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Designing a game for game developers, not gamers!??? The death of games.

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As weird as the title might seem, that's currently the way I see it in the game developing community. It seems that game developers now-days are only willing to develop 'AAA' 3D multi-player type games. Why has this become a problem for me? As an indie programmer I have one of 3 possible choices: Either design and program a simple 2D game by myself, design and program a more complex 2D game and recruit people to help out or join a team working on a project. But then again, I can immediately wipe out 2 of the choices: Recruiting people and joining a team. Why would this not be possible? In order to recruit members I'd need a project that would attract them. This means I need to design a project that'd both excite game developers and gamers - as they are eventually the customers that'll play the game. This is clearly an impossible task because there is no congruence between what the gamer and the developer want in a game. What do developers want in a game? Usually what they find in hits such as World Of Warcraft or Unreal. "Everyone likes those games, let's make one too." Eventually, what happens is we end up with 500 different unfinished projects, each trying to imitate Unreal or World Of Warcraft. Sure, these games are world-wide hits - and your game, it's cool, but would a World of Warcraft fan rather play your 3D MMORPG world when he can play a 100 Million dollar budget game like World of Warcraft? Those genres are dead! A decent article about this. There may be a couple of indie teams with nice looking MMORPG titles - these hard working teams of talented individuals are developing a game for their resume, because there is no way their game will compete with million dollar budget companies. There are extreme cases in which these happens but the examples are rare. On the other hand, it is very possible for these skilled people to create a high quality 2D game. A game that gamers would actually like to play, hence pay for. For example, the game Chicken Invaders II shouldn't not be that hard to create and still it has a better market than any indie 3D MMORPG [leave out the extreme cases]. Obviously it could have been made more complex but still, it's a great game. Other examples are the Super Mario series, Worms II, Raptor - those are all high quality 2D games. But anyone capable of designing such games will want to take their skills to the limit -> 3D online games that imitate the "AAA" titles. The only reason to be indie-developing such complex 3D games is if you want to get into the industry, this game being your resume and training, so Blizzard or some other M $ budget company hires you. In this case, you should clear up a few years of time for your game knowing this is a step in your career. But for us hobbyist programmers, is this the right path? The only reason I brought this topic up is because I am on the verge of giving up on the 2 choices I have mentioned earlier. Joining a team or recruiting is impossible when all good game developers take this 'AAA' title approach. I do have plans [and a lot of code/design document] for a decent unique 2D game that'd probably be a success, it wouldn't go pale next to the 'AAA' games because it's in a different gaming market. The problem being that by myself this will no longer be a hobby, it'd consume all of my spare time and I'd have to give up my current job, family, friends, etc... If I don't want that, I'm left with option number one: Design a simple game by myself. A quality 2D game with a very small amount of features. Another similar remake of classic games instead of a serious upgrade of a classic that I could be making in a team. Is there still hope for high quality 2D teams? I'd like you all to share your thoughts and experiences, as I will be basing some of my decisions on them.

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Casual and mobile games are doing very well. Check out popcap, gamezebo, big fish games, mumbo jumbo, etc. There are several good 2d games on the Nintendo DS - I've played dozens of hours of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.

Developers these days tend to make what publishers and investors tell them to make. If you want to pull off something of your own, you either have to have lots of cash (Blizzard, Valve), lots of free time (Project Offset), or you have to have a track record (i.e. clout).

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What do developers want in a game? Usually what they find in hits such as World Of Warcraft or Unreal. "Everyone likes those games, let's make one too."

No, that's what the people who pay developers want. They want to cash in on WoW's success. Many game developers want to make good original games, not sequels and me-toos. Paying the bills comes first, especially for large companies full of people who have families to take care of.

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The only reason to be indie-developing such complex 3D games is if you want to get into the industry, this game being your resume and training, so Blizzard or some other M $ budget company hires you.

Any kind of game will get you hired as long as it's well-done. It doesn't matter if it's 3d or not. In fact, when I see a resume and code samples that revolve completely around 3d graphics I roll my eyes and move on because only a very small section of working programmers actually work on that stuff day-to-day. And it isn't the new guy. Demonstrating a complete 2d game will get you much farther than demonstrating a pretty renderer IMHO.

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Original post by Jaymar
Casual and mobile games are doing very well. Check out popcap, gamezebo, big fish games, mumbo jumbo, etc. There are several good 2d games on the Nintendo DS - I've played dozens of hours of Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow.


Yes, that was my point in the first place.
While these are doing great, the gamedev.net community seems overly focues on 3D and 'AAA' titles.
It seems that the only people capable of creating quality 2D games are deep in 3D projects that are way over their heads. [Not all, but the vast majority]

Quote:

Developers these days tend to make what publishers and investors tell them to make. If you want to pull off something of your own, you either have to have lots of cash (Blizzard, Valve), lots of free time (Project Offset), or you have to have a track record (i.e. clout).


