Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crowdfunding ADOM: The Resurrection - What you get, what I ask for

While I'm still fiddling with preparing a crowd funding campaign for ADOM: The Resurrection I'd like to elaborate on what goal I'm trying to reach, what I would provide in return and why I'm doing this now and at all.
Let me preface the explanations with a couple of comments on the context as recently I really got annoyed by some Reddit trolls that overshadowed some reasonable questions posed by interested people. Some observations regarding crowd funding ADOM:
  • I failed to deliver a new version of ADOM in almost eight years. That's not because I don't care for ADOM but it's because I again and again failed to find enough time to restart ADOM. As can be seen by the fact that I also failed to deliver JADE / ADOM II in that time. Thinking for a moment it should be obvious that I have nothing to gain but a lot to lose by promising year by year that "now it's going to happen" - so it should be obvious that I didn't do that to fool anyone but rather I believed in being able to carry through. During the past eleven years I founded a company with three good friends that has grown to more than 65 people, I finally finished my Ph.D. (while working 50-70 hours weeks at growing said business), I got married and I bought a house. And I let myself be sidetracked by half a dozen of blogs and pen & paper RPG designs (see this, this and this among others). All that among other things - like real life. So I just underestimated the diversions I couldn't resist.
  • Last year I finally rediscovered my focus and restarted work on ADOM II (JADE) which has been an immense pleasure and is going very well. More than 150 blog posts happened since then, around a dozen releases and ADOM II is growing at a steady pace. Slower than I hoped for but steady. And the latter part is important. 
  • I also had to learn that life is very different when you are 40 (41 in a couple of days... good lord... I'm getting old) than when you are 25. Lots of more responsibility, lots of more work, very different life. All this takes its toll when trying to develop a complex game. Not that I am complaining - I love my life. So while I was sorry about not living up to my own expectations as far as ADOM and ADOM II were concerned I in the end felt there was nothing I could have done differently about it - except maybe announcing once too often that "this year something is going to happen". Oh well.
So why a fund raiser for ADOM now? And not for ADOM II?

Because the stars are right, my friends. The stars are right... and because I still care for ADOM.

Let me explain:
  • Time has been (and still is) the limiting resource as far as ADOM is concerned. It's obvious and I'm not going to fall for that trick again by getting too excited or ambitious. ADOM II development is a lot more efficient and much easier - IMHO one hour spent on ADOM II equals about 10 hours spent on ADOM. That might explain why I now finally manage to make some steady progress on ADOM II... releasing the very first version was the most difficult thing... technically and psychologically.
  • I never have stopped caring for ADOM and I ache at the thought of the bugs and problems still contained in it. It's still my baby and up to ADOM II it probably was the biggest and most ambitious software project I ever did.
  • Sometimes I also wonder what would have happened if I had kept up ADOM development in some way - but that's gone and it was not possible.
  • But I'd like to at least leave ADOM in a state that is good enough (and not somehow unfinished). And if more is possible (rekindling development) I'm all for it. But that's again dreaming. We'll see what's going to happen.
  • I have gathered a team of amazing people (Jochen, compatriot in crime for half my life, Oneiros Dieguez who is doing amazing musical stuff for ADOM II and Krzysztof Dycha - who won the ADOM II design competition - and right now does amazing images for ADOM II) who will help to provide skills to move ADOM somewhat closer to 21st century. But all these people need to live, too. I just can't expect others to work hard for my dreams, I want to pay them.
  • And here we are at a point in time where crowd funding is suddenly enjoying enormous popularity and might allow to buy the time required to do real development on ADOM.
Thus my thoughts are very simple: If I manage to gather enough funds that guarantee me that we'll be able to release a great new version of ADOM I'm willing to take the risks and the efforts. I'm not humble about the amount of funds for several reasons: After 13 years of cost estimation in software development I have a much better estimation for real costs than so long ago... and the project can only succeed with realistic expectations. Additionally I'm not going to (again) fall into the trap of enthusiastically promising things that realistically then can't happen.

