My New Game: At the Gates

By on February 6, 2013 10:00:04 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums External Link

JonShafer

Join Date 08/2007
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Hey all! Very excited to finally announce my new game: At the Gates, a historical 4X title which takes place during the fall of the Roman Empire. Players lead a fledgling barbarian tribe trying to forge a place for itself within the new order. I’m sure some of you have noticed that ATG is coming from not Stardock, but Conifer Games.

Errr... what?

So I’ve actually set off on my own and founded a new studio. Stardock is a great group of people and is working on some awesome projects, but I got the itch to go completely indie and be really hands-on with a very small team. Brad has been awesome and very supportive of my efforts. When he says his #1 priority is for his employees to enjoy what they’re doing he’s not kidding - even if it means them leaving Stardock.

I was leading up an unannounced project, and the reigns have been passed to another great designer. The team is solid and the project is on a great path so I have no doubt the game will turn out amazing, and can’t wait to see it finished.

I hope you guys will check out our Kickstarter page and if At the Gates sounds up your alley that you’ll consider contributing to our campaign! Thanks everyone!

- Jon

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February 6, 2013 7:35:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

heh somethign aweful costs money now..and I'm not trying to be personal. This is business. The guy is hat in hand and people should know who he was and what hes done.

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February 6, 2013 7:41:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes but I know Jon personally and I'm very very familiar with the development cycle of Civilization V.  He's a good guy, a great game designer and worth supporting.

I'm very familiar with how people interpret things on the net.  Last time I checked, I was some sort of monster who treated my coworkers as "whores" (as one person put it).  What you read online is rarely even remotely accurate to reality. Even interviews where they're supposedly quoting things. The more you know about the gaming media, the more like you are to not pay attention to it.

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February 6, 2013 7:57:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To get back on topic, this game reminds me a lot of Genghis Khan II by Koei, one of my favorite games of all time.  In that game, you had to fight off the other warlords and become the leader of Mongolia before you could move on to attack the rest of Europe and Asia.  At the Gates looks like it has a similar theme.  Wonder if those older Koei game have any influence on this one?  I'm going to follow the development and will definitely give my $25 sometime this week.  Good luck!

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February 6, 2013 8:10:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

I'm very familiar with how people interpret things on the net.  Last time I checked, I was some sort of monster who treated my coworkers as "whores" (as one person put it).  What you read online is rarely even remotely accurate to reality

 

See ya..but I cant find an internet video of you pimping out your employees in some dark ally somewhere. Through the miracle of Youtube I can go back and watch video casts of Jon Shafer demoing the civ 5 AI like 3 days before release. Blanently lying to the customers about how solid the game is..a game which as I recall crashed at least a few times during that particular demo. So while I apprecaite your man love for each other..it doesnt change history. You've sheltered him from accountability and now are working some other smoke an mirrors game now to distance yourself from him..."cause in this economy no one passes on a solid concept and a "great game designer". And this great kickstarter experiment? so last biennium simpsons and 1000 other devs who flopped did it.

To fail is human..you be a better friend to him by encouraging him to come clean and lead with the truth.

I think we had this same arguement when you hired him..oh what tangled webs we weave.

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February 6, 2013 10:39:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Berserkben,
To get back on topic, this game reminds me a lot of Genghis Khan II by Koei, one of my favorite games of all time.  In that game, you had to fight off the other warlords and become the leader of Mongolia before you could move on to attack the rest of Europe and Asia.  At the Gates looks like it has a similar theme.  Wonder if those older Koei game have any influence on this one?  I'm going to follow the development and will definitely give my $25 sometime this week.  Good luck!

I loved that too!  I still have that game...

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February 6, 2013 11:49:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Will there be salted pork in this game? If not Im not buying since not having salted pork is against my religion.(And Offensive)

On topic I will watch how this game comes along and if I like what I see I too will chip in to help out.

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February 6, 2013 11:51:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There is a fair bit of coverage, but I liked this article the best:

http://www.polygon.com/features/2013/2/6/3950722/they-could-be-heroes-conifer-jon-shafer-at-the-gates

Russ Pitts is a terrific writer and the production values on the articles at polygon is also good.

