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How Close Can Indies Get To AAA Games?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Assembler-Maze, May 1, 2017.

  1. Teila

    Teila

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    I feel rebellious....

    AAA means it was made by a large company. That does not mean it is really good.

    Not sure how you can dismiss gameplay and story, as many games with simple graphics, can make a very professional beautiful game simply based on unique gameplay and/or a compelling story. AAA? Or Indie? Does it matter if the game sells and gets noticed?

    Judging only on graphics and technical (what does that include because are not graphics and gameplay mechanics technical too?) is what has gotten us to the point where graphics are amazing and available to Indies, but the games themselves are often not very unique or different. Somehow the idea is that games, indie or AAA need the top of the line super realistic graphics to be fun has permeated the gaming community.

    Instead, we find that some of the most popular games are beautiful and compelling without cutting edge graphics.

    We also forget that games do not have to follow the crowd, sometimes the breakout game is something different, something no one but an indie could take a chance on making.

    I did not follow your rules...but then your rules sadly were limiting. ;)
     
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  2. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    I see AAA I shoot the man wearing it!!!


    Hopefully people get the reference there. Anyway, yeah AAA games are just too damn stupid to play. I stopped following them altogether a long time ago. Indies aren't a lot better as it seems most want to be AAA, but there is some gems out there.
     
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  3. frosted

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    Amen brother. I still miss ShadowK,

    The old days when this forum was like the wild west, where everything was unknown, possibilities were endless and people were really invested.
     
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  4. neoshaman

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    You don't have to go AAA anyway, it's afun production problem to think about, and the more tools we have the better. It's not just about AAA and visual fidelity. We aren't judging anything.

    On a strictly personal level, I'm more interested in minimalist low poly outsider art with non photo realistic rendering. But i still get insight for that trying to solve AAA. Notably in handling scale of asset production.

    Anyway everything else is taste, just because certain aesthetics is associated with a certain culture and gameplay don't mean it is inherently only possible within that culture. Or that the code of that aesthetic cannot be broken. We can do much more with details realism than gritty blockbusters n465

    And i don't think there is less interesting game, it's just that there is more of them, and certain niche grew popular again. Just avoid them.

    Tigsource forum devlog is still full of unique game, disco elysium was there and it was born under the name "no truce with the furies."
     
  5. Billy4184

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    The thing is, nothing fundamentally changed, except for perceptions. I think the problem is the same as the reason why no one knows how to make a utopian science fiction movie anymore. There's an 'end of history' illusion across every artistic domain.

    The world needs to experience something new so that it can regain its innocence.

    As the great Peter Thiel said "We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters".
     
  6. neoshaman

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    Probably because most people see their work unable to sustain themselves and their family, something new can't help we can only scrap by amto just survive, and prospects around you become even more precarious, meritocracy is long dead. We gonna fix the problems first, but nobody agree on what to solve because we don't share the same urgency.

    But we tethering politic so I'll stop.
     
  7. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    @everyone here

    I'm happy to not be making an AAA game, but a very polished and great thing that I feel some people will choose instead of an AAA game. If you are not thinking like that, you should be.

    Something with a 3 month to complete scope with a following 6 months to market and polish.
     
  8. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Yeah. AAA scope and graphics comes at cost of time. Does anybody here really want to sit and place hair cards for their main character for five days, then spend the next five months going through iterations to animate that hair? I don't. Doesn't sound like satisfying payoff to me at all.
     
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  9. hippocoder

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    It sounds actually stupid, inexperienced and self-harming.

    It also won't result in a single extra sale. That alone should be something people really should look at closely in their project management.

    People need to ask themselves: What are you really selling people? A game they can't play elsewhere, or models they can buy elsewhere?

    It's time for me to butt out again, but anyone who's read any of my posts over the years here will know that I understand how damaging the indie mindset can be, and how it really can harm people. It's a dangerous trap to dream too big and as a wise man called Shahid once told me, it's a good time to look at Icarus.
     
  10. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Some people like that kind of environment though. Or maybe they just like being associated with the prestige. I just don't see a correlation between between that level of fidelity and sales. I mean shiny new graphics is always a plus, but like, did the amount of time and energy spent on Aloys hair in Horizon Zero Dawn really pay off? Do gamers who play Uncharted really care at all that they can see realistic pores on the nose? Would the games sell less if they just had "pretty good" graphics? Certainly they could lower the production cost by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
     
  11. hippocoder

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    People buy AAA for very different reasons to indie though. AAA also has several different kinds of games: you've got Uncharted with a technology showcase, hair, etc and you've got Fortnite which is all about the live world, and not a visual showcase. So it's a good idea already to separate visuals from how much work you're doing. My above comment about 3 + 6 months is a great way to tame it regardless. IMHO indies on these forums should be making magic, not models, and if Unity doesn't support something out of the box, don't do it.

    Now I'll butt out!
     
  12. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    two golden nuggest right there
     
  13. Teila

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    Absolutely. Pragmatism and realism are not bad words. I am very glad you did not butt out before you shared these words above with us. As always, you say it well, Hippo.
     
