3 1/2 Years After $187k Kickstarter, Limit Theory Tests the Limits of Backer Patience

Space is big, like really big, and Limit Theory planned to procedurally generate all of it. Developer, Josh Parnell, received $187,865 to fund his infinite algorithm space exploration game, but it’s over three years later and backers are still waiting to see results.

Limit Theory had an extremely positive reception back in 2012, when it far exceeded it’s Kickstarter goal of $50,000. The game engine was being built from scratch with a projected release in the, at the time, far off future of early 2014. As with most extraordinarily (overly) ambitious projects being run by single person development teams, this one seemed destined to fall off the rails.

limittheory1

A year after backing, it became obvious that such a large project was not going to be ready by early anything, so the release was pushed back for a tentative midyear 2014. Then it was pushed back again for 2015. Throughout it all Parnell kept backers updated semi-regularly. He recognized that the project was a massive undertaking, and not wanting to cut corners, he asked backers to be patient while he kept working on the game. Then after a typical update in January 2015, Parnell went silent.

Understandably there was some fury from backers, who felt they had been kept waiting long enough already. Having the dev go silent is never a good sign in crowdfunding, and they didn’t hesitate to let Parnell know this in their comments.

Parnell made a final Kickstarter update in September of 2015 where he had an honest and frank discussion of the mental health issues he’d been enduring, preventing him from progressing on Limit Theory. Again, while most backers remained supportive, there were those who couldn’t be pacified by more of the same old promises.

Limit Theory seemed to be slowly spiraling out of control, and despite his assurances that he was in a better place again, the community around the game still seems to be treating Parnell with kid-gloves after his last departure. Updates are now only made over on the Limit Theory Forums and even there it can be difficult to figure out the current status of the project.

limittheory2

A forum moderator has been helpfully compiling Parnell’s sporadic responses and updates into a single thread, where as recently as March 9th, Limit Theory was still a work in progress with no hint at a final release. According to the update, “details are intentionally withheld until all is ready to be revealed.” These details include any visual progress as the update focuses exclusively on coding and development issues which mean nothing to those of us outside the world of gamemaking.

I have no doubt that Parnell is deeply passionate about Limit Theory, but I don’t know if passion alone is going to be enough to keep backers satisfied. Indeed there have already been some dissenters in the Kickstarter comments and it’s difficult to get a feel for where the community as a whole stands on this project from moderated forum posts alone. At this point, the argument against rushing the game is long since moot since almost four years of development is hardly ‘rushing’. Even if Limit Theory isn’t ready for a final release, backers should be shown something for all their money and good faith. They deserve some hint that Limit Theory hasn’t fallen into the infinite void of projects that are always promised, but never completed.

patreonsupport

Follow Cliqist on Twitter and Facebook.

Joanna Mueller
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Minecraft books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games.
Joanna Mueller

@ZodiacEclipse

Writer, wannabe author, creator of things, and more than a bit nerdy. Let's be socially awkward together! Games Writer at; Cliqist, New Normative, HPP
RT @ConanOBrien: If an asteroid hit the earth right now, I think a lot of us would just shrug. - 22 hours ago
Joanna Mueller
[email protected]

https://joannamueller.contently.com/
  • Dawnyaaa

    Geez, it’s been 3 years already..? I backed this one..i really liked the creator enthusiasm at the time and i also remember the update about his health..i’ll be honest, right now i’ve put this game in the box “you’ll never see the color of it”. I was on the lower tier (like with every project..where i am not confident..about).

    The fact that the guy was alone on it at the time..wasn’t a good assurance for me at all (which is what prevent me for pledging more). Those people really underestimate the pressure linked to it. So , personally, i am not angry or want to see improvement i just gave up on this one completed. Nice article though!

    • Yeah, the ones where the Dev is really enthusiastic are especially hard to write. Feels like you’re crapping on someone’s dream, but at the same time, reality is a harsh mistress.

  • Linman

    We gave money to this kid to go insane, basically. He will never release a game and after wasting time on his own scripting language, is off changing everything once again to Python. I bet he’s surrounded by jars filled with his own piss by this point.

    • Alana Charen-Teng

      Bipolar disorder is, unfortunately, a very serious problem.

  • InnocenceSuffers

    Rebel Galaxy was made by a Two Man Team – a solid effort – they did the coding, qa , marketing, tech support, post release support, press releases. its a solid game – In their defence- they do have plenty of experience behind them – but Josh tho a neophyte – is by no means a dummy!
    but his inconsistency is trouble some! hope whatever footing he’s gained – he’s found it solid . this time there will be no “third time lucky” if she screws up

  • Oliver Biscuit

    It’s a shame. It has everything I want in a space sim but Josh failed to deliver and after all this time, I’ve placed LT into the vaporware bin. It’d be nice if he proved me wrong but I’m not holding my breath for that