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Iridium Based


Erroneous

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Iridium Based was a dothack fan site that was working to create a 3D MMORPG for .hack's fictional game The World. It came off the heels of Joe Stacko's (jstacko) The World 2D which they called their site Cyberconnects LLC. Some of the staff and players from Cyberconnects LLC would be the heads of Iridium Based (not joe).

They built a whole community through word of mouth, advertising, and asking other communities for exposure. A community built on a website, a message board, and social media pages.

https://www.iridiumbased.com
https://forum.iridiumbased.com
https://www.facebook.com/IridiumBased
https://www.twitter.com/IridiumBasedTheir site ran roughly from 2012 to about 2018, but most of their leaders had already began leaving prior to 2017. Only leaving a handful of people not in charge behind to manage a sinking ship, notably the forum moderators. By then the cracks on the infrastructure was already showing with spotty uptime for their site and forum till it's eventual constant database not found messages and later the domain name renewal going expired.

 

When the project was active, the goal was to crowdfund money to build their online game in additional to receiving donations from fans and followers. One of the crowdfunding sites they used would be Indiegogo from 2013-2015 raising $6,855 dollars from fans. Plans for a Kickstarter campaign was planned but never went into fruition far as I know. But overall between crowdfunding and PayPal donations (or wherever else) they claimed to raised almost $24,000 dollars. And as thanks they would make what they created Open Source; meaning the software and programming making the game would be made available to the public to view and use.

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Open Source MMO

Working on creating an MMO has been a long and difficult journey. At the time of its inception, when The World was only a dream - we had no idea that this game would require so much from us, and, while we have enjoyed the journey so far, we would like to make the path easier to travel for teams in the future -- since very few solutions exist for gamers and indie developers looking to achieve their dreams of creating an mmo aside from dedicating their entire lives to a project. 

We hope to help fill this void by offering our game's code as an Open Source Project to the developer community; along with examples and documentation, we hope that gamers and developers alike can spend less time worrying about code and spend more time creating their dream worlds.

They didn't have to do this, this was something they wanted to give back for their donations from the community. But originally that never came to fruition.

What was really frustrating was that the leaders left prior to 2017 without explaining anything. It wasn't till someone happened to find the owner on a Skyrim discord server called Tamriel Online and called them out on it. The owner gave a response called "Budgetary/Financial Breakdown and Open Source" as follows from February 6th 2018:

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I am currently looking into a good solution for uploading the source code. Unfortunately the assets have to be separated from the project files, and the code has some slightly problematic dependencies on Unity addons and other libraries. With that said, it will go up, but I had hoped to make it much more usable.

Below is a brief overview of project related expenditures < 2017 (this includes donations not made directly through the site form)

  • Concept Art (Commissioned) - $2100
  • Custom 3D (Commissioned) - $1149
  • Hosting (Website & Database) - $3000
  • Unity Assets & Add-ons - $4741
  • Unity Pro License - $1500
  • Paid Back (due to misspending or life issue) - $880
  • Non-Assetstore Assets - $257
  • Basecamp, Dropbox Sub - $1082
  • 3ds max, Photoshop, Visual Studio Licenses - $5974
  • Photon Cloud (2013-2015) & Dedicated Host for SmartFox server - $774
  • Xenforo Licensing- $560
  • GDC Vault 1-Year - $550
  • Advertising (FB & Banner) - $708
  • Total - $23,275

I very much did not want to have to post this, as my intention has always been to finish the project. But it seems that I will only be able to operate in a limited capacity for quite some time.

Additionally, in-regards to other projects like Tamriel Online, development is quite a bit different. If for instance I cannot do any programming for an indeterminate period of time due to work, there is no issue. With this project, there is not just me, there is the whole team that needs to be involved. Asking someone to constantly wait on me is not acceptable, and there hasn't been much success with any sort of long-term stand-ins for programming without pay, or teaching people to do in-engine updates.

All of this is not to say that nothing can be done, but there doesn't seem to be any quick fixes for large progress even in an ideal situation.

All credit for this message goes to AzureKite for messaging me on Discord.

The basic Unity3D scripts can be found HEREhttps://bitbucket.org/Siegfre/theworld-scripts

(The Unity3D scripts above is no longer available, you can download them here.)

But the question comes, had not someone found and called the owner out on this years later, would we ever have received a response to the game and it's crowdfunding spending? From what we were told prior and what we now know, seem their plan was executed poorly.

