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So here's my proposal to the developers and flamers: You make good games for Linux (i.e. Minecraft, Humble Indie Bundle), and I'll give you my money for them. Make quality games in the genres that I like and I'll throw cash at you. But don't, whatever you do, presume to guilt trip me for not buying something I don't want.
OK, wait until the release. We have our own quality level (take a look at Heaven benchmark, for example) so I would better prove that the game worth attention by a good release rather than words.
I think its just their marketing that sucks. None of the big gaming websites has any reviews or anything about this game. And it definitely deserves to be among the A list titles in my opinion. Get it on IGN and you'll start making some dough.
With a stupid and boring name like "OilRush" what did they expect?
Gotta agree with you there. Immediate thing that comes to mind I think for a lot of people is that "Oil" isn't a very exciting topic when it comes to gaming. The most excitement oil brings is how people get ticked off enough at the pump with the artificially inflated prices.
There are other factors as well like no freely available demo, lack of presence on gaming sites and magazines, a poor way of purchasing the product, a new developer to the gaming scene with no real reputation, lack of end user editor, etc.
Marketing costs three times more than the development...
It's on average more like 30% for small startups and independents.
Still, 30% of development is a shitload more than $0, which is all Unigine has spent on marketing so far from what I can tell.
Sales = X * Exposure
where X <= 1.0 and is a function of the effectiveness of the marketing to the target demographic
On top that, their X is pretty weak. So they have near zero Exposure, and most people who've seen it aren't interested in it. RTS. Yawn. Why the hell woudl anyone buy another one of those so soon after Starcraft 2? In fact, why would anyone _make_ one of those and expect to release it anytime remotely close to Starcraft 2's release? There's a very important reason why the established companies stagger their game releases against their competitors' releases, especially for titles that are going to compete against obvious juggernaughts. You don't release a shooter the same time as a Halo or Call of Duty game, you don't release an RPG anywhere close to the release of a Bioware title, and you don't release an MMO or RTS anytime even remotely close to a move by Blizzard.
Even if there wasn't another big popular RTS still making strong sales right now, RTS's are difficult to get right and easy to make bland and mediocre. A shooter would have probably done better, especially for a company that makes pretty graphics engines (and maybe or maybe not good game engines; there's zero useful information about the Unigine architecture on their site, which is just poor marketing to the developer community), because a shooter is a lot less sensitive to game design. An RTS doesn't need pretty graphics. If anything, overly pretty graphics make the game worse, and you really want a strategy game to focus on information efficiency rather than realistic visuals (there's a reason that tactical displays for ships and fighter jets still use simple dots and arrows and vectors rather than realistic 3D rendering despite the technology being available for many years). An RTS is something you want to see done by an established and veteran game designer. It's not something you want to see done by a team solely focused on graphics to date. Again, maybe it's a fantastic RTS, but what little marketing info is available doesn't tell me that. It just says LOOK AT THE SCREENSHOTS THEY ARE SO PRETTY! Meh.
An RTS doesn't need pretty graphics. If anything, overly pretty graphics make the game worse, and you really want a strategy game to focus on information efficiency rather than realistic visuals
I respectfully disagree. Visuals are the item that slaps a gamer in the face enticing them for more.
(there's a reason that tactical displays for ships and fighter jets still use simple dots and arrows and vectors rather than realistic 3D rendering despite the technology being available for many years).
That is a very different situation. Tactical displays there are to display the maximum amount of pertinent information without distraction because realtime scenarios need realtime decisions that determines real peoples survival. War and defense are not, and never should be about eye candy and amusement. That being said, tactical displays may not have eyecandy but real life provides that naturally in the environment that they are used. The eyecandy in a RTS often is in HUD form and is minimalist as well. The eye candy is usually reserved for displaying the environment where the theater of combat is taking place. Modern flight simulators for aircraft even have some pretty nice eyecandy and that is separate from the HUD.
At first I though that maybe it was because the readership of Phoronix amounted to only that much, then I read the comments in this thread.
It's completely out to lunch to see so many self proclaimed Linux gamers (they sound more like Windows gamers, but anyway) offer so many rationalizations on why they can't find 20 bucks to support a company that has done more for Linux gaming than any I can think of.
Unigine has released all their benchmarks for Linux, when others just keep to DirectX and Windows. That doesn't come cheap. They've also got a solid track record for updates and supporting the Linux ecosystem - which is impressive considering how their engine can stress a system, and how Linux hasn't been stressed anywhere as much before. That's a far better track record than any indie I can think of - they release a world respected professional engine, and they do it in a way no other indie would even be able to dream of.
They've also offered their engine to promising indie developpers, on the condition they release a Linux version of their game.
Basically, even if the game beta wasn't offered with the preorder, that would still be enough to warrant supporting them - Oil Rush aside, they've already done far more to support Linux gaming than your 20$ could ever buy.
However, it's not all. The game runs beautifully at this time of development, and while they need to add content, it's not the hard part now - considering they have something solid at this time, and their track record of technical expertise, trusting them to add more maps is a no brainer.
