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Is anyone actually making a game?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by frosted, Sep 18, 2015.

  1. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Thanks. ;)

    My team has tackled some big fish already. My Art Director has worked on Final Fantasy, Fallout, Parasite Eve and a pile of other awesomeness. :cool:
     
  2. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    @khanstruct - Holy cow! Surprising. Good luck!
    Gigi

    PS - What research shows that a cyberpunk MMO will succeed? Cyberpunk is kinda niche. Niche can be good, though maybe less so, for an MMO.
     
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  3. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    It's kind of a huge niche, though, covering everything from Blade Runner to The Matrix and more. Then again, The Matrix Online only lasted a few years. Good luck, @khanstruct!
     
  4. frosted

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    Is it even possible to do any meaningful research on something like that?

    I mean, I'm sure that guys can put together charts and statistics (smoke, mirrors and lies) but I seriously doubt that you could actually put together truly meaningful data on something like this. At best you'd be basing it off of seriously random stuff like Matrix ticket sales, general MMO demographics and the maybe one real cyberpunk game made in the last 5 years (shadowrun). At best any kind of statistical market research on this would end up just being a sales pitch with very little quality as a predictive tool.
     
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  5. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    The MMO problem isn't even networking really, it's content. The reason blizzard canned the idea of doing another MMO on the scale of WoW is the fact it has a decade of actual content. This is the problem for any competing MMO.

    If you don't have content you can't keep people long enough for them to pull friends in and grow it or sustain it, it does not reach critical mass. So you need think about those problems and how to solve them. Networking isn't your main problem.

    How many people here successfully made a game with the same number of quests and activities as elwynn forest? There are around 35 quests there. Each quest has npc behaviours, dialogue trees, item management, and so on. There's so much to it. It doesn't even factor in the nearby stormwind or the auction house, shops, and stories. Even doing those 35 quests would be a nightmare to achieve within a year for any 2 man team.

    And that's just quests. It's not art, sound, design, bugs, or any other development issues.

    You would start cutting corners, and once you start cutting corners, you start having a lower quality product than WoW and why would anyone downgrade? So MMOs can exist, but they must be dramatically different from what WoW's template provides.

    So when I see a tiny studio attempt an MMO, I have to say it, because I don't want to see people jump into flames pointlessly. If they still will not heed the advice to rethink then I wish them the best (and don't forget your fire res).
     
  6. Gigiwoo

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    @hippocoder - I 2nd that! Well said. ... I'm skeptical. And, at the same time, I like @khanstruct. I wish their team amazing success along their journey. In other words, I hope Hippo and I are both wrong.

    Gigi
     
  7. frosted

    frosted

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    I think you may be underestimating what's possible with a skilled team. I think this amount of content can be produced in a quarter of the time you're suggesting. This is of course assuming you really know what you're doing, and you cut the right corners.

    I'm definitely not for encouraging newbies to take on huge projects, but I think that in 2015 a truly experienced, skilled team can put out some incredible results.

    I couldn't do it at my current skill level, but I also realize that I'm still very green.
     
  8. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Well, I factored in the developers having maximum experience. It's just this content takes time to author due to physics. Artists can't go faster. Dialogue cannot be written quicker. Design can't go faster. People need to eat and sleep.

    It's not even a technical problem, it just really takes an explosive amount of time. How experienced the developers are doesn't shorten authoring content for MMOs. You could make a pile of gibberish and filler that everyone hates, but I'm assuming WoW-level quality or better.

    The solution for a tiny team is to go balls out procedural.

    The problem is if you want to use WoW as a baseline, they did cut the right corners and do know what they're doing. Cutting any more than that gives you an inferior product.

    And of course, the Elwynn forest area isn't anywhere near enough content for a full game, it's just an example of really looking at the work involved in content generation of a good quality.

