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Submitted by Craig Oats (not verified) on Sun, 26/02/12 - 7:01 PM Permalink

It's definitely good to hear good optimism here from Seigele. I remember back when I was just about to start studying a couple of years ago, looking into the state of the industry and reading stories like the closing of Ratbag was sad to think about. Today's climate is definitely looking better.

Adelaide's largest ever games developer, Ratbag Games, was unceremonously shut down by Midway before Christmas in 2005, and we haven't heard much from former Ratbag Games CEO, Greg Siegele, since. That is, until now.

Published over at goodgearguide.com.au, Siegele talks about the formation of Ratbag Games and how a small ragtag bunch of university students created a break out hit title in the late 90's called Powerslide for just $2 million. "Essentially, we were the vapourware studio from hell", explains Siegele. Through some long negotiations with GT Interactive and ten months of intense development, Powerslide was released to garner many accolades and awards, particularly for its technical accomplishments.

A whole lot was not known about the publisher/studio relation side of Ratbag, and it's here where Siegele really opens up, revealing some of the pressure and even underhanded publisher tactics that his studio had to endure. It also shows how much studios like Ratbag Games were dependent and reliant on publishers during the height of work-for-hire in mid-2005. From long contract negotiations, GT Interactive pulling out of their $8 million budget project, financial distress from the loss two Sony contracts, the acquisition and closure by Midway, it's all there...

(Siegele) The closure of our studio was brutal. It is devastating to have something you have spent 12 years building trashed in two days. 75 staff also lost their jobs. Fortunately, Ratbag had a good reputation and the next week companies flew in from around Australia and overseas to interview our staff, and within two weeks almost everyone had multiple job offers. When you sell your business, you give up control over decision making.

A whole lot has changed since Ratbag Games had closed up. When asked about the current state of games development, Siegle was amazed at what was possible now with small teams and zero budget from what he saw during his time at a Global Game Jam event a few weeks ago...

(Siegele) It is a great time for innovation, too. Developers who fund these small projects themselves can do rapid prototyping, iterating their game over and over. They can even release a small chunk of it, get feedback from the consumers and build this in to their next release. In the 90s, we'd design the game, get a contract from the publisher and then you were stuck to delivering what was in the contract for each milestone. That is not how creativity works.

A fantastic interview. Head on over to goodgearguide.com.au for the full article!!

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Submitted by souri on Wed, 14/09/11 - 12:28 AM Permalink

Sorta similar to how I got introduced to computers. My eldest brother got an Apple IIe, and I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. It came with a monitor which showed only a black screen with shades of green text and graphics, a separate disk drive with 5 1/4" floppy disks, and paddles for extra input. It had some awesome pinball game called Night Mission and a few other really simple games.

I spent a whole afternoon typing some code from a magazine for it, and all it did was show some jumbled up graphics and not a game which I was hoping for. I messed up writing the code somewhere but couldn't be bothered fixing it.

I was lucky enough to get my own personal computer in '84, and that was a Commodore 64 with datacasette drive. I felt like the luckiest kid on the planet. Spent a whole bunch of time reading the manuals that came with it which covered a bit of basic and sprites etc. Wrote a simple game, sort of a choose-your-own-adventure thing with ascii graphics. Got bored with that and spent a whole lot more time with Koala pad and drawing pictures, which is why I steered towards the art side of things. Saved up all my coins to get a 1541 disk drive which was like $400 back then - a massive amount just for a darn disk drive and costed as much as the C64. That, however, opened the gates to a world of games, demos and the demoscene, and many failed attempts at future composer and assembly.

Tony Albrecht, founder and Director of Overbyte and veteran programmer with past stints at studios such as Ratbag, Midway, and Pandemic, has written a fantastic entry for AltDevBlogADay detailing his unusual journey into games development.

It seems like an unlikely choice for a lad who grew up in a small country town in South Australia where most aspired to drive trucks or work on the farm for a living, however, when Tony was first introduced to a Apple II computer, he knew right away what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

After studying Computer Science and Physics at 17, then working in the mining and defence simulation sector programming visualisation applications, as well as porting code on the slaughter floor of an abattoir whilst avoiding carcass splatter), it was his father's illness that made Tony re-evaluate what he really wanted to do in life. From altdevblogaday.com...

(Albrecht) Deep down, I knew – I wanted to write games. So I started writing games for myself and entering game writing competitions. I bought one of the first 3DFX cards in Australia and wrote demos for that. I spent every spare moment coding. I loved it. It was exciting. I was learning. I was having fun. I was writing games.

So I quit my job.

Tony's plan was to fly to GDC and show off his work with the hopes of getting hired, but luckily that was the year (1999) for the first ever Australian Game Developer's Conference which was held in Sydney. From networking at that conference and applying for a position closer to home at Adelaide based games studio, Ratbag Games, it marked the beginning of his twelve year long journey in the games industry. It's been one marked with plenty of ups and downs, but he'd have it no other way...

(Albrecht) I now run my own company, and I have the pleasure of travelling the world teaching and working with young, eager programmers (as well as their older, more cynical brethren). I love what I do; I love the people I work with. Yes, I have considered leaving the industry for a more secure, well paid job. But you know what? While I would be working at that job, I’d be thinking about writing games.

It's an excellent write-up, and I hope a lot more local games veterans out there can share their stories like this with us. Head on over to altdevblogaday.com for the whole story!

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/11/10 - 10:50 AM Permalink

Jesus! This looks really cool (the outdated graphics not withstanding). I can't believe this got canned. Fucking retarded pubs...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/11/10 - 4:51 PM Permalink

Doesn't surprise me really.. both games lacked quality and just feel amateur. Yes it is just a prototype but if you can't make it look amazing with a heavily edited video then the actual game must be pretty weak.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/11/10 - 5:27 PM Permalink

You do realise that was a five year old game that was nowhere near release candidate don't you? Anyway, the first video reminded me a lot of Just Cause 2. But alas, que sera, sera.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/11/10 - 6:30 PM Permalink

6 years ago on PS2, these were internal pitch videos. The first video actually secured a project. The second was developed off the technology of the cancelled Activision project. Scavenger was a blast to play and had some of the best looking stream tech on PS2. It was developed in 4 - 5 months. Midway was the only company it was pitched to as they had already purchased the company. They did not want develop the game because "post apocalyptic games don't sell"

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/11/10 - 2:29 PM Permalink

But it wasn't just a 'driving' game it had aircraft and on foot gameplay.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/11/10 - 1:36 AM Permalink

I played both these games. Fond memories and cool team aside. When compared to Pandemics Merc's which was released before these would have hit market, they were both absolute rubbish. Scavenger was basically a better tuned and art swapped version of RAID. There were both doomed to failure because they both played like crap.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/11/10 - 2:23 PM Permalink

It was often felt that one of the reasons the Raid project was cancelled was because of Mercenaries and more importantly the complete lack of strong leadership and game direction. Raid never had a good high level game design and meta structure but it did have some excellent tech and features that were fun. When Mercs came out Activision was rightfuly justified in pulling the plug.

Scavenger was built off Raids tech and its core vehicle combat was also very good. The high level pitch concept for the full game would have made and excellent game and to this day I still wish someone would make something like it.

They had allot of things that needed improving for sure but these were games that were also a long way off alpha let alone being polished.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 07/11/10 - 2:09 PM Permalink

Ratbag always wanted to do a Mad Max themed game and actually approached George Miller about it several times but he was not interested in licensing it for a game. He has since been working with Cory Barlog on a Mad Max game concept.

Last year, we had the great fortune of being able to show off for the first time the last title that Adelaide's Ratbag games was working on before Midway Studios shut them down before Christmas, 2005. That title was The Wheelman for the PS2. Other titles that Ratbag games was working on which went unpublished were other vehicle/action based games called Raid, and Scavenger. For those curious to see something of these games, someone has just uploaded the first public glimpses of it on youtube which you will be able to see below.
Developed to secure a project with Activision, this little prototype was developed in under 6 months. It was eventually picked up by Activision and was to be given the Soldier of Fortune IP. The game had many similarities with Pandemics Mercenaries being an open world free roaming military action game. After 12 months more development of which I dont have any footage of the final production build the project was cancelled by Activision.
We've managed to archive Ratbag's website before it was pulled down so you can view Ratbag's page on Scavenger, however, the website scouring software wasn't able to secure the additional flash formatted files that showcased and described the story in the game. The description at Gamespy describes the game as...
...a futuristic wasteland ruled by raiders and villains, one man searches for his sister who was sold into slavery. Unfortunately for the bad folk of the world, he's one very determined, very ruthless, and very heavily armed man. A neo-apocalyptic action game, Scavenger features open-ended environments, third-person vehicular action and plenty of on-foot killing. From the racer-centric developers at Ratbag.
A little Vertical Slice gem from Ratbag Games. Scavenger was a Free Roaming 3rd Person Action game with exciting vehicle combat and a unique economy simulation that the player could influence and exploit. The player could roam the waste lands hunting bandits and convoys shipping goods between settlements or escort the convoys for a fee. Each settlement produced something the others required, if the player intercepted the goods they could then sell them to the towns that needed them for a higher price. Money was used to buy new vehicles weapons and upgrades. Unfortunately Midway had no interest in taking the project into full production and moved the team on to The Wheelman before eventually closing the studio.
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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/04/09 - 6:51 PM Permalink

Obviously, the guys from Ratbag traveled into the future, hunted down Vin Diesel, flogged him with limp celery until he gave up his copy of Wheelman (and associated console), then traveled back to 2005 where they copied the core gameplay elements and put them in an obviously sub-standard clone of the brilliant original.

The real reason that the studio was shut down was that they spent too much time playing SuperStardust HD on Vin Diesel's PS3.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/04/09 - 10:27 AM Permalink

There was a small team working on Wheelman in late 2004, mostly the people that came off Dukes of Hazzard, everyone else in the company was still working on the open world army game which was very similar looking to Mercenaries but was canned in Jan 2005 (12 months into development). Then everyone was shifted onto Wheelman which had just been signed by Midway and began ramping up in production.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 24/04/09 - 9:42 AM Permalink

Was on Wheelman (Ratbag) from day zero, this is PS2 Midway Australia footage.
Will always regret never seeing this project through to the end.

Anyone on any dev team anywhere knows how much it sucks to lose something you gave a shit about.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/04/09 - 5:48 AM Permalink

Is that Vin Diesel? Does that mean those claims that he hopped on board after the Ratbag version are false?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/04/09 - 6:45 PM Permalink

It was changed to Barcelona while Ratbag were developing it, it had been in development for about 18mths when the studio was closed. Everything we'd done was given to Pitbull who made L.A. Rush and are now known as Midway UK.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/04/09 - 8:14 PM Permalink

Actually we're known as Midway Newcastle.

I joined Midway Newcastle just as they started on Wheelman, but I've never seen this video before. It doesn't look like a prototype, it looks quite polished. The only videos (and prototype disks!) I'd seen of the ratbag version before today were crap. They looked a lot different, must have been the NY version.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/04/09 - 9:26 PM Permalink

The Barcelona code must have got lost in the post :)

Midway Chicago claimed they never did receive the vertical slice and that fact played a major part in the shutdown decision. Apart from the fact that Ratbag management obviously pissed Midway management off on many levels, but that would not be hard considering the state Midway is in now. Anyhow this video is pretty much the vertical slice that never existed. So you really did not see anything. This is not the vertical slice you are looking for.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 17/04/09 - 9:46 AM Permalink

Obviously someone at Midway saw it otherwise the final Wheelman wouldn't have resembled Ratbag's version so closely.

Submitted by souri on Tue, 07/04/09 - 4:17 PM Permalink

I know hindsight is always 20/20, but Midway should have really let Ratbag finish this title for release in 2007 when that generation of consoles were still profitable platforms. They could've continued the PS3/Xbox 360 version as usual and have the 2009 release as a next-gen sequel (albeit developed with different story and settings).

So what did Ratbag's Wheelman exactly look like? An anonymous has sent in the video of the early Playstation 2 protoype version of the Vin Diesal starring vehicular action combat game to tsumea. This is the video that 70 or so ex-Ratbag staff would have sent out to local studios as part of their demo reel after publisher and owner, Midway, closed the Adelaide studio down just before Christmas, 2005. Most of the industry has probably seen it, and now so can you.

Impressions? As an early prototype, it actually looks pretty damn good. The vehicle handling and action mechanisms were well in place, including the bullet-time feature of the vehicle shoot outs, on foot action, and locational vehicle damage. The artwork and city looks pretty nice as well. It doesn't look complete and there are some rough edges here and there, but it certainly looks to be well on its way. It could've easily been one of the best titles to come out of Ratbag had it been completed.

Unfortunately, the uncertainties of the PS2 platform with the upcoming new consoles, and the shaky financial status of Midway, meant the downfall for this title and Ratbag, and who knows, it might have been an ill-formed decision on Midway's part considering the sustaining life of the PS2 and the delays of the next-gen versions of The Wheelman which managed to get released only last week.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 30/03/09 - 5:24 PM Permalink

Just to clarify: The Wheelman was indeed the final title that Ratbag was working on, but the IP was never theirs, it was Midway's. The core gameplay that features in the just released game is *exceedingly* similar to what Ratbag had developed - the vehicle combat is nearly identical.

I'd love to see some video footage of the old PS2 version again - I know it exists out there, it just needs to be leaked.

Submitted by souri on Mon, 30/03/09 - 11:42 PM Permalink

I think that poster probably got it mixed up with Scavenger...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/04/09 - 11:18 PM Permalink

I have a copy of the Final build(also Scav, Raid & Slipstream), I've been tempted to do some video capture and upload it to youtube for all the world to see...I'm one of the core vehicle systems guys who co designed & prototyped most of the driving mechanics at Ratbag. Looking at the final games high level feature set there really isn't anything that has been added from our original formula and what we had working. It stings even more to watch some of the Midway UK production teams videos boast about how they created the concept...

Submitted by souri on Fri, 03/04/09 - 12:44 AM Permalink

Send the raw footage to me! I'd love to put it in our youtube channel. Msg me in private if you're up for it or just send it to our P.O box.

Anyways, I'd be very curious to see it!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/04/09 - 3:00 AM Permalink

I doubt the footage is worth it, I'm guessing the very early concept is there but just looks awful. Ratbag might have had the idea but I doubt they had the quality to execute it well. Prove me wrong and post it on youtube.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/04/09 - 5:34 PM Permalink

Sounds like someone doesn't know what they're talking about :-)

Did someone from Ratbag cut you off in traffic or something?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/04/09 - 4:17 PM Permalink

I'm pretty sure that we never showed scav "publicly" at E3. There was certainly never any footage released.
Which is a real pity - it was looking awesome.
Cam

Submitted by megaderek on Sun, 05/04/09 - 6:15 PM Permalink

We released a trailer showing gameplay from Scavenger sometime in 2005.

It was a flash video embedded on the Ratbag / Scavenger site which is still cached on the internet wayback machine, unfortunately the video hasn't been cached so you can no longer view it along with most of the Scavenger media.

http://web.archive.org/web/20050614070312/www.ratbaggames.com/index_no…

Submitted by souri on Sun, 05/04/09 - 9:26 PM Permalink

We have an archive of Ratbag's site before it went down too (the wayback machine has a few broken pages, but ours is still good)

http://www.tsumea.com/tsumeaFlashback/Website_Ratbag/index.html

Unfortunately, I couldn't grab the Scavenger mini-site. It loaded flash files within the main flash file, so without knowing what those files were, it's hard to grab.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/04/09 - 10:38 AM Permalink

you are comparing those screenshots to game of the year fallout 3? are you for real.. so typical of the australian game dev scene to talk themselves up. As if ratbag did anything revolutionary, dukes of hazzard was a mess of a game.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/04/09 - 2:59 PM Permalink

Powerslide was okay... not bad. Melbourne house created the better test drive lemans game which was reviewed by IGN as the best DC game for the platform. Also a better rating than what Powerslide received. But still it is like past ratbaggers trying to toot their own horn again as usual. I mean for aus quite a good achievement , but really where was the competition in Aus so games like Powerslide that sold 200,000 seemed like a huge success. That is just an ordinary number when compared to any racing game released globally.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/05/10 - 10:24 AM Permalink

Back in the day it was fun.
I had high hopes when the studio was taken over initally, and was gutted when it was closed. Krome saved a lot of the jobs with their buyout, which everyone should applaud them for.
I've since had the pleasure of working with several ex rat bag employees and have been impressed by their skills and professionalism. (I actually learnt a lot from them)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/04/09 - 1:36 PM Permalink

Hi Anonymous Dude :-)
I said that the screenshots look a "bit like Fallout 3". Take a look at them, I think you'll find that they do look at the very least look a bit like that game (which was totally awesome).
Naturally this game was unfinished and was on PS2, so if your point is that it doesn't look as good as Fallout 3 then of course you are totally correct.
Cam

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 05/04/09 - 1:21 PM Permalink

I designed prototyped and implemented wrote the core vehicle and on-foot combat mechanics. They are still used to this day in Wheelman, GTA4, and Gears of War.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 11/05/10 - 9:04 PM Permalink

Hey Ex-Ratbagger,
I know this comment is now going to be a year after you've put in your words.

But is there any way the world could see the prototype games?

I was one of the lucky few who would got to play test "The Wheelman"

I really don't recall who i had for the leader of the group, but i would love to see at some stage, the final builds somewhere online as memory of what Ratbag did for the Australians!

Here is some of the only footage i could find of the gameplay test i took part in (i remember the mission quite well now)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35C-AHYviuc

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 13/05/10 - 8:25 AM Permalink

A Scavenger video is floating around the internet somewhere, it was released at E3 or GDC in 2005, I don't recall which event to be exact. Scavenger was a much nicer refinement of RAID, that had potential but got buried by the Midway buyout. It had a post-apocalyptic tone that would have rocked as a Mad Max game.

There was a very early ingame rendered cutscene Wheelman video released which was updated by Midway to a pre-rendered cutscene shortly before Ratbag was shuttered. There are 'leaked' builds of Wheelman on PC, PS2 floating about, and stacks of video footage available, but you have to know someone. Some were leaked to tsumea when Wheelman was actually released on 360. I *think* Midway had them pulled from YouTube? Since Midway are pretty much kaput these days, it may not be an issue to have them re-released. Wheelman could have gone either way.. good or bad it was hard to tell.

Raid was a rip off of Mercenaries (Pandemic LA/LucasArts) The original proof was ok, but luckily the game was not green lit as it was all downhill from there. The feel was bad, and gamers are better off for it's cancellation.

It seemed to me as a lowly employee that it was Ratbag's failure to deliver milestones, and poor relationship pretty much every publisher that appeared to lead to a sell or die deal with Midway, this seemed a strained relationship from the start and was obvious even before they purchased the studios. It completely blindsided me at the time of closure, the studios end was already written in stone.

The Ratbag tech was pretty good. The games never got much past average after Powerslide and DTR.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 12/05/10 - 11:24 PM Permalink

I got a chance to play a Ratbag build of The Wheelman a while back, a few copies are floating around (friend of a friend type stuff). It was a very impressive prototype techwise, shame they never got to put it on the shelves.

Thanks to the person who pointed out to me that the newly released Vin Diesal game called The Wheelman has its development origins right here in Australia. In fact, The Wheelman was the open ended world / vehicle centric game that Ratbag games was working on in 2005 before publisher and owner, Midway, unceremoniously pulled the plug on the Adelaide studio right before Christmas.

In an annual report by Midway back in 2006, Wheelman is listed as the title which Ratbag Games was working on...

During 2005, we acquired two privately-held software developers in principally all-stock transactions initially valued at a total of $7,714,000. In August 2005, we acquired privately-held Ratbag Holdings Pty Ltd. and its subsidiary companies (“Ratbag”). Ratbag was a software developer located in Adelaide, Australia that prior to the acquisition was working with us in the early development stages of The Wheelman, a video game we plan to release in 2007.

An interesting comment about The Wheelman was posted at Digital Life last year when it was noticed that Wheelman would be suffering deveopment delays..

A. Non
July 28th, 2008 at 7:00 am

This title has an interesting history. It was originally being developed by Ratbag as one of their own IPs. Midway then bought them, took everything related to the game, fired everyone at Ratbag, shutdown the company and then gave everything relating to the game to the current creators. I wanted to see Midway go down but I realised that it’s just a company and the suits that work there would just find another place to infest if that ever happened. BTW I never worked for Ratbag, I just had friends who did.

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Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 14/12/07 - 1:39 AM Permalink

  • 1. Anonymous Thu, 13 Dec 2007 17:51:45 EST

    Anyone know how much the Unreal 3 engine costs? Our studio is about to use it.

  • 1. Anonymous Thu, 13 Dec 2007 21:17:37 EST

    You should quit while your ahead.

  • 2. Anonymous Thu, 13 Dec 2007 17:55:08 EST

    $1M USD last I heard... Don't quote me on that.

  • 3. Anonymous Thu, 13 Dec 2007 18:05:06 EST

    There's a royalty option as well.

  • 4. Anonymous Fri, 14 Dec 2007 11:27:53 EST

    It was actually Midway shares not Ratbag shares. Ratbag was never a public traded company. You could only say they were Ratbag shares technically as by were by that stage completely owned by Midway.

  • 1. Souri Fri, 14 Dec 2007 16:24:42 EST

    Thanks for the correction. See, I told yas I was clueless about shares. Who wants to sell me some Phantom console shares?

  • 5. Anonymous Fri, 14 Dec 2007 16:19:22 EST

    typical greedy American's >:(

You might know Tony Albrecht from The Great Debate, but what you may not know is that he was a programmer at Ratbag Games for 6 years, that is until Midway pulled the plug on the studio. Not a lot has been written about the reasons why Midway did this or what they gained or lost from the whole ordeal, but Tony has detailed how Midway's CEO, David Zucker, made a personal fortune of $8.5 million (US) from pumping and dumping Midway shares. Not bad while you're screwing over 70+ people's livelihoods as well. From Tony's blog (found via Kotaku AU)...

(Tony) He must have had a very nice Xmas. Personally, I was looking for work and wondering how long I could keep paying the bills to look after my pregnant wife and 1 year old child.

Now, I don't know much about the inner workings of share trading, so I'll just suggest you all head over to Tony's blog for the entire low-down, complete with graphs and stats. If anyone believes in Karma and just desserts, then Tony says Midway are in a massive world of pain at the moment due to their over-reliance on the Unreal 3 engine.

Personally, I would love to check out the recently released Unreal Tournament 3 (which runs on the Unreal 3 engine). In fact, I have it installed on my PC, but the damn game crashes right after a map loads. And when I say "crash", I'm talking about the unrecoverable kind, the type where you need to turn off / restart the computer and worry if any of your data is lost.

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Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 14/03/06 - 9:54 AM Permalink

  • 1. redwyre - Tue, 14 Mar 2006 1:15:34ZGood save there Souri :)
  • 2. Glenn - Tue, 14 Mar 2006 1:31:58ZGood one Souri :)

    The website was never updated very often, i remember people used to say "Ratbag haven't done anything for years" simply because the website was out of date, not without their latest games. I bitched about that a little when i was working there.

  • 3. Souri - Tue, 14 Mar 2006 17:55:18ZBack in the day, I used to scour local game developer websites for news updates, and I found out pretty early on that hitting Ratbag's website was a bit of a waste of time ;) News updates sometimes had gaps of years inbetween updates and, like you said, lots of new games released weren't even listed on the site. Eventually though, the list of games were updated with lot of great info, faqs, and screenshots on each game. The news archive on the site which dates way back to 1999 is a great record on Ratbag over the years. I think it would have been bummer if all this info was lost forever.
  • 4. Anonymous Coward - Wed, 15 Mar 2006 9:27:41Zw w w . a r c h i v e . o r g
  • 5. Souri - Wed, 15 Mar 2006 18:16:39ZAnyone who's used the Wayback machine before will know that it's renowned for being too damn slow, frequent timeouts are common, and there's too many broken pages and images that it didn't spider properly.
  • 6. Anonymous Coward - Fri, 17 Mar 2006 10:6:56ZThere was never much emphasis put towards maintaining the website, all that ever really changed was the job sections, and that was only when they were advertising, once the position was filled the ad still remained.. nothing had changed to it for a long while, then all of a sudden a Dukes section was made along with a scavenger site. But even that became stale quickly... - As far as the site being down now.. it just seems like they have turned off the dns (which is being served out of chicago's midway HQ), so if anyone knew the IP to the site, it probably still is up..

It's gone. Gone diddly on, gone. The website for Ratbag games is displaying absolutely nothing. The plug has probably been pulled on the server that hosted all that fabulous info on the once great South Australian games developer, and the domain name is probably on it's way to expiration in a matter of days or years, take your pick.

But have no fear, Sumea made a duplicate copy of the site before it went down to keep for archival purposes. Ratbag had a great website which covered many of their games in great detail, so it was too good to be lost. You can check it out at the following link...

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Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/03/06 - 8:50 AM Permalink

  • 1. A.Ymos - Mon, 6 Mar 2006 23:51:16ZThey came, they saw, they bought themselves some naming rights, they left. My heart just goes out to all the people caught in the middle.
  • 2. unit - Tue, 7 Mar 2006 3:37:39Zsounds like passing the buck to me. I guess it sounds less palatable to shareholders and the market to say, we made a mess of things.
  • 3. Anonymous Coward - Fri, 17 Mar 2006 10:10:28ZWhat makes it funny is that they bought Ratbag for their "strong management skills" and when they closed the studio, it was mentioned that it was because of poor senior management.. so go figure..
  • 4. pb - Sun, 19 Mar 2006 12:43:39ZSounds like buyer's remorse...
  • 5. Anonymous Coward - Sun, 25 Jun 2006 5:10:57Zscrew midway never will i purchase theyre product again

It's the first official response from Midway on the Ratbag closure, and perhaps it'll be the most we will ever get on the matter from them. Midway's CEO, David Zucker, had a chat with Gamespot at the recent Midway press event, which included a question on the sudden closure of Adelaide's Ratbag Studios...

David: We've acquired five studios in the past few years, four of them we are very happy with. We think they're on the verge of becoming AAA studios--Seattle, Austin, Los Angeles, and Newcastle. One of them, the Australian studio, is a good studio, but it would require a little more work to get up to the kind of quality we need to have for next-generation, so we made the tough decision to close the studio late last year. But as a result of our other acquisitions, we have four new studios that are a critical part of our team now.
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Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/01/06 - 4:17 PM Permalink

  • 1. unit - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 12:42:00 PMnice one krome :) i wish the new venture every success
  • 2. Ex RatBag - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 12:57:40 PMIt was a feeding frenzy. Developers converged on Adelaide like vultures.

    A lot of the guys now have jobs elsewhere. The problem with setting up in Adelaide is that its hard to recruit making it a bad long term business decision. People want to live in one of the major cities like Melbourne, Sydney or Brizzy. You've also got the added strain of two offices in different locations. Very expensive.

    Brave decision I think.

  • 3. - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 3:28:03 PMThis is great news if true. :)
  • 4. Ex Ratbag II - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 5:44:11 PMIt is good news and good on Krome for making it!

    Yes it was a feeding frenzy but only if people were willing to shift from Adelaide... which may not be so simple for people with a partner, house or land and no reason to uproot other than work.

  • 5. unit - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 7:59:18 PMConverged on Adelaide like Vultures? And you'd prefer it that they didn't come and offer people work? The choice of words seems a tad harsh given that you have a choice wether you accept offers of employment.

    Doesn't it indicate rather that these studios value talent? The studios that will succeed imho ar ethe one's that invest in people and realise that the talent of their team is the most important asset they have.

  • 6. some dude - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 10:29:25 PMSome would see it as studios are valuing talent and others would see it as studios wanting an easy pick of talent when the talent is in a tough situation, thus acting like vultures.

    Congrats to Krome in taking the local industry for serious with such a bold move.

  • 7. - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 11:53:19 PMHas anyone been able to confirm this yet or establish what scale of operation Krome is setting up?
  • 8. Anonymous Coward - Monday, January 23, 2006 - 11:58:37 PMNothing to do with being nice. Its just business, just not a very good option as the best talent is now well and truly gone and Adelaide is the wrong place to setup a studio if you were to do so from scratch. A number of other studios decided not to do it for this very reason. If Krome was more than just about making a quick buck then the quality of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger would be a better and would be released as a AAA quality title rather than a budget or value title. Of course a lot of that has to do with poor management and limited opportunities in the marketplace.
  • 9. unit - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 12:24:24 AMI never said it wasn't just business but if you're living in adelaide and unable to relocate then at least Krome's decision to open a studio there can't be seen as anything other than a good thing.

    As for the studios headhunting in Adelaide, that's excactly what i'd do if I were in their place, and if I'd just been made retrenched (and believe me, I've been in that position in the industry before) I'd welcome the interest from a number of prominent studios.

    Geez, with some of you guys it sounds like a case of being damned either way.

  • 10. Hazard - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 2:05:56 AMGot to agree with Unit on this one totally - It looks as though some of you arent seeing a kind hand offering help - but a skeletal hand swingly a scythe with a faint evil cackling in the background.

    If anyones going to be able to cop the cost and high risk it will be Krome.

    Its definately a bold move - but it could work really nicely if they tread carefully.

  • 11. Ex Ratbag II - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 2:56:29 AMI thought ExRatbag's first line was dark humour... just not to everyone's taste (no pun intended).
  • 12. Anonymous Coward - Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 7:23:36 PMGood on any Australian development studio that is investing time and energy in Australian development. We need more action and support and less nonsense. If a studio goes bust the owners are hurting a lot more than the employees in most cases. If Krome ends up going bust because of this move the owners end up loosing houses and lives are ruined. Its a huge risk and a bold move so good on them for trying.
  • 13. Anonymous Coward - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 5:54:08 PMVery risky considering Krome's current financial problems. They're not much better off than IR Gurus is right now.
  • 14. Anonymous Coward - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 9:05:38 PMWhere did you get that idea from?
  • 15. Colin S - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 11:22:55 PMWhat skills were the interstate studios after, and what were the top salaries paid? Does anyone have an idea?
  • 16. Anonymous Coward - Wednesday, January 25, 2006 - 11:28:43 PM#14, if IR Gurus are in trouble then why are they hiring a large number of staff for next gen development? Did you mean another developer perhaps?
  • 17. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:30:39 AMLOL! Post 14 is the funniest bit of forum BS I've heard in years. ROFL! LMAO!
  • 18. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:43:34 AMIts more likely to be true than not true. Why did Krome do a budget title deal on TY TIGER then instead of positioning it as a AAA quality game ? where is the money coming from ? how long will it last before running out ? or talk to IR Gurus staff about their last Christmas holiday. You don't have to be a rocket scientist.
  • 19. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:28:52 AMMaybe there's more to the market place than just top end price points? Maybe its the same reason "Wiggles" dvds aren't all full price? I don't see them crying poor because they're not "AAA quality".

    This is also the same reason why there are more cars than just Porches. You don't need to be a rocket scientist but you do need to look at how things work in the real world.

  • 20. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:54:17 AMWiggles are actually very high production value products in high demand. TY TIGER isn't very high-end and actual sales aren't great (unless maybe you add up sales over all the versions of the game but that's over a very very long time frame).
    The sales numbers are also inflated.

    If you do the math with 150 people on staff and the potential sales revenues from games then you can see they are in trouble. If it wasnt' for the bailout from the government this company would be in a very bad situation. They are also moving into business areas they know nothing about. They are taking even greater financial risks spreading themselves more thinly at a time they should be taking stock of the reality of their situation and the industry at large.

    There is more to the marketplace than top end price points, but if you could get them you would.

  • 21. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 12:40:30 PMNo definately IR Gurus. It would be nice if they paid thier current staff money owed from previous periods (e.g. the Christmas break) before bringing on even more people. Irresponsible!!
  • 22. - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 3:14:13 PManother sumea news post, another gamedev screwing over its employees...
  • 23. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 3:18:37 PMTo: Post 21 Anonymous Coward. You obviously have a firm grasp of your own genitals, but a very bizarro-universe grasp of Krome's financial standing. Taking heresay and rumour from the net and regurgitate it as fact, mixing it with your own very low sense of self-worth may seem a way to score triphy points with your imaginary friends, but in the real world it makes you look, sad and pathetic, and a complete loser..

    "If you do the math", on what are you basing your statistics since you are obviously privvy to a different set of figures than those at Krome

    Since you are obviously all-seeing and all powerful, can you also tell me who will win this year's Melbourne Cup? Or will that be you as well?
    "And its a photofinish Galloping C*cksucker!"

  • 24. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 5:59:26 PMDid he hit a raw nerve ? If this is in fact Krome's official response to the issue then the response has been more enlightening than the original revelations. However bad the financial situation has become it seems there's definately more serious issues at Krome. That's probably why it got into this situation in the first place.
  • 25. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 6:14:32 PMReading the original post I was skeptical. Reading the response however I'm now convinced. Sad tho.
  • 26. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 7:49:31 PMI think it is harsh to dismiss such talk in the way it has been. Rumors often have a shred or two truth to them, and IR Guru's own employee's for instance have stated cash-flow issues over the Christmas break - not that I am judging their character. And I think there is truth to the speculation over Krome, after all, if Ty has done so good then why the 1.5 million from Ausindustry?

    To dismiss such talk as merely the work of some twisted weirdo is a bit hasty, after all, how many people saw what was coming in the way of Ratbag and Perception?

    And the signs were there to read.

  • 27. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 8:09:12 PMI just re-read comment 23 and all I have to say is: I thought I was bad ;)

    If that is coming from Krome then there surely must be a lot more to it then.

    Is it just me, or is everyone else getting sick and tired of studios advertising for talent when they shouldn't be and know they shouldn't? Especially as it seems that every one of them that does is just about to go under and doesn't have the cash to spend on hiring.

  • 28. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:13:18 PMOf course its also quite possible that some of them actually do need the people because they are doing just fine. I mean I head Pandemic, Big Ant, THQ, Sidhe AND Team Bondi are all hiring I guess thay're all going to shut down soon too right?

    It would be great if the local studios got some local support instead of the doomsayers just waititng for them to fail. And even if they do, guess what? That's not just the games industry that happens everywhere. Most businesses fail in the first year - any local studio that's gone longer than that is doing well.

    A lot of people here just seem to be waiting like vultures for companies to fail, just so they can say "I knew it would happen". That's just sad for this industry and all the people who manage to make some sort of living by making games. Just sad.

  • 29. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:41:00 PMI think advertising to fill positions when you are having trouble paying your current employee's is sad. And I think people like you who condone it and think it is OK to do it are what this industry can do without - you have lead to this current situation in the industry, with your fan-boy ignorance of game development.

    Support is one thing when the studio is really trying to do something and do it right, support for those that are only hurting this industry in the long run is just shooting yourself in the foot.

    As for those that "said it would happen," perhaps you should have had the brains to listen to them instead of painting them as something this industry can do without. Ignoring and attacking those that are trying to steer the industry in the right direction so as to avoid studio closures, especially when such talk is usually unpopular to the current "perception" within the industry, just shows your own short-sighted stupidity - and you deserve to be one of those that end up without a job.

    People like that are what this industry needs most of all, those willing to put themselves on the line to try at least to make a difference, usually at extreme personal cost - arsehole!

  • 30. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 10:53:04 PMCorrection, make that: useless arsehole! ;)
  • 31. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:06:34 PMYou're funny. Self important, mis-informed and pompus. But funny.

    So Pandemic IS shutting down then? As is Team Bondi? You seam to have all the answers.

  • 32. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:14:18 PMI never said that useless-arsehole, don't try twisting my words or putting them in my mouth. You won't like what you get ;).

    I'm sure that Team Bondi and Pandemic both are doing just fine - both studios have the know how to succeed. Wouldn't surprise me if Team Bondi have done pretty well due to Perception.

  • 33. Useless-arsehole - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:19:10 PMYour mouth full of words mixed with shit?

    It's now totally obvious that your making up observations of companies based on assumptions. You might want to cast that all seeing eyes of yours a little deeper or at least wipe the shit off them.

  • 34. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:09:23 PMI like it how Sumea has become Sumea Lite: Now 97"(percent) Fact Free
    I would expect every company in Australia will collapse next week and this is how (I've pieced it together from the facts on this site):
    Krome: because they will collapse under the weight of Job Applications.
    THQ/ Blue Tongue: One bad financial result and THQ will be looking to shed a few of its less valuable operations. THQ will send out the guy in the Spongebob Suit to do the honours.
    Pandemic: If Elevation decide to float it, reduced costs will look very attractive to investors. Sting will hold a benefit concert for the redundant staff.
    Auran will obviously survive since they are going to dethrone WoW
    Sega/ Creative Assmebly- Won't shut down, HR will just issue short Samurai swords
    Sidhe- Will be consumed along with the rest of NZ when a Sheep who can speak rouses the other sheep and makes them realise that together they outnumber the humans and can take over the country.
    Atari: Will collapse when a Red and Blue Semi crashes through the lobby of Melbourne House. It may be a Decepticon ploy
  • 35. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:35:52 PMNice that you have adopted your rightful title willingly. It suits you ;)
  • 36. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:38:17 PMBTW: I haven't made any "predictions" about either IR Gurus or Krome or any other studio of late - just reiterated some old ones I made. I've only expressed my opinion of what has been said of the two to date. And I don't make assumptions, I use what I hear from reliable sources and marry that to facts and past experience to project what might happen - anyone working in this industry should, especially if they are working in a lead role.

    I'll make this prediction for you however, and I am the first one to say that this one may very well not come true. And it is this: by the end of 2006, another relatively high-profile studio will either lay-off a lot of its employees, or, just plain old shut their doors. I'll even say that it will occur in Victoria with a close second being Queensland - or is that too vague for you?

  • 37. CynicalFan - Thursday, January 26, 2006 - 11:45:01 PMOr perhaps that is a little too gypsy fortune-telling as well?
  • 38. - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 1:02:44 AMIR Gurus over the last few years have only been able to make payments to staff on time about 60"(percent) of the time. Since its monthly pays this is a disaster normally, since people have to make arrangements to get rent put off, and IR Gurus generally send around emails to the staff, stating they are trying their best etc, that they been screwed over this or that publisher and the money is not in the bank. Most staff just got sick and tired of the excuses over time and most relied on credit cards since it was just hard to save money due to the fact you didn't know when your next payment was due.

    That said, IR Gurus have been trying over the last few months (since November) to try and give the illusion of that they can pay on time. They got a few deals in the works that could help them significantly with any future cash flow issues.

    As stated earlier though, IR Gurus are constantly recruiting staff even though their track record of even paying there existing staff isn't the greatest.

    Most business managers know that wages are your #1 priority, if you find out you can't pay your employee's you go down to the bank and you get a overdraft. Sure you have to put your own house up as collatoral to get the money to cover 60 people, but you as director have risks that come with the job, and one of them is that sometimes you have to sacrifice potentially your own belongings. Besides the risk is minimal, the company knows it's cheaper for them to avoid the overdraft interest rates by just expecting employees to wait and sacrifice their financial position rather than that of the companies. I believe that most people are lenient and will allow a company once or twice the company to be late with pays, but not when it becomes a frequent event.

    I think IR Gurus have potential, but I think they need to get out of the mentality that they should expect everything from the employee. In the past especially with a few of the recently released projects, they expected massive amount of commitment from employees without giving the same back. Lack of conditions and proper equipment. I know from my experiences that if you work for a company that expects a lot from you, but gives a lot back that you are highly motivated.

  • 39. Anonymous Coward - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 1:20:06 AMBTW just to follow up with my previous post, I do believe IR Gurus unlike perception are not going out of business. They do have a tendancy to get their products out there, like heroes is a awesome game. I do believe that perhaps due to a few things in the works that the pays will be 100"(percent) on time in the future. Also being funded by financial backers instead of the publisher, allows them to survive if a project doesn't make it to market or looses a publisher etc. Also IR Gurus have a lot of great titles in the works at the moment as well.

    Main downside which I don't know if they will escape is they have a factory worker mentality really, they have unrealistic time frames and expect 150"(percent) results to get the product done in that time frame. A lot of game companies take this approach though, and it can work, and is a well known factor when joining a games company. Mind you a lot of games companies overseas and even some internally are starting to realise that proper planning and smarter business tend to be more economical in the end.

  • 40. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 1:45:36 AMComments 39 and 40 based on reliable sources, facts and past experiences sounds about right to me ;). Though I am sure someone will manage to twist the comments as well as my own around as a means of attack to cover-up their own failings and insecurities ;D.
  • 41. PixelPusher - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 12:15:31 PMThis one goes out to poster 39...

    You could also add that historically, IR Gurus forced pay cuts upon their staff when things were looking grim. You would also have to say that they repaid these monies, though it was dependant on the next project being signed and there was considerable risk for the staff involved of not recouping those monies.

    You are right that most people are lenient. As an employee, you have the responsibility to yourself to work for the best company you can and get the best deal and the minimum about of stress. It sounds like you really like what you are doing but find the balance of what is expected of you compared to what you find an unacceptable situation.

    It all comes down to the level of risk you are willing to take and to ride the wave and see if it turns out good. It's an issue of leverage that they meet your demands - if they don't value you enough or actually cannot acquiesce then its probably better that you go and get another job somewhere, where it might be better. As long as you are good at what you do, professional and don't burn any bridges then you can more than likely go back if it turns out good later on and there is demand for your skill.

    You mention a lack of planning and management as well. You are probably posting to a forum like this - in the hope that someone there in the management reads it and goes - 'Hey we should pay our staff on time!', and then they hopefully do.

    It's at that point where you have to question two things about the management, and more so the individuals who are part of that management: their ability to run a good business, and their integrity.

    Management is taking charge of the situation. I am not against management in any way - there are hundreds of examples of good, competent mangers in the video game industry. Just like their are good programmers and artists and bad programmers and artists.

    If the integrity is there, then you have less to worry about and hopefully things will straighten out, projects will be approved and you will be paid on time, or at least with the best intentions. Though they could be inept and get it wrong. Everyone usually thinks they are doing things right until they observe or are told otherwise - and if you are a manager and no one is grading your performance then it is academic. The word 'oblivious' comes to mind.

    If there is no integrity then you have a real problem. The only way you can succeed there is lock in your interests contractually though leverage. Nothing else really works in those cases.

    The million dollar question is: Does all the management have integrity? Do they all have the ability?

    It's like hiring, in reverse.

  • 42. Anonymous Coward - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 6:31:55 PMIts the same for fully owned studios also. Bluetongue just recently missed out on a game for THQ even though they are fully owned by THQ. Just because your internal doesn't mean you are immune to the same risks as everyone else. Atari was a case in point, they had to reduce staffing levels right down. The recent Ratbag example is a case in point. Fully owned studios are more likely to be shut down unceremoniously when compared to independent studios. If this trend is maintained at Bluetongue then they will get into trouble fast. With the independents there is much more warning and the owners at least try to keep things ticking along through the tough times.
  • 43. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 7:18:28 PMNice comment 43, something I and others have stated in the past but always ends up having to be stated again and again and again.

    Anyway on to other business. I just wanted to expand my prediction somewhat as I felt it was a bit too gypsy fortune-telling in that it is highly probable that at least one studio will suffer such a fate, so I will change it to the following:

    I am 95"(percent) certain that at least one relatively high-profile studio will either lay-off a large number of its staff or just plain old shutdown the studio altogether. I say "either" lay-off or shutdown in that studios in the past instead of doing the latter have done the former, and just not bothered to tell anyone so as to "appear" in a state of health. For instance mid last year a studio in Victoria were in a serious cash-flow crisis, desperately looking for funding. I was not told which studio it was nor found out what happened, but the outlook was pretty grim for them, yet, I to date have heard nothing reported in the media or through other public channels as to whether employees were "let-go" or the studio shutdown - most likely it was the former and they have maintained the illusion of healthy business ever since, as a skeletal team or simply the founders can exist this way for a few years in-between publishing deals.

    FYI: the 5"(percent) is due to the off chance that you have learnt from the examples of Ratbag and Perception, and by some divine miracle - that one is for the Christians - you have actually woken up and seen the effect next-gen could have on the local industry and have all started to panic and rush through measures to weather the coming storm that has actually started to hit - even though many of you are still oblivious to it,.

    Well, back to my predictions as I have more to make ;). I am 60"(percent) certain that 2-3 studios will either lay-off a large number of its staff or simply close their doors. I am 40"(percent) certain that 5-6 studios will either lay-off a large number of its staff or simply close their doors.

    These "predictions" are Australia wide by-the-way, so it can occur in any state and any city - just to be reassuring :). I'll also add that a string of smaller lay-offs over the year will count as one large lay-off - so no way of weaseling your way out of it ;).

    Now if the first (95"(percent)) prediction is proven to be false, I will stop posting and writing comments to this site, Sumea. Not only that, but I will also resign and never work in the local industry again. If I get it right, well big deal, that is one is easy to guess at. Now if the second (60"(percent)) prediction comes true, I will increase the number of posts I make to this site threefold, and I will make my presence far more felt to those that wish I would just go away. Now if the (40"(percent)) prediction comes true, everyone of you idiots on here who seem to be under the delusion that there is nothing at all wrong with the industry, that Perception and Ratbag were extreme cases and had nothing to do with the arrival and effects of next-gen or the general short-sighted and short-term deficiencies of the local industry, can kiss my hairy-beanbag in the full-swing of summer after I haven't bathed for a week.

    Ought to be nice and smelly from the humid sweaty heat ;D.

    I feel that I will win in this because you guys never learn from someone else's mistakes nor do you bother to learn from your own. Instead what usually ends up happening is that you reinforce the same beliefs that lead you to undertake the various actions and make the decisions that lead to the unfortunate mess to begin with, rather than changing your behaviour so as to avoid committing the same mistakes again.

  • 44. Anonymous Coward - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:11:22 PM#44 Brilliant! BUT the same prediction can be applied to any industry anywhere in the world. That has nothing to do with the local games industry being better or worse than any other.

    -100 points

  • 45. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:16:36 PMYep sure could, if the circumstances were similar, ie going through a great change like the next-gen transition that most of the locals seemed to deny existed or would have any effect. Otherwise the similarities end right there, and the same could not be made. After all, how many studios in the local industry shut-down last year, how many the year before that, and how many the year before that one?

    I don't recall too many reports of this other than a studio or two laying people off, and a startup or two that were probably not even what you could call a studio yet, do you?

    And you are right, it has nothing to do with it being better or worse than any other, but that still does not mean that there is nothing wrong with it. Comparing it to another industry if it has no relevance to our industry, will not be of any help in justifying its current state - at least in my eyes.

    Comparing it to another industry going through a similar change will. Regardless, even this does not justify the state the industry is in and its failings that lead to this state.

    Me saying with 95"(percent) certainty that this is the case is pretty bold statement to make. It means that this is most likely going to happen - whereas in the past there have been no strong industry pressures for it to occur. Me saying that I am 40"(percent) certain that 5-6 studios will go through this, is equally as bold, as this is slightly less than a 50/50 set of odds of it occurring.

    Your short-sighted generalisation is really missing the point and also dismissing what I have said in order to trivialise it, especially as if I am wrong, it has major repercussions for me ;)

  • 46. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:33:12 PMSomeone is bound to mention Ratbag being last year, that one slipped my mind because it is still relatively fresh in my mind and feels this year. So don't bother pointing that one out.

    I'll also point out that I am fairly confident that in the past here has been at least one year not to go through any lay-offs or studio closures. And in the past my odds would have been something like 40"(percent) certainty of this occurring, so me raising it to 95"(percent) is being very confident that it will occurring again, especially after Ratbag and Perception being so recent.

