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Hardcore gamers not hardcore enough!
March 24th 2001, 20:56 CET by Narcopolo

This year's Independent Game Festival is winding to a close.   Several original games were featured, some others were refinements of classic gameplay.  A good run-down of the games is provided by Gamespot, here.  The developers are still looking for a publisher for the most part, but it's quite possible we'll see these games completed and available in one form or another.  

The question is, who is waiting for them?  Have you followed the coverage, played the demos?  The ones with available demos have put them at the page I linked.  On these boards the most anticipated games I've heard debated are Tribes 2, Black and White, and of course, for good or bad, Duke Nukem Forever.  We've had sprawling brawls about the meaning of gameplay in some very mainstream games.  We've bemoaned the lack of originality in the industry ad nauseam.  But if these independent games can't reach the hardcore (that's us, baby!), then what chance can they and their cousins have of reaching financial success with the crowd?

What are you going to do about it?
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#1 by "Houston"
2001-03-24 21:01:29
houston@fatchicksinpartyhats.com http://www.hulka.com
Distribution on gaming news sites, being picked up by publishers at conventions....

Some Independent Games want to stay independent.  So, reaching the hardcore crowd doesn't always happen, but with awards like the Seamus McNally award, these independent games get a lot more exposure.

Not sure, I like rambling, and I'm tired, but it's like music... a lot of people listen to what's popular because it's the only thing getting played on the radio.  I doubt you'll hear the latest Hemmorhoy Rogers CD alongside N'sync and Godsmack, but somehow they find a way to those who are truly listening.

What am I going to do about it?  Talk with the producers about signing a few on  :)
#2 by "Houston"
2001-03-24 21:05:24
houston@fatchicksinpartyhats.com http://www.hulka.com
It's Seumas, my bad.

and I really gotta stop drinking before noon.
#3 by "firethorn"
2001-03-24 21:09:04
firethorn@rhombusdev.com www.rhombusdev.com
Ah, but do all games have to appeal to 'hardcore' people?

I mean, look at the success of the Deer Hunter games in Wal Mart, or perhaps the Roller Coaster Tycoon games.

I won't even mention 'Barbie'...
#4 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-24 21:18:30
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Houston (#1):
Some Independent Games want to stay independent. So, reaching the hardcore crowd doesn't always happen, but with awards like the Seamus McNally award, these independent games get a lot more exposure.

Well, then who are they trying to reach?  :)  If not the hardcore ... the mainstream will probably never hear of them since it takes mass marketing to do that, which requires money, which independents don't have.  If they aren't reaching the hardcore, I hope they don't expect to make money.  ;)

firethorn (#3):
Ah, but do all games have to appeal to 'hardcore' people?

I mean, look at the success of the Deer Hunter games in Wal Mart, or perhaps the Roller Coaster Tycoon games.

I won't even mention 'Barbie'...

Absolutely correct.  Just because a game doesn't appeal to the "hardcore" crowd, it doesn't make it less of a game.
#5 by "Darren Coleman"
2001-03-24 21:31:49
durzel@barrysworld.com http://www.superficial.net
Depends really what is truly meant by "hardcore".  Arguably a game will only be awaited with baited breath by the "hardcore" online gaming cognoscenti if it involves blasting the living daylights out of each other with an assortment of weapons from a first-person perspective (I could've summed up that ramble by just saying "FPS" really).

MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) are becoming more and more mainstream/hardcore, but again - remove the "online" aspect of it and it ceases to be anything more than "bizarre".

Thinking about it, is there even a "hardcore" gaming community outside of the Internet anyway?  And if not, maybe thats the answer - since when has the Internet gaming community accounted for more than a fraction of game sales (#3's point clearly illustrates this)
#6 by "Anonymous"
2001-03-24 21:43:57
Well, harcore simply mean a central or fundamental and usually enduring group or person. Or maybe its just very loyal player that waits for the game to come out and plays it 'hardcore'. Not in the meaning of how many times you play the game, but in the meaning of how good you're at it and how dedicated you are to it. If I were to play Barbie (Doh!), and play it like I'm playing UT, or checking information about it, I will be Barbie hardcore player (how wierd it may sound).

:.:::..:::::..:.:::What Doesn't Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger::.:..::::.::...::::.
#7 by "Error"
2001-03-24 21:44:56
niko@runbox.com
Heh, forgot to fill info in post #5

:.:::..:::::..:.:::What Doesn't Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger::.:..::::.::...::::.
#8 by "Error"
2001-03-24 21:45:29
niko@runbox.com
I mean in post #6

Damn, whats wrong with me.
#9 by "Narcopolo"
2001-03-24 21:49:31
Is anyone checking out the games themselves?  I figured since I wrote the main post I'd better look through them all and not just the ones that I'd normally be interested in.  Right now I'm playing Hardwood Spades, and it rocks!