    Side note:

    One of my main skills is milking the maximum bang for buck or cutting corners as you put it. We already cut the biggest corners using Unity itself. Next up, you dump premature optimisation and you forget fancy bespoke shaders and so on, just sticking with the baseline Unity and asset store, an experienced team would struggle to fit the pieces together in a cohesive whole. Once this is done you're onto raw content generation, and this isn't something that's easily accelerated with consistent quality (apart from procedural content).
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
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  9. goonter

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    @hippocoder At a previous job, I wrote and scripted quests and I could easily complete 35 quests in a month, not a year. Of course this is writing, scripting, testing, and supporting art (icons) only. But to say 35 quests, content and scripting only, takes a year is ridiculous. I agree with you that one of the huge bottlenecks is content, but it is art and environment content, not quest content.
     
  10. AndrewGrayGames

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    Did you test it? Did you run it by focus groups? Beta testers? Did you have to iterate the quest at all?

    Doing something the right way makes it take longer...usually. However, you might have gotten lucky, and found a great workflow. What game did you work on? I'd like to see some of the quests your team created, and compare and contrast.
     
  11. goonter

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    @Asvarduil I've worked in AAA and Mobile, but I was on the production side when I was working in AAA, so to be fair most of this content design experience comes from mobile games, but from what I've seen it is very similar: story writing, dialog writing, quest step writing, quest step parameterization, NPC behavior parameterization, quest item drop parameterization, quest item art, one-off art (like quest step icons or special NPC visual states), and QA. Focus groups and beta testers were not usually an option because most content goes in post-launch, but we had extremely detailed analytics on each quest that we'd use to improve future ones. Almost all quests were iterated on to some extent based on internal feedback during QA.

    I'd also say that realistically this kind of output takes one designer at 100%, one QA person at 25-50%, and one artist at 25%. But still, it goes much faster than 35 quests per year with 2 people.

    I did design work for a bunch of mobile games, but one of the most recent is this one.
     
  12. khanstruct

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    Bear in mind that I have zero intention of "competing" with WoW, much in the same way that games like Eve don't compete with WoW. Yes, they're both MMOs, but they're nowhere near the same kind of game. (I have no intention of competing with Eve either.)

    Personally, I hate that endless string of quests that those kind of MMOs use. You're basically just chasing your tail until you get bored or exhausted or both. I do, however, understand the importance of always giving the player something to do. Our general tactic is to build "out" rather than "up". Give the player more to do in general rather than an upward scale of quests.

    As for the cyberpunk market. Sure, it's a niche market, though, as TonyLi said, it's a big damn niche, and certainly enough to support an MMO. Especially since there's a massive void in the marketplace where currently, only Neocron sits.

    And the Matrix Online... so sad. You will never find a bigger Matrix fan than me, but it wasn't the genre that killed that game. It was simply just a crappy game. People were level capping in 2 weeks, and then there was little more to do after that. And that was only a small slice of its poor design. The fact that it actually survived as long as it did is a testament to the genre (and the zeal Matrix fanboys).

    But thanks for the encouragement and warnings! ;)
     
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  13. AkiraNasuki

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    Actually anyone can make a game, but it is difficult to complete a game and put it out on the market.

    I myself am a recent graduate and most annoying thing I find is that all sectors of the media business requires some form of years of experience. Of course I could apply for training and intern but it all depends on whether or not a company is willing to invest time and money on you.

    I mean i've came up with maybe 5 game titles and made a start on game design documents and the like but never got them to the stage of completion because the scale is to big for an individual or a handful of people to develop. (bad habit I am trying to break right now)
     
  14. Tomnnn

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    If we're mostly indies then most of the projects are going to be prototypes or ideas that go nowhere. The most I've shared on this forum would be screenshots of a project that exists to show that one feature.

    I worked for sandswept briefly, and my first hand experience to share with you all is that telecommuting is cool.
     
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  15. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    That's why - way back in 2009 when I first picked up Unity - my goal was to release a game, of any quality, by graduation. The game that I came up with was SHMUP: Orbital Combat. The point wasn't to make money - it was to prove I could complete something. The point wasn't for it to be great - the point was to prove that it was even possible for me to attain greatness in the first place.

