Interstellar Breach

Interstellar Breach

The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” ― Sun Tzu

UPDATE: Since this blog went live, they are continuing to remove evidence from the web. Though we have them, two more links to Sandra Roberts, which a whole bunch of people have already seen, have now been deleted. The one where she was in a video and referred to as Mandy (one of the movies she worked on, which makes this really odd. update: the movie is back online again) and the YouTube video where she was talking about her MBA. Like everything else, we have all of them saved locally. So this of no consequence. Go ahead and tell me again how none of this isn’t fishy.

Media articles going live will be updated here: (1, 2, 3)

PROLOGUE

So it comes now that what started as a bid to lay bare the challenges and failed promises of the Star Citizen crowd-funded project, is headed for legal action.

In my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, which sparked many an article and numerous gaming-wide discussions, I wrote a lengthy piece as to why I was of the opinion that the project in question, having completely increased the scope of the project, could never be made. In fact, below is precisely the statement that I made:

Without disrespect to anyone, I’m just going to say it: it is my opinion that, this game, as has been pitched, will never get made. Ever.

There isn’t a single publisher or developer on this planet who could build this game as pitched, let alone for anything less than $150 million.

The original vision which I backed in 2012? Yes, that was totally doable. This new vision? Not a chance.

After that first blog, as a concerned backer, I continued to dig into what was going on, having heard from many sources offering their opinions, thoughts and first hand accounting of events surrounding the project. That in turn sparked my second blog article, Interstellar Discourse in which, among other things, I called for the immediate investigation of the project and the people running it.

Following that article, and without answering any of the questions being raised, RSI took the unprecedented step of canceling  my backer account, then tried to justify it by making statements with the purpose of casting me in a poor light; while making allegations that I had somehow violated their ToS; which wasn’t true.

Not to mention the fact that in violation of privacy, as well as their own privacy statement, they made this information public (first to PC Gamer), while singling me out. This after never before done such a thing for any other backer who was refunded. Let that sink in for a moment; I’ll wait.

This sparked dozens of media articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and forum discussions which questioned the implications of what they had done.

So I wrote a third blog, Interstellar Justice in which I vowed to continue fighting for answers. I guess they thought I was kidding or that I don’t have better things to do with my time, but to write up lengthy missives, while appearing to be making empty threats.

KEY POINTS OF DISCOURSE

The purpose of the higher stretch goals is to ensure that the game-as-described is finished in the two year time period. We intend to build the game that Chris Roberts described at GDC Online regardless, but without additional funding we are going to have to do it one piece at a time, starting with Squadron 42, rather than as a single larger production. With more funding we can include more ships, systems, unique locations, animations and cinematic sequences.

Following all my blogs, a lot has been going on, some of it played out in the public, along with the usual disinformation that tends to follow these things. So let me break down some of the facts, all of which are backed by publicly available resources.

1) According to statements made by the very same Chris Roberts, Star Citizen was in development one year before the initial Kickstarter campaign which went live Oct 18, 2012 and concluded Nov 19, 2012. Which, as of this writing, means that the project has been almost four years in development. The scope was described as this.

Quoted from this Oct 19, 2012 interview:

We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal

2) The original pitch was for a smaller scope game project in which they were asking for $500K (on Kickstarter) with a Nov 2014 delivery date. They raised $2.1m on Kickstarter by the time the campaign closed in Nov 2012.

Then they continued to raise funds via their own RSI website; to the tune of $86.5m as of this writing. All this time, the game scope continues to increase, every single (yes – we checked) milestone (1, 2, 3, 4) has thus far been missed etc. As recently as this past month following the Gamescon 2015 conference, he made statements like this:

Social Module/Planetside (end of Aug), Star Marine (end of Sept), AC 2.0/Multi-Crew (end of Oct)

Then in a recent interview with Kotaku, claimed:

Recent demos have shown off features like a social plaza, first-person firefights, and multi-crew ships, but they won’t be playable for at least a few months. The plan, ultimately, is to take all ofStar Citizen’s features and unify them into a single persistent universe, but that’s still a ways off. Roberts told me he wants to have that part up and running—to essentially have the “full” game available—in 2016. He added, however, that nothing’s set in stone.”

3) To date, almost every key point in the pledge , as well as various promises made to backers in 2012, have now been broken. In fact, as of this writing, they haven’t even delivered, in our estimation,  25% of what was promised in the original game pitched on Kickstarter.

If you read that description of what was promised, any gamer or game developer will see that this game is either i) never going to end up being what was promised or ii) in the event that they do manage to pull it off, the chances of it every being released before 2018, is highly unlikely.

Here is another example of the sort of thing they’ve done.

In the original (aka “vision 1.0”) game they pitched on Kickstarter, which 34,397 backers pledged $2,134,374 to help bring this project to life, they had an “estimated” release date of Nov 2014.

According to their  ToS v1.1 of 08/29/13 they said if they failed to deliver within 12 months of Nov 2014 (the original Kickstarter estimated delivery date), they would issue refunds. At the time, this non-delivery period would kick in during Nov 2015.

IV. Charges & Billing
RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.

Since that time, having already i) missed the Nov 2014 delivery date and ii) embarked on the increased scope (aka “vision 2.0”), thus extending the delivery date for the project, they surreptitiously made another changed in ToS v1.2 of 02/01/15 (which remains the current one). The previous section was moved; and now reads:

VII. Fundraising & Pledges
RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website.  However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.

And in the current ToS, here is a key section that ties into the above:

VII. Fundraising & Pledges
For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.

4) Chris Roberts has, as recently as this past July when my blogs started going online, continued to vehemently deny that the scope of the project had increased. This, in the face of dozens and dozens of media articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) and forum posts showing clearly that this was in fact the case.

To the extent that PC Gamer one of the largest print gaming magazines, in a 2014 article, referred to it as Scam Citizen.

Even when, months ago various media articles (1, 2, 3, 4 5, 6) were raising questions, it largely fell on deaf ears, as the denial + hype (1, 2, 3) machine rolled on.

And now, as he has done in the past, he has flip-flopped and recently started making different statements (1, 2 – @1:04:41), admitting to scope creep, while trying to justify it.

I’ll quote a backer from the RSI forum, as recently as Aug 13th:

“So, I suppose, so long as CIG attaches a little “things change” disclaimer along with everything they do, they’ll never have to be accountable for anything?

Perhaps you’ve forgotten, but back in 2013 and early 2014, the fear of feature creep was pretty real. CIG, and CR himself, went on record numerous times stating that feature creep will never get in the way of the games development. Yet, now, CR openly admits that the game has been delayed due to an expanded scope (i.e. more features).

In 2012 it was all, it’s not a pipe dream, the game will come out in 2014!
In 2013 it was all, game will be on time! CIG guarantees it!
In 2014 it was all, game might be a bit late, but it’s still relatively on time!
In 2015 it’s all like, game is pretty delayed, but we get a better game for free, so who cares!
So, that begs to question, what will people be saying in the years to come? Seems to me like some people will never hold CIG accountable to any manner of release date, but you know what, the world won’t stop to wait for SC. By the time it launches, we may very well have something far more impressive on our hands.”

5) As a result of various warning signs, questions and statements about feature creep have been met with derision and ridicule both by Chris Roberts and RSI employees, as well as by the die-hard fans (aka White Knights) who are always ready to shoot down any dissent (go take a look at the RSI forums for an example).

This despite the fact that the project, thus far, having missed its Nov 2014 ship date, is nowhere near completion, having to date delivered only two modules (Hangar, Arena Commander 1.0), neither of which constitutes the “game” as promised, but rather mechanics for the continued advertising and sale of new ships.

As recently as this past January, this is the delivery timeline given during a BAFTA presentation.

Here is a Forbes interview on YouTube, dated May 17th, 2013 in which he not only says he needed $20 million, but gives a detailed timeline and hard release dates for the public BETA.

And here is a very handy timeline and some key points below as well.

April 30, 2013: “the game on the low side was going to be about 14 million dollars to make and the high side, which is where we are at now, is going to be about 20 million

https://youtu.be/6vzlda0-XoY?t=490

May 17, 2013: “I mean it’s going to cost 20 million dollars plus by the time it’s all finished

https://youtu.be/hYFCfRK4e6Y?t=20m12s

May 17, 2013: “then we’ll go live after the beta which I would anticipate would be sometime in early 2015. But essentially from the end of 2014 you should be able to play the full game but it will just be beta because there will still be things to tweak and balance.

https://youtu.be/hYFCfRK4e6Y?t=24m30s

August 18, 2015: “When we first started, we raised $6 million with crowdfunding,” Roberts told me. “That was a lot, but it still wasn’t what we were gonna make the game for because we had private investors lined up. At that point, we were thinking of making a much more contained game.

http://kotaku.com/why-star-citizen-is-taking-so-long-1724835913

6) At key points during this crowd-funding effort, many statements made, have now been proven to be patently false or proven to be without merit. In our research notes, we have found and documented no less than one hundred and eighty-six instances of this sort of thing; going as far back as statements made in interviews like this from Oct 2012. And I quote:

Q: You have stated that you expect to have an Alpha up and going in about 12 months, with a beta roughly 10 months after that and then launch. For a game of this size and scope, do you think you can really be done in the next two years?
A: Really it is all about constant iteration from launch. The whole idea is to be constantly updating. It isn’t like the old days where you had to have everything and the kitchen sink in at launch because you weren’t going to come back to it for awhile. We’re already one year in – another two years puts us at 3 total which is ideal. Any more and things would begin to get stale.

It gets worse. This is a direct quote from the Sept 30th, 2014 Letter From The Chairman:

Long ago I stopped looking at this game the way I did when I worked for a publisher who gave me a fixed budget to make a retail game. I now look at our monthly fundraising and use that to set the amount of resources being used to develop this game. We keep a healthy cash reserve so that if funding stopped tomorrow we would still be able to deliver Star Citizen (not quite to the current level of ambition, but well above what was planned in Oct 2012). If you combine our in-house staff and outsourced developers, we now number more than 280 people. Your support has created a significant number of jobs in the gaming industry. (And no matter what you might have heard, only a small number of our team is tasked with designing new ships!)

It’s not going to be obvious what the above excerpt means, so let me explain it in simple terms. He has no clue wtf he’s doing. You can’t use month-to-month financial metrics, to determine the scope of the product you’re building.

7) Through all this, having thus far failed to deliver any tangible product as promised, Chris Roberts has continued making claims designed to continue increasing the scope of the game, even as they continue to raise money, (see this detailed analysis) after claiming “Six million was what it would take us to build the game we were imagining with all the bells and whistles we wanted included.” See Kickstarter updates 47 and 48 for context.

Now, as of this writing, this has ballooned to over $86.5m.

And at every step of the way, as far back as April 2013 Chris Roberts claimed that the game was going to cost $14m-$20m to make. Both of these two stretch goals have since been reached. When asked in this Polygon interview on March 2015, “If the money stopped today would you be able to get all of the things out that you promised?“, the response was “Absolutely“.

And in an interview with PC Gamer in 2014 holiday edition where he was quoted as saying that they would have spent over $100m on the game, he clarified this comment by saying:

This is a misquote – What was said is that we’ll probably have invested at least $100M into the development of Star Citizen by the time it “launches” to the public. This is based on our intention to invest all the money we raise during initial development back into the game (which I’ve been quite public about) and the fact that we will most likely raise this much by the time the full vision of Star Citizen is polished enough to be called “public” (of course all you guys will be experiencing Squadron 42 and the PU before this as part of the benefit of being backers and being part of the development process). You guys are literally setting the budget and ambition of the game with your support which in itself is a pretty amazing thing and something I never would have believed possible two years ago.”

8) Despite the length of time for various types of game projects, a four year span for a game of this scope is not unreasonable. However, there are people out there throwing up all kinds of charts for various triple-A game (e.g. WoW, Halo, Mass Effect etc) expenses and development periods, in an attempt to compare to Star Citizen, thus justifying the costs and schedule.

For reference, back in June 2014, Kotaku wrote a detailed article about this. You should probably read it for context. And in July 2012, ahead of the Star Citizen Kickstarter, Polygon wrote a similar article about the state of AAA game development, costs etc. Well before this, Luke Ahearn, wrote a detailed article about budgeting and scheduling game development. It’s quite the read. And if you still have time, and really want to see even more eye-opening analysis, go read this one.

And so, in all those discussions, those trying to make this argument are forgetting (how convenient) that those games they are trying to compare Star Citizen to, are:

  1. structured designs
  2. have publishers pulling the strings and calling the shots
  3. have experienced and seasoned producers and developers – who are familiar with the game, genre and tech used
  4. have specific goal-oriented budgets – controlled by said publishers
  5. those people were not making a game that requires putting the entire development team on a goal-post moving, technological scope-creep tread-mill with a seemingly insurmountable end-game for something they had never before attempted to develop
  6. not managed or produced by someone who has a history of making huge claims about over-ambitious games, then not delivering on same

So yes, that comparison argument is devoid of any merit. As a 30 year industry veteran, I have funded, developed, and shipped over a dozen games, and I have vast experience and qualifications in various game development disciplines. So it’s safe to say that I know what I’m talking about. You don’t have to listen to what I have to say – and I don’t care, because I’m going to say it anyway.

The facts are that:

  1. this game was never pitched as a triple-A game
  2. not everyone signed up for this grand “vision” back in 2012
  3. if Chris Roberts had asked for anything resembling a triple-A game budget back in 2012, he probably won’t have received funding because the scope of the game back then was not in line with that pitch.

Who dare makes such a claim, while asking for $500K to build a triple-A quality game? Go ahead, show me one single instance of this ever happening.

Aside from that, right from the start, either Chris Roberts and co lied about how much longer (two years from the Oct 2012 Kickstarter) it would take to build the game, or he created this lie on-the-fly once he figured out a way to keep raising money, while not delivering a finished product. And the FTC is very clear on this, even aside from crowd-funding. He raised money to build and ship a specific product, to be delivered to backers within a specific time frame.

Nobody cares about what the average development time for a game is. We only care about what was promised. Period. End of story.

Yes – in the world of software development, especially games, delays can and will happen; it is a given. However, this has gone beyond mere delays because now, it is the scope creep and the technological hurdles associated with it, that are causing the delays. A delay that, if he is to be believed, is most likely to see the game released well beyond 2016. Assuming that it ever gets completed; or as promised in the feature set.

Once funding crossed the $2.1m mark, as the narrative and pitch for the game changed, everything said was a blatant attempt to continue raising funds, for a “vision” that Chris Roberts now wanted to build and to compete (1, 2, 3) with triple-A games, while lining their collective pockets with backer money.

Here is a statement Chris Roberts made to Forbes magazine in 2013:

Erik Kain @ 19:38: To round things out, you have about 9.5 million dollars in crowdfunding, new offices, what’s the road map from here? Where do you go for the rest of 2013? Where will you be next year?

Chris: So one of things we’re doing that I think is different from every other crowdfunded game that I’ve seen out there – although I could be corrected – is that we’re approaching the development process in terms of what our backers get differently. We’re sort of approaching it, because Star Citizen is pretty big and pretty ambitious game – I mean it’s going to cost 20 million dollars plus by the time its all finished. What we’re doing is essentially taking components of functionality in the game and we’ll be splitting them out and letting the community – the backers – interact, use them, play with them before the final game is all brought together.”

Here is an interview statement made by Ortwin, Chris Roberts’ partner back in June 2014:

While the Star Citizen case is a first to take crowd funding to this new level, it does show the potential of this fundraising method when pursued properly. However, as many commentators have pointed out, if crowd funding is to mature as an alternative funding source for games of all budget sizes, it will ultimately need to include safeguards against insufficient planning or plain abuse. Several projects, even some with raises in the seven digits, have failed already to deliver on their promise. A “look over the fence” to the area of independent film financing again provides an insight as to the mechanisms developed in that field, some of which may be a template for future crowd funding of games projects.

Here is a statement that Chris Roberts made in 2014:

I have a lot of industry friends pat me on the back and say, “Wow, it must be so great to be operating in profit even before you ship!” Their look usually turns to incredulity when I explain that my intention is for all the money we bring in before launch to be spent on development. It is the community, from the existing backers who continue to support the game, to new members who join every day who are setting the level of ambition and budget for Star Citizen. Every effort is about enriching the game’s vision. Funding to date has allowed us to go so far beyond what I thought was possible in 2012. You’re still getting that game, no question, but it will be all the richer and so much more immersive because of the additional funding.

Long ago I stopped looking at this game the way I did when I worked for a publisher who gave me a fixed budget to make a retail game. I now look at our monthly fundraising and use that to set the amount of resources being used to develop this game. We keep a healthy cash reserve so that if funding stopped tomorrow we would still be able to deliver Star Citizen (not quite to the current level of ambition, but well above what was planned in Oct 2012). If you combine our in-house staff and outsourced developers, we now number more than 280 people. Your support has created a significant number of jobs in the gaming industry. (And no matter what you might have heard, only a small number of our team is tasked with designing new ships!)

9) Having admitted to facing various technology challenges (e.g. 1, 2), most occurring no doubt as a result of the increased scope, running afoul of scope creep itself which has then subjected the project to technological hurdles and limitations, failure to deliver (even with an almost one year delay) the originally pitched project as promised, Chris Roberts has now – this August – claimed that the project will be completed and delivered by the end of 2016. This despite the fact that, as of this moment, August 2015, when a backer ran an analysis of completed ship assets, based on what they’ve sold, are selling (even while in concept stage!!!!), they have yet to build etc, it appears as if a significant amount of work is still left to be done on just the assets alone.

Assuming that is to be believed (don’t be silly, thus far, they haven’t met a single milestone date), this now puts the project as being delayed by almost two years from the original promised date, for a total of five years in development. All things being equal of course.

The size of the various studios, which dictates the burn rate, the declining fund raising, even with the budget cuts (?) through recent consolidation efforts, means that the entire project is now at an increased risk of a catastrophic collapse, resulting in a total loss for backers.

And if that happens, the people who started this, would have lost nothing, having already benefited and enriched themselves these past years with backer money.

And if history is to repeat itself, as it pertains to similar historical events (e.g. the sudden collapse of Digital Anvil) for projects led by Chris Roberts once he was no longer tethered to publishers – the platform upon which he crowd-funded this project – this is a very possible scenario that is now playing out all over again.

We need your support!

The people who pledge for their spaceships will get to test-fly them long before the general public. 12 months in, we will allow the early backers to play the multiplayer space combat Alpha, and then 20-22 months in they will get to play the Star Citizen Beta, adventuring around the huge open galaxy, well before the general public. We are going to limit our alpha slots to 200,000 as we want to stress test the game with real users, but will not be ready for the full load until we have finished Beta.”

10) Through all this, there has been zero accountability for the crowd-funded project expenses.

Aside from spending what could amount to millions of dollars for attending and hosting various worldwide events (PAX, Gamescon, GDC, E3, CitizenCon etc) and similar expenses. For example, buying equipment for making propaganda style broadcast videos, spending money on travel to do motion capture shoots and similar, funding Sandra Roberts’ pet movie (shot by Bérénice Eveno) project (as sources have told investigators, some of this was done using RSI resources including equipment, staff and money) etc. None of which have anything to do with the “development” of Star Citizen.

So the claims of not spending money on “public relations”, and only spending said money on this Star Citizen “development”, are seemingly false.

Time, money and resources which would otherwise go toward the completion of the project in a cost effective and timely fashion, are instead, in addition to personal use, are spent on these events and activities which amount to glorified marketing and public relation bids to continue advertising and selling items to gamers for a game that does not yet exist, and which in all likelihood, never will or least not in the form they have pitched.

This being a game that we were told was already fully funded back in Nov 2012.

All this despite the outcry in the past about this type of expenditure, even as recently, backers on RSI website, continue to express this and similar concerns (1, 2, 3 4). Not to mention dissent in various forums, as well as people filling out reports on ripoffreport.com, filing FTC and BBB complaints etc.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, they now have an eighteen month marketing plan, and for which they are looking to hire (!) more people. Why yes, yes of course; why the hell not? I mean, after all, we do need marketing for a game backers already paid for, and which is yet to be delivered. Even though there was never to be money spent on such things, as they bear no relevance to the development of Star Citizen.

WHEN IGNORANCE IS NOT AN OPTION

Kickstarter Pitch Quote:

We are aiming for a AAA game experience. But depending on the funding levels reached, we may have to limit the experience for the initially released game version. Nonetheless, Chris Roberts and his teams have shown consistently that they are able to develop epic story-based games. Even with our very limited self-funding we have been able to do already a lot of work which is why we can show you not just concept art and a cinematic trailer, but an extensive demo of actual game play. So, we are confident that even with limited means we will be able to deliver an amazing experience.

If you really want to get the big picture, PC Invasion just put up an excellent project timeline for Star Citizen. It’s a wake-up call.

In my blogs, I had raised a lot of questions, which, even amid the attacks (this was to be expected) and media disinformation, sparked a lot of discussions. Specific to that was the issue of refunds.

Prior to my first blog appearing in July, refunds for this project were largely non-existent, according to many reports; especially if you were a Kickstarter backer from 2012. Soon after, as I raised this issue in the blogs, some people, after the noise (1, 2, 3, 4) started getting refunded quietly, even as reports continue to pour into the FTC once I showed how this could be done.

With several websites, as a result of all this noise that I’ve been making, now doing their own independent investigations, writing articles (1, 2), thus getting on-the-record responses, it is becoming more and more clearer that this entire project has been mismanaged, backers have been misled and lied to, and the creators of this project have been seemingly unjustly enriched by their actions.

And so, last week now comes media reports of refunds being issued more frequently. Though, once again, Chris Roberts is playing down the impact of this, as if after all the lies, misleading statements, scope creep, failure to deliver on promises etc, that somehow getting a refund is a privilege, and not a right. In short, these people have absolutely no idea what doing the right thing entails.

Aside from all this, there are also issues and questions related to the distribution of wealth which in turn calls into question the issue of nepotism (which, for the record, I have no problems with, if the family members are competent and are not disproportionately compensated) whereby Sandra Roberts (née Sandi Gardiner, who he is reported to have met while she was his intern at one of the studios he worked at; though we still don’t even if know yet if that is her real maiden name; as in this reality show from her filmography, she’s called Mandy)  wife (why this is such a closely guarded secret, still eludes most of us; but my legal investigators are still working on that one) of Chris Roberts, having been caught lying in various (1, 2 @18:45) public statements about her credentials (which appears to be the continuation of a pattern of wanton dishonesty that plagues this project) is somehow part of the machine that runs this project without any accountability to the very backers like myself who made it possible and who are seeking answers.

I should also point out that since my blogs went up, both her old and new LinkedIn profiles, containing this false information mentioned in my blog, the first which was even being discussed here on Reddit back in April 2014, have now disappeared. But yes – we have screen caps of both – and we will subpoena LinkedIn for them if needed.

Aside for all this, somewhere between Oct 2012 and now, in addition to being the VP of marketing she has now been credited as the “co-creator” of the Star Citizen project. This is someone who, by way of numerous (yes, we have them; nice of you to ask) statements in various interviews, has given many contradicting accounts of games she’s either played or is familiar with. Take that for what you will; but that’s what depositions are for.

Further, with Erin Roberts (Disclaimer: I’m a fan of his work), a widely respected, and capable developer, taking the executive producer reins, following Alex Mayberry’s departure (yet another key event that they kept quiet, until I made it public), we now have three family members, at the top of the corporate ladder, running an $86m+ crowd-funded project that is, by all accounts, off track, while money continues to be poured into it and going to these very same people who seemingly have no incentive to finish the project as long as money keeps flowing in through crowd-funding.

Is Star Citizen an MMO?

“No! Star Citizen will take the best of all possible worlds, ranging from a permanent, persistent world similar to those found in MMOs to an offline, single player campaign like those found in the Wing Commander series. The game will include the option for private servers, like Freelancer, and will offer plenty of opportunities for players who are interested in modding the content. Unlike many games, none of these aspects is an afterthought: they all combine to form the core of the Star Citizen experience.”

SECOND RULE OF FIGHT CLUB: GO AHEAD AND TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB

Why direct and no publisher?

Publishers are useful in the old physical distribution world, but the Internet is the great equalizer. Notch didn’t need a publisher to reach 20-million Minecraft fans. Riot games didn’t need a publisher to reach 30-million League of Legends players, and Wargaming.net didn’t need a publisher to reach 20-million World of Tanks gamers. If we were building a big “AAA” console game it would be crazy to try without a publisher. But we want to build a PC game and publishers increase costs because of their need to recoup their sizable overhead cost. We want to make sure all the money raised goes directly to the development of the game. So we’re throwing ourselves on the mercy of the PC gamers out there that share our vision and passion for the platform and the space combat genre to raise money outside of the “cartel” of traditional publishers. The game will cost less, be more creatively pure, and, most importantly, be built for the real “core” audience – not some corporate suit worried about including all the casual gamers.

And with that, I have decided to make good on previous statements calling for accountability.

Aside from the FTC guidelines on crowd-funding, as well as actions they have taken against companies that seek to defraud consumers, and because I have reasons to believe that this entire project now borders on consumer fraud, regardless of the risks to myself, my family etc or the amount of aggravation (attacking the messenger is an exercise in futility) that this is no doubt going to cause me, I am going to continue fighting this, while working with the Federal authorities, including the FBI, to get to the bottom of what is going on with this project and where backer money is going.

And to add to all that, I have instructed one of the CA attorneys (there are two firms handling this) to send the RSI officers, a demand letter that is very clear and leaves no room for interpretation. Their response – if any – will determine where we go from here, regardless of what the federal authorities decide do. You can read that letter here

As all previous calls for accountability have failed, we don’t expect RSI to co-operate (hence the need to contact the Federal authorities), with us. Which means that the next steps, depending on how they respond to the letter, would be for a class-action lawsuit (already in various stages of preparation), to move forward and be immediately filed. And through that, we’re going to subpoena and depose every single key person, while asking for specific documents during discovery which will hopefully shed a light on what is going on. They will ask for protective orders, try to delay and drag things out etc. We will fight it every step of the way and my guess is that with the Federal authorities involved, it may get resolved even before it gets to trial; and then we’ll have answers either way.

And if they do fight this, they’re going to do it with your money, simply because they don’t believe that you – the backers – are entitled to accountability. If they had nothing to hide, resolving this matter should be very straightforward.

Sadly, I feel that this is the only way that we are going to get the answers that we are entitled to, before this whole thing collapses and makes it more difficult to sift through; especially where spoliation of material evidence becomes an issue. Not to mention the fact that they have studios outside of North America, which will make things even more difficult to sift through.

As an example of a similar incident (one of several throughout our history), the State Of Rhode island, almost four years later, is still sifting through the sudden collapse of 38 Studios , which was a total loss of a $150m+ project, with a $75m loss for the State alone. Given the pitiful sale of some recovered assets, the needle on this loss recovery, hardly moved. And yes, there is still an open criminal investigation into that one.

And if they don’t co-operate, all of you who are backers, should ask yourselves why that is. Especially considering the fact that the demands are very reasonable, and I haven’t even said anything about taking legal action for defamation. Why? Because this whole thing is bigger than me and my $250 investment.

Nor am I paying $350 / hr attorneys because I’d rather throw it away on a pointless cause which, depending on how things go, could cost me well over $100K before it even gets to discovery.  I believe that what I am doing is the right thing to do, and so I am going to put my money where my mouth is because I believe that there is something very fishy going on here, and which they want to keep hidden from the public view, especially the backers.

This whole thing started out July 4th, 2015 weekend as an opinion piece about a project, seemingly out of control, and which I had backed in good faith for an industry peer and someone who a lot of us trusted. Not unlike the so many crowd-funded projects (not just videogames) which I have backed over the years whereby some have delivered, some failed, and some are yet to deliver. Chris Roberts and co, while throwing caution to the wind in wanton displays of what can only be described as sheer arrogance, decided that the best course of action was to ignore the questions being asked by backers like myself and others, while taking steps against us – the very backers – to silence dissent. Accountability be damned.

And he’s done this all before (12, 3, 4, 5, 6), in the wake of the total collapse of Digital Anvil, following Chris being reportedly removed from Digital Anvil, by Microsoft.

Here I quote from one of those media articles linked above:

“In the wake of the collapse of Digital Anvil, co-founder and soon-to-be-former CEO Chris Roberts has spoken about his decision to leave the company he founded just four years ago. As we suspected, the company’s troubles were down to “wanting to develop not only hugely ambitious games, but too many hugely ambitious games“, leaving the company’s finances stretched after four years without a single game being released – the sole title to emerge with the Digital Anvil name on it was actually mostly developed by a small British company.”

He subsequently quit the industry, and headed for Hollywood. Never to be seen, or head from again in the industry, for decades. And he didn’t fare well there either. After struggling through a string of mediocre to bad movies, in late 2012, returning to the industry, broke (according to my sources), he unveils a new project and came, hat in hand, asking gaming for money. Out of nostalgia, and sheer love for our beloved space combat genre, we foolishly gave him over $2.1m. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, using nothing but promises and a well oiled and very expensive PR (yet another broken promise about funding public relations, yet he can afford Swofford Media) hype machine, instead of building and delivering the game as promised, they continued increasing the scope, while asking for more and more money. Now we’re collectively $86m in. UPDATE: As of this writing, that number is now $87.7m.

Chris Roberts’ Hollywood Filmography

The Punisher
The Jacket
The Big White
Lord of War
Ask the Dust
Lucky Number Slevin
Who’s Your Caddy
Outlander
Black Water Transit
Unnamed film, reported to have gone bankrupt, and subject to on-going lawsuits
Wing Commander: The Movie (based on his earlier game). And while we’re on the subject, here is a quote from an interview that he gave, about what went wrong with this movie (which he left the games industry to go to Hollywood and eventually make).

So if anyone asks what went wrong with the Wing Commander film, there you go. You had a first-time director dealing with a compressed pre-production schedule, and a smaller than average budget for the effects-driven science fiction movie. Roberts said he wished someone had sat him down, forced him to pick four or five things that it was important to do well, and focus on those. Instead he tried to do too much, and didn’t have the budget nor time to do any of it particularly well.

And now with backer money, he’s paying himself a high salary, living the life of luxury in a house on Pacific Palisades reported to cost over $11K per month in rent, luxury vehicles, staff, funding his wife’s pet movie projects, flying all over the world etc. All with backer money that was crowd-funded for the development of Star Citizen.

If any of that rings a bell, it should, because one Erik Chavalier, after months of investigation and complaints, got nailed by the FTC earlier this year. And I quote:

So where did Chevalier go wrong? He told his backers that he would use the money he raised to manufacture the “Doom” board game. He also told them that he would provide specific rewards – like copies of the game and pewter figurines – if the campaign reached its goal. A year after the campaign raised nearly four times its goal, rather than providing rewards, Chevalier announced that he wouldn’t produce the game after all. According to the FTC, Chevalier spent most of the Kickstarter money on himself, not the project.

This was a small amount of money, and he came to a settlement with the FTC.

If anyone else was doing, or had done this, it would be headline news, all day, every day. But since Chris Roberts’ legacy goes right down to the roots of the industry, plus he’s not some low hanging fruit in the industry hierarchy, most are turning a blind eye – at the expense of gamers, and the gaming industry proper.

WHEN THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS, GO FOR BROKE

What will the gameplay be like?

Star Citizen will feature gameplay similar to the original Wing Commander and Privateer, with a more realistic physics system. This means that it is NOT a ‘click to kill’ interface like most modern MMOs; your success in combat is going to depend as much on your skill with a space fighter as it will with your ship upgrades and your pocket book.

I had promised that I would never let them get away with it because, aside from the long-term ramifications stemming from the total loss of this project, the fallout will have far greater consequences for the videogame industry as whole. Not to mention the impact that it will have on the upcoming generation of developers who will find it that much harder to fund their projects due to the lack of confidence by the gamers who continue to be burned by some developers running these crowd-funded projects. The steady decline in the success rate of crowd-funded projects, is already testament to this sea change.

As far as this project is concerned, from my observation and experience, it is my opinion that if they ever ship a completed Star Citizen game, that is true to the “vision” they have been selling, it will be a game that could have been made in four years for $20m. Instead, with all this resource waste due to bad project management, scope creep, wasteful and improper spending etc, they would have blown through $86m+ and with zero accounting for where the money went. But hey, they shipped something, right? But since I don’t believe that the game – as pitched – will ever see the light of day, backers are going lose, no matter how this ends.

Here is the crucial problem with this. The minute they deliver a “game” that fits the framework they have described, regardless of how buggy or incomplete it is, the legal hurdle of accountability becomes harder to get over. For example. You pay me $100 to build you a quality box. Then through delays you start getting irate, forcing me to deliver or face legal consequences. The end result is that I’m going to build you a flimsy box for $10. Now you have a box. I get to keep $90. You now have to decide whether or not it’s worth coming after me for building you a cheap flimsy box. How many times haven’t you ordered something online, received it, then had to return it because the quality or operation was not as expected? That’s what we’re facing here if we don’t push for accountability. Except in this regard, you won’t be able to return it; nor will you be able to get a refund. Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.

So, as a first step toward obtaining accountability, you can see from the aforementioned demand letter, that I have been very reasonable, asking for only three simple things which I believe will put everyone’s mind at ease:

1) An accounting of how the money thus far crowd-funded has been spent.

This will not only show precisely how much actually went into the game development, but also how much money, if any, the officers of the company personally took from the proceeds, aside from payment for services. The key here is that any money taken from these funds for personal (e.g. Sandra Roberts’ movie pet project) gain and outside of reasonable payment for services for this project, would be illegal. For example, if any money was siphoned from this project into personal and/or off-shore bank accounts, or taken as payment for prior services, that would be illegal.

The FTC has specific guidelines for how crowd-funded money is to be spent, and since this funding all took place on-line, if there is any appearance of malfeasance or fraud, it would fall under wire fraud, putting it within the purview of the IRS and the FBI.

So I feel that to avoid any such accusations and allegations, and a benefit to the backers, allowing a forensic accounting of this project – not even by me – will set aside all these concerns.

Allowing this financial audit will also serve to show if in fact there is sufficient money to complete the project, if funding were to cease without notice.

If RSI have nothing to hide, this shouldn’t be an issue for a company that was built on crowd-funded money and which has said multiple times, that it would be open about the project. Well, being open also means accounting for the money raised as this is not a private venture-backed piggy bank.

Especially now that the funding spigot is slowing turning off, and has been since earlier this Summer. Which means that with so much work left to do, and so little having been delivered to date, a project that’s now slated for completion at the end of 2016, without the money to continue funding this project, it will suddenly collapse.

Which is why they keep doing these sales; especially during these elaborate and expensive media events. For example, ahead of the recent Gamescom 2015 show, they had raised $85.6K. A little over 48 hrs later after the sale (remember those $350 a pop ships mentioned earlier?), they were a little over $86.6K. Which means that during that period alone, they raised more money than they did the entire month of July.

And if you think that the burn rate for a project run through four studios around the world, and which, at it’s peak had 500+ employees and contractors, is anything less than an average of $3m per month, then you know nothing about this industry. Even now that Chris Roberts has gone on the record and stated having almost 300 people (he said employees, but nothing about contractors), that burn rate will remain high. Which means that with now less than $1m in monthly revenue, all indications are that the project is headed for financial trouble.

Finally, in Section VII of their own ToS, they indicated thus:

For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.

They haven’t delivered on the original Kickstarter which had an estimated delivery date of Nov 2014. As of August 2015, they still had not delivered. And now Chris Roberts is quoting end of 2016 for full delivery. The original items (listed in my demand letter) have neither been completed, nor delivered as of the aforementioned date. Which is why this clause – in their own TOS – should now trigger. But they have thus far failed to honor it; much like every other promise they have now broken.

2) A date certain for the delivery of the completed project as promised.

Though Chris Roberts has made statements (as recently as last week) alluding to the delivery of the complete Star Citizen project by end of 2016; it is as vague and unbelievable as previous promises made; none of which have thus far been fulfilled. So putting this on the record, yields yet another cause of action if they fail to deliver yet again.

There are currently a little over 967K registered accounts (creating a forum account adds to this count, it doesn’t mean you’re a backer), of which a little over 750K are actual backers (who have spent money on the game at some point or another). And most of these want to know what is going on with the project and with their money.

3) Issuing refunds.

Again, if they are confident that some backers have no problems waiting for the project which may or may not be delivered, then there should be no problem with setting up a website, or similar service through which those who want their money back, can request a refund.

Chris Roberts has made several statements that the project can be completed if funding stopped. That said, betting on the backers good faith should be easy enough to do. So they should offer no-questions-asked refunds to those who request it.

And before anyone asks what about the fact that some asking refunds have had access to the hangar and Arena Commander modules, so why refund them? The answer is simple: That’s not the “game” they backed.

Regardless of who wants to challenge the draconian ToS that RSI has on their website, at the very least, every single Kickstarter backer from 2012 who requests a refund, should get it. No questions asked. After all, just run a sale of $500 apiece virtual ships, and boom – the Star Citizen whales would have put their money where their mouth is, and funded dissenters “straight outta the cult” (see what I did there? it’s called hyperbole).

Kickstarter Pitch Quote

What you’ve seen was put together by a very small team over the past year. We felt that this vision needed to be shown rather than talked about so we invested our own money to build the technical and visual prototype that shows just how Star Citizen is going to push the limits of PC games.

Instead of taking this prototype to a publisher for a green light, we are cutting out the middleman and taking it to you.

You as the customer get the ultimate vote in whether we make this game. Your dollars are your votes and the better we do the more resources we’ll have to bring you a great game.

We have investors that have agreed to contribute the balance we need to complete this game as long as we can validate that there is a demand for a high end PC space game. By meeting or surpassing our target on Kickstarter you tell the world that you want a PC based Space Sim and allow us to make this game.

HOW TO OBTAIN RELIEF

Though we have heard from a lot of people who have been trying to get refunds with no success, while some have been quietly getting refunds since my blogs went up, we have now setup a new email address (wethebackers@dereksmart.com) to contact us with your story.

 

So, if you feel that you have been misled when you backed the Star Citizen project after Oct, 2012, and you want a chance to get your money back, the FTC has setup a special department that deals with crowd-funding complaints. You can fill out this form. Then select “Internet services, online shopping, or computers” then “Online shopping”. You can read more about that over here.

Cloud Imperium, LLC
9255 Sunset Blvd STE 803
West Hollywood, CA 90069
http://robertsspaceindustries.com
ir@cloudimperiumgames.com

Note that even if you are not a backer of this project, make no mistake, you have every right to call into question anything you suspect is tantamount to consumer fraud of any kind. That’s why there are numerous resources online for specifically that purpose. And you don’t have to be a backer or whistle-blower to do it. The FTC goes after companies all the time. Here is an entire public listing of their efforts and remedies.

Direct from the FTC:

The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

Also, the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) is a California statute that seeks to protect consumers against unfair and deceptive business practices. It identifies various unlawful practices in the sale or lease of goods or services to a consumer, including:

  1. Misrepresenting the source, certification, origin, or quality of goods and services;
  2. Advertising goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised;
  3. Representing that a transaction has or involves rights, remedies or obligations that it does not have or involve, or that are prohibited by law;
  4. Representing that the consumer will receive a rebate, discount or other economic benefit, if the earning of the benefit is contingent on an event occurring after the transaction; or
  5. Inserting an unconscionable provision in the contract.

EPILOGUE

In closing, those making noise about me being a jealous (that always cracks me up) competitor, here is something you can quote:

I have been involved in gaming for almost thirty years. My first game was released back in 1996 amid great controversy and derision that, after almost killing my game dev career before it even got started, sparked many an Internet flame war and urban legends.

Despite those shaky beginnings, I worked hard, got good at it, and to date, I have funded, developed and released over a dozen games across various IP. I started out as an indie, and did everything in my power to remain as such; even back when I had publishers for my earlier projects.

I have survived every single industry change, watched publishers and developers alike, come and go; but I am still here because I love this industry, love what I do and make no excuses or comprises for my involvement in it. My games have survived the years because I have a specific niche that I cater to. I have gamers who buy my games because they are fans, I tend not to lie to them, mislead them, or otherwise seek to exploit them in any way, shape or form.

So those of you trying to make this about me, while comparing (UPDATE: Fine, here you go) my still in development Line Of Defense game, which, aside from graphics fidelity, is far more advanced (scope, technology, features) than Star Citizen (which isn’t even as advanced as Universal Combat in scope or technology for that matter), are being foolish, misinformed, and petty. It’s a distraction that simply won’t work.

Further, the only common elements that both games have, is that they both have a space combat and fps components. Nothing else. You might as well compare football to basketball, just because there is a ball in play, and there are people running around in shorts.

I need not remind anyone that my game was in development as far back as 2010, and I backed Star Citizen in 2012, not knowing that this is where we would be today.

