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Wasting potential, and seeking cloning


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#1 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 07:10 PM

I hope I'm not making too many Game Design threads. All of the answers are quite helpful.

I had a vision of making a game about a cow that stands on two feet and wears shoes and gloves, and to make it a platformer like Sonic or Mario, in 3D, and put it on the Wii U since that's where it seems like the fans would be.

I made a 2D prototype of this game and it didn't impress me much. It just wasn't fun. So I scratched that and am thinking about making a "better" 3D game out of the prototype.

Recently, I feel like making another game though. A game that is like Final Fantasy VI but just enough not like it to not get sued. I feel that cloning a game is the best thing to do since all the money was already spent on the talent and you can use that collective talent as a guideline for how your game is, and hopefully make it good. Whereas if you make an original game, you risk making something sloppy or unprofessional. At least at my skill level, which is somewhere around novice.

I thought about just plopping this game on a platform that uses the Tegra 4, a chip which impresses me. Maybe that is too much power and I should just put it on the Ouya, where costs are low but so is profit.

I'm not sure what I want to do. I want to make something without spending code on a waste of a game. So I come to the creative minds here.

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#2 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 756

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:00 PM

I'm not a designer, maybe a game design entusiast. That said, I think you should clone the game that you like, or some parts of it, and then work very hard to shape it in the way that you want. One shouldn't aim to make something original, because originality is an illusion, but instead make it interesting.


 

 


#3 onfu   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:17 PM

I'm not really sure what (or if) you're asking here... So I'll just throw in my off the cuff reaction to your thoughts and you can make of that what you will.

 

So, firstly; why do you make games?

 

I ask, because your approach to game design and game development should ultimately stem from what you personally want to bring to the table. If your primary motivation for getting into this line of work is a simple passion for game design, then I'd say get your sloppy and unprofessional games done in all their non-glory and use them as probably the best possible way to learn and grow as a game designer.

 

If on the other hand you're more of an entrepreneurial person with a primary interest in business growth - straight up cloning is one way to accomplish that faster. I do have a moral problem with cloning, in that a game seeking only to replicate (as opposed to build upon or improve) is likely to be, by design, a redundant object. (* this is also a generalisation with hundreds of exceptions).

 

I think (hope?) you probably meant "appropriation" moreso than "cloning", which is quite different. Say you wanted to bring back the core experience of FFVI in all the ways you feel you can identify as being mechanically excellent in design, an then use that foundation to tell a different story and maybe also throw some new things into the mix, then I think that'd be fine, and even quite normal.

 

Or a similar example: lets say you wanted to do an FPS. Nobody expects you to come up with entirely new inventions there. You're entering an established genre that ideally leverages years of collective design knowledge.

 

To directly answer your final line:

If you're at a novice level now, then it's virtually impossible to "waste" a project, as long as you learn from it. I don't really think you can go from novice to expert by copying alone.

 

I'm quite sure you'll find that most game design experts are at the level they're at because they have en enormous history of incredibly useful failures behind them.


Edited by multiplang, 09 October 2013 - 09:18 PM.


#4 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 08:37 PM

I was a person who dedicated himself to game design and writing once and perhaps then, I would have known what to do. I am now a person who dedicates himself to art and technology, and that is my primary motivation. I want to make a good game. However, I don't want it to be a failure in my eyes. I need to push myself to do greater things, even if it involves borrowing ideas and getting feedback. Personally, I view a failure as a failure. You can learn from it but it's still a failure.

#5 Ludus   Members   -  Reputation: 970

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:33 PM

Perhaps you need to spend more time thinking of what you want to achieve with your game. Sure, you can clone an existing game (as many developers often do) but there must be something new you want to bring to the table. Perhaps it's an interesting game mechanic (in the case of the FFVI clone, maybe it could be a unique battle system in the way it handles damage, equipment and character stats, and/or spells). Or maybe you have an epic story you want to tell through the game. Or possibly you want to explore an interesting visual style that appeals to you. Or perhaps you just want to create an immersive experience for the player to get lost in. In any case, before you commit to an idea you should first explore that idea in depth to see where you can take it. Think about it for a few weeks, jot down notes, sketch some drawings, and really try to develop your idea before you even begin prototyping it. Afterwards you'll have a clearer idea of whether or not your game idea has potential.


Edited by Ludus, 09 October 2013 - 09:35 PM.


#6 onfu   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:41 PM

I'm not really talking about commercial failures, or something that one might deem an aggregate failure via metacritic. You don't have to ship failures.

 

The best kind of failure is just a prototype, a thing where minimal art assets were committed, minimum peripheral effort, before identifying a bad idea. "Bad" is obviously subjective but for me it's anything in the category of "this isn't that fun after all...".

 

On the flip side the best moments in game design for me are the "holy shit" moments of being suddenly invigorated and excited by some combination of elements that are just super fun to play with.

 

Even then, depending on how you define failure, there's no way to create guarantees of "success" (also depending how you define that). This is especially true in the realm of commercial-failure, where you can create a highly polished, excellent game with an excellent critical reception, and sales could still be abysmal.

 

Even cloning a successful Final Fantasy game, if your art doesn't match up to what the original game studio produced using thousands of hours of top-sourced professional industry talent, you're at a disadvantage in the inevitable comparison.

 

Like probably most typical game designers I'm afraid of failure too, but I create for the fun/love of it. I think personally my obsession with tinkering and building things would always outweigh those negatives.

