The Repopulation

The Repopulation

A theory onto what's actually going on at IF
Rereading the announcements put out by Idea Fabrik and reading between the lines I have a theory as to what's going on.

AlexSH says "Because of outside 3rd party related issues, we may be facing some down time to all our HeroEngine and HeroCloud services."

and that:

"Idea Fabrik PLC is a public company that relies on third party financing."

What this seems to me is that some third party they were invovled in, probably had some major cash flow issue, such that an account or two IF was counting on in "Accounts Recieveable" wasn't actually recieveable. This at least in my theory caused a cascade failure of their accounting department, such that either they couldn't pay their employees or equipment upkeep cost.

This in turn means they had to find someway of balancing the books, which probably ment doing the bare minium to keep current contracts in line, say keeping The Repopulation playable, without shutting it down. A true blackout while not neccisarily a brech of contract, (All services have interuptions) might of started a "countdown clock" (how long can a service be down before a contract is breached) which they are now narrowly avoiding, by keeping The repopulation up and running in the state it is.

So to keep their books as black as possible, or indeed, perhaps as little red as possible, they shut down everything they could and put the servers on life support only. While they either A) wait for this mysterious 3rd party to get the money they need, or B) find an outside investor to bring the books back to a level where they can restore full ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.

Certain people have asked about a law suit against IF on these forums. But if my theory is correct such a lawsuit, even if it were possible, would only make things worse, not better in the long term.

(Source of Qoutes: https://community.heroengine.com/forums/index.php/topic,6050.0.html)
Last edited by Alexandra Moldovia; Dec 3, 2015 @ 4:20am
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Showing 1-15 of 51 comments
why did they signt that contract then? did someone put a gun on their head?

maybe they were just looking for the cheapest option and this is what they get?
J.C. Smith Dec 3, 2015 @ 6:41pm 
@Zatom: You should do some research on the available engines at that time. For many years Torque had been the only decent engine available to indies. Unity was starting to make some noise in the year prior to this, but it was still not close to being suitable for an MMO. We originally prototyped the game using Torque 3D due to being an indie and not having a huge budget.

At that point there really weren't any other options out there to do an MMO. Torque 3D was $1500 a seat, but had complete source code, it wasn't suitable for an MMO but with source you could rig it up so. That was the engine situation 5 years ago. After that you had GameBryo in the $25kish range, and were looking at a jump to the $250k+ after that with the likes of Unreal Engine, Hero Engine, CryEngine, Bigworld, ID Engine. As an indie developer that was well outside of our price range. Crowdfunding games was not viable at the time. You had to put in work, create a demo, then use it to pitch to publishers for an advance on funding, or use it to secure venture capitol.

Then the engine wars began and a lot of things changed in the next few years. The first engine to kick it off was Bigworld (engine from World of Tanks, etc). They offered an indie program for something like $300 + royalties but there was a limit on the number of players before you had to upgrade to a full license, which was rather low (like 10k players). We were still prototyping in Torque at that point so evaled it and were considering making the jump to it to build a prototype. Loved it's networking.

We then received a contact from the Hero Engine team which caused us to hold those thoughts and take our time, as they told us Hero Engine would be available to indies in a month or so. Their licensing structure was $5k + royalties, but also provided hosting. What really sold us on Hero Engine over Bigworld (both were suitable engines) was the collaberative world design and the ability to do most of our changes on the fly while the world was running. That was a big time saver. Noone really anticipated Hero Engine later taking a nosedive. It was the engine used by the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic and Elder Scrolls Online, among other titles. Most importantly it was the best engine available in our price range.

Now there were some things we didn't like about the deal of course, most notably the royalties, and some of the buyout terms changing if the game was sold by anyone other than Idea Fabrik. But bear in mind that the gameplan at that point was to build a prototype then pitch it to a publisher, as this is what was typically done in those days. Kickstarter and Steam Greenlit changed the way a lot of things work over the past few years (to the point that publishers now encourage developers to crowdfund their own titles), but at that point there were no Early Access or Crowdfunded titles. There were prototypes that were then pitched and either picked up and published, or died in the prototype stage.

In the end yes, we wound up paying more for the license than it would have cost us to license the engines with a full up front license at the time over the course of the past few years. But we also would not have been able to raise the money to license any of those engines at the time, so its really a moot point. It wasn't a choice of paying a $500k license or a $5k license. It was the choice of Torque 3D, Bigworld, or Hero Engine with the latter two both costing us down the road where the first option cost us in terms of viability as an MMO engine. We had already done serious work to make T3D viable for an MMO, but we felt much better about the MMO specific features in Bigworld and Hero Engine.