Aside from that, as I mentioned in my Interstellar Citizens blog, the success of these new and upcoming space games (Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, Into The Stars, Everspace et al), I thought would further strength the genre (which has seen a dearth of mainstream games in past years), and in turn, the market for my own games in the genre. Which is why I backed all of them, write about them on social media, blogs, forums etc. So why on Earth would I not want this game to succeed?!?!

Do I need to mention that my game is also free to play; and that upon completion, the barrier of entry is $0, which means that people can make up their own minds without me having to get into spats with a competitor? Not that there is anything remotely wrong with competitors getting into spats. Assuming you haven’t been in a coma through all the Microsoft v Sony, Apple v Samsung, Google v Everybody, spats, you probably already knew that. Heck, they even take out million dollar ads to throw shade on competing products. And it’s perfectly legal.

Not to mention the fact that, as an avid, hard-core gamer, I own every single PC space combat game ever made; and have a gaming library (here are some old pics from 2008 of some of them in a game room) of over 30K titles, with my legacy boxed ones currently stored in an expensive climate-controlled storage facility. And they are still there because, given the volume and the logistics involved, I haven’t gotten around to having them shipped to one of the two museums (one of which, The MADE, I helped fund on Kickstarter as 1-of-the-9) I was planning on donating them to.

So no, this discourse has nothing to do with my game or about being a competitor.

It has everything to do with a game I backed and which, prior to my first blog, I have always cheered on because I believed that they could pull it off. Precisely what I said in my first blog. It is with that same enthusiasm that I backed Elite Dangerous and the recent Everspace space combat games, and so many others.

Aside from this noise coming from me, how are my protests, questions about accountability, scope creep etc, that much different from so many that have gone on in the media, forums etc, since 2013, and which are still going on? Remember, I only started this during weekend of July 4th, 2015.

Had Chris Roberts and co not maintained a pattern of dishonesty, then when called out, foolishly singled me out, then went for broke and tried to silence me with the actions that they took, and which gave me a clear indication that they had something to hide, we would never have come this far.

Finally, in this legal action that I have now initiated, note that I haven’t asked for anything that benefits me in any, way, shape or form. This is not, and never was, about me nor my game.

That is all.

484 thoughts on “Interstellar Breach

  1. lost me the moment you misquoted fight club. one does not simply misquote fight club.
  2. to put it simple WHY WOULD YOU TRUST A COMPANY WITH YOUR $$ ON A GAME THAT ISNT EVEN MADE YET?

    all of you people who “donated” are fools they can do whatever they want with the money since its a donation if they want to cut and run which will happen it will happen and all of you fools will be left with nothing.

    WAKE UP people you gave money to a game that wasnt even in the alpha stage what do you expect ? seriously ?

    of course they are going to take the money and leave spend it for personal use if you thought a company would be honorable lol?

    you all are fools
    anyone who puts a dime into a kickstarter is a total fool , you get no guarantee you may as well throw your money away in the street

  3. Has anyone noticed the dev tracker posts? I read them occasionally, and it seems at least half of them are these ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky wishlists. They’re talking about self-destruct mechanics, smuggling, pvp, electronic warfare, ship repairs – if you’ve ever heard of it, it’s being discussed.

    Of course, none of those mechanics are in the game. It’s basically a giant game of “Who Would Win” (you know, “who would win in a fight, Iron Man or Spider-Man”) except it’s “wouldn’t it be cool if”. These guys barely have the foundations of a playable game, and their followers are off and running discussing mechanics that are so far away you’d need a jumpgate to reach them.

    I also enjoy reading the criticism defense machine in action. No matter how legitimate the complaint, it follows the same pattern that every single game ever produced follows:

    1) Criticism during Alpha: “It’s in alpha, what do you expect? This will get fixed, be patient.”
    2) Criticism during Beta: “It’s in beta – do you understand what that means? Let them fix these things for release, then complain.”
    3) Criticism after release: “The game just came out – grow up and be patient, you kids with your instant gratification expect everything perfect right out of the gate…”
    4) Criticism a year after release: “The developers have made lots of fixes, stop complaining that they didn’t get to yours fast enough and just shut up and enjoy what’s there.”

    This goes on forever. The lesson is clear: vote with your dollars, and don’t try to give constructive criticism. The insane community members are not interested in improving the game, they’re interested in maintaining the illusion that it’s already perfect.

    I also have had a great time watching the “10 for the Chairman” videos. I’ll give credit to Chris for one thing, he doesn’t cherry-pick the questions to make sure only the easiest to answer make it into his video. He also doesn’t come across as a snake-oil salesman or as dishonest when he gives his answers – the videos seem off-the-cuff and totally unrehearsed – which I like. Unfortunately the result is a very clear window into how incomplete everything is – not just the game, but even the basic design (the thing that’s supposed to be finished before you start writing code.)

    Lots of his answers are variations of “I don’t know”, “we’re not sure”, “that would be cool if we could do that”, etc. The only clear answer he gave was about how the procedural generation seeding worked. If someone who didn’t know better was watching those videos, they might be forgiven for thinking that it’s still 2012 and the design committee is still ironing out the foundation.

    It’s sad that after $90 million dollars and years of effort, we have an unentertaining dogfighting module and a really shitty virtual chatroom. Graphics are A+ though, and so is the immersion (sound, music, overall feel). The first flight tutorial has done things I’ve never personally seen before – you start out on your feet FPS style, the NPC pilot tutor walks you to your ship, you get in the cockpit, he gets in his – you can watch through your canopy as he takes off, then you take off yourself. When you finally exit the hangar, the sense of scale is breathtaking – and then it hits you that the whole thing was seamless – no loading screens, with all these things happening in the same virtual space.

    I’ve never seen anything like it before, and it would be fantastic if not for the fact that it barely functions as a single-player game, much less a massive multiplayer universe. Once that initial shock and awe fades, you’re left to ponder just how empty the experience really is. It’s not much more than a tech demo – something you’d see at E3 to try to sell a customized engine to would-be developers. I played AC precisely twice, and totally lost my desire to do it again. Contrast this with X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Wing Commander, etc. which were (old) games that had be completely glued to my seat, for just “one more mission” until it was 1:00 AM. Not getting that vibe here at all.

    I still think this will wind up, at best, as completely separate modules with a hub, all of them shallow examples of their respective genres. You’ll choose to play a half-baked FPS, or a half-baked flight sim, or a half-baked social sim, with loading screens between each.

    At worst, it will dissolve entirely.

    1. Gary:

      This is precisely why most of us as very disappointed. They have all the mechanics to make the original game. The small bits you highlighted are part of that immersion, and yes, it’s totally awesome. Sadly, those things are few and far between; not to mention overshadowed by the on-going drama and non-delivery.

      I don’t believe that this game will ever be completed. As I’ve stated before, and again in my “Star Citizen – The Long Con” blog which goes live later today, it will either suffer a catastrophic collapse, or they will release a bunch of shoddy and buggy modules.

    2. This is always the way it is with software. This is always the way it is with hardware. This is even the way how it is with cars you buy.

      What you initialy wanted to say?

      I think Gary has a point but it is not a real big thing atm. RSI delivers, even they are late. If they NOT deiliver we may start ask questions.

  4. I think if some random clown can spend 20k on a pre-alpha game, is that enough to warn anyone to stay the fuck out of this? Those wheals are not helping the project, they are ruining it. It was them provided the means to allow dev to become arrogant. SC evolved to become this pathetic ego club was because they shifted focus from the rest of community toward these whales. SC is now a game made for the rebid internet clowns whom thinks they are the shit. That is if this game was made eventually, because right now SC does not exist yet, we have a cult build around hallucination, a bunch zealots pretending they are playing this greatest game ever which is not there.
  5. Whilst I have no say in all of this I will say that from our conversation on Reddit that you have come over as informed and to me polite.
    So thanks for that 🙂
    1. Vestinious:

      People who know me and interact with me, know that I am always polite to those who extend the same. I simply do not respond well to bullying or harassment.

      So your experience with me is what usually happens when people, even in disagreement, engage me in respectful discussion. It’s not hard, but some people simply don’t know that there is a line.

  6. So a bunch of White Knight loons are passing around an FTC letter which Star Citizen’s #1 backer (accelerwraith, the target of this controversial article, and nutcase mentioned here) received when he sent in a FOIA request to find out if RSI/CIG was under FTC investigation.

    Naturally, a bunch of clueless tools are spreading it and trying to pass it off as either a) aha! no, there is no investigation b) Derek Smart is lying

    Which isn’t at all surprising considering who the Usual Suspects are in this latest farce.

    This is the same guy who, last we checked, was over $20K (!) in the hole (which is enough to depress anyone. see what I did there?), was featured by RSI in the past, called out for his ludicrous and abusive SC advocacy, then subsequently banned from RSI forums for good measure.

    In fact, he’s one of the primary whales who continues to lash out at anyone, including other backers, who even put a sentence together that has any sort of dissent against Star Citizen. Go to any media or game forum where Star Citizen is the subject, and you’ll find him (accelerwraith) there. Guaranteed.

    So yeah, that guy.

    What’s even more curious is that they don’t even know how an FOIA request works. The agency responds to specific queries, and have specific exceptions to what they can, cannot respond to. Particularly an active investigation. It says so right there in Exception #7

    Exemption 7: Information compiled for law enforcement purposes that:

    7(A). Could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings
    7(B). Would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication
    7(C). Could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy
    7(D). Could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source
    7(E). Would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions
    7(F). Could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual

    What are exclusions?

    Congress has provided special protection in the FOIA for three narrow categories of law enforcement and national security records. The provisions protecting those records are known as “exclusions.” The first exclusion protects the existence of an ongoing criminal law enforcement investigation when the subject of the investigation is unaware that it is pending and disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings. The second exclusion is limited to criminal law enforcement agencies and protects the existence of informant records when the informant’s status has not been officially confirmed. The third exclusion is limited to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and protects the existence of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence, or international terrorism records when the existence of such records is classified. Records falling within an exclusion are not subject to the requirements of the FOIA. So, when an office or agency responds to your request, its response will encompass those records that are subject to the FOIA.

    Aside from that, I don’t even know where they get the idea (I know I never said it; and again clarified that. And reporting a matter to the Feds doesn’t automatically start an investigation, nor will they even divulge that information even if there was) from that RSI/CIG were under any active “investigation”. By their (these White Knights) submission, you might as well pick any company that’s been reported to the FTC, then send a FOIA request to the FTC asking for details. Good luck with that.

    Simply put, it doesn’t happen like that.

    I have done several FOIA requests over the years, and I know precisely how they work. In fact, one such request came back with no records found, until we re-submitted it with additional relevant details. And then they rejected it because it was a request on a person (they have strict rules for this).

    The gist here is that they’re obviously worried, as they should be. Regardless of what happens to RSI/CIG via a lawsuit, Fed action or whatever, the project is completely FUBAR and there is absolutely no way around it.

    UPDATE:

    So after this nutcase, Accelerwraith (btw, this is him again on engadget) read this comment, as bullies tend to do, he decided to play the victim by posting this gem to his Reddit sycophants.

    So, this is the level of class you can expect from Amun_Kohnsu and Derek Smart.
    Note that I’m putting this right out there. If I’d wanted to hide it, I would’ve used a burner account. Especially after CitizenGate… :p
    Now, let’s talk about the type of men who would take such publicly available information, treat it as a serendipitous secret (it’s adorable how they’re both playing pretend together, about I deleted the thread that still very much exists here:) and try to shame me with it. Especially since Smart’s wife is a psychotherapist who trains other psychiatric professionals.

    Note that he did in fact delete the thread, but then un-deleted it, as he later admitted to – right there on Reddit. And Amun is another vocal Star Citizen backer who has been raising questions on his website and other places as well.

    Anyway, I responded in an attempt to hold him accountable for his words and actions, in the only way that I know to deal with bullies.

    And he’s still in denial. The wording in the response is key. So let me quote it for context:

    Our search of the FTC’s records did not identify any record that would respond to your request. If you believe that you have additional information that may help locate responsive records, please submit a new FOIA request with further details

    1. Hmm… I used to care about this stuff but I’ve gotten a bit numb to it all after nearly 3 months of back and forth. I think CIG did the right thing in largely avoiding engagement, its the professional thing to do. Anyway, despite initial alarm I’ve since tuned out and now focus on what I can see rather than what I can’t. Derek you’d probably be better off withdrawing and just doing what you set out to do rather than keep engaging ‘trolls’, ‘white knights’ or ‘fan boys’. It just adds a whole lot of noise to whatever it is your aiming to achieve here(there’s been so much noise I’ve forgotten!). In the meantime CIG keep quietly chipping away on their project and it looks like either Star Marine or the alpha release of the PU is coming around citizencon so its getting harder to argue they’re in trouble. Once certain boxes are ticked I do expect them to start scaling back the development team though. 300+ skilled people is a lot of mouths to feed and its not sustainable long term. Whilst they’re downsizing they should also should consider merging Austin and Santa Monica together. You break down a communication barrier and avoid costly overheads such as renting a large office space and all the amenities that go with it.
  7. posted in another blog last month

    ===
    So they have released the first pass of the social/planetside module in the recent 1.2 update which, amid cries of foul, went live to all backers, not just those selected for participation in the PTU (Public Test Universe).

    Here is the release announcement by Tony Zurovec (He’s in charge of the Persistent Universe. Yes, he’s a fantastic developer who joined CIG a little over a year ago).

    Yes, I have played it since it was in the PTU.

    It looks outstanding! But as I’ve stated before, I don’t believe that anyone is going to be arguing about the visual fidelity of this game. So I’m not going to waste my time on that. As I’ve always said, they have a team of stellar content creators and developers who are stretching CryEngine3 to its full potential.

    From the standpoint of a game developer and engineer, an avid gamer and ex-backer (FYI. I am no longer an official backer. My office received a check directly from Ortwin via FEDEX yesterday. More on this in another blog due out next week; and in which I will post an image of the check, showing the 08/24 check date etc) of this project, I am very disappointed in this release.

    Why? I hear you ask.

    Simple. They are doing precisely what I predicted that they would do, now that all this noise that we’re all making has thrown this project, and its creators into the “wtf is going on!? spotlight, garnered the attention of the Feds via the many reports etc.

    Let me quote what I said in my latest Interstellar Breach blog on the matter; and the one that contained the legal demand letter they were sent last week.

    As far as this project is concerned, from my observation and experience, it is my opinion that if they ever ship a completed Star Citizen game, that is true to the “vision” they have been selling, it will be a game that could have been made in four years for $20m.

    Instead, with all this resource waste due to bad project management, scope creep, wasteful and improper spending etc, they would have blown through $86m+ and with zero accounting for where the money went. But hey, they shipped something, right? But since I don’t believe that the game – as pitched – will ever see the light of day, backers are going lose, no matter how this ends.

    Here is the crucial problem with this. The minute they deliver a “game” that fits the framework they have described, regardless of how buggy or incomplete it is, the legal hurdle of accountability becomes harder to get over.

    For example. You pay me $100 to build you a quality box. Then through delays you start getting irate, forcing me to deliver or face legal consequences. The end result is that I’m going to build you a flimsy box for $10. Now you have a box. I get to keep $90.

    You now have to decide whether or not it’s worth coming after me for building you a cheap flimsy box.

    How many times haven’t you ordered something online, received it, then had to return it because the quality or operation was not as expected? That’s what we’re facing here if we don’t push for accountability. Except in this regard, you won’t be able to return it; nor will you be able to get a refund.

    Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.

    Having seen what they released a few days ago as the social/planetside module, there is no doubt in my mind that precisely what I said above, is what they’re doing now.

    This module was in no way, shape or form ready for release. Yet they released it in order to – for the first time – make a deadline in order to “silence” critics like me in an effort to show that stuff is coming.

    I am just shocked that $88m+, 500+ people and four years later, backers to date, only have three largely buggy and incomplete modules, with network code that is still incredibly sub-par.

    And no, they didn’t meet this end of Aug deadline as many seem to think, and which White Knights are rejoicing over. This module is vastly incomplete, contains glaring bugs etc and there is no way on this God’s Earth that anyone can tell me that they didn’t know about these bugs ahead of the release, seeing how obvious they are.

    Worse still, they have to build 800 of these things. At first, it was 100. It’s now Aug 2015 and the 1st one – right out of the gate – is this beautiful, incomplete mess.

    And CR says the game will be complete by end of 2016.

    Take a look at the epic looking Nyx Landing Zone video

    . Yet another example of how spectacular this game looks.

    Now look again. See that chugging? Those are some of the performance issues that they’re going to be facing. And this is just one client in this “level”. Imagine what’s going to happen with 4, let alone 24 (or whatever client count they’re shooting for these days) clients in here at that visual fidelity level.

    Oh, and as I understand it, this is just a flyby landing zone. So yeah, all this work for what amounts to a glorified landing cut-scene in the social/planetside module. Most are going to skip it once the novelty wears off.

    And let’s not even get into the performance issues.

    Anyway, here’s the thing. We already saw this ArCorp level at GC2015 a month ago. And we know now that it was staged because the experience (from my play through and from other reviews) we saw then, is totally different from what they have now released.

    Let me explain staged:

    “In dev speak, the term “staged” means to have been designed and executed specifically for a different purpose other than that which would be experienced by a user.

    In this regard, even by the directions that CR was giving which in and of itself is part of the “staging” process, it was easy to see that the team of players only flowed the way they did because there was a director (in this case, Chris) in charge.

    Also, we saw the same client/user “sprinting” (actually is “positional rubberbanding”) in the 1.2 PTU just now released, that we saw a month ago in that demo. And of course, we didn’t see people falling through the world, clipping into geometry etc. Pretty much, most of what is in this user review of the 1.2 PTU wasn’t evident (at least not clearly) in that presentation.

    Finally, if you looked at the recent dev update, you will see references to merging code from the Gamescon build. That means they had a special build for that event and which was not part of the current dev pipeline.

    So no, that presentation was not indicative of the actual experience that a gamer would have. And that’s now evident in the 1.2 PTU which contains those same assets, levels etc. That’s why I say it is “staged”.”

    Aside from that, back in a Forbes interview (the same one in which he said the game would cost $20m to finish) from May 2013, CR claimed that this social/planetside module would be finished and playable in 2014, with the full game being ready for delivery by the end of 2014.

    It’s now end of Aug 2015.

    Which means that it is now over a year and a half late. You can actually chart this yourself, even if you ignore the interviews themselves. In fact, here is an RSI forum thread from Feb 2014 asking about the release of this module which was scheduled for March 2014.

    Like AC 1.0 which was released in a similar fashion, and almost a year later is still buggy for the most part, this social/planetside module is also incomplete and buggy. Which, from what I’ve seen, means that there is a very good chance that it could take several months for it to get into any decent working and complete state.

    So once they release what I believe is also going to be a half-baked Star Marine and SQ42 (Episode 1) and whatever the heck they think (my guess is that they’re going to peddle it as AC 2.0 / Multi-Ship) is the PU, that box mentioned above will be their delivery vehicle for the “vision 2.0” game.

    Hangar, Arena Commander, Social/Planetside, Star Marine, SQ 42, Persistent Universe (derived from AC 2.0 w/ multi-ship)

    At that point, regardless of the quality, they would have “delivered” on Chris’ vision 2.0, thus reducing their liability. You know why? Because there is a big difference between these two:

    i) non-delivery for something you’ve taken money for

    This one keeps them open to a lawsuit. More disastrous is that it subjects them to the invasive prying eyes of the Feds (especially the FTC and the FBI) for so many reasons that when the attorneys ran me through the list a couple of weeks ago in a strategy meeting, I was astonished. In fact, while I was focusing on the FTC, I had no idea that any part of this would even fall under the purview of the FBI.

    ii) delivery of something – anything – that has no guarantee of performance

    This one can get them out of a lawsuit, and possibly the invasive prying eyes of the Feds.

    However, as we have seen with lawsuits against game companies such as Sony, Sega et al, companies can still be sued if they are perceived to have intentionally shipped a shoddy product, false advertising a product etc. So depending on who would decide to pursue this, the risks are still there. Especially given the numerous statements that CR has made over the years about this project’s schedule, scope, funding etc, which are collectively going to make it a slam dunk to get this one in front of a judge if they end up shipping a rushed and shoddy product.

    The end result is that, if they “deliver”, backers are going to end up with a shoddy mess that took five (assuming they survive 2016, which at this rate, I have no reason to believe that they will) and $88m+ to develop.

    There are those White Knights already crying foul saying that they were forced (well doh!) to release this in order to silence critics (fuck Derek Smart!), that they met (uhm, no they didn’t) a milestone release etc.

    This is all just the usual noise.

    And they’re not saying:

    “Hey hang on! Why is this, after almost two year delay, STILL IN THIS CONDITION!!?”

    While I continue to applaud the stellar development teams who are doing everything that they can to create Chris’s over-ambitious vision 2.0 pipe-dream funded by other people’s money and with zero accountability, I am still holding him 100% accountable for the disaster that is now unfolding in full public view due to the direction that he has taken this project.

    While I have nothing against ambition, the fact remains that if you make promises to backers, then break them, you should be open about it and hold yourself accountable rather than making excuses.

    And part of that “openness” means showing backers i) how their money has and is being spent ii) why they should continue giving money and putting faith in the project

    I still believe that this project is FUBAR. And it saddens me to say it. I simply do not see how, from what we’ve seen thus far and what I know, they could ever hope to deliver on promises made for this “vision 2.0” game; let alone meet the expectations of those who funded an $88m+ epic dream of a game.

    At this point, I don’t even need to sue them because for all intent and purposes, I should just sit back and wait.

  8. In truth, I can’t honestly make heads or tails of the true validity of your concerns Mr. Smart. You are obviously a clear expert in the field of video game development – I am not. My field of work is in running an Aerospace/Advanced High-Technology/Defense company and a lot of the things we do I can tell you I’ve heard “it’s impossible” yet we do it. A lot of people say that about a lot of thing throughout history – at one time people thought you’d fall off the Earth. Naturally of course, what I said and what Cloud Imperium Games does are two completely different things.

    Some parts of me say this is a publicity stunt but at the same time you make very valid points such as a lack of transparency between Cloud Imperium Games and the backers. While I won’t go so far as to say we are their bosses even though the Crowd Funding model shares a lot of similarities to stocks and bonds, I understand that what we committed to are viable products like ships, helping with the direction of the game, and other miscellaneous items.

    I know in someways you may not be the “best face” for an effort to find out what’s going on at CIG given you are developing a game that may be conceived as a competitor but at the same time someone has to do it and you have stepped up which I respect. A long time ago I purchased your game “Universal Combat” but I never got a chance to play it (didn’t have a PC quite up to spec) and now I am not sure where the disc is. In any case, I will get to what I wanted to address.

    I did some rather unscientific calculations of how much just infrastructure alone would cost to run Star Citizen in the “cloud” as they opted for Google Cloud Compute to run the backend servers and Amazon Web Services for the CDN patching (please note I excluded load balancing from my calculations as I do not know how many routes they intend to use to enter into GCE’s TCO calculator). Using EVE Online’s model of one server per a system, a choice I opted to use as I believe the said the starting game would only have 32 systems and the fact that when you don’t have access to the bare metal server you take a performance hit from a hypervisor I came up with the following:

    One server for one system would cost $5,065.22/mo
    Thirty-Two servers for thirty-two systems would cost $27,921.52/mo

    However, they are now promising something a long the lines of fifty-systems on launch? So let’s take a look:

    Fifty systems equal to fifty servers amounts to $41,192.92/mo.
    That may not sound like a lot but let’s stretch that amount out to a year: $493,315.04.

    That’s just for fifty high memory Google Cloud Compute instances with multi-threading capabilities at a reasonable level. What about Arena Commander? What about Star Marine? While I doubt they would need the raw power of the PU servers it still costs money.

    I would say that the “finished” game would easily have a TCO on GCE of at least $1 million per a year if not more.

    What about the rest of their capital? Capital for their facilities, continued development, support, etc. it’s not that hard to see that they could burn through that money pretty quickly.

    I dismissed you at first Mr. Smart until I started doing a little digging of my own and the more I saw the more I didn’t like. CIG owns none of the infrastructure the finished game is supposed to run on – opting for a cloud provider. If I ran my family of companies like that I could burn through multi-digit millions and right into the ground. There comes a point where it is better to own your own hardware if you don’t have a model to pay for the deficit caused by using a cloud provider and Cloud Imperium Games doesn’t have any such model.

    Cloud Imperium Games has raided about $3 million/mo for the last six months with two steep drops to sub $1 million – a number I expect would become common place after the “finished product” is released because than people won’t be buying $300 pledge packages. However, in total they have accumulated a bit under $90 million since their funding began way back on KickStarter.

    To put simply, the numbers don’t add up. Not unless they have obtained loans or investors or accrued an extreme amount of debt given the facilities they either lease or own and the costs associated with that as well as payroll and so much more like events.

    So let’s say for now they aren’t paying half a million a year in IT costs which is a woeful underestimate of they would likely need given the fact it’s a virtualized solution. Their payroll, given the last known average they pay employees of a little over $52,400 per a person and an employment range of about 400 that means they have to still spend $7,545,600 per a year to pay their staff.

    What I would like to know is where is all the money coming from? How are they staying afloat? I haven’t even begun to speculate on other expenditures: just IT and payroll. There’s a lot more to a business’ total expenses than that and in any conceivable manner there is no way they can be in the black.

    1. Thorne:

      It’s actually a lot worse than your analysis.

      The fact is that people don’t seem to get the fact that so many MMOs by very large companies, have failed. Though this game was billed as “not” an MMO (he’s since changed his tune), the fact is that the architectural design, requires it to be handled and maintained as such.

      I had already made a post where I said that once the game is released (if ever), that there wouldn’t be a source of revenue to maintain it in the long term. Which makes this a cash grab from the word go. Which is why when the social module was released in the manner that it was, I made this comment to highlight the route I think they’re going in.

      This is not just a matter of whether or not the game will be around in the long term. Instead, it is all about what they are able to deliver, in what form, and when.

      1. Mr. Smart,

        I had a feeling that my brief analysis which was rather unscientific given that I do not know much about how they have their infrastructure fully setup let a lone the internal workings of the company itself, was in fact a sugar coated version of the situation.

        The more and more I examine Cloud Imperium Games, the more I start to realize that they seem to be hiding something. Recently, I tried to get in contact with them directly via phone but every number published aside from the one associated with PayPal transactions was either falsified or wasn’t correct to begin with. In order for me to reach Cloud Imperium Games’ Santa Monica studio I had to have a member of my team use our rather significant pull to even obtain what may be a possibility accurate phone number as all we kept getting were mailboxes. I have direct lines to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group, NASA, the ESA, and far more – a crowd funded game development company shouldn’t be harder to contact.

        Maybe I don’t understand how game companies operate in terms of telephone communications but that’s actually what started it all in terms of doubts for me regarding the authenticity of Cloud Imperium Games and Star Citizen.

        Having read comment 1800, I believe you are correct. When I first stumbled across your blog Mr. Smart, as I stated previously, I wasn’t sure what to make of it but each day it becomes more apparent that Cloud Imperium Games is reacting to your statements. Releasing an unfinished social module roughly around the time span you echoed your concerns about them could ordinarily seem coincidental but this new found “previews” that they are showing off where there were none before seems to echo a pattern of trying to prove that these individual “modules” that are supposed to make up the “PU” actually do exist. In that manner it also seems like they are trying to convince themselves as well.

        I’ve always seen Star Citizen billed as this “MMO” similar to EVE Online but I was not an early backer. The only reason I backed Star Citizen was a result of Elite: Dangerous, another game I was skeptical about, releasing. However, the two are clearly taking very different approaches and one isn’t trying to completely hide their company information. While yes, there are reasons to make confidential certain pieces of company information (we do it), I can’t think of a valid reason for a game development company like Cloud Imperium Games to do so.

        I believe that in all likelihood, with the pressure beginning to be put on CIG, we’ll see the release of buggy and non-functional work. While this would ordinarily be acceptable for an “Alpha” one would have to ask at this point: “what were they doing the last four years?” However, because it’s been put out, they have met their obligation and it would be similar to the $100 box versus $10 box analogy.

        The most interesting thing to me which I would like to see is their financials. I have a feeling that Cloud Imperium Games is a “sinking ship” in that department as it has no viable revenue stream once it releases Star Citizen which, as you said, makes it a cash grab from the moment it started. No matter how many ways I make calculations, the numbers just don’t add up. If, over the course of four years, they have raised $80 million (I believe this number is actually $90 million) that means they raised $20 million per a year. So, given that they likely don’t have any real cash reserves, this means they are working on $20 million every year at the moment. Something is really “off” about that; not with the way Cloud Imperium Games appears to be spending. I fear that they are in the red as it is and this is why they don’t want to release their financial reports.

        Perhaps this is maybe because I am used to it due to our International Oversight Advisory Board, but accountability of Cloud Imperium Games needs to be addressed. As a crowd funded project, the financial health of the company itself and how it plans to achieve its objectives should be laid out clearly for anyone to view. In addition, those plans should indicate a timeline and contingencies for “X,” “Y,” and “Z” where those letters represent possible scenarios that can easily be foreseen.

        1. RE: I have direct lines to Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus Group, NASA, the ESA, and far more – a crowd funded game development company shouldn’t be harder to contact.

          Cloud Imperium Games isn’t like any other crowdfunded company in history. They have the unique distinction of being the high crowdfunded project in history regardless of product category. Their crowdfunded income is 9x that of the Pebble Watch who held the top spot for a year. In many ways CIG’s crowdfunded funds is greater than some AAA publisher funds. So as the heavyweight champion in the crowdfunding space CIG has a financial obligation not only to their Backers but also to the entire crowdfunding / early access ethos. If CIG and/or Star Citizen collapses the damage is going to be felt by every developer who relies on crowdfunding and early access to make their games. Games like Shadowrun, Prison Architect and others – to name a few – would likely not exist in a post-CIG/Star Citizen collapse. CIG needs to become responsible with the money they have, transparent with the money they’ve spent, and accountable for ethical issues they caused. The only way this will happen is by making their financial information public.

    2. Not sure if the EVE comparison is the best way to approach this. I’d say since it is CryEngine based maybe one would have to look at what kind of specs a dedicated CryEngine server demands. Then you’d have to estimate what Star Citizens average amount of concurent users will be plus a bit extra for normal rush-hour peaks (like all the other MMOs they’ll never account for launch-peaks aso and servers will simply be down at launch). Given that maybe you can make a rough estimate on what they will need.

      Since CryEngine is a shooter-engine at its heart with its netcode probably aimed at 16-32 players in one instance I’d guess that they will have to massively rework the code (which will make predictions based on past CryEngine titles off base) or they’ll go the Destiny-route with having a huge world but at any given moment only a few players actually inhabit the same area.

      Their game is also very latency-sensible because of the different kinds of FPS gameplay (Footsoldiers / various Spacecraft). So they’ll need much faster connections to their datacenters than EVE I’d assume. They can’t go peer2peer because that would open up their persistent universe and player economy to all sorts of hacking shenanigans, I’d think?

  9. Why do I keep getting an impression that the whole internet is supporting SC? Its being glorified as innovative anti-establishment Jesus the savor that worth every penny. The logic usually goes like ED is an empty game boast have 4billion star system, its only an alpha in fancy coat, its concept is no match for SC, while No man sky is a space mine craft shit that not even wroth mention. SC need money to do what no one can imagine, the concept ships shows great promise of how awesome once this game is out, SC is a brilliant game that need extra time and money to work on, SC makes greater promise than the other two, therefor SC is a much better game than Elite or No man sky. It doesn matter if SC deliver or not, because once it deliver it will crash the competition and proud “citizen” will become the superior breed of the gaming world. No one dear to mess with “citizen”. Because they deserve worship from all other sector of gaming.
  10. I keep seing people referring to Star Citizen as a game that is impossible to make in its “Vision 2.0” form. I still fail to grasp what the (alleged) technical limitations are that people on this blog feel are insurmountable. Can somebody clarify this with a few bulletpoints what necessary technical achievement is considered impossible?
    1. Andre:

      It’s no allegation. It’s a technical fact.

      You should probably read my Interstellar Citizens blog, first. Then Interstellar Discourse.

      The long and short of it is that you should probably go and read their own technical blogs as well. Four years later, they’re still in custom engine development mode, with no “game” in sight.

      As I just happen to be the only person in gaming who has developed a game of that scale before, albeit at a lower visual fidelity, I know precisely what they’re trying to achieve and why I don’t believe that it will be possible.

      They’re not just building a space combat game, that’s the easy part. Everything they’ve claimed they are going to be able to do, ends up being an unwieldy and impossible mess, right from the design phase itself. And it’s not just about performance either.

      1. I’ve re-read those blogs but they do not contain the kind of information that I am looking for. I accept that you are uniquely qualified to judge the chances of success for a game like Star Citizen to be made. What I am lookin for is an explanation what exactly you think is impossible to do when it comes to Star Citizen. You mention multiple times that you have already developed games that are similar in scope and features to Star Citizen albeit at lower graphical fidelity. But I guess that merely increasing the visual quality will not render the project impossible. You must have other reasons to think it can not be done but I have found few concrete explanations of yours what exactly that is.

        What I’ve gathere is (correct me if wrong):

        You believe that what they set out to achieve is impossible to do without developing their own engine specifically tailored to the task. in the same vein you seem sceptical if CryEngine was a good choice (being a shooter-engine now being used to create a massive universe. I’ve heard the CIG devs already admit that the size of their levels goes way beyond what CryEngine was ever meant for so that is basically a proven obstacle).

        You feel that the budget is not enough given the scope of their project and the burn-rate of their studios estimating that they will need at least USD 150 million.

        You think that no current or near-future pc would be able to run the game if they fully delivered on their vision 2.0 promises.

        What I’m asking is if you could get more technical in explaining why you think so. For example if you could explain what it is that CryEngine is lacking and why these shortcomings could not be added on by CIG’s engineers. Or what would be so demanding on the hardware that you feel even if they could implement it no current home-user pc would ever be able to run it. Or what specific obstacles you encountered in your own quest to build similar games that you deem impossible to achieve with current technology and why exactly it can’t be done.

        I agree that a lot of people are brushing your opinions aside with ad hominem attacks. I also respect that you are very much qualified to pass judgement on what is attainable in developing a game like Star Citizen. But you seem to ask the reader to simply trust your assessment a lot of times and I feel that your argument would carry considerably more weight if you could explain the concrete technical issues that you see and deem insurmountable.

        It would also supply media with very specific questions to ask CIG and demand equally specific answers on how they intend to solve these problems. If they have no answers or if they come up with answers that will not hold up to the scrutiny of experts in the development community I’d say it will become undeniable that Star Citizen is headed in the wrong direction. And while I know that you do not care about how people perceive you or whether or not they believe you it is your stated goal to help those that will listen to “wake up”. I feel you will make large strides towards that goal if you present your case in terms of why the game is impossible to make even by a developer with only the best intentions in a more detailed and specific manner. Just like when On Live made their tours presenting their streaming-service as the future method of delivery for games and internet-experts were able to demonstrate that given current-day-technology even under the best of circumstances the lag caused by internet-routing etc would inevitably lead to a diminished experience for any game that required very fast user-response – let alone the quality of service for those who lived on the fringe or internet-country.

  11. First thing’s first, this comment is in no way trying to say that Derek Smart’s concerns are invalid or wrong, though I don’t agree with him.

    That said, I think many of the game journalism sites that tried to “shed light” on the supposed problems of the project, or however Mr. Smart puts it in several of his posts, before he made his first blog should also come under greater scrutiny before we take their word as unbiased or even legitimate. As far as I know, there is no game journalism site that does not receive money or free products from major publishers like EA or Activision to write reviews for their products. I see this as a form of corruption in game journalism because if you’re receiving money or free items from a company that would make you more inclined to favor their agenda, much like lobbying in government.

    A successful Star Citizen would pose a threat to the standard publisher model and as such Big Publisher would be motivated to lobby their journalism contacts in order to generate negative press for the project, to cause as much trouble as they can and even possibly incite an investigation that could at best disrupt the development of the game.

    Now I highly doubt Indie Developer Derek Smart is in Big Publisher’s pocket. However, Mr. Smart strikes me as a cautious and highly opinionated man with a lot of passion for Space Games in particular. The kind of general harassment articles lobbied by Big Publisher can sow a seed of doubt in even the most staunch defenders of Star Citizen.

    Admittedly, with Mr. Smart withholding his supposed “evidence” pending whatever legal action he has said he may take, I can’t say he is wrong but I can say that the ones who have the most to gain from the Star Citizen project failing is Big Publisher. A successful Star Citizen could have lasting repercussion on the standard publisher business model and allow even more developers to strike out on their own without the constraints and sacrifices a publisher brings

    I’m not asking for Derek Smart to stop questioning CIG. But while you ask for financial transparency for CIG, I suggest you also ask to see more financial transparency for the game journalism sites that cover Star Citizen. See who really is paying for an “unbiased” opinion. Because as far as I know, real journalism is dead.

    1. heh, this has nothing to do with journalistic ethics or integrity. The fact is that while the media have been reporting on Star Citizen, they had no choice but to take it all at face value. It’s when things start to look odd, that the pile-on starts. Which is precisely why, even before my first blog appeared, some media sites were already raising the alarm bells.

      For me, I have already made my motivation clear. And to alleviate any doubt, just scroll to the very end of the blog and read my statement about that.

    2. I disagree completely. The publishers would be totally and very interested that Star Citizen succeeded (meaning a profitable and successful venture raising the popularity of the genre), so they could also explore such genre with their own specialized games or hybrids, with similar features.
      They also would be very very interested that the public accepted (as a few backers of SC does) no obligation to deliver anything in any time, and at the same time, accepted offers of U$ 250, 500, 2500 dollars for in-game items that do not exist yet.
      So, why the hell they would be afraid of a “Star Citizen” success? Its not like they don’t have the money to invest, to follow new trends were returns are provided, my friend.
      But the thing is… this is ridiculous. Because Star Citizen is NOT a success. The only thing that they did was to get a few whales that will give them (and only for them) infinite money, regardless commitment or results. Just so they dreams be fed. It’s an unique event that will die with the same velocity that this project raised funds. The rest of people, the huge majority of the backers, just gave a few dollars, never gave any additional dime, and in general, does not even follow the project, but do not make mistake, are losing patience too (more than even those who spend more money). Their “success” is to sell overpriced ships for an average of 2000k-5000k people (depending of the price of the ship) seasonally. It’s maybe 1 to 3% of people feeding the monster and nobody else. This is not a “success”. Or it is clearly gives the expectation of a disaster, because in no way, all those people waiting won’t be affected by a long wait, overhype and more years of emails received in their inbox that talks more about new ship sales than delivery of actual progress that they can touch and try. Or, to be real, the end game, which is what the majority want, the majority that simply don’t care on playing alpha/beta or whatever, which a few people, louder, plus Roberts and co. think that its the ultimate solution that makes everyone happy (playing unfinished, bugged alpha/betas for a long long long time).
      If they did not sell these expensive ships seasonally (that no other project can afford to repeat and expect to be ok with their public), they would not have maybe 80% of the funds that they have today. And all that they got from a few. So, it’s something that publishers would love that “worked”, but they know that it won’t. Its just occasional. Its just until reality checks and not a success, but a total disaster be revealed. Even Roberts and co. know that. And that’s why they will build all the kinds of excuses to deliver just tiny bits for longer, to do not give to people actuals, but just hopes for the future, while he milk them more.
      You got that totally backwards. The only ones that could have the real interest to pay press to speak good things about Star Citizen would be actually, the Star Citizen developers itself.
      And if you acknowledge such corruption level of such press as existent and part of the system, you can be sure, or raise suspects, that some backer’s money was already used to pay to some members of press to give only a positive light about SC in their articles.
      Maybe that is just another reason why they flee and consider a “forensic accountability” something demoniac.
  12. Star Citizen has all the makings of a long con confidence scheme. Edward H. Smith lists the “six definite steps or stages of growth in every finely balanced and well-conceived confidence game.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confidence_trick Derek Smart is going to release an article with much more details on this topic but in the meantime I thought I would provide commentary on each “definite step” as I see them.

    1. Foundation Work – The preparations, which are made before the scheme is put in motion, including the elaboration of the plan, the employment of assistants, and so forth.

    Has CIG done this? Yes. Spending a year creating a very expensive tech demo.

    2. Approach – The manner of getting in touch with the victim — often most elaborately and carefully prepared.

    Has CIG done this? Yes! Announcing Star Citizen’s existence to the world at GDC 2012 and then premiering the tech demo and Kickstarter campaign that absolutely wowed the gaming world.

