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What really is an Asset Flip??

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by TheMessyCoder, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. TheMessyCoder

    TheMessyCoder

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    Hi All

    This last few weeks I have seen more Asset Flip arguments than usual. These arguments have been a lot more heated and personal than I have seen before. From what I saw it came down to different groups having different interpretations of the term "Asset Flip".

    So I was wondering what do you think constitutes as an Asset Flip? If, for example, I kept the graphics of an asset but had my own code at first glance would you call it a flip?

    There has been more videos on YouTube this past few weeks about how bad a reputation Unity has gotten due to bad games. Well then, I had to put my own voice on the YouTube-a-tron






    Some of the games featured in this video:
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/ashen-rift
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/cities-skylines
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/dead-route
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/homeworld-deserts-of-kharak
    http://www.iambreadgame.com/
    http://www.kerbalspaceprogram.com/
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/life-of-rome
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/osiris-new-dawn
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/pixel-blood-online
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/rust
    http://www.7daystodie.com
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/subnautica-0
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/sunless-sea
    https://madewith.unity.com/games/sunless-skies
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
  2. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    "Asset flip" is an label created by people to denounce any game they dislike, because "it uses store bought assets".
     
  3. neoshaman

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    Jim sterling invented the term and it quickly caught on, now it seems it has a bit derived from game poorly slapped together with bought assets on an engine to make quick buck, to any game that has a visible bought asset.

    edit:
    The origin

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1051527
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  4. nhold

    nhold

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    The guy in that video has been using Unity for 4 years and keeps calling the engine "Unity 3D".

    In my unlearned opinion the term "Asset Flip" really implies the following:
    • Buying an asset
    • Compiling the demo
    • Selling it
    But is used as the following:
    • Does the game contain publicly accessible assets at ALL (I.e from the Unity\Unreal asset store) and do I dislike it.
     
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  5. TheMessyCoder

    TheMessyCoder

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    Lol yeh I keep calling it unity 3d hehe can't help it. Pls do me a favour if you hear me do it again, slap me.

    I even did some 2d stuff with it. Lol I actually started as a 2D animator and still call it Unity 3D.


    I agree with you about what should be a flip just compiling a demo
     
  6. TheMessyCoder

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    Yeh it's hearing a term and using it without having an understanding of what it should mean. Watching Jim Sterling he deviates from what he sees as a flip in my opinion
     
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  7. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    I hate to say this and I mean it in a non-demeaning way. But for the sake of argument, just don't use asset 3d models from Asset Store. That's the only things that players will care about.

    I mean I know not everyone is a 3d artist and I get that. But you can avoid the entire situation by either A) Learning to 3d model, or B) Getting a 3d modeler to make something for you either free/paid.

    The first step to solving any problem is admitting you have one. If 1,000 people use the same exact model for their game without any changes whatsoever to make it unique to that game, people will notice this, maybe 8 years ago nobody would have blinked an eye, but as others have stated, ever sense Jim coined the term, consumers are now aware of some of the shady practices that believe it or not, happen more so than not.

    Only so many games can have the same exact main character, only so many games can have the same literal exact enemies, so what happens if one of these games become extremely popular (Idk how), but if one did, what then? Some new guy releases a game with the same exact main character, yet is a horrible game, well the original popular game is now going to have a tarnished image because the crap game ruined it because with how ignorant people are, they won't put two and two together and realize they are two completely separate games. For the same reason Nintendo refuses to let there be any Mario fan games, or Zelda fan games.


    I get it, 3d models on the asset store is a nice thing to have for the ones who don't know how to model, and I can see it to be extremely tempting to just pay for the assets, just keep in mind, you and a million others (Exaggerated) have paid for the same exact asset with maybe only 10% changing anything about it, so in the end, with how consumers are today, they see these things when they become aware of it from people like Jim.
     
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  8. Peter77

    Peter77

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    I failed my very first asset store submission, because I used the term "Unity 3D" in a document which was part of the submission. From that moment, every time I hear someone saying "Unity 3D", I cringe :)

    Unity should add proper terminology to their learning section though.
     
  9. FrankenCreations

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    Yes and no. I think it boils down to proper use of anything. As a main attraction common assets are a bad Idea for obvious reasons. If 2 games have the same vase on a shelf or table in the corner no one really knows or cares. If its something that barely gets noticed anyway, filler for scenery and fits with the theme why not re use it. Film and games have been re using assets for a long time and its not noticeable if done well. The proper use of art assets is a good thing. Gobbing together a halfassed hodgepodge of crap with no input of your own is not. It comes down to how you use it not that you use it.
     
