PixelRepublic and Envixer November 2, 2020 A Tale of Development Hell?

A Tale of Development Hell?


The computer game industry has a few examples of vapourware in its history, and it seems that the adult gaming industry may have a prime example in the making.

Today we’re presenting the case of Dual Family and it’s two-and-a-half year wait for an update.

March 30th 2018. Version 0.98 was released.

Fans of the title were used to long waits between releases; development time was always slow, but the results tended to make up for those long waits.

However, it has been two-and-a-half years since that update, and their 667 Patreon supporters have been patiently paying their monthly subscriptions all this time, but with what reward?

Let’s lay it out…

March 30th, 2018.

Dual Family version 0.98 CE (aka Part IX) was released to supporters.

May 5th, 2018.

Details of Part X are announced via a Patreon post, with the claim that “since around the end of April, Part X has been well underway again.

Part X: Development Time
I’ve answered a few questions in various comment sections about the development time — in case you missed it, here’s my echoed response of an important question:
“Why do the game updates always take so long?” -Savor
About 90% of development time is spent posing/rendering — previous parts had around 400-600 images and a few choices per part, taking only about 5 weeks to finish. The most recent installment had ~1700 images and triple the amount of choices/writing, making it drag on for an additional 10 weeks.

Source: Patreon Post.

May 29th, 2018.

The first version of Gumdrop Games website is launched, where they supply a development tracker for the game.

June 13th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games announces updates to their rendering system, with the purchase of new GPUs, measurably decreasing render times.

June 27th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games announces major progress with the game’s development. Stating that their last two slow scenes are “near complete”. Then follows it up with an answer about development time.

When will the game be updated ? The last update was at the end of March. We are at the end of June. I thought the update was every month like my payment. Three months it’s too much. [SIC]

Source: Patreon Post.

July 14th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games takes the first steps in transferring pledges away from Patreon.com and to his personal un-monitored website.

July 19th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games shared a concern from one of his supporters, on Patreon.

I have to say I am very disappointed and concerned. The last release from you was in April, which is now over 3 months ago. […] You seem to be making great progress on your personal website and payment systems but again, no release to the game. So you are focused heavily it seems on getting paid but not so focused on releasing content to your paying customers. […] Is this going to be a continuing trend? Making us wait for 4 months between releases and watch you spend more time and energy on parallel projects or other projects than you do on the game we are paying you to build?

I like the game and all but in 4 months time I can buy a complete game from Steam rather than watch you build a website. Why should I continue to give you money when my other pledges are delivering good content monthly? I am not trying to be a jerk here but this is an observation from the last 3 months and I don’t see you finishing this Chapter until late August at the earliest. I can’t be the only person that is frustrated with your lack of progress.” 
– Bass

Source: Patreon Post.

Gumdrop Games went on to say in response:

I agree with your general sentiment about longer spans between releases being frustrating, however I don’t think focus on Part X’s development and working on the site are mutually exclusive. […]

To emphasize, working on the site and other quick post content aren’t the reason why the dev cycle spans months long, Part X’s content is.

Source: Patreon Post.

And yet, Gumdrop games continues to accept monthly payments from their loyal supporters.

August 11th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games in a Patreon Post states that they are “very pleased with the pace” of their development.

October 17th, 2018.

Gumdrop Games announces they are preparing to outsource work via contractors to speed along development of Dual Family.

January 2nd, 2019.

Gumdrop Games releases a standalone prequel to Dual Family.

Last Christmas is a small project I constructed over the past three weeks of December. It’s a look backwards in time, when bonds were stronger, when love brought the family together over the holidays. Grab some hot cocoa, a blanket and turn on those Christmas tunes — it’s time to get comfortable!

Source: Patreon Post.

January 25th, 2019 – Self imposed deadline missed.

I’d like to apologize for conceding another date, January 25th. The patience you’ve endured is unimaginable, those of you who support me most of all. I can never thank you enough. It warms me that even after so long without a story, you still care enough to stick around.

Source: Patreon Post.

February 19th, 2019.

By grande finale do you mean Part X/Act I or the finale of the entire game? If it’s the latter, I’m returning to leaner development cycles for all future installments. An update a year is physically painful for everyone, the story itself suffering the most from the span. I don’t want to throw out anything approximate date-wise since I’m a terrible offender of such, though it will be through slimmer cycles rather than the bloated, nearly year-long one seen for the Act I finale

Source: Patreon Post.

February 25th, 2019.

I’ve got a quick one for you lads — join me!

Scenes aredone. Complete.The past two weeks were a bit more quiet than usual for that final leg, posing the remaining scenes in the dance segment and rendering them fully. The tracker was updated yesterday with similar news — it will be updated again very soon to reflect post-work.

