"First of all, an introduction: I'm a patreon. I sat here quietly for the last 5 months, spending my money on this game and waiting.
When patreons got, after 1 1/2 month of silence, nothing but 3 little flash animations I said "well, at least it's something". At this point, there were already promises of a soon rewritten game.
After that, the process seemed to pick up pace. Big words about new content, improved code, easier and faster to implement new stuff and almost 40% of the rewrite done.... So I waited and paid the monthly subscription in the hopes of better days.
But this update did it. This update is the final drop that lets all of my frustration and disappointment overflow. That's it. I had enough. I'm out. After over 4 months of rewriting, I leave. Yes, it is H-Bombs decision on which part of the game he lays his focus.
Yes, it is H-Bombs decision to determine how he spends his time and money.
Yes, it is H-Bombs decision to plan how to please every little fucker that thinks after paying 1$ or nothing he has the right to determine what is important or not.
But, after 4 months of rewriting and another deadline and another excuse and another promise, the game gets a holiday event instead of fixing things that are way overdue like saving & loading, introduction to new monster system, text for every npc, map, almost everything with consumables, town hall, events, flashing out the request system, traits and balancing overall.
Let us look back a few days. Friday, 19 Dec.: "I'm planning on a release complete with traits, events, and the new save system for Patrons". All he did was 1 tiny event that needed a hotfix after the release and the npc introduction for Roxie. I'm not sure if you can call it "complete trait system" when the trait names are "Test 9 1" or "Test 8 2".
It is not only this... let's call it setback, it is the whole series of big promises after which follow minor failures. Yes, every update brings new content but every update also leaves 2 new things that need a rework, a fleshing out, a redesign which comes late or complete balancing.
It's just so frustrating to pay for a game which has so much potential and every month you think to yourself "next month for sure" or "well, we all have a life to live. Shit happens" but by everything that gets my dick hard, we paid 25k this month for that update? Fuck, for 25k I can get my own programmers and flash animators and get this done in a quarter of the time. Only problem is, I don't have 25k. And don't come with "you don't know about programming". I know a shit load about programming because I did it for the last 6 years of my life. I pay my bills with it and I paid my monthly patreon with it and it finally reached a point where I can say "this is not worth my money".
Again, yes it is H-Bombs decision how to make this game. That includes team members, content, speed of production and everything else.
But I also have the option to say "fuck it, I'm out". My decision, my choice. Same goes for every patreon. I can't make you support or un-support H-Bomb. I can only state my opinion, see if you relate and hope that you change your decision. Hope that you see that this is not how things should be.
Maybe, one day, I will come back. But with this progression speed, I won't look back nor regret this decision. The only thing I regret now is that I ever believed and forgave every false promise while paying for it with my money.
Good luck everyone, I'm out"
Firstly, I want to thank the author both for generously supporting the project as long as they have and for expressing their criticism in a thoughtful and constructive manner; both these qualities are a rare thing and I am consistently impressed by how civil and intelligent fans of my goofy porn game are.
Secondly, I have to concede where I have been unambiguously at fault; I have very consistently made promises here on the blog on deadlines that I could not follow through with, and I've done it to a foolhardy degree and disregarded reasonable suggestions by fans to come up with better systems of setting expectations for releases. I will not lie: I have been terrible at learning from my mistakes in this regard, but I do recognize them and I sincerely apologize. Additionally, I created expectations when I first set up the Breeding Season Patreon system that did not reflect the eventual realities of development; I led people to believe that I would be able to make consistent monthly content releases with a playable build, and I don't blame Patrons at all for feeling betrayed by the fact that I have not been able to uphold this.
Much of the problem can be attributed to my inexperience with a project of this size, and I have to admit that a lot of the delays and over-optimistic deadlines have been a result of myself needing to learn on the job. In some cases the amount of work necessary to finish a task has ballooned wildly beyond my predictions; I honestly believed if I pushed myself I'd be able to finish the October deadline, and that proved to be absolutely incorrect to a degree that I wasn't at all expecting and was fairly laughable in retrospect.