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  10. N1warhead

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    I hear hear ya on that man... I mean maybe its just me, I notice details like that. Not sure if that's the developer part of me or the consumer part. I'd side more with developer side, because every time I play a game, I intentionally look for the faults that way I can try and learn how I can make something even better.
     
  11. TheMessyCoder

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    It can very expensive to get custom artwork. In the past I have had custom art work, but to be able to afford it, they were non exclusive. Which meant the artist could sell them on the asset store.

    I have found that buying art from the asset store and then changing the textures is the best I can hope for.
     
  12. TheMessyCoder

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    LOL I blame unity. They still have the domain name as Unity3d.com!!!
     
  13. N1warhead

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    Yeah it really just depends how you use the assets. Most people don't even open a texture up in a paint program and just throw it in the game.. Example - lets say they are in some apocalyptic scene, yet - orange street cones looking like they were just produced, nice and shiny when they should have at least some sort of weathering on them lol.
     
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  14. mysticfall

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    It almost sounds like that people like me shouldn't think of making any games.

    I learned the basics of 3d modelling and actually found it to be pretty fun. But the problem is I'm only trying to make a game in my spare time as a hobby, which means I'm the only artist/programmer/writer/etc of my project who can only work one or two days a week.

    I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only wannabe game developer who's stuck in this kind of a situation, and if I'm not mistaken, the success of Unity has something to do with its Asset Store which have made it a lot easier for indie developers like me to achieve their dream of making their own video games.

    It's understandable that seeing the exact same looking player characters in two different games might give people who play them negative impressions. But I don't think too many people would notice if some backdrop buildings, or some generic NPCs were purchased from Asset Store, unless they play tons of other indie games or specifically trying to find out such similarities between games, so they can proudly announce that the creator is just an abominable 'asset flipper' so you shouldn't waste your time playing their games.

    I'd understand if those who have much experience in Unity, or such critics or hardcore gamers who play large number of indie games might become more sensitive to such an issue.

    However, I think that being an indie developer means one would make such games that appeal to certain niche in the playerbase, as one cannot compete with AAA games and satisfy everyone.

    So, if using store purchased assets would make it look more like a polished game to more number of people than such critics, or hardcore gamers who might notice the origin of the assets, probably it wouldn't be so bad even for the reputation of the game.

    Personally, I wouldn't care too much about seeing familiar assets in a game, if the game itself is any good. And I'd certainly prefer looking at some professionally made assets to those ugly models that some indie developer who just learned how to use Blender made in his spare time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  15. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    What about games that flip their own assets every couple of years, full price, say WoW expansions, perhaps? ... or is Blizzard too big to criticise, and one must attack the small developer, the easy prey?

    Seems like the internet hasn't thought this through as usual. This logically means you should disrespect the term Asset Flip, it's origin and all associated meanings as being pure noise, the sound of stupidity. If it were given sound. A sort of monotonous dull drone that faintly irritates.

    I'm kidding, anything to liven up such a dull subject.
     
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  16. Ryiah

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    It's amazing how those Fallout 3 bandits made it from the Capital Wasteland to the Commonwealth. :p
     
  17. N1warhead

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    @mysticfall : I don't mean it in a way like that, I mean it's okay, is it something I'd do on a 3D Model level? No, I've got tons of assets, granted none but a few are models (And only grabbed them because they were free when I was Pro user), so why do I have tons of assets? Because I love to learn how they were designed (Such as Editor Tools). If they aren't closed source and I can actually dive in and learn how it was made - best teaching experience ever. I don't mean copy-pasting and ripping code. I mean learning the methods as to why things do what, how they were engineered and can they be optimized better within the Unity Environment? I love to take these tools, tear them apart piece by piece (If they interest me), sometimes I buy a tool because it looks cool and never use it lol.

    But at the end of the day, by learning the stuff I have, I end up creating my own stuff, so I know the in's and outs to every single thing in the game, and this includes my art and models. But honestly though, as mentioned - there's literally nothing wrong with getting 3d assets and such, in fact I encourage others to do so,however - with the way tech is today, there's a decent free option for everything now practically. There's really no excuse for putting your foot down and diving right in and learning whatever it is you're missing. I know all the well the fears of going into Coding, or Art - there's so many new things that it can become overbearing at times. But I can tell you with 100% certainty - you will feel so much better about the things you create, because they are so personal, you crafted every single pixel, line of code, it's a work of art. Eh that's just how I feel lol.
     