    3. Build-up – Rousing and sustaining the interest of the victim, introducing the scheme to him, and filling him with so much anticipation and cupidity that his judgment is warped and his caution thrown away.

    Has CIG done this? Definitely. A constant stream of marketing videos, convention events and concept and ship sales designed to keep bringing in the money. A store designed to keep selling merchandise for a game that doesn’t exist.

    4. Pay-off or Convincer – An actual or apparent paying of money by the conspirators to convince the victim and settle doubts by a cash demonstration. In the old banco game, the initial small bets which the victim was allowed to win were the pay-off. In stock swindles, the fake dividends sent to stockholders to encourage larger investments are the pay-off.

    Has CIG done this? Yes. Specifically the case can be made that the “Pay-Off” are the modules that today still do not properly work but they exist to “convince” and “encourage larger investments”. As we saw from the Star Citizen’s funding stats during and following Gamescom the majority of infusion money came from existing Backers willing to make “larger investments”.

    5. The Hurrah – This is like the denouement in a play, and no con scheme is complete without it. It is a sudden crisis or unexpected development by which the mark is pushed over the last doubt or obstacle and forced to act. Once the hurrah is sprung, either the scammer has total control, or the con fails.

    Has CIG done this? Yes. The delays. The complete overhaul of the TOS when the project reached its December 2014 target date of when CIG would be liable for issuing refunds. The arbitrary six months added to the new TOS. Chris stating Backer demands more than anything else caused scope issues. Changing the forum rules so that dissent is virtually eliminated from the Backer pathos is part of a move to “give the scammer total control”. Etc. etc. etc.

    6. The In-and-In – This is the point in a con game where the conspirator puts some of his money into the deal with that of the victim; first, to remove the last doubt that may tarry in the gull’s mind, and, second, to put the con man in control of the situation after the deal is completed, thus forestalling a squeal. Often, the whole game is built up around this feature, and just as often, it does not figure at all.

    Has CIG done this? Not yet. But all indications point to CIG delivering an extremely sub-par product at launch in 2016 since Chris appears to by fully committed to next year. So instead of a “$90 game” Backer’s believe they’re get instead they will get a “$15 game”. However once CIG delivers “something” it will be much harder for Backers to “squeal” to lawmakers to request justice for being scammed. As you can see steps 1 – 5 of Edward H. Smith’s list have been achieved in sequence. Step 6 is currently in the works. If authorities step in there’s a chance they can stave off what is likely to become the biggest crowdfunding con game in history.

    1. kxmode:

      Yeah, whether they intended this or not, this is exactly how it looks. This is pretty much what I’ve said before that most people don’t set out to do the wrong thing; stuff just happens.

      While I still don’t believe they set out to commit consumer fraud, or even to do anything illegal, the fact remains that they’ve broken various Consumer Protection laws in various States as it relates to how they’ve have handled this whole project. And it’s going to cause them serious issues down the road, aside from issues related to their inability to deliver a finished product that resembles what they’ve been promising.

      1. Agreed. I don’t think they intended to set out to do this because intentions are almost always noble, unfortunately greed invariably corrupts. There are many forms of greed. I think in Chris’ case his Sin became “scope creep”. The little money devil sitting on his shoulder likely whispered a bunch of sweet nothings like, “Do that Chris. It’ll be awesome! Look how much money you have! If you need more… just create another concept ship sale.” o _ o
        1. kxmode:

          Indeed. And that’s the reason he has been blaming the very backers for this; saying that they kept egging on for me. Seriously.

          And I was just going through some of our research material, and how soon we forget that stuff like this actually happened (1, 2, 3) before.

          And then there were those poor saps on Reddit, just two years ago, thinking that if they didn’t deliver, they could get their money back from Kickstarter. heh

          1. Derek, check out this post I put on r/StarCitizen

            https://as.reddit.com/r/starcitizen/comments/3l3f7g/chris_roberts_has_been_working_on_star_citizen/

            This part – “I just want to help you put things into perspective so that when you talk about how long others have work on their games” – is specifically a nod to you without actually mentioning your name. Those White Knighters who precisely who I’m talking about.

            Anyhow I spent about an hour putting together that post but it’s so true. Chris has been working on Star Citizen since 1998.

            1. kxmode:

              Oh wow. That’s absolutely amazing. Yet, when, in my Interstellar Citizens blog, I talked about my decades long journey to build my massive all-encompassing game, White Knights were quick to tell me that I was jealous because I had failed to do make what Chris was [allegedly] making.
              #facepalm

              ps: I corrected the link for you.

              1. So what if you have made a massive all encompassing game? Its not well polished and graphics are from the early 2000 era and it is far from any realistic physic simulations. So of course you have finished yours, yours is hardly any where near as complex. You can say it is if you wish but then you clearly are in fantasy land.

                So who cares if you have made a game of similar “massive all encompassing game”… this surely proves that it can be done. And you most definitely did not have 80 million + $ budget, and most definitely didn’t have studios around the globe working on it. You talk like it cannot be done like its an absolute situation, but it is not absolute fact that it cannot be done.. speaking like is just narcissistic on your part. It can be done, it won’t and has not been easy. But it’s far from impossible. And the funds are still going up, they might hit 100 million $ by end of 2015, plenty money income to keep going on their goals, and they have not added any more stretch goals so its entirely do-able this project.

                1. Dave: This bullshit argument again? Since you are one of those who choose to ignore what an “art style” actually means, here, let me help you with that.

                  Even with the SC graphics fidelity, many people still can’t even run it with decent framerates. And there isn’t even a “game” yet.

                  As to LOD not being “anywhere as complex”, seriously, you have no clue what you’re talking about, do you?

                  Regardless, I stand by what I’ve said. The game as has been pitched in “vision 2.0”, cannot be made. There is simply no getting around that. Having money to do it is patently meaningless. Any producer or project manager with half a brain, already knows that.

                2. Star Citizen CAN be made. But its a venture that can’t be sustained, since, “to be made” as has been pitched now, it needs maybe more 10 or 15 years of R&D and hopes that all the R will end on D.
                  Whatever that comes earlier from this 10/15 years optimistically thinking that all the R will end on D, it won’t be accepted by the general public, the mass of backers, but just a minority of such group, because how they promoted and hyped the game.
                  So there are technology barriers that they COULD exceed giving them free money and free time, BUT, the market barriers are basically impossible, considering the circumstances – things and hype announced very earlier and kept with an absurd level of cash grabbing meanwhile, never saw before in the game industry, which is not positive, but extremely negative for the final result in terms of perception of the public.

                  If Star Citizen was made behind the doors, with some whales sustaining, just as they have been sustaining it now and been responsible probably by 80% of the funding that they have and probably will end (whatever they call the end) with 99% of the funding coming from the hands of a very few group between all the backers, quietly, without promoting itself as the ultimate of the ultimate of the games, the master of the PC and the game industry that will “send a message to the publishers”, blablabla, etc. etc., in other words, not making all these challenges, not bringing so many people, public/press attention so earlier, and ONLY those “heroes” kept sustaining it for all these years, without people knowing about it (that’s what real heroes are for, they are heroes that do something great, but without the need to be famous), THEN, Star Citizen as has been pitched today, could come out and would be a massive/absolute success, because would got everyone as a surprise, that would make their perception of the game totally separated of any development issues or years of cash grabbing issues, as well as they wouldn’t have expectation of what is yet to be done and what had to be cut out of the project.

                  ALL the things that CR is doing are great for cash grabbing. For someone that wants to make money from a venture, more as he can, while he can, and then leave with some excuse with a good part of that money (taken out through means like a high salary and high comissions for CEO and other members of the family).

                  But for the sake of making the game “succeed”, its totally a business suicide.

              2. Ben helped clarify a lot of things. There’s a very interesting bit of gaming history between Origin and EA you should check out. But the main point is Chris left Origin years before Origin started working on Privateer Online. He explains the look of Star Citizen is pure coincidence to Private Online because the concept artists fundamentally came up with their own ideas of what the ships should look like. So that makes sense.
          2. I don’t get it – how can any sane person spend even 10 cent on Roberts? That’s the man who – together with his pal Ortwin and some german “businessman” – burned over 500 million euros for movies, getting the money even without any contracts for the actors, camera team’s or set designers… And why? He gets the money because he said it can be done and it can be done only by him and his company., He pulls over a dozen movies out of a hat, more than he could ever handle. If I could judge, he would join his friend from the vip mediafond and spend also some time in prison but surely he would not be out there, making a game, or better any game with money from the gamers. Just saying…
  13. For me, things started to go sour with SC on the 31 August, 2013 with the announcement, “Letter from the Chairman: Hangar Store Launched”, and you can see by quite a few of the comments that other people were feeling the same.
    As seems to be the norm these days, a vocal minority take it upon themselves to then let everyone else know what is the proper response to this game and any other discourse is pure hate speech. Ah George Orwell, if only you could see society now.
    I had a similar experience in another unique player funded experience, Project Cars. The big difference being, that you were actually ‘investing’ in this game. However, the vocal minority spoiled it and like SC, haven’t bothered to check back in on the game (That game was released though).
    Anyhoo Derek, as Donald Chipp (Australian Democratic party Leader) said on 19 September 1980, “where here to keep the bastards honest”.
    1. Indeed. The thing is that, even the most avid supporters know something’s wrong here. But ego prevents them from voicing it.

      And yeah, I remember the furor surrounding Project Cars as well.

  14. OK, I am going to top-post to make my position crystal clear, seeing as people are just making stuff up as they go along.

    1) The points I raised in my latest Interstellar Breach blog, are based on publicly sourced material.

    2) They responded to our demand letter, and it was received last week; and well within the 30 day limit allowed by law. Though I have a new blog, ‘Star Citizen – The Long Con’, awaiting legal clearance, you can read my initial response.

    3) We are also preparing a response to their letter, and that will be the last (we think) of it before further legal action progresses.

    4) In the meantime, in addition to our legal efforts, like others, we have not only notified the Feds (FBI, FTC), but also at least (currently) the attorney general of two States (FL, CA).

    I had already hinted in the past that most State officials have been taking a long hard look at crowd-funding scams and just a few days ago, news broke that Washington State had prosecuted their first case. And most gaming media (Gamespot, Polygon etc) already reported on this. We will be sending the same form letter to the AG in that State as well as in every single State that has people who have backed Star Citizen.

    5) Until a lawsuit (class action or otherwise) is filed, there is currently no lawsuit. That’s a fact. It has nothing to do with whether or not there will be one. I can tell you flat out, that there will be, regardless of who (us, Feds, State) initiates it.

    6) The recent lock down of the RSI forums has nothing to do with me, my legal team or any legal proceedings. And that inference is false.

    Fact is that the forum moderators (btw, most are unpaid volunteers) have always been very diligent in moderating those forums. I have even mentioned this in various comment and blog postings.

    As the many lies and deceit about this project start coming to light, mostly as a result of various media and blog (such as mine) reports, the dissent (usually quashed by the rabid White Knight anti-social denizens who are exhibiting traits of cult-like behavior) in the forums has increased significantly. All of it exposed to the world.

    So now, they’ve locked down key forums to backers only.

    This is pretty normal behavior that is prevalent in most other game forums. So there really isn’t anything new here. And though the timing is a bit interesting (I did Tweet about it when I was notified about it), I think it was a good decision. Heck, even Steam allows us devs to lock down various forums to public, game owners etc.

    If you are not a backer of the game, you have no reason to complain. If you are a backer of the game, and you complain about something like this, you should probably take a good look at your actions, as well as that of your fellow backers. There’s your answer.

    So trying to tie their forum lock down to a non-existent legal action, is pure bullshit. In fact, in the event of any legal action, attorneys can gain access to every single thing they want, locked down or not, printed, digital, whatever. Locking down a forum doesn’t prevent or alleviate that. At all.

    Finally, it also has nothing to do with them being liable for defamatory action. Like all forums, the RSI forum is protected by Section 230 of the CDA. Note that this law is US only. So other countries (especially EU) can still hold RSI liable for material posted on their forums.

    And aside from the moral obligations of, you know, curbing shit-posting and keeping anti-social clowns at bay, if you want to foster a community that is not toxic and doesn’t welcome anti-social behavior, most sites have moderators who, even though they are protected by CDA 230, tend to do some moderation. It’s a lot of work. And that’s why some media outlets completely disabled comments on their sites; while others seemingly have no idea where to draw the line between anti-social behavior and free speech (which is a misnomer if you are on a private site). And you tend to find most of the anti-social people on sites (like this one) that either don’t have the manpower to deal with it, or are lax (depending on who the target of the week is) in their moderation of same.

    The Star Citizen forum is toxic, not because of the forum moderators not doing their job, but because of the precedent set by the whales and backers who are abusive to others who are not part of the collective. And you dare start a thread or write a comment that even remotely looks like dissent against the project or the company, and you’ll see the results. We have dozens (!) of saved forum threads and posts, showing this level of toxicity on those forums.

    When you consider the fact that the project has over 700K backers to date, as these things go, it stands to reason that you will find a bunch of anti-social misfits among them. They tend to be the loudest and most abusive. This is gaming. It comes with the territory.

    So, regardless of their real reasons (e.g. hiding the toxicity from non-backers, keeping the dissent to backers only etc), I still think it was the right move for them to make.

    That said…

    The Star Citizen project has all the makings of a long con (1, 2). As things stand, and all that has transpired since 2012, there is no other reasonable or plausible explanation.

    And the media at large, unwittingly helped them pull it off. This despite the fact that since 2013, several in the media and in gaming, had been raising the alarm bells incessantly.

    This is the basis of my upcoming blog, “Star Citizen : The Long Con”, which I have been holding off on publishing because new information came to light that I want to incorporate into it.

    As I have said before, if you are still a backer of this project who expected a game either back on Nov 2014 (or one year from that date), and you aren’t already screaming for a refund, you will only have yourself to blame for losing your money. If you don’t get your refund, report it to your State attorney general, and the FTC. I already provided information on how to do the latter in two (1, 2) of my blogs

    A lot of people have been asking for a refund, and most are getting it. We get Tweets (e.g. this recent one), emails etc when it happens. So it is happening.

    If you don’t read or listen to anything that I’ve said in my blogs about this project, just read item #3 from my Interstellar Breach blog which pertains to the specific items we asked for in the demand letter, and draw your own conclusions. To save you the trouble, I will just excerpt the whole thing.

    ========
    3) To date, almost every key point in the pledge , as well as various promises made to backers in 2012, have now been broken. In fact, as of this writing, they haven’t even delivered, in our estimation, 25% of what was promised in the original game pitched on Kickstarter.

    If you read that description of what was promised, any gamer or game developer will see that this game is either i) never going to end up being what was promised or ii) in the event that they do manage to pull it off, the chances of it every being released before 2018, is highly unlikely.

    Here is another example of the sort of thing they’ve done.

    In the original (aka “vision 1.0”) game they pitched on Kickstarter, which 34,397 backers pledged $2,134,374 to help bring this project to life, they had an “estimated” release date of Nov 2014.

    According to their ToS v1.1 of 08/29/13 they said if they failed to deliver within 12 months of Nov 2014 (the original Kickstarter estimated delivery date), they would issue refunds. At the time, this non-delivery period would kick in during Nov 2015.

    IV. Charges & Billing
    RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.

    Since that time, having already i) missed the Nov 2014 delivery date and ii) embarked on the increased scope (aka “vision 2.0”), thus extending the delivery date for the project, they surreptitiously made another changed in ToS v1.2 of 02/01/15 (which remains the current one). The previous section was moved; and now reads:

    VII. Fundraising & Pledges
    RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.

    And in the current ToS, here is a key section that ties into the above:

    VII. Fundraising & Pledges
    For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.

    ========

    This project is destined to fail in one of two ways:

    i) they deliver a largely broken mess (not unlike the three modules released thus far) in the form of a collection of modules as I indicated here

    ii) the project suffers a sudden catastrophic collapse either as a result of running out of money (no, they don’t have a healthy financial reserve to finish this game if on-going funding stopped. Trust me, that’s pure bullshit) or State and/or Fed action as per crowd-funding failed promises.

    Since my first blog, Interstellar Citizens blog in early July, I have stated that this project, as currently pitched, cannot be made. I still strongly stand by those comments. And I am going to say this right now:

    “In the event that I am somehow proven wrong, and they do deliver on what’s promised, I will immediately retire from the industry, sooner rather than later.”

    Seriously, take a look at what they promised back on Oct 2012 as per “vision 1.0“, what they promised as per “vision 2.0“; and what they’ve delivered as of Sept 2015 and tell me again how exactly they’re going to deliver all of that in 2016, let alone ever.

    As to all the attacks that have been sent my way by the usual suspects since this started back in July, all I have to say is, go ahead. Attacking the messenger – especially someone who is outspoken and fearless – just increases the signal to noise ratio. In short, all you’re doing is making this easier to propagate. Unless you’re of the opinion that the majority of people are idiots who can’t think for themselves, you stand no chance of convincing them that they shouldn’t listen to me because you said so. Fools.

    I know I’m right. I know that I will be proven to be right. I’ve been around for decades and know enough to stand firmly on this.

  15. Derek,

    I am neither a backer of Star Citizen, nor do I have specific interest in space-sims, and I am vaguely even a gamer. Nevertheless, I read all your articles regarding the recent debate – for the two sole reasons that I “dig” your way of writing (hard to describe) and on top of that I find the whole case it interesting. I have never heard of you before this either. I especially got intersted when you mention SAD.

    I wanted to ask if you’ll be at the next Gamescom in Cologne, since I will be there kind of business related and I would be intersted in meeting you in case.

    1. Jaques:

      Thanks for reading all that. It can get long and tedious, but I tend to be thorough when I write 🙂

      I don’t usually go to GamesCom. In fact, the last time I was there, was back in 2012 I think. So maybe one day we’ll meet there.

  16. Could you elaborate on your motive behind all this? I don’t really get it, there is nothing to save, even if there was it’s already way too late…
    1. It’s about accountability really. That, and the fact that they continue their practices of raising money for a project that, for all intent and purposes will either i) never exist in the form promised or ii) ever exist

      Not to mention the wrong-doing they’ve been engaged in, as it pertains to promises made, broken, how the money is spent etc. I could go on, but it’s pretty obvious really.

  17. Hmm maybe I just don’t get it, but why are you always saying it’s been four years and million dollars later? As far as I see it Okt/12-Sep/15 are almoust THREE years. Or do you account for the time before the kickstarter release?
    As far as I know they didn’t have a fully functioning studio and they are still hiring. So the time building a studio shouldn’t be accounted as developing time, they didnt even have the menpower to burn through any money till early 2014, or am I missing something there?
    1. Yes, like most, you are missing the date.

      Chris made specific statements in the media indicating that the project was one year in development before the Kickstarter. This is a fact. From that point to Oct 2015, that’s four years.

      It is irrelevant how many people they had during the previous year. A lot of companies ramp up during every development. Even I do that with my projects as well. So that one year period just doesn’t get swept under the rug because it’s convenient.

  18. Hi DS,

    let it be known that the funding they got with their AMD deal has not been accounted or do not reflect to the total amount in the website.

    the AMD Mustang ship virtually cost around $60 but if you reclaim it the amount you get is $0.

      1. so this means that when the time comes the auditing will happen this will not be included right? I am guessing this could be what Chris Roberts is referring to have a healthy fund reserve.
        1. No, I don’t think that has anything to do with the “reserves” comment. All companies (at least those not living on the edge) have some sort of cash reserve. That’s what he’s probably talking about.

          1. Can you explain the auditing process.. Will we the backers get to see where all the money went over the years, will they have to answer for it to us or just in court behind closed doors, how much information do us backers to get to peak into the financial side of it all?

            I imagine a lot of it will be document of legal speak which will be a headache to make head or tails of.

            Also can the auditing result still allow us to demand CIG to be more open with their finance plans even if no foul play was found from there on after?

            I would love to see what the money goes on purely to learn about how these businesses run. I’m super curious to know the total cost of staff salaries.

            1. If they refuse, and a lawsuit (or an action by either the Feds or a State Attorney General) compels them to, then will have have to produce it. And if they do, my guess is that since it’s a publicly funded company, they won’t succeed in getting it sealed (only with a judge approval) from the public view.

              1. As an auditor myself I have to tell you that this is not true. Most likely the backers and even the prosecutors won’t have any insight in those documents. And if, they will have to sign a strict NDA.
                The problem is, that there are laws that decline information about salaries and third parties for example.
              2. It’s not a publicly funded company. It’s a private enterprise. Microsoft selling to the public does not make Microsoft a public company. Being funded by the state makes you a public company.
                1. Chris: What on Earth are you going on about? This has nothing to do with whether or not it is a private company. Do try to keep up, because nobody has time to be repeating this crap when it’s already been debated to death already.

                2. dsmart: In the comment I replied you, you literally spoke of a ‘publicly funded company’, and I think in the long post you called the money being ‘public’.

                  I am following this debate with great interest because I am very interested in crowdfunding as a business model, and how laws will develop around it. From how I read your argument, it is crucial for your case that funding is indeed public.

                  Here’s TL;DR:
                  The way you describe it, your case rests on the money indeed being from public sources. But from what I read here, only private parties are involved. So unless you can make the case hard that actual public money has been misappropriated there is no crime, just a bad product.

                  The distinction between public and private ownership of a company has tremendous(!) impact on what a company may or may not do. Public funding is any funding where the municipality, state, or federal governement is involved in – a.k.a. funding by taxes. Misappropriating this funding is punishable by law. For example, when a company receives public tax funding to build a new class room but throws a party with strippers. Or a college receives tax dollars for scholarships, but instead invests in sports cars for management. What charachterises public funding is that it is controlled by an elected authority – municipality, state, federal.

                  But the game company you mention above is none of that, is it? As far as I know from your postings, they do not even receive grants from public funding institutations. For example, many international movie productions receive funding from the countries they produce in. If a public funding body is involved, it often gets a say in how things are run.

                  Since that doesn’t happen here, we simply have a private company that is run by individuals and that takes money from other private individuals. Since there is no public funding body involved, the public has no say in how the company is run – it’s entirely up to the owners. If this is indeed so, then this is simply where the story ends: private individuals give money to a private corporation, and in the end they’re not satisfied with the product they got (ie the game as it has been handed out until now).

                  Mind you that depends on the country in which you are going to court. If it’s something like Cuba or some Asian countries (i.e. countries with a socialist history), it might be different because the distinction between public and private property isn’t as strong as in the US and Europe. But if you are talking about US/Northern America, there is a usually a large difference between what’s considered public, and what’s considered private property, and what the associated privileges and duties are that come with each.

                  TL;DR:
                  The way you describe it, your case rests on the money indeed being from public sources. But from what I read here, only private parties are involved. So unless you can make the case hard that actual public money has been misappropriated there is no crime, just a bad product.

                3. Chris: I have no further comment on this because I seriously have no idea what you’re going on about, or whether or not you really have no clue what the differences between “private” and “public” are. Here’s a hint: when in doubt, go read up on the FTC resources at http://www.ftc.gov

                4. dsmart:

                  Okay in that case let me finish with a final statement (also please refrain from using phrases such ‘have no clue’; these come over very insulting when in truth I am just offering my point of view).

                  It is both my impression and my professional experience that unless a business runs on public resources, it has near-zero accountability from the public. The public, or any other third party has no rights to tell a private company how it is supposed to run (with few exceptions). I mean this company doesn’t even have shareholders it is responsible for, or am I wrong?

                  So therefore in my posting I was just reminding you to exercise caution: you have very little rights to walk up to a random company and ask them to open their books to you (you would not ask this from Microsoft, Phillip Morris or Sony, either). That’s just how it is.

                5. Chris:

                  So therefore in my posting I was just reminding you to exercise caution: you have very little rights to walk up to a random company and ask them to open their books to you (you would not ask this from Microsoft, Phillip Morris or Sony, either). That’s just how it is.

                  Since that’s not what the issue is, nor what we’re doing, you’re wrong. Clearly, you haven’t been paying attention.

                6. Hi Chris. I think I can chime in and help clarify. Derek isn’t talking about “public sector” versus “private sector” governmental lingo. He talking about Cloud Imperium Games being funded entirely by the public’s money. That’s MUCH different than say an EA, CD Projekt Red or Valve who typically self fund. Legally CIG doesn’t have to share their financials with their backers but there’s an ethical question at play. People want to know if their money is being spent wisely. CIG is unwilling to share that informational. So the only recourse is the law.
                7. kxmode:

                  Not only that, their own EULA exists in which, like all other promises, they said that they would make that financial information available.

  19. Derek,

    As a backer of SC, all of these issues certainly raise some concerns with me.

    However, I have to put aside your whole discourse to ask one simple question that I haven’t seen asked elsewhere (excuse me if I’ve missed it):

    Before you began on this crusade, did you contact Chris Roberts directly with your concerns? Did you try and achieve a clearer picture of the truth by interacting with Cloud Imperium in a man to man fashion? It would have been my first port of call, as I sincerely believe that discussing anything factual on the internet leads to only hyperbole, a leaning towards emotional bias, backwards rationalisation and, well, a whole host of other negative side-effects that produce nothing good.

    If you did attempt this, then it only makes me wonder what CIG are trying to hide all the more, as I can’t think of a reason why they’d deny a known developer at least a discussion about their plans, if they deem his concerns sincere.

    Thanks

    1. SimonB:

      It should concern you and everyone who put money into this project.

      Yes – in fact, before my first blog, Interstellar Citizens, went live, I reached out to him (we were Facebook friends, have the same industry peers etc) but they just blew me off. So I published that blog.

      That’s when all hell broke loose.

      Please search my second blog, Interstellar Discourse, for the REACHING OUT AND TOUCHING SOMEONE section (or search for “touching”) and you will this detailed there.

      Where we are now is that their response to the demand letter has set the stage for what I believe to be a major legal showdown.

      And people are still quitting the project.

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        The fact you reached out to him and received nothing in response is rather telling. Civility costs nothing.

        I’ll watch this space with interest. I’m fairly certain now that something is afoot. The only question for me now is *what* and *how big* (or perhaps *how much*). Time will tell.

        Thanks again

  20. Whichever way this goes, a lot of people are going to look pretty silly in the end. I’m still optimistic that the game will fulfill expectations (mine at least), and this drama will fade away. Of course, I’m also prepared to write off the $200 that I’ve donated to CIG in the worst case – crowdfunded projects are pure speculation, and anyone with common sense should be aware of that before pulling out their wallet.
    1. That kind of thinking is why some crowdfunded projects are scams. If a company take your Backer money and never delivers a product, or worse they deliver a shoddy product no where near their bombastic claims of its awesomeness then they’re committing consumer fraud and should be held legally accountable for their actions.

      TL;DR you shouldn’t have to write off your $200.

      1. Actually, I’ve been having a blast the last few weeks in Arena Commander… Can we just wait maybe 2-3 more weeks before we eviscerate them? I’d like to get a few more games in.
        1. I don’t think anyone is eviscerating them though. If you’re having fun, that’s fine. What we’re discussing here has absolutely nothing to do with that.

  21. I am now in receipt of the RSI response to my demand letter.

    It was authored by Ortwin Freyermuth, “Founder, Vice Chairmain and General Counsel” of Roberts Space Industries.

    I am in the process of writing a new blog, “Star Citizen – The Long Con” which I will now update to include all the relevant parts of their response.

    Basically, their response, aside from being littered with the usual attorney nonsense, hyperbole, baseless personal jabs etc, is hilarious. In short, it’s the “attorney speak” for “Bring It!” or “Go pound sand”.

    At least that’s how we’re interpreting it; because if it was intended to intimidate me, they failed. And you all who know me, should be laughing right about now, because clearly they missed that memo.

    If you’ve ever received a letter from an attorney, then you already know that it’s the sort of response that attorneys who are facing the barrel of a legal threat, tend to send out in order to gauge the response and intent of the other party. And in the case of public figures, this is usually the precursor to the disaster that is to unfold in full public view and right before it all collapses and the Feds or a judge, turns their lives upside down and send them to jail years (in some cases, mere months) thereafter.

    It’s also the sort of the letter that anti-SLAAP (Efffective July 1st, 2015, Florida has the most robust one in the entire country) statues were designed to combat against.

    My rather reasonable demand letter asked for three things. 1) Financial accountability 2) specific delivery date, and 3) refunds for those who request it.

    Instead of addressing it, Ortwin decided that trying to intimidate and silence the ONE person on this planet who isn’t going to take it lying down, was the best course of action.

    In fact, the ONLY item they addressed in this list, was in relation to item #1. And I quote their response:


    “Your client’s defamatory claims are entirely without merit and include unfounded allegations that the funds raised for the project were used improperly, even fraudulently. In this vain, your client is now asking for a “forensic accounting” to be made available to him. Firstly, there is obviously no legal basis for your client’s request and your letter cites no such authority. Secondly, the ample information provided regularly on our extensive website, including monthly progress reports from each studio, published headcounts and the like, would enable any person familiar with the cost of game development to assess the proper spending of the funds raised. Your client claims to be such an experienced person, so we are a bit perplexed about this demand coming in particular from him.

    In sum, your client’s allegations and demands are completely without basis and hereby rejected in their entirety.”

    I am going to let you all ponder on this response for a bit because I’m going to address it, and the entire letter, in the upcoming blog.

    But basically, this rhetoric is saying that backers aren’t entitled to anything by way of financial accountability. Why? Well, read that again and draw your own conclusions.

    Basically, their response, like everything we’ve compiled and are compiling, is going straight to the Feds. In fact, late last week, our investigators sent us an entire dossier (added to the others we have on all of them) on legal actions here in the US and in Germany, pertaining to other ventures that these parties have been involved in over the years and which ended badly for those invested in them.

    And we’re happy that their statement appears in the letter because they’re basically saying that everything is on the up and up, and that they have **NEVER** used public **crowd-funded** money for **ANYTHING** other than the Star Citizen project.

    If you knew what we knew, or the sourced data we have access to, you would probably be as thrilled by this statement in the letter. But for now, you’re going to have to wait to read about it in the court docket because regardless of who sues first (counter-claims are always fun, especially given that anti-SLAPP is pretty straightforward), it’s ALL going to come out eventually. Seriously, most of this stuff isn’t that hard to source. It’s all out there, if you know where and how to look. This not some campaign of making up or just saying stuff when you could very well be sued for it.

    I am going to say it again, just so we’re all clear.

    The Star Citizen project, from what has transpired thus far, has all the makings of an elaborate scam (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).

    The creators pitched a product in 2012 (aka “vision 1.0”), got funding for it, then, instead of delivering on that promise in Nov 2014, increased the scope (aka “vision 2.0”) of the project thereafter. Thereby not only extending the development time, and thus the delivery, but also the risk of the project failing and/or not meeting promised expectations (I have NO reason to believe that they will EVER deliver the game as promised), thus resulting in a catastrophic loss of public crowd-funded money. And when that happens, it will have far reaching consequences for not only the industry, but also the space combat genre.

    And barely two weeks ago, despite having only thus far released three incomplete and buggy components for the promised product, while having never – ever – met a delivery deadline, Chris Roberts continued making statements (to Kotaku and Polygon) designed to continue the trend by saying that the game will now be complete and delivered in 2016.

    THIS (below) is the game that he has now, once again, declared will be complete and ready to deliver in ***2016***. Go ahead, hit the link, then scroll down. Let me know when you stop laughing.

    http://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

    And through all of this, they continue to sell virtual (both modeled and in concept) ships for a game that DOES NOT YET EXIST.

    This is of absolute concern to the public who, despite all the evidence (it’s all out there) that the creators of this project have been lying incessantly about this project, continue to fall victim to it.

    And this is precisely how high-profile crowd-funded gaming projects continue to screw the unsuspecting gaming public.

    http://www.yosemiteip.com/blog/2015/3/9/understanding-your-kickstarter-legal-liabilities

    And it’s not going to get any better unless there is a legal precedent – regardless of Federal involvement – that future plaintiffs can pull from.

    I am going to do EVERYTHING in my power to make this a precedent because I BELIEVE that what they’ve done here is LEGALLY ACTIONABLE.

    In case you missed it, here is the very reasonable demand letter we sent:

    http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4497650/dsmart_demand_letter_to_rsi-final.pdf

    1. “Secondly, the ample information provided regularly on our extensive website, including monthly progress reports from each studio, published headcounts and the like, would enable any person familiar with the cost of game development to assess the proper spending of the funds raised. Your client claims to be such an experienced person, so we are a bit perplexed about this demand coming in particular from him.”

      Sorry… this was just…
      So, basically, we can conclude that there is not a single serious, reasonable person leading this company.

      Firstly, CIG suggested to share that by “the benefit of the doubt” how they would spend the money, in their own TOS. And in that context, failing to deliver was implied to be not delivering in a time frame that was the “estimate delivery date” + 12 months, implying that the worst case of delay, would be 12 months.
      Then, recently they changed the clause adding more time, which was a very weird attitude, because made the whole context of the clause meaningless, worthless, a bait added to their big list of bait-and-switch statements in their main advertising, which indicates consumer fraud, because the instances are very repetitive along the project. And sorry, but what made any game developer perplex, was Chris Roberts stating that would deliver it in two years, but he did not economize statements to claim that he could:

      http://forum.jogos.uol.com.br/star-citizen–nos-vamos-ate-as-estrelas-gamescom-15–hotas-demo-ship-multiplecrew–planetside_t_2234216?page=4#42154731

      “”We’ve already spent around a year in development, and remember that most of these crowdfunding campaigns, when you look at it, no one has shown anything. I actually showed a pretty advanced prototype, and that prototype has most of the functionality I need to build a Wing-Commander style game,” he explained.

      “The higher end stuff that’s missing is more the MMO, multiplayer side of it. But there’s been a large amount of technical design and research and prototyping towards that.”

      He claims that he hasn’t promised things with the idea the team will figure it out later; he’s already done much of the work and research to make sure everything is feasible.

      “It’s not that difficult, and it’s something I’ve spent the past year doing the technical high level design of, I’m not just saying I’m going to do this, I work it out. That’s why I spent a year doing the prototyping.”

      Secondly, what their reports shown is that with the scope expanded, they are having issues to deliver the game as promised, it is taking a lot longer, and it is also reflecting in features advertised been cut out (like the single player coop in/out campaign gameplay, that probably was sacrificed, because they can’t handle “epic missions with capital ships” to handle well with more than one player active in the mission, unless leading Squadron 42 to be released by 2020).

      Lastly, they obviously have something serious to hide. And it seems that they prefer to spend backer’s money to fight against a lawsuit, than showing it to their backers.

    2. Was invited to post my reply from BlueNews here:

      “your client is now asking for a “forensic accounting” to be made available to him. . . . Secondly, the ample information provided regularly on our extensive website, including monthly progress reports from each studio, published headcounts and the like, would enable any person familiar with the cost of game development to assess the proper spending of the funds raised.”

      Is he serious?

      When I was a Backer I had no idea (and still don’t today) how to “assess the proper spending of the funds raised” based on Bugsmashers, Around the Verse, 10 for the Chairman, Wingman’s Hangar and Meet the Devs. The monthly status reports told me nothing about how much money was spent on X, how much on Y, how much for this cost, and how much for that cost.

      It’s interesting we had this conversation on your blog and in private and the conclusion was made that there were just too many variables and not enough information available to figure out how much money CIG has spent and how much remains. We came up with a ballpark of 2-3 million per month that CIG needs to make in order to meet obligations but that was based on pure conjecture. All of our discussions were based on, as Mr. Freyermuth calls it, “ample information provided regularly on our extensive website”.

      No one can understand CIG’s financials based on anything they’ve published because all of it is marketing material. The conclusion is Mr. Freyermuth is lying, which isn’t surprising given Chris Roberts’ rampant misleading statements.

    3. I posted a version of this to my friends on Facebook earlier today.

      I have made it a rule never to get into a public tiff with people who are in my FB friends list. Sure, once in a while a friend-of-friend gets involved, ignoring the rules – then gets blocked.

      If you’re in my friends list, that means you are among an elite (my pending FB friend request list is about 50+ strong as I type this) group of people who I respect and have no interest in fighting (not to be confused with debate) with.

      Heated debates are OK because who wants to exist in an echo chamber? Where’s the growth and learning in that?

      And if you’re any of the old schoolers who know what time it is – all the time – then I’m probably just going to shut the hell up and listen.

      I may be over 50, but as a gamer, I plan on staying young forever. Which means that I have a few more decades of learning and making mistakes. Plus there is no medication for eccentricity. So what may be strange or off-kilter to some, seems perfectly normal to me. I’m not in the habit of making excuses; that’s not what a leader does.

      But know this, in my entire career, I have never ever been involved in any lawsuit (any attorney with access to PACER can see that) or legal dispute that I didn’t prevail in. Not one. I tend not to engage in losing battles. It’s some sort of ego thing I think. And I work very hard for everything I have and tend not to throw it away on frivolous endeavors. Other than gaming of course.

      I have evidence and know with 100% certainty, that there’s something fishy going on with the Star Citizen project and I am going to do everything in my power to prove it. And just like their crowd-funding upon which the company was built and with gamer money, I am going to ensure that it all plays out in full public view. If what’s coming next doesn’t make David Swofford (head of PR) quit, nothing will.

      I saw a project in trouble and all the makings of a scam (selling ships for a game that doesn’t exist and everything else, making lofty promises – all broken – with no basis in reality or ability to fulfill) in the making.

      I wrote a blog (Interstellar Citizens) weekend of July 3rd.

      Less than a week later, after the media broadcast my comments, RSI decided that the best course of action was to engage in a public war with me by kicking me out as a backer, and subsequently canceling my account.

      THEN they made it public (1st to PC Gamer) and LIED to the media to make it look like I had somehow done something that warranted it and thus my violating their ToS. As if violating their own privacy guidelines wasn’t bad enough. I am the ONLY person they’ve ever refunded, then made a press and forum statement out of it.

      Look how that turned out for them.

      So as a gift, I gave them four more scathing blogs. And unless legal advises me otherwise, I’m going to write more blogs frequently until this farce concludes.

      In the end, I sent them a demand letter asking them for three simple things which EVERY backer is entitled to. No lawsuit, nothing. Instead, they sent me a bullshit letter in what we believe to be the single most stupid (violating their own privacy guidelines with how they handled the refund back in July was another – they just don’t know it yet) thing they’ve done yet. And I’m going to hold them accountable for all of it.

      And the greatest threat that Chris has is that most of the professionals (past and present), other than the sycophants who mill around him, have NO respect him for him. A leader leads, not by fear, but with respect. Discussing exit interviews (what? you didn’t think I’m writing blogs with nothing to back them up, did you?) is an eye-opener to me.

      As a gamedev veteran, it is astounding to me how he got away with this and for this long. When you cultivate an environment with fear, and you lose the respect of the very people building your “vision” with other people’s money, you should realize that once it all comes crashing down, those are the very people who are going to shine a light on how it all went wrong. And under oath, they have nothing to lose by telling the truth.

      Given what we know, there is absolutely NO version of how this ends, where I don’t get what we’re asking for. Except now I’m going to get a judge involved. And how they choose to fight it, will be their undoing.

      Every statement, every lie, every thing (fraudulent or not) is going directly into the public record. I have both FL and CA attorneys (including the other parties with attorneys in NY, WA and other States) and by the time the dust settles, assuming the Feds don’t get done first, everyone will see with clarity that I was right all along.

      I have worked exceptional hard to earn my place in this industry and I have a lot vested in it. If these people think that they’re going to just walk (CR who never made a game in over 15 years, after the same mistakes he’s making now, collapsed Digital Anvil) in and put me under siege while taking advantage of an industry we’ve all collectively worked hard to cultivate, then they’ve picked the wrong person to fight with.

      And I have zero problems standing alone in this fight because I am more effective that way.

      That is all.

      ps: I have to, once again, caution my industry friends to be very cautious of how you respond in any of my feeds related to this unfolding fiasco. Any appearance of picking sides could have long-term ramifications for business and/or work prospects. So think twice about it. I don’t need anyone’s written support for anything that’s going on here. I got this.

    4. The moment that a corporation refuses to share financial information with their own shareholders they’ve pretty much confessed to a crime. From there it’s just a matter of having lawyers move quickly enough to prevent them from skipping town until the auditors get done skinning them alive.
        1. Nope. But according to the FTC, we are still entitled to accountability for money given to crowd-funded projects. They’re the Feds. They get to make the rules. Nobody gets to ignore nor change them.

      1. Ok, this is a correct statement when you actually have shareholders. I would be very upset if the companies that I own stock in would not divulge certain information. Be that as it may, you or any other backer, are not, will not and can never be considered “shareholders.” I’m sorry that’s just incorrect. You are not an “investor” in this game. You are a licensee, that’s it, that’s all. Beyond providing a game to you, (which they are working on and constantly iterating) they have NO legal responsibility to you.

