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Buying a "developer" spot on the new Richard Garriot project


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#21 Strategy   Members   -  Reputation: 187

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:03 PM

But this isn't just a small indie team, and their forum will probably be littered.


That's kind of the point.

Look - it's really not my problem how you (or anyone else) chose to spend their money. Just be aware that the only thing the $400 buys is a fancy title and access to the private cheerleading section of their game forums. This is not a small indie team - that makes them very unlikely to be interested in the opinions of random internet people. Even if they were, it would be the dumbest focus group strategy ever to limit input to a group of people who've spent a significant sum of money (i.e., people already guaranteed to be positive to whatever Garriot creates). Though perhaps that is how the developers think (cf. Treleaven's quote above), in which case the project is sure to crash and burn. Working within an echo chamber is never a good idea.

To get back to the OP, I'm not quite sure what you hope to gain by this. It is your dream to become a developer; what makes you think this will help?

You don't want something like this on your CV: a prospective interviewer would ROFL, before binning the application. You are not going to get any development experience. You are not going to get any design experience (unlike Jon Shafer's recent KS project, there is not even the promise of getting a sneakpeak at their design docs). There is - as far as I can tell - nothing here that helps you along the path to being a gamedev. The only reason to spend that kind of money that I can see, is if one is an Ultima fan(atic).

If you want to pursue that dream, you have to keep in mind the golden rule: finishing is all that matters.

Go and build something - even if it is just to mod an existing game. Having something - anything - to show that you have had a significant hand in building and completing, is infinitely more useful on your CV than listing games on which you are a beta tester. Build a game (something small) - and you will learn a lot more about what it takes to be a game developer than you will ever learn from a thousand forum posts by Garriot.

Incidentally, the Jon Shafer mentioned above started out modding Civilization III and ended up as lead designer and developer on Civilization V).
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#22 starbasecitadel   Members   -  Reputation: 699

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 05:50 PM

Go and build something - even if it is just to mod an existing game. Having something - anything - to show that you have had a significant hand in building and completing, is infinitely more useful on your CV than listing games on which you are a beta tester. Build a game (something small) - and you will learn a lot more about what it takes to be a game developer than you will ever learn from a thousand forum posts by Garriot.

 

I definitely agree this is far less of a learning experience than creating your own game.

 

But, it isn't an either/or proposition.  Most people have at least a little time to multi-task and work on different things (or else we wouldn't be posting here  tongue.png).   If you consider the forums as part of your time bucket for education, I see nothing wrong with it and in fact do think there is some chance (not to be counted on, just a possibility) that senior developers maybe including Garriot himself will post useful gamedev thoughts on their private forum.    

 

Just so long as it doesn't take too much time from your own projects, and the money loss isn't cumbersome, I think it could be a good experience.   Maybe not as good an experience as giving feedback to hobbyist group where you are more likely to get 2 way interaction going, but it could be good nonetheless particularly if that style is your favorite genre as most (realistic, well managed) indie groups aren't making MMORPG's.

 

One other thing to mention is that although the number 2500 has been used in this discussion, their fund raising pace slowed down a lot the last few days.  It is more likely to fall closer to 500 or so people.  Throw in the fact that not everyone will be active (though most probably will be, at $400+), and people have different interests (art, graphics, server, story, music, gameplay), and it might not even be an overwhelming amount of posts for the particular game aspect you are interested in.  



#23 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 07:32 AM

I honestly don't believe it would be "a good experience". Might you learn something? Maybe. But you might not. There are plenty of places you can discuss things with developers as they work on their existing games, and you can do it for free - eg. here, Twitter, on their blogs, etc.



#24 Jirachex   Members   -  Reputation: 146

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 03:14 PM

You are probably better off getting to know indie developers. I doubt that a company like that would take a player's opinion with the same weight an indie team would. That does bring up the question, where are all the open source games?

