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Unrealistic ambitions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Garmalak, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. frosted

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    This is a good point, it's worth mentioning that in most of the "I want to build an mmo" threads the op isn't actually trying to learn. Very, very often, their first step is "recruit a team to do all the work".

    The process is:
    * Have an idea for a game
    * Watch a couple tutorials or check out some "kits" on the asset store
    * Recruit a team to make an MMO for them because it's clearly super easy
     
  2. Deleted User

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    @RichardKain I helped out a dev ages ago who made a fully functional MMO in 8 months and released a beta (two guys at the start?), it had crafting / factions and all sorts of stuff in it. Quite impressive.. Still talk to them and they're still moving forward (bigger team now though)

    Sure Unity caused nothing but pain throughout the whole process and they pretty much had to spend another 8 months making it again in Unreal. But it's not THAT bad, the guys do have a lot of experience in that field though. MMO's also don't have to be ridiculously huge like WOW..

    Whilst I hope they succeed of course, I did wonder why? Why an MMO? Why put yourself through the pain, it's not even the most fiscally stable or viable market, it costs a lot for setup and addons and finally as you said you're treading on the toes of bigger MMO's..

    From a work / reward percentage, it's much higher in the work category.
     
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  3. tedthebug

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    I started with 1 night a week learning xna for 6mths, then did 1 night a week on unity for 6mths. This let me ask questions & get stuff explained in different ways. Luckily at the time I wasn't working so I could then spend 40-80hrs a week reading docs online, watching tutorials, trying & trying to get stuff to work (interspersed with beating my head on the desk). I can now get a a basic prototype out with primitives & free assets. I can understand the concepts of programming but execution throws me.
    Study this year had a few weeks of 3d art & is now focusing on design which also includes managing scope. Having a basic understanding of what's involved in coding & art means that basing a timeline on my skills should automatically have a few years of padding for even the simple bits (simple for actual artists & programmers).
    Do I have ideas for mmo's? Yep
    Will I start to make one now? Nope
    Do I try to prototype mechanics that could one day fold into one? Sure
    Do I have mind maps, paper, msWord versions of ideas? Yep, heaps.

    Starting small doesn't need to be pong, but starting with one tutorial will let you get something done quickly & give you a basic idea of the time & effort involved so you might scope your big idea a bit better.
    Starting with your big game could also work if you can structure it so you have milestones that let you see some sort of achievement to provide motivation. E.g. Get a capsule that can move, dash, jump (whatever your character can do). Make the camera bob when the capsule moves etc
     
  4. RichardKain

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    I'm not saying that first-time users shouldn't dream big. I think it's great to have ambitious plans. You just shouldn't go into your first project chasing after those plans. If there's some extremely ambitious dream-game that you want to make, that's fine. But keep in the back of your mind. Write out a design document that you can keep coming back to and revising. Perhaps even make some of your in-game assets scale-able, so that they can be more easily applied to future projects. (if you are exceptionally forward-thinking) At some point in the future the situation may change so that your dream project will be more viable.

    This has certainly happened for me. A lot of the games I wanted to make back in the day were not of a realistic scope for my skills at the time. A lot has changed since then. Very appropriate to this board, middle-ware engines like Unity have drastically expanded the scope of what I would be able to pull off. Many of the designs that I once only dreamed of are now well within my grasp. Just a few months ago I successfully tested a basic prototype for a local LAN multiplayer system. Until recently such development was a pipe-dream for someone with my resources. Now I'm throwing together prototypes in just a day or two that actually work!

    I will never advocate abandoning dreams. But I would advise first-timers to put their more grandiose dreams on hold in order to get a few smaller projects done first. And I don't think that "finished" necessarily means "done." If you get 80% of your way through Pong and decide that you're bored, go right ahead and move onto your next exercise. One of the great things about prototyping is that you don't have to fully commit to a project. You don't have to take everything to a finished product. There's nothing wrong with throwing things against the wall just to see what sticks, and learning how things work in the process.
     
  5. Kondor0

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    A guy learns to lay bricks, does he get a few people and start making a skyscraper?

