Nerd Kingdom bought by Chinese mobile gaming corp in 2014?

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Comments

  • Deadlock989Deadlock989 REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    You say associate, I say subsidiary
    You like vanilla and I like vanella
    You saspiralla, and I saspirella
    Vanilla vanella chocolate strawberry
    Let's call the whole thing off
  • Deadlock989Deadlock989 REGISTERED Posts: 72 Seed
    So can we have some statement from or contact with one of the three IGG directors - nice work correcting my earlier mistake when I said two earlier, Ino - who have absolutely no say or influence over events despite owning ~62% of your asses and classing you as a "subsidiary" of their mobile cow clicker firm, well known for hits like "Clash of Lords" which is nothing at all like Clash of Clans?

    It would be vastly reassuring for me to hear their take on the "vision" they have "bought into" and what they see as the result of this project and their investment.

    TELL US ABOUT SYNERGIES. We love synergies

    *flutters eyelashes*
  • DapperHamsterDapperHamster REGISTERED Posts: 58 Seed
    @Ino While most of the information in this thread was new to me it also didn't rattle me much, but for one thing.
    The revelation that IGG appoints 3 directors, not 2, and most importantly, that you didn't correct the initial misinformation. So, I guess I'd like to broach that subject, sans all the hate & rage. Is it 2 or 3 directors? And if it's 3, why didn't you address the misinformation when it came up? If it's 3, how does that affect what you said about the majority and how much control the board has over what your team does?

    I don't mean this as an attack or as an accusation that you've sold out, not at all. I'd just like to air this out and hear where you're coming from on it, because I can't shake the feeling that it currently seems like a lie by omission :/
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 70 Seed
    I have to say, I agree with some of what Deadlock989 was saying.

    The Kickstarter funded at the end of May 2013. It's been more than three years since then, and one and a half since the "expected January 2015" delivery date. The K'start said "TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG," with much discussion of "survival" and "adventure" servers - we don't yet have that, and we definitely don't have any of the Kicskstarter rewards other than access. (Alpha access, beta access, final-game access... they've all been rolled into one.)

    "Give us another six months, check our progress, and then maybe complain," may seem reasonable to the developers; for those who expected a functional game with all the features they funded a year and a half ago, it's a bit much. It's not like you're promising any specific results to happen in six months.

    The Kickstarter didn't say, "you will get these rewards if our additional outside funding doesn't drastically change." When you asked for a quarter-million dollars to make a game, some of us assumed that you actually planned make the game on that budget. We assumed, apparently wrongly, that additional investor funding was for continuing the company beyond the bare-bones creation of the game.

    Right now, it doesn't look like the TUG I funded will ever be released. I'm absolutely certain the TUG I wanted will never be released - I had wanted the game to capture the look-and-feel and much of the activities of the promotional video, and that's not the direction it's going. But I'd be content with a multiplayer game, adventure servers, and my k'start bonuses.

    I get that you can't promise the game, as originally advertised, will be ready in six months. The way to mollify disappointed customers is not to say "we're working on things! Lots of things! Oh, the things on which we are working!" but to give specific details.

    Post weekly blog updates - not rambling video clips, but focused statements that can be easily shared and discussed. Mention what features are being worked on, and which aren't right now, and why. Or which aspect of the game the devs are having fun playtesting. Or a short list of things you've decided not to include, and why. Or a more detailed writeup of one particular bug and why it's difficult to smash.

    A 200-500 word blog post should take someone an hour or less to write; if you can't afford 1 hour a week for PR, the company is dead. Regular outreach would go a long way towards convincing currently unhappy customers that progress is happening, and making sure there's still a market when you're ready to sell again.
  • inoino REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Moderator, Developers Posts: 131 El Jefe
    @DapperHamster Looking back, I think the reason I didn't correct anything was because I got into a place where I was playing defensive mode. Logically, it would make no sense to play stupid, or not correct if, knowing full well that he, and any others reading would be digging deeper. The board is a relationship, that counter regulates itself, and it always comes down to leverage and motivation. While they sit as a majority, they have not, and would not vote against anything, or change anything, unless it was apeshit nuts... like we wanted to spend all our money on candy. We have been with them for a couple of years now, and they haven't forced anything on us.

    Additionally, they cannot turn to SCREW the company for their favor, because its a conflict of their duties to OTHER investors best interests that are involved outside of them. For things that impact all stock/shareholders (including our own team, and myself), a committee is formed to handle those details. There are also other subtle details, like the fact that myself and our own devs would just up and walk, before we let someone force us to make something we didnt want to make. We have lots of talented people that are involved, and its not hard for us to do something different, and our investors know that.

