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PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:44 pm 
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Hello my friends, it has been a long time!

As you all know, my project "In The Line Of Fire" was not successful on Kickstarter.
What you all may not be aware of is the circumstances behind the campaign, and the state of affairs during that time.
I began this project as a labor of love, with no deadline in mind; I simply wanted to create the very best Dreamcast game the homebrew community has ever seen.

When Wilson, the 3D artist and myself began working together, I was not fully aware of how desperate his financial situation was.
Truth be told, if I had really known his situation from the beginning, I would not have got involved with him at that point in time.
He was and is a very talented artist, but he was struggling financially, and that is a very dangerous thing when I consider my situation at that time.
I have never relied on "In The Line Of Fire" for financial reasons, but for him, this project was life or death.
Because of his financial situation, Wilson forced me to launch the KS campaign, even though I pleaded with him to wait until spring of this year to make more progress and establish more media presence.
As things turned out, I was very rushed and had little time to dedicate to the actual KS campaign.
When the project failed, Wilson abandoned the project, leaving me with no choice but to move on.

That said, this projects failure is nobody's fault but mine, and that has been a very hard thing for me to accept.

Even though the campaign failed, things did not turn out poorly for me; I was contacted with a job offer that I could not turn down.
Now, I am currently working as an IT Administrator, coding for multiple platforms, and making much more money than I was last year.
As a result, I have no time to continue focusing on development on the Dreamcast.
I have learned a lot in my time here, and I will always cherish the time spent coding for Dreamcast, and I will always appreciate the community here.

With that said, today I am releasing the last alpha build of "In The Line Of Fire" to the public, mainly for those who supported our campaign.
This build is from January 2nd of this year; the last time I wrote code for the Dreamcast.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3TQw7 ... sp=sharing

Thank you all for following, and I am very sorry to our fans that were expecting something more.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:29 am 
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Good to hear from you again, and congratulations on your new job. I'm assuming some of the exposure from "In The Line Of Fire" had influence on someone? If so, I wouldn't call anything a failure.

Thanks for the Alpha build, I'm looking forward to giving it a test run.

Leaving the community will be our loss (completely understandable though) but you've left us with some amazing code to play with in our spare time, and for that alone I'd like to say thank you once more.

Good luck and all the best for the future (don't forget to pop in here if you ever find the time). :grin:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:36 am 
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Best of luck PH3NOM! Thanks for all your contributions!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:33 pm 
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At first, I thought this thread solved the puzzle. But there's still a missing piece…

Before the Kickstarter campaign began, Wilson contacted me about finishing Fightoon. During my e-mail exchanges with him, I've started getting a disheartening impression that he didn't actually care about Fightoon, and that he only cared about the money that could be made from releasing it.

When the Kickstarter campaign for In The Line of Fire launched, I wondered how was he going to work on both games at once. Wilson had already told me that he was a professional developer with experience as lead artist on a number of mobile games. He's not a hobbyist working out of pure passion like most DC homebrew developers; he's also business-oriented. So, I was sure Wilson knew that the campaign was rushed, and that he knew this could harm the funding. Also, December is usually the last financial month of the year in South American countries (he's also South American), so it's very common for commercial service contracts to end by the end of each year.

Judging from the impression I've got from his e-mails before then, it seemed to me that Wilson was not actually working with Josh; he was working for Josh, under some kind of agreement that would end by the end of the year unless the Kickstarter funds were obtained. Business are a cold subject, and purely business-oriented people are not going to make sacrifices to save a project, no matter how good or revolutionary the project is.

I backed off from working with him because I realized what would happen: He wouldn't be willing to wait for me to finish my game properly if the deadlines weren't met, this would put a lot of pressure on me and the result would be a fucked up game… or another failure to release the game.

This pissed me off when the Kickstarter campaign for In The Line of Fire failed. But I wasn't explicit about it because despite having a strong impression about everything that was happening, there still was some chance that I could be wrong because none of the facts I knew were fully unambiguous. And when I first read this thread, I thought I had judged Wilson too harshly, because his financial crisis that Josh mentioned seems to explain why Wilson focus so much on the money. Saving his life would be a noble reason to be so strict about the projects he works on.

However, afterwards I've realized that… Wilson never told me that he was in a life-or-death situation. He was ready to jump off of Josh's boat and drag me to the same situation without telling me anything.

That fucker is a scammer. Fuck his fucking shit.

He may not rob people of their money, but he robs them of their trust, and puts the responsibility for his problems in their shoulders. Little slippery piece of shit.

Josh, now I understand why it was so hard for you to come back and talk about what happened. Everything was too subjective, and if you said anything negative it would be your word against his, so you got confused and took all the blame upon yourself for fear of being unfair, because you're the project leader. I went through the same when Fightoon failed. And it sucks.

You're fine. Don't worry about your reputation, or about how much everyone likes your work; those are unaffected.

