April 20th, 2019 – Present: Continued
Therefore, not only did we end up losing the money we invested in these plugins, but we lost a considerable amount of time, had our reputation damaged through the process and had other projects we were working on in parallel get delayed due to this issue. We are now working with a trusted developer to continue work on these plugins. We have worked with this developer many times in the past (on non game engine related projects) and it’s the decision we should have taken from day one. Lesson learnt. In the future, we will be much more careful when hiring outside help. The takeaway here is that we shouldn’t immediately trust people we haven’t worked with previously (no matter how good their ratings are on sites like Freelancer, UpWork or Fiverr), and we need to check the authenticity of any code and art assets that are delivered to us (we had a similar problem with one artist freelancer from UpWork as well).
We’ve posted public apologies in other places as well, but again, we are sorry to other developers who were impacted by our mistake. We work hard to make Foundation a helpful resource for indie game makers and we’ll continue to do that into the future (mind you, a little more carefully moving forward). Any writer, teacher, programmer or other freelancer we hire is made aware of our heightened sensitivity to this issue and our zero tolerance policy on copied work.
Look, at the end of the day, WE made a mistake. We take full responsibility and we ask for forgiveness. We relied on a 5 star rating to make a decision and we didn’t check their work for any code similarities to other plugins (we just tested for bugs). I guess were were naive in thinking that someone just wouldn’t do that after explicitly being told not to. But we were wrong, and take full blame for that.
The consequence for our mistake is that we got abused on social media and we received brutal hate mail (this this) from the other developers involved. Then when we pressure the freelancers to repair the damage they have done, they give us nothing but excuses (like this one, or this one, or this one, and this one).
But we didn’t hire this team with the intention to support this type of behavior. Remember, we hire people (maybe you in the future) because we want to support the indie game community. This is important to us, and it’s important to the people who work as illustrators, programmers, teachers and writers to have the opportunities we (and others) offer. In the vast majority of cases, it’s a win win situation for everyone involved. I’m sure everyone reading this has either been hired or hired people to the great benefit of both parties involved. We’re also sure, that virtually everyone reading this has either been hired by a bad employer, or hired a bad employee. You’ve undoubtedly also made mistakes as either an employee or employer. When any of these things happen, the consequences often suck. This isn’t the first hiring mistake we’ve made, and if we manage to stick around for the next 20 years, it it likely won’t be the last.
However, we would have NEVER hired this team if we thought they would do this to us or anyone else. We are really upset that we (and others) had to go through this. We didn’t make any money through this process. It was MORE than a 100% loss to us in every imaginable way. While I know we won’t get our money refunded (although we’ve asked), we are working with the freelancing platform to try to get them removed from the platform so they can’t do this type of damage to other people (so far we’ve had no luck with this approach, but we’ll continue to try).
To make our mistake up to the community we will be publishing a huge assortment of helpful indie game making interviews on our blog shortly. We’ve hired a writer and her plan is to bring you 30 to 50 new indie game interviews in a quest to help you make better indie games. This not only helps you as an indie game maker, but it also helps the indie game makers we interview gain more exposure and hopefully sell more games.
This type of support is essential for indie game makers, and we’ll continue to do our best to contribute in meaningful and positive ways.
We love you.
From the Foundat.io/n Team & the good freelancers who rely on us for support!