    A guy learns to hold the guitar properly, does he starts a world tour?

    No, they keep learning by doing small things first.

    Its not about willpower, is about having common sense. If you are not some sort of genius then you have to learn like the rest of us did: one step at a time. Fine, you don't want to make Pong, then make a tower defense, a top down shooter, something that relies on a single mechanic and few assets... or if you have lots of ideas pick the smallest one that you are sure that you can finish with your current resources.

    Cheering people that are going in the wrong direction is not helping them. If they can't deal with a few harsh words then they are not made for this industry anyway.
     
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  6. jpthek9

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    Point taken. Shoulda put a "for me" in there.
     
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  7. Kiwasi

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    Shhh! Keep it down. I have a small business running based on the fact that their are plenty of people who don't realise everything in my video tutorials can be found in the documentation.

    :)
     
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  8. jgnmoose

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    People who take on MMOs regardless of experience are nuts.
     
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  9. Ryiah

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    Sometimes it's the nutty ones who actually get the niche. I think most people would say Tarn Adams is equally crazy.

    Why not approach it in the same manner as a MUD? Many MUDs often had players creating the content. Admins would take applications, appoint an area for prototyping, and then once it passed a quality check it would be added to the world.

    Procedural generation might be a good way too. A static overworld with roguelike-esque dungeons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2015
  10. tedthebug

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    Create the lore, build an editor, build the hub world then parcel out land to rulers who get to create it as an adjunct to the hub & then defend it, but once their bit of the world has been created, approved as not being OP, & released into the world that player loses their admin rights to it & have to defend it against all comers, even if new players are parcelled land that might abut the rear of the earlier players lands. Of course, they are also free to annex any other players contribution if they are good enough. Hub world handles random spawns & placement of non-aligned npc's/races within those lands.

    MMO by stealth?
     
  11. Yash987654321

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    Beginners need a time.... I first nothing from documentation. I learnt first by coping and pasting and editing. Then I started to understand Manual a bit. It is most likely because I just jump to the thing I want to learn. Then I think what the heck is that....
     
  12. RichardKain

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    Can the Last Indie Game Devs Turn the Lights Off?

    Here's a blog post related to the topic of unrealistic ambitions, and particularly important to the current state of indie game development. It basically covers what I've been banging on about for years, so it was personally relevant for me.

    For those unwilling to read the article, the gist is that indie development has largely died off, thanks to the constant increase in competition. While you will occasionally see a financial indie "success," these are usually due to luck, or having a noticeable leg-up in exposure and marketing. Most other major indie titles are less the result of bedroom coders making something unique and more a product constructed from a mid-sized capable team. The dream of working on YOUR game project full-time and being able to make a respectable living doing so has largely dried up. Far more likely is that your attempts to craft your game will bankrupt you and leave you with crippling debt, with very little to show for your efforts.

    While this is a rather bleak interpretation of the current state of indie development, there is a lot to support it. And it is very much in-line with most of the personal accounts I've heard from actual indie developers toughing it out in the trenches. It is becoming necessary to choose between being a starving artist, or a hobbyist. And the reward for putting your lifestyle on the line is little more than chance to gamble. A chip to feed into the slot machine of the current indie game market with no real way of knowing if it will payout or not.
     
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  13. Kamilche_

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    Color me interested! I 'liked' your post so hopefully I'll hear more about your upcoming book.
     
  14. GarBenjamin

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    The sad part of it all is the desperation to believe. Reading the comments on the article basically people just refusing to accept it and saying the same old things of how they will get around it. Never realizing if they all are doing it then those things make no difference. lol
     
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  15. tiggus

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    My first thought reading that article was "who's the author, what background and credentials is he speaking from?". If he is just some nobody then it doesn't hold much weight.

    I thought one of the comments seemed more well put and thought out than the article itself however, the one by the sound engineer.
     
  16. GarBenjamin

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    I get what you're saying. The thing is though regardless of who that person actually is there is a limit to how many people can actually be making a living from making games. And that number is certainly much smaller than the number of people who want to be making a living from making games.