No, not all these games are for the hardcore.  What is interesting to us of these games though?  
#10 by "Houston"
2001-03-24 22:15:05
houston@fatchicksinpartyhats.com http://www.hulka.com
Who cares about reaching the hardcore?

Honestly, this isn't the market to make a decent buck in (Hmm... this does taste like Nike), and I immediately take that back with what appears to be going on with Serious Sam, nothing like a $20 price point to make a game sell "like a mutha".  Can't wait to see the sales reports on that.

But, Hardcore numbers just don't add up to what you can make with a licensed console title.  Not to say all games with a nifty license sell like hotcakes, but you're going to rake in a lot more with Pokemon Chartreuse than FPS BloodFest '99.

I think the hardcore PC gaming audience, those who surf the web endlessly looking for screenshots and information on the latest and greatest titles to hit store shelves in an entirely too large box, will get more exposure to these independent titles than Joe Six-pack whos idea of a message board is the white board in front of the boss' door showing which employees are out to lunch (ph34r my l33t run-on ability).  Where do I, a self-considered hardcore gamer, get my news?  Slashdot.org, shacklinks.com, blueslinks.com, gamespy.com, all of which have some sort of information on not only the goings on at the GDC, but also postings from those who have not found a publishing deal yet.

And Joe Six-Pack surfing the web might check out Yahoo news, or Cnet.com, but rather feels the best and most reliable source will be the 11 o' clock news, which has far too much interest in blowing up the latest trend in motor vehicles and overemphasizing celebrity deaths to report on our spindly little industry (well, when school kids aren't shooting each other because their cousin's ex-roommate once went into EB and touched a copy of Rogue Spear).

Then again, I speak from my own perspective and can't honestly know what goes on in the lives and minds of folk outside of my niche, so who am I to say.

I like chicken.
#11 by "Houston"
2001-03-24 22:20:53
blair@2015.com http://www.2015.com
Yeah, I work here now, whee

and as a post note, I am now going to go through all of the demos for these independent games.

and I really, really hate Gigex.  It never did me any real wrong, I just have my own prejudices.
#12 by "Narcopolo"
2001-03-24 22:23:01
For the people who really hate Gigex, just like I do, if you go to the homepages of the contestants, there'll be links to the demos, from Fileplanet or say Download.com.  So pick your poison :)
#13 by "wabut"
2001-03-24 22:29:39
wabut@yahoo.com http://jove.prohosting.com/~datafox/comics/
I've played Shattered Galaxies by the Nexon guys, and it's at least as good as all their other work. If anything, they should get an award for releasing nearly all their games with a really intensive trial version.
#14 by "Whisp"
2001-03-24 22:31:14
Hardwood Spades looks good.  Chase Ace 2 looks like it might offer some temporary diversion. Sabre Wing is exciting because of the Wild Tangent stuff.  Some real potential to change the way games are delivered to a more casual market, look at how the online gaming services like MSN's and Sony's have taken off - rather than the hardcore. Of course it looks like the requirements for that particular game might be a little steep.

Speaking of indie titles, did anyone here ever play Stars! ?  Not really indie anymore, but they started that way.  I used to love that game, never reallly got into playing it online though - was still on AOL then.  I even registered the darn thing.  I've been waiting for Supernova to come out for a looooong time ....

-Whisp
#15 by "Whisp"
2001-03-24 22:58:29
Here's an interesting quote in the SabreWing interview:
GS: Any tips for other independent teams who want to publish a game on their own?

TB: Fill in the broad strokes as quickly as possible, and get the fun in place right away. Then go back through to fiddle with the details. I've seen lots of people get bogged down making one little feature "just right," and by the time they're done, they're exhausted. All the fun elements get left until last, and more often than not, don't make it in.


TB is SabreWing creator Travis Baldree.

-Whisp
#16 by "Houston"
2001-03-24 23:20:00
blair@2015.com http://www.2015.com
Chase Ace 2 is like.... hmm... Spy Hunter meets COMBAT! in space.  I dig it, check it out.
#17 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 00:40:50
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#4):

Absolutely correct. Just because a game doesn't appeal to the "hardcore" crowd, it doesn't make it less of a game.


I suppose it falls into the pit with all the other corporate whores, then?

You can't tell me the dev team for barbie really "felt" passion and innovation when they were crafting their masterpiece.

we are the legs of our own god.
we shall walk him the good walk.
#18 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 00:54:29
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#17):
You can't tell me the dev team for barbie really "felt" passion and innovation when they were crafting their masterpiece.

Who says?  Maybe the developers of the Barbie games LOVE Barbie and her world.  Just because you don't like it ...

A crappy game created completely without passion will appeal to nobody.  Even little kids won't play something if it isn't fun or at least entertaining.  The game must have been created in a way that would appeal to those kids, so therefore the developers must have SOME insight into what makes a good Barbie game ... and to do that, I would think they would need some love of it.

The game wouldn't sell monster numbers otherwise ...
#19 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 01:12:27
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#18):

A crappy game created completely without passion will appeal to nobody.


