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Can you make a good game without using the asset store?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by theonerm2_unity, Aug 5, 2020.

  1. theonerm2_unity

    theonerm2_unity

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    I've been hearing the term 'Asset Flip' lately. It's scaring me. I have $2000 of Assets that I purchased. I plan on using the assets to help me make and sell a game. Could I do it without the assets? I don't know. I've become so dependent on assets that I don't know if I could make a game without them.

    I've been tempted to see what I can do without the asset store.
     
  2. bobisgod234

    bobisgod234

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    Yes, you can make a good game without assets. People do it all the time, it just takes more effort/money.

    Developers generally like to modify art assets to some extent so they fit better with the overall style of the game. If you don't do this, it will be painfully apparent to players that you are using asset-store assets.
     
  3. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    People who make assets don't have any special access. Anything they can do, you can do too (if you have the talent and the knowledge). What do you know how to do already? If you don't know how to code, you'll need a lot of time and patience to learn. Like wise for making your own art- it's a whole other discipline that you'll have to learn from scratch, most likely. It might take you several years before you are fully proficient in either one of those things, but you may be surprised at what you can pick-up in short amount of time.

    An "asset flip" is not the same thing as using assets, though. An asset flip is basically when you buy a full game kit, like this:
    https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/templates/systems/unitz-battlegrounds-117943

    And then you try to sell it without adding anything of your own or changing anything. Maybe you only change the title screen and nothing else.

    If you make an actual good game it doesn't matter if you use assets. Know one will even think about whether there are assets in your game or not.
     
  4. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    I wouldn't be worried about the idea of "asset flipping" if you're planning on making good use of the assets and not just using them with little to no thought on their how they benefit the project. If I were to be worried about anything it would be the situation right now where some publishers are uploading assets that they don't actually own and selling them.

    https://forum.unity.com/threads/piracy-in-asset-store.937463/
     
  5. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    Companies can, people can, I don't know if YOU can :)

    If you are talking about content (models, sounds, etc) it can be difficult to rely on the asset store (hard to find everything you need) but if you can do it the cost savings are huge. A good model pack that is $50 on the asset store could easily be worth 100x that if you got someone to do it custom.

    If instead you are looking to do it all yourself the saving is about time. Even if you have the skill it might take you hundreds of hours to replicate the features in an asset store kit.

    The flip side here: you do need to spend time learning the systems. Personally I struggle with this. I own a bunch of complete projects/systems from the asset store but haven't ever used one to release anything*.

    (* Editor extensions and things like analytics or store plugins are a different matter, I use them heavily)
     
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  6. xVergilx

    xVergilx

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    Kitbashing together stuff is key. Learn how to modify art to your own needs. Blender and Audacity is really handy when it comes to art / sound. At some point you'll realize that sometimes its faster to just make it on your own.

    Finding own strong points is also important, I barely purchase any logic related assets, due to myself being a programmer. So it depends what you're best at.
    (Large systems / systems with high maintenance costs are still should be considered to be purchased in this case because it just save more time / cost than its price tag)

    Also, asset store yields more than just paid content, most of the times artists put their content for free to get some reviews.
    Make sure to check it regularly, you can build and expand asset library very quickly.

    Also, money spent saving time is money well spent.
    Yes it is possible to make games without asset store, but it would take much more time. Is it worth it?
    Probably, if you can afford it.
     
  7. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    This kind of thinking is a recipe for disaster, and comes from valuing the opinions of random people over your own (or your customers for that matter). Would you have worried if you had not 'heard' about flipping? The truth is that making a game solo takes many different skills, the likelihood of having them all to a good standard is slim to nil. You can go ahead and spend 5 years doing what you'd otherwise do in 1, or take back that time and enjoy it wisely.

    While real-life, ugly 'asset-flipping' does indeed exist (usually from people who seem to have no skills in any department except perhaps industriousness) I would argue that sheer lack of game design skill, which cannot be fixed by using the asset store, is far worse from a customers perspective than whether you used a crate that someone else did too. And there's a lot more of this problem going around than asset flipping.

    The only standard you need to have is that your game is a good one, one that you would buy and play. What it takes to achieve that is entirely up to the resources you have on hand.

    If I can find something good enough on the asset store for my needs, I will always use it, because time can always be spent and never loses its value. For art, it's very hard to find the full range of what I need in a consistent style, but there are some sellers whose stuff is very close to being enough for a complete game. For scripts, if it doesn't annoy me to use it, is not overloaded with useless settings and flashy inspector GUI, and doesn't have bugs I will go ahead and use it (less of a problem considering my skill set). For music, sound effects and VFX, the asset store is pretty much my one stop shop, besides Audio Jungle.

    In short, decide what your standard of quality is, and use the most efficient means to reach it, because your game will always require your attention somewhere else that's more important.
     
