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Could I make a living being an Indie Game Dev?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MrSanfrinsisco, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    An old model for a top down game


    I tried low poly, but it doesn't look good at all lol


    The left version took some more time, but it was lot more easy to get the details and shapes with sculpting retopo.
    While i found it harder to get something good drawing pixels on the low poly version.

    Many people find sculpting easy and lot more intuitive than extruding polygons.
     
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  2. GarBenjamin

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    LOL! Going Pico 8 3D style would be a good choice. Basically games of similar scopes as the early arcade game would be possible.


    But I t think games with a scope like this can be completed within a few hundred hours...


    The example you shared for Ex Zodiak is a great scope for a part-time solo developer. In that video the game is using borrowed music from Salamander. Fits it great though and adds a lot to the atmosphere. Anyway something like that game is ideal I think. Just noting the dev mentioned they still need to either create their own music for the game or hire someone to do it.

    He started on it over a year ago. Here is where it was 13 months ago.


    4 months later


    Another 6 months after that...


    Looking very solid. Time to head to work.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  3. GarBenjamin

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    Looks good. I think either one is workable just depending on how good the game itself is and expectations of the target audience.

    Some people would instantly pass up a game with graphics that look like the right no matter how good the game is. But maybe the game on the left has little to do, controls very clunky, etc. On the other hand maybe the game on the right has a lot of content a lot to do and plays very well. And there are other people who value these things a lot more in a game and would appreciate the game because of the overall experience.

    Obviously if you can do all of the content like the left AND make the game play excellent AND actually complete the full game you have the best scenario.

    EDIT: Ran out of time before... I think the one on the right is maybe too detailed. Of course a part of it is likely the quality of the texturing / lighting rendering used. It reminds me of DX9 or maybe DX7.

    Anyway... for me as a gamer a large amount of the appeal of games with simpler visuals is they kind of help to immerse me in the game more.

    Because players imaginations need to fill in the details themselves. The actual representation is more like a hint. Enough to bring some clarity as to what the object is but not trying to show every detail not literally spelling out every aspect of the object.

    I think this is why I don't connect as well with some high fidelity games where they show me everything as they envision it in all its details. I suppose it's great if you really like the way things are presented or don't want to use your imagination as much etc.

    With something ultra low poly those games.... the people who get into them may well have a more immersive experience because they are engaged more with their imaginations filling in the details and creating a deeper meaning.

    What I mean is as a player your mind associates meanings to these simple objects and often you experience the game as much more than what you actually see. Hard to explain but anyone having experienced it understands. In a way I think it's like some people prefer books. They have nothing but the images their imagination creates based on the text provided by the author and for a lot of people that experience is so much more meaningful than watching a high budget highly detailed movie.

    If it is all shown all spelled out it is more of a spectator experience in this regard. The creature vehicle on the right might be much better if it was simplified a lot more rather than trying to increase fidelity of it.

    Of course it all depends on the person.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  4. zenGarden

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    I don't think he worked every week and day on the game, it took six months little step by little step.
    It could have been lot more faster.

    Top down games and distant camera is another trick to get models look great (the left model i don't find it so great lol , but looks good with far camera).

    Yep less details and more plain colors texture


    Plain colors doesn't work so well ( it would need a toon shader, or get some remake lol )


    I think this is also related to simplicity and readability, simple textures and shapes or toon games are not overwhelmed with details. The game is more easy to read and understand what is going on.

    Not enough power for 3D, for me it's very important such retro 3D graphics to have maximum playability, 60 fps is mandatory, Unity or Godot are lot better choice, or use some open source 3D lib to handle collisions and display.
     
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  5. zenGarden

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  6. Ony

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    side note: Was playing on my N64 last night and holy hell that stuff has such charm. It's easy to forget over the years how little high res and amazing graphics matter when the game itself is awesome. Played WaveRace, Quake 64, Doctor Mario 64, etc. All low res and super blocky, blurry textures, stiff animations. Seems that would run a game, but damn, no, it works. I love it.
     
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  7. zenGarden

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    Yeah, simplicity will always keep it's charm :)
    GoldenEye on N64 was really well done and designed, with perfect decals bending on corners.
    Even today AI does not roll , dodge or play specific animations when its arms or legs get injured, the game was ahead of it's time.
     
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  8. GarBenjamin

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    That makes sense. And I thought the same. I think progress can be easily seen in the videos for sure but I think using the right engine/framework, the right workflows, having previous game dev experience, etc any one of these could speed up development and all of them together would significantly speed up the development. Still I think the dev is doing good. It looks like it will be finished sooner or later.

