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Serellan

TAKEDOWN: Red Sabre, a video Post-Mortem

83 posts in this topic

Hi, Serellan, thanks for the update. I'd definitely like to see this team get something going with that prototype in the future. I honestly think that a project like Takedown would have really benefited from a purchasing model like Greenlight - it's very unfortunate, retrospectively, with the timing of the Kickstarter vs. Steam's alternative launching. Would you say that for the scale of a full reboot of the tactical-shooter genre, the time that your team had wasn't enough versus the budget you had to work with to create a game with that type of scope? If so, I could see Greenlight or an alternative working to alleviate that. 

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Very honest update. My god you guys had some thrown your way during those 2 years! Good luck with the healing process!

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 Thanks for the update. With everything that happened during development, I am surprised the game ever made it out. You and your team pushed through adversity and got things done, as best as you could. You and your team should hold your heads high and take the lessons learned from Takedown and put them towards your next development. I for one look forward to see what Serellan LLC comes up with next.  

 

Bravo Zulu to you and your team!

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Thank you for the video. A few small errors and some bad luck adds up real fast it seems. Good luck in the future.

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Thanks for the video Christian. I think we all still want a new tactical shooter, now that Takedown didnt make it. You have my support if you start a new project in the future ( I missed the original kickstarter).

You had a very hard time those two years. Even for me it was very sad to see all those internet haters spit at you guys...

I'm very excited for future plans!

Edited by Synton

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Here's a summary for those who don't have time to watch it:


In July 2012 the original angel investor went dark. Had to find new funding. In Fall 2012 signed a deal. In January 2013 started full development production, aimed for September 2013 release, XBLA concurrent release was part of the deal.

Challenges:
- Hiring solid engineers took longer than anticipated. (Due to being small team they had to be careful in hiring only top people.)
- Were stuck with old version of Unreal engine and could not use newer Steam integration support, or else would have had to redo lots of audio content.
- Originally had American and Indian QA teams, but in July 2013 the American team was dropped due to a dispute. Challenges with working the Indian team due to language, time difference, and the team was not experienced in testing multiplayer PC+Xbox games.
- Scope of the game. In Spring it was clear that AI was sucking up a lot of time. And budget determines how much time can be used. In hindsight they should have cut away the singleplayer squad-based experience; it would have been better to have no experience than a sub-par experience.
- The small game, small team message got lost. People expected Battlefield. For example had a ton more animations, but had an engineering bottleneck in getting them to the game.
- Made the mistake of handing a community project like a retail product launch. Christian was occupied by too many things (e.g. different PR for the community and the press), too little time for development.
- Added stress due to relatives dying and team members getting in accidents. With a 10 person team, losing 1 for a month is huge deal.
- Mistake: Should have switched to early access model. QA team failed to find bugs and they were released to players, so had to focus on fixing bugs instead of adding features and working on DLC and Xbox. In early access mode the tone and tempo would have been totally different.
- Mistake: Did not recognize Steam as its own community. Expected people to come to forums but they didn't, so people did not get proper answers and became unhappy.
- Were inexperienced with Xbox development and Microsoft did not have proper support for indy developers back then.
- Had challenges in making the game run outside Steam. In hindsight should have gone full Steam and worried about the DRM free version later, and offered to return money to those who demanded a DRM free version.
- Post launch, couldn't get press to have a second look at the game.
- In Spring, funding was running low. Started talking with another publisher, but they backed out. In April had to put the company on hold.

 

Current situation: They have a prototype of a new game, on Unreal 3. Next steps are deciding what to they want to do in future. There are new platforms. Early access and indy development has had massive changes since Spring 2012. Christian will be at the forums.

Edited by ORFJackal
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I appreciate the rather lengthy and detailed updated. It's good to have some insight on why things turned out the way that they did. I personally would be interested in seeing Serellan continue to pursue this genre (if that is in fact what your prototype is). 

 

Steam Early Access seams like a much more appropriate way to go about launching a game for a team like Serellan, but I also think it's a platform that needs to be approached properly. A game like DayZ can get away with being fundamentally broken and still gathering massive sales and a huge audience because it's a game that people have faith in the end result. I don't think Serellan could get away with releasing a game as flawed as DayZ was when it first launched. There would be no clear vision of the end result, and I think to many people would be wary of parting with their cash without being certain that they will be satisfied with the end result. If/when something were to end up on Early Access, it needs to be a product that inspires confidence in what the end result can be. 

