SteamWatch — What’s Really Going on With Day of Dragons?

SteamWatch — What’s Really Going on With Day of Dragons?

Image for post

It?s been an interesting yet confusing journey that I?ve undergone these last few months delving into everything that?s been ongoing with Day of Dragons. It?s had its ups, its had its downs, its had moments of contemplation and this article will be both the result of months of work, months of interviews, months of evidence collation and months of just piecing everything together in a comprehensible fashion that caters best towards you readers that just want to know what?s really going on with Day of Dragons.

Let?s start from the beginning of this game?s troubled lifecycle and then we will gradually progress to the present to understand where it stands now and to greater understand how it got there, which was made possible thanks to the helpfulness of the Day of Dragons Timeline document created by Tori of the Uncensored Day of Dragons Discord server.

A KickStarting Launch

Day of Dragons started life off as a project on KickStarter on September 2nd, 2019, created by Beawesome games, the label for the development team behind the game. The game was catering towards dragon fanatics, promoting itself as a huge MMO survival game where everyone could start off playing as a baby dragon and make it grow and get stronger. In the KickStarter page?s own words:

Day of Dragons is an online creature survival sandbox game set in a large, beautiful, open world with multiple biomes. Rule the world as one of several dragon species, or unlock the secrets to playing as a non-dragon species.

For all this, Beawesome Games were looking for $12,000 to bring the game to life which it smashed with it earning over $530,000 from over 12,000 backers. Some of this success could be attributed to the fact that on September 4th, Harry Potter Wizards Unite held an event called ?Day of Dragons? which many saw as assisting the game as it had more people searching for the term. Of course, it can be said many people were excited by the promise of a dragon MMO survival game if the amount of money that was raised is anything to go by.

As the amount of money raised, a community sprung up around the game of people eagerly waiting for the game that they had already invested in.

A discord server pre-dated the KickStarter campaign which was used for Jao to talk with supporters of the game and also for users to share their excitement and for Jao to feed the updates that were coming to the game and the KickStarter page. While originally Jao was the sole individual behind BeAwesomeGames, as the community grew, Jao brought in some more staff to assist him in dealing with the ever-growing community that was forming around his game with his first community manager being brought in on September 8th.

Image for postThe new DoD team

The game?s KickStarter was also greatly assisted after it got covered by a YouTuber by the name of Anthomnia with the video he made promoting both the game and its KickStarter currently sitting at over 1 million views.

Turbulence on Take Off

Problems started to arise pretty quickly into the project?s life when more eyes were on the project. Some individuals became very critical of the game?s development process and questions had arisen on the fact that people believed some things were not adding up. This reached a peak when a Google Document was created entitled ?Suspicious Findings? and alongside this, a website was created entitled ?Day of Scams.? Both the document and the website bring up numerous criticisms such as how questions that people were asking about the project in the Discord server never got answered by the developer and instead a moderator responded with some answers to questions remaining vague and/or unanswered. A highlight question remaining unanswered includes a user asking what content had currently been completed in the game being answered with ?unknown. As this is pre-alpha, alpha.?

Image for postThe ?Q&A?

Some users on Reddit went on to criticize the fact that the game had not shown any gameplay at this time of development, and those that did show gameplay didn?t really show much in terms of interaction and was more so just showcasing the animations and dragons wandering around different environments.

Image for postComment posted to RedditImage for postComment posted to Reddit

Following the release of the Suspicious Findings document and the launch of the Day of Scams website, it led to more and more users trying to place pressure on the developers to start answering questions that had previously been left unanswered. No real additional answers were given, instead, moderators put requests into the public text channels for users to bring their questions and inquiries about the game to them privately instead of publicly asking questions.

Image for postUsers are to message moderators privately instead of asking questions publicly

Many also criticized the lack of any information that was available on Jao, down to the fact he had no social media presence excluding those of the Beawesomegames social media accounts that were set up specifically for Day of Dragons. There was a period of time where Jao was simply claiming to have experience without showing any past work or portfolio of such for the community to be judges, leading to people being skeptical of what talents and abilities that Jao was in possession of. This became a more major point to bring up when Jao responded to an inquiry in his Discord server when someone asked Jao if he would be doing any development streams in favor of transparency with the community. Jao responded to the inquiry saying:

No. I don?t a) want people watching me work, b) want software running while I work that reduces my FPS, c) want people to see my code.

Questions also arose on Jao?s capability of completing Day of Dragons when he revealed that it was the first game he had ever worked on. Skepticisms continued to boil and grow after more information came to light. The Day of Scams website uncovered some of Day of Dragon?s code where it was revealed at the time the game only had two code files that were original and that seemingly were not store-bought. These pieces of code were empty native classes. Everything else uncovered was implemented via Blueprint Visual Scripting, which is publicly available. This made people question Jao?s statements and exaggerations as to how much coding went into Day of Dragons.

Image for postThis is their first projectImage for postJao knowing how to codeImage for postJao knowing how to code

On September 5th, 2019, Jao posted a full list of people working on Day of Dragons, including the at the time one community manager as well as the freelancers they had brought on. On the list were 4 developers: Jao, Vatalia, Bad Parrot and RoseDragon016. Midnight was listed as the community manager and listed Simon Chylinski, Jia Hao, Rey Fernandez Jr. and a planned team member specializing in character rigging that they either had yet to secure a deal with or were still looking for one. However, similar criticisms were made by the community as to when Jao was silent about his past work in that people could not find any work by these individuals to assess their standards to gain an understanding of their skills and the feasibility in which these developers would be able to complete the ambitious Day of Dragons.

Image for postThe full team members list

In the early stages of development for the game, no concept art was published either, which people questioned due to Jao stating the game had been in development for 2 years. There was some art showcased, however after the community looked further into the art that was shown, it was discovered that the art wasn?t original to Day of Dragons and was not their property. However, some concept art did get released following the release of the aforementioned Suspicious Findings Google document and Day of Scams website?s launch.

Image for post2 years of developmentImage for postConcept artImage for postConcept art

After further digging was done by the community, through what was shown of the game, it was uncovered that the game was making a large reliance on store-bought assets. None of this seemingly was disclosed on the KickStarter page and instead there was a paragraph section just stating:

All photos above are screenshots taken directly from the game in real time.

In addition to this, it wasn?t stated on the KickStarter page that these store-bought assets were just place holders, leading to people believing that the game could potentially be what is commonly referred to as an ?asset flip.?

The creators behind the Suspicious Findings document were successfully able to uncover a list of all the assets that were present alongside links to both the store pages that these assets could be bought and also YouTube videos of these assets being used. To name but a few, all the dragons were sourced from a maker on Sketchfab called Malbers Animations, the menu systems were found to be from the Unreal Engine marketplace and the maps had also been found on the Unreal Engine marketplace as well. The part about the dragon assets drew more criticism especially due to Jao previously stating how it would take upwards of 6 weeks to put 1 dragon into the game despite the dragons linked coming pre-packaged with animations and such with very little work needing to be done to implement them once purchased.

Image for postTaking 6 weeks to put 1 dragon in the game

In an interview with Jao that was conducted by YouTuber Anthomnia, Jao revealed that he believed that the environments would not be replaced.

These environments?are so beautiful and so professionally well done that I can?t see us spending thousands and thousands of dollars for someone else to make our own environment packs that might not look as good as what these are.

