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Orymus3

Member Since 10 Dec 2008
Offline Last Active Today, 11:45 AM

#5301646 Is It Really That Nonsensically Impossible To Have A Successful First Game Pr...

Posted by Orymus3 on 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.




#5300623 Division of labor: managing an artist as a buisness partner?

Posted by Orymus3 on 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.




#5296701 Top Down Ship (Boat) Movement

Posted by Orymus3 on 15 June 2016 - 12:44 PM

I've had a lot of games where I tried implementing a 'vehicle'-type of movement.

My approach to designing this is not to consider the end-position, but rather these 2 key elements:

 

- Direction (angle)

- Speed

 

Your input should always modify one of the two (either a speed increase/decrease, otherwise known as acceleration/deceleration, or an angle modification by a specific amount of degrees).

As a general rule, I find radians to be more efficient than actual degrees for this as most of the APIs have worked with had much simpler ways of handling this, but I'm not foreign to building such a system from scratch on HTML5 notably, so everything is possible, if you remember your trigonometry!

 

So you should essentially "listen" for these input, knowing that with every game tick, you're going to modify the position of the ship or vehicle based on what you currently know (direction/speed) regardless of everything else.

 

In an environment where you don't control the ship via WASD, and would rather prefer using waypoints (click where you need to go, such as in an RTS), the same heuristics will apply, the only difference is that the "AI" will determine its own rotation and speed modifications. 

This can be achieved by using a targetRotation variable which stores the direction you're trying to go, and determining what is the fastest rotation to achieve this (not as straightforward as I make it sound as all angle representations have a 'dead point' where it takes a little know-how to find the easiest path when wrapping over 0 or the likes).

 

As for suggestions on improving your current script, I would question the capitalization of your variables, but they appear to be consistent at least. But capitalizing all but the first word is good practice for readability (I almost missed the 'T' in shipTSpeed).




#5294890 Anyone has experience in outsourcing game development projects?

Posted by Orymus3 on 03 June 2016 - 09:40 PM

I believe you're asking the wrong question:

The fact I have experience with the RFP process won't help you out.

In this particular instance, it would appear you are actually interested in Business Development (the art of getting new clients for your business).

 

First and foremost, I will assume that your team is relatively young, and that you are new to the servicing business (and most likely don't have a dedicated business development manager).

The things you need to know is that there are roughly 3 'stages' to becoming a new partner:

 

1 - No portfolio, no contacts, no reputation

I imagine this is where you are. You may or may not have developed products on your own that you could leverage as proof of your ability to create exciting experiences with quality in mind. That means you are not likely to come across anyone that may be interested in dealing with you as your basically have no reputation that precedes you, no proof of actual work, and no means to prove you can do the job (better than others).

My advice at this stage is: complete more projects. Get them out there, try to see if you can get some traction on some of them.

 

2 - A portfolio, but no contacts or reputation

Once you have some projects to show for, it's time to go on the hunt. You most likely won't convince anyone at tradeshows, but you will likely be able to start building a list of businesses. Not the higher tier ones (1st party published such as Ubisoft, etc.) What you should be on the lookout for is primarily smaller organizations that may not be able to do everything in-house. Let them get the big contracts from higher up, and think about how you can help them deliver.

One of the astute ways of doing this is building a QA or Localization service. A lot of businesses are ready to do development, but most of them don't have proper QA or Localization teams. Poaching middle-sized businesses for a likely need of these services might come at an opportune time and land you some work. Granted, it is not the work you're shooting for, but it can get you there.

 

Cold calling is the art of calling or e-mailing people directly. It requires to have an understanding of who does what. As far as emails go, LinkedIn can get you somewhere, but don't just run a search. Instead, go at a local convention, try to identify a few people. They are likely not the ones you should be speaking to, but they will let you know that their business exist. Once you search their business, you can see whoever is the most appropriate to contact (if they have an outsource manager, great, but most likely, their title will be much more cryptic, sometimes producers handle this on their own, sometimes its a hellamorecomplicatedthanthis!)