Prior to 2015

(from prior to 2015)

The four key members of this project was lead by Lee (keramory), Gato (Siegfre), Axl (Axlsjolund), and Brian. And their roles were as follows:

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Lee, The World Producer.
Lee has been a dedicated artist and storyteller throughout most of his life and through the development process. Although Lee is not as tech savvy as the rest of the team, he has pulled through with great 3D models and amazing concepts for the game. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and is currently working at a mental health center. His dream is to create a great video game, then move on to the horror genre of gaming, hoping to pull at peoples heart strings as they play. This of course, will pour into The World, so prepare for a scare!

Gato, Lead Programmer
Gato has worked along with Lee for many years on small projects for fun. Gato has not stopped pouring countless hours and hard effort into this project, continuing to out-do himself with every small update he makes. He has pushed the game as far as it has gotten today, and helped maintain the dedicated community we have.

Axl, Lead Texture/Interface Designer
Axl has continued to be a strong member of various .hack communities and eventually stumbled on this project a while back. Using his artistic talents he has helped reshape how the game looks and feels. To top it off he has also created the current forums and website, which are both fantastic.

Brian, Gameplay Developer
Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics, Brian has helped shape the battle mechanics and balancing in not only the classes themselves but all around combat and interactions. He is also constantly aiding in the physics of the game as well. Like all of us, he hopes to turn his skills into a long time profession of video game development.

Allen, Cinematographer/Web Developer
Allen has spent many years editing and creating videos. He then took his interest and talent professionally by developing his skills with the tools and foundation necessary. He contributed his editing skills into a community based project that he enjoyed being a part of. Combined with his editorial skills with other staffs directional and animation talents, together they've created wonderful cut-scenes rivaling what many would expect from professional gaming.

Robert, Concept Artist

Robert has a long history of creating through his artistic abilities. Working together with the development team and the community, Robert has become the bridge connecting the two, resulting in giving various monsters and npc's life. Without Robert, many of the creations and ideas by other staff would lack the impressive visual life he has blessed the world with.

Annegret, Senior Animator

Annegret grew up in San Francisco, California, during a growth of in house console games. She spent time with her sisters playing video games- The crude animation was filled in with imagination and as she grew older, she found a desire to see a clearer likeness to reality, while maintaining a fresh new look in video games. Today, she studies animation at Academy of Art University, with the intention of creating nothing short of a fascinating world for others to explore and bond over.

From their own FAQ from their webpage shows they required $40 donation to join their closed alpha.

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When will the game be released?
The game doesn't have a set date for release yet. However the game is currently in closed alpha and should be moving into open beta sometime next year. However since alldevelopers are just volunteering at present, various life issues can delay the release. Therefore the release date cannot be predetermined.

Why can't I login to the game?
If you are unable to login to the game, be sure to check and make sure your internet is actually working. If it is, check to see if the server is indeed online.

How can I help with the project? Can I join the team?
We are not actively looking for new team members, but you can feel free to let us know if you have a skill to offer the team. Be sure to provide samples of work for the position you are applying to. Please provide samples that showcase the best of your abilities.

How can I join the closed alpha?
The closed alpha is open to all of the following: people who donate at least $40, people who donated during our fundraising campaign, people who regularly contribute to the community.

What if CyberConnect2 decides to shut this down?
One of the most frequent questions we are asked falls along these lines - warnings that we will get shut down, that this project is illegal, and that CyberConnect2 can end this project. We would like to make clear that this game is not .hack - although inspired from the .hack universe, what began as a cookie-cutter copy of The World from .hack, has grown into a unique game with inspiration drawn from the media series. All story elements, artwork, and names will be legally distinct at the time of release, while staying true to the theme and atmosphere of the series.

It should also be noted that CyberConnect2 and Bandai Namco are aware of .hack fan projects, and likely of Iridium. Since 2005, there has been no legal action taken against any similar projects, and some of the projects have even had direct contact with Bandai Namco and CyberConnect2.

The legal steps the team is taking to ensure the project's success include but are not limited to the above. For more information or additional legal questions please contact one of the staff members directly.

But that's mostly it, a few people from a 2D game wanting to build their own 3D, getting hype and the word out there gathering followers only to extort them $40 for alpha access (not even beta), raising $24k in supporter funds, then quietly leaving the fans and their own moderators behind holding the bag, then finally letting what remains to break and expire.

The numbers they said in Feb 2018 (claiming $23,275 USD) doesn't match up with their own website had said prior. Their website said from PayPal donations to iridiumbased@gmail.com they raised $21,735 USD and their Indiegogo says they raised $6,855 USD. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but that equals out to $28,590 USD.

This doesn't give me the confidence to support any other current or future .hack fan project whatsoever, but that's my opinion. A lesson learned through experience.

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I have time, but I can only write, so the only thing I can contribute to the dothack fandom is to continue following and supporting newcomers, while gradually perfecting my work. Anyways, thanks for your article, sir Erroneous~ 😶

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