Rendering Part X’s scenes took a lifetime and a half, definitely much longer than it should have — somewhere around 10 months. Now that it’s complete, I’m more than happy to say the worst is over with; post-work won’t be serving the almost year-long sentence its predecessor, scene rendering did. For more detail on the writing, composition and sex animations that fall within the post-work scope, you can check out the previous three dev updates.

Source: Patreon Post.

May 21st, 2019.

The game is not ready.

More specifically, it will not be ready for the announced May 23rd release. Please cancel your pledge/subscription before the end of the month if you desire, as its development will extend past the beginning of June.

Why isn’t it done?

Simply put, we dragged our feet. Too much time, too little effort. FatCat isn’t working with us again until Act II’s animations, so this has nothing to do with him or his contributions. Two of our team members are no longer with us as of April due to financial difficulties. Myself and one other part-time member (local) remain on the team, working closely together on remaining animation fixes in Blender.

Source: Patreon Post.

March 30th, 2019.

One year later, Dual Family Part X has not been released, and the loyal Gumdrop Games supporters continue to pay their monthly pledges, both on Patreon and on their private website.

June 7th, 2019.

The Act I finale is on track for its summer release! Lining up with its summer dance, how fitting. These past weeks, I’ve been busy catching my local team additions up to speed with the development process. Part X’s only remaining aspects have been animation and music, the former containing the real meat of the release: the sex.

Source: Patreon Post.

September 10th, 2019 – Self imposed deadline missed.

September 16th, 2019.

Gumdrop Games release Dual Family Parts I – IX on Steam for the first time.

On the same day, Gumdrop Games releases a statement regarding dev updates.

Firstly, I want to apologize for my lack of clarity; when it comes to keeping you in the loop, especially with something as important as a release date, being precise is REALLY important. I failed in that regard, obviously.

To be precise, here’s what needs to be finished before Part X is ready: FatCat17 (our animator) to finish posing last two animations
Myself to render those two animations along with several animation angles (2-3 per animation)
The greater question: how much time will each of these take? The answer is I don’t know with absolute certainty, meaning your support should be handled with that in mind. If you’re not fond of the subsidiary content I post, I STRONGLY advise you to not support me until the primary content, Part X, is released and you’re comfortable supporting me again.

It’s unfair of me to set expectations time and time again, especially married with a financial aspect, only to tarnish it all with another missed mark.

Source: Patreon Post.

Christmas, 2019 – Self imposed deadline missed.

24th May, 2020 – Self imposed deadline missed.

Source: Gumdrop Games Discord.

Summer, 2020 – Self imposed deadline missed.

Christmas, 2020 – Current self imposed deadline.

Follow the money…

… but we can’t.

Gumdrop Games collects pledges on their own website without any oversight or transparency, and does not report on their earnings there.

Despite Gumdrop Games asking their supporters to cancel or stop their payments from time to time. They have never taken the step to pause their payment collections themselves.

On March 31st, 2020, Gumdrop Games stopped reporting on their earnings on Patreon, at the time, they were earning $7,323 per month.

Source Graphtreon.com

In conclusion

While vapourware at big gaming companies can be laughed at, in this Patreon funded segment, it’s more than a little disconcerting to see supporters being charged with no actual product being delivered.

Fans of the adult gaming industry hand over money each month, with the expectation and hope that at the end of a reasonable development cycle, their trust in the developer will be rewarded with some great story telling and well crafted artwork. Fans of Dual Family have been left wanting for over two-and-a-half years, with no end in sight.

This is not only a disservice to the Gumdrop Games’ supporters, but also to the industry as a whole.

Whether or not this is a case of genuine development hell, dishonesty, or just someone in completely over their head, we may never know. What we do know, after two-and-a-half years and at least five self imposed deadlines missed, is that the fabled update is unlikely to ever materialise.


Attribution(s)

Cover image by nottravis: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=16088497

PixelRepublic

I'm Pixel, founder of LewdPixels.com, a Graphic Designer and Web Developer. You'll often find me here in a state of angry ranting. I respond to Pixel or "Daddy".

Envixer

Writer and developer. Plus, I play with virtual dolls.

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Ivyxxx
Ivyxxx
19 days ago

Great article breaking down all the details 👏 I stopped keeping up with this game a while ago. It’s sad because it started of good and then boom empty promises.

Michal.B
Michal.B
19 days ago

Wow. You guys did a good job of posting this post regarding GumdropGames’ work on Dual Family as an example.

I have been following the development of their game for almost 3 years and apart from “empty promises” (it’s hard to count them) there is no visible effect and there is no reliable information anywhere when they finish Act I. The main developer of the game, who claims to be Kyle, has been down on his laurels and got lazy since the flood of patrons – all thanks to a discussion forum like F95, of course.

Above all, the words of the author that he wrote on Discord are the most engraved to me:
“it’s my wordiness more than anything!” (no need to quote the full sentence).
Instead of making a game, he should become a politician. Despite many delays, users still believe that the game will come out soon and will be better in terms of quality.

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