The Repopulation rejects blame for Hero Engine’s financial struggles

The Repopulation’s struggles with the money-troubled Hero Engine service have led to game delays, server downtime, and suspended development, and the drama continues today.

Earlier this week, an Idea Fabrik Hero Engine rep seemingly defied confidentiality agreements by telling its community that its revenue problems are the result of a single client refusing to pay royalties for two months.

“Starting in September 2015, one of our clients has refused to pay our royalties amounting to 30% of their revenues. Idea Fabrik/IFS is a small company, and our funding relies on those royalties and our VC’s. After two months of not getting our royalties paid, we were faced with difficult decisions. And after additional two months without being able to find a solution, we had to shut down their live game servers. Please note that we still hope for a positive outcome for all the players and fans of the game – that’s why their development servers have always been and are still up and running, so they can continue to work on their game.”

Given the two-month timeline and The Repopulation’s recent server outages, fans assume that Hero Engine was accusing Above & Beyond of being the non-paying client. Yet back in November, Hero Engine told everyone that it was in the midst of third party financing “negotiations to secure our funding for the present and the future” and that it did “not involve any of [its] middleware partners.”

A&B’s JC Smith defended his company on Steam, explaining that “Idea Fabrik’s funding was pulled by an individual who had funded them for years.”

“A third party proposed a joint deal between themselves, Idea Fabrik, and oursleves which would allow Idea Fabrik to stay afloat. This deal involved us covering Idea Fabrik’s bills for the next 5 months to get us to launch as part of a bridge loan. The problem is that this deal was brokered with the same person who had pulled their funding, which sounded a lot like extortion to us. From our standpoint a situation had been created where if we wanted to launch the game we need to take this deal by Midnight, or servers will all be going down. After some careful thought we found it was unacceptable, because it had a list of obligations such as us sticking with them for two years, no guarantees on servers after that point, and starting $1.2M in debt. Royalties were not reduced, and no guarantees were made about what would happen after those five months. So we rejected it. This occurred right when the news was first breaking. We felt like this was a bluff at the time to try to get us to cave in and accept a significantly worse deal out of desperation. It turned out it was not a bluff and their funding was pulled.”

Smith says that the ensuing negotiations produced multiple deal offers, one of which included an option to pay only royalties, but that they were not acceptable to A&B because Hero Engine’s finances were so shaky that it could not guarantee tech support and server uptime, which could lead to A&B’s financial ruin and the doom of the game.

“The royalties being referred to here by Idea Fabrik are things that were not due to them until weeks after this situation had already happened, and amount to a small amout of money. The problem is that we at this point feel like this is something that will likely need to be resolved in a court, and the fact that we have already paid a huge amount of money to Idea Fabrik. We feel that at the end of the day they will owe us money, but that we will never be able to collect it because they will liquidate. The money in question here wouldn’t cover our alpha servers for a single month, nor would it allow us to begin selling the game again, or to patch again. In our opinion they had stopped living up to their agreement and the service which should have been provided so we feel that we were not obligated to pay it. This was an non-issue as our server bills were higher than the amount owed, and if we wanted to keep servers online we needed to cover the full costs every month without money coming in, which was not an option.”

Ultimately, Smith says, “We owe them nothing.”

“This has nothing at all to do with the problems. It is something that happened after the fact, and I’m surprised to see them go on the offensive here.”

Smith charitably suggests that Idea Fabrik’s confidentiality-breaking accusation might have been the result of angry gamers shouting it down for The Repop’s server downtime.

Source: Timeline, Hero Engine, Steam. Thanks, Liandreth and DK.

Get caught up on the whole Repopulation/Hero Engine story:

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168 Comments on "The Repopulation rejects blame for Hero Engine’s financial struggles"

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yhwh777px
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yhwh777px
dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

ohforfs dragonherderx frebu arsaidh While other games may be up (i can only think of 2 others atm and you can no longer actually buy those games so there is no future profit in for IF with that happening so yeah…)

arsaidh
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arsaidh

frebu ohforfs 
a) three or four sentences and no names, no real in-depth detail?
or
b) several paragraphs going into great detail that we do not even know if it is true or not?