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  14. neoshaman

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    You all make it like it's about sales and prestige lol what about the craft and the challenge? the artistry? is it always the greed? There is definite experience that can't be achieve outside of scope.


    In fact a lot of the argument I made is precisely to reduce the pain by using automation without sacrificing the craft. For example for realistic character, I point to good base mesh with good generator existing, with a quality level good enough to achieve AAA quality, you ain't spending 3 month crafting the characters like you use to do, you can speed a week per high quality character and defer to automation for all the others. You don't spend time capturing and doing blendshape, that's like 3 month less, and by now we have figure out that blend shape can be applied to any faces automatically, and best you can buy them from a services (300€) that does it for you. Cloth use to be a huge pain, okay what about marvelous designer? Material? shader and library are already made.

    The thing is that a lot can be, synthetized, automated, or bought from services for cheap, by now, hence the conversation.

    People do that when making prosthetic and dolls all the time, and it scale way less than game that can have a decent amount of automatization. Like the more realistic the hair, the more tools you are using, most of the time isn't placing the stuff, it's about the craft.

    Anyway That's exactly what I'm doing, and it's beyond AAA because nobody care about the type of hair i'm looking for, all sample I looked at are basically bad, and people find them good because they don't really care and don't know any better. There is no tutorial, no academic paper, it's as good as non existent. Worse I can't talk about it in details because the appearance is intrinsically link to experiences, and it belong to some people who are deemed "political" just for "existing", because some people are trying to push some agenda on us. Sometimes it's not self harm, it is self healing.

    I have literally no other choice, except not existing I guess?
     
  15. BIGTIMEMASTER

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    @neoshaman

    yes, love of the art is something to consider too. For me, I can't be happy contributing one tiny piece of a larger whole. I could not be happy to contribute an awesome character to a game I don't think is great too.

    In general, smaller teams is better, I think, for people who enjoy more autonomy and really obsess over the craft.
     
  16. iamthwee

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    For indies especially, you're selling the story, a narrative, an emotional journey, or just a 'meaningless' action adventure with great mechanics, or whatever it is you think people will play and enjoy. I think that's the difference between indies and large AAA studios. On the plus side we can take risks.

    I think we all start of thinking we can achieve a AAA standard, because that's probably the games we're introduced to.
    Truth be told the closest we can come to that is maybe a scene with one or two characters, but a fully fledged game with multiple levels etc all AAA standard, forget it.

    It's a fool's errand.

    The closer unity gets to engines like unreal, I think the more distractions it offers to indies. It's nice to know the tools exist, but hell the work that goes into setting up a AAA environment @BIGTIMEMASTER will know what I mean, it is mind boggling.

    Instead of 'adding', start 'cutting.' This is probably one of the most important take-aways I've had whilst being on here.

    Oh yeah, and if @Ony 's reading, 'Just don't get into game dev. Turn around when you still can.' :p
     
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  17. neoshaman

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    It's 20 years too late for me anyway :D
     
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  18. iamthwee

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    ^Don't worry, we were all suckered into the sales pitch.

    Sell them the dream. . . hundreds of thousands of fools will buy into it.

    then we realised. . .

    :D
     
  19. neoshaman

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    Nah I'm pass the peak of my career where I'm told to be reasonable and see other realizing exactly what I was told was impossible ...

    Also I'm a designer, my entire purpose is to take dreams and find way to make them practical, AAA at indie scale is like the ultimate challenge of that job title. If there is a way, there will be a way.

    But right now I have been dealing with broken hardware and food shortage, that's holding me back, BUT i'll get there.
     
  20. iamthwee

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    Oh my gosh I hope things get better for you. It pains me to see people struggle in their day to day lives. . . game dev is just a distraction for most. It's the real life things that matter.
     
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  21. neginfinity

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    I think that there's a separate category of (AAA) games which are targeting people who want high fidelity cinematic experience (often at expense of gameplay). And trying to match THOSE titles with a small budget would likely be a bad idea, because AAA studios also have AAA advertising budget and will have easier time reaching out for desired audience.
     
  22. neoshaman

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    I have heard but not verified, that marketing budget can reach as much as double as the dev budget, I wonder if there is someone who know about this.
     
  23. Teila

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    Ummm, too late. Ony has been making games for a very long time. ;) Probably best not to assume.
     
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  24. iamthwee

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  25. Teila

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  26. Billy4184

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    This will always be good advice. I will only say that my point was rather along the lines of: when the most zealous and optimistic temperaments (which exist in small percentages everywhere) are not able to conjure up outlandish ideas that are at least worth entertaining, I think it's time to consider whether the collective outlook is healthy.
     
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  27. frosted

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    Whenever new technology and new possibilities open up, there's always a period where it's "the wild west" - what always happens next is that things tend to stabilize and mature. When game engines became free and everyone suddenly got access, it was definitely a wild west environment. We're now in a more mature phase.

    It's kinda boring, but its not unhealthy.
     
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  28. Billy4184

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    I believe this is true, but I fear that it's not the whole story. I think part of the problem is that when games were still finding their feet, there was a feeling that we only needed better technology to build the worlds of our vivid imaginations. But now that we have the technology, the only thing we can come up with is a world that was sent back to where it came from (the aftermath of some apocalypse).