Additionally, following on from the assets present in the game, Jao made additional claims that it took him a whole day to get the game?s new website up and running, however, people found that the website was running off a WordPress template. On the website, when it originally launched, there was a countdown timer showing how long was left before Day of Dragons saw release. There was a piece of background artwork that accompanied this timer. It was discovered by community members that this artwork had in fact been taken from ArtStation user mer tun, a freelance artist that did the artwork specifically for the video game Remnants of Naezith. More specifically, the artwork was used for one of the game?s Steam trading cards. A member of the community contacted the official Remnants of Naezith Twitter account to alert them of the artwork being present on Day of Dragon?s website. They got the response confirming that Beawesomegames had not sought out permission from them to use the artwork as indicated by Remnants of Naezith?s surprise of the site and use being shown. The developer went ahead and joined the Day of Dragons Discord server and confronted the developers about the use made as well as making some tongue in cheek jabs towards Day of Dragons? budget and Naezith?s budget. Jao reacted to this by promptly responding to Naezith and Jao went ahead and removed the artwork from the Day of Dragons website with the reason Jao gave for it being there was that it was to be used used as a placeholder to be replaced later on down the line when they could get their own art done. One of Day of Dragon?s moderators also responded by saying that the image had been illegally sold to Jao without his knowledge.

Image for postBeAwesome Games had not got permission for the artwork to be usedImage for postBeAwesome Games had not got permission for the artwork to be usedImage for postThe developer joins the serverImage for postThe developer confronts the DoD team on the use.Image for postJao promptly responds to NaezithImage for postThe image had been illegally sold to Jao without his knowledge

Originally, this information was what was included in the original version of the Suspicious Findings document, and the document, along with the Day of Scams website quickly circulated around online and eventually got to the Day of Dragon?s team and Jao?s attention. Upon discovering this document?s existence, Jao seemed eager to find the user responsible for the Suspicious findings document and dished out bans to anyone he believed to be sending information to those behind the document or people he believed to be working on the document in some capacity.

Image for postJao attempting to find the user behind the documentImage for postJao bans a user

Even after the Suspicious Findings document and Day of Scams website were released/launched, more concerns got listed, including a concern raised about the fact that the game had paid pre-order content/DLC planned for people who backed the game pricing another dragon type at $9.99 for backers as a pre-order bonus through their website and $19.99 for non-backers, which was hit with more complaints from users. Jao did later issue a response to the backlash that he was receiving from the unveiling of this DLC content by making a case stating that he was actually giving KickStarter backers a good deal on the pricing of the DLC, even going on to add the phrase ?this is why devs quit talking to their community? in his response and asking if users expected all future DLC to be free. A similar response was also issued to the fact the Day of Dragons team were in the talks of organizing merchandise for the game, that again had at the time still yet to have seen release even into an early access state.

Image for postPaid pre-order content/DLC planImage for postUser complaintsImage for postUser complaintsImage for postUser complaintsImage for postJao?s responseImage for postJao?s responseImage for postMerchandiseImage for postMerchandise

While the community did have other sources of concerns during the game?s KickStarter run, they mostly fall into the circles of concerns laid out above and for the sake of not having to reiterate the same stuff, we?ll leave it there. In summary to these, it?s safe to say there were a great number of concerns that the community had with the project and how it and the community interaction handling.

On the 7th/8th October 2019, Jao decided to tackle a lot of these criticisms head on in a dev discussion that took place in the Day of Dragons Discord server. A summary of this discussion can be found in a document Jao and his team made. A lot of the responses in the summary don?t differ too much from the responses included at the end of each concern in our article. The summary does though go into more in-depth detail relating to dragon stats and content of the game. To list out but a few points that were present in the summary though, Jao went into a pricing breakdown on how the KickStarter funds were being used, saying that it would cost somewhere between $7,000 and $10,000 for each dragon to be created and put into the game, $30,000 for SFX and $35,000 for hiring a musician among other costs. Jao did also interestingly list out potential legal costs voicing intent to sue some people for alleged ?false claims? alluding to the people behind the Day of Scams website with Jao going on in the discussion to say:

There are people out there already which hate the game because it is successful, because it takes people from their communities, they see what I could do with this vision, this dream, and they send in trolls and put up websites, pointing fingers at the marketplace assets but I dare to say none of you backed this game backed of the assets, you backed this vision, and wanted to be a part of this dream. I don?t care how many of these people pop up, I?m gonna finish this game make they all eat crow.

In addition to this, in response to the aforementioned concerns being shared around, Jao stated:

If anything?s gonna burn me out it?s gonna be the community calling me out on things they heard on websites, streams, twitter, because when people call out my integrity I take that personally?This is my way of dealing with it, I like to talk to the people, get it all sorted out. The thing about discord is you don?t know how old these people are and kids are impressionable. I am here for you guys if you guys have concerns, so when people call me out with concerns let?s talk about it, man to man/woman/whatever you are. Just like how people call me out I can call them out on their use of marketplace assets but I don?t do that, I came with nothing bad to say about other?s games but now that my KS brought more funding than theirs did I am the bad guy. They bring trolls/doubt/confusion. Why don?t we talk personally instead of these people doing it behind the screen. Hence me being here, already for an hour so I can talk and tell you guys how this isn?t a scam. A lot of developers I think don?t know start out like this and maybe give up after being flayed by their community. Just yesterday it was ?we love you Jao? and today is ?you money grabber what about those 500k?, but they aren?t aware that this money will be gone by the next year.

It was at this point that YouTubers got involved?

Influencers Inbound

The first prominent individual to shine a spotlight onto community concerns surrounding the game was the YouTuber IGP who made a video entitled The Truth About Day of Dragons. The video currently sits at having over 510K views and was posted on the 14th of October 2019. In the video, IGP highlights many of the community concerns that were outlined in both the Suspicious Findings document and the Day of Scams websites and this video seemingly drew in a large outsider crowd that previously had not been familiar with Jao, Beawesome Games or Day of Dragons. Personally speaking, IGP?s video was the first instance in which I had come across Day of Dragons.

In his video, IGP opens up saying that supposedly he had reached out to Jao in the hopes of conducting an interview with him for the video however Jao declined seemingly due to him preferring to have the kind of conversation that IGP was asking with someone who had supported the game. IGP showcases in his video contradictions and confusing statements made by Jao, along with the secret nature of the team in which it was for a time difficult for users to find and see any of the team?s past works and just having a project comprised of assets not made by the developers to showcase their skills, along with leveraging several personal criticisms IGP had towards Jao and his community management such as seemingly trying to prevent the Suspicious Findings document from spreading and banning users that posted it instead of addressing the concerns.

IGP also includes audio recordings taken from the developer discussion that Jao heald which can also be listened to in the video which starts at around 11:55. The full conversation from the call was originally included in the description in a Dropbox file, however, the file is no longer accessible and when accessed returns to a 404 error.

Another point to mention as it becomes more important later on in this saga is that the game that IGP is playing in the background isn?t actually Day of Dragons. This was instead a game made by YouTuber IcyCaress going by the name Dawn O? Dragons and was made by Icy seemingly to highlight how quickly a game similar to Day of Dragons could be put together and according to IGP, Icy put the game together in two days with supposedly no prior experience in game development to boot.