    I met my goal only a few days before my graduation. I've since produced two more games, of ever-increasing quality (I do admit, the curve is a bit flat, but it is trending upwards. ;) ) I encourage you to not worry about money, to not worry about fame - if you're serious about making games, your first priority is to put out something to get the ball rolling. Don't charge for it, either - you're gaining experience (and character levels, of course), which is by and far more valuable.
     
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  16. Deleted User

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    I'm sure if I posted my stuff here saying, here's a game I made in UE4 it'd get locked down quickly.. Even though I like Unity and really like the community here.
     
  17. Tomnnn

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    Demonstrating it's ease of use and how much prettier things are with zero configuration would certainly be troublesome for UT. That said, I think people very knowledgeable in development would choose unity if they were concerned about mobile performance, development time with C# vs C++ and They planned to really make a killing on their game (keeping more of their revenue if they buy a few pro licenses with unity instead of a % of the profit for UE).
     
  18. Teila

    Teila

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    Good luck getting that point across. lol

    There are lots of little MMO's...or SMO's as I like to call them, out there that do not even attempt to compete with WoW or even Eve. They do fine, have thousands instead of hundreds of thousands of players. Some have been running for years. Many are niche games. I absolutely agree with the quest driven games...boring, same stuff over and over, and yeah, building out, giving the player more to do is important.

    You are realistic in your vision and that is the first start. :) One issues I often see is that people can't get past the AAA game comparisons and that includes idealistic game developers who want to make the next WoW and cynical game developers who think everyone who makes an MMO wants to make WoW. Gamers just seem to get stuck in the old "we make money when we clone big games" mentality.

    Sort of funny if you think about it. :)
     
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  19. Deleted User

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    Not really, development time in C++ and C# for me is negligible. I've been coding far longer in C++ than I have in C#, mobile performance I don't care about, it's not what I do and the 5% doesn't matter either because the amount of money saved in tool development will equate to a substantial amount. If I earn enough I'll re-negotiate a contract...

    End of the day, it really doesn't matter what you use. There's pro's and cons to everything, there's one common goal.! Getting that game out the door. If Unity are the true democratisation of games development, then it really shouldn't matter to them either.

    P.S it's artwork that takes up most of the time, which isn't engine specific.
     
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  20. frosted

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    What exactly does an SMO without quests look like? how do these games work? Mind sharing some links?

    Back in the 90s I played MUDs that werent quest driven. The main one I focused on was a competitive PvP MUD. The goal there was to kill other players and steal their equipment (full loot system - good equipment was limited and only a few instances would exist at any time, so you had to kill other players to get the really good stuff). The closest thing to a quest was either locating a certain item you wanted (on a player) and trying to gank them or guild on guild combat.

    There was one that wasn't quite so cut throat competitive, but was very, very heavily roleplaying oriented. This sort of bordered more on a MOO (if I remember the terms correctly). But I think that really serious roleplaying is very hard to do with a full graphical engine - since graphics and stuff is very limiting in terms of what you can present.

    I have trouble imagining graphical multi player games that aren't cut throat competitive, but also aren't quest driven.
     
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  21. Teila

    Teila

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    Our game is a niche game focused on player directed gameplay for role players. So for us, the typical quests you see in most MMO's simply do not work. We will give players the tools to create their own stories and interact with other players.

    I can't give you a link to another game like ours, but I can suggest you look at some text games that use similar techniques. :)

    Oh...SWG is pretty close. Rather than quests, it had missions. Players went on missions to get money and improve skills. There was a lot of social interaction in the game as well since characters were dependent on others due to the limitations of the skill trees.
     
  22. Teila

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    How did I miss this?

    I disagree. Serious roleplay can happen even with limiting graphics, it all depends on the players. I saw very deep, very serious role play in SWG on their "unofficial role play server", as deep or deeper than some of the rp required Muds, Moos and Muxes.

    RP requires suspending belief, regardless of whether you are sitting around a table playing World of Darkness with their Storyteller techniques or running around in WoW with all the limits of a graphical game. If you can use text emotes to role play in a text game, you can certainly use text or animation emotes in a graphical game.

