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The Asset Flip (The Jimquisition)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Aiursrage2k, May 26, 2015.

  1. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Jim talks about the idea of people buying assets and even complete projects from the asset store, and using them as is to try and get on on steam (sometimes successfully). He discusses people buying different assets each with there own art style and putting together and ending up with is a hodgepodge mess of a project. He shows 3 instances of unit z on steam greenlight (one of which actually ended up steam. Near the end of the video, he talks about his community outing people that are using nothing but "asset flipping".

    im said:
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
  2. JamesLeeNZ

    JamesLeeNZ

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    yep. I recall seeing the unity tutorials as released games... scummmy
     
  3. Jase-NZ

    Jase-NZ

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    I'd have to agree with Jim. The trend seems to be increasing on Steam. One solution might be Valve policing Stream a bit better maybe some type of Q&A before something can be green lighted?
    I don't see a problem in purchasing art/sound/code packs to compliment ones game due to having a limited budget, but at the end of the day, an original game would be nice from developers not copy and pasting example projects.
     
    AndrewGrayGames likes this.
  4. elmar1028

    elmar1028

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    Jim also says that using Assets is fine for indies. But buying the whole template and selling it is what he talks about. He also accounts for assets which are visibly ripped from the asset store.

    Valve should indeed assign some of their workers to quality control incoming greenlight games before actually allowing them to be displayed on greenlight. People voting for a game is a good idea, but controlling flow of games should have been added as soon as greenlight came out.
     
  5. jpthek9

    jpthek9

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    Yup, I did this because I have 0 talent in art. My game looks like crap. In an industry like this, you just can't do things alone (or at least it'll be really hard).
     
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  6. TylerPerry

    TylerPerry

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    A video like this is just for entertainment, it really has no merit and does nothing in solving this non issue.
     
  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    I believe we've talked about it before. There is nothing in the asset store EULA that prevents this. Selling just assets as a game is perfectly legal.

    If steam is dumb enough to green light them then that's their issue. But again, no laws broken, no real harm done.
     
  8. jpthek9

    jpthek9

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    The guy in the video may have wandered off into rant-ville but he presented many valid examples and issues in the process. Some solutions he suggested:
    • Make your own art (not possible for many indies)
    • Build off AS art but stylize it for your game, A.K.A. use it as a foundation (possible but very difficult)
    • Stop making games (absolutely evil)
    So yeah, they were next to worthless. Still, simply being conscious about the issue of inconsistent art makes our games that much better.
     
  9. kalamona

    kalamona

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    Woo at 3:45, my mini soldiers are visible :)

    But generally, the video is very true. Assets should be a starter point, example, or help in some field where the dev team has no experience. Not a "buy this, put to steam" thing.

    An other thing, that pains me as an asset creator, when someone wildly misuse my asset. No matter how great the model is, if it has no lighting, doesn't fint into the environment, and basically lacks any atristic skills in its implementation, it will look like a bad model.
     
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  10. ippdev

    ippdev

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    Pure epizeuxiated blowhard on another bloviated bodewashery flinging ego trip. Keeps using that same rant asset over and over and he could use a pro artist to tighten up his mesh and texture..heh..
     
  11. darkhog

    darkhog

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    What a bunch of morons (devs Jim showcases in this episode). In Computer Virus Simulator the only asset store assets I'm using are code assets and it's only when I can't figure it out on my own.
     
    AndrewGrayGames likes this.
  12. Teila

    Teila

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    I think this is the big deal here, being consistent with your art style rather than mish mash a bunch of art objects from the asset store together.

    I saw assets I am using in another game but mine looked so different that had I not known they were the same assets beforehand, I never would have recognized them. The lighting and textures of theirs were entirely different from mine, both of us had deviated from the original asset, and both of us had modified the originals, making them look unique. Their style was also entirely different from mine, more gritty and dark while mine was more gentle and pastel. Even the lighting was different.

    Props can easily be reused as long as it fits into your art style. Who cares if another game has the same crate as yours? As long as your photo-realistic buildings don't sport cartoon crates, I doubt anyone will notice.

