Will we get a new game from Ron Gilbert and Team in near future?

I’m interested in a new point&click adventure (Menlo Park + a valid addition) plus good touch support for desktop , DRM free, offline (and without spying), non-episodic … I’m willing to pay.

If you’re in need of ideas, take a closer look at the Thimblecon poster (or contact me). Crowdfunding range: $750k-$1m (50%?!, today’s budgets can make you feel lucky that video games took off at all). Invest into a basic but convincing pitch. TWP started after the gold rush. So, it’s some novelty vs. reputation (like, best KS adventure). Show craftsmanship, improve on the story/characters/writing/puzzles/assets/… and go high-res.

I don’t agree: It’s either a full time job or you won’t make any money with such an engine.

Not only you have to constantly fix problems or adapt something on some platform, the upfront costs to get it in an acceptable state usable for customers is high.
It’s not just the engine which customers need to be able to use multi-platform and getting their game packed for different all those different targets with and without debug possibilities, but you also have all kind of tools, tool chains and workflows which have to be made in a production-ready state so they can be used to actually great games by customers.

It’s called retirement plan. :upside_down_face:

And also they often want to own the IP and that’s definitely something Ron won’t allow anymore.

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Yeah, the only way to release the engine IMHO without investing in maintaining it is to open-source it and find someone who wants to take over as its lead coder on GitHub.

even if you want to release the engine without support, you need to write the documentation, and it’s a lot of work.

Really interesting thread. Based on the incredibly supportive fan base for Thimbleweed Park I wonder if a new Terrible Toybox game could sell at a much higher price. It seems the game indusry has a decided that a $50+ game needs to be AAA with 40+ hours of playtime and amazing graphics, etc., etc. But if there is only one new Ron Gilbert game and it costs $50, maybe people will pay and be happy for the 15-20 hours of enjoyment they get from it - still cheaper than going to the movies :slight_smile:

We don’t have the sales numbers but here are my estimates:

  • 15,000 KS backers (plus many bought on on launch) so assume 15,000 super fans who will pay $50 price tag
  • Ron says game broke even. Games cost $1m. KS raised $600k so it must have made $400k or more. $400k / $20 price = 20,000 who will buy at ‘reasonable’ price

So here is how sales could look:

  • $50 price for pre-sale + first 6 months x 15,000 sales = $750,000
  • price drop to $20 after first 6 months and release on iOS + Android x 20,000 sales = $400,000

Not quite $1.5m but getting there.

Kick Starter accomplishes this a bit by letting some people opt in to paying a lot more money, but I think for many people they just pay the minimum tier to get the game, even if they would be open to paying more. I wonder if a Kickstarter would do better if it was just $50 for the game or $1000 for game + a really exclusive bonus.

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Unfortunately your calculations are based on partial information.

If you want to estimate the willingness to pay $50 or more, you should take under consideration the fact that of those 15,623 Kickstarter backers only 3,693 of them decided to pay 50$ or more. Your assumption that there are actually 15,000 super fans who will pay $50 or more is not supported by any information that we have.

Your conclusion “Games cost $1m. KS raised $600k so it must have made $400k or more.” is unfortunately not correct. A more correct one would have been “KS raised about $600k. Additional investors paid $500k. So they collected about $1.1m and that tells nothing about people’s willingness to pay.”.

There are several threads and posts in which Ron provided additional information that is required to get a correct picture of the situation. Maybe the following post is a good start to acquire that information (notice that it was written before they broke even):

It’s been stated that game has broken even (Will we get a new game from Ron Gilbert and Team in near future?). I would interpret this to mean that it has generated enough revenue to pay back investors ($500k as you say). That means the game has generated at least $1.1m in revenue: $600k from KS and $500k since launch (I was using $1m instead of $1.1m so numbers in my first post were a bit off). So that $500k of revenue on top of the KS amount must have come from conventional sales. To keep estimate on the low side, I took the highest price of $20 to estimate that they sold 20,000 copies after the Kickstarter. Using $500k you get 25,000 copies. If the average price is more like $15 (half paid $20 on computer, half paid $10 on ios/android) then might have sold closer to 33,000 copies.

So we know they sold 15,000 copies on KS. I think my estimate that they sold 25-35k copies after launch is pretty reasonable. So it seems that you can sell 40-50k of a great adventure game in the first 6 months. This is definitely an estimate but it is based on a lot of known variables and I don’t think it can be that off.

My idea then is to try to better segment these 40-50k sales so you can extract maximum value. My guess is 15k of these customers will pay a much higher price. The other 25-35k will pay the price they paid (safe assumption I think).

With respect to super fans - you are right - 15,000 is a wild guess and I agree that super fandom might not correlate to backers on KS that closely. I do disagree that what tiers people chose on Kickstarter is indicative of willingness to pay. Personally I am not interested in the backer rewards. I think many people just want the game so they just paid $25 for the game or maybe even waited until after launch and paid $20. That doesn’t mean they wouldn’t have paid more if that’s what it would take to get the game.

There are some indies who are trying hire prices on launch with some success (The Witness is a good example of how this can go well). You definitely have to have a great reputation but no doubt Ron and the team have this.

I am curious if you could raise more money from kickstarter if you only tell people that the goal is not yet reached, but you don’t tell by how much. (in all or nothing mode). This way I would offer an amount closer to what the game is worth to me. (But maybe it wouldn’t make much difference…)

That’s the point: I was informing you that those $500k didn’t come from sales but they came from private investors, as stated in the post by Ron that I linked to.

While the $500k originally came from investors, if Ron is saying game broke even then I expect those investors have been paid out. So the game must have made at least $500k in revenue from conventional sales in order to have paid back the investors their $500k.

Good point. I think in terms of $ it nets out because I forgot to factor that in on both sides of the equation - but it does affect the sales numbers I estimated.

Assuming “broke even” means they made back the $500k from investors after fees/taxes, that would mean they did at least $750k in revenue from conventional sales. So that means more like 37.5k to 50k copies sold on top of KS ($20 - $15 avg price). Adding on the 15k KS sales that comes to 52.5k - 65k copies sold in the first six months.

When I say “break even”, don’t read too much into that. Investors don’t get “paid back”. It’s not a loan. They put up money and then get a percent of all the money that comes in, not just until the get their investment returned. We’re still a ways from another adventure being a profitable enterprise. Most of that is due to Gary and I working for close to nothing for three years. That’s a big personal hole to dig out of. If I were to do another Kickstarter, I would need to make sure I was paid for my time, as I don’t know that I’ll ever get out of the ThimbleHole and can’t afford another.

None of this is to say another adventure game won’t (or will) happen, it’s just that it will take some thinking and figuring. Thimbleweed Park didn’t make enough to make it easy.


That´s the second saddest thing I read this week. :frowning:

I think we can half your costs if we teach you how to draw stuff…

Think of it now, your name in the credits: “Writing, Programming… AND Artwork: Ron Gilbert”

There must be a good pixel-based art school that does some kind of intensive course.


See, that doesn’t solve the problem… it only makes it worse :slight_smile:

Now I’m doing twice the work for no money.

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Maybe you should just learn to draw bank notes convincingly…oh wait, forget I said that!


Ron, what percentage of the costs is taken by the graphics? (pixel art , backgrounds and character animations)?

New plan: teach Gary to program.

Picture it now:
Programmer, writer, artwork: Gary Winnick
Executive Producer, CEO, Head Honcho, Big Cheese: Ron Gilbert

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Hi name is Dilbert!

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My guess is about 1/2. I will go back and do a complete breakdown and show the actual budget in a month or so. It might edge to programming if you include all the ports.