After IGP?s video was published, it generated a lot more backlash for Day of Dragons and for Jao. Jao made a couple of statements with regards to IGP?s video, such as stating that IGP had only made the video because they had given his streamer key for the game away to someone else. Jao also went ahead and released his message history with IGP in an attempt to further showcase his reasoning as to why he turned down IGP for an interview. The conversation exchange seemingly matched up what IGP had stated had happened in the video he published.

Image for postBacklash from IGP?s videoImage for postMore backlashImage for postIGP?s streamer key was given awayImage for postIGP never accepted his keyImage for postJao releasing his message history with IGPImage for postJao releasing his message history with IGP

However, as with any online backlash, there will sometimes be the group of people that take their disdain too far, engaging in extreme behavior with Jao highlighting YouTube comments of people wanting him behind bars and Jao has claimed that people have made threats to swat him over what had transpired with the game at the time.

Image for postJao showcasing YouTube commentsImage for postSwatting

Jao continued to retaliate against IGP?s video.

Image for postImage for postImage for post

Jao also made responses over Icy?s self-made game Dawn O? Dragons by showing screenshots of some of Jao?s blueprint code against Icy?s, seemingly showing how much more complex Day of Dragons is in comparison to Dawn O? Dragons. Icy issued a response to this on Twitter by calling Jao a ?liar? and claiming Jao had falsified evidence with regards to Icy?s code, which Icy later in the chain linked to an Imgur album to all of the blueprints used in Dawn O? Dragons.

Dawn of Dragons “Code”

Post with 205 views. Dawn of Dragons “Code”

imgur.com

Over the course between October ? December 2019, Jao would continue to face blowback from the community, however in December, a penultimate date had arrived for Day of Dragons?

A Disrupted Departure

Day of Dragons saw a release into Steam early access on December 4th, 2019 and the game was now finally available for the public to purchase and play after months of controversy facing both the game and its developers. According to Steam review charts, the game launched to a mixed reception and continues to hold a mixed rating to this day. By the end of launch week, the game had a Steam aggregated user rating of 66%, indicating a mixed rating. As of today, the game holds a lower 62% rating. The rating does, however, indicate a sizable amount of people were happy with the game. Just looking at the reviews there are people present that both loved the game but of course, the critics were also present.

Day of Dragons on Steam

Day of Dragons is an online creature survival sandbox game set in a large, beautiful, open world with multiple biomes?

store.steampowered.com

To highlight some of the community responses to the launch, here are a few excerpts from just a few reviews, positive and negative at launch:

?Kept me playing for hours! Love the controller support!? ? Steam user: craiton_the_mighty

?This shouldn?t have been released in this state. There is absolutely NOTHING to do besides walk/fly around an empty world, as a dragon. There is nothing in the world, and further more, its all assets?? ? Steam user: Bigfry

?Think Dark & Light but more stupid. That being said do you like dragons? Is there any other dragon game out there? Exactly, we?re going to get the game and be negative about it until something better comes along which currently is nothing much like The Isle.? ? Steam user: Rabid

?The game is maybe 1% ready. not trying to be mean. much much too soon for early access.? ? Steam user: Chocolate&Flowers

?Fun game to look at not much to do at the moment because its in alpha tho? ? Steam user: {TF}mIg

?Spend 1.5 hours trying to grow so that i could fly?guess what never happened because biger dragons need food and players are the only source. When you spawn you get spawn camped because everyone spawns at the same place so ye biger ones just spawn camp. No way to escape, nothing else serves as food so ye ?god pls come on. Like i said on my post this is something you come up with in 2 hours man. Refunded? ? Steam user: Rot

As can be seen, both people that like and dislike the game seem pretty forward about the game?s problems and shortcomings, specifically to do with the player base and the overall unfinished nature of the game that felt to some too early for early access, those with positive reviews seemed to be somewhat forgiving of the game due to its current state and still wished to be supportive of the game as it continued through with its development.

However, with the Steam release came the Steam discussions and community hub which opened up another area for users to congregate both fans and critics alike. Within the Steam discussions, forum bans were handed out, mainly towards users voicing their disliking towards the game?s use of assets and the game?s general bad reputation. However, the game, of course, was now out, open to everyone and open for critics to criticize and fans to enjoy and support, but both camps present to watch and observe the project.

Image for postForum ban

The Jao Interview

Now to address an elephant in the room. Both TechRaptor readers and people familiar with the ongoings of Day of Dragons may already be aware that I conducted an interview with Jao. This interview took place on December 9th when this article was being planned. Speaking personally I wasn?t aware of the large undertaking that this article would become with regards to how much would need to be covered with this and my naivety told Jao that the article should be expected by December 16th, the end of the following week that we conducted the interview. Granted, I did not promise this as an expected TOA and was just me speculating and I did make this clear that I wasn?t aware when the article was to be published and was just me expressing that the article should hopefully be up by a certain time. As you can probably tell when this goes live, that date definitely did come and pass. Many more issues arose centered around the game that I wanted to cover, and then I decided to make more additions to the article in terms of extra interviews and I was getting contacted by people almost on the daily not only asking about article progression but people also submitting more stuff to talk about and to touch base on in the article. So I and Jao did our interview, and then an incident arose a few days later which will be talked about in the next section of the article after we did the interview. I messaged Jao because I was hoping for an extra statement on the matter and he was inquisitive about what?s going on with the article and I give him generally the same sort of response but gave him a week longer and predicted around about December 23rd. On December 22nd though, people were writing in not only to me but to the TechRaptor team alerting us that a document was released into the Day of Dragons Discord server and in it was the full-text interview that I did with Jao. Jao didn?t give me any notice that he was doing this and didn?t message me until I personally messaged him talking about what he?d done.

We had some people coming in to ask about the validity of the interview to TechRaptor. The way this was carried out was the interview was done over text on Discord as it made it easier for transcribing rather than using voice interviews that required recording, finding suitable times for us both and it just made putting the interview into the context of a written piece much easier. So Jao literally did just copy and paste what was exchanged between us and put it in a document and put it into the Day of Dragons server, tagged everyone in it and we were only alerted to this happening after the fact. There was one question that was left off, it was the follow-up question I?d asked a week after the original interview was done and about 6 days before he released the interview himself, which will again be touched upon in the next section. However, for the sake of making this article complete, and still delivering on the promise I made that this interview would get published by me in some form, the interview will still be included and will be put in here, so please do read on if you?ve not already read this interview between myself and Jao about Day of Dragons and everything that had happened up until this point. Some questions have been removed due to them no longer being relevant to the topics in this article.

Image for postJao releasing our interview without consulting myself first

Q: What made you want to make Day of Dragons?

I grew up playing video games, it all started with my brother?s Atari when I was 5. I graduated to the Nintendo followed by the Sega Genesis and PlayStation and Xbox and on and on until PC gaming became a thing in the late 90?s. I fell in love with PC gaming much more than consoles. Since I loved games so much, I wanted to make my own game, it?s the reason I went to college and took computer science. But life happened and I found out how difficult it was to get into the game industry so I pursued other interests. After my Dad passed away of cancer December 4, 2016, I got really depressed and decided to set a new goal for myself in honor of him, to make the game I wanted to make when I was a teenager. I loved HTTYD and Survival games and decided to put the two together. I released Day of Dragons on Steam Early Access December 4th, 2019, 3 years to the date my Dad passed away.

Q: Did you see any risks regarding what may come of the development or the game?

