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  • #31
    @elanthis: a good engine can cut down development time and cost significantly, but it cannot make things from thin air. An RPG with 150 monsters needs 150 monster models (plus animation, voice acting and scripting). If every model costs $2000(*) to develop, then you'll need $300000 no matter if you are using Unigine or Rage5 or (now-dead, sucky) Gamebryo.
    So the average character model takes about 1-3 months of development in the modern RPGs like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Just for the artist (no voice acting/sounds), which includes all of the concept art, rigging, modeling, skinning, animating, and then just a ton of tweaking and changes to get it Just Right. Three months at 40-60 hrs/week. Lets go for the low end. That's 40*4=160 hours. Say the programmer is working cheap, at only $30USD/hr (again, a low-ball figure). That's $4800USD. Some of that work can be shared between different models, so that's not a per-model figure, but it's a lot closer than $2000. And again, $4800 is a lower-end estimation.

    Originally posted by devius View Post
    Easy. Make sure everybody in the team has a very low fixed income, since the actual work is usually the main source of expenses. When the game comes out split the profits by all team members. This is highly risky but, if the game sells well can be a viable option, although it requires some effort and very good will at the beggining.
    EXTREMELY good will. Why settle for a low fixed income when the low-end of the game industry field for fresh-out-of-college programmers is $60k USD, with $80k-$120k USD achievable by most programmers actually worth hiring within 6 years of starting their career? The heavy weight rockstars can get over $160k USD, too. (I dont' have a link to these figures, they're from a Game Developer Magazine article though if I recall.)

    It would also entail a large amount of risk, as you said. Game projects fail. Most of them fail. Sometimes it's because of money, sometimes it's because of bad business, but most of the time it's just because you can't actually guarantee a game will be fun.

    There is no scientific formula behind making a good game. There's a ton of DONTs in the game design process, but very very few examples of things you can toss in that are guaranteed to make the game a success. You can't actually know if your game will be good until well after you've sunk time into building a good portion of it. At that point, if you find out your game isn't fun, you've got two choices: scrap a lot of your work and change directions, or scrap all of your work and start a new project.

    Both of those happen a LOT. Most games are developed behind closed doors and the project isn't announced publicly until it's well along in development, so you rarely see it happening, but it does happen. Bioshock is one of my favorite examples, because they released their early design docs earlier this year for fun. The original game design was completely different than what Bioshock actually was. They started building the original design, realized it wasn't all that great, switched things up, and came out with one of the most highly acclaimed games in the last few years.

    This is a problem for developers on a budget. Switching gears mid-development is costly. If you're trying to work on a fixed budget, you can easily end up in this situation with no way to actually afford doing what needs to be done. Overwhelming odds are the project just folds.

    As a developer, that's a problem. Even if you're the best damn game programmer in the entire world, you can't guarantee that the rest of the team and the game design and even the market itself is going to allow your project to be a success. Working with the hope that your game will make millions and then pay off insanely risky. Seriously. Insane. As in, you'd have to be a crazy dumbass to go in for it.

    Non-indie developers sometimes start up that way, but they expect to get funding within a few months. They get a few talented people together to basically throw together a game pitch demo, and then go find one of the big publishers to pay them to finish it. Which means that those developers are only working for peanuts for a couple months, not the 1-6 years it takes to release a modern AAA game. If you're a good developer, you can go find just as many well-funded interesting projects to work on as you can poorly-funded indie projects. The game industry is always hiring and there's a shortage of truly talented programmers and artists.

    I really think you should revisit the movie metaphor. Indie movie makers can make some fantastic movies. I have some friends in the southeastern Michigan area who have done a few fun zombie flicks, a sci-fi post-apocalyptic flick (thank you Detroit for your dilapidated, crumbling buildings), and a few dramas. Good movies. Still, indie film makers will never, ever recreate something like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Fifth Element, Iron Man, etc. These just are not indie-class movies. It's not possible. Their budgets (even if you remove the "big name actor" paychecks) are in the hundreds of millions.

    Another way to look at it: at some point though you have to realize that you can't get an Aston Martin for $50k and you're going to have to settle for a Mustang. Mustangs are still nice, sexy cars; but they're also still not the best of the best. That's just how it is.

    Digolus very well may come out and may very well be a great game. As stated and with some of the assumptions people are making here, though, it's incredibly risky. And it's definitely absolutely not going to be of the same scale as the recent big-name RPGs.

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by elanthis View Post
      So the average character model takes about 1-3 months of development in the modern RPGs like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Just for the artist (no voice acting/sounds), which includes all of the concept art, rigging, modeling, skinning, animating, and then just a ton of tweaking and changes to get it Just Right. Three months at 40-60 hrs/week. Lets go for the low end. That's 40*4=160 hours. Say the programmer is working cheap, at only $30USD/hr (again, a low-ball figure). That's $4800USD. Some of that work can be shared between different models, so that's not a per-model figure, but it's a lot closer than $2000. And again, $4800 is a lower-end estimation.