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  18. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Just quoting because I really like this phrase.
     
  19. orb

    orb

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    Don't blame the victim. I think some religious org or whatever had unity.com, but UT finally managed to buy it off them.

    Activision in general are pretty bad at this. If you put a multiplayer screenshot of each Modern Warfare game next to each other you won't be able to tell them apart easily, especially on consoles (all were released during the same console generation).

    Outside computer games there is one particular huge company which uses the same assets over and over something ridiculous: Fantasy Flight Games. All of their games in the same universe (Star Wars, Arkham Files, Lord of the Rings etc.) share the same images far too often. A little less now, but buy any base game in the same universe and you'll basically see no new pictures anywhere going from one to the next. I hope the artists negotiated royalties or a per game contract!

    The CoD case is closer to an asset flip though. It's basically the same game with a few small tweaks, a few extra multiplayer perks and a different single-player campaign (the bulk of the real work). Maybe it's a good thing, because when they tried to upgrade things drastically they made the buggiest games in the series…
     
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  20. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    But you know, it's not a big deal. If you don't want it, don't buy it. I mean, long running tv shows? Same sets. Every paid-for episode. Nobody cries.

    Asset flip in game dev? witch hunt. Nothing more.
     
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  21. AndersMalmgren

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    Do you think artists come cheap? No, for a TripleA firearm for example we would need to pay 1-1.5k. Many indies do not have that budget.

    edit: btw, at that price they are not even yours to keep, the artist can resell them to anyone, meaning there is still a big chance it will end up in another game.
     
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  22. AndersMalmgren

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    It doesn't matter if the asset is bought in the store or not. For example our game uses this G17
    https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/44796

    This game uses the same assets,


    But they are lacking refelction cubes, light probes, etc, or too low density of the both. Here the same asset in our game


    Its a big difference with the exact same asset between the games. It doesnt matter if you use a asset store asset, its what you do with it that matters.
     
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  23. frosted

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    There is one real test to know if something is an asset flip.

    A game is an asset flip if gamers call it an asset flip. Period.

    You can use 3d assets, or code assets or whatever. If you combine things well, with care and attention, gamers don't call it an asset flip.

    If you throw them together in a way to makes it obvious that there was little actual skill and care involved, then gamers know something is wrong and will call it an asset flip.

    That's pretty much it.

    I think the biggest indicator for most gamers is when things are uneven. Does the game have some crazy high def arcvis but it plays like a 6th grader wrote it? Obviously an asset flip.
     
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  24. N1warhead

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    That's why you don't go for AAA skilled developers. Go for someone who is trying to make a name for themselves, I see people every day offering to make models and such so they can build a portfolio. It's not about how much money you have, or what you know, it's who you know. I can't say how good they are, but I'm sure there's a few out there who are decent modelers and texture artists who will do it for next to nothing, simply so they can make a portfolio to land the bigger jobs.
     
  25. AndersMalmgren

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    I talked about artists here not developers, it's probably even harder finding a developer that will code for free or for low fees.

    I have actually tried to find a student that want to build his portfolio as a level designer. I have probably sent over 100 mails to different folks on artstation that sports the student title, I did a little test if I even mentioned student, build portfolio and win win for both parties I never get a reply.
     
  26. N1warhead

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    Dang really? Man I'm always seeing people offering to volunteer and such.
    If you look around on Facebook Groups, you can find all kinds of people. I've ran into coders wanting to do free work, artists, music designers, sfx designers, etc. All wanting too do free work. But as mentioned I don't know their actual skill levels, but I'm sure there's some decent ones.
     
  27. AndersMalmgren

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    Maybe if you are a free mod or the like, commercial product, not so much
     
  28. MarkusGod

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    Can you share an example of such group?
     
  29. Billy4184

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    It's pointless discussing whether call of duty has flipped assets, because it's still a great game that people enjoy. Every game I've seen ripped apart as an asset flip is either simply crap, or is lacking any reasonable amount of content or gameplay variation. Not surprisingly, people who are OK with sticking random assets together are also OK with random and crappy gameplay design.

    Does anybody know of a single game that got massacred for asset flipping, that was still a fun and thoughtfully designed one?

    The problem with the game industry is not and has never been an asset flipping one as such, it's about screening out low quality games. Not surprisingly, the two attributes are correlated, since it's hard to devote 6 months or a year making content with the express purpose of making some barely functioning recycled mess that will be sold for 0.50 - and I would bet that those who do this either find a way to recycle them much, much faster (at which point they are rightly called out) or they find a pursuit in life that they are better at.

