And you decide to hire the guy that ruined the 20-year old Civilization franchise???

By on January 4, 2011 7:09:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

rebelito

Join Date 04/2003
+4

Dear FrogBoy,

I have owned most of your titles since GalCiv1. I enjoyed your creations thoroughly. Now, I was about to buy Elemental after reading how much better it became with patch 1.1. I wanted to buy Elemental because the lead designer of Civilization 5 ruined my civ experience after 20 years of loyal support.

Not anymore. I will not buy any other game that this person touches. I know of many that were thinking along the same lines, and were about to put money into Elemental to run away from the monster that this "lead designer" created and that is not true to the succesful principles that made Civilization the best franchise ever.

With this move, I think you lost a huge amount of potential sales that were about to happen, Brad. I'm sorry. Good luck, you will need it now.

 

Regards,

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eobet
January 4, 2011 7:14:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't mean to be rude, but Brad only lets me make over-the-top nerd-rage hyperbole post.  Um, you are kinda stepping on my toes.  Oh, and I disagree.

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January 4, 2011 7:16:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

who is this person really?

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January 4, 2011 7:16:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To many TBS fans Shafer is a pariah.. and is now going to be associated with not only civ V but elemental

I will certainly say that those who like me were disappointed in Civ V are alot less likely to buy elemental now that his name is added to the roster of people. Lucky for stardock I already own it.

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January 4, 2011 7:17:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Don't be insane.

Do you have any idea how much of the design process as well as scheduling is altered when you're dealing with a publicly traded company? 

Seriously. If you don't like Civ V, think carefully about what it is you don't like about it.  Seriously.  

Moreover, as some have already observed, Kael is the one taking over design on Elemental from me. We desperately need someone who has AAA experience in extending game engines.

Don't let the din of the Internet fool you. The outstanding qualities of a given person are not what they often seem to be.  You guys who love Kael so much don't realize that what makes him a magical super being is that he's an enterprise level project manager.  Similarly, what makes Jon so amazing is his ability to extend what is there in new and interesting ways. These are crucial, important and most crucially, rare talents in our industry.

If you don't like Civ V, don't blame Jon. Don't blame Firaxis either.  The truth behind games is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface. 

As someone whose job for the past 2+ years has been to be a human punching bag for other people's decisions, I can tell you that the Internet "narrative" is almost never right.

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January 4, 2011 7:19:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

rebelito I think you 'read' the hiring of Schafer as Brad intending to make Elemental more like Civ5. I think that is not a correct assumption. One person is capable of producing more than one type of game, especially when he's working under drastically different circumstances.

Since you've already bought Elemental, at least you have nothing to lose. And in a years time or so, you'll be able to make a definite opinion about whether or not Schafer had a, in your mind, positive impact on the game. Until then, he won't be working on any other projects, so you're really in a win/win situation here.

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January 4, 2011 7:29:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Don't be insane.

Do you have any idea how much of the design process as well as scheduling is altered when you're dealing with a publicly traded company? 

Seriously. If you don't like Civ V, think carefully about what it is you don't like about it.  Seriously.  

Moreover, as some have already observed, Kael is the one taking over design on Elemental from me. We desperately need someone who has AAA experience in extending game engines.

Don't let the din of the Internet fool you. The outstanding qualities of a given person are not what they often seem to be.  You guys who love Kael so much don't realize that what makes him a magical super being is that he's an enterprise level project manager.  Similarly, what makes Jon so amazing is his ability to extend what is there in new and interesting ways. These are crucial, important and most crucially, rare talents in our industry.

If you don't like Civ V, don't blame Jon. Don't blame Firaxis either.  The truth behind games is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface. 

As someone whose job for the past 2+ years has been to be a human punching bag for other people's decisions, I can tell you that the Internet "narrative" is almost never right.