    The other detail, is that the next round of funding we are doing a "recap", which means that all this is shifted, and balance is given back to the board, and redistribute interest (shares) to the company. It's so much work to have to explain all the thought that goes into planning investments, rounds, funding, etc... those are things I really hoped I didnt HAVE to get into, because it takes years to understand them, years more to work around them. Saying anything to anyone who was not previously exposed, would DRAMATICALLY miscontrue them, or set false expectations. Much in the same way many people dont know what it takes to build the technology we are creating, or a game in the first place.

    We had investors WELL before Kickstarter, and as stated in the kickstarter video, it was not about funding the game, it was about helping get some art support to layer on top of the technology that was already being planned. So its not that we changed our goals to build something.

    @Elf I agree, we are well passed that timeline. And I communicated more than once that we wanted to change things up, and that we wanted to make things better. Which is quite contrary to "hey, im stalling because im out of money", as most kickstarters have demonstrated. For us, even when we cut our team down, we still had enough funds to continue developing, it was a choice to manage our burn rate, and offset with some revenues we had coming in, etc. But again, delay is something that was clearly communicated, because we wanted to make something better. Did everyone agree with that? No... of course not... but if I allowed business or game dev decisions to be based on committee or a vote, this company would not be where it is now. Which a lot of people may say is vaporware, but I see as a studio making amazing things, and thats whats important for me, and the future of what we are, and what we are creating. (longest paragraph ever)

    As for my ranting videos, I am also fairly sure I made clear those were kind of personal on the side things that were not just about this project, but sort of the things I was thinking and dealing with. It's something I wanted to try, and it wasn't for everyone. Furthermore, if you think us not sparing being able to spare an hour to share information that is public facing to so many people is an indication of failure, I think you should maybe look at a few more points of information before that conclusion. It doesnt take an hour for 500 words for a public facing update blog, it can take days, and dramatically detract people from the things they are already tied up doing ALL day.

    "hey engineer dude, I know you are super busy building all those things, going in and out of meeting, documenting stuff, but can I also poke at you about what is happening here, here and here? Also, if someone asks this, how do I reply to that?"

    "hey artists dude, i know you are fielding concepts for intent of play, and mythos, and visualizing tools, but can you also give me some of those bits of work, so I can plug those things in here? Also, it needs to look complete, not just like a concept, or a LOT of people are going to be pissed, because we cannot show ALL the art, or incomplete art, or they are going to think this stuff sucks"

    Then we gotta get buy in from what is being said, then we gotta be sure its said in a way that doesnt confuse too many people. Then we gotta determine if the current path is too complicated to communicate, or if its of any interest at all. How many people will read it? "data oriented modular engine capable of transcompiling to web, that leverages nodal scripting for design, etc, etc" is not a sexy topic....

    In short, what LOTS of people think is "as easy as spending a bit of time doing this one thing" is not... the amount of work it takes to get a piece of grass on the ground in game, THEN then work it takes to allow that grass to be cut, THEN the amount of work to make it move in ground, THEN work it takes to show it at long distances, would blow someones mind who is not in game development... HOURS of work, planning, documentation, user experience... how does it fit? Where does it go? How its saved? What method to use? How to handle textures? Shaders? Are they animated? Are they bilboards? Are they effects? SO MUCH goes into such little things... EVEN in running a business that doing SO much more than making a game, that is capable of HOSTING the game, sharing the game, analyzing the game, making it easier for players to find content, know how to help you FIND content. etc

    And as MORE and MORE things start to come online, it takes more and more attention, not less. That means more team members, more meetings, more testing, more refining, more iteration.

    I get to make a choice, as someone who manages budgets and teams... spend money on a PR person, and NOT have as many weapon/objects in the game? Or hire an artist, and just keep it quiet for now, and get a PR person later, so he can share the work that was created by the artist first.

    To be clear, I also stated in a previous post that we were hiring someone whose full time job WILL be to be here, understand complex ideas, simplify them for a blog, help shoot video of progress, etc... because when I do bring him on, it will make sense. Because more of the engine is online, things are rendering, progress makes sense to the masses... because showing a video of data moving from one place or another, or showing the prototypes of early versions of the engine, while OMFG so impressive to investors and our own technical goals... would INFURIATE people who had NO idea how important they were, no matter HOW it was communicated.