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February 7, 2013 12:25:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting enoeraew37,

If this was any industry other than entertainment or government a failure as big civ 5 on release would have him run out of town because your career is based on what you do not who you know.

I thought I read that Civ 5 was a huge commercial success actually. Huh. 

 

Anyways, At the Gates certainly looks like an interesting proposition. Lots of cool concepts in there, and after playing Dom3 I don't think I'll ever be dismissing a game because it doesn't have super flashy graphics. Changing resource management depending on seasons? Yes please.

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February 7, 2013 2:35:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Berserkben,
To get back on topic, this game reminds me a lot of Genghis Khan II by Koei, one of my favorite games of all time.  In that game, you had to fight off the other warlords and become the leader of Mongolia before you could move on to attack the rest of Europe and Asia.  At the Gates looks like it has a similar theme.  Wonder if those older Koei game have any influence on this one?  I'm going to follow the development and will definitely give my $25 sometime this week.  Good luck!

well.. if you add getting multiple wives, boffing them and then picking cultural background of the offspring, then picking your successor after you croak it and see your empire splinter into bits amongst your sons (of different background/likes) - you get genghis khan IV (pc only?) well.. there's some civ style tile upgrading to set a city's tech direction.. but that's way more tedious. same engine was used for 2 other different koei strat/rpg combo games.

 

who's jonathan? why elf?

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February 7, 2013 4:17:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This game is definitely right up my alley. I have been waiting a long time for a game like this.

I love the time period and your new game concepts seem very intriguing.

I wasn't thrilled with Civilization 5 TBH (still don't like it) but I am very excited about this one.

I'll be contributing to Kickstarter for sure. The only question is how much.

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February 7, 2013 4:26:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting enoeraew37,
In this way game developers are like public school teachers. No matter how bad the kids turn out or what they are caught doing they never get demoted to office clerk or recess attendant.

I dont need internet folklore. I judge Jon Shafer on what Jon Shafer says and does. Jon Shafer said things that turned out to be misleading and false about civ 5 pre-release. Jon Shafer did zip for customers who bought a game he recommended that was crippled and buggy. Jon Shafer stuck his head in the sand while other people cleaned up the mess that happened on Jon Shafers watch. Jon Shafer hasnt done jack since then that might show he is worthy of running a studio.

You say he is a perfect angel and claim everything that happend while he was in charge is 100% other peoples fault. I say hes a douch. The truth tends to be in the middle. 100s of aspiring developers deserve a handup so that their vision can be realized. Why does this failure deserve our money over someone who hasnt failed? Rather than because hes done x,y, and z your answer is because your gay for him and enough time has past in order for people to forget. That not accountability.

You must be the most insecure person on earth. Does tearing other people down make you feel like you are a winner or something?

If you have nothing to contribute to this thread besides your vitriol, why don't  you just leave? You've made your point (well personal attack really) and made an ass out of yourself so your work is done.

 You've trolled a few people and got some negative attention so be content with that and go back to your cave.

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February 7, 2013 4:43:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, really cool stuff!

The concept of having to keep armies supplied is very interesting and, unfortunately, underused in contemporary gaming.

Having the landscape change so drastically with the seasons is an innovation in turn based gaming I have never seen before. It seems so natural and obvious it's surprising it hasn't been utilized sooner.

The art style reminds me of a polished The Battle for Wesnoth for the iPhone, which is no slam against your team's talents, that game is beautiful. Personally, that it looks like an upscale iPhone game would stop me from buying it for $30 but I'd pay $10 all day long.

I'm not sure how the producer side of Kickstarter works so I'll just throw out that, as a consumer, nothing above the $25 pledge appeals to me. You're all very attractive and smart but I would not pay $500 to group chat with any developer, especially an indie developer (I would think an indie developer would do that for free as a form of advertising), and why I would pay the developers $5,000 to write an article promoting the game and the game's developers (and at $5 a word) seems like an inside joke.

I have already emailed some friends who I know will be interested in the game.

Really cool!

Othello

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February 9, 2013 10:23:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congratulations on hitting your goal so fast!

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February 10, 2013 1:50:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looks very cool jon. The concepts behind the game sound sick. The whole seasons idea is really cool. I haven't seen anything as grand as it since the old Civ 2 games with the ice ages.