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  8. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    If you choose realistic style its not impossible to make a game with asset store. We are doing just that, im not in charge of asset acquirement so I do not know how many assets we have that are custom or bought from individual artists on artstation but it's not alot.

    We don't have any artist on the team but one of our team members have become pretty good at kitbashing and alter assets with blender
     
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  9. Ukounu

    Ukounu

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    I think you are confusing "players" with "game developers". Overwhelming majority of regular players on PC/mobile/consoles don't even know that the Unity Asset Store (or Unity, for that matter) exist. The idea that an average gamer who never visited any gamedev resources will be able to visually recognize assets as originating from some gamedev store is not quite feasible, I think.
     
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  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Even if you have the skill to author your own art, I dont think it makes much pragmatic sense to do that. Depends on scope of your project of course.

    Basically, I look and see if somebody else has already done the work. 99% of the time, the solution I need already exist. So then just look and see, could I do it better? Does it need to be done better? What are the time/cost savings?

    I just rarely find any good reason to spend time authoring custom art, even if I know how to do it. Factor in all the other work you got to do and its not good to spend too much time in any one area.
     
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  11. unitedone3D

    unitedone3D

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    Dear theonerm2_unity, just a 2 cents.

    I am in the same boat as you, and having several hundred dollars of Asset store content, I wondered that too; but the people here said it is better to focus on making a good game - with said asset parts; customizing them and just 'finishing' your game. To not worry too much about it and ignore people who put you down for 'daring to use assets' like it's a crime/bad or something you be ashamed of (because' devs 'make all from scratch...'..'real devs that is'); to me that is bs because larger games require outsourcing (for solo devs) and it's imposisble to make everything from scratch and in short 2-3 year period (I mean it's not short...it's years but...even that may still be not enough; it could take you 10 years to make that bigger game you wish; outsourcing reduces that to something feasible for you - but bigger/more possibility). Surely, if you did not have the assets, the game would be different for sure and you would need to improve skill/work on your flaws/lacking (like art models..textures...animation...they would be Yours...made by you...thus, it will depend on your technical capabilities/knowledge/skills/talent? of softwares to make these assets -your self instead of relying on asset stores). But, as others pointed; it is unsensical and (illogical too) too time consuming when you not to build an Entire game...that is what gamers just don't seem to get/care of..devs Need the asset store if they wish to make bigger scope games...or else well they will Always be small scope games - made from scratch using no assets...but many devs don' wish that anymore and wish to compete with AAAs/make bigger games by outsourcing. It's a bit like building a Blockbuster movie - it requires thousands of people...or you can make a mini film/short film by yourself..like an mini android/cell phone like game or rogue pixel game...yourself/all of it/all assets yourself...but it will not be this big thing; it's why many of the solo efforts are pixel games/2D thing...not complex huge 3d worlds...except games like Bright Memory (made by solo dev...but he outsourced to make the 3d worlds/models...thus he needed helps/assets to 'fill in' the whole thing; because, alone/everhything from scratch, he could not make such game; same thing with my game; assets are crucial they save Thousands of hours/man hours of work/time...and it does not mean the game is less genuine/meritatory/'low effort cash grab' as they say when 'asset flip'...your intentions are genuine..you still need to 'assemble' that 'puzzle'...all its pieces...to make a final game and that is no small feat. A game is not the parts...it is the sum of its parts; as others noted, it'S important to not make 'too obvious' that used assest 'slapped in them/fangled up' and personalizing them/customizing them. The worse problem with asset use is 'similiarity' with other games using same said assets..and, especially, is lack of continuity/cohesion among the 'various sourced' assets...this can cause a jarring effect of weird fangled upthings together..there needs cohesion/seamlessness among the assets/all fits together).

    Just a 2 cents.
     
  12. Acissathar

    Acissathar

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    PUBG still uses Unreal's Marketplace for some assets to this day. There's nothing wrong with using assets, they exist to help you.
     
  13. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    If you want to make a game without the Asset Store, you either need to get fairly good at every discipline required to make your game on your own and accept it will take longer to finish, or pay up for custom made assets to replace what you would have used from the store.
     
  14. APSchmidt

    APSchmidt

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    I'm pretty sure anyone with the proper training can make very good games with only primitives. ;)
     
  15. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    I did that for my first Steam game (though I did still use some store bought assets).
     
  16. APSchmidt

    APSchmidt

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    tss tss, no cheating! :D
     
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  17. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    On a slightly off topic point... I've never heard the term 'kitbashing'. What a perfect word to add to the vocabulary. Thanks :)
     
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  18. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    check this out:

    https://kitbash3d.com/

    May come in handy
     
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  19. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    By the way large studios rely on third party assets just as much as we do. Quixel, for example, is a very popular source of very high quality assets. Epic Games used them to create the demo for Unreal Engine 5. Pricing starts at $19/mo (Unreal developers have free access to the assets for games made with Unreal).

    https://quixel.com/
     
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  20. bobisgod234

    bobisgod234

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    I think most players on PC/console have some awareness of the concept of an asset store at this point. If they see various assets in different art-styles or recognise an asset from anther game, some players are going to guess that the assets have probably been reused somehow.
     