    UI's are probably pretty noticeable but they can be modified to be unique through color and placement. Main buildings might be an issue, but maybe not. I have seen items from the Medieval Village and Medieval Environment packs used in multiple settings with different lighting and they look great. I am not sure any player would be bothered by this, to be honest.

    I taught myself to use Maya just so I could modify assets from the store. It has helped a great deal and I can even make buildings to match in style to extend the uses of assets. I have take roofs off of assets and used those on my artwork or put a new roof on a house from the asset store. I have even taken entire buildings apart and put them together in unique ways. :) Making assets modular, like Cobus' 3dForge products allows developers to make very unique buildings, especially if they learn to re-texture.

    It is easy to criticize people who just dump a bunch of assets into a game without any consistency and then pop it up onto steam or if they use a template for game code without any changes at all. But for most folks, this is a learning process and the focus is on game play rather than art. I think that is fine. If people buy and play the game, then they obviously don't care...if they don't, then the game developer has gained experience and will hopefully do better next time.
     
  13. ChrisSch

    ChrisSch

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    I agree with most of what he said. I don't like crappy games like that getting greenlit over my crappy game which took far longer to make!

    Except that little dude breaking stuff, those assets sort of fit together, but I don't know how good the game is, other than it needs a better character controller, and better camera control.
     
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  14. Teila

    Teila

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    Most of those games were extreme. They were not some developer using BEP trees or MK4's houses, they were people using an entire template/game off the asset store and making very few changes. While I truly believe the market will take care of people like this, I also think it is rather lazy, to be honest. On the other hand, making game get's you some "teen" credentials, right? I bet telling your dude and gal friends that you made a game can be mighty uplifting. :)

    I disagree with the concept that customers are being exploited. Sorry, but if someone spends $1.99 on a game that lame, then they deserve it. :) My guess is most of the sales are from friends and family.
     
  15. ChrisSch

    ChrisSch

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    Yup. We bought a few art packages, but didn't use them yet. And when/if we buy a complete project we agree'd we'd change everything we can, and add more. After all, all these complete projects are supposed to be a starting point, or used with another pack that fits. Its like you said, the environment stuff can be used more often without raising any alarms, while characters, and even weapons, are usually the focus of the players attention.

    I don't know about "teen" credentials tho. I always felt like I need to do it myself to brag. xD
     
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  16. Deleted User

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    Why is it not possible? Even if I worked by myself, I'd spend the time necessary to learn and make assets. Artwork is probably one of the most difficult portions of game making agreed, art tools are a pain in the ass to learn no doubt. But it's a very useful skill, even if you're a coder you should have an eye for level design and artwork especially in Unity as you'll code shaders.

    With Maya LT being a cheap complete package and other low cost tools about (SD, Quixel), there's little excuse not to be able to do your own artwork or at LEAST re-factor (re-sculpt / add to) the packages you have. There are vast amounts of textures libraries available if one is willing to invest in the game they're selling.

    Don't get me wrong, a rock is a rock and a tree is a tree. There's little point in re-inventing the wheel when you have some defacto assets like speedtree (used in a lot of AAA games).

    Think about it this way, if people are buying these pieces of crap then something with a little effort should go down a treat.
     
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  17. Teila

    Teila

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    If an "old" lady like me can learn to use Maya LT, then anyone can do it. :) You youngin's should have no problem, at least to modify and tweak. I guess my only asset in all this is patience. My kids have no patience...they want it all to work now.
     
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  18. RichardKain

    RichardKain

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    The big issue that Jimbo is concerned with is the dilution of quality on Steam. (as well as the flooding of the market) And there is reason for him to be concerned.

    One of the largest collapses that occurred in the game industry was because of over-saturation and a lack of oversight. Mr. Stirling is probably considering that historical precedent when he rails against practices like these on Steam Greenlight. Steam has come a long way, and currently carries a significant portion of the PC gaming market on its back. While a few competitors are starting to make some headway against it, Steam is still the big-game in town when it comes to on-line PC digital distribution. Having Steam suffer a major backlash from over-saturation at this point could be devastating to the revitalized PC gaming market.