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February 10, 2013 7:02:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You got my money.  Now I demand ponies for this game too!

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February 10, 2013 9:57:26 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Thanks for your support guys! It's great to see a 4X game get so much love and attention. I really believe that Kickstarter and smaller studios are the future of the business, and hopefully we'll be able to do our part and contribute to that.

- Jon

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February 10, 2013 10:21:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Congratulations! And please forgive Kay regarding the lizard thing. Took longer than expected.

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February 10, 2013 10:45:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There is a lesson for all the kids out there..dont work hard. The quality of what you actually produce doesn't matter. Just make sure you buddy up with insiders in your industry and you can make an annual working mans wage in a month. Anyone who actually works a job instead of gaming the system is a moron.

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February 10, 2013 12:32:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting enoeraew37,
There is a lesson for all the kids out there..dont work hard. The quality of what you actually produce doesn't matter. Just make sure you buddy up with insiders in your industry and you can make an annual working mans wage in a month. Anyone who actually works a job instead of gaming the system is a moron.

You chose...poorly.

[posting privileges suspended]

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February 10, 2013 2:50:28 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
You chose...poorly.

[posting privileges suspended]

You have chosen... wisely. But, beware: the Gamer cannot pass beyond the Great Seal, for that is the boundry, and the price, of immortality. 

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February 10, 2013 5:04:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

z

Quoting Frogboy,

Quoting enoeraew37, reply 44There is a lesson for all the kids out there..dont work hard. The quality of what you actually produce doesn't matter. Just make sure you buddy up with insiders in your industry and you can make an annual working mans wage in a month. Anyone who actually works a job instead of gaming the system is a moron.

You chose...poorly.

[posting privileges suspended]

 

Well done. Funny how ironic his "douche" statement was. CIV 5 may have had some flaws, but it was a huge undertaking and still very fun. 

Self-entitled gamers are the apocalypse. 

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February 10, 2013 5:33:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Supported! Well the only other game that's around this period was an expansion to Rome Total War, there should be more games out there that dive into this period. Looking forward to seeing it for beta next year! Also congrats on making your goal. I wonder how much you will end up with. 

 

Also to Haters- who has the final say when a game goes out PUBLISHER NOT LEAD! EA let go most of the writers near the end of ME3 development... Its a rough world. With small companies there is no HEY DONE YET! or we know your in beta but we are canceling and oh ya your footin the bill, or release it NOW! I wasn't a happy camper with the launch but now its in very good shape and the modders will always out do devs. But we thank the devs for making the game. Also you sign paper work so you can't talk about your work otherwise they SUE you. If you have a family to take care of you shut your mouth. Yep its a wonderful world we live in.

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February 10, 2013 8:47:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

lol

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February 11, 2013 3:15:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting enoeraew37,
There is a lesson for all the kids out there..dont work hard. The quality of what you actually produce doesn't matter. Just make sure you buddy up with insiders in your industry and you can make an annual working mans wage in a month. Anyone who actually works a job instead of gaming the system is a moron.

I assume you're talking about a different game, 'cause At The Gates looks pretty cool.

But I defy anyone to not agree with the sentiment.

Sofia Copula, Jakob Dylan, Jesse Dylan, Julian Lennon, Kate Hudson, Dhani Harrison, Brandon Lee, Zak Starr, Stella McCartney.

You don't get Elvis Costello to play on your debut album unless your father is Bob Dylan.

And you don't get a Tom Waits photo-shoot or a Will.i.am video unless Bob Dylan is your father.

I work in that industry and would agree that with the right people behind you (powerful friends), you don't need to put in the mileage.

I'm not disparaging anyone's output, but fact is fact.

Coming from Stardock and Firaxis, I'm sure some heavy pocket books opened up for the Kickstarter, but they would not have if the guy was a jerk. So the moral to take away is: don't burn your bridges and make a product people want to buy.

- Othello

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February 11, 2013 8:54:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Except that sentiment has absolutely nothing to do with Jon or his success, he's not the bastard child of Sid Meier.   He worked and earned the reputation and good will from people in the industry.  In fact, it's the exact opposite of this sentiment.  He showed skill, was given opportunities based on his skills, and then did well with those opportunities and gained the friendship and respect of people in his industry.  

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