When I think of the apex of great gaming, I don't see Ken rolling over to Barbie's house for a night on the town. Do you? ^_^ I'm not arguing they didn't do a good job on making it fulfill it's function and adding polish, but don't you think the core drive behind the "game" is a bit.. well... lame? I'm sure it won't be taking home any awards.

You can't make a stupid idea shine.

And yes, it does appeal to kids. So does South Park, eating boogers and flicking spitwads. It's just another title, set up to make some cash before the years out. It will be forgotten and another will take its place.

The game must have been created in a way that would appeal to those kids


thats the problem. don't make games that try to appeal to others, make a game that you as a development team and as a human being enjoy, and others will also. all this plastic toy crap of catering to the audience is why games are so uniform and narrow-sighted as it is...
#20 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 01:21:21
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Kayin (#19):
thats the problem. don't make games that try to appeal to others, make a game that you as a development team and as a human being enjoy, and others will also. all this plastic toy crap of catering to the audience is why games are so uniform and narrow-sighted as it is...


I have to agree with this 100%. This is how it was in the old days.

Publisher X: "hey look that game sold millions of copies! that's what people want! let's clone the SHIT out of it!!"

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#21 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 01:50:41
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#19):
When I think of the apex of great gaming, I don't see Ken rolling over to Barbie's house for a night on the town. Do you?

No, but the game isn't targetted at us, so that make sense.

And yes, it does appeal to kids. So does South Park, eating boogers and flicking spitwads. It's just another title, set up to make some cash before the years out. It will be forgotten and another will take its place.

I once knew a little girl, around 5 years old.  She LOVED this stupid game called Millie's Math House.  She played it every day.  She ASKED to play it.  It was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen, but to her, it was golden.

thats the problem. don't make games that try to appeal to others, make a game that you as a development team and as a human being enjoy, and others will also. all this plastic toy crap of catering to the audience is why games are so uniform and narrow-sighted as it is...

Well, kids can't make games for themselves, so someone else needs to.  There are many markets, and games should be made for all of them.

It's not that I like Barbie games ... I don't.  But I accept that there IS a market for them and they SHOULD be made.

I'm somewhat weirded out that I'm defending Barbie, but I think it's important to accept that we're not the only market for games.
#22 by "Ares"
2001-03-25 01:56:32
Whilst I feel I must preface this by saying I have fond memories of flicking Spitwads; I urge everyone to play Chase Ace 2.  It's kinda like Inner Space (remember that?) but with multiplayer, and without levels named after your porn directory - or was this just me?
#23 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 01:58:40
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
The Joker (#20):
I have to agree with this 100%. This is how it was in the old days.

People talk about these wonderful "old days" when all games were made with true passion and love ... money wasn't a concern ... and the developer didn't give a rats ass whether anyone liked their creations or not, they were there for the art.

Can someone give me a point of reference on this, because I can't imagine that this time ever existed ... except in peoples imaginations.  The moment computers started being sold to the general public, these "old days" would have ended.

Or ... maybe it's just like today.  There are people who do it because they love it, and there are people who do it solely to make money.  Here's something to chew on : It's always been this way ... you're just more aware of it now.
#24 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 03:08:50
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Ares (#22):
Whilst I feel I must preface this by saying I have fond memories of flicking Spitwads; I urge everyone to play Chase Ace 2. It's kinda like Inner Space (remember that?) but with multiplayer, and without levels named after your porn directory - or was this just me?


Agreed.

Me and my cousin just got finished playing five or six deathmatch sessions of Chase Ace, and I AM BUYING THIS GAME ^_^ first time i've played a game and enjoyed it so much in a long time.
#25 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 03:12:13
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#23):
The Joker (#20):

I have to agree with this 100%. This is how it was in the old days.

People talk about these wonderful "old days" when all games were made with true passion and love ... money wasn't a concern ... and the developer didn't give a rats ass whether anyone liked their creations or not, they were there for the art.

Can someone give me a point of reference on this, because I can't imagine that this time ever existed ... except in peoples imaginations. The moment computers started being sold to the general public, these "old days" would have ended.

Or ... maybe it's just like today. There are people who do it because they love it, and there are people who do it solely to make money. Here's something to chew on : It's always been this way ... you're just more aware of it now.


Warren, you sound kind of pissed. I wasn't trying to make it sound like all devs are out for the cash in, etc etc.

And, as terrifying as it may seem to some of the higher ups, yes, there are people in it to make good games and don't give a damn about the money. That's what frightens the people who make it for the money... they can't possibly compete with passion.

It's kind of a karma thing. You have to want to make a good game, and make it, then the money will come because it's good, not because you wanted to make it.

Is that making any sense?
#26 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 03:45:33
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#21):

There are many markets, and games should be made for all of them.


it's that kind of thinking that got dance dance revolution approved. =P
#27 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 03:59:47
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Kayin (#25):
Warren Marshall (#23):

The Joker (#20):


I have to agree with this 100%. This is how it was in the old days.

