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Dyno
Come hither Sancho Panza, I have need of my Lance
 
What's Killing Game Development

I wanted to pass on what I felt was a very good article on the topic.

http://www.firingsquad.com/features/...e_development/

Cliffs:

1. Money, money, money. Between 20 and 30 million over three years to create a "big" game these days. Earning 35 bucks profit per game means a title must sell between 700 to 800 thousand copies to just break even.

2. Management is key. With "big" games needing 100 to 200 people to complete a game the leadership of such a project becomes increasingly difficult. Many great designers don't have the management skills to effectively to the job.

3. Sequels are a necessary evil to recoup costs. Fine tuning a game engine and repairing what went wrong the first time around allows companies to make decent games without the massive initial start up costs.

4. No profit (except for EA)



One light at the end of the tunnel I see is the licencing of good video game products like Havok or the Unreal Technology. The gaming industry needs to converge so that key elements of a video game are easy to obtain and easy to use. Things like texture libraries or CAD portfolios might prevent companies from re-inventing the wheel everytime someone needs to make a brick wall or a military jeep. While I understand this might make games too much the same it would reduce costs at the onset and over time the library would get so expansive that there would be plenty to choose from in order to make your game unique.

Anyone else have any insights from the business? Do you think the author's numbers are accurate? Where do you think our beloved hobby is going?

Last edited by Dyno; 07-10-2007 at 12:33 PM..
Old 07-10-2007, 12:27 PM Dyno is offline  
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BPJ
 
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It's the players, and their lack of imagination. The way people salivate over screenshots. Shit their pants over person "x" voicing a character or doing modelings.

Combined with marketing and people are told what they want to buy. The latest graphics and game with buzzword technologies. So devs have to spend absurd amounts of time on artwork and advertising.

For me graphics peaked around 1999 or 2000. Hey I can tell a longsword from a cutlass now, great. That's all I need. I don't need huge cutscenes. I don't need someone showing me a story. Let imagination drive it. I see my little dude and his silver sword. I can imagine his face, the sword hilt, the leggings. I just need an indicator of what my guy is holding, whether it's a sword or an axe. I don't need to see all the jewels and forgings and shit in it. Leave it up to me to imagine it as I want.

When I cleave that goblin in twain, just give me the visual or auditory feedback to tell me if it's dead or now missing an arm. I'll create the disemboweling on my own

I guess so many people have grown up just sitting in front of a tv that they expect to be shown everything. They don't want to think or imagine; or they don't know how to. All they know is what they are shown. They need the flashy graphics, as otherwise they just see the avatar and a silver sword, nothing more.

Developers have to coddle these users, which drives up costs.

Not to say there aren't fantastic games that are simple and visual feasts. But it seems every game tries to be that. It seems the mentality is if your game isn't in the tens of millions in production costs, it doesn't deserve media coverage.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:49 PM BPJ is offline  
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Rizen
 
All I have to say is Serious Sam.

People need to be more imaginative with their game creation. A 20-30 million budget? For what? You don't need CGI cutscenes or voiceovers to make a good game..
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:54 PM Rizen is offline  
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ikpt
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BPJ View Post
It's the players, and their lack of imagination. The way people salivate over screenshots. Shit their pants over person "x" voicing a character or doing modelings.

Combined with marketing and people are told what they want to buy. The latest graphics and game with buzzword technologies. So devs have to spend absurd amounts of time on artwork and advertising.

For me graphics peaked around 1999 or 2000. Hey I can tell a longsword from a cutlass now, great. That's all I need. I don't need huge cutscenes. I don't need someone showing me a story. Let imagination drive it. I see my little dude and his silver sword. I can imagine his face, the sword hilt, the leggings. I just need an indicator of what my guy is holding, whether it's a sword or an axe. I don't need to see all the jewels and forgings and shit in it. Leave it up to me to imagine it as I want.

When I cleave that goblin in twain, just give me the visual or auditory feedback to tell me if it's dead or now missing an arm. I'll create the disemboweling on my own

I guess so many people have grown up just sitting in front of a tv that they expect to be shown everything. They don't want to think or imagine; or they don't know how to. All they know is what they are shown. They need the flashy graphics, as otherwise they just see the avatar and a silver sword, nothing more.

Developers have to coddle these users, which drives up costs.

