# What's wrong with game dev guys? (or me)

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Hello,

I believe I've been this side of shore enough to say few about game designers. I am working on and off for my project for around two years, intending to switch full time soon.

I have respect for indies as being one of them ofc, but I don't get why they neglect some genres almost on purpose.

I have deep love and admiration for strategy/simulation games and believe isometrics are best perspective for this genre, but see almost no one using this niche.

For example,

Capitalism Plus was an awesome game, Capitalism II simply sucks. Why no spiritural successor around?

Simcity 4 is certain legend, Simcity 2013 is an "EA game" , why no competition?

Railroad Tycoon II is impossibly good, RT3 and Sid Meier's Railroads are joke.

SimTower , Time Commando (well its not strategy I know   )

List goes on ....

I just wonder if I miss a point, are these titles harder than they seem? Why people look for too ambitious goals ( next CoD , next WoW ) or extremely proven ones ( Sandy Brush, Highway Surfer etc)

Wish I had time and C++ fondness for them , but some of you have.

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Capitalism Plus was an awesome game, Capitalism II simply sucks.

That's always the question: how do you improve on an already awesome game?

Enlight did good with the first entry, but swung and missed with the second - where do you go from there?

Producing a clone of the original isn't any good, unless you can improve upon it...

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Capitalism Plus was an awesome game, Capitalism II simply sucks.

That's always the question: how do you improve on an already awesome game?

Enlight did good with the first entry, but swung and missed with the second - where do you go from there?

Producing a clone of the original isn't any good, unless you can improve upon it...

Well I didn't necessarily promote ripoffs , just doubt it is because everything within power is done

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I just wonder if I miss a point, are these titles harder than they seem? Why people look for too ambitious goals ( next CoD , next WoW ) or extremely proven ones ( Sandy Brush, Highway Surfer etc)

Well, I would say because they are "proven formulas" and things a small studio can get a few coin out off.

And I don't know much about programming but I think that genre might be overlooked due to the complex programming behind it. Not only that but easely assessible game engines like UDK and Unity don't really excel in with Strategy functionalities and gameplay (IMHO).

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I have so many ideas to make, so little resources to make them, I have to pick and choose what makes the most economical sense and what interests me the most. I'm sure the same applies to every other indie developer as well.

That, and you work your way up from small games to larger games - which takes some years, so new developers can't just jump in and make a new XYZ right away.

Also, I'd rather make my own games from scratch and be inspired by a numerous other games, instead of starting with someone else's game and innovating on top of it to take it to new heights. There's nothing wrong with either path, but for myself, I prefer not locking my mindset into a specific subgenre when I can help it - though some of my game ideas do start with another game as a reference point, but then veer off onto a new subgenre instead of a refinement and upgrade of the existing genre.

I'm still working on my first commercial game, and I've been working on it for 3 1/2 years now.

Simcity 4 is certain legend, Simcity 2013 is an "EA game" , why no competition?

Lincity? Plus the lack of $50,000,000. Edited by Servant of the Lord #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Also worth mentioning that one significant difficulty with making strategy/simulation games is that the simulation model must typically be built from scratch, and this generally requires some amount of domain-specific knowledge (especially given that many real-world phenomena are difficult to model even for experts in the relevant fields) - domain-specific knowledge that is relatively rare. E.g. it's difficult to make a business simulator without a solid grounding in microeconomics, SimCity without a knowledge of urban geography, or The Sims without psychology. The intersection of the (relatively small) set of people interested in making games and the (also small) set of people with the requisite non-gaming-related knowledge is incredibly tiny, therefore in the indie world (characterized by small teams with small development budgets) such games are quite rare. (Major studios employ more people - and thus are likelier to have members with the requisite knowledge - and have larger budgets, meaning they can aford to hire advisors to fill their knowledge gaps.) #### Share this post ##### Link to post ##### Share on other sites Statement A First of all , seems people think I ask for "make another Simcity", "I am bored, code me a Railroad Tycoon" , was just giving example for pointing that there is a niche market imo not really exploited. Statement B I mentioned using isometric graphics , all of my examples are so, no 3D as we get involves. I just wonder if I miss a point, are these titles harder than they seem? Why people look for too ambitious goals ( next CoD , next WoW ) or extremely proven ones ( Sandy Brush, Highway Surfer etc) Well, I would say because they are "proven formulas" and things a small studio can get a few coin out off. And I don't know much about programming but I think that genre might be overlooked due to the complex programming behind it. Not only that but easely assessible game engines like UDK and Unity don't really excel in with Strategy functionalities and gameplay (IMHO). Actually I had offered "(not-so-)old school" isometric graphics , so no Unity etc involves. I think it is easier to achieve than going full 3D, AAAs set bar too high for decent 3D graphics. I have so many ideas to make, so little resources to make them, I have to pick and choose what makes the most economical sense and what interests me the most. I'm sure the same applies to every other indie developer as well. That, and you work your way up from small games to larger games - which takes some years, so new developers can't just jump in and make a new XYZ right away. Also, I'd rather make my own games from scratch and be inspired by a numerous other games, instead of starting with someone else's game and innovating on top of it to take it to new heights. There's nothing wrong with either path, but for myself, I prefer not locking my mindset into a specific subgenre when I can help it - though some of my game ideas do start with another game as a reference point, but then veer off onto a new subgenre instead of a refinement and upgrade of the existing genre. I'm still working on my first commercial game, and I've been working on it for 3 1/2 years now. Simcity 4 is certain legend, Simcity 2013 is an "EA game" , why no competition? Lincity? Plus the lack of$50,000,000.

