2019-02-10 23:48:45

Hello dear friends.

We have some news to share, but unfortunately this time they are bad for us, and specially very sad for me. I don't know if it is normal to open it like that, but I know some of you liked the project, so I wanted to open this thing a little bit.

We have decided to stop the production of GoldGun for an undefined period of time. The reasons are several, and when all of them get combined, it is difficult to keep the boat floating. I summarize some of the reasons:

1- production of each episode is too expensive for us at this time, if we need to reach the quality that many players demand.
2- difficulty to get the return of investment. Difficulty to estimate the number of downloads for next payable episode.
3- too many negative critics around what we did, and sorry to be honest, too many what we HAVE to do (not what we could try to do). We never tried to be offensive, neither go into stereotypes. But we did, and some might not give us a second chance. To some of the team members, it has been hard to read all, specially when we did it with quite much love. To me it was okay, I'm hard as a stone.
4- difficulties to get competent voice actors from our neighborhood with such low budget
5- need to work harder on the audio quality before anything else can be released
6- other projects we want also to do, e.g. music maze and audio wizards, before we can decide what is the type of games we want to do.
7- stress and tiredness on some of us

So yeah, if you played the game, you are one of the lucky ones (who played that sh#t). We will not make any more publicity of it, but it will stay available for at least one more month on app stores. I would like to take it out from there, but it is part of my learning, and I need to follow for some weeks its evolution.

However, we are also kind of proud of what we did. We know many indie game companies that delay and delay the launch because they never think they are ready and are too scared of the critics. I think the critics in here were very hard, but we also learned a lot. We did a huge open betatesting, and 1400 persons have downloaded the game in 10 days. We got our game on the app stores, and that nobody will takes it away. We also know that cancelling projects on game companies is quite of common, and before we loose all the money and go bankrupt, we prefer to change the topic.

I don't want to end this message with saying special thanks to all the people that liked the project, and send to us kind words to continue. Sure not everything was negative criticism. There was constructive criticism too, which was very valuable and which will help us to make a better second episode if we ever do it. We know many people liked the concept and the story behind GoldGun. That is perhaps the most bitter thing, because the next episode was already written, it had four quite complete minigames, and so on. It would have also included a revision of Episode 1, so new players would not have to play that one, and could jump straight to the second.

All in all: Stopping in here was not an easy decision, but actually quite logic based on all the facts.

Before I end up: many players offered themselves as voice actors. We really considered that option, but we were afraid of how would affect to the sound quality if different actors record on different spaces with different acoustic characteristics. I think it could have worked out, but on my team they were not really sure with that. Nevertheless, if somebody in there would like to co-ordinate the voice acting, like recruitment, directing, recording and editing, we would be quite ok with outsourcing this part. That actually could simplify some things and help us to take the project back to work. We would also love that all voice actors are from the blind community, not only on GoldGun, but all future games. If you have any ideas, write us to [email protected]

And last words: We are not dead. We will come back with Audio Wizards and Music Maze. We love this forum, so we will post news from time to time. If you want to keep up to date, remember for visit from time to time our website. Best regards, david

mytruesound.com - we hear the difference

2019-02-11 00:03:49

I am sorry to hear that. Stay proud of yourselves. After all, you made a difference by releasing a game. You made something all your own and so it may not have been anything original? You still made it.  As for offensive stereotypes, I didn’t see it as a reason not to try out the game.  It didn’t really offend me, but it did seem rather cliché.  Everything else though, yeah, I agree with completely. However, I am definitely looking forward to your other games.  They seem very arcade like and I love that kind of simplicity every now and again.  Keep it up, guys. You will get there eventually.

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2019-02-11 01:34:30 (edited by jack 2020-07-25 04:38:33)