The only risk I saw was failure. And failure is something you only experience if and when you quit. I wasn?t worried about whether or not it would be a popular game or financially successful, because I wasn?t doing it for the money, I was doing it for my Dad. I don?t judge my success by the reviews I get, I judge my success by whether or not I finish what I started.

Q: Why were you not so forward about revealing stuff such as code or concept art in the early stages to KickStarter backers?

I don?t know any game studio that reveals their game code. Your code is your copyright work. Showing source code to the public is unheard of in the gaming industry and most studios have their code under strict NDA?s even to staff or programmers that work for them. I had counselled with veterans in the industry and I was told to never ever show your code. So I didn?t. As far as concepts, we did not have the money yet to pay Jia Hao for the work he was doing for us out of good faith, so we were not going to show off work that was not yet paid for.

Q: What was your and/or your team?s prior experience with game development before Day of Dragons?

Zero. I have never made a game before and I told people this was my first game. However, I know Simon did the sound fx for Subnautica and Rey did the music for Space Front, and Jia has been doing concepts for a long time. But my background in coding is mostly Java and web applications.

Q: Is there anywhere publically for users to see any of your team?s prior work and/or portfolios?

Jia Hao?s work can be seen on artofjiahao.com and Rey?s work can be heard on reyfernandezjr.com, Simon?s work can be heard in Subnautica. But I don?t have a game portfolio other than Day of Dragons? my first game.

Q: There are published inconsistencies of comments you?ve made about your coding knowledge and background, are you able to clarify a bit further on what coding languages you know?

Java is my language. Being mostly involved in website design and web apps, I have spent most of my adult life working with Java, ActionScript, HTML/PHP, and MySQL. I began learning C++ in May of 2019 and have only been getting better with it. Some of the screenshots you?ve probably seen were taken off of the Unreal Slackers Discord back in May when I was seeking out some answers to questions I had when I was building the Day of Dragons server. I admitted I did not know C++ then, but not getting the help I needed, it forced me to dive into the realm of C++ and start learning it for myself.

Q: Comments you?ve made indicate Day of Dragons has been in development for 2 years, however in May 2019 some messages were found of you in apparently a programming Discord server where you were asking some questions indicating development on a project had just begun at that time and you were wanting to know about packaging. Can you clarify this as well please?

I began working on my game in July 2017. I started learning Amazon?s Lumberyard engine. I was going to make an open-world survival game. About 14 months later, and after talking to Amazon?s team, I found out that the Lumberyard license requires all online multiplayer games to use AWS, which I did not want to do. I wanted to make a game where players could host their own servers or hosting companies could host their own server rentals. I then decided to abandon Lumberyard and test development on CryEngine and Unreal. I liked how similar CryEngine was to Lumberyard so I felt more comfortable with it, and I liked their licensing, but Unreal proved to be the better engine for the type of game I was trying to make. After making a demo project in both engines, I settled on the Unreal Engine and felt it was the better engine. I began to work on Day of Dragons in Unreal Engine in December 2018, one year ago at the time of this writing. I had successfully built a Windows server with all networking and netcode needed, but since most server hosts use Linux, I had to build a Linux server as well. Working with Linux brought its own challenges and I had a lot of trouble compiling a Linux Server in Unreal. So in May, 2019 I went to the Unreal Slackers Discord and asked for help. The barebones server files that were decompiled and then displayed as ?Only 4 lines of custom code? was from that first server build with only the bare necessities of a server which was uploaded to the Public Steam repository.

Q: If the game was in development for 2 years, what were the stages of development and what was done in the game?s early stages? Due to the use of pre-made assets in the game, it?s indicative it wasn?t on modeling or level design it seemed, so how was early development stages spent?

The first year was spent working in Amazon Lumberyard and then abandoning that engine and project. The second year was spent working in Unreal. I had to learn the engine before I could work in it. I made a test project to learn the Unreal engine, and its networking. Once I had a working test project and understood the engine, I began to work on Day of Dragons. The first thing I did was build the foundation, the game mode and character systems. Then I built a Windows Server. Then I worked on system mechanics, followed by a Linux Server back in May. Since then I have added many new mechanics. I?m not an artist, so I had to use marketplace characters and animations until I could raise the money needed to hire artists to make custom content for my game.

Q: An artist came forward saying that you had stolen some artwork used in their game for promotional reasons for Day of Dragons, do you have any comment on this?

Actually, what happened was the owner of the artwork came to our Discord wondering why there were 2 of his concept images on our website. He told us those images were designed for him by an artist on artstation. I told him we purchased a wordpress theme license for our website and those images were included in the theme pack. I had spent all day removing all the theme images before going to bed at 3am. There were still 2 images remaining and I decided I would replace them in the morning. When I logged in on Discord, the discussion was ongoing. I then removed the two remaining images and told him where I purchased the theme. He contacted the storefront and they removed all his artwork from their theme pack. We never stole anything, that was just a lie made up to make us look bad. The 2 concept images were only on our website for about 9 hours.

Q: With regards to the merchandise, what made you decide to look into this route so early into development?

Our fans were demanding merchandise, and because there was so much demand for it, we decided to look into it. Of course, the critics loved that and used it to promote their ?cash-grab? rhetoric. But the whole reason we even brought it to our fans was because hundreds of them were asking for it.

Q: How do you perceive your interactions with your community to be like?

I have a very good relationship with my community. I interact with them daily. I talk to them in voice chats and talk to them in text chats. I interact with them in the game. I?m a very personable person and enjoy interacting with the people playing my game.

Q: Some people have been calling out a comment you made saying you?d been working all day to get a website up but users believe it was made using a template and wouldn?t require much?

It only takes 5 minutes to install a website template, but it can take all day or even days to customize it the way you want. Anyone who has ever customized a template knows this to be true.

Q: Any additional comments you may wish to make?

There?s a very controversial ?truth? video out on YouTube where the Indie Game ?Promoter?? makes a lot of suspicious claims about me and my game and points viewers to a ?scam? website created by some anonymous Discord user as proof and source material for his video. While both that video and website have created a ton of drama, the saddest of which being the witchhunt and death threats towards me and my staff, I wanted to publicly thank IGP for bringing my game to the attention of his 1.5+ million subscribers. Though I don?t agree with the video?s claims, all publicity is good publicity. We have had a ton of new dragons join our community because of that video. But while everyone is talking about Day of Dragons, the game or drama, I will continue to work on it, because my Father in Heaven is looking down on me, and I know He is watching. That inspires me and motivates me and no one can stop me from finishing what I started 2 and 1/2 years ago. The only person I have to beat in this marathon is myself, and if I don?t quit, I will have succeeded in my goal by bringing my childhood dream to life, creating my own game ? and I?m not a quitter.

Of course, this interview was a little bit outdated, I was hoping to do a more up to date interview with Jao which I contacted him about on February 14th and I also contacted Day of Dragons community moderator Midnight when I got no response from Jao. I still to this day have yet to receive any notice on Jao wishing to take part in a follow-up interview.

Blown off Course

On December 13th, 2019, it was discovered by both IGP and IcyCaress that they were both unable to launch up Day of Dragons. They both went ahead and posted a video to Twitter. The two of them did a Twitch stream discussing the matter and uncovered evidence of being hard code banned in the game. This was discovered as both IGP and Icy?s Steam IDs were found in the game?s code after a dump file was created after launching it up, and was also shown in a Twitter video IGP posted.