So we'll now come to some conclusion in the topic of ADOM... and whatever it is, life will go on. Either with ADOM and ADOM II or just with ADOM II. It will be the final decision of the ADOM community. I'd prefer the first but I will as well accept the second - both are easily understandable. But for us this is the point where I honestly and seriously can say: After trying crowd funding we will have used up all realistic options (not the ones we might dream about) and that's a good way to come to some kind of closure. Either in success or failure.

IMPORTANT: Whatever the funding goal will be for the campaign this (IMHO) shouldn't concern the individual fan: The question for the individual IMHO should be:
Do you get enough in return for whatever amount of money you pledge? 
If you can answer "yes" to that, by all means pledge. If the answer is "no" please consider if you would like to pledge to say "thank you" for the work that went before. If the answer is "yes" please pledge. If the answer is "no" the upcoming campaign is not for you and that's perfectly ok. If interest is not high enough or the costs do not seem acceptable that's another way of drawing a line under ADOM. Despite a failing campaign there still might be an ADOM release - it just might be a lot less ambitious or it might cost money or...whatever. That's to be pondered when the campaign is over and the results are there. But there won't be any promises any more. That's for sure.

Now for the campaign details...

What do I ask for?

Right now I feel that I am going to ask for $60.000. A lot of money. But rekindling ADOM is a lot of work. We need to get back into code that we barely have touched for eight years, we have to fiddle with hundreds of bugs, port it to new systems, etc. And we are people that have day jobs - so we have become more expensive than fifteen years ago. While this might not make us the best ADOM developers business wise (we are not as cheap as we were during our student days) we are the most experienced team you can get and we haven proven that we can deliver if we have the time to do so. It's the only reality I can offer. Which leads us to the question:

What do you get for a pledge?

There are various pledge levels and even at the lowest level you will be part of the development process, get a steady stream of alpha releases to play with and thus will have many opportunities to shape the next version of ADOM. Higher pledge levels will provide access to limited editions of ADOM (with pledge-only PC races and classes, special artifacts and other goodies). There will be a "reverse postcard quest", special certificates and even the chance to win access to the source code (although that pledge is more of an inside joke and I doubt anyone will pay for it) or to be an invited guest for the next big ADOM and ADOM II release parties. Stretch goals include Android versions of ADOM, scripting and plugin extensions for user add-ons and at some final distant point the open sourcing of ADOM. Even later pretty serious community building instead of just believing in "Open it and they weill come". At very distant points. Most likely I will post more details about the pledge levels tomorrow or on Saturday. Between the major stretch goals there will be many minor stretch goals (like additional corruptions, new items and artifacts, etc.).

What do you specifically if the campaign is successful?

The planned minimum for the new release of ADOM (1.2.0) is:
  • A stable release for all the major platforms (e.g. Windows, MacOS, Linux and iOS on iPad, for historically reasons probably also Amiga; maybe others) with decent installers. If you have wishes here (Android support is a stretch goal) voice them now.
  • A version with as many bug fixes as we can manage. The bug lists here are the relevant ones. There are tons of bugs in them and many are a lot harder to fix than you might think at first glance. But we will be doing our best to produce the most stable version of ADOM ever.
  • A release that will patch many balance issues and oversights. And it will add better handling for many special situations where the responses and messages of the game should be much better. For example there are issues with dozens of points covering messages that do not quite fit the very specific context. In many cases these fixes are just tedious but in some instances the answers are not that simple. Some such issues contain enough stuff to keep a developer occupied for a week or longer.
  • A better user interface. There have been many UI innovations in other roguelike games over the years and some of them should get introduced into ADOM. We will have a community discussion to determine which innovations are most useful and needed.
  • I'd like to add two new quest locations - no hint on the specific quests at this point but they will be related to unsolved mysteries.
  • New items are planned: I'd like to add at least two dozen new items across the board, some inspired by ADOM II.
  • New monsters are planned: Again a monster or two from ADOM II might be appropriate and I have some ideas for new races connected to new quests. All in all two dozen new monsters should show up.
  • Two new player races will be added: Ratlings and Mist Elves. The former IMHO have been missing for a long time, the latter ones are added to fulfill a promise I gave about 11 years ago (Hi, Mario! Remember?). Both will only be available to folks who pledge a certain amount of money.
  • Two new professions will be added: Duelists (as a complement to ratlings) and another one. We'll vote on the other one - should no clear decision be made it will be Pyromancers. The professions also only will be available if you pledge at a certain level.
  • Some graphics (for the title screen, no tiles there), music and sound effects will be added.
  • The manual will be revised and a high quality print manual also will become available. The ASCII manual will be supplemented by a beautiful PDF manual.

