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T -5 Days

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EDI

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That's right, only 5 days until we commence the construction of Part2 of The Lost City of Malathedra

Much like Part1, part2 is a 3 month development cycle, starting Oct 1 and Ending Jan 1.

On a side note, I've realized that TLCoM seems to be somewhat less anticipated here on GDNet than Morning's Wrath was, probably because pure adventure is a bit more obscure.

I've told a few people that Malathedra may be my last game, and while I am not sure of this, the primary factors will likely be it's sales.

As many of you know (some better than others) game development is a lot of hard work, especially for a game like Malathedra, without more budget (the ability to contract art and etc) it is very doubtful that I will continue to make games in this fashion, or potentially at all.

So, in short if Malathedra flops I might just throw in the towel.

I don't expect the brunt of our sales to come from gamedev.net, but by show of comment, who here is anticipating the release of The Lost City of Malathedra?

Also, any comments on the potential of throwing in the towel after Malathedra are welcome too.
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Quote:
Original post by EDI
Also, any comments on the potential of throwing in the towel after Malathedra are welcome too.


Uh, like... Don't do it :). I mean, I realize its a lot of hard work, but that's only because you're doing pretty much everything yourself :). There are a lot of skilled people out there willing to join one of your projects, perhaps you should be considering only being in charge of a part of the next project.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to Malathedra, and will most likely get it once I can :) (this means you finishing it).

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You can't quit... You are the one that 'almost' gave me a shot :p

Seriously though, your journal is what inspires me. Also, by completing Morning's Wrath, isn't that how you got your current job? A couple more games under your belt and you can possibly work for a bigger game company or start your own...

As someone else stated, you can always get more help and I can get another shot...

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After Malethedra, take a break. You are burnt out. Find out which is more important to you: making $$ or bringing a piece of your imagination alive. You are obviously a talented programmer (among many other things): try your hand at some other programming mediums that may be more lucrative and see if they are more appealing to you.

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I'll definitely be picking up the game, in support of. I support all of the people here on GDNET that strive to bring something to reality, but, I further support those who actually take time to talk 'development' with me.

As for throwing in the towl on future projects. Not only are you an indie developer, but your developing an adventure game... I hard market. You are doing a hell of a lot better, tech wise, on the development of this game. But, It'll be interesting to see how things go on the sales side since it is an adventure game. Like I told you before, and that you already know, Marketing of this game will make you or break out at this level. You've got to get the word out.

I wouldn't really think throwing in the towel would be something that you could do anyway. I mean, hell... You tried to take a break after MW and... uh, that didn't last too long! ;o) You've got the development passion in your blood, and if this flops (which I hope it doesn't), I can't see you standing by for long.

You've got to remember, for every game that is a hit, there are tons of thousands that fail. Lets hope the story/graphics/tech in Malathedra is enough to pull people in. If anything kills you, it'll be the genre with the lack of people supporting the genre. As far as I'm concerned, the story/graphcics/tech are steller.

Regards,
-Dave

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I well buy TLCoM for sure, but in my opinion the reason why there isn’t that big of anticipation for TLCoM is because there isn’t that big of a market for 2D games these days. Most people that are not part of the developer community don’t look at a game as a technical piece of software; when they look at the game they first check to see if it has top of the line 3D graphics, and if it does they look at the game play otherwise they ignore it. But personally I have been reading your journal for years (although I rarely comment due to being lazy :P) and I truly know how much work you put into your games.

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Are you advertising this game as much as you were advertising Morning's Wrath? Honestly, I've heard of this game once or twice, but I'd totally forgotten about it until I saw your post. The same did not happen to me with Morning's Wrath. It seems like Morning's Wrath was a lot more advertised and the product was really being pushed, at least around here on GameDev.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it's not making itself known to the public as well as Morning's Wrath.

As others have mentioned, and I think you yourself mentioned, your biggest problems in sales are probably your small target audience and incompatibility of your game type with your studio size. If you don't have a lot of resources, creating a game of this type is bound to put a strain on your studio. If you go instead for a different type of game, such as a small puzzle-based game, your asset and personnel requirements will be reduced drastically and your target audience will arguably be much larger. A small studio can create a really competitive 'small game', or a fundamentally inferior 'big game'.

Of course, this is the opinion of only one person, and I may be way off-base, but I hope my perspective helps a little.