 

Perhaps a good way to approach it would be to invite KS members from Takedown to continue to be a part of what you have planned for the future. Perhaps alpha or beta involvement. I'm not suggesting they be given access to the final product without paying, but use that audience to try your game without having to pay to do so. If it has the makings of quality product, they will in turn vote with their wallet as well as spread the word. It gives a way for you guys to gather (hopefully positive) feedback about any upcoming project before asking people to part with their money again. I think you'd find much more success if the game were to launch on Early Access with a core group of people able to instill confidence that the game is in fact worth paying for in an alpha state. I know that mentality may not jive well with the idea of needing to be paid to continue to fund development, but I think it's a good way to break through the hurdle of hesitation that you will no doubt face by people who were let down by Takedown. 

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 I rather enjoyed Takedown, despite it's flaws.  I definitely got more enjoyment from it than any other shooter I've played in the past few years.  Looking forward to hearing about your future projects and hoping it has something to do with a Ghost Recon 2: Summit Strike spiritual successor (fingers crossed. lol)

 

Thank you for the honesty Christian.  It's good to see you're just as ugly as you used to be. :P

 

P.S.  I know I was a little harsh and probably a giant dick on these forums so I just want to apologize if I contributed at all to any of that vitriol you mentioned.  I never meant to hurt anybody's feelings, but I wouldn't be surprised if I did. 

Edited by Lenney

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The video highlighted some important points on development issues along with personal losses and injury.

It was unfortunate that so many things went wrong in peoples lives and the fact that the game ever released demonstrates commitment. This is why Serellan will succeed in the future and I for 1 want to be part of that.

I don't have millions of subs but I have respect for Serellan and a desire to see a resurrection of a long dead genre so I am happy to get involved from a YouTube point of view.

I would also love to get in on any testing of the new idea. I am a firm believer in demos and open testing.

Glad you are healing sir.

Good luck.

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Amazing how you strode the human cesspool that is the internet video gaming "community".

 

I'm not really all that interested in video games anymore due to too much disappointments in the last 7 years or so but i'll still take a look out for any future projects from Serellan.

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Amazing how you strode the human cesspool that is the internet video gaming "community"./quote]

What?

I must be confused because I don't get that are you calling us a human cesspool?

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Since this is post mortem... Can you un-private/show the youtube video where you were testing the ragdolls in the water?

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Thanks for the video and I'm glad everything went well with your surgeries. As far as what to do next I think you should continue with the protype you were working on. I definitely would like to see more from your studio, it was your first attempt at making a dream a reality and you learned along the way. There are still a lot of gamers out there without a home looking for a great tactical team based shooter to play, don't give up on us and we won't on you.

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Videos like this hopefully make some gamers realize that game development is more than just getting funds, sit behind your desk and making the game. A lot of gamers seem so ignorant about what it takes to run a company, any type of company, and how many elements need to come together to make it work. Somehow a lot of people have the impression that the rules of reality are not applicable to game development and the gaming industry in general. The idea that throwing a few dollars into a Kickstarter project or an Early Access title will magically result in a good and finished product is very naive. At least this video might give a glimpse of the reality and challenges in developing a game or running a company in general for many Kickstarter and Early Access supporters out there.

To me, a very valid point you talk about, is the gaming industry/scene that was changing while you were developing, and that you did not realize or were able to change to these developments accordingly. When you're so deep into something, it's sometimes hard to take a step back and see the bigger picture. Many of us might recognize this in other projects we've done in the past. Especially if you are constantly busy with other things, and you don't have a whole department at your disposal monitoring the current market and industry.

The first reaction of many people after release was "why is this a retail release and not an Early Access title??!!!". So gamers did knew the market changed, and things were different than 2 years before when you did the KS. In hindsight (or even back then), especially considering there were many issues with the Q&A area, it might have been good to use the backers as a Q&A team, or at least test the game before releasing it. Of course, doing Q&A requires skill, and it's really hard to get the right info/stuff/organization from random gamers. But what I do know is that the signal definitely would have been: "don't release this now, and if you have to do it (budget/time wise), release it as an Early Access title and not as a finished retail product". That's what most of us said after release any way. Because we gamers were in the middle of this transition in the industry, experiencing from the front lines how things were changing. Too bad the team didn't realize or capitalize on the potential heap of knowledge/feedback available right at their fingertips on these very forums in regards to the release candidate build.
 

Thanks for the video :)

Edited by zoog
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What?

I must be confused because I don't get that are you calling us a human cesspool?

That was a broad generalisation so save time and make it sound more elegant. I assumed that was obvious. No, you don't belong to this group of people unless you sent death threats to Serellan or did something else equally inane. From all the communities i know or have been part of the video gaming community is by far the most embarrissingly idiotic.