Developers in the industry make what publishers want, but for some reason most of the gamedev indie community is going towards that direction with 0 budget projects.


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Any kind of game will get you hired as long as it's well-done. It doesn't matter if it's 3d or not. In fact, when I see a resume and code samples that revolve completely around 3d graphics I roll my eyes and move on because only a very small section of working programmers actually work on that stuff day-to-day. And it isn't the new guy. Demonstrating a complete 2d game will get you much farther than demonstrating a pretty renderer IMHO.


Once again, I believe you that this may be true, but it is far from what you see in the gamedev.net forums.

Thanks for the input, you made some very good points, but my main question still remains unanswered and it seems that quality 2D games will not rise from the gamedev.net forums - at least not team effort ones.

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Thanks for the input, you made some very good points, but my main question still remains unanswered and it seems that quality 2D games will not rise from the gamedev.net forums - at least not team effort ones.


Ah, yea, I see your point also. I agree, a lot of bedroom developers that want to "go pro" tend to bite off more than they can chew. Or they just work on what entertains them, which, for a programmer, can easily be too narrow (rendering) or too ambitious (MMO). I think part of it comes from the "I can do that better" feeling that some people get when they see games like WoW. It's easy to find flaws and think of ways to fix them, but it's also easy to loose sight of the fact that those little nits are very minor.

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Original post by Jaymar
Ah, yea, I see your point also. I agree, a lot of bedroom developers that want to "go pro" tend to bite off more than they can chew. Or they just work on what entertains them, which, for a programmer, can easily be too narrow (rendering) or too ambitious (MMO). I think part of it comes from the "I can do that better" feeling that some people get when they see games like WoW. It's easy to find flaws and think of ways to fix them, but it's also easy to loose sight of the fact that those little nits are very minor.


So very true.
In some cases fixing the flaws would make the game superior but before that can be fixed, there is the 100 M dollar budget game that needs to be created first.

I'll give simple small games a shot and see where that leads me.

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Just my 2$
I was part of a fee UO sever before really getting into programming, even if u got the game for a MMO and the programmers/devs the community is another problem.

as for going PRO and 3d games, i know im never gona go pro but 2D games dont really interest me a whole bunch and thats why im looking (in the long run) to do a 3d project, although i may do a small (very small) 2d project whilst i build my skills up.
but knowing ill never go pro never get a team big enough my 3d project will be a small one that can expand.

hmm that was really about me wasnt it...
ok really what i was getting at is maybe the indie developers need to look at expandable projects or just realise the limitations

also i guess if u got somthing to show people will be more likly to join a project

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If you want to write a game that qualified people don't want to volunteer to write, you have to convince them.

One way of convincing them is to pay them money. If a project takes 2000 man hours by a programmer qualified to make 50$/hour, that's a 100,000$ project -- plus overhead.

...

If you are aiming at a project that takes more effort than you can collect interest for, you are doing the same mistake as the MMORPG wannabees, just on a smaller scale.

...

Start out with your small game, get it released. Openly ask for help on it, and see if you can find other people who like helping. Once you have the social connections to other developers, organizing larger projects might be feasible.

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Original post by NotAYakk
If you want to write a game that qualified people don't want to volunteer to write, you have to convince them.


You're right, I should probably release a small demo first, as well as to show I am capable of programming a game.

Quote:

If you are aiming at a project that takes more effort than you can collect interest for, you are doing the same mistake as the MMORPG wannabees, just on a smaller scale.


That's generally the same mistake. Only the typcial MMORPG team couldn't do better with 300 members where I need 1 to 2 more.
But still, I guess I need something more concrete to attract more attention.

Quote:

Start out with your small game, get it released. Openly ask for help on it, and see if you can find other people who like helping. Once you have the social connections to other developers, organizing larger projects might be feasible.


I'll take your advice by cutting many of the features in my current game, this way I can handle it on my own on a reasonable time schedule.
The omitted features will only be included in the design document as optional if I have a helping hand.
There probably are some quality and reasonable game developers out there, as for finding them, I'll have to scan under the piles of MMORPG.

Thanks for the support,
Ori

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I've been working on making on an MMO, just as a learning experience for 3 years. Once you find those hundreds of original ideas that are so awesome to you then your set. Also run the ideas past your friends. No reason to waste time programming if the game you think is fun will fail to what other people think is fun.

Also the reason for AAA games is because of the notion that if playing a really fun game by yourself works then an MMO version would be just as good. Which can be be true for original ideas, but from what I've seen unoriginal games fall apart.

As an indie programmer I'd say strive to learn as much as you can and learn everything possible and create a master piece game that shows your skill in programming. For an MMO to get team members from what I've seen all you need is to get a client and server program set up and working perfectly and you can pull people in to help. :)

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if its that big a problem than just make it yourself, with the correct middleware, resource packages and tools a farily complete 2d game should be doable for one person

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