Have you ever seen one of those kids who really wants to be a part of the “cool kids” group, so they mimic whatever those kids are doing, but gets it horribly wrong every time in brand new, embarrassing ways? If you have, you’ll be excited to know that this post is about the Kickstarter version of that kid.
If you haven’t, welcome to failure funtimes.
Fail #1: In Which You Give No Information (or Rock, Paper, Scissors, Fail!)
Jordan’s first failure was swift and self-inflicted. He launched a Kickstarter for an Android version of Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock on December 4th (yes, 2013 – he has made 3 Kickstarters in the past two months), and shut it down on December 9th. It’s like he pulled out of his driveway, and then realized he was going the wrong way, so he crashed the car into a tree on the side of the road.
This video is so short and uninformative, I’m going to type an entire transcript here:
“Hi, I’m Jordan with JPeG and Chaos LLP. Are you tired of playing Rock, Paper, Scissors by yourself? Rock, Papers, Scissors, go! Woohoo! Or even better with a 4 year old? Then once our game is complete funded by you, you can be a part of the magic playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock all over the world. Join us and be a part of the magic.”
Don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything by not seeing the video. No gameplay clips or stills. No art. No design documents. Just a close up of Jordan’s face, and a few seconds of a child ignoring him. Your guess is as good as anyone else’s as to how this game is going to look, sound, or play. All we know about it is that it’s an Android version of a game popularized on a sitcom, which is simply Rock Paper Scissors with two other options added. You can see how well this will translate to your phone, and how very much the world needs this game to exist.
Jordan guessed this project’s worth/cost to be $8,500. I can only assume that he realized his grave miscalculation five days later, and cancelled the project, receiving only $30 in pledges. Did I mention that this game was also planned to have microtransactions to buy “points”, which are required for entering tournaments? Luckily, this blog isn’t dedicated to why your game design is shit, or I would have to do a whole post on this proposal. As it is, we can just move on.
Fail #2: In Which You Give Information in the Most Boring Way Possible (or: Fail Commissioner!)
Hot on the heels of his cancelled garbage pile of a game idea, Jordan launched his second Kickstarter project on December 16th. And he somehow managed to learn from some of his mistakes and still create one of the worst Kickstarter videos I’ve ever seen. It’s 45 seconds and consists of 6 PowerPoint slides, while you listen to what I can only guess is someone playing an example song from this book on a Casio keyboard.
It’s worth noting that this wasn’t a game. From what I gather, it’s just an app to bribe your kids into being useful. Yes, we’re talking about chores. This app will let you assign chores to your kids, let the kids mark them as complete, let you verify that completion, and “credit” the child’s account on the app with money promised for these chores. Basically, it’s a dry erase board, but way more complicated and for your phone. And if you think that’s not a $900 idea…
…then you would be right. To give him the least amount of credit I possibly can, at least Jordan just let this one fail with dignity. Or something like dignity, at least. In any case, it’s not a game, so I don’t care enough to devote more of this post to it.
Fail #3: In Which You Have Learned All the Wrong Lessons (or: Demifailures!)
And we’ve arrived at how I discovered Jordan, and by far, the biggest offender in his failure trifecta. Wasting absolutely no time at all after his second failure on January 5th, Jordan launched his third Kickstarter on January 8th. I’m not even going to link you yet, because I need to do this reveal right. And if you found it by going to his profile, then shame on you! Let’s go to the video:
“We are producing a real-time strategy game called Demigods: Rise of the Children.”
Well, no, you’re not. You haven’t even started, but we’ll get to that later.
“This is the first of three core games in the Demigods series that we will be producing.”
Oooookay, how about you at least start the first, and then MAYBE you can talk sequels? I would spend a little more time making fun of how stupid you are for even mentioning this right now, but we have bigger fish to fry on this video.
“After the real-time strategy game, we will also be producing an open world role playing game…”
If you’ve ever browsed a game development forum, you know where this is going.
“…and then finishing off with a massively multiplayer online role playing game.”