Yeah, I would say it's quite unfortunate it had to go on hiatus for now. And I'm not going to suggest a free/no-cost solution for voice acting as an end-all-be-all - someone suggested the r/record this for freesubreddit, and a lot of folks use fiver as it is, admittedly, a budget-friendly solution, but it's a forced budget-friendly solution. I feel, if used right, it can actually yield some pretty good results (the new Brutus actor who also voiced the credits role came from Fiver, and that guy being from the US, he played the part very well (often more sarcastic than manically insane, but still a good result.) Those are the kind of people who will hopefully move on to bigger and better lines of work, as Fiver is generally an insult to the true creators. It's a good starting point, but the fact that you are practically forced to charge $5 and don't even get $5 for your troubles since Fiver takes a cut, leaves a lot to be desired. What I'd like to see is this kind of thing just embedding itself into something like voices.com...**redacted** since I just learned that voices.com is known to be a key player in the downward spiral of voiceover rates, I'd rather not mention them. Anyway, once they've gotten more wide recognition, it would be nice if they didn't have to switch platforms and aren't limited to the creator-unfriendly nature of Fiver. On the other end of the spectrum, the Fiver pricing model has a lot of potential for abuse, and for some big mega-corporations the investing a little to gain a lot playbook is nothing new. The problem here is that the pricing structure isn't made on a true measure of talent, but some predetermined package structure. While it certainly is legal to have someone program an application for the fiver price and sell the application at your own price (same goes for media production) it is anything from iffy to unethical depending on who you're talking to. The audio production side of mecan personally say it's unethical, and if I were selling myself as a programmer I'd probably say the same thing.
I'll get back on topic in the next post, but my point really is it's hard to find budget-friendly voice acting, but it also can be said that a lot more work could be done to bridge the gap between the budget-friendly sector and the pros.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-11 01:36:18

As for the game, I know this is probably not the primary reason for tabling the project, but you folks who got offended need to realize how much an effect your words have on a developer, whether they have a thick skin or not. If they get negative press, that's demotivational. The degree of demotivation is determined by how much they can take, but 1 they shouldn't have to take destructive criticism, and 2 it doesn't matter when you're not just the talk of the town, rather the talk of the internet. Let that sink in.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-11 05:14:45

I think it's fair to ask you this though. AS long as it holds no extra financial burden to do so, can you at least keep the original on the app stores so people can play for as long as the thing is still supported on their hardware? Some, like me, actually enjoyed the game and would hate to lose it. With Android, you can backup apps (even unrooted if you are willing to read a cataloged directory listing.) On IOS, that process is very difficult and often impossible.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-11 05:29:26

Sad news, but I'm glad to hear you guys are going to continue with other games!

Buy the worlds greatest machine gun. It's about 50 inches in length, It's huge! & it can shoot really far, &, it's cheap!
Lets demonstrate this: stand still Thom...
Okay ma.aaa!
Oh! crap!

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2019-02-11 07:56:25

I'm genuinely sorry to hear this. I'd really love for you to succeed. Please learn from what happened here so that your other games can succeed. That doesn't just mean reviewing the coding and development process, but I'm sure you have learned plenty from a financial point of view, a marketing point of view and many others.

In defence of this forum, criticism of any kind can feel harsh. But a lot of what was said was fair, even if the way it was said wasn't perfect at times. If you step into a space - any space you aren't familiar with - and want to represent that culture, you have to be sensitive to it; you have to spend as much time trying to understand it as you do developing your game. Either that or you ensure that the people who are from that culture are as much a part of the development process as you are. Preferably both.

I say all of this at the risk of our own first project nearing completion. And I would hope that I can hold any of Blind Sparrow's projects up to the same scrutiny.

You clearly have the passion. You have potential. Your world may feel like it took a massive blow, but I'd say everyone here is still wanting you to succeed. Don't give up; be imbued with the wisdom of what happened and renewed hope.

And, please, feel free to DM me via Twitter for that Skype call we never had.

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2019-02-11 08:56:58

This is a dark moment for this community. One of the worst things we could have done. We go after each other all the time but when you look at things in the grand space of time, it really doesn't matter. What we did this time was probably the worst persecution I can remember. Did these guys make a mistake, yes. Did they need to become aware of it, yes. Did they deserve what we did to them, an emphatic no.

I think there are lessons to go around. On our end though, imagine if all the energy that was built by frustration was put into education and awareness, maybe this stereotype wouldn't exist anymore. Maybe the tired old narrative and cliches we have pushed upon us wouldn't exist.

I'll never be someone to sugar coat things. I'll never be someone to cover up the truth or tell white little lies to spare feelings, but this went beyond all that. I'm not proud of my part in this to say the least, even though it definitely wasn't my intention to cause this, or even be party to the cause of this. I simply posted without reading the rest of the topic, a mistake on my part. I think everyone who had harsh words for this game should think on how they could have dealt with the situation a bit better. Again, I do not dispute that the developers should be aware that they're perpetuating stereotypes against us, but more important is how we say something, than what we say.

I don't think the criticisms were the entire reason the project has been suspended, but they could play a fairly substantial role. It is highly discouraging to read so much negativity on something you've spent a lot of time working on. That should be another take away from all this, for every project, there are people who work to bring it forth. So while constructive criticism is fine, blatant overbearing destructive criticism is not. There were points raised that were constructive, I'm not trying to undermine that fact, but I urge everyone who responded in not such a courteous way to think about the impact their choices will have, and I will do the same.

