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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:18 pm 
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GOAT Store's Dan Loosen posted an Open Letter to the Dreamcast Community at GOAT Store Publishing. Here's an excerpt covering the key issues:

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In 2003, the first GOAT Store Publishing title, Feet of Fury created by Cryptic Allusion, was released. Following this release, and after a huge series of legal wranglings, GOAT Store Publishing released three more titles in 2005: Inhabitants, Maqiupai and Cool Herders.

All of these games were developed and released with strict guidelines in place and the quality of the games speak to what these developers were able to accomplish with limited resources. This success was noticed by a multitude of people both fans of the Dreamcast and beyond. Some developers were contacted by large companies and offered projects from them to consider for mainstream systems. The International Game Developers Association asked me to write an article detailing the games and how they were made, and invited me to do guest speaking at some of their meetings discussing what we did, why we did it, and what the plans were for the future.

The future side of the equation was perhaps the most interesting. In 2006, we announced 12 titles that were in development which we hoped to release within the year. However, despite our optimistic view, the work done by our independent developers is not like a large firm where developers clock in and out for the workday; our independent developers are just that and work, usually at their home, on their own schedule. We do not have any way to ensure that a game is completed or released and external factors in many cases shifted the attention of the developers away from what they had planned.

In other cases, occasionally developers would bring us games that had fatal flaws -- the gameplay was'nt developed well, the game didn't feel 'complete', the controls didn't work -- whatever it was, we decided with our first release that if we didn't have 100% faith in the games we were releasing, we wouldn't publish games just to dupe the public into purchasing a game that wasn't exceptional. Even though this has limited releases, we genuinely believe all of our releases have all been held to a high standard of design and gameplay.

Speaking to the future, we will continue to uphold our high standards of level of design and gameplay ensuring each release is truly fun and enjoyable. With that in mind, I can't sit here and promise that we will have ten, twelve, five or even one more game ever come out. However, we do have a number of projects which are still in development by top notch developers right now and it is our hope the developers will be able to finish the games so they can be released. Going forward, we have learned that until games are ready to go to the presses not to talk too much about them. I only hope we will have the opportunity to tell you all about the wonderful things these developers were able to accomplish on this unique console. [...]

Dan Loosen


Read the entire letter here: http://www.goatstore.com/publishing/ind ... article=34

- Among the games still in development could be Cryptic Allusion's Donk, patbier and poche's Dynamite Dreams and Senile Team's Rush Rush Rally Racing.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:19 am 
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As I read it, he's basically saying "it's all the developer's fault for bringing us crap"?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:11 am 
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Anyway, I am happy that these projects are still alive.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:19 am 
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Quzar wrote:
As I read it, he's basically saying "it's all the developer's fault for bringing us crap"?

That's a little harsh Quzar (I have to agree with your point of view though, even if it is brutal in it's honesty), the way I read it is that some of the games had flaws (crap would be a less diplomatic but generally correct assumption I guess), while others just didn't get finished due to developers dropping the projects or putting them aside for whatever reasons.

Just trawling through the GOAT news archive and found this list of games:

Adventure Game 1 [working title]
Age of the Beast: Special Edition
Amnesia: Psychic Spelunker [working title]
Blocks2: Master of Blocks
DCASTLE
Donk
Feet of Fury 2
Fightoon [working title]
Feuer Frei
GOAT Games
R3K [working title]
Yumi: Samurai Warrior

The only games from the list that would appear to be still in development are 'Age of the Beast' and 'Donk'.

Personally, I think Dan is to blame (to blame for what exactly I'm not sure of), he was more than a little optimistic expecting what primarily is a homebrew community to develop commercial quality games within a given timeframe, a timeframe it seems, that Dan himself set. Wether it was the delivery promises of the developers, or the high standards Dan set on the projects, we'll probably never know exactly what went wrong with the intended releases at that time.