    I am a serious role player and I know many who are serious role players. We know how to use our imagination and how to deal with the limitations of any sort of game environment.
     
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  23. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    Although I agree with Teila that it's possible to seriously roleplay around the limitations of graphical interfaces, frosted has a very good point. One can be much more expressive with text. Maybe it'll be different when we're all using full-body motion capture. But you're lucky to have a single, generic animated "/dance" command in some graphical MMOs, whereas with text you can get as detailed and unique as you want. Graphical MMOs make it to easy to generically "/bow" or "/cheer" rather than making each action unique. And if you try to convey your character's actions in text, it's jarring because everything else is represented graphically.

    (Sorry, that got really off the topic of "is anyone actually making a game?" If someone feels the need to continue this topic, perhaps it should have its own thread.)
     
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  24. frosted

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    It's been probably close to two decades since I did anything close to real roleplaying, but I think that the parts I enjoyed the most (or at least remember the most) were really focused on the creativity and expression. It's definitely a challenge bringing those elements into a graphical environment.

    That said, I'm really glad that real roleplaying (on a computer) lives on in the graphical era and that people are working on building more environments to support that. It definitely needs a different kind of mindset and approach than text or table top, but good role playing in whatever form is probably some of the most fun you can have gaming.

    It also very much breaks most of the rules for conventional 'video game's. The goals, motivations and satisfaction are really, really different.
     
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  25. Teila

    Teila

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    One can use text emotes in most MMO's, at least the ones I played. ;) Not only that, but some games have or had the ability to show emotion on the character and affect the face and the body language.

    It does, and it also solicits some VERY negative responses, which is why I often do not reveal a lot of info about our game to the general public. Recently, I posted on a blog about role playing in video games and received a series of very nasty responses back that came to my email. You can't imagine the names they called me, the most humorous was to tell me to get a life. :)

    How ironic that some gamer dude who feels to need to call someone he doesn't know all sorts of names that I won't repeat is telling me to get a life. lol
     
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  26. TonyLi

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    (Emphasis added.) I think that's a problem. Some emotes are animated, some are text only. The temptation is great to use an animated emote since they're flashier and feel more integrated into the game, even if they don't capture what you really want to role play as accurately. Same thing with showing emotions on the character's model. You might have one "/frown" emotion, while with text you can add all kinds of subtlety. Even worse, it can feel like a disconnect when some emotes are represented visually and others aren't. I'm just talking from a game design perspective. I've still used text emotes in graphical MMOs myself, too.
     
  27. Teila

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    Considering that text emotes and animation emotes are the two most requested features, I think the role players interested in our game are not going to have a problem with this.

    I have been working with role players for 10+ years and was part of a huge (100k) community of role players at one time (graphical video game role players). I feel pretty confident that I know what they want. I also do a lot of research, reading forums and blogs to get input.

    Every gamer has their own personal ideas about what breaks their own immersion. However, I find that role players often have the least problem with immersion. Things that break it for them are often exactly the opposite of what breaks it for the general gaming population and typically have more to do with the behavior of other players. Role players have settled for non-role playing games for a long time and they have survived. Since our game is being built by a team of role players (except for one of our programmers...lol), we feel pretty good about the design of our game and it's appeal to role players.

    I guess this does belong on it's own topic. I am honestly afraid of the controversy though. Sad that violence and blood are less controversial than role play. lol
     
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  28. frosted

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    Real role playing in general is an interesting subject. It really shares more in common with collaborative story telling and improv than it does with more traditional 'games' - or at least it does when it's done well.
     
  29. Teila

    Teila

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    Very true! :) That is exactly what we are going for.
     
  30. Gigiwoo

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    When I roleplayed, what I enjoyed most was the human interaction. Laughing, being silly, and sharing in a common experience, regardless of how dumb, effective, or realistic it was. We are at our core, social beings - it makes our lives more enjoyable. Even those, like me, who are introverted.