 

- Jirachex



#25 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2780

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 12:51 AM

As an update to the kickstarter success and the guarantees for those people to take part in the design process, I think the following article might be of interest

 

 

I think most game designers really just suck - Richard Garriot

 

What's interesting to this, is the two updates made to this post by Richard Garriot, which could on one hand - legitimately be said to try and clarify his own words and meaning more clearly than as taken by PC Gamer and Gamasutra.....or on the other hand -  just as legitimately argued by critics that his updates are belated attempts at damage control after having based a large part of his Kickstarter on the guarantee of access to Pledger's being provided deeper involvement in the game design process.

 

My personal opinion: Regardless of the where the truth lies, Richard Garriot might be a great game designer but his media relation skills aren't that great.



#26 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4677

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 10:42 AM

My personal opinion: Regardless of the where the truth lies, Richard Garriot might be a great game designer but his media relation skills aren't that great.

 

Heheheh... absolutely. Even if you look at it through the "Crappy Internet Sensationalist Reporting" filter as Jonathan Blow dubbed it (which likely is to some extent true) he still comes over as a serious dick with this statement.

 

He is probably even telling the truth (though this is not something particular to game designers). Sturgeon's Law has it that "ninety percent of everything is crap", and Sturgeon's Law is so universally true, everywhere. I've rarely seen something where it doesn't apply, if ever.

 

So 90% of all designers are crap -- OK, but this applies to 90% of all musicians, painters, or physicians, too. 90% of all restaurants are ... maybe not absolute crap, but at least not places I'd want to go, either.

 

Truth has it that there's a lot of people living on this planet, and everybody has his own dreams, goals, and self-image, and everybody finally makes a career choice. But not everyone is necessarily talented in what he chooses to do. That's life.

 

However, telling such a thing (even if it is maybe the truth) just doesn't show great media relation or social interaction skills, especially in a situation like this.

 

Figuratively, and even giving him a strong benefit of doubt for out-of-context quotes, he said  "Guys, give me a million dollars to make this game, You're going to be involved in designing it, your opinions are very valuable. You're awesome." and then follows up with "Thank for the money you losers, you all suck, I'm the best".

 

Even if the quotes have been somewhat torn out of context over at Gamasutra, they still basically say this, or at least can be very easily understood in such a way. Which truly isn't a great example of PR skill :-)


Edited by samoth, 25 March 2013 - 10:43 AM.


#27 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1175

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 11:15 AM

Sturgeon's Law has it that "ninety percent of everything is crap", and Sturgeon's Law is so universally true, everywhere. I've rarely seen something where it doesn't apply, if ever.

Yes, but the problem is that how you define 'crap' (or in other words, what people like and don't like) varies so greatly from person to person that you'll never find two people for whom the 10% of something (no matter what the subject is, be it games, music, films etc) are in complete agreement.

Basically the law only works on individual level and is otherwise not applicable to large masses.

Of course by that law, 90% of my argument was crap...



#28 starbasecitadel   Members   -  Reputation: 699

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:23 AM

 

As an update to the kickstarter success and the guarantees for those people to take part in the design process, I think the following article might be of interest
 
 
I think most game designers really just suck - Richard Garriot
 
What's interesting to this, is the two updates made to this post by Richard Garriot, which could on one hand - legitimately be said to try and clarify his own words and meaning more clearly than as taken by PC Gamer and Gamasutra.....or on the other hand -  just as legitimately argued by critics that his updates are belated attempts at damage control after having based a large part of his Kickstarter on the guarantee of access to Pledger's being provided deeper involvement in the game design process.
 
My personal opinion: Regardless of the where the truth lies, Richard Garriot might be a great game designer but his media relation skills aren't that great.

 

Thanks.  His second update in particular was a really interesting read.

 

I am sympathetic to Garriott's viewpoint on this.  His main points are there isn't as much innovation in game design as there should be, and it is harder to find excellent game designers than it is excellent artists or programmers once you get to the highest levels (major titles).    

 

I think the reason for that is perhaps much more complex than just some of the possibilities he gives though.  While I somewhat agree that having programming and artist skills could make a game designer more effective, I think the biggest reason is simply the fear of risk-taking.  Coming up with something original could mean a huge hit, but also it could mean a huge flop.  Most AAA game designers/producers are going to play it safe-- if they just clone some other game, and add a couple small tweaks, the worse the game will do is around breakeven and so they keep their jobs no matter what and move on to the next game.  Thus incremental game design changes are culturally favored.

