Development turmoil threatens Code Hero survival

Development turmoil threatens Code Hero survival
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

December 13th 2012 at 11:38AM

Lead developer Alex Peake insists crowdfunded coding tool is still on track amid allegations that funds have run dry

Alleged development turmoil on the Code Hero Kickstarter project could threaten the tool's release, it has emerged.

Progress on the project went quiet after PAX in September where the developers released an alpha version of the game development tool.

Code Hero is designed to be a fully interactive game that uses the Unity engine to teach people to build their own creations.

Despite receiving more than $170,000 from its crowdfunding campaign in February from 7,459 backers, almost double its $100,000 target, funding is believed to have run out.

One backer, David Reid, said the lack of communication on the project’s progress was “terrible”.

Many other donators have requested refunds for their pledges, but had allegedly been ignored in their claims. One contributor Mike DeAngelo recommended backers call their credit card companies to ensure they get compensation.

Another contributor highlighted an interview with Video Game Writers in November in which Primer Labs boss Alex Peake, who is fronting the project, suggested that he was looking for more funding from investors, philantropists and foundations to help them finish the job, and was uncertain when the project’s beta would be released as a result.

Peake also stated in the interview that while he believed Primer could deliver in-game levels that meet their promises made in the Kickstarter campaign, what the team had in mind was “ten times more ambitious”.

“At no point during the pledge drive was the amount of money indicated as being insufficient for the project to be completed,” said Zunaid Mayet, a backer of the Code Hero campaign.

“Updates, such as they are, have also not indicated an increase in scope of the project or that additional money will be required to complete. It would appear that Primer are simply trying to parley the gains they made through Kickstarter into increased gains through investors. I would advise any investors looking at this project to be very wary what they do with their money."

Peake has since responded to allegations that the coding tool wouldn’t be released. In a statement on the developer’s website he offered an apology to backers and insisted that Code Hero would make it to launch.

He admitted the projected had been taking longer than he’d hoped and that the second alpha release would be tested tomorrow.

However, no specific release date on the next iteration of the project, or when the coding tool could see completition was given.

"I owe you a thanks for your support and an apology for our lack of updates on all the progress we've made with your help," said Peake.

"I started the Code Hero project to make a game that teaches people how to make games and you backed us to help make that happen. We are going to finish this game for you and everybody else in the world who wants to learn how to code.

"I believe in this mission and I'm grateful that you and so many others have believed in Code Hero too and supported us to work on this project. I worked on the idea to make a prototype for a year before asking for your help on Kickstarter, I built a team to work on it for a year since, and we are committed to finishing this game and continuing to add to it so you can make games of your own.

Peake added: “I know the level of frustration some people have is high right now and that it is my fault for not communicating about our on-going progress, but I want to reassure everyone who has backed us not to panic: Code Hero is not dead and we will not let our supporters and Kickstarter backers down.

“All our backer rewards will be delivered along with the game. It is taking longer than we hoped, but the game is becoming awesomer than we planned too. I'll post a more detailed update soon with the new alpha build and answer any questions and concerns people may have.”

Develop has contacted team members involved for further comment on the project’s status.