Then lots of stretch goals are planned. The campaign at first will only show the major stretch goal milestones and once one is reached I will add minor stretch goals (like an additional new corruption for every x units of funding).

Oh, and what about open sourcing ADOM? That also is a stretch goal (a very ambitious one - so don't hold your breath). I have explained dozens of times why I don't feel like "just" open sourcing ADOM. I won't get into that again.

So that's basically it. In summary ADOM 1.2.0 would be an evolutionary version trying to patch, fix and improve the details instead of totally redefining the game. Afterwards... we'll see. It depends on many factors, the success of the campaign being the most important.

Please feel free to ask all things that concern you in the comments section and I will try to explain my stance. I'll get back to the pledge levels and stretch goals soon. Right now I keep changing them thrice per day (or so) and that indicates that I'm not feeling secure enough to post them ;-)


  1. So, uh, any chance at a Red Rooster Inn? Scroll of Omnipotence, perchance?

  2. Thanks for the exposition of your thoughts - it's really helpful to know your mental processes and plans behind this.

    I must say that $60k is such a high figure it might put off some people from contributing. Why pledge to what looks unlikely to succeed when we could donate directly instead? $20k with more default stuff shoved into stretch goals seems more realistic. But doubtless you've put some careful thought into this.

    And I really have to say I wish you'd give up on the iOS dream. It's just not tenable - ADOM is not in any way suited interface wise for the device, nor is it suited for the quick pick up and play style of a mobile system. You can't try to shoehorn a huge PC game into a system it's totally not designed for. It seems like any money going towards that is just being thrown down the drain. If there is serious interest for ADOM on iOS (and I've yet to see much demand for it) then release a commercial version that pays for itself. Otherwise stick to the interface ADOM was designed for, and that the vast majority of fans want to play on.

    There was some discussion of roguelikes for mobile at the Roguelike Development Conference in London. The general consensus was that a game cannot be truly successful unless it's designed from the ground up with the mobile interface in mind. Things like big maps, 8-way movement, huge inventories, many special commands and menu-based choices simply falls flat on a small touchscreen system. Nethack on iOS is the best attempt there's been at this, and it is quite frankly crap.

    At the very least knock iOS and Amiga support into stretch goals. These are not default things the community cares about funding. If some do care then let them vote with their wallets.

    1. Because - honestly and totally serious - the main amount of work will go into bug fixes, loophole patching and improving uncouth game situations. The amount of work required for that really is amazed (we have started and Jochen already is trying very hard - but it's really amazing how much work will have to go into this).

      So as a rough estimation and for better understanding I would figure that about 80-90% of the time will go into bug fixing and patching (as well as adding some new stuff) while things like iOS maybe take up something like 10-15%. As bug fixing and patching seems to be the most important thing there is little means to lower the amount of money if you want to be realistic.

      I understand the psychological reasoning behind your point and am bothered by it - but it somehow doesn't click so far with reality with me.

      Hmmm... have to think about that.

    2. Concerning Amiga - that's a pet peeve of Jochen. He's an ancient Amiga fan and if he's going to help release a new version nothing will stop him from releasing for the Amiga if it's possible. The main challenge here is to determine if the old code still compiles on the Amiga as al the basic port code has been there for many years. Some of the bug fixes just require are going to require us to do things like use "long long"s and other stuff (and refactor thousands of lines of code while doing so) so that could become a problem with the old port.

    3. Regarding iOS: The game will only be playable on the iPad. Absolutely share all your points regarding mobile phones. ADOM won't work there since the UI would be totally unusable. We have looked at all the comparable games out there and I fail to enjoy any of them longer than for 2 minutes (e.g. Nethack) because the UI IMHO is a mess.

