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  • #31
    Originally posted by General Ludd
    But it was implied. When you're saying that small-time developersmake less polished games, you're essentially saying that big-time developers regularily make a practice of it. They don't.
    This is simply an obvious strawman -- it would be ridiculous to assert that small-time developers will ALWAYS make less polished games and big-time developers will ALWAYS make more polished games. The idea is the generalization -- small, indy, low-budget games tend to not be polished, while large budget games are afforded more testing in general.

    Then don't run your mouth about Paradox.
    What exactly was so original...?

    I think you're making this up. I've never seen a single person say that Super Power is good, outside of maybe a fanboy or two in their own forums. At best, it had potential.
    It was hyped up to all hell on the forums here, and people who played the "beta" raved about how awesome it was, and then all the hype was about how the patch would fix everything...awful, awful game.

    But my original point was that the small guys "who can't hack it" tend to care more about the game than the money - they're making the games they've always wanted to play. Developers like Paradox and Illwinter put their heart into it and continue to tweak and improve the game years after it's been released (and they even play their own games. ) They listen to feedback from their fans during the whole process. You don't get that kind of love from developers who're only interested in reaching the dead-line and starting on a new project.
    This point doesn't stand either, because you can't link it to the size of the parent company.

    You can say companies like Paradox and Illwinter continue to tweak and improve the game years after it's been released, but big-name developers like Blizzard and Valve do the exact same thing. There is no correlation between the two, aside from the fact that the small-time developers don't have the money to hire big-time talent nor afford lots of polish and testing, in general.
    "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
    Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

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    • #32
      Basically, your argument is ridiculous because you paint developers from large companies as robotic drones and small companies as enthusiastic gamers.

      I can assure you this isn't the case. My university offers a BSc in CompSci with a concentration in games design, and a good friend of mine just went off to EA in Vancouver on a 16-month internship with them. I assure you, he IS a dedicated, hard-core gamer.
      "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
      Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by child of Thor
        this wouldn't be so bad but the kind of games these 'few' turn out are IMNSHO, 90% of the time a huge steaming pile of doo dah
        90% of science-fiction is "a huge steaming pile of doo dah".
        But then, 90% of EVERYTHING is "a huge steaming pile of doo dah".

        -- Theodore Sturgeon, paraphrased.
        [ok]

        "I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. "

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Asher
          Basically, your argument is ridiculous because you paint developers from large companies as robotic drones and small companies as enthusiastic gamers.
          "The idea is the generalization"
          Rethink Refuse Reduce Reuse

          Do It Ourselves

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          • #35
            Originally posted by okblacke

            90% of science-fiction is "a huge steaming pile of doo dah".
            But then, 90% of EVERYTHING is "a huge steaming pile of doo dah".

            -- Theodore Sturgeon, paraphrased.


            is he a Theoretical Fish of some kind and yeah its sad but it could be true - i'm such an idealist though

            The reason I've been falling out of love with most of the games produced these days is simply to do with i think we should be making better games than we are. Not just better looking.

            In terms of hardware the demographic must be crazy - like at least 500% increase in overall home computer power(Mhz/harddrive size/Ram etc),over the past ten years or so.

            Games have got the potential to be more sophisticated; better AI and just more of the things that developers had to cram into their previous resticted hardware.

            But as far as i've experienced it, we have not seen the equivelant rise in terms of great gaming experience.
            Its a very broad statement that i'm not saying is always the case, but the fact remains that many wise gamers know there are games made years ago that still haven't been improved upon even after many attepmts.

            I do believe many enthusiastic and game loving people work in the main stream games industry - they are just not the ones controlling it, not now there is so much money at stake.

            And that is what it comes down to - just a mad gamble to try to make as much of your money back as possible because it can wipe you out if it goes wrong(just look at the R.I.P thread for some of the dead companies).

            If this approach strangles creativity then we will be in a lose-lose situation(which i believe we're getting to quickly).

            Already i spend less on new games than at any point in the last 20 years, even though i could afford to spend much more, and would like to - i've always supported decent games.

            Now i trawl bargin bins and ebay for some of the generally regarded classics that i haven't yet tried out or missed out on.

