Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Serious red flags about Oath (kickstarter mmorpg) covered by Cryy

I was personally looking forward to Oath quite a bit too since it looked like it had all the right mechanics from Dragon Nest that I really enjoyed. Now... Not so much.

I haven't watched the entire video at the time of posting it since it's quite long but from what I've garnered (and you can find out yourself from watching it as well) is that:


- The devs at Oath basically commissioned an art studio for art, didn't pay the studio for said art on false allegations of plagiarism and continued to defame the art studio while using 6 grand worth of assets they never paid for.

- The devs at Oath actually hired ANOTHER art team in attempt to continue progress on their game whilst blatantly evading paying their original artists.

- The devs at Oath showed a lack of understanding of even creating their game. At some point, the artists were given the vague instructions "Just pick one of the grass areas on any of the islands and start from there I guess." as design notes from the devs for the an area they were meant to create. The artist even goes to say something along the lines of "Like... wot? There's no kind of story? no kind of lore to this area? What kind of mmorpg is this? Is this a leveling area? The starting zone?"

- The devs at Oath were very hesitant with providing very necessary information to the artists; namely something as basic as the parameters of the character models that would be used. Things like run speed, jump height, model sizes and what not that were needed to determine appropriate collisions and heights for things like fences and boxes. When the devs did provide the character parameters, they were not even hooked up to a working model which from artists knowledge, takes at most 5 minutes to do (they did it themselves btw).

- Critical information that the artists were lacking gave a very telling sign as to the stage of development and how planned the devs were (or more, how little they planned.) An example would be when the artists were given instructions to simply "leave alot of flat land so players can build houses". The artists were puzzled as they were never detailed about how the housing even worked. Did they need to make trees? Were the trees supposed to be chopped down? Do they randomly spawn? Considering how integral a mechanic like housing would be to a game and it's art, you'd think they'd have it all planned out and would inform their artists. But that was not the case.

- There is another company operating at the same address as "Ready Up Studios" (the devs), by the name of "Extrinsic Studio" and when contacted, answer on behalf of Ready Up Studios. In my opinion, this is an extreme red flag as it looks glaringly obvious that "Extrinsic Studio" is nothing more than a proxy for Ready Up Studios should shit hit the fan.
- The Level Streaming feature makes it possible to load and unload map files into memory as well as toggle their visibility during play. This makes it possible to have worlds broken up into smaller chunks so that only the relevant parts of the world are taking up resources and being rendered at any point. -Unreal Engine 4 Documention This is a feature that is absolutely necessary in a game of Oath's desired scale and must be present from day one. But it wasn't. For a studio that stated they had worked on Oath for 2 years before going into kick starter it's... Surprising to say the least that Level streaming isn't present. Level streaming is also used for artists to see their assets in work so that they can get a better grasp of what is going on and how they can improve future assets. Obviously the lack of it mean't that the artists were essentially working in the dark on top of being told to simply upload created assets to a blank project server.

- Wow apparently the artists even went above and beyond the contract and setup the game to actually have level streaming capabilities. FREE OF CHARGE. Wow. Because they needed it.

- At some point in time, the game devs requested that the artists "pause for a bit" in regards to working on assets for Oath. The reason for the pause being funding reasons. This came as both puzzling and alarming as the artists knew the devs should have atleast 120,000 dollars in the bank from their kickstarter and to ask for them to stop working due to financial reasons made very little sense. Unless they were actually out of money. Which would be insanely bad. The artists offered many solutions including lowering their own prices since they wanted to be in this game for the long haul and believed in it.

- After Ocean Sparks Studios (the artists) open up about the whole shady dealings and experiences they've had by posting a video about it on youtube, Ready Up Studios (the devs) messages them demanding they take down their video and in exchange they would rescind their statement of the artists on their website. After Ocean Sparks Studios complies and takes down their video, Ready Up studios takes down their statement only to reupload it as soon as the artists are asleep in their time zone. Like what kinda of snakes are these guys LOL

- The financial damages done to the artists studio is staggering, they're basically on the verge of folding because of this situation. Ocean Sparks Studio had to let go of two artists due to being unable to afford their wages. The artists even offered to continue working with them free of charge until things got better but the financial director did not want them to work unpaid no matter what. Their lease on the studio is still maintained only in part of the good faith they have with the landlord. They've even had to entertain the thought of having to sell their work PC's to afford the bills. Cryy asked if they would accept a gofund me to which they declined saying that they're so deep in the hole now because of this fiasco, that they feel it wouldn't help.

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