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Double Fine's unique prototyping process puts itself to the vote
November 19, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi

November 19, 2012 | By Frank Cifaldi
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    9 comments
More: Console/PC, Indie, Production, Business/Marketing, Video



We've written about Double Fine's "Amnesia Fortnight" process several times now, but in summary, it goes something like this:

Every year, developers at the studio stop working on their current projects, split into four teams, and spend two weeks prototyping new games. The results are threefold: Double Fine experiments with new gameplay ideas, tests potential new project leads, and has playable prototypes to pitch with.

At first the process was mostly a creative exercise, but when a sequel to its ambitious Brutal Legend was unexpectedly canceled three years ago, those prototypes ended up saving the company, and transforming Double Fine into an independent studio capable of cranking out quick, original games that could be funded just fine on their own, thank you very much.

Watch: Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight postmortem from GDC

Now, in what is rapidly becoming the new norm for independent game projects, Double Fine is involving its fans in the Amnesia Fortnight development process. The new version works much the same as before -- the projects are still small, the ideas still fresh -- but this time around, the decision-making for which projects get greenlit and which get shelved are open up to a public vote. Oh, and the whole thing is raising money for charity, too.

Learn more at the project hub.


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Comments


Aaron San Filippo
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This is pretty awesome. I just thought I'd point out, we announced pretty much the same thing (albeit on a much, much smaller scale) exactly a week ago:

http://flippfly.com/news/announcement-crowd-funding-flippfly-styl
e/

So it's not *quite* never-before-seen, unless you account for the fact that nobody's ever heard of us ;)

DoubleFine's obviously been working on this for some time, and I wish them the best of luck!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry in a corner for awhile and contemplate how much we suck at PR.

Kristian Hogberg
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Becoming very trendy to involve the public in various gaming projects. Not sure if it's bad or good, maybe a bit of both.
Also, don't know if Double Fine's process is very unique, can find that at other companies as well. But to take employees from other projects to work with something else for a while is good. Probably boosts morale and creativity. Even more companies should do like that.

Frank Cifaldi
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As far as we know, Double Fine is the only developer to stop production on a live project for a prototyping game jam as part of its normal annual routine. If anyone can prove otherwise I'd be very interested!

Kristian Hogberg
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I was a bit unclear there, I meant that there are other companies (not necessarily in the games industry) that have a similar approach (Google Inc). And as I said, I think it's a good thing.

Scott Burns
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@Frank
It's getting a lot more common than you might think, there just aren't as many companies that are as open about it much less involving the public. We hold game jams pretty regularly here at GarageGames, we don't follow a schedule though so we may do a few one year and only one the next. Unity has their regular game jam retreat, Bethesda did one not too long ago and shared the results (I can't remember if they said they do it regularly or not).

The ArcSlinger
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I'm not going to invest my money to have a team work 80 hours a week to make a good 2-week prototype.

Frank Cifaldi
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It's not an investment, it's a donation. You can donate 100% of whatever you want to charity.

The ArcSlinger
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A donation to encourage a team to work 80 hours a week. Sorry, can't do it.

Maria Jayne
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Pretty cool idea really. As long as people understand they are getting prototype games made to a two week deadline. I'm just wondering if that will have a negative impact, getting a load of tech support issues about projects you have no intention of developing further might be a point of conflict considering people gave money.


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