    Now you are thinking more like those developers of old. Tricks to make a better experience and get the most bang out of your buck so to speak.


    Yeah that looks good! I'm not sure what exactly is going on here but it looks interesting enough to find out.


    That's the strength for sure. I think there is a balance and some people (not me yet) are extremely good at it. You want to give just enough of the form, etc and no more. I think the silhouette style visuals work very well that way.


    I said Pico 8 3D style not actually using Pico 8. Although it would be fun to make something with it. I agree completely on the playability, responsive controls,etc. The game has to feel good. And the more power you have the more polish and so forth you can add too. I don't think that is bad unless you go way overboard with it and then should probably have options to disable it all or bit by bit (like some of the Juice It or Lose It craze for example has people going so overboard on that stuff I've seen posts on Twitter along the lines of "Some Indie games have so much crap on the screen particles & shader FX everywhere. I don't like it and wish I could just turn that stuff off!").
     
  9. GarBenjamin

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    I wonder if the core inspiration for Star Fox came from this old William's arcade game?
    Obviously, SF is more fleshed out and has the characters but I can see the essence of SF here with the different modes of planet surface alternating with space, flying through the arches, etc.
    It's possible...


    That's great. Many of those games were just designed and built very well. They may be simplistic by today's standards but that can be a very good thing because it gives them a stronger focus on the core experience. And the focus back then that was placed on tight controls, movement, etc was very high. Many of those games felt very good imo.


    I need to wrap up my current game so I can get on to the next one. After all of this discussion I am eager to make an ultra low poly or voxel 3D game.
     
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  10. zenGarden

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    Some people have amazing drawing skills and creativity, the game looks like a hand drawn book, it's an rpg action like Mario & Luigi.
    https://twitter.com/Scrap_Story

    Another stylish
    https://twitter.com/zocklabs

    About solo game, not bad , it's lot of work and very long to make even using some assets packs.
    https://twitter.com/ClassicGJ



    What kind ? Starfox ?
     
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  11. GarBenjamin

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    I don't know what kind of game yet. I guess whatever I think of when I walk through my house. I was thinking a SF style game would be a great choice but with two people currently well on their way in developing such games if I went that way it would be land and / or water based. Maybe controlling a futuristic tank for land. Or controlling a boat on water. Or do SF basically but alternate between tank on land and boat on water. Or something like a super spy vehicle that transforms.

    I think I might find it more interesting to be an off the rails game though. Maybe roam around an area and have some light upgrade rpg style stuff to it. I don't know yet. Will figure something out when I get to the point of being able to focus on it. I need to write all of the story snippets for current game next. Get this one wrapped up.
     
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  12. neoshaman

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    I mean it's a production problem, and while scope is a big obstacle, I found out that it's less an obstacle than "decision", and the more uncertainty you have the more decision you have to make the more it impact productivity. It's exponential too, decision are not independent so one influence another, the more decision there is the more connection therefore the more uncertainty.
     
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  13. zenGarden

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    I forgot InstantMesh for those using sculpting , retopo in some minutes :)



    Great tool for those without mesh retopo knowledge
     
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  14. GarBenjamin

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    There are so many things that can be done. Many of us tell new devs to make their own version of those tiny classic games from decades ago. I tell them change it up basically make it "yours" because that exercises not only fundamental game dev skills but game design skills as well.

    Here is an excellent example of reimagining Pac-Man as a 3D fps / horror game. There are a few more Pac-Man games along these lines.


    Same basic concept taken into 3D which limits your view, collect the dots, powerups give weapons, find key unlock door and escape.
     
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  15. GarBenjamin

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    Of course... I could still do a Star Fox heavily inspired game. I just meant I wouldn't want to do one too similar to SF and Ex Zodiak.

    The player could be a dragon flying around burning up villages freeing captured baby dragons or player could be a dragonfly and world is populated with huge mushrooms and other such things that must be destroyed. Or maybe a witch flying on a broom or even control Santa's sleigh evading snowballs thrown by yetis and swooping down to collect toys they stole. The elves worked hard making those toys for all of the good children.

    So it could definitely be done. Ideas are always the key. A couple good ideas can completely change the theme & feel of the game so even though a game is heavily inspired by an existing game the inspired game comes across quite different as its own thing. Again the whole "make it yours" idea.

    After writing story snippets last night I played around modeling an ultra low poly flying character. At the end I realized I need to simplify greatly. It seemed like I was keeping it all simple while creating it but when done and looking at it... "how did it get so detailed? It needs to be subtle. Vague. A rough approximation."