    If we knew how big the Indie game industry actually is that would be helpful. I know the total global games market is supposed to each $100 Billion by 2017 and I am sure AAA games and the "elite" Indies (who I do not see as Indies at all because they are well funded, equipped, have the contacts and so forth that most people never will) account for a large percentage of that amount.

    Anyway, is the current Indie game market $1 Billion per year? How may "normal" Indies are actually making games trying to make money from it? And not just with Unity. The people using GMS, Unreal, coding HTML5, SFML, Flash, Game Salad, JMonkey, Construct, GoDot, Cocos, Source, Leadworks, Corona, LibGDX, CryEngine, Torque, Marmalade, Haxe, Flixel, HaxeFlixel, Ogre, FrostByte, Allegro, GLBasic, Atomic, MonkeyX, and just on and on and on. All of these engines and languages have people using them making games trying to make money. All of these have some people making games making some money.

    I really wonder just how many people are trying to make money from games? I wouldn't be surprised if there are possibly 10 million or even 100 million people now worldwide trying to make money from making games using hundreds of different languages and/or game engines.

    So the thing is the numbers just don't work and that is the part people seem to not want to accept. It simply isn't possible for them all to be making a living from it. It isn't even possible for them all to make money from it unless every person gets maybe $10 to $100 per year.
     
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  17. RichardKain

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    Quite right. It's a matter of supply and demand. The demand for more games is only increasing slightly at the moment. The supply of games, thanks in no small part to engines like Unity, is spiraling out of control. The end result is that a much smaller amount of money will go to each individual game, simply because there isn't enough cash to go around and divide evenly.

    There will be exceptions, naturally. And there will still be the odd success stories where some starry-eyed developer came out with their game and hit it big. But these will be few and far between, and for every one story like that there are going to be tens of thousands of developers who didn't manage to earn a living wage.

    And part of this whole growing process is that people will need to adjust their ambitions. Not everyone will be able to make a living as an indie developer. This doesn't mean they should stop trying, simply that they need to be prepared for the consequences if they do. As an artist by training (and somewhat by inclination) I have a natural respect and even admiration for starving artists. People who are willing to settle for a much more meager existence in order to fully pursue their craft. While I wasn't willing to make that sacrifice myself, I understand and even look up to those who do. But I also don't think such a lifestyle is for everyone, and I fear that a lot of young developers these days look to games like Minecraft and see dollar signs.

    Indie development is a challenging and demanding discipline, not a get-rich-quick scheme. The sooner that developers-to-be are able to wrap their minds around that, the better.
     
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  18. Kiwasi

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    I dunno. Most industries have their giants. The AAA companies so to speak. Occasionally one or two will collapse spectacularly but most of the time the are pretty risk adverse and keep plodding along.

    Then you have mid level companies that are more agile. They have less corporate structure, can take more risks. Of course they fail more.

    Then you get the solos who try and do things on there own. With no structure they can take incredible risks. These types also fail more often then the bigger companies.

    The thing is that this picture is not static. As individuals become successful, through luck or skill, they hire more employees and become mid sized companies. As mid level companies become successful they get acquired by the giants, (or occasionally become giants themselves. As giants collapse or downsize they release a whole swarm of talent, some of which goes solo.

    Saying one segment of this will completely disappear doesn't sit with me. Sure segments of this become more or less profitable as time passes, but I doubt it we will ever see any section of the market become empty of developers.
     
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  19. ippdev

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    I certainly do.
     
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  20. RichardKain

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    I don't think they're going to disappear either. I just don't think we're going to see nearly as large a boom of small-scale 1-2 person teams with sustainable full-time business models. There will still be some, but they will always be hard-pressed, both with pressure from larger-scale developers, as well as pressure from up-and-coming indies looking to make their own mark. The days of being able to find an easy niche are over.

    Personally, I've had ideas regarding a workable solution for this constant pressure. Sadly, I don't have the resources necessary for such a venture, and start-up capital would definitely be necessary. Basically, it would be great to have a company designed around growing and cultivating indie talent. What the indie developers create and publish under the umbrella company would be used to generate revenue and cover expenses. At the same time, developers would be free to leave the company, along with their own original IP. The one caveat would be that any IP created under the umbrella company could be licensed by that company without cost, and any technology developed under that umbrella company would be owned by the umbrella company. The primary functions of the umbrella company would be providing a baseline livable wage for the indie developers, providing marketing and production services, and managing the organization and archive of all content produced.