Sceptical it may be, but I can't help thinking that the Dream ON debacle had a major effect on the GOAT store, it's outlook, and it's intended Dreamcast commercial releases.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:19 am 
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I was so surprised to hear from GOAT at all, that I didn't really notice, but yeah: it's wrong to blame the developers for what essentially was the lack of communication. - I understand that things usually don't turn out exactly as planned and while he set a deadline for "2006/2007" he also said that his announcement should be taken with care, but in my opinion the main problem was and still is the lack of communication.

@Dan: What exactly is still being worked on ? What's with GOAT Games Vol.1 ? Many of the scene's most respected developers contributed to this project - including Sam Steele and Dan Potter. Sam Steele aka c99koder obviously did not receive any feedback whatsoever on his exclusive DCSquares update.



And yeah, it's safe to assume that the DreamOn debacle had quite an impact on GOAT's plans. I also remember some DreamOn Contest entries that were never released.

From the sounds of it, GOAT did receive some rough beta builds that were rejected (and some of which in turn got canceled), but I hope not without considering that the quality might still improve in most if not every aspects... ?

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Last edited by Christuserloeser on Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Wrote "release", meant "receive"... >_<


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:10 pm 
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DCDayDreamer wrote:
Quzar wrote:
As I read it, he's basically saying "it's all the developer's fault for bringing us crap"?

That's a little harsh Quzar (I have to agree with your point of view though, even if it is brutal in it's honesty), the way I read it is that some of the games had flaws (crap would be a less diplomatic but generally correct assumption I guess), while others just didn't get finished due to developers dropping the projects or putting them aside for whatever reasons.

Personally, I think Dan is to blame (to blame for what exactly I'm not sure of), he was more than a little optimistic expecting what primarily is a homebrew community to develop commercial quality games within a given timeframe, a timeframe it seems, that Dan himself set. Wether it was the delivery promises of the developers, or the high standards Dan set on the projects, we'll probably never know exactly what went wrong with the intended releases at that time.

Sceptical it may be, but I can't help thinking that the Dream ON debacle had a major effect on the GOAT store, it's outlook, and it's intended Dreamcast commercial releases.

Actually that was my non-harsh version. Like you I originally turned it around too, with someone else doing it I can be confident I'm not JUST insane. It's extremely easy to blame the developers because a good deal of them are under NDAs for some of the information that gets disseminated (exact ties to sega, end of GD, some other secret things that I just don't know of). There is nothing to stop a flat out lie with no devs able to refute it (I'm not saying that IS what is happening).

FWIW I believe a lot of the 'devs suck' position, as I was going to be on Dream ON, but pulled out when the deadline was given (of course the deadline I was given was way way before the actual deadline of never). But at the same time, over at screamcast we were all working towards getting Toxic Waste/Grizzlies finished in time, then lost communication with Dan for some time and after some time it simply disintegrated.

Oh, and the "Adventure Game 1" was most likely (it's possible that this was unrelated) a game Dan apparently had started on in 98/99 as a ""Myst-like" adventure game -- sort of a point-and-click adventure with a strong storyline". He was looking for one of the goat games devs to pick it up and make it for the DC.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:11 pm 
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Quzar wrote:
It's extremely easy to blame the developers because a good deal of them are under NDAs for some of the information that gets disseminated (exact ties to sega, end of GD, some other secret things that I just don't know of). There is nothing to stop a flat out lie with no devs able to refute it (I'm not saying that IS what is happening).


...NDA? GOAT's ties to SEGA ? End of GD ? - I remember MetaFox and Dan Loosen talking about that... Never made any sense whatsoever.


Quzar wrote:
But at the same time, over at screamcast we were all working towards getting Toxic Waste/Grizzlies finished in time, then lost communication with Dan for some time and after some time it simply disintegrated.


It's really sad to hear that. I've been talking with Roel at SenileTeam a while back, and it seemed that they lost contact with Dan too.


Quzar wrote:
Oh, and the "Adventure Game 1" was most likely (it's possible that this was unrelated) a game Dan apparently had started on in 98/99 as a ""Myst-like" adventure game -- sort of a point-and-click adventure with a strong storyline". He was looking for one of the goat games devs to pick it up and make it for the DC.