 

That is just my theory-- I do not have experience working in a major game studio so I'd be curious if anyone here is a major studio game designer/producer (with an anonymous account of course smile.png) who wants to chime in.



#29 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:25 AM

Richard Garriot might be a great game designer but his media relation skills aren't that great.

 

Quite the opposite. He has a Kickstarter running and wants maximum publicity. What's the best way to manage that? Get yourself featured across every gaming site in the world with a controversial statement. If you're lucky you get a follow up a few days later where you get to row back a bit and clarify what you meant.



#30 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2780

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:55 AM

Quite the opposite. He has a Kickstarter running and wants maximum publicity. What's the best way to manage that? Get yourself featured across every gaming site in the world with a controversial statement.

 

Backers may increase, decrease, or cancel their pledge at any time during the fundraising campaign, except that they may not cancel or reduce their pledge if the campaign is in its final 24 hours and the cancellation or reduction would drop the campaign below its goal.

 

12 days left on the kickstarter.

 

If I had chosen to a do a pledge on the basis of the game design access (inline with the OP's thoughts)...his commentary would have helped me to decide this was not a place where my opinions were valued. Of course we had pretty much decided that in the thread anyway smile.png


Edited by Stormynature, 26 March 2013 - 06:56 AM.


#31 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:58 AM

Surely almost everybody paying to get "designer access" already believes one of two things:

  1. They have no useful skills to offer except a few ideas, so it's not like they're being insulted. This is just a cool opportunity for them, like a paid internship.
  2. They have some awesome ideas that the industry has ignored, because the old designers have no idea what they're doing.

Either way, I don't see much conflict between what Garriott said and the motivation of the people taking up that particular pledge level.

 

And on the whole, that specific pledge level is just one among many. It's more important for him to drive traffic, even if a few people drop off that particular pledge level. Given that uptake for both the level before it and the level above it are higher, it suggests people are generally not all that bothered about this specific offering (and sensibly so).


Edited by Kylotan, 26 March 2013 - 09:58 AM.


#32 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2780

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:32 AM

Sadly I don't disagree with you that all of this will increase traffic to the kickstarter, I just don't see it as being a masterpiece of deliberate marketing by him but rather a positive byproduct of some poorly thought out statements.



#33 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

Only he will ever know the truth. :)



#34 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4677

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:16 AM

Thing is, there is a subtle difference between believing or knowing something, and saying it in public.

 

When have a date, and you tell your girl "You know, I normally don't date fat chicks", you will get a rather predictable reaction. It does not matter at all whether she's maybe really obese (or whether you only have a perverted sense of humor). The perceived message is the same, and the reaction will be the same. And no, you won't be able to explain that you meant something different, no matter how hard you try :-)

 

Any such thing remotely close to "Everybody sucks, except me and 3 other people on the planet" conveys a similar message, no matter how much you follow up explaining that you meant to say something completely different and that you were unfairly quoted out of context.

 

You just can't say such a thing without getting a negative reaction, even if it is the truth (or if you think it's the truth).

 

I don't believe in crowd funding, so I didn't/wouldn't pledge anyway (plus, I didn't buy the whole "buy being a developer" thing), but sure enough if I had put my money into that, I would revoke it because of that statement, as it is mutually exclusive with the "we value your input" claim, which makes the entire project come over as somewhat hypocritical (in my opinion, yours may of course differ).

 

But yes, you're right that it will likely only increase traffic ("the only bad publicity is no publicity").

 

And even assuming a considerable number of people drops off now, it wouldn't make a real difference. It is not impossible (and not really illegal) to pledge for your own project. So if you have a 1M goal and you drop short at 800k two hours before close date, the math is easy: put in another 200k to get 1M (minus the 5% provision) out. Net gain 750k.


Edited by samoth, 26 March 2013 - 11:16 AM.


#35 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 03:06 PM

But that is somewhat mischaracterising what he said. He never said he doesn't value input, but that people in the industry who call themselves designers are generally not very good, in his opinion. That's a much more specific claim, and one that doesn't apply to anybody who will be pledging at that level.






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