 

I think you could probably modify your thread title (if that can be done?) or at least your OP to be more like "ways to avoid failure during game design/development" as a more concise way to get that advice.

 

It's a huge subject. A much bigger subject than whether to be original or to heavily appropriate.


Edited by multiplang, 09 October 2013 - 09:46 PM.


#7 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 09:48 PM

I think you could probably modify your thread title (if that can be done?) or at least your OP to be more like "ways to avoid failure during game design/development" as a more concise way to get that advice.

No thanks. I was looking more for advice on game design choices.

#8 onfu   Members   -  Reputation: 311

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:08 PM

mm, my bad. After rereading your OP, you should definitely take the learnings of the games you love and build on top of them. Those games themselves took from and built on top of predecessors.



#9 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 10:12 PM

mm, my bad. After rereading your OP, you should definitely take the learnings of the games you love and build on top of them. Those games themselves took from and built on top of predecessors.


To make things even more confusing, the games I truely enjoy are often games no one else likes, and I mean the type that get reviews of 4-5/10. So it's kind of a bad idea for me to use them.

#10 cronocr   Members   -  Reputation: 756

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 05:52 AM


To make things even more confusing, the games I truely enjoy are often games no one else likes, and I mean the type that get reviews of 4-5/10. So it's kind of a bad idea for me to use them.

 

That's even better because that means there is room for improvement. As an exercise you could find out what makes that game suck, then clone the good parts and improve the others, replacing or adding new elements. For example, I like a crappy game called Prision Tycoon. The idea behind this game is interesting and there are plenty of opportunities to make it entertaining, but it seems the developers made several bad decision during execution and also release the game in a broken/unoptimized state. So it can be greatly improved and many people play this broken game because there isn't anything similar, so there is also a market.


 

 


#11 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 13977

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:15 PM

 


To make things even more confusing, the games I truely enjoy are often games no one else likes, and I mean the type that get reviews of 4-5/10. So it's kind of a bad idea for me to use them.

 

That's even better because that means there is room for improvement. As an exercise you could find out what makes that game suck, then clone the good parts and improve the others, replacing or adding new elements. For example, I like a crappy game called Prision Tycoon. The idea behind this game is interesting and there are plenty of opportunities to make it entertaining, but it seems the developers made several bad decision during execution and also release the game in a broken/unoptimized state. So it can be greatly improved and many people play this broken game because there isn't anything similar, so there is also a market.

 

 

+1 to all of the above, escept, there's Prison Architect now, so the market for THAT specific gameplay isn't as easy to grab. But you're likely to find other niches. As a matter of fact, as an indie, your one way to success (and not be compared to AAA publishers) is to find a niche you like.

Pick one of the games you like, which has a very bad review.

Look up the reviews (the ones that bother to be 'grey' and tell you what sucks/rocks).

Focus on the potential you see (why is it fun for you?).

Check the 'downsides' you see, and the 'downsides' the reviews see. Can you assess them in one way or another?

 

Build a game with the above ingredient, and if you're lucky, you could be the next Mojang (of course, the odds of that occurring are very low, but indie sleeper hits are not unheard of).


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#12 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 02:10 AM

If you want to lock this thread, you can. I'm not really sure what I was trying to achieve with it. I think I wanted feedback on making a game like Final Fantasy VI, but the discussion didn't go that way.

#13 latch   Members   -  Reputation: 824

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 12:54 AM

Do you have urls to games you've written?



#14 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 04:19 AM

Do you have urls to games you've written?


Sorry, but I'm only willing to show "one" of the games I have made, and it's not really that relevant to this discussion and is half a success / half a failure. Here it is: http://games.softpedia.com/get/Freeware-Games/Block-Critter.shtml

I used Scirra Construct 2 for it.

#15 latch   Members   -  Reputation: 824

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Posted 13 October 2013 - 01:40 PM

I like Construct 2 for RAD though it's a difficult paradigm shift from event driven programming or procedural programming I'm use to.

 

I think almost any program could be written in Construct 2 but it wouldn't come out naturally- I would have to force it.



#16 Meatsack   Members   -  Reputation: 1031

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Posted 15 October 2013 - 08:15 AM

...

 

Recently, I feel like making another game though. A game that is like Final Fantasy VI but just enough not like it to not get sued. I feel that cloning a game is the best thing to do since all the money was already spent on the talent and you can use that collective talent as a guideline for how your game is, and hopefully make it good. Whereas if you make an original game, you risk making something sloppy or unprofessional. At least at my skill level, which is somewhere around novice.

...

 

I'm not sure what I want to do. I want to make something without spending code on a waste of a game. So I come to the creative minds here.

 

Allow me to offer some encouragement, then.  JPRG-style games are both common and in demand.  Common because they are popular, but in demand because GOOD ones are relatively scarce.  They are much like books where most can be consumed in a dozen hours time, but if they leave the consumer with a positive experience, it gets recommended to the community at large by word of mouth and can become popular.  The Final Fantasy series has a solid fan base and (I'm assuming) would love to see more games made with that level of quality in the gameplay and storytelling.

 

As or technology, you mention the Ouya as if it's a standalone system.  Because it runs on Android, you immediately have an entire mobile market to also consider as your customer base.  There may be another layer of UI programming required for touchscreens, but to access the expanded customer base, it would be a worthwhile effort.

 

And remember... it's not a failure until you say it is.


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