 

The idea is that you want to build 2 things there: contacts AND reputation.

You gain contacts whenever someone replies to you politely with anything more than 1-2 sentences. That means there MIGHT be an interest in the future, and you can work with this in some way (don't worry, they almost always say no at first because timing can be a bitch).

You gain reputation when you do the work. It's not just about what you end-up delivering to your clients (though it matters A LOT), but also how the working relationship was. Clients will remember how communication was, how you handled major issues, etc. Shine there, and they might bring you more business, better yet, speak on your behalf to other potential clients!

 

3 - Some reputation and a lot of contacts

You've reached the level where showing up at tradeshows makes sense. You can pretty much initiate a conversation that touches (even remotely) anything close to what you did with your past projects. If you've had a lot of luck making Vuforia-oriented games, then try to get a hold of anyone even remotely invested in AR, etc.

You can show your past projects (hopefully you have some that are not white-labeled!) and discuss who you've done business with (but remember that you may be limited regarding what you can and can't disclose based off previous SOWs, MAs or NDAs you may have signed).

 

There's a lot more to it obviously, and a lot of this comes down to the personality of your Business Development Manager (salesman). What they're good/bad at will likely determine their best angle of approach for new clients.

 

 

For example, I went through steps 1-2 by being tactical: I kept in touch with past employers for which I had done great work, even gave them some contacts/business (things I couldn't possibly handle on my own). When I went from freelancer to business, it was 'relatively easy' to sway them into working with me. From then on, I had more than nothing to show, which helped a lot.

Still, my first few contracts as a business were tricky, and almost entirely due to luck (that's why you need to do a LOT of cold-calling: it is a depressing part of the job, but even the best organizations need to do it at one point or another when larger relationships elapse or market goes stale).

 

The important thing I did not mention above is that your business also needs to identify its strength and weaknesses (you made a SWOT right???)

 

Most potential clients you'll come across at first will simply seek the lowest budget possible (their sales estimates may be low given their own size and the risk level, and the only way to help them make a profit is to cut on expenses altogether, especially if working for advert-gaming companies).

You are not likely to be able to compete with them, even if you wished. True, as a small business, your cost of operation may be low, but unless you live in a much less developed country (India, Romania, China, etc.) you simply won't be able to be competitive with their pricing as their cost of living is drastically different. No matter how much you'd like for it to work, could be that your business' rent is 10 times the price of your competitor, and that's just a start!

 

Still, you have to be willing to go for these clients whose projects come with a high level of risk (for YOU), who are willing to go for a fixed fee (forget hourly projects, at least for now, they aren't all that common anyway) and may smell like something's wrong. There's no bad project to start, you just want to get whatever you can, so unless it puts your business in a position where you could risk bankrupty, go for it.

 

Once you've made a few projects, you'll need a business model, that is, find a way where you are better than 'almost anybody else' for certain projects. It is not just a question of the type of projects you want to work on, and specializing yourself. Most of the time, it comes as something as simple as 'Complete Solution' or 'Reliable Team'.

Don't spit these words at your potential clients, they've heard it before, rather, let your reputation precede you when you tell them what you'll do, and try to be as precise as possible about the way you envision this could work (even if they've given you absolutely no context). It shows that, in the absence of guidance, your business is able to deal with 'chaos'.

 

Without naming any specific businesses, I've seen some boast their business' ability to do a 360 solution, that is:

"If you come to us with a game project in mind, we can make the game, localize it, create assets for social media campaigns, run said advertising campaigns, put together your press releases, create a short viral video that has more to do with a miniseries episode than an actual trailer, etc."

 

I've also worked with a business that would, instead, leverage their large experience and strategic mindset to 'handle' the strategic aspect of the project. Instead of relying on the client to give feedback during production of the project, they'd list out what they've noticed, how they feel it should get resolved given the client's current needs (outside of the specific project), etc. Some larger clients have a hard time self-organizing, so working with a 3rd party developer that takes ownership can be a real blessing, and they may be willing to go for you as opposed to an Indian firm if they're given sufficient assurance that this is true value to them.

