after release? I think people would be more appreciative of it if they didn't have to gamble on another unfinished game. Maybe the discount being post-release was the plan all along, though, so I might just be wasting my e-breath.

That probably would, indeed, be a better idea. As you stated yourself though, we don't know whether that was a part of their potential plans to begin with. That's something we'll just have to wait to find out since even they don't seem to have come to a conclusion on that yet.

Originally posted by Burningpet:
"If there was a planned vacation then there shouldn't have been a launch at that time."

Which is exactly my point and why i have repeatedly hinted about it.

...

2 - That said, the only reason this game ever got any updates post steam release is because i practically had to "force" xavi to keep working on it and he even admitted it so himself.

3 - the only reason those Updates were far from satisfactory, was because i ultimately failed at forcing xavi.

Well that's unfortunate. Sounds like you exercised some poor judgement in choosing your first project. Here's hoping that poor judgement doesn't prove to be a consistent problem...

Originally posted by Burningpet:
4 - people noted that instead of making improvements and expanding the current features we were jumping a head to add new ones are somewhat correct, what they don't realize, is that most of the features that people criticize Towns for lacking were ones i specifically listed before xavi and declared them as mandatory if he wants to call this game Finished about a month before the release. needless to say he disagreed.

Actually, iirc, that was a part of the strength of our arguments in calling the game unfinished. I believe that information had at least become partially public so we had a point of reference from the development team to say "this obvious key feature even to them isn't there."

Originally posted by muzzy:
It bugs me that Xavi himself isn't saying a word about the whole thing.

Yeah, i'd like to hear what he has to say about it but this isn't really anything new. As little communication as there has ever been in regard to Towns, very little of it ever came from Xavi. We'll see if that changes anytime soon but I know i'm not going to be holding my breath.
ragnar119 Feb 5, 2014 @ 2:19pm 
Anyway, when it comes to Dwelvers, if/when you green light the game, it is very important to try:

- get on steam in as late stage of development as possible. Try to release more content rich and stable version, and not some alpha demo,
- communication is the key. Post news, devs blog , plans for future (even putting some of devs/mods in steam chat to help people if they have problems) and all the things Rasmus is already doing on his main forum, but just share it with steam forum also.
- and normally regular updates

If you manage to do this 3 things you will make a core steam fan base, as most people will see that things are handled very different compared to towns, and I guarantee you, you will not have that much problem with the SMP connection.

Anyway, some people made a good proposal, if you are making a discount for Dwelvers(again, do not give it for free), make it for the finished game and early access (there will be some towns people that probably would like to get the game in early access, and i dont see a reason why force them to wait ), but say it explicitly that the discount can be used when the game is finished (and maybe even say that people should wait for the game to be finished)

Last edited by ragnar119; Feb 5, 2014 @ 2:19pm
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Towns > General Discussions > Topic Details
Date Posted: Feb 4, 2014 @ 2:19pm
Posts: 74