            And i'm not an old-timer fan boy for the sake of it - i also buy cutting edge stuff for my Xbox, if its sounding like a good game, and in the seemingly vain hope that a game deserving of the hardware can finally be made

            And i think we should really begin to realise 3D isnt great for ALL games, just for graphic card manufacturers

            And there is pleanty of room it seems for both the indie and main stream. Its just with the current trend, for the most part, my money is increasingly heading to the indie developers pockets.
            'The very basis of the liberal idea the belief of individual freedom is what causes the chaos' - William Kristol, son of the founder of neo-conservitivism, talking about neo-con ideology and its agenda for you.info here. prove me wrong.

            Bush's Republican=Neo-con for all intent and purpose. be afraid.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by General Ludd
              "The idea is the generalization"
              Which is still ridiculous.
              "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
              Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by child of Thor


                is he a Theoretical Fish of some kind and yeah its sad but it could be true - i'm such an idealist though
                Theodore Sturgeon was one of the great science-fiction writers of the 20th century. For those not much into reading, he also penned the Star Trek episodes "Amok Time" and "Shore Leave".

                As for old vs. new, old games sucked, by most modern standards. The best ones were entertaining for a relatively short time (though we spent hundreds of hours playing them), they were hard to learn, and it was only a short time before you discovered exploits to beat them down thoroughly.

                Oh, and they were expensive.

                And what sort of games did we have? Space strategy, military and sports simulation, various D&D hacks, empire builders, various arcade style games, business sims, puzzles and card games--pretty much what we have now.

                Sturgeon's law applied then as now; 90% is probably a conservative crud estimate for 1981. If there's a significant difference between then and now, it's probably reducible to a few simple things:

                1. Production values are generally higher. Try watching an Edison reel for entertainment versus even a =crappy= modern flick like...uh...I dunno, pick your favorite box office flop, "The Hulk" or "Godzilla" or "Daredevil"--whatever, and you realize you're not really comparing apples to apples.

                2. As a result, crud is not just crud, it's CRUD. A game hyped for three years, millions of dollars spent in production and advertising--if it bombs, it bombs big. (This is the "little big game" phenomenon, too: when a small game makes it big, it's all that much more amazing because no one expected it.)

                3. The capital investment required is so much bigger than it used to be (one guy working for six months with access to plastic baggies could make a viable game in 1979) that there is less experimentation by the big guys--but only relative to the field as a whole. There is probably more experimentation than there was 25 years ago, but it's much harder to spot against the noise.

                Experimentation don't feed the baby. Look at "Black and White": Molyneux took a big risk and probably only made his money back due to the pre-game hype and how long it took for the smoke to clear. (For the record, I liked B&W, but it probably had the highest disappointment factor of any game of the past five years.)
                [ok]

                "I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. "

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by okblacke


                  Theodore Sturgeon was one of the great science-fiction writers of the 20th century. For those not much into reading, he also penned the Star Trek episodes "Amok Time" and "Shore Leave".

                  As for old vs. new, old games sucked, by most modern standards. The best ones were entertaining for a relatively short time (though we spent hundreds of hours playing them), they were hard to learn, and it was only a short time before you discovered exploits to beat them down thoroughly.

                  Oh, and they were expensive.

                  And what sort of games did we have? Space strategy, military and sports simulation, various D&D hacks, empire builders, various arcade style games, business sims, puzzles and card games--pretty much what we have now.

                  Sturgeon's law applied then as now; 90% is probably a conservative crud estimate for 1981. If there's a significant difference between then and now, it's probably reducible to a few simple things:

                  1. Production values are generally higher. Try watching an Edison reel for entertainment versus even a =crappy= modern flick like...uh...I dunno, pick your favorite box office flop, "The Hulk" or "Godzilla" or "Daredevil"--whatever, and you realize you're not really comparing apples to apples.

                  2. As a result, crud is not just crud, it's CRUD. A game hyped for three years, millions of dollars spent in production and advertising--if it bombs, it bombs big. (This is the "little big game" phenomenon, too: when a small game makes it big, it's all that much more amazing because no one expected it.)

                  3. The capital investment required is so much bigger than it used to be (one guy working for six months with access to plastic baggies could make a viable game in 1979) that there is less experimentation by the big guys--but only relative to the field as a whole. There is probably more experimentation than there was 25 years ago, but it's much harder to spot against the noise.