 

Time will tell, but in the meanwhile, don't count on my dollars for Elemental. Oh, and please don't call your loyal customers of many years insane. To me, insane is what Shafer did with Civ 5. Oh, and I am too old to be fooled by the Internet. I have my own judgement, and recognize mediocrity immediately when I see it. Civ 5 is a mediocre product, and I have no reason to seek responsibilities outside of the sphere of the Lead Designer. He is the main responsible for what civ 5 turned out to be.

It is your company, and your decision. I respect that, but won't stay in silence. After what Shafer and his troops did to Civilization, I was looking with more hope towards Stardock as my "last bastion" of real strategy. Now that hope is in jeopardy.

The rumour is spreading quickly. I anticipate many, many like me who wanted to give Elemental a shot, to avoid it now that it will have the Shafer scent on it. I'm sorry man, I wish I am wrong. I really do, because if I am not, then the beautiful era of PC strategy gaming will be over.

Good luck, Brad.

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January 4, 2011 7:36:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually see what is going to be done with the game, kinda blowing your nerd-rage load a little soon on this.  The guy is clearly talented and experienced.

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January 4, 2011 7:38:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

About the civ franchise, I prefer Civilization 3 to Civ 4, and I love Civ 5 rather than Civ 4. FOR ME, Civ 4 was the worst civilization game ever!!! Except for it's religion idea. It was superb (honestly, if only Civ 5 has religion thing in their feature...) but that's only personal opinion.

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January 4, 2011 7:38:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Jon Shaefer kicked my dog and stole my girlfriend!

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January 4, 2011 7:40:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

He stole my dog and kicked my girlfriend

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January 4, 2011 7:41:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Civ 5 is a mediocre product, and I have no reason to seek responsibilities outside of the sphere of the Lead Designer. He is the main responsible for what civ 5 turned out to be.

That's not really fair. There are decisions that are made for a game far above the level of Lead Designer. They have responsibility for the execution, they don't always have responsibility for the design instructions they are given.

I'm not saying he has no responsibility, but when you're dealing with stuff at the AAA level, there are FAR more people involved in decision making and development than *just* the lead designer. Publishers, producers, executives, all those people have a say in how a game turns out. If the guys footing the bill for the game say "Make it more accessible" or "Put it out naow", the lead designer doesn't just get to disagree with them and not do it.

Along with the years you've been playing games, should come a little even-handedness even as you freak out.

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January 4, 2011 7:45:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's not really fair. There are decisions that are made for a game far above the level of Lead Designer. They have responsibility for the execution, they don't always have responsibility for the design instructions they are given.

More seriously, this was my impression, too. I think that there was a deliberate attempt to appeal to a wider audience. I have to wonder if the current direction of Firaxis was part of his decision to leave. In the interview I read, he cited "being able to make games I want to make" or something similar as one of his reasons for moving to Stardock.

Personally, I'm optimistic.

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January 4, 2011 7:50:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I might agree with those who think that Civ5 is not quite as good as Civ4 BtS, but calling the franchise ruined is a gigantic overstatement. There's alot of really cool stuff in Civ5 that will improve the franchise well into the future. Selling the game in little pieces is something that will have to end, but that has nothing to do with Jon. I've enjoyed alot of Jon's stuff from the past few years, including BtS. 

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January 4, 2011 7:54:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting rebelito,

Quoting Frogboy, reply 4Don't be insane.

Do you have any idea how much of the design process as well as scheduling is altered when you're dealing with a publicly traded company? 

Seriously. If you don't like Civ V, think carefully about what it is you don't like about it.  Seriously.  

Moreover, as some have already observed, Kael is the one taking over design on Elemental from me. We desperately need someone who has AAA experience in extending game engines.

Don't let the din of the Internet fool you. The outstanding qualities of a given person are not what they often seem to be.  You guys who love Kael so much don't realize that what makes him a magical super being is that he's an enterprise level project manager.  Similarly, what makes Jon so amazing is his ability to extend what is there in new and interesting ways. These are crucial, important and most crucially, rare talents in our industry.