        So unless you can point out the legal precedent that would allow you as a backer of a crowdfunded project to be considered, legally, as a shareholder or investor, your comment is pretty much pointless.

        1. You see, that’s where the FTC (Feds btw) and some high-profile attorneys, disagree. I am not going to post it all again because we’ve had this discussion before. But since you want to be arguing with yourself, start here.

          1. Actually in our previous discussions of this issue, you have never linked to anything, but instead would go silent or backtrack (such as the couple of times I have asked for links to the FTC Crowfunding Guidelines which you have mentioned previously but I cannot seem to find any actual documentation of it online, or when I questioned your use of the term investor and you said you meant “someone with a vested interest,” but when I asked about the legality of that you went silent and never responded.) But thank you for linking to this information from the FTC on Advertising and Marketing.

            Sadly what I am actually commenting on has nothing to do with that. Rather I am simply attempting to ensure that people use the correct terms in these sort of discussions. The use of the term “Investor” or “shareholder” carries with it some rather heavy legal obligations. But thanks to the link in a previous comment you actually posted a wonderful response to this debacle.

            “BACKERS ARE NOT INVESTORS

            Investor is another word people should avoid using when talking about Kickstarter campaigns. Backers are not investors because there is no assumption of risk and no chance of a monetary yield.

            Back in 2012, when Palmer Luckey raised $2.4 million through Kickstarter to fund his Oculus VR headset, the backers who invested in his campaign didn’t see a nickel of the $2 billion he later received when Facebook purchased his company. Instead, those 9,522 early investors received the benefit of their contractual bargain: posters, T-shirts, and early headset prototypes.

            Kickstarter agrees that there is no investment opportunity in a project:

            “We’re all in favor of charity and investment, but they’re not permitted on Kickstarter.” [12]
            So, lest you think otherwise, no one is investing in a Kickstarter campaign by contributing money. [13] [14]”

            So clearly this is an incorrect term and an incorrect mentality to have in regards to the requesting of a forensic accounting. And if you could actually point out what areas of that FTC website you are thinking could be used against CIG that would be great, because from what I read I didn’t see anything clear cut in the information listed there.

            1. Ben:

              If you continue to make shit up, thus wasting my time, I’m just going to stop approving your posts.

              There are several FTC links in several of my comments.

              There are several FTC links in my blogs. In fact, the important ones are right there at the very end of Interstellar Breach

              Aside from that, a quick jump to Google, yields results for everything I’ve said pertaining to the FTC; and for which you state no evidence exists.

              Comparing Oculus – which did deliver a finished product to backers (I bought two units btw) as promised – and Star Citizen which has yet to deliver a full product – and probably never will, is the sort of White Knight bullshit that I tend not to engage in.

              This discussion has nothing to do with being an investor or not. I even linked an article by an attorney who actually tackled this from every perspective. But you people with your head in the sand, will say anything to assert a position that has no basis in reality. It’s called denial.

              1. Ok you’re railing on me for the quoted text, I find it rather interesting that you call me a White Knight and say that this is “bullshit that I tend not to engage in” and then cite the EXACT article I quoted which talks about Oculus. So clearly when I not only quote the article you originally cited two comments above me, then get that article cited to me again by you in reaction to a quote from that cited article I’m the one with my head in the sand? I’m using the attorney’s arguments to back up my own. Which is simply that since we are not Investors, we have no legal wherewithal to ask for a forensic accounting.

                I have checked all of the FTC links that I could find (it is possible I missed one) but I still cannot find it written anywhere that crowdfunded backers have to the legal right to see where and how their money is spent. Rather all I can find is advice from the FTC (your link about Chevalier is part of a blog, not actual FTC guidelines) about what you should do as a crowdfunded project. It does not in anyway state that backers have any legal access to accounting details of said companies. If you have this information, please link to it for me.

                1. No, I’m not railing on you. I’m stating the fact that your arguments are circular and you just keep repeating yourself. This despite the fact that nothing you’re saying, has any basis in fact.

                2. And ok, not to be antagonistic or anything, but I went through all of your blogs and all of the comments and found these links to the FTC:

                  https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1
                  https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/blogs/business-blog/2015/06/dont-let-crowdfunding-be-your-doom
                  https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/advertising-marketing-internet-rules-road
                  http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/

                  There are also these two links that reference the FTC:
                  http://www.gamespot.com/articles/youtube-network-deceived-customers-with-paid-for-x/1100-6430268/
                  http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2015/06/69362-federal-trade-commission-on-crowdfunding-scams/

                  But both of those later articles are only speaking of the Machinima and Erik Chevalier incidents. And I didn’t read anything there about the FTC saying you had a right to knowing where and how your money was being spent on all kickstarters.

                  So please explain in which of these links does it state: “we are still entitled to accountability for money given to crowd-funded projects,” or where exactly is the “FTC is quite clear on this” statement that I can read about accountability of crowdfunded projects.

                  I am seriously not trolling you or anything of that nature. I really, honestly, want to see this in writing to know that you actually have the legal backing of some FTC statement.

                  I’m not trying to waste your time, I’m attempting to have a dialogue with you about certain things you have brought up time and again in these blogs that I would like clarified. That’s all, so if you have a link providing this information then please share it. If you don’t and if you don’t post this comment I guess I’ll know the answer that I’m seeking.

                3. Ben:

                  “Use the money raised from crowdfunding only for the purpose represented. If you collect money for a specified project, like creating a board game, use the money only for that purpose. Don’t use it for personal purposes or to start another project.”

                  The fact that the FTC is clear on the issue of using funds as they were intended, is called a precedent. And that’s where going into court and saying that they haven’t used the money as intended or promised (e.g. they said no advertising, marketing etc), nor have they delivered as promised (Nov 2014), calls into question their accounting in order to prove that they have in fact used the money as intended.

                  And as it pertains to backers, whether anyone (e.g. me) is refunded or not is irrelevant because you can still make the following legal claims. So no, it’s not enough for them to say, we refunded you, now go away. It simply doesn’t work like that.

                  1) Specific Performance

                  http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Specific+Performance
                  http://smallbusiness.findlaw.com/business-contracts-forms/what-is-specific-performance-as-a-legal-remedy.html
                  http://study.com/academy/lesson/specific-performance-and-injunctions-remedies-for-breach-of-contract.html

                  2) Fraudulent Inducement

                  http://www.wisegeek.com/what-does-fraudulent-inducement-mean.htm
                  http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/fraud-in-the-inducement-in-florida-litigation-cry–of-the-buyer-who-did-not-beware
                  http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/fraudulent-inducement-lawyers.html
                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-reid/fraudulent-inducement-claim_b_1893736.html

                  Since their own ToS (even if they changed it, the one that was active when I pledged, is the one that the court will acknowledge) allowed them to a) refund everyone if they didn’t deliver within 12 months b) show their accounting for the project if they failed to deliver. For reference, read the entire point #3 from the Interstellar Breach blog.

                  So yeah, all of the above are what will lead to them being forced (by the court) to provide the accounting for this project. And that’s why, instead of taking legal action, we sent them a demand letter first.

                  Aside from all that, the Feds (FBI, FTC) or State Attorney General, can force them to provide that information as well. No lawsuit required.

                4. Thank you very much for such a thorough reply. Point of contention though, which is why I was harping on you so much, that quote isn’t legal precedent. It’s a tip from an FTC lawyer about how to avoid being in a similar situation. FTC lawyers don’t write precedent, judges do. So the actual precedent is as follows (at least I believe this to be the legal precedent):

                  IT IS ORDERED that Defendant, Defendant’s officers, agents, employees, and attorneys, and all others in active concert or participation with any of them who receive actual notice of this Order, whether acting directly or indirectly, in connection with any
                  crowdfunding campaign, are permanently restrained and enjoined from misrepresenting or assisting others in misrepresenting, expressly or by implication:
                  A. the purposes for which funds raised from consumers will be used;
                  B. that by making a contribution, consumers will receive a specific good, service, or other reward deliverable;
                  C. the performance, efficacy, nature, or central characteristics of such good, service, or other reward deliverable; or
                  D. the qualifications or expertise of any person associated with the crowdfunding campaign

                  And in this particular case, the misrepresentation was that Chevalier literally stole all the money and used all of it on other things. So absolutely NO money from this crowdfunded project was used toward the purported goal. Instead it went to Chevalier and his expenses. I’m not trying to say that you’re incorrect in the statement about marketing etc, but I guess that will come down to the definition of “marketing” versus standard cost of doing business (especially standard for the video game market) because from what I can find (and I’m sure you have access to much more information than I) but I don’t see anything that would be traditional marketing from CIG. Now that’s not counting going to cons and such because I feel that that could be argued as standard business practice in the gaming world. So I can at least see more of your case with the idea of the no money spent on marketing / advertising, but I think that is going to be a heck of a lot harder to prove than the very straight forward Chevalier case.

                  And again as far as the expected date, Kickstarter’s own TOU states: The Estimated Delivery Date is the creator’s estimate. The date listed on each reward is the creator’s estimate of when they will provide the reward — not a guarantee to fulfill by that date. The schedule may change as the creator works on the project. We ask creators to think carefully, set a date they feel confident they can work toward, and communicate with backers about any changes. (<- which CIG has done)

                  And even the original TOS from CIG stated 12 months (which hasn't happened yet, coming soon, but not yet) so they still have until December 1st before the original TOS kicks in.

                  My only other question to you is what in your mind does CIG have to legally release by November (which I doubt they'd be able to at this point) to actually meet their Kickstarter backer estimate. Would the Alpha of the PU be enough or do you believe that legally it would have to be the complete and total game?

                  (and again just to reiterate I have never, nor will I ever, fight you over the idea of giving refunds for original kickstarters)

                5. Ben.

                  The precedent is in the FTC legal action. And those recommendations stem from that precedent in the case they won. As in “don’t spend the money on personal stuff or else”

                  Seriously, how hard is this really?

                  My only other question to you is what in your mind does CIG have to legally release by November (which I doubt they’d be able to at this point) to actually meet their Kickstarter backer estimate. Would the Alpha of the PU be enough or do you believe that legally it would have to be the complete and total game?

                  They only have to deliver what they promised in 2012. They have 12 months (not 18, even though they changed it) leeway. And by Nov 2015, that 12 month period will come and go. Which automatically triggers their non-delivery as well as their own pledge to release the financials.

                6. I’m not versed in legal terms but my basis for requesting a refund in so many words boiled down to Fraudulent Inducement. I wrote the following on BluesNews but I thought I would post it here for posterity

                  ——

                  I am now thoroughly convinced Star Citizen is a scam. How? Three main factors…

                  1. HOW MUCH

                  Kickstarter interview, April 30, 2013:
                  “the game on the low side was going to be about 14 million dollars to make and the high side, which is where we are at now, is going to be about 20 million” http://tinyurl.com/okd5jbl

                  Forbes Interview, May 17, 2013:
                  “I mean it’s going to cost 20 million dollars plus by the time its all finished”
                  http://tinyurl.com/pt4o5us

                  2. HOW LONG

                  Forbes Interview, May 17, 2013
                  “And then we’ll go live after the beta which I would anticipate would be sometime in early 2015. But essentially from the end of 2014 you should be able to play the full game but it will just be beta because there will still be things to tweak and balance.” http://tinyurl.com/pt4o5us

                  3. SCOPE

                  Letter from the Chairman: $20 Million!, September 26th, 2013
                  “There has been some concern about “feature creep” with the additional stretch goals. . . . Typically the stretch goals fall into two categories; The first are goals that involve features we already have planned or have implemented, but we couldn’t create content because of budgetary constraints.” http://tinyurl.com/pcq56jk

                  Kotaku, August 18, 2015
                  “When we first started, we raised $6 million with crowdfunding,” Roberts told me. “That was a lot, but it still wasn’t what we were gonna make the game for because we had private investors lined up. At that point, we were thinking of making a much more contained game.” http://tinyurl.com/ncwbnpj

                  Conclusion

                  Not including the Kotaku interview, all the statements were made before CIG reached the 1-year anniversary of Star Citizen’s official Kickstarter launch. The first $20 million for Star Citizen was, in retrospect, based on a lie. Not just a lie, but a complete lie because it covered how much money Chris needed, about how long it would take to deliver the game and how large the scope would be. Those three literally make up the game’s entire development life cycle.

                  I backed based on statements Chris made related to cost, duration and scope.

                7. Hi Ben. I’m really surprised by your tenacity to want to debate Derek’s claims. Despite the craziness of typical White Knight backers you present valid questions worth exploring. However be aware that Derek has several lawyers assisting him. He has mentioned numerous times that his Blog articles have to pass legal before they go public. So obviously his lawyers have review and vet everything he’s written including any supporting links.

                  What you should do is bring NEW information to the table and ask Derek about that. If you do please make it legit. Don’t link to some random Joe Blow blog posting with irrelevant information. Legit stuff like things from the California Attorney General site or FTC or FBI. Even then Derek’s lawyer probably already know those as well.

                8. I’m not a white knight, never have been, never will be. As I stated in my previous posts I am attempting to just have a discourse with Mr. Smart and had asked him questions that until this posting had not been answered. And really it’s not my job to bring new information into this, rather Mr. Smart was asking people to open a dialogue about the issues he has brought up. That’s all I’m doing. I’m not being paid to bring up new things. Just trying to clarify things posted here. I don’t access to what Mr. Smart does, so as an original backer I would like as much information as Mr. Smart is willing to give.

                  Honestly I’m still not convinced that anything will really come of this but getting refunds for those who want them, but hey that’s a win. I just hope this doesn’t negatively affect the development of the game. Or somehow give CR an opening to blame a glitchy release or anything on Mr. Smart, thereby inciting a whole new flame war (not the CR would actually say that, but rather allude to it indirectly but you get my point).

                9. A lot will come from this. In fact, more has come out of RSI since my first July 4th weekend blog, than at anytime in the preceding months.

                  Aside from that, if nothing else, all this noise and legal action, just lets them realize that they can’t just continue with the arrogance.

                  If everyone who had the power to do something, bring about change etc, just sat around and talked about it, or just ignored it before they felt that nothing would come from it, a lot of injustice would be in the world.

                  ps: For the record, whether you are a White Knight or not, I never once thought that your arguments (valid or otherwise) were unreasonable. Aside from that, I know many White Knights who are in fact asking for the same accountability and aren’t acting like they were part of a cult.

                10. I would never say that you shouldn’t continue with what you’re after. If you feel that there is legal reasoning to bring this to court, then I am willing and waiting to see what you bring.

                  “For the record, whether you are a White Knight or not, I never once thought that your arguments (valid or otherwise) were unreasonable.”

                  And thank you for that, I know I can be annoying with my tenacity to get answers but that’s all I’m after, full explanation. This whole situation (even though it does affect me personally being a backer) just fascinates me and you, Mr. Smart, seem rather knowledgeable about the legality of these things and I’m just attempting to further flesh out my knowledge of it through picking your brain, even if it can get annoying. I have this bad habit of not giving up until I’m answered (which I’m guessing you can relate to).

                11. No worries, I understand.

                  Most of this stuff that I’ve learned on the legal side, are also new to me. So I share what I get from the attorneys as I get the information. For example, yesterday when I posted about specific performance and fraud inducement, those were new to me as well. And it came about through discussions with the attorneys in which they explained to me that even if we have been refunded, that doesn’t mean we no longer have a legal case against RSI. Similarly, the issue about which ToS would be in question, I had no idea that it would be the one in force when most of us pledged back in 2012; and that RSI couldn’t simply revise it and expect us to accept it. And that ToS is the one in which they indicated that if they didn’t deliver within 12 months, that they would refund everyone and also make the accounting available. These two issues are key.

                  Since there hasn’t been a legal precedent in a lot of these crowd-funding issues, how this goes is all going to depend on legally established rules in consumer law. When the FTC settled with that one guy on a crowd-funding issue, that was a small (in comparison) $100K amount, the guy had no way to pay it back etc. In this regard, we’re talking about a large corporation that has taken $90m in public money for a project they have yet to deliver. That’s a big *&^%#&^@ deal that people simply don’t want to accept. If you look at a lot of the FTC and FBI cases, a lot of CEOs and similar people have gone to jail for less things.

                12. “And that ToS is the one in which they indicated that if they didn’t deliver within 12 months, that they would refund everyone and also make the accounting available. These two issues are key.”

                  Thank god for archive.org… https://web.archive.org/web/20131017050205/https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos

                  Here’s how the TOS appeared until sometime in December 2014; 15 months after CIG hit $20 million.

                  “RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.”

                  In December 2014 when they changed “12 months” to “18 months” and added a few other “tweaks”.

                  https://web.archive.org/web/20150221120446/https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos

                  “RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date communicated to you on the Website. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date. ”

                  Here are the comparisons between what they said in the original TOS and the new TOS. Not surprizingly the new TOS is in their favor.

                  http://screencast.com/t/5Vx6KVke

                  In summary:
                  – “communicated to you on the Website” was added in the new TOS.
                  – “a firm promise and may be extended” was added in the new TOS. It used to simply say “delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI”.
                  – “unearned portion of the deposit” in the old is now “unearned portion of your Pledge” in the new. I guess they’re trying to semantically establish the “pledge” verbiage which protects them from legal issues.
                  – “failed to deliver the pledge items” in the old is now “failed to deliver the relevant pledge items”. I’m not exactly sure what they mean by relevant. Relevant to sky? Relevant to rain? Relevant to three pair of dice? Relevant to what? Derek might know.
                  – “within 12 months after the estimated delivery date” in the old is now “within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date”. Basically they arbitrarily tacked on another 6 months because reasons.

                  I would imagine any judge looking at this would be laughing at the stupidity of CIG to pull such a thing.

                13. Yes, it’s hilarious that they felt they could actually get away with it. But here’s the thing, as with all things like this, companies do get away with it until their are challenged in court or by the Feds.

                  Also, this is a new article about the Washington State attorney general going after another crowd-funding venture. Note the keywords there: “fraud”, “Consumer Protection Act”.

                  So yeah, this is something that not only the States, but also the Feds are starting to pay close attention to. Imagine the attention a $90m crowd-funded project is getting from them.

                14. No, they don’t send out notices for something like that.

                  And yes, whatever ToS is active at the time of your purchase/pledge, is what you are subject to. Note that most of the newer ToS indicate that they are subject to change at any time. Which means they do not have to notify you of any change.

                15. So t seems you had to accept the new TOS by starting DFM 1.0 (now AC):

                  https://forums.robertsspaceindustries.com/discussion/comment/4876445/#Comment_4876445

                  “Ya, you had to agree to the new TOS and EULA when DFM 1.0 was made public. You could have NOT signed the new documents which would’ve removed your access to the game until you reconsidered, but you’de still be bound by the old documents that clearly state you would get NO refund under any circumstances. So if you chose to play hardball and not sign the new TOS/EULA you would get nothing except our thanks for donating to make SC a better game.”

                  And it seems there were more than one change to the TOS: they explained the changes 01.2015 here at least:

                  https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/14473-RSI-Pledge-Store-Update

                  So after all there was a Front side post about changing the TOS and you had to accept the new TOS and EULA as you started DFM/AC 1.0.

                  A little bit messy but the information was there, at least for one TOS change. Why the hell so complicated?

                16. Marcel:

                  Yeah, that was the Feb 1st, 2015 change to the RSI that they made. It had to be done due to Euro VAT requirements. But they also decided to go ahead and sneak other changes in as well.

                  We have all the captures (the first one on web archive is from 08/13/13).

                17. Hello Mr. Smart, thank you for your answer. I have to say I understand where you coming from but I fear, that this whole TOS issue is a bit more complicated. I just copied the relevant parts out of the TOS versions, so that it is easier to discuss about it.

                  This is the first version of the TOS:
                  http://web.archive.org/web/20130813122132/https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos

                  It says nothing about the 12 or the 18 month delivery time and there is this part:
                  “You agree to check http://www.Robertsspaceindustries.com/terms periodically for new information and terms that govern your use of Cloud Imperium Services.”

                  The second one is this (date 29.Aug.2013):
                  http://web.archive.org/web/20140123100320/https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos

                  It has the 12 month part in it and much more, read it carefully:
                  “RSI agrees to use its good faith business efforts to deliver to you the pledge items and the Game on or before the estimated delivery date. However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a promise by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of the deposit shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the pledge items and/or the Game to you within 12 months after the estimated delivery date.
                  For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any deposit amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost as described above shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on its website to fully explain the use of the deposits for the Game Cost and the Pledge Item Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree to irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any deposit amount that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.”
                  And also the part of the V1.0 about the backer checking the page from time to time:
                  “You agree to check the Website periodically for new information and terms that govern your use of RSI Services. RSI may modify the RSI Terms at any time.”

                  This is the v.1.2 posted on February 1st 2015:
                  http://web.archive.org/web/20150221120446/https://robertsspaceindustries.com/tos

                  It has the change with the 18 month in it:
                  “…However, you acknowledge and agree that delivery as of such date is not a firm promise and may be extended by RSI since unforeseen events may extend the development and/or production time. Accordingly, you agree that any unearned portion of your Pledge shall not be refundable until and unless RSI has failed to deliver the relevant pledge items and/or the Game to you within eighteen (18) months after the estimated delivery date.”

                  So let’s now add another piece of important info and combine it with the TOS:
                  The kickstarter campaign only ran from 10.10. 2012 to 19.11.2012 and got round about 2.1 million dollars.
                  Version 1.0 was active until 29.Aug.2013
                  Version 1.1. issued 29.Aug.2013
                  Version 1.2. issued 1st Aug. 2015

                  So what we have here is something completely different from what I expected. Fact is, that backers who pledged before the 29.Aug.2013 are not included in the 12 or the 18 month TOS. So the rules of kickstarter apply. Which means that every delivery time is expandable if the project needs it. But by CIG’s TOS from 01.08.2015 they need to deliver 18 month after the November 2014.

                  The people who pledged between the 29. Aug. 2013 and the 01. Aug. 2015 would have the right to ask for refunds (but not all of the money, we come to that later) of their pledge money if they didn’t accept the 1.2 TOS.
                  I think most of the backers agreed to it anyway and we were informed through the webpage and by starting the game that the TOS has changed or that they can change the TOS without notifying us.

                  That leaves us all more or less with the 18 month delivery date after the 11.2014. What gives them plenty of time to deliver the game until 2016. At least in a state which can be called “playable”.
                  The main problem with your approach is – at least from my point of view – that the TOS you’re referring isn’t even applicable to the kickstarter backers. Their promise to deliver the product latest 12 month or 18 month after Nov 2014.

                  And the second part is, to put it simple: Even if they refund people (beside the case to case basis they are doing now) it would be just of the money what is left after the development and only in this special case, if they terminate the project without delivery they want to post an audited accounting on their website.
                  What is your opinion on this issue? As I see it we will have to wait until may, june 2016 anyway.

                  Regards
                  Marcel

                  P.S.: forgive me my bad English I am not a native speaker!

                18. Marcel:

                  So what we have here is something completely different from what I expected. Fact is, that backers who pledged before the 29.Aug.2013 are not included in the 12 or the 18 month TOS. So the rules of kickstarter apply. Which means that every delivery time is expandable if the project needs it. But by CIG’s TOS from 01.08.2015 they need to deliver 18 month after the November 2014.

                  You are wrong.

                  During the Kickstarter, you had to create an account on RSI forums in order to claim your rewards. So this means that if you pledged during the campaign (Oct 18, 2012 – Nov 19, 2012), you had to create an RSI account. Which is what all those reminders were about.

                  In doing so, if you were an original KS backer, you are subject to both the Kickstarter ToS and the RSI ToS. This is why when they canceled my account, they did so under both (1, 2)

                  If you never pledged on Kickstarter, then you are only subject to the RSI ToS that was active at the time you pledged. And you are also subject to any future changes to the RSI ToS going forward.

                  So anyone who pledged either on Kickstarter or RSI before ToS v1.2, is subject to the 12 month + accounting period.

                19. Hello Mr. Smart,
                  thank you for your answer. I am well aware that anyone who pledged during the kickstarter campaign had to sign both TOS. But neither the kickstarter TOS nor the info on Kickstarter regarding the project contains this 12 month clause.
                  The RSI TOS active during kickstarter was the v1.0. This version does not contain the 12 month clause either (see the archive link).
                  The first time this clause appears was the v1.1 and was active from 29.08.2013. on, the kickstarter campaign was long over.
                  I only try to understand how you are going to argue in the lawsuit. (Do you have already filed it, because you said so in your interstellar Breach blog? Something in the line with if they refuse your demands there will be a lawsuit filed imidietly ).

                  I also found that piece of info on the Star Citizen Kickstarter page:

                  “We are aiming for a AAA game experience. But depending on the funding levels reached, we may have to limit the experience for the initially released game version. Nonetheless, Chris Roberts and his teams have shown consistently that they are able to develop epic story-based games. Even with our very limited self-funding we have been able to do already a lot of work which is why we can show you not just concept art and a cinematic trailer, but an extensive demo of actual game play. So, we are confident that even with limited means we will be able to deliver an amazing experience.”

                  Did they added that later? Do you have the original Kickstarter page if it is so? They are clearly stating, that they aim for a AAA game here.

                  Regards

                  Marcel

                20. Marcel:

                  Maybe you didn’t understand my previous post, but I thought it was clear. The ToS is cumulative; and that’s why anyone who pledged on KS, is subject to ALL versions of the RSI version.

                  A “AAA game experience” is the not the same as making a AAA game. That part was always in the KS and it has no relevance to anything. It doesn’t matter what kind of experience they were going for, they promised to deliver it by Nov 2014.

                21. Wasn’t implying you were a White Knight backer. I wrote, “Despite the craziness of typical White Knight backers you present valid questions worth exploring.” I’m showing there is a clear separation between what “the typical White Knight backer” does and what you’re doing. My apologies for any misunderstandings.

                  Side note. All the companies I worked for had some form of legal council. The reason? They run a business and their business is always at risk for lawsuits. I believe that CIG has set assign money to handle legal issues. However whatever they set aside is probably small since Ortwin Freyermuth is a Founder, Vice Chairman and General Counsel of Roberts Space Industries. It befits me to believe that he will take on any legal issues as an employee and part-owner of the company. Being in such a position means CIG doesn’t have to pay him anymore than what his position salary requires which is what he gets whether he’s dealing with legal issues or not. So rest assure there are no worry about diverted funds to work on legal issues. However, Derek may require CIG pay his attorney fees if victorious.

                22. kxmode:

                  Yeah, that’s how it works. The prevailing party in any action, can ask for attorney fees.

                  As to Ortwin, he’s not a litigator. He an entertainment attorney. So, like any attorney, he can respond to legal queries, write letters, negotiate contracts etc. Once it comes to litigation, he won’t be representing the firm or any of the three named (Chris, Sandra, Ortwin) parties. And we already have an idea who the firm is that will represent them in any such action.

                  These things usually end up being David v Goliath, and it doesn’t matter how powerful or big the firm, the law is the law, and you win or lose based purely on the facts and evidence. e.g. this is one recent case involving a Bungie employee that was a similar David v Goliath issue; and David won.

                23. “But both of those later articles are only speaking of the Machinima and Erik Chevalier incidents. And I didn’t read anything there about the FTC saying you had a right to knowing where and how your money was being spent on all kickstarters.”

                  Anyone who break the law becomes accountable.

                24. Not saying they shouldn’t be held accountable, but both of those cases were very clear violations. I have yet to be presented with information that is as clear about what CIG has done, nor do I really expect them at this point since there is litigation about to happen it seems. So I am simply asking for as much clarification as possible.
      2. That’s true. But CIG doesn’t have shareholders. When you provide funding, it’s much like a pledge to NPR where they send you a mug or a T-shirt as a way of saying thanks. In the case of CIG, they provide virtual space ships as a ‘Thank You’. In the end, it’s still a private company. We’re not entitled to their spending records unless the project fails, and only then because it’s included in the ToS.
        1. CIG charges sales tax in California and Europe (VAT). This is because by law they’re required to do this for products. PBS charges a sales tax as well but only because they have pledge items in stock and ready to ship (i.e. books, dvds, music, shirts, etc). CIG is charging tax on an item that doesn’t even exist. Explain that.
          1. It exists as a concept. The term is “intellectual property” with the promise of that turning into “digital” property.
  22. I backed the project very early on in the kickstarter , only knowing that it sounded like the game i wanted to play. It`s now been year`s and there has been many delays as you would expect from a project with the scope and ambition this game has. At times ive lost faith in it, ive considered the possability that it has already collapsed under the weight of it`s own hype. Ive watched criss get fat off our money and thought like most of you, did we really pay 100mil for a demo? Will this just be the largest failed kickstarter? Id be lying if i said i didnt think it very possible, but hey, i thought that from the very begining, i was never happy that they used the crysis engine knowing too well its native limitations. Even so, i hope the game is completed, i dont like the idea of legal action being taken against the company, while they are still very activly working on the game, deadlines in a game of this scope were always only going to be guestimates, putting pressure on the team to finish could lead to a rushed pile of shit, No thankyou. Id rather wait and see what they actually end up doing and only then concider legal action. I dont believe based on their model that im entitled to their financial records, i dont feel they should reveal anything other than progress of the actual game. And speaking of that, i cant think of a another games company that releases as much on what`s going on within the development than this one, at times it feels like two much, ive thought they should just focus on the game rather spend the resources on All the blog`s about what texture this gun will have and what not, But on the other hand with the shear amount of backers involved it makes sense to keep people informed.
    This game is epic, either as a fail or as the Biggest Space Sim in history, I have chosen to hope for the best until proven otherwise. I dont believe Anyone should get there money back, because of delayed deadlines or because the game hasnt lived up to their expectations, there`s No way this game was ever going to please everyone. I think people that want refunds have already given up on the game, and people that demand financial reports of every cent spent are confusing themselves with a shareholder, we are backers, not shareholders. We will never get a cut of the profits, we might however get a game.
    People Ranted when GTAV was delayed for 3 months on the Pc, and People are ranting about StarCitersen from the very begining. There is an inherent risk using kickstarter, you can never know if your backed project will turn into vapor ware. Let`s hope this game will deliver, i dont see it slowing down, im actually impressed with what im seing, but it`s not the finished game so who knows.
    Starting a class action seems like a step in the wrong direction to me though, just way to early, and seems kinda greedy too, really? you think if your horse doesnt come in you deserve a refund? I backed kickstarter knowing i might lose my money, but beliving in the goel enough to take the risk, just my say
  23. Mr Smart,
    I bought into this game shortly after the kickstarter, and have (in hindsight foolishly) slowly expanded my pledge. However, I sincerely want this game to be developed in a responsible way, and from reading your blog posts it seems you do, or at least did, as well.

    The threat of legal action actively prevents that. If the relevant authorities find fraud insofar as “non-purposeful excessive delays due to feature creep, or the budgeting sense of a 12 year old”, it would cost both CIG and us American taxpayers money to come to that conclusion. Not to mention a severe blow to the “positive dependence” funding model you downright illuminated for me. I would not be interested in a refund, unless the game was to never come out.

    If they do find meaningful fraud, which you described as “misrepresentation of relationships of company executives, unjust enrichment, or never actually planning to release the game” I would be furious and want to participate in the class action lawsuit you and co are planning.

    My 2 questions are these. If they are willing to disclose their finances, and better yet their asset completion in accordance with what I thought would be open development, would you stop attacking, and allow them to get the game done? The offer you made to help pay for a forensic accountant was what totally changed my opinion of you, by the way.
    And secondly, could I sign up for your wethebackers email list without expressing a desire for an immediate refund?

    1. @ Andrew

      Yes, those valid concerns which you and others like you have expressed, are pretty much the reason why this blog exists. As I’ve said, I want to see the project succeed, not fail. And I don’t want to do anything which would see the collapse of this company or the demise of the project. Not to mention that a lot of stellar people working at these studios would be out of work again.

      The fact is that, as I’ve said before, asking for accountability is not wrong. It’s very easy to respond to if everything is on the up and up. And if they do respond, and things go sideways, that’s on them.

      Regardless of what I do, the dangers are still there. And that’s why, within the next thirty-days that they have to respond, I have to come to terms with whatever decision it is I make, depending on their response.

      To be fair, I am not attacking them. I simply don’t understand how a quest for accountability (finances, delivery date, refunds) ends up being described as such. 🙁

      And yes, the wethebackers email is NOT for processing refunds. It’s just so we have a list of people who are interested in getting a refund. Depending on how RSI/CIG responds to the demand letter sent, if it ends up that I file an injunction against them, and subsequently a class action lawsuit, those who responded to that email will join the others (almost 5K now) we already have. We will then send out notifications to everyone informing that if they want to be a part of the suit, that they need to give us their consent (via email, letter etc) to add their names to the class action. That is the ONLY way that ANYONE will be a part of that suit. We can’t just legally add someone’s name to a lawsuit without their consent.

  24. Hi Derek,

    Admittedly not your biggest fan, and I won’t be indulging many more of your posts, as I find it exhausting, but I just read this article:

    http://www.polygon.com/2012/11/14/3553620/the-redemption-of-derek-smart

    As a dad with a young son and daughter myself, and knowing that they see everything I do, and to some extent will be burdening my legacy in one way or another, this really struck a chord with me. You said:

    “Twenty years from now my daughter will be out of college and she’ll be reading all of this stuff and I don’t want her memories of her dad tainting her ability to progress in life,” he says. “I know I haven’t done anything bad, and have made mistakes, I’m only human … people who are old enough and smart enough to understand that we’re only humans and we all make mistakes will understand that.

    “I didn’t kill anybody, I didn’t steal from anybody, I just made a game that I wanted to make and I may have not succeeded in reaching other people’s expectations but I don’t really care, it wasn’t about them. It was about me and what I wanted.”

    I liked the sentiment in what you said (bar the last sentence or two), it humanized you a lot and showed a positive, laudable and compassionate side to Derek. You seemed, dare I say it, humble.

    But, my question to you is, given what you said above, and on Star Citizen, being someone who is now PERCEIVED by many, many people, plus now those who hadn’t even heard of you before, of being vindictive, petulant, jealous, bitter, vengeful, misguided and unprofessional (note “perceived” in caps – this isn’t an attack, but you know the perception to be true), how conducive do you think this saga will be, win or lose, to you improving the legacy you will leave behind for your children?

    Regards,

    Stephen

    1. I don’t know Stephen; I tend not to care or worry about what people think of me. I know who I am, and that’s all that matters.

      I don’t think that if I joined the Peace Corps, Greenpeace or any other such organization and start fighting for what I think is right, that it’s going to reflect on anything other than what I believe to be right.

      This is the problem and Von said it best in his eloquent (albeit cringe-worthy) missive, so I’m just going to quote it.

      You, and your ilk, seem to be suffering from an all-too-common problem of our modern age: The inability to separate an opinion of character from a person’s actions or credentials.

  25. The irony is that we know from the Developers themselves (leaking information to certain organizations) that the game is actually over 80% complete.. Its mostly just touching things up/bug hunting atm..

    The DEV build is WAY ahead of the PTU from what we know from the developers themselves as well as from the asset leak that happened a few months ago.

    Please don’t pester them with this lawsuit.. I’m a developer myself, and I’ve worked with 3D Game engines before.. and I know a game that is nearing completion when I see one, and StarCitizen is nearing completion!

    Please don’t waste the 1.2million USD they raised on gamescom week with your frivolous lawsuit. It’ll get done.. We’re nearly there already.. Almost all the important stuff from a developers perspective is already done(even from what I can see in the PTU).

    The figures ($150m) that you are quoting don’t apply to veteran game developers efforts. I am willing to bet that Chris Roberts has CIG running like a fine tuned machine right now..

    Also the reason other studios need to spend more is because they have to listen to the publisher’s garbage demands(which usually eat up a lot of money).

    1. That’s just adorably hilarious. Oh right, they “leaked” to organizations that the game is somehow over 80% (!!!!) complete (even after never – ever – releasing a single milestone on time) but not to the backers who gave them over $88m.

      Right.

    2. Hey Amir, since You state You Are a dev yourself, You might have heard about the 80/20 rule?!
      Just a reminder for those unfamiliar with it – the remaining 20% require 80% of The work.
      D’oh!
      (if the devs came to me 9 months *after* the scheduled release telling me they are some 80% complete – you might hear me scream…)
  26. Was there feature creep? Yes. But it was well communicated by Chris Roberts via published stretch goals. Those stretch goals stopped at 65 million approximately.

    From what I understand those who backed early on can get their money back if they so choose.

    What you are forgetting is that this is a crowd funded venture and the fully informed crowd is still funding of their own free will.

    We are still choosing to develop this game. I really don’t see anything wrong here.

  27. I find this entire situation very akward. So I follow my policy to listen to both sides of the argument, even if I am a supporter of one side, to give ground for a fair, fact-based discussion.

    I do know however that even if you agree on the facts, you can still disagree on their interpretation. All the delays, miscommunications, LTI, etc DID happen. You have to be a fool to deny that. The hangar module was released, AC was released, social module will be released shortly. These are also facts. Everything can be read or watched in public resources.

    You can interpret these delays in various ways but the most significant are these:

    * sign of failure, misplanning, etc. (your stance, as far as I understand you)
    * expression of ambitious project, nothing to worry about

    The second interpretation makes no sense at first. Why would you consider it as anything else but failure? If it were some EA studio (even leaving aside the reputation), they could not do this. Either the product is released in an unfinished state (dozens of examples for that) or cancelled. So why does it work different with Star Citizen? I guess this is the question you ask yourself a lot (and many others).

    You probably ask yourself why Star Citizen just doesn’t work by the experienced rules that apply elsewhere in the gaming market.

    Here’s the thing: The development process is the key. CIG is mostly open about the development (very extensive monthly reports, weekly web shows, etc.). OK, now comes the question why they haven’t been open about X or Y from the beginning. Well that were mistakes and in most cases they recognized it as such. They founded a complete new company in 2012. The prototype was being worked on a year in but for the scope and the ambition that CR always wanted to do (various sources – just dig through all his public interviews), he had to start from scratch after the campaign to build a solid foundation.

    So they had to build up a company while at the same time building a game. Does this complicate things? Hell, yes. Is the scope bigger than originally (Kickstarter + original campaign on RSI website) pitched for? Depends. It is certainly bigger on release than the original beta release would have been. But the SC in development right now was always the goal. The over the top funding allowed CR to move features forward into the initial release. Will this initial release be later than the Dec 2014 date? Yes, of course – it already is. But it will also contain far more features.

    Now the central point of argument is how you interpret SC. I see SC as a life long project which will have a first public release (call it v1.0). Part of this interpretation is that the KS was not the end but the beginning of the journey. So I am perfectly fine with CIG changing their opinion and maybe do something that collides with public interviews in 2012. The entire thing was for me Subject to Change. In that sense they applied the iterative approach not only for the development itself but also for the communication. Therefore newer statements update older ones.

    If you (as in any person) backed the original KS and didn’t follow along and you returned late 2014, then you can get a wrong picture of the project. That is – in my opinion – the core problem of SC. They pump out so much information that you get a wrong or incomplete picture of you don’t follow the project on a daily or weekly basis. As I do follow them on a daily basis, I can say that they lack another thing: One central place for information. A lot of – sometimes valuable – information is spread across several channels (web shows, comm-links, forum posts, chat, social media, press interviews). If you don’t read all or most of this information, you miss out and start to come to conclusions that might be wrong.

    The other way of seeing SC is as a finished product. In that case the KS would define the definitive scope with a fixed budget. In that case a hard release date is feasible and delays (6 months+ as of now regarding the Dec 2014 “release” date) could be seen as a sign of failure or collaps. I guess you view at it from that perspective.

    To summarize it all: It all comes down to having faith or not. The facts themselves can speak the language of mismanagement and possibly failure but the facts combined with the passion of the team and the belief to overcome obstacles together, draw another picture. I can’t force you to change your opinion and I understand if you are no longer convinced of SC, but in the interest of all those backers who do want this project to succeed, I urge you to not do anything that might damage the ability of CIG to deliver the game.

  28. So I’m going to do another top post because apparently the first one got buried.

    Some idiots are passing around this image in attempt to insinuate that Line Of Defense is in the same non-delivery state as Star Citizen.

    Which prompted me to create a nice – factual – post for them.

    You’re welcome.

    ps: Ignoring the message, while seeking to attack and disparage the messenger, never works. As in never. m’kay?

  29. The main problem I see is that the development of the current scope of the game is completely dependent upon ongoing pledging.

    When Chris Roberts said that development is driven in accordance with the status of month to month pledging it clearly means (to me) that development is not organised within the framework of an actual fixed budget but more in accordance with the hope that the money raised through ship/fitting sales continues. If this wasn’t the case then when all the stretch goals were met then the game ought to have been managed in accordance with a fixed budget (because the money was already in, the scope is meant to have been paid for), not within the framework of ongoing pledging..