    I don't think that is actually going to happen. Valve is nothing if not cautious. If their metrics indicated any such consequences they would have already stepped in and clamped down on such practices. The fact that they haven't means that they don't consider "Asset-Flipping" to be a major threat.

    The real threat that asset flipping represents is not to the market, but to the reputation of the indie development scene. Practices like this make indie development look bad. And it also makes the Unity Asset Store and its contributors look bad. That is what we should be concerned about.
     
  19. Teila

    Teila

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    Every business, every market, has those who make the rest look bad. It is futile to fight that. The best thing to do is to release good games to counter the bad ones.

    The market will decide what is good or bad, not us. If the "asset flipping" games sell well and rise to the top, then we as indie developers will realize that players are not as particular as we originally though....OR that Steam is full of people who are not particular. My guess is this will not happen and the top games will continue to be quality games.

    Mr. Stirling is doing his part by drawing attention the problem. Other than educating the masses, there is not much else we can do.
     
  20. RichardKain

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    You are most likely correct. Since the asset flippers aren't technically violating any laws, there's no means to actively stop them from doing what they're doing. And honestly, it is quite likely that most of those asset flipped games will never sell particularly well.

    The best way for the asset store community to counter this type of bad press is to simply generate as much good press as they can. Set a positive example by releasing high-quality assets and tools to empower indie devs. Those assets will not always be used properly, but that's just the nature of the beast.

    Also, a little cross-promotional assistance never hurts. If you see a solid indie game using Asset Store assets properly, trumpet that game to the heavens. Point it out to others and encourage them to like and subscribe. Helping the good examples rise to the top is another constructive option.
     
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  21. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    If you took a look at that lion game he made none of the art style matched up. Now if he had paid maybe a texture artist to do a once over on the textures to semi-normalize it wouldnt have looked as bad. If you look at the polyworld example in the asset store (he includes a tool to "polyworld any of model).
    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/18572
     
  22. ShilohGames

    ShilohGames

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    Jim is right about the games posted on Steam that were all based on the Unitz game template. One of them had preview images on Steam Greenlight that were copied directly from the Unity Asset Store. The game dev did not even take his/her own screenshots in that example.
     
  23. angrypenguin

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    I use off-the-shelf assets all the time. So do big games - remember the screaming when someone recognised a crate or barrel from Half-life 2 in something else? Turned out they'd both purchased it from the same other person. With game templates becoming more of a thing it was only ever a matter of time before this happened.

    And, to be honest, it's not even unique to video games. The concept of "white labelling" something is more or less exactly this - have a ready-to-go product or service that other people can put their own logos on and sell as their own thing.

    I definitely agree when it comes to content and quality dilution, which is why I've always been skeptical about the whole Greenlight / general opening of the floodgates thing. There's a difficult balancing act there, between making it easy to release good stuff vs. weeding out the rest.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  24. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Or that not enough developers are offering anything better than a stock game template. (though unitz is a pretty well done asset by it self.). Blaming the customer is avoiding the root cause. ;) (or that there is more money to be made selling assets).

    I think you are 100% correct, it will be the exception, not the the rule, and the top games will be way above this stuff. Still a bit of a wake up call to indies wanting to compete in this market, raise the bar, and don't rely on stock assets. This is becoming a black mark now. Even if you have unique, awesome great game, it could gain negative exposure because of this if someone recognizes even a single asset.

    ---

    On side note... would it within the policies/license to offer a service to customize (uniquify) assets for this purpose? In other words, could a developer purchase, say a knight asset from the asset store, and then for say $25 (or whatever), I could modify that asset for them to make it visually/animation distinct from all the others using it? (assuming all the normal stuff, like I couldn't keep/use the asset, etc). Sort of a pimp my asset service?
     
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  25. dogzerx2

    dogzerx2

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    Not sure why, but I don't see any major harm in this. Maybe it's mildly unethical, if using a tutorial or game template and upload it with very little work or and the result is likely to be a poorly put together game, but the blame is shared with the game store for having no filter on what they allow.

