Sunday, August 21, 2011

I got people underneath my bed

A first glimpse at First Ward, the new Praetorian zone for City of Heroes. It keeps looking impressive--dangerous, feral, destroyed, and intriguing.

(By the way, if you ever wanted to get into City of Heroes, now may be your time--for $1.99, or 1,49€, or £1.29, depending on local equivalents, you can buy in to City of Heroes and get a month of free game play. Keep in mind this offer is for new players, not returning ones; still, it's pretty stellar.)

In other news, Figumate's designer, Yoji Shinkawa, has designed a set of the most twee Metal Gear Solid figures ever made. But this is where the story gets odd--there's a group of cosplayers out there who wanted to make the "sweet" versions their reality. Life is strange; cosplay is stranger.

Meanwhile, back at the Escapist...

dday4you: stay awesome everyone :)

Um. Okay, thanks! Not really sure what that's in relation to, frankly...

Purple Moose: On the ethics of the situation, I am personally of the subjective opinion that the background to this whole Indie Game Fund thing is very shaky and we are a very long, long way from OK. I was extremely wary of this whole thing from the beginning, when the donation was first announced. It seemed to me that sticking a very personal, very heartfelt plea straight in front of a video made under a business contract (albeit one that wasn't being honoured at the time by one of the parties, but I didn't know that then) was muddling things up and bluring what should be very clear lines. I felt that this was a very grey area and could very easily lead to, well, clusterfuck situations like the one we now find ourselves in. It also seemed to me that James was well aware this was a grey area when he started his appeal with something along the lines of "normally I would never do this, but I really don't have anywhere else to turn." So I, personally, while wishing Alison all the best decided I wasn't comfortable donating myself and was going to steer well clear of the whole thing. Call me a heartless bastard if you like, I've been called worse, but that was how I saw things. This may be why the first I heard of this Indie Game Fund was when I came across the front page of this thread.

I also don't think that it's enough to say that 'The Fund is going to be a non-profit organisation, so that's OK.' There are a hell of a lot of questions still unanswered. Right, the Fund itself isn't going to be making any profit, but what about the Indie firms signing up to have their titles published using money from this fund? Are they required to turn over all the profits from this too? Seems a little unfair, after all their hard work and if they end up with a smash hit on their hands, they're not allowed to enjoy any profits from it. Isn't this restriction going to turn a lot of them away? And if they are allowed to keep the profits, well then James might not be making any money directly but I imagine he has a lot of friends in the indie community and does consulting work for a lot of them, and that's one HELL of a conflict of interest right there. Should James be banned from consulting from the firms getting funds from the Fund? Might that not also drive developers away who were looking to benefit from his expertise? Maybe he should consult for free, but then that's one hell on an unfair incentive to work with the fund, he'd have to offer his consulting services to everyone else for free as well, and seeing as he's stated he won't take any money from the fund himself then how would he make a living?

Kopikatsu: To all the people waiting for them to post a new episode on Youtube: They can't. The Escapist still owns the IP, so Extra Credits is dead in the water unless they can somehow get it back.

This was the response:

UnJammerSully: I have no idea why people keep saying that...

...along with embedding the latest episode of Extra Credits. While, yes, we appreciate the sarcasm involved, methinks the point of the previous comment may have been missed. That's okay, though, there's further commentary.

Kopikatsu: That just means Extra Credits is in deep legal shit.

The Escapist owning the IP means that they own Extra Credits. They own everything to do with it.

The fact that the EC crew has moved Extra Credits to Youtube despite The Escapist owning the IP means that they've opened themselves to a legal shitstorm. Basically, they'd better pray that Alex is merciful and doesn't call his lawyers.

Put bluntly.

Ghostkai: Patiently awaiting Mr. Crowshaw to ride in on a flaming tripple-cunted hooker with the lightning-shuriken gun of destiny and end this madness.

With Branston Pickle...

I would apologize, but that was so stunningly, impressively obscene it begged requoting. And thus.

But there was (at least) one comment remaining.

Kopikatsu: I honestly think that Yahtzee will remain aloof and only mention his feelings on the matter in passing after the situation is defused.

Unfortunately, I do too.