[EDIT] Oh, and I wanted to mention: The biggest disappointment to me in regards to your games is (and call me shallow if you will [lol]) the graphical style. I'm not entirely sure why, but it just reeks 'indie'. I think it has to do with the terrain being rendered/drawn differently than the buildings and people. Each individual piece looks good, but it doesn’t all fit together as a whole. Don't get me wrong - it looks pretty good, the models are well done (especially the main character), and it looks improved over Morning's Wrath, but it's just not cohesive enough in my opinion. Again, this is just my opinion and probably not representative of everyone whom might by the game.

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Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Are you advertising this game as much as you were advertising Morning's Wrath? Honestly, I've heard of this game once or twice, but I'd totally forgotten about it until I saw your post. The same did not happen to me with Morning's Wrath. It seems like Morning's Wrath was a lot more advertised and the product was really being pushed, at least around here on GameDev.


There isn't much advertizing happening on GameDev.net primarily because of the weak reciving it got when it was announced. e.g. I don't think gamedev.net has the right audience.

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it's not making itself known to the public as well as Morning's Wrath.


Yes and no, first off with an adventure game it is hard to 'show it off' without 'showing it all', e.g. if I tell you the story and show you all the areas, what is the point of playing it?

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
As others have mentioned, and I think you yourself mentioned, your biggest problems in sales are probably your small target audience and incompatibility of your game type with your studio size. If you don't have a lot of resources, creating a game of this type is bound to put a strain on your studio. If you go instead for a different type of game, such as a small puzzle-based game, your asset and personnel requirements will be reduced drastically and your target audience will arguably be much larger. A small studio can create a really competitive 'small game', or a fundamentally inferior 'big game'.


I got into game development to make adventure games, if I'm not making adventure games I probably won't be making games at all. I'm not going to make
a game just because of it's money making potential (thats my day-job), if I'm going to invest my life into game development it has to be for somthing worth it, and making small puzzle games doesn't do it for me.

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Of course, this is the opinion of only one person, and I may be way off-base, but I hope my perspective helps a little.


Oh, I'm sure you're technically right, it /would/ be better for me to choose an easier, more popular genre and make games just for the cash. but for me a game must be just as much an art as it is a business.

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Quote:
Original post by EDI
Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Are you advertising this game as much as you were advertising Morning's Wrath? Honestly, I've heard of this game once or twice, but I'd totally forgotten about it until I saw your post. The same did not happen to me with Morning's Wrath. It seems like Morning's Wrath was a lot more advertised and the product was really being pushed, at least around here on GameDev.


There isn't much advertizing happening on GameDev.net primarily because of the weak reciving it got when it was announced. e.g. I don't think gamedev.net has the right audience.

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like it's not making itself known to the public as well as Morning's Wrath.


Yes and no, first off with an adventure game it is hard to 'show it off' without 'showing it all', e.g. if I tell you the story and show you all the areas, what is the point of playing it?


You're probably right, especially about the target audience. It was just a thought; I'm really no expert on sales.

Quote:

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
As others have mentioned, and I think you yourself mentioned, your biggest problems in sales are probably your small target audience and incompatibility of your game type with your studio size. If you don't have a lot of resources, creating a game of this type is bound to put a strain on your studio. If you go instead for a different type of game, such as a small puzzle-based game, your asset and personnel requirements will be reduced drastically and your target audience will arguably be much larger. A small studio can create a really competitive 'small game', or a fundamentally inferior 'big game'.


I got into game development to make adventure games, if I'm not making adventure games I probably won't be making games at all. I'm not going to make
a game just because of it's money making potential (thats my day-job), if I'm going to invest my life into game development it has to be for somthing worth it, and making small puzzle games doesn't do it for me.

Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
Of course, this is the opinion of only one person, and I may be way off-base, but I hope my perspective helps a little.


Oh, I'm sure you're technically right, it /would/ be better for me to choose an easier, more popular genre and make games just for the cash. but for me a game must be just as much an art as it is a business.



I had a feeling you'd say that, and to be honest, I admire it. Although, to be fair, I wasn't trying to convince you to change your target game type. I was suggesting that you establish yourself first, by doing some not-so-fun gruntwork, and then doing a great adventure game with the acquired resources.

I guess it's a little tough to make such long term plans when you're in an indie company though.

Oh, and be sure to read the edit on my last post for a little more on my thoughts about your games.

Good luck with your development though! I hope you're able to create more games of your passion in the future.

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Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
[EDIT] Oh, and I wanted to mention: The biggest disappointment to me in regards to your games is (and call me shallow if you will [lol]) the graphical style. I'm not entirely sure why, but it just reeks 'indie'. I think it has to do with the terrain being rendered/drawn differently than the buildings and people. Each individual piece looks good, but it doesn’t all fit together as a whole. Don't get me wrong - it looks pretty good, the models are well done (especially the main character), and it looks improved over Morning's Wrath, but it's just not cohesive enough in my opinion. Again, this is just my opinion and probably not representative of everyone whom might by the game.


You're shallow.

Hehe, but seriously, while I could tend to agree, I somewhat like the separation (this is terrain, these are characters), but more importantly and what is governing the decisions, is that no one, not a single person, in the adventure gamer community (gameboomers.com) made a negative comment about the graphical style or it's cohesiveness.

I spent a LOT of time stressing over what gamedev.net thought about the graphics in Morning's Wrath, and while that even made a bit more sense (due to the genre) there were still things that urked developers and didin't bother gamers. In short taking gamedev's advice on anything but, dev, is probably not representative of the target audience.

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Quote:
Original post by EDI
Quote:
Original post by extralongpants
[EDIT] Oh, and I wanted to mention: The biggest disappointment to me in regards to your games is (and call me shallow if you will [lol]) the graphical style. I'm not entirely sure why, but it just reeks 'indie'. I think it has to do with the terrain being rendered/drawn differently than the buildings and people. Each individual piece looks good, but it doesn’t all fit together as a whole. Don't get me wrong - it looks pretty good, the models are well done (especially the main character), and it looks improved over Morning's Wrath, but it's just not cohesive enough in my opinion. Again, this is just my opinion and probably not representative of everyone whom might by the game.


You're shallow.

Hehe, but seriously, while I could tend to agree, I somewhat like the separation (this is terrain, these are characters), but more importantly and what is governing the decisions, is that no one, not a single person, in the adventure gamer community (gameboomers.com) made a negative comment about the graphical style or it's cohesiveness.

I spent a LOT of time stressing over what gamedev.net thought about the graphics in Morning's Wrath, and while that even made a bit more sense (due to the genre) there were still things that urked developers and didin't bother gamers. In short taking gamedev's advice on anything but, dev, is probably not representative of the target audience.


Ah, I see. Well then, you've probably taken the right approach. Although there's still the possibility that the players don't know what they're missing (in a sense), and thus have not complained, I would take their viewpoint as you have, as the most important.

Again, good luck in your gamedev endeavors. I hope you're able to make more games in the future.

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Guest Anonymous Poster

Posted

Alright, so first you say that you might throw the towel in if sales of Malathedra are poor. Then you say that you aren't making these games for the money. Which is it? You can't expect to generate many sales off of what is essentially a very, very niche market. If you aren't willing to create games that more people will enjoy, and thus buy, then you simply cannot expect anything but poor sales. The market for adventure games is itself small, but *indie* adventure games...

Maybe you should consider releasing the games for free if it truly isn't money you're after. I think you would get a much larger userbase if you did that. Consider advertising as well - you might be able to make more off of that than sales.

Good luck.

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I wasn't as active around GameDev during the Morning's Wrath development cycle as I am now, so I can't compare the level of excitement then as with Malathedra. However personally I'm more interested in the concept behind Malathedra than Morning's Wrath. I used to be a big adventure game fan myself, and I've got your game bookmarked as a potential gift idea for various family members who are even more fanatical about adventure games.

I think that adventure games could potentially be a lucrative market for an indie, precisely because there are a few big fans of the genre left over from the nineties who are willing to try out any adventure game they can get their hands on. The problem is getting the word out that your game exists - I don't know where all the adventure game fans hang out, although I'm sure there's plenty of fan sites and adventure game maker websites out there that would be interested in publishing your press releases. You've probably got a better idea on this than me, but I certainly don't think your target market is too small for an indie developer.

As for whether you should throw in the towel; that depends on whether you can see yourself stopping. You've got a level of drive and energy that I personally both admire and envy so I wouldn't want to see you get dishearthened, but if it's no longer any fun to make games, that's a good enough reason to try something else for a while. Although I'd suspect you'd find youself heading back to development once more - similar to what I'm attempting to do now, I guess!

But I agree that you need a break after finishing Malathedra. You seemed to launch straight into a new game after Morning's Wrath. I'd have a proper holiday from dev work, spend a bit of time just marketing your new game, then see if you want to start on something else. Every completed title is a bit slicker and adds to your company's renown, so I'd expect an increase of interest in this title and whatever you do next. I know adventure games are a lot of work to do on your own, but you should now have enough dev cred to persuade some really good indie artists to work on your next title.

Hope Part 2 continues as well as Part 1. How many more Parts are there to go?

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster

Maybe you should consider releasing the games for free if it truly isn't money you're after. I think you would get a much larger userbase if you did that. Consider advertising as well - you might be able to make more off of that than sales.

Good luck.


You don't seem to understand.

One needs money to live, at the moment I must work a 40 hour day job to make money to live.

Game development takes a lot of time, pretty much full time.

In short I am working two full-time jobs, which is non-sustainable.

So either I make enough money developing games so that I can do it full time.

Or I don't make games.

Is that clearer? =)



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Quote:
Original post by Trapper Zoid
Hope Part 2 continues as well as Part 1. How many more Parts are there to go?


It's not an issue of being disheartened, it's an issue of work-overload lol.

there are three parts to Malathedra, so we are currently 1/3 done =)



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To: EDI
Re: Stuff

I'll be honest. At first glance of the graphics for Malathedra, I thought "mediocre." But that was like a bazillion years ago, before you'd really tightened it up. I also am a fan of how the characters are differentiated from the backgrounds...it's a unique look, and I'm glad you chose it (regardless of my initial impressions).

I'll also state that I've been looking for a good adventure game. The last one that I really played was Grim Fandango. Great game, though the third act was weak relative to the others.

That said, I'm very much looking forward to Malathedra. While MW wasn't really my cup of tea, this is looking to be very much along the lines of "Things That I Enjoy."

Finally, if you enjoy making them, keep making them. If you don't, don't. If you stop you can always start again later. Take a breather, do something else that you've been wanting to do but have never had the time, come back to it. If you're still feeling the itch when Malathedra ships, then run with it. Shortly: it's your hobby, so if it's not enjoyable, don't do it :D

But finish Malathedra first, I want to play it :D

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I dont see EDI stoping in the middle of a project, thats for sure :). I can see where your coming from though. If anyone was workin 80 hours a week im sure they would be cosidering stoping too. But the way that I look at it is if you are selling the games that you make, its not a hobby anymore, its a second job. If Malathedra takes off who knows, maby that could be your full time job :)

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C'mon! You know I'll buy Malathedra, and MW2, and M2, and every game you plan to do in the next two hundred years. But to make sure your sells will be higher, you should preperly advertise your game - not only on gamedev, but also on other mediums. Try to send copies of the game to magazines, upload the demo on download.com, make it easy to play (MW was a bit hard to get right: potential buyers need to have fun immediately in a demo). The only thing you lack is advertising. Every people who played MW did loved it.

(Just wanted to say that j00 rulz0rz)

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Feel free to crucify me for making the suggestion to an indie, but seek publisher funding. Getting a proper stream of income really helps.

And definitely take a break - I smell bad burnout. Nothing sucks like doing the two-job thing and then being utterly dead to the world for two or three months after shipping. Been there. Never again.


In any case, marketing is definitely going to make or break this. Speaking from experience, you can make a game, you can do it for the love and for the art, but if you don't know when to whore out your art for the big bucks, you're going to go hungry awfully quickly.

And, also speaking from experience, nothing helps a game like publisher-backed marketing - especially if the game is good (like yours). Even "niche" or "difficult" markets can be shattered if you have good promotion - yet again, from experience. And hell, your overhead is a lot lower than most studios, so even pushing 20K units would probably be a good take... and clearing ten times that is possible if the right people are pushing your product.

Yes, you have to make some sacrifices in terms of freedom (particularly in the schedule realm), but if you really want to keep doing this, shilling out to the Big Bad Publisher is pretty much the best shot. Either that, or you need to become independently wealthy (got any grandparents you can rub out?) and hire a good marketing firm.


IMO: stick with it. Just be prepared to make some tough changes. There are compromises that are absolutely worth it when they let you do what you love.

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How much money does one need to properly market this? I wouldn't mind backing this (we would need to work out a percentage though). I got pockets (not all that deep though) :P

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Think many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Millions are preferable.

If you've got that kind of cash to dump into a project, let me know [grin]

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Having seen a small part of TLCoM, I would have to say it will be worth a buy, and I myself will do just that.

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