    It's a bit of a pipe-dream, but I think it would be workable with proper management. The key is balancing the freedom of creation with the financial demands of keeping the company running. Though part of this solves itself if you know what you're doing. With a profit-sharing plan in place, individual or even small groups of developers could be offered a percentage cut of any game they publish. These plans would be on top of the much lower livable wage that would help to keep all of the developers going. While some developers would be willing to just cruise on their livable wage and experiment with design, there would almost certainly be others who want to hit it big. And both types of developers would be able to contribute meaningfully to the company as a whole.
     
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  21. goat

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    It depends. I like seeing my fruit & nut trees growing and I don't consider them boring at all, although I don't talk to them and they don't talk to me although it makes for interesting drama to read about whispering trees.
     
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  22. Kiwasi

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    I also get bored making games that are not challenging.

    But making a flappy clone the first time I opened the editor was challenging.
     
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  23. Master-Frog

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    Time is the most important thing when it comes to making games. You need time. Tons of time. Ideally, you just sit there in your pajamas, eating all your meals at your desk/kitchen table, occasionally taking breaks to see the sun. That's what it takes...

    If you want to make a "great" game or something, well... first of all, what does that even mean? Great by what standards?

    But beyond that, you just need so much time... the more ambitious, the more time you need. It's really that simple.

    You can do it, make a game you really want to make, but it will take the time it will take.

    That's really all. There's no way around the time. You can crank out a little game in 4 days but it's going to be better the more time you can invest, for the most part.

    So basically if you are doing other stuff besides making a game, and you don't have the time to put into it, you probably won't be able to do the "game of your dreams".
     
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  24. ippdev

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    Ya gotta know how and when to prune, water and feed them so they can "compile". And the trees themselves are exerting effort continuously rooting and reaching. It shows when they bust a nut or bring forth fruit.
     
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  25. goat

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    I was sent a 2" by 60" English walnut stick this May and that thing is already 12' with 3 really strong branches (ahem, but not because of my talent I was lucky with the nursery I chose).
     
  26. rockysam888

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    (bookmarked)
     
  27. ArachnidAnimal

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    The ones that get hit hard with a reality check are those with no experience in computer programming who expect to run an entire game with 1 to 50 lines of code, or who constantly post on the forums: "Help, how to rotate cube in script?" This means they didnt even bother to follow the intro unity tutorial. Or "Sorry for bad english, but need help with code for to open door?". Then they quickly realize you will have to write 10s of thousands of lines of code to run your game game, then they dissappear off of Unity after you try to help them by posting 20 lines of code
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  28. SCoolidge

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    Im bored learning through some book. I have limited time to devote to learning at the moment, but thatll change soon enough and ill be able to get through this and move on to my other learning materials.

    I dont think my ambitions are unrealistic, but maybe they are, IDK - tell me if they are. This is the plan in my head at the moment: Learning - Pong, breakout, side scroller mini games (just to learn different systems and concepts in the genre withut the need to build 20 levels 100 characters etc) Top down mini games.

    Finally what i really want to make by myself with the timeline being until i die.

    1942 type game
    Asteroid like game
    1-3 Side Scrollers
    A 2.5d Original NES Zelda like game
    A Small old school City Builder (This is ultimately my dream game)

    Even though i dont know what im fully getting into, i dont think pong is the limit for a single developer. I guess if there are timelines, and monetary goals one has to meet, then sure. If you remove the deadline a game has to be completed by, or the need to make money from said games, i think a lot of games come into play that a single person could develop, given they have the skill set to do them.

    This is the thought process of a guy who doesnt fully know what he is getting into. Am i delusional here?
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
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  29. Kamilche_

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    No, that looks possible by a single developer, with less than a lifetime of work, some of them even have completed examples on the asset store. Maybe not the highlighting the best techniques or graphics, but complete and working, and probably save you a lot of time.
     