      EXTREMELY good will. Why settle for a low fixed income when the low-end of the game industry field for fresh-out-of-college programmers is $60k USD, with $80k-$120k USD achievable by most programmers actually worth hiring within 6 years of starting their career? The heavy weight rockstars can get over $160k USD, too. (I dont' have a link to these figures, they're from a Game Developer Magazine article though if I recall.)

      It would also entail a large amount of risk, as you said. Game projects fail. Most of them fail. Sometimes it's because of money, sometimes it's because of bad business, but most of the time it's just because you can't actually guarantee a game will be fun.

      There is no scientific formula behind making a good game. There's a ton of DONTs in the game design process, but very very few examples of things you can toss in that are guaranteed to make the game a success. You can't actually know if your game will be good until well after you've sunk time into building a good portion of it. At that point, if you find out your game isn't fun, you've got two choices: scrap a lot of your work and change directions, or scrap all of your work and start a new project.

      Both of those happen a LOT. Most games are developed behind closed doors and the project isn't announced publicly until it's well along in development, so you rarely see it happening, but it does happen. Bioshock is one of my favorite examples, because they released their early design docs earlier this year for fun. The original game design was completely different than what Bioshock actually was. They started building the original design, realized it wasn't all that great, switched things up, and came out with one of the most highly acclaimed games in the last few years.

      This is a problem for developers on a budget. Switching gears mid-development is costly. If you're trying to work on a fixed budget, you can easily end up in this situation with no way to actually afford doing what needs to be done. Overwhelming odds are the project just folds.

      As a developer, that's a problem. Even if you're the best damn game programmer in the entire world, you can't guarantee that the rest of the team and the game design and even the market itself is going to allow your project to be a success. Working with the hope that your game will make millions and then pay off insanely risky. Seriously. Insane. As in, you'd have to be a crazy dumbass to go in for it.

      Non-indie developers sometimes start up that way, but they expect to get funding within a few months. They get a few talented people together to basically throw together a game pitch demo, and then go find one of the big publishers to pay them to finish it. Which means that those developers are only working for peanuts for a couple months, not the 1-6 years it takes to release a modern AAA game. If you're a good developer, you can go find just as many well-funded interesting projects to work on as you can poorly-funded indie projects. The game industry is always hiring and there's a shortage of truly talented programmers and artists.

      I really think you should revisit the movie metaphor. Indie movie makers can make some fantastic movies. I have some friends in the southeastern Michigan area who have done a few fun zombie flicks, a sci-fi post-apocalyptic flick (thank you Detroit for your dilapidated, crumbling buildings), and a few dramas. Good movies. Still, indie film makers will never, ever recreate something like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Fifth Element, Iron Man, etc. These just are not indie-class movies. It's not possible. Their budgets (even if you remove the "big name actor" paychecks) are in the hundreds of millions.

      Another way to look at it: at some point though you have to realize that you can't get an Aston Martin for $50k and you're going to have to settle for a Mustang. Mustangs are still nice, sexy cars; but they're also still not the best of the best. That's just how it is.

      Digolus very well may come out and may very well be a great game. As stated and with some of the assumptions people are making here, though, it's incredibly risky. And it's definitely absolutely not going to be of the same scale as the recent big-name RPGs.
      You're a big bag of sunshine aren't you

      Hopefully no indie (be it game developer, band , etc..) has read this

      Comment


      • #33
        @elanthis,

        ok, leaving your motivational speech aside, i know lots of what you say is true, but these guys went out and got their own license, so am pretty sure they know what and how to do it.

        So am pretty confident their game will be one of the best indie creations to date. Just as good or better than other hits like: world of goo, lugaru/overgrowth, HoN, penumbra/amnesia, etc.

        We as linux users need to show our support, because we will be the big benefiters here.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by madjr View Post
          @elanthis,

          ok, leaving your motivational speech aside, i know lots of what you say is true, but these guys went out and got their own license, so am pretty sure they know what and how to do it.
          Oh, sure. I'm not saying Digolus is stupid or impossible. I'm responding far more towards the people saying "OMG it's going to be like Dragon Age but better and with multiplayer and I just creamed my panties thinking about it!" (I may be paraphrasing a little.)

          So am pretty confident their game will be one of the best indie creations to date. Just as good or better than other hits like: world of goo, lugaru/overgrowth, HoN, penumbra/amnesia, etc.
          Quite possible. If you're an RPG fan, and they are successful, it'll probably be even better than all those games.