    Using a game template but doing good quality polishing? Nothing wrong with that Imo.

    The customer has no blame here, he just chooses from what's placed in front of him.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
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  26. Tomnnn

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    It helps reviews review the game more accurately, and bury it with mostly negative reviews so it wont show up in anyone's queue. Or better yet, stop that trash from getting greenlit in the first place. Does renaming UnitZ "uncrowded" instead of "day survival begins" really give it more merit? The reviewers seemed to think so. Consumer awareness & education is needed, and Jim is the most comically suited for the job :)

    For lone indie devs, sure. But putting his community on "asset-flip" watch was nice.

    I would think the issue we should all be most concerned with is people selling the tutorials. While it is permitted, they're available for free and people might not realize that. Why should someone pay for what's free if no changes were made?

    I would think the harm would be several games that are literally identical lol. Which should the consumer buy? I would think none of them. Maybe the asset store should have the ability to set up royalties for content that is going to be used as is without changes :D
     
  27. Teila

    Teila

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    You think I am blaming the customer with my comment? :) Not at all.

    As developers we see our games as sort of "art" and we are very particular. Players may not look at it in the same way. They may care more about game play, about mechanics, about overall visuals, such as nice water or textures that are not fuzzy.

    The players "not being particular" was not a slight on them, but rather an observation which I think we should consider. Maybe the bar they set for us isn't as high as the one we set for ourselves.

    Doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to try to meet our own expectations but it also means we shouldn't always see the player as the victim. If they buy, play and enjoy a game that we think is horrible due to asset store inclusions, then who are we to tell them it is horrible? Like anything else, it is all in the eye of the beholder, right?

    Now...I am very particular about my visuals and assets, so don't listen to me. I will go nuts over a texture that doesn't look right or lighting that seems off. lol It is why it will take me so long to be satisfied. I honestly am surprised sometimes when people like my screenshots.
     
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  28. angrypenguin

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    I use off-the-shelf assets all the time. It's not something I'm about to change. It's not something my clients or my players have ever noticed, let alone cared about.

    I watched the video last night and I think a lot of what's being complained about is... silly. Someone spends hundreds of dollars on assets (considering visual assets only - they may have spent far more elsewhere), spends probably a few weeks but possibly far more putting them together into a coherent and reasonable looking game which they sell for a mere 24c, and there's apparently something wrong with that? Sounds like tall poppy syndrome to me.

    I do agree that taking and releasing an unchanged template or tutorial is super dodgy, but I don't see that as a huge issue as I can't really imagine people doing that going particularly far. Until they learn to make their own stuff they'll never release anything original or especially polished, so they'll always be behind the curve. And as for them getting on the marketplace to sell their off-the-shelf stuff... well, that's a problem the marketplace needs to be solving, not the development community.

    It's not that they "aren't particular", it's that they're particular about different things to what developers are particular about. So...

    ...this is something you could learn from, right? I certainly did. As you learn more about what your audience is and isn't particular about, you can save time on the stuff they don't care about and put it into stuff that they do. You can still also do the stuff that you care about too, but being conscious of this stuff can help you get the most value out of your limited time.

    Edit: To be clear, market = marketplace, edited above. If it's left up to purchasers then their confidence will be eroded and they'll be willing to spend less. It'll be bad for everyone. If we want to keep premium pricing then our customers have to be confident that we have a premium product, and that means at least some level of curation for marketplace entry.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
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  29. Deleted User

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    Dilution, we don't want one of the biggest carriers of PC games to end up like the apple store. People will clock on to make a quick buck, keep following the formula and before you know it we have en mass clones of rubbish.

    Good games get lost in the traffic, they loose money and decide they can't be bothered or afford to put in the effort any more. You'll get one good game that'll pop out from time to time..

    Some didn't even try for any coherency, it's like having a decorator who does three walls white and half of one in a cross pink. Or just shuffles around your furniture and says, here's the bill chief.. If it's done over and over again, people are going to clock on.

    One positive, if N00B's can be bothered to put the time in and show creativity. The bar will lower and they'll probably get a pat on the back.
     