Breaking news: We're at the home of local Pennsyltuckian Bob Robertson. Now Bob, can ya tell us what happened?
Weyll sher ah guess. Now that fahrwerks is all legal like, I dun figgered awn gittin' my blast awn. But thangs didn't werk out like I thaut.
Fascinating. And your arm? What happened there if I might ask?
Weyll, Ah dun blowed it clean awf 'cause Ah just luvs me sum fahrwerks.

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2019-02-11 09:14:28

This is sad news indeed, but I'm glad you will work on the other games. I'm also glad that you don't take all the critics extremely offensive, because that's not really what people mean to do. I mean, people won't offend you personally, which is a very important thing to remember.
You can be proud of having made your first release. What is the reason for taking it off the stores when it's free and you will continue the development of other games in the future? Does it cost you extra to have Goldgun in the app store?
Keep up the awesome job guys.

Best regards SLJ.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Facebook: https://facebook.com/sorenjensen1988
Twitter: https://twitter.com/soerenjensen

2019-02-11 11:05:03

First of all I feel really sorry about that. I hate it that it had to come this far. You most definitely deserve better.

I nevertheless want to come back to the criticism part. I think there are two lessons to be learned here.

First lesson:
Criticism in the gaming community is almost never constructive and helpful. Partly because many gamers are really young in age, partly because it is such an anonymous medium.
Game developers need to build up a way to deal with that and evaluate feedback they get wether its immature shit storm or sincere feedback.
However I really think that some of us with the latter - me included - crossed the line to shit storm in their tone. So we as a community can learn something from this as well.

Second lesson:
You are developing your games for a specific target group. If you want them to buy your product they need to like it enough.
Thats the bittersweet part of capitalism. No matter what your intentions are or what your artistic ethos demands. If it doesn't fit the needs of your customers you can't earn money with it.
So a big part in planning a project should be how it can appeal to enough people to get some returns for invested time and money.
The target group here mostly was the visually impaired community. They tend to be quite audiophile and sometimes a bit thin-skinned about the blindness topic.
In retrospect its easy to come to this kind of conclusions, I know. But hopefully it helps to reflect what has gone wrong here for future projects.

I really hope that you guys are not to discouraged to continue your development as a whole. To end on a positive note here:
I think this whole GoldGun shit storm had one big upside. It raised awareness to your company. It wasn't the best advertisement for GoldGun itself but I firmly believe that you are one of the better known companies for audio games out there now.
I personally believe it might be a good idea to discontinue GoldGun, at least for now. You have my sincere respect for this difficult decision. But you can build up on your prominency and the learning experience you had with this project.

I for my part will remain supporting you as good as possible.

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2019-02-11 14:45:56

I never downloaded or followed this game, but I do remember a time when TDV was under development and people got butt-hurt that we were using the word "blind" in it. I don't know what people got offended by here or what stereotypes they found too offensive for their pretty little ears, but I feel you and know exactly what you're talking about, coming from the perspective of a developer who got screamed at for jokingly calling the main character blind if they lost.

So yeah, this community in particular seems to get offended very easily. I think this community is too uptight, but I hope it never discourages you from developing games. We need more serious developers who will actually pay for quality content as you've done, instead of just using synthesizers and then charging for the game anyway.

The best way to handle it is say "the hell with it" and develop what you want to. In my experience, people will buy it if they think it's good because the screamers usually get shut down by the adults.

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2019-02-11 15:44:58

You were flying like you are blind.
god damn it! I knew I should've given him an eye test before he took off.
God I remember that line, I wish that was still in the simulators. That concept build was hilarious.
Anyway, Munawar is absolutely right, this community does get too up tight. You know, compared to other remarks, the blind stuff is not harming in any way, shape or form. Is it a misconception/misguided? Sure. But think of this, I'd say one in ten people are actually likely to end up meeting and talking to a blind person regularly, simply because there's fewer of us, naturally. Some of the concepts people have are from the mainstream media which does a poor job at best, and they couldn't imagine what it's like living without sight.
Anyway, I'm back to go destroy Contact 1 Bogie...oh wait.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-11 18:00:28 (edited by Mitch 2019-02-11 18:04:58)

There was promise in this game, and I really liked it for what it was. I agree with what others said here about people's comments. Sadly, I kinda figured that this would happen just because of the amount of criticism. I understand about the stereotypes, and I don't like it either, but people keeping harping on and on about it is going to do much more harm than good.
If we keep this up, we won't have any games to play, and all developers will turn away from the community. The moral of the story is: be nicer to people, and look at the positives of the games first. And above all, read all of the posts before you post anything.