          The best indie game I've played recently are the Deathspank games, which are RPGs, have delightful graphics, a good amount of play time, very well polished third-person action-oriented gameplay, full voice acting, and even some simplistic but mildly entertaining multiplayer. (I suggest buying them on Steam or XBLA if you have access to either.)

          The Deathspank games are also several orders of magnitude smaller in scale than Dragon Age, Fallout, Mass Effect, etc. Which is fine. I still loved them, much more than I liked Dragon Age even.

          The RPG angle -- and the open-world angle -- is incredibly risky. I would not invest money into this project, were I in a position to do so. At least not without knowing a lot more about the team behind it and the specifics of the current game and development plan, which we currently know absolutely nothing about.

          We as linux users need to show our support, because we will be the big benefiters here.
          Meh. I couldn't care less what platforms it runs on. Either a game is fun and worth buying and playing, or it's not. We'll have to wait and see what Digolus ends up being, it's waaaaaay too early to tell now.

          In all honesty, I'd probably only be playing the game on Win7 or Xbox anyway. Linux has a lot of deficiencies as a gaming platform as things currently stand, and I'd rather avoid the headaches that things like NWN and UT2003 inflicted on Linux users. (I did the Linux evangelism thing, getting friends and family to use Linux for a while instead of Windows. Turns out friends couldn't even install NWN on Linux because, lo and behold, there's no freaking third-party installation framework for Linux and you either have to be a shell guru to tweak installers to work on your random distribution of choice, or the distributor has to release 20 RPMs for every different version of Fedora, SUSE, Mandrake, etc. and then 10 different DPKGs for every version of Ubuntu or Debian and then a tarball or three for everyone else. And then once you got NWN installed, installing mods or patches was far far harder than on Windows. Linux is a horrific platform to try to support for a company that dares to develop proprietary software like games. This is why the Steam on Linux thing is so damn tantalizing; it "corrects" the biggest and most serious failing of Linux as a gaming platform, that being the intentionally broken-by-design software repository model all distributions shove down users' throats.)

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by elanthis View Post
            This is why the Steam on Linux thing is so damn tantalizing; it "corrects" the biggest and most serious failing of Linux as a gaming platform, that being the intentionally broken-by-design software repository model all distributions shove down users' throats.)
            even tho i havent have too many problems getting linux games to install (nor i think neverwinter nights and ut2003 are the best modern examples), i do agree with you that games need to become easier to install, this is why the ubuntu guys are breaking their butt developing the framework for the software center to do just this.

            check here:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT5fUcMUfYg

            I think this is great and the best experience on a linux system (well till we get steam... if ever...)

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by madjr View Post
              even tho i havent have too many problems getting linux games to install (nor i think neverwinter nights and ut2003 are the best modern examples), i do agree with you that games need to become easier to install, this is why the ubuntu guys are breaking their butt developing the framework for the software center to do just this.

              check here:
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT5fUcMUfYg

              I think this is great and the best experience on a linux system (well till we get steam... if ever...)
              That's really not much better though than just having the distributors make Ubuntu dpkgs of their apps. In fact, that's exactly what it is: just a pretty GUI over apt/dpkg.

              If it's just a silo for Ubuntu-specific apps, it doesn't solve the problem. Not even a little.

              This is getting off on a tangent on a discussion that was already a tangent, though, so I should probably not delve any further into this.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by elanthis View Post
                So the average character model takes about 1-3 months of development in the modern RPGs like Mass Effect or Dragon Age. Just for the artist (no voice acting/sounds), which includes all of the concept art, rigging, modeling, skinning, animating, and then just a ton of tweaking and changes to get it Just Right. Three months at 40-60 hrs/week. Lets go for the low end. That's 40*4=160 hours. Say the programmer is working cheap, at only $30USD/hr (again, a low-ball figure). That's $4800USD. Some of that work can be shared between different models, so that's not a per-model figure, but it's a lot closer than $2000. And again, $4800 is a lower-end estimation.



                EXTREMELY good will. Why settle for a low fixed income when the low-end of the game industry field for fresh-out-of-college programmers is $60k USD, with $80k-$120k USD achievable by most programmers actually worth hiring within 6 years of starting their career? The heavy weight rockstars can get over $160k USD, too. (I dont' have a link to these figures, they're from a Game Developer Magazine article though if I recall.)

                It would also entail a large amount of risk, as you said. Game projects fail. Most of them fail. Sometimes it's because of money, sometimes it's because of bad business, but most of the time it's just because you can't actually guarantee a game will be fun.