If you don't like Civ V, don't blame Jon. Don't blame Firaxis either.  The truth behind games is a lot more complex than it seems on the surface. 

As someone whose job for the past 2+ years has been to be a human punching bag for other people's decisions, I can tell you that the Internet "narrative" is almost never right.


 

Time will tell, but in the meanwhile, don't count on my dollars for Elemental. Oh, and please don't call your loyal customers of many years insane. To me, insane is what Shafer did with Civ 5. Oh, and I am too old to be fooled by the Internet. I have my own judgement, and recognize mediocrity immediately when I see it. Civ 5 is a mediocre product, and I have no reason to seek responsibilities outside of the sphere of the Lead Designer. He is the main responsible for what civ 5 turned out to be.

It is your company, and your decision. I respect that, but won't stay in silence. After what Shafer and his troops did to Civilization, I was looking with more hope towards Stardock as my "last bastion" of real strategy. Now that hope is in jeopardy.

The rumour is spreading quickly. I anticipate many, many like me who wanted to give Elemental a shot, to avoid it now that it will have the Shafer scent on it. I'm sorry man, I wish I am wrong. I really do, because if I am not, then the beautiful era of PC strategy gaming will be over.

Good luck, Brad.

 

Well if you've been a customer a long time then consider this:

If you listen to the Internet buzz, I'm a moron who couldn't design a game to save his life. Elemental being crummy at launch was due to my incompotetence. I ruined it. That's the Internet buzz.  Do believe that?

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January 4, 2011 8:11:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Well if you've been a customer a long time then consider this:

If you listen to the Internet buzz, I'm a moron who couldn't design a game to save his life. Elemental being crummy at launch was due to my incompotetence. I ruined it. That's the Internet buzz.  Do believe that?
I seem to remember you yourself saying something of that nature after the game launched, although you did attribute your poor decision making to working too many jobs and too many hours.

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January 4, 2011 8:16:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I personally am holding back judgment about a single individual. While I may be upset about Civ V and its current state, I am keenly aware that game development is a team sport where some of the players don't actually care if the product is good. Looking at the Jon Shafer's career, we see that he not only worked on Civ V, but also Civ 4 and all of its expansions, which were collectively a great addition to the genre. Those of us who have worked on AAA titles know that the process is hard work and is made even more tiresome by rabid speculation from the fan base based upon some incomplete knowledge. The people at SD have taken the time and effort to include the community and engage in discussions with us concerning the future of their product. Hiring one guy is not going to change this, nor has it ever seemed to erode SD's commitment to address the communities concerns. We all know Elemental has its short comings, but at least, they are doing their best to make the next stage of its development a win for all of us.

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January 4, 2011 8:19:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Cruxador,

Quoting Frogboy, reply 14Well if you've been a customer a long time then consider this:

If you listen to the Internet buzz, I'm a moron who couldn't design a game to save his life. Elemental being crummy at launch was due to my incompotetence. I ruined it. That's the Internet buzz.  Do believe that?I seem to remember you yourself saying something of that nature after the game launched, although you did attribute your poor decision making to working too many jobs and too many hours.

Yes. That is the public version of the explanation and the broadly correct description. I'm the CEO. All failures are on my doorstep.

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January 4, 2011 8:19:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All I know is the two games that most disappointed me in 2010 are Elemental and Civ V, although I have to admit that Civ V is the better of the two. But Shafer is the face of Civ V; even if his name isn't on the box and regardless of how must input he had in the process of creating it. He is the man associated with the game and so when I as a gamer think about how bad a game it is, I don't think, "Man, Sid really messed that one up!" -- I know Sid didn't make Civ V. Jon Shafer did.

And now the face behind the disappointing Civ V is associated with Stardock, the company behind the disappointing Elemental. To me that's a big mistake on Stardock's part, regardless of how good Shafer actually is. The is an especially interesting turn of events considering how great Civ Rev was -- man I wish they'd port that to the PC because I can't tell you how much I played it on the Xbox 360 and iPod touch -- and it makes me think that the next Civ might actually be good whereas I don't have a lot of confidence in Elemental or future Stardock games.