A winner is you!
—Urban Champion

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2019-02-11 18:21:32 (edited by jack 2019-02-11 18:23:36)

Even more especially when the developer specifically states they are well aware of the script issues early on. No need for it to have been done to death like it was. If David is alright with it, if the app really is going on hiatus, I would like to at least upload a copy of the Android app to the Audiogames archive. I know the menus don't speak on this one, at least not on my phone, but for people who are willing to go through that to be able to play the rest of the game, this game deserves some dignity after what's happened.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-11 19:29:41

jack wrote:

I think it's fair to ask you this though. AS long as it holds no extra financial burden to do so, can you at least keep the original on the app stores so people can play for as long as the thing is still supported on their hardware? Some, like me, actually enjoyed the game and would hate to lose it. With Android, you can backup apps (even unrooted if you are willing to read a cataloged directory listing.) On IOS, that process is very difficult and often impossible.

Sure is fair to ask Jack. Our main programmer Joshua was working on an update to fix some of the main bugs, specially for the Android. But I don't know about his motivation to publish it now once this decision was taken. He went now for well-deserved vacations back home, and I will not ask him about that until he gets back. I get you back on that.

mytruesound.com - we hear the difference

2019-02-11 19:34:09

that's a real shame, as stated, I saw some big production errors, but I feel like the game could've been amazing if you just put your mind to it.
Sound quality, although it helps, isn't everything

No I don't have a witty or interesting signature... Are you insane? That takes mental power that I don't quite have.

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2019-02-11 19:43:57

Dear friends.

Thanks a lot for the self-criticism, and for the kind words you have shared now supporting us. We appreciate them, and they show to us that definitely we are welcome on this forum and around you.

Don't worry. We are not quitting, and we will bring some cool games bit by bit. We just realized that we need to do the things better next time, so this wont happen. No way we give up, not yet at least, so let's forget as soon as possible about all this that has happened, and let's look for a future together, where developers and gamers share the same ideas and interests.

We are going to work hard, but we will need some months before we can start with the beta testing of Audio Wizards and Music Maze (we have two independent teams working on it, so let's see who gets it faster).

Regarding GoldGun; I really think, as most of you, that the game had potential. But I need to find a solution for the voice actors. So if you know some group of fellows that would like to come on board, please, let me know. The idea would be to take out the bad of episode 1, and add the good to the episode 2 on a new brand game, where dialogues, minigames and audio quality are perfect. So a new start, kind of GoldGun Reloaded wink

Best regards, david

mytruesound.com - we hear the difference

2019-02-11 20:08:50 (edited by nolly 2019-02-11 20:13:07)

I'm often asked why I don't become involved in the blind community where I live. What happened here is one of the major reasons, soft skin and what I like to refer to as blind entitlement. The number of people I meet who carry a sighted people need to give it to me now, when I want it, where I want it and the way I want it without any flaws attitude is staggering. I've even had interactions with people who are openly bitter because others can see and they can not, and because of this fact they demand those who have sight to help them in every day life as well as do everything in their power to make anything and everything accessible, regardless if it is even realistically possible.

I do understand that there are those who were offended with some of the perceptions made about blind people in this game. The issue I take with the knee jerk reactions is that it was not meant to be offensive, nor was it meant to be mocking those without sight. Some also complained that they should have done more research, yet that is what they wer attempting to do by asking for advice on this forum.

In conclusion too many blind people complain that sighted people don't care about the blind community and how they are uneducated about people without sight, yet when someone willingly asks to be educated, all they can do is complain about how uneducated they are, expecting sighted people to magically know everything there is about the lifestyle of a blind person. If they can't seek information directly from the source, how are they to become knowledgeable about what is fact and what is fiction. As far as game quality goes, they clearly stated that it was a work in progress, yet people decided to complain about things that would likely be fixed given the proper time and suggestions.