  30. N1warhead

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    I wanna makes the next MMO where i pix up sword an hax my enemies to deaths! hahaha jk ba hahaahaah.

    Sorry I had to jump in here for a second an say that :p
     
  31. Yash987654321

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    https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials :p
     
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  32. N1warhead

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  33. Arowx

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    I think the hardest part of learning game development is the realisation of how mobile and desktop computing is massively limited! Until you try and write a game with more than 200 units you probably have no idea what is involved.

    Or a game with real world scope and scale when you are really limited to about 10 km3 of area due to floating point precision.

    If like me you think/thought of game development as a simulation space that would allow you to dream up any idea and throw together a virtual world to explore it then you are in for some shocks.

    But that is the fun you are learning to work within a limited and finite virtual world.

    And learning the limits of your skill set and how to break them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
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  34. ShilohGames

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    One of the most valuable lessons is to realize that building a game is all about smoke and mirrors, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Find a way to make the universe feel huge to the player, but don't burden yourself with trying to actually simulate that universe. Focus on the experience the player will have instead of how real the simulation is under the hood.

    This happens all the time in movies. For example, Star Wars: Empire Strike Back is one of my all time favorite movies. Lucas did not create a real full sized Hoth system with a snow covered planet to fight the opening battles on. In fact. he filmed some of the content directly outside of the hotel during a snow storm. It was fantastic anyway. And instead of genetically engineering a new lifeform, Yoda was a puppet. Again, this worked amazingly well. Everything in the movie is fake, and the movie is still a masterpiece.
     
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  35. RichardKain

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    Preach! This is one of the fundamental truths that game developers work inside of, and a greater focus on this helps considerably for re-contextualizing your projects. Too often, game developers focus on constructing big, sweeping worlds. But the truth is that you only ever need however much of the world that the player can see and interact with at one time. Thinking in those terms instantly helps to cut back on the necessary performance.

    This is how all of the best engines handle in-game streaming of content, for those nice, seamless games with no evident loading times. The engine is working behind the scenes to figure out which portions of the world need to be loaded at any given time.

    Massive simulations are not king. The player's perception of the game world is king. Use that to your advantage.
     
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  36. SCoolidge

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    i hope so, considering the skills i presently dont have.

    Maybe i just took the pong comment too literal. I dont think i could make the next skyrim by myself, and i dont think most of us just starting out think that way. However, who knows how unity will evolve in next 10 years. Their evolution could possibly make it possible for a novice to come in an make skyrim on their lonesome.
     
  37. Prototypetheta

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    Damn, I wanted to make a Pong based MMORPG with next gen graphics and robot-ninja-space-pirate-laser-bears that would be the next Kane and Lync 2:electric boogaloo & Knuckles.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  38. Aiursrage2k

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    Thats a harsh reality which is why all indie devs should push for guaranteed annual income. I wonder if we will start to see the big name indie developers start failing in the coming years (the guy that made thomas was alone sold over 1 million units -- second game sold less then 5k units).
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
  39. ShilohGames

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    Once the barriers to entry are gone, everybody will try it. Even if a bunch of indie developers fail and find day jobs, even more indie developers will take their place. When game engines cost $100k to license, there was a significant barrier to entry. Indies either needed to build their own game engine or find some funding before starting. Either way, that limited how many people could be game developers. Now that the best engines are free (at least to get started), there is no barrier to entry.

    That does not mean there won't still be opportunities to make money, though. Most indie developers will make nothing, but the total money spent on games is constantly increasing. Indie developers that build something awesome will still find plenty of money. The average made per developer will continue to plummet simply because so many new developers will make nothing, which will affect the statistics.
     
  40. goat

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    This article that was linked into by the article RichardKain linked to I thought was interesting:

    http://toucharcade.com/2015/09/16/we-own-you-confessions-of-a-free-to-play-producer/

    They try to make it sound like privacy invading and such but it's really not so much. It was all already available via the data warehouses that cull the phone books, government records, and your shopping receipts if you don't pay cash.