That's not saying you guys can't turn it around, but I've seen enough lousy decisions in the gaming industry over the years to know that sometimes bad decisions are indicative of more than just a few mistakes. Brad's unwillingness to listen to those of us Beta testing Elemental this summer, for example, shows me that Stardock is a company that doesn't really take things quite seriously enough. And as someone who can't afford to throw away my hard earned money, I have to say I don't appreciate that attitude.

And while Stardock did refund my money, I bought Elemental again and what I found is a game that just isn't interesting and isn't worth my time. I just don't see myself trusting Stardock again. And with the addition of Shafer and the sting of the $50 I wasted on Civ V, I have to say I feel doubly sure of that now.

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January 4, 2011 8:21:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm happy with the news, and I'm glad that there are even more people behind Elemental to make it even better.

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January 4, 2011 8:21:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

At the end of the day, my job is to make sure we produce incredibly good games.

We don't make decisions based on Internet politics.  Good games sell. Jon is a key ingredient in our ongoing strategy.  Without Jon, there's no realistic way we can take our game engine and make it extensible via Python and such.  I would challenge any Internet person to name someone more qualified to make a game extensible than Jon Shafer. Anyone. 

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January 4, 2011 8:23:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

Quoting Cruxador, reply 15
Quoting Frogboy, reply 14Well if you've been a customer a long time then consider this:

If you listen to the Internet buzz, I'm a moron who couldn't design a game to save his life. Elemental being crummy at launch was due to my incompotetence. I ruined it. That's the Internet buzz.  Do believe that?I seem to remember you yourself saying something of that nature after the game launched, although you did attribute your poor decision making to working too many jobs and too many hours.

Yes. That is the public version of the explanation and the broadly correct result. I'm the CEO. All failures are on my doorstep.

And Brad, based on the forum posts you made over the summer in reply to some of us who told you Elemental couldn't possibly be ready for prime time in just a few short weeks, it really does come down to you as the person responsible. You were the face of Elemental just the same way Shafer was the face of Civ V.

Regardless of what really happened, that's what I as the moron who spent a bunch of money on Elemental, the book you wrote, and Civ V thinks.

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January 4, 2011 8:25:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
At the end of the day, my job is to make sure we produce incredibly good games.

We don't make decisions based on Internet politics.  Good games sell. Jon is a key ingredient in our ongoing strategy.  Without Jon, there's no realistic way we can take our game engine and make it extensible via Python and such.  I would challenge any Internet person to name someone more qualified to make a game extensible than Jon Shafer. Anyone. 

Brad, that may be totally true, but I personally couldn't care in the list about an extensible, moddable game. I want a good game and Elemental is a lousy one. The campaign is awful and the rest of the game is disappointing. 

Give me a good game. Shafer failed with Civ V and you failed with Elemental. Again, that's how I see it regardless of the what actually happened at the developer/publisher level of things.

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January 4, 2011 8:29:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't know Jon's qualifications, but I know plenty of people who could probably make my kitchen table extensible using Python.

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January 4, 2011 8:31:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Civ V was better than Civ IV (and please make the comparison to release Civ IV, not Civ IV with all expansions and patches).  That's just my opinion, of course, but the same is true of everyone claiming that Civ V killed their children and beat their dog.

Civ IV's combat was unbelievably tedious, to the point that I usually stopped playing when a large war broke out.  Civ IV also added complication to every part of the game I didn't want complication, and did nothing for the parts of the game I was actually interested in.

Is the AI in Civ V braindead?  Yes, absolutely.  Do you think that's Jon Shafer's fault?  Do you think they asked him "Do you want a good AI or a bad AI?" and he jumped up and down and said "Oh! Bad please!"?

Internet nerd-rage never fails to amuse me.

 

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January 4, 2011 8:36:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Is this the wrong place to ask, what is Python?

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