      The idea behind the original iADOM attempt so many months ago was to create a reduced and optimized ADOM variant for iOS devices with a very different game play. But since I decided to put the unpaid spare time behind JADE/ADOM II this probably is not going to happen except if we hit one of the "won't happen" stretch goals.

  3. I (and many other collectors, I think!) would really, really like a physical boxed edition as a pledge level (150€ maybe?).

    1. I totally understand that. The problem here is that the production costs (and I do not just mean money as I will explain below) will totally offset and overshadow any pledge benefits.

      I have not yet checked the production costs for decent looking boxes but I'd guess they'd be around $10 or so per box (hints welcome). Then I'd need a decent graphic design. CD's with a good design. All that probably could be done by Krys. Then CDs would need to be burned (for which system - all of them?). Or USB sticks? Then there'd need to be something more in such a box (e.g. a manual or a map). While the production costs for the latter probably are manageable the time required (since I don't know how to do anything of that) is not to be discounted. And then comes shipping - which again is pretty costly and might be time intensive depending on the amount of pledges taken.

      So if you e.g. look at the difference of a $100 without box to a $150 pledge with box the loss in time _and_ money doesn't make this very enjoyable from my point of view as it just would delay me from working on ADOM.

      I'll think a little more about it at the weekend since I understand that wish and since in my current pledge ranks there is a kind of a hole at that level. I'm just very afraid of fulfillment there because it could prove to be a major deterrent.

      The question behind it for me is: "How many people won't pledge at all if there is no such box compared to the number of people that would pledge some amount anyway".

  4. 60,000K? Is that all. I was afriad it was going to be something a litte higher.

    Good luck Mr Biskup.

    1. Thanks ;-) Honestly: I can understand if some people see this as a disproportionally huge amount. As a student I would have thought the same but I have done so many cost estimates over the years and know that a new great ADOM version can only come from a realistic development context that to me it seems very appropriate.

      The stretch goal for open sourcing is much higher. Very ambitious. And thus extremely unlikely. But if it were reached you'd be guaranteed that ADOM would continue development for a minimum of ten years... professionally.

  5. Dammit Thomas. I appreciate your intellectual discourse, but....will you please just TAKE my MONEY already????

    1. Soon. There is a special day soon and currently I still intend to start the campaign on that day as I like the symbolism :-)

  6. Honestly, use of well on the android system is already doable. I've been doing it on my tablet for months now. all that really needs to be done for it is for it to be given a more suitable UI meant for the devices with only touchscreen and no physical keys. the android system already has the capability to emulate i386 environments, meaning you don't even have to rework the code. iOS does seem to be quite the waste of time, IMHO. The platform limits you to the iPhone/ipod touch and the iPad. the android system includes phone and tablets from many companies which gives you a wider customer base. I'd pledge money to the revival of ADOM because I spent years exploring the world. but I also feel reluctant to do so knowing the money would also be used towards an end that yields nothing unless the stretch goal is met.

    1. iOS is the platform we know (at all). Android we need to learn and our guess also is that we need to "just" rewrite part or most of the UI code.

      As for the iOS version the Android version won't work on mobile phones (see the discussion above). It's - as far as we have come in our thought processes - impossible to port ADOM to a phone in any decent way.

      Just to give you a minor example: iOS (and Android probably , too) suspends games when an incoming phone call is signaled. ADOM is not prepared at all to be suspended assume code routines are not interruptible. I'm not sure how Android handles this but in iOS you have to react to a method call and persist state - which just doesn't work with ADOM if you e.g. just used a wand of wishing and the cursor is blinking on the screen requiring your input concerning the specific wish. The game would crash.

      For this and for the UI reasons explained above we see no way (and thus no reason) trying to port ADOM to mobile phones. We are targeting tablets only.

  7. Well, this is going to be long, but seeing as how my fortunes are bleak to the point that contributing monetarily to ADOM: The Resurrection is rather unlikely, as before this notion came about I set aside a final stash or so for ADOM II: Deluxe---I would do well to at least offer an attempt at good feedback considering the vast swath of things I keep tabs on and critically think about. (getter77 from Roguetemple here)

    -Your general thoughts and summation of the history as it now stands: Sensible and fine. That said, well, don't forget that software can and should be a living entity and the far flung future still awaits in the grand scheme of things while it is also true that there is no time like the present. I would also, again as I have stated many times after seeing it brought up in the past elsewhere, like to STRONGLY suggest looking into the Chaosforge Bounty Board approach that has served the purpose well for some years now as something of an alternative/supplemental or perhaps even sequential step in all this beyond a successful crowd funding. Kornel is on your Facebook, have him get out his guitar and break it down for you in some sort of power ballad form.