Following those engines we saw Unity, Unreal Engine, CryEngine all start becoming very indie friendly over the next few years. To the point that today you can get the full source to Unreal Engine for no up front cost and 5% royalties. But nobody, and I do mean nobody, saw that coming five years ago. Things have gotten much better for indies during Repops development cycle.

Truth be told what Hero Engine (and Bigworld) did at the time helped kick off the engine wars for indies. The contract we signed back then was the best deal available for us at the time. It gave us access to an engine that was well beyond our price range. Idea Fabrik's recent issues have had a negative impact on us, and its easy to point fingers or second guess decisions. But the decision we made was the best deal available at the time.
Last edited by J.C. Smith; Dec 3, 2015 @ 6:54pm
Actually JC, that was a very informitive, and entertaining read, I can't say I expected my post to generate that kind of responce. Thank you for taking the time to put it out there.
Geist Dec 5, 2015 @ 2:54pm 
I agree. That was super informative. Thank you for the backstory.
Love insight posts like that.
Dat Feef Dec 5, 2015 @ 5:41pm 
Um; I've been watching The Repopulation for a while now. Not closely, mind you; but still. Was going to finally get it a couple of days ago when I noticed it's no longer on sale. Came to check out what's going on and saw this J.C. guy trying to keep everyone appraised of the situation.

You, sir, just got yourself another person to buy your game when it become available again. As a former game dev myself and now an avid gamer; I applaud your actions and hope more in the industry would do the same.
Takoom Dec 5, 2015 @ 6:28pm 
Ya that was pretty informative, nice seeing a dev take so much time outa his day to actually try and communicate to the best of his abilities what's going on. I am also eagerly awaiting to join as well.
xmptd2 Dec 5, 2015 @ 7:21pm 
Thanks J.C...seriously.
Eldnir Dec 7, 2015 @ 6:48pm 
hello i have been watching these threads and to my understanding this is all because of hero engine and the hero cloud SO WHY HAVENT YOU REVERTED TO THE OLD WAY YET!!! i mean seriously it is an obvious solution that apperantly no one ever thinks about. THANK YOU AND TO EMPHASIZE 1 THING... THIS IS AN OPINION and not a command. thank you and have a nice day. :D
Originally posted by Davicon1000:
hello i have been watching these threads and to my understanding this is all because of hero engine and the hero cloud SO WHY HAVENT YOU REVERTED TO THE OLD WAY YET!!! i mean seriously it is an obvious solution that apperantly no one ever thinks about. THANK YOU AND TO EMPHASIZE 1 THING... THIS IS AN OPINION and not a command. thank you and have a nice day. :D


because they can't under contract.
Wilbus Dec 11, 2015 @ 6:00pm 
Thanks for this information, goes to show how transparent The Repopulation team is willing to be.
FuglyMuffinz Dec 12, 2015 @ 9:43am 
Yeah, the team for this just earned my total respect. I was just about to give up on it but now if this game survives this, count on my continued support. Any future titles worked by this team will also have my thumbs up. This was just refreshing to read. All the best of luck guys.
ADL Dec 12, 2015 @ 9:27pm 
Originally posted by J.C. Smith:

Truth be told what Hero Engine (and Bigworld) did at the time helped kick off the engine wars for indies. The contract we signed back then was the best deal available for us at the time. It gave us access to an engine that was well beyond our price range. Idea Fabrik's recent issues have had a negative impact on us, and its easy to point fingers or second guess decisions. But the decision we made was the best deal available at the time.

This is really important and I can't emphasize how true this is. I remember prototyping for my project back around 2010 and nothing was as viable as it is now. Unity was still quite primetive and not anywhere near being ready for MMO production, Unreal was extremely closed off, CryEngine was being licensed privately and Gamebyro was Gamebyro.

If you end up going with Unity, jump right into Forge networking. Don't waste your time with anything else when it comes to netcode. Don't know a thing about Unreal but I'd love to see you guys keep your earnings rather than pay royalties. You guys deserve every ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ cent.
Last edited by ADL; Dec 12, 2015 @ 9:29pm
borass Dec 22, 2015 @ 4:24pm 
screw Trump, I am voting J.C. Smith.
Wish I could.
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Date Posted: Dec 3, 2015 @ 4:15am
Posts: 51