Good luck on your new job, and feel free to go back to developing your game whenever you have some spare time, if you want to. We'll always be with open arms to welcome you.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:47 am 
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Appreciate the update on this PH3NOM. I'm sad to hear you won't be developing the game any further but it's understandable. I'm hopeful we'll see something like this on the Dreamcast eventually. You've at least proved that indie devs can do a lot more than a simple shmup so thanks for that! :-)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 10:31 am 
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DC sceneS love you PH3NOM.
Thanks for all.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:32 pm 
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mankrip wrote:
However, afterwards I've realized that… Wilson never told me that he was in a life-or-death situation. He was ready to jump off of Josh's boat and drag me to the same situation without telling me anything.

That fucker is a scammer. Fuck his fucking shit.

He may not rob people of their money, but he robs them of their trust, and puts the responsibility for his problems in their shoulders. Little slippery piece of shit.



I've worked with them both. I just volunteered to do a website but it was clear that Wilson approached it as for profit. He does the graphic bit and expects the coder to do the code in a timely manner.

How is that a scam?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:25 am 
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cube_b3 wrote:
I've worked with them both. I just volunteered to do a website but it was clear that Wilson approached it as for profit. He does the graphic bit and expects the coder to do the code in a timely manner.

How is that a scam?

Coding is an unpredictable activity; even the most professional AAA studios suffers delays, and having backup plans to deal with those is a must. This is common knowledge.

Being professional is being reliable. Wilson was not open about inevitable circumstances that would conflict with delays, and in doing so he made it impossible for PH3NOM to anticipate what could happen and develop a proper backup plan to keep the project alive.

Developing a game along with a whole new engine from the ground up is not the same thing as combining a bunch of assets & scripts from an online store into Unity and calling it a day. It's not just about plugging stuff together, tweaking and balancing known elements. And specially in the case of platforms with so severe technical restrictions as the DC, it requires a lot of thinking outside of the box. Such projects can not be operated like an assembly line, and it's morally dishonest to expect them to be, specially when working with inexperienced developers.

By not disclosing his harmful circumstances, the picture of the situation that Wilson painted was not reliable. He was not reliable for the work he offered.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:12 pm 
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Hey everyone, I am a game private and independent game investor within the scene. Been around for several years operating as a shadow investor (anonymous to the public). Currently I am and have been investing into Isotope Softworks (devs behind Hypertension: Harmony Of Darkness) since late 2015

Anyways, I had supported the project 'In The Line Of Fire" months before the kickstarter went up, particularly financially supporting Wilson and the game to keep the project from going south. When the kickstarter failed. I tried everything to convince him not to leave, even offering a better rate of pay per my investment contracts. In the end he decided to leave along with the music guy, leaving Phenom with a doomed project.

I feel partly responsible as me and Phenom were unable to have more contact besides a couple of email exchanges. Maybe I could have saved it. Good luck man, hope your future endeavors pay off.


~Lotus

Any devs with innovative Dreamcast games (3D, Online play, Open World, ect) please PM me, and we might be able to work something out


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:09 pm 
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Thanks for informing us about what happened, Josh.

I don't think anybody here had any doubts about your reputation.
People just thought you were depressed about the KS failure because you worked so hard, some even wondered whether you got sick or died.
But nobody entertained the thought that you were just in it for the money or anything like that.

I personally know that you have inspired a lot of people in this community.
Just recently I showed some of your Portal- and Quake-like videos at a hobbyist game developer conference and people came to understand the appeal of developing for an old game console like the Dreamcast.

Just like you I recently got a much better job offer and I'm incredibly busy now, so I understand the priority shift as well.
I hope life's going well for you and wish you a lot of luck with your further career!


To Wilson:
It's fine if you don't care about the platform, video games as a medium or even your profession as an art form at all and the term passion is not part of your vocabulary, although I personally can not imagine that to be a very joyful life.
But if you're in it just for the money, you should be clear about that, so that people know how to incorporate you into their projects.
I also don't think it's very business-savvy to develop for a niche platform with experimental technology to pay for your daily bread as your bank account is empty.
If you had told me about your financial situation when I recommended Josh to you, I would have advised you not to develop the game with him.
Not because he is incapable, quite the opposite, but because the game could have been a commercial failure even if the project went well, and failure would have terrible real life consequences for you.
As Josh said, your situation also put a lot of pressure on other team members.


To people new to the community who don't understand what's going on:
Josh aka Ph3nom has been and will stay an integral part of this community and deserves our trust and I have no reason to believe what he said is false.
He has dedicated his passion to this community for many years and contributed more than most.