People talk about these wonderful "old days" when all games were made with true passion and love ... money wasn't a concern ... and the developer didn't give a rats ass whether anyone liked their creations or not, they were there for the art.

Can someone give me a point of reference on this, because I can't imagine that this time ever existed ... except in peoples imaginations. The moment computers started being sold to the general public, these "old days" would have ended.

Or ... maybe it's just like today. There are people who do it because they love it, and there are people who do it solely to make money. Here's something to chew on : It's always been this way ... you're just more aware of it now.


Warren, you sound kind of pissed. I wasn't trying to make it sound like all devs are out for the cash in, etc etc.

And, as terrifying as it may seem to some of the higher ups, yes, there are people in it to make good games and don't give a damn about the money. That's what frightens the people who make it for the money... they can't possibly compete with passion.

It's kind of a karma thing. You have to want to make a good game, and make it, then the money will come because it's good, not because you wanted to make it.

Is that making any sense?


Kayin, I feel like making love to you this instant. You are so on the same frequency with me on this. In the Old Days (TM), "developers" made games because they loved doing it and they made games they liked to play themselves. No one cared about any market or what people liked. They made the game, had fun with it, and then uploaded it as shareware to see if they could make some money out of it. But making money was never a priority. Reading readme files of some old DOS shareware games will back this up. Most "developers" were just college or highschool kids doing a computer science project (Supaplex), or others did it just for fun, in their spare time, etc. As soon as making money becomes priority, stuff goes wrong.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#28 by "Desiato"
2001-03-25 04:02:36
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com www.spew2.com
Looking back is the first sign of decay.


Desiato
#29 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 04:12:59
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Desiato (#28):
Looking back is the first sign of decay.


Desiato


You kidding me? Looking back can literally save your ASS in some neighbourhoods. Just look at my sig. Jafd has been getting it since monday if I'm not mistaking.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#30 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 04:14:44
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#25):
And, as terrifying as it may seem to some of the higher ups, yes, there are people in it to make good games and don't give a damn about the money.

No, I'm not pissed, I ... OK, I get a little pissed when people talk about the "old days" and "how it used to be" when in reality, it's nothing more than an illusion they've worked up in their heads.

But I think you'd be hard pressed to show me a developer who was making games solely for fun and "didn't give a damn about the money".  If you can, I'll freely admit that I was wrong ... but I don't think I'll have to.

I'm not in it totally for the money ... but it sure is nice.

Kayin (#26):
it's that kind of thinking that got dance dance revolution approved. =P

Hey, I've seen FPS game developers get all excited over stuff like Samba De Amigo (or whatever it's called).  There's a market for all kinds of games, you just gotta be able to recognize it.  :)

The Joker (#27):
They made the game, had fun with it, and then uploaded it as shareware to see if they could make some money out of it. But making money was never a priority.

Right, which is why they released it as shareware:  Because they didn't care about money.  Dude, come on ...

Desiato (#28):
Looking back is the first sign of decay.

Which explains why old people always give you the, "Back in my day ..." speech.  :)
#31 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 04:31:03
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#30):

But I think you'd be hard pressed to show me a developer who was making games solely for fun and "didn't give a damn about the money". If you can, I'll freely admit that I was wrong ... but I don't think I'll have to.


I'm pretty sure one of the atari guys was quoted in an interview that he made missle command out of a dream he had once. In it, his home town became ground zero and there was nothing he could do to stop it... saw his family and friends go up in a chaotic inferno right before he woke up...

so he made MC modeled after that, just to transmit that feeling of helplessness into a game. no money wanted, it just happened to spirial into a big thing and end up making atari money.

I'm not in it totally for the money ... but it sure is nice.


Agreed, it's needed to live and all that. ^_^ But these people who are making games inbetween sessions of lounging around in hot spas, getting full body Chinese massages and having red martini's delivered to their limos in golden goblets, and still manage to churn out clone after clone... (sarcasm off)

Hey, I've seen FPS game developers get all excited over stuff like Samba De Amigo (or whatever it's called). There's a market for all kinds of games, you just gotta be able to recognize it. :)


i take that kind of dance music games as our generations lame attempt at duck hunt.
just not as cool, and twice as backstreetdoor-ish. blech.

what i mean is, when you first sit down to make a game, you CANNOT let the idea of money cloud your vision until the game becomes a path to getting money. (deer hunter sequels / knock offs, barbie kiddie games, etc) the game is a means, the money and end, and your hands crafting it will connect the two.
#32 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 04:33:14
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Warren Marshall (#30):
Right, which is why they released it as shareware: Because they didn't care about money. Dude, come on ...