Which of those do you think is “spilling guts”?
to spill your guts:
Definitions
(informal) if someone spills their guts, they tell you everything about something secret or private
 http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/to-spill-your-guts
Sounds like a mess to me.

arsaidh
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arsaidh

frebu arsaidh None of the others that i know of. I still played on two of them yesterday.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

dragonherderx frebu arsaidh Which means they are just shooting themselves in the foot.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

frebu arsaidh Pretty much all of them do atm or have postponed their games due to uncertainty. Pretty much anything in a playable form that would of been a paying customer is not atm.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

Wratts deekay_zero At the time they signed up IF did not exist — IF later took over Hero, who were in good financial health. So a shit company bought out a good company and all clients were then lumbered with this because Hero Engine devs sold out for big money. I don’t know if there was an asset strip as such, but you get the picture. AB could not have foreseen this.

Cindy_Adorkly
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Cindy_Adorkly

Yangers The tiny bit of interaction I’ve had with their game early on, I suspect these are not big time developers.

frebu
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frebu

arsaidh frebu And how many of them had their alpha servers shut down?

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones dragonherderx Right……..again keep up the insults on physical appearance. It’s funny how you think I mean my mom or my father. Let’s see a photo of you if you want to call me out on being ugly. Again I bet you look way worse. If you need to attack that instead of anything stated about the engine you are just a sad individual by all accounts. 

Now let’s all sit back and enjoy the little kid that is using a computer mummy and daddy bought him that thinks he is tough shit on the internet and won’t even show his face because he’s such a little chicken shit. Seriously dude you can’t come up with anything when called out on your trolling (and if you are trying to be serious good god grow the hell up) 

You still have not shown any valid argument/proof of what you are saying. When called on it you attack physical appearance. And when it comes down to it you choosing to still focus on that makes you all that much more a little child and people are likely going to disregard anything you say on livefyre reading this in the future so enjoy that. 

I’ve tried to stay on topic and asked you to point stuff out or show proof and you have done neither and then attack physical appearance. If we were having a debate you would of already lost about 10 times over. And it’s funny how you gloss over the fact I have a girlfriend and think I meant my parents finding me attractive which given the circumstances is probably what happens to you. Trying to push your own physical short comings onto someone else cuz you can’t get someone yourself and are a miserable little child? Your mother and father must be so proud of you.

toomanywowclones
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toomanywowclones

dragonherderx “and many people actually find me attractive”
Sorry your mother and father don’t count. You look like a slightly groomed version of the dude from BumFights,

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones dragonherderx Yep there we go troll. Called it. You wanna act like a little kid and can’t come up with anything beyond that. I’m sure you look 10 times better than me Mr. I’m afraid to even show a photo of myself. You probably look like something a dog would shart out or some pimply faced little weasel of a teenager. 

Little hint for future reference. When you need to make physical appearance insults against someone your argument is about as weak as the condom that broke which led to your conception. At least try and make some intelligible insult you little piss ant. Ohh durr hurr hurr you’re an ugly bastard. Yeah real original.*rolls eyes* For the record you aren’t even a good troll.  You probably think that is somehow going to work me up, but you are the only one clearly upset that you’ve taken to calling me physically ugly. 

Little tip too sonny boy. I actually have a girlfriend and many people actually find me attractive. But ohh no you can guess exactly what I look like from a shot from below selfie that was taken in the dark when I hadn’t shaved in awhile. So humorous *laughs* I’m just sitting here laughing at how laughable your life must be if you sit here in a sad attempt to troll people with very bad misinformation. You are like some sort of wanna be hipster that thinks they are cool to try and be against some sorta trend. . Little hint, you aren’t

arsaidh
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arsaidh

frebu arsaidh sounds more like repop spilled their guts and then some. i read it and i was unsure as i know a few games are in alpha and beta.. two others are scheduled -or were- to be released this new year. so until the post on steam, i was unsure. seems more like abt is tossing the blame. i dont know, it is a mess over all.

toomanywowclones
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toomanywowclones

dragonherderx you need to worry about shaving and not HeroEngine you ugly bastard.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones Also to further add. If that is a novel to you, you must be one of those people that has an attention span that is less than that of a goldfish.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones dragonherderx Sure you talked to the devs of HE and are a dev and blah blah blah. If you did then I’m Mary the queen of scotts and i sport a 2 1/2 foot wang that i use as a tripod. I can claim that I work for epic and run around like a damn retard like you, but I do not. If you don’t bother reading since you seem to be a peasant with a low IQ many things were explained to you in my post. Such as the fact that you have very similar file structures in almost all modern games. Showed the base differences between a Hero Engine / Cloud based games file structure which you claim is the same, and ESO  with pictures for you since you are so blatantly simple. 