Glass Joe the Champ: I'm a bit confused. The videos here are still up, but the new episode on youtube is still called Extra Credits. Who has the right to the IP right now?

I think we're all there. Obviously Extra Credits think they own the IP. The Escapist previously indicated they retained rights to the IP. Simply making more shows using the same name is not an indication of IP ownership, just that they can (until legally ordered to cease) make more shows using the name--in the sense of actual speaking/programming, not legality.

But as of now--the 20th of August--we still don't know who owns IP, and I personally suspect neither does the Extra Credits team.

kyosai7: When you put a project up on Rockethub, you CAN'T put a cap on donations, and you CAN'T end it prematurely. You are REQUIRED to let the deadline come, and then do what you want with the money. EC Expected a good month to build up the funds to help with Allison's injury. They got all they needed and more in SIX HOURS. And the money KEPT COMING. Should they have shut the fund down? Probably, yeah. But they couldn't. Rockethub doesn't allow that. What do you do when you only needed so much, and people are giving you literally 10x the amount, and aren't stopping? That's when the Indie Fund came up, as, as I understand it, EC was just expecting to get their checks from Escapist later on.

It is an intriguing point. Once funded, the fund must entirely close before dispersal of funds raised? Or funds can be assumed to be there and drawn against? Which makes the Escapist's claim of the funds odd, to say the least.

Uszi then asked: Any word on when the emails are being published? Or is that still some unmentioned time in the future.

I want to know that, too. Because as of yesterday, the 19th, the email transcripts still weren't up.

Fiz_The_Toaster: Ok, so they didn't properly read their contract and they went to the internet to let everyone know what happened and what's going on?

Just...COME ON!!

Really? You honestly didn't want a dramatic circus but you guys talked about it on the INTERNET, what did you guys think was gonna happen? Massive amounts of rainbows, glitter, and unicorns of understanding and civility?


(from the media album)

Alas. We move on.

Skylants: When do we get to see those emails?

Still waiting. But in response to that...

TypeSD: When I can put them up.

Um. Still not up. This is bad. But there is another comment from him in response to a tipped word from Matt Wiggins of Loading Ready Run fame.

TypeSD: My take on it

They got a surplus

They proposed the indie game fund

Everyone went along with it. (Seriously, find me an opponent)

Themis Media heard about it

Escapist is struggling with cash.

Logical conclusion is the current storm.

Pretty much, that sums up my understanding of the situation, too, until (and unless) corrected by more meaningful explanations from either side.

Getting down to side points...namely, swag.

evilneko: Ahem. There was no payment for the shirts because the shirts did not cost Escapist a dime.

This is patently untrue. Posit: the Escapist donated prizes they had on hand, that were already in stock (putting aside the Publisher's Club memberships, which are entirely ethereal, hence, 'costing' nothing at the outset, but showing a defined cost after application of the club membership; we're just talking physical goods), thus, as most of us define such, they didn't cost anything additionally to provide.

But that doesn't mean they didn't cost anything. Shirts have to be printed, print houses have to be paid, designers had to design and receive renumeration for their work, and beyond all of that, the shirts had to be made in the first place for the Escapist to buy. None of it came free.

I think it's extraordinarily disingenuous to hold the line at "it cost them nothing". Because it cost them. (At this point, a ton of public opinion, club renewals, and legal fees, but let's set that aside, too.) Just dealing with the shirts, on their own, exclusive of other benefits: they had a cost, and the Escapist expected (not entirely without merit) to be repaid for what they cost.

Therumancer: As far as the latter point goes, I'd still like to hear what Allison has to say about this. James Vs. The Escapist is well and good, but she was still the "face" the money was collected for, even after the goal had been met. As far as I see things, it's her money, people were basically donating money for her medical treatment, and after meeting the goal that money presumably being intended to help her recovery and so on as no other purpose had been stated.

krellen: What if Allison opted to use the money to create a fund to sponsor independent game development?

Excellent point.

FalloutJack: And effectively, because the team discussed and went with the idea as a whole, she did just that.

Game and match.

And as much as I don't want to see a run on the funds...

krellen: If you don't like what Extra Credits is doing with your donation, contact them; Mr. Floyd is willing to get you your money back.