    So that is my challenge I need to work on. I did the same with my current 2d game. Ended up making stuff highly detailed for their size when orginally I intended to make things more abstract approximations. It is definitely a skill of its own because you, or at least me, tend to do iterations and keep working in more & more detail.

    Next time I think I will set a very low max limit on number of faces like 12, 16, etc. total per any one object. I've always thought setting tight constraints makes a huge difference channeling creativity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  16. zenGarden

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    Like this one



    Or crazy ideas, like a flying bike with weapons able to transform in some mecha and blast some alien insects lol

    You have the choice about polygons and topology








    You can also make some high poly and use some tool to reduce the poly count.





    The best is you copy some style and stick to it.
    For character design , also copy some existing character or design and make small changes, this is the best way to learn.

    You could block some colors and use small texture details


    What makes a character look good is good shapes variation and good looking clothes and items
     
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  17. zenGarden

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    Or crazy rendering lol
     
  18. GarBenjamin

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    @zenGarden Right now I am most interested in making a crazy game for my next game. Your bike idea sounds very cool. "Crazy" is interesting. I did a little test last night "what if the first thing I see is the player... what would that be?" ... ah a fly swatter. So that could be a great start to a game. Second thing I saw was a bag of dog food. That could be interesting. Lol

    Those graphics all look good but are all far more detailed than I will be doing. I am looking at extremely low poly / low faces like SNES 3D objects or early 3d arcade games.

    It has to be a balance between looks interesting within the context of the game (this makes a huge difference... any object from SNES Star Fox / Ex Zodiak when seen in isolation are not impressive on their own but in the context of the game they are interesting and absolutely fine) and low enough workload per object to be realistic to produce a good amount of content in a reasonable period of time.

    Again that is personal. Some people might think an upper limit of spending 1 month per object is reasonable. I think an upper limit of spending 10 mins per object is reasonable. That means just 6 things and an hour is burned. Throw in animating and it maybe 1 or 2 per hour at best. It is all about scope and time available to do this stuff and the fact that graphics are only one of the forms of content needed and even all the content itself as far as assets go still represents only one part of what goes into making a full completed game.

    Basically look at those examples and compare to Ex Zodiak. Clearly one of these will require a much smaller workload for producing visual content. :)
     
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  19. ptcmia

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    How do you get the pixelated edges? Just don't use AA?
     
  20. neoshaman

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  21. GarBenjamin

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    That's a solid presentation.

    There is another big piece I think... every time you are making a game does not mean setting out to make your magnum opus... the greatest game you will ever create. You can approach it that way of course. But there is no requirement to do so.

    For me personally, assuming I am still around for years to come, I am currently building one of many games. And in doing so I have the opportunity to reach some more people, reach my target audience and build up a growing fanbase over time. When I make my next game... the ultra low poly 3D game... it will be one more step in that long-term plan & process.

    While each game on its own is a worthwhile endeavor all of the games together are part of a process. And each game will be better than the ones before. Development processes continue to be improved & refined. Marketing strategies continue to evolve. Each game is an opportunity to test various things in both dev & marketing. And ultimately one day when I do create my magnum opus it will be far better all around because of this. Development will be better. I will be able to create a by far better game within a given amount of time. And I will have a much greater reach many more people looking forward to the release of the game.

    I just think it is important to throw that out there. Too many times I think people approach this like they have to nearly kill themselves with stress & workload every time they create a game. From my perspective that is nonsense. There is no need for it.

    I take an incremental steadily improving approach. It's kind of a kaizen thing. And to continually improve in all of these areas needed for something like Indie game dev you need to complete games, release them and market them. That doesn't mean you need to throw every game your very first game from following a tutorial or whatever out on the stores. It means mainly learning how to actually complete games. That exercises scope management skills, development skills and "sticking with it". And release them somewhere even if on your website, or to a community (your target market) or to one of the many web game portals, etc.

    The first ones can be released for free. And that gives you an opportunity to focus on marketing, learn and hopefully reach a few people. And you might be surprised at how much you can learn & improve just by trying to market a completely free game at your website or GameJolt, etc. It's very common for free games at GJ to get less than 10 downloads/html5 plays total. If through your own marketing efforts you get 100 people to play your free game then you have done 10x better than the majority. You can take that knowledge of what worked and what didn't and use it for your next game. Unfortunately GJ changed and threw out the views and plays counts it seems and now to have a Likes system. But same basic idea.

