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About Fastidious

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  1. are you overworked often ?

    When I worked in the AAA industry, it wasn't uncommon for me to work past 40 hours a week. Being I worked on live games, it was mostly afterhours that I worked the most overtime. Things break, I'm called and I'm out the door. Overworked is an understatement.    Now that I'm out the AAA industry (thank god). I'm discovering I have a wife and child. 
  2. If you could hire only one....

      Just thought I toss out there that all your creativity should not be coming from your concept artist. You end up making your 3D artist sound like mindless drones. Hopefully, that's not what they are.   That's not to say concept artist are not important to a project. They help set the direction and all that goodness. But, other artist must be allowed to shine too. Especially when translating concept to reality.
  3. How to limit demo of rpg game

    I've found that zone restricted demos work better for open world. You just slice it up and separate that section or bound the great invisible bubble around the slice if you're pimping seamless technology over there.   When it comes to marketing demos, obviously that slice has to be a really good slice without giving them the whole pizza (or pie). In the past, I've done this by sharing an epic dungeon or mid-game piece that sort of shows off the coolest features of the game. Something that really gives the end user a solid taste of your PIZZA (or pie)!    If you're going to do a 30-day demo for marketing purposes, then I think you're giving too much if this is a marketing demo. It should be short, limited and leaving your end users begging--NO--CLAWING at your doorstep for more. Giving them too much, even if content is restricted, will likely complete their interest in your game and they are on to the next. IMHO. 
  4. Tearing Down the MMO Boundaries

    Quote:Original post by Dekasa On the topic of uniqueness, I don't think things need be entirely unique and trying to make them that way would likely be a waste of time. All you really need to do is give the illusion of everything being unique, so say, there need to be enough swords that the chance of you finding the one you have in a general store or for sale is miniscule, not zero. What's it matter if an item is truly unique if you can make them NOT truly unique and no one (save .01%) ever finds another one like it? Unique should only really fall into an objects, character, skill, or spells rarity usage other than the item/object/etc rarity. Example, if you have a sword that is common to get (meaning the item is not rare, other characters will have it) that has a unique appearance to it. Then you might find players wielding the sword based on the unique appearance that is fitting to his character as opposed to others who don't wield such things because they have their own weapons that look good for their characters. That falls under the illusion of uniqueness really. It's only rare and unique based on the players interaction with the system / game. Goes hand in hand with developing different builds and styles to character classes. You want players to pick builds that are unique to them to give them the impression that they are the only ones with X build and they play it the best. Hindering such things (making only 1 build workable in example) could cause all characters to be the same thus loosing any uniqueness to character classes in game play.
  5. What does it take to secure a marketing position?

    Quote:Original post by tsloper Blizzard and NCSoft are publishers. If by Fury you mean the MMO being published by Auran, then again, we're talking about a publisher. No, these are developers who also publish their games. Just because you do not need the support of a publisher does not mean you are not ALSO a development studio.A publisher is someone who only publishes or distributes games. Quote: Community positions aren't marketing, IMO - they're public relations. PR is not the same as marketing. Community is one of two things. They are either branched from Operations (Customer Service) or Marketing. EA/Mythic for example lists it as Operations. Blizzard has lists as Marketing. You can argue that they CAN be PR but you will never find PR not a branch of Marketing. It depends on the corp structure. This is not opinion but fact based off of job listings from establish publishers, developers, and developers who also publish their own games. It has been opinion that such marketing and operation (PR in your opinion) like community are either operations or marketing/PR. Those are only opinions not fact based on the company structure in which your team falls under. Quote: The point you are making is that some rare special-case very large developers may have full-time positions for marketing and PR. This may well be true. That doesn't mean I'm lying when I say marketing is a publisher job. There are always exceptions to every broad statement one can make (including the one I just made in this sentence). It becomes overly cumbersome to have to write disclaimers and exclusions with every broad statement one might make. If a thing is true in 99% of the cases, then to state it as true without mentioning the 1% is not to say something "clearly untrue." The thing is you are saying studios who also publish their games are publishers and not developers. Let me touch that statement a little bit. Blizzard developed diablo, starcraft, and world of warcraft. They have a full development team in a structure which you know. There is no arguing that they develop and maintain there games for PC and online multiplay. "The company developed games like Rock N' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings (published by Interplay Productions)." -Founded as a developer Blizzard also publishes their own games. This does not mean they are now not the developers of their previous games nor a development studio now. They have a full development team dedicated to many projects under their own name. They do not advertise for seeking studio demo's in order to publish those games under Blizzard. They are the opposite, they see something they like and they buy it. Then they publish it after there team has developed it. Activision in another example, the company you worked for is a publisher. The publish other studios and actively seek development studios to publish. This is what you would consider the ideal publisher. Which is not the same as Blizzard in example. You were a developer for Activision. They are a publisher, so how were you a developer for a publisher? ;) [Edited by - Fastidious on August 7, 2007 10:54:46 AM]
  6. Quote:Original post by Jerky While WoW is now a powerhouse, I don't see how that makes it an invalid example. WoW is the only powerhouse. There isn't other MMO's with 5-6 million customers to compete with them. In short, they are rare and not the average MMO. So using them as the example in something in dealing with costs and production wouldn't be correct. That's because WoW is generally new on the market compared to what is out there now. No matter how old their content is, other MMO's have been here longer and they are the prime examples of how much a MMO could cost under the avg plans. UO, EQ, DAOC, and EVE would make better examples. You wouldn't say that having X amount of money isn't enough because Blizzard needed had more. When clearly the MMO's before them cost much less to develop compared to WoW.
  7. What does it take to secure a marketing position?