    Thus the success of the entire operation is purely in the realm of “hopeful confidence” and this appears to me to be like a head in the sand approach. If delays, issues and the postponing of various aspects of the game continue then the confidence factor may collapse leading to the collapse of the entire project.

    Chris Roberts and those who follow his every word appear to be of a mindset of not wanting to consider anything negative because if the hype bubble was to pop it would be a complete disaster.

    Within this delicate framework of “positive dependence” there is simply no real way that someone like Chris Roberts could possibly be honest about any serious issues that arise lest he sow seeds which undermine “remaining positive.”

    They need people to keep paying for virtual goods and people won’t do that if there are serious concerns about the project.

    1. Chris Roberts has all the money he needs for development at 65 million. They made a mistake with illfonic, but they are not renewing their contract and bringing things back in house.

      You are right about backers not wanting to consider anything negative….because we want to see the game become a reality. No room for negative Nancy’s 😉

  30. Let’s hypothesize: If you get want you want; an FTC agreement to have the FBI do an assessment on the financial situation of RSI and its subsidiaries, there will only be three possible outcomes:

    1.) They find that finances have been misused and that there is reason to dismantle the company and issue full returns based on known listings of all backer’s addresses. Any that can’t be refunded due to being spent into 3rd parties would have to be left to dry. (I would imagine the best course of action here would be to refund all backers based on a ratio of amount donated vs amount left)

    2.) They find finances have been misused, but not to a point in which things are unsalvageable, in which case a plan must be given to the FTC in accordance with guidelines as to how the company with attempt to recoup losses and make the product available.

    3.) They find little evidence of financial corruption and they allow RSI to continue doing what it’s been doing.

    The first two I would imagine are something that you are looking to find and if found, would definitely be something that I feel I would actually be surprised about.

    The third is something I feel is far more likely the case, as I have found nothing conclusive to show me otherwise. Although maybe my point of view is different than yours.

    So let’s say 1 or 2 happen: If the first happens, then we never get a game. Chris Roberts would most likely attempt to create a modding toolkit using current assets and would allow free use by the gaming community. That would be it.

    Second happens, the game will be created with severe cuts. Features will not be complete and deadlines will probably still not get met 100% on time, but we shouldn’t deal in ‘probabilities’ right? The scope of the game would of course be smaller than what is currently planned since a ‘tangible’ deadline will have to be met per guidelines. (This would in essence be like the FTC becoming a Publisher for SC, which is what Chris Roberts was specifically trying to avoid.) This would also be the most likely case in which your proposed ‘Kickstarter refunds’ would come into play.

    Third, we get a game. Regardless of what state or how polished/finished the game is, it would come out in some state, eventually; there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.

    I am not currently aware, as I have not seen any postings by you on the matter, of how much you pay attention to the videos that RSI releases. Majority of what you post in regards to their videos seem to only be in direct relation to things that support your idea, (i.e. anything that mentions hard dates that haven’t been met, although I believe even on your own games, specifically Line of Defense, you have a disclaimer that there will most likely be delays on the game.)

    Now, the argument that the game, as advertised during the 2012 kickstarter campaign, was in a much smaller scope compared to what is now being advertised is very true. However, it is also very true that it is a common practice, even on kickstarter campaigns, that products that have far exceeded the ‘required’ monetary funding have increased the scope of what they planned for their final products. In many cases having to push their deadlines back, and have still been very successful.

    The FTC case you linked, was an extremely clear cut case. The project never delivered and never gave updates after a 14 month period. The 14 months before action was taken is quite slow. I would definitely expect that if people were wanting such action taken, they would want it done much quicker. This is why I believe you’re beating on the door so vehemently. To try and get the process out the door quicker.

    I would hope that with this post, I’ll have shown that I’m quite unbiased in terms of the views of both parties. Having backed the game with the same amount of money that you originally backed with (although if your word is to be believed then I have far more to lose than one such as yourself as I am not as financially secure as you claim to be) I have found zero reason to regret my pledge.

    This is not me stating that Star Citizen will be a great game. What I have seen shows towards a game that I would enjoy playing, but the game is not a game I would enjoy playing as it currently is.

    I’m sure you’re very aware of this kind of sentiment yourself Mr. Smart. I believe this same sentiment can be found in your early access games.

    However, I have backed many projects, and I will say this: Every project I have backed that has been very vocal and passionate with it’s community, been very open and upfront with game development have all become games I enjoy playing. Star Citizen is not only following that trend, but very much evolving that trend to going past just forum posts and development blogs.

    The development still falls within the ‘guidelines’ (I don’t think the FTC has actual set guidelines for Crowdfunding specifically, more of a standard practice thing) set by the FTC for crowdfunded projects. The only point that could possibly be argued is that because the scope of the game has increased, you could semanticize that it has become an entirely new project. But that’s all it is, semantics.

    People have shown they want a bigger game. I pledged my money for a space sim, people kept giving them money and they decided to make a bigger game because of it. Feels like it’s just making the money I spent on the game go just that much farther. It might turn out crappy, or it might turn out great. Either way, it’s going to be a giant turd or a huge success. But pretty sure it’ll be big either way.

    Anyways, tl;dr: Stuff.

    1. Yeah, it was TL;DR but I like reading lengthy missives as much as I love writing them. 🙂

      You made some fabulous and unbiased points, to the extent that I am hesitant to even comment on any points as that would make light of what you’ve written.

      So I’m just going to say that I too don’t believe that they went into this with the intent to commit fraud. I have made this clear in all my blogs. It’s just that sometimes, inadvertently, people tend to break the law, go against guidelines etc and only come to realize it when they get caught. In the case of RSI, due to promises made, then broken – repeatedly – I believe that it is more about consumer fraud, than it is about fraud in toto.

      1. Dude people make promises all the time. Sometimes you deliver…sometimes you miss (especially in software development).

        One thing I do know…despite all the mistakes….despite all of the “broken promises”…..we are still funding the game. You aren’t really telling us anything we don’t know.

        I donated an amount of money that I am perfectly happy losing. That is what crowd funding is all about. This isn’t an SEC investment…..its just a bunch of people that gave some money to try and make a game. Maybe it will get made and maybe it won’t….but we still want to try to make it.

      2. I think you are back peddling a little. Crowd funding is donations. 900,000 people thought it would be cool to donate some money to try and make a great game.

        I went into this fully understanding and accepting that the game might never get made. I accept the risks.

        All you are doing is increasing the chances of the game not being made.

        If the game implodes….by all means go nuts….continue your little war against CR and the evil RSI powers of doom. But in the meantime…can you just chill out and give the game a chance to legitimately fail instead of you attempting to derail it?

        You probably won’t post any of my comments but maybe you will at least read this one.

        1. Not sure where the backpedaling is.

          Also, no, you people need to STOP posting this nonsense about 900K+ backers. That’s wrong. Those are accounts, which include forum accounts. So even if someone opens an account, but doesn’t buy anything, they are factored into that count. Last time we checked, backers were about 700K and have generated this amount of money.

          And no, this is not about any one person, or a single group of people. If you are happy with your investment, fine. Nobody is faulting you for that. But the same right you think you have to say you’re happy, is the same right that others have to say they are not.

          For my part, if calling for accountability leads to a company or project failing, that means they were doing something wrong or illegal. That being the case, it’s on them – and nobody else.

  31. Decided to start a new post at the top. To date Star Citizen is the only game I have pumped substantial sums of money into. The next closest was the Elite Dangerous project which I initially pledged 80 pounds and then upgraded by another 150 pounds. The majority of my 30 or so Kickstarter pledges were in the $50 to $80 USD mark.

    I will admit I have suffered collectors syndrome in Star Citizen. Every time they release a cool new ship design my ship envy nerve fires up and somehow my hand moves the mouse pointer to the pledge button. There is a definite air of addiction surrounding it all. Many of us are patiently waiting for the full game but we still want something substantial and playable. No amount of flashy ships, glitzy sales catalogs, and shiny promotion videos will change that. By his own admission Chris Roberts has a lot to deliver to some exceedingly high expectations.

    He’s given us the dream, he wants it, we want it, the shared experience of inhabiting a universe with friends and enemies with a very visceral you are there gameplay. He better damn well deliver.

  32. I know the chances of this legal action are slim. Since CIG has issued refunds there it is at least possible to get your money back. And the chances are even slimmer before the game is pretty pretty much feature complete and in the hands of the backers. But let’s for a minute assume that tomorrow the FTC says crowd funded projects have to have open financials and anyone who backed can at a moments notice get a refund.

    I’m thinking this would be detrimental to those using crowd funds to develop projects. They plan and rally around the pledge amount. If that’s fluctuating around and in particular if there’s a significant drop then likely that project will have to either change scope, which leads to even more people getting refunds because it’s no longer what they pledged for or they have to cancel the project and backers loose their money.

    Regardless I can see no real winners in any of this.

    1. There were never backer winners to begin with; and I’ve said so. The only winners, regardless of this ends, are the RSI executives who would have benefited via unjust enrichment from this money raised.

      1. Well, or if it turns out that all this talk about the greedy Chris Roberts and his sinking ship actually was wrong, and the people like me who pledged for a idea they though was awesome gets a really good game. Then a plausible end of this would be that we are the winners?
        So I just sincerely hope you pull the law suit, it would be sad to see our hard earned money get drained on that. Because it will cost us a lot of money, even if CIG aren’t guilty of fraud..
      1. Well, a limited number of Glaives were sold during GC2015 at $350 each. They sold about 1000 of them. It is reported that some people who put in hold orders, never followed through with the purchase.

        It’s like you have 1000 cars at the dealership, you sell 800, and 200 people reserve it – then didn’t pay. So now you are stuck with 200 cars.

        Now, pretty much the same thing they did with limited time only LTI, they are now going to sell the Glaives to everyone, under the guise that some people didn’t pay for their reservations. Which is just about raising money by any means necessary, promises and exclusives be damned.

        Now, on the face of it, some would compare this to limited edition game sets. Well think about this. If Bethesda created 1000 limited edition Fallout 4 Pipboys, they are collectors items. Well, guess what, if they then go and create more, while not illegal in and of itself, that speaks to greed and a money grab.

        1. So are they just opening up the selling entirely ? Or are they selling off the remaining 200?

          I mean selling off the remaining 200 would be kinda ok right? Still exclusive but just open to everyone util they’re gone.

          1. They claim that they are selling off the rest, but since I don’t trust them – at all – I just assume that they’re just selling more of them, as opposed to what’s left of that batch.

            I mean, these aren’t even tangible goods; they’re digital. So it’s not like they’re sitting in a warehouse somewhere. Yes – it’s ridonculous. 🙂

              1. I’m sorry but why is it “fishy” when a company sees there is a demand for something (either physical or digital) that they have allocated for and supplies it to consumers? Sorry that just sounds like business to me.
                1. Because the words “exclusive”, “limited time only”, “special” should mean something. And it speaks directly to HONESTY.

        2. I think you are pulling this out of context. It was a freaken contest man….they wanted to have a contest to generate some interest and have some fun.

          Sure they used a limited edition glaive to do it…but the 350 dollar price tag gives it value. If some moneybags somewhere wants to donate 350 dollars to make the game better for me….I’m fine with it.

        3. Using your example, if a company sets aside 1000 limited edition “something” and not all of them get purchased by a subset of members, they would in fact open it up and sell the remaining set to the public. They aren’t creating more they are selling what remains.
          1. Yes, I gathered that. But your example is flawed. These are digital goods, not physical. So there is nothing to “set aside” because it didn’t sell.

    1. It’s hardly a money grab when a great deal of effort went and will go into creating the ship. Besides, it’s how CIG funds the game’s development and you knew that as an original backer. There are no angels.

      CIG is not using any marketing tactics that aren’t inflicted upon consumers on a daily basis. Your Steam LoD advertisement uses some of the same tactics as well. TAK levels 1 through 4 comes to mind. Don’t miss out on the uber equipment. $60 bucks for an early access alpha with special treatment? Builds within 4 days? A laundry list of bugs and performance issues? That’s called normal game development. CIG is not stating any module is a release candidate.

      Your arguments appear to be becoming more personal than professional. With your expertise, I would have thought the whistle would have been blown long ago, yet you waited until $85M+ and many more backers to say anything. You’re now positioning yourself as some kind of savior when you should have know, probably around the $20M mark, that things were allegedly not going right. You stayed silent.

      Roberts has more resources than you could’ve dreamed of during your attempt to create essentially the same project. It is enough? We shall see. The certainties are you couldn’t do it with fewer resources and you’re not Roberts. It doesn’t mean your opinion or issues are not worthy of consideration. It does mean your opinion is not the end all be all.

      1. Like most, you are – conveniently – missing the POINT.

        The game was already fully funded. Currently to the tune of $88m. And yet, after almost four years, they still do NOT have ANYTHING resembling a finished GAME.

        The social/planetside module, which was due out since Q1/15, was supposed to be FINISHED and RELEASED this month. But with some issues; which I can fully understand.

        What they have released (yes, I’ve seen it because I have lots of friends with accounts) thus far, is an empty shell of a level. A level you can walk around, explore, fall into the world etc. There is NOTHING there.

        Aside from that, this is apparently 1 out of 100 that they have to build. Let me repeat that. 1 out of 100. It is now Aug 2015. And for a module that was supposed to be out in Q1/15, and with the first one NOT FINISHED and in this horrid state, how EXACTLY are they going to finish another 99 between now and end of 2016, release it for testing, go final etc?

        Go ahead, please explain this to me. I’ll wait.

        ps: having resources doesn’t lead to a good product. why else do you think so many triple-A games FAIL!?!?

        1. Empty shell of a level, walk around, explore, fall into the world, nothing there…

          Sounds a lot like the current state of Line of Defense!

          1. hey!! but we fixed ours and it wasn’t so much about the level, but rather about the server spawning someone into an incorrect scene which results in an invalid location

            1. Derek, don’t fall for the deflection and straw man arguments. We all (at least the rational ones) know Star Citizen will implode as the biggest PC Game Development Supernova in history.
        2. Specifically, what features are missing from the current line of expanded development as compared to the original crowdfunding and Kickstarter description? I wouldn’t have a problem with CIG refunding $2.1M to all original backers and annihilating their accounts and assets, including items sold in the gray market, if there is widespread unhappiness due to features being added on top of what was promised.

          CIG has not stated the game is finished. There is no retail version. They have been clear SC is in development and have asked players to test the modules. They have released fixes which are subject to the complexities of development. They have not stated the modules are polished. They have described their modular approach in order to overcome technical obstacles. You alpha access pitch on Steam has many parallels with SC’s development. Do you have proof Chris Roberts has stated Star Citizen is complete? Do you have proof Chris Roberts has stated any module is the final version?

          The glitches described have been encountered in retail products. Did you file a bug report? That’s what CIG wants users to do.

          My understanding from CIG’s description is planets are content that utilize the modules. There aren’t many modules, but there is a great deal of content, art mostly, to be made. Still, your argument appears to be one of impatience with the added scope of the game, rather than missed deadlines which I’m sure you have experienced in your own endeavors.

          ps: that’s my understanding as well

        3. I thought you said you were a game developer? Did it ever occur to you that they might have most of these 100 already built out?
          1. No, that never occurred to me. At all.

            Give me a break. They have 800 (I thought it was 100) to do. I am sure they’ve done some of them. My post was clear when I asked where are they going to be able to release and test all of them before the end 2016. And if this first one is in such a shoddy manner, how that does bode well for the others yet to be released?

            Level work is not just a matter of building and just releasing it. But what do I know, right?

    2. Its not a money grab. The originally published that 3000 glaives were going to be given away to people who beat Vanduul Swarm.

      They didn’t get the 3000 claims, so they took the remainder and made them publicly available.

      Anyways, not really evidence of a “money grab.”

  33. I would Like to tell you i am playing your game now… and i am alone in a MMO
    I like the music.
  34. If you’re so eager to make CIG completely transparent, then how come you haven’t done the same with 3000ad? How come I can’t access your accounts? How come I can’t see where 3000ad is spending their money?

    Star Citizen has regular interviews with it’s developers. They attend conventions and interact with fans on a daily basis. How come you and the developers of Line of Defense haven’t done the same? You’re asking CIG to allow for refunds, yet you only started doing the same for Line of Defense after Steam forced you to when their policy changed.

    Isn’t it a little hypocritical to make these demands of CIG, when you and your company have failed to do the same? Why are you holding CIG to a higher standard than yourself? What happened to “don’t be surprised if we don’t uphold them”? Why is it okay if you don’t uphold the standards people set for you, but not okay if CIG doesn’t uphold the standards you set for them?

    1. Comparing a privately held and funded company, to a crowd-funded one which has to account to the public and the Feds (FTC) that funded it, is akin to sticking your finger in a sink garbage disposal unit, then flipping the switch to see if it still works.

      That sort of stupidity is the type bred in a lab, then some hapless scientist takes it home by mistake. Then the test tube breaks.

  35. I am curious how can Star citizen often being compared to a pyramid scheme, because form what I knew, a pyramid scheme is like you sell something to a bunch people, and they sell those to other bunch people. The further down the line the less they make. I just don’t see how Star citizen involve second hand trade, maybe a different model would fit it better?

    BTW, I think with all the concept ships they keep pushing out. They are going to run into balance nightmare if the game ever get released. Especially when they clam its not P2W, if they are not going to give expansive ships unfair advantage, they will have to fiddle with game design and deal with many complex issues to justify such price and maintain the clam of not being P2W.

    Usually you do not get much fancy gears in the beginning of MMO, those stuff should be gradually introduced into the system. In case of SC, they put out the chess pieces first before the completion of rule book, this is going to be a huge R&D mess, sense they have to think about a roll for everyone of those ships while working on the frame work that utilize roles, while considering balance and justify the user’s investment. Now put those on top of a unproven new concept that is so complex and so ambitious, the problem just become unsolvable.

    The more concept ship they sell the more problem they create later on, and Im sure the short profit is far from enough to solve the problem it created.

    1. The PU is already gearing up to be a P2W game. No question about that. As to the balancing issue? Yeah, pure nightmare coming.

      Here is what I said about this in one of my blogs


      And with that in mind, most of us are still having a hard time trying not to compare all of this to an elaborate Ponzi/Pyramid hybrid scheme. Here is an excerpt from Investopedia:

      A Ponzi scheme is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers. One difference between the two schemes is that the Ponzi mastermind gathers all relevant funds from new investors and then distributes them. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, allow each investor to directly benefit depending on how many new investors are recruited. In this case, the person on the top of the pyramid does not at any point have access to all the money in the system.

    2. They sold LTI as an exclusive early backer bonus, but have since demonstrated that they are going to be re-releasing it on every ship ever sold. The P2W arguement is spurious, as CIG is actually devaluing LTI to the point of invalidity, opening them up to yet another false advertising suit.

      I am not sure why Derek did not file for that, as it would be easily as winnable and guarantee refunds for all those signing on (not just KS backers), as well as opening up their books to scrutiny. But some level of transparency would be welcome at this stage.

  36. So I received word that 1.2 has been released to the PTU.

    Here is the disclaimer

    “lacking major features that we will be deploying in the coming weeks”

    It looks like they released this in order to meet that “Social Module” end of August deadline. Even if it’s half-assed. You know, like AC 1.0 all over again.

    Social Module/Planetside (end of Aug), Star Marine (end of Sept), AC 2.0/Multi-Crew (end of Oct)

    So no, they didn’t meet the deadline, since it’s not finished. And if this is the “Social / Planetside” module they promised “end of August”, since “Star Marine” isn’t finished, this means it’s probably using the pre-existing older fps animations etc.

    As much as I’d like to say that I was right, this completely bothers me that I am. Here is what I said in the blog:

    “As far as this project is concerned, from my observation and experience, it is my opinion that if they ever ship a completed Star Citizen game, that is true to the “vision” they have been selling, it will be a game that could have been made in four years for $20m. Instead, with all this resource waste due to bad project management, scope creep, wasteful and improper spending etc, they would have blown through $86m+ and with zero accounting for where the money went. But hey, they shipped something, right? But since I don’t believe that the game – as pitched – will ever see the light of day, backers are going lose, no matter how this ends.

    Here is the crucial problem with this. The minute they deliver a “game” that fits the framework they have described, regardless of how buggy or incomplete it is, the legal hurdle of accountability becomes harder to get over. For example. You pay me $100 to build you a quality box. Then through delays you start getting irate, forcing me to deliver or face legal consequences. The end result is that I’m going to build you a flimsy box for $10. Now you have a box. I get to keep $90. You now have to decide whether or not it’s worth coming after me for building you a cheap flimsy box. How many times haven’t you ordered something online, received it, then had to return it because the quality or operation was not as expected? That’s what we’re facing here if we don’t push for accountability. Except in this regard, you won’t be able to return it; nor will you be able to get a refund. Unless there is fraud and/or criminal conduct uncovered, they will get away with it; walking away with millions of dollars either through unjust enrichment, or spent foolishly in order to keep up appearances.”

    1. I believe CIG are on record, during the original social module announcement at gamescom2015, as saying this would be a barbies release and lacking major features such as working shops, npc AI and a bunch of other stuff. So it’s not like they’ve under delivered here.

      Also you might find it interesting to read through Tony Zurovec’ Q&A over on reddit. He outlines what plans they have for social module as development moves forward.

      Regards

      1. Yes, that is true; and I never expected any of those things in this first release. However, in the July 20 10forC, that’s when he made the statement about the deliveries and he didn’t add any qualifiers to them as far as I can recall.

        And yeah, I have read through Tony’s stuff. Remember, I have never – ever – said anything negative about the devs over there. I’ve only been up against CR since he is head of the project, and the one responsible for the “vision” that he’s trying to get these guys to build, even though several of them have time him time and time again that most of the ideas he is wanting, simply can’t be done.

        1. “even though several of them have time him time and time again that most of the ideas he is wanting, simply can’t be done.”

          Can you substantiate this?

    2. So basically, for a module that was due out in Q1/15, and which is now over six months late, what they’ve released is basically a PC version of Playstation Home

      I don’t even know anymore. So I’m just going to start making shit up; this way at least I will be wrong, thus leveling the playing field a bit. Being right is too much work.

  37. Mr. Derek Smart.

    I only want to inform you that PTU of social module v0 just went online 3 hours ago for the first 1000 backers.

    I really don´t understand why is there so much “hate” involved here?

    Can we not make love and fly spaceships?

    1. They promised that it would be out by end of August. It’s already many months late, regardless. And the fact that they’re stagger releasing it via the PTU, means that it’s still not ready for wide release. 🙂

      1. Actually that’s how every release has happened. It’s launched through the PTU, then after a short time released to the masses. It’s how they’ve done every release. And it’s still not actually the end of August, so let’s withhold judgement until the month is actually over.
        1. I don’t need to wait to judge what was already shown and we already know that is coming.
          After 3.5 years of development they are going to deliver 1 of 100+ planet-side handcrafted area, actually far to be completed, with terrible animations and with these great “advanced” and “innovative” features:

          – Dance;
          – Walk around;
          – Talk through a lame chat tool with a few other weird clones of your avatar.

          That, and all other things considered? I have enough to judge and to make bad predictions considering the realities of the market and their own attitude along this entire project..

          And for games like Elite, LoD or so many others, they claim that “it lacks content” or that “they are not ambitious”. Ok. They can’t look to the mirror.
          For the budget/time/team size, these teams delivered incredible content, technology and meaningful features. For the CIG team size/time/budget, its an absolute shame.

          Whatever… let’s dance?

          1. Ok I was simply talking about judgement for the release or delay of the social module. But man you ride that high horse and vent. You are entitled to your opinion on this game.
            Although from what i’ve been reading no one is actually sure how long ED was in development before the kickstarter and again, no offense intended here Mr. Smart, but what exactly does LOD have to show right now this second? It has grand ambition and i’m very hopeful for it’s future but right now, judging by the videos of gameplay I can find it’s not in much of a better state.
            1. Line of Defense doesn’t have to be in a better state, because the whole topic is about the biggest crowd-funded game so far (is this true?), which happens to be Star Citizen, not any other game.
              Maybe Line of Defense is crap. I don’t know, some say it is. But that is not the issue here. It is pure distraction from the topic whenever someone mentions Line of Defense, Battlecruiser or what else.
              Talking about Star Citizen, I gave money for a game that was a lot simpler, smaller, easier to manage – and earlier. Because I liked Wing Commander and Privateer and wished for a worthy successor.
              No way could I know in 2012 that it would become such a bloatware. I would have saved that money for sure.
              So even if Line of Defense is a bad game – which I really don’t know –, I don’t care much. And you shouldn’t either, because you haven’t paid for it either, have you?
            2. Elite: Dangerous only existed as a skunk-works project prior to the Kickstarter. They were actually criticized for not having enough to show during the early stages of the Kickstarter campaign whereby Star Citizen had a flashy CGI video from their pre-Kickstarter development on day one of their campaign.

              Although Frontier hadn’t really been working on the game in any meaningful manner they did have a couple of advantages over CIG:

              1. They had a fully established studio ready to start work within days of the Kickstarter campaign coming to an end.

              2. They had their own propriety engine (Cobra) which they have been building for the last 20+ years.

              People may criticize Elite: Dangerous for it’s current lack of content but with the exception of offline mode, what we have now is essentially what was promised in their Kickstarter campaign so they at least fulfilled their initial promise.

              This is something CIG has not yet done, instead electing to add a lot of feature creep in order to keep selling ships. This is why many people believe they’ll never be able to deliver their current vision of the game by the end of next year.

              1. Absolutely. Which is why I even mentioned ED in my Interstellar Citizens blog. They delivered as promised, and most of us are quite happy with the results. They even did no-questions-asked refunds for people who were unhappy about the loss of off-line mode. See how quickly that noise died down.

      1. Public Test Universe. It’s an internal test server that only certain backers have access to. Apparently they have released something last night to it and people are wondering if it’s the much delayed social module or whatever. There were one or two threads closed on the forums because they don’t want people releasing any information about it before it is widely released.

        From what I’m hearing, a lot of people are going to be so disappointed.

  38. I’ve noticed some oversimplification of the issues in die-hard defenders, who seem to think this project has to fall into one of two categories:

    1) This is a scam
    2) This is not a scam, and Chris intends to deliver

    That, to me, misses the point. I don’t really think that this is an elaborate scam of some kind; it’s an issue of an overzealous, starry-eyed developer being in way, way, over his head and being so caught up in the vision in his mind that he’s failing to see the forest for the trees.

    And he’s managed to plant that same vision in the minds of all his backers. He sold them an idea, and not a product. Like Derek, I would also love to see these ideas come to fruition, and for us all to experience the “Holy Grail”, as it were, of a fully-realized first person space “‘everything.” I’m all for this project’s success in every way, but wanting something, and believing it can actually be accomplished, are two different things.

    The obstacles his company has to overcome to make this game exist, even if they had infinite funding, are absolutely tremendous. The technical limitations alone are staggering, and fully outlined in numerous technical blogs weighing in on the topic (one of which is available on this blog, and does a better job than I could of explaining the underpinnings).

    So the people crying “scam”, “pyramid scheme”, etc. I feel are missing the point. The question is, can this project, funding aside, actually succeed at all?

    I see two ways this can end:

    1) The project collapses under its own weight, like so many others of its ilk. At some point the financial burn rate will catch up to the decline in funding, and at that very moment, they’re either ready to ship, or they go down in flames – all money for the backers so much dust in the wind, and all the developers looking for other work.

    2) The project is released, in an entirely different form than was promised. Heavy instancing, smaller space areas, fewer players at once, features trimmed left and right as the dream vision is cannibalized, piece by piece, by the realities of the inherent limitations of the format. Die-hard backers will point to this as a “success” and “proof it wasn’t a fraud” (again, missing the point) – more casual backers will shrug, be glad they have anything to play at all, and move on with their lives. The game might even be good, possibly great – but failing to deliver the full vision. This is what I currently believe will be the outcome.

    Do I believe that a game might someday be released that fulfills the vision that Star Citizen set out to achieve? Yes. But I do not believe that Chris Roberts, or Star Citizen, will be the game which delivers that vision.

    1. I agree with you 100%. As I’ve said before in my blogs, I do not believe that CR went into this with the intent to scam anyone.

      That was a well written, fair and unbiased overview.

      To add to that, I want to say that I share (as I’ve said in my blogs and comments) your item #2 thoughts on how it will end. I think even the die-hard White Knights are expecting this to be how it goes – if the project makes it to end of 2016.

      What’s really going to freak people out, is going to be how Star Marine turns out, as well as the limitations of the instanced PU. I think SQ42 will probably end up being great, since Erin is at the helm of that, in terms of development and producer role.

  39. Hi everyone, just wanted to let you all know that we have 50+ posts in the queue and we’re just going through them now.

    My online social media temp, as she always does, has been deleting and banning offensive (being called a nigga cunt is always fun) posts, personal attacks etc. When she’s done, and I review what’s left, that’s when I respond to those that warrant it.

    So if I don’t respond to your post, don’t feel bad because the fact that your post was let through, means that you wrote something that was worthy sharing in this blog.

    I try to keep it clean here, even though I don’t run an echo chamber where everyone has to agree with me. I have seen lots of very good dissenting opinions related to this matter, and I agree with most. However, this effort is bigger than all of us. There is more going on here, and more at stake than most people are aware of.

    As I said in this comment, if this project ever collapses, it will be because of actions on Chris Roberts part, and nobody gets to blame me for that.

    I believe that I am doing the right thing, and as such, unless and until I see evidence to the contrary, I am going to continue pursuing this.

    ps: sending me death or similar threats is a waste of time. I just laugh at those

    1. “I believe that I am doing the right thing, and as such, unless and until I see evidence to the contrary, I am going to continue pursuing this.”

      Good, so now that the Star Citizen community has started to speak out against you and say that you do not represent the vast majority of backers, you can cease and desist. The couple of people who may have rallied to your cause do not represent the over 700k people who have given money to CIG to make the game we want to see delivered in no specific time frame. We don’t want you to do this, we want you to stop. This is evidenced by the now trending hashtag on Twitter #NotRepresentedByDSmart. So please, just drop it and move on.

      1. That’s cute. You guys have a hashtag (no, it’s not trending) and everything. I saw a petition as well the other day.

        You folks don’t know how this works, do you? Do you really – for one second – think any of that is of any consequence or that it fazes me?

        And WHERE did I say I represent any of you? And how arrogant are you to think that you speak for “over 700K” people, when in fact there are so many (FYI, I have over 5K names) calling for accountability, refunds etc.

        But keep on dreaming and spreading your White Knight nonsense. Be sure to stick around for when this all collapses – as I fully expect that it will – so that you can find a way to blame it on me.

      2. “Good, so now that the Star Citizen community has started to speak out against you and say that you do not represent the vast majority of backers, you can cease and desist. ”

        I don’t agree with Derek’s approach and I definitely don’t like the legal action aspect but some of his points are valid and should be asked by any project backer. As a “White Knight” I still expect something to be delivered and playable. 😉

        1. heh, arrogance and entitlement is the core of gaming. So them saying that I don’t speak for everyone, while posturing that they speak for everyone by telling me I don’t speak for everyone, is as laughable as it is puzzling 🙂

  40. Derek,
    would you be so kind and remove the Gravatar reference of Concerned Cameron? He links to your own photo…
    Nothing personal, but whenever I see your face next to a post, I think it is from you – which isn’t the case with Concerned Cameron’s. That’s somewhat confusing.
    Thanks.
    1. Yeah, he created a profile using my email address, which is linked to Gravatar. I have deleted both his posts and IP banned him from the site. Thanks

  41. Hey Derek, haven’t spoken to you since the usenet days. As a SC backer who is very unhappy with the bait and switch of the scope and relative ‘cost’ of the project, keep up the good work! Thanks!
  42. So with one comment you say the game is impossible to make and the next you post a very long asset at ion that it can because you’ve den it all before.

    Which is it please? Is the game impossible or is it just an update to your game? It can’t be both.

  43. Hello Derek,

    this seems to be a very intense view on actual practises in project management of game developers. And it is already well known how easy money is burned,
    which others have to earn with hard & earnest work.

    What I like about your efforts is how you try to push RSI to publish a detailed accounting plan.
    (1) An accounting of how the money thus far crowd-funded has been spent.
    The history of projects CR has been involved in is arguably somehwat doubtful,
    especially in case of the german VIP Medienfond, which led to long terms of imprisonment.

    What I dislike is how you did reveal the privacy of his wife Sandra Roberts.
    Even if she made a pet movie, for gods sake, how desperate someone has to be,
    just to mention this? This seems more miserly than the inquisition burning women as witches
    in the mid ages. Have you been able to reveal if she fed the pets on fundraised money as well?

    Every well-financed project is going to prove culprits, responsible for causing inconsistencies,
    making the outcome going slightly astray from what was planned. In case of Star Citizen,
    you are absolutely right, it is the ongoing delay. The exact project timeline of Star Citizen is
    going to prove just one truth, the future cannot be planned, escpecially not in software projects dealing with cutting edge technologies.

    Every backer did know this, and it is OK to mention this once, Derek,
    but not a dozen times in just one article over and over again.
    Which game hasnt been delayed for its own sake in the last decade?
    Even worse, many games have not been finished or delivered in the promised condition,
    after they have been released. Before anyone is going after RSI, it would be much more reasonable to look into this affairs. There are too many of them.
    It seems ridiculous to point at RSI with such arguments at the moment.
    Furthermore, backers will claim RSI NOT to look into this matter,
    and waste their time, effort and money, before Star Citizen is released.

    As a matter of fact, you cannot sue RSI for a delay, before you are going to prove
    this delay would have been an abolishing condition especially for this game,
    In other words, was it essential for Star Citizen to be released in 2014, and not in 2016/17/18,
    for it to beTHE Star Citizen originally announced in 2012?
    Well, all Chris Roberts has to do, is to ask the backers.
    If they decide by a majority NO, it is NO. No matter what you say, or Kickstarter says.
    Imho most backers knew CR very well, always to deliver games which are suited
    for next generation hardware. As it is the case with Star Citizens.
    I doubt it is going to run well on todays mediocre hardware. And I think this is
    a predominant reason for Star Citizen still being in its development.
    Most backers agree by implication.
    At last, but not least, you will have to prove how the Star Citizen project is at total variance
    with other common games projects, which cover games at the same scope.
    You won’t find any.

    The fact that CR is delaying Star Citizen, doesnt mean the project is misled.
    Regarding the last offical gig of RSI at Gamescon the broad audience
    did see the very difference. Star Citizen made a big advance towards a promising
    and well made product. Even more it is far beyond what other games offer yet.
    And this is what most backers want CR to do.
    To produce the best space sim game ever.

    However, as it seems important for you not to loose interest in your activites against RSI,
    I wish you good luck as well. Professional work is always most appreciated.

    Sincerely,…

    PS:
    Derek, have you ever tried producing a film noir themed game,
    in the fashion of James Ellroy’s novels?

    1. The reason that I mentioned Sandra is that she is an officer in the company, credited as the “co-creator” of the project. She has equal responsibilities as Chris Roberts. Just because she is a woman, or married to the creator, doesn’t absolve her of responsibility for this project. Plus, all signs point to her being an academic fraud. And that, at least here in the US, is a big deal. Especially for someone who is helping to run an $88m company crowd-funded with public money.

      And yes, if they used backer money to fund unrelated pet projects, siphoned money out of the company etc, those are all 100% illegal actions. What’s so hard to understand, exactly?

  44. You have shown little to no proof of any of your accusations. (1)Your evidence of this “Consumer Fraud”, is subjective, hence, why you are always protecting you own ass legally by wording it as “borderline” Consumer Fraud. If you were confident in your research and investigations you would quit using vague terminology. If you aren’t confident in your arguments why should we, as unsatisfied backers, (or satisfied, from the other camp) let you speak for us or cause all of this drama “for us”. Everything you say has plausible deniability written all over it: stating declarative as questions, or using ambiguous terms. Speak clearly, wholeheartedly claim your facts, and if you are right, you will have your 100% defense against litigation, remember?

    (2)Majority of backers wanted the bigger scope, and we voted for it with our wallets time and time again. All we would have had to do was just hit the 500k mark and see what he could make with that, but the horde wanted more this time, myself included, even if I am less than happy with the current progress or delays.

    (3)Drying up, Haha, that’s a laugh. Just because it’s not coming in the 10s of millions doesn’t mean they aren’t raking in extra funding, Plus, they would obviously downsize and scale back the project if they didn’t get another dollar until release. Totally doable with the funds they have.

    (4) They don’t have to. We decided all of that with #2. We gave them our money and they gave us estimated delivery times. Things change. Again, the MAJORITY decided to change the scope. Even if people like you and me grumble about it now.

    On that note, why are you just now complaining about this, if you really cared you would have put in your two cents in back when they redid arena commander for “higher fidelity” game play. Pretty sure you are just a PR addict.

    (5)You have called it an investment yourself. You don’t get refunds on investments if things go south. You sell the investment at current market value and hope you don’t bite it.The grey market is going downhill because of this storm you are helping along, so unfortunately, that isn’t good for people who do want to jump ship now. That said, even for us kickstarter backers, who were investing in something else, it really is just tough still. As long as he continues development, there is no real breach in TOS (Let’s say you invest in Google, all of a sudden they tun into Alphabet and your google shares are now alphabet shares. Depending on the way the market swings, it could be Bad News Browns)

    (6)You could at least show the evidence of why you think Sandi is Chris’ wife? Evidence seems to point more towards mistress. But this is the only thing you seem 100% confident in so either you are on to something, or it’s just the one thing you can’t really get in trouble for saying if you are wrong. I think the latter is more likely to be correct.

    1. I am going to approve your comment, without responding to any of it because that’s just a waste of my time, and I don’t believe in that, nor repeating myself. Believe what you want, I don’t care. All I know is that, I’m doing this and will see it to the very bitter end. And there isn’t a damn thing that anyone – but the legal system and Feds – can do about it. Nothing. You have to come to terms with that.

    2. (1) http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1sn4h84

      (2) “Majority of backers wanted the bigger scope”
      So, basically you accused Derek of coming with subjective statements. Now I ask you:
      (a) Provide the proof of such statement
      (b) Sorry… Ignore (a), don’t bother to provide the proof of such statement. You would be losing your time. It’s irrelevant. They made something that considering this deal is illegal. They made deals with individual backers there is no such thing of “community” in this deal, who would decide if CIG could or not break laws of advertising and promises made to all individuals. These polls only would be valid if
      (b1) It was stated in the poll the good and bad effects of the decision to be made – that was not what happened. They sold the idea to people say Yes.
      (b2) Additionally, the polls should be voted only by valid accounts – that was not what happened, you could vote with fake accounts with no pledge (I mean fake accounts because you were able to create an account with a non-existent email, without any pledge – obviously – and still have your vote counted). If you think for a second, you know what that means.
      (b3) Additionally, they should describe that if you don’t accept the situation, you should be entitled to a refund, giving you the directions in how to obtain that.
      (b4) Additionally, in case not having the previous disclaimer, they should consider 1 vote NO, only 1, enough to do not follow what they asked for.

      Any different from that, would be illegal under the context of this deal made between CIG and each individual backer. And that was what happened. It can be categorized as a bad faith attitude, when doing business. Hiding themselves behind a manipulated poll, as if they had all the approval to break deals and laws. Totally illegal, both in the context of the deal and US Laws like the FTC act.

      (3) I can’t comment about that. Only accountability can demonstrate who is right here. Accountability promised by CIG if the circumstances of the development achieved a point of no deliver of the full game and rewards in a time frime. That is what we already know that will happen, because it was already announced by CIG. But then, the clause “for the avoidance of the doubt” that they put in their TOS was ignored and changed too. Mislead older customers, and now is going to mislead new customers. Once again, false advertising. Bad faith on business. Breaking an US Federal Law

      (4) Bullshit. There was a time frame, a limit for the delay stipulated in the contract. Yes, game developments can suffer unexpected issues and can delay. BUT, CIG put in their deal, a limit for such delay. A limit that they already announced that won’t respect.

      (5) “As long as he continues development, there is no real breach in TOS” Bullshit. That would make the TOS totally meaningless, a bait, a false advertising, a false disclaimer. Wait. That is exactly what happened.

      (6) Why he would lose his time showing the evidence that Sandi is married with Roberts, when basically, everyone (but you) already know that and do not question that? Or you know… what about, you don’t take that every easy path and ask her lol

      Conclusion: All your points were demonstrated as invalid. Next?

  45. In my country, we can read everywhere that you are using Star Citizen’s forum to sell and talk about your own game, this is right ?

    If you are going to sue and win, are you going to ask money refound or just transparency ?

    Thank for your answers

  46. Hello!

    I just wanted to chime in and say that I wholly agree with your sentiments and (quite reasonable) demands. This is not simply a matter of one company defrauding a subset of people, but (as you mention) will negatively affect the industry in the future, especially in relation to crowd-funding.