                  Experimentation don't feed the baby. Look at "Black and White": Molyneux took a big risk and probably only made his money back due to the pre-game hype and how long it took for the smoke to clear. (For the record, I liked B&W, but it probably had the highest disappointment factor of any game of the past five years.)
                  Well i hate to disagree, and i dont totaly cause all your points are well made and are probably just as true as mine

                  Still i'm not sure about the experimentation bit - i seem to remember alot of very weird games made over 5years ago that just wouldn't get a look in these days. The main stream industry would have been more experimental when there was less to lose, that just seems like common sense? And as we know its a huge expensive gamble these days.

                  And true, production values are much higher, and your comparison with movies is well made - games look and sound SO much better these days for nealry all the games made.
                  But that doesn't IMHO actually make them better games, just better looking/sounding - which is one of my main gripes about the games we make today. Sure they look good, but because so much of the production effort goes on this aspect, often i've found that once you scratch away at the glossy coating you find little of substance beneath.

                  All this extra horsepower pc's possess(the origional Elite was available on a 16k 8bit!(electron version))+ 99% is directed at the graphics, which takes a huge ammount of effort and money to produce.

                  It just seems a bit obvious that we will continue to see spectacular expensive failures in this industry as long as we follow this path.
                  Hype+glam advertising isnt going to win over forever(its already loosing its edge after a few of the more well known failures). I cant see this background as being the most healthy for producing good games.

                  Actually one advantage of the higer production values in the main stream, is the knock on effect this has with the larger so called indie developers - their production values have also risen to be near equal to the main stream houses, which is good news for the gamer. They can afford to make games for a more niche crowd and dont usually have the same level of publisher pressures(if they can find one!) .

                  So even though i come across as gloomy over the state of the games we get to play, I can see, for myself and others with the same feelings, that we do have a smallish section of decent game developers out there - you just have to look quite hard to find them sometimes
                  'The very basis of the liberal idea the belief of individual freedom is what causes the chaos' - William Kristol, son of the founder of neo-conservitivism, talking about neo-con ideology and its agenda for you.info here. prove me wrong.

                  Bush's Republican=Neo-con for all intent and purpose. be afraid.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by child of Thor
                    Well i hate to disagree, and i dont totaly cause all your points are well made and are probably just as true as mine
                    Woo-hoo! I win!!

                    Still i'm not sure about the experimentation bit - i seem to remember alot of very weird games made over 5years ago that just wouldn't get a look in these days.
                    You had to look harder then. If you looked as hard now, you'd probably find the same number or more.

                    You've just gotten lazy.

                    (As have most of us.)

                    The main stream industry would have been more experimental when there was less to lose, that just seems like common sense? And as we know its a huge expensive gamble these days.
                    Yep. But consider this: there really wasn't a mainstream a few years ago. Also while the expense is greater, it's actually probably lighter to those bearing the expense.

                    1-3 guys spending a whole year of their lives, hawking their houses, etc., juts to get a game out--they were risking a lot more than guys working as employees for a mega-corp. As is the mega-corp.

                    Yes, mega-corps certainly seem less likely to take risks. But how many small groups ended up producing games that weren't very adventurous at all?

                    But that doesn't IMHO actually make them better games, [just better looking/sounding - which is one of my main gripes about the games we make today. Sure they look good, but because so much of the production effort goes on this aspect, often i've found that once you scratch away at the glossy coating you find little of substance beneath.
                    Eh. A good deal of that substance was user-provided. A lot was left to our imaginations. This isn't bad, necessarily, but as with movies, we now EXPECT to be shown things we used to imagine. And we don't rush to games--no matter how substantive--that make those demands of us.

                    All this extra horsepower pc's possess(the origional Elite was available on a 16k 8bit!(electron version))+ 99% is directed at the graphics, which takes a huge ammount of effort and money to produce.
                    Yep. So where are all the substantive text games individuals can now crank out using this new power? (Rec.arts.int-fiction, I guess, but that's just one genre.)

                    It just seems a bit obvious that we will continue to see spectacular expensive failures in this industry as long as we follow this path.
                    Yes. It's also obvious, this is the path we're inevitably going down.

                    Hype+glam advertising isnt going to win over forever(its already loosing its edge after a few of the more well known failures). I cant see this background as being the most healthy for producing good games.
                    Eh. Have some pity for the money guys. They want a return on their investment. They don't know from "good game", and it's a truism that a good [game/book/movie] won't necessarily sell. Timing matters. Public attitudes, trends and tastes matter.