I didn't say they didn't care about it. :) I just said it was not first priority. As soon as making money becomes first priority, then stuff called "marketing" comes in. And marketing will basically decide for you what the hell kind of game you're going to make. All unique gameplay idea's will have to make place for "what works" and "what has proven to be successful", because when money is involved, noone wants to take risks and try something new and watch it flop. It really limits your creativity as a developer, because if you don't stick to these rules, you're going to have a hard time finding a publisher.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#33 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 04:37:45
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Kayin (#31):
what i mean is, when you first sit down to make a game, you CANNOT let the idea of money cloud your vision until the game becomes a path to getting money. (deer hunter sequels / knock offs, barbie kiddie games, etc) the game is a means, the money and end, and your hands crafting it will connect the two.


I'm in love.

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#34 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 04:43:32
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
The Joker (#20):

Kayin, I feel like making love to you this instant.


Everyone loves riding muh man train ^_^

All unique gameplay idea's will have to make place for "what works" and "what has proven to be successful", because when money is involved, noone wants to take risks and try something new and watch it flop. It really limits your creativity as a developer, because if you don't stick to these rules, you're going to have a hard time finding a publisher.


yes! this is exactly what i've been meaning to say. there are game styles that no one has even touched. why?

because they're afraid it won't work.

--kayin ("sticks and stones may break my bones...... but you
dont have any sticks or stones DO YOU ?!?")
#35 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 04:52:07
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#31):
what i mean is, when you first sit down to make a game, you CANNOT let the idea of money cloud your vision until the game becomes a path to getting money. (deer hunter sequels / knock offs, barbie kiddie games, etc) the game is a means, the money and end, and your hands crafting it will connect the two.

To a degree.  A good game is a LOT of work, and if it's just something that you're going to play on your own ... well, you REALLY have to be into what you're doing and be really GOOD and FAST to get it coded before you'll lose interest in the project.  I've seen it time and time again.  Hell, I try to code my own little games all the time but within a few weeks, it falls apart ... I find something more interesting to hack around with, the idea doesn't look as good in 2 weeks as it did at first, etc.

Making missile command out of line drawing routines wouldn't be that hard and I think that's what allowed that kind of thing to happen.  These days, if I think up a game idea, I'm immediately daunted by the sheer amount of work it would take to pull it off.  And thus games requires teams of people these days ...

I'm sort of wandering all over the map now, so I'll just shut up.  ;)


The Joker (#32):
I didn't say they didn't care about it. :) I just said it was not first priority.

Well, no, what you said was ...

But making money was never a priority.

Meaning that, well, it was NEVER a priority.  Evidently at some point, it was.

As soon as making money becomes first priority, then stuff called "marketing" comes in. And marketing will basically decide for you what the hell kind of game you're going to make.

Yeah, I'm not arguing that.  If you're only in it for the money, you're going to make crappy games.  However, what I'm contesting is saying that game developers used to be in it SOLELY for the fun and money NEVER crossed their minds.  That it was all for one and one for all.  Don't think so.  :)

Now this IS true of people just getting into computing.  People who hack around in their bedrooms, making cool shit and learning ... but those people aren't the people who get games finished.  They're like me ... get partway into it, learn a lot but lose interest.  Then they move on to the next project.

The people who actually finish games that you are able to play on your machine are the experienced game developers who have been through that initial phase.  And it's a rare individual who writes complete games and doesn't think about money.  :)
#36 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 04:55:43
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#34):
yes! this is exactly what i've been meaning to say. there are game styles that no one has even touched. why?

because they're afraid it won't work.

Just to jump on to the publishers side of the fence for a moment.  Yes, what if it doesn't work?  Games cost millions of dollars to create these days.  Let that number sink in for a moment.  I'm including marketing costs and so on in there as well.

Who in their right mind wants to spend millions of dollars and HOPE they see a return?  Why not publish something you KNOW will bring you a return?

Yes, that sucks, but if you see if through their eyes for just a moment you can see where these decisions come from.

I don't agree with it, and I wish it was different ... but I CAN see where they're coming from.
#37 by "BobJustBob"
2001-03-25 05:01:50
kevinakabob@mindspring.com
I have never heard of a person who tried Samba de Amigo and didn't like it. Yes, I think Dance games are stupid, but other Dance games don't have the maracas. Long live the Samba monkey!
#38 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 05:14:42
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Warren Marshall (#35):

Making missile command out of line drawing routines wouldn't be that hard and I think that's what allowed that kind of thing to happen. These days, if I think up a game idea, I'm immediately daunted by the sheer amount of work it would take to pull it off. And thus games requires teams of people these days ...


but do they, really? ;) missle command gives me just an adrenaline rush as quake or UT does. sure, all the gfx extras are nice, but trying to keep the lines from coming down on those,... er,.. houses? ^_^ still makes me sweat everytime i play it.

as for ideas, why isn't there some process in place to test if an idea will work or not, without having to have massive amounts of assests created for it that might possiblity be thrown away if it doesn't work? just get in there and give broad, general strokes of the brush until it vaguely looks like it should, and at that point you should be able to tell if the game will be fun or not.