 

That would be my 2 cents ;)




#5293624 Stealth/Action SideScroller of a Ninja Chameleon with Shadow Abilities

Posted by Orymus3 on 26 May 2016 - 11:14 AM

FYI: broken image links in the OP.




#5288069 How to deal with this unexpected counter-offer?

Posted by Orymus3 on 21 April 2016 - 07:48 PM

Removed by user




#5285158 Races vs. techtree vs. doctrines - choosing from the start or not...

Posted by Orymus3 on 04 April 2016 - 07:34 PM

I think that a system similar to SC2 is likely the best there is: each unit has a few counters, and what keeps the game moving is the intent to always modify the current army composition to include more counters that are good against the bulk of the opponent's army.

This creates very interesting late-game army compositions that are truly diverse and nothing like unit spam.

 

If you take a close look at competitive SC2, you're likely to see that almost every unit comes into play in almost every match (assuming its not one that ends prematurely by a mistake).

Even more interesting is the fact there is more than one counter, granting the user a chance to determine which path they'll take to try and outplay their opponent's logistics.

For example, when faced with mass hydra, I could choose to counter with speed zealots with upgraded shields and weapons, or I could try the tech approach of going Dark Templar. If executed right, and if I manage to pull the hydras away from detection, I can get a lot of kills with much fewer units, though the cost in infrastructure and gas is a high risk. High Risk/High Reward is fun!

 

I don't believe that locking techs to even more narrow trees (with no ability to adjust at a moment's notice to compensate for your flaw) is all that fun. It would quickly show you you've made a strategic mistake you can't compensate for, and the actual tactical implications will just be a display of that execution issue.




#5283179 How do I deal with market glut?

Posted by Orymus3 on 24 March 2016 - 11:10 AM

 


There's a third, which I wouldn't advocate, but which happens to work more often than one might think:
- Clone a game (a lot of Asia-based developers make money off that)

 

The clone games don't really get your game noticed.  They just add to the general churn of rubbish games. Sure you can make a living as an individual just cloning games but it is still small potatoes compared to having a good quality title.  Since the original question was regarding the OP getting his own title noticed rather than "just making some money" then this wouldn't really help him.

 

 

 


There's even a fourth, loosely related to the third:
- Do something morally objectionable. This can go either way, as it will garner a lot of interest from the press, but could cost you your reputation. It 'does' break the wall of indifference, but I wouldn't advocate it as a business plan. Still, in the spirit of being exhaustive, I thought it needed to be mentioned.

 

Not really .  You still need to get your morally objectionable game seen by the press.  You are basically just doing viral marketing and cutting it pretty close to the bone so this is still going down the hard marketing route.  Also wouldn't really help the OP unless his game was already morally objectionable.  I mean he's not going to create an awesome game and then go and make all the characters have their cocks hanging out just to get noticed.

 

 

Actually incorrect. Recently, a number of well known games were cloned to great effect. The exposure worked for them and not only did they make money off of it, but it was noticed by several thousands of people very quickly (even before either of the stores managed to pull them out).




#5282772 How to Motivate a Team

Posted by Orymus3 on 22 March 2016 - 06:25 PM

Welcome to every hobby project ever.

The truth is that, though all of you probably like the idea of making a game, very few of you actually understand and truly love what goes into making one.

For some, it's just too damn complex, and the satisfaction they get from progress they make simply doesn't balance against other pursuits.

You're likely to be the only one truly affected by this, possibly because you are perhaps more interested in actually making games, and (I'll assume), the process of building something is something that's enticing to you, not just the finished product.

 

The sad part: most hobby projects will end up this way. When I was younger, I've had the chance to see at least 20-30 projects die miserably this way. Flash forward, of all of the team mates I've tried making games with in this era, none actually ever finished one, and most have turned to other aspirations shortly after. 