    Anyway... if I spent the majority of my time focusing on only one area whether programming, graphics, audio, etc it would be a far less effective way to improve as a potential successful Indie game developer. Although of course one could take one game to focus on improving graphics, another game to focus on improving audio, another game to improve on programming, etc still doing all of the other things as well. And that could be another solid approach.
     
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  22. zenGarden

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    No texture filter should work.



    I'm not sure Snes had 3D games with 3D characters ? I only know Starfox.

    Anyway there is solutions for you.

    Simple faces extrude


    Voxels


    Lower voxel density and detail like Pico style you like



    About voxels you should like that


    Cubes , i'm not sure you can do more low poly lol



    I didn't know holographic screen is becoming a reality, that's cool
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lookingglass/the-looking-glass-a-holographic-display-for-3d-cre

     
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  23. GarBenjamin

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    Yeah that's the level of detail I am looking at is something along the lines of SF on SNES. Ex Zodiak. Early 3D arcade games. Pico 8 3D games. Basically just super simple basic forms that have just enough to them to indicate what they are and no more.

    I really like these pico 8 models for example (around the 34-second mark).


    Yes I plan on just doing some very simple box modeling. I might just use primitive forms period such as cubes, pyramids, rough spheres etc. I'll have to set the max face count higher maybe 100 if I decide to allow the use of spheres.

    But either of these could work although I think just using component parts of primitives might be great for cohesion and building speed. I will have to give it a test tonight. Might need to set a limit as well on the number of parts in any given model like no more than 5 to 6 regardless of the number of faces. Probably be another good constraint to ensure the objects are simple only showing the most important aspects of the object to be readable.

    I don't want to get too much into it though because it is not time yet. So maybe I will skip experimenting. Make more sense to focus on the work remaining to finish the current game. By the end of the weekend or next week I should have this one done.
     
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  24. zenGarden

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    Finish the current is better.

    What is the difference between Pico 8 and Pixel Vision 8 ?
    https://pixelvision8.itch.io/game-creator
    They should make a specific version able to take power of PC, 3D games with 8 bits graphics would run 60fps with long display distance.


    Interesting about living as indie, there is many indies you don't hear about, they keep success doing 2D games without needing the latest 3D engine or PC lol
     
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  25. zenGarden

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    I found the flying bike game LOL

     
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  26. GarBenjamin

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    It's just one more of the fantasy consoles. There are many of them now. Fantasy retro game consoles and fantasy retro computers. Pico-8 I think is still the most popular.

    A new one that has gained a good amount of popularity is Bitsy. It is focused more on interaction with objects, story telling etc. Action adventures basically. Movement is tile based. Graphics are very limited. The idea being to have these constraints in place to help you focus on the important things: the overall game design. The puzzles. Storytelling. Basically make something interesting in spite of the constraints.
    Here is a variety of examples of what people are creating with it from a jam...
     
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  27. neoshaman

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    My personal opinion is that to make 3d model quick, you shouldn't go low poly, restricting polycount doesn't matter and doesn't go faster, on contrary, what you should focus for speed is number of modification to achieve end result, in fact keeping simple form/structure and wasting poly might be the best routes, you can have decent lofi character for around 3000 poly without having to think about poly management, either in hi or low. In fact you can even waste some UV and save some time, if your game is lofi, the waste will be simply covered by the sheer scale of the power of the computer and its storage
     
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  28. GarBenjamin

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    Well that is true... it might be faster for some things to not worry about tech constraints. For me another big part of it is that as a gamer I like the aesthetic. I approach my game dev from both of these angles... as a developer & as a gamer.

    As a developer I can do a better & faster job producing content in ultra low rez / poly. As a gamer I really appreciate that style of visuals which for me is highy readable and less distracting. Puts the focus much more on what is important, often looks unique, colorful, etc.

    So it's just a personal thing really. A win-win for me. Everyone needs to find "their way" that works best for them... something they appreciate & can do a good job on in a reasonable amount of time (unless you live forever or have no concern if a project is worthwhile financially or not... either of these then time is meaningless to you lol).
     
  29. Kiwasi

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    There is merit to this. The one man game development team is inherently unstable. If they are successful, they will likely hire on more people and become a small studio. If they are unsuccessful, they will likely run out of funds and go get a day job.

    The studio that earns just enough money to keep just one person employed for any length of time is a rarity.
     
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  30. GarBenjamin

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    @zenGarden what were you making... the game I mean... when you created that saddled dinosaur type critter? Kind of reminds me of Golden Axe.
     