    Additionally, am I the only one dismayed by the sheer lack of common sense in people who defend the delays and excuses by citing the very scope creep which is responsible for the delay?
    I mean, too many times I’ve read something along the lines of: “The game is taking longer and costing more, *because* it will use never-before-seen tech, on a massive and unprecedented scale, which no one has ever done before ever! So you see, *in addition* to making one of the most ambitious games in the genre, they are *also* developing the new techniques and technologies to make the game possible.”

    I like the dream of what SC wants to be. I’d really like to play that kind of a game. But it’s not this game. We don’t have the tech for it just yet.

    So, Mr. Smart, please keep up the good work, so that the future *real* SC game has a chance to get made at all.

  47. It was stated that CR’s game would cost about 20 million. But people wanted more, They asked for more, and they funded for more. Now he just needs a little more time to deliver the improved game. There is more and more playable content being delivered all the time. This is going to be the best damn space sim ever.
    1. No, that’s rubbish. Read my blog again. This time, slowly. In fact, it’s all there right at the top and within the first few paragraphs.

  48. I really wanted to argue as I have read previous posts on this subject. I am a backer of a substantial amount I would rather not mention. Though I feel I have backed accepting the game may vary from the original inception, accountability should be maintained.

    I am the biggest white knight imaginable, and I hope for the games success. It was my choice to back in faith and I accept that. I do not wish to see a protracted legal battle, but i must say, accountability seems more then reasonable. If a record of money spent can not be provided to proper officials, that should raise questions for anyone.

    1. That is the part that is truly astonishing to us; that some people are willing to just ignore accountability, say no they don’t need to release financials etc. These are the same people who are going to change their tune once it comes out that I was right (I know with 99.9% certainty that I am) all along about this. By then, it would be too late.

      All you have to do is just look at the RSi forums, all the locked/deleted posts, threads etc of a similar vein. In fact, I’m surprised that this thread is still standing.

      Why Star Citizen Is Taking So Long” Now with poll

      This one was closed almost immediately:

      Over 100 million committed. When do we start asking questions?

  49. For the record I am a Star Citizen backer and have been since the original CIG crowdfunding campaign (before kickstarter) on their original site, I followed the campaign all the way through to the 24 hour livestream at the end where the Lamp appeared *all hail the lamp it will light our way through the dark times* sorry, don’t know what came over me then…

    (and for those that don’t get the above, it was a joke regarding an event during the live stream when the staff went to get pizza and left a lamp on screen with a note on it. All the viewers started worshipping the Lamp, that and the insistence that all white knight backers are indoctrinated)

    I wont say how much I have put into the game but I can tell you I am content with it, I have been following the progress of Star Citizen since the beginning with a short break due to information overload.

    I would love to see where CIG is spending its money, but I would never force that on anyone or any company, mainly because no one can.

    The Terms and Conditions for backing the game both on the CIG website and on kickstarter are clear, CIG does not have a legal obligation to give a refund to anyone, kickstarter campaigns have come and failed, they don’t issue refunds unless there was deliberate fraud involved which is very rare.

    This is not the case with Star Citizen and CIG, they provide daily updates and content on their main website, provide interviews to multiple gaming websites and admit when they have done something wrong ie Star Marine, and because of the delay there was a misquote stating that the module had been cancelled (which isn’t true) since then we have had weekly updates to where Star Marine is up to.

    Cast your minds back to Arena Commander and the Go or No go meetings they had (which they provided to us, the backers) once they decided it was right they released it and it worked, it was smooth, no crashing etc more than I can say for some other games with much higher budgets…

    once its done it will be done right, this is the correct way to release a game, no assassins creed Unity or Batman Arkham knight situation where it will crash every 2 seconds or gfx just don’t want to appear.

    I have read every post on here up to this one, and I cant believe that no one, and I mean no one has noticed that all over Dereks above concerns mentions RSI not CIG on multiple occasions confusing the point that CIG is the company and RSI is an in fiction organisation that builds ships and weapons, at least this doesn’t appear in the letter to CIG, oh wait its at the top, you would think a have decent solicitor would have done their homework.

    To get back on point:
    – Do I have concerns that I am being lied too? – yes, of course.
    – Do I want this game to succeed? – yes, of course.
    – Do I want Derek Smart to speak for me? – No, no I do not.
    – Do backers deserve a refund? – imo no they don’t, they knew what they where getting into.
    – Is CIG scamming the community? – I doubt it, they are treading new territory and new technology (which we as backers agreed to) delays are unavoidable. they are giving constant updates both game updates to lore update to updates about the status of the games development. they are even giving on the odd occasion mini games to show what different features will be like in the game itself.
    – Will I defend CIG unconditionally – nope, I have 2016 on the brain, need to place a space game soon and elite dangerous is boring, I backed that can I get a refund? do I expect one? no, that’s the risk of being a backer in a crowd funded game.

    CIG have had to almost completely re-write cry-engine to a point its not even cry-engine anymore, they have helped other crowd funded projects such as kingdom come deliverance, in return they gave CIG the character creator thus saving CIG significant time and resources if they had to create it themselves.

    they have helped a small time firm called Kythera and incorporated their technology of AI into the game already and has been VERY successful in arena commander, again, CIG does not have to develop their own AI because it was done by another company which received support from CIG.

    CIG have done everything in their power to save money for backers, from working closely and sharing information and development data with other companies for help and assistance with developing the game, crytek get a new engine with server back end code with mmo possibilities and CIG get the engine expertise and technology for nothing, to working with sponsors like NVidia, and youtube to get the community to build a new starship giving them both a cash reward and a stepup on the gaming industry ladder (not paid for by Star Citizen Backers) CIG get a ship, modellers and cryengine experts get a cash reward and street cred for lack of a better term.

    to end, you don’t have a leg to stand on Mr Smart, you cannot force CIG to show a budget and tbh I don’t want a release date because it gives more ammunition for people like you who is not a gamer but acts more like a publisher who knows nothing of the gaming industry or what people want.

    The game is being released one update at a time, they will get it done, not for themselves, but for what they believe in, they are gamers just like me and want this game to happen not to make money but to test and show the likes of EA, Ubisoft and Activision that rehashing the same games over and over just doesn’t cut it anymore.

    They are also on the path to provide a unique gaming experience to those who put their trust in them to get this project done right, and that’s what I would prefer than a dull buggy game with absolutely no content to speak of with 3d gfx that could have been done 10 years ago made for a console market. (see X Reunion as a prime example and to a lesser extent Elite Dangerous).

    If this gets approved I will be surprised.

    1. “almost completely re-write cry-engine to a point its not even cry-engine anymore”

      False. This I know for a fact.

      “CIG have done everything in their power to save money for backers”

      False. All one has to look at, are the numerous frivolous expenses documented in my blog

      “to end, you don’t have a leg to stand on Mr Smart”

      False. That’s why I hired attorneys who know more than both you and I

      you cannot force CIG to show a budget

      True. Only the courts or the Feds can. Either way, it’s going to happen. This I can 100% guarantee.

      1. Hi Derek,

        I work with Lawyers on a daily basis on the investigative side and when you say:

        ‘I hired attorneys who know more than both you and I’

        I hope you mean that in a legal sense because as I am sure you know all they have in their arsenal is what you have got to feed them with. Documented proof, air tight sources and a smoking gun so to speak.

        I mention this out of interest because I threw some money at this project about 2 years ago and am becoming intrigued at the direction it has taken. More style over substance you might say. It reminds me of short term sales scams that used to pop up in random locations in Ireland (and still do from time to time) where people spread the word of a quick sales offer at a certain location for a certain time, you pay at the door to get in with the promise of something and are offered more things but never allowed to look at your actual purchases until you leave the building. Some lucky special customers who choose to risk paying for something before they can see it are allowed to open their purchases which are quite impressive but these will be plants of course. No one outside of the organisers leave with anything of worth and genuine customers leave a little less lighter in the pocket.

        As I said I am watching with interest and hope you have your sources locked down and ready to be played.

        May justice prevail.

          1. Thanks for replying.

            On another note, it’s been over a week now and I was wondering if Roberts or anyone representing CIG got back to you (formally or informally) with regards to the demands you made?

            1. No, we have not yet received any legal response from them, despite claims made by CR in yesterday’s Polygon article. All I have received to date is the refund check which they wrote on 08/24 and which I received at my office on 08/28.

              Once my attorneys receive the letter and they share it with me, depending on what’s in it, I will make it public.

        1. If you had done any due diligence on SC you would know he has far more legal ammunition at his disposal than he has demonstrated. Not only should his case be a one-day judgement (barring a total obfuscation defense), but he could bring other far more serious charges against CIG.

          Justice always finds a way.

          1. This is what these armchair attorneys don’t seem to understand. They think I’m just blowing money on legal bills on a whim, when it can just get thrown out if it has no merit. Not to mention the potential for time-wasting counter-suits which, even getting them tossed is still time-wasting and costs money.

          2. @TBD No need to be so prickley TBD, we all have our priorities and scouring the internet for the illegal activities regarding CIG, or anyone else for that matter, is not one of mine, besides open source material tends to be a little limited in use and reliability where legal matters are concerned. I asked Mr. Smart a couple of questions because I had been having slight doubts and suspicions about SC as a whole, even though I had never suspected any large scale con or illegal activities Mr. Smart seemed to be suggesting this. He has kindly answered me and now I await the fallout. Thank you for your comments though as unsolicited as they were.
      2. When you say you know for a fact that they haven’t rewritten a substantial amount the engine code, how do you know this? They seem to be not willing to take CryEngine updates any more and I guess when you’ve made so many fundamental engine changes it becomes hard to take updates because they don’t fit with your changes; so it would seem that if they don’t want to take engine updates then it’s more hassle than it’s worth and therefore they must have made significant engine changes. And you yourself have said it’s an FPS engine which makes it impossible to make a MMO space game with, so I’d guess they’ve had to change quite a bit to get the MMO space game stuff to work right?
        1. That was not the claim (about CryEngine) that I made, and I’m not going to repeat what I said. So go back and read it, then see if you can formulate a comment worthy of another response related to same.

          1. Ok I’ve re-read and I apologise, you didn’t say it was impossible (I’m not looking to have an argument, I’m interested in the engine detail, because it seems hard work and they’re not going to explain it to me, but you might :P). However you did say it was an FPS engine and therefore wouldn’t be suited for what they wanted to build, but given tight scope and scene management it would be doable. Not far under that section where you mention the above you post a link a blurb from what I presume is RSI site about Frankfurt’s work on zone systems, 64 bit and camera relative stuff, this is what I was thinking would be a sizeable codebase change which would move them away from the vanilla cryengine enough that it would be a pain to integrate the new cryengine updates so easily, as you yourself later in that article state that taking Havok updates isn’t a quick or easy process. I have programming experience and I’m just trying to work out if whether they’re capable of doing this or not. Again sorry if I sounded like I was attacking you and sorry for misquoting you.
            1. No apologies needed. We’re all friends and gamers here.

              The fact is, there is a LOT of stuff on this Star Citizen fiasco and it’s easy for stuff to get lost in translation. Which is why, rather than cheat with the copy and paste, I asked you go back and read it again.

              As I mentioned in my Interstellar Citizens blog, I have been developing engines since day one. It’s what I do, and I got good at it.

              That said, I have also worked with many engines over the years. Even if I didn’t use them in games, having a working knowledge is always a good experience to have if you are an engine developer. As such, I am very familiar with CryEngine (in fact, I have access to CryEngine 3 as well – though I don’t use it).

              As a programmer, I am sure that you aware of the fact that buying an engine is just one small part of the big picture. Depending on the engine and game that you want to make, you may have to massage the engine to do your bidding. This is no different from what we had to do with the LOD engine we built (1, 2)

              The fact is that the CryEngine3 was quite capable of making the smaller scope game CR originally envisioned; and with minimal revision.

              In fact, it’s quite telling that, four years later, in June 2015, for an engine they licensed back in early 2011, they were just then visiting the 64-Bit issue. The reason is primarily due to the scope change, new features etc, all of which the engine had to match. And if you go through all the dev updates like I have, you will see so many hints of where things were going, that it was when I got to that June update, that it finally dawned on me that the project was getting deeper into trouble.

              So since they have source code license, and not having to wait for engine updates from CryTek for a game they have nothing to do with, they have to make their own changes. And if you look at the recent dev update, you will see the problems they’re already running into merging all these code changes from various studios, even as they integrate new changes to the base engine from CryTek.

              It’s a nightmare. And it’s time consuming.

              I don’t believe that the custom engine they’re building from CryEngine3, is going to be able to power this new vision. I just don’t see it. Can it be done, why yes of course. But that’s going to take time, and that costs money. Which in turn leads to delays. Which is precisely why I made the comment about $150m+ to build that kind of game. If you were starting off with your own engine, to build a specific kind of game, trust me, two to three years – and depending on the number of engineers – $10m is reasonable. So where they are right now is building a custom engine to power this new game, using CryEngine3 as a baseline. That’s going to cause them heaps of problems because by the time they’re done, my guess is that they could very well have written then own engine starting back in 2012. But then they wouldn’t have the resources to build all this stuff that has now resulted in a cash grab Gold mine.

              So that was gamble and the trade-off.

              The down side is that, now you’ve spent all this money, still don’t have an engine – or a game – and you’re running out of time and money while dealing with irate Black Knights.

              There is going to be a point (it is my belief that they recently hit that point) where they have no choice but to start cutting things and/or trimming it back because at this burn rate, this many studios, and so much work left to do, it is inevitable.

              There is a key point in my recent blog which I think a lot of people haven’t yet grasped the implications of. Let me quote it.

              It gets worse. This is a direct quote from the Sept 30th, 2014 Letter From The Chairman:

              “Long ago I stopped looking at this game the way I did when I worked for a publisher who gave me a fixed budget to make a retail game. I now look at our monthly fundraising and use that to set the amount of resources being used to develop this game. We keep a healthy cash reserve so that if funding stopped tomorrow we would still be able to deliver Star Citizen (not quite to the current level of ambition, but well above what was planned in Oct 2012). If you combine our in-house staff and outsourced developers, we now number more than 280 people. Your support has created a significant number of jobs in the gaming industry. (And no matter what you might have heard, only a small number of our team is tasked with designing new ships!)“

              As a programmer, I am going to let the implications of this statement, sink in for a moment.

              If you missed it, please see my comments (1, 2, 3) about the recent release of 1.2 build and draw your own conclusions.

  50. Dear Mr. Smart

    So generally you just want to get the Informations about where the money goes and what they are doing with it and thats it ? I mean if they publish it and everything is fine you will do nothing against them ? I am a little bit scared now because i love Star Citizen and the goal they wanna reach 🙂 I spend an quite large amount of money because I really trust them.

    Kind regards

    Chris

    1. Yes, what I was asking for in the letter is very clear.

      Because of what we have thus far uncovered and are aware of, I know with 99% certainty, that they won’t do anything in that letter, but legally we have to give them the chance to think about it, work with their attorneys etc – and respond. Which is why the law gives them thirty days to respond.

      I explained this in a short form comment already.

  51. well … One more time there is no issue Derek…
    If someone is not happy with this alpha : just please contact me here, or send me a message via the rsi website : i will be very glad buy your spaceships (LTI ones)

    Thx

    1. Use the RSI website against their rules for trading. Clearly you work for CIG or are a self-appointed white hat. Probably both. Seems pretty desparate.

      Oh, wait… you are a white-hat-troll…damn…

  52. I really don’t appreciate you dragging the developer into court to waste the money that I gave to them. I didn’t pledge it to you for your social justice warrior career. This is not going to speed up development. Might make you feel good about yourself, but it does nothing for the rest of us regardless of how you’re justifying this to yourself. You’re screwing everybody over.
    1. I approved your post because I understand your gripe. Plus there wasn’t a personal attack anywhere in sight.

      That said, I think you need to stop being self-absorbed and selfish, and think about the thousands of other backers who are disappointed and just want their money back. That’s why, I clearly indicated in the blog (at the very end) that backers should have the choice to bail, or stay. If you want to stay, that’s your problem.

      1. Where did you get the information from that thousends of other star citizen backers are also that angry about the situation like you are. In the forums I heard nothing about that. If there were such an large amount of lets say 20.000 people I also would have heard about it.
        It is not an attack just a question 🙂
        1. http://www.polygon.com/2015/8/20/9180067/star-citizen-backers-claiming-refunds-are-getting-their-money-back

          As noted in the blog above. Since it is a third-party source, and I personally know of many more that were getting non-compassionate refunds over the last year due to broken promises, I am sure the number is far in excess of what CIG is willing to admit. After all they are not commenting about the number of supposed ‘compassionate’ refunds (sickness, etc).

      2. If nothing wrong has been done, they could comply and all expenses would be Derek smart’s responsibility, is my understanding.
        1. That is correct. It only costs them the time it takes for an attorney to review the letter and respond. With all the money they have raised, and are spending on bullshit and frivolously, they should be able to afford around the $1,000 it would cost. Which is precisely why I offered to pay a third-party to do the audit. And so zero cost to them for that as well.

          But as I’ve said, they won’t do any of the three things listed. And that’s precisely why we’re going to end up in court. It’s all on them, not me. Something like accountability should be something every backer should be asking for; not just me.

      3. I don’t resent that you feel cheated or that you haven’t been treated fairly by a company. That’s for you to decide.
        What I resent is that I don’t have a choice in how my money is spent when you file a class action lawsuit and force the developers to spend my money to defend themselves. You have the right to judge for yourself whether or not they are lawfully spending the money you gave them. What you’re doing with this whole thing is making a judgment for me with my money without my consent or approval, and I disagree with your judgment on this. I don’t want their resources being taken up and the game delayed because you have a personal point to prove. And I believe that’s what this is about – you have a personal point to prove. I find it suspicious that you filed a lawsuit and then blogged on the internet about it. That’s a typical action of a self-serving publicist. People seeking justice don’t fly a big red flag on the internet. They go to court and let the law decide. I don’t trust that your actions here are as altruistic as you have us believe.
        1. Sorry, no, that’s not how this works. My actions are my own and you can’t hold me responsible for your foolish actions. When you donated to a crowd-funded campaign, you did so with zero guarantees that you would get something from it. That’s the very nature of crowd-funding.

          And no, your comment about not commenting on lawsuit is without merit. Either that, or you’re just new to this whole “Internet” thing.

      4. But this is the problem, I don’t think you are speaking for the majority. So perhaps it is you who is being selfish by stopping the game from getting to the thousands of people who do want it to happen
        1. Don’t be daft. I never say that I was ever speaking for the “majority”. If you haven’t read my blogs, that’s on you. But if you’re going to engage me in discussions, come up with something worthy of a response.

          1. Exactly. There is nothing that requires a majority to take action. The fact that you only want the transparency that was promised is grounds enough for your suit.
    2. With CIG breaking every promise in regards to LTI sales, which allows for class-action, false advertising lawsuits which would bankrupt CIG, you are delusional if you think simply asking for the developer to keep their established promise of transparency is aggregious.
  53. Hate to say this as a fellow smoker, but perhaps the marijuana pipe on CR’s desk in his latest video is responsible for his inability to meet deadlines. I don’t think the backers really appreciate that time=money. Unscheduledh delays should send you over budget and last I heard CR was planning for $100mil for the full game. Even if the audit shows they’re doing fine financially, SC hasn’t even gotten to to the hard parts yet; a realistic and immersive(450 page script!) single-player, the economy, 80% npc population, “netcode”, filling a huge mmo with things to do. That’s where feature creep and endless tweaking will really cripple development. SC backers are smart people, but what keeps people in cults is the inability to admit they’ve been stupid. I’m not a game developer so if my common sense is wrong please correct me.

    http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/1/16131/2569196-5521656805-Q1FmU.jpg

    P.s. I’m not a backer or troll, I learned of this game after giving to the shenmue 3 Kickstarter and found the many exploitations of human nature fascinating. Shenmue’s actually another great example of endless ambition, and a mile long features list, leading to $135 mil spent for a fraction of the full saga. Hopefully Yu Suzuki learned the lesson Chris Roberts hasn’t.

    1. You pretty much nailed it. For someone who isn’t a game developer, I think your use of common sense, is way better than some of the silly arguments we’ve seen of late. Bravo sir!

      ps: Don’t even get me started on that Shenmue farce; that’s like all out war territory, right there. Good thing I didn’t fund it.

      1. Please don’t mess with Shenmue 3 until it’s also a year past delivery and showing little progress. This is why I still sympathize with the SC backers, the negative people around the shenmue campaign couldn’t possibly understand how badly fans want this game(even if it’s terrible). I’m much happier with vague stretch goals than promising the world and trying to use “kickstarter” to actually jumpstart an idea to publishers rather than building a “AAA” development house from donations.
          1. Why are they safe? dont you want accountability for crowd funded projects or is it just starcitizen ? or anyone with a space sim as im sure that is your type of game ? 🙂
    2. I’ve seen him buying bud at dispensaries in Los Angeles twice, he looked like a giddy schoolkid racing out, so you’re definitely right on that count!
    3. Your comment is nothing but pure misinformation. That picture is even photoshopped and you’re using it as a way to demean CR as a developer? Wow, some real class acts around here in support of Derek Smart. LOL.
  54. I work with the law every single day. And I can say your claim is extremely flawed in it’s own right.

    So let’s put this very simply. You are going to sue the guys who are making Star Citizen, a crow-funded kickstarter that people have backed with their own money, because it hasn’t met certain points.

    Okay it hasn’t been released yet, that’s not a problem. These people are working hard to get this game to the standard they want it to be. Would people rather release it now and not be to par or wait a little while longer and have it perfect?

    I must make a note – this was funded by Kickstarter – and the fact that it has been completely crowd funded dubs the point you are completely trying to make. People who fund this are more than aware and are warned that certain things may not go to plan and certain things may be delayed. You cannot sue a crowd-funded company just because the game has not yet been released. If you want to go and do that why not sue Nintendo for not releasing the new Zelda this year? Why? It’s because they want to make the game perfect. And people are willing to wait and accept this.

    “As they haven’t delivered on the original Kickstarter which had an estimated delivery date of Nov 2015. As of August 2015, they still had not delivered. And now Chris Roberts is quoting end of 2016 for full delivery. The original items (listed in my demand letter) have neither been completed, nor delivered as of the aforementioned date. Which is why this clause – in their own TOS – should now trigger. But they have thus far failed to honor it; much like every other promise they have now broken.”

    Again, this is a Kickstarter. It is a -estimated- delivery (I must stress this) it does not say that this is THE release date, merely an estimate. You cannot honor an estimate.

    If you’re going to sue – try getting some solid stuff instead of mere estimates for a solely crowd-funded game. Why not ask the audience you’re potentially going to crush and turn against you before you go and try to earn money off someone who is trying extremely hard to build a game.

    You can delete this, it’s merely a debate – so if you do you lack the skill to sue if you cannot face solid and very fair comments such as this.

    1. Hi Sarah, do you work with contract law, and are you a litigator? Further to that, are you aware of the FTC guidelines for crowd-funded projects? No? How about consumer fraud then?

      1. I find it unlikely that the FTC would go after CIG, when the only crowdfunding case they have done was because the man running the project just simply stole the money. There was never work on a board game, never a demo piece not any substantive effort put into it. SC kind of has itself covered in the fact that its creating a game, has constantly spoken to the backers about the status of said and has actually released some alphas for it’s game (whether they are buggy or not they are still out there). So honestly I don’t see the FTC really caring all that much, there’s no easy and quick evidence of any fraud here, quite the opposite really. Also can you link these supposed FTC guidelines? I can’t actually find an official source stating them anywhere.

        As far as consumer fraud, we’re in the same boat as the above statement. They are visibly working on the game. They have released tech demos. They have released alphas. They have kept up with communication (albeit not greatly at all times through the development, but they’ve never gone completely silent). Where is your basis for fraud? Other than they missed an estimated date from Kickstarter? Just wondering.

        1. Honestly, I can see many of Mr. Smart’s points as being valid concerns, however from a legal stand point unless he is a customer or current backer he cannot bring a civil case against CIG. I believe it was mentioned elsewhere that they had refunded his original investment and removed him as a backer from kickstarter. This severed the legal ties/obligations they had to him. Why they did this is because the option was given. He had apparently insisted that either money be refunded, or they provide X. (X being the detailed accounting and so on and so forth.) Since they opted to give him a refund he will either have to find another plaintiff or just walk away from the matter. The class action (if it is filed) is being done so either with the consent of other plaintiffs or with the hope that plaintiffs would join the cause. Class actions are long, long legal battles and frankly, I doubt the court case would be settled before the game actually is released. Even if CR and CIG are “wasting” investor money by dragging out production there is little that can be done about it legally without some serious litigation and that will be expensive for both parties. Ultimately what’s the potential win? They won’t recover the 87M, much of that is likely already allocated (and who knows how much spent) but they could shut the project down. IDK. I think they should be more accountable, but if anything this is just a lesson learned. Now, with that said, go play some Elite Dangerous! It’s out and actually pretty fun.
          1. You’re not an attorney. Which means you know nothing about the legal issues surrounding this. If I didn’t think I had any legal standing, I wouldn’t be wasting money on it.

            Also, it was less than a month ago that I offered to spend $1m to audit the project, get some answers etc. Now, I’m just going to give it attorneys instead.

            And no, I have not been refunded. And even if I were, it doesn’t prevent me – or the Federal govt – from taking action over what is amounting to consumer fraud. Get a grip.

  55. Just an FYI, quoted from the blog

    Finally, in Section VII of their own ToS, they indicated thus:

    For the avoidance of doubt, in consideration of RSI’s good faith efforts to develop, produce, and deliver the Game with the funds raised, you agree that any Pledge amounts applied against the Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost shall be non-refundable regardless of whether or not RSI is able to complete and deliver the Game and/or the pledge items. In the unlikely event that RSI is not able to deliver the Game and/or the pledge items, RSI agrees to post an audited cost accounting on the Website to fully explain the use of the amounts paid for Pledge Item Cost and the Game Cost. In consideration of the promises by RSI hereunder, you agree that you shall irrevocably waive any claim for refund of any Pledge that has been used for the Game Cost and Pledge Item Cost in accordance with the above.

    As they haven’t delivered on the original Kickstarter which had an estimated delivery date of Nov 2015. As of August 2014, they still had not delivered. And now Chris Roberts is quoting end of 2016 for full delivery. The original items (listed in my demand letter) have neither been completed, nor delivered as of the aforementioned date. Which is why this clause – in their own TOS – should now trigger. But they have thus far failed to honor it; much like every other promise they have now broken.

    1. Hi there, i just happen to read This now, You probably meant “estimated delivery Nov *2014*, did you?

      HTH

      Kind regards, mtness

    2. But they are still making the effort to fulfill those promises. Notice there’s no date listed on the TOS. As long as there is effort / work being put into the product then this clause bears no legality. Just because they missed a date (even if it is by years) it doesn’t mean that they are “not able to deliver the Game and / or the pledge items.” This is basically just saying that if the company folds they will release this information to prove that this wasn’t simply a scheme, but this in no way entails that while they are currently working on delivering said game and pledges that they are in anyway required to post the audited cost accouting.
        1. Gee, you mean a bunch of high-priced attorneys (who get paid no matter which way a lawsuit goes) back up this claim and want to take this to court right? Not convinced unless you can give some actual explanation, when the wording is pretty clearly there to back up my statement that they are in no way legally required to do this at this time.
        2. Yeah, if I would be in their position I would just tell you what you want to hear. BTW Mister Smart, I am an auditor and I Van Tell you that you need much more evidence than that to get the ftc going.
  56. I find it hard to believe that Mr. Smart has employed even one lawyer for 15 minutes while this blog still exists, exposing him to libel claims or counter-claims.
  57. Derek you are ruining star citizen for the backers and making it even harder for them to release this game
  58. Derek,
    Although most of you arguments and reasons to bite into SC make some sense I feel that you are forgetting it is the people backing the kick-starter that voluntarily take the chance of loosing their money. That is part of the deal with this type of modern funding and it can not be compared to a classical vendor consumer relation. Most people are happy with Chris taking his sweet time to deliver if that means a better game and are not interested in financial background information as long as there is a game at the end of the line. If not they knew that could happen.
    If you are of the opinion that CIG is dishonest and fraudulent it is you right (even duty) to point it out. However asking for detailed accounting information or starting a lawsuit will drain project funding, cost time energy, and potentially crash the further development of SC impairing hundreds of thousands of backers who didn’t ask for it in the first place. An act like that could be considered criminal on itself. I do however agree with you third demand that there should be a refund option for the backers of the original kick-starter campaign who are unhappy about there not being a game by Nov 2014. This is a reasonable demand although I doubt many will go for the option.
    I kindly ask you to please continue communicating your sepsis and concerns but please refrain from making demands or taking actions that will only distract CIG from developing SC as you do not represent a reasonable percentage of the backers.

    Best regards,
    Carlo

    1. That is correct. Derek is not fiighting for his money – he is figting for money raised *outside* kickstarter. Kickstarter rules does also say that scams are not protected by Kickstarter agreement. Thus if this is pyramid scam (as it appears to be from all data I can see), it is against rules of Kickstarter and vialble *legal* case. Kickstarter does not remove legal responsibilities of companies.
    2. If even only a portion of what has been posted here regarding misappropriated crowd-funds is true, then the original purpose of the $87M is good as burned anyway. Whilst I don’t like the idea of any significant portion of those funds being used to defend Roberts, I like the idea of him getting away scott-free with using it to create his own little media empire where he is beholden to no-one even less.

      The original scope for SC and SQ42 most definitely didn’t suggest the need to create a multi-studio entity with zero accountability, which is essentially what Roberts has done with the blessing and support of his white knights who crush any who question beneath the boot of RSI’s forum bans. Without a publisher to appeal to, the FTC is pretty much the only body we as backers can appeal to to ensure our support for this project is not being used to unjustly enrich CR and his ilk.

      1. Yes – everything you said, is pretty much the gist of it, and why we’re at this point now.

        I think you meant that you “I don’t like the idea of him getting away scott-free

        1. Pretty sure I said “I like the idea of him getting away scott-free [with using … beholden to no-one] *even less*” 😉
  59. Despite the fact Derek Smart has behaved like a giant *censored by dsmart* for a month, his asks are in the realm of reasonable if CIG were a publically held company.

    *snip*

    1. You took a 320 word post, with reasonable arguments, then against the clearly outlined rules of posting here, ruined it with personal attacks, name calling etc.

      The end result is you’ve wasted your time, your email and IP are blocked; and you never get to post here again.

      Attacking me, while ignoring the discussion, is a waste of time, and people like you are simply not welcome here. Go take that shit somewhere else where it is just as meaningless, ineffective and inconsequential; where like-minded people can revel in shit-posting for shits ‘n giggles. Might I suggest the Star Citizen sub-reddit on Reddit?

  60. Dear Mr. Smart,

    I am from Germany so please excuse my english 🙂 what I really dont understand is the aspect that the backers of this project doesnt think into your direction. If they want to spent the money and wait for this amazing game ( also if it will take more than 4 years to develop) it´s ok also if they still does not have the finished game, if they have no problem with it it´s ok . Now you say that you want to have these informations about the money and the development but the main part of the backers dont need that at all. If you would start a poll with all the 900.000 backers I dont think that there will be an large amount of people who think like you. If the backers are happy there is no need for the things you ask for. If you dont like the way they do it you can get your money back very easy. Maybe I missunderstand your intention.

    Kind regards
    Chris

    1. Dear Chris,
      the trouble is that in fact there *are* concerned backers out there.
      Derek Smart brought up a lot of arguments why this project is at risk. Just think of the simple calculation that while *you* don’t care whether it will take longer, all hired people working on it have to be paid longer!
      Let’s say 500 working people cost 4000 dollars each, that makes 2 million dollars per month. 90 million dollars will last only 45 months. And then what? Sell more ship designs? For how long?
      I regret to have been so naive during the Kickstarter. On the other hand, it wasn’t obvious that it would become such a big bloatware. So it is not my mistake after all, is it?
      1. I didn’t really want to get into the discussion, but they haven’t always had 500 people working for them, they only started ramping up to those kinds of numbers since last year. So they had at max 500 employees since last year, forgetting the fact that they have in fact cut loose a significant portion of their external contractors to bring in that work to their internal studios, reducing those numbers significantly (last time they gave out numbers it was just under 300 employees both internal/external).

        Just felt like pointing that out. Full disclosure I’m a fan of the project, but I respect what you’re trying to do here (even if I don’t think it requires a lawsuit).

        1. Yeah, we’re aware of that, which is why, in the blog, I said “at it’s it peak they had 500+”. In recent (as in, within the past two weeks), CR has said they have around 300 people now.

          I agree with you that it does not require a lawsuit. If I wanted a lawsuit, I wouldn’t be wasting time with demand letters, since it all costs me money. I know – for a fact – that if a lawsuit ever comes from this, in any way shape or form, this project stands a greater chance of dying. And even though it won’t be because of anything that I did or said, it won’t take away from the fact that my search for answers and accountability, may have led to that. I’m not sure that I want that burden. But it is what it is. And so we fight.

          Even backers who aren’t fans of me, or my methods, have resoundingly agreed that accountability is required. It really is that simple. And this three items I asked for, are not insurmountable; unless they have something to hide.

        2. Even if the burn rate has only recently peaked at 500 active devs, CIG has been splurging on setting up (rather than leasing) state-of-the-art mocap and audio facilities, multiple studio locations, multiple studio moves (these are not cheap!), very competitive salaries (from what I have heard second hand)… the dev and artist workstations will need to be top of the line to be able to run the game and create the assets… basically, the burn rate is likely insane (hence, as Derek has said, the need to keep funding the game through “sales” of vapourware assets… $87M simply won’t be enough to ship the product).

          The saddest thing is that CR took advantage of the space sim shaped hole that has been in the industry for over a decade – this is Digital Anvil 2.0, only this time he doesn’t have an industry gorilla in the form of Microsoft breathing down his neck wondering where their investment has been pissed away to, he only has his die-hard fans (a lot of whom seem to have far more money than sense!) and a few people who missed the days of Wing Commander, Freespace, etc, and saw what he was offering as a means of reviving part of that lost past.

      2. No definitely not it is not your mistake 🙂 but I do not understand why he says that he needs these informations now. Also if there is an amount of people who want that , the majority want to go this way with chris 🙂 If the others want there Money back they can do that.

        Chris

  61. Why do you spend so much time trying to bring this project down? You could be spending this time creating your own Star Citizen and showing us what you can do, rather than what someone else can’t.

    If the majority of the community was upset with the way the project is headed and where the money is going then we would hear that loud and clear, but as of right now you are the only one making noise and it’s just annoying.

    Games take a long time to make, as I’m sure you know. A game of this scope takes a really long time. Even if the game was in development for a year before the initial campaign it was probably just a small team trying to create a vertical slice for a campaign trailer. The real development would have started after they knew how much money they were starting with, which was a lot more than expected.

    I, personally, would prefer to have the Star Citizen pitched to me now, not the one pitched to me 2 and half years ago, and I believe Chris and the team at CIG can deliver. It’s just going to take time.

  62. OK, so that I can have a link for it, here is a TL;DR version that explains my motivation for doing this.

    1) Star Citizen is borderline consumer fraud, due to various promises made, haven’t been kept, while having raised $88m to date, and not shipped a product that was promised in 2012, to be delivered in 2014. After almost four years (it started dev one year before Oct 2012) now.

    2) Despite promises made, they have been spending money on things that are in no way, shape or form, related to the development of the game. All the while increasing the scope of the game, which in turn leads to longer delays, expenses, risk of failure etc.

    3) As funding appears to be drying up, amid various expenses which have nothing to do with the development of the game, and given the expenses of multiple studios and over 300 people worldwide – and still no form of game – the concern is that the project will collapse and never be finished due to the massive monthly burn rate (around $2m – $3m per month) that it is estimated to run the project and various studios.

    4) Through all this, despite promises made, the creators have refused to address calls for accountability in terms of accounting, schedules, scope creep etc.

    5) They also have refused to fund backers who no longer want to be part of a project that is very delayed and is now at greater risk of never being completed.

    So I made calls for people to report this to the FTC and showed them how. Many have been doing just that; and some have received refunds, while others have not.

    6) So, after writing several blogs about this, and seeing that, though widespread, they still didn’t address these concerns, as a backer (even if I wasn’t, I can still do this btw) myself and others hired law firms to dig into what was going on.

    Rather than file a lawsuit and run the risk of killing the project inadvertently depending on what is uncovered (by us of the Feds who this whole thing has been reported to), my attorneys sent a reasonable demand letter asking for three simple things.

    =====
    1) Release accounting for the project and put backers minds at rest:

    I don’t believe they will do this. Which is why we’re ready to file an injunction, march into court etc

    2) Accurate delivery of the final product:

    He’s already done this last week in a Kotaku interview; but it’s vague in him saying by end of 2016 the game will be complete. This is similar to all the past promises made; none of which have been met

    http://kotaku.com/why-star-citizen-is-taking-so-long-1724835913

    3) Refunds to anyone who asks for one.

    At the very least, everyone from the original Kickstarter who were expecting a game by Nov 2014.
    =====

    Some media summaries of where we are:

    http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/8/31/9211969/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-star-citizen
    http://www.pcgamer.com/derek-smart-threatens-legal-action-against-cloud-imperium-games-over-star-citizen/
    http://www.fresnobee.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/video-games/article31777647.html

    1. 1) I’d rather a very late game, than a buggy unfinished mess. Hard schedules / release dates can be a good thing, but they can also be the equivalent of suicide. Just ask the guys responsible for Assassin’s Creed Unity. So I’d rather wait ANOTHER 2 years for a game that works properly than not. (But this is of course just my opinion). Oh and I think you would have a tough time proving consumer fraud, when they have given pretty consistent updates about the work they’ve been doing to the community at large.

      2)Spending money on things that have nothing to do with the game? I have asked you consistently since I first started commenting to show an inkling of proof of this and you refuse. I’m sorry Mr. Smart, but I refuse to take your word or that of your investigators at face value. Especially after the debacle we had discussing the movie clip, which you stated put into question someone’s true identity??? I mean if your “investigators” told you that clip does that, then yes they are idiots and they are wasting your money.

      As far as the scope increase, they actually polled the community about that, and the community spoke saying to continue with the stretch goals. If you didn’t vote in that, then it’s the same as when your candidate doesn’t get elected, you are to blame as much as anyone else. But I don’t think that blame should fall on the shoulders of CR or CIG when it was the community that spoke.

      3) as was proven with the Retaliator / glaive sale, they can make a crap ton of money whenever the heck they want, so I wouldn’t worry about the funding drying up. Yes a portion of the community is closing their wallets until further development has been released (myself included) but there are still plenty of people willing to support CIG with their money. They have a number of things in their arsenal that they could easily release (or re-open for another sale) that would raise another million or so easy.

      4) We’re backers, not investors. Honestly from everything I’ve read about Kickstarter and crowd funding we don’t have the legal right to actually ask for this. If there is something I missed which does allow to do this, please link to it so that I might read it.

      5) They have allowed refunds (almost 1500 I believe was the number I read). Yes that’s a drop in the bucket compared to overall backers, but if you read the TOS, you should have known it would be difficult to get a refund. Again they are showing that work is being done, so it’s not like they’re just taking people’s money and running.

      6) And again, whether or not you are a backer, I don’t believe you have any legal right to “dig into what was going on.” But again if I’m incorrect please point to me where the law says any different.

      I’m actually not going to fight over the refunds if people want them. I mean sure if you want to jump through all those hoops, even though the TOS is pretty clear, to try and get your money back go for it. But it’s also NOT CIG’s fault that people spent way too much money on something, it’s called personal responsibility. No one was forced into purchasing anything and everyone should know by now that crowdfunding is a risk and it might fail or be delayed. So you should only put up the amount of money that you’re willing to lose.

      I mean even general investment into a company isn’t guaranteed. It’s a risk, plain and simple, if people don’t see that then I don’t know what to do / say to help them. If you invest in an LLC and they go bankrupt, guess what you’re out your money.

    2. I’m willing to believe you, but I need proof. You can’t honestly expect people to just take your word that everything you said is true, can you?
    3. You have shown little to no proof of any of your accusations. (1)Your evidence of this “Consumer Fraud”, is subjective, hence, why you are always protecting you own ass legally by wording it as “borderline” Consumer Fraud. If you were confident in your research and investigations you would quit using vague terminology. If you aren’t confident in your arguments why should we, as unsatisfied backers, (or satisfied, from the other camp) let you speak for us or cause all of this drama “for us”. Everything you say has plausible deniability written all over it: stating derivatives as questions, or using ambiguous terms. Grow some balls, speak clearly, and if you are right, you have 100% defense against litigation, remember?