YouTuber SidAlpha also went ahead and bought the game himself to independently verify the legitimacy of this and according to Sid, not only was IGP and Icy?s Steam IDs located in the game?s code but Sid found a total of 6 different Steam IDs were also present.

On IGP?s Twitch channel, IGP and Icy went on to accuse Jao and Beawesome Games of violating Steam Terms of Service, specifically for the part in which it is stated:

If a developer communicates a ban request to Valve, is the offending player banned from launching that game ? or from using Steam entirely? And for how long?

The effects of the game ban are determined by the developer, and must be consistent with a VAC ban, such as being prevented from playing online with other players and/or trading items for that game. It cannot prevent the user from launching and playing the game offline. It cannot prevent the user from using Steam.

The duration of the game ban is determined by the developer. Only permanent game bans are displayed on the user?s profile. Temporary game bans, or suspensions, are not displayed.

After this stream, Icy made a discussion post about his game ban on DoD?s Steam Community forum. Following his post, Icy received a community ban from DoD Steam Community Hub, after which he posted evidence of it to Twitter. No ban reason was attached and evidence was shown by a Day of Dragons community moderator that this ban was done by Jao.

Image for postJao bans Icy

This was the incident that resulted in me messaging Jao back for a second comment and he got back to me with this:

Our team is preparing a formal response to the IGP and IcyCaress claims. We fundamentally disagree with the claims made in the video, and our opinion will come to light once we are able to issue our formal statement.

Now prior to Jao making that comment to me, a moderator in the Day of Dragons Discord server did make some comments on the matter alongside some other miscellaneous claims that they were receiving backlash for what has already been touched upon here.

Image for post

At this point, Anthomnia, one of the early YouTube supporters for Day of Dragons made a tweet saying that apparently he had been receiving threats from users saying that they will kill both him and his dog which later on turned into another video from Anthomnia discussing what had transpired.

In addition, part of the Day of Dragons staff chat room got leaked around December 15th showing that moderators were telling each other to not engage with either IGP or Icy. Further comments were issued by ex-Day of Dragons staff who wish to remain anonymous with them stating Jao had been deleting his own posts:

Jao has also, conveniently deleted all of his posts, because he?s paranoid of ironically doing this it?s just a fucking shitshow tbh and unfortunately Jao doesn?t seem to realise: I can?t defend an action I don?t support which is why I have not been and will not be actively moderating this fallout. I?m not going to take part in it on principle.

Image for post

The ex-staff member also expressed that they believe Jao shouldn?t have banned IGP nor Icy going on to say:

Jao was told in no uncertain terms that his decision to ban the two of them this way would be a PR nightmare and that if only he could swallow his efo, (sic) we could fix the situation. That we could rebuild otherwise burnt bridges and that it didn?t have to end this way. Jao?s statement, this ?legal team? bullshit so. He banned them because, according to him, he has evidence that they ?reverse engineered? and ?hacked? the game and then ?posted code online?. From other people I?ve spoken to, this is horseshit. Similarly, I?m not sure why he?s pushing the narrative to staff they hacked his game, because if this is discussing the ?two lines of code? thing, he?s already claimed before that that wasn?t game code, and just a test build.

The ex-staff member went on to say:

If he has any actual evidence, he hasn?t released it to anybody, not even his staff. He claims his lawyer already has a case made and the only reason he hasn?t done anything is because he has to ?weigh the costs? but this seems suspect too because he?s already paying attorney fees, and has been for a while apparently, and if his case was as solid as he made it sound then surely he would have already gone after IGP and Icy because he could make them pay for those fees when they lost. If you ask me: it?s a crock of shit. If it?s real, I hope he tries to sue, and I hope he loses ? as almost every other game developer historically has. But I have a strong belief that it?s not real.

Additional comments were brought in with:

It?s explained very clearly to Jao that, no, this drama is of his making. Similarly, since I have Jao around, I decide to tackle another subject I?ve become acutely aware of: staff morale at an all time low. The three heads of staff in Jina, Thy and Midnight won?t admit publicly, but they have reached a point where they are treading on glass around Jao. You make a suggestion? ?It probably won?t happen.? Midnight admitted to me she?s been in tears several times. It?s a known fact Jao acts before talking to any of them, including Midnight, his PR person. He acts and then simply expects this staff team to clean up his mess. And he does too, because something else he said: ?I don?t like it when you don?t support my decisions. You aren?t here to do that.? ?You?re here to enforce the rules. And to support my decisions in public.? According to Jao, his staff team aren?t even there to answer questions. And in fact, he?d rather we didn?t. In a public voice chat, he gaslit his entire moderation team. Instead of recognising that moderators asking questions helps keep the community feel involved, his response when he was told that asking questions is part of the job was: ?no, it?s not. You do it because you want to. Because you want to interact with the community, which is great. But also, when you get it wrong, it?s awful.? No thanks. No recognition. And pointing out what a headache it is for poor Jao is a staff does it wrong ? neglecting the fact he never communicates with his fucking staff, so how are they meant to get it right? I gave him, at the start of this call, a fairly passionate please. I told him that I?d had staff DMing me about concerns. About Jao?s actions and the fact we have to live with the consequences and clean that shit up for him while he codes his game.

Jao issued a statement on December 16th that as a result of ongoing ?trolling? he would be closing the Discord channels with the exception of the KickStarter, appreciation and bug report channels. Jao also seemingly addressed fans of Icy to alert him of an impending legal response that would be issued to him in the future.

Image for post

Stabilizing?

On December 17th, 2019, Jao issued a public response (this is a repost I made to a Google Document as the original response was made in a PDF that required downloading) to everything that had been going on with the game (seeming to be the response he mentioned to me in one of our final communications with each other) and the controversies pre and post-release.

Jao went on to say in the response:

We welcome reviews, criticism, suggestions of how to improve, and even statements that you just do not like the game and think it is terrible. However, as a business, we cannot sit by and listen to outright lies about us, our game, and our efforts, which appear to be geared toward damaging us?.IcyCaress and IGP have made numerous assertions through Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, and various other social media platforms disparaging Day of Dragons and asserting false statements as facts.

Jao went on to address the controversy surrounding the hard code bans along with allegations of violating the early access guidelines and Steam terms of service, saying:

IcyCaress and IGP have made numerous false factual statements that the manner in which Day of Dragons is operated and the business practices of Beawesome Games violates Steam?s Early Access Rules and Steam?s VAC Terms and Conditions.It is correct that we have decided to ban IcyCaress and IGP from playing Day of Dragons. In their attacks on our game, IcyCaress and IGP reverse engineered the code of our game in effort to perpetuate the narrative that Day of Dragon?s was an ?asset flip? and had zero custom elements,which is proven false below. We have taken the stance that this reverse engineering is a hack ofDay of Dragons and is a bannable offense. As such, we have banned IcyCaress and IGP from playing our game.With regard to the VAC Terms and Conditions (located here) that IcyCaress referenced in his video, these terms and conditions apply to games that utilize the Steam Valve Anti-Cheat (?VAC?)System. Pursuant to these terms and conditions, a game developer is prohibited from banning a player in a way that prevents the user from launching and playing the game offline. However, it is important to note that, as stated in the very same terms and conditions, ?[T]his only applies to games that have been approved for this feature by Valve, and a game ban only applies to that specific game.? Day of Dragons is not currently employing the VAC system as a manner in which to ban players from playing the game. Instead, myself and my development team have decided to utilize our own methods of banning players, which includes utilizing the game code to ban specific Steam IDs. Because we do not currently use the VAC system, we are not required to comply with the VAC Terms and Conditions that IcyCaress referenced and as such, are not violating those Steam Terms and Conditions.