    So... in short. Lots of thinking goes into making decisions, and managing things. Its not always what people will like, but its also not what people would really have the experience to REALLY advise on in the first place, not only for lack of experience, but also because there really is enough information awarded to them, to make them come to a clear conclusion.
    I am a Dev on TUG, and I does teh science

    Follow me on the twitters, why not? @inoritewtf
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 70 Seed
    I repeat: if you can't spare an hour a week for public communications, the company is walking dead. The game was planned to have social research as one of its functions; if "communicate with public" was not part of the business plan, that plan is even more deeply flawed than is notable by the long delays.

    I suppose you could do "social research" by observing, not communicating; by watching instead of moderating any activity on the servers. However, that experiment has been done, and is being done again - look into the recent Minecraft 2B2T server war for details. We already know what happens when you set up a sandbox and don't manage player activity.

    I do understand that a short blog post can take days to get perfect - but I also know that "a few paragraphs on a random topic, chosen by whoever's willing to write a few paragraphs this week" doesn't take that much time.

    You said: "its also not what people would really have the experience to REALLY advise on in the first place, not only for lack of experience, but also because there really is enough information awarded to them, to make them come to a clear conclusion. "

    Well, yes, of course - you haven't given us information, so we don't always have useful suggestions. Feel free to ignore the suggestion of "you should talk to your currently unhappy customers and your potential future customers so they don't think of TUG as yet another half-finished piece of abandonware."

    The fact that you're still working on it is meaningless to the public - what we see is that sales have stopped, there are no regular announcements of activity, there is no roadmap for feature releases, and when people ask for details, the reply is invariably "we have no solid info but we're thinking really hard about everything."

    If nobody on your staff is capable of producing 200-500 words of publicly interesting "here's something we're working on this week" in less than a few days, your company lacks essential business skills.
  • DapperHamsterDapperHamster REGISTERED Posts: 58 Seed
    @Ino I've been in heated discussions, I can see that; thank you for clarifying. I figured it probably wasn't a malignant omission, but I couldn't quite shake the unease it left when combined with the ambiguity it rendered on some of your previous comments.
    And thank you for the added information on the board/investors, it clarified the situation for me a lot more. Consider the unease put to rest :)


    @Elf I was a kickstarter backer also, and my impression was that there was still a lot of the game that was still evolving and at the least open to community input driven change, not to mention dev input driven change. I hoped it would go in certain specific directions, but was aware that it might go in others (though the major rpg sandbox open world multiplayer part wouldn't change). I don't know how much of that was what was actually conveyed versus our individual interpretations of it.

    Regardless, I backed TUG because it promised to be so much more than a pretty minecraft duplicate. Personally, I would much prefer waiting to see a game that fulfills that promise, than to wind up with a pretty minecraft game. I would prefer waiting and finding out it couldn't work, than to give up now and try to turn TUG into a pretty minecraft game so it'll be finished sooner.
    Yes, ideally I would have liked the game I hoped for back in Jan. 2015, but given that ship has sailed I'd rather wait.
    Just my two cents.

    I do agree some sort of updates are always enjoyable; I'm also fine with quiet though, as long as I know you guys are working on making TUG the best it can be (which I know you are). Although, I think updates are rather valuable in that they help keep the community alive and interacting with itself; we've gone through quiet times and seem to lose more people from the forums every time. We knew we were going into a quiet year with the engine rebuild though, and we might get a lot of those people back and active in the community after the rebuild is done. (Plus some of us just go through shy lurking periods *cough*me*cough*)
  • ekohrmanekohrman REGISTERED Posts: 87 Seed
    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but...
    The troll invasion has turned out to be a positive thing for the forum. Not the troll himself, he was a dick. However, the conversation he catalyzed has revitalized the forum for me and brought about true communication between the devs and the community which had been missing for a while. I know the devs have been furiously busy inside, but it was too quite from the outside. That silence left a void to be filled with doubt and ,in some cases, bile.
    Thanks to everyone in the community and Nerd Kingdom who has participated in the conversation in a civil and productive way, which has been everyone except the troll.
    Some call me... Terella.

  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    ekohrman said:

    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but...
    The troll invasion has turned out to be a positive thing for the forum. Not the troll himself, he was a dick. However, the conversation he catalyzed has revitalized the forum for me and brought about true communication between the devs and the community which had been missing for a while. I know the devs have been furiously busy inside, but it was too quite from the outside. That silence left a void to be filled with doubt and ,in some cases, bile.
    Thanks to everyone in the community and Nerd Kingdom who has participated in the conversation in a civil and productive way, which has been everyone except the troll.