    -60K: Smaller is always better when it comes to the initial goal to be followed by as much stretch as possible----if it is at all possible to take that figure lower via supplanting more into stretch or "unspoken" actions then by all means do so. While the circumstances are very different for ADOM, a thing that exists in large part, versus Alpha Roguelikes such as FTL with respect to funding realities and "kick start" amounts---it remains a war of absolutes where the more significant figures are involved so too must the enticement, presentation, and all manner of things.

    -Don't run a short campaign, shoot for a 60 day option or some such---more time allows more opportunities to build critical mass and momentum needed.

    -Beware of the IndieGoGo quirk whereby if some projects do not receive a big enough initial surge of funds within I think it was the first day or couple they get semi-delisted and thus it does much harm to your visibility. IGG needs to revise this just like KS needs to bolster their category browsing.

    -Bugfixes, UI improvements, bringing it more in line with modern baseline standards, music---excellent. For a start that is, given I see no reason for this to truly be a last hurrah unto itself. Who is to say...5...years from now Kickstarter might well still be going strong and finally open to international projects, among other possibilities?

    -DO NOT trod down the road of Backer-Exclusive ingame content on the level of races and especially not classes/quests. Shadowrun slipped up doing this early on and presumed it was a swell idea at the time in the mad rush but quickly had to backpedal something fierce. Even if you make a logical case for it, it is inviting needless disaster by agitating up the segmentation of the playerbase angle---early access/timed exclusive is assuredly the better route to take unless you plan to offer an all-inclusive(ingame I mean) commercial edition after the close of the funding campaign. There've been many projects that have tripped up on this area and it would be a shame to see this pratfall claim ADOM when it is so easily avoided.

    -Mobile versions as stretch goals: Good, similarly if feasible some manner of browser based one would also be an addition to those ranks---see the recent WazHack available both dev direct online and through the Desura portal for a smart way to approach this, depending.

    1. -While it is now an established trope to not discount the Linux crowd when it comes to Indie Bundles and kickstarters as the metrics show them a generous, hungry bunch on the whole---ABSOLUTELY DO NOT discount the "Amiga" angle of things. I don't know what level of tabs you've kept on the pulse of that lot these past years, but I can tell you that at least recently while there is much more activity than you might imagine within the various camps (AmigaOS4.x, MorphOS, AROS, etc), there is also some demonstrable bits to show they are no stranger to bounty/pledge drives relevant to their userbase/software, some of which hitting 4 and 5 figure premiums as they understand being in a tricky situation niche-wise and trend towards making the best of it after suffering an undue fate due to the commercial blunders of a select few all those years ago. As such, it is highly advisable to court them, the still published magazine(s) in English/German I think, etc for beyond historical purposes into the practical matter of not wanting to leave that potential money/userbase feedback on the table. I can drop all the relevant hubs of interest on you whenever, just let me know. In short, I disagree with Darren on that part of that point---while reckoning him to be likely spot on in terms of trepidation on mobile adaptation outright though the tablet wars are bringing some degree of advancement that certainly wasn't there a couple years ago. Rule the desktop and/or web!

      A semi-comedy (In theory the OS will finally make solid'ish Beta status at least prior to the end of 2013...) option for another platform as a distant stretch goal would be Haiku---there's some kindred spirit action going on there in terms of chasing a long-held dream between yourself and that lot to the point it just seems fitting and they also have proven fairly capable on software bounties/drives versus the Amiga lot even with lesser numbers to their present ranks.

      -Again I say, early access/timed exclusive for new professions especially, races too though I suppose one could skate on that. I can't stress enough how poorly this goes over for single players and in general.

