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Enlighter

ANYONE here do programing for consoles?

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To do proper development for consoles (particularly the GameCube) you need a development kit from the console manufacturer, and they only give them out to pro houses with lots of experience and money, or publishers.

So given that 95% of the developers here are indie, and the other 5% are under NDA, you probably won''t find much.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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quote:
Original post by Enlighter
SO basically if you come up with a console game idea you have to submit it to the company and have them produce it?


Game ideas on their own are worth approximately $0.00. Complete game designs on their own are worth the same.


The console games business works more or less like this:

- To be allowed to release a game on a console you MUST have a publisher who is licensed to release software for that platform willing (in writing) to publish it. The licensed publishers are mainly the larger ones (EA, Infogrames, Take2 etc).


- To get hold of the development hardware and SDKs and be given access to the registered developer newsgroups and websites you must proove to the console manufacturer that:

a) You are a proper company, and operate from proper premises.

b) Your company and/or key staff have a track record of working on successful, published (i.e. sold through international retail) games. i.e. that you _know_ how to put together a console game and can cope with the technical and artistic challenges and differences compared to a PC game.

c) Your company is financially stable and well managed. To rent a single devkit sets you back around ~US$10000, each license of your build system (e.g. ProDG etc) around $3000 etc. Multiply by say 4 programmers. Add in the cost of debug stations, custom DVD burners, special media etc (all required). Add in the cost of artist preview hardware etc. Oh, and that you can afford a top security system and high insurance to cover that equipment. All before you''ve even started paying wages for the development.

d) Your company has a publishing deal for the game it''s proposing for the console platform (see above).

e) Your game is viable and will sell. They''ll want to see the complete game design document and technical design document. If you don''t already have the devkits, they won''t let you touch them until they''re happy with the game design etc. Even if you do have the devkits, they won''t let you release the game unless they''ve seen the GDD and TDD. They''ll also want to see the game near the end of development and have the right to prevent you from releasing it if they feel it doesn''t compare well with what your GDD and TDD said.


- To get a publisher to agree to publish your game you have to convince (note: not necessarily proove) them most of the same things you have to proove to the console manufacturer. Realistically, unless you can self fund (i.e. you''ve won the lottery), you''re asking them to GAMBLE in the region of $2-4million. Understandably they don''t like to take too many risks when dealing in that kind of money so go for safe bets. Both in terms of development companies they choose and in terms of games.


- Only established, industry experienced development companies (or startups headed by 15+ year industry veterans) can properly satisfy the above requirements from publishers and console hardware manufacturers.


- EVERYONE has an "idea" for a game, if I''m going to the airport and I tell the taxi driver I work in games he''ll tell me of this "cool idea for a *new* type of game". People try and tell me and everyone in the industry their ideas all the time. Everyone IN the industry has cool ideas for games, and usually a lot more realistic and viable than those from outside. Unfortunately it all comes down to money and risk - for every publisher that has $2-4million to publish a game, I''d say there''s at least 10,000 ideas that could be turned into products with that cash, and at least 400 companies submitting complete demos, GDDs, TDDs etc who''d like to be "the one" who gets that cash. Funding from banks etc is the same and more risky to the developer (i.e. are YOU sure your idea is risk free).


A common response when people first see how tough it is to get a console game out or obtain the hardware is "that''s so unfair, how are people/companies expected to break into the business" or "but XYZ game was crap, why don''t they give indies a chance" etc. The two common ways "in":

- join an established developer who is already licensed to develop for console hardware. Work on a few games there for say 5 years. THEN you have experience of working on console games and successful retail games - things a publisher and console manufacturer are going to want from key staff for a console product.

- start on a lesser platform with less (or no) requirements, for example the GameBoy Color - or even the PC. Get some properly published titles (i.e. retail) under your belt, get a track record as a company and then try to move up once your foundations are solid. Beware though - there are more people who want to have companies in this industry than there is funding to go around. Since the lesser (in effort terms) platforms are easier to get to work on, you find many more companies operating at that level (think of it being like a pyramid structure with the 3 major hardware vendors and their internal staff at the point and all the PC and GBC people at the fat end).


--
Simon O''Connor
Creative Asylum Ltd
www.creative-asylum.com

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by S1CA



The console games business works more or less like this:

- To be allowed to release a game on a console you MUST have a publisher who is licensed to release software for that platform willing (in writing) to publish it. The licensed publishers are mainly the larger ones (EA, Infogrames, Take2 etc).