  31. zenGarden

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    Top down action rpg, no golden haxe lol

    I found new ones. 8 bit retro engines will become satured lol
    Why not Snes 16 bits retro graphics, same all in one game engine ? More resolution, more power , while it can also make 8 bit rez.
     
  32. zenGarden

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    10 minutes low poly, should not be difficult, it's just cube extrude, move and scale edges.
     
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  33. neoshaman

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    Less if you use skinmesh modifier, which also give you a skeleton for free
     
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  34. GarBenjamin

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    Now that's looking a lot better! And yes the idea is exactly that it shouldn't be difficult. Lol I'm not sure where the idea that making games or at least graphics for games should be a long huge effort process ever came from to begin with. With graphics like this especially if you can consistently average 10 mins per object you can make anything... you could build an rpg or whatever else you want. Of course it would still take time and work to do everything to complete the game but not being limited by a massively time consuming graphics workload is a huge thing. You can create a large amount of interesting characters, animals, props etc to populate the world with. And you can get on to actually using the graphics content in the game. :)
     
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  35. neoshaman

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    That's what I presented the idea that decision is the bottleneck in production, basically "polish" but down to what it actually mean.

    Let me expend a bit more:
    From what I have research, I have notice original works ROUGHLY ON AVERAGE tend to be done in 5-10 years, other a bit more derivative but with one key focus, from 3 to 5 and absolutely derivative takes less than 3 years, it doesn't matter if it's a book, an album or a game, or what is the size of the team, etc ...

    Basically if I make a book, how long does it takes to just type garbage or copy another books? how many words/page per minutes/hour? This is the frictionless speed, the absolute minimal amount of time it takes to produce something of any quality.

    This give you a great metric to evaluate how well you are doing, if you are writing a novel, the time it takes to complete the idea you have to a polish state vs this metric basically give you the friction, ie time you spend not producing but conceptualizing the story. It's important because generally nobody measure the conceptualization time (and that mean any redo of existing produce part of the work).

    It's another way to formulate the hofstader rules :D
     
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  36. GarBenjamin

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    There's just a lot of interest in games of this style AND in making games with these constraints. It kind of goes hand in hand. Having the constraints of ultra low rez with fixed tiny palette, limited audio, small amount of space for everything etc is interesting in itself and for many people helps them to actually complete games by limiting the scope.

    I think we will see 16-bit and probably N64 style 3d fantasy consoles sooner or later. And that will be a lot of fun.
     
  37. Lurking-Ninja

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    One thing I have very hard time to cope with. It's the game designer hat. I don't like designing things which I don't like.
    I know with my brain that other people may like those things, but still, I'm not good at that (to design things I hate or don't like).
    I hate low-poly style with all my heart. Hundred times over. And still, my brain knows that sometimes it would be more efficient, sometimes even more adequate for the thing I'm working on (at that moment, not my current project), and still, I hate it, it's ugly it's oversimplified, it's cheap.
    (Yeah, I never installed Minecraft on any of my computers either. Ever. Not once.)
    I have played the game 'For the king' once. Then I've uninstalled it. I can't stand low-poly.

    (Sorry, just random rumbling)
     
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  38. neoshaman

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    Also someone I admire, despite the derision she/he attracts

    I don't know who the guy is but he is poping games after games that clearly try to be bigger than they can, it's ambitious, it's impressive as dedication, even though most people will laugh at the result, I wish I was this person :(
     
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  39. GarBenjamin

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    It's definitely a very personal thing. When I talk about this stuff it is just basically why I do what I do. I absolutely believe every person has to find that right approach for themselves. If you hate low poly and don't even play games solely because they are low poly then it doesn't make any sense for you to build low poly content. You'd just need to find your own approach that works well for you. Basically the whole idea I have with this is removing or at least reducing limitations especially artificial ones to become a better more efficient game developer.

    You probably already use certain approaches you've found through experience to streamline content creation. And maybe there are tools that can help. For some people graphics workload might not be what keeps them from completing a game and maybe it is audio or programming. I'm a big fan of simplifying things in the interest of completing them. Professionally I use oop and interfaces and layers of abstraction and even dependency injection at times. In my game dev I go as pure procedural highly modular approach as possible. Heck I am now actually using a BASIC language to program my games. All because it means I can get more done in less time.

    So I get it completely what you're saying. If you hate it makes no sense to use. But maybe there are other things that can be streamlined for making music or sound fx or programming etc. And also maybe a lot of people don't care how long it takes to complete a game or even if they complete a game. That's entirely valid too.