      -Have a bad feeling about the plan for showing stretch goals. I would instead strongly suggest the following sequence to start "Standard Campaign-Minor Goals-Big Goal" whereby once, say, Minor Goal #1 is completed, an update to the barometer/chart/whatever visual aid you use(Hint: Use a visual aid!) would then reveal the next Minor Goal directly after "Big Goal"----the point being that at all times there should be exactly 1 Big Goal visible alongside a maximum number of Little Goals. Show the audience steps up to the plateau and beyond, not an initial plateau scaling followed by suddenly steps---a good start to ease into pace is essential.

      -All in all, you are generally on a good track with this and you already communicated understanding about why you know not to fall into the trap of sinkhole excessive physical rewards that have plagued other successful projects. Keep at it, perform and interact on the level of the audience/participation level YOU WANT to have as opposed to the one you perceive to have at the time, and generally go with some upbeat bombast on the whole as this IS a historical thing brewing in the Roguelike/Videogame world---be aware and live it up as to write the story. If you need more detailed ranting from me, just contact via FB or otherwise as I don't want to become too much of a well-intentioned broken record on here...generally... ;)

  8. I will pledge and I hope you get to the $60K, but if for some reason you don't, please release a bugfix version... without any new functionality, but with the bugfixes Jochen is already doing (such as those for the ingot bug, etc.) I guess since he's already doing those, that shouldn't be very costly, and it would make many of us very happy.

    In fact, if you DO get to the $60K, I'd ask you to please release a bugfix version too, before adding the new races, classes, etc. Many of us have grown very used to the current version over the years, and would love having a bugfixed copy of that available (apart from the versions with new functionality, of course).

    1. If we do reach the $60K goal we'll start a closed alpha program (or Gamma ;-) ) for all who pledged. Thus within a few days or a week or two at most new releases would roll out "with what is there". That process will continue until the final version is released.

      The biggest hindrance there is that we don't have great new ports for the various platforms so initial things really will be alpha (or gamma ;-) ) but that should be expected for work in progress.

      So, yes: Releases will start really soon - in whatever state they are.

  9. Sounds like there's already some brewing controversy over the exclusive races/classes for donators. The less controversy the better, and I can understand the objections - why should those who didn't notice the campaign get locked out of this content? Might be best if you instead make it that donators get advanced access to the version with the bonus content, and it gets publicly released at a later date. That way there's still a tangible reward but it doesn't piss off others.

    Either way there'll be rampant piracy, I'm sure. The caveat would be that those found spreading the bonus version will be locked out of future such bonus versions.

    1. I understand the objections. Kind off. And I feel I should do something about it (although the proposals here do not quite fit my bill so far). But maybe we can come up with something.

      Let me explain (and I probably will elaborate this in a blog post covering the planned pledge tiers so far by tonight):

      Just assume something like:
      - Pledge $10 an receive an honorable mentioning as an eternal supporter of ADOM as well as closed access to prerelease alpha versions as soon as something gets finished.
      - Pledge $60 and get access to a limited edition of ADOM with either two new player races _or_ two new player classes (...more details...)
      - Pledge $80 and get access to a limited edition of ADOM with either two new player races _and_ two new player classes (...more details...)

      Just an example... but it seems fair and appropriate. I know that people prefer to get everything but... I mean... if you are not going to pirate you have to pay to get a game. Why do people get so upset if they have to pay more to get "more" of a game.

      I just don't understand the difference to expansion packs for all this 3D shooters (with more maps and weapons) or new game parts (like in Sim City).

      Pay for it and get it. Don't pay and live without it.

      It seems so totally normal.

    2. I was really starting to warm up to the idea of donating until I read this. You really don't think that $80 is a bit high for a version of ADOM with two new races, two new classes, and bug fixes? Do you realize that you've put the price of the full game ABOVE any AAA retail title, and those have teams of hundreds working on them?

      "Pay for it and get it. Don't pay and live without it. It seems so totally normal." is basically saying "I'm not willing to try to give you the product you want." Is that how you do business in Germany? Well, judging from my time there, it probably is, actually. I complained about the food once in a restaurant and the waitress said, "Du kannst mich mal" and walked off.