    Quote:Original post by tsloper Hi Ham, you wrote: >My dream job would be to hold a marketing position at either a publisher or a studio. Development studios don't have marketing positions. >I have a four year BS in marketing. [And experience] Good. Now all you need to do is live near game publishers. Location, location, location, right? Right? And start marketing yourself to game companies. And see the other tips in FAQ 27 - And I might have written a column on marketing - see Good luck. For someone who seems to write a lot about the industry, you sure have no clue about what positions are offered. No offense really... A number of development studios have had some form of Marketing / PR positions available. The easiest would be branches off of Marketing with junior PR positions and such things like Community Relations or even some Web Administration Specialists. So why do development studios have Marketing positions available? Not all do but in this day of age, a lot are starting to have them. Especially studios that work exclusively with online gaming or online distribution (Yes you don't need a publisher in some online distribution). Things such as Community Managers (Marketing or Operations depending on the company) are needed to help manage communications online. As well a number of other branched positions like Brand Managers, PR Specialists, Community, and so on. There are a number of studios out there that are seeking good marketing teams and branches. You will find more developers slash publishers needing those positions more but they are still developers too. Blizzard, NCSoft, Fury, even some FPS (I've seen) developers have had ads up to fill different Marketing, PR, Community positions. You will find more publishers that have more of a calling for these style positions over normal developer studios but don't get it in your head that Marketing has no place with other development studios because that is clearly untrue. [Edited by - Fastidious on August 7, 2007 12:59:26 AM]
  8. Tearing Down the MMO Boundaries

    Quote:Original post by SMPryor There is a lot here that I agree with. What about guild made quest? For example, a guild member could create a "quest" for an item which another member (or stranger) could carry out and thus gain payment and XP (assuming the game uses XP). If guild had there faction standing, a stranger could complete a guild mission and gain points toward that guild faction. Moreover, guilds (the guild master for example) could creat missions to destroy so many players from an enemy guild or contribute so much of x into the guild's stock room in exchange for XP or faction standing. These are just some quick ideas I came up with. To me it seems like a good way (not the only way) to allow players to create "content" using predesigned templates. It would also give players the ability to see the results of their actions and allow their actions to gain meaning. Just an idea I had. Perhaps I will make a longer response later but I just thought I'd through this out there. Things like that are unrealistic in MMO setting. Only because as a designer you would see yourself having fun with such a system where others would abuse such things. One example, creating quests based on a template would be reduced to the easiest quest only to farm XP or faction without risk (if risk is a part of your game). Another example, gaining faction towards a guild means nothing if the guild disbands for some reason along the road. That's like losing faction or XP without having any control or resistance to it. You just lose it based on other factors outside of your control. Even worse, players making guilds to only boost themselves then leaving. When you put players in full control over anything, you will see bad results in almost all cases. Half of the players will use the system based on how it was intended by the designer and the other half will only try to exploit the free will.
  9. What do you guys think of these type of RPG's?

    PHP-MUDS in my opinion. MUD's have always been around and are pretty much the basis for MMO's. I think games like that MUD or PHP style are great and fun to create.
  10. Corporate Empires game idea

    Having control has great flaws too. Now the game in example has it's economy flooded with currency due to allowing X amount of players have the gold mines and others nothing. Prices have raised and the demand for the currency per item has gone up. Causing more systems to gain currency to be put into place in order to keep the players to keep playing. Now the prices are dropping, gold mines are becoming easier to find, and there is no where to spend the currency but to waste it.
  11. Tearing Down the MMO Boundaries

