Yesterday The Escapist shined a spotlight on the Kickstarter project Code Hero, which managed to garner a lot of support from backers. The game, which promised to teach users how to create a game was asking for $100,000. By the end of the funding period developer Primer Labs managed to bring in over $170,000 from 7,459 backers – many of which paid hundreds and even thousands of dollars to get special perks.
That was back in February. Fast forward to now and many of those backers are agitated and demanding answers from Primer Labs' principals. Dustin Deckard, one of those backers, decided to organize a group to " better communicate" their frustration with Primer Labs. While it sounded a lot like a group gathered together to prepare for a class action lawsuit, that was never Deckard's intention – he was just looking for answers.
After The Escapist highlighted all the problems with the project – the lack of rewards being delivered and talk that Primer Labs was looking for additional funding to "finish" Code Hero – the Primer Labs' Alex Peake finally addressed backers on the Kickstarter page, promising to be more fastidious in updating them with information and the release of a second alpha build of the game:
Hello backer. I owe you a thanks for your support and an apology for our lack of updates on all the progress we've made with your help. I started the Code Hero project to make a game that teaches people how to make games and you backed us to help make that happen. We are going to finish this game for you and everybody else in the world who wants to learn how to code.
I believe in this mission and I'm grateful that you and so many others have believed in Code Hero too and supported us to work on this project. I worked on the idea to make a prototype for a year before asking for your help on Kickstarter, I built a team to work on it for a year since, and we are committed to finishing this game and continuing to add to it so you can make games of your own.
Game development is hard and many studios and projects fail, but I can't let you down because what we're making is important. It's important to me personally to give all the people in the world a way to learn to code that is actually fun. I won't let any obstacles stop the Code Hero team from completing this. It's my life purpose to make this game because I want to see you make games of your own. Software development is hard work and we're behind schedule and solving technical challenges to add player level creation much harder than the already huge creative challenge we set ourselves to begin with. But every big project faces big challenges and we're going to figure ours out and get the game out and keep updating it and expanding it to make it grow to keep challenging the skills of our players as they learn more and more game coding skills.
Many of you may not have tried the latest alpha we showed and released at PAX. I encourage you to download it and try it and see how much we've accomplished so far. The first alpha shows a world called Gamebridge Unityversity and your first mentor Ada Lovelace who guides you through the tour of the game. First you visit the Arcade you can play and post player-created games built with the world editing tools, but first you visit the Labyrinth where you learn how to edit the game's variables to beat it. Next you visit the Library where you can learn about Unityscript programming. Then you visit the Real Artist Shipyard where you're introduced to the Scenebox world editor to make and ship your first level. The tour is designed to take the player from playing an adventure game to making their own right from the outset. It isn't complete yet, but it shows what we built and we're hard at work expanding on that first release to get the new functions fully working and the new training levels fleshed out.
We're testing a new second alpha release tomorrow to show what we've added since then and we're working towards a third more feature complete alpha that will be ready for general use as a complete learning tool.
I know the level of frustration some people have is high right now and that it is my fault for not communicating about our ongoing progress, but I want to reassure everyone who has backed us not to panic: Code Hero is not dead and we will not let our supporters and Kickstarter backers down. All our backer rewards will be delivered along with the game. It is taking longer than we hoped, but the game is becoming awesomer than we planned too. I'll post a more detailed update soon with the new alpha build and answer any questions and concerns people may have.
If you'd like to reach me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm on Google Hangouts and skype username "empowerment" and I will answer your all your questions or concerns.
We hope that Primer Labs delivers on all of its promises, but there's a lesson to be learned for anyone backing any Kickstarter campaign: there's a chance that you are going to back a project that could fail or – in the worst case scenario – not deliver what it promises to backers. Just something to think about the next time you get a little too excited about backing a project from an unknown developer.
Also Code Hero backers should probably thank Andy Chalk at The Escapist for shining a spotlight on the situation and getting Primer Labs talking to its supporters. If not for his story about it, we likely wouldn't be writing about it right now…
Source: The Escapist