      I'm pretty confident you have no chance of raising the money you're looking for like this. You should be asking for $15 donations for the full version, and let people be generous above that if they feel like it, not charging $80 for the full version and screw you if you're poor. How well do you think Minecraft would have sold if he'd charged $80?

      Do you not understand that other high profile business executives are not your target market? You need to get money from college kids and people with regular jobs, a family, and a budget. You have to make the price seem reasonable to THEM.

      The silly thing about all this is that you could have done it all for free with community volunteers and been a hero. Even if it wasn't open source, you could get a large enough team of competent people to work with you in about 30 minutes on reddit. You would have to do very little except check on their work and give them direction. I'm worried that all you're doing here is alienating the people whose money you want.

    3. Many things have been changed by now about the campaign as you acknowledge in your most recent comments, so I'll abstain from commenting on those parts above. But one thing should be mentioned:

      Quote "You would have to do very little except check on their work and give them direction."

      Ahem. Excuse me. Usually you have dedicated project managers and architects in IT projects that do only two things for their whole workday: (a) Communicate with the customer to get the requirements ironed out with enough precision (here: the community) and (b) keep the developers under control (here: the volunteers).

      This is neither easy nor simple nor fun. And what do you think would be happening with a team of volunteers spread throughout the world without any experience working together, probably from various language backgrounds, trying to parallel plunge into the development of an 18 year old piece of software mostly without useful comments but about 150.000 lines of code - some of which were written by someone learning the programming language at that time.

      I'd be doing nothing but manage that and suddenly someone would be crying that the funding costs again would have been raised to accommodate me full time ;-)

      No, man, things really are a lot more difficult than they seem on the surface. Believe me or ask other IT managers in a comparable situation ;-)

      Otherwise I agree with pricing, etc. (now). And thanks for calling me "high profile" but I'm far from that. I'm also a lot happier with the new pledge tier structure and that's why it's so great to be able to talk in a reasonable manner ;-)

  10. I'm hoping it's successful. Considering the time I spent on ADOM 1 (Waaaaayyyy more time spent on ADOM 1 than a lot of commercial games I bought), I will be definitely be donating. Some thoughts....

    - You should avoid the exclusive races/classes thing - it doesn't matter at all to me and I don't mind personally, as I will be donating regardless - but from what I've seen with other games it has the potential to cause a lot of INTERNET DRAMA, and it's safer just to avoid this (just looking at it from a drama/benefit perspective).
    - Expanding on some of the comments above, if you can estimate that it takes X hours to fix all the bugs, and X hours to add all the additional quests/items etc, maybe you could have a bugfixed ADOM as a lower cost goal (eg $30K) and a bugfixed + additional content ADOM as a stretch ($60K).

    If you're looking at rewards for donators, maybe you could do (if you haven't thought of this already)
    - donate $X and a monster of your choice is added to the game
    - donate $X and suggest a new weapon/armour prefix/suffix
    - donate $X and an NPC in one of the new locations is named after you
    - donators receive the game slightly before everyone else?
    - donators can elect to have their names appear in a credits page on the game?

    1. Concerning rewards:

      >> donate $X and a monster of your choice is added to the game

      Done. But expensive and limited. Just imagine 500 people would be able to get that for - say - $40 each. The amount of work (especially in coordinating and getting the monster descriptions done) would probably be hugely higher than the benefit. As weird as that may seem at first glance. But imagine coordinating 500 people with overlapping ideas, sometimes probably limited talent in monster design etc. ;-) So yes, this will be possible, but it is one of the higher levels and it is highly limited.

      >> donate $X and suggest a new weapon/armour prefix/suffix

      Same argumentation as above. There will be a very limited quantity of artifact slots up for pledging.

      >> donate $X and an NPC in one of the new locations is named after you


      >> donators receive the game slightly before everyone else?

      So far already at the lowest level you will get access to prerelease versions (because I really wouldn't bar anyone from new releases). The lowest level being $10 currently. But this causes my current problem with exclusive races and classes as - if the game already is available at the lowest level - it's not very easy to find suitable higher pledge levels (when refraining from physical rewards for the reasons explained above).

      >> donators can elect to have their names appear in a credits page on the game?