  21. SomeT

    SomeT

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    I make some pretty good levels literally using substance (is only $20 a month, is a bargain compared to assets) and I use probuilder to make the levels. I mean I only make First Person kinda games so this works well for me, build level in probuilder, then I add the textures via substance plugin and it works well, the game looks neat. I am also working on a strategy game which is a clone of Stellaris, for this I am not even worried about art yet, just having basic function UI's and base textures / prototype textures is good for this type of game as I mainly focus on programming where a first person / indie type game is more freestyle. For 2D you can make some pretty good art using paint.net or aseprite. I like taking shortcuts with art and design as art is my biggest weakness but I seem to do alright when I put my mind to it like this.
    check out this video as well, I think you will find it useful. One last thing, once I stopped using the asset store so much, my game programming and 3D design skills improved massively.
     
  22. Batuhan13

    Batuhan13

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    I think it can be why not =). When I am developing my game I am mostly using few asset these are (Bakery,Magic light probes,Volumetric light beam,Water shader) actually I can develop my projects without them but with them quality of my project increasing in a second. For example I dont like light baking system of unity it feels too slow and unrealistic but with bakery I solved that problem. I am a 3d desingner too for that reason I dont require 3d assets when I am making a project. In the end I think it is possible but assets really save your time =).
     
  23. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    I dont think their models will work well up close. But they look awesome on screenshots :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2020
  24. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    That's another complication of using store-bought assets: you would typically need a different type of asset whether you'd make a first-person-shooter or an RTS (Different level of detail, different POV, different distance from the camera, different optimization requirements). From the screen shots, it looks like these are intended to be used for back drops, matte paintings, and concept art.
     
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  25. kdgalla

    kdgalla

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    By the way, just as a case in point, there is a game on Steam right now:
    https://store.steampowered.com/app/975950/Effie/
    In the trailer, there are a few character models that I recognize from the Asset Store. (I have not played it but it's on my wishlist)

    You can see that the game has mostly positive reviews, and a few negative too. No one mentions assets or calls the game an "asset flip", though. You can see that the developers put-in enough work to get it looking like a real game, so no one really questions where the art came from. The only reason I noticed is because I peruse the Asset Store frequently and happen to know what a lot of the assets look like.

    Personally, if a game has assets that I recognize, it does not discourage me from buying it. Sometimes it even raises my interest because I'm excited to see how the developer uses them.
     
  26. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Yeah, most definitely for backdrops. Which is sad, I would love their Warzone package for our fps :)

    https://kitbash3d.com/collections/worlds/products/aftermath
     
  27. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Kitbashing is typically a term associated with physical models. Taking parts from a number of off the shelf model kits and assembling something unique for your own purposes. This has been done heavily in the movie and TV industry, for example the original pre-CGI Star Wars movies involved a lot of kitbashing to add the details of the various spaceships. The secondary ships on the old TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation often look like they take pieces from a variety of different existing ships and combine them together, because that is literally what they did.

    https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Nebula_class_model

    (I like the term being used with virtual assets as well though)
     
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  28. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Btw, who buys stuff for 200 USD without knowing details about textures etc?

    Kitbash site is very sparse on info.
     
  29. Flurgle

    Flurgle

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    Regarding non-art assets in the store: Take it for what it's worth - Almost every top selling Unity game on Steam uses something from the asset store. Rewired is a very common one.
     
  30. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @MDADigital ,

    What info are you missing from this?

    I think I have one of their kits. If you have specific questions feel free to ask. It's not really intended for games though, just FYI. I just shared so the person who hadn't heard term could see, get better idea what it can mean.
    upload_2020-8-6_22-20-10.png
     
  31. superpig

    superpig

    Drink more water! Unity Technologies

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    Back in 2017, we released the Neon demo - made by Unity's demo team creative director, in a couple of days, using mostly content from the Asset Store.

    Take a look at the making-of videos - there are a lot of points in there, from "use lighting to make lower-quality assets stand out less" to "don't feel like you need to use an asset as what it was designed for."
     
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  32. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    are they PBR, example of glossiness map (these are often weak), etc
     
  33. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    This. I remember poking through the subreddits for Skyrim and someone had created a topic pointing out that some of the smaller tables were just bookcases and dressers that had been partially buried in the floor.
     
  34. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @MDADigital ,

    the render engines they are built for are all offline, but I took a look through the laboratory pack I have and it looks like you got everything you need for unity standard shader. All tileable textures with nrml, AO , glossiness, height, specular, roughness.

