Doublefine abandons development of Spacebase DF-9, relevence for Stonehearth

Just a quick note on the ongoing controversy surrounding doublefine’s abandonment of Spacebase df-9 and how it relates to Stonehearth:

For those of you who don’t know Doublefine has just abandoned development of their Steam Early Access game Spacebase DF-9 citing the games early access sales are no longer enough to sustain development of the game, despite it not having most of the features they had planned to put in it, features that had strongly influenced many people’s decision to purchase.

In the backlash that has resulted, I’m even more grateful to Stonehearth Dev’s for deciding not to push ahead with Early Access plans. While several EA games I’ve been a part of have been very well done (Prison Architect, Space Engineers), at it’s core EA is a mechanism for displacing financial risk onto the customers. While this has allowed games to be made that may not have received funding otherwise, there have been notable failures including Towns and Spacebase DF-9 now that have left consumers with unplayable or incomplete games.

Given this latest failure of Early Access, I would strongly encourage the Stonehearth Devs to get as close to feature-complete beta before moving to Steam. This will allow presentation of a complete game to the public. Later additional content releases can be used to keep the game relevant and prolong sales.


Could you post a link to where the information for this is? Because when i search the net for info i only find a site for an semi incomplete game and a lot of bad steam early access reviews.

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And Tim Schafer’s Post on the topic:

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Yup that is indeed going to crash a lot of trust to the Early access model :frowning:

It may still happen with Stonehearth - though I certainly hope not (!). Investing in Kickstarter projects & Early Access games etc is always carries some financial risk. I’ve lost money on one failed Kickstarter project (and I’ve not backed even half a dozen), but like gambling (or investing in stocks & shares, come to that), you win some & you lose some. That’s just how it is, and whilst I sympathise with those angry at having lost their money & having no game (or whatever)… yeah, it happens.


I got myself a copy of DF-9 after having played the prototype and I must say it was a very promising experience, but I really expected it to be developed much further.
While I do understand the frustration, because I am right there too I must say I can understand the decision in itself.
Double Fine is a company trying to find its place between working or rather having worked for the huge publishers while building a more direct relation to us gamers… rather using kickstarter and early access than having to rely on funds by publishers who then in turn dictate what they have to do.

Its a mixed bag really, assuming they manage to be successful enough to keep the company going (which is not a given at all), they will make many more mistakes like DF-9.

To those that try to get to gripes with what is going on there, you should read the explanation by Tim Schafer himself

Before I unleash any nerd rage I will have a look at V 1.0 and maybe some people will provide mods that do make it into a complete game. I admire the courage of Double Fine to try out things like kickstarter and early access and I do hope they learn to use them so well that they can truly wave goodbye to publishers for good and offer us gamers a communications experience that is as good as what Radiant is doing.

Keep in mind, opening up when you always worked behind closed doors is much more difficult.
That is why the great names in the industry have such a hard time with this new approach and why newcomers are so much better at it. (If they manage to jump the first hurdles.)

Anyhow - already there is much risk involved in KS and EA, so giving money to an established name in the industry like Double Fine seems like betting on a safe horse. But try to be fair - its new territory for them too and they are not exempt from failure. I’d rather see them try and fail instead of not trying at all and I don’t feel scammed at all.
Maybe next time they present a great idea I might take it with two grains of salt and not one…

I think the really remarkable thing is that Spacebase DF-9 was headed towards being a really solid game and might have enjoyed robust post-release sales if the developer had the wherewithal to see it through the development process - with most companies I would have expected that they would have doubled down on their projected and invested enough to bring it to completion. However, DF has a history of running over budget and failing to live up to expectations (DF Adventures) so I suspect the company is systemically cash-strapped which has forced them to focus on their core competencies and cut away “extra” projects like Spacebase.

So the face that Radiant is “all-in” on Stonehearth is a comfort to me because the company will rise or fall on the basis of this game - whereas DoubleFine could jettison Spacebase and still enjoy a following from it’s other games and Tim Schafer’s reputation from previous games.

I don’t understand what people has against broken ages, it is a fantastic game. Actually one of the best point and click adventures i ever played.

Most people didn’t have a problem with broken age as a game, but a few development decisions rubbed people the wrong way.

Half way through development of part one Double fine announced they needed additional funding to make the game they wanted, so they were going to split the game into two parts to get additional funding to finish part two. Some people didn’t think that was necessary after a 3+ million kick starter, even though the reasoning was completely reasonable from an established studio trying to release a quality product.

On top of that there hasn’t been a lot of announcements about act 2, which had a 2014 Q4 eta last I checked. I expect they may go Q1 2015, it’s the nature of development, but many people feel entitled now they’ve ‘pre-paid’ for act 2.

Doesn’t matter much, I expect once act 2 is released everyone will stop complaining. If DoubleFine starts another kickstarter campaign afterwards it’ll just break the records again.


It’ll have to try hard to break Star Citizen’s ridiculous crowdfunding numbers. $50M+ raised at least, last I checked :open_mouth:

Now if Star Citizen doesn’t meet expectations. … No excuses whatsoever.

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This is why I am quite happy Stonehearth did not use steam early access at this stage of their development, because at the moment the system looks like a quick money grab before developers split. I’m not saying that it will be across the the whole spectrum of games doing early access at the moment, but I feel like there will be a large percentage of them which will fail to meet the minimum premise of the game they put forward.

In particular sandbox games of all styles seem to be suffering the most. Devs seem to promise a lot, and they can never live up to the expectation. Like I said in my thread about survival sandbox games… most will most likely remain in perpetual development until they slap a 1.0 on it in what every state they decide to give up on the game at.

Thanks now it makes a lot more sense :slight_smile:

For me Radiant and Doublefine are two very very different situations. In 2010 the Bobby Kotick of Active Blizzard warned the gaming world of Tim Schafer’s inability to deliver and make milestones. They also had issues with a previous game. Broken Age they again poorly managed there business process as it related to development and required funding. They then moved on to SpaceBase DF-9 and promised a lot of features, they had massive communication problems with people in Alpha, support was hard to get (I can’t even get a forum account created) and then after they promised to get better at communication they communicated the release.

What has this told me, I should early access Doublefine games, they aren’t a responsible studio and have severe business problems. I may purchase from them again; however I will not pre-order or early access their games.

i’ve had a few conversations about this topic, and to be honest, i’m still a bit perplexed on how this all went down…

however, i feel quite confident in stating that RE and DF are two entirely different development houses, and i am thankful i supported the former… :wink: