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Member Since 21 Mar 2011
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 02:24 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: 3D software for mobile games

Yesterday, 02:19 AM


As for a game engine I will recommend trying Unreal 4 it's a better engine for artist, however Unity is just as good a option although with less control over things than Unreal.



Well, Unreal 4 has Blueprint, if you have no intention of learning a real programming language like C++/C#, and actually can get on with the Blueprint system (I found it not really useful, many did find it good), it is a more artist friendly engine in that sense.


BUT: Unreal will quickly drown in MANY more options than Unity does. While that sounds like a pro (and it is, Unreal is always slightly ahead on features compared to Unity, as long as the features fit "the Unreal way of doing things" (see forward renderer still missing in Unreal last time I checked)), it is also a con at the same time, especially for new users.

The UI of the Editor is quite cluttered compared to Unity, and many of the additional options make no sense until you really dig into the documentation and look up what they do (well, that is also true for Unity to some extent).


Then there is the documentation. As long as you are going with Blueprint, its all good. I still would rate Unitys documentation higher, their online API docs are really brilliant. But Unreal documentation for Blueprint is quite close, once you get your head wrapped around the indexing.

But the documentation for the C++ part is just lackluster in comparison. Granted, that might not matter to the TO, but it needs to be said: Unity has the better API documentation for what that is worth.


Lastly, AFAIK the TO is talking about mobile 3D games. Here, the positions are actually reversed, with Unreal doing the catch up. I really am not comparing features or performance here, just the plain fact that Unity nowadays is the default mobile 3D engine for many, while Unreal 4 is certainly also used a lot. Its just not as widely used in the mobile space.

Might have to do with the pricing options, Unity being in the mobile game for longer, inertia of mobile devs or whatever.

Still, when it comes to developing mobile games, Unity would be the default option, with Unreal 4 being a close runner up for more ambitious devs.



And yeah, I am a programmer, so I do not rate the presence of a visual scripting system just as high as others (don't get me started on how they made C++ into the unwanted stepchild for Blueprint). Even if I would, I'd say you can get multiple different visual scripting systems for Unity starting at about 25-50$ from the Unity asset store, and some of these are actually quite good. As tightly integrated into the engine as Blueprint? No. But still, its an option.

In Topic: No Man's Sky

24 August 2016 - 06:13 AM


Are we now really discussing which kinds of misleading customers is fine, and at which point it stops being fine?
So he was vague on purpose so nobody could later on claim "but you promised us X"....

And I think that's fine. If people are asking about what's going to be in the game when the game is still being made, then he has 3 choices:

1) Make a firm commitment to a feature. This is a big risk and could end up untrue, so he would get accused of lying.
2) Refuse to answer. People then stop asking about the game and it disappears into obscurity.
3) Talk in vague terms about features they hope to deliver, while being careful not to lie about them.

The same applies to showing trailers. I agree that every effort should be made to ensure that a trailer represents the final game. But we can't expect that every single thing that appears in a trailer is going to appear exactly as-is in the final game. Half of the trailers for games these days feature footage that was never intended to be in the game at all, but people accept it as giving them a flavour of what is going to come, not a guarantee of the exact gameplay they'll experience.

In the circumstances, #3 seems fine to me.

I'm not going to comment on the trailers or the TV interviews because I haven't watched them. But whenever people post actual quotes, it seems quite clear that they're reading more into them than was ever actually said.



Well, point taken, but I guess there is a VERY FINE LINE you have to walk if you choose #3.


In MANY of the interviews I have seen, the interviewer asked a pretty direct question. Nothing vague about it. Many times Murrays answer simply was "Yes"... if you watched his body language closely you could have seen that he was quite uncomfortable with the situation.


But come on. What he said was "Yes" when asked "Is there multiplayer?". Not "Yes, it is planned". Not "Yes, we would like to introduce multiplayer".

How could anyone correctly interpret his sometimes quite ominous long pauses, and the nervous laughter as "I am currently not telling you the full truth"? Maybe he just had to think to make sure he understood the question correct? Maybe he is just not comfortable talking at the TV or before a huge crowd?


And don't get me started on the "Yes, kind of..." answers... sure, now that is vague. Sure, I understand he doesn't want to comit to promises until the game is out.



But as mikeman said it very well, as soon as the product is out, or even BETTER, as soon as the product is finalized (which had to happen some weeks before release), you should start to come clean with your customers about what did and did not make it into the final product. Nothing hard about saying "Sorry guys, I know we were hinting in the direction that NmS had some kind of multiplayer, but in the end it didn't make the cut. I repeat, there is no multiplayer in NMS!".

That is when being vague on purpose turned from a shady marketing strategy that might backfire into a shitty one that had to backfire.



I've heard sales are dropping off now for NMS.



That was clear from the start. The game might have kept up some momentum if just one or two things went wrong with the release. But with all that (overpromising and underdelivering, performance issues, flatout missing gameplay, not that great variety in many things, letting fanboys ride the hypetrain skyhigh), and the bad press it got as a result, it was clear that the initial spike would make up most of the sales this game will most probably ever see.

In Topic: No Man's Sky

23 August 2016 - 07:09 AM

He said "finding each other" but not "seeing each other" and he didn't use the word "meeting". It seems to me that he is talking about the possibility of one player reaching a place that another player has already reached. Yes, it's ambiguous, but it's not untrue. It's a shared universe in the sense that changes made by one player can be seen by another. That may imply but doesn't mean that they will be able to see each other directly.


Are we now really discussing which kinds of misleading customers is fine, and at which point it stops being fine?


So he was vague on purpose so nobody could later on claim "but you promised us X".... "nay, I never said you would get X, I just implied the theoretical possibility that something resembling X could happen in the game".

Doesn't really make this a better thing IMO.



Look, I am happy for all the players that found that niche game fun to play. I am happy for the company that they got a great success with no mans sky. I do feel sorry for the guys that got dissapointed by what was really way less than what was promised, even though most of their blown up expectations was them filling in the blanks left on purpose by Hello games.

But I do not think this is the right way to market your game. I do think Hello games did not just a shitty job managing expectations, they released some statements that border on misleading their future customers. They created trailers with scripted events (which they said at some point they wouldn't do), and with special builds containing stuff that was cut from the final game.

And they released an unfinished games that obviously was nowhere near ready to be released. Again, they fit into a long tradition of even big AAA studios doing that. Its still not a good thing to do.

In Topic: Mmorpg Idea.

23 August 2016 - 02:47 AM

What is the point of this post? To discuss theory, theorycrafting the perfect MMORPG, and indulge in the game design challenges of designing a game that will never exist? If yes, then go on... that certainly is a fun thing to do, and I guess fits this forum just as well as discussing more practical challenges.

To discuss if the idea is feasible? If YOU could pull it off? Sorry to say, but then there is little to discuss. No and no. Guess others before me put it better than I could here. I will still try to give some reasons below:


1) Scope: MMOs cost 100's of millions of $ to produce.

You CAN save some money on a simpler presentation (meaning simple 2D graphics for example, no voice acting, simple sound design), you can cut features (no need for housing, crafting, or many other "side activities" if you want to concentrate on RPG Combat). Even after that, you have to face the reality that building a networking that CAN handle the massive amount of online players needed to put the second M into Multiplayer online game, AND the cost of maintaining the server farms needed for that is a lot of time an money to put into a game which has become pretty bare bones by now.


2) MMOs are extremly risky, pretty much suicide for most studios nowadays:

Developing an MMO costs a ton of time and money. Yet the market of MMORPGs is EXTREMLY oversaturated, to the point where a ton of actually quite good MMORPGs failed in the market, went free to play or were canceled, sometimes quite late, during development, in the last few years.

Unless you are not doing something VERY different, don't bother with the additional cost and overhead of making your game a MMO. If you have a high chance of failure, might just as well cut the cost in half by dropping the Massively from online multiplayer, while enabling your game design and story to go in a different, more interesting direction because you are no longer bound to the severe gameplay and story limitations of an MMO, or even Multiplayer game.


Most things that get the MMO sticker nowadays are actually more Online Multiplayer games with a quite elaborate online lobby. Games like World of tanks, Overwatch, or similar are clearly far from the MMO ideal of yesteryear ("1000's of player simultanously in one big combat fighting each other")... yet they are often labeled as MMOs.

Those are the lower cost, lower risk "MMOs" of today. If the big studios are no longer really wanting to touch a big monolithic MMORPG in the veins of a WoW, you can tell that maybe its a bad idea to do so (at least until WoW one day will die a natural death).

In Topic: No Man's Sky

23 August 2016 - 02:11 AM

I think part of the problem is that it got hyped like a AAA game but that Hello Games don't have AAA-level PR and marketing departments. They were perhaps not as careful over what was okay to reveal to the media as they should have been, which I think can be put down to a combination of their own inexperience and an insatiable thirst for information on the game.