OF COURSE YOU WILL. And do you know what the worst part is? This isn’t even what I’ve been building up to. Let’s just keep moving right past this insanely naive bullshit pipe dream of a game series, and move on to the most offensive bit.
“Due to the substantial amount of funds required to complete this project, we will be breaking down the funding into different parts.”
In other words, you won’t even have a completed game by the end of this round of funding. Maybe we’re in for another unplayable “tech demo” like our friends at Leviathan Interactive?
“The first part, which you are watching this video for, is to complete the design part.”
Aaaaand there it is! The $250 goal set for Demigods: Rise of the Children is to design the fucking game. As in, you hand money to these assholes to type up a design document. No game. No art, aside from the box and some concept art. The text below gives a little more indication as to where these funds are going.
“In this phase, it will be used to pay wages for those completing the design portion of the project.”
Yup, this is just paying someone $250 to dream up some game design and not implement a damn thing. If you don’t work in video games, perhaps you are unaware that a good 90% of what’s in your game design document will not actually be in the final game. It’s just an idea, and thus, is probably wrong in a million different ways. You can’t know dick about what you’re doing until you start doing it. But these guys want you to pay them for wasting their time dreaming up things they can’t do.
“If you donate the $250, you’ll get to be the first auditioner for part 2: vocals.”
If your brain is trying to escape from your skull right now, then you read that right: if you fully fund their design phase, you can audition to be a voice actor. What a fucking honor. You know, most of the time, people get paid to do voice acting. Jordan, however, wants you to pay for the privilege of auditioning to work for him. Which means you’re not even guaranteed a part. But it gets better: you’re not even guaranteed the audition.
Because voiceover is part two in this five-step game development process. That’s right; forget about art and music and sound effects and, you know, programming – the next logical step once you’ve designed the entire game is to record voices! There will, of course, be another Kickstarter for raising funds for vocal recording, and if that’s not funded, you don’t even get that audition you paid $250 for. Everything about this project is pure golden brilliance.
Jordan was kind enough to explain the next three steps to his master plan.
“Part 3: Art/Animation. In this project, we will be designing all of the Nodes in the game as well as the cinematic, advertisements, etc.”
Who needs a game when you have a bunch of art files lying around?! If either of the next two steps fails to be funded, these past three were all for nothing.
“Part 4: Programming. This is the brunt of what we are trying to accomplish. Without this part, everything falls apart.”
Two points for honesty. For those who haven’t been following my arbitrary point system, that still only leaves Jordan with about negative thirty-eight points.
But yes, indeed, programming is what makes your game a game, and not a bunch of pictures and sound files on a hard drive. And it’s part four out of five. I can only assume that no one in JPeG & Chaos is competent enough to program, which means that these assholes will be trying to hire a programmer to assemble a game out of art and voice work that is already complete. What if something is the wrong size or aspect ratio? What if you have to change the smallest little detail in a line of dialogue? What if your design wasn’t completely perfect when you hit “Save” on that design document three steps ago?
Then you’re fucked, that’s what. Better plan a sixth step for “Iteration: fixing all of the shit we fucked up in the last five steps”. But speaking of which, what is that fifth step?
“Part 5: Music. This is the fun part where we get to put the background music to the game.”
No, this is the torturous part where you have to get a composer to score a game with all of the voicework and art locked and shove it into a game with no programmer support because you blew it all on the last step.
As a sound designer myself, I can’t help but notice that you don’t have any plans for sound effects of any kind. You’re going to have battles that consist only of music and voices. I almost want you to get funded enough to make this game just so you can see how shitty it is, and how you don’t know the first fucking thing about game development, and how you’re an arrogant failure. But, for better or worse, no such thing will happen.
And then, the whimper of a dying Kickstarter.
I think the only way that Jordan will learn how embarrassingly stupid his Kickstarter projects were is if he actually tries to make a game. But for that to happen, he would need to stop being such a lazy shit, stop pretending like writing the design for his game is going to cost $250, and stop planning out how he could make a video game if he only had thousands of dollars, and just fucking learn how to do something in game development. Anything. Seriously, Jordan: stop trying to be a designer and a producer, and just be fucking useful for once.