No, that'd be Amnesia: Psychic Spelunker afaik. "Adventure Game 1" was a game that S+F Software were working on. S+F went on "indefinite hiatus" (S. Thompson) in 2007, their last sign of life was the following footage of their GOAT Games Vol.1 contribution Vexorex posted at Youtube in June that year:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:34 am 
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Christuserloeser wrote:
Quzar wrote:
It's extremely easy to blame the developers because a good deal of them are under NDAs for some of the information that gets disseminated (exact ties to sega, end of GD, some other secret things that I just don't know of). There is nothing to stop a flat out lie with no devs able to refute it (I'm not saying that IS what is happening).


...NDA? GOAT's ties to SEGA ? End of GD ? - I remember MetaFox and Dan Loosen talking about that... Never made any sense whatsoever.


A number of people involved with Goat Store had to consent to NDAs in order to continue involvement.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 10:08 pm 
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Quzar wrote:
But at the same time, over at screamcast we were all working towards getting Toxic Waste/Grizzlies finished in time, then lost communication with Dan for some time and after some time it simply disintegrated.
God, that's unfortunate. I've been great friends with Tvspelsfreak for many years now. He taught me most of what I know as far as coding for Dreamcast goes (and I'm even using some of his assembly back-end to Grizzlies/TW in ES).

I have played his "build" of Grizzlies. It's a commercial quality game. It supported 4 players and had 10(?) levels. It felt like a finished product, and it was ready for whatever publishing, imo. That's really sad that it probably won't ever see the light of day.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:50 am 
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I never expected much to get published. I did buy feet of fury, and then the two puzzle games were given to me as gifts. Really nothing needs to be announced, as until a developer feels his project is complete, there is nothing that can be done. No one needs to be blamed for this, as this is a homebrew community. I am still looking forward to some games for DC, and i'll buy em. But I dont expect them to come out "until it's ready"

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:49 am 
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Quzar wrote:
It's extremely easy to blame the developers because a good deal of them are under NDAs for some of the information that gets disseminated (exact ties to sega, end of GD, some other secret things that I just don't know of). There is nothing to stop a flat out lie with no devs able to refute it (I'm not saying that IS what is happening).

All I can say is I don't have anything to blame Dan for. From the top of my head, I don't remember him lying or stretching the truth at any time. All I remember is that he tried a lot to help us.

Quzar wrote:
FWIW I believe a lot of the 'devs suck' position, as I was going to be on Dream ON, but pulled out when the deadline was given (of course the deadline I was given was way way before the actual deadline of never). But at the same time, over at screamcast we were all working towards getting Toxic Waste/Grizzlies finished in time, then lost communication with Dan for some time and after some time it simply disintegrated.

I've lost communication with him for a while too, but it didn't affect my work. We could have made the whole game without talking to Dan, and then contacting him just to get the publishing work done. The schedule he gave us was very flexible and wasn't a problem.

If anything, I believe it was me who made Dan's work difficult, not the opposite.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 5:52 am 
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Manoel your post is very well timed!

Solid Pro Dan insights.

Quzar your posts are very thought provoking

Pointing out mistakes by Dan.
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So Radium was rejected for not being a quality product?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:04 am 
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Manoel wrote:
Quzar wrote:
It's extremely easy to blame the developers because a good deal of them are under NDAs for some of the information that gets disseminated (exact ties to sega, end of GD, some other secret things that I just don't know of). There is nothing to stop a flat out lie with no devs able to refute it (I'm not saying that IS what is happening).

All I can say is I don't have anything to blame Dan for. From the top of my head, I don't remember him lying or stretching the truth at any time. All I remember is that he tried a lot to help us.


I didn't say that he did lie, he never did to me or anyone else in the goat games thing (well, with the exception of things like deadlines that got pushed, but that's not really lying) that I know of.

Manoel wrote:
Quzar wrote:
FWIW I believe a lot of the 'devs suck' position, as I was going to be on Dream ON, but pulled out when the deadline was given (of course the deadline I was given was way way before the actual deadline of never). But at the same time, over at screamcast we were all working towards getting Toxic Waste/Grizzlies finished in time, then lost communication with Dan for some time and after some time it simply disintegrated.