                    PR, advertising, and a glossy sheen are the closest thing the money guys have to an assurance that their investment will pay off.

                    Actually one advantage of the higer production values in the main stream, is the knock on effect this has with the larger so called indie developers - their production values have also risen to be near equal to the main stream houses, which is good news for the gamer. They can afford to make games for a more niche crowd and dont usually have the same level of publisher pressures(if they can find one!) .
                    Yep. Trickle-down. A high-quality 2D graphics system like FastGraph is a few hundred bucks for you and me. (There are free ones, too.) Or, if we were serious and had backers, we could drop a few 100K and license Quake/Unreal/Monolith's engine.

                    So even though i come across as gloomy over the state of the games we get to play, I can see, for myself and others with the same feelings, that we do have a smallish section of decent game developers out there - you just have to look quite hard to find them sometimes
                    A friend of mine (a pundit) has suggested that the consoles are going to slowly drive PC games back into the niche market they used to be. I've seen some indications that that's true.

                    I doubt we'll go back to Ziploc bags, but ya never know.
                    [ok]

                    "I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. "

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by okblacke
                      Woo-hoo! I win!!
                      well if winning is what this is about then i'll happily let you

                      BUT i'm not finished yet( :groan: ).

                      ok so here we have a situation where by to make a commercial quality game, the current strategy is that you spend a few million bucks(as an example). Have 20-30 guys to develope the game over a few years(2-4 years seems to be the average). Now thats a serious undertaking - if it fails its alot of money lost(the labour bill alone must be huge!), with little chance to recover much of it.

                      I would hazard a guess that we have more failures than successes at present, over all the platforms supported(PC/Console), mainly because with the costs so high - you've got to have maximum sales(so its got to be a hit/best seller).
                      Which comes to marketing. The hype could just make the difference(they think in marketing circles), so if the company is serious about its stuff it will have an expensive marketing campaign. Lots of free dinners/drinks/demos for the press etc.
                      Even better have a movie tie in - the exposure is already in the publics mind.

                      Because we need a hit, its all cost a lot of money to get to this stage. Which is fair enough - money dont grow on trees and the poor smuchs putting the money up would like to see it returned, hopefuly with a little extra.

                      Over the last few years especialy, with all the high profile company sell offs/take overs etc we are left with the impression that the majority fail to make the money back. If this is the case then poor smuch who keeps investing money in this industry will think better of it next time. With games costing so much to make this is part of the lose-lose senario i was talking about earlier.

                      the other part of the lose-lose scenario, and for me the one i care about more, is the gamer.
                      As the industry carries on its mostly loss making ways, we will get more movie games like Matrix/Hulk/Spiderman/Minority Report etc, these games will help shore up some of the damage being taken by other losses for the production company.

                      But only for a while, until the casual gamer whom these games are aimed at - starts to get fed up spending his 40+ bucks on samey games that take half a dozen hours to finish or get boring, 40 bucks being quite an outlay for what he is getting.

                      A gamer like me(and i know of many such people) gets a cold sweat when he goes into a computer store to see whats on offer, and the majority of titles are Movie tie-ins/sport sims mk8(we've already got at least a few of the previous versions)/Rts copy of the other one etc.
                      We wouldn't actualy mind if the games were any good, or actual real improvements on what went before - but this seems to becoming the exception to the rule.

                      This is the stark reality to me as i see it when i want to buy a new game - its getting harder all the time to find something worthy of my money, especialy as i already have superior(except maybe graphicaly) versions of the genre in my collection all ready. And other than not spend my money i know i cant do anything about what myself and these others gamers see as a sad state of affairs.

                      BUT there is hope in the mainstream, and to bring it right back to the title of the thread - I've heard some good things about Microsoft, so that if they were to get hold of Bioware, i dont think it would cramp Biowares style too much.

                      Now if the other big hitters(Infogrames/EA/etc) would stop being so afraid of failure that they would actualy allow their developers to properly develope, then we games lovers might be able to spend our money again

                      If not then it will be the 'indie' guys that will see most of our cash over the next few years or so.

                      And yes i can see more consoles being sold, they are cheap and families with not a lot of money can afford them - how many games they can afford, and how often is another matter(I've had my xbox for nearly two years and have bought 15 games, but as it was for research which i've nearly finished, I wont be getting many more - just the truely amazing).