So, what I get is that it's less feasible especially if no natural leaning involves.

And for Lincity, it has more than lack of funds issue. considering average hardware today, a DirectX based isometric raster engine matching/mimicking capabilities of Simcity 4 shouldn't be that impossible imo.

Maybe you just need to search?

http://www.shiningrocksoftware.com/

http://www.patrician4.com/en/index.php

http://www.virtualvillagers.com/

I'm sure there is many more games you can play.

First of all, thanks for reminding how awful Patrician 4 was after 3. And I don't really get why you think I am asking you to code me a game for my very own pleasure.

Also worth mentioning that one significant difficulty with making strategy/simulation games is that the simulation model must typically be built from scratch, and this generally requires some amount of domain-specific knowledge (especially given that many real-world phenomena are difficult to model even for experts in the relevant fields) - domain-specific knowledge that is relatively rare.

E.g. it's difficult to make a business simulator without a solid grounding in microeconomics, SimCity without a knowledge of urban geography, or The Sims without psychology.

The intersection of the (relatively small) set of people interested in making games and the (also small) set of people with the requisite non-gaming-related knowledge is incredibly tiny, therefore in the indie world (characterized by small teams with small development budgets) such games are quite rare.

(Major studios employ more people - and thus are likelier to have members with the requisite knowledge - and have larger budgets, meaning they can aford to hire advisors to fill their knowledge gaps.)

This was exactly what Will Wright did when creating SimCity , "a finite model" as name suggests doesn't have to be very extensive. Railroad Tycoon II's base industry model is that simple

There is no point in chasing "real life simulation" in an indie game. I understand your point but doubt it is that crucial.

I contacted tens of people from various professions to ask for help during the 2 years I mentioned, cost me almost nothing.

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Actually I had offered "(not-so-)old school" isometric graphics , so no Unity etc involves. I think it is easier to achieve than going full 3D, AAAs set bar too high for decent 3D graphics.

Using 3D with a fixed isometric-view camera is supposedly easier than doing 2D isometric nowadays - though I don't have personal experience with that. If the camera is pulled back far enough

So, what I get is that it's less feasible especially if no natural leaning involves.

The idea I'm trying to point out is that making any game of decent quality takes work, and to get people to labor, the labor needs to be rewarding - either financially, or a requirement for survival, or personally satisfyingly enjoyable to work on. It's more personally rewarding to work on the projects you want to work on, then for you to work on projects that others want you to work on.

And for Lincity, it has more than lack of funds issue. considering average hardware today, a DirectX based isometric raster engine matching/mimicking capabilities of Simcity 4 shouldn't be that impossible imo.

It's not... but it lacks manpower working on it. Where is that man-power? Working on their own games. How can you get that manpower to work on Lincity instead? Pay them. With what? Opensource projects lack funding except for those that have commercial backing or immense fan backing.

If anyone wants a specific game made, they have two options: Do the work themselves, and recruit others once you can prove that you're doing most the heavy lifting (and before we open a can of worms: amatuer "game designer"/"idea person"/"project manager"/"leader" roles don't count), or fund the project.

If someone wants me [or any developer] to stop working on what I want to make, to instead make what they else want me to make, they better have some way of compensating me... otherwise, I'm going to work on the projects that interest me.

In every single project, opensource or not, there is always compensation. Either money, praise and attention and ego-stroking, friendship/community, authority/administrative power-trips, creative output opportunities, or something else.

And I don't really get why you think I am asking you to code me a game for my very own pleasure.

We're just using you (as someone wanting a certain type of game) for the sake of conversation. I don't view you as someone begging others to do the work, but just asking a good question and that we're trying to give a good explanation for.

To put it another way:
For any given person 'X', not everyone shares X's tastes in <type of media>. If 'X' wants more of <genre of media>, 'X' needs to either learn how to make <type of media> (like you currently are), or else use extrinsic motivators like money to get people who can make <type of media> to stop making the type they want, and instead make X's favored <genre of media>.

"I don't get why they neglect some genres almost on purpose."

There isn't enough manpower to go around for every game that should get created - there is more demand for skill than there is supply, in the game industry.

1) Developers first have to spend years learning how to make games.
2) Then they start making small games and work up (taking more time).
3) Then they work on the games that interest them.
4) But they only work on these kind of games when they have time, since they're usually working full time jobs and need to spend time with their families and friends.
5) As an indie, they are willing to work on games that don't directly interest them...
6) ...but there has to be a market for it, since they want to benefit from it.
7) ...and it has to be economically viable for them to create it with whatever limited budget they have.

Want an new innovative simulation game made by a small studio? Prison Architect is one. It's still in alpha but is available for purchase on Steam.

Don't want to make this wall of quotes but,

- Using 3D with fixed ortographic projection may look easier at first but I think even "manpower" required to make assets low-poly yet hq is much more work, you go high poly  other way. (especially if you are not giant Swiss army knife)

- I am aware that there is ever increasing need for resources as "projects" becomes bigger, the point is just because it is called "indie" , it doesn't have to be one-man show. And ofc I am looking from a perspective of financial satisfaction. (Btw, I competely ignore "I want this game to be done so lets assemble the team, btw drinks on the house" way)

- That "code me a game" reply was targeted at a "constructive" one stating "go play these : link1 link2 ..." :)

And finally,

What I get from your reply is these type games are stuck between two worlds, too much for indies, too infeasible for big guys.

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