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RealityFails

Dev Kit question

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I was wondering since PC's are tools for endless possibilities. Can it be used as a dev kit? or testing ground? I'm working on a demo to give to Activision.

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"Dev Kit" for what, exactly?

 

A regular PC is not a console dev kit.  A console devkit is essentially a regular game system with a second PC attached to it hosting it, and you connect to that second PC to control the game console.  You must be a registered developer working at a game studio in order to get one from the console companies.

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"Dev Kit" for what, exactly?

 

A regular PC is not a console dev kit.  A console devkit is essentially a regular game system with a second PC attached to it hosting it, and you connect to that second PC to control the game console.  You must be a registered developer working at a game studio in order to get one from the console companies.

I'm looking to do a console game. But for starters I'd like to have the demo done for PC. I want a playable demo for PC.

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I'm looking to do a console game. But for starters I'd like to have the demo done for PC. I want a playable demo for PC.

Sure, you can make a PC game using only your PC.  

 

There are libraries out there to make "homebrew" games, but they do not use the officially sanctioned tools and have a steep learning curve.  Make PC games first until you know what you are doing.

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Sure. Just realize that PC != console.

 

In terms of proving your ideas, go hog-wild with whatever you can achieve on PC.

 

In terms of making a potential port to consoles easier on yourself, you should try to become more aware of the features, limitations, and expectations of console games. This can range from "I know that next-gen consoles have 3.5GB+ of usable memory" to "I know that next-gen console GPUs are roughly equivalent to X graphics card" to "but I also know that next-gen console have lots of relatively slow CPU cores" -- it also means having some idea of what extra hardware the consoles will have to assist you in certain tasks, and that certain things that work on a PC monitor at 24 inches--like small text--doesn't work on a large-screen TV at 6 feet, even in 1080p.

 

If current rumors are to be believed (and it seems to be that we'll find out about the PS4 on the 20th of this month), both next-gen systems will be sporting 8 AMD jaguar cpu cores @1.6Ghz, 3.5-5GB of usable memory, and DirectX 11.1-level AMD graphics with performance between 1.2 and 1.8 tflops. If you were to build a PC with the purpose of approximating these characteristics as much as possible, you might shoot for something like an AMD FX 8530 (disabling L3 cache and under-clocking to ~2Ghz), 8 GB of fast DDR3, and something like an AMD 7770 or 7830 GPU. You'll never replicate a console with a PC for a multitude of reasons, but the system described would be a not-unreasonable approximation. Of course, if you aren't aiming to push the boundaries, you don't need to concern yourself with such things.

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Thank you. I'm not looking to do ports. I just think it would be a sunken cost to buy a ps3/X360 dev kit as they are nearing the end of their life cycles. When I contacted Activision they told me to have a demo ready. I am a designer :) not a programmer although I found a programmer who knows how to use unity so I just want to have a 15 minute playable demo. Nothing over the top.

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I just think it would be a sunken cost to buy a ps3/X360 dev kit as they are nearing the end of their life cycles.

Not to mention that you can’t buy them as an individual anyway…


L. Spiro
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I just want to have a 15 minute playable demo. Nothing over the top.

When they ask for something like that there are two variants:

 

The first is a prototype or proof of concept.  Ugly graphics and blocky animations, crappy or missing audio, and just enough game logic to get by.  It is okay if it crashes once, but that's about it.  Consider this a 40% built game.

 

The second is a full-blown product demo.  It should be mostly polished and have the major issues resolved.  Consider this a 90% built game.

 

 

The two are very different.  Sometimes a publisher wants you to bring one of them, other times they want you to bring another.

 

Be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you are bringing the right one.

 

For more on that read Tom Sloper's FAQs about the industry and submission practices, and this, and many other links like them.

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Well, its not like you can just buy a console dev kit anyways, even if you do have a demo and even if you're a recognized studio -- Many real AA-level studios own precious few, if any, dev kits on their own. Many times kits are leased or lent to a studio by their publisher, who actually owns the kits. Even then, to have a dev-kit on your premises generally requires that you have a real office, and can prove that your physical and IT security is sufficiently guarded.

 

In general, unless you have actual industry contacts (people involved with the publishing side, not some game tester you went to high school with), I wouldn't really recommend setting out with the primary end goal to be a publisher pitch. A publisher won't even open an unsolicited pitch or demo just to avoid any potential legal claims made by outside designer--bottom line, unless you've been given the name of an actual person to submit to, through official channels, then you've got no chance that they'll look at it.

 

If I wanted to parlay my idea into a publisher deal, what I'd do is set out with the goal of producing 10-15 minutes of good, representative content and gameplay, with the purpose of crowd-funding development of a full, if-short, game -- maybe 4-6 hours of playtime. It's *that* product which I would use as the basis for my publisher pitch, and at which point you might be able to roll into a publishing deal for the "real" version of that short game, or even into a different IP entirely. It's a long, long road to getting in with a publisher -- if you think it's gonna happen in one step you best prepare for disappointment. But by taking the right steps and being persistent, its still doable, even as the AAA industry becomes more and more insular.

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Getting a publishers attention even once you have a great demo is hard work - I've made a quite a few with fair sized teams for games publishers which didn't get through, along with a few which did. It's hard work, especially if you're not already a known company or figure in the industry.

 

My advice would be to make the demo on PC, and then sell early access (pre-alpha etc.) direct online and/or do a Steam greenlight or kickstarter. This is what I'm doing now, and funnily enough it's also how I got into the games industry in the first place - I made a shareware game and that was part of the portfolio I used to get a job.

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I just think it would be a sunken cost to buy a ps3/X360 dev kit as they are nearing the end of their life cycles.

Not to mention that you can’t buy them as an individual anyway…


L. Spiro

Actually you can't buy them at all. For a one time fee they are licensed to you(r studio), but they remain the property of Sony/Microsoft.

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Actually you can't buy them at all. For a one time fee they are licensed to you(r studio), but they remain the property of Sony/Microsoft.


In theory that is true.

In practice they are bought and sold by third-parties (and black market) all the time. For example, despite all the legal agreements in place, an alleged Xbox 720 dev kit recently sold on ebay.

To do legitimate development work on a console you will need to go through the legitimate channels. But that does not mean you cannot buy them at all.
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