    Quote: I think another problem is spawn points in general. This is a very exploitable design decision that, frankly, is outdated and needs to have a new technique. New games still using spawn points aren't delving deep enough, imo. I think spawn zones (large areas with randomized "spawns") can work better, but it is still not enough. I think with mob AI, we should also have things like mob dens (like some RTS's have (think Kohan)) could work. Moreover, if things are truly dynamic, mobs could certainly learn how to reproduce in such a way as to create higher leveled (skilled) offspring, also decreasing the chance of extinction. Eve-online has randomized area spawning based on the security status of the system (zone) as well other hidden factors. Let me try to explain their system a bit more. You have a solar system that you must port/jump into. This system contains planets, moons, stations, unique spots, and astroid belts. The system it self has a security status ranging from 1.0-0.0 (1.0, 0.9, 0.8...). The lower the security status of the system the harder the NPC and AI generally is. Systems like in our space are apart of a region/galaxy. Factions lay claim to these regions that then can fill their guilds in each system (NPC's in each system under a guild that is apart of the faction). When you enter a belt, you can have a random group of NPC's spawn on you at random. Random as in a way that you don't know what style NPC's you will get but you will know they will be of X faction. You will also know based on the security status of how big they MIGHT be. With that said, yes, some games are making the leap towards systems similar to what has been mentioned. Mostly systems that base off the group or player that enters the area or hits a trigger. I have not seen susch things as extinction though, don't think I ever will being it's really pointless and hard to maintain. None the less, things like that are out there, just have to actually do your research first... ---- On the subject of having such systems. My personal opinion on it is that I would love to have spawns that did randomize. I hate fighting in a raid and having to do the same exact plan for each Boss because that's how you beat it. I want it to switch up and have real AI where if Im 10 feet away from me he aggros me other than me being behind the aggro line. I don't like the encounters to follow the same exact structure each time I do it, I want the NPC to learn from his previous 1000880480028302 deaths and kill my whole RAID including humping my corpse after we are cussing in teamspeak. But really, who wants to die based on smart AI? Who wants to be faced with randomizing spawns that's harder to predict without thottbot or a fan site? We want easy mode and well easy mode sells. So yeah... Not that spawns are outdated or haven't been tough of being improved. It's inexperience telling you that something doesn't sell and this does...
  12. The quote was to hint how much a typical game project *could* cost. That cost of course would more than likely come from A) investors or B) publisher. I wouldn't go as far as saying you shouldn't worry about how much anything should cost but it highlights the point that majority of your projects funding is not coming from your pocket so trying to estimate how much X will cost isn't something that should be on your mind first. Estimates of office space, tools, supplies, and so on before any type of publishing deal should be to hard to calculate before hand. Although WoW is a powerhouse now, it really shouldn't used for any example being they obviously had unlimited resources and of course content that was developed many years before WoW was even announced. Not having the exact same content age and detail or even the same budget as Blizzard does not mean the next gen MMO's will fail. A good game will always be a good game... [Edited by - Fastidious on August 5, 2007 10:22:51 PM]
  13. Quote:Original post by Jerky @Fastidious: Epic *had* a small team back when they were working on Unreal 1. Ever since they started licensing their engine, they have been steadily getting bigger (along with Mark Rein's ego). Oh, and Epic never made their engine ready for MMO's. Lineage2 (the first that did, iirc) took it and modified it to do their bidding. I am sure Epic had nothing to do with them making it work as am MMO client. All the networking etc would have been done on their own. As with most of my posts, I will cut if off here before I lose people. I have more I can add, should people be desirous. I double checked, they still have a rather small team as before. Small compared to say majority of starting development teams for a common MMO. Majority have upwards around 100+ working on core development (IE: Sigil with Vanguard). Epic has 2 teams maybe even 3 working on Engine, UT, and GoW. If you want to combine them sure but you really shouldn't. After release it's common people leave or contracts are up. You don't need 100+ developers working on a released product in the MMO genre. The main point of having so many developers to begin with is because, it's a massive multiplayer game. You got a lot to do and push for during release. Maintaining it and forming a team for expansions and updates is really less I'm sure. @Budget stuff Below is a quote from an developer who left a studio to form his own indy studio. Quote: Even if we had been allowed to finish, we would have had to sell multiple hundreds of thousands of copies in order to see anything on the back-end. A typical PC project that costs one and a half million dollars to make, and half a million dollars to market, has to sell in excess of three hundred thousand units before it generates royalty. Surprisingly few games attain such success. There are additional costs beyond development and marketing that further reduce the chances of royalty. For instance, publishers typically deduct the money paid to retailer to secure shelf-space. Publishers also hold back a percentage to cover returns and price reductions. This money may or may not find its way to the developer's pocket later on. If your game is one of the select few to sell enough units, there can still be problems in bookkeeping. Payments might get inadvertently allocated to other projects, fail to get recorded, or be deferred due to extended credit terms. These errors are difficult to detect, and can reduce or altogether eliminate developer royalty. Publishers and investors are where majority of your costs will come from.
  14. Tearing Down the MMO Boundaries

    There are things like that in games already. Take Eve-online for example, they have the same aspects. Even now, Warhammer is doing similar things calling them "community quests". The problem with such things is that they are random and you have to be on when things like this happen being they are diverse. Players do not want things like this being they can miss it were as before they know it's always going to spawn at X, X location. Also to add, live events are also similar to this. That is where you have a group of people controlling the NPC's in a sort of live event that can happen all the time. Kind of makes you wonder if the future of online gaming will include "actors" ;)
  15. MMO development estimate

    Quote:Original post by Sirisian He could be referring to indie developers? Most indie programmers lack the experience or collective effort to pull off a complete an mmo of such a large scale. Most can, yes but the developer (company) can have the power to recruit the ones who do have the knowledge. Lot of things factor into that anyhow. The main thing though is that "millions" of dollars you are mentioning, does not all come from the developer. Many of factors like any other business. You have investors and publishers. They are the large chunk of money that gets donated to the development of a game even for indy developers. The indy developer only has to show they can go the extra mile and make a finished project based off what they have scratched up together (Demo etc).