  • 47. some dude - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:31:24 PMHey cynical, since you know so much why don't you start warning these companies about their imminent doom and maybe save them and their staff? Or at least tell everyone why you think they will go under. Anyone can make a prediction like that, hey i'll do it now: "2 companies will close down this year but dont ask me why". I'm not being sarcastic.
  • 48. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:48:29 PMTry reading the last comment thread in regards to the 2005 AGDC, the one with something like 130 comments - because I really don't feel like repeating myself. You will find it by visiting the current voting comments, there is a link at the bottom.

    As for which studios, off the top of my head try: Atari, Torus, Tantalus, Infinite Interactive, Auran.

    Others that aren't so hard to stretch and I would not be surprised at are: Krome, Blue Tongue, Creative Assembly.

  • 49. some dude - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 8:48:18 PMwhat i mean is that maybe, just maybe (although doubtfull) someone will read this from somewhere and will realise what the problems are, cause i agree with you that many people are sometimes oblivious to whats happening.
  • 50. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 9:24:19 PMMaybe later tonight or tomorrow I'll try to write that one up, it would take a lot of my time and at the moment I am time-poor.

    Perhaps someone who has the time and who doesn't feel like they are repeating themselves and bashing their heads against a brick-wall will write up there take and I won't have to. Perhaps commentators: 9, 19, 21, 39, 40, 42 and 43 can shed some light.

    As for your earlier comment about warning them. Well when I read sh*t like what occurred at Perception and how the PS2 Lead was treated by the management and the whole team for only trying to save the project and steer it in the right direction. I kind of feel what is the point of doing so, that it is all for the best and that these studios probably deserve it anyway.

    Reading that post made me very... very... angry. No one like that, with the courage to at least try to make a difference, and with the real experience and seniority that makes his words believable, deserves such treatment. So now I no longer feel any pity for Perception, and I feel very little in regards to the studio that will close their doors this year.

    For the record: I don't like being right about these things, and where as this prediction is merely a generalisation of what I have experienced and heard to date - therefore I don't really know who will be next or which studios will be affect, I just know it will happen and is pretty much inevitable by this point. The matter of Perception was not a generalisation, I heard Ben Lenzo speak at a conference, I spoke to the guy on a few occasions, and based on that first-hand experience, as well as the experiences I had directly with another project, I new with certainty that that game would not make it to market. They were clearly out of their depth, Ben with his comments at the conference and when I chatted to him showed he just did not have and depth of comprehension when it came to game development and more importantly in game design - game design is very hard, it is not easy at all though it may initially appear to be, yet apparently he was the lead designer when he had no real experience. The company did not have a track-record of attempting any title of that complexity, just some arcade boat game I think - the last time I had heard anything from them was quite a while, and I thought that they had disappeared quietly off of the face of the planet.

    And more importantly, they had somehow convinced investors to give them money so that they could buy the Stargate license. Though a bold and great business move in game development, unfortunately unless you know what you are doing, you are only going to fail. For instance, though publishers are a pain in the arse, they for the most part are trying to make a successful title - as these make money. If you own a license, have raised funds to develop part of the game yourself, you may have a degree of arrogance when it comes to the publisher making suggestions about the game, especially if you have been burnt by publishers in the past rejecting your game proposals or forcing you to make unnecessary changes, even if they were really needed - based on what Ben told me, this arrogance was in place, not only to the publisher, which explains why the team heard little from them about the game as Ben had retarded that relationship from the start, but also to anyone else like the PS2 lead who had more experience than all of them probably put together.

    FYI: company / studio culture flows from the top-down folks.

    Ben the CEO was to blame for the studios short-comings, though, MGM is to blame for not doing their due-diligence, and awarding the use of the license to them - I hope someone at MGM was fired for that. Ben was pretty much the link (being the CEO) to JoWood and MGM, he decided who and who not to hire for the team, he set the studio's internal environment that would have either promoted communication and collaboration or stifled it - those he hired for leads would have been what he considered within such a "vision" and yes-men who would not rock-the-boat or threaten his position on the project, so he could keep on going as lead designer / producer, neither which he had the experience for.

    The similar experience I had was with a studio where though they largely did not know what the hell they were doing from lack of experience, they had a lot of talent - not to mention some great technology. However, they did not own a license and were not in a similar position to Perception going into the publishing deal - though it surprised me just how much they managed to get away with. In this case, the publisher quite plainly stated that either an improvement be made or the project be dropped - therefore they were then forced to see the light of reason and were then willing to listen to I and others so as to save the project from the bin. Perception I new would not, they would keep at it until it was just too late to have the same turnaround occur - as is what happened.

    Now all that long-winded stuff said, if I were to have said that to Ben Lenzo almost two years ago, what do you think he would have said to me exactly when I explained what would happen and why, and more importantly, how he could avoid it by simply delegating more and bringing on the right people with experience to act as leads - with him not meddling in design, which was the main reason why the project I worked on in the past was in bad shape, the CEO playing at being a game designer as well as producer when he had no experience for the roles whatsoever.

    Do you think he would have listened to me?

    Of course not, he wouldn't have and nor will any of the others that are doomed to fail even when they could succeed. Furthermore, if I had said all that two years ago on Sumea, I would have been ignored, ridiculed and attacked much as I am now. Knowing what I did about Perception was not pleasing as I could do nothing about it but sit back and watch it all unfold - there is a reason why my forum posts end with: "Ignorance is truly bliss!"

  • 51. Anonymous Coward - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 11:07:55 PMPeople aren't listening to you because you're coming across as another doomsayer - unfortunately anyone can do that with or without anything to back them up. You say you have plenty of experience and saw it coming. Well good for you.

    You know what? If I had a steady job making games for 2 years and lost it for whatever reason (beyond my own fault) Yes I'd be bitter for not having a job but honestly I'd be thinking "cool well at least I got paid to make games for a bit." Sure if you're only in it for the money then you've just "wasted" 2 years of your life but you a bigger idiot for not going in an industry that pays you a lot more. That's just a financial truth. Games don't pay as well as some other industries. Then gain I've yet to hear about game developers jumping out of windows.

    Give Ben a little credit for at leat going out and trying instead of waiting for someone to walk up to him with a bag of money. Sure they didn't succeed - for whatever reason, they tried. And I have to ask why the staff hung around for 2 months without pay - surely that's just stupid - or did think that their product was worth fighting for?

    As for the senior programmer not being listened to - well maybe they were wrong and didn't have all the facts - maybe they were just as arrogant as the management. That's not such a big stretch. THough I do grant it sounds like there was a big communication issue between them.

    I'm not trying to put Cynical Fan down but threre's usually more than one side to any story and a lot of what is being presented here sounds a lot like rumor and heresay rather than solid fact. Cynical Fan - Do you have any real suggestions or are you just waiting for the walls to fall? Better yet are you going to start up your own company to show those mugs how to do it right? Go on. How hard could it be?

  • 52. CynicalFan - Friday, January 27, 2006 - 11:35:40 PMI stated in the past that this is not "doomsaying" as you put it - I just tend to focus on the negatives as I think they generally need to be addressed first over the positives ;). I have also given suggestions in the past as to what has lead to the current state and what can be done about it.

    I believe that the local industry will recover and more quickly than perhaps some will realise - if is merely a natural cycle of change, the old die, the new grow. This is a great opportunity for startups based on knowledgeable and experienced individuals in game development to start studios with fresh ideas and approaches to game development, and hopefully bring to the local industry that so far has been lacking - if you startup without any experience, even if you do have experience in business, you will only fail I might add.

    I wish any startup that is trying to do things right, all the best in 2006, as I think it is a great opportunity for them as well as other more established studios that are making headway in adopting better development practises / attitudes - good luck to you guys ;).

    As for the staff hanging around without pay because they thought it was worth fighting for, sure. Even if the game was average it probably would still have sold well and made a small profit, perhaps more than that. So yeah, they hung around as having a licensed title like Stargate on their resume when perhaps many of them had nothing at all, would be something to proud of.

    If I were in their situation I would hang around as well and give it my best try as well, shows a prospective employer that I have commitment and drive, but not if I had at least one to my name - just not worth putting up with all that, especially as the project was clearly about to become a crashed wreckage.

    I'll give Ben some credit, it is the first time I have heard anyone securing a license to develop a title with - that is a developer doing so - and taking control of the development process - but as I said, to do so without experience will take you on a long trip to nowhere, unless you are willing to delegate.

    I won't forgive him for what he did with that opportunity and what he did to others that were willing and trying to help him though.

    As for suggestions, I've given plenty in the past, and don't feel like repeating myself again. I also don't see any point in helping those that only help perpetuate false development practises in the local industry. I would prefer to see them close their doors quite frankly, clearing the way for new studios to make unimpeded headway - don't ask for my reasoning on this, if you are curious, try reading the the AGDC 2005 and 2004 comment threads.

    Anyway, that is enough from me I think, I have said all I want to say, and saying any more would be a waste of time. Though I will say this, I have been working on a manifesto of sorts for the local industry, it should say far more about how I feel about the current situation, why it has occurred, and what I believe needs to be done to overcome it.

    Perhaps I'll find the time to finish it, and make it public when I feel the time is right ;).

  • 53. Anonymous Coward - Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 11:18:57 AMIn regards to post #52, I'm in the games industry personally to enjoy my work but also to be paid fairly for my work. Some studios in Australia do pay fairly some don't. More overseas, you can find studios realising that their employees are their lifeblood and treat and pay them fairly. i.e. yes you can still say you won't earn as much as other industries this is fair but I think there is a big difference to getting rich and getting paid fairly.
  • 54. Ex Ratbagger 2 - Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 11:40:22 AMYou're all a bunch of whinging assholes.

    Those of us who can't move from Adelaide are very appreciative of the offer from Krome, and if it goes down the gurgler because of this bullshitty, uneducated rumours hurting share prices and the like, I'll do a "Jay and Silent Bob" and spend my time on the dole tracking you down to punch you in your pimply nerd faces!