Absolutely not ture. You can buy a compiler for it from Metrowerks(PS2,XBox,GBA,GC). GBA and GameCube are encouraging that Idies dev for them. And are basically giving them away. Same with PS and XBox.

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Metrowerks requires you to be a licensed developer before they''ll sell you a compiler.


How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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"Absolutely not ture. You can buy a compiler for it from Metrowerks(PS2,XBox,GBA,GC). GBA and GameCube are encouraging that Idies dev for them. And are basically giving them away. Same with PS and XBox."

Absolutely not true. Metrowerks or SNSystems will not sell you a compiler unless you are licensed by the nintendo, sony, etc. And Metrowerks does not sell tools for the XBox, only MS provides those.

Any even if they did, its just a compiler. You can get a PPC compiler and compile stuff for the GC if you want, but that won''t do you any good unless you have the libraries and docs for the GC which you can only get from nintendo (or write your own as some people have done for the GBA or DC, but they are not as sophisticated or accurate as the official ones of course), and the hardware tools to allow you to run that elf on the GameCube or GameCube development tool.

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So basically I need to submit my idea to someone and have them produce it. I do not like that. I should be able, as an independent developer, to at least hash out a demo for a game for submission to NINTENDO. Then they can say wether they like it or not.

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quote:
Original post by Enlighter
So basically I need to submit my idea to someone and have them produce it. I do not like that. I should be able, as an independent developer, to at least hash out a demo for a game for submission to NINTENDO. Then they can say wether they like it or not.

By all means, go ahead and hash out a demo. On a PC.


How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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Yes but then an engine must be created and everything must be made for the PC and then remade again for the console. This takes time and money to do. Two things which are very hard to come by in this industry. I have a feeling making the demo on a PC is what I will have to do though.

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quote:
Original post by Enlighter
Yes but then an engine must be created and everything must be made for the PC and then remade again for the console. This takes time and money to do. Two things which are very hard to come by in this industry. I have a feeling making the demo on a PC is what I will have to do though.

If you don''t have time and money, then how were you planning to make the actual game?


How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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Even GBA developement is expensive. In order to get dev-tools, you have to either have made at least three other games, and prove that you have somewhere around $50,000 dollars to Nintendo. You can also sign with a publisher that has Nintendos OK (but as said before, that publisher will probably ask the same questions). Right now, I''m trying to make a very good "ValueWare Shooter" in 4-6 months. Its only about 10-15 hours long, but for $20 dollars, thats not bad. Good luck getting anywhere in the industry tho, chances are slim to none that any of us will ever make it big.

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If you use good software design practices, you can write a demo on PC, and then (if they accept you) just rewrite the engine for console without needing to touch the game code. It''s a question of keeping engine code strongly seperated from game code and content.

Bear in mind that you need to work to much tighter constraints, like less memory. Profiling tools and memory managers will help to show the publishers/manufacturers that you know what you''re doing.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates, and when he''s not doing that, runs The Binary Refinery.

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I would suggest you try and get a job at a company that makes games for the console(s) you are interested in.

You have the same chance of successfully publishing your own as you do being hit by a piece of SkyLab.


LostLogic
www.lostlogic.com
Author, Multiplayer Game Programming
Author, Strategy Game Programming with Direct X 9 (Not yet released)

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I am going to make a demo on the PC and then submit it. We are still working on the concept art and such. I have high hopes for this, and have done much research, as oppose to just going in a coming up with an idea. I have found out all the info I need to see wether this game will work or not, and have two other major companys backing me on this. If it does fail then that will be good because it will be a mistake that I will learn how not to make again. Anyway I will be looking for good programers, and such soon so keep your eyes open. Hope the posts keep coming I love learning all of this. Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far.

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quote:
Original post by Enlighter
I am going to make a demo on the PC and then submit it. We are still working on the concept art and such. I have high hopes for this, and have done much research, as oppose to just going in a coming up with an idea. I have found out all the info I need to see wether this game will work or not, and have two other major companys backing me on this. If it does fail then that will be good because it will be a mistake that I will learn how not to make again. Anyway I will be looking for good programers, and such soon so keep your eyes open. Hope the posts keep coming I love learning all of this. Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far.