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2019-02-12 00:27:25

@nolly That's exactly it, and I think that people were completely ignoring the fact that the developer clearly stated this was a pilot run and they were well aware of the problems that existed in the game.
As for voice acting, you might want to get in contact with someone like Munawar or Out of Site who did this same thing, i.e hiring a production team/voice acting crew *matter of fact, most of the voice actors in the flight simulator game Three-D Velocity were from this community, so if you offer this openly I'm sure you could get good results.* That game had some superior voice acting you wouldn't see in many other games. Long and short of it is that you don't always have to try and hammer out a deal with the pro-folks, as several members of the community are happy to offer up their experience. You did mention the issue of people with different audio setups and it being difficult to manage that, well firstly having multiple audio production folks can speed up that process some, and second, you can generally be pretty selective if you're auditioning voice actors.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-12 00:43:53

David_Oliva wrote:

Our main programmer Joshua was working on an update to fix some of the main bugs, specially for the Android. But I don't know about his motivation to publish it now once this decision was taken. He went now for well-deserved vacations back home, and I will not ask him about that until he gets back.

That's fair, after all *and I think the community is coming to its senses and realizing this* he worked hard on the project like everyone did. No rush.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2019-02-12 09:01:04

So, to all of you who have said the sound design and voice acting in the game is bad: Now it's time to show how you can do it better. When you think it's that bad, you must help them with better sound design and voice acting. You must know how to do it since you said it's bad... smile
So please contact those guys from Finland with your offers of sound design and voice acting, so you can help them make the best games possible in the future.

Best regards SLJ.
Feel free to contact me privately if you have something in mind. If you do so, then please send me a mail instead of using the private message on the forum, since I don't check those very often.
Facebook: https://facebook.com/sorenjensen1988
Twitter: https://twitter.com/soerenjensen

2019-02-12 11:38:53

Greetings to all,

I have no idea what the game is about for I haven't played it but one thing I can say. I agree with SLJ in saying that there's no point on harping on ssomething being bad if you don't have the guts to put forth your ideas even help. I perhsonally am a sound designer at heart. I use programs like audacity and gold wave, and I am also a music composer as well. Going to try to get into reaper quite soon but for the most part my main audio editors are audacity and gold wave. As for voice acting, all I need is the lines and how to say them and I'm on board. I don't charge for it either for I feel that this is something I can give without the need for money in return. But point being to conclude with, don't let things discourage you from creating. Too much I have done that and can say that it only wears folks down. So keep with it, and if there is any help I can give as far as acting or sound design, please let me know.

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2019-02-12 14:02:54

So sad to hear this. I heard Liam played it on YouTube, and it was pretty good. Sadly this won't work on my Android device.

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2019-02-12 16:29:22 (edited by Munawar 2019-02-12 16:37:04)

One of the reasons I never took the time to find out what this game was about is because I had a gut feeling the project would be scrapped eventually. It seems like a lot of developers are throwing in the towel nowadays because people don't like what they put out. Back when the market was still young, you forged ahead no matter what people said, but I fear that over time developers have become more and more sensitive and are more customer-driven. For example, I've seen countless topics on this forum asking if people will like a certain game before the developer ventures out to create it. So, instead of the developers leading the market, they are asking for the broad customer base to lead the market.

This type of attitude shows the unwillingness to take risks like what we used to do years ago. All of us, from me to Liam Erven to David Greenwood, were criticized heavily for our work. One of the first people to bring the blind community together online, Joker Dog, creator of Accessible Chat, was heavily criticized for the "simple nature" of his games. Yet he forged ahead. Despite all this,  our games still existed ( many of which still exist to this day.) But this type of "I'm leaving because you guys hurt my feelings and criticized me" attitude is making me more and more hesitant to try new games, because eventually the developers will get all hurt and things and abandon the project.

Especially for a game like this where each chapter is paid, now I'm really, really glad I didn't get into it because I'd be left hanging along with everyone who played it and actually got involved in the story line.

There was a really good game by a kid named Danny a while ago, and he left for the same reason: couldn't handle the criticism. You'd be surprised if I tell you what some people said about TDV when it was under development. I think folks are finally finding out that producing games is so much more than just hammering away at a keyboard: it requires thick skin and true, dedicated effort, which no one has today. So yay to another short-lived spark and may the trend continue for any new developer that comes along and gets butt-hurt by what people said.

Thumbs up +3

2019-02-12 17:09:49

Well, in fairness, the game actually had to fold also due to the financial burden )they said what they were hoping to create was getting expensive, and the high number of downloads seemed like the organization they got funding from was expecting way too much.) I think this was 10000 downloads to prove there's a market. 10000 downloads in the first few days of the project, I don't think that's very realistic personally. Even with several different online communities, you encounter many of the same people. You'd have to have some sort of mainstream coverage before you got close to 1000 downloads. It got over a thousand, which isn't bad for an initial debut, and I would say be proud of that despite what some bottom-line interested funding organization may think (AVEC is probably not that, but they seem pretty unreasonable when it comes to audiogames.)

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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