I also have to admit that my intense desire not to disappoint you guys has been a big driving force in this problem and I've made some poor decisions over the course of the project because of it. Each time I fail to uphold a promised deadline I want to make up for the disappointment to my awesome supporters by having a twice as great release next time, and I try to promise as much, but in doing this I've put myself in a vicious cycle of creating unrealistic expectations for each new release and that's really all on me. I recognize that this needs to stop, and not only am I hurting myself by setting unrealistic expectations but also the people that I owe for even allowing me to be able to do this project in the first place.
Now, as to why this development process isn't going faster, particularly with the amount of resources we're being supplied with, this is due to something unintuitive that I didn't understand at first either. I've been reading The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick Brooks in order to brush up on project management, and I've found that what it's been saying rings incredibly true from my experiences (quoting from wikipedia's summary):
"Brooks discusses several causes of scheduling failures. The most enduring is his discussion of Brooks's law: Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. A man-month is a concept of a unit of work proportional to the number of people working multiplied by the time that they work; Brooks's law says that this relation is a myth, and is hence the centerpiece of the book.
Complex programming projects cannot be perfectly partitioned into discrete tasks that can be worked on without communication between the workers and without establishing a set of complex interrelationships between tasks and the workers performing them.
Therefore, assigning more programmers to a project running behind schedule will make it even later. This is because the time required for the new programmers to learn about the project and the increased communication overhead will consume an ever increasing quantity of the calendar time available. When n people have to communicate among themselves, as n increases, their output decreases and when it becomes negative the project is delayed further with every person added."
Realistically, this project will take a long time, perhaps another year or more, and I cannot speed it up no matter how much money we're given. By adding additional labor now; more coders and artists and animators, I can massively increase the amount/quality of content that you guys will be getting once the game hits beta, but I just cannot make beta come any faster, and the more people I add to the project the farther away a finished version of the game will get.
Now, I know this is in some regards extremely unfair; particularly because we have thousands of awesome and generous supporters who are donating a massive amount of money every month for a project that will take months and months to reach completion, and with necessarily inconsistent releases along the way. The Patreon system honestly doesn't fit this project nearly as well as I hoped it would when we started; Patrons are only rewarded for donations month-to-month when their donations aren't really going to bear fruit until long into the future, and some months Patrons have generously donated money and got barely anything in return as a reward. I understand fully if Patrons who have contributed to the project decide to cease donating for a time and instead pledge again later when the project is closer to completion.
I want to add that I am paying attention to the Patrons who have donated significantly and consistently in these early stages and I do have records of who has gone above and beyond to support the project. I am absolutely looking into ways to reward and give back to these generous donors. One thing I am considering is adding every Patron who has donated over a certain amount in total to a mailing list that will allow them to receive the $10 level rewards every month regardless of whether they're still contributing money to the project or not. That way people who have given a lot already won't be required continue giving to receive rewards like early versions and debug codes later on.
As for what is happening with this excess money that we can't immediately turn into more labor; it's not just disappearing into the aether or getting spent on hookers and blow or what have you. I apologize that I haven't done a big financial breakdown on the blog before, but essentially right now the money we get from Patreon is about $17,000/month (this is what we get of the ~$25k/month pledged that shows up minus the cost of credit card transactions, Patreon's cut, and a large number of declined/fraudulent pledges that inflate the apparent number). Then I have to pay taxes on that money (15-20%), pay each of our contractors for the work they've done that month (Mittises, Fleet, PalmarianFire, Nono, and now Vanilly, though this cost can be inconsistent as it's based on how much work we were able to give them that month which varies based on the development state of the game, etc), and then S and myself take our salaries from what's left with a significant portion set aside and saved up specifically for future development costs.
I've ensured that I have sufficient savings stored up now that even if the Patreon money were to instantly dry up and disappear tomorrow I would have enough money to continue working on the project for another seven months and complete it (though I would have to do a significant reduction in scope), and ideally I'll just be able to reinvest it into the project instead, but again that takes time. The major point being that no matter what happens now, I will finish the project and see it all the way through to the end. It's just a matter of time.
Hopefully that addresses some concerns and gives you guys a better idea of where we're at right now. Please feel free to leave further comments and questions in the comments section and I'll try to get to some more of them, but I need to continue working on this New Years update.