                      I can see the promotion of console gaming as being a main priority for the main stream industry as it is today, its a very good way to ensure you have constant buying public. As they cant produce themselves(they wont learn how to program on a console), they will have to rely on what's given them - i'm growing to think that it may be that evil

                      Its enough to give me nightmares

                      oh and i forgot to say that you win if you want
                      'The very basis of the liberal idea the belief of individual freedom is what causes the chaos' - William Kristol, son of the founder of neo-conservitivism, talking about neo-con ideology and its agenda for you.info here. prove me wrong.

                      Bush's Republican=Neo-con for all intent and purpose. be afraid.

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                      • #41
                        an entirely new BioWare intellectual property


                        You can't, like, "own" intellect, dude. Information wants to be free.
                        Blog | Civ2 Scenario League | leo.petr at gmail.com

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by child of Thor
                          well if winning is what this is about then i'll happily let you


                          BUT i'm not finished yet( :groan: ).
                          OK, you win!
                          [ok]

                          "I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. "

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                          • #43
                            I hope Microsoft buys Bioware, I own stock in the greedy m***********s
                            Lysistrata: It comes down to this: Only we women can save Greece.
                            Kalonike: Only we women? Poor Greece!

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                            • #44
                              "Yes. It's also obvious, this is the path we're inevitably going down."


                              yes and no. It gets down to how the medium is defined, imho. Take movies as an example - you cant make money producing silent films. But you CAN make money publishing books with paper and ink. WHY? Cause its not seen as the same medium, its seen as something totally different, with different standards. And I suppose you can make a documentary, an exercise video, or(to take something totally different) a Woody Allen film with different production values than an action film.

                              To me part of the problem is that we see this huge, generic medium called computer games, or, worse, electronic games. The key to solving the problem that CoT raises, is to make relatively lower production values acceptable by carving out a niche - WHY should a TBS or Sim require the same level of production values as an action game?? This requires segmenting and targeting the market, and eventually possibly alternate retail channels. To some degree this has already happened with the wargame niche - small shops survive, they have a distinct audience, they mainly sell via the net, they put less into production values, etc. But then their audience always saw itself as distinct. Not clear if this can happen for more mainstream genres.
                              "A person cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human. To become human, is what this individual person, has been created for. Martin Buber

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by lord of the mark
                                "Yes. It's also obvious, this is the path we're inevitably going down."


                                yes and no.
                                But mostly yes.

                                It gets down to how the medium is defined, imho.
                                Yep.

                                Take movies as an example - you cant make money producing silent films. But you CAN make money publishing books with paper and ink. WHY? Cause its not seen as the same medium, its seen as something totally different, with different standards.
                                Yes. Unfortunately, the equivalent of books in the interactive world is IF. Infocom went out of business for a reason.

                                Now, some folks are doing some quality IF (check out rec.arts.int-fiction, xyzzynews.com, etc.) and there has been some noise (especially with the advent of low-powered cell phones, etc.) about people making money with IF--but I don't think anyone has made any money to speak of in over 10 years.

                                Even though, I hasten to point out, the contemporary amateur IF field is broader and deeper than the commercial field ever was. (Maybe especially because.)

                                To me part of the problem is that we see this huge, generic medium called computer games, or, worse, electronic games.
                                Amen to that. I stand fast on the computer games vs. console games distinction.

                                The key to solving the problem that CoT raises, is to make relatively lower production values acceptable by carving out a niche - WHY should a TBS or Sim require the same level of production values as an action game??
                                Of course, it doesn't. The biggest game of the past 5 years was, what, "Roller Coaster Tycoon"? Then "The Sims"? Neither very sophisticated in terms of production values.

                                This requires segmenting and targeting the market, and eventually possibly alternate retail channels. To some degree this has already happened with the wargame niche - small shops survive, they have a distinct audience, they mainly sell via the net, they put less into production values, etc. But then their audience always saw itself as distinct. Not clear if this can happen for more mainstream genres.
                                They're also willing to shell out big bucks for their games. I saw a paper-and-pen game based on the Roman campaigns--$55 list.

                                I'd like to think Open Source would help--a lot of IF is open source, I think, and it's helped there--but I haven't seen a lot of successful Open Source games.
                                [ok]

                                "I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes. "

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