    You can see how about how detailed props are. They are relatively low poly but not as optimized as you might want for a game. But usually with a kitbash kit for a games artist, its just something to get started from, and especially for quick concepting. It's a jump start but not final product.

    Anyway, kind of off topic but don't just look at asset store if you need models for games. Gumroad and artstation and some other places are full of kits like this that have a lot of value for how much they cost.

    These would be perfectly suitable for a top down game, and going through to do a little optimization might be tedious but 10x less work than building everything from scratch.

    edit: I set up some (not all) of the materials in Marmoset (real time PBR render):

    screenshot000.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  35. rivstyx

    rivstyx

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    Yes you can depending on your skillset. If you learn how to use tools like Gimp, Blender and Audacity you can create a lot of the sprites, models and sounds yourself for free. Though admittedly Blender has the steepest learning curve. I usually think quite a bit before making an asset store purchase. How can I reuse this? How does it fit into my game style? Is it extendable?

    Hope that helps
     
  36. rivstyx

    rivstyx

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    Yes, absolutely reuse assets as much as possible.
     
  37. sxa

    sxa

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    If someone is looking for kitbash-able models for all sorts of stuff (rather than the more-or-less complete buildings that kitbash3d do) then gumroad, cubebrush and artstation will point you at a host of folk doing all sorts of partial and complete models and greebles for that sort of thing, from scene dressing, to SF engine parts to clothing features and to anatomic parts (the latter two, typically for ZBrush), and the like.
    However, getting them game-ready will almost certainly be up to you...
     
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  38. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    I can recommend artstation we have used it alot to aquire assets, most artist
    My point was just that the page has way too little info, no way I buy a asset for 200 USD without knowing more :)
     
  39. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    When you've got a project with a real budget, you'd pay $200 just to investigate whether the assets will even be usable without a second thought. If they end up saving your modeling team even a single day of work, you've already broken even.
     
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  40. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Also, you can just send them an email to ask. Or ask a friend who might know.

    But really, if you are a 3d artist, all the info you need is right in the chart. The listed renderers indicate what you'll get.

    Usually what I look for is, who uses this product? Who vouches for it? Usually that goes a long way to making sure you don't buy some low quality junk.
     
  41. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    200 USD is roughly just above one hour work for any of our team members. It's pocket money. But only stupid people buy the pig in a poke
     
  42. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Example from one of our assets, they even let you preview the asset in the browser. Only thing missing is a preview of the different maps.

    https://www.artstation.com/artwork/P1gr8

    Edit: the live view does show its high quality maps though, so it's not as important
     
  43. Teila

    Teila

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    What is a realistic style? Photorealistic with HDRP? To some, it is anything that is not low poly or cartoony. It is possible to find lots of realistic stuff on the asset store. What is important is that you choose a style and stick with it, making everything match, redoing textures if necessary, and blending it all together.

    Most likely, you will not find everything you need on the asset store regardless of your art style. You may have to hire someone or learn how to make them yourself.

    All said and done, building games requires organization and management skills. Choose your style, buy assets that work together, and spend your money on hiring people who can stay with that style. Kitbash works if you can make it look good when putting it together.

    I have been known to buy assets and tear them apart and build a tavern from a castle. ;)
     
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  44. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Yeah stuff that tries to replicate real life. Example, we have used these two assets to create a level,

    https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/environments/urban/urban-construction-pack-8081

    And

    https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/3d/environments/urban/urban-underground-64542

    Result

     
  45. sxa

    sxa

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    $28K a month? Are you hiring? I can make tea for a mere $1K a week.
     
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  46. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Haha, well I did say roughly above, 20k is closer to reality. :)

    Edit: also that is the cost, not what the actual team member will receive
     
  47. lenneth4

    lenneth4

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    I agree totally

    But wait, people actually does that ???
    Only changing the title and sell it and earn money, damned

    We should start putting in the assets some disclaimer about this ?
     
  48. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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  49. lenneth4

    lenneth4

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    Alright,; thanks for the video !
     
  50. xPhrophet

    xPhrophet

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    I purchased a 3D wolf with really nice animations and since then have seen it used in many popular commercial projects. Even one guy who literally just used the package demo scene and combined it with another demo scene of an environmental background, then released the footage to the public and got tons of interest even though he probably didn't write a single line of code or change a single thing, and probably didn't have the experience to do so even if he wanted to. Yet the average videogamer doesn't notice these things. Even by using a custom shader or changing the textures slightly you can make it unique enough not to matter. I've often wondered why big projects will make sequels or games that take place in the same world as their previous game and still choose to remake everything from scratch instead of reusing what they already have. Do you really need to remake 50 different kinds of tables, vehicles, and mundane items when it doesn't add anything to the gameplay experience. If anything the popularity of indie games has demonstrated that gameplay is more important than graphics by far.
     
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