    The reason I think this is because science fiction (which I think is the best way to track the health of the collective imagination) is beyond crippled right now. Even the concept of a utopian science fiction movie sounds like some kind of weird comedy. Despite the fact we live in the best time in history by any standards, the only thing people can come up with is some kind of apocalypse where technology turns around and kills us in one form or another.

    I think games, which, like any art form is an expression of the imagination, is suffering from the effects of the same malaise. Even 18 quintillion procedural worlds are not enough to cover up the hole in our imaginations. And I think that there's a sense of unease that while we are working away on our games, nothing particularly exciting is happening outside.

    Anyway, I think the opportunities in games are greater than ever, but the 'why' that tells you the 'what' and the 'how' is harder than ever to find in our current state of affairs. Hopefully this will change soon.
     
  29. neoshaman

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    To be frank, that's partly because a lot of the utopian promise actually happen, and revealed to be full dystopie. Probably only 10% see the benefit, and the cost is that 90% of the population do not.

    Consider this:
    I 'm basically below poverty line since 2008 (I'll let you guess what event put me there on that date alone), the only thing is that I'm educated so I have some hope to bounce back, I'm also in a developed place, so basic need like infrastructure and sanitary are covered, when I can't pay internet there is a lot of free hotspot I can use, I can use free electricity in restaurant to charge my computer, ie I can sustain myself and try to grow by hustling. BUT also I'm locked out of most of the internet market due to some dumb global corporate decision, and there is like 40% of unemployment where I am. Also 98% of the population is poison with kepone due to some wealthy trying to hold on their privilege, which create birth defect and cancer epidemic, which is a slow painful death that involve all relatives. And worse we have some events that directly link to global warming, that create hydrogen sulfide emanation, which corrode electronics on top of health problem, which makes it hard to invest and grow up, though it's not everywhere.

    And I'm educated enough to know that, statiscally, I'm part of a low nobility on earth, ie I'm better served than like 80% of all habitant on earth. That number should tells you something.

    I mean it's great you are part of population that actually see the benefit enough to desire something grandiose, most other can't even afford to dream. For most of us we are straight in a dystopie, the apocalypse already happen, and we are promise more of this not less. Everything that was supposed to save just turn on us, or are simply denied. What makes you think a new thing will help?

    I'm saying, it's not a lack of imagination, it's a lack of reality.
     
  30. ptcmia

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    Forgot where I read this but "we were promised flying cars and instead we got 140 characters"
     
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  31. Billy4184

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    I don't think this is the right place to debate the topic, but based on my understanding of history, I don't believe it's possible to argue that we are living in a dystopia, at least not by any relative metric. That's not to say everyone's situation is great, of course.

    But to stick to the topic, I don't believe that the artistic imperative is something that is crushed by the fundamental challenges of life, quite the contrary. I think it is crushed by the fear that there is nothing left that is worth risking a great deal to discover.
     
  32. Murgilod

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    The only thing separating the global north from a cyberpunk dystopia is the fact that neon isn't as prevalent as expected.
     
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  33. neoshaman

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    Then I'll just quote William Gibson:
    "The future is here, just unevenly distributed".

    Given that all future in science fiction are just the extrapolation of the present...
    But then you suppose agency is possible, and that's reserved to a certain people due to their circumstance. You lack the imagination to see how much locked agency can really be. And if you look at my post history, on similar subject, I'm kinda optimist, I'm always the one shooting for miracle like "AAA made by one indie" lol, ie I'm not be able to expect regular result, I'm looking straight at miracles, there is no other way to do anything in my position, I can't afford less.

    So we can of got back on topic? I'll keep looking for way to make AAA indie happen, because that's the only way to rise up the gravity pull. Not to make an AAA per se, but to find production idea that help punching above the weight, even if we are far from the aesthetics. That mean lowering the cost, and that mean allowing to raise niche to standard where they might bloom. It's a necessary exercise.

    IMHO we must always practice vigilance, ie trying to think how to solve the outright impossible, to find cracks in the statu quo, how far can we go in the possibility. Not because it's envy, or aspirational dream, no, just as a goddamn base state of mind, to always look for opportunities. But that mean you should look at the realities straight up.

    One thing I have alluded in my case, is the access to services due to the presence of infrastructure. Infrastructural collapse is one thing I care lot, due to having partial experience with it. IMHO when you say we aren't a dystopie because of your understanding of history, I think you haven't looked at infrastructure.

    Most people vastly underestimate or things we take for granted, like sewer, clean water on tap, street light at night, telecommunication and electricity, actually affect their agency. In fact the current encroaching reality of infrastructural IS the reason why there is so many post apocalyptic movies, very distinct from the disaster movies, that is they deal with that very subject. It's successful because it's relatable to many people.
     
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  34. wetcircuit

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    But we got that 1950s thing where literally everything has a tv screen.
     
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  35. BrandyStarbrite

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    Dude. That sadly sucks dude.:eek:
    I hope you pull through somehow. And good thing, you found some ways, to overcome some of those obstacles.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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