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MarkJacobs · CEO City State Entertainment


Last Active
  • Really quiet here, is this game stalled?

    Anyway, Mark, keep up the hard work!  If we didn't care, we wouldn't be giving you guys a hard time.
    Hehe, I know that, that's why I keep coming back. 

    And I do have a sense of humor and as many of the posters here know, I don't mind a little snark thrown my way, especially when it is really funny! If you can't laugh a little at yourself, especially in my/our situation, then you really need to get a life or at least buy one from a cash shop. :)
  • Camelot Unchained - Beta incoming any time soon?

    CrazKanuk said:

       No worries, you have nothing to be sorry about, I'm the guy who made the call, along with Andrew, to do this so whatever comes out of this project I have to own up to it. As to your points:

    >>>>1) With regards to your first response, we know that as our estimates get shorter, they become more accurate. So given that you stated that a beta was weeks away about a year and a half ago, I'm only assuming that there were "holy fuck" moments that happened. So it would be reasonable to assuming that this could happen to anyone. 
       Yep. That's why I have/will stay away from commenting about other developers' projects. :)

    >>>>2) So you're not saying that you will NEVER close off refunds, correct? Just that you'll give 30 days notice before policy changes. That seems smart to me, but some seem to be putting stock in this never changing. 
        Umm, I've said the same thing, going back to the Kickstarter. Nothing has changed. I said then that our plan was to offer refunds up to when either when we went LIVE or changed the policy with 30 days notice. I've also been saying the same things on our Forums and other places.

    >>>>3/4) I definitely appreciate your ongoing commitment to the project and that you are accepting a lot of the funding responsibilities yourself. I suppose that at least means that the game will be the one YOU want to put out there. I'm sorry that it's over the budget you set. Hopefully that won't be problematic in getting this to a beta. 
        Nope, not a problem with getting it into Beta 1 at all. If it was, I'd say that to our Backers. 

    >>>>5) Yeah, I definitely think that being a nice guy earns you some amount of trust, which is warranted. Also, the fact that you made one of the greatest MMOs in history also earns you some level of credibility and trust. However, there are also those who rely entirely on those two facts as subjective evidence that one project is ok, while another is in trouble. Some seem unwilling or unable to accept the fact that maybe someone being an asshole doesn't mean they are being untruthful or disingenuous. It just means that they're an asshole. I've been on record as saying that the game industry was born of arrogant assholes and I think that's pretty accurate, without naming any specific names. 
       I think that you are partially right but a lot of the truly old school guys/gals were really good people, especially on the developer, not publisher side. In terms of online games, most of the early folks were really great people as well. The guys at Kesmai Corp., for example, were really wonderful folks and even though our games were slightly competitive at times, they never acted like pricks to us. This was true for most, but not all, of the old school online guys. 

    >>>>Either way, I'm sorry you've become somewhat of an example of how people are willing to accept delays in a certain context while not in others. I guess that's just a product of transparency. In reality, if it was a publisher-style level of communication then beyond the Kickstarter it's likely people wouldn't hear anything for 5 years after the KS closed. I do appreciate your transparency, though, and I will continue to advocate FOR transparency, and the irony isn't lost on me that I'm usually talking about how transparency doesn't work, but I really do yearn for the day when people CAN accept the realities of complex product development and ARE able to be objective and understanding with regards to how that cycle can and is derailed at times. Maybe it's a product of society that some people just can't trust what people say, but in the majority of cases it's much less exciting or "sexy" than what they like to believe. 
        Yep. I think that a lot of mistrust has been built up between developers <> gamers <> publishers and that really colors things. Plus, the usual stuff about anonymous posters on the Internet being able to act in a way they wouldn't in real life; developers covering their asses, publishers being publishers. It's been a problem ever since people were dialing up to play games and always will be, even if the protection of anonymity was lifted. People bitched about it in the 80s and are still bitching about it now. In other words, rinse, wash, and repeat. :)

    Thanks again for posting/engaging/etc. 


    Lol @ dialing up! Whenever I hear that term it reminds me to punch my kids in the throat every time they complain about a 10Mbps connection. 

    Nah, don't do that. Get a rocking chair, a shawl and start a conversation with:

    "Back in my day..."

    Kids love that!!! :)
  • Camelot Unchained - Beta incoming any time soon?

    So, if you folks don't mind me jumping in here, I'd just like to say a bunch of things:

    1) I am embarrassed, and I've said so many times (as you folks have noted) about the delays. Most of the causes were unavoidable, but not all of them were. For example, we had to open the studio in VA or there wouldn't have been a studio.

    2) Our refund policy is unchanged, and will remain unchanged until we give our current Backers 30 days notice of a change. We would never just close off refunds without giving all of our Backers a chance to ask for a refund.

    3) In terms of another key difference with CU/me, I and the other investor have a big stake in this. I've already committed more money to this game than I expected to because of the opening of the studio in Seattle and the delays. 