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Thanks,

 

I was feeling a bit grumpy thinking that you were referring to the people here. It all makes sense now and no I did not send any death threats and yes there are a lot of toss monkeys on the internet.

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That video cleared a lot for me and thank you for that.

I'am ready for your next game and you still have my support.

 

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Videos like this hopefully make some gamers realize that game development is more than just getting funds, sit behind your desk and making the game. A lot of gamers seem so ignorant about what it takes to run a company, any type of company, and how many elements need to come together to make it work. Somehow a lot of people have the impression that the rules of reality are not applicable to game development and the gaming industry in general. The idea that throwing a few dollars into a Kickstarter project or an Early Access title will magically result in a good and finished product is very naive. At least this video might give a glimpse of the reality and challenges in developing a game or running a company in general for many Kickstarter and Early Access supporters out there.

 

 

This, this and this!

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The early access forum was filled with bug reports long before launch, this should have been a warning sign. when you mention that the bug reports didn't reach serellan because of the indian QA who didn't do a good job. The non Steam integration for multiplayer was probably the worst mistake Serellan made, even bigger than having an AI that was handicapped. If you can't play with your friends in multi it's very hard to promote the game.

 

Edit

 

Don't know if you're not allowed to (or don't want to) tell but i've been curious about how many copies the game actually sold. If there's a market for niche games that small studios could live on.

 

P.S i noticed the Ubisoft shirt, do you have any kind of connection to them or is it PR material :P

Edited by Henry B
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Christian and Team Serellan,

 

This post is not intended to be an attack or to kick someone when they are down, it is a real response from a real group of believers and financial investors who believed in a vision and a game. I am a part of a dedicated group of players from the Rainbow 6 days of tactical shooters.  We played through the games like Swat, Ghost Recon and Delta Force and yearned for another game to carry us to into the next generation of graphics and more robust hardware. Your kickstarter campaign coupled with your military background had all the right ingredients for the base of what our community was looking for.

 

Christian you sold us and so many others because you spoke the language we all speak. I feel that you were doomed from the very beginning of this development because what we all wanted in a game could not be coded from scratch so your team settled for the unreal engine. The engine does have huge promise as Vegas and Vegas 2 demonstrated, but they also had some serious multiplayer sound glitches (stuck sound loops) that ruined the games ability to be played tactically. When TD finally released the early stuff, our group tried to defend the title and was hoping that a dedicated group of players such as ourselves could overcome the shortcomings of the game but when we were not even able to password protect our game from internet trolls and asshats, there was no saving the game for our group. We all posted tons of feedback through Steam and other formats in hopes that the devs could head all this off at the pass. It is very disheartening to say the least to hear in your postmortem that your team never heard these cries.

 

Reviewers were constantly feed information of things like this and they all took the position that unless there were major changes, it was not worthy of a rebuild. Through this process I honestly expected Serellan to disappear like the group at Atomic games with the game Breach, but you didn't. Was the game Takedown the game what we all wanted, was Takedown the game Serellan wanted, No it was not, but if for nothing else, you guys didn't run, you stood there and took it on the chin and moved forward.

 

It is no secret that a lot of us are legitimately heart broken that TD didn't pan out, but not one of us wished ill will or harm to any member of the Serellan team because of the game poor performance. It is our belief that Serellan focused too much on delivering a product and not enough on the product they sold. It appeared that your team was in crisis manangement mode rather than providing the vision. With all this said, we the community wait to see if someone, maybe Serellan, steps up to fill the void, but until then we stand, leary and untrusting, but we stand.

 

Hajimoto

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I'm just glad Christian is on the mend and while I would love them to continue and finish the original goal, I'll be interested in following whatever the group does.

 

Look at it this way, at least Christian stuck with it.  David Sears just bailed from his kickstarter H-Hour game when it's still 5+ months from the target release date:

 

http://mp1st.com/2014/10/23/h-hour-david-sears-leaves-sof-studios-departure-wont-jeopardize-quality-game/?utm_content=featured#.VEspzfnF98F

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Hey I bought into the game and despite it's issues I have gotten my moneys worth out of it even if I never played iut again. I wish Christian luck in the future and will support upcoming projects as well. I received free issues of the game to give out and those people have enjoyed it as well. Maybe the future holds some fixes for it and maybe not. Either way I can live with it. I have bought ALOT worse games for a hell of a lot more money.

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I'm looking forward to your next project. I appreciate your postmortem but we already talked about a lot of that in the past.  Bottom line you delivered your game and you supported it post launch and for me that was greatly appreciated!  THANK YOU!

 

This is short and I'll explain why later but just wanted to drop by and lend my support.

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