    He was like a man trying to destroy a machine with a big hammer, but the moment he slams it on it, he accidentally activates it.
    This community reawakening is one of the greatest things that has happened in this place since the addition of bearrams.
    I sexually identify as a set of knight full plate armor. I hope you can accept me the way I am; otherwise, check your armor privileges.
  • SigilSigil REGISTERED, Developers Posts: 678 Developer
    ekohrman said:

    the conversation he catalyzed has revitalized the forum for me and brought about true communication between the devs and the community which had been missing for a while.

    A lot of it is because we're doing so much new stuff it's hard to say for sure what we're allowed to leak and what isn't final. Ino ultimately knows the direction better than all of us but he's also very busy. We don't really have a community manager for such. Yet.
  • ekohrmanekohrman REGISTERED Posts: 87 Seed
    Sigil said:


    A lot of it is because we're doing so much new stuff it's hard to say for sure what we're allowed to leak and what isn't final. Ino ultimately knows the direction better than all of us but he's also very busy. We don't really have a community manager for such. Yet.

    That makes sense. Your information needs to be accurate because we've already seen what happens when things change and you get accused of misrepresentation.
    I look forward to the hiring of a "Voice of TUG".
    Some call me... Terella.

  • RawrRawr REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 503 Seed
    I like this community.

    It's been good to have doubt, it seems to be how we get to know our assumptions.

    Props to the PR guy/gal when he/she arrives. Will initially be a mammoth task to wrap your head around.
    @Ino do get him/her to say hi on the forums on arrival.
    Programmer, designer, artist.
  • gbusrtgbusrt REGISTERED Posts: 50 Seed
    early investment from an end user point of view, mine


    with out this post i thought the game had died.

    bought into the game hoping to find the next minecraft only better, from this experience this is what i learnt
    don't do it, kickstarter is a 1 on 100 dice roll,
    at £15 a pop (for the 5 games i tried so far 2 of which i only found out about after their release) that £1500 for the one game i play when its released, its a game i cant afford to play

    not talking about what going on leaves me imagining what going on, my mind is a active and prone to doom and gloom, you dont look pity in the pictures i create.

    My current experience with funding game development is i get a tech demo that it.
    Modders want to see there mods used, if no one playing the game well. it like asking painter's or sculptor's to create but leave their creation behind the curtain.
    would you do it for with out the chance of anyone seeing anything


    all these video and demo you talk about i cant find them.
    I dont want to be a internet sleuth to find out what happening.
    You may be talking actively but i never hurd anything, i fact if i had not got boared and though today " i wonder if TUG done anything" and actualy started looking through the older links , and accidental fell over this post i would have though well that dream die.

    I back a game called blockscape, it was brilliant, base world incredible, it do went into limbo hell.
    it being redeveloped and is dead, moders don't mod for game people do play


    why i keep checking and have faith, "dont starve" and "FTL" both started this way worked
    both bought after their release and i found out about by post game release youtube hype
    Subnautica also seams to be delivering, perhaps TUG will. also youtube demoed, there info out the is really good (called trello i think, its very well documented)

  • CharlockCharlock REGISTERED, Tester Posts: 293 Seed
    @gbusrt You should read more than just one or two posts on this forum. I would also suggest YouTube and Twitter. Follow @Ino on Twitter. The TUG YouTube channel hasn't been as active, lately, but I am hopeful that will change when a new community manager is brought on board.

    @Ino has also, recently, "leaked" quite a few things, right here. There have been art posts, community questions answered and a video of an internal milestone video. They aren't terribly hard to find, if you take a minute just to peruse the different sections.

    I apologize if I've misread, but your post is a little hard to follow, so I am trying to relate to what I can, the best I can.
    "I’ve been drunk for about a week now, and I thought it might sober me up to sit in a library."
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    Charlock said:

    @gbusrt You should read more than just one or two posts on this forum. I would also suggest YouTube and Twitter. Follow @Ino on Twitter. The TUG YouTube channel hasn't been as active, lately, but I am hopeful that will change when a new community manager is brought on board.

    @Ino has also, recently, "leaked" quite a few things, right here. There have been art posts, community questions answered and a video of an internal milestone video. They aren't terribly hard to find, if you take a minute just to peruse the different sections.

    I apologize if I've misread, but your post is a little hard to follow, so I am trying to relate to what I can, the best I can.

    Guess I could translate it for you.
    in extreme TL:DR mode.