    For me... I care. I want to complete games and I want to do it in the minimal amount of time possible simply because if there is an approach or tools or whatever that would let me complete a game in 120 hours instead of 200, 300 maybe even 500 hours it just makes sense to me to make use of as much of that stuff as I can.
     
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  40. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Well... it was a refreshing surprise when I realized this video is actually from Sony themselves. This is their promotional video for the game.

    I must admit that upon seeing the trailer I thought this is very odd. There has to be something here I am not getting. The graphics I have no problem with at all. For the amount of content in there (40 playable characters for example) all done by one person I can understand it. It's a passable simplistic visual style although the animation seems wonky with the incredible walk strides but whatever. Reminds me of early 3D computer games.

    So I spent some time digging and when I got past Jim Sterling & others moaning & groaning about the game and found the people who appreciate it... the game is very interesting... it has a very interesting story... the combat is very interesting... there is so much you can do... there are dozens of characters you can play as.

    It also seems to appeal to at least some people who used to play Runescape many years ago.

    Also quite possible this person has built up a fanbase over time with their game releases.

    They are an Indie Game Dev actually making games. And let's face it doesn't matter how many people hate their games and call them garbage. It's the people that do appreciate the games whether it's because of the story, the overall size, the combat, all of the playable characters or whatever the reason... those are the people that matter (in the context of gamers & these games of course). There's something here that some people seem to like.

    Kind of reminds me of that one guy who for many years made 2D then 3D wrestling games. And many other games too. A lot of people called them garbage etc made fun of them. But he had a hell of big fanbase that loved his games. Dickey or Mickey? Something like that.

    I found it! Mat Dickie of MDickie.com he has been a long time Pro Wrestling Fan and making wrestling games for about 20 years.

    He is another one that a lot of the elitist type of people laughed at him online but you have to really think who really knows what they are doing? I'd say he definitely found his target audience and they appreciate him for it. He used to make PC games then switched to mobile games... with his latest one downloaded over 50 million times & rated very highly. That's more than the actual WWE Official wrestling games.

    I never understood why he got so much crap from people. His games looked fine and the scope of them is damn impressive with more to them than the official games even have. But he made many different kinds of games just his most popular are the wrestling. Well Hard Time the prison game was quite a hit too.


    Anyway if that Dragoon Entertainment developer continues on they should get there too. Games should continue to improve over time and fanbase will grow and one day another "overnight Indie hit".

    I guess that's it... to me this is just normal. This is the process you follow. Most any well known developer of a highly popular game has made numerous other games before they made the ones most people know them for today. And every one of those games brought in some more people as fans of that developer and their games. Like they say "it only takes 20 years to become an overnight success". :)


    Do you know what these games have in common?



    They are two of the many games Matt Thorson made before these...

     
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  41. neoshaman

    neoshaman

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    There is definitely an underground of successful "clunky" games, none of their success are easy to replicate though, it's like the subculture of successful IP, for example the long time series "sonic stop motion animation" ended recently and had a large following, it's a 10 years series that had reach thousand of viewers (guys started when 11years old), there is many "small" but sizeable niche like that.

    Generally they are like Unturned, kids games made for other kids using kids aesthetics, and which grew up with their audiences and are still operating in the shadow. Basically these kind of success, some people just can't compute them, it doesn't fit the narrative we are told, so they are conveniently ignored in a cultural blindspot, and it doesn't matter how many your bring up and how successful they are (more than some traditional success metric), they are always the "exception", like how many exception it takes to make a trend?

    It remind me the pre indie pre casual games for girl with nancy drews and dev like herInteractive, they blew the chart but didn't end up in them :rolleyes: they don't fit the "culture", so nobody report, and nobody know their story, they don't get to inspire (because they are actively mocked in their success) and we still bang our head on replicating model that are actually "clunky", instead of finding a voice and an audience. Youtube is another proof of that, the weirdest success had arise with the weirdest aesthetics, I mean who could predict Bill Wurtz?
     
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  42. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Yes I think there are two things at work. The first is greatly underestimating how powerful it is to keep making games and releasing them somewhere for years building up a fanbase through that process. Matt released his early games on Flash sites I think and the GM forums.

    Second is it is hard to really wrap our minds around just how many people there are in this world. In the USA alone the last I read over 210 million people play games. Not AAA only but web games, FB games, mobile games, consoles and computer. 210 million just in the USA. Which means even if you chose a microscopic niche or otherwise made some kind of games that only 1 out of 100,000 of these people connected with... eventually over time of making games and expanding your reach you could have a potential fanbase of over 2,000 people just in the USA alone. Now expand that out to Canada, Europe and the rest of the world.