      Also available at lowest level. Hmmm... maybe the lowest level gives too much... I will think about this.

  11. It was very sad for me to hear that Jade will use graphical interface - and now it's even sadder to hear that ADoM goes to do the same. I'm playing ADoM since 2002 and love it for very stylish interface without any GUI: it's just making the game to be in one solid style, reminding me of old good games. It just had really good taste (and, though I don't want to be offensive, I think that Jade doesn't have it). And I don't play Jade exactly because of it.
    I really hope that graphics, music and etc. will be optional at least.
    Sorry for bad English in case of errors - I'm not native speaker.

    1. STOP!!!

      Both assumptions are wrong. I must have stated that in the wrong way.

      ADOM will remain ASCII. The graphical part only concerns the title screen (and maybe the death screen and such things) and only on systems that can cope with it.

      JADE also is not graphical (still ASCII graphics) although with todays programming languages are rendered by graphical routines.

      And yes, it will be possible to turn off music and sounds ;-)

  12. I agree with Миха, it will be frustrating if we can't run a text only version.
    It may be a big problem for people who run ADOM servers with challenge games - they typically run through ssh/telnet. Speaking of that, it might be nice to have some asynchronous multi-player features for player run public servers such as named graves for fallen champions ect. (as a stretch goal).
    I'm going to support the resurrection regardless, but I think there will be many upset people if the extra races/classes are for supporters ONLY. As suggested by others, there would be less for silly people to complain about if the deluxe version is available to the public - just a little bit later (maybe 6 months?).
    I think 60k sounds very high, but I understand the work to fix things up requires it :(

    1. Message received. There will be no totally exclusive content but something with ways to get access even if you miss the campaign. Stupid me - sometimes things are so easy ;-)

  13. I'll support you in whatever you do. Also, I have noticed that your special day is approaching, and my postcards (2 this year) are on the way!

    Running ADOM on my phone is easy.

    It's an SSH client. I use it to get on The UI is terrible. Trying to move around or issues complicated commands is hard, but I have a little bluetooth keyboard that is tiny that I can use like a remote control for my phone and I use that to play sometimes.

    Everything looks great. I'm getting anxious reading all this. Hope is ends up as good as ADOM deserves.

    By the way, any chance of a browser based JADE? Can't we run JAVA in a window? Then we could have an official server for high scores? Have you given any thought to this, or setting up your own Ancardia server?

    1. ADOM II / JADE at some point also will be available as an applet. And yes, I have been thinking about the official high score server. Right now these things are on my list of things to be done once the game is complete enough to be a real game. Right now there is still too much missing. But I can assure you that these things are going to happen.

  14. Any chance console-only version will be provided/kept for linux? Graphics are fine in 21st century, but we also now can play ADOM on phones through qemu (N900), this would break it. Hoping this campaign will reach its goal

  15. Yes, ADOM will remain (according to current plans) to run console-only. I also love playing from the console ;-)

  16. So, in short: using crowdfunding to raise the money to pay for taxes, salaries, and your personal time to do bug fixes on the original ADOM. Ok. Seems perfectly reasonable, and I completely understand the complexity and amount of effort such an endeavour requires.

    However (and forgive me if I'm rehashing an old argument, but it seems particularly apropos right now):

    Let's consider where you and ADOM would be at this moment if you had decided to release the ADOM code base as open source. Eight years past, I guarantee, *guarantee* the code base would be well cleaned up, polished, and more playable than ever. 150,000 lines of newbie code? Hardly insurmountable. Consider the amount of effort that was put into developing the Linux kernel, Ardour 2, or a host of other complex yet highly successful pieces of open source software.

    Had you done this years ago, you could now devote your entire amount of time to ADOM II (possibly even leveraging a new-and-improved ADOM code base), license it however you like, and probably still have a huge say in the original ADOM's development and design.

    So you don't want to give it to the people because it's a work of art? There's a huge discussion on that point alone, but consider, then, that you're basically wanting people now to pay for code development that could have been done for free in the past but wasn't because you were, erm, "too artistic" about it. That's your decision, fine, but don't be surprised if other people like myself find this situation rather unfortunate (since you may very well never reach your goal) and a bit frustrating besides.