    4) We haven't done any addition fund-raising rounds, either through equity crowd-funding or telethons. The other investor and I are taking these expenses onto ourselves because we are late. There are other devs who have way more personal money than me and aren't doing the same. I also haven't paid myself, in any way, in four years other than my health insurance (I need to do this to be on the company's coverage).

    5) Whether I'm likable, a good guy, or the spawn of Satan, the choice is yours of course, but the one thing that I can say about myself is that as I promised here, there, and everywhere during the Kickstarter, that I would not disappear, hide, etc. from our mistakes and our Backers. I have kept that promise 100% as posts like this show. I'm constantly on our Forums, reply to personal emails (albeit slowly), here, MOP, and other sites occasionally. I apologize and explain delays, I give updates about everything that happens in the studio (subject to typical HR considerations/privacy considerations when somebody leaves/asked to leave).

    Now, does that merit additional leeway from people? I would like to think so, especially because of 2-4. We're not perfect, but we have treated our Backers the way I want to be treated as a backer of other KS games as well as a gamer myself. Delays happen in making games and even more so when you are trying to do something really difficult and then compound it by making our own engine that can handle large-scale battles. The good news is that over the last two weeks we showed our Backers that we could back up our words with something no other MMORPG has been able to do to date. While that doesn't earn me any additional consideration from non-Backers, the fact is that our little studio was able to do something that has eluded every MMORPG studio to date by showing 1K Bots (fully autonomous, bandwidth-eating, networked PC clients) & players all running around on the same map, in the same small area and using abilities while shooting off fireworks while still playable on a minimal spec machine. And, BTW, we had people calling in from Europe (we set the test time to be more advantageous to our European Backers), MENA and beyond, while our servers were in Virginia, and the game was extremely playable. One of our MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Backers and I were in touch during the whole test and he was, quite frankly, surprised at the engine's performance on both the client/server side. He was/is a very happy guy right now. 

    Sorry for the long response, I had more to say than I thought.

    Thanks all for comments, interest (even waning/waned), etc. I don't expect people just to take me/us at our word and we will be livestreaming some sessions before we go into Beta 1 so you will be able to judge the merit/truth (or not) in what I said here.

    And as usual, I won't comment on other devs, their habits, or their games. 
    You are the last man standing, and we will stand by you.
    Thanks. And as I've said from the beginning, I can't promise we'll make the greatest game ever, but I did/do promise that we would be true to our Backers and the vision we laid out for them when they backed our game. It has been a long road but as our KS pitch shows, we haven't changed/folded/cut features/mutilated it at all.  Not many KS developers can say that and I'm proud of that.
    CrazKanuk said:
    You are the last man standing, and we will stand by you.

    No pressure though...... lol
    Hehe, none at all! 

    Now where did I put that damn Prince Valium? :)
  • A Triple Serving of Awesome - Crowfall Previews

    Woot! Thanks Red, I've leveled up to insane. That's a major gain from when we were just called crazy for building our own engine by our friends in the industry!!! :)

    In all seriousness, gratz to Crowfall and its backers, the Unity and graphical upgrades are, IMO, a smart move by ACE. Well done.

    I still think you're crazy, dude.  =)

    At the end of the day, it's all costs:benefits.  I'm sure guys like you look at it and see some very clear weight on building your own engine, and frankly you've been successful at it.  There's no denying that.

    On the flip side, though.  If you didn't have to invest development resources in all that back-end development, and were able to focus on game design and more complex game systems...  It really seems hard to justify the expense.  Of course, if you already have guys experienced in that, have a head start on it, and all the other tons of variables that go into what form of development effort has the biggest impact...  There are always going to be plenty of situations where it makes sense.

    As a general rule, I think it's a pretty bad idea for studios to attempt their own engine.  You'd definitely know better, but I'm pretty comfortable with that statement.

    Hey wait, did you just downgrade me from insane? I'm depressed now. :)

    The difference for us, and why we are building our own engine was that we were/are going for large-scale battles (1k+). In 2013, that was impossible to do via Unity/Crytek/Unreal. ACE and CSE went two very different and quite interesting routes in our Kickstarters. In order to deliver on our game, we needed to try to make our own engine, in the case of ACE, they weren't going for that same scale game, they were/are are focusing on other things first and foremost. Neither of our approaches is right nor wrong. We can both fail, we can both succeed. We could even fail in unexpected ways which always makes game development, and especially MMORPG development, much more challenging.

    And you're absolutely right, in most cases it's a bad idea to make your own engine. OTOH, I'm sure the CEO of Improbable is probably a very happy man now.

    As per above, gratz to ACE and its backers, I'm sure that most of them (you can never make everybody happy as I always say about our updates) very happy with this update! Cheers!
  • A Triple Serving of Awesome - Crowfall Previews

    Woot! Thanks Red, I've leveled up to insane. That's a major gain from when we were just called crazy for building our own engine by our friends in the industry!!! :)

    In all seriousness, gratz to Crowfall and its backers, the Unity and graphical upgrades are, IMO, a smart move by ACE. Well done.