I think you could compare this to wanting to be a rockstar, but not actually liking to learn how to play difficult riffs on a guitar. Same exact thing. 

 

It might then come as a shock though that my recommendation won't be to quit. I mean, sure, all of them won't care much, and they probably won't do much, but there's valuable knowledge in failing, and if you apply yourself, you're likely to learn a lot from this experience regardless of how the other team members behave.

There's a small chance that you might even inspire them if your reflex is to do more. They might feel bad when close to release to notice that you've done 80% of the work, and may collectively come together to get the remaining 20% done, who knows. That's how you may be able to motivate the team.

 

That being said, I believe you may not be asking the right question. To help you insure you're asking the right question, I'll ask you one of my own: what are you expecting from this project's realization? 




#5282770 How do I deal with market glut?

Posted by Orymus3 on 22 March 2016 - 06:17 PM

There really is no easy way to get noticed on mobile anymore.   It was a gold mine a few years ago but now its "just another platform".

There are two ways of getting your quality game noticed.  These are:

Spend a lot of money on marketing.

or 
Do a lot of hard work building up a social presence, acquiring followers, posting youtube videos and building a community for your game  (basically doing the marketing yourself).

 

There's a third, which I wouldn't advocate, but which happens to work more often than one might think:

- Clone a game (a lot of Asia-based developers make money off that)

 

There's even a fourth, loosely related to the third:

- Do something morally objectionable. This can go either way, as it will garner a lot of interest from the press, but could cost you your reputation. It 'does' break the wall of indifference, but I wouldn't advocate it as a business plan. Still, in the spirit of being exhaustive, I thought it needed to be mentioned.




#5282491 How do I deal with market glut?

Posted by Orymus3 on 21 March 2016 - 07:40 PM

Breaking the wall of indifference is probably the biggest concern for modern products.

For the most part, it is no longer so much about making a great game, just focusing on making a good game and spending everything else on finding a creative way to advertise it.

This is particularly true on mobile, but even platforms such as Steam suffer from the large amount of games that are (and were) made.

 

If there was a trade secret that works every time, it would probably well guarded, but the truth is that every studio fends for itself in trying to get enough exposure, and when they have one recipe that do work, they tend not to share it, and it generally doesn't work on their next game.

 

Publishers used to be a big help, and some of them still are relevant if only by the sheer amount of ads they'll be able to throw at players without actually spending a dime (cross-referencing for example), but for a newcomer, this is a tough crowd.

 

One thing I've seen working particularly well for 3 local indies was being handpicked by a Youtube personality and rolling with it.

Another (very original) developer chose to stream his development for over a year. He has a great personality though, so it helped, and his studio is older than the indie bubble, so it really helped.

 

I can offer no straight solution, but rest assured it is many people's jobs than to figure these things out.

 

I wish you luck!




#5281507 Regarding assembling a small team just for practice.

Posted by Orymus3 on 16 March 2016 - 10:47 AM

If you're at all interested in using Unity, you might want to have a look at their series of tutorials on scripting.

They're extremely thorough, and some of them were live applied  sessions of doing relatively simple gameplay patterns step-by-step in the code and in the editor. 

Though I had a lot of previous experience, and I felt it was a bit too slow for my personal taste, there's undeniable value for someone just starting.

 

What I'll say however is you can't get enough theory. I'm a self-made programmer for the most part, and the parts I'm mostly struggling with are generally design patterns, that is, ways to do things that people have thought about and tested long before me. Oftentimes, I settle for a much too complex and unclean solution, or I devise my own which looks alien to other developers, and we could have a much simpler discussion if we agreed to just make a singleton or something. Theory on design patterns, read on it!

 

Then, I suggest you just join an actual project. You'll fail at a few things, and probably won't get proper feedback, but you'll at least understand the path not to take the next time, and it is better than no feedback at all. It does pays off, even if it is perhaps inferior to what you are suggesting.




#5281134 looking for an agent to sell my game idea to the right people

Posted by Orymus3 on 13 March 2016 - 05:14 PM


Crowdsourcing also requires a tribe and/or media connections to have any sort of success. This is especially important for this idea which is not cheap to make.