Nothing I've seen has ever suggested deliberate deception or misdirection, but there were quite a few occasions where they tried to under-promise but got the wording wrong. For example, saying things like (and I paraphrase) it was "potentially possible" to meet other players when I think he meant "if we have time, there's the potential to make that possible".


Well, I think this is trying to hard to be nice to the dev. They overpromised, and massively so. Or they pushed out a game that was still a year or two away from being finished, given their teams small size.


While I agree that we should give them the benefit of the doubt, hyping up space combat like that when obviously space combat is just an afterthought, and repeatedly forgetting to mention with a single word that "yes players can meet" doesn't mean "yes they can meet in game, see and interact with each other", and numerous other things leave a very, very bad taste in everyones mouth.


My personal conclusion is thus: the developers MASSIVELY overscoped. While being MASSIVELY underfunded to deliver anywhere NEAR that scope. While the prodedural generation tech used is impressive, obviously it wasn't enough to make the game compelling, and I guess when this thought dawned upon the devs about half into the development, they went into a frenzied "lets add everything but the kitchen sink" mode to build a game around their procedurally generated galaxy.

All the while the topshots of the company going into "oversell mode", and trying to beat up as much hype as they could. Probably it dawned upon them that without the hype that built around the game early on, it would sell only to a small niche of players.


And when release day started to loom and they only had weeks to polish the game, some devs went into a mad feature cutting mode to rip out what was obviously unfinished. Leaving only a husk of the game that was promised.



I wouldn't call it as much as a scam or stuff like that. Obviously the developers believed in their product, and started off with solid work and a good idea. But I guess its one of those many stories where a dev just couldn't deliver what was promised, thus just tried to cash in on what they could deliver.



I personally am pretty sceptic if Hello Games ever gets back to add features to NmS... most probably it will be left in the sorry state it is in today and will be forgotten.


True, seems like many of the stuff that is currently missing from the game was developed at some point, as it was shown off during development, most probably just taken out before release. Probably fixing that performance issues and crashes is on the table, giving it leaves an extremly bad impression of the dev.


Fleshing out the game? Don't think so. Even putting back what was cut from the game probably is too much. If they couldn't fix it in the months and weeks leading to the release, it would take them months to do so with their current team. Hiring new people to fix the cut features would obviously cost a lot of money.


Given the game is actually quite niche in its current state, and might still be niche (and far from a 10/10 game) with all the promised features added (and those fixed to be at least playable), I guess Hello Game will make a very simple calculation.

They already sold the game to WAY more people than they could ever have hoped of, even if the game was as good as promised (because even then, space combat would probably not be on par with good space combat games, crafting would not be on par with good crafting games, graphics would still be just "good enough", variation wouldn't really live up to peoples expectations). All thanks to hype. They already got middling reviews, mostly BECAUSE they overpromised and because of the hype.


Improving the game will most probably not make many reviewers up their rating or even give the game a second look. Especially as many reviewers seem to be disgruntled with the way the company handled their marketing push.


So they could invest quite a lot of money to actually finished the unfinished game they pushed out, which would mean another 1-2 years of fulltime work for their current team, or a ton of additional bodies working on it. Just to get maybe 10% more sales in the end, maybe at a time when they already need to drop the price of the game because of its age to even get that many additional sales.

Or they could just weather the storm, hope people will forget the controversy surrounding no mans sky, take the money, develop a new game, and then sell that new game 2-3 years down the line to way more customers than no mans sky could ever hope to reach, even if gets improved.



I am betting on the latter. No mans sky works for the small niche of players it was originally intended for. The frivolous features added during development and promised, which have gotten taken out, would most probably not be very good anyway, as they are far from the focus of the game. Game sold well based on hype, money the players most probably will not be able to get back, and I guess most don't want their money back given the game might just have been mildly dissapointing for most, still delivering some hours of fun.

So yeah, Hello Games would be crazy trying to make no mans sky live up to expectations after release. Its an Indie niche game that does one thing well, sold at an AAA games price.



One more reason to stick to an old truth learned over many decades as a player. Never preorder, never buy at release, at least wait for two independent reviews, and maybe some friends who tried it to form an opinion. And never, ever, believe a word a developer or publisher says before release. As long as its not in a game I can play, it most probably is a lie!