Wilson Guerero was an unproven individual who I forwarded to Ph3nom after he offered to work as an artist.
He also did not mention his purely financial motivation to me and that he is pressured on time.
In fact, reading his original post, one might forgive me that I thought he is passionate about Dreamcast development and wants to create a work of quality instead of a quick game release that makes money.
viewtopic.php?f=45&t=103856&start=0#p1049118
Quote:
The main thing I want is to work and release a 3D game for the dreamcast (my favorite console of all times), so if we decide to release it for free for whatever reason so be it, or if for any other reason we decide to go commercial (I like this one a bit more)


If you want to work with Wilson, I suggest you limit the work to non-creative artwork with clear specifications on an outsourcing basis, e.g. for a set of assets, instead of a long-term partnership.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:49 pm 
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Before I say anything I just want to say. I have worked with most indie developers. I work in PR/Marketing, most here know that is what I do professionally as well however with the Dreamcast scene, it is not something I look to monetize, I know how little money there is. However, the work we do here is awesome and I think it would help my future prospects to have Alice Dreams Tournament, Elysian Shadows, SLaVE etc on my CV.

I approached Militia Studio to assist them with marketing. Once Josh reciprocated I established communication with the three people involved and started pitching ideas. As far as communication is concerned, PH3NOM disappeared really early. The last message he sent me was on December 20th.
> I was trying to get an interview done for a website that would attract some attention towards Militia Studio.
> I was building them a website
> I was also designing a logo for them.

Josh essentially connected me with Wilson and checked out. I wanted to develop a portfolio website. Featuring PH3NOM's past work as Militia Studios history. This would have provided them some history for their KS. I poured many hours on the website that I offered to host for free!

Even after the Kickstarter ended, I was talking to Wilson, as he fervently struggled to get the project to move forward without PH3NOM. On February 10th 2017 I reached out to you, Mankrip for assistance with finishing the project as Wilson informed me PH3NOM was not communicating.

I should also add here that ISOTOPE was working with PH3NOM to help fix 3DGE so that Slave could finally be released but he checked out of that project... Corbachu was really stressed out.

I don't want to throw PH3NOM under the bus. But I worked with both of them and Wilson retains communication with me, yet I haven't heard from Josh since December 20th.

Further more, He did work on the project from for a full year. Think about it from a designers perspective, SLaVE put Jay Townsend on the map but in good faith he agreed to do it exclusively on Dreamcast which destroyed any momentum he had going as a game developer. The game was scheduled to release on April 2015. In the time since I have enrolled for a degree in Digital Media and graduated.

Hopefully the scene hasn't heard the last from Wilson, maybe when he is financially more stable he can team up with someone else though I doubt he would work with any project without a deadline. Deadlines are important.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:50 am 
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cube_b3 wrote:
Before I say anything I just want to say. I have worked with most indie developers.

In that case, by default, you should know that all this is just history repeating itself.

cube_b3 wrote:
Deadlines are important.

If anyone thinks deadlines are important when it comes to developing software for the Dreamcast console (commercial or not) they need to take a big step back and have a seriously good look at life in general.

Anyone care to comment on the Alpha build of "In The Line Of Fire"? That public release may be the last we see from the project.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:35 am 
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True, we have encountered these cases before.

Look, we know deadlines are never met. Year after year, game after game. Things get pushed. But that is usually because of poor planning. For example, I can barely write HTML and CSS. That is the extent of my knowledge but I told Studio Gyro they won't be able to release ES team but GyroVorbis just scoffed and said something to the effect of, he had a job previously and now he is doing it full time so it can be done.

I was with them and saw how they were functioning and a burnout was inevitable.

The thing is when you go commercial.
When you ask for people to pre-order/crowd source your product.
When you have hundreds of case studies in front of you.
You should be able to plan with deadlines in mind.

An artist from of mine, was going crazy that her business card was not looking good. She needed to make a pattern design for the background and she hadn't done that before and I sent her a tutorial and she couldn't get the result she wanted. I told her to take sometime, it is a personal project, you can grow, learn better yourself. She replied, "I gave myself a deadline, I will send it to the printers today." I respect that. Her card doesn't look that good. But she gave herself a deadline and delivered. I respect that.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:40 pm 
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I was crushed when this was canceled Josh. I have been a huge fan of all of your work over the years, even when you were doing Half-Life DC mods.

If anybody could make a successful commercial 3D FPS on Dreamcast, I knew it would be you. It is very unfortunate the circumstances that conspired against your project, and I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

I seriously hope you consider revisiting this game again in the future.

Hell, I just released a total conversion modification for Battlefield 2 of the Korean War called Battlefield: Korea. The project was started in 2005, abandoned in 2009, and a year ago in April of 2016, I got a huge amount of motivation and worked on it for 9 months straight and released the first ever release on Christmas day 2016. I continue to develop it to this very day, and will do so for many years to come. It is my passion, and my hobby. So I know, if somebody like me can get something out there after a decade or more of being in development hell, I know someday you might be inclined to do the same thing.

Shameless plug if anybody is interested.
http://www.moddb.com/mods/battlefield-korea

All I want to try and say is, that no matter what, this community is like no other. We are all very tightly knit, and we have known each other for years. We love you as a brother and close friend Josh. I seriously hope you continue this project in the future.

Sincerely, your friend Anthony


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