 

But as per the OP, they are effectively looking for an agent.

In this particular case, I would believe them to be looking for a business development manager or something similar (someone to make their case).




#5281034 looking for an agent to sell my game idea to the right people

Posted by Orymus3 on 13 March 2016 - 08:28 AM

 

looking for an agent to sell my game idea to the right people
People don't buy game ideas. Ideas guy is not a job in the games industry.

 

 

 

Though I fully agree with this, the above is a request to sell an idea to the right people.

If OP also happens to have a team in place to make said game happen, pitching the concept to potential clients is not an impossible task, but the odds of success are very low.

Would need to strike the right partnership, acquire limited means, and somehow pull it off.

 

As was suggested, crowd sourcing this might be a better approach, but for this you would need minimal funding to put together some kind of pitch deck, video and hopefully a prototype. Teams can easily be found, money, not so much.




#5278174 Right way to handle people complaining about price?

Posted by Orymus3 on 25 February 2016 - 03:44 PM


But the point is: who is saying that a game costing 20 bucks really is worth more than 4 beers? Maybe someone likes his beer more than his games. Who is to say that 20 hours of gameplay equal to two hours of blockbuster movie?

 

Which is also true from game to game, so even comparing games among themselves is pears to apples, hence the need for some kind of a baseline.

Two games that are similar in features, won't have the same value to the end-user.


I think this is true for most people out there, hence why the normal span for Indie games on steam being around 5-15$... 20$ might be on the high side, as this price bracket is occupied normally by AA games from bigger studios and re-releases. You could argue that this game might actually be worth more than some AA re-releases of 20 year old RPG classics on PC... but again, one has a made a name for itself and has most probably a well known studio behind it, the other does not.

 

That's where Triple "I" comes in I think. Indies with some kind of a background but still taking a lot of design risks.

 


IF you are sure you have great quality, and want to do marketing with it, best thing is to let others spread to word. If you can, reach out to youtubers and lets players that might enjoy it, and let them gauge the quality of your game.
Failing that, you can try to impress people with a video or pics of your "quality features" (like the dev for this title did with the "whole level pics" to prove the size of the levels).
You can of course set your price higher because of your games quality.

 

I'm going to disagree here. Word of mouth rarely gets the job done. It's not uncommon for a true gem to fail to garner attention. Marketing is something critical that you can't just leave to players and youtubers to handle.

 


Which is to apologize

 

To apologize would be to admit you've actually done something wrong, but most likely, by putting the game to market, selling it, and getting a low of positive feedback from other players, how could you justify apologizing to one (or a few) user for something and actually believe it? I think you can professionally agree to disagree with their perspective on your game, you can relate to their frustration but you can't possibly apologize.

 


If High End graphics cards with a GTX 980 ti level of performance cost around 700$ (at least here in overpriced-land), how could you call the AMD equivalent that is almost as fast overpriced at 650$? Its not as fast, so the 700$ for the nvidia offering is still valid. But its quite close, so the 650$ also are not totally off.

 

That example is flawed in that, though the specs are complex, they are objective. Games are far more subjective to analyze. It would be impossible to gauge and compare games in a similar way.

 


My big point was though: if you are in the range of comparable titles, the price discussion is moot. You can bitch about game prices in general. You can no longer single out your title. Your competitors price decisions are actually supporting your own now.

So your solution would be to price your game accordingly to however other games are priced? I'm not clear on this making sense. And to be fair, there's always the 'first company' that steps it up once in a while, and I don't think it hurts their sales all that much in the end, and though they get slandered for it, every other company soon follows because, quite frankly, the cost of production increases over time (and inflation keeps on ticking) so you can't sells games at 60 forever... they get to 70, then 80... etc

Not sure 'lining up' is necessarily the best attitude, especially as an indie.

 

Of course, if you're speaking of the mobile market, disregard this entire discussion and make sure your game is 0,99, end of story.






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