Jao goes on in the document to go over each of the early access guidelines and pose a counter-argument as to how and why Day of Dragons and Beawesome Games do not violate these rules and alleges IGP and Icy of defamation, which is a point IGP and Icy brought up on another Twitch live stream that they did when the response was issued. One instance that occurred during this live stream though that arose more criticisms towards Jao was when a user came into IGP?s Twitch chat calling him a terrorist. While the user originally had no ties or connections to Beawesome Games or Jao, following this comment he made, he was given a promotion in the Day of Dragons Discord server to that of a moderator. Jao goes ahead in the response to even state that he will be serving cease and desist letters to both IGP and Icy:

Thus, in connection with this public statement, we are sending cease and desist letters to both IcyCaress and IGP requesting that they remove the categorically false information they have circulated through YouTube and social media and to acknowledge the falsity of the information that they have perpetuated. If this continues, we will have no choice but to consider further action.

Image for postTerrorism commentImage for postThe user is then promoted in the Discord server

In response to this, IGP stated that this was an attempt at ?silencing criticism? and that he would be waiting for the letters to come to him before taking any action in removing the video he made.

Flying Off Course

On December 19th, YouTuber SidAlpha who previously had shown interest in the topic of Day of Dragons on his Twitter released his own video surrounding the game covering a lot of the subject matter previously talked about in this article, with the video entitled ?Dirty Devs: Day of Dragons Controversy: Lies, Censorship, and Legal Threats?

Following the release of SidAlpha?s video, Midnight made an announcement stating that Thy and Jina had left the Day of Dragons team for ?personal reasons? and were hoping to get more lead staff on board soon. That same day, in response to leaks being made from the private staff channel, Midnight announced that staff would be forced into signing an NDA to prevent information being released from the staff channel. Jao also went ahead and removed the content creator roles for both Anthomnia and another YouTuber by the name of TheGamingBeaver who had also previously made content promoting Day of Dragons but went on later to tackle the controversial topics surrounding the game.

Image for postMidnight AnnouncementImage for postNDAs

On December 22nd, SidAlpha showcased on Twitter that when attempting to post his video to the Day of Dragons community hub, the video got banned and as a result, it led to him not being able to post any user-generated content to the Steam Community, including videos, artwork, and posts to community discussions.

The following day though, was when some strange activity came about in the Day of Dragons Discord server.

Kamikaze Dragon Dive

That staff in the Day of Dragons Discord server went ahead and changed a lot of their names and profile pictures. At first it came off like they were joking and having fun stating how they were making a cult. Jao changed his name to ?Mary Poppins Y?all? and created a new role in the Discord called ?Game Master?. People that were given this role were people that had been supportive towards Day of Dragons, meaning KickStarter backers, Jao?s moderators, Jao himself and people that genuinely did more often than not sided with Jao.

The incident was documented in an Imgur album from one of the participators, but it involved Jao getting these users to mass ping a user he thought was communicating with IGP with ?Merry Christmas? messages when he had said in the server earlier he didn?t want to be disturbed as he was at work and they did it regardless and it lead to the user joining the voice channel and telling Jao that he ?needs a short drop and a sudden stop? that the mods and Jao took as the user telling Jao to kill himself which lead to him being banned. Jao went and changed his name and icon again, started talking about himself in the third person and what had happened. The user revealed in DMs to a moderator that apparently he wasn?t meaning that Jao should kill himself, but telling Jao to sit down instead.

This continued with Jao repeatedly changing his name to random names, like Bumblebee from Transformers, Po from Kung Fu Panda and also renaming himself to SidAlpha at one point. The talks and referring to himself in the third person also continued to the knowledge of no one as to why he was doing this. People in the server were also heavily criticizing this, if anything just for the sheer confusion it was causing and also for the pings sent to the Discord user that was at work. In response to this, Jao deleted everything in the text channel, seemingly doing a Thanos parody by deleting and renaming the channel to ?#Oh-Snap?.

Jao muted channels so users couldn?t talk and inevitably it all ended with Jao leaving the server and relinquishing Ownership to Midnight. Eventually, the Discord server got shut down for the holidays.

Shortly after these events transpired, somewhat of a ?rebellion? was started up by people who felt that the official Day of Dragons Discord server was not an adequate place to discuss issues with the game.

Uncut and Uncensored

The Uncensored Day of Dragons Discord server was created in response to the perceived censorship that was going on in both the Steam community discussions and the Discord server for Day of Dragons. The server has nearly 200 users currently part of it. It was created by a user who previously had backed the game on KickStarter by the name of HiddenShantu. I did a brief interview with both the Discord server owner HiddenShantu and the co-owner, Kasa.

Q: What made you want to create the server?

HS: I was honestly tired of seeing people who did literally nothing kicked, banned, warned, and muted for simply speaking out against the game and asking questions. I made the server while Jao was deleting and recreating the Dragon Discussion channel to purge any proof people posted or bad things they said and talking about/defending himself in the third person, and sent an invite link in the chat when he wiped it for about the 5th time.

Q: When had you personally caught on to Day of Dragons? Were you a KickStarter backer?

HS: I backed the DoD kickstarter pretty early on, before Anthomnia or other youtubers made videos on it, as it genuinely intrigued me, it was something I wanted to play and see develop. I still do, frankly. I?m not here to kill the game.

K: I found out about DoD? From Anthomnia?s youtube video. I don?t care for Anths youtube stuff, but i saw a game about dragons and almost lost my mind. I had been waiting so long for this! Yes, I was a low-tier backer- but that didn?t stop me from being banned for stupid reasons.

Q: Were you surprised by the traction the server got?

HS: Absolutely. I was completely shocked when 10 people joined, then 15, then 50, and the number kept going up. I was expecting a very limited number of people to join as I thought either nobody would see the link or nobody would be interested. I guess they were, was up until 3 AM that night setting up rules and a staff team to moderate the shocking amount of people.

K: YES! I never expected our server to blow up like this! But I?m so glad it did! It?s really nice to see people coming together- Albeit most of it?s to complain about DoD- for a singular purpose. I?m hoping we can turn the server into something more than just a DoD Discussion server!

Q: What is the main purpose of your server?

HS: It started simply as a place to discuss DoD without being banned, muted, kicked, or punished for what they had to say, and we grew from that concept to provide information that players and potential buyers otherwise wouldn?t see due to the severe censorship, we wanted to inform people and let them know what was going on. Now, we?re trying to expand our community into other things (in addition to DoD) as a place where people can speak freely and have fun with each other.

The NDA that Midnight announced started to be issued out to moderators and staff around this time. While it was seemingly just circulated around the staff, we were able to obtain a copy of the agreement and a version can be viewed in full on this Google Document that was put together by us for easier sharing.

Come December 28th, IcyCaress went to Twitter to tell people that he still had yet to be served any cease and desist letters that Jao had stated would be sent to Icy.

New Year, New Dragon?

On January 1st, 2020, an announcement was made by Midnight saying that the Discord server would be re-opening.

