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viability of an indie RTS


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#1 Geom   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 01:20 PM

Anyone care to comment on the business prospects of making an indie RTS game?. I am thinking of making one to sell as shareware, but am wondering what the potential return on investment is. I have noticed that independent RTS titles are pretty rare, in fact Inhuman Games' "Trash" is the only one I know of. The reason(s) for the rarity seem to be that RTS titles don't appeal to the casual gamer crowd, and that's the market indies typically target, plus the development time for RTS titles can be long. Anyone here ever do an indie RTS title? How the developement effort and sales turned out? Did you stick with the "sacred" $19.95 price tag for indie games, or charge more? Or if you thought about doing an indie RTS title but didn't, what made you decide? thanks, Geom

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#2 SquareDanceSteve   Members   -  Reputation: 256

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Posted 23 July 2005 - 07:03 PM

I cant understand the indie's facination with casual gaming.

If you can make your game solid why even consider it "indie" or "shareware"

#3 Obscure   Moderators   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 24 July 2005 - 01:34 AM

The cost of development is high and unless you have a big budget for marketing you are unlikely to recoup the costs. The alternative to a large development budget is too have a small team but work on it for longer - that means when it comes out the technology will be well behind the curve and as such your sales are likely to be low.

Indie games are generally smaller because you can get them to market without a large team and in a reasonable time frame. As to why indies go for casual games it is in part because casual games don't need to be technically cutting edge.
Dan Marchant - Business Development Consultant
www.obscure.co.uk

#4 SquareDanceSteve   Members   -  Reputation: 256

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 09:52 AM

You hoping difrent people read this forum then the ones who read indiegamer?

#5 Oluseyi   Staff Emeritus   -  Reputation: 1670

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 10:44 AM

Make it small, make it cheap, have a ball.

The "problem" with the idea of an indie RTS is that we assume it to mean a large, expansive game where you are the supreme military commander - and, apparently, chief economic officer - of an entire nation engaged in war against other nation-states. You invest in manpower, then direct that manpower into production, and use the results to power your war machine.

How about a game where you command a small- to medium-sized unit of soldiers - say, infantry - directly? You receive supplies at designated stations based on your performance and the overall war effort's needs, you both direct and lead your men into battle (not necessarily at the very front, since, as commander, your experience is valuable) and you can delegate tasks in a simple hierarchy. This has all the key RTS elements: resource gathering and conversion are abstracted into your supply lines, the command hierarchy is contracted only to your immediate subordinates, and you still have sufficient character interaction and opportunity for narrative.

Best of all, for an indie developer, you can build the game to support additional combat missions/scenarios/theaters, meaning that you can release content packs at full price ($5 to $15) without having to build the entire game from scratch, and it will be justified because of the balance of scope and cost.

I don't know, it's always made sense to me. Maybe I'm wired different, though.

#6 6   Members   -  Reputation: 138

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Posted 25 July 2005 - 11:00 AM

I thought about writing a RTS game too, but when I looked into it, there were so many things I had to consider that the work load was going to be too much for me. It would take me many years before anything would be finished.

Saying that though, I recently bought Tribal Trouble as shareware and think its great. It's not as complex as a commerical RTS, but it is fun. I think they used the RTS plugin for the Torque engine on this game, so It might be worth investigating that.

[Edit]
Actually, I just read that they use their own Java engine and not Torque after all. Anyway, Torque may be worth a peek.

#7 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 691

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 12:49 AM

To my mind an RTS is easier to write than other genres. If you don't go for the idea of a fully controllable 3D camera, you don't need amazingly detailed models and an amazing graphics engine.
The problem is presumably the AI side of things, which is a bit of a specialist field. And perhaps tuning the game so the sides aren't hopelessly mis-matched, although every game needs tuning.

#8 dgreen02   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1174

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 04:56 AM

I'm an indie developer currenlty making a commercial RTS. It's a ton of work, but I really enjoy it. It's called Gang War, I've programmed it completly by myself and contracted artists for the character/vehicle models. I've totally funded it myself.

I've signed a world wide publishing deal, and am planning to enter it into the 2006 Independent Games Festival.

PC Gamer is running a cover story this month about a "RTS Revolution" and they actually talked about my game in it :-D

I've got a lot of great ideas for the game. You bascily command your gang from up top, trying to take control of a random city, fighting with up to 6 other gangs to reach certain victory conditions. The twist is that at any time you can jump down and take control of one of your gangsters, and the game becomes an action game, ala GTA.

So, yes I think it's quite viable for a single person to make a commercial RTS, given the right amount of detication.

- Dan

#9 shmoove   Members   -  Reputation: 829

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Posted 28 July 2005 - 05:03 AM

Quote:
Original post by Geom
Inhuman Games' "Trash" is the only one I know of.

Check out Darwinia.

There's a lot to learn there on how they used a quirky design to save them money and work. And they get to be called "innovative" for it too, so it's a win win solution.

shmoove

#10 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 05 August 2005 - 02:15 PM

check out dawn 2
http://www.dawn2.com/alpha
id: dawn
pass: alpha

Its a simple but elegant rts completely programmed in flash

#11 vgsmart   Members   -  Reputation: 284

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 10:06 AM

Check out Trash

www.inhumangames.com

-Joe

#12 Boder   Members   -  Reputation: 876

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Posted 12 August 2005 - 10:30 AM

Check out "I of the Enemy"

http://www.enemytechnology.com/




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