    I would say that regardless of whether or not anyone espouses these notions that Unity is responsible for a quality problem, or whether they think 'asset flipping' is a problem - I highly doubt that any 'quality control mob' is going to go after a developer with a pitchfork who has made a good game that re-uses assets - like I said I'd like to see one example.

    Even those who seem to be considered the 'demons' of games journalism around these parts (such as (dare I say the name) Jim Sterling) have never to my knowledge marked a game as crap purely on the basis of re-using assets. They might mention it, they might refer to it, they might mmm and ah and cluck their tongue a bit, they might make a few provocative statements about the general matter for the benefit of their more suggestible constituents - but in the end they call a spade a spade. So I wouldn't worry too much about these people (who may end up doing more for the quality of the games industry than any of us) and just make something worthwhile to play.
     
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  30. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    This thread is an asset flip.
     
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  31. Ryiah

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    That's just it. They did buy it. Now they need to justify their choice. They decide to mock it rather than admit it was them.
     
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  32. zombiegorilla

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    You are quoting out of context. He pointed using assets is fine. And if that doesn't work for you, you can learn to do it yourself, or find someone to do it for you.

    It's simple, if you need something in your game you make it or buy it. How much you spend (either in time or money) is up to your budget and need. If you "need" a premium quality, unique asset, then you are going pay premium. It it is out of your budget or skill level, there are plenty of options starting at free.
     
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  33. N1warhead

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    @zombiegorilla : That's exactly my point. In today's age, there's really no excuse for either not being able to get something or make something. This is why I get kind of annoyed when someone throws an excuse to sound advice. Hey it's advice, either take it or leave it. But at the end of the day, the choices still remain if you choose to use them or not is up to you.

    Granted some of the choices come with proper research, but nevertheless, they still exist.
     
  34. Ryiah

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    Unity Microelectronics, Inc. They owned the URL starting in 2000. Way before Unity Technologies.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20000520090740/http://www.unity.com:80/

    It wasn't until sometime in 2015 that they relinquished it and moved to a new URL.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20150506091926/http://unity.com:80/

    They're Unity LED Lighting now. :p

    http://www.unityledlighting.com/
     
  35. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    For the price unity paid, I wouldn't worry about my name in lights either.
     
  36. AndersMalmgren

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    It sounded like buying from teh stores was out of teh question and you should make your own or buy custom assets
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  37. N1warhead

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    Naw you misinterpreted what I was trying to say...

    I was trying to say, it's fine to buy assets from the store. But if you want to avoid the situation altogether, then just build them or find/hire someone to do it freely or paid.
     
  38. mysticfall

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    I agree with you if what you meant was simply we can avoid the situation by creating our own assets, whereas there could be valid reasons why one would want to reuse store purchased assets.

    But to @AndersMalmgren 's defense, I'd like to point out that your first reply in this thread reads quite differently and that's why I wrote a reply to claim that there can be valid reason for purchasing 3D models off Asset Store myself.

    In that reply, you simply said that one shouldn't purchase assets from the store, but either create all the models oneself or find someone who can do that for one.

    It's hard to suppose that it implies purchasing assets itself is ok, because you only said that we shouldn't do it, and it kind of feels like to be a too obvious thing to say that if one creates all the models no one will call him or her an asset flipper.

    I'm not accusing you of changing your stance to avoid criticism. But I don't think it to be fair to criticize @AndersMalmgren of misinterpreting your intention either, since your reply actually didn't really represent what you really meant very well.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
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  39. AndersMalmgren

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    Lets all be friends :D
     
  40. N1warhead

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    Well yeah I wasn't lying, if you want to avoid the situation altogether, just don't use the models. it can't be put anymore simpler than that. I was only speaking from the point that if you don't want customers even considering it's an asset flip, just don't do it. I didn't change my stance, I just chose different ways of wording things because I'm not tired.

    Do I think most people are asset flippers? No I don't. But the truth is, 9 out of 10 games released are in fact asset flippers. But didn't I just say most people are not asset flippers? Yeah I did say that, but most people forget the hidden variable involved. The legit people actually spend time on their games, even if paid for assets, they carefully try to design their games, however an asset flipper will crunch a game together in a couple days and release, and repeat the same process again, and again - flooding the market with junk.