Image for postRe-opening the server

On January 10th, Icy posted to Twitter a response to a Steam Support he had opened inquiring on rule violations pertaining to Day of Dragons. While the Steam support representative was very vague and general in their response, there is a statement indicating their belief that the ban placed onto Icy was not of sound reasoning.

We also stress to developers the delicate nature of issuing bans, while making sure that they understand the consequences when bans like this are applied without very sound reasons ? decreased player trust, hostile communities and forums, lowered review scores and ultimately jeopardizing the success of the product entirely.

As a result of this statement making the rounds back to the Day of Dragons staff, some of the moderators spoke their minds about the results and attempted again to explain their views of the hardcode bans and how it seemingly was misconstrued by YouTubers.

Image for postModerators chime in on Steam?s response

There was a lot of downtime and a lot of silence on all ends, it seemed like the matter was slowly dying down. However, while there wasn?t any news on any controversies surrounding the game, it did seem like progress on Day of Dragons was advancing, seemingly so with Jao still having stepped away from the Discord server and entrusting it with Midnight. A new dragon for the game got teased on twitter as a bonus for people who had backed the game on KickStarter.

More fuel was pushed with the progress of the game through Jao starting up a dev vlog series on the Beawesome Games YouTube channel, detailing what he had been working on in the game and what was still to come. He released the first episode on January 19th.

Things were looking up for Day of Dragons at this point somewhat. A lot of the controversies had started to die down, critics were given less material seeing as how Jao had taken a large step back from the Discord server, and it was still being shown work was being done on Day of Dragons through Steam announcements and on Beawesome Game?s YouTube channel through the developer vlogs. However, this improved public perception wouldn?t necessarily last come January 24th.

Fire Breathing Obliteration

IGP made a tweet showing that Jao had attempted to file a DMCA takedown notice to YouTube against his original video, however in this unique case, YouTube believed that IGP?s video fell under fair use and made the decision to step in and not remove the video that Jao was claiming infringed on his copyrights. If the DMCA takedown notice were to have gone through, IGP?s video would have forced to have been removed from YouTube while the dispute was being resolved and depending on the extents to which it would get pursued, it would have held the potential to turn into a legal case of the property rights of the video.

Later in the day, IGP released more details about the attempted takedown, including showcasing the response YouTube gave to Jao about the video as to how and why they believed the video was not infringing, a response email Jao made stating what in the video he perceived to be violating on copyright and a section of the legal declaration that goes with filing a DMCA takedown notice.

In the response, Beawesomegames list their first reason as being tied to the fact the video was monetized, not tackling any subject related to copyright. The second, third and fourth reason relate to the artwork shown in IGP?s videos saying how they were shown to harm the company and that they own the rights to the artwork shown due to them hiring out the freelance artist who made them despite the artwork being shown in just seconds of footage in IGP?s video. Needless to say, as can be seen from the past instances of when this action is taken, people were not impressed with this move.

In a quote issued to us, IGP stated the following:

I mean, the whole thing is just utterly ridiculous. My video was not malicious at all. It was critical, yes, but every bit of concern I brought forth was legitimate and shared by so many people, even those who funded the Kickstarter. Jao?s response to this whole thing is absolutely absurd. He is unable to take any form of criticism, regardless of how it is presented, even though he states he welcomes it, and he is on a rampage trying to silence anyone who raise legitimate concerns or anything related to myself, IcyCaress or SidAlpha. Banning members and kickstarter backers, reporting legitimate Steam reviews, filing false DMCA takedown claims on critical videos, and threatening lawsuits. Jao is on a never-ending mission to silence us, at whatever cost. Everyone involved in calling out Jao?s nonsense publicly are right to do so. I?ve never seen a developer react this way over what is objectively a well-structured, informative and truthful critique.

It didn?t just stop with IGP though, SidAlpha also received a DMCA takedown notice e-mail, but like IGP?s video, YouTube sided with SidAlpha and blocked the takedown request and allowed the video to remain online. Sid also voiced that he was commencing talks with lawyers about a potential lawsuit against Jao for his actions.

Image for post

In response to this, a Day of Dragons moderator made a statement saying that Jao?s claim fell into a ?legal grey area? and said when referring to the instance ?It?ll be interesting to see how this plays out.?

Image for post

Sid went ahead and published a new follow up video about Day of Dragons to his YouTube channel.

A new roadmap later got released for Day of Dragons on January 30th, 2020, outlining where they wish for the game to go and when to expect new content to be added.

SidAlpha made a tweet updating the community on his potential impending lawsuit filing against Jao saying that he couldn?t get him for violation of the DMCA due to how the video was never taken down but voices potential in the avenues of lack of consideration for fair use when a filing was attempted and an attempt to infringe the first amendment rights of a piece of journalistic work.

In the meanwhile, again, more work is being done on Day of Dragons, including an unveiling of a new dragon for the game and a new map.

SidAlpha, however, goes on to make several update videos surrounding Day of Dragons and the matters that had occurred since his original video and leveraging further criticism towards Jao in the process.

A few days after the release of the third part of Sid?s video series, the third part was hit with a privacy complaint from Jao. No real details were specified in the complaint though as to what part of the video (if any) pertained towards a form of privacy violation.

As a result of Sid?s belief of no privacy violations occurring, he responded to YouTube saying the video would remain live and publicly viewable and refused to remove the video or alter it.

Jao has seemingly moved away from making public comments on these types of posts, and instead the only times the community sees Jao is when posts are being made about genuine game updates and what?s to come for the game.

Image for postImage for postImage for postImage for post

Some more criticisms were made though about a new desktop icon being released for the game with people alleging the icon was just traced over from a piece of art from ArtStation. A moderator said they would be investigating the matter after this was brought to their attention. Users went ahead and messaged the artist themselves and the artist seemingly was not aware of the art being traced and he had not been approached about it prior. The icon was quickly replaced the same day this was discovered.

Moderator Tales

During the time of me looking into Day of Dragons and essentially enveloping a great deal of my time into the matter, I was directed to a couple of ex-moderators who had previously worked with Jao, going by the names of Airyll and Neevster. I got to talk with them in-depth with regards to stories of what had happened in the channels and their own experiences with Jao and the rest of the moderation team.

Airyll

Q: What made you sign up?

?I joined the Discord late into the Kickstarter, and became a fairly active user in a specific section of the DoD Discord that was called Input Discussion or Input Suggestions. In effect it was a place for discussion about the game, decisions that were being made and things that were happening. I didn?t branch much out of that specific channel, and quite enjoyed spending time there, which is also where I sometimes would interact with other moderators or the Head Moderator at the time?Notably, I was there when IGP?s first video on DoD broke. Now at the time ? and I maintain this view to this day ? I felt that the video had a disingenuous tone to it, whether that was intentional or not. I felt that the wording of some of the video was unfair or manipulative. But, most of all, what I noticed was the chaos that ensued in the Discord afterwards. A lot of moderators were absent and those who weren?t simply weren?t equipped enough to deal with the fallout of IGP?s video, regardless of what the intent was. There was a lot of trolling that happened, a lot of people trying to bait a small staff team already overwhelmed with the sheer number of people in the Discord. Aaaand that was why I wanted to join the team, because it was really obvious to me that there wasn?t enough staff and that the staff that were active just didn?t have enough hands (and in some cases I?ll be fair, I questioned if they had the experience) to deal with what was happening.