Hi, Enlighter.
You are obviously dedicated to the task of creating and realising your game (which is great) but I feel that you do not fully understand the difficulties you are going to encounter in trying to get this game developed/published - on console, PC or whatever. Believe me it''s far from straightforward and I would say it''s near on impossible for hobbyists (i.e. people outside of the games industry) to get their work recognised these days.

(Don''t flame me - I don''t mean any disrespect to hobbyists and such people!)

I have seen this situation many times before and the end result has usually been one of frustration and bitterness. As I mentioned at the start of my post you certainly have the drive and enthusiasm to create/develop games so I would suggest you listen to what a few have already mentioned in their posts, i.e. I would recommend you focus your efforts towards getting into the games industry first. Once in you stand a much better chance of working on the consoles and having (to some degree) an influence on the game design itself.

Either way, best of luck!

Regards,
Sharky

---
#define _WEBSITE
Sharky''s Coding Corner
#endif
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I am considering interning somewhere, and I am getting involved in as many projects as I can to gain as much knowledge as I can. I don''t want my game idea to fail, but like I said before it would be good for me. I have always performed best when I have taken on things with very little chance for a positive outcome. I have failed at many things, but then I have also succeeded were many others have failed. I would love to hear more from people on this subject, and I can''t wait until the project advances to its next stages. I have never produced a demo for a game before and I am so excited about it, even if the project nose dives into the ground worse then anything ever has before. I can''t wait to see the outcome of this.

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enlighter,since i''m here because iv''e just posted for help on OGL,i''ll give you my opinion on the subject.There MUCH better programmers here than me,but at least my opion will be totally honest with you.

First, be realistic.There''s NO chance of any of us lone wolves,
getting our games published by the big publishers.none.i''ll say it again none whatsover.Iv''e learned this in 2 years,when i was in exactly the same boat as you are now.If anyone says there is a chance of you submitting your game ideas or design documents and a big company will publish it,there lying.

2 years ago,i wanted to make game.I downloaded tons of expensive warez from the net.I thought how can i fail,iv''e got all the stuff the pro''s use right? i designed a game,researching it doing everything right.Sent it to publishers,game engine developers everywhere.
nothing.because paper or ideas are worth nothing.

The ONLY chance you have is by doing what most of us here are doing,getting good,showing our demos,and hoping to get a job in the games industry.

think about this,even the most fantastic programmers like Andre lamothe,jim adams,john degoes,what games have they published commercially? i mean BIG TIME games?
Because the indie developer died a long time ago.
The game industry doesn''t welcome them anymore,(or need them).
Its not 1982 anymore where you can make a game on the ZX spectrum and get rich.like someone else said,you have more chance of George Bush kissing Sadams arse.

i don''t suppose you would say where you are thinking of being an intern? it wouldn''t be a certain "INSTITUTE" That teaches "GAME"? don''t waste your time,they don''t make BIG GAMES either,the best you''ll get from that is being their "Lacky" and not get payed for a lot of hard work,that would cost them $$$$
to hire someone,with lots of false promises,and THEIR project game being sold as a VALUE game.

People here might not like me,but i''ll tell it straight.



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Just to add to my opinion,i AM talking from experience.
I have made a commercial game in my ''hazy past''.Not the kind of game you see on the shelves today.But in my past i made some good games.

I am probably an "Old Man" to most of you young game programmers today.

My biggest game was "Manic Miner" "Jet Set Willy" and several others.My real name is Mathew Smith from england.I screwed up,back then but even now this industry doesn''t want to know me,and doesn''t care anymore.

yes,i have been drinking,but who cares,i am still bitter about the way i was treated by big company''s and thats why i don''t like it when the big company''s dominate everything today.I don''t want to offend anyone but if i can advise anyone thats nieve,then i feel better for it.

Even with my past experience,i was turned down 2 years ago.
Today is a different ball game for me,everything is done differently but my passion for game developing won''t go away.I''m hoping to get into todays industry,(mainly because i''m skint)-:
and i have fun making games!

Mathew S.

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Console DevKits for the PS2 and GameCube run at about $500-$1000 USD a piece, and can usually only be obtained if the company issues a licence. The Dev Kit for Xbox however is free, the licence is not though. Coding on Xbox is the same as coding on the PC though so it makes things much easier (It uses the same language and environment basically).

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