                There is no scientific formula behind making a good game. There's a ton of DONTs in the game design process, but very very few examples of things you can toss in that are guaranteed to make the game a success. You can't actually know if your game will be good until well after you've sunk time into building a good portion of it. At that point, if you find out your game isn't fun, you've got two choices: scrap a lot of your work and change directions, or scrap all of your work and start a new project.

                Both of those happen a LOT. Most games are developed behind closed doors and the project isn't announced publicly until it's well along in development, so you rarely see it happening, but it does happen. Bioshock is one of my favorite examples, because they released their early design docs earlier this year for fun. The original game design was completely different than what Bioshock actually was. They started building the original design, realized it wasn't all that great, switched things up, and came out with one of the most highly acclaimed games in the last few years.

                This is a problem for developers on a budget. Switching gears mid-development is costly. If you're trying to work on a fixed budget, you can easily end up in this situation with no way to actually afford doing what needs to be done. Overwhelming odds are the project just folds.

                As a developer, that's a problem. Even if you're the best damn game programmer in the entire world, you can't guarantee that the rest of the team and the game design and even the market itself is going to allow your project to be a success. Working with the hope that your game will make millions and then pay off insanely risky. Seriously. Insane. As in, you'd have to be a crazy dumbass to go in for it.

                Non-indie developers sometimes start up that way, but they expect to get funding within a few months. They get a few talented people together to basically throw together a game pitch demo, and then go find one of the big publishers to pay them to finish it. Which means that those developers are only working for peanuts for a couple months, not the 1-6 years it takes to release a modern AAA game. If you're a good developer, you can go find just as many well-funded interesting projects to work on as you can poorly-funded indie projects. The game industry is always hiring and there's a shortage of truly talented programmers and artists.

                I really think you should revisit the movie metaphor. Indie movie makers can make some fantastic movies. I have some friends in the southeastern Michigan area who have done a few fun zombie flicks, a sci-fi post-apocalyptic flick (thank you Detroit for your dilapidated, crumbling buildings), and a few dramas. Good movies. Still, indie film makers will never, ever recreate something like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Fifth Element, Iron Man, etc. These just are not indie-class movies. It's not possible. Their budgets (even if you remove the "big name actor" paychecks) are in the hundreds of millions.

                Another way to look at it: at some point though you have to realize that you can't get an Aston Martin for $50k and you're going to have to settle for a Mustang. Mustangs are still nice, sexy cars; but they're also still not the best of the best. That's just how it is.

                Digolus very well may come out and may very well be a great game. As stated and with some of the assumptions people are making here, though, it's incredibly risky. And it's definitely absolutely not going to be of the same scale as the recent big-name RPGs.
                Thanks,mr Obvious! With your attitude, the group behind The Witcher would have given up!

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by MisterIO View Post
                  Thanks,mr Obvious! With your attitude, the group behind The Witcher would have given up!
                  You mean the subsidiary of CD Projekt, one of the richest and most successful games publishers in Eastern Europe? Several hundred employees? Founded 16 years ago? Gave the Witcher the highest budget of any video game ever produced in Poland? Got Atari, a major publisher, to release it in the US?

                  You do realize that was not in any way an indie game, right?

                  It was done on a relatively tight budget, but not an excessively tight one. It was actually damn close to the average production cost of most other games developed at the time.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    @elanthis

                    As a Linux user for the past 15 years, I'm very interested on seeng more game projects come to fruition on the platform. I do agree, though that there should be a better, much better, way to get third party software installed on Linux.

                    We should probably start a new thread on the topic alone, even though PackageKit and many different distributions are working to get this project "a common face to installing software" (which is a good idea), there is still one pesky detail: How to get third party software installed... There should be an API/GUI for PackageKit to actually allow software distributed in .run/.bin encapsulated shell scritps register with the package manager software of the host OS. Much in the same way, with varying degrees of success, the Loki installer worked, only this time getting it right, binding the binary executable packages to PolicyKit and PackageKit so that these two would allow administrative privileges and registration with the main software database... So you could also remove the software with the standard tools (uninstalling has never been much of a problem, though). Of the examples you gave, the paramount of this was precisely NWN with a massive tarball and cryptic instructions which sure enough seasoned users could easily follow and which caused endless frustrating encounters with Linux to many less experienced users. Food for thought.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Thetargos View Post
                      We should probably start a new thread on the topic alone, even though PackageKit and many different distributions are working to get this project "a common face to installing software" (which is a good idea), there is still one pesky detail: How to get third party software installed...
                      I've ranted enough in the wrong threads about this, so I wouldn't be averse to ranting in the _right_ thread about it.

                      Who knows, maybe we can ascend from bitching and actually start implementing... at the very least, come up with a design to pitch to the PackageKit developers to see if they're game.

                      I'm somewhat opposed to .bin packages in general, becau.... wait, no, new thread.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        new thread: http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?p=162225

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