And yes I’m a consumer and I’ve done development work too. You are a consumer too, we are all consumers… We all consume, we all buy things we want or need. You must have the IQ of turtle if you run around using that as an insult. Ohh and if you bothered knowing anything about game development “learning” structure you’d know there are varying fields of study such as programming, game art & animation, 3d modeling, among other things and these encompass a wide range of things themselves. 

Show proof of these talks with HE developers, show a game you’ve personally worked on, show images showing similarities between the two engines, show bits of code that are the same. Unless you can get into the engine that Zenimax Online Studio is using and provide concrete proof you are just a trollish bullshiter. So either put up or shut up mate.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

Silverlock AlexanderDeLarge It seems highly unlikely to be a case of it being “complicated” for the back end and it’s a service they charge 99 dollars a year for plus 30% of revenue (after valve etc get their cut) They basically offer a tool that lets you modify as you are working and can have multiple people working in the same environment then it spits out server code that they host. 

The largest problem in this entire scenario is that Idea Fabrik and the Hero Engine do not have many customers at all. Of the 4 games that “operate” at all on the platform. Only 3 of them use Hero Cloud (these are ones you could go play now with a purchase etc) and one was a straight out license. Of their other customers “using the engines” they are listed as it, and there are a few others that I can’t get much info on to see if they are even still in development or around. 

Of the 3 hero cloud based games only two have ever been reported on (i can’t find any news on the 3rd one anywhere). Those would be The Repopulation and Venus Rising. Venus Rising is a further niche in that it is an “adult” game so is going to see even less sales, and the repopulation is a game in a niche genre in the mmorpg genre (being sandboxy). They have 3 people that may be giving them any sort of revenue currently and of those only one is higher profile (The Repopulatiuon) and that is a niche title still. Right now they only have box sales at varying levels and those are one time sales. They are not going to continually make money off of some of these customers or returns are going to dwindle quite a bit as fewer and fewer people pick up the title due to many that were interested already having picked it up someone. It currently has no subs or any sort of micro transactions that I know of so…. Yeah… 

Idea Fabrik’s basic business doesn’t work because they have no high profile clients that are raking in tons of cash a month and are basically at the moment left with niche titles that are at least at the moment one time buys… They were bound to fail at some point without getting a big client or making their own epic game

toomanywowclones
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toomanywowclones

dragonherderx toomanywowclones

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones dragonherderx Go show me where the file structure is directly the same vs say other mmorpgs that exist? Ohh hey look at that. I have both ESO and The Repopulation installed. If you want to claim similar file structure and shit at least pull your head from your ass first. If you bothered installing ESO it doesn’t use the same “file structure” in the least..

The Repopulation which uses Hero Cloud (which the client side would be the same regardless of server side) uses a file structure like this https://gyazo.com/04b2f717c305e716c28c666c1f0849c5 This is a very common structure that is used frequently in games you’ll see this or similar. Redistributables, launchers, locales, game data) content. 

ESO on the hand utilizes this https://gyazo.com/377eb5639476ee43ce047ac150262bd8 as a base file structure. Note launcher is split off into an entirely seperate entity which holds locales and program data for the launcher specifically https://gyazo.com/4f0c614e15aac0f451201c5cd80292ac

ESO also uses multiple sized DAT files where Hero Engine oft utilizes the DB3 format which is a self contained database format for storing the files as bigger blocks like so.  https://gyazo.com/aa1e20bd3e44b45aca776d13098afaab (Repopulation) vs https://gyazo.com/efb89fb0fbb3b3617725025184cab551 (ESO) and then The Old Republic uses PAK files and other things using the hero engine too. All VIDEO games of recent memory have similar file structures to one another. 

Try harder you wanna be game developer. Just because someone has folders and data packages that might have similar names doesn’t mean they use the same engine in the least. I’ve seen unreal engine based games with similar setups. Just because you want there to be some correlation does not mean their is one. And I’ve done game development work, I’ve also done 3d modeling, I mentored people that went on to do more than me and work for a larger studio, I’ve done many things over the years. I can spot similarities well enough between a game engine to know if it is the same one or not regardless of customizing. 