Not to say there aren't fantastic games that are simple and visual feasts. But it seems every game tries to be that. It seems the mentality is if your game isn't in the tens of millions in production costs, it doesn't deserve media coverage.

I've bolded and underlined what I feel to be the most important aspect of gaming. Back in the old days when everything was simple (graphics, sound, controls, objectives).. our imaginations made everything better.

I say, if you want to fix game development... eliminate every console after the SNES/Genesis era. Improve the technologies for the consoles (online capability, data storage), but leave it the same otherwise. I'm serious.
Old 07-10-2007, 12:58 PM ikpt is offline  
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Dyno
Come hither Sancho Panza, I have need of my Lance
 
Hrm... Well I'm a graphics whore - I admit it. I love the realism, the lighting effects, the atmosphere that state of the art audio and visuals deliver.

I'm apart of the problem, I guess.

Old 07-10-2007, 01:03 PM Dyno is offline  
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Boomba
 
good read
Old 07-10-2007, 01:07 PM Boomba is offline  
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teh scud
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizen View Post
All I have to say is Serious Sam.

People need to be more imaginative with their game creation. A 20-30 million budget? For what? You don't need CGI cutscenes or voiceovers to make a good game..

qft
Old 07-10-2007, 01:11 PM teh scud is offline  
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onewheeldoin200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rizen View Post
All I have to say is Serious Sam.

People need to be more imaginative with their game creation. A 20-30 million budget? For what? You don't need CGI cutscenes or voiceovers to make a good game..

No kidding. That's ridiculous. There's lots of games that are from relatively small devs that are fantastic....they just get overshadowed by the huge hype/marketing machines of larger studios. For instance:

-Freedom Force
-X2/X3
-Total Annihilation
-Descent:Freespace
-Myth (back when Bungie was small)
-STALKER
-Mount&Blade (god, that's just some dude and his wife ffs and it's one of the most fun games ever)
-Galactic Civilizations II
-Original Counter-Strike
-TONS of older games obviously

I could go on like this all day. These are all great games, most of which get passed over not because they lack merit but because they just don't get the exposure that millions of dollars buys. It sucks. I don't fucking want Halo 27 or Console Raped Fallout or whatever. The whole topic just pisses me off.
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Last edited by onewheeldoin200; 07-10-2007 at 06:50 PM..
Old 07-10-2007, 06:45 PM onewheeldoin200 is offline  
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Intuitiv
 
BPJ is spot on here.
Old 07-10-2007, 06:46 PM Intuitiv is offline  
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Gabbo
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dyno View Post
Hrm... Well I'm a graphics whore - I admit it. I love the realism, the lighting effects, the atmosphere that state of the art audio and visuals deliver.

I'm apart of the problem, I guess.


You can still like them, but requiring them to truly enjoy a game is the problem. I like fancy eye candy as much as the next guy, but the games I'm playing right now are The Thing and System Shock 2, and they both looked subpar when they were released (the update packs for SS2 help some). I'm enjoying them more than i am Gears of War and my brother just bought a 360 a few weeks ago.

I think reviews also hinder games somewhat as well, because most reviews will knock a game at least 2 points for having less than eye exploding graphics and eardrum bursting sound. A game could be extremely fun to play, look like ass and thus get at best a 6.

Last edited by Gabbo; 07-10-2007 at 11:26 PM..
Old 07-10-2007, 11:22 PM Gabbo is offline  
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Scrivener
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabbo View Post
You can still like them, but requiring them to truly enjoy a game is the problem. I like fancy eye candy as much as the next guy, but the games I'm playing right now are The Thing and System Shock 2, and they both looked subpar when they were released (the update packs for SS2 help some). I'm enjoying them more than i am Gears of War and my brother just bought a 360 a few weeks ago.

I think reviews also hinder games somewhat as well, because most reviews will knock a game at least 2 points for having less than eye exploding graphics and eardrum bursting sound. A game could be extremely fun to play, look like ass and thus get at best a 6.