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  30. Aiursrage2k

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    Gaben has said in the past he wants to get of greenlight altogether. The steam marketplace will turn into another mobile marketplace where no ones willing to pay a buck for a game.
     
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  31. angrypenguin

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    Exactly.

    I think the idea is that 3rd parties will provide the curation. Anyone will be able to put a game on Steam, but to make any significant sales you'll want reputable people to put you on their storefront. Those reputable people can use whatever criteria they want, and gamers will gravitate towards the storefronts which best match their personal preferences.

    Fingers crossed it actually works like that...
     
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  32. jpthek9

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    While Greenlight is not perfect, it's better than nothing. I wonder what new system they will implement.
     
  33. angrypenguin

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    Haven't they been openly talking about allowing anyone to make their own storefront type things for some time?
     
  34. Tomnnn

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    I like the idea of user based filtering, but "uncrowded" (unitz) proves that the community isn't enough lol.

    I'm curious about how that would differ. Would they bypass greenlight directly and just be a steam title? I kinda like the $100 introductory fee and chance of failure. And if they put a few employees on quality control, it'll create jobs :p
     
  35. angrypenguin

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    I haven't really been following it, but my impression is that it's to free them up from putting employees on it. Community members will do it themselves. I suspect it'd be great for people like Jim Sterling because they're already well known in relation to games, and I expect they'd be able to drive traffic from their already popular Youtube stuff straight to their storefronts. So if you managed to get a popular Youtuber to talk about your game it could become a far more direct sales driver.

    Note that this doesn't reduce competition, it just spreads it around differently. That could still be positive, though, if it helps people target their audiences more effectively. Getting your message to less total people is fine if it gets it to more relevant people.
     
  36. Tomnnn

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    I'm surprised pewdiepie hasn't abused his youtube powers to make or break any games.

    Agreed. I hope that happens for enough indies that gaming doesn't become about pandering to the lowest common denominator.
     
  37. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    I think that was the steam curators pages were about. If you look at the games the top ten is filled with youtube personalities and magizines which I dont think is that useful. the more interesting ones are like roguelikes which only deal with that genre not youtube personalities. Which would be alot more useful for indies if you had a game on steam (IE rather then relying on the media to cover it the games could cover it and be reported in that list).

    http://store.steampowered.com/curator/6856127-Roguelikes/
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2015
  38. ostrich160

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    Jim annoys me a lot, but this is a very good point.
     
  39. im

    im

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    I used to basically ignore Youtube personalities, but with Jim's recent videos on asset flipping and outright copyright/trademark infringement I've begun watch them.

    asset flipping


    asset plagiarism


    I also took a look and if Jim though Greenlight was bad, well Greenlight Concept are is worse!

    http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/browse/?appid=765&browsesort=trend&section=concepts

    The sad thing is a growing number of these starter games are making it on Steam as Early Access and people, mostly people who do not know better, are buying them and expecting a game somewhere down the road.

    Uncrowded (UnitZ)
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/370100

    The District (Decayed State)
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/357770

    Once Bitten, Twice Dead! (UnitZ + Synty Studio models)
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/360590

    Temper Tantrum (handful of assets as shown by JS
    )
    http://store.steampowered.com/app/373110/

    One of them recently removed from Steam store after the author lost it on the Steam customers / members.



    and you can go to Jim's Youtube Channel and watch number more...
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWCw2Sd7RlYJ2yuNVHDWNOA

    Worse I don't think that it will get any better, just worse, until Unity amends their agreement and/or Steam starts cleaning up Greenlight and adding more moderators so that they can enforce their own rules and guidelines...
     
  40. eskovas

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    Don't forget to see the latest episode he made:

    The episode about Unity Engine being good (The Jimquisition)


    Those videos may make it look like he blames/hates Unity, but that's not the case.
    I'm subscribed to him and watch every video he uploads, and for practically every video he makes, i usually agree with him.