Which, genuine or not, kind of puts this whole thing to bed, dunnit? The fans helped him raise the funds; beyond the cost of Allison's surgery (which has already been done in anticipation of those funds being released), he's willing to give the money back.

This is not the bad guy.

Of course, there's always another side to this particular coin.

grimner: And according to RocketHub terms of service ( there are no refunds as a rule:

"We will not reinstate any deducted RocketFuel except in limited circumstances at our sole and absolute discretion after investigation."

Which stands to say that people should be responsible of how and what they donate.

FalloutJack asked TypeSD to drag the mention above to the front of this elongated thread; TypeSD's response?

Buddy, I'm so far ahead of you it's like I've stuck you in a time-dilation field and buggered off through the Stargate.


coolkirb tossed this in:

Hee pt. II.

And Sylocat had some pertinent advice for us all: Take a deep breath. Turn off your computer. Go outside. Get some sunshine and enjoy the fresh air (or hear the crickets chirp or whatever, depending on where you live and what time it is). Take a walk around the block or go to a park or something.

The internet will still be here when you get back.

It's so true.

*takes a deep breath and--* Ooh, wait, new info!

antman9000: i just checked the rockethub site, to see if the donations had gone down at all since yesterday, and it has in fact gone up $1,000.

That's...kind of staggering.

But in the background, attacks on Allison Theus had started. They culminated in this startling remark.

rhodo: She evidently wasn't so poor, since she -could- afford a computer, among other things?

I still see the whole thing as fishy. We're not talking a poor homeless individual. We're talking a normal person like me and you, who got the money only because 1) she has boobs; 2)she makes a webcomic.
When I think of all the other people who may REALLY desperately need money for a much worse surgery their whole life may depend upon.... and these people don't get money only because they aren't a female comic book author on the internet... well, I feel pissed.

TypeSD replied: I really don't think "because she's a woman" was in the minds of anyone when they donated. That's just insulting to Extra Credits, Allison herself as well as all the fans who donated.

Ammutseba replied: What kind of computer do you have that could possibly cost the same amount money as an arm surgery?

Carsus Tyrell replied: Cause computers are really expensive and surgery in the US is dirt cheap right? Oh wait...

So basically what you're saying is people in wealthy countries are exempt from help because they're not poor or unfortunate enough? I think I have to echo the sentiments of my fellow Escapist and say don't be a dick. I thought you were just being a bitter cynic with your first post, thank you for confirming it with your second. Also nice dose of misogyny there too, I bet you're a real charmer.

And Andy of Comix Inc replied: SHE WAS GOING TO LOSE HER ARM. When I give blood, is it all going to poor African children with AIDS? When I'm an organ donor, how much of that really goes to "the poor"? Just because it's a charity doesn't mean it can't go to "normal" people. And, keep in mind the current healthcare climate in the United States (i.e., abysmal). To say this was a con is senseless and degrading.

I really don't like you. I give to charities all the time - Child's Play, Red Cross, Beyond Blue, what have you. They help "normal" people who are underprivileged. I'd say saving a young artist's career is a pretty noble cause, with the overflowing money going to help people get into the punishingly cruel entertainment industry. It's not going to starving kids or homeless people, but neither are other charities equally concerning issues. It's like saying it's not worth treating depression because the people with that depression have a roof over their head and access to clean water and food. So? It's still a troubling issue worthy of human action.

LadyRhian replied: And to Rhodo, whence comes all this false concern for the poor over Allison Theus? It's not your decision where other people spend their money, anymore than it is their concern where you spend yours. If you feel that strongly about helping the poor and indigent, go and do it already- start a RocketHub project and solicit donations. Heck, sell your computer and use that money if you feel so strongly about it. But stop the concern-trolling. It's stupid and just makes you look like a jerk of the highest order.

And furthermore, the Rockethub donation fund is still up because they set it to run until 8/31. There *is* no way to close it down until the event has run its course, even if you reached or exceeded your goal for fundraising. It's still up and still open, and you can still make a donation until it ends on 8/31. Stop talking out of your nether regions.

mysecondlife: I find it funny how the rocket hub's money rose about $400 since I checked last night.

It's almost like people want to see the Indie Game Fund happen.

And now we are on the 12th, and we are also on page 83, and that is a good place to stop and go to bed!

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