yes, good ideas are a dime a dozen and hard work's priceless, i agree. but i also think you need both, hard work is nothing with a good idea to back 'er up.

for example, an idea: step into the shoes of the bad guy and good guy at will. make a game where you can transfer from good guy to bad guy any point during the plot, say mr. bad guy goes to the window sometimes to look down upon his people, and he has a pet bird or something on his shoulder. the bird takes off and into the night, and lands where the party is, and control is changed over to the good, mr. noble party. with the player getting insight into "mr. evil guy" maybe they'll find he's not evil after all, just after different means, two opposing sides.

or better yet, make your friend leave the room, set into motion all these things as the "bad" guy, and then have him walk in, play as the good guys and try to get out of it. ^_^

and in the end there's someone or something even higher up controlling you both, and you never knew it.

heey, we'd call the good guys "trolls" and bad guys "game developers". trolls would find out bad guys aren't after their money and try to fuck them over, game developers can find out that trolls are humans too. it'd be an instant classic. ^_^

--kayin (i'm spent)
#39 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 05:16:28
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
BobJustBob (#37):
I have never heard of a person who tried Samba de Amigo and didn't like it. Yes, I think Dance games are stupid, but other Dance games don't have the maracas. Long live the Samba monkey!


It's a good game to play drunk, I'll give it that.

Those damn maracas HURT
#40 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 05:21:13
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
btw, neat missle command fact of the day:

you can never win. the game was set up as a moral lesson: in nuclear war, there are no winners.

that is all.

--kayin ( a silence befalls the game executives as a stack of
makeshift papers blows away...the eyes of an entire
branch fill with truth as they weep.) ^_^
#41 by "The Joker"
2001-03-25 05:31:57
joker@junkextreme.com http://www.junkextreme.com
Warren Marshall (#35):
To a degree. A good game is a LOT of work, and if it's just something that you're going to play on your own ... well, you REALLY have to be into what you're doing and be really GOOD and FAST to get it coded before you'll lose interest in the project. I've seen it time and time again. Hell, I try to code my own little games all the time but within a few weeks, it falls apart ... I find something more interesting to hack around with, the idea doesn't look as good in 2 weeks as it did at first, etc.

Making missile command out of line drawing routines wouldn't be that hard and I think that's what allowed that kind of thing to happen. These days, if I think up a game idea, I'm immediately daunted by the sheer amount of work it would take to pull it off. And thus games requires teams of people these days ...


I've been through what you've explained as well...know what it's like :) Still have so many ideas, and they are always too ambitious.

Meaning that, well, it was NEVER a priority. Evidently at some point, it was.

Yeah, I'm not arguing that. If you're only in it for the money, you're going to make crappy games. However, what I'm contesting is saying that game developers used to be in it SOLELY for the fun and money NEVER crossed their minds. That it was all for one and one for all. Don't think so. :)


At least when they thought of making the game, they didn't put making money first, but making a game they like and have fun with it themselves. And yes, after that making money becomes a little more important. Afterall, it's cool if you can have fun making a game, and then make some money off of it too. :P

Joker, Ph.D. Procedural Assholian Behavior.
- All your ass are belong to my wang, JafD! Prepare to are penetration!
#42 by "MrAndyPuppy"
2001-03-25 05:48:09
andrewsmailers@optushome.com.au
I remember making games when I was young - yes for fun, yes for challenge. There was no money involved, only the adulation of a few friends who could only play games (and some could beat me time and time again) - of course, they couldn't program anywhere near as good as I, so I looked good :)

Of course, now, I look at making a game and am immediately turned off because of the huge difference between my Vic-20 version of Space Invaders, or my Amiga500 version of LodeRunner, and games that are out now like Unreal Tournament - or even worse, looking at the future at Unreal 2, Doom 3, etc.

And I turn sadly back to my job...
#43 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 05:51:51
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
Kayin (#38):
but do they, really? ;) missle command gives me just an adrenaline rush as quake or UT does. sure, all the gfx extras are nice, but trying to keep the lines from coming down on those,... er,.. houses? ^_^ still makes me sweat everytime i play it.

I'd be hard pressed to get excited playing missile command these days.  It was cool at the time, but ...

as for ideas, why isn't there some process in place to test if an idea will work or not, without having to have massive amounts of assests created for it that might possiblity be thrown away if it doesn't work? just get in there and give broad, general strokes of the brush until it vaguely looks like it should, and at that point you should be able to tell if the game will be fun or not.

Well, even that's a lot of work.  How much of Deus Ex would you have to build to consider it a prototype?  A lot of the coolness of Deus Ex is the world you're in ... part of that world is the visuals.

Not saying it can't be done, but you'd probably be building 1/3-1/2 of the actual game just to see if it would work.  That's a lot of effort to just "throw away" if it doesn't work.  So people stick with the established process of hiring quality designers who won't ask you to develop shite.  ;)

or better yet, make your friend leave the room, set into motion all these things as the "bad" guy, and then have him walk in, play as the good guys and try to get out of it. ^_^

Spy vs Spy?  :P

Kayin (#40):
you can never win. the game was set up as a moral lesson: in nuclear war, there are no winners.