    Gigi
     
  31. Teila

    Teila

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    Exactly why I do it. Laughing is the big part..it is so healthy. :)
     
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  32. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    I did not at all mean to suggest that I have even half the experience and feedback that you have on role-playing and MMOs! The text vs. animation thing is just a dissonance that I've personally felt, but you're right that everyone's different, and you know your players. :)
     
  33. Teila

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    I didn't think that, Tony. :)

    Personally, I always preferred text. I was very active in text games and even worked on a few building levels. However, after the experience with SWG, I learned that the graphics/text really don't matter. As Gigi said, it really is the interaction with other players that give you the experience.

    I have stories from both levels of technology that are equally memorable for me. I was able to develop my characters and my relationships with the others in both text and graphical. The differences were not important after a little experience on my part. I think most folks find it this way.

    Actually, I find pen and paper role playing a bit harder, not the dice rolling of course, but the interaction. Last week, I started a new campaign with a GM who set us up and then left us to develop relationships as our characters. I had chosen to play the "bad seed" in the horror genre game. By the end of the night, I realized that being the bad seed was not fun. The others scolded me, didn't trust me, and even threw accusations at me. One time I actually surprised myself by responding as my character in a way that I didn't expect. lol Loads of fun, but that is the first time it was not awkward for me.
     
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  34. Tomnnn

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    Shhh! Proponents of C# will hear you!

    true

    I actually like that part about their setup. It's in my nature to share my success with those who helped me achieve it. I don't think I'll ever make any money in game dev though :D
     
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  35. Foo-Byte

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    I grew up with MUSHes and MUSEs and loved the freedom of text emotes. But this got me wondering. If a game is designed specifically to support RP, maybe it would be worth including an emote designer. For instance, a player could create a "salute" animation by selecting positions for the left arm (by the side), right arm (by the head), general position (standing upright), etc. Some kind of modular emote-kit.

    On topic: yes, I'm working on a game! I'm still a Unity newbie and it's my first project, but I'm hoping to have it feature complete (although pretty unpolished) by the end of the year. That will include giving it a real name instead of just a project code name. This project is taking me a lot longer than I had hoped, since I still spend a lot of my time watching live trainings, reading forums, searching for solutions to what are probably basic problems, and so on. I consider it a learning project though, so that's fine. I have an idea for my "real game", but I am figuring there will be at least two more projects between now and then as I get better at design.
     
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  36. AndrewGrayGames

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    Good luck with your game @Foo-Byte!

    I heard that.

    I think it's time to direct you to a good ExtraCreditz episode...

     
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  37. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    I'm taking the plunge to move from prototype to production. I'm currently doing the gdd (is it right that autocorrect just changed that from gdd to God?) so I can give it & the prototype to a programmer & artist. Currently aiming for March 2016 due to all of us having final projects/exams & then travelling back to family for Xmas.
     
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  38. TonyLi

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    Best of luck on your project, and have fun! If you have time this semester, consider posting the short version here for feedback.
     
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  39. tedthebug

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    Thanks. I know I should but it was really scary giving it to my daughter to show her friends (I'd forgotten how cruel teenage girls can be). Showing it to a group of semi/professionals is just panic inducing. If I can pluck up the courage, & work out how to get a copy of the gameplay prototype up where people can access it, I will try for the next Friday feedback.
     
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  40. Gigiwoo

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    It's scary. And one way to offset that is to start with the premise that your game is bad, right up front. It's why I use language like this in Shut Up and Watch: "Hey, thanks for testing. Our game is bad. I'd like to watch you play, to find out where it needs to improve." Starting with the 'fail' condition is much better for my ego - the other way never works out, "I hope he likes it I hope he likes it I hope he likes it."

    Gigi
     
  41. angrypenguin

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    Are you concerned at all that lowering the expectations bar is giving you skewed results? People expecting to play an unfinished / poor game will be pleasantly surprised if it's ok. People expecting a finished, good game... the kind that suits their interests enough that they might purchase it... are they a different story?