      (2)Majority of backers wanted the bigger scope, and we voted for it with our wallets time and time again. All we would have had to do was just hit the 500k mark and see what he could make with that, but the horde wanted more this time, myself included, even if I am less than happy with the current progress or delays.

      (3)Drying up, Haha, that’s a laugh. Just because it’s not coming in the 10s of millions doesn’t mean they aren’t raking in extra funding, Plus, they would obviously downsize and scale back the project if they didn’t get another dollar until release. Totally doable with the funds they have.

      (4) They don’t have to. We decided all of that with #2. We gave them our money and they gave us estimated delivery times. Things change. Again, the MAJORITY decided to change the scope. Even if people like you and me grumble about it now.

      On that note, why are you just now complaining about this, if you really cared you would have put in your two cents in back when they redid arena commander for “higher fidelity” game play. Pretty sure you are just a PR addict.

      (5)You have called it an investment yourself. You don’t get refunds on investments if things go south. You sell the investment at current market value and hope you don’t bite it. So while the grey market is going downhill because of this storm you are helping along. That said, even for us kickstarter backers, who were investing in something else, it really is just tough shit. As long as he continues dev there is no real breach in TOS (Let’s say Google, and all of a sudden they tun into Alphabet and your google shares are now alphabet shares depending on the way the market swings it could be Bad Luck Browns)

      (6)You could at least show the evidence of why you think Sandi is Chris’ wife? Evidence seems to point more towards mistress. But this is the only thing you seem 100% confident in so either you are on to something, or it’s just the one thing you can’t really get in trouble for saying if you are wrong. I think the latter is more likely to be correct.

  63. Well, after reading a few things from both camps. Sorry, Mr. Smart truly never heard of you until now. No, I don’t mean that to be disrespectful.

    I just don’t see the merits in threatening legal action and I’ll tell you why. I haven’t invested much in the game, but more of the idea of Star Citizen itself.

    I have been an avid PC Enthusiast / Builder and Video gamer. As I have aged, I have broadened my horizons into more IT and well – I’ve gotten tired of the status quo. I would rather see someone be ambitious and communicate with us very often on how things are going. Technology has become more complex than it was when I was growing up and while we have game engines that can help dev teams crank out games every 2-3 years on the regular. It doesn’t mean they’re of quality or have any staying power.

    Play any of the last few Call of Duty’s on PC? Yea, hardly anyone plays them.

    Why not focus on the development of your game and show the world what you have today? I’d be much more interested in seeing both video games from both Chris Roberts and you. However, I have not seen anything (as of yet) from your company.

    Why not redirect the energy that is being put in to fighting (to some degree) Cloud Imperium and instead “win” the war by the merits of your own intellectual property?

    Just food for thought.

  64. What i don’t get is why anyone would be angry at you Derek for wanting RSi to show accountability of backer funds. The white knights of RSi are just blind to anything that’s not a glowy fart in there smug faces.

    Keep up the good fight Derek, i know at first the detractors of what you are doing will be vocal, but the industry needs to police itself, cause if we do not then we will end up with more and more scams than finished projects.

    1. That’s what happens in all social discourse; more so in gaming. There are those who want to push their narrative.

      The issue here is that even those who have no stake in this, want to attack the messenger because deep down, they fear that the messenger may be onto something, and they can’t have that. And if that messenger happens to be Derek Smart, well then, we’re at DEFCON 5. Common sense and facts be damned.

      Then on the other side of that, you have the whales who have so much invested that they don’t want to read or hear anything that remotely alluding to them having been duped, at risk of losing their money, being laughed at etc if it all collapses.

      So that’s precisely why these very people (not all of them though), are not even agreeing to the three simply things I’ve asked for and which every single backer is entitled to. It’s mind-boggling to me.

      1. If you’ve ever studied cult-like behavior, you’ll know that those that stuck it out until the end either went down burning or became the biggest and most vocal detractors once they realize the emperor has no clothes. Far far bigger scams have been pulled off in US history, and some (just as this one) weren’t completely intentional. Enron was a godsend for hard-working people as an investment…until they woke up one day and it wasn’t.

        Here you have a powder keg combination of rabid fans (so much that their own staff have noted fear in several places), these same fans are invested into the game to the tune of $1000’s each. Yes I say invested…labeling it a donation doesn’t make it less of a financial investment, and may consequently also raise the emotional investment.

        On the other side you have a patent demagogue creative (in his own mind) genius that really really wants to be the cool kid in Hollywood. At one point he had people to rein him in, but those have all been fired/quit/let go. Now CR is surrounded by yes-men and a cult machine that prints money without them having to actually do anything except come up with more future promises.

        Accountability any way we can get it is absolutely necessary for the future integrity of the crowd-funding system. If this thing collapses under its own hubris, the method and idea behind this kind of funding is doomed for a very long time.

        I don’t pity the backers that are calling for zero accountability. Who I will pity is CR and friends once those rabid backers see the light.

    2. Robert – that is because CIG is a private company HQ’d in the United States. As such, they are not legally required to release financials. That said, they provide information as to how much money they received in the form of pledges towards their crowd-funded project, they provide weekly development and production updates and are active in listening to the wants/desires of the community.

      What Derek has a hard time grasping is that while the original Kickstarter campaign raised 2.1 million and had a particular scope for the project in mind, that campaign shifted and evolved into a much larger, more ambitious project once CIG took responsibility for the crowd-funding. And, what’s more, the SEC has not finalized Title III of the JOBS Act as it pertains to equity crowdfunding and thus, CIG was well within their legal right to utilize the money earned from pledging and roll it into crowdfunding on their own site.

      Some will try and quote the following: http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/11/news/companies/ftc-crowdfunding/ Fact is, that was a canceled project and FTC determined that there was intent (what we call in the legal world ‘scienter’) to defraud and scam those pledging for his game. CIG has made it clear through constant updates, websites, et al. that this game is proceeding. A typical AAA game (Fallout 4, GTA 5, etc) takes anywhere between 4-6 years in development, and only then it is realized at that time because of demands by the publisher. CIG is not held-back by a publisher, and they are only barely scraping year four of development. Moreover, CIG’s backger (over 900k in total) have a great deal of say and influence on game direction/wants/desires/etc. If the majority of these backers expressed their discontent with waiting and wanted segments of the game to be realized immediately, it’s likely that would have already happened.

      1. Correction: No, they are not legally required to release financials. But as a crowd-funded company that raised funds through the public, then made promises to deliver product, they are accountable for that. Which is precisely where the FTC comes in. And they trump everything, and anything, that Roberts and co have to say. Everything.

        Plus, in their own TOS (which they’ve changed many times now; and we have several revisions of it), they indicated that they would make the accounting available. So how surprising is it that they haven’t?

  65. I bought into Star Citizen shortly after it was announced, since then I’ve only downloaded the client and looked around the game a bit. I didn’t expect the game was going to be made on time, I took my payment as being an investment on something that may come to fruition down the track. It was presented as a kickstarter type deal and that’s all I have ever thought of it. I’ve never been on the SCI forums or looked at any of the pre-release videos or been apart of the testing. I actually don’t pay much attention to the emails they send me keeping me up to date to what’s happening. As soon as I saw the funding for the game go up and up and more and more stretch goals being announced I knew that I probably wouldn’t see any version of the game for 5 or more years. World of Warcraft took 5 years to make it to beta and it’s scope compared to SC is tiny.

    Since then I’ve heard of people putting $20,000+ US into the game, I’m sorry if I offend anyone but that’s absolute insanity to me. I saw the prices that some of the ships they have announced and I thought you would be a moron to buy one of those for a game that’s not even in beta stages. Obviously people have money to burn.

    I don’t even pre-order games that are technically finished even when I’ve seen pre-release gameplay footage that looks like its going to be a good game. I’ve pre-ordered Fallout 4 mainly due to the fact that all the games before it have given me hundreds of hours of enjoyment, not because I expect the game to meet all of my pre-conceived expectations. In reality the fact is the popularity of the game and the huge amounts of funding it’s received there is absolutely no way that Chris Roberts or the development team is going to satisfy everyone.

    Something that’s gradually being eroded away in this world is personal responsibility, from the woman who sued McDonald’s for spilling her coffee while driving a car to the random internet twitterings where everyone get’s a voice disregarding the fact that person is probably not in a position to actually make any informed comment. If you decided to crowd fund something under the premise that it could fail, well that’s personal responsibility. I didn’t hear about anyone having a gun held to their head to fund the game.

    From an outsiders perspective it seems as though you may have invested so much time into your cause that’s you feel it’s impossible to just walk away all the while clinging on to rumors provided by the internet about deception, deceit and fraud.

    This is just an un-biased opinion from someone who hopes that these issues won’t delay and cause even more disruption for the development process of the game. Hoping to play Star Citizen sometime in the future, whenever that may be.

    My guess is this won’t pass your “moderation” standards, but I thought I would just give you an opinion from one of the very silent backers of Star Citizen.

    Regards

    1. This is not an echo chamber. It’s a place for meaningful discourse, as you can see from the many posts already approved.

      So your post totally passes the moderation quality standards. It was well written, respectful etc. So thanks. 🙂

    2. Another side note, if you think our justice system is stacked for the litigators and that it was just some crazy woman suing McDonalds, you really need to see the documentary on the subject. “Hot Coffee” (netflix and I think youtube have it).
  66. If people want a refund then why don’t they just sell their accounts & ships on ebay & reddit? Tehy might even make a profit in the process
    1. Yeah, some people have been doing that. However, that Grey market is apparently on the verge of collapse now, given all this noise, so I guess it’s probably going to be harder now. Which is why refunds are the only option.

  67. I dont know what is your problem. Even if SC will never be released It will be great fun to follow its epic development. Projects like these have to be ambitious. And if it fails it would be still better than threaten with pathetic lawsuit.
    1. You do realise that people are paying for the GAME not the ‘journey’. So if a contractor fails to deliver say a renovation of your house, you will be okay with it because the journey was great?
      1. Actually, people are funding the journey for this idea to become a game. That’s the whole principle of a kickstarter… the game is gift from the publisher in return for your funding and good faith. Besides, we have been receiving “the GAME”. It’s not like CIG is pushing out irrelevant content that we didn’t fund. We have been getting “the GAME’, albeit, bits and pieces.
      2. You do realize that your comparison is rather a bad one. A contractor has a legal contract with well defined terms about the services that they render, if they are remiss in delivering those services, yes you can sue. There really aren’t such hard and fast rules for crowdfunding, and the TOS was always available for you to read so that you knew what you were getting into.
  68. I have pledged the Star Citizen project to the tune of almost US$7000. I am under no illusions that this project may or may not deliver a product. If it does not deliver I will be annoyed but the money I have spent is gone already and won’t affect my financial security. At my age I am financially secure and this funding is but a drop in the bucket for me.

    My belief is that Star Citizen will be delivered but not in the original form that was proposed. Indeed it has far exceed what Chris Roberts was originally proposing. This is a double edged sword though as the project has increased in complexity and so have all the issues of integrating the major modules to work smoothly together. Thus Roberts has extended his delivery time-frames.

    As for the Derek Smart ongoing commentary on this project my belief is you have over stepped the bounds of common decency. I find it repulsive that you drag Sandi Gardiner into this commentary and also make statements about personal facts regarding her. You’ve also made the claim that she is Roberts wife and this has never been stated as fact. Even so this has nothing to do with the project. I also find it hypocritical that you make claims of questionable education references.

    You’ve also made comparisons with Elite Dangerous and I as a backer of that project and an active player can see Elite does not even come close to the scope of what Star Citizen will contain once it is released. At this time Elite is still a shell of a game and Braben has only now started development on a basic framework for walking in ships and landing on planets well after he has accepted a large sum of funding for the game.

    The one point I will agree with you on is that Chris Roberts should publicly post a financial statement of the project since inception. This will go a long way towards calming detractors like yourself and also removing a need for petty legal actions.

    You once said that you had learned and developed and matured after over 30 years in the gaming industry. One would also think you had learned how to moderate your behavior and comments in the public forum. Sadly your bad habit of turning to litigation to prove a point seems to continue unabated.

    1. $7000 <----- I was going to say something clever, then decided not to.Thanks for your thoughts, but I'm sorry to tell you that if one of the co-creators and officers of a company is a fraud, it's not only illegal, but it's also relevant and calls into the question the entire operation. Especially given all the implications of consumer fraud associated with this project. If you're as old as you say you are, you should already know the implications of this.There are way too many stories of entire companies collapsing for things like this, or people being kicked out of their own companies etc. But that's not going to happen here because she is the wife of the founder.And they are married. They have two kids. This is not in dispute. If they hadn't tried so hard to keep it a secret, it would be a non-issue.And her credentials, ethics etc are relevant because it's about nepotism. And while, as I said in the blog, that's not a bad thing, it is when you have the wife of a founder, an actress with zero marketing experience in her resume, is suddenly the VP of Marketing for an $88m crowd-funded company. A position she is neither qualified for, nor experienced to hold. And that is precisely what called into question her credentials - which we have found to be false. So she made that up in order to justify her VP position, and in turn, repeat the benefits of that. Hence all the disappearing public evidence in support of this crucial aspect.And the fact that you don't think any of this has anything to do with the project, when in fact money is being spent foolishly, not going into the project etc, speaks to the denial and ignorance that you whale White Knight backers tend to cling to. It's hilarious. At best.Ignore this all you want, it doesn't change anything.As to your pointing the finger at me, clearly you haven't matured or evolved beyond the low point of attacking the messenger, rather than engaging in meaningful and respectful discourse. I'm sure if I knew anything about you, I could write a book about what you do that I don't like. But on the Internet, being anon and sniping safely from being those confines, is always nice. People like me don't have that luxury.

      1. You are welcome to argue that Sandie doesn’t hold the qualifications needed for the job but _assuming_ that she have been responsible for the marketing strategy, it is going to be hard to argue that she isn’t doing a fantastic job. Most crowdfunded project ever, closing in on 100 million dollars, yeah _assuming_ this is her work, I’d say that it’s a moot point that there might be trouble with her qualifications.

        When I want to use twitter as my “account” here, I’m supposed to allow this site to post tweets on my twitter account, I have no interest in giving out such wide permissions so if its possible, it would be neat if that could be fixed. Thanks in advance!

        1. “uhm no. More money never – ever – guarantees a better product.”

          No, that’s not exactly what I’m arguing here, my point is that you can budget for a feature that you hope will be sufficient to be enjoyable, you can iterate on this particular feature until it reach a certain point where it may or may not be acceptable. When the feature turns out not to be acceptable then you may have learned enough to develop a different feature that would work better, getting more people into financing SC allows CIG to continue iterating until more suitable features have been developed.

          “And the SC marketing/PR is something they claimed – from the start – that they wouldn’t do. Yet, they did.”

          Unless you have evidence to the contrary, this is not out of kickstarter money but out of subscriber money, subscriber income goes into various budgets not the other way around. Hell they might even be throwing millions into the project themselves, the promise was not to use backers money for it.

          “Also, you won’t need to factor in marketing expenses for a crowd-funded project like this”

          Agreed. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do marketing to reach a larger audience though. It’s not one or the other.

          1. That’s just the usual Whitewashing nonsense that makes pointless arguments continue. They have spent money frivolously and foolishly. The pledge was made to everyone, not just backers on KS. They have broken those promises, including the pledge not to spend money on anything other than development.

            1. I’m sorry that you feel that way around those issues. I have a different view on it, it’s well known that any project relies on 3 pillars, namely scope, price and time, usually we say “pick two” and in the case of SC, I’m sure that 80+% of the backers wants the sole focus on scope. Now granted since money simply isn’t endless they have to balance price and time and that is what they are trying to do imho. That’s what I’m seeing in every piece of information that comes out of CIG.
              1. I agree with you. But the problem is that with all the money wasted and still so much more work left to do, and CR having gone on record now as saying it would be about $100m to finish the game, it’s going to be an uphill battle now. And during money crunch, there are going to be studio closures, layoffs etc.

      2. “$7000 <—– I was going to say something clever, then decided not to.”

        Please do. I always enjoy your responses. As for the $7000 it is comprised of an accumulation of individual ships and merchandise purchased since the end of the SC Kickstarter in late 2012. I’ve also kept an active Imperator Prime subscription since inception. My spend is on the low side compared to many org members. One of our members has just hit the $30,000 mark. Amazingly I have actually spent more money on World of Tanks since that game was released than I have on Star Citizen.

        “And her credentials, ethics etc are relevant because it's about nepotism. And while, as I said in the blog, that's not a bad thing, it is when you have the wife of a founder, an actress with zero marketing experience in her resume, is suddenly the VP of Marketing for an $88m crowd-funded company. A position she is neither qualified for, nor experienced to hold. And that is precisely what called into question her credentials – which we have found to be false. So she made that up in order to justify her VP position, and in turn, repeat the benefits of that. Hence all the disappearing public evidence in support of this crucial aspect.”

        Nepotism isn’t a criminal offence. Indeed many private companies keep it in the family. Also not being experienced doesn’t mean she can not do the job or learn. She is one of the key architects of the most successful crowd funded enterprise in history. As for your claim that she falsely stated she had an MBA, that is disappointing and I agree with you 100%. I would like you to produce documented proof that this is the case. I think we can all agree that people who falsely declare having MBA’s and PHD’s need to be held to account especially when they do so publicly.

        “And the fact that you don't think any of this has anything to do with the project, when in fact money is being spent foolishly, not going into the project etc, speaks to the denial and ignorance that you whale White Knight backers tend to cling to. It's hilarious. At best.”
        That is conjecture until we see some form of verified financial statement from Chris Roberts. Keep in mind there are over 280 developers working on Star Citizen. The money has to come from somewhere. When I spoke to Chris in person at our last meeting he was lamenting the fact they could not spend more on the cons they hold as he was very accountable for the pledge funding. That sentiment seemed to indicate to me this man isn’t interested in taking the money and running but actually wants to run a viable company that will last 10+ years.

        “Ignore this all you want, it doesn't change anything.”

        I am not ignoring anything. I’ve read your blogs in detail but I have yet to see hard concrete evidence of your claims. I will advise you to be very careful though as you are skirting very close to the shores of defamation especially with reference to Chris Roberts and his management staff.

        “I’m sure if I knew anything about you, I could write a book about what you do that I don't like. But on the Internet, being anon and sniping safely from being those confines, is always nice. People like me don't have that luxury.”

        I am not that interesting but I do have a keen interest in computer games and related discussion for over 30 years now. Coincidentally I was cleaning out my old collection of box games for recycling on the weekend and surprisingly found an original box version of Battlecruiser 3000AD (the GameTek 1997 version). It really did bring back memories of your usenet escapades and heated discussions on numerous forums and your constant battles to get your games published and functionally playable.

        1. My response to the $700 pledge was just a response I saw on Twitter the other day in which someone posted they had $17K in the game. It as just a hilarious meme. I didn’t want to appear to be making fun of your decision, given the seriousness of the discussions we’re now having. So I decided to err on the side of caution and not not share the laughs. 🙂

    2. Braben was always clear that other areas of Elite would be expansions. The first part of walking on airless moons and planets will be out in December, it’s not a ‘basic framework’. You can play Elite you can’t play SC.
  69. I have always suspected that a lot of the funds are being converted into company assets.
    If this is true would those assets be vulnerable if backers were to win a lawsuit?
    1. Yes, even without a lawsuit, the Feds have the ability to seek out and seize any/all assets if there is any evidence of fraud uncovered. And if they are sold, it will be up to the attorneys to figure out how to distribute the funds generated from a sale. It could take years. Which is why I pointed out the 38 Studios example. And that’s a company that’s only here in the US and has no international studios. Imagine the mess that the RSI/CIG collapse will bring.

  70. The fact that she lied about getting an MBA from UCLA is so goddamn low. This needs to follow her around everywhere she goes until she apologizes for it.
    1. We believe that they did that to justify her VP of Marketing role, and thus be able to reap the benefits (especially income) of that position.

  71. Sorry to say this, but this is really getting tiresome. Please just stop this crusade and concentrate on finishing your own game. How far could you be already with yor game if you would not follow this “self-righteous” path in trying to bring a rival company down just because you have suspicions…
    1. The fact that you think this is a crusade, is precisely the sort of talk that has encouraged these people to pull this stunt/scam. Why? Because most think it’s perfectly OK.

  72. Given the fact that you were already issued your refund for the game based on Kickstarter’s ToS (you can claim you haven’t received your refund, good luck getting people to believe it), thus have no legal stake in the matter, what makes you believe that you are qualified to speak on behalf of the over 900,000 people who are funding this game? You’re assuming way too much to be honest.

    I have no stake here, just came across this random post, and reading through the letter:

    “stifling of free speech” Really? Its the internet, nobody has stifled your speech lol.

    Your legal problem is you’re arguing in conjecture and you have not presented any evidence. Defamation is also extremely hard to prove, so good luck. Also unsigned letter, haha.

    Honestly, I’d advise you spend more time working on your game, but I guess you don’t care about it.

    1. First, no, I haven’t received a refund.

      And even if I had received it, that doesn’t change anything. I don’t have to be associated with the project to report on what I believe to be consumer fraud. You don’t have to agree or like it, but that’s just the way it is.

      I don’t know where you get the “free speech” thing from, so I don’t know how to respond to that.

      There is no conjecture in what I’ve written. If you didn’t read it, that’s on you.

      And nobody, least of all me, has made any claims about suing for defamation. And no, it’s not as hard as you think because it depends on the circumstances and what was said. You did miss/ignore the privacy issue I mentioned, right there are the top of blog post, right? How convenient.

    2. If CIG has already issued a check, then now there is no remedy which the court can provide to make Mr. Smart whole that hasn’t already been offered. The fact that he doesn’t want to cash CIG’s check isn’t likely to change anything.

      I’m not sure why he would still insist he hasn’t received a refund, for all the good that’s going to do him.

      1. I haven’t received a refund. They themselves confirmed it just in the past few days. So please stop commenting on something you have no clue of.

        And whether they refund me or not, is largely irrelevant. I don’t need to be a backer to bring about legal action. That’s just nonsense.

  73. Hi Mr. Smart,
    first of all, English isn’t my mother tongue and therefore I hope you will excuse my lack of grammar.
    I would like to thank you as well as some others did before me, for the time and dedication you have put on that story. I remember a couple of times where I would have loved having someone as dedicate as you to defend me from video games companies trying to rip me off.
    That’s been said, here’s my opinion on the matter, not that is relevant, but I think will reflect the opinion of a large silent part of the Star Citizen community.

    I backed this game in June 2013 through the RSI website, after a well-know successful kickstarter campaign. I didn’t pledge a lot, as I don’t like to pay awful amounts of money for virtual items. But I still salute and support the best I can peoples who are trying to do something different in this industry. And that’s what I personally bought that day. The dream/hope of a game like none before, focused on immersion, realism, with a tremendous amount of possibilities.
    I remember that day, thinking ” I’m getting charmed (By Chris) the same way I have been with Dean Hall (Dayz) ” who was back in the day someone selling me a dream, a game like none before.(Ehm, and well, I was obviously wrong about this one since the game is more a buggy concept then a real game, even nowadays. And Dean Hall left his company… )

    Obviously, I don’t know the future nor if Chris will deliver, but I still want to hope for the best to him and his game as I sincerely think he wasn’t lying or trying to scam at the start, and that he truly want(ed?) to do an astonishing game like none before. (Same goes for Dean Hall, btw)

    BUT, what is really poking me and making me think a lot more about this, it’s all the assumptions you express in this blog and their fishy attitude. Why the hell start to delete video contents and web pages after that first post pointing to them ? (which is incredible stupid as nothing is ever fully deleted on Internet.) If Sandi and Chris are married, why keep that secret ? Why they don’t communicate on important devs leaving the boat ? Why they don’t give us a new, maybe more realistic planning ? AND WHY THE HELL ARE THEY STILL SELLING THOUSANDS OF SHIPS, ACCEPTING A DISGUSTING AMOUNT OF MONEY YET WITHOUT HAVING DELIVERED ON THEIR PREVIOUS PROMISES ?

    That’s all legit questions that deserve to be ask and WE deserve an answer on them !
    Aside from that, I still hope Chris will deliver the dream he sold me.
    Thanks for reading me, I’ll follow any update on that matter. Wish you the best

    1. Yes, these are legit concerns. I have said over and over again, since my first blog, that I would like to see this game be made and for it to succeed. But from everything that I know, most of which isn’t even public yet, it is in trouble and at a high risk of failing, due to the decisions made.

    2. There are some valid concerns, but I think I can answer most of the ones you expressed.

      If Sandi and Chris are married, why keep that secret?
      – Are they really obliged to disclose their personal details and life choices? I think everyone deserves some privacy.

      Why they don’t communicate on important devs leaving the boat?
      – It is a big company (network). There will always be fluctuation. Unless it’s the CEO most companies don’t issue a press release when one of their managers is leaving, unless they are required to do so.

      Why they don’t give us a new, maybe more realistic planning?
      – Because they have learned, that their plans don’t work out the way, they thought. I know, this is unsatisfying, and the constant delays are one of the valid concerns.

      WHY THE HELL ARE THEY STILL SELLING THOUSANDS OF SHIPS, ACCEPTING A DISGUSTING AMOUNT OF MONEY YET WITHOUT HAVING DELIVERED ON THEIR PREVIOUS PROMISES?
      – Because they are still in the crowdfunding phase and need money for their project to finish. What is so difficult to understand about that? Selling ships is just the way CIG secures funding.

    3. I would suspect that their hiding of their marriage started out innocently enough.

      I am inclined to believe that perhaps Sandi wanted it to be appear that she could stand on her own two feet and that her position was rather due to competency and not nepotism. After all a CEO can appoint whomever they like and surely Chris though she was competent enough for the job.

      Yet with Sandi wanting to feel more qualified she may have simply chosen to pad her resume not thinking it was too big a deal. There are many examples of people doing this sort of thing, people lying in what they perceive as a small area never thinking they will be called to task. By all appearances, Star Citizen was riding high and mighty in the early days and the sky appeared the limit.

      If Chris has been a little more realistic and a little more honest none of this would have had to happen. I think Star Citizen is the perfect example of perceptions run wild in a dream chase where being somewhat grounded has often been left at the door.

      Basically the whole thing is somewhat of an out of control train lacking any real competence at the controls. Well intentioned but not grounded in reality nor honesty.

      1. I agree with you on Sandi’s motivation for doing this. However, it still goes back to the dangers of nepotism if an unqualified family member is somehow in a position that benefits the “family” while handling public (backer) funds. That’s really the crux of the matter here.

        Which is why Erin gets a pass because he is more than qualified for his new role as executive producer since Alex left, though he’s never had to manage a project of the scope before. However, we have heard allegations (from various sources) that almost $1m of backer money was spent setting his media company. We’re still digging through that one. It doesn’t appear in my blogs because unless it can be proven, making such allegations irresponsibly is unfair (to him) and is also just asking for a defamation lawsuit – regardless of how difficult those are prove (especially against public figures like myself).

        As I’ve said before, there’s a lot of research being done, things uncovered etc, that has yet to be made public; and which probably won’t be unless there is a lawsuit in progress.

  74. I opted for a minimal investment (just bought the base game) and have been waiting patiently since. Thus far the modules released are broken prototypes. I thought a number of years + $80 million could buy far more, guess I was mistaken. The ship peddling scheme is particularly troubling. This will either blow up into a crowdfunding-killer or be some kind of slow burning success. Either way, it will be interesting to watch from a safe distance. Not sure what you hope to achieve with this lawsuit at this time Derek. I say keep digging, investigating and sit on any juicy stuff. If the time comes to sue it, use it then. Technically they could still deliver a finished product. Nothing is stopping them.
    1. I know that the blog post was TL;DR, but it boils down to the three items in the legal letter. The blog post just sets the stage for how we go it here, and with numerous references and context to avoid the usual noise that people tend to make when they want to discredit what is written.

      The reason that it is inevitably going to end up in a legal situation, assuming the Feds don’t act first (since the govt. tends to a long time with these things), is because they will refuse to reveal financials.

      1) Release accounting for the project: I don’t believe they will do this. Which is why we’re ready to file an injunction, march into court etc

      2) Accurate delivery of the final product: He’s already done this last week in a Kotaku interview; but it’s vague in him saying by end of 2016 the game will be complete

      3) Refunds to anyone who asks for one. At the very least, everyone from the original Kickstarter who were expecting a game by Nov 2014.

  75. I backed this project for close to $2000 dollars . Alarm bells started to ring with me about 6 months ago. A constant pattern of promised content to play test not delivered. But a ship pipeline that drops a new concept $300 ship every other week.CR said nine months ago FPS alpha be out in a few weeks turns out that was a lie and no apology . Mixed signals all round and apparently for 9 months we got reports once a week on ATV saying most of studios working on FPS and yet in that time it seems to have gone backwards

    Community team spent its time pumping hype to sell ships and hiding criticism away in child category’s and Ben takes on the role of a cheerleader for CR. Any one who raises concerns is often verbally abused on the website and mods take no action and by doing so condone it. Gamescom hype and seeing the vast amount of recourses wasted on it was the final straw for me and again lots of hype promises heavy marketing and still no content to play test .

    At this point I emailed my concerns and asked for a full refund .And to be fair to Cig they were very good about it. Sandi was professional and took the time to answer my questions and acknowledge my concerns about marketing and recourses spent on it and lack of content. I got a full refund a week later . I suspect vast amounts of money has been spent on marketing and publicity events rather than game development. Mixed signals all round and apparently for 9 months we got reports once a week on ATV saying most of studios are working on FPS and yet in that time it seems to have gone backwards .I hope I am wrong ,as this will do crowd funding a great disservice. I would like to have seen a account of how funds where being allocated . Some thing about the words and actions of CIG makes me suspect there desperate for more money and that at 88 mil is just wrong .

    Derek smart , right are wrong is entitled to a opinion and the reaction CIG took towards him raised red flags for me and a few others. They got nothing to hide and Derek is entitled to ask these questions. Fan abuse towards him is the same blind pitchfork faith mob that patrol the forum 24/7

    1. Everything they spend on marketing comes from the Subscribers plus the events are paid extra through the event tickets.
      Did you even read all these Comm-Link entries or was it just TL:DR?
      1. Here we go again.

        WHY is that relevant? What happened to the comments, pledges etc on not spending money on such things? Why is there need to spend money on marketing and PR for a project that was already funded? They do that because they want to continue raising free money and without any accountability.

        1. Surely Derek even you must admit that getting more money to make your own game better would be neat especially if your existing supporters would pay for marketing to bring in new supporters that would make the game better for everyone?

          The CR religion allows this, is this really a problem(assuming the game comes out) when everyone “wins”?

          1. uhm no. More money never – ever – guarantees a better product.

            And the SC marketing/PR is something they claimed – from the start – that they wouldn’t do. Yet, they did. And are spending millions of dollars on that. Money that should be going to a product that was already paid for, many times over.

            Also, you won’t need to factor in marketing expenses for a crowd-funded project like this, since that’s the very premise of crowd-funding the development in the first place.

    2. OK, I’ll reply to you since you’re the top most of these guys, but the other ones further down: please feel like you’re being spoken to, as well.

      Why, in the name of all that is holy, would you spend 1.5k, 2k or 3k Dollars on a game? I mean honestly, it’s mind-boggling. My approach to Star Citizen was: oh hey, I’ll give them $60, see how it turns out, and if the money’s lost, that’s no biggie because it just means I get to buy one tremendously overhyped franchise game (looking at you there, Black Ops 2!) less. See, that’s the thing: a whole bunch of people are now acting as if CIG coerced them into spending huge amounts of money, but it was always YOUR OWN choice of doing so. CIG was always upfront about the money they’d need for a certain milestone: $6 million to get other investors on board, $23 million to make the base game without those investors, $65 million when the stretch goals were cut… After passing the $23m mark at the lastest, that should have been the point where the existing backers at least should have stopped pouring money into the project; but they didn’t, and of their own free will.

      Oh, and @Zcardwell (the Pay-to-win-person further down): kindly explain to me how you “win” in a game that has no set goals. Do you think somebody in a $300 cargo ship will win over someone in a $50 fighter? I almost pity those people a little who have bought every ship and module and equipment beforehand, as they won’t have much to progress to within the game.

      1. Indeed. And there is no game yet. Imagine the balancing nightmare that’s going to erupt if/when a game does come from this. Heck, as I type this, people are still bitching about the flight dynamics and controller issues in AC 1.0. And that’s been out over a year now!

  76. Go Derek Go! Get those lying thieves. I want to see justice for what they are trying to do. I’ve lost nearly $600 on this “game.”
      1. Ok so was this dictated and not proofread or checked by the lawyer or paralegal that took this dictation? Seems like it to me. Sorry if wrongly assuming here but I’ve worked with paralegals before and seen this type of thing before.
        1. No. That’s not what it means. Most law firms use voice dictation (e.g. Dragon) instead of typing stuff up; because it’s quicker.

  77. I wish you would describe more of what you know about the goings-on at RSI that you hint at. I know you want to save it for a court of law, but it might help to get a larger discussion to get going in the meantime. The accusation that Sandra is getting money for her own pet project is damning enough. Care to elaborate on that one, at least?
  78. This is a top post to let you all know that I appreciate the reasonable discussions you’re all having here, and with meaningful dialog (whether we all agree or not, is irrelevant).

    …then I realized, who am I kidding!? It looks civil and tame because I’m not only trashing posts by nincompoops who, despite the warning (right there on the top of the comment box), are stilling trying to inject crap into the blog. But I’m also blocking their entire IP ranges, emails (most of which are fake) etc. so that’s good. It’s kinda like Twitter. You get one shot. Then you’re gone. Here though, it’s “silent kill”. Nobody gets to see it. 🙂

    But still, the posts that are moderated and allowed, are still civil. Which means that the majority of Star Citizen gamers, whether they agree with me or not, know what it is to have a decent discussion.

    As I’ve said on social media, I want this game to succeed and I hope that, if nothing else, it sends a clear message to them that they HAVE to finish A game and ship it. Soonish.

    Thank you.

  79. minor typos but they confused me briefly – search for “gamescom”, and the money references right after that say K when you mean M.
  80. Mister Derek, these 80 + million Dollar are – to put it simple – just peanuts for Roberts and Co. Between 2003 and 2004 they getting over 750 million Dollar from germany, saying they are making movies with it. The money was collected by a german mediafond, named VIP Medienfond 3 and 4. The truth: only 20 percent of this money ever went to the projects, the rest were used as “safe cash” for several banks, including some of the bigger players. The german partner, Mister Andreas Schmidt from the VIP Medienfound, went to prison for 6 years, resulting in a nearly crash of this system, leaving many “movie backers” with extremely high financially losses (this was some sort of a “legal tax game” in germany). Ortwin Freyermuth was at this time CR partner, he still is in control of most of the sistercompanies.
    http://www.corporationwiki.com/California/West-Hollywood/ortwin-freyermuth/42012817.aspx
    CR and OF did not help to answer some of the major questions from the money givers, they claimed that they were forced into this debacle.
    There are several good articles in german language: a simple search for VIP 3/4, Rising Star Pictures might be helpful.

    sorry for my bad english, its not my home languages.

    1. Yes, we’re actually aware of this and had a long discussion about it a couple of weeks ago with the attorneys and investigators.

      We also learned (completely out of the Blue), that around $1m of Star Citizen backer money was allegedly also used to setup Erin Robert’s media company. Since we don’t yet have hard evidence of that, I haven’t mentioned it in any official capacity yet because we’re still digging into it and other issues like that.

      As I said, there is a LOT that we know, that they don’t know we know, and which the backing public do not know. They can attack me all they want, it won’t change a thing. I will see this to the very bitter end because something stinks here.

      1. My trust in Cr was gone long before he opens the gates to his vision named Star Citizen. In 2010, several investors from the VIP 3 and 4 went to court, among the witnesses they called for – you guessed it – CR AND Ortwin Freyermuth.
        (look it up here: http://www.bundesanzeiger.de search for Rising Star, docs from 17.05.2010).
        And what happened? Yes,you guessed it quite right: not a CR nor Ortwin showed up in munich,but they sold the movie company Ascendand Pictures to Bigfoot Entertainment just a few days prior the court date.
        http://www.wcnews.com/cgi-bin/searchnews.cgi (just look at the date !!!)

        If someone gives you millions of dollars, than you are in full responsability.

        And now? The same faces appears again, even John Schimmel is back at business with CR…
        http://www.ascendantpictures.com/team.html

          1. Goodness. This is like a fucking onion. So many layers and it stinks. Is this going to be the basis of the next blog? This is like something you’d expect to see on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
            1. kxmode: Again. Most of you don’t know the half of it. I was on the phone yesterday with some media people and told them the same thing.

              Good news is that now some have said that they are going to do their own investigation. But I’m not waiting for media; I’m moving forward with my own third-party independent investigation regardless. This way, this nonsense about me being biased, hopefully gets set aside.

        1. Being likable has nothing to do with being able to produce a game. It has more to do with raising money which most likable pastors are good at but at least you know what he is selling. I presume that is what Dsmart is referring to.
        2. Do you really need it spelled out for you? Pastors are con men. They’re literally selling a product that doesn’t exist.
      1. Funny that you compare CR to a pastor at the church.
        This whole case has a pretty compelling resemblance to a religious scam/fraud.
        Just think of it …
          1. Another resemblance i just realised is the RSI-Fanboys/White Knights are like religious fanatics :.They would say “…because the bible says so!”.
            Now replace “bible” with CR/RSI…
  81. Thanks for the well written article. I am glad someone can ask the hard questions and not get silenced. I am in for over $300 and I have realized that we will most likely get the $10 box. All I wanted was the new wing commander. Things sure got off track fast. Keep up the fight for the truth!
  82. Mr. Smart.
    I am a CIG backer with over $3k invested into the game. I am very glad that you wrote this article and are taking the action(s) you are. While I still want to believe that CIG will deliver the game we all want, you made some excellent well articulated points and I am concerned that my money is not being used as I would have hoped. Please accept my thanks for taking the time to be involved in finding resolution and initiating some backer recourse (the email and steps you provided for refunds) which hopefully will result in CIG getting back on track to creating the game they promised instead of pursuing their current business model of selling concept ships for a game that does not exist. And in the end if your actions expose fraud committed by CIG then you have my support in pursuing restitution for backers.
    1. You’re welcome.

      As I’ve said, time and time again, my goal is not to see the project destroyed. I would like for them to, at the very least, revert to the original promise and deliver that. Anything is better than nothing. However, as I mentioned, if they did that, now we have all paid $87m for a $20m game. And if they do that, the only way to get retribution, is to sue them. And for what exactly? They are living off crowd-funded money. So if it’s all gone, and there aren’t even personal assets to go after in the event of a lawsuit win, backers still lose.

      And I do NOT want it to come to that. Which is why I am taking these steps now. If nothing else, it will continue to send a clear message to them that they simply can’t be doing this shit, not being held accountable, and think we’re just going to let it go.

      As I’ve said already, even if they refund some of us, I’m still going to pursue and fund legal action because I don’t need to be a backer to do that. And whatever the authorities do on their end, is entirely up to them. The concern there is that, this being the govt., things tend to move very slowly. And given that, sitting around and waiting, could very well mean that it’s all over before they conclude their findings.

      This wouldn’t be happening if they were responding to these queries, instead of hiding being White Knight backers who don’t know any better.

      1. Mr. Smart,

        I am confused about what you are saying here, and I think it warrants a bit more explanation. You say that you don’t want to see the project destroyed, yet your actions of telling people to request refunds and have federal action against CIG will do just that. You said it yourself, CIG has to fund legal fees with backer money. In the end, CIG will suffer because of what you are doing here, and in turn, the backers suffer because even a small portion of the game we wanted won’t be delivered, even if it’s the version promised back in 2012. Not to mention, if as many backers as you are hoping for ask for refunds, that will also decrease the amount of money CIG has. You also mention (i’m paraphrasing) how you’re doing this to get the truth out, and to make sure this doesn’t harm the game industry. However, by causing CIG to fail, it harms the game industry and crowdfunding even more.

        I guess I just don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish here, since CIG and backers lose either way as long as you continue to demand legal satisfaction. You aren’t gaining anything from this, and CIG loses, so are you aiming for a “scorched earth” scenario?

        Are you simply just trying to find out the truth regardless of the negative consequences everyone on all sides will experience? I would just like some clarification here since I interpreted your post that way. Correct me if I am wrong.

        1. Yes, I admit, it can get rather confusing. Which is why, if you read my latest blog, and the legal letter, I am only after three things. And they are well documented.

          If them doing refunds causes the project to collapse, that’s on them; because it means that, all along, they lied to backers about the state of the project.