You have no idea if they are the same or just use a similar file structure unless Zenimax Online Studio gives you the code for the engine they are using and compare the coding in both of them and even then the suggestion is it is heavily modified which seems highly unlikely given the development cycle.

You think a studio as big as Bethesda / Zenimax Online studio would take 7 years to develop the game if it was using a prebuilt engine and just tweaking it here and there? They licensed the engine way back when the studio was founded in 2007 (before idea fabrik even owned The Hero Engine) and would likely be using the same buggy alpha / beta or whatever you want to call it that SWTOR was using if they had released the game using the hero engine. Bethesda has in large part taken to developing things in house (the same with zenimax online studio) since oblivion (which used that Gamebryo engine) 

The fact of the matter is many game engines let you pack items up differently / use similar file structures or the file structure you want, and you have little to no proof other than hearsay about it. You can claim to be a game developer or have worked with Hero all you like, but unless you provide concrete evidence and can show a compiled project in an image with a file structure EXACTLY like ESO i call bull shit.

frebu
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frebu

ohforfs I think the idea behind IF spilling their guts was to try and put the pressure of the playerbase on Repop devs. At the moment Repop is the only “large” client they have and IF was trying to force them into a deal with their investors which they are not willing to do(tying your game to a sinking ship is not a good idea)

frebu
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frebu

arsaidh Because there is only one major game being developed on Heroengine at this point and its alpha servers just went down shortly(a few days)before the post? Anybody with any knowledge of events surrounding would know which developer they were talking about.

Silverlock
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Silverlock

AlexanderDeLarge People also seem to be forgetting that Hero was providing the back end to, and that isn’t nothing. Creating the back end for an mmo is a big undertaking in it’s own right and I don’t think these guys have the skill to roll their own. So even is they can switch to a new graphics engine they are still going to need to come up with the back end and how are they going to do that? Hire a team? Where’s that money going to come from?

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

DPandaren Lights_andMusic You do know that borderlands and borderlands 2 acknowledge that the engine is a modified version of unreal. Zenimax Online Studio wouldn’t just start saying that they used it for prototyping and nothing else if that were not the case. It would of taken far more work to make Hero work for them and there are quite a few articles about it.

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/05/25/why-the-elder-scrolls-online-isn-39-t-using-heroengine.aspx

They have a unique engine to them and would of had to change everything about it. People try and point out “floaty feeling jumping” or animations as a reason that they are the same but, but the animations were made by zenimax online studio as well. Animations can be good or bad in any sort of game and those don’t = to it being a particular game engine. You can make UE4 feel like the hero engine with the right animations and the like to some people.

dragonherderx
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dragonherderx

toomanywowclones Lights_andMusic If you bother reading further down on that page they go into that it was used to prototype the game. You have to say every bit of tech that went into development no matter how big or small.. Since it was used in the development somewhere they need to mention it period end of story. That is how game development works. If you want to be a complete and utter tool and not realize that there is no way that ESO is using hero engine that is entirely on you.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

Lights_andMusic Have you never had a dream? Aren’t things in life sometimes made out of people’s dreams? I think this is still a dream that can come true.

Sounds though as if you are the type of person who would just stomp on everyone’s dreams and tell them to get back to reality.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

c71clark Havok is a physics engine.

DPandaren
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DPandaren

Lights_andMusic It’s more then likely that they’re using a version of Hero Engine they bought and heavily modified it. It’s common practice. Like how Borderlands and Borderlands 2 run off a heavily modified version of Unreal that they call Willow.

arsaidh
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arsaidh

http://www.livefyre.com/profile/9911799/ How did HeroEngine spill their guts? No one really knew for sure who they were talking about until JC’s post on steam. I read that post and most of it seemed to be answering questions they were getting from other clients about how servers work for live games.

Lights_andMusic
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Lights_andMusic

You’re acting like they were forced into making the game though. If the technology available at the time wasn’t satisfactory for their needs, they shouldn’t have started the project to begin with. It’s not as if someone held a gun to their head and forced them to develop this game with less than ideal standards. There was always the option of you know, not making the game until they secured more funding to build their own engine, or waiting until a new engine was created.

AlexanderDeLarge
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AlexanderDeLarge

Lights_andMusic thraay Sorenthaz They chose it because there was no alternatives. You’re talking as if back in 2009, they had the options we have today. HeroEngine was one of the forerunners of the indie movement. Unity wasn’t viable and CryEngine/Unreal required  you to have hundreds of thousands to license.