I also made friends with the Head Moderator and, in DMs, I did hear about some of the issues that they were having with a lack of hands as well as other frustrations that I wouldn?t fully understand until later. Problems with Jao?s PR existed even back then, and I had spoken with both Midnight (the community manager) and the Head Moderator both about asking whether or not they would get a PR manager and take Jao out of the spotlight. So, even before being staff, I was hearing of some concerning things, but at the time I just thought it was teething problems and that it would help having experienced staff. So, when applications opened, I applied.?

Q: What made you leave?

I didn?t leave. Jao removed me from my role without any warning. His claim was that I was ?leaking screenshots? from staff chat to other places. At no point has Jao ever provided any evidence, to anybody as far as I?m aware (even when other staff asked him for it) to back up his accusation. I myself spoke with Midnight about this and offered her dozens of screenshots, including screenshots of my own personal computer files, to prove that wherever the accusations had come from, they were false. Midnight told me in DMs that she?d ?resigned? from being Community Manager (something that Vatalia, a developer, would then later claim Midnight had never done.) I?ve never been given an actual official reason as to why I was kicked from the team. I?ve never been given any evidence to prove the accusations issued against me. I have been shown proof that after I left, there was no hesitation from Jao to slander me in the staff chat claiming it was me and showing screenshots of leaked messages (where my name never even showed up) claiming it was me to have done it. I?ll state here that despite the fact I?m pretty sure Jao just kicked me from the role because he didn?t like me, I had to go out of my way to remind Midnight to remove my moderation position from the Steam community discussion area and from Bug Testing. I ceased all duties once I?d been removed from my Discord staff position even though it took two weeks for them to remove me as staff in other areas.

Q: What were your interactions like with Jao and the rest of the team?

Overall and in summation: Jao was unpleasant to work with in the few times I had to work with him. It was, and still seems to remain, his way or the high way. He surrounds himself with passive staff that won?t question him regardless of what he does, isn?t receptive to advice or criticism in the slightest, and he constantly rejected any responsibility for the actions he took. In his own words, he believed ?Only I can be effected by my actions? and so he didn?t believe that his staff actually had to deal with consequences of his own poor decisions despite the fact he clearly did. I wish I could say good things about Midnight and Thylacine, and maybe once I would have done, but the two of them have since ? post me losing the role ? proven to be equally dislikable characters in their own right. Midnight was quick to lie to me and claim that she?d resigned when she hadn?t when I asked for any kind of support for the false accusations leveled against me, and then ghosted me permanently ever since. Thylacine I had no interactions with after I was removed from the staff. He and Jinawee stepped down from their roles, but Thylacine mysteriously came back later and refused to say why.

Following my conversation with Airyll, she sent me over a lot of screenshots of various chat logs she and others had exchanged with staff members of Day of Dragons, of which I will showcase below. Names of individuals who have expressed requests to remain anonymous have been redacted.

The first messages shared was that of an exchange Airyll had with a Day of Dragons developer known as Vatalia in reference to an exchange that had occurred between Airyll and the head of staff for Day of Dragons known as Thylacine with Airyll alleging Thylacine of manipulating staff who had stated they wanted to leave the project by saying the project would be hurt as a result.

Image for postImage for postImage for postImage for post

More screenshots were shared to me of chats she had reserved from her time in the staff chat showing a supposedly toxic environment within the Day of Dragons team.

Additionally, I got to talk with another ex-moderator by the name of Neevster who backed up a lot of what Airyll had said and also had her own messages and history to share with me:

Neevster

Q: So in general, how did you find working with Jao and the team? What made you leave?

At first, it was a dream come true. I?ve wanted a dragon game forever, so when the opportunity to apply to be a mod came up, I jumped at it. I was/am very inexperienced as a mod, but that didn?t prevent me from seeing the gross incompetency from Jao?s team as time went on. It was stressful on a day to day basis because as moderators, it was our job to manage the Discord server, however, Jao would frequently make our job difficult by doing things without informing us first, essentially dropping a bomb and running away. Jao would also frequently try to silence us in staff chat, anytime we brought up an issue, it was quelled due to them not wanting ?drama in staff chat?. One time, Jao said he was muting staff chat so he wouldn?t see it anymore, after all we had done was politely tell him some advice.

I left DoD the same day the NDAs came out to sign. Initially upon hiring I had been okay with the idea of signing an NDA, but that had changed. After recent events where he fired a staff member with zero evidence, refusing to listen to her side of the story, I and a few others thought the NDA was too risky to sign, having seen how volatile Jao could be. I became a mod on UDD shortly after leaving DoD. I wasn?t 100% over the dragon game yet, I still wanted to be involved. I enjoy working to make sure those unable to access DoD can still get the news.

Neevster also shared with me their message history with Thylacine adding onto both Neevster and Airyll?s claims of Thylacine emotionally abusing staff.

Image for postImage for postImage for postImage for postImage for post

After obtaining all of these screenshots, I did make an effort to get a comment from Thylacine, however, each message I sent to Thylacine asking for comment would result in being pushed to Midnight despite explaining no response had been received from Midnight for comment in ten days at that point (no comment has yet to be given even now.)

Where Does the Flight Take Us Now?

That is the tale so far of Day of Dragons, Beawesome Games, Jao, and his team. Where this continues to go from now is down towards both Beawesome Games and the community around the game and its many controversies. Will Day of Dragons be able to get past this and move on from its rocky beginnings? Only time will tell.

I?d like to leave this article on some quotes I had received from people that I did interviews with where I asked them ?What advice would you give to Jao?? And what follows are all the individual?s responses:

IGP

Jao, you need to stop this vendetta and focus on working on your game. Your attempts to silence everyone is absurd and literally everyone sees through it. Even your own Kickstarter backers have turned and demanded refunds because of your poor actions. You need to pull a ?Hello Games? and absorb the criticism and just focus on what you promised to make. It would have been better for you if you didn?t lie, accepted responsibility and did what you could to make it up to everyone. At this point, it?s too far gone for myself and many others. You?re lost, and it?s very obvious you are. We?ve moved beyond the concerns, even though many still exist, to what is nothing but childish attempts at bringing everyone down that disagrees. Just focus on your game, and make it the best you can. Stop this nonsense.

SidAlpha

In my personal opinion, Jao as a developer is not in a good place. His actions and statements have continued to endanger the video game that a great many people have high hopes for its successful completion. It would be far more beneficial to his customers, to his fans, and to his video game for him to concentrate solely upon the development of the game and cease the behaviors he has exhibited over these past months.

HiddenShantu

Step back. I can tell you that most, if not every reasonable person in our discord wants to see you and the game get better. You need to work with your community and your critics, not against them. If you censor, ban, kick, mute, delete, and punish your community for criticizing you, you will go no where. We will keep making it known to inform people who will spend money on this game what really goes on, so if you want all this to go away, change, I promise you it will work better for you if you work with your community as a team. Thats all

Kasa

Jao? Please listen to your community. Even the complaining serves a purpose. You don?t have to respond to things that bother you, but taking steps to silence people the way you have isn?t part of making a game. Learn from them! MOST of the complaints are valid critiques about the game and we could help you build something so wonderful and it would fulfill your dream to make a good game. We want the same thing you do.

Disclosure: I am personally friends with SidAlpha.

Follow me on Twitter

Join my Discord server

If you liked this article, applaud it and share it where you can!

2

No Responses

Write a response