    So the way I see it (and this is just my opinion), every time you use an asset (3d models only), you take a gamble of being criticized simply for using a single model purchased on the asset store.. This is why I mentioned in the words I did. Whether you are considered an asset flipper or not doesn't matter to the consumer, because if they want to be buttholes about it, they will still give you the label regardless, and then tell their friends, and they tell their friends, etc.

    This is just how I am in life with everything, I tend to avoid the situations rather than go into them. Again, not saying using models is bad, but it's still a gamble to get the title of asset flipper whether you was doing it intentionally or not.
     
  41. TheMessyCoder

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    But there should be a difference between 'Asset Flipper' and 'Asset User'.
     
  42. N1warhead

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    Oh I don't have problems with anyone :p. I hope y'all don't hate me lol. I'm not trying to make enemies or anything, I just like to voice my opinion and hear other's opinions. I believe it's healthy so long as were both adults about it.
     
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  43. N1warhead

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    Oh I agree, but do consumers understand this? the casual gamer yeah I'm sure they do. But the hardcore gamer's who have a massive outreach, they can be iffy when it comes to these kinds of things.
     
  44. AndersMalmgren

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    It doesnt matter if you use custom assets or not, if the game is bad written, no love put into the mechanics etc Its still an asset flip.. Its a custom asset flip instead of a Asset flip. It doesn't make it better
     
  45. Kemonono

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    I think in, Jim Sterling, and the general public is way to harsh on purchased assets.

    If you want to make everything in a game original, why don't you start with designing a new Font or two, and then do the folly work so you can get your own sfx library.

    That said, blind implementation of stock models is a fast track to a crappy design, which again detracts from the gameplay.

    Also, Hero models should almost always be custom (referring to "Hero" as in modeling budget, not an archetype adventurer).
     
  46. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Asset Flip is a meaningless term born from "flipping" a demo scene. The user took the asset demo and uploaded it as a game. That's an actual asset flip, and justifies using the word flip.

    What do we call the situation where a developer reuses it's own assets? This happens more frequently than you think. Where does the buck stop? Should blizzard never use an existing monster, table, weapon, texture in its full-price expansions?

    What about any DLC in any game ever? Pretty sure these new scenes and content actually use a lot of what you already paid for.

    In fact the logical assumption is, every game ever is therefore an asset flip, because level 2 uses assets in level 1.

    The internet is filled with hooting fat creatures that troll and goad each other for the purpose of entertainment and for the feeling of belonging, even if it's belonging to an unwashed subhuman group of bottom investigating, wailing imbeciles.

    Reason will never win. Blunt corrective force is all the trollish subhuman understands. That... and the whip of logical fury :D
     
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  47. FMark92

    FMark92

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Posts:
    1,235
    10/10 reminded me of my dwarf fortress ... fortress.. actually dungeon.
     
  48. Billy4184

    Billy4184

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2014
    Posts:
    4,630
    TBH I don't see anything except Jim calling out a bunch of way substandard games. The zombie one was aesthetically decent, but was completely one dimensional random spawn shooter and that's all it was really judged on in the end, not even harshly - it was like "oh that's it, I'm bored already, let's move on". The fact that it sported virtually nothing but asset packs for all the art, as far as I can tell, already makes it an extreme example of flipping, and it didn't even blow Jim's fuse.

    I don't think that anyone out there has an incredibly different idea of what's acceptable than any of us. The main problem everyone is ragging on about is recycled, superficial, bare-minimum fps/terrain combos that have little or nothing in the way of gameplay design, novelty or creative expression - being sold alongside everything else at some pitifully desperate price.
     
  49. hippocoder

    hippocoder

    Digital Ape Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Posts:
    25,582
    Again, it's not actually Jim doing damage, merely being irresponsible to a flock of imbeciles which do cause damage.

    It's important that the world a) understands reusing assets is not necessarily a bad thing at all and b) engines aren't the problem, developers are.

    That's the crux of it. Let it spiral out of control and you won't be able to even use Unity without unfounded accusations or being told you asset flip even if you don't. People are far too lazy to check for themselves so unless the term Asset Flip is removed from the table, it'll carry on being used as a tool to F*** up decent indies.

    You want that? As far as I can see the idea of asset flip is not losing traction, and games will be punished for it even if its not true. That is how stupid the internet is.

    I'd rather just call a stupid person a stupid person and correct them. Even if it means ridiculing them because it does affect my industry, my business, etc even if unfounded. I don't want that so I am against the entire concept.

    I would rather people focus on: is this game fun? is this film great? etc.
     
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  50. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2014
    Posts:
    4,932
    Dont call them developers please.