Or it was set up to eat quarters.  You decide.  ;)

#44 by "Warren Marshall"
2001-03-25 05:55:32
warren@epicgames.com www.epicgames.com
MrAndyPuppy (#42):
Of course, now, I look at making a game and am immediately turned off because of the huge difference between my Vic-20 version of Space Invaders, or my Amiga500 version of LodeRunner, and games that are out now like Unreal Tournament - or even worse, looking at the future at Unreal 2, Doom 3, etc.

I think that actually is a huge problem nowadays with people trying to get into it.  I see message boards filled with questions from people who's FIRST GAME is some sort of 3D shooter thing with graphics set to rival Quake3.  They seem to be missing the key idea: start small!

But I think that was easier back "then".  Graphics on the Vic=20 and C=64 were good for the time, but not totally unattainable by a guy in his bedroom.  So you could get graphics together that didn't completely suck comparatively and write a clone of something like Space Invaders or Centipede or whatever.

Nowadays ... if you don't start small, you're doomed.  People don't realize how much it takes to write something like Quake3 or Unreal Tournament.  It takes years of experience and a really solid base of knowledge about how things work.  And that's totally ignoring the rendering engine ...
#45 by "Desiato"
2001-03-25 06:18:58
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com www.spew2.com
Warren Marshall (#44):


Nowadays ... if you don't start small, you're doomed. People don't realize how much it takes to write something like Quake3 or Unreal Tournament. It takes years of experience and a really solid base of knowledge about how things work. And that's totally ignoring the rendering engine ...


God yes. "What's a dot-product?" ... "What the hell is U/V texture coords?"

That is why I shudder when some braying donkey ventures an opinion about how easy it would be to "add" something. "YEAH - JUST MAEKS IT FAST AND THEN YOU CAN DANCE AND SHOOT AT TEH SAEM TIEM!!"

I don't profess to know a godamn thing about 3D graphics programming, but I can tell you that just some preliminary messing around in OpenGL or reading Abrash's Black Book of Graphics Programming (Which was released for free over at the Doctor Dobb's Journal website not long ago) will give you insight into the world of 3-D programming.

I'm still learning, and nowhere near realizing my final vision. But at least I'm trying.


Desiato

P.S.(And obviously, I'm not trying to preach to Warren...just to the braying donkey people I mentioned....heh.)
#46 by "G-Man"
2001-03-25 06:19:35
jonmars@earthlink.net http://www.shiftlock.org
Kayin, The Joker

You guys are so out of touch as to how the game development process works that I can almost understand why you are saying such nonsensical things.

No one gets into the gaming business to make wads of cash. Talented programmers make more money in the corporate sector and artists make more money doing commercial art (advertising, film, and illustration). They do it for the lifestyle perks. And I don't mean fame, keep in mind that most developers sit in cubicles in natty offices just like your average joe and never get the close contact with their public like you see in the online gaming community. Even executives in the gaming industry (which they see as the entertainment industry) would be making more money in the film and music industries.

Secondly, what you are really lamenting is the shift in the scale of a aerage game. The amount of time and content required to make a commercially viable game has ballooned tremendously over the past 20 years. This is why you don't see as many wacky designs (except in the independant game scene -- visit demonews.com).

Here is briefly how the process (generally) works:

The heads of a game studio internally develop an idea for their next game. Then they flesh it out into a proposable format (might just be storyboards, could be a full blown prototyped demo). They pitch the idea to publishers. If they approve of it, contracts are signed, payments are made and a milestone schedule is set. However sometimes a publisher may suggest a title that they want to see developed, usually titles that have a license tie-in or are part of a developed franchise. This is how you get things like Barbie games or X-Com Enforcer.

Okay at this point development of the game begins in earnest. Designers at the studio get together in the pre-production phase to hash out the nitty-gritty details of the game. This is where things like interface, theme, character design, level structure, and gameplay features are all decided).

Now here is the important bit: most of the employees working on the game didn't have any input into what game they would eventually be working on and at best they may be able to influence the project leads about an issue within their area of expertise. But not much more and usually less.

The internal design process does vary from company to company and it largely depends on the size of the company but most of the time employees simply don't have a lot of input in the design phase.

So in short you don't see innovative ideas for two reasons: 1)The designers at company XYZ just really haven't come up with any innovative ideas. 2)An interesting idea is pitched to a publisher but they balk on it, due to its lack of proven success in the marketplace. But this sort of thing only applies on the broad style of the game. (e.g is it a shooter, a racer, a sim? third person or first?) When it comes to the actual design of the games the developer most of the time has completely free reign. So you can't blame the evil overlord publishers for why a game is just a run of the mill shooter, with an insipid plot and boring characters, weapons, etc,.

