Sunday, July 24, 2016

Addressing concerns about Patreon + Progress Report

Hello everyone,

A big thing happened more than a week ago. We're not involved in it at all, but we received many questions about it and people asked me about my opinion on it, and I realized, that even if I don't have any stake in that thing itself, it's becoming apparent that it probably will have an impact on all of us hentai game devs that use patreon.

So, let's talk about said "big thing":

As you may or may not know, the game Breeding Season, which used to be one of the most funded hentai games on Patreon, was shut down.
The reasons for this was apparently a mix of bad management as well as differing opinions of the team members which initially led to them breaking up.

First regarding my opinion:

I think it's regrettable, that a hentai game had to be closed down, especially in this manner. In my opinion there can never be enough hentai games, as there's too many fetishes, too many groups of people with different tastes among the hentai community.
This leads to the conclusion, that every game that gets shut down or never reaches it's final stages is really a loss to the community as a whole.

Although, yes, I have to agree that lots of hentai game dev teams are inexperienced.
And most projects are way too ambitious. So it's likely this isn't the last game that goes down...
I wish that each and every dev team out there manages to finish their game and satisfy their fans. But sadly this is just a dream... (though I honestly wish everyone to succeed)

Now, more importantly, though, lets get to our own case:

I want to assure everyone, that we're not going to go down, and there's several reasons for that.

First of all, we are able to get shit done.
We finished Paperheads back in the day, and most of our games had been self-funded.
The money that went into Paperheads and Geisterhand were from previous jobs I worked in, and LDH's initial funding (before the first release on Patreon) was via money Crescentia saved up from doing commissions, and later on a friend of ours also supported some of our projects.
LDH's add-ons as well as Deathblight RPG are the first of our games that have been funded via Patreon. We've been hesitant to do this at first, but we realised that we need to take this step if we want to continue doing hentai games in a timely manner.

Sure, our projects don't sound super epic in scale, as we don't promise high-resolution super detailed graphics with dozens of animations and hundreds of enemies to interact with in hentai animations. But there's a very good reason for that!
It's because we have experience and know what we as a team are capable of both in terms of skill and time, and because we know what's just flat out unrealistic to promise. Simple as that.
We don't promise big things, if those things are unrealistic. You can do those things if you have proper funding and a well coordinated team of experienced artists.

It's sad to see that developers actually have to promise people the moon in order to get their games funded. But it's always been like that, even long before Kickstarter and Patreon. Back in the day it was the publishers who promised people the greatest of games all the time and often enough disappointed fans afterwards with mediocrity. And the games that actually turned out to be great, often had little to no support and fans. Somewhere, sometime, someone had to make unrealistic promises in order to get a contract or funding.
That's basically how life works all the time.
(but yes, I refuse to do so, as I believe that this only leads to long-term frustration and problems)

The only concern remaining would be, if there's a chance we'll break up or something similar happens to us as it happened with Breeding Season, right?

Well, no need to worry there, because our team coordination is great.
I've been doing team-leading jobs for more than 10 years now, and even though I hate talking about myself in such an arrogant and seemingly haughty manner, I really know what I'm doing and it should be difficult to find someone with team-leading abilities that match mine.
(it's surely not impossible to find someone with similar skills in this regard, but it's damn difficult)

Team-leading is not about being the big boss, it's more about communication, respecting every team member equally, respecting the fans and customers, and most importantly... taking responsibility for all the bad stuff that happens and adjusting the course so stuff won't go wrong next time.
(I'm not talking about making useless excuses, but about taking responsibility, adjusting the course, and seeing things through to the end, aiming for the best possible outcome in any bad situation, instead of bailing out)

As a team-leader you don't actually "lead" with an iron fist or something, it's more about walking down the path together with your team as a whole, communicating with everyone, being the center of the group, encouraging everybody and being more of an equal part of the group.
(of course there's certain occassions where you have to call the shots all on your own, but that's usually happening rarely)
A good leader isn't called a leader because of his/her position (or title), but because people respect him/her as a person, and they have faith in his/her judgement and general abilities.

About the "rights" on Deathblight content:

There's nothing to worry about with the ownership of Deathblight.
If it ever happens that we're breaking up, Cres keeps ALL the rights to Deathblight, the games, the characters, everything. So worst case scenario, nothing would be lost and she can simply continue doing things or, depending on the situation, build it back up.

But honestly spoken, I doubt we'd ever break up.
We've been working and living together for more than 4 years now.
And... how do you call it?
"It's a match made in heaven" or so they say.
(well this is very personal stuff, so I won't go into the details, but it really is working out greatly)

At any rate we're both sane, responsible, and are highly dependant on building up and sustaining a good reputation. Creating Deathblight is important to us, and we can't afford to lose any credibility or screw up big.

In the future we hope to expand our Patreon even more in order to deliver you more awesome stuff. If possible we can even go full-time with the help of Patreon, but for the time being we're still dependant on doing commissions and hired work.

So, let me sum this up:

We can get shit done!
We have experience, so we don't promise more than we can deliver!
Our team is well coordinated and we've been working together for more than 3 years now! (I've been working together with Cres for more than 4 years btw.)
We're great at producing lots of content with minimal funding, however, having more funding would help us to produce even more content.
(or possibly hire a skilled pixel artist to tackle bigger projects in the future)
You can ask our long term Patrons:
We do deliver and usually we deliver more than what we promised.

Regarding our progress on our current game project:

The summer heat is slowing us down, but we're getting closer to our first release.
We're aiming for the highest quality this time, so you can really look forward to it!
Before we can release the first version of Deathblight RPG (working title), we need to finish a bunch of graphics. Currently we're about 50% towards the first release in terms of finished graphics. The remaining 50% should be getting done a lot faster, as the graphics are mostly naked.
(the first 50% was naked + clothing + destroyed clothing, which is of course a lot more work than (mostly) naked characters only)

small selection of a few sample graphics

We're aiming for a first release towards the end of august.
But please keep in mind that if the summer heat gets worse, we might not be able to meet that estimation.

The first release will just include Ferania and Minori, the full combat system with hentai during combat, and a room full of enemies up to the first mid-boss.
There will be one game over hentai scene in the game.

From there on we'll be working to add more and more content to the game.
(more events and more game mechanics, more enemies, more hentai scenes, more areas, more story and of course more characters too)
We're currently posting most of our progress reports, previews and artworks of the game on Patreon.
But we'll keep you updated about releases and (once we get there) content updates on this blog.

I hope this answers all of your concerns and questions regarding our stuff.
If you still worry or have unanswered questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.