It’s been a while since I posted to lounge and I need few minutes pause
from what am I right now working on. Anyway to the topic:
Some of you already know that I’m *working* on a game (of course in
spare time, when I don’t work, etc.). My question (well rather seeking
opinion of more people) is, whether one can make a successful game
today. And I mean not earning a lot of money (there are probably better
ways to earn money, than to make a game), but making a successful game
that will have solid and good community base.
I’ve always been fan of Gothic series and in the time when Gothic 1
came out I actually started to think about being a game developer (I was
a lot younger than I’m now of course - in that time I was just beginning
to be a programmer) - like 4 people started the studio and finished the
awesome game, that has still living community (addicted to Risen-series
right now). Is it even possible to make a game like that today, e.g.
with solid graphics, story, good technology and great game-play - just
with 4 people for start? I just see that the game I work on (in current
horde of 3 people) is progressing really slow.
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My own feeling is that an RPG is a mistake for most small developers.
I’ve known quite a few over the years that tried to do an RPG and not
one of them finished it. RPG’s are established, people know what they
are getting, so they have very high expectations. A small art team
really needs to think about re-usable landscape and items and rpg’s have
kind of graduated past that, except maybe on mobile platforms where it
would be acceptable because of low memory usage. A retro type game would
be possible, but when you try to compete with companies that have
millions to spend, you will generally come up very short, and generally
get a very small fan base. Small teams are best off trying new and risky
ideas with re-usable art, or smaller more focused stories that take
place in areas that a small team can manage.
Well, I guess its a good test of ability, if you are as good as I think
you are Vilem - you should be able to do it. Even smashing out all the
specific code for an rpg… but theres no chance for a guy that makes
programming mistakes, Hes gotta rehash and rehash for years till he
finally has a chance at completing it.
Takes so much determination - this job, its not for lazy slobs hey. (ive
got one sleeping on my couch at the moment, he just watches me code and
couldnt understand a single thing I say.)
#fireside - in fact I agree with you, that for smaller team it’s not
clever to do RPG game. I’ve also known quite few guys that tried to do
an RPG game (although teams were mostly “just” artists, not programmers
or scripters - and I don’t think it’s clever idea to start making RPG if
you don’t have in-house technology … don’t get me wrong here, I know
that it’s possible to make solid RPG game with 3rd party technology, but
in my opinion experienced programmers are really needed for this
Also it’s tools that actually build game world - and it’s harder for
smaller teams to actually build tools (building tool like TES
Construction Set is a lot harder for team of 5 people than for team of
100 people). And creating large worlds really need high quality tools
(or whole team gets into mental hospital).
As for competing with large companies - I think it’s kind of impossible
to compete with large companies here … especially in scale of the
world (if you want to at least try to keep up with art quality - that is
in my opinion possible, because there is a lot of really good artist for
hire), because the smaller company would just ran out of cash. But what
if you make world 10 times smaller - you can make it with 10 times less
people :D (approximately of course, I’m not stating real math here), and
still get a good and playable game out of it. In my opinion if you
compare Gothic with for example TES 3: Morrowind - it looks that way,
Gothic is a lot more smaller -> and the team was also a lot smaller,
though the world is on the other hand big enough to build a solid
community around the game.
#rouncer - I agree with determination and second it with patience, but
this one counts for any game development (and not just games development
generally, this one counts for at least most jobs out there).
Ah…. my dinner got cold while I was writing this :D … and I’m really
hungry now. Time to eat! Oh that steak is awesome (next time, I’ll post
a photo - so you’ll get jealous :D)! :P
You only have to browse the Steam store and see the number of indie
games out there, some which have reached great success and most which I
think got by just fine (based on anecdotal evidence of players and daily
sales charts). Some of the popular games were made by a single
individual or in a partnership. As long as your expectations are
reasonable and within your skill sets, you can pull it off. Set them to
high though, and it’s easy to do that, then you have a problem on your
I laughed my head off when Tetris came out. I then spent an hour on my
Apple II and wrote my own version. Then I played it. Shit it was good.
I was at Psygnosis when the guy who wrote Lemmings came in to collect
his first royalty cheque. That started as an exercise for his graphics
artists, how small can you get a sprite and still animate it. The cheque
was for just over £1,000,000.00 and they owed him another 900k, but they
said he may have to wait a week for that.
“The Gadget Show” a UK TV program ran an exercise. Two presenters
designed iPhone apps, one created a simple bike game. It sold over a
Angry Birds is a trivial piece of code, hell you can do your own version
in a few hours with Box2D. Look at the sales figures for that, action
figures, mouse mats, blah, blah, blah.
Can you write a successful game now? Hell yes.
If the idea for the game is good enough, and the graphics / sound
effects well done, the skies the limit.
In fact now it’s probably easier to write a game than it has ever been.
I had to work in assembler, had to port my game to multiple platforms in
assembler as well. Now you can work in high level languages, get
multi-platform engines, etc.
All this makes it a hell of a lot easier to get your idea from inside
your head, and out into the world.
Of course because it is so easy, there are loads of people doing it, so
your idea needs to be damn good.
Is an RPG the right way to start? Probably not.