  • 55. Ex Ratbag II - Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 1:57:32 PMAmong whinging and rumours of doom.... seems some people are forgetting that setting up a studio in Adelaide can make sense as there is a concentration of experienced people here, supply of new graduates and cost of office space is lower than other major cities.

    Krome setting up in Adelaide was appreciated by people who could not shift and I hope it works well for them.

  • 56. Ex Ratbag II - Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 2:29:51 PMTypo: I meant there is "a supply of new graduates and cost of office space is lower than other major cities".
  • 57. Anonymous Coward - Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 3:38:03 PMSo #55 has already decided who will be to blame in the event that this studio bombs, and not only that, it won't be anyone making the decisions but rather a bunch of people who express their opinion on a website... But only if their opinions are proved to have been correct and the studio does actually bomb... !?!? Hehe, that's when he's not busy blaming the weather man for correctly predicting rain... Unless he's wrong and it doesn't rain of course...
  • 58. unit - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 3:18:07 AMcomment no. 55 is spot on.

    Rampant speculation filters out into the general community. This website is not an island and the stockmarket thrives on rumours and hearsay. Do the ex Ratbag guys, Krome the company and it's people a favour and try to avoid errant speculation. It's fair to discuss and speculate about the problems that beset Perception AFTER their demise but do try to avoid speculation about Krome for the reasons post 55 outlined.

    When I said that it's about time the industry in Australia became more professional I also meant it's time that all of it's members acted more professionally - employers and employees alike.

    One more comment - do you think registration or at least listing IP's should be implemented here? People know me by my handle and that I'm not endeavouring to hide behind a veil of anonymity with my comments. I think particularly when posting flames and errant speculation that this should be required - it might compel people to act a little more responsibly with their posts and ensure they have either the facts or their insider knowledge to support their assertions.

  • 59. unit - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 4:29:07 AMI should add I'm not saying DON'T speculate about the industry. Only that people need to be aware their words can have ramificatons, often adverse. If you're going to assert an opinion or some 'information' then at least do so from a position of knowledge and also not from a position of anonymity. Posting here shouldn't be seen simply as a right.

    Please act responsibly. An old saying from WWII springs to mind: 'loose lips sink ships'.

  • 60. Anonymous Coward - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 12:12:19 PMRe: IRGurus. We have just signed the lease on a new, larger office and AFAIK we were all paid early and in full for Christmas. Some management still leave a lot to be desired and they still require too much crunch time but things are definately on the up.
  • 61. pb - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 1:23:57 PMIf the rumours and speculations posted here can really have a measurable impact on the stock market I'm getting into stock market manipulation! Yeah, I'll short some studio, spread rumours of its demise and profit! Damn, why isn't everyone doing that!?
  • 62. unit - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 9:08:21 PMPB, I know you're an intelligent guy but at times your remarks can come be monumentally naive.

    Here at Funcom, since publically listing we've been told that under no circumstances can we discuss work or speculate about the state of the team, project, or company outside of the office. This means that we're not to talk casually about matters rleating to the compnay on the bus or wherever.

    Recently we had a case here where it was reported that two funcom emplyoers had allegedly been overheard expressing negative remarks about the company and a project on a train. What started on a personal blog subsequently found it's way into one financial paper here. Fortunately, there were no negative remifications but the case demonstrates that even the financial industry does feed off such rumours and allegations.

    The poster of any remark here DOES have a responsibility to exercise their right with discretion particularly at a sensitve time such as this for Krome when they're moving to expand.

    So I stand by my earlier comment.

  • 63. unit - Monday, January 30, 2006 - 9:29:12 PMoh and in my earlier post what i meant was people shouldn't present their remarks as having any basis in fact if its a piece a wild speculation pulled from your arse. There has been a tendency for people to express their hypotheses as being based on solid information or insider knowledge.

    If you don't have any facts then say so. If you have facts then be prepared to stand by your remarks and register. Simple.

  • 64. pb - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 7:23:36 AMNaive? You're claiming that Cynical et al's speculations can _move the stock market_! I'm not sure if you realise what a breathtakingly monumental claim that is. Souri would be a millionaire by now, getting massive cash offers from companies to bury their competitors.

    Then you immediately resort to an anecdote which doesn't even have anything to do with the case in point (Cynical's and the other anonymous postings are not from identified and verified insiders as is the case with your Funcom employeers example).

    And on top of that all it proves is that in this one instance rumours circulated easily, but the market didn't move a result... which is exactly what one would expect to happen.

  • 65. Anonymous Coward - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 9:27:03 AMIt's just like old times, PB and Unit duking it out *sniff*
  • 66. Lorien - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 11:35:38 AMPeople who say Cynical isn't an identified and verified insider haven't looked around enough. He's right, anyone with half a brain can figure out who he is- even a few late teenage students have managed it. No offense intended at all pb.
  • 67. CynicalFan - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 4:26:43 PMMake that a quarter-of-a-brain these days ;)
  • 68. exratbagger - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 5:18:02 PMIm grateful for Krome setting up in Adelaide and think that they will do well as their management seems solid.

    Oh and CynicalFan why don't you just go jam your own fist up your arse

  • 69. Anonymous Coward - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 5:47:56 PMI don't know who CynicalFan is, I havn't bothered to check, but I guess that means you just have to ask yourself - do I really care?
  • 70. CynicalFan - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 6:08:46 PMMy, my, aren't we hostile exratbagger. I suppose I would be so if I was part of an arrogant studio like Ratbag that went bust, leaving me not so arrogant anymore, huh?

    What I don't get is that I haven't said all that much about Ratbag or Krome making the move to establish a technology focused team down in Adelaide probably using the 1.5m that they secured from Ausindustry to develop a next-gen engine with.

    So why such hostility to me my short-sighted friend? I suppose it is easier to focus on me rather than all the "anonymous" posters, huh?

    FYI: Sorry, I don't do kink requests, pervert! :P

    As for commenter #70, I don't care if you care as I couldn't care less about who you might be either. My comments are not to seek some sort of notoriety, I'm just delivering a message, if you want to shoot the messenger in the vain hope it won't be delivered, you're mistaken - someone else will just do that instead.

    The next-gen transition and its effects on the local industry are inevitable, just ask my good friend exratbagger.

  • 71. pb - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 6:55:39 PMLorien - he doesn't even live in the same city... If you knew who he was you'd also know he has a stake in the company where he is an insider so its unlikely he'd share his inside knowledge anyway. Unless he's secretly shorting it :)
  • 72. Lorien - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 7:11:05 PMActually I had a few beers with him on Saturday so I know he's got nothing to do with Ratbag :) It was me who told him it only takes 1/4 of a brain these days LOL
  • 73. pb - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 9:07:00 PMOh so you're in this insider trading shorting scheme together then eh? :)
  • 74. CynicalFan - Tuesday, January 31, 2006 - 10:46:58 PMThat's it! Someone's legs are going to have a meeting with Mr Baseball-bat for exposing my racket.
  • 75. kazi - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 2:33:35 PM--------------
    "What I don't get is that I haven't said all that much about Ratbag or Krome making the move to establish a technology focused team down in Adelaide probably using the 1.5m that they secured from Ausindustry to develop a next-gen engine with."

    So why such hostility to me my short-sighted friend? I suppose it is easier to focus on me rather than all the "anonymous" posters, huh?"
    --------------

    So let me get this right. You haven't said much about some rubbish you made up about 2 companies, but in the same breath made up some more rubbish about the same 2 companies, and you're wondering why someone would have hostility towards the rubbish you've been saying?

    I dunno man, I'd be bewildered too. Rock on.

  • 76. CynicalFan - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 4:11:46 PMGo f*ck yourself you useless twit!
  • 77. CynicalFan - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 4:38:23 PMYou guys are pathetic, you attack me for the f*ck-ups you've made. I wouldn't expect any less from the local industry, always trying to pass the blame onto someone else. Too bad the publisher excuse has worn a bit thin, hey folks? That one was a real favourite, wasn't it?

    Too bad a lot of developers these days just don't buy that b*llshit excuse anymore. Instead you pick individuals that may have said things you didn't like about them, that perhaps had a little too much truth for your fragile egos to handle, maybe said things that may very well happen that you just didn't want to face yet, because you knew what it would mean for you. It might make you lot feel better to vent your pent up frustrations at me and others, but you are still a bunch of f*ckups that will never learn from your own mistakes - trust me, time well tell me to be right ;).

    Have a nice 2006 with the next-gen wave f*ckups, it is looking to be a real good one ;D.

  • 78. Mdobele - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 5:42:20 PMIt just doesnt seem worth coming into the coments pages anywmore. The majority of this news items 78 replies has simply been personal insults traded back and forth. There is some usefull information here but getting past the day time TV soap opera antics sure is difficult.
  • 79. Anonymous Coward - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 7:15:33 PM#78 - no I think its more that #76 has a problem that you have made claims about those companies (or at least insinuations) which you don't have hard knowledge on (like that the group in Adelaide would be for technology creation - how could you *know* this???). Like unit has said, if it is speculation or your personal opinion, then say 'I think this will happen', not 'This will happen'.
  • 80. Cynical Pwned! - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 11:24:55 PMIf you're who I think you, are how the wife?
  • 81. CynicalFan - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 11:24:23 PMDo you guys even know what the word "probably" means, the word itself indicates "speculation" on my part. I never said it was a 100"(percent) certain, it is just a strong suspicion of mine that I would not have said if it were not for a personal attack. I never said it was 100"(percent) fact. Look up the word in the dictionary. Then to go and say that I was just making up garbage off the top of my head, indicating I was passing it off as 100"(percent) fact is ludicrous, I never did that - just raised some questions at most to stimulate your petty minds into thought based on some facts: 1.7m in Ausindustry funds to develop next-gen engine, Krome wants to establish a team in Adelaide to take in ex-Ratbag staff, Ratbag I think is safe to say was a studio with its own tech and competitive tech, hence the two seem to go together, what the f*ck is wrong with that as you don't pass it off as 100"(percent) fact?

