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RANT: Kickstarter Revolutionizes Your World!

Kickstarter has been around for a few months by now, and it's gotten some hype as a great way to support independent projects, but it didn't really make it to the big time until Double Fine announced their old-school adventure funding project - a project which set records within hours of being initiated, and which recently ended with over $3 million dollars contributed towards it. It was a spectacular effort on the part of the studio and the fans, and sets a new precedent for getting great games off the ground.

Unfortunately, while Kickstarter might well be a viable new tool for competent developers and dreamers to get their work funded, it's also an avenue for pipe dreams and scope bombs. Case in point: Your World, an MMO "built by Gamers for Gamers funded by Gamers." This rosy-eyed attempt to craft the perfect MMO is such a spectacularly disastrous-looking abomination that I'm still not totally convinced it's not a joke. The sad thing is, though, that I really do think that it's real - and that it will never succeed.

Let's look past the bizarre creator of the project - a lottery-winning millionaire with a curious name and an even more curious nickname. Let's even look past the clear inability to write convincingly, much less the lack of any other media that would convince someone that the project is real and not simply a way to steal cash from donators.

Above and beyond these foibles, the impending train wreck that is "Your World" makes my mind reel for its complete lack of understanding of game design, its blithe ignorance of what it takes to get a game made (much less a game that is, by its very title, massive), and its utter and total inability to grasp how and why Kickstarter works.

I'm trying to write constructively about the features that he has listed and why they go outside of the realm of feasibility, but I think it's honestly just enough to invite you to read the description for yourself. It's certainly more entertaining that way. Things like freeform race invention, space travel, and mobile app connections to resource gathering chores all make an appearance. No where, of course, does the project actually describe what the actual gameplay is like.

The project is asking for $1.1 million dollars. Without delving too much into the details of salaries and equipment costs, let me say that idea of doing a SMALL MMO for that price is absurd. Indie developers have been getting spunkier and spunkier these days, but things like framework and art assets still have to be made, and those things have dollar signs attached to them. The number of out-of-control ideas attached to Your World drive that price up and beyond our atmosphere.

What most irks me, however, is his bold-faced admission that he has no real credentials. I messaged him myself asking for what reputation he had that made him think he could get this game made. I didn't expect a reply, given that I still thought that it was a joke - a fantastic trolling attempt using Internet anonymity to demonstrate how Kickstarter could be misused. To my dismay, I got a real reply back:

Honestly I don't have any. I am the idea man. I think of it and then Hire people to make my ideas come to life and that is what I will do with this once it is funded. I am already collect so many developers resume's it is amazing. I will be putting together a great team!

Even if the ideas that he had were GOOD, this is clearly not how Kickstarter is supposed to be used. No staff? No MMO development credentials? You haven't even rented a fucking office yet? And we're supposed to entrust you with $1 million dollars to try and get a project off the ground that you dreamed up in 2nd grade and have had hidden away in your notebooks ever since?

It's a situation that literally could not have existed a year ago. It's a demonstration of the weird times that we live in. It's a bizarre carnival of bad ideas and bad execution already. I'm eager to see how much more ridiculous it gets.

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