          And since I believe that this is now bordering on consumer fraud, I took upon myself to get to the bottom of it because then if and when it collapses, backers will be able to anticipate it, rather than being taken by surprise.

          1. If you lay down people will walk on you; I think the business (RSI) has, so far, had a lot of incentive ($$$) to let this thing spiral out of control. It may be well intended, or it could be deliberate fraud. We’ll never know if we don’t ask the hard questions.

            I think the real issue that is at stake is the precedent that is being set. Crowdfunding is a great way to realize some very cool dreams, but it’s also clearly an easy way to take advantage of people.

            1. Thank you. And this is precisely the issue. These people trying to defend this practice – and their thousands spent on vaporware – are trying very hard to downplay the situation. All at the detriment of others who just want to see a game made and delivered, before everything collapses.

              Seriously, you have to ask yourself why anyone wouldn’t want these three, very reasonable things.

              1) accountability for funds 2) firm delivery date 3) refunds for those who felt misled

              This sort of thing, where supporters to an abusive cause, want to downplay the seriousness of the situation, is precisely why there are laws that protect consumers from fraud, and that is precisely why crowd-funding scams now have an entire FTC division.

      2. I am confused. Throughout your blog you stated that feature creep and increased scope are two of your problems with the development of the game. Then in this post you state ” I would like for them to, at the very least, revert to the original promise and deliver that. Anything is better than nothing. However, as I mentioned, if they did that, now we have all paid $87m for a $20m game.”

        So you say you would like them to, at the very least, revert to the original game, but then complain that the original game is only a $20m game. By saying so, it can be inferred that you want an $87m game since that is what the backers have paid. How could they create an $87m game based off the feature set and scope that was originally set for a $20m game?

        You also complain that they have missed all of their milestones, which is pretty much true. One would have to ask, though, since those milestones were based off the scope and features from a $20m game, wouldn’t it be understandable that the added scope and features needed to put out a $87m game could easily throw those milestones off target?

        1. Yes. The point is that, as a gamer, I will take a game over no game. Why? Because I don’t want to see this whole thing collapse in a total loss. It’s the investor way of thinking, and it’s called asset recovery.

          As a software developer and producer, if I had an $87m game that’s two years out, and I’m running out of money, I would cut it. In the case of Star Citizen. This is what they need to do.

          1) Hangar // halt dev. it’s basically finished anyway

          2) Arena Commander // needs to be fixed. networking, control scheme, flight dynamics – all suck. Put more attention to this

          3) Arena Commander 2.0 / Multi-Ship // halt dev + put on indefinite hold

          4) Social Module / Planetside // halt dev + put on indefinite hold

          5) Star Marine // focus on the parts that are relevant to SQ42 which relies on it

          6) Squadron 42 // focus on this game, implement co-op as promised, and off-line mode

          In the end, backers would have a solid SQ42 game which, if done right, would hopefully go back to the game we all backed in 2012

          Once that’s all done, go back and build the pipe dream. Some with rage and be totally pissed, but coming clean is the best path forward

          And in all of the above, studio closures, and layoffs to cut down on expenses, is unavoidable

          1. We’re not in asset recovery mode because there has been no implosion. Crystal ball gazing does not prove there is a crime.

            The game is the product. The game being delivered fulfills the pledge and eliminates a basis for asset recovery. CIG could default to the Kickstarter description and have fulfilled its part of the bargain with you. They did continue to build upon the original Kickstarter description. Other backers did pledge pledge based upon this expanded description. What you’re arguing is the game should be delivered as originally described in the Kickstarter, as well as mismanagement and fraud addressed based upon subsequent pledges of the expanded game. I don’t think your argument is strong for the latter because you’ve implicitly accepted the expansion.

            What you appear to be doing, and of course feel free to correct, is force CIG to adhere to it’s original Kickstarter description because something is better than nothing based upon your predictions.

            Your argument for mismanagement and fraud is not based upon the Kickstarter. I don’t recall you claiming those funds were mismanaged. So it appears that only when the money started rolling in you’re claiming mismanagement and fraud.

            Your argument shouldn’t go beyond your belief that the Kickstarter description should be fulfilled, yet it does. So do you agree with the expansion beyond Kickstarter goals or not? You’re taking advantage of something you disagree with, or not?

            1. Asset recovery in investment, has nothing to do with what you’re thinking. It’s about taking steps to ensure that the asset recovers (stock slump, bad medical trials etc) from what track on failure it’s on.

              Yes – I would like for them to adhere to and honor the original Kickstarter pledge, or refund all $2.1m.

              Aside from that, nobody gets to ignore the potential for consumer fraud. This goes beyond a KS game description.

              1. Hey, thanks for the reply!

                Here’s the thing. You have stated you don’t want the project to fail, and you don’t accept CIG’s refund or it hasn’t happened and you’ve not pushed for it. You haven’t pushed for recovery of your alleged losses. And you didn’t do so in a timely manner.

                So let me put the question to you directly. Despite CIG’s deviation from the original Kickstarter pledge, which you have outlined, did you not tacitly accept the new goals, the expanded Star Citizen game?

                1. I have not asked for a refund.

                  I have not received a refund.

                  I have not refused a refund.

                  We, as backers, don’t get to “tacitly accept new goals”; so no, I didn’t agree to anything related to that.

  83. I would like to also mention Derek Smart that the game’s kickstarter originally said “No Pay to Win”. Yet they sell digital ships that you can play on start for outrageous prices, which is obvious pay to win. People will make the argument of course about how their going to disable the ship marketplace. Yeah, that could be the case but have fun flying a little bucket of junk while someone else is flying a 250 dollar piece of hardware.

    This game has been stinking to high heaven, and it will probably end up being delayed again. Only for them to delay for “more development costs”.

    Also, there is no official reasoning on why various Producers left or why the FPS module has been brought in house, yet maybe I know the reasoning. Roberts idea’s are too time consuming, too outrageous and constantly expanding.

  84. All this clap chap is void due to the fact that, though I grant you the scope of the game has increased, their initial team consisted of a dozen people. Now they have over 250, they are getting their multiple offices integrated and streamlining their production. They have been working on the game for 4 years but no where near the productive capacity a typical company would, over the years they have been getting more manpower.

    I read on a separate post, that the average AAA game takes 3.5 years to make. Star citizen has been going on for 4, and frankly, it is completely acceptable if it took longer than 5 or 6.

    What people fail to see is that they have been building a game while building a company.

    1. What people fail to see is that Chris Roberts has done this crap before. Starcitizen is nothing more than Freelancer 2 waiting to crumble again with no Publisher to save the day.
      1. Changes in Chris’ career were caused by catastrophic projects. He left PC gaming for Hollywood because of the Digital Anvil’s collapse. And then he left Hollywood because of an Unnamed film (after “Black Water Transit”) reported to have gone bankrupt, and subject to on-going lawsuits today (Derek would likely have more information on this than me). Basically you could say Chris Roberts has left a wake of destruction in his career. Can you imagine when (and if) CIG collapses. The wake of destruction will be much larger because it’s not just PC gaming or crowdfunding but it’ll be all those indie developers who rely on early access money to fund their projects. If SC dies that will mostly evaporate.
    2. No, it is not acceptable if it takes that long. Not without letting people back out due to false promises.
      They should have built the game INSTEAD of a huge company.
  85. Since this blog went live, they are continuing to remove evidence from the web.

    Though we have them, two more links to Sandra Roberts, which a whole bunch of people have already seen, have now been deleted.

    #1 The one where she was in a video and referred to as Mandy

    http://www.anyclip.com/movies/welcome-to-the-jungle/at-the-beach/

    #2 The YouTube video where she was talking about her MBA

    Like everything else, we have all of them saved locally. So this of no consequence. Go ahead and tell me again how none of this isn’t fishy.

    1. Couple things here about these videos:
      #1 – proves absolutely nothing. First off, do you even have definitive proof that that is actually her and not just someone who resembles her (that does happen from time to time on the internet) and even if you did, what does the fact that she went by a different name for a time prove? My wife goes by a different name than her legal name (and unless you see her sign a legal document you’d never know it) does that make her suspicious in your mind? Another friend of mine went 3 years of her life deciding to go by her grandmother’s name after she passed in remembrance. This video is legally worth diddly squat other than to use in the internet forums to stir up suspicions about her character. If you happen to have a legal document that she had signed with a different name than you might have something, as it stands this is fluff.

      #2 – I never actually was able to see this video or any of the information pertaining to her claiming an MBA but again, this doesn’t actually prove anything. It’s useless information, even if she did misrepresent herself that is again not really a crime unless it can be proven to affect you, personally in a fiduciary way (and no I really don’t think this counts with the whole kickstarter thing). This is again just an attempt to cast suspicion on her character with no evidence of any actual wrong doing.

      Honestly all this seems to be borderline libel against her character.

      1. You’re kidding right? So all of a sudden, two out of three (the Sunnys Diner show MP3 is still up so far) links which we have – and which were there – are now gone following this blog post. Not to mention the issue with the LinkedIn ones.

        C’mon Ben, you have made some really good arguments in my blogs, but even you should be able to see that something fishy is going on here.

        And no, if it was defamatory, I wouldn’t put it in writing. The truth is 100% defense against any defamation lawsuit; and they are more than welcome to sue me. I’ll be waiting.

    2. Second little response about that video you have there with Sandi being referred to as “Mandy.” You know that she’s an actor correct? Did you happen to check IMDB and notice that in she starred in a little movie called “Welcome to the Jungle,” where her character was named……..Mandi?
        1. It’s actually right there in the link….it literally states in the web address Welcome to the Jungle…..anyclip.com is also a depository for FILM clips. Small clips of feature films. Gotta say I’ll leave the character judgement about you and the investigators up to you, but it’s literally in the website address.
          1. Ben, nobody is disputing any of that. Again, that’s not the context. Again, now it has been removed. Explain that. It was there up until three hours ago.

        2. The man she is shown with near the end of the clip is easily recognizable as her co-star in the film……..

          And please explain the context of showing a clip from an actor’s previous work to cast doubts on their character, I would love to hear it. It’s a proven clip from a movie that she worked on, end of story. Please take this ridiculousness down.

          You can keep up the stuff about her MBA, I haven’t researched that one. But seriously if I just found something disproving some of your accusations with a 10 minute google search it kind of makes me worried about the solidity of the rest of your arguments.

          1. I don’t even know why I have to explain this.

            It has NOTHING to do with anything. The fact is that it was a movie clip. That clip is actually referenced in her IMDB filmography which is where her character is called “Mandy”. The tongue-in-cheek comment that I made about this, was just that. *sheesh*

            Also, none of that explains why the clip is now gone, does it?

            1. I’m sorry but you referred to that video (which hasn’t been taken down by the way) as “evidence,” how is that tongue-in-cheek? What is this evidence of? Nothing but an attempt at character assassination. Please explain otherwise.
              1. How is my saying “though we still don’t even if know yet if that is her real maiden name as here she’s called Mandy” amount to “character assassination? Explain that to me.

                You do realize that it’s in her filmography (which I have linked to), right? You also know that it is shot as a “reality” show, right? And you DO know that in those, people use their real names, right? THAT was the reason for the reference, which is precisely what I said: we don’t know.

                Seriously, this is a waste of my time.

                ps: yup, the movie is back online. I guess they figured out that it was in fact real, so they put it back. lmao!!

                1. Ok you reference me to look at her filmography (which is where I found the info to start with) but then you also state that this was filmed as a “reality show?” Where did you get that information? On her filmography it is clearly shown as a Feature Film and no listed actor is referenced on the cast list with their real name.

                  It may have been filmed in a style similar to a reality show but that is all. Her real name is right there listed on her IMDB as Sandi Gardiner.

                  I say this might be construed as defamatory or character assassination because you are calling into question whether or not she is who she claims to be, even though there are various sources that actually back up her identity. You seem to be attempting to cast a shadow of doubt over her entire character with misinformation (oddly when you first posted the link you didn’t mention it was a clip from a movie but made sure to reference that she was being called by a different name).

                2. Nope, I never said it was filmed as a reality show. I was asking you questions. When I saw the clipped, that’s what it looked like. Have you even seen the clip?

                  Your claim of “character assassination” is bullshit and without merit. Don’t you have other things in the blog to be concerned about? Shall I pick a topic for you?

                3. You directly contradicted yourself.

                  “You also know that it is shot as a “reality” show, right?” Just because you throw a “right?” at the end of a declarative statement doesn’t make it a question to me. You say it was shot as a reality show, this is a false statement, easily verifiable.

                  And yes of course I’ve seen the clip, how else would I have been able to inform you that, a)it was still online and b) the reference I made in another post about another actor.

                  And if you aren’t attempting to cast a shadow of doubt over her character with a clip that you knew was from a film that she had done, then what was the actual point?

                  (and I have started to comment on other things in this post, but I just found this dibacle to be a bit too far for me to just let it go.)

                4. Thank you for changing the description of the video in the update, that’s all I was looking for was full disclosure and not a sly attempt (whether intentional or not) to cast a shadow of doubt and discredit over someone’s entire namesake.
                5. Actually I didn’t change it. I just added the link to her Filmography so that it’s clear to some people why I made the reference since apparently most people didn’t understand.

        3. You do know, that you can literally buy the Film Sandi starring as Mandy at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk? And on Amazon.com she is even listed as Starring in the Headline.
          http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UNYJVI/eatmybrai-20
          http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000UNYJVI/eatmybrai-21

          This Film was done by Jonathon Hensleigh someone who is not without a name inside the Film business. I think it would be very simple to ask this Director if he remembers Sandi. 😉
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Hensleigh

          Please go ahead sir.

          1. uhm, yes, we know. Why are people harping on this, instead of the more important aspects of this farce? This was a small movie (it’s in her Filmography) she made, and she was called Mandy in it. I mean seriously, what am I missing here?

            Nobody has said anything – thus far – about why Bérénice Eveno was making a movie short (Elle) with CIG. Is that in any, way, shape or form, part of Star Citizen?

            1. So you just took that small 83 minute film where she is called Mandy as “joke” because you seem to know that she is not in fact named Sandi Gardiner?

              You know… you have given very valid points in your blog post but I think you did that blog post no good with involving “dirty clothes” from a perhaps Family business…

              In regards to Bérénice Eveno… what if they really let someone use the CIG props to film a movie? What if they even charged some money for it to get the funding for all the props back?

            2. Do you have any actual proof connecting CIG (as a company) with this short film (especially financially)? Or could it possibly be something as innocent as they happened to shoot a short film at one of their offices? Just curious.
                1. No I’m being serious and actually asking you questions about other portions of the blog like you asked. But if you can’t answer it then so be it. I’m attempting to have a dialogue with you on the charges that you are levying against CIG, but all I ever get is evasion and backpeddling.

                  As an original backer I would really like to have this information, it would greatly help me to decide whether or not I should continue backing this project, but sorry I can’t just simply take your word on it. So if you have nothing else to say on the matter then why did you say “Nobody has said anything – thus far – about why Bérénice Eveno was making a movie short (Elle) with CIG. Is that in any, way, shape or form, part of Star Citizen?” If you didn’t want us to ask about it?

    3. It’s been fishy. Just like Digital Anvil/Roberts and Freelancer. Until Microsoft pulled the plug that is.
    4. Also if you really want to check out her MBA, she has stated that she went to UCLA for her masters in business, and you can find her birthdate on her IMDB page. With this information you should be able to get confirmation (or not) of attendance from http://www.studentclearinghouse.org/ They handle all verification of degree from UCLA. I would have done it myself but it costs $25, so I didn’t think it was personally worth my money, when honestly I don’t really care that much.
      1. Ben, you’re beginning to bore me now and we should stop approving your posts. We’ve already done ALL the research. Again, do you think we’re idiots? Or that the investigators just run around wasting their time?

        SHE NEVER WENT TO UCLA. Period. End of story. She LIED about it. In SEVERAL places.

        This is EXACTLY why most people don’t even comment in public about legal matters; everyone (like that one idiot on Reddit “I’m a paralegal. What that means is I know as much as a lawyer does“) thinks they’re an attorney.

        1. I’m in no way attempting to say I am an attorney. I was just offering up a solution that I found in my own research of the issue. If you have already sought out this information from this source and have the documentation to PROVE that she never went there and that she has LIED, then why not release that? You would face no legal response, as you said previously “The truth is 100% defense against any defamation lawsuit; and they are more than welcome to sue me.” So then why wouldn’t you release this information if it simply the truth?
          1. Because this is not a court of law. And yes, she is more than welcome to sue me. Only in a legal matter where it becomes an issue, will it be necessary to release it.

            Plus, anyone can do this. For around $199, you can contact UCLA and search for up to 12 name variations. You can even start with Sandra Roberts or Sandi Gardiner for $25 and get no matches.

            We also did (hired a researcher there) the same thing in Australia btw, since she had similar information in there. Which is right around when her new LinkedIn profile which had that information, also disappeared.

            1. Well pardon my legal ignorance but what legal significance would this information have in the overall case?
              1. A lot actually. If there is a pattern of dishonesty and fraud, here in the US it is a big deal and could ultimately cause the collapse of the entire company.

  86. They did refund your pledge right? You’re no longer a backer. I know that you’ve mentioned in your previous blog that even though you were refunded your pledge that you still consider yourself a backer? How does that work? And you were refunded your pledge based on Kickstarter’s ToS, not CIG’s.
    1. I am still a backer. I have not received my refund as of this writing.

      Aside from that, I don’t need to be a backer to fund a lawsuit, go after them for consumer fraud etc, or even to work with the authorities on same.

      And I won’t be discussing the merits of the case in a public forum.

  87. That Cult of Chris(t) Roberts and their rabid army of white knight brigade certainly could use a reality check. They’d defend child slavery if it was CIG doing it.
  88. Very nice written!
    It is about time that someone like you stand up for us backer!
    In the RSI forum You can not write criticism anymore! CIG will ban you immediately!

    I’m a backer since 2012 and have donated a lot money.. and CIG banned after I have asked questions and written criticism about the project!

    The project has developed very untrustworthy! It should be investigated legally.
    Thank you! Good job!
    keep it up!

  89. This was making a fair amount of sense, a lot of your points about accountability are right, but it makes absolutely no sense to force them to spend more money then most Americans earn a year on a legal defense when your main point is about wasting money? And as a backer of star citizen I really don’t want to force a release date, as you explained yourself the end result will be the ‘flimsy box for $10’ instead of the ‘$100’ box that can be delivered given time. Finally you claim this isn’t personal or about you at all, yet it is clear you are working on a similar and fairly comparable game your self. You claim its like comparing basketball to football, yet SC and LOD will attract a similar player base and therefore activity compete upon release if not already. Plus the inventor of basketball isn’t attempting to file a class action lawsuit against the inventor of football whilst claiming that hes doing it for the football fans not for personal gain or hype around his own sport.
    1. Actually, whether we want to force a release date may be of the essence here. If things aren’t on track.. or if there is something hinky going on, the sooner we know and can take corrective action while there is money in the kitty the better.
  90. Most people backing the game are fully aware that the final product may not meet their expectations, that’s the risk crowdfunders take. Personally, i really don’t mind waiting longer but getting extra features because of it. RSI seem to be perfectly open with the changes they are making to SC and many of the extra features are often requested by SCs fantastic community. Yes, you may win your lawsuit, but it’s not going to help the games development, is it?
  91. I understand there a lot of points/issues you are addressing, but in regards to your concerns about it having been 4 years of dev so far, why does this concern you? Is it primarily because they set the expectation that it would be much shorter? Because currently Fallout 4 (a single player game) will have been in development for 5 years, and is far beneath the scope in functionality in SC. So just curious on your opinion on if you think 4 years to-date dev time is a problem in and of itself, or if it’s the principles you feel they are violating that are the problem.
    1. The main issue is scope creep. When the KS campaign started they outlined a very reasonable timeline with reasonable features. In line with what say Elite Dangerous has already done.

      If they had come out during KS and said “We are making WoW in Space and it’ll be done by 2014” people would never have given them money.

      Thus the main problem is that the ‘timeline’ is actually fundamentally flawed now. You’re basically going to have to start the count down the 4 years of a very high pressure MMO development from TODAY. The 1 year before the KS? Pointless as it wasn’t designing around a giant MMO. Most of the work leading from there, worthless.

      Perhaps a good analogy is with regard to how driverless cars are designed. Many people might think that well we have auto parking, and side car detection, and radars and cameras that they ‘feel’ driverless to a degree. Thus people think that if we keep ‘adding safety stuff’ to cars you can end up with a driverless car eventually. But that’s not the case. A driverless car needs to be designed from the ground up as driverless. You cannot simply keep tacking on small automation benefits and come up with a driverless car because you eventually run into a wall where adding small things doesn’t get you there.

      An MMO is like a driverless car. You cannot take the design and technical concepts for a much smaller scope game and then just ‘add stuff’ to make it into an MMO. Remember the KS campaign explicitly stated this was NOT an MMO. But now it apparently is. Which means literally all the work you were doing under the impression that it was going to be a smaller game is worthless. You have ot start from scratch and design it technically to be an MMO.

      So think about that. Sure large MMOs took 4-5 years but STARTED out from a design and technical perspective as MMOs. SC is morphing into an MMO. That means you’re basically starting from scratch for most of the game just to get there.

      That 4-5 year counter did not start 1 year before the KS.

      It started down 1 year AFTER it if you’re being super generous.

      1. I think that really depends on your definition of MMO (it’s a rather broad term). If by MMO you simply mean a game where a number of people can interact and play together then yes I guess you can call it that. But a ridiculous amount of games technically fall into that definition. Now if you mean that SC is going to be like WOW or Guild Wars 2 (the traditional definition of MMO IMO) then I have to say you are incorrect.

        CR has said that the vast majority of the population in any given are will be NPC’s. Players will only make up about 10% of the overall population I believe where his numbers. So in comparison to the traditional MMO this model seems to be more of a focused model with player interaction , but not the chaos that can reign in games like WOW or Guild Wars 2. I really don’t see this definition as any different then the original one he proposed during the kickstarter.

        Honestly I think of it more as a co-op (since you can have your friends fly either in your ship or in your wing) experience against mostly NPC’s with a random encounter of other players.
        But who really knows at this point?

        1. There’s a few problems with that

          1) Most people are using MMOs as comparisons to validate the timelines for the delays

          2) most people and even CR says that the ‘scope’ of the game is now ‘epic’

          In essence the game even if you don’t categorize it as an MMO, is an MMO in scope at the bare minimum. You’ve got teams scattered all across the globe working on it.

          The fundamental paradox is

          1) it is not as epic as WoW in space. In which case why is it taking this long, with that much money and nothing to show for it? Not even a hobbled together vertical slice alpha. Its literally just walk around your spaceship simulator, and a tiny arena module that is still alpha. Aka where is the game if the game isn’t supposed to be wow in space? Elite did exactly what SC said they were going to do originally with a slight delay but it exists. A highly coreographed alpha vertical slice demo should exist by now. It doesn’t. Why?

          2) it is supposed to be WoW in space, which is what many fans assert it is. If that’s the case that’s troubling because as they said SC ‘isn’t an MMO’. If it now is, or approaches the scope of an MMO, that means any plans are even now years out. 2-3 is being very generous using existing ‘epic’ MMO dev standards. The game would be 2017 ‘maybe’ if that’s the case. More like 2018.

          1. A few points of contention:
            1) Right now they are working on a lot of backend stuff (at least that’s what they say on the website with the updates) but with that, there’s not a whole lot to show when you’re working on some of the core gameplay elements / code. And comparing Elite to SC though applicable in game type and style is not very relevant when you compare the fact that most of Elite is procedural, while SC aims to be hand crafted. And there are many people (Disclaimer: I do not have evidence of this nor have I seen any truly compelling evidence myself) who say that Elite was actually in development long before the kickstarter and that is one of the big reasons it was able to get out with minimal delay.

            2) Just because something is labeled as Epic, doesn’t mean it has to be just like WoW (which has gone through how many iterations over the years). I mean Skyrim was epic in scope, GTAV is pretty epic in scope, hell even GTAV Online is pretty freaking epic and how long was GTAV out before Online was even available, much less actually playable? And I believe both of those single player campaigns took longer than SC has right now and they were both sequels. (So look you can use single player games as a comparison too!) (<—this comment is in jest so please take it as such) But again this all falls back on what you are taking as the definition of MMO, in my opinion if you're expecting WoW in space you're going to be sorely disappointed. But again this is all conjecture, which can only be truly answered by CIG and CR.

            1. Enough with this stupid argument. Nobody gives a shit.

              They promised a two year game, to be delivered in Nov 2014. They didn’t deliver. It’s Aug 2015. And they’re saying it’s now coming by end of 2016.

              1. Point of contention: They didn’t promise, they estimated. All kickstarters are estimates. All of the dates that they have ever given at CIG are estimates. Even the dates you mention in this post (if I remember correctly) were all either preceded or followed with “we hope” or something like that. In the world of crowd funding nothing is set in stone. My wife backed a doll, yep a Scary Godmother doll, that was supposed to be delivered in 2013. Guess what? It’s just now getting into pre-production. And that raised over $200,000 for a doll…..just some perspective.
                1. Nov 2014 was an estimate. It’s now Aug 2105. And no game. Now they’re saying end of 2016. A two year delay for a two year estimate. That sounds reasonable to you. At all?

                2. If it nets a great game, then I’ll wait another 2 years. I’d much rather be patient with company when it comes to release dates so that they can get the game right, otherwise we end up with situations such as the recent Batman fiasco, not to mention the super rushed latest Assassin’s Creed game. And it’s not like they haven’t been communicating, there’s an almost daily communication now. And if you want to take credit in helping to clarify that then that’s fine, but in my opinion it wasn’t horrible before all this.

                  If they left us sitting the dark for even 6 months then yes I would say that’s a problem, but they haven’t, so I’m fine with it if it produces a better product. Now if the end product turns out to be crap then I may have a few choice words for CIG but I’ll hold that until I get the “final” version playing on my computer.

                  And yes I know you disagree with my stance, which I respect and which has brought about all of this situation but it is what it is and you of all people should understand development hell and unexpected backend issues.

                3. Actually Ben, I’ve said this before, I do not disagree with your stance. You can wait for the next decade if you want, I don’t care. What I care about is accountability for the project by those who DO care that it’s become a farce, not the game they signed up for etc.

                  I have said this over and over again, which is why, I said – in bold letters – anyone who requests a refund, should get it. If you want to wait, then you do nothing. Don’t ask for a refund. Just wait it out.

            2. Elite was a ‘skunks works project’ at Frontier. That means it was being worked on between other projects by a limited number of staff. It’s unclear how long for (perhaps a year) but I doubt the production time differences between it and SC are such that a reasonable comparison between what does and doesn’t exist can’t be made between the two. Not forgetting CR had a SC demo in production for 12 months before the KS appeared.
    2. I would like to help clarify the timeline that I see Backers repeating. They seem to confuse the Kickstarter unveiling as first day of development. The truth is Chris Roberts and company started working on the Star Citizen tech demo with CryTek in 2011 (possibly 2010, though I’m not exactly sure on that; Derek may know more).

      Anyhow, the point is by the time the Kickstarter pitch video was available the “game” had been in development for a year. So if you do the math 2011 – 2015 is 4 years. Don’t let “white knight” backers confuse you into believe the lie that Star Citizen began its development in 2012 so it’s only 2-3 years old). 2012 is only when the project was unveiled to world.

      Hope this helped clear things up.

      1. Yeah, it’s not surprising that the White Knight backers keep doing that. It’s all about disinformation and an attempt at changing the historical context to suit their narrative. Which is another reason why I dedicated an entire section about the other thing they do in comparing SC development costs, timeline etc to other games.

  92. Wow. I made it through. 😉

    Very good work, sir. As a fellow backer of 250 dollars, I appreciate your efforts.

    Me too liked what I saw during the Kickstarter campaign; I started to feel cheated when the Hornet or Freelancer were no longer anything special due to new (of course better) variants appearing. That was the point the greed shone through…

    Allow me a question: Can foreign backers also contact the FTC or send you the refund request data? Or is this “fun” U.S. only?

  93. Lets see how things pan out now that a broadside has been fired. I am not an kickstarter backer but have followed the endless updates that begin with “We are working hard to etc etc” Each month it starts this way and then the pitch to invest in a new ship at ridiculous pricing. Bring on a Federal investigation to clear or indict those involved.
  94. I would appreciate, if you could ellaborate in what way LoD is technologically more advanced than Star Citizen.
  95. That live multi-crew demo was pretty impressive, even though they did mess it up the first pass by not being able to jump back to the station.
  96. https://ia601506.us.archive.org/9/items/StarCitizenComplaint/StarCitizen_complaint.pdf

    Derek Smart, as a backer of Star Citizen myself, yet having spent no real money other than receiving a silly code through a GPU purchase. Star Citizen is the token example of Chris Jacobs being in some form of achieving the impossible. Ever since him working at Microsoft on the project we know as Freelancer, his intention was for it to be a much bigger and “better” game at the cost of what he may have seemed as monopoly money. Microsoft however saw otherwise when the game was at the height of its potential they pulled the plug on Roberts and released the game itself. Since then they have not worked with Chris Roberts, and we have seen this happened before with Microsoft backed game. Godus, which was developed by 21 Cans and Peter Molyneux was a known scam, as it failed to deliver the product as it was supposed to be. Peter Molyneux who developed Black and White, who also refused to invest his own money into the project held out the holy grail to the public to receive funding for a game that we were supposed to get, that instead turned into some social media game fluke. Back to the real point.

    CIG, Chris Roberts, Star Citizen has tied a noose around its neck, playing with $87+ million now, should be under scrutiny, especially at this point where we have seen so little. Through out the progress updates that we receive VIA email, the past months we have seen were only updates on various new ships, that can only be obtained through real cash to be playable on start or for rental in their in game economy system. We have also received more updates the past few months on Star Marine, which was originally slotted to be one of the last modules that was intended to be released. Furthermore on that, Star Marine has since then been brought in-house for development with no explanation, and Producers are departing the project for “Personal Reasons”, if I had to guess they were leaving because the game was taking too long to develop, and too much time.

    CIG can fix this by releasing an audit of their expenses sure, however they won’t because they feel that there is a population who will defend them no-matter what, and there is. Judging by what I have seen on your well written blogs, they have came on here to defend Star Citizen, hailing it as a great game, yet seem to understand that pledging is an optional thing. However they fail to realize that if this game goes down the tank, they will receive very little if not any of their pledges. This is a massive problem, one that needs to be realized as this game’s development course is getting pretty ridiculous as Arena Commander/Hangar are still the only modules to be featured, and with very little Press Release on the other modules other than them saying its in progress and very few game-play video’s that barely show any progress anyways.

    My question is, why is it wrong that despite your employment history, and your game development experience, why are you under scrutiny for defending people who choose to pledge for a game that end up receiving very little other than more expensive ships in a time span of 4-6 years. I would also like to point out that Elite Dangerous when entered kickstarter. “Public fundraising commenced in November 2012 using the Kickstarter website,[40] the campaign lasting 60 days, with the aim being to raise £1.25m[41] and deliver a finished game by March 2014. ” Which the game managed to achieve a finished game a short few months after March, despite being tested since December 2013. So why does a Elite Dangerous, a game that was developed from scratch on an in-house game engine, finish development in two short years yet we fail to see an official module from Star Citizen in the time span allotted. I certainly know this however, that if the game fails to release after Q1 2016, I plan to formally file a complaint with the FTC all the same. If not contact state representatives with this case of game development on a month by month basis and surely raise suspicions of Federal and State powers.

    Sources: Wikipedia
    Elite Dangerous Kickstarter
    Star Citizen Kickstarter
    Godus Kickstarter

    1. I can tell you how.

      Elite Dangerous is based on Elite 4, which was never released and instead turned into Elite Dangerous. So for one thing you could argue, that Elite Dangerous was about 10 years in development based on an existing IP.

      The other thing is, that Elite Dangerous is an empty shell. A big framework without content. So of course they could release the so-called game in time.

      I think no one is going to argue away the long delays of Star Citizen. But I guess most of the backers want the BDSSE (best damn space sim ever), and know it takes time to develop it.

      Derek Smart on the other hand just wants CIG to produce an inferior game to meet arbitrary deadlines.

        1. Elite Dangerous delivered a giant universe without any meaningful content, shallow game mechanics (mostly one click is enough to do something, for example discovery scanning, or mining), and lacks a lot of stuff that mentioned in the 114 page design document PDF.

          In the whole first year after release, they just added a couple of ships, groups (called wings), which is a core feature of any MMO, and the powerplay mechanic, which is just more reputation grinding and one click stuff.

          If Star Citizen gets released in a state like that, instead of the way it is envisioned by Chris Roberts, THEN I’ll want a refund.

      1. Red, are you saying the game as it was pitched on Kickstarter almost 3 years ago is now an inferior game ? In what way ?

        Also note, that when talking about funding all they said was: “With more funding we can include more ships, systems, unique locations, animations and cinematic sequences”. They didn’t mention pushing the development time along with any new money.

        1. Mostly in fidelity and depth of gameplay mechanics.

          CIG uses the money for vastly expanded gamplay mechanics and features. Just compare the old kickstarter ships with the current ships – More details, better damage mechanics, higher customization of the UI, and so on.

          Forcing them to release the game asap will hinder them in fleshing out the mechanics.

            1. Are you serious?

              Most of the backers want this level of detail, because Star Citizen was pitched as a truely next-gen experience. People are asking for more details, more in-depth mechanics and more features.

              So saying that nobody cares about it, is just plain wrong in my eyes. Sure, there are people that don’t care about this, but these are mostly the quiet people that just backed the lowest tier to just get the game, when it’s done.

              The backers that are invested in this project, the fans, the gamers longing for the greatest space sim of all time – they want this.

              1. Nobody cares about any of that comment was precisely about what they were promising, then not delivering on. I don’t care if they have ships with 5m polygons. What I care about is the game they pitched and promised back in 2012. Nothing you guys say, no matter how you try to twist, will change the facts. If you promised me a car, I want a car. I don’t care if it’s a Ferrari or a BMW. I want a car. Simple.

                1. You say “nobody cares about any of that”, when you actually mean “you don’t care about any of that”.

                  To stay with your example, CIG promised the best sports car ever. It’s okay if you will settle for less, but I guess most of the backers prefer to wait until they really get the best sports car and not just some random car.

                  If I can get a virtual space ship of unparalleled fidelity, then I’ll just wait until I get it and don’t press CIG to just receive a simple (but pretty) ship like in any other space sim.

                  So please stop generalizing stuff. I mean it’s completely okay, if you don’t care, but you can’t claim, that just because you don’t care, nobody cares.

    2. Sorry, but that AMD code does not make you a backer, which means you can’t file a complaint. Nice try though lol. You should also do more research on Star Citizen instead of simply regurgitating DS’ empty rhetoric.
      1. He can file a complaint actually. The AMD code does make him a backer. You obviously are another white knight who knows nothing. If be bought his card which included the game code, then he bought the game too. It isn’t “free”. It was purchased. Go read up some before making idiotic comments.
  97. So let me get this straight. Your two main points of criticism are:
    1. they’re late.
    2. the game has increased in scope.

    ad 1.: Yes, they are, and I’m as unhappy (note: I did not write “concerned”) about it as anybody else. However, delays happen all the time in game development. As you should know – LoD (as described on Steam Early Access) is currently delayed, and Battlecruiser 3000AD was delayed by a long stretch. I’ve been gaming for almost 20 years now, and the number of games I’ve eagerly waited for and that were delayed far outweigh those that were delivered on time. Basically, the only games that reliably come out on time are rather generic sequels in a well-established franchise like FIFA or Call of Duty. We both know that that’s not what SC is, and it’s not what anyone wanted.
    ad 2.: Yes, and there are things I don’t care a rat’s ass worth about among some of those features (racing? Get outta here!). But you can’t deny that the community – and yes, it does have parts that are reminiscent of a cult – has agreed to this scope increase. There was a poll where the active part of the backers decided to keep going with the stretch goals. An e-mail went out to everyone registered at RSI that the poll was taking place, it would have required a simple log-in to vote against further stretch goals – which I did, btw. But a majority was for it.
    Oh, and you contradict yourself in the article: you write that they “never pitched for a triple-A game”, yet quote from the original Kickstarter pitch just a few paragraphs further down that “We [CIG] are aiming for a AAA game experience.”

    But apart from your key points being rather moot (in my personal perception), there is something else that bothers me about your crusade. First of all, the way in which you jump to conclusions. “Chris Roberts has a sports car and a mansion, he must have paid for that with backer money!” You say yourself that your games’ sales have made you wealthy, and I dare say that Wing Commander and Privateer probably sold a few more copies than your games. Why would Chris Roberts be needing backer money for any part of his private lifestyle?
    Then, you claim to be doing this for the good of the industry as a whole and all gamers. But it’s not like anyone asked you to do this. There have been numerous skeptical and critical articles on SC – which you quote amply -, so the whole “nobody is saying anything”-trope is obviously untrue. Quite a few of these articles appeared long before your first blog post. And this is what annoys me the most: you’re trying to settle a private score with CIG and Chris Roberts, and because that is not working out in your favour (they kicked you off their project), you take it public. You resort to threats and insults (I read your “Raiders” article before you self-censored it). You ignore ANY evidence not fitting your world view while perpetually spreading tidbits of information that support it. Of course, you’re free to do that.

    Just as a clarification: I have criticised CIG repeatedly on their forums. Their lack of reacting to backer feedback, their communications, the delays… (I don’t care about the repeated ship sales: if you don’t want to support it, then don’t.) I’m not a “white knight” or anything, and I do believe that they have to shape up in some areas if they want this project out successfully. And maybe your articles even helped in showing them that, and therefore might bring about some good in the end.

    P.S.: please hire another law firm if you want to be taken seriously. I’ve read the letter, these guys can’t even do that lawyer thing of quoting from applicable code sections and court decisions to give weight to what they’re writing.

    1. I for myself backed the game as advertised on Kickstarter, as simple as that. If they produce something else, I’m out. Well, obviously, they won’t let me, will they?
    2. I don’t think his two main complaints are increase in scope and delays. I think the main complaint is that the project is not going to be delivered as promised even with $87 million dollars in crowd money.

      If SC implodes, it will have a huge negative effect on the industry at large. Backers (like yourself) will probably be less likely to hand over money to respectable devs who actually can deliver as promised, and as a result, many indie devs will have to work harder to acquire funding for their projects.

      Based on the facts (missed milestones, scope creep, key people leaving, key teams being dismissed) it does seem that there are problems with SC’s development. As someone who has worked at various studios, been part of shipped 8 titles over the course of 10 years for console and PC, I can tell you none of the negative facts above are healthy signs of a game that is developing just fine.

      More likely, SC is going to miss their August/September/October milestones, and I would be willing to bet $100 cash that all of the modules Chris Roberts says will launch this year will somehow get pushed to 2016. As for the final game? 2016 might even be wishful IMO.

    3. I’ve also been a backer for this thing, as well as a 7 year veteran as an executive producer and studio manager for several large companies making AAA titles. I can tell you first hand the horror stories of owners that misappropriated funds for personal use, taking big chunks out of project budgets that we had to white-wash. That was the #1 reason why I left the games industry. Seeing a lot of what they do from a very outside and strategic perspective, I can say very well they are aiming for style over substance with their production.

      Just the fact that they chose to HQ in the LA area is the first big red flag – meaning salaries for that studio need to be 2x to 3x higher than worldwide industry standard (especially if they’re cutting their own paychecks). Supposition is so CR can keep feeling like the cool kid with his LA buddies. Then they get into bed with Crytek, probably the kings of excess (30+ Yerli family on the payroll, nobody knows what the fuck they do…then workers don’t see pay for 3-6 months at a time). This screamed mismanagement and god-complex from their producer before we even get into the nuts and bolts of development or take a peek at their budget numbers.

      The transparency promised is a complete joke. We’re given snippets of what they want to feed us, and that may seem ooh and ahh to those that never worked in games, but us cool guys want to see their flow charts, design documents, a few internal schedules, even a test build or three. The secrecy surrounding this “transparent project” is as tight or tighter than any project I’ve been on…and using public funds this shouldn’t be so. What we got were some high-budget TV commercials designed to raise more money…its nice, but there’s no “there” there.

      I guess the key point is not scope creep, its the fact there is zero accountability. CR has not proven he can handle a budget in his entire history, and putting him in total control of the purse with no strings attached is a recipe for disaster. They made it sound like a wet dream for creativity, but those that know project management can see a recipe for disaster. Somebody with common sense needs to stand over this guy and say “Those other ideas are nice, but no more desert until you finish what’s on your plate.”

      1. They had that guy. His name was Alex Mayberry and he left for “personal reasons”. But we really know why he did. It doesn’t take a detective to figure it out.