    Other than that my approach is pretty similar. It's about "where" it needs to improve, not "if", and I tell people that's what I want to find out from observing their play. (Mind you, I don't get to do this nearly as much as I'd like. Coming up soon, though!)

    Edit: for clarity, I also personally start with the assumption that a game is bad until it's proven good. What I'm asking about is how it's presented to testers.
     
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  42. Tomnnn

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    That's being abused by some games that are very poorly put together. You can see it in a lot of greenlight titles now.

    Consumers should, until a development team proves themselves. For example, I've officially released nothing, so you should all assume my games are terrible :p
     
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  43. Gigiwoo

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    @angrypenguin - I've tried, failed, improved a lot. And, along the way, have found some ideas that work. In this case, "Shut Up and Watch" comes from the idea of 'planning for failure'.

    In marketing, bus-development, and proposals, I'm often faced with a major obstacle. Examples of major obstacles include: there's already an incumbent, something bad happened, and you're an unknown (i.e. no brand trust). One approach is to address that head on - RIGHT up front, so that you can get it out of the way. Like when a comedian makes self-deprecating jokes about their own race/gender/background, before joking others. It's a disarming technique. Especially powerful when there's an elephant in the room - it releases the tension.

    Testing your game is like that. Whether friend, family, or casual acquaintence, there's a tension in the air. They see: 'OMG! This dude worked hard on this. What if I hate it? What am I going to say? I don't want to be rude.' ... It's the unspoken elephant. So, you hit that right up front. By admitting the game is bad, you release that tension. Plus, you answer their question of why you are watching, and why they can't ask questions.

    It's one option,
    Gigi
     
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  44. Deleted User

    Deleted User

    Guest

    Well if it's someone close you need to remove that tension outta there.. I expect them to give me honest feedback because in the long run when it's in Joe Public's hands it's only me that get's they bum end for them being nicey nice..!

    So I've had a few "that sux" and / or "blows" from beta testers / other teams (friends) testing things out for me. AS LONG AS! I find out why it sux, I don't find an issue with it.. In fact I'm grateful, I find it silly when people get bent out of shape about it.

    I expect you already know, when you start asking money for your game expect some pitchforks...
     
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  45. tedthebug

    tedthebug

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Posts:
    2,570
    From my limited experience, if you can, give the game to little kids or low teens. They say what they think & don't spare your feelings, even if they're your kids.
     
  46. Solivagant

    Solivagant

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2014
    Posts:
    8
    I've had this experience, I've had youngsters play my cyberpunk pixel art retro shooter / slasher Gunkatana www.gunkatana.com and they were quite keen on telling me how much they loved it!

    On the other side of the coin some of them go on tirades on all the aspects that I could improve, which is exactly what you need to hear.
     
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  47. supadupa64

    supadupa64

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    Feb 20, 2016
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    175
  48. Farelle

    Farelle

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2015
    Posts:
    504
    I'm working on a game atm, but I'm quite busy as staying at home mom also, so it often feels like I don't really have much to show for, which I then prefer writing in my blog where it can just be, no discussion or anything needed. Not to mention that discussions on the forums about topics that are related to one of my current game projects, I consider as "risky" because I'm just too easily affected by other peoples opinions and have to "prepare" myself every time, if I do want to make such a post. Kinda like hardening up.

    And then there is that other thing, that I talk alot with my closer friends(specially my husband) about game development and he is software developer currently, so quite often, there is not much unspoken left afterwards :)
    Aaand writing on the forums is time consuming. I did make a few topics here and there about game development related stuff, but I admit it was more about concepts than about the actual development process, still it was costing me lots of time. Time that I have not much of :)

    For some reason though...I started being more active on the forums again after the last ludum dare and now current game project...I'm even pondering about making a wip forum topic, but not sure I'm ready for that yet.
    "New" games in development, feel fragile.


    edit: argh! i didn't see it was a necroed thread....
     
  49. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2009
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  50. Master-Frog

    Master-Frog

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2015
    Posts:
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    That awkward moment.
     
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