    The big thing they did wrong was making fake Facebook accounts to friend you. However, it's pretty easy to detect such fake accounts, even by the naive by looking at the news feed history of the account, friend list of that account, and what data that account shares.

    The entire article comes off as an indignant indie developer trying to instill fear into his readers so that they will pay money for games upfront to escape such data culling but we know paid games on mobile cull that data too.
     
  41. Kiwasi

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    Probably. But remember the AAA devs get the same tech upgrades too. Just 20 years ago doom was the hieght of game achievements and was praised for its graphical fidelity. Now any kid with a bit of patience can build the entire doom game.

    So in a decade I would expect something like Skyrim or World of Warcraft to come in reach of individual devs. But the AAAs will be doing something so amazing we can't even conceive of it now.

    Unrealistic ambition we see is not so much about trying to do something big. It's about a single guy trying to compete with the big AAA studios. If you come back in ten years you will also see the flood of posts by new users who want to compete with whatever big teams are building then.
     
  42. goat

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    I think in 10 years gaming frameworks will evolve to the point that they'll be integrated in safety training and with local representations of the environment will look like. I think gaming, learning, and hobby networks will form locally based cells and such and that something like FB will be 3D AR and speech based, if they don't let a innovator beat them too it and drain all their members from them like MySpace. So instead of wasting an hour driving to some after work hobby or safety training, the participants will be able to sit in their own home wearing AR glasses and a conferencing SW module in game engine SW will integrate all the participants into a classroom setting to make it feel more like they are in a typical learning environment or better yet, a learning environment that can be augmented to demonstrate principals visually, in appropriate circumstances, by the teacher that the teacher's own words only can allude to in those cases.
     
  43. tedthebug

    tedthebug

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    Will the first home AR/VR enthusiasts with the latest tech paint their spare room black with yellow grid lines just to really live the holodeck dream?
     
  44. goat

    goat

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    I don't watch Star Trek so I'm not sure what you mean black with yellow grid lines but to give you another example I haven't checked on the tech progress of OLED displays printed like thin poster board or wallpaper in like 8 years and my buddy in Switzerland is too busy at work to chat about our mad scientist ideas anymore so I don't do that type thinking much anymore but were such a tech as OLED research to print like paper as they were talking about 8 years ago actually completed and they commoditized it such that it became essentially expensive wallpaper you could do interesting things.

    ...then you could wallpaper your house and run loop videos or webcam broadcasts of various environments. A planetarium on your ceiling? The Rockies on you wall and ceiling in the daytime and the Manhattan Skyline on your walls or ceilings at night, even live webcasts of such places. For poor people like me that wouldn't be able to afford such wallpaper then a huge faux picture window of the Manhattan skyline or elsewhere. Morphing walls, windows, and ceilings. Feasible in the future. Now imagine a room papered with OLED like that was paired with a AR set of lightweight set of glasses. The OLED floor though would need a sturdier protective coating.
     
  45. Arowx

    Arowx

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    Why when you can have it as the default menu scene in game?
     
  46. ostrich160

    ostrich160

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    Because they hire people to actually make the idea, they feel like their idea is worth enough on its own and thats their contribution
     
  47. derkoi

    derkoi

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    Some lessons can't be taught. This is one of them. The more people tell them they cannot succeed they're going to be all the more determined to try. Once they try, they'll soon learn that lesson. I think most, if not all of us started there.
     
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  48. Kamilche_

    Kamilche_

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    LOL, yeah that's right. You've got to believe you can do it, before you can actually do it.
     
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  49. Kamilche_

    Kamilche_

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    Well, most of the time when people have ideas but no money, their games don't tend to get off the ground. I'd rather be in the position of 'Hey, I'm a programmer and I need BETA TESTERS! for my latest hot game!' and have people beg me to add features, etc. I actually consider their merits and add them. They go away feeling pleased they helped direct a game, and I go away pleased to have gotten and implemented a good idea for the game.

    Owner vs. employee mentality.
     
  50. ostrich160

    ostrich160

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    I wouldnt say you need money to get your game off the ground. I make all my games with just a lot of time, and maybe a £15 unity asset