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Furoticon Online is dead; Tail Kiss Studio closing.

First off, we have a new game that’s ready to play:
It’s a free-to-play dating sim / mystery game, and it has over one year of content available, and it will be available for at least the next four years. 🙂
Now, on to the somber news:

The Furoticon Online project is dead.

If you supported us at a reward tier that we were unable to meet, you’ve been refunded your pledge DOUBLE in Furos. (Store credit.) The reason we can only refund you in store credit is because all the money is gone.

I would like to thank you all for believing in us. Ultimately, the project failed because of my management decisions — I chose a development team that appeared competent on the surface, but was far more clueless than I could have imagined, and I kept giving them slack when I should have reeled them in long ago. And for that, I’m sorry.

We found experts who have worked with games before — artists, consultants, and (supposedly) developers. The game had evolved from a simple wireframe to a perfectly structured experience based on heavy UI testing and consultant feedback. Everything was moving along smoothly, except the developers’ progress. Our first milestone was to have a playable alpha within 6 months. It didn’t occur until 12 months, and when the developers pulled off the curtain, the game wasn’t even playable.

I was speechless. I asked them how it had worked for them, and I got very vague answers. I should have figured something was up, but in an effort to remain calm, I avoided asking straight up: “Did you even playtest this at all?”

Then came drama about how they were sub-leasing our contract to a third party to do unit testing, and then attempting to bill us for it, which we put a stop to right away. Development continued, but it was very obvious that nothing was being playtested.

I wrote a comprehensive document about how every card is supposed to function, even breaking down the rules text into “instruction bits.” For example, look at Extra Innings:

Image

This card has three “instruction bits:”

1) Set all Furres to refreshed; FILTER: controller of Furre must be the controller of Extra Innings.
2) Add flag “dominant” for all Furres; FILTER: controller of Furre must be the controller of Extra Innings; DEPENDENCY: End of turn.
3) Add maximum bed steps modifier; VALUE: +1; FILTER: player must be the controller of Extra Innings; DEPENDENCY: End of turn.

Everything was spelled out, complete with “when is this modifier / flag / setting checked?” Triggers were fully documented, replacement effects, etc.

There should have been very few questions about what was supposed to happen, but 12 months into the project, I was getting questions like, “What does refreshed even mean?” (“It means you can use skills and game moves that require the Furre to exhaust”) and “Can I just make “entered bed” a flag that’s either true or false, and make this card set it to false?” (“No, because if someone uses the card before their first bed step, they wouldn’t get a second bed step if we went with your idea.”)

I documented exactly how everything was supposed to work, and they somehow always got it wrong. Dominant and submissive did nothing. Multi-orgasmic didn’t place the Furre on the couch. AP wasn’t even counted correctly. Genders and GP costs were mis-assigned all over the place. It was a trainwreck. And yet somehow I believed in them. I’m a developer as well. (The entire Furoticon.com website was hand-coded by me, excluding the forum and the wiki. But I modified code to make it so you’d log into the forum when you logged into Furoticon.com.)

In other words, I could have quit my dayjob and done it all by myself, and we’d have a fully-working Furoticon Online.

Charles-Guillaume Étienne penned the phrase “On n’est jamais servi si bien que par soi-même,” which has widely been translated as “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” But on the flip-side: you can’t do it all alone, and you need to learn to trust others to do things for you. You need to learn to give up control. I gave up a little too much control, though.

For reference, the Furoticon College Adventure was coded entirely by me. It was nearly ready for launch in 2013, but Furoticon Online ate through our lives and budget so badly that it got pushed to the backlog until now.

Where did the money go?

What it look liked we raised: $40,591

What we had left over after Offbeatr fees and state/federal taxes: $25,000 something

MINUS

How much we paid the developers: $22,824.75

How much we paid out in art: $5000+

Consultation/management: $3000 + extra for meetings

The developers burned through their entire cash pile in the first few months. They were asking for more money before they even had a login system working. They missed every milestone. They failed to attend meetings. They roleplayed in meetings. DX

Furoticon Online nearly bankrupted Tail Kiss Studio. As it is, we’re a few months away from paying off all the debt we accrued from trying to bring you Furoticon Online.

I’m sorry to have personally failed all our supporters and players. This isn’t on you; it’s on me. And I hope we can move on to better games from here.

Where do we go from here?

I have a few things left to do before closing up Tail Kiss Studio:

1) Update the rules wiki for Climax.

2) Add Climax cards to the card spoiler.

3) Launch the full-set binder sale.

4) Release Climax 2 as a print-and-play set.

5) A few odds and ends. And maybe a pleasant surprise or two.

Print and play?

Our budget is nonexistent now. Climax is pulling us the final feet out of the hole that Furoticon Online made. We got partially through Climax 2’s art budget before realizing that we had no money left.

As such, we can’t justify bringing you the final two decks as a fully packaged deal with incomplete or shoddy art. For our supporters who want to play with these final four decks and see the endings to the Triskelion and Vell’s End storylines, we will be making print-and-play versions. I may even find an on-demand printer who you can order the decks from, but I have no promises in that regard.

Tail Kiss Studio was a wild ride of ups and and downs. I never expected the studio to be this successful, not did I expect to have to close the studio. Thank you all for your wonderful support.

As we sell out of physical product, the Furoticon.com website will remain up for as long as digital items support the minimal server costs.

Moving on from here

I can’t stop making games. It’s my favorite hobby. As such, when I release a new game, I’ll let you all know!

New games won’t be under the Tail Kiss Studio flag, though. Adult & porn games are fun to make, but I’ve had my fill (heh, heh) and I’m ready to move on to more serious / g-rated projects.

(Side note for Cataro fans: Developement died on Cataro when I encountered a game-breaking bug with object pooling that I can’t figure out. The game needs maybe 100 more hours of work before being released, but if anyone is very familiar with object pooling in Unity and is up for a debugging Skype chat with me, send me a PM.)

(Side note for Disaster Labs fans: Disaster Labs is dead. Nobody on the old DL team wants to bring back anything. I was never the IP holder of any DL content; only a developer. So Disaster Labs is dead, forever. Sorry.)

That’s about it!

Thanks for everything,

~Seppel