Lights_andMusic
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Lights_andMusic

This is a wall of text from some random dude on the forum. Please read official developer post.

Lights_andMusic
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Lights_andMusic

Not according to the developers of the game.

Lights_andMusic
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Lights_andMusic

Hi. Please read the interview from the developer I posted. Mr know it all.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

Lights_andMusic dragonherderx AndrewClear It IS a shell company in the sense that it reflects nothing more than an amount of money that an individual had at a certain point of time that he turned into a company to buy Hero Engine. Now that single investor is scared and trying to leverage some money. Who knows, he could have just been hit by a divorce or maybe even this years school fees.

The whole thing is fucked up and, if it were possible, The Repop should just swallow the pain now and retool for a different engine. I will pay up again as I believe in them, if they did this.

AlexanderDeLarge
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AlexanderDeLarge

I can’t believe how people are criticizing these guys using the “why not another engine?”
This went into serious production back in like 2010/2011, Unity wasn’t viable at all, and no one could have seen CryEngine/Unreal doing what they did.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

jeremy2020 BryanCo I heard if you say his name out loud three times in front of a mirror that he actually APPEARS. So please don’t do that shit and mention his name in a forum post. Two to go and we have a really bad situation here!

Ket_Viliano
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Ket_Viliano

ohforfs Tridus c71clark Lights_andMusic scratches16 thraay Sorenthaz  Thanks for pointing that out, some people seem not to understand how PR is used to spin perceptions. It might be noted that ESO does use the Havok renderer, and likely the physics and cloth simulators, yet the core of the gameplay is clearly Hero Engine based.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

Wild_Phil Quincha rottenrotny They only made $75k on Kickstarter.

ohforfs
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ohforfs

Tridus c71clark Lights_andMusic scratches16 thraay Sorenthaz No, ESO used the purchased source code of Hero, which they then modified and then when there were negative connotations for using Hero they pretended that they only used it for prototyping. ESO is Hero through and through (with a few Bethesda modifications).

ohforfs
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ohforfs

The fact that they are both spilling their guts in public means that there is no possibility of a deal. If there was a possibility then they would both have remained quiet to the public.

I think The Repopulation is in real trouble here and Idea Fabrik looks to already be fucked, regardless of TR.

The only possible good outcome I can see to this is an 11th hour investment into Idea Fabrik by a 3rd party. Is the Hero Engine worth that? I think so.

Fingers crossed.

Tridus
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Tridus

c71clark Lights_andMusic scratches16 thraay Sorenthaz My understanding is that ESO used Hero Engine in early prototyping work, then built their own for the actual game release.

Even if they used the engine, they wouldn’t be using HeroCloud, as at their scale it makes more sense to run your own infrastructure. That’s what Bioware did with SWTOR. They use HeroEngine but not HeroCloud, so the shutdown doesn’t affect them in the same way.

c71clark
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c71clark

Lights_andMusic Thanks for the link. I guess their engine must be named ‘Havok”?

c71clark
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c71clark

Lights_andMusic scratches16 thraay Sorenthaz Doesn’t ESO use Hero?

nshelton
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nshelton

Just remember folks, never lease an engine that is tied to any kind of cloud service etc. You lease or rent and engine, they should literally give you an engine… not a fucking cloud connection.

Lights_andMusic
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Lights_andMusic

I hope they do renegotiate, seems like they made a poor investment/business decision by going with Hero engine (oops). As it is right now I have little faith in this game ever being actually released

Frostington
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Frostington

I payed my 30$ and tried the repop beta.

I didn’t like it. It felt old and while it is filled with good intentions the implementation of those ideas that sounded so great on the forums turned out to be boring.
Hero engine is not this projects biggest problem. Not even now.

Yangers
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Yangers

It seems really strange this whole companies existence hinges on one unreleased game. Like wut? How flaky is their business model to begin with?

dorn2
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dorn2

rottenrotny 
If you read the steam thread at the time they were starting out Hero Engine WAS way cheaper.  After they signed a contract the other engines became much more indie friendly.

dorn2
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dorn2

Lights_andMusic 
Sounds like they’re getting fleeced on royalties normally and want to use this opportunity to renegotiate actually.

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