    It's not Unity's fault, Unity is just a tool that some people will use to take advantage of. It can happen to every engine. ( also happened with a few games with UE4 that were released on Steam )

    What we all need is Steam to wake up and start policing Greenlight and make every single game go through some sort of testing before release. Really don't understand why they don't do it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
  41. Aiursrage2k

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    Vote for this hot new game - Puxel Z
     
  42. im

    im

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    Good point @eskovas!

    This is not about unity, unity asset store, unity asset store assets, steam, steam greenlight, ect as much as it is about people abusing the systems created to help indie game developers.
     
  43. eskovas

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    true, but sadly not everyone will behave the way they should, so rules and procedures must be implemented into the systems to prevent what's happening right now. The system being Steam, since it is the company that allows these games to be sold without any review.
    They tried to reduce it when they added the 100$ requirement, but it didn't work.

    This doesn't only happen to games. I remember a few months ago, someone tried to sell Scrawk's free ocean on the asset store for 50$ and he was even able to sell a few copies ( i think it had ratings ).
     
  44. jpthek9

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    Just like how it's not the fault of people giving illegal immigrants jobs in America, fostering an environment to promote the negative action. There's enough blame to go around. It's not about the blame though - it's about preventing the market from being flooded by sewage.
     
  45. im

    im

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    now i'm really confused, still i think your in the wrong thread or it got garbled by google translate... ;)

    oh i think i understand a little, took me long enough, not sewage, garbage that is little more than false advertising since people thinking they getting real games and they are not since there is not disclosure of what they are really getting. so basically the buyer thinks that these people created the game and when in fact all they did was did build of the asset store starter game and released it as their own without even giving an once of credit to the original authors and saying that they did it... so its taking credit for someone elses work and not doing full disclosure so that the buyer knows what they are truely getting.
     
  46. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Posts:
    4,714
    I guess its basically a moot point now with steams 2 week, 2 hour refund policy. It now has to get past greenlight, and people have to play it for more then 2 hours (or they could just refund it).
     
  47. im

    im

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    If you go by some of the posts by Steam members I'm not sure that steam refunds will help the people voting and buying these so called games. Since some of the ones I know of are being sold under Early Access it will be too late by the time the kids find out the truth of what they subscribed to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2015
    darkhog likes this.
  48. eskovas

    eskovas

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    The problem with all of this is that it's basically impossible to verify if something is legitimate or not.
    Steam doesn't know every asset there is on the market, and neither do we.
    If we want a system that enables indies to publish games on their own without spending much money, then we already have it. The problem is when someone tries to abuse it, but then again, it's not possible to verify that every game is legitimate ( not being a group of assets put together ).

    The one thing Steam could do is to set rules to the system. For example, have enough content that justifies the release; being playable, etc, and go through an evaluation process done by Steam.
    But that could be a problem for multiplayer games.

    I guess Steam just believes that user reviews solve this issue, but for reviews to exist, there needs to be people that bought those games.
    User reviews can also be really negative for dumb reasons. I've seen multiplayer games get tens of thousands of players on release day, and they couldn't handle so many players, so no-one could play the game. Because of that, the games got filled with bad reviews saying it didn't work on its first hour of release, and those people will probably never change the review again.
    There can also be reviews thumbing up a game but as a joke, which is also bad.

    I think Steam is going the right way with the new refund policy, since it allows people to see the game for a short period of time and if they don't like it or think it's bad, then just ask for the money back.
    Of course, this can be a really big problem for people with games that don't last very long but are priced right, like it happened to a few devs, so it needs to be improved to take into account the length of the game.
     
  49. jpthek9

    jpthek9

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    Solids can't flood so I used the liquid equivalent: sewage.
     
  50. im

    im

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    check out one of these so called developers

    http://kotach.com/

    and what they saying

    http://kotach.com/index/about_us/0-6

    looks to me like they are selling on steam and perhaps other places a number of games right out unity asset store. wonder what their credits (if any) say...

    by the photo on their facebook it looks like some 13 year old kid

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...32235726.14524.100003925705252&type=1&theater

    God this is sad and i think that in the end it will hurt both Steam and Unity Asset Store and even Unity reputation.
     
    antislash and Tomnnn like this.