    I don't have time for this sh*t, this constant defence. I've got better things to do with my time at the moment than deal with a few ignorant idiots that probably don't even work in the industry, and Mdobele, I too am a little sick of it as well, especially the way my patience these days has been worn a little thin by the constant wall of ignorance. It disgusts me to think that when I first started posting on this site I was clam and hardly used any "colourful" nor reactive language, but these days it seems I just can't help myself with the constant twits jumping-to-conclusions about what I have said so as to merely attack me for their own petty needs and ill-thought out needs.

  • 82. CynicalFan - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 11:37:52 PMOh, and the "soap opera antics" are not always due to my doing by the way, as with this comment thread. So don't try and pass off the state of the comments on me Mdobele.

    FYI: do you guys have any idea why Sumea has so much sponsorship these days at all? Think real hard and you might start to get an idea as to why.

  • 83. Anonymous Coward - Wednesday, February 01, 2006 - 11:47:43 PMCynicalFan
    Excuse me - I wasn't jumping to conclusions, I was reading what you wrote and took you saying 'probably using the 1.5m that they secured from Ausindustry' to mean that you were speculating on what money Krome was using, to me the sentence reads as you stating that "the team being for technology" is fact.
    You can't write it one way then say it means another - if you made a mistake on how you intended something to come across then correct it when somebody asks - don't just lash out. But then, aparently here its justfied to just lash out at people who are asking reasonable questions.

    Perhaps if you REALLY want people to start thinking about what you're saying, and looking at their own situation, you shouldn't adopt such a sanctimonious tone. You know - value other peoples opinion as much as you value your own (even if you disagree) as well as considering that just because somebody disagrees with you (or asks a question) doesn't make them an idiot, twit or whatever you want to call them - perhaps their own experiences lead them to a different conclusion, or they're just asking for clarification.

    Lastly, in my opinion, saying that everybody is just making personal attacks on yourself is the kettle calling the pot black. Every response YOU make is a personal attack on somebody who disagreed with you or asks a question. If you're saying you're sick of it, then perhaps you should lead by example?

    If anybody on these boards wants to help this industry, then perhaps people should try to not alienate everybody who has a different point of view. By all means speculate, be the voice of doom if that's where you honestly think things are going, but just do it in a constructive manner, instead of all this 12 year old un-professional crap.

  • 84. CynicalFan - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 12:24:46 AMAh sorry, I don't agree with you on that one. Sure something I said is a fact that |I said it but it does not mean what I said I thought was a fact. Again, otherwise I would have used another word other than probably, as the word also implies an unspoken doubt to the sentence. I would have used something far more certain. It is not my fault if you read the sentence incorrectly, I will not making any apologise for your mistake nor make any corrections - as there really are none to make.

    Ah I don't think so, perhaps some where because I had been attacked previously, but most of my attacks were clearly in retaliation at someone else's personal attacks of me. It doesn't take much to see that.

    As for the rest of your post, I just don't give a damn any more to bother replying to it :)

  • 85. CynicalFan - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 12:32:51 AMOh if you haven't figured it out, I don't care if you listen to what I have to say or not, so don't even bothering to post replies to me, ok. I'm not in the mood ;)
  • 86. CynicalFan - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 12:53:29 AMActually looking back on the posts, I can see how one was in particular perhaps a little too hostile than was necessary, so I will apologise for that one. It has been a stressful period for me as well as many others with various internal and external pressures. So it is easy to get jumbled around. So if that started the whole mess, then I do apologise for not having more self-control - I suppose I just went into things expecting more of the same and jumped to some of my own conclusions.

    But, I don't apologise for everything I said, as not all my remarks were not without provocation.

  • 87. Lorien - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 11:39:18 AMBrownie points to all the sumea sponsors imho ;) Particularly the new ones.
  • 88. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 2:26:07 PMThis one's for Souri. How much does it cost to sponsor SUMEA in the same fashion as Team Bondi or Lava Injection ?
  • 89. Souri - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 4:22:48 PMI'd rather keep that information condfidential, and in any case, I don't see how this fits into the discussion? I don't want to steer this thread into another topic, but if you really want to discuss this, please go to a news item that's related to sponsorships (I've made news items about sponsorships in the past which you can comment on) and make a post.
  • 90. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 9:43:02 PMhow about a studio for the ex-perception staff now, c'mon anyone ...
  • 91. Informed Insider - Sat, 18 Feb 2006 14:24:7ZBased on these postings, I'm excited to see all the new next-generaltion development studios springing up across Australia! Obviously many of you have relationships with global publishers and $5-10 Million of your own captial to risk on hardware, people and prototyping to secure a deal. Clearly if the likes of Krome can do it, it can't take much that all of you haven't already figured out. Good luck!
  • 92. Grover - Sun, 19 Feb 2006 3:31:50ZActually.. it'll be interesting to see who gets a PS3 devkit first.. big grin.. Nextgen costs alot, but guess what, not all companies have employees all together in one spot. Youd be surprised how much you can do, and how much cheaper it is to run a studio like that :) Of course theres no fridge full of free drinks.. or managers wandering around checking you arent surfing the net, or coders whinging they cant get access to a devkit.. but you do have a fridge full of beer.. get to surf the inet at will.. and can pretty much code on your own terms.. yer.. I do miss the studio days... :)

    Btw in response to the main thread, is this actually going ahead? Last I heard there were some 40 odd going to other brissy companies.. some 20 odd going to Krome (or are they staying here.. in the studio?).. and I know some have gone to Melb.. so is this still going ahead?

  • 93. buuurrrrp - Sun, 25 Jun 2006 5:15:3ZDIRT TRACK RACING 3???? .......DID SOMEONE SAY BEER
  • 94. Anonymous Coward - Fri, 24 Nov 2006 4:38:24ZHmm, well it's rapidly heading towards the end of 2006 and we're still waiting for that major Australian studio to either lay off lots of staff or go under.

    Just quoting this again so that we can all remember the deal CynicalFan made:

    -----------------------------------
    CynicalFan said on 27/1/2006

    I am 95"(percent) certain that at least one relatively high-profile studio will either lay-off a large number of its staff or just plain old shutdown the studio altogether. I say "either" lay-off or shutdown in that studios in the past instead of doing the latter have done the former, and just not bothered to tell anyone so as to "appear" in a state of health. For instance mid last year a studio in Victoria were in a serious cash-flow crisis, desperately looking for funding. I was not told which studio it was nor found out what happened, but the outlook was pretty grim for them, yet, I to date have heard nothing reported in the media or through other public channels as to whether employees were "let-go" or the studio shutdown - most likely it was the former and they have maintained the illusion of healthy business ever since, as a skeletal team or simply the founders can exist this way for a few years in-between publishing deals
    ...
    Now if the first (95"(percent)) prediction is proven to be false, I will stop posting and writing comments to this site, Sumea. Not only that, but I will also resign and never work in the local industry again
    -------------------------------------

    Two months to go, want to change that bet yet?

  • 95. Paul - Fri, 24 Nov 2006 9:0:52ZPerhaps they got lucky and a certain Brisbane developer bought them out.
  • 96. Anonymous Coward - Fri, 24 Nov 2006 9:54:2ZMaybe, but that still doesn't fit the shut down/laid off criteria. :) T

Sunday, January 22, 2006 - 7:46:10 PM. Posted by Souri

Kotaku, the first website to break the news on Ratbag's closure by Midway, are reporting some plans that Brisbane developers, Krome Studios, have to accomodate some of the 70+ employees left jobless after the whole Midway saga...

"I?ve just received word that Krome is starting up a small studio in Adelaide just for that purpose. Apparently, a lot of the developers from RB had homes or families and weren?t able to leave the city for jobs elsewhere."

- Kotaku

Update: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - 5:17:10 AM. Posted by Souri

Well, Kotaku must have some good sources, because it's no longer a rumour. Krome Studios are indeed looking at starting up a small office in Adelaide to house some of those ex-Ratbag employees who haven't found work yet. Adelaide's The Advertiser reports...

"The Brisbane company is expected to employ at least 20 games developers to work on its games for PlayStation 2, X-Box, GameCube and GameBoy Advance platforms.

A Krome spokeswoman said several games companies had visited SA the weekend after Ratbag's December 15 closure to hire talented games developers looking for work...

Krome Studios management is expected to be in Adelaide in February to look at premises and talk to potential staff.

State Information and Communication Technology Council chairman David Raffen said it would be good for SA to preserve the talent pool left over following Ratbag's demise."

Company
News
Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 24/01/06 - 4:15 PM Permalink

  • 1. Anonymous Coward - Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 12:49:17 PMno wonder they are financial trouble, with decision like that, buy aa studio, am sure for good money, only to close it down later. genious

ITwire.com.au summarises the whole debacle on Ratbag studios, and ponders on some of the speculations around for Midways decision to close down the Adelaide studio...

Speculation is rife as to why anyone would want to pay good money for a small specialist games company like Ratbag only to trash it four months later. Some say that Midway, which had a dreadful final quarter in calendar year 2005, losing US$29 million on revenues of US$29 million, simply decided to cut its losses by closing Ratbag, as well as it San Diego studio. Others, who note that Midway has recently bought a German PS3 developer, have speculated that Midway Games was dumping its PlayStation 2 games makers for games developers working in the PS3 arena.

On close scrutiny, however, neither of the above two theories would appear to make any sense.

The ITwire article ends with a warning to small local companies with good technology thinking about selling out. An interesting read...

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