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Member Since 10 Dec 2008
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:00 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Is It Really That Nonsensically Impossible To Have A Successful First Game Pr...

20 July 2016 - 05:56 PM

To me, its a good lesson not to put your eggs all in one basket.

Though having skills and realistic goals helps you avoid the first project failure, it does NOT guarantee success. If your overall strategy is about just the one game, profits you'll make from it to pay your staff, then your plan is doomed as ANYTHING could ruin your project (most of which is even out of your control). So it's best to assume that your first few projects will fail.

It has been said that very successful indies had to ship on average 4-5 projects before starting to get afloat. It IS a harsh market to start in, and it helps to know your way around, but by no means does it guarantee success, and a careful strategist would need to assume failure, and even consider an exit strategy.

In Topic: Division of labor: managing an artist as a buisness partner?

13 July 2016 - 07:12 PM

First, big disclaimer: this post is to be read as my personal experience, and though it makes broad generalizations, I hope I don't offend anyone as I pretty much know there are exceptions here.


The problem you're having here is twofold:


1 - You want a business partner, and your partner isn't a BUSINESS partner. He's just a skilled artist, and luckily enough, he seems like he's got enough love for the project to actually invest time (free) into this because he believes. From the looks of it, he also delivers. I agree the guy likely needs his share of the revenues on this, but naturally extending that to calling the shots and being responsible for the business would be stretching it, and likely bring him in a direction he doesn't want to go. Sadly, most artists I've known fit that mold rather well: commitment issues, don't want to do the paperwork, they just want to create things. Has he actually ever mentioned he wanted to be a business owner? or has he only expressed that he'd like equity in the project?


2 - You want a business partner, because you can't take all of the business matters in your own hands. Naturally, you've turned to him as he's already invested in the project, but his interests do not necessary align with your needs. 


My advice would be as follows:


- Consider giving him shares if you trust his judgment and can't make it without him, but you more than likely need to reduce his shares as he's not actually interested in the upstairs management role.


- Consider actually hiring a producer / project manager or coordinator. In my experience, coordinators are the lowest echelon of management and they're really fetchers: they insure that the things that need to happen do at the project level, so sending out e-mails, walking over to the guy, making spreadsheet lists and crossing off items, this is what they're in for, and this is generally good for a junior too, so you can cut on expanses there as well. This would free you some time to either focus on the business aspect or the project itself. Chances are you've already got your hands full with incorporation, PR, finances, etc.


- If necessary, consider outsourcing some of the work to business experts. Accountants don't come cheaply, but up to now, every penny invested in an accountant for my business has saved at least 2, so if you put it that way, they're the most valuable resource you have as a business owner.


- Consider your relationship with the artist on a project-basis. He wants equity for his work? perhaps you can arrange for him to get some rev-share on the project itself, through contracts, without actually have him invested in the organization as a founder. These are two radically different things and they're worth delving into. If you promise rev-share, all you have is a contract between your business and him which stipulates he gets a % of sales based off certain criteria (I would suggest a share of profits as it helps your business cover expanses first and only split what remains). Ownership of the company, on the other end, comes with a number of aggravations such as income tax regulations (at least here it does), responsibilities, etc. Doesn't seem like he's into 'that' so maybe you're best off as a sole proprietor, or might be looking for a different partner.


Don't hesitate to let me know if I missed any point though.

In Topic: Who comes up with the next project in a studio?

30 June 2016 - 05:51 AM

A lot of studios are a Work-For-Hire business model, where they don't really get to decide at all what they're going to make. Instead, you find publishers/IP-owners who need studio to make a game for them, and then you create a pitch to try and secure that work (which may involve making a GDD/TDD, concept art, a budget, and even a small prototype)... and then hopefully your studio is selected to make the game.
At self-funded studios, it will usually be an executive/director who makes the choice of what game to make next -- CEO (managing director in real English) or creative director, etc... Hopefully though, the design and concepting teams would have a lot of input in the process, and even flesh out a few different game designs before one is chosen.

Might I add that successful vendors still have a strong say regarding which opportunities they will pursue?
I've been places where they had to pitch evertime and others where they passed on a lot of things.
In both cases, the call came from the CEO or president who represented the AC's interests.

In Topic: How difficult is this instance of this puzzle?

21 June 2016 - 08:58 AM


Part of the issue is I'm unclear whether the last word has 3 repeats of the same character or if one of them is slightly different, meaning a different symbol altogether.


Yes, I agree that that was confusing. It's two separate characters.



That was actually enough for me to be unable to complete the puzzle altogether.

Thanks for confirming these are different, it does change a lot ;)

I had originally started with some of the smaller words, but cross-referenced this particular area looking for "what two letters in english can there really be" and that put me off trail...

Of course, I didn't use the OP's tool for solving this, I used another visual representation solver, but the erroneous assumption made it impossible to solve.

In Topic: Gladiator manager game - ideas needed!

20 June 2016 - 08:13 PM

The old 'asynch' gameplay question again.

It is one very tough to handle, and it is at least as old as bulletin board system games (mid 80s).


The problem with granting advantages if you attend the combat is that you're trading away the 'fair' aspect of the game. If the opponent can't attend, they're giving you an advantage, and it quickly turns into loss of interest for both parties.


A few solutions I've seen over the years that handled the asynch gameplay well:


- In Yu-Gi-Oh BAM (a TCG) you end up fighting the opponent's deck, which is controlled by an AI. The outcome of the fight benefits you, but does nothing to the opponent. Quickly, that model was replaced with an actual real-time mini-game where players would engage from an active player pool looking for a match.


- The above is very similar to Clash Royale which deals with 3-4 minutes real-time segments from a random player pool. The game is essentially 'offline' (deck building, etc.) but battles are in real-time. They can only work because they are very short segments, which meshes particularly well with the mobile market. More importantly, you can fight anyone anytime so long as they're online and fit within your bracket.


- In VGA Planets (later Planets Nu), players take turns throughout the course of 1 or 2 days, and once all turns are 'locked in', they are actually carried out. Players essentially give out order but don't get to see the outcome until the turn takes effect. Battles can't be user-influenced but are relatively deterministic overall.This game revolved entirely about decisions taken outside of the fight, and to date, is actually my favorite 4X game for this reason (I don't need to be a good low-level tactician, I only need to field the units I need when and where I need them, trusting that my commander will take it from there).


- A game project I was involved with a few years back had something similar to what Paloma mentioned. You would issue out a combat, and have a predefined AI for that combat which would act as a predetermined deck of moves that would get done. Either as a static sequence (action 1, action 2, action 3, action 4, action 4, action 2, action 2, loop) or as a more complex system where you define circumstances:

If I'm under 20% HP, I use action 3

If I'm above the opponent's HP, I use action 1



From the looks of it, a small realtime component would probably suit your idea best: you exit from your solo experience for a short period of time only when you want to challenge another gladiator. Then, you have some meaningful control over the match.

Assuming this is to be mobile, I would advise against actual character controls, and focus on a more deck-oriented solution, or something along the lines of Sword and Soul where your character attacks (regular attacks, and few random goodies) but you get to choose when to trigger each and any of your character abilities (which, if abstracted, is no different from the Clash Royale solution).


The caveat with this approach is that it requires a healthy community and traffic so that there's not an endless queue between matches. Or, you could alternatively create AI bots which take over as opponents if the player has been waiting in queue for more than 10 seconds without a legal matchup.


Without knowing more about your concept, it is hard to propose any other alternative...