At 20$, the game is also really well priced for a tower defense game. Tower defense is a really popular genre those days, so they're targeting some of the largest user base they could get with a game this price. Other tower defense games are similarly priced, yet their graphics don't hold a candle to Oil Rush, and Oil Rush gameplay is also deeper. It's an incredible deal.
It's also not only a day one Linux support, but prerelease and beta support as well. Most indie only target Windows, then port to Linux, so in the best case you don't have much access to the beta, in the worst you're waiting a few months after release for the Linux port.
We don't have much games running on Linux because the Linux market is the worst you could target, and I'm afraid Unigine is realising that, along with any indie or big brand developer who would have the curiosity to read shame of a thread. Look at the Mac market, even when they didn't have much they kept buying games and supporting what they had, though the ports were a disgrace and the games niche games they weren't interested in. The X3: Reunion Mac port is a joke (not even a port, more like the Windows game running through a subpar wrapper) and was priced more than the X3 native Linux port from LGP, yet it was received far better than all the slack the Linux port got from being more expensive than bargain-bin Windows games.
When you're buying a renowned game that already brought more than a million dollars to its developers (Minecraft), you're not supporting Linux gaming, you're just getting what you want, like any other customer. When you're buying the HIB for more than what Windows gamers paid for, you aren't supporting Linux gaming - you're getting a bargain, since even if you're only going to try one of those games a few hours, you're already getting your 15$ worth.
Oil Rush is more like a bargain for all you got in return (the engines benchmarks on Linux, the gift of this engine for other Linux indie game teams, and the game itself, which is already hinting at something better than most of the other 20$ tower defence games). And it's like what, two movie tickets, or a half-decent meal at a restaurant?
Maybe you can't part with the money, because your conscience tells you so. So what? Does it mean you have to be a prick, and backstab a game you haven't even seriously tried? Unigine is doing right all the things you guys used before as excuse for not supporting previous Linux native games - day one Linux support (better actually), same price as on Windows, and similar price to other games in the competition (better price actually if you consider you get a deeper gameplay and far superior graphics). From a company that has already done more to support Linux than we Linux gamers could have ever dreamt of.
I agree that this game's low sales are mostly due to the lack of marketing for the game. I also think "Oil Rush" isn't a very good name (but this falls under marketing).
With good marketing, you'd see a lot more sales, but this isn't exactly a top tier game (even if the engine itself is top tier) so don't expect to make $100 million.
The game certainly doesn't play how I expected, and I was disappointed that it's a simplified version of an RTS, but after I put more time into it I started to have fun with it. Unfortunately, it was very crashy (I'll try deleting the cfg tonight and see if that helps). This game may potentially be very fun, but I won't be able to tell for sure until I can play a game without it crashing every few minutes (interesting the tutorial levels have never crashed on me, and I don't *remember* the tower defense level crashing on me).
The nice thing about this game being a simplified RTS is that perhaps some casual gamers can get into it (I think this is the intention of the devs in fact). I'll see if I can't get my sister to play. If she likes it, i'll buy her a copy.
Will the final release of this game have a real campaign (I'm sure this has been addressed before, but I haven't seen the answer yet personally)? Someone suggested allowing you to select multiple platforms in the minimap, I think this would be a tremendous improvement.
Any chance PS3 players could play with PC players? I'm guessing no, but it would be pretty cool...
I pre-ordered on the day it was available. My thoughts on my experience so far:
- installs very easily. Just run the installer and it'll self-extract into a directory in the same place as where you ran the installer from. You can move this directory anywhere you want or leave it there
- runs very easily: I started the 1920x1200 full screen launcher and was in the game right away
- looks fantastic: graphics are gorgeous all over the place, runs smoothly on my HD5750 with default graphic options and Catalyst 11.2. Had some minor graphic glitches once in a while, but nothing worse than I've experienced in other game in Windows
- runs reliably: I know some people mentioned crashing, but I didn't experience that at all. For me, it just ran perfectly for over an hour
- controls work well enough once you learn them
A couple of other points worth mentioning:
- $19.95 is a good price for a game like this
- requirement for commercial drivers sucks, but that's a Linux problem and not a Unigine one
- forcing people to buy two licenses to play on Linux and Windows sucks
- the marketing behind this game is abysmal, if I didn't read Phoronix, I wouldn't know it exists
- OilRush is a stupid name. Instantly reminds me of "Oil Panic":
Sales are probably so low because real RTS enthusiasts play C&C, TotalAnnihilation or Spring.
Ah, the good old days when I played C&C until the map was filled with silos then captured the last building, only to be thrust into the next battle with 12 soldiers, an APC, and a hummer. I don't think I ever actually beat that game (the first one), 'though I did get pretty far.
All seriousness aside, the graphics of OilRush are pretty good, and if it's anything like Total Annihilation I might consider getting it. OTOH, if it's like Starcraft I probably won't get it. I just never got into that game.