Review scores are one the biggest banes of the game industry right now, and for that very reason we won't be using any form of scoring system at AICN Games. You should be able to read a review and easily tell if the game is something you personally will enjoy and find value in. You don't need a dev team with a dozen crack artists creating CG-quality visuals for millions of dollars. One-man games are starting to become a reality again, but it always helps speed things up when you've got a few trustworthy friends helping out. I've got two games of my own in the works - one is a strategy/RPG and one is an episodic adventure game (which will either be free or very cheap). They're both old-school, not a lick of real-time 3D (although I've done some pre-rendered Maya stuff for backgrounds and in-game movies). They're not unattractive at all - but they're not shiny, cutting-edge, real-time 3D either.

Thing is, games don't need to be OMG3D to be great. For instance, I can't for the life of me figure out why Paradox made Europa Universalis III 3D. It adds absolutely nothing to the game, and may have contributed to the lack of certain features that fans of the series have come to expect. I simply do not understand this compulsion developers feel to make everything be 3D. Sam & Max has suffered horribly from it. The art of game design has truely entered a dark age, and only the indie developers and blessed few big-thinking european developers will be able to save us from it.
Old 07-11-2007, 01:15 AM Scrivener is offline  
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Gabbo
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrivener View Post
Review scores are one the biggest banes of the game industry right now, and for that very reason we won't be using any form of scoring system at AICN Games. You should be able to read a review and easily tell if the game is something you personally will enjoy and find value in. You don't need a dev team with a dozen crack artists creating CG-quality visuals for millions of dollars. One-man games are starting to become a reality again, but it always helps speed things up when you've got a few trustworthy friends helping out. I've got two games of my own in the works - one is a strategy/RPG and one is an episodic adventure game (which will either be free or very cheap). They're both old-school, not a lick of real-time 3D (although I've done some pre-rendered Maya stuff for backgrounds and in-game movies). They're not unattractive at all - but they're not shiny, cutting-edge, real-time 3D either.

Thing is, games don't need to be OMG3D to be great. For instance, I can't for the life of me figure out why Paradox made Europa Universalis III 3D. It adds absolutely nothing to the game, and may have contributed to the lack of certain features that fans of the series have come to expect. I simply do not understand this compulsion developers feel to make everything be 3D. Sam & Max has suffered horribly from it. The art of game design has truely entered a dark age, and only the indie developers and blessed few big-thinking european developers will be able to save us from it.

If i knew how to program/anything about game design I'd do the same thing, sadly I don't (though it has been my goal the past two summers to learn some basic programming).
I will say I did enjoy what ive played of the new Sam and Max
Old 07-11-2007, 01:26 AM Gabbo is offline  
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onewheeldoin200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrivener View Post
Review scores are one the biggest banes of the game industry right now, and for that very reason we won't be using any form of scoring system at AICN Games. You should be able to read a review and easily tell if the game is something you personally will enjoy and find value in. You don't need a dev team with a dozen crack artists creating CG-quality visuals for millions of dollars. One-man games are starting to become a reality again, but it always helps speed things up when you've got a few trustworthy friends helping out. I've got two games of my own in the works - one is a strategy/RPG and one is an episodic adventure game (which will either be free or very cheap). They're both old-school, not a lick of real-time 3D (although I've done some pre-rendered Maya stuff for backgrounds and in-game movies). They're not unattractive at all - but they're not shiny, cutting-edge, real-time 3D either.

Thing is, games don't need to be OMG3D to be great. For instance, I can't for the life of me figure out why Paradox made Europa Universalis III 3D. It adds absolutely nothing to the game, and may have contributed to the lack of certain features that fans of the series have come to expect. I simply do not understand this compulsion developers feel to make everything be 3D. Sam & Max has suffered horribly from it. The art of game design has truely entered a dark age, and only the indie developers and blessed few big-thinking european developers will be able to save us from it.

Scriv, if there were some sort of international organization that dictated the quality and type of games that were allowed to be released, and you were the president of said organization, I would literally be in the poorhouse because not only would I be buying $10,000 worth of games a year, but I wouldn't be able to hold down a job so that I could play them all.

In other news, that was an extremely long run-on sentence
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:22 AM onewheeldoin200 is offline  
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DivineStorm
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I'd go back to Doom graphics in an instant. Gameplay was so amazingly solid back then.

Btw, the game industry is still a billion dollar industry, don't forget that.
Old 07-11-2007, 02:35 AM DivineStorm is offline  
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cokezeroholic
 
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These shitty commercials for these "colleges" to be a video game designer
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Old 07-11-2007, 02:54 AM cokezeroholic is offline  
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