    A lot of these people have succeeded... I believe... simply through time. It's like trying to push a heavy truck. At first you push and not much happens. Then again and it moves a bit. And you keep doing it and it starts rolling and eventually even if you stop pushing it is still moving on its own for a while. By making these games continually over time some people on the forums and other people on the other sites the games were released on were introduced to them. Some tiny % of these people probably even told their friends.

    As you make each new game you become more familiar. Your presence increases. Some guy on YT covering tiny Indie games finds one of your games and maybe even finds the previous ones and covers them. Some forum with a few thousand people somewhere talk about one of the games. All of this is happening but you cannot see it and it doesn't do much of anything right now today. It is a process. Your fanbase is increasing over time. One here. 100 there. And one day it reaches a sort of critical mass and BOOM!
     
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  43. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    I LOL... MDickie has one of the best Twitter profile texts I have seen yet...
    www.twitter.com/MDickieDotcom

    Single-handedly responsible for the WORST games to ever be enjoyed by millions of people

    Maybe that's his way of having fun with his critics or maybe just the way he sees it.
     
  44. Ony

    Ony

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    but... uhm... you're using low poly stuff right now, today. In five to ten years the games of today are going to be considered low poly. Back when we were working on N64 games I hated low poly, too. Yikes, SNES stuff like StarFox looked like crap. Virtua Fighter? Hah! Too low poly. We need MORE DETAIL! We pushed the limit of the N64 - to the MAX - and wow were we riding the cutting edge.

    From a game I worked on: "One of the last racing simulations to be released for Nintendo 64, this graphically intensive title uses custom microcode optimization and high polygon count modelling." - Wikipedia

    LOL

     
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  45. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Oh, neat, I dumped a bunch of hours into World Driver Championship when I was younger.
     
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  46. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Have reallly the poly count increased that much in recent years atlast per object. PBR and shaders have advanced more I would say.

    This is one of my favorite assets in our game. I have a hard time believing it will look completely outdated in 5 years

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

     
  47. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    There must be many great niche game you won't hear in big sites like Polygon for example, but they stay successful and have a big fan base enough big to worth it they spend time making those games.


    The third thing, is they made one game and continued, their production process and design was mastered or better in their next games, their skills grow as their advert skills to make good trailers or better advert.
    It's progression.

    Perhaps he has a good fan base, but i looked at it's games, and i find those crappy.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DO6KvM2X4AA19lr.jpg:large

    He re uses a lot , most characters are the same with clothes changes, most art is copy and paste things together.
    Many things just don't match together visually , they are different art direction or photos images.
    There is no real graphic work, no real composition to have something looking good together.

    It must be some big fan base for games quick made with some good ideas thrown together, without real effort on graphics LOL

    But he is fully right here : Go with what works for you to get success.
    https://twitter.com/MDickieDotcom/status/954246588171513856


    RDR2 game doesn't have weapons as detailed on textures.
    When it's not player fps, weapons doesn't need so much details , like in real enemies stay at distance and you can only see shapes and color of weapon not such details lol

    There is Substance designer and painter that helps a lot with lot of pre made procedural materials to get such result quickly. The most demanding will be good design art with details and the modeling.
    I think the most complex is not hard surface but making characters look real.

    Anyway indies can't do the same triple A game as studios like Rockstar for example :rolleyes:
     
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  48. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    Absolutely! I see that as all a part of the process. Your design skills improve, your dev skills improve, your marketing skills improve, your fanbase grows.

    Probably the biggest thing really is like the twitter post you linked... these people are just doing what they want to do. What they believe in. They don't care if they have hundreds or even millions of people making fun of them & hating their games etc. They are doing what they want to do.

    And that's a huge thing. Especially in the beginning would be very hard for most people. Most would either change the way they made games or just give up. Like if he posted his games here many years ago I imagine he'd got the normal... "need better graphics... you aren't making enough effort" etc. Lol A person basically has two choices for dealing with that stuff... change and do what other people want you to do (not customers but just other people in general) OR believe in yourself and what you're doing and continue to do it your way.