I've lost communication with him for a while too, but it didn't affect my work. We could have made the whole game without talking to Dan, and then contacting him just to get the publishing work done. The schedule he gave us was very flexible and wasn't a problem.

If anything, I believe it was me who made Dan's work difficult, not the opposite.

When I say lost communication, I mean, "we've got the game ready, when can we send it to you for testing on the compilation".... "hello?". After a certain time with group projects the group falls apart without anything to do, and that's basically what happened with grizzlies, the game was ready, it was supposed to be published so it was never publically released, publisher disappeared so devs waited, and now the deal is pretty much dead.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 4:33 am 
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If the game was complete you should still have it?
That means it can still be released, as communication has restarted?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 3:09 pm 
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It's always better to delay a release then to make people happy by releasing on time and it being uber crap.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:09 pm 
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BongDC wrote:
It's always better to delay a release then to make people happy by releasing on time and it being uber crap.

But is it better to "delay" it indefinitely than to release something mostly completed tight but still use a bit more polish (as all games could to some degree)?

There's a blurry edge here and I think that's what Dan was dancing around on. To me it seems clear that he lost interest in the whole Dreamcast publishing concept (most likely for very good reasons) and so was able to find reasons for delaying games that otherwise could have been published or to ignore developers rather than working with them through the last push.

What I'd like to know is what chaces there are for some of these abandoned games to get released eventually in some form? Wouldn't you guys rather see your games available to the community as binaries rather than letting them be forgotten? Especially things like Grizzlies or the GOAT Games comp that seem to have been mostly finished.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:18 pm 
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True, i think if it was possible for the developers to release their games, they should atleast provide the binaries in some form, as long as it doesn't break the NDA.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:30 pm 
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I think the biggest problem is that for the devs to release it would mean to effectively stop the goat game from ever happening. Since the project still, unless I'm missing something in this letter or any other thing, has not been officially cancelled, any of the devs choosing to release their game anyways would be 'to blame' for stopping goat games from being published.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 8:58 pm 
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Quzar does have a point.

But seriously, you guys (Screamcast) should talk to Tvspelsfreak and decide if you want to go with Dan or just release, because I would really hate for Grizzlies to die.

I just hope to god that he had a copy of it somewhere. He lost a hard drive and has been asking me for lots of his old code that I happened to have. If he doesn't have Grizzlies, there might be some super lucky chance that I have his old .elf, but I doubt that I have the source.

edit: But I will say that I purchased Feet of Fury, Inhabitants, and Maqiupai, and Grizzlies is definitely not going to get rejected for "quality" reasons if you guys still wanted to go through with the Goat Store.

And it's hard for me to tell. Is Dan still publishing games even? The letter seemed rather vague.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:13 am 
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Unfortunately I can't pass on any comments about Grizzlies, but judging by what GyroVorbis has said (and probably what other beta testers would say), the game seems to be commercial quality, and it would be a real shame to just let it lay dormant.

Of course it's easy to say release it to the community, but it's not that simple. I won't pretend to fully understand the legalities of NDA's, but from what I can gather, these are legal binding agreements (contracts if you like), and all parties would have to agree on certain things before any form of release - validating the current NDA with the commercial release of the game, or nullifying the current NDA with a freeware release of the game.

I'd love to see the game being commercially released, either by GOAT or some other distributor (redspotgames maybe?). The only drawback I can think of (apart from any legalities) is the size of the game, if I'm not mistaken Grizzlies was to be a part of a compilation, which would probably mean it's not suited for a standalone commercial release - not enough content and overall play time to be viable.

If the source code isn't lost, would it be possible to resurrect Grizzlies? (no Screamcast pun intended there).

What about expanding the game from it's current state, adding more levels, adding a CDDA soundtrack, adding bonus mini-games, etc. etc.
This would mean the development team would have to get together again, maybe even bring in new members, contact with GOAT would have to resume, and probably a lot of other things that I can't think of right now would have to be done too.
It must be worth at least thinking about it after the work that was put into the game previously.

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