    He has faith with the game.
    I sexually identify as a set of knight full plate armor. I hope you can accept me the way I am; otherwise, check your armor privileges.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 70 Seed
    "but keep in mind, we aren't just using unity, or unreal, or cryengine, we are building something from the ground up, that meets some very specific needs, not just for us, but for all of you as a community. Many studios can build a product and it take them 3-5 years, many using existing engines. We are not only building the game, but the engine, and everything that it entails, and all in a platform that supports everything the community needs to build and share content."

    Most politely: While I am sympathetic about the work and hassle involved, I do not accept "this is hard! very hard! harder than most games!" as a reasonable excuse for the delays.

    If many studies take 3-5 years to produce a game with a known engine, why did you give yourselves barely more than a year on the Kickstarter expected delivery time? Did you assume you were much faster and better than those other studios?

    I don't know what's gone wrong since the initial plan - whether you underestimated the time and effort involved, or didn't plan for financial problems, or whether the actual work has been mismanaged. I do know that many game companies manage to produce their expected games on-time and in-budget, and many more manage to produce them only a few months late.

    I am sympathetic to the changes - I know that every industry, and especially this one, is prone to odd setbacks, and that with a game so closely tied to the dev's personal interests and philosophical goals, every setback seems disastrous. I am grateful that the game hasn't been dropped, hasn't become just another abandoned "well, we got it to mostly-playable and it's too hard to actually finish the features we promised."

    I am looking forward to the eventual full-release version, even though I believe (1) that's several years away - enough that the computer I bought with TUG in mind may be obsolete by then and (2) it won't have the features I was hoping for. I've enjoyed what I've played of TUG so far, especially with two players. (I only know one other local person with a key; not interested in PVP which cuts me out of most public servers, even if the lag didn't.)

    ... You have a team of 50 and you hadn't thought to bring a PR person into that mix? The time to start building public support for your game is NOW. (Or rather, a couple of years ago, but that's not possible.) If it's going to take another six months to a year for the next update, and a couple years after that to hit the "finished" version ("multiplayer sandbox game with two types of hosted server and the NPCs mentioned in the k'start"), and you want people to buy the next beta release, you need someone whose job it is to convince the mostly-apathetic public to listen to you, rather than the thousands of ex-players who gave up on it.

    I'm not one of those. But I'm also not an evangelist for TUG; right now, even if it were available for sale, I could only say, "you should only buy this if you can't stand the art style in Minecraft," which is my #1 reason for playing TUG. Sure, it's got a few features that MC doesn't, but they don't balance out the lack of other features. (Ladders. Carts. Renewables. Writing.)

    If you want this game to revolutionize a segment of the industry, you need to build public support first. Talking about how difficult it is, is not going to draw customers. Talk about progress, not setbacks; talk about what made it worth leaving your home and family and moving halfway across the country, not about how hard that is.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 70 Seed
    And as a followup: Yes, I am recommending hiring a PR person even if that means cutting staff elsewhere so there are fewer weapons/ armor/ creature etc. options in the game. You didn't promise an array of a hundred types of sword and spear; you *did* promise a multiplayer sandbox game, and you haven't delivered on that.

    Mitigating the harm done by the delays and bug problems is more important than developing loads of content that, as far as customers know, may not ever be released. Content is only important if there's a game to put it in, and an MMO can't survive without a huge playerbase - making sure you've got a large number of buyers lined up is just as important as internal content development.
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    @Elf Friendly-ish reminder that TUG's not an MMO.
    I sexually identify as a set of knight full plate armor. I hope you can accept me the way I am; otherwise, check your armor privileges.
  • ElfElf REGISTERED Posts: 70 Seed
    @Wingidon - I'm unsure of the exact terminology. It's intended to be a multiplayer game, with company-hosted servers; whether or not it's an MMO, it'll need a large, active player base to make those servers worth running.
  • WingidonWingidon REGISTERED Posts: 1,128 Seed
    Elf said:

    @Wingidon - I'm unsure of the exact terminology. It's intended to be a multiplayer game, with company-hosted servers; whether or not it's an MMO, it'll need a large, active player base to make those servers worth running.

    Well, that is true.
    I sexually identify as a set of knight full plate armor. I hope you can accept me the way I am; otherwise, check your armor privileges.
  • inoino REGISTERED, ADMINISTRATORS, Moderator, Developers Posts: 131 El Jefe
    Also, since we have all verified that we have been bought by a chinese mobile developer, resulting in us abandoning TUG for PC to make a mobile cash cow, we can go ahead and lock this guy up, too.
    I am a Dev on TUG, and I does teh science

    Follow me on the twitters, why not? @inoritewtf
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