So fiscally minded publishers might be why you don't see Dance Dance Fever Blast Samba de Porno being made, but they can't be blamed for all the tired ideas that see the light of day.

I want to highlight this statement as an example of naivité:

#38 "Kayin" wrote...
as for ideas, why isn't there some process in place to test if an idea will work or not, without having to have massive amounts of assests created for it that might possiblity be thrown away if it doesn't work? just get in there and give broad, general strokes of the brush until it vaguely looks like it should, and at that point you should be able to tell if the game will be fun or not.

First of all most developers do prototype often. And certainly the process of pitching an idea to a publisher involves testing "if an idea will work or not" (on both sides of the desk). But you don't publish a game just because it is fun. Fun is relative. Who thinks that this game is fun? Okay now how many other people are out there like you? How much money do you usually spend on games annually? What country do you live in, etc etc,. To blatantly paraphrase OMM: Bosnian Rape Camp Superchamp might be fun to a certain audience, but I doubt it would be a profitable game to publish.

 - [g.man]
#47 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 06:23:33
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Desiato (#45):

I don't profess to know a godamn thing about 3D graphics programming, but I can tell you that just some preliminary messing around in OpenGL or reading Abrash's Black Book of Graphics Programming (Which was released for free over at the Doctor Dobb's Journal website not long ago) will give you insight into the world of 3-D programming.

I'm still learning, and nowhere near realizing my final vision. But at least I'm trying.


Desiato

P.S.(And obviously, I'm not trying to preach to Warren...just to the braying donkey people I mentioned....heh.)


who the fuck said 3d is where i was headed?

and do you need a hanky to wipe that shit off your nose as well?

--kayin (unknowningly upgraded to level 50 preist, oh lord)
#48 by "Desiato"
2001-03-25 06:30:37
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com www.spew2.com

who the fuck said 3d is where i was headed?

and do you need a hanky to wipe that shit off your nose as well?

--kayin (unknowningly upgraded to level 50 preist, oh lord)


And you thought I was adressing you......how?

No need for a hanky, that shit you see is actually on your glasses.


Desiato
#49 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 06:38:43
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
Desiato,

(And obviously, I'm not trying to preach to Warren...just to the braying donkey people I mentioned....heh.)


Eh, I took that as you meant me and Joker. Sorry man. (a bit worked up right now...)

(This is a kayin apology. The next will come along in approximatly 2,000 light years. have a nice day)

Nice comeback too. ^_^
#50 by "Kayin"
2001-03-25 06:54:50
kayin@infinet.com http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~keichena
G-Man (#46):

First of all most developers do prototype often. And certainly the process of pitching an idea to a publisher involves testing "if an idea will work or not" (on both sides of the desk). But you don't publish a game just because it is fun.


holy mother of mary, please tell me you did not just say that. what exactly DO you make games for, then? pretty mantlepieces? because the voices in your head said so? jesus and lord, that is the STUPIDEST thing i've heard in my life. games aren't fun! heh. as cats would say: HA HA HA HA

Fun is relative. Who thinks that this game is fun?


i have the majority of every gamer i've ever talked to telling me they want to return to games such as castlevania and mega man, that have heart and rememerable people / themes / ideas, and have them done right. that's a pretty large sum. does relativity count when you're dealing in large numbers?

So in short you don't see innovative ideas for two reasons: 1)The designers at company XYZ just really haven't come up with any innovative ideas.


what if i were to tell you i have about fifty pages and twenty sketches of a design doc laid out, and everything is jump out at you naked woman good? it'd probably get filtered out, because it's too "chancy" or too "risky" to the publisher's bottom line. that's crap.

2)An interesting idea is pitched to a publisher but they balk on it, due to its lack of proven success in the marketplace. But this sort of thing only applies on the broad style of the game. (e.g is it a shooter, a racer, a sim? third person or first?) When it comes to the actual design of the games the developer most of the time has completely free reign. So you can't blame the evil overlord publishers for why a game is just a run of the mill shooter, with an insipid plot and boring characters, weapons, etc,


well, then i'll quit blaming the publishers. it's all the developers fault. gotta pin that blame on the donkey somewhere ;)

i mean, you can tell when a game was cared about by the people who worked on it, and when it's just another title in the pipeline by people who take games as $$$ instead of what they really are. people who care put some thought into their characters, wrap it up with a solid theme, good writing, good voice acting, something you'll come back to again and again, etc etc.

for example, metal gear solid (and the old metal gears, more so) you can tell the dev team loved the game they were working on. what's the point of the camera, besides to let you run back through the game and take shots of the solider pissing in the rest room, or psycho mantis about to take off your right shoulder? it's pointless, but adds so much at the same time.

i just really can't believe you said games aren't fun. if you're not having fun, what's the point in staying in the industry? go work on movies, or take up a job as a human speedbump, or something. ^_^

god damn i'm going to go outside and kick some large, heavy objects across the street now. brb.

--kayin (coke machine, here i come)
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