    By doing this they are making very impressive games in size. It's much like Jeff and his rpg games. Like he said he has heard it for decades "graphics suck!" And one time he got so sick of hearing it he spent the money hired an artist just to improve them and what did he hear about that game?.... "graphics suck" so he didn't waste money & time solely to better the graphics again. But the main thing is these people are building something that is very special. Big games. Deep games. Complex games. Like you mentioned... the games are in the same genre for the most part. Basically the same kind of games. And that means their tech and tools and workflows for making that kind of game improve each time.

    It's just millions of people care more about what his games have than what they don't have. I mean it's like this really... if a target audience likes wrestling... why would they not play a great wrestling game simply because of how it looks? It makes no sense really.

    Same if people love those old school style deeper rpg games then why wouldn't they play a great old school rpg game just because it doesn't look as great as it could? Again... it makes no sense when you really think about it. If what matters to the people is the game itself... what they can DO in the game... it will not stop them from playing and enjoying the game.

    Not everyone looks at games the way an artist does. I think that's a big thing to remember. You see bad graphics mismatched things etc. They aren't looking at the games to critique them judge their visuals.. they look at the games and see "looks like a pretty cool fun game!".
     
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  49. zenGarden

    zenGarden

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    Exactly, you need to start and deliver a finished first game, whatever it is mobile or pc with crappy graphics lol
    You'll improve and make better later.

    That's it, if he posted his game here nobody would respond or many like me would say it's crappy games.
    You must do what you enjoy and what works for you, there is a niche and fan base even for not so great graphics LOL
    The game must be entertaining and appeal some specific audience.

    Right, however me or other people games we find crappy or without real graphics work, like copy and paste, we just skip them right away, but there is niche users even for those.

    When you got skills to make something not crappy, with minimal effort on graphics, i think it's always a plus.
     
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  50. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

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    That's a huge thing. And I think this is why many people can't see why some games are so popular. These developers are truly passionate about their games. I mean they love the kind of stuff their games are about and were fans of that kind of stuff long before they ever made even a first game about it. And being a true passionate fan of the games or subject themselves they are able to make games that connect more with other fans. Like MDickie being a fan he understood better what wrestling fans wanted to see in a wrestling game than the WWE itself did. Their games come from the minds of the corp what they want to be in the games, how they want things to be represented, etc. MDickie doesn't care about any of that and his games come from the mind of what a wrestling fan wants in a wrestling game.

    Same is true for Jeff Vogel I am sure. And that Dragoon Entertainment developer I'd guess is basically the same way. There is something they are a fan of and understands from that perspective that if we aren't fans just cannot get it.

    So many people say they are passionate about game dev for example and then they make Flappy Bird clones. And you have to wonder do they really... I mean really truly honestly have a great passion for Flappy Bird style games? Or are they just making what they think is the fastest possible game to throw out on the store and hope to make a few dollars.

    Making tiny games in itself doesn't mean a person has no passion. It's just that I don't see how a huge number of games that have been made and are being made, amazing audio & visuals or not, came out of any kind of real passion for the subject / game itself. Of course sometimes people are doing it to learn because they have to start somewhere. I get that. And it could very well be there is some real passion behind the games they are making that I just don't understand because I don't have their background, interests, etc so cannot see the games the way they do.

    Yes you would be one of the many who don't matter. lol I don't mean that as an insult to you just that do you cater to the millions of people who hate & skip your games right away or do you cater to the people who appreciate your games? Even if it was millions hate your games and thousands love your games to me the thousands are the people I want to focus on. They are the ones who gave the game a chance and appreciate what I produced. Makes little sense to focus on and worry about the people who never even game the game a chance. IMO anyway.

    I definitely agree about if you can make the visuals better without it impacting your ability to complete the game or limiting the scope of the game then of course you should do that. The reason I chose ultra low rez pixel art for my current game wasn't because I have no care about the graphics at all... it's because going this route allowed me to make better graphics without creating an unrealistically huge workload. And same for the ultra low poly 3D. The reason I am thinking about that and will experiment is not because I don't care at all. It is just the opposite. It is how can I produce the most interesting visuals in the minimum amount of time... i.e. without making it a massive project in itself just to make the graphics. Well and I like those simplistic visuals. To me they are kind of unique and very interesting.

    For me I see it all more balanced. I will spend about as much time on the graphics as I do on the programming and the audio and the game design etc. And I will spend most of my time on playtesting and refining in all of these areas as needed. I think that is a sensible approach. It wouldn't make sense to me to place 50% or even more of the focus on graphics alone and only 10% on audio for example. Sure the graphics are very important to some people. There is a good chance the audio is very